How To Understand Work Stress And Feel More Calm

The post is developed in partnership with BetterHelp.

Stress happens in all parts of our lives, and different situations warrant different responses. If someone is having a stressful experience, like shopping in a crowded store with long lines, they may just decide to leave the store and the stress behind them. Yet when stress happens in work and business, it may come with the feeling that there’s no way to get out of the stressful situation other than leaving your job. Often that’s not a realistic or healthy approach.

The good news is there are effective ways to better manage stress in the workplace. One recommended resource to check out is the BetterHelp guide to feeling less stressed at work. And remember that if stress ever becomes overwhelming, seek out the support of a therapist or mental health professional. A licensed therapist can help guide you through the process of learning to manage work stress in a healthier way.

A better understanding of the way stress works in the body is a good first step to taking action. In this article, we’ll look at the physical stress response that takes place in the body and some of the effective ways to calm stress from the workplace.

What Happens To Your Body During Work Stress

The workplace can be a minefield of stressful events. The boss demanding a presentation. Revised sales goals. An emergency meeting scheduled at the last minute. A coworker who doesn’t finish their work, which then unexpectedly lands on your plate. Depending on your work environment, you may have come to expect these kinds of daily upsets and stressful events.

The result is you feel stressed. Because of the way humans have evolved over time, we can feel the physical effects of stress. Going back to caveman days, humans survived by being able to hunt animals and avoid being eaten by vicious predators like tigers. When a caveman came within dangerous range of a tiger, they would get a surge of adrenaline and energy that induced a flight, fight, or freeze response.

While the fight, flight, or freeze response helped early humans to survive a life-threatening experience, most of us don’t meet many real-life tigers in our day-to-day lives. Yet we still have that same stress response going off in our bodies, even when there is no life-or-death threat. So, when the boss is screaming about a report it can results in a fight, flight, or freeze response that we feel in our body.

Natural Stress Response Vs. Continual Stress

That stress is a natural part of the way humans have evolved, yet we weren’t designed for constant stress. The good news is we can interrupt that stress response in the body to make it less intense and less frequent. We can also help calm our body even after the stress signal has gone out, and we start to feel ourselves in fight, flight, or freeze. Because we have a parasympathetic nervous system response that comes in to calm the body after it perceives a stressful event.

It’s important here to remember that just becoming more aware of when you’re feeling stress in the body is a step in the right direction. If someone starts screaming about a file being color coded in the wrong way, this isn’t an actual bodily threat. There’s no physical danger to you. The trick is, your body doesn’t necessarily know the difference. Your body may sense an aggressive coworker to be a threat, which unnecessarily sets off a stress response.

Awareness Is The First Step To Taking Control

Once we become more aware of this process, we can bring more conscious awareness to assessing threats. The goal here isn’t to eliminate or ignore stress, which is a natural bodily process. But we can help to reduce the frequency that we experience stress in the body simply through awareness.

Next, let’s look at what happens after stress causes the fight, flight, or freeze response to go off in the body. After an event at work sets off the stress response, our body needs a way to calm down. This is where the parasympathetic nervous system kicks in. The parasympathetic nervous system helps bring calm to the body after the release of adrenaline by the sympathetic nervous system. Even better, we can help encourage the parasympathetic nervous system to bring calm to the body.

Ways To Bring More Calm To The Body Naturally

Fortunately, we don’t have to wait for parasympathetic nervous system to automatically kick in after a stressful event. We can encourage the calming effects of the parasympathetic nervous at almost any time through techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), breathing, meditation, and mindfulness.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a kind of talk therapy that involves learning how the mind works and developing skills to identify and change negative thought patterns. A course of treatment in CBT is usually structured to last between six and 20 sessions, which is different from some of the more open-ended forms of therapy that may last for years. CBT is one of the most evidence-backed treatments for anxiety and depression and can be practiced in-person and online.

Mindfulness Training

Mindfulness is a broad term for a wide-ranging number of practices designed to help bring a person’s awareness to the present moment. Mindfulness can include meditation, breathing exercises, even eliminating distractions can be a form of mindfulness. For example, mindful eating involves spending time appreciating and enjoying mealtimes without television or distractions to fully experience the pleasure of eating.


Meditation can be practiced in a number of different ways, including non-guided and guided meditations. For some people, walking in nature without headphones or distractions is a form of meditation. For others, yoga is a form of meditation. Experiment with different forms of meditation to help quiet the stressful chatter in your mind, which can make it easier to access a calmer frame of mind – thereby, dulling the symptoms of a stress response.

In Conclusion

Just because we may be able to use certain skills to better manage workplace stress, that doesn’t mean we should dismiss the symptoms we’re feeling. Symptoms of work-related stress can include a loss of confidence, intense mood swings, becoming increasingly reactive or uncharacteristically withdrawn. If this kind of stress from work or life becomes overwhelming, please don’t hesitate to seek support from a therapist or mental health professional. Seeking help is one of the healthiest steps we can take to support our mental health and lead more fulfilling lives.

Sanjeev Kumar
Sanjeev Kumar
Myself Sanjeev Kumar a dynamic writer and digital marketing expert, currently contributing his expertise to OurNetHelps. With a passion for crafting compelling content and a deep understanding of the ever-evolving digital landscape i dedicated to creating informative and engaging materials that help businesses thrive online.

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