Thursday, September 21, 2023

How Do You Handle Stress At Work

How To Identify Your Current Stress Levels

How To Handle Stress At Work

Stress can have a negative impact on your health and productivity. There are many warning signs that you’re experiencing high levels of workplace stress.

Physical symptoms of stress include frequent headaches or muscle tension, persistent sleeplessness, and stomach upsets. You may also experience significant changes in your weight.

Psychologically, you may be irritable, depressed, and experience prolonged difficulty in concentrating. If continuous stress starts to cause burnout, you may also find that you lose interest in your work and hobbies, and become socially withdrawn.


to explore your current levels of long-term stress.


Stress is not the same as pressure.A manageable level of pressure can actually help you to perform at your best. However, if pressure increases to a point where you no longer feel in control, the result is stress. Unlike pressure, stress is never positive.

Ways To Combat Workplace Stress

An employee facing workplace stress

Recent research has proved that there is a high percentage of Americans who feel workplace stress, and this percentage is only getting higher with timea survey conducted with more than 2000 full-time employees in the U.S. between the ages 18-79 showed that more than half of the people find themselves in stressful situations at work 60% of the time.

Work stress can cause various health complications. These health consequences can be minor, like becoming more susceptible to colds and flu, to more serious such as metabolic syndrome and heart disease. Constant stress at the workplace should not be ignored for an extended period.

It is challenging, if not impossible, to find a job that is not stressful in any way. The better option is to adopt coping mechanisms that can help with workplace stress. You can be facing pressure regarding various aspects of your work. Maybe you have to deal with a toxic coworker or keeping up with deadlines is causing anxiety.

Some of the everyday causes of stress at the workplace include:

  • Excessive workload
  • Work isnt challenging or exciting
  • Fewer opportunities for growth
  • Not being given enough control over work-related decisions
  • Lack of support from colleagues and superiors
  • Unclear or conflicting demands and performance expectations

Why Employers Ask About Working Under Pressure

Performing well under pressure is both a personal and professional quality and can make a difference between an average employee and an excellent one. Many jobs involve moments when, for varied reasons, unexpected situations occur and a quick decision is needed. The ability to stay calm, think logically and act correctly in such a scenario is a major asset for any employee.

Convincing your potential employer that you can do a good job under pressure can also suggest other qualities, such as quick decision-making, organizational and time management skills, as well as problem-solving abilities. It can set you apart from other candidates.

Related: 12 Tough Interview Questions and Answers

Recommended Reading: Why Does Stress Make You Tired

How Do You Handle Stress Interview Question And Answer

Chances are, you’ll be asked about how you handle stress and pressure during your next job interview. Instead of, well, stressing out, these tips will help you nail your answer.

Everyone’s familiar with the most common interview questions: Can you tell me about yourself? Why are you interested in this job? What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses? And, of course, how do you handle stress?

And because they are so common, you might spend less time before your interview preparing for these seemingly straightforward questions. The answers will be obvious, right? But the truth is, the interviewer or hiring manager is collecting important information from your answers. A wrong answer or even phrase could really turn them off.

Instead of winging the How do you handle stress? interview question, take some time to prepare beforehand. Follow these steps when considering your response:

How Not To Answer How Do You Handle Stress And Pressure

How do you Handle Stress and Pressure Successfully ...

Here are the big no-nos when it comes to answering how do you handle stress and pressure?

  • Of course, dont say that you cannot handle stress and pressure. Youve basically taken yourself out of the game if you do this.
  • Dont mention that the stressful situation made you stressed. Instead, talk about being in that energy of pressure and stress, and how youre able to remain unaffected.
  • Be careful how you respond in terms of the particular role it is. If its a multi-tasking role, and you share that you have trouble juggling many tasks and that makes you stressed, youll not be seen as a fit candidate for the role.

Recommended Reading: How To Stop Overeating When Stressed

Break Down Tasks And Simplify

Remind employees who are handling a complex task that they are not supposed to do it all at once or else, their mind and body will eventually feel the stress.

Instead, they need to take time to divide significant functions into more manageable components. It might help if you set mini-deadlines so that your team could work at a more comfortable pace.

Interview Question: How Do You Handle Stress

Key takeaways:

  • Employers ask this question to determine how you might handle challenging situations that come with the job.

  • Explain the tools, methods and techniques you use to work under pressure.

  • Use the STAR response technique to offer a specific example of a time you handled stress well.

If youve ever held a jobor even if youre new to the workforceyoure probably familiar with feelings of stress at work. Potential employers may sometimes ask about how you handle stress in a job interview. When they ask this question, interviewers are looking for information on how you will react in stressful moments, and how your reaction may affect your teammates and the company overall.

