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Stress at Work: Common Misconceptions

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Feeling stressed?

Feeling stressed?
Feeling stressed?


What is work-related stress?

The word “stress” has now become a usual term used by people experiencing pressure and negativity. Often, individuals who are overloaded with work and feel hopeless about it refer their experiences to stress. As a result they feel stressed. However, in terms of its technical definition, we cannot classify all cases like those under it. According to the UK Health and Safety Executive, stress is ‘the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demands placed on them’. It is not an illness but a state. Nevertheless, when a person experiences too much of this ‘state’ on a long period of time, he or she can possibly be subjected to mental and physical illness.


Misconceptions and myths on stress are very common. If not corrected, people basing their lives on these inaccuracies may cause significant damage to themselves. Here are three of the most common myths about stress that needs to be demystified:


Stress is GOOD for you’

Stress is never a positive state. Experiencing it for a long time is invariably harmful. We must not believe that stress can motivate – pressures do, but not stress. A little bit of pressure at work tends to be useful. In fact, some people work better and perform well under controlled pressure. As described in Carole Spiers’ book, stress ‘only occurs when a person perceives (over a prolonged period) that they have insufficient personal resources to cope with a given situation’.
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‘Suffering from stress is a sign of WEAKNESS’

Stress never signifies weakness, failure and incompetence. However, people who experiences it often tries to hide this state in fear of being regarded as expendable. They never share their feelings, nor ask for help, because they fear that this may be a hindrance to their promotion. In the end, they are affected negatively, so as their work. To fight against this notion, workplace should accept that being stressed is just a normal human condition that anyone can experience. Admitting it is actually the first step of surviving it.


‘Stressors affect everybody EQUALLY’

Everyone is unique, same as with our reactions to certain tasks and circumstances. A stressful situation to someone may be viewed as a plain pressure to another, and we must take note of this all the time. Head of organizations, such as managers and supervisors, must be aware of the symptoms of stress and have the skills and expertise to alleviate it before it becomes disruptive.


Stress is not as simple as what we often think. It requires counseling, guidance and help. It can affect the person who experiences it emotionally, mentally, and even physically. Damages on these states may worsen as days pass by. Therefore, stress must always be treated cautiously.

Read more about stress and how to handle stress through Carole Spiers’ book, “Learn How to Live Stress-Free! The do’s and don’ts to avoid stress”.

Have a stress-free read!
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