Embrace Your Stress? Maybe….

Stressed out at work? A new study suggests that might actually be a good thing….provided you have control over your work.

From Money Magazine:

Good news: Your high-pressure job may actually be improving your health.

A new study from Indiana University has found that employees in stressful positions are a third less likely to die than those with less strenuous jobs, the Daily Telegraph reports. However, there’s one important caveat: Workers need to have control of their own workflow.

In other words – stress at work is good for our health as long as we have some control over that stress. Now comes the bad news. If we lack that control….the stress can kill us.

According to Science World Report, “Some jobs can indeed kill. Researchers from Indiana University Kelley School of Business analyzed 2,363 Wisconsin residents over a seven-year period and found that employees with high-stress jobs who have little decision-making freedom were more likely to die early.”

NewsMax Health quoted the study’s lead author Erik Gonzalez-Mulé, as saying:

“We explored job demands, or the amount of work, time pressure and concentration demands of a job, and job control, or the amount of discretion one has over making decisions at work, as joint predictors of death. These findings suggest that stressful jobs have clear negative consequences for employee health when paired with low freedom in decision-making, while stressful jobs can actually be beneficial to employee health if also paired with freedom in decision-making.”

 Researchers say having some degree of flexibility is key. Psych Central wrote, “the new study highlights the benefits of job crafting, a relatively new process that enables employees to mold and redesign their job to make it more meaningful. Other research suggests that workers who