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Post By: Celeste McLaughlin, Ergonomics Manager
Produced by: Solutions Northwest, Inc. (Ergonomics Experts serving Washington, Oregon, and California)

Ergonomics Tips: Stressing about work can make you more stressed out.

“People who habitually accept their negative emotions experience fewer negative emotions, which adds up to better psychological health.” Iris Mauss, associate professor of psychology at UC Berkeley

Learn to accept stress as natural

It may be difficult, but it is helpful to normalize and accept that stress is a part of life, especially at work. Studies show that feeling bad about the negative feelings you get when stressed at work can make you feel worse or more stressed out. Instead, you should learn to accept and manage these negative emotions and they may not bother you as much. Iris Mauss, associate professor of psychology at UCB explains: “we found that people who habitually accept their negative emotions experience fewer negative emotions, which adds up to better psychological health.”

Understand the effects of stress on your body

Before you learn to manage your stress better, it is important to understand stress. Our bodies are programmed to enter a fight or flight response to any perceived dangers. While modern humans live in a relatively safer world than our ancestors, our body still goes through the fight or flight response for minor threats that we experience at work. For example, project deadlines, being overworked, or having to learn new tasks on the job can trigger a fight or flight response.

According to the MayoClinic, when in fight or flight mode, your adrenal glands release a surge of hormones, increase your heart rate, elevate your blood pressure and boost energy supplies. It alters immune system responses, and suppresses the digestive system, reproductive system, and growth processes.

If you’re constantly stressing out about being stressed, then you may be constantly overworking your body with the fight or flight response. This is going to take a toll on your body and may lead to workplace injury or health concerns.

Iris Mauss, associate professor of psychology at UCB, has an interesting perspective on the matter. “Maybe if you have an accepting attitude toward negative emotions, you’re not giving them as much attention. And perhaps, if you’re constantly judging your emotions, the negativity can pile up.”

According to the MayoClinic, here are some ways you can manage your stress:

  • Eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise and plenty of sleep
  • Practicing relaxation techniques such as trying yoga, practicing deep breathing, getting a massage or learning to meditate
  • Taking time for hobbies, such as reading a book or listening to music
  • Fostering healthy friendships
  • Having a sense of humor
  • Volunteering in your community
  • Seeking professional counseling when needed

Be sure to check out some of our other blog posts that may help you manage your stress in more detail

Feel free to share these tips with your employees, especially if you work in the Human Resources department. For more guidance on all work related health and safety issues, visit or Contact Us for more detailed information.

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