Physical and Psychological Symptoms of Work-related Stress

Physical and Psychological Symptoms of Work-related Stress
Are you feeling stressed at work? Did you know this stress can not only have psychological symptoms, it also has physical symptoms? These are what you should look out for.

Work has been defined as “any mental or physical activity as a means of earning compensation or wage”.As such, with the physicality and mental alertness needed in various types of work or occupations, one can experience stress due to various factors that are involved in one’s work.

This can be due to heavy work load, job insecurity, long hours at work, or misunderstanding with one’s superior. But, how will you know if you have reached the threshold of stress? How will you know you are in fact, stressed in the first place?

There are symptoms that determine you are stressed in your work. Here are some of the physical and psychological symptoms of work related stress.


Back pain is one of the most common reported reasons for work absence due to sickness. Back pain is mostly common in occupations that require heavy muscular tasks, repetition, or long hours of sitting down.


Insomnia is defined as the difficulty of falling asleep. It’s is not always work-related stress that causes insomnia, but some insomniacs have developed such a condition due to work-related stressors.

It is important to ask yourself, first, when did the insomnia start? Doctors also ask, does it usually occur when work stress attacks? These are some of the questions that you will be asked to determine if in fact your insomnia is caused by work-related stress. It is best to consult your doctor.


According to the Digestive Health Center at Wake Forrest University Baptist Medical Center, “stress can affect the digestive system.” To add to that, stress can cause inflammation to the gastrointestinal system which can cause indigestion because of acids related to stress.


According to experts, the mind and the skin are connected in various levels. The skin has a lot of nerve endings. These nerve endings communicate to the skin.

Have you seen a co-worker’s skin breakout when volume of work has reached its peak levels at work, or deadlines that are not met? This is because when the body is tensed, it releases stress hormones called “Cortisol”. Cortisol then increases the skin’s production of oil. When oil interacts with dirt, then pimples or in more severe cases, acne arises.


Work stress can also cause emotional distress. Irritability is caused when someone is provoked that causes anxiety. Irritability can cause strains in relationships in the workplace, and are also seen in some close-contact environments.

For instance, a rumor that your company may start downsizing soon, may cause anxiety and frustration you and your colleagues. This frustration of not having the guarantee of having your job next year can manifest externally and cause irritability.


Employee satisfaction is one of the goals of any work environment and culture. Sad to say, sometimes this is not the case for everyone.

Job insecurity, unclear job expectations and a poor or unsafe work environment can cause work-related stress to an employee. Certainly, a poor performance evaluation can also cause stress and turn into discouragement to any employee.

When this feeling of discouragement and dissatisfaction, turns into deeper negative feelings, it is best that one consults a professional to evaluate your condition, if your condition is due to the factors at work, or other factors that have interplayed that have caused this discouragement in your workplace.