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 Dr. Prafulla Ranjan *





Off late very high percentage of population is feeling stressed and fighting mental illness. Stress at work and in social life has resulted in an increase in the number of people suffering from psychiatric illnesses and sub-syndromes of diseases like headache, tension and insomnia.  Depression was found to be the most common mental illness.  There is rift in social life of the urban populace. People communicate barely in families. Personal dissatisfaction, disinterest in work, lack of motivation, domestic problems and marital discord were major reasons behind the mental problems.




It's been defined as: 'the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them’. Other Form of high degree of stress is Burn Out.   A burnout is a state of mental and physical exhaustion resulting from chronic pressure to perform at the workplace. This, combined with doubts about your competence at work, is bad stress.   


According to experts, some level of stress is good for us. As our stress levels go up, the adrenaline levels in the body shoot up, the body gets into a state of preparedness and our performance improves.

“But when stress goes beyond what the body and mind can handle, it causes exertion and a breakdown. When the body is in this state almost every day, it will break down at some point,



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People who are in jobs that involve creative pursuits are better off. “They have some control over what they are doing, unlike a marketing or sales professional whose targets depend on other people.




Sales and marketing professionals: They have high, sometimes unrealistic targets to achieve. Their promotions, increments, job security depend on this.






  1. >  If you almost always feel the pressure to succeed?  

  • > Feel there is more work than you can handle? 

  • > Almost always feel irritated when you’re at the office?  

  • > Always feel you are achieving less than you should? 

  • > Feel exhausted, confused or irritable much of the time? 

  • > Frequently have disturbed sleep? 

  • > Notice a change in your appetite?

  • > Often have aches and pains? 

  • > Have to drag yourself to the office on most days?


If most of them are yes. You are in trouble.






The best way of ascertaining the cause of stress is talking to the employee.   This can prove more difficult than one would expect - a common reaction of the employee claiming to be stressed is to flee the workplace.



STRESS LEVEL FOR DIFFERENT EXECUTIVES  :    Usually higher is the post higher is the stress

  • > TOP LEVEL EXECUTIVES :  Are accountable for the company’s overall performance  are in the line of fire

  • > SENIOR / MIDDLE LEVEL OFFICERS :  Are under pressure to achieve targets but have less control over activating logistics have to keep seniors and juniors happy

  • > FIELD / JUNIOR STAFF : Job stress is limited to efficiently finishing tasks



  • >If the stress is caused by genuine overwork, you should usually try to identify ways to reduce that workload, for example by reassigning duties on a temporary or permanent basis or providing additional resources. Any decision to re-assign part of an employee’s duties must be taken in consultation with the employee.

  • >If the problem is bad working relationships then steps should be taken to try to resolve those relationship issues, for example through workplace counseling or some form of mediation.


  • >If the stress is due to personal issues, it might be appropriate to consider allowing a short period of unpaid leave or a temporary period of flexible working.





  • > Leaving your job is of course the last option, but it’s hardly a practical one. Also, you cannot change people, so the only way out is to tackle the situation and meet it head-on.   The effort to avoid a burnout has to be your own. Situations will not change on their own (your work responsibilities will not decrease, nor will your boss or colleagues suddenly turn into great human beings). So all you can do is change your own attitude towards stress. Do not let work rule your life and self-esteem.  

  • > Accept that you too can be wrong sometimes. Don’t take the missing of a deadline or target as a failure.

  • > Take short breaks from office with your family or alone to rejuvenate yourself and remind yourself that there are other things as important as your career.

  • > Try and develop an attitude of positive thinking.  Let go of things rather than constantly brood about them.

  • > Try and control your anger. Rage precipitates burnout.

  • > Too many things to do and not enough time? If you are constantly struggling to effectively fit in too many things in your routine, then start prioritizing tasks and keep a to-do list handy. That way you can keep clutter (tasks that are not as important) from entering your life, making you feel less pressured. 

  • > Learn to effectively delegate work, and forewarn yourself that you may not be able to meet all your targets. That way, you will not suffer stress when it happens. 

  • > One of the illusions people have is that putting in more hours will make them more productive. But doing that will only tire you out and make you sick, and when you are sick, everything becomes more difficult.

  • > Focus on your strengths and turn stressful situations into learning experiences.






Finally, also look for better opportunities – a job that you might like, that will have less pressure, or a job that has better timings etc.





* Dr Prafulla Ranjan is a qualified banker with more than 20 years of banking experience and has Ph.D. in Management to his credit.  He is Dy Director in Institute of Environment and Management Lucknow

(October 2012)


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