Many people suffer from excessive work stress in modern Western societies. This is an impairment that can be caused in part by high demands at work, a mismatch between the amount of work that must be carried out and the person’s own resources. Furthermore, in many cases, the person who suffers from it is not fully aware that they are overwhelmed by their responsibilities, which perpetuates the problem.
Manifestations of work stress generated by work overload They are varied, and all of them can affect the person on an emotional, cognitive or physical level. Knowing them first-hand can help us detect this phenomenon in our daily lives and remedy it as soon as possible.
- Related article: “Burnout: how to detect it and take action”
Know the 10 signs of work stress due to excess tasks
The truth is that excess work stress constitutes an alteration that, If left untreated, it can become a real cause of discomfort and suffering. in the worker, and that increases the risk of developing severe psychopathologies.
If you are interested in knowing the warning signs linked to excessive work responsibilities that can cause stress problems, keep reading. Of course, keep in mind that each of them alone is not a sufficient reason to assume that this is the type of problem you suffer from, and that the definitive diagnosis can only be made by mental health professionals; However, having a global vision of these elements will help you understand what is happening to you.
1. Lack of concentration
Lack of concentration is one of the most common cognitive indicators of stress and anxiety. And the fact is that intrusive thoughts related to what worries us constantly “pull our attention,” which hinders the completion of any moderately complex task.
This is one of the most defining and influential signs of stress in the person, since a decrease in cognitive or intellectual abilities will also negatively affect an emotional, psychological or social level.
Other experiences related to lack of attention are reduced effectiveness in solving problems, decreased field of perception, frequent forgetfulness, and less effectiveness in decision-making processes.
- You may be interested: “Lack of concentration: causes and 10 tips to combat it”
2. Psychosomatic reactions
A high level of work stress is also usually responsible for the appearance of a series of very notable organic alterations in the person’s body, with psychological causeswhich in turn prevent the work from being carried out in optimal conditions.
Some of these psychosomatic signs are: headache, muscle tension, increased heart rate, shallow and accelerated breathing, chronic fatigue, increased blood pressure or alterations in sleep patterns.
If these psychosomatic phenomena have emerged shortly after you have taken on more tasks, it is very likely that your problem is excess stress caused by an unreasonable number of work goals.
- Related article: “Psychosomatic disorders: causes, symptoms and treatment”
3. Emotional manifestations
In addition to the physical consequences and cognitive performance, stress causes a series of diverse emotional manifestations linked to psychological rumination: the predisposition to “turn over” an idea over and over again, without being able to escape from it.
There are many emotional signs that indicate the presence of work stress in a person, among the most important of which are: increased irritability, greater sensitivity to stimuli and distractions, sudden mood changes, a very common feeling of anguish and a tendency to to actively look for distractions that allow us to stop thinking about what worries us.
The signs of work stress that we have seen so far usually appear together and feed off each other.. That is, a deficit in cognitive skills can cause difficulties on an emotional level due to the accumulation of tasks, which in turn leads to physical symptoms due to the constant state of activation of the nervous system.
- You may be interested: “What is Emotional Intelligence?”
4. Lack of a clear reference to how much is ‘too much work’
Another possible warning sign that can cause work stress occurs when the employee begins to feel that the work is overwhelming him and that he cannot do anything to stop it, in part because he does not have a clear notion of what the line of action is. tasks to perform that you should not cross (or, if you had one, you are constantly moving it without being based on consistent reasoning).
This happens on many occasions when the person uses their moments of rest to continue advancing the accumulated work, which with the passage of time it ends up being perceived as endless but at the same time inevitable.
In this phase, the person interprets that they have lost control of the situation at work and perceive themselves as helpless and incapable of successfully carrying out their obligations, another of the classic and most identifying indicators of work stress.
5. Inability to delegate tasks
The majority of employees who cannot delegate tasks in their work because they do not want to expose themselves to the risk of something going wrong that they do not control, end up taking care of everything themselves, both new and previous tasks, a fact that generates an overflow. emotional linked to stress.
The possibility of delegating tasks to other people is one of the organizational mechanisms of any company or work group.and thanks to it, employees are usually able to be more productive and work in better conditions, organizing their priorities.
6. Constantly think about work
People who are constantly and only thinking about work, even during free hours, usually present a case of work stress, so it is advisable that they consult with a specialist.
Normally, this obsession with the tasks and obligations of work is caused by the state of discomfort they generate in the person during their work day, and not by how exciting the work is. And often, This suffering is transferred to all areas of your lifeeven to your personal relationships at home and with friends.
7. Sacrifice hours of sleep
Some employees decide to sacrifice too many hours of sleep to get ahead with accumulated work, since Those periods dedicated to sleeping are mistakenly perceived as wasted time. This mechanism is usually counterproductive, since lack of sleep always negatively influences the quality of work and time management.
The moment this practice becomes very common and directly affects the well-being or health of the person, is when we may be talking about a case of work stress due to overwork.
- Related article: “The 7 main sleep disorders”
Self-deception is another of the classic symptoms that usually occur in people with work-related stress problems and who at the same time mix their professional and personal aspects.
Many people who suffer from this condition often console themselves by thinking that in the future they will have less work. and that the saturation of tasks that they currently experience is temporary.
This phenomenon usually generates states of frustration or emotional disturbances of all kinds when the person realizes that this self-deceptive thought about improvement at work was nothing more than an illusion.
- Related article: “Self-deception and avoidance: why do we do what we do?”
9. Consideration of the consumption of stimulants for work reasons
The consumption of stimulant substances such as coffee or tea at work is a completely normalized and very popular practice that millions of people carry out daily in their workplaces.
However, when the person begins to consider the use of psychostimulants that fall within the category of drugs to work at a higher pace and be able to complete all the tasks, we are surely facing a case of work stress due to overwork.
- You may be interested: “Types of psychostimulants (or psychoanaleptics)”
10. Social problems
The emotional, cognitive or physical manifestations caused by work stress usually also occur in the area of social relationships, both inside and outside of work.
People who suffer from work stress also become more irritable in their daily lives.a fact that negatively affects their social or emotional relationships, even ending them.
The solution is through psychotherapy
Psychotherapy is one of the most effective solutions to help a person overcome work stress and mental health experts.
If you have work stress, a psychotherapist can help you manage both your emotions and your habits linked to work management, as well as identifying the specific causes of the problem, providing organization guidelines, healthy habits and task structuring tools. and establishing limits adapted to the capabilities of each person.
Javier Ares Arranz
Javier Ares Arranz
Psychologist specializing in Depression, Anxiety and Couples.
If you are interested in having psychotherapy services, contact me; my name is Javier Ares and I offer the possibility of holding in-person or online sessions by video call.