Study Shows Stress at Work is Just as Bad as Secondhand Smoke
I'm just as stressed as the next college senior, but work stress can add a lot to an individual's plate. A new study by Harvard Business School as well as Stanford University shows that workplace stress can be just as harmful as secondhand smoke.
The report showed that high job demands increased the likelihood of stress by 35 percent.
"When you think about how much time individuals typically spend at work, it's not that surprising," said study co-author Joel Goh, an assistant professor of business administration at Harvard Business School.
Long hours in addition to high job demand just made things worse, the study showed, by going so far to say your chance of dying early increased by 20 percent.
Let's not forget about the absolute worst stressor of all, many workers could argue: losing your job. Chances of poor health while stressing about losing your job was increased by 50 percent.
Goh said he hopes this study will help companies think about the way they manage their employees. Here's more tips to help reduce workplace (or college?) stress:
1) Keep a work stress journal
The experts at the Mayo Clinic advise writing down when you feel stressed. Was it during conversations with a particular person, for example? It may not be your job, but an individual who's causing problems, and you need to think about better ways of dealing with him or her.
2) Do a reality check
As the Harvard study showed, the biggest stressor is the worry that you might lose your job. Ask yourself if your job is really in jeopardy, or if it's just something you've concocted in your head. Asking fellow employees for their perspectives could help.
3) Ask yourself, do I really like my work?
Joanna Lipari, a psychologist in Los Angeles, has found that patients who love their work deal with stress much better than those who don't. "People who believe in what they're doing handle stress better than those who don't," she said. If you don't love your work, it might be time to think about finding work that really does make you happy.
4) Think through the worst-case scenario
Afraid you're going to lose your job? What would you do if you did? Lipari advises taking those steps now. If you think you would write a new resume or reach out to former colleagues to see if they're hiring, then do that now.
5) Set limits with your boss
If your boss wants you to work 10-hour days instead of eight-hour days, tell him or her you can't, but then go on to explain all the work you complete in your eight-hour day. "Make it about being project-oriented, not time-oriented," Lipari says.
Click here to read more.