Study Finds Work Stress is as Dangerous as Secondhand Smoke

depressedA new study will have you celebrating the holiday weekend for another reason, apparently workplace stress is just as bad for you as being exposed to secondhand smoke!

This research was recently conducted at Harvard Business School and Stanford University. Researchers compiled information from 228 other studies and concluded that the odds of having an illness diagnosed by a doctor was increase by 35% when faced with high job demands. Additionally, working long hour increased the risk of any early death by nearly 20%. Believe it or not, the common worry that you may be losing your job increases the risk of having poor health by 50%.

While the idea of quitting work under the guise of protecting our health may seem appealing, most of us work to earn a living, so what can we hope this new research will accomplish? One study researcher has said he hopes that perhaps information like this will help change the way companies manage their employees. Perhaps this will shed light on the fact that demanding deadlines and long hours are actually counterproductive.

If the ability to leave your job to protect your health is not a viable option (sadly, the truth for most of us), there are other ways that you can help reduce stress at your workplace.

  • Take a walk – bring your sneakers to work and take some time to get out and relax. Taking a walk while at work is a great way to get a bit of exercise while clearing your mind and reducing stress.
  • Keep a journal – often when anxious thoughts are hanging around in our minds, picking up a pencil, pen or typing at our keyboards can help release those thoughts. Get a private journal and let those stressful thoughts go.
  • Set boundaries – while retaining your job falls in to the hands of your boss, it doesn’t mean you can’t work on setting up healthy boundaries. If your hours or workload are impacting your health, don’t be afraid to tell your boss that this is more stress than you are able to handle.

Just keep in mind, your work is important but so is your health. Set boundaries, take time to unwind and try to keep your stress to a minimum.