A recent study published in the medical journal, The Lancet, found that job strain increases your chance of having a heart attack. According the study findings, job strain “is associated with a small, but consistent, risk of experiencing a first heart attack.” Those who have more demanding jobs or those who feel they have little freedom in decision making are more at risk than those who feel less-stressed.
I would include in this category workers who are unhappy in their jobs, have poor work relationships, or may be bullied. Any type of job stress, whether real or perceived, can lead to a host of ailments which, if not handled and dealt with, can lead to a host of emotional and physical problems. Some of these signs and symptoms can include:
- feelings of sadness
- headaches, backaches, stomachaches, or other body pains
- chest pain or heart palpitations
- stiff neck
- digestive problems
- irritability or anger
- sleeping or eating problems, i.e. over/under
- emotional bluntness or feeling cut-off
- apathy or lack of feeling pleasure in prior activities/interests
- forgetfulness, confusion, losing things, accidents
As you can see, a whole host of problems can arise if you are feeling stress on the job. So what do you do?
Well, first off, pay attention to what your body is telling you. If you find that you are getting sick frequently or losing things, for instance, those are often signs that you might be under some type of stress and are not dealing with it. We typically manifest stress in a physical way so it is imperative to be aware of what your body is telling you.
Dealing with stress can include a myriad of techniques, but here are some of my favorites:
- Deep Breathing – this simple act can immediately provide calming to the brain and the body; be sure to breathe in through your nose and exhale large, pushing out through your stomach to force oxygen into your red blood cells which leads to calming
- Physical Exercise – we all know that doing some type of physical activity raises you endorphin levels, which increases your level of happiness; it also releases negative energy and, when you focus on pleasurable activities, like walking or dancing, it helps to put your problems in perspective so you can deal with them effectively
- Meditation – this simple act – which is not so easy – is now one of the major relievers of depression. Focusing on your breathing and shutting out the ‘noise’ brings focus of your mind and calms the body
- Journaling – writing down your negative thoughts and feelings helps to release them in a safe way, while providing clarity for how to deal with these thoughts; it’s as if you get an outsider view and perspective. In addition to releasing negative thoughts, journaling is a great way to document positives that have come in to your life, which is the art of Gratitude
- Coloring – this simple activity taps into your creative brain, which is where happiness lives. I have written before on my Mandala book, which gives focus on calming
No matter which technique you use, take time throughout your day to decompress and effectively monitor your stress. i would love to hear how you deal with job strain!