Workplace Stress: Is it a Deterrence or a Motivator?


From previous BLOGS, we know that workplace stress can easily affect job performance, as it directly influences your body, your thoughts and feelings, and your behaviour. Research has shown that work stress is increasingly associated with depressive disorders and suicide, which ultimately highlights the importance of maintaining a healthy work environment. While it’s obvious that stress has the ability to negatively impact an individual’s mental health, there is a way that you can change your relationship with stress, and even use it as a tool to motivate.



Both employees and employers feel stress in the workplace due to work responsibilities and performance expectations. Stress in general is almost impossible to escape and it’s there at the end of every spectrum, no matter your role or occupation. It often causes us to lose control, experience intense nervousness and anxiety, or completely avoid stressful situations, no matter how positive the outcome may be. That being said, it is possible to turn stress into a positive factor rather than a negative one. According to Professor Ian Robertson, stress causes an area of our brain to create a chemical called neodrenaline, and as long as the right amount of this chemical is in your brain, it allows stress to push us to perform better

Below are three ways you can manage your workplace stress, and even turn it into motivation:


There are many ways to manage stress and pressure in the workplace, but one of the most significant and simple ways to do so is to change your mindset by using three small words. Instead of focusing on the nervousness and anxiety that you feel, try speaking these three words aloud: “I feel excited”. Research has shown that these words can rebrand stressful energy and conjure a new mental context, changing an anxious emotion into excitement. In this way, stress can become a source of positive energy, and ultimately enhance your performance.



The best part about this tip is that it’s super simple to do, and takes only a few minutes. While it may seem a bit silly, standing upright with your chest out and your hands on your hips can increase testosterone and your confidence, while decreasing your cortisol and your feelings of stress. You can do this in private or in public, but either way, your body language will help you feel more confident and capable, turning the stress that you feel into motivation.


An easy way to manage your stress and transform it into something positive is to keep yourself focused entirely on your tasks. When the mind wanders, it often drifts to negative thoughts and memories. If you’re stressed about a specific task, try telling yourself to focus solely on that task for a specific amount of time, maybe 5 or 10 minutes that are dedicated to that task only. This strengthens your brain’s ability to control the emotional content of your mind, transforms stressful energy into positive energy, and increases your overall productivity.


Learning to manage workplace stress and use it as motivation is a fantastic tool, but it’s also important to know what you can, and cannot control. Some things cannot be changed, and accepting that fact will help reduce any unnecessary stress or pressure you feel by things that are beyond your control. 

Stress may always be there, but that doesn’t mean it has to hurt instead of help you. Sometimes, it motivates us to do better, or to push ourselves further; but, stress is a normal thing to experience, and feeling stressed out or anxious is a part of life. We at Precede hope that these tools can help you transform your stress and use it for something better, ultimately keeping yourself happy and healthy.

To learn more about how Precede Occupational Health Services can help you and your organization, click here.