Stress can affect individuals in many different ways on the job. Individual Stress consists of physiological, psychological and behavioral symptoms. All three behavioral symptoms can cause immense organizational distress.

Individual Distress

Manager Violet Jones can’t handle any more stress at work. Her job at Intestinal Distress Taco restaurant has now been changed to a Burger Queen establishment. With the change has come a plethora of new challenges and difficulties. Her individual stress consists of physiological, psychological and behavioral symptoms that have left her with numerous problems. When the stress hits, Violet turns into a totally different person. Her subordinates have given her the nickname of ‘Violent’ Jones.

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Violet has asked for help from the Stress-Buster – a mythical creature who is supposed to help employees learn to cope with their job stress. How bad is work life for Violet? Let’s take a look.

Physiological Symptoms

Violet Jones needs to work 70 hours a week just to keep up with the new restaurant demands. This has taken a huge toll on her health. She has constant pressures from management to increase sales and old customers who whine about missing the old taco place.

Most days Violet has a headache and her stomach hurts. A trip to her doctor diagnosed her with physiological symptoms of stress. Her doctor warned her that stress can aid in the progression of diseases. Physiological symptoms that can be related to stress include illnesses such as strokes, backaches, headaches, ulcers and heart disease. Backaches are the body’s reaction to preparing for fight or flight. Headaches are from the constriction of muscles in the neck and head due to stress.

Long-term stress can wear on an individual and lead to high blood pressure, heart attack and strokes. Violet’s doctor told her that she needs to learn to remove herself from extreme stressful situations even if that means getting a new job. The Stress-Buster visited Violet one night and gave her some advice. The Stress-Buster said to start exercising, eating better and listening to her favorite music during the day to keep physical stress symptoms at bay. Violet’s stress-related problems are not over.

Psychological Symptoms

Not all stress affects an individual’s physical health. Stress can be a cause of psychological symptoms, such as burnout, rust-out, psychosomatic issues or depression. Violet used to love to head into work every day. She now feels burned-out and lacks motivation.

The constant daily stresses have made her pull away from coworkers, family and friends. Just yesterday, the area manager popped in for a surprise visit and yelled at Violet for not having the napkin area fully supplied.

This caused Violet’s stress level to increase even more. Her subordinates are also feeling the ramification of Violet’s problems. Most of the workers are rusted-out, meaning that they’re under psychological stress due to the lack of challenge and opportunity at work. Violet micro-manages because she is so afraid of a worker making a mistake and causing a problem.

This has led to employees’ lack of freedom and creativity. The Stress-Buster suggested to Violet to back off her employees and give them some freedom. The Stress-Buster also told Violet that her depression at work might need intervention by the human resource manager. The screaming boss at work needs to be reported. The months and months of stress are causing Violet to find non-healthy ways to reduce her stress.

Behavioral Problems

The last form of individual stress is behavioral problems, which consist of workplace aggression, substance abuse and accidents. Violet’s stress has driven her to abuse alcohol. She cannot get through the day without a drink. The Stress-Buster has recognized that Violet is in deep trouble and has provided some relief with an intervention and counseling. Hopefully, all of the advice she’s been given will allow Violet to rehabilitate herself and continue her career at Burger Queen. The employees are hoping that Violent Jones doesn’t make a reappearance!

Lesson Summary

Stress can affect individuals in many different ways on the job. Individual stress consists of physiological, psychological and behavioral symptoms. Physiological stress can include illnesses such as strokes, backaches, headaches, ulcers and heart disease. Psychological symptoms, such as burnout, rust-out, psychosomatic issues or depression, are also caustic to work environments. Lastly, behavioral problems, which consist of workplace aggression, substance abuse and accidents, can cause additional individual work stress.

Learning Outcomes

When the lesson is complete, you should be able to:

  • Define individual work-related stress
  • Recognize the effects of stress: physiological, psychological and behavioral
  • Understand the risks associated with long-term stress
  • Give examples of some ways to manage stress