You feel ill each morning as you’re driving to work. Your boss is extremely demanding. Nothing you do is good enough. There’s no pleasing her. Last week, she called you into her office to criticize a report you spent weeks working on. She also left the door open. So, everyone in your department heard her dress you down.
You slouched back to your cubicle. A couple of coworkers lowered their eyes to avoid looking directly at you.
Going to work is something you dread. Friday comes as a relief. But you feel the tension rising again on Sunday, because you know that Monday is only a day away.
Lately, you’ve had trouble sleeping. You also have a nagging backache. In addition, you also noticed splotchy red patches on your hands. Your doctor says it’s caused by stress.
Can Workplace Bullying Hurt Your Health?
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This site is dedicated to natural health. From time to time, I cover the topic of narcissistic bullying and abuse. That’s because I think it’s important for my readers to consider how this can negatively impact their health. It’s my personal feeling that all the natural remedies in the world won’t compensate for working in a negative environment.
Good health means being at peace mentally, as well as physically. So many of us have had to deal with malicious people that I feel the need to periodically shine a light on this problem.
Workplace Bullying and Stress
When people are stressed, they produce more cortisol. This hormone is normally present in our bodies It’s necessary for life. But too much of it is bad for us. That’s because it depresses our immune system. Excess cortisol also causes increases in cholesterol and blood pressure.
People working in a toxic situation don’t escape when they leave the office. Researchers have found that people, when stressed, even produce too much cortisol when they’re sleeping.
Excess cortisol is produced when our body believes we’re in a “flight or fright” mode. This causes your brain to fire off a hormone known as CRH. This has a very useful function because it makes you more focused. That’s a good thing if you need to quickly remove yourself from a dangerous situation. For instance, you need to jump out of the way if there’s an oncoming car.
Can Workplace Bullying Make You Sick?
But CRH also causes your adrenal glands to produce more cortisol. So, if you’re under stress, this may be produced at unhealthy levels.
However, everyone is different. Some of us naturally produce too much cortisol, while others weather various storms much better. But even the most laid-back person can develop a stress response, that doesn’t turn off, if subjected to too much pressure.
Workplace Bullying a Silent Epidemic
Some of the classic signs of being over stressed include loss of appetite, waking up still feeling as if you hadn’t slept a wink and noticing nagging physical complaints that don’t go away, such as headaches, muscle aches, back aches, sleep disturbances and digestive problems. Sometimes the stress will show on your skin, and you may have a flare up of eczema.
You may also feel depressed and anxious, and are unable to shake these feelings.
It’s becoming increasingly clear that workplace bullying can exert a very negative effect on our overall health. Many embattled workers even develop symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.
Here are Some Short-Term Solutions to Alleviate Stress
- Regular exercise can help take the edge off a chronically stressful situation. But sporadic exercise may not be helpful, especially if you have pre-existing health problems. You should also talk to your doctor before beginning a new exercise routine.
- Talking to a therapist may help you gain some perspective into your work-related problems. This can be extremely helpful if your boss suffers from a personality disorder that makes it difficult for him or her to relate to people. If that’s likely to be the case, you can reset your expectations, and, perhaps, evaluate if you should stay or move on.
- Simplify other aspects of your life, if possible. That way you won’t have multiple stressful situations coming at you all at once.
Workplace Bullying a Silent Epidemic
Workplace bullying has reached epidemic levels, at least in the United States, where an astounding one in three workers has reported being emotionally abused on the job. Because I believe the issue of adult female bullying is under reported, I decided to write a book about this phenomenon. You can see it below, along with another book I wrote on How to Forgive a Malicious Person.
Should You Tell HR You’re Being Bullied?
It’s often an exercise in futility to report workplace bullying to your Human Resources department. Results publicized by the Workplace Bullying Institute show that only 3 percent of the time does this help alleviate the pressure, and make the situation better.
What’s much more likely to happen, no matter what you do, is that the circumstances will escalate. The majority of workers who find themselves targeted this way either leave on their own accord or find their employment terminated, either through a firing or layoff.
There’s an old saying that it’s better to look for a job while you’re still employed. So this is the perfect time to start looking.