We have all stayed at a stressful job that we didn’t particularly like because at the time is was necessary. But staying in a stressful position that you don’t like for too long is probably not the best thing for your mental health, and could potentially wreak havoc on your physical health. As we stated in a previous post, persistent workplace stress can kill you.
Here are 5 ways your stressful job may be ruining your health
According to a study by Harvard Health, prolonged periods of stress will cause your body to continually produce a hormone called cortisone. Cortisone works to increase appetite and also increases the craving for foods high in fat and sugar. You can see how elevated cortisone levels could lead to prolonged periods of “stress eating”, which can then lead to weight gain. If you work in a stressful environment for a prolonged period of time, the stress you feel as a result of your job could be making you gain weight.
High Blood Pressure
Stress is one of the main causes of high blood pressure. The most dangerous thing about high blood pressure is you may not have any symptoms. While some people may experience headaches, blurry vision, shortness of breath, or dizziness; others have no symptoms at all until they have a heart attack or a stroke. What’s interesting about job stress related high blood pressure, is that blood pressure can remain elevated even after you are home from work or while you are sleeping. Even though your body physically leaves the office, it appears the affects of the stress stays with you.
Disturbed Sleep Patterns
When you’re stressed out at work and about work, that stress can follow you home and into bed. It can cause you to lay awake feeling overwhelmed, anxious and unable to quiet your mind so that you can fall asleep. It can also create a viscous cycle of you rising the next morning feeling exhausted, which can cause even more stress because now you have to go to work and attempt to perform when you have gotten little to no sleep. And not sleeping can lead to other health problems.
Stress can make you age faster. According to one study, stress appeared to speed up aging by 9 to 17 years! We see this happen every 4 years right before our very eyes. Just think about every U.S. president that you’ve seen in office during your lifetime. A comparison between the color of their hair the fist day on the job and the last day on the job is striking. Not only has their hair aged, science says that stress actually causes our cells to age, and prolonged stress can cause us to age prematurely. Nobody that I know wants to speed up the aging process!
Finally, (and final!), prolonged workplace stress can cause an early death. From a sample of 2,363 people, an Indiana University study found that people in high stress jobs, with little to no control over their work flow, either died at younger ages, or were significantly less healthy than those who have more autonomy in their work.
Don’t let workplace stress kill you, do something about it!
The most fabulous thing about being a human being is that we have choices. Even when it seems impossible, it’s never true that we don’t have a choice.
First things first
Be sure to make and keep your preventative medical appointments each year. If your body just doesn’t feel right go see a doctor even if it falls outside of your yearly exam time. Become keenly aware of how your body feels, this is especially important for women. Knowing that there is an actual problem that may threaten to shorten your life will kick your motivation for doing whatever it takes to reduce and eliminate stress into high gear.
Don’t let your day control you, you control it
Take breaks. Take deep breaths. Control your reactions to things that would normally stress you out. Remove things and people from your environment that stress you out. Look for ways to work smarter and not harder. Eliminate constant interruptions to your thinking (like e-mails, phone calls, and putting out fires). Be proactive rather than reactive. Being proactive will help you to organize your work day on your terms.
Make a plan
Throughout our workplace stress series this month, every article has indicated that prolonged stress is not good for the human body. If you are in a stressful situation day in and day out, something has to give. Eventually the stress will kill you. Why wait around for that? Make a plan now that either helps you cope or eliminates the stressful situation from your life. Many times it’s hard to see or formulate a clear plan when you in the midst of a stressful situation, that’s were coaching can help.
Take personal responsibility for reducing your stress level
Coaching can help you explore and develop tools to cope. The process can also help you develop a plan to change your environment. Schedule a Discovery Session and let’s see how we can work together to get the results you want.
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