When trying to improve their health, most people focus on the obvious factors: diet, sleep, and exercise. However, you also need to consider how job stress impacts your health. If you work in a stressful workplace, you could be at an increased risk of suffering from stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes.
Factors That Attribute to Job Stress
A few factors combine to make a stressful workplace that can negatively impact your health. One of the biggest contributors to job stress is workplace bullying. A 2010 study showed that victims of workplace bullying were more likely to suffer from anxiety and stress. A bad boss can also put your health at risk. Employees who say their boss is a poor leader, with little empathy and poor communication skills, are more likely to have heart attacks than those who have more compassionate bosses. Working hours have an obvious effect on job stress. Working more than 55 hours per week increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. If you have the option of cutting down your hours, it could be a good way to protect your health.
It's not always obvious which jobs are most likely to be stressful. High-powered roles aren't always the most stressful jobs. In fact, one of the biggest contributors to job stress is having very little control over the way you work. If you can move into a role where you have more freedom to do your job in a way that makes sense to you, you might find that your stress levels decrease. Boring tasks can also make you feel stressed at work, so don't assume you shouldn't apply for challenging jobs if you're vulnerable to job stress.
Negative Effects of Job Stress
Job stress not only makes you less healthy. It also expands your waistline. People who experience chronic stress, as well as those who work more than 49 hours per week, gain more weight than those who have a better work-life balance.
When you take steps to reduce your job stress, you might find you have more energy left at the end of the day for exercise. You might also be less likely to turn to convenience foods or comfort eating when you get home from work in the evening. These changes can help you control your weight and reduce your risk of developing an obesity-related illness.
Job stress may not only make you feel unhappy but can also affect your physical health. Reduce your chance of being overweight, having a stroke, or developing heart disease by limiting the number of hours you work, trying to get more control over your work, and talking to your manager or human resources department if you're the victim of workplace bullying. How have you handled job stress in the past?
Photo courtesy of vital spring techinc at Flickr.com