Why Is Toxic Work Stress So Dangerous To Your Health?
Do you have a stressful job? If it is stressful ALL of the time, or if it is often stressful at a toxic level then it could seriously harm your health. Stress doesn’t just make you feel tense and edgy. It negatively affects your body and brain.
The statistics on the health consequences of stress are staggering. Research conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health has shown that stress accounts for at least 80 percent of all illnesses either directly or indirectly. According to Herbert Benson, M.D., director emeritus of the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, 60 to 90 percent of visits to doctors stem from stress.
Stress seems to attack the weakest link in a person’s body. Some people get neck pain or headaches. Others get diarrhea or heartburn. However, toxic work stress can even cause heart disease. According to Dr. Benson, “Stress is the root cause of anxiety, depression, anger, insomnia, high blood pressure, and heart attacks.”
Dr. Benson’s findings have been confirmed by other scientific studies. Researchers at the University of Helsinki conducted a 25 year longitudinal study of employees to determine if there was a relationship between work stress and cardiovascular disease. They found that employees who experienced chronic levels of stress doubled their risk of cardiovascular death. In other words, people with chronic levels of stress have the same risk for heart attacks as those who smoke.
Another reason why toxic work stress is so damaging is that it lowers your immunity. Research reported in Health Psychology magazine demonstrated that chronic stress interferes with the normal function of your immune system. Medical researchers believe that this is why people who are under stress are more likely to get the common cold or the flu.
Scientific studies have also proven that stressed individuals are more susceptible to autoimmune diseases. A further reason why chronic stress is so damaging to your health is that when under stress, your body releases cytokines and C-reactive protein. These harmful molecules cause inflammation and increase your risk of getting heart disease, arthritis and other chronic illnesses.
For powerful strategies for dealing with toxic work stress, be sure and download my two free e-books, “Breaking Free From Toxic Work Stress” and “Tame Your Stress In 7 Days Or Less”, which can be found in the right-hand sidebar.