Work Stress | Symptoms & Treatment Options | Zencare — Zencare

Work Stress

While experiencing some stress at work is normal and can even be helpful at times—for example, it might keep you motivated or emotionally engaged in your job—it can also become problematic if you’re dealing with intense stress on a regular basis.

In these cases, work stress can interfere with your career goals and take a toll on your personal life as well.

What is work stress?

Definitions of work stress vary, but most include the idea of mental, physical, or emotional tension caused by work and career-related factors.

When you’re stressed, you might feel overwhelmed, have trouble relaxing or sleeping, or experience other symptoms of common mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression.

Prevalence of work stress

Work is one of the most common sources of stress in the United States. A 2017 report from the American Psychological Association notes that 58% of individuals surveyed said that work was a very or somewhat significant source of stress in their lives.

The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that more than half of study participants reported that work stress often impacts the quality of their work and their relationships with coworkers. Even more people—83% of men and 72% of women—reported that work stress affects their quality of life outside of work as well.

Symptoms of work stress

Everyone reacts to stress differently, but the following are a few of the most common symptoms of work stress:

Types of work stress

Work stress comes in countless forms, but some common scenarios include:


If you’re looking for tools to manage stress caused by work or career concerns, consider the following options:

How to look for a therapist for work stress

Look for a personal fit with your therapist

While personality fit is a nuanced factor, it is critical to your success in therapy. Multiple studies have revealed the importance of this factor, often referred to as “therapeutic alliance.”

On your initial phone call with the therapist, ask yourself:

Additionally, consider these factors:

Prioritize the approach that appeals to you

Therapists differ in their approaches to treating work stress. Common approaches include:

New to therapy? Learn about how to find a therapist here.