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How Work Stress Affects Health

Stress - modern day disease and how to fight it

In most of the modern societies, being stressed is often perceived as caring – we invest our time, energy, and emotions into our work, so when something goes awry, we react on numerous levels. If the boss gets upset, we feel guilty, tense, anxious. If a client complains, we feel responsible, and afraid we’d lose our job, whether or not that’s a realistic fear. Even a single unpleasant conversation on the phone for salespeople can ruin their day, and affect their confidence.

However, even these temporary reactions are not as nearly as damaging as their more long-term equivalents. This type of chronic exposure to office stress can have a profoundly negative effect on your well-being, but there are many ways in which you can heal, let go, and become more resilient to future stress triggers.

A buzz-killer

Although it’s only natural to feel down after an unpleasant meeting with your superiors, or after losing a client, feeling continuously stressed can actually alter your mood even outside of the office. Work occupies a very important spot in our lives, as it forms a great deal of our identity, so once we become unhappy with our own performance, it affects our self-perception and self-worth.

As a result, this level of dissatisfaction spills over into other aspects of your life, leading you to feel unmotivated, unable to truly enjoy the moment, and it can even lead to depression and anxiety. You might find yourself very hot-tempered, sad, and pensive for hours after you leave the office.

Try processing those emotions through meditation, by letting yourself experience them in all of their stages of intensity, and by filtering them through a more positive lens: this is your chance to improve and grow, or even find a new professional path where you’ll feel happy and fulfilled.

An energy drain

Your mind and your body are intertwined, so whatever may be causing stress for your mind, your body will feel the consequences as well, only in different forms. People who suffer from anxiety often exhibit similar symptoms, such as constant uneasiness, insomnia, nausea, heart palpitations, and the like – all of which can be also caused by a highly stressful situation.

Even lack of focus and energy are enough to point out an issue with your mindset, as perhaps you’ve reached a point of oversaturation with stress that you are experiencing burnout. Headaches, muscle tension, and constant exhaustion often follow long-term stress, leaving you almost completely drained to deal with the root of the problem.

In order to get more rest, you can try infusing your days with rituals to help you unwind. From using essential oils, meditating before bed, all the way to taking a long bath and reading your favorite book, you need to find something to restore your energy and soothe your body as well as your mind.

Much more than skin-deep

There are those brave souls who bottle everything up inside and keep smiling against all odds (you know who you are). Even when stressful situations abound almost daily, they soldier on, until their feelings literally begin to surface – and as our largest organ, our skin truly reveals our deepest fears and insecurities.

Some may develop forms of psoriasis and eczema, dry patches, rashes, and itchiness, while others may discover that acne is not an adolescence-only issue. The mildest of all skin troubles include paleness and under-eye bags, but they are still enough of a reason to revisit your skin care and deal with the consequence as well as the cause.

For starters, by finding suitable skin care products that will target your particular problem, you will be able to restore your confidence, and heal any inflammation you may be experiencing. Simultaneously, you should consider reshaping your diet to introduce more healthy foods, and take up a physical activity that will help you vent and face your feelings in a healthier way.

A vicious cycle

All of the listed stress-induced chaos often doesn’t end there. The lack of confidence and damaged self-perception can lead to making many poor lifestyle choices, such as skipping your workouts and opting for fast food instead of that nourishing home-made meal. It’s no accident that we escape into binge-eating, binge-smoking, and other binge-like behaviors when stress hits the fan.

Then, in turn, yielding to these negative temptations closes the negativity loop by putting your body and your mind through even more stress, because you deprive yourself of those much-needed healthy, healing habits. Exercising may demand energy, but it also replenishes it, while smoking may give you temporary relief, but it surely does significantly more harm compared to mere minutes of pleasure.

While you might not be able to instantly end the cycle by escaping the source of stress, you can start by making one healthy choice at a time. By building up your self-esteem from these small steps, you can find a more productive, constructive way to cope with stress and become more resilient to its causes.

Making judgment errors and wrong calls is what makes you so delightfully human, much like your ability to love, and make someone laugh. The next time you feel a tide of stress coming your way, among all other strategies you can try, go make someone else’s day – the sheer act of kindness is bound to make yours, too. 

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