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Is Your Job Killing You?

  • March 11, 2011
  • 6:01 pm
  • 1 of 2
Is Your Job Killing You?


New research finds that stress at work is a huge contributor to the risk of cardiovascular disease and heart attack for women

By Leah Zerbe,

Job stress and worrying about job security can both take a toll on a woman’s body, although the two issues affect female health differently, according to research presented last month at the American Heart Association’s Annual Meeting in Chicago. But whether chronic work-related stress is eating at your nerves or ballooning your waistline, there are natural solutions with no toxic side effects that you can use to relax the pressure.

The details: In a recent study looking at work stress and women, researchers from Harvard and Brigham and Women’s Hospital studied more than 17,000 otherwise healthy women (generally in their 50s) enrolled in the Women’s Health Study for 10 years. Women who reported work-related strain, such as having little or no authority over decisions or being unable to contribute creativity and skills to the job, were up to 88 percent more likely to experience a heart attack than women who reported no work strain. Overall, working women reporting high job strain faced a 40 percent higher rate of cardiovascular disease, too.

4 Healthy habits that help prevent heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

Worrying about losing a job did not appear to increase heart attack risk, but it was linked to obesity, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol, all of which can eventually lead to cardiovascular disease.

What it means: Whether it’s a nightmarish cubicle neighbor, an unrelenting workload, or an ornery boss that has your stress meter ready to pop at any second, you can get a grip: It’s all about mind over matter. An August study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that students taking part in Integrative Body-Mind Training (IBMT) enjoyed changes in white brain matter (within 11 hours of practice) that seemed connected to better regulation of emotions and behavior.

Although now very common the U.S. yet, IBMT involves the practice of maintaining a state of restful alertness to tap into body-mind awareness while a trained coach guides your breathing and mental imagery. It’s somewhat similar to more widely available mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), which involves focusing on your present-moment thoughts and feelings in a non-judgmental way. MBSR has been shown to help people make clearer decisions in times of crisis, which could help when all health breaks loose at the office.

Get back to nature: How gardening can help you fight work-related stress.

Next: How to lower your stress levels without turning to meds.

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+ add your own
7:33PM PST on Jan 25, 2014

Thanks for sharing.

11:37AM PDT on Jun 2, 2011


4:58AM PDT on May 29, 2011

I have a really hard time trying to meditate. I must really try to, I know it will surely help me.

8:55AM PDT on Mar 29, 2011

Thanks for the tips

8:47PM PDT on Mar 22, 2011

Very valuable info.

4:42PM PDT on Mar 20, 2011

Singing helps too. Even though I should never sing in public... but then again, I can whistle like the birds.

5:19AM PDT on Mar 20, 2011


11:33AM PDT on Mar 18, 2011

I rarely suffer stress even though I live under constant deadlines, maybe because I'm the manager, or I support my team and they do the same for me.

11:33AM PDT on Mar 18, 2011

I rarely suffer stress even though I live under constant deadlines, maybe because I'm the manager, or I support my team and they do the same for me.

5:18AM PDT on Mar 16, 2011

Meditate or chew Gum?! lol. I can see why both would be relaxing :-)

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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