Why Businesses Need To Guard Against Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms For Work Stress?

Work stress is common. Some people who work for you or even yourself can have bad days. It can get to a point where it can affect business as a whole.

Some may consider certain coping mechanisms that may help with stress. However, they may be unhealthy rather than healthy. We’ll be talking about why businesses need to keep their guards up on these.

We’ll also talk about what the real healthy coping mechanisms are. This way, you’ll be able to share this with your employees. You can also give them other resources such as information on residential treatment in case they need help for any issues they may have including substance abuse or addiction.

If you want to learn more about what you need to do to reduce work stress, keep reading. Let’s continue.

What are considered ‘unhealthy coping mechanisms’?

If you’re not sure what are considered ‘unhealthy coping mechanisms’, let’s take a look at the following list so you know what isn’t acceptable in the workplace:

Difficulty communicating

Indeed, communication is key. Whether we’re stressed out or not, it’s always important to do this with employees and other workers on the same rank and level as you. Talk to one another and find a solution as to what could be stressing the other person out.

Sometimes, we refuse to speak to someone or have a difficult time trying to find the right words. We may say something that might offend or hurt the other person. For this reason, it’s important for someone to take a deep breath and talk to someone who may be willing to listen about what could be bothering us.

Overreaction or under-reaction

Either of these are considered self-defense mechanisms in a situation where they may feel overwhelmed. Someone can get angry and yell at someone when things don’t go the way they want it to. While it may seem like a good idea to do this, the purpose itself will only make things worse.

Under-reacting will leave you open to being a doormat for other people. That’s why it is important to stand up for yourself and say ‘no’ if an opportunity arises. You may be asked to do something that you know isn’t the right thing to do.

So it would be better to say ‘no’ rather than go with it. Don’t be afraid to be assertive rather than passive.

Drug and alcohol abuse

It’s important to know that abusing substances is an unhealthy coping mechanism. Shocking enough, this also includes smoking. When you are stressed, you feel like a cigarette or a pull from an alcoholic beverage will make things OK.

This isn’t the case. So it would be wise not to use any mind-altering substances to help you de-stress. Instead, you may want to take a moment to find a quiet place and do some breathing exercises for a few minutes.

Granted, people do take about ten to fifteen minutes to smoke a cigarette or two. You’ll want to spend your time doing something better to help you level yourself mentally. Even on a stressful day at work, you’ll want to find a moment to center yourself and remind yourself that everything will be fine and you’re in control.

Avoiding the problem

If the issue pertains to you, you’ll want to deal with it in the best way possible. You’ll want to solve it in the best way possible rather than ignore it. Because it will keep nagging and persist over time.

Not to mention, the more it hangs over your head, the less motivated you’ll feel about getting work done. Furthermore, you’ll feel frustrated. 


Ah yes. You want to do something, but would rather wait until tomorrow than now. However, the reason for this can vary.

You may be fearing failure or it may not turn out as perfect as you think. It’s important to focus on the process of getting something done rather than the desired outcome you are trying to aim for. When you care about the process of getting something done, it will be easier to get something done now rather than later (or even never at all).

Being aggressive

Indeed, aggressive behavior is a no-go when it comes to work stress. Taking it out on other people or things is unhealthy. Plus, it can also lead to escalating issues between co-workers.

So it would be best to manage it in the best way possible. Talk to someone and find ways to solve the problem. Being aggressive is never the answer when things begin to stress you out. 

What you need to do to reduce work-related stress

First, you want to understand why people are being stressed at work. This can include one or a combination of the following:

  • People may be getting paid less than they should
  • The opportunities to grow are less available
  • Social support is lacking
  • Workload can be excessive
  • Demands that pose as a conflict of interest
  • Less challenging or engaging work

This is just a sample list of what could be causing stress at work. However, some of the stress outside of work can be carried over. People can be dealing with issues at home and those problems will never be left at the door.

Make sure you check with your employees regularly to see how things are. What do they like about their job? What don’t they like?

The ‘what don’t they like’ answers should give you an idea of what could stress them out in the future. Find a solution when possible. If they want to get paid more and things are not in good shape financially, explain to them why a raise may not be the best option right now.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for healthy ways to deal with stress, consider the alternatives to what we’ve listed above. The more you are able to do this, the better. Also, teach your employees the best ways to deal with stress so they can be able to stay focus and in control.  

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