Researchers from Stanford and Harvard have some tough news. They recently conducted a new study which looked at the effects that work related stress has on individuals, and came to the realization that workplace stress is every bit as dangerous as secondhand smoke.
After reviewing a little over 200 passed studies, the researchers noticed that individuals who are concerned that they might get fired are likely to be in poor health. Their risk of suffering from either a physical or a mental condition increases by 50 percent (50%).
But they’re not the only group in danger. The research team also mentioned that individuals who have highly demanding jobs are 35 percent (35%) more likely to suffer from either a physical or a mental condition, and that individuals who are in the habit or working long hours increase their likelihood of experiencing an early death by 20 percent (20%).
Joel Goh, co-author of the new study and assistant professor of business administration with the Harvard School of Business, stated that “When you think about how much time individuals typically spend at work, it’s not that surprising”.
In their study, the authors wrote that “Extensive research focuses on the causes of workplace-induced stress. However, policy efforts to tackle the ever-increasing health costs and poor health outcomes in the United States have largely ignored the health effects of psychosocial workplace stressors”. Long work hours, economic insecurity, and high job demands, are all well knows stressors.
Goh is hopeful that the new study will change the perspective that so many employers currently have and determine them to find a way to manage employees without stressing them. But this doesn’t mean that employees are powerless in this situation. Here are five (5) things you can do to reduce your stress levels:
1) Start a stress journal, it will be of great help. This has two (2) advantages – it can serve as therapy as it allows you to relieve yourself of stressful experiences, and it also brings you inside into your stress patterns as you can always look back on the text once you’ve calmed down and cleared your head.
Think of who you were with when you got stresses, what you were doing, what you were talking about, the thoughts that were running through your head and the emotions you felt in that moment.
2) Reality checks may calm you down. Why are you so stressed? Did you misplace company funds or forgot to execute an essential task? Did you actually do something that might get you fired?
Your colleagues’ opinions may also reveal perspectives you yourself never considered.
3) Don’t like your job? Look for a new one. Some believe this is easier said than done, but psychologists keep saying that people who love their job are nowhere near as affected by work related stress as people who dislike their job.
4) Let’s assume you lost your job. Does your CV cover all of your skill sets? Do you know where to go looking for a new job? Do you have any acquaintances or former colleagues that have knowledge of new job opportunities? Try answering these questions.
5) Convince your boss to be reasonable. Tell them you can’t stay at the office for 10 hours straight, explain to them why, but make sure to also point out all that you accomplish in just 8 office hours.
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