As bad as breathing in secondhand smoke! That’s according to a new study by Harvard Business School and Stanford University.
The report found that a high-pressure, or super stressful job, increased the odds of illness by 35%. And long work hours increased the chances of early death by almost 20%.
So what stresses us out the most? By far the biggest stressor was being worried about LOSING the job. That increased the odds of having poor health by about 50%.
The researchers hope the study will help companies think about the way they manage their employees. But we also need to take stress relief into our own hands, and here’s what the experts recommend:
Keep a work stress journal: The Mayo Clinic suggest writing down when you feel stressed. For example: Was it during conversations with a particular person? That signals it may not be your job duties, but a coworker who’s causing your stress.
Also, do a reality check. Although the study showed the biggest stressor is the worry about being fired – ask yourself how likely that is. It may be something you’re worrying about for no reason.
Lastly, find something – anything – you like about your job. Psychologist Joanna Lipari says people who love what they do deal with stress much better than those who don’t. If you don’t love your work, she says it might be time to think about finding a job that really does make you happy.