Stress is a negative state characterized by strong emotional and physical imbalances. Stressful stimuli are mental, emotional, and physical, and each of them leads to different changes in the organism. Although stress is often associated with frustration, it can manifest even in positive moments that still require adaptation and represent some kind of change for us. One of the most common predictors of stress is overstimulation, provoked by feelings of overwork, overwhelm and inability to cope with several activities in a dynamic environment. If you are of working age, this combination surely seems familiar to you, because it constitutes what is known as “Job Stress”, which is closely related to the “Burnout” syndrome that has been widely discussed over the last decade.

Professional stress is a challenge, but it is also a motivator that has the power to develop creativity. Precisely in the most emotionally stressful moments, without feeling it, we learn the art of successful coping, thanks to which, we could build a good psychosocial environment that promotes our adaptability and our development, both personally and professionally. Apart from overwork and the demands of the work environment, another likely cause of high levels of stress at work is our psychological attunement to life events. Understandably, most of us perceive doing a mundane and possibly monotonous activity as something negative. On the other hand, we often associate a summer holiday at the seaside or a promotion at work with something energizing and positive. In most cases, these aspects are interrelated and could not exist independently, just as success could not exist without hardship.

The stress-creativity-success relationship, although a long process, once established, can serve our successful emotional regulation and self-actualization. The state of stress itself is expressed in several successive stages. In the first few stages, we feel our personality threatened by some external cause, leading to internal frustration, anxiety, and helplessness. In the following stages, unconsciously, defence mechanisms are triggered by us, which help us to achieve calm and equanimity again. The mental functions triggered by experiencing stress are behavioural strategies that contribute to coping in conflict and crisis situations. They are precisely our awakened creativity that appears as a resource that dampens stress. Thus, this strong and negative state is self-regulating and conducive to our emotional and intellectual growth.

It would be difficult to put a global estimate on the level and exact origin of perceived stress at work because the motives at work for each of us tend to amplify and weaken as well as to transform. This dynamic is exhausting because it is part of our entire life path and at some point can lead to professional burnout syndrome. This burnout occurs due to untimely measures taken to deal with chronic stress at work and leads to a lasting negative change in personal motivation, performance, and work capacity. To avoid this syndrome, we need to change our attitudes towards work stress, but also take preventive measures to reduce it to a useful minimum. I present to you a few strategies that can help maintain mental health:

  • Try giving yourself a short break when you feel overwhelmed and try not to beat yourself up for needing a break. Accept relaxation of mind and body as a reboot.
  • Try to find time to practice some sport. For those who have an overly busy schedule, home exercise would also be beneficial. Workouts improve concentration and reduce anxiety.
  • Try to find out what aspect is the motive (emotional, mental or physical) that puts you in a state of stress. Work on solving the specific problem, don’t deny it.
  • Try to derive personal benefits from the state of stress and turn the defect into an effect.
  • Seek timely support from a specialist. This will help you broaden your outlook and figure out which coping strategy is most effective for your personality.