Stress vs. Satisfaction: How Happiness at Work Affects Mental Health

  May 14, 2024

Feeling stressed and unsatisfied at work? Your lack of job satisfaction could be negatively impacting your mental health. 

Indeed, studies have shown that poor mental health can be linked to stress in the workplace. Why? High stress is not only a cause of reduced job satisfaction, it can also lead to burnout – which is detrimental to our mental well-being.

So how do we avoid stress at work, maximize our job satisfaction, and support our mental health? Just keep reading for our job satisfaction and stress survival strategies. 

Happiness at Work: How it Supports Optimal Mental Health

It’s true: a positive working environment can boost our mental health. How? In a number of ways, such as:

Providing Us With Purpose, Drive, and Meaning

It goes without saying – meaningful employment gives us purpose. It also drives us to improve ourselves, achieve professional goals, and focus on our personal development.

This is good for our mental health. Why? By investing in our own growth, we are demonstrating to ourselves that we are worth the effort, commitment, and dedication to our goals. 

Helping Us Develop and Foster Meaningful, Collaborative Relationships with Others

Being part of a collaborative, team-based working environment teaches us invaluable interpersonal skills. It helps us learn how to relate and interact with others, and also, shows us how to build and cultivate meaningful, positive relationships with our peers. Employees can also benefit from receiving emotional support from co-workers in times of collective pressure or stress, as collaborating on a team project can demonstrate. 

If you’re a nurse who’s recently completed a direct entry MSN and has just entered the workforce, you’ll soon see this concept of supportive community and team collaboration in action. As an inherently team-based profession, nursing draws on this sense of community to support the mental health and well-being of its staff. 

Cultivating our Social Connectivity, Inclusion, and Sense of Belonging 

As valued staff members we are encouraged to feel we belong to a socially inclusive workplace. This sense of inclusion and social connectivity is critical for mental health. As humans, we crave social connection – and inclusive workplaces can provide that sense of community and belonging for us. 

Developing Our Cognitive Function, Trouble Shooting, and Problem-Solving Skills

When it comes to cultivating optimal mental health, improved cognitive function is linked with positive emotions. This is because it enables us to think more clearly, make more rational decisions, and problem-solve better, leading us to feel more confident and attuned to our own abilities.

This in turn enhances our sense of being in control and competent at our jobs, boosting our mental well-being by reducing our levels of stress.

Enhancing our Self-Esteem, Confidence, and Self-Worth

As well as improving our sense of self-worth, enhanced performance at work often also comes with external recognition – especially in the form of positive reinforcement for jobs well done. 

Performing well at work can help boost our mental health by contributing to our sense of accomplishment and achievement, as well as confidence in our capabilities. 

Stress-Busting Job Satisfaction Strategies: Our Top Tips

If you’re feeling stressed at work, here are some strategies to help reduce stress, and maximize your job satisfaction:

Manage Your Time 

Time management and organization go a long way to help minimize stress at work. When you’re feeling in control and on top of your workload, you’ll feel less stressed. A calmer state of mind does wonders for our mental well-being. 

Develop Healthy Working Relationships 

Developing positive relationships with our co-workers not only helps us to feel included, it also increases how happy we feel at work. As we’ve discussed, workplace happiness is essential – both for job satisfaction and to support a positive state of mind.

Unwind in Your Downtime 

Finally, what you do outside of work can support how you feel once you’re back in the office. How? By using your downtime to recharge your batteries, unwind, and fill your cup with soul-soothing activities, you can bring your best self to work after the weekend is over.

Most importantly, cultivating a sense of ‘joie de vivre’ can help you feel at your best mentally – which can help you cope with the external stressors that come with the working day.