Is Your Job Really Good For Your Overall Health?

By | January 21, 2014

Stress ManAre you feeling stressed at work? Well, if you are, then you are certainly not alone. The 21st century workplace has become a beacon of stress, exhaustion and other such general feelings of unpleasantness & ill health.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) produced a report entitled “Stress at Work” that outlined some startling statistics about the levels of stress in the modern day working environment. This included the fact that some 40% of people found their job extremely stressful and another 29% said that their job was stressful to an extent.

This is over 2/3 of the people surveyed who claimed that their job was a direct cause of personal stress. In fact, the report also found that health played a major role in stress at work both in causing stress and also being a byproduct of it.

Perhaps a major reason for this symptom is our relationship with our colleagues. Things have certainly changed in recent years and there does seem to be more of competitive culture in regard to our jobs; this certainly hasn’t been helped by the recent economic troubles that the world has experienced and it is very much a dog-eat-dog environment in most workplaces these days as people will do their upmost to stay in employment.

In another study titled “Occupational Health” by Professor Jean-Pierre Brun, Director Chair on Occupational Health and Safety Management at the Université de Laval found that around 0.3% of GDP in the USA was lost every year due to people taking time off work or not working to their full potential because of stress related illnesses and this rose to 0.7% in the UK. Generally he found that changes in the organization, intensification of work, relationships between other workers and lack of recognition were all major contributors to stress.

Norbert K. Semmer at the Universität Bern further expanded on this in his work entitled “recognition & respect as predictors of occupational health & wellbeing” by claiming that a link exists between not being recognized for your achievements at work or feeling that you are being treated poorly or unfairly and your stress level in the workplace.

We should also make the distinction between what we define as healthy in relation to our jobs. The World Health Organization (WHO) claimed way back in 1986 that being healthy at work was not just about the absence of any obvious ill health or sickness symptoms but rather it also included a positive state of mind. However, what health problems can actually arise from being stressed at work?

The most obvious one that we think of is having a heart attack by being overworked. Heart attacks have actually become increasingly common among those who suffer from pressure at work and the British Heart Foundation estimated that some 3.4% of heart attacks every year can be directly attributed to a stressful working environment. Although, being at an increase risk of a heart attack is not the only health concern that stress can cause. Depression also ranks highly when it comes to workplace pressure and overworking and this has further being emphasized recently with the issue over job security.

Indeed, it is not just stress in and of itself that can contribute to major health issues. Stress can also lead to a variety of other detrimental activities to your health such as smoking and a high level of alcohol intake and many people who feel stressed will usually up their intake of these substances to help to relieve their feelings of anxiety.

Coping with stress is not easy if you can not directly affect the underlying reason. If you are stressed because of a relationship at work and you cannot do anything to rectify this situation then it can be very difficult to relieve yourself of this feeling. However, there are many solutions or at least partial remedies that can help you deal with your stress do exist.

Performing adequate stress management techniques can go a long way to, not only bringing down your level of stress and anxiety, but also contributing directly to a better state of health. While a little stress now and again is not going to have any major health ramifications, consistently high stress levels and feelings of pressure and anxiety will, without any relief or actions to address it, cause your health to deteriorate.