Why using this word at work is actually making you more stressed

We really need to stop doing this

Words by Jadie Troy-Pryde

Hands up if you’re guilty of using the most hated office phrase ever? It’s okay, we’re not here to judge. It’s completely normal to walk into the office and start picking up sayings or phrases that your colleagues use even if you’d NEVER say them in real life. It’s just one consequence of spending eight hours a day and five days a week with the same people.

Once you’ve tutted about how much we should be earning at every age and pondered the evidence that your career is actually determined by how many siblings you have, you settle into work and all of a sudden you realise you’ve got a million things to do. You might find the language you use changes. Once you’re snowed under with unread emails and mountains of paperwork and your colleague asks how you’re feeling, the likely answer is ‘I’M REALLY STRESSED’.

However, experts have now warned that verbalising the fact that you’re extremely busy or reaching breaking point could actually make you feel even worse.

Clinical psychotherapist Seth Swirsky said: ‘Just saying that you’re stressed can set off a cascade of chemicals in the body – epinephrine and cortisol – and neurotransmitters in the brain that make us feel, well, completely stressed out.

‘Our hearts beat faster, our breathing becomes more rapid, our blood pressure goes up, we can’t think straight, and we’re filled with fear and anxiety.’

Swirsky reveals that although saying you’re stressed can make it worse, keeping it to yourself won’t help either. So what should you do?

Experts recommend reframing what you want to say and ending on a positive note, which will act as an affirmation. For example: ‘I have so much paperwork to catch up on this week, but I know I can get it all done.’

If you need an extra boost of positivity, try taking deep, slow breaths before getting stuck into an all-absorbing project, make sure you take your full lunch break and learn how to say no if you really feel swamped.

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