work stress

Coping with 5 major stressors in the workplace

work stress

Let’s face it. Stress is almost certain to rear its ugly head in the workplace sometime or another. Below I have assembled 5 major stressors and how one might encounter them on the job.

Ambiguity:  Ambiguity in the workplace could result from unclear instructions or a situation which could be interpreted in more than one way. A simple method to combat this stressor is to not over think a situation and just “go with the flow” utilizing your brain’s natural heuristic tendency to make sense of something.  Heuristics are thinking strategies built from your personal experiences that allow you to make judgements quickly when situations are ambiguous.

Frustration: Frustration can come from almost any source and its important to be able to recognize it and implement this simple strategy to combat it… There are two ways to deal with problems or frustration: Problem focused coping and Emotion focused coping. Problem focused coping is basically dealing directly with the source of the frustration to reduce it. Emotion focused coping is dealing with the emotions that the frustration causes, such as talking to a friend about it. Pick your choice or even use both!

Uncertainty: Uncertainty could come in the form of a performance review, client on the rocks, or if you are in a highly unpredictable profession, every day events.  The key to remember that when facing uncertainty, there’s really not much you can do about it. Thinking positively about the outcome and actively preventing those negative thoughts from seeping into your cognition will promote overall improvement in mood and better equip you to handle those uncertainties.

Negative Emotions: Negative emotions  such as anger or sadness are normal to experience, but could take a toll on your mood at work. If you are experiencing any negative emotion, try the facial feedback method.  Facial feedback basically means that whether you are smiling or frowning, the resulting muscle movements correspond with the associated feelings.  So smile more and be happier.

Physical discomfort: Physical discomfort on the job may result from walking, standing, manual labor, or fatigue. Its not always easy dealing with discomfort and there is no easy way out. Staying rested and getting adequate sleep helps to restore the mind and body. I recommend getting 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep a night if possible. Studies show that getting enough sleep in this range will help you to be more energized, satisfied, and happier (Myers, 2014, p. 89).


Myers, D. G. (2014). Exploring Psychology (Ninth Edition). Madison Avenue, NY: Worth Publishers.

Image Credit: bottled_void




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