A little bit of stress at work is good for you, but there is absolutely no health benefit to being too stressed at work.
That's the view of Joan Kingsley, a consultant clinical and organisational therapist. Kingsley spent 25 years researching workplace psychology and co-authored a book, 'The Fear-free Organization: Vital Insights from Neuroscience to Transform Your Business Culture'. She has come up with eight signs that you are suffering from stress at work, and what to do about it.
"You have to think about what kind of person you are and if you normally get stressed. For instance, I work well under pressure. If I have a deadline, I work best when the deadline is approaching. Some people need to plan more ahead of time," Kingsley said.
She said that a little bit of stress is part of normal life, but that feeling dread, or fretting over things out of work hours, is a sure sign that you are overly stressed. Other signs include:
- Feeling panicky
- Being unable to focus
- Feeling like you can’t cope
- Having difficulty staying in the moment
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Having a dry mouth
- Getting butterflies
- A racing heartbeart
It you have these symptoms for too long, you could be at risk of high blood pressure, heart attack and a low immune system that could lead to other ailments such as the flu or the common cold, Kingsley warned.
Avoiding stress is very simple. It involves taking more breaks. "You shouldn’t be working more than 90 minutes at any one time. It’s been proven that the brain cannot concentrate for more, so after that time you need a break. You won’t be functioning well," Kingsley said.
She called for organisations to do more to support efforts to relieve stress in their workforce: "It’s one thing to say you need more relaxation time, but if it’s not supported in the organisation it might cause more stress!"
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