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Too much stress can have lasting effects. If you feel like work stress has been changing your personality, you might be right. The University of Illinois has researched how persistent stress in a work environment can change someone’s personality short term and even long term.

They used 5 personality traits to monitored people’s changes :

  1. Conscientiousness
  2. Agreeableness
  3. Neuroticism
  4. Openness
  5. Extroversion

According to, researcher Jarvis Smallfield explained that the most notable trait to change is neuroticism. It will relate to issues such as employee burnout and even depression. If working is making you neurotic, chances are you’ve going to be a lot more susceptible to stress. While some stressors can have a negative effect on your personality, there are also good stressors. For example if you are working hard towards a promotion. If you believe you can overcome a task and your success brings you some type of reward, that could be considered good work stress.

While easier said than done, work problems can be turned into good stress by changing your perception. Smallfield concluded the study stating that “we need to challenges to thrive. The problem that comes in when stresses stop being healthy challenges and become overwhelming, out of control, or without purpose.”