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According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), job stress is defined as "the harmful physical and emotional responses that occur when the requirements of the job do not match the capabilities, resources or needs of the worker." It's not a frivolous problem as job stress can lead to poor health and even injury. (Read about "Stress")
NIOSH says that job stress should not be confused with job challenge. Challenge is positive; it energizes us psychologically and physically, and it motivates us to learn new skills and get better at our jobs. The point is this - you can meet a challenge, and when you do, you feel good about yourself.
Job stress is different. Stress is what happens when demands cannot be met, when there's no time for relaxation and when there's no sense of accomplishment.
What to do about job stress? Sometimes we don't have much choice. A particular job may simply be too demanding or beyond our capabilities. If this is the case, we may need to step back and ask if the compensation we get is worth the stress, if we have any alternatives and how we might successfully get ourselves moving towards the direction of those alternatives.
We may also need to ask if some of the stress we feel is self-induced. For example:
What are some of the signs of stress? Here's a list of possible signs and symptoms of stress from the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP):
If you recognize yourself or someone you love in the list, it may be time to slow down. There are things you can do to reduce your stress. Once again suggestions from AAFP:
If you think you are under stress, ask for help. Most experts agree that it's important to understand that stress is a very real threat to our mental and physical well-being. Ideally, we should to be able to find balance between work and personal life, get enough support from friends and family and be able to develop a positive outlook. That's not always easy. But the benefits in terms of mental and physical health can be worth it. (Read about "Mental Health")
All Concept Communications material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.
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