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With the rising level of competition in the modern world, high economic standards and the ever dwindling income, we are faced with a serious need to put in more effort to sustain life. These challenges leave one in a state that is detrimental both to the physical and mental faculties of the human body. Work stress is brought about by several factors that are encountered on a daily basis at the workplace (Wang, Lesage, Schmitz & Drapeau, 2008). These include working longer hours to beat deadlines, trying to achieve set goals, striving to get a promotion just to name a few. All these activities require adequate planning which involves the mind. When one is faced with such task on a daily basis, the pressure is increased, which puts a strain on the mind (Wang, Lesage, Schmitz & Drapeau, 2008). This paper aims at showing the correlation that exists between stress at work and its effect on mental health. It also aims to show some disparities among those who work longer hours and those working fewer hours, or not working at all.
How Occupational Stress Affects Mental Health
Occupational stress is considered as a physical or psychological unrest that is brought about by the work surrounding. The stress concept was first advanced by a French physiologist Claude Bernerd in his concept milieu interieur (Wang, Lesage, Schmitz & Drapeau, 2008). He describes the principle of dynamic equilibrium in the internal body environment as vital for human survival. This would only be achieved by countering the outside forces such as oxygen, temperature and predators present. Neurologist Walter Cannon further recognized that stress could either be physical or emotional. He illustrates how the human body reacts to external stressors by releasing hormones, adrenaline and noradrenalin, in the nervous system. The release of these hormones in the nervous system tends to exemplify the relationship between stress and mental health.
Favorable working conditions are known to have a positive effect on the mental health of the workers (Wang, Lesage, Schmitz & Drapeau, 2008). However, with the growing population around the world, and the resources available for consumption remaining constant, every individual has been forced to work extra to make ends meet. Population growth has also increased the unemployment rate considerably. This has left the few available chances very competitive and requiring very highly skilled human labor which, in turn, has the pressure on the brain. These conditions also create a sense of job insecurity resulting in mental uneasiness on those affected (Wang et al., 2008).
In this research paper, therefore, I aim at:
Symptoms of Stress and Anxiety
Stress as a physical or psychological disorder is accompanied by varied symptoms that affect the human body. These symptoms could resemble those of other ailments and, therefore, there is need to visit a medical practitioner to ascertain that they are stress induced (Smith, Segal & Segal, 2011).
These symptoms are:
1. Physical symptoms (Smith et al., 2011).
These are symptoms that affect a stressed a person and can easily be recognized. This is because they act on the physical body of the person.
2. Emotional symptoms (Smith et al., 2011).
These are psychological experiences of the human mind as it interacts with the internal and external environments. This deals with the aspect of the moods and temperament of a person (Little, 2009).
3. Behavioral symptoms (Smith et al., 2011)
These are symptoms that are portrayed by a stressed person by the way he carries out himself in front of other people.
4. Cognitive symptoms (Smith et al., 2011).
These are symptoms that relate to the disarray in the thinking process. As a result of stress, one’s thinking is altered, and faults are bound to be noticed in the least expected situations.
How to Cope with Stress and Anxiety
Coping with stress in a positive manner is a sure way toward success. However, there are other means that relieve pressure albeit just for a short while and with far reaching negative implications. Some of these ways are:
Given the adverse harmful effects of the above relief techniques, it is advisable to learn healthier ways of dealing with stress so as to avoid any mental health risk. This could be done through:
Why Stress Affects Your Health
Stress is both a physical, as well as psychological problem. The above signs of stress have a great impact on a person’s health in the aftermath. Since stress leads to a loss of appetite, this influences negatively your health as it lowers your immune system. Moreover, this destabilizes flow of blood into the brain, which is the center on the nervous system; hence mental health is put at risk (Smith, Segal & Segal, 2011).
When a person is stressed, the brain has to think more, this has a strain on the human body, which leads to fatigue and in extreme cases, can lead to mental breakdown.
It is lucid that stress forms a part of human life and, therefore, cannot be avoided by whichever means. Nevertheless, one can learn how to live with it in a positive manner, thus moderate its effect.
Stress affects each and every person, only that how much a person suffers from stress is what differs. However, those in the human service occupation are at a higher risk of stress, as they have to deal with different people with different behaviors (Smith, Segal & Segal, 2011).
Learning about work stress is also a major boost against suffering from stress. With the acquired knowledge you are able to avoid some stressors and, at the same time, be able to judge on the best way of handling certain problems. It is also of great help to learn about work stress, as it gives you an upper hand at a workplace, since you find it easy to cope with other people when you understand how and why they behave in a certain manner.