Causes and symptoms of stress

The causes of stress are many and occur both in working life and private life. It is different which stressors stress us and how much stress each of us can handle.

Stress can be caused by many factors – both in working life and personal life. The stressors that stress us vary from person to person, and so does the stress load that we each can handle. Stressors may include:

Occupational stress is often a result of…

  • Too high demands – in relation to resources, workload, deadlines, responsibility, quality and abilities.
  • Unclear demands for the job – in relation to what the task entails, and what exactly is expected.
  • Poor help and support from colleagues and generally poor collaboration.
  • Not having enough influence on organising and performing your work.
  • Not enough feedback or recognition of your work.
  • Lack of respect or the feeling of unfair distribution of tasks or lack of recognition.
  • A feeling of meaninglessness in your job.
  • Violence, threatening behaviour, conflicts and bullying.
  • Noise and indoor climate as well as other factors in the physical working environment can also contribute to stress.

Physical symptoms of stress

  • Fatigue and headaches
  • Rapid heartbeat and pressure in the chest
  • Dizziness, sweating and shivering
  • Digestive issues, changes in appetite and no appetite
  • Muscle pain
  • Frequent infections, high blood pressure and deterioration of chronic disease.
  • Over time, the physical reactions can increase the risk of cardio-vascular disease, diabetes and infectious disease, for example.

Psychological symptoms of stress

  • Apathy and a feeling of not being able to cope
  • Tiredness, difficulty remembering and lack of concentration
  • Tension, restlessness, difficulty relaxing and a feeling of inner turmoil
  • Irritability and mood swings, tearfulness, over-sensitivity and struggling with criticism
  • Depression, sadness and grumpiness
  • Low self-esteem.
  • Over time, the physical reactions can lead to more chronic mental disorders such as anxiety and depression.

Behavioural symptoms of stress

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Lack of motivation and difficulty making decision
  • Irritable, short-tempered and over-sensitive
  • Withdrawn and quiet, dissatisfied and impatient
  • Less social interaction, leisure activities are dropped
  • Increased consumption of alcohol, coffee and tobacco.

The behavioural reactions can lead to inaction and lack of energy and concentration, affecting work performance. Conflicts between colleagues may arise if the tone is irritable and cold, and this may affect collaboration at the workplace.

Last revised at Monday, February 26, 2024