Can Stress at Work be Good for You?

15th November 2017

Long hours, tight deadlines, and ever-increasing work demands can leave employees feeling worried, drained, and overwhelmed in the workplace. It can take its toll on your health (weakened immune system, high blood pressure, depression, insomnia and increased risk of heart attack) affecting your overall wellbeing and performance at work and lead to job burn-out and strained interactions with peers and colleagues.

With this in mind it’s no wonder that stress often has negative associations attached to it. However, new research suggests that stress might only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case. Changing your mindset and viewing stress as a positive reaction can change your body’s response to stress and reduce the negative effects it has on your physical and mental health. Instead of viewing your body’s response to stress as anxiety or signs that you aren’t coping well under pressure, try interpreting this as your body being energised and preparing you to meet the challenge you are being faced with.

How stress can be beneficial

It can help you stay focused, energetic and able to meet new challenges, as well as stimulating the immune system to help avoid infections. The hormone “oxytocin” which is released when experiencing stress, can also make you more social. It helps strengthen close relationships and enhances empathy, making you more willing to help and support others.

To gain a better understanding on how the way you think and act can transform your experience with stress, watch Kelly McGonigal’s TED talk on ‘How to make stress your friend’ by clicking here.

You can’t always influence external pressures but you can take control of the way you react to stress. Here are some other ways to help beat stress in the workplace:

  • Reach out to colleagues for support
  • Take regular breaks and get fresh air during the day
  • Avoid negative thinking and “grab the good”
  • Don’t focus your energy on things you can’t control
  • Step back and gain perspective on the situation

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