What’s worse, smoking or workplace stress?

Everyone knows that stress takes its toll on the human body, but new studies suggest that this negative effect may be much worse than originally anticipated.

Beyond being simply annoying and blood-pressure-increasing, stress has the potential to lead to life-threatening conditions if left unchecked for too long.

The effects of workplace stress have been shown recently to be just as bad as second-hand smoke.

That’s right, workplace stress affects you in the same way an annoying chain-smoking aunt living in the same apartment as you does.

A new study from the Harvard Business School and Stanford University compiled evidence from a massive resource of over 228 other independent studies.

The results show that high demand jobs increase the chance of an early death by 20%, and increased the chance of serious illness diagnoses by 35%. Even more worrisome is that high-stress jobs have a full 50% chance of making you fall into poor health in some manner or another. That´´s probably the worse thing you can do to yourself, stress out too much. It´s too unhealthy and that´s why death is a high risk for that, it sometimes it can´t be avoided.
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Speaking on the findings, study co-author Joel Goh stated, “When you think about how much time individuals typically spend at work, it’s not that surprising.” Goh and others involved with the study voice their hopes that this study would lead to workplace reform aimed at boosting stress-reducing practices.

Speaking of which, here are five quick adjustments Goh felt would drastically improve workplace stress levels:

Stress Journals

Sometimes it becomes easy to lose track of just how much certain work tasks or environments are stressing you out on a day-to-day basis.

To help combat this frustration, keeping a work stress journal can help you determine what tasks at work, and which times of the week are filled with stress.

Once you have your problem areas pinpointed, it will become much easier to deal with them in a constructive and healthy manner.

Asking Tough Questions

Work situations do not have to be permanent.

To truly find more peace in your daily life, it can be useful to confront yourself about whether or not the stress you experience at the workplace is truly worth it.

If you find that the risks outweigh the rewards you receive from your job, it may be time to look for employment somewhere else.

While this step is easier said than done, the future of your mental and physical health is worth the potentially frustrating effort of relocation.

Being Prepared

Think through the worst case scenarios you may face and then set up game plans and alternate paths you can take during the work day.

Doing so will drastically reduce the stress of an uncertain workweek, and help you experience less stress during the worst case scenarios themselves.

However, never assume that a plan is one hundred percent full proof, as that may lead to more stress in the long run when a plan doesn’t work out as intended.

Staying in Touch with Reality

In their study, the Harvard Business School found the most common stress builder was the fear that an individual could lose their job.

Living with this can be difficult, so you should never allow yourself to become obsessed with (unrealistic) situations that may or may not arise in the workplace.

If you’re often thinking about getting fired, sit down and take a minute to think about how probable that really is.

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