When do we deal with stress in the workplace?
Stress in the workplace occurs when working people – employees and employers – feel psychologically uncomfortable with the conditions and / or requirements of work in a situation where the conditions and requirements at a given moment exceed their capabilities.
The stress reaction is an atavism whose task is to prepare a person to react to a threat. For this reason, in times of stress:
- all human internal systems are activated: circulatory, musculoskeletal, digestive, nervous, immune systems, the secretion of adrenaline, noradrenaline, thyroxine, and cortisol increases; it accelerates the heart rate, increases muscle tension, deepens and accelerates breathing, increases blood pressure, reduces pain sensitivity, accelerates metabolic processes, increases physical efficiency and strength
- the person’s attention is focused on the threat (task), the person does not pay attention to other things in the environment (narrowing of attention), feels anxiety, fear, sometimes anger, anger or fear
- the person is agitated, overactive, impatient, has a compulsion to act, and may even behave aggressively in a state of high tension.
When work requirements are adjusted to a person’s physical or mental abilities, a person has the appropriate knowledge, skills and can use the help of other people, problems at work are solved and stress is subsided. After the rest period, it is possible to resume the next activity.
Coping with difficulties is successful. There is a feeling of satisfaction with oneself, with work, with superiors and with colleagues. A person learns, for example, a new way of coping with difficult situations, increases their knowledge, skills and professional experience. This type of stress strengthens the employee’s self-esteem, encourages changes, learning and doing new things – it is beneficial for the employee, his employer and the entire company.
When the demands arise frequently, take a long time, are so great that they are beyond the human capacity, or the person does not have the knowledge, skills or support of others to deal with them – problems are not resolved and the stress response continues. The person is in a state of constant tension, agitation, activation of all the previously described internal systems of the body. Depending on the situation and the cause of stress, he may also experience various types of unpleasant feelings, such as fear, anxiety, anger, anger. When the stress persists for a long time, a person may start to lose strength, experience fatigue and musculoskeletal pain. Prolonged stress, instead of being active, encourages you to save energy. A person is reluctant to act, any changes and additional duties at work. When the situation in the workplace does not change, apathy, sadness, a sense of helplessness, guilt, loss of self-confidence, and finally loss of trust in superiors and colleagues, loss of trust in the company may also appear over time.
This type of stress lowers self-esteem and temporarily reduces the ability to cope with new or difficult tasks at work – it is unfavorable for the employee, his employer and the entire enterprise. Return to full professional activity is possible after a period of rest and regeneration of the body. It may also require a partial change in the way you work, a gradual implementation of professional responsibilities, understanding or additional help from supervisors, colleagues, family and specialists.
Work-related stress is not a disease in itself. It is a human reaction to the demands of work. However, when the level of perceived stress is high, stress persists for a long time, its causes are not removed, and its negative impact on health is not balanced, and over time it can lead to various types of diseases.