You’re Probably Stressed. Here’s Why You Must Avoid Oversharing

You're stressed, working hard, and eager to prove yourself, but it’s important not to overshare about your stress—doing so could backfire. New research indicates that "stress bragging"—continually discussing your overwhelm, efforts, and contributions—can damage relationships and credibility, and negatively impact those around you [citation:8]. It’s natural to feel pressure given today’s fast pace and the abundance of work demands. With job market uncertainties and news about layoffs, you may feel the need to hustle and prove your worth. However, how you manage this pressure is crucial to avoid creating more stress and career issues.

**The Pitfalls of Stress Bragging**

Stress is pervasive, with 84% of employees reporting they feel stressed, according to a Cigna survey. While sharing your stress with others might feel cathartic, excessive talk about your demands—and wearing your stress as a badge of honor—can lead people to view you as less competent and likable [citation:8]. Moreover, if perceived as bragging, it reduces the likelihood of receiving help and may increase burnout among your peers, contributing to a negative atmosphere [citation:8]. Interestingly, if a colleague is seen as stressed but not bragging about it, they don't face the same negative reactions. Mentioning stress in passing or to a trusted confidant does not harm relationships or credibility. Problems arise when stress is used for self-promotion.

The takeaway: Many people experience stress. You can be genuine about your stress with trusted colleagues, who will likely empathize with you. However, using stress to boost your reputation can be harmful, so avoid oversharing.

**How to Manage Stress Without Oversharing**

1. **Focus on Others:** Stress often makes one self-centered, leading to burnout and a narrower perception of the world. Refocusing on others can help you step out of your own head and broaden your view. Remember that most people are also struggling, with 51%-62% feeling completely overwhelmed, according to a Stress in America survey. Stay attuned to others, ask questions, and offer support. This helps foster your own happiness and well-being and builds camaraderie.

2. **Resist Comparisons:** Comparing your work to others can unintentionally increase your stress. Believing you're doing more than most can foster negativity in relationships. If you genuinely are overburdened, provide feedback to colleagues, ask for help, or speak to your manager. If negative evaluations are more perception than reality, you might be amplifying your own frustration. Focus on doing your best work, knowing that your influence matters regardless of your formal position.

3. **Ask for Help:** Avoid the trap of believing you must handle everything alone. Get comfortable requesting assistance and relying on others, even if they do things differently. Managing expectations and involving others can significantly reduce your stress. Additionally, avoid perfectionism and focus on excellence. Overthinking and overworking add to your stress and may make others reluctant to work with you due to high standards.

4. **Find a Friend:** To avoid stress bragging, confide in a trusted friend or confidant, either at work or personally. Stress bragging often involves discussing stress with too many people too frequently. It's essential to vent and seek support but do so within small circles and private settings.

5. **Balance Honesty with Humility:** Confidence combined with humility enhances career success. When people are competent and possess strong viewpoints while also acknowledging their limitations, they build better relationships and credibility. The combination of honesty, authenticity, and humility also improves job performance. Cultivate confidence, perform brilliantly, acknowledge mistakes, and seek help when needed. Appreciate others' contributions and build a rapport with them.

**Stress Builds Resilience**

The positive aspect is that stressful times can increase your resilience. You learn problem-solving, coping, and high performance under difficult conditions. Connecting with others during these times enhances your well-being and happiness.

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