7 Main Causes of Stress at Work & How to Avoid Them

Wondering about the causes of your stress is the first step to find a solution.

The business of exchanging time for money is stressful.

You probably work from 9 to 5, which means that 20% to 25% of your total time, depending on which country you are living in and how many holiday days you have per year, is spent at your workplace.

Main Causes of Stress at Work

Feeling stressed at the workplace is not unusual.

Some tasks can be demanding and meeting deadlines is part of any job description

Stress becomes a serious problem when it turns from a feeling related to a specific task or a deadline into a chronic condition.

In the following section, we will list the main causes of stress at work that are not related to the kind of job and its duties but rather to the environment around it including you.

You are doing the wrong job

The first question you should ask yourself is:

Am I having a job that is satisfying me?

Having a career in a certain field is like having a relationship with ups and downs. At the end of the day, the ups should outweigh the downs. If that is not the case, then you are definitely doing the wrong job.

A human being with a fulfilling job shouldn’t feel depressed every single Monday and excited every single Friday.

If you feel like that, then maybe it is time for you to reconsider the career path you have chosen or the kind of job you have.

It is never too late to reinvent yourself

Remember the following examples:

  • Sam Walton founded Walmart when he was 44 years old
  • Charles Ranlett Flint launched IBM when he was 61 years old
  • Colonel Sanders started KFC when he was 65 years old
  • Donald Fischer co-founded GAP when he was 41 years old

You are at the wrong company

The second thing to question is the company you have chosen to work in. It is important that you match the company’s culture, otherwise, you will always feel out of place.

If you work in a big cooperate company that has a hierarchical structure with a lot of reporting and weekly meetings, then a smaller one with less bureaucracy and more flexibility could be a better option for you.

On the other hand, if you work at a small company that doesn’t offer you a big salary or a lot of benefits, then try to land a job at a bigger company.

If you do not like working for someone else altogether, then maybe it is time to gamble and live the life of an entrepreneur.

It is all about weighting the pros and cons and picking the most preferred option that suit you.

You are not paid enough

One of the main causes of stress at work is not a salary that is enough for the lifestyle you want to have.

If you believe that your career path and the company you are working at are spot-on, then it is time to compare the amount of money you are earning to the amount of work you are actually doing.

Think like an owner of a company.

Do you truly believe that the work you are doing day in and day out is essential for the success of the company?

It doesn’t matter which department you are working in, but rather the impact you have on its success.

Now, if you think you are underpaid, then ask for a raise. If you think you are paid fairly, then increase your value by educating yourself, gaining new skills and asking for more tasks to do in order to be eligible for a raise.

You have a demanding boss or supervisor

This is one of those things that can be resolved only by being honest, respectful and direct. If you like your job and you are happy with your salary, but still do not like the consistent pressure being put on you then you have to talk with your boss about it.

Your boss is pushing you because he wants you to hit certain goals within a certain timeframe.

All you have to do is convince your boss that you can achieve those goals within the defined timeframe without him or her being pushy and demanding.

As long as you deliver on your promise, there will be no reason for your boss to jump on your shoulder and put pressure on you.

You are sitting next to negative co-workers

The people around you in your working environment can be one of the causes of your stress

In general, there are many people that have a negative approach when faced by challenges. You might be able to identify some of your co-workers as part of this group of people.

You shouldn’t judge them or hold a grudge against them because you do not exactly what they are experiencing in their lives or have experienced to make them behave this way.

What you could do instead is either distance yourself from them or inform them that you are being affected by their negative behavior in case you are not able to distance yourself from them.

If they react positively, then you will have one less problem in your life. If they react negatively to your comments, then you have to escalate the issue to your supervisor or boss.

In any case, it is important to stay kind, respectful and professional.

You can’t manage your time

Another one of the causes of stress at work is your lack of time management skills.

Tasks and problems you have to deal with at your workplace can overwhelm you sometimes.

If you are not good at managing your time and prioritizing your tasks then you will not be able to deal with them in a correct manner.

The best proven-technique to manage time is to write your tasks or the problems that you have to deal with down every few days and to sort them down according to their priority.

Start with the most urgent ones at the top and draw a square checkbox next to each one. The moment you finish a task or solve a problem, tick the box and move downwards.

As long as you update this list frequently, everything will remain under control.

You don’t have a healthy life-work balance

Your body is your vehicle.

If you do not respect it, it will not respect you.

One of the possible causes of your stress could be your lifestyle.

In general, your daily routine should include four main things:

Healthy food

You need to eat healthy food that is free of harmful ingredients.

Vegetables, fruits, carbohydrates, fats and proteins that are not canned, processed, genetically modified or filled up with pesticides.

Furthermore, staying dehydrated and reducing your intake of alcohol and caffeinated drinks are essential to have a healthy diet.

If you are looking for a piece of advice on foods that can help you reduce stress and anxiety, then check this blog post we have written about this topic:

Anti-Stress Diet: 10 foods that calm anxiety


Try to get 7-8 hours of sleep daily.

Without enough sleep, you will be more susceptible to lose your temper and feel irritated at work more easily.

If you are suffering from insomnia, then read this blog post we have written about how to deal with it:

Sleep anxiety: 10 tips on how to deal with insomnia


Your body was not created to stay idle.

Sometimes you just need to sweat out the toxins that are causing inflammation inside your body and allow your cells to regenerate in a toxin-free environment.

It is not necessary to follow a certain work out plan or do specific exercises as long as you as you do it in the first place.


Give your mind and your body 30 minutes daily breaks of silence and complete relaxation.

Grab a cup of tea on your balcony, take a walk in the park or lay in your bathtub.

You can also try to meditate. If you have never tried to meditate, then certain mobile apps like Calm or Headspace can be helpful.


That were the main causes of stress at work in our view.

We suggest that you take action and avoid suppressing the fact that you are not feeling well.

Not doing so could wear you out both mentally and physically and eventually lead to burnout.

Share your story with us and let us know if we missed other important causes in the comments section below.

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