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Signs of Stress in the Workplace

Are You Experiencing Symptoms of Stress as a Result of Workplace Bullying?


A recent publication by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists the early signs of stress on the job as headache, sleep disturbance, difficulty concentrating, short temper, upset stomach and low morale. Job dissatisfaction is on the list, but that one should be obvious.

What does a person do when their job is literally making them sick? Changing jobs may be impossible or undesirable. Changing the work environment may be difficult. Because it can seem like an impossible situation, it doesn’t take long before burnout, depression or even suicidal thoughts set in.

It is difficult to offer general advice to people who find themselves in these situations and are seeing signs of stress. A person who is being harassed or bullied at work will need different tactics than someone who is worried about falling sales or becoming unemployed.

A little worry is something that cannot be avoided. We worry about our children, our homes and our jobs. Sometimes, the worry helps us find solutions to existing problems.

It is often chronic worrying that leads to difficulty sleeping and other symptoms of stress. Here’s some very general advice about how to stop worrying.

It will not work in every situation, because some situations are more serious than others. For example, workplace bullying could become serious and should be reported, regardless of how you feel about being a whistle blower. Your main concern should be your health.

In other cases, you may be able to stop worrying by realizing that no situation is hopeless. It helps to "do" something. For example, if you feel you could not find another job because you lack the education, you could take a class on your days or nights off.

Working towards a solution helps you to feel more in control. It also takes your focus off of the problem at hand.

When you notice the signs of stress, it is a good time to talk to your doctor. You want to make sure that your blood pressure levels are not dangerously high. According to the CDC, many studies have shown that stressful jobs are a risk factor for heart disease. High blood pressure is another risk factor.

As you work to address the emotional distress, you should also address the physical symptoms. If your blood pressure is high, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes (quitting smoking, reduced salt in the diet, etc.) or medication to protect your arteries from the pressure.

Nutritional supplements can help to reduce the impact that the symptoms of stress have on your bodily organs. Supplements to consider include:

  • Vitamin C and zinc to support immune system strength

  • Omega-3 fish oil to reduce blood pressure and support heart health

  • Beta-carotene and other antioxidants to protect the organs from free radical damage

  • Melatonin or valerian root to support healthy sleep

  • 5-HTP to reduce depression and anxiety

Be careful about taking too many antacids. They can interfere with your body’s ability to absorb essential proteins. They may also cause excess calcium in the bloodstream, which may increase your risk of heart disease.

In addition to the obvious symptoms of stress in the workplace, the CDC reports that there is a stress-related connection to workplace injuries. The connection may be due to the inability to focus or memory problems caused by changes in blood flow. Regardless of the underlying cause, if you have signs of stress, you should be more alert when you are working around hazardous materials or equipment.

Determining the correct action for you to take requires evaluating the situation for solutions. While it may seem like there is nothing to be done, there is always a solution. Take the signs of stress seriously and find the solutions that work for you.  

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