To prepare for this question, consider how youve dealt with stressful work experiences in the past. Then, think about how those moments may have helped you better understand your strengths and weaknesses. In this article, we share some helpful tips to guide your answer.


Read Also: How To Let Out Stress And Anger

Identify And Track The Stressors At Work

One of the most crucial steps of dealing with a stressful work environment is identifying all the things at work that are stressing you out and putting extra pressure on you. Knowing what is bringing you down can help you find better solutions.

Keeping a journal to track your thoughts and feelings can help you out and be useful. Writing about your day and what stressed you out can enable you to identify your triggers at work. You can also write down how you deal with stressful situations.

Keeping a record of how you react to such situations can help you find which solutions work best for you and how you can implement them in your daily work life. Tracking these events can help you find a pattern among your stressors and what enables you to feel better.

Example : Explaining How You Deal With Pressure

How Do You Handle Stress? | Best Answer (from former CEO)

I tend to embrace working under pressure because it forces me to become the best version of myself and act in a quick and decisive manner. At my last job, I was told that a major client was arriving from overseas in just five hours, and I had to create a presentation for her arrival. I quickly overcame that initial sense of panic, took a deep breath and collected my thoughts, trying to figure out the best way of working on such short notice.

Those five hours were both intense and stressful, but I managed to create a powerful presentation. I know stress tends to build up, but I eliminate it through yoga and meditation. Reading also relaxes me after a long day at work, refreshing my mind and making me ready to take up new challenges the next day.

Also Check: How To Stop Your Hair From Falling Out From Stress

Connect Your Answer To The Job

Whether you use your answer to demonstrate your skills or to express that you are motivated by challenges, connect your answer to the requirements of the job. Focus on the types of challenges that you will be given on the job and demonstrate your ability to handle them well.

To help prepare an answer to this question, look back at the job listing and highlight skills and experiences that are necessary for the position.

In your answer, focus on those skills that you are most passionate about and/or have the most experience with.

But Know When To Take A Breather

Life coaches highlight the need for balance in everything that we do. The same principle of life balance applies to work.

Not only is it healthy to pause and rest once in a while, but its also an effective way for your team to develop a fresh perspective on what they could do to improve their output or performance at work.

Read Also: How To Not Stress About Acne

Take The Breaks You Are Given

Take your allotted breaks.

If thereâs a park or bit of nature nearby, go there. If your work environment is stressing you out, try to change your environment, either by going someplace else or by reading to get your mind in a different place.

You need a break, especially if youâre stressed. If management makes it difficult to take a break, press the issue. You have a legal right to breaks.

How To Answer How Do You Handle Stress At Work

Job interview

When the interviewer asks about stressful situations and how you handle stress, the best approach is to demonstrate that youve encountered these situations in the past and arent phased by it. And then, describe the steps you follow to calmly get through the challenge.

Its best if you can sound like you have a proven process/plan in place. Employers love to hear that you have a system or a series of steps that you follow that you know works for you.

Now that you know the right way to answer questions about how you deal with stress, lets look at some word-for-word examples:

Also Check: How Do I Know If I Am Stressed Out

Write Down Your Stressors

Identifying and recording stressful situations can help you understand whats bothering you. Some of these can be subtle sources of tension, such as an uncomfortable workspace or a long commute.

Keep a journal for 1 week to track your stress triggers and your reactions to them. Make sure to include the people, places, and events that gave you a physical, mental, or emotional response.

As you write, ask yourself:

  • How did this make me feel?
  • What was my reaction?
  • What are some ways of resolving it?

How To Know When You Are Under Too Much Pressure At Work

Pressure, in the right dosage, can be a very good thing as it can spur people to work harder and achieve more. However, when it exceeds a certain point, the reverse starts to happen, and performances start to drop instead of rising.

The first noticeable sign that the pressure you are under is too much for you is a feeling of dissatisfaction. This will manifest in your work and your attitude toward things in your workplace. The next thing that follows is that your productivity will dip slightly.

If these signs are not noticed and attended to, things start to worsen, and you start experiencing such things as stress, sadness, and anxiety.

After this stage then comes to burn out which is a feeling extreme exhaustion as a result of having worked too much and too hard and having been subjected to undue pressure.

Apart from experiencing burnout, other issues can also arise. This includes illness as a result of the bodys immune system having been weakened by stress, mental and emotional issues like depression and unhappiness and/or behavioral issues such as aggression.

Some of the negative effects of being under too much pressure have already been established other such effects are headache, high blood pressure, insomnia, obesity, heart ailments and so much more. Some people make the mistake of attempting to combat the pressure they are under such measures as drugs and alcohol. This is, however, not feasible as it will only lead to more complications.

