By Florence J. Murray
Every job causes stress. Even people who love what they do and who they do it with can experience job-related pressure. The pressure is often self-inflicted by those who are driven to succeed. Whether the stress comes from meeting difficult deadlines, pleasing a particular person, or simply striving to achieve the best possible outcome for a client, even the most dedicated and skilled employees can experience significant job related stress. Job stress can be detrimental to both your physical and mental health. People have a tendency to keep stress and frustration bottled up inside, especially when it relates to the workplace. You internalize negative feelings to the point where it begins to take a toll on your physical and mental health. The effects may come out in small ways at first, such as an irritable attitude or quick-temper, but eventually they can take a harsher toll that is not evident from the outside. Fortunately, liking your coworkers can help to improve your health in subtle ways you may not realize.
Coworkers are often familiar with the responsibilities and expectations of your job in ways that friends and family are not. Coworkers are working towards the same goal and feel the same desire to succeed. They understand your job-related frustrations and stresses and are often facing the same challenges. Having a friend at work that you can safely vent your frustrations to can help lessen your stress and keep you from bringing it home and inflicting it on your unsuspecting family. Often, simply verbalizing your feelings to someone who can relate helps to ease the tension.
When experiencing stress, it is often suggested that you take a few moments to step away from a situation to relax, breathe and disengage from the stressor. Having a friend at work that you can chat with over lunch or breaks can improve your mental health, simply by taking your mind off of your job for short periods of time. Finding something in common with your coworkers, completely unrelated to your job, gives you something to talk about when you need to step away for a few moments. Talking about the latest movie or sporting event that you share an interest in can improve your mood and take you out of a stressful situation long enough to relieve the stress. These breaks help you to refocus on the job at hand when you get back to work.
You are more inclined to help people that you like. It’s a simple fact. Coworkers who get along and genuinely like each other are more willing to help each other out when needed.
When a coworker whom you like asks for help, you trust that they are actually in need of assistance and are not looking to pawn their work off on you. When possible, you are willing to reprioritize your own responsibilities in order to help a friend meet an important deadline or complete an important project. Likewise, coworkers who like each other are more inclined to feel comfortable asking each other for help when they need it instead of taking on more than they can handle. Liking your coworkers helps to build a team environment where you are working towards a common goal.
In addition, some of the mental health benefits of positive relationships with coworkers include:
- Lower blood pressure
- Improved mood
- Decreased absenteeism from work
- Lower risk of burnout
- Increased motivation
- Increased productivity
- Increased creativity
- Decreased anxiety
- Decreased depression
- Decreased insomnia
Liking your coworkers promotes positive feelings towards your job in general. Knowing that you have friends that you connect with at work makes your place of employment a positive place to go every day. You associate the positive feelings that you have for your friends with the place that you see them. Try to improve your situation by finding common ground with coworkers. Liking your coworkers can improve your mental health and have a positive impact on your attitude towards work. And if you cannot find any coworkers with whom you can get along, then it may be time for a change for your sake.