Workplace Stress Can Have Major Negative Effects on Our Bodies, Minds, Emotions, and Behavior
As athletes are well aware, peak performance can be activated through moderate and short-term periods of stress. Thus, feeling slightly nervous and anxious about an important presentation can actually prompt better performance. Hence, as long as stress is not experienced for lengthy periods, it is generally harmless, and can even be beneficial.
The same is not true for prolonged periods of stress or moments when stress levels are at extremely elevated levels. In addition to increasing the risk of heart disease, depression, hypertension, and obesity, this kind of stress decreases cognitive performance. This impact can affect memory recall and cause disruptions to a person’s decision-making processes.
When we are exposed to long periods of stress (as many leaders are today), increased levels of glucose and fatty acids in our blood significantly raise the risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. A study at University College London concluded that stress also raises cholesterol levels, another known factor that increases the risk of cardiovascular disease.
In fact, stress can have major negative effects on our bodies, minds, emotions, and behavior as well. Here’s a short summary of some of the major negative impacts of stress:
- Fatigue and general tiredness
- Frequent infections
- Muscle tightness
- Breathing difficulties
- Skin irritations
- Involuntary muscle twitching
- Increased periods of worry
- Increased procrastination
- Impaired judgment
- Reduced self-control
- Inability to make decisions
- Making hasty decisions without forethought and contemplation
- Nightmares and bad dreams
- Muddled, foggy thinking
- Lack of clarity
- Inability to focus or concentrate
- Quick to anger
- Alienation and social withdrawal
- Apprehension, nervousness
- Loss of appetite or binge eating
- Decreased libido
- Increased alcohol consumption, alcohol abuse
- Sleep difficulties, including insomnia
- More frequent smoking
- Accident prone, carelessness
As we mentioned in the previous blog post on Workplace Stress Is Contagious, leaders would be well advised to use mindfulness techniques to control and reduce their own stress, rather than exposing their stressful states to others in the workplace.
This article is partially excerpted from my award-winning book Better Decisions Better Thinking Better Outcomes: How to go from Mind Full to Mindful Leadership, available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle formats. The book is the recipient of a Silver Award from the Nonfiction Authors Association for bringing “a comprehensive plan of action for improving life through recognizing decision-making patterns that don’t serve us well, don’t enrich our lives, and don’t bring us to our goals and dreams.”