2. Make healthy choices

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Effects Of Uncontrolled Stress At The Workplace

Work-related stress does not mean you are free of it as soon as you get home. The pressure you face every day at work can find its way into your life, even at home. It can take a toll on your physical and mental health.

Having to deal with constant workplace stress in the work environment can cause headaches, trouble sleeping, stomach aches, difficulty concentrating, a short temper and much more. Chronic stress due to work can also lead to insomnia, high blood pressure, anxiety and a weak immune system.

Often, stress can also lead to people using unhealthy or dangerous coping mechanisms. Experiencing excessive stress can cause people to start smoking, overeating, eating unhealthy food, abusing alcohol and drugs, etc.

Take Time Off To Recharge


Chronic stress at the workplace can affect your performance and cause burnout. Everyone needs to take some time off to recharge and replenish themselves to return to the pre-stress performance levels.

To recover properly, you must switch off completely. It is crucial for your well-being to take this time away from work and not check up on anything going on at the workplace. Not taking part in any work-related activities can help you refresh your brain.

It is always better to avail your vacation days. Whenever you feel like the work is getting too much for you to handle and you need a break to recharge your batteries, you should take some time off.

Read Also: What Medication Can You Take For Stress

What Do Employers Want To Know

Basically, employers want to know how you approach problems and stress. Can you adapt? Can you prioritize? Can you stay calm? A lot of people will just say, “I stay until the work is done.” Persistence is good, but letting them know that you approach problems analytically and strategically is better. Show them that you can think critically and make good decisions. Walk them through how you have dealt with this issue before or how you would deal with it.

Make Wellness A Part Of The Workplace

Since stress can create physical illness, doing what you can to keep your employees healthy can combat stress. There are several ways employers can encourage wellness:

  • Gym memberships. You can give gym memberships to employees.
  • Wearable technology. Give devices like the FitBit or JawBone Up, which measure steps, heart rate, and activity. Have competitions in which employees compete to be the most active to win prizes.
  • Provide healthy snacks. Make healthy snacks available in the breakroom instead of junk food and sugary soda.
  • Free checkups. Partner with a local clinic to offer free tests for employees, such as blood sugar, cholesterol, or blood pressure.
  • Encourage breaks. Make sure your employees take their breaks and take the time off coming to them.

Healthy and rested employees are less stressed and do better work. Itâs that simple.

Recommended Reading: How Do You Lose Stress Weight

Focus On Your Positive Actions Not Your Negative Feelings

When it comes to stress, it’s easy to get caught in its emotion the frustration, the panic, the dread. It’s also easy to blame others: My manager didn’t clearly communicate with me, or My co-worker totally dropped the ball.

Instead of focusing on your feelings and blaming others for your stress, highlight how you overcame the situation. Think of those soft skills. Did you communicate with your team? Did you prioritize your goals?

Ultimately, you’ll impress your interviewer by staying positive not placing blame and highlighting your skills.

Talk To Your Supervisor

How do you Handle Stress and Pressure Successfully ...

The health of employees can have an effect on the companys productivity. It is essential for supervisors to look after their employees if they want the best performance possible. Of course, your boss has an incentive to create an environment that promotes the well-being of the workers.

Having an open conversation with your supervisor can help you move in the right direction. You dont have to complain about the problems you are facing. Instead, you can list out all the ways you feel you can combat workplace stress. You can let your supervisor know about all the stressors for you at work and how to overcome them.

It is essential that you discuss all the aspects of the workplace that might be affecting your productivity and work. You can also make suggestions about improving the physical workspace and making it more comfortable for everyone.

Recommended Reading: How To Relax And Stop Stressing

Example Answers: How Do You Handle Stress And Pressure

Now that you’ve got a good idea of how to respond to the classic How do you handle stress? interview question, let’s run through some sample answers.

Here’s your first example:

I was recently assigned a last-minute project. Instead of panicking, I took a few moments to outline a schedule and map out my game plan. Then I got to work. I made sure to communicate my progress with my manager so that they could stay in the loop. If any problems came up, I looped them in so we could troubleshoot and continue to make progress. I was able to complete the project on time, and the client was thrilled.

Here’s another example:

I don’t like to let stress take over a situation. Instead, I like to stay focused on the task at hand. For example, if a client isn’t happy with our product, instead of dwelling on it, I like to focus on proactively communicating with them. I like to get to the bottom of the issue, troubleshoot it, and then find a common ground that’ll allow us to move forward.

Here’s a final example:

I’ve found that a healthy amount of stress motivates me to stay on track and work as efficiently and effectively as possible. For example, deadlines are important to me. If my manager doesn’t give me deadlines, I set them for myself. That’s how I’m able to consistently turn in assignments on time.

Curious about how you should answer this and other common job interview questions? Get personalized advice from one of our professional interview coaches today!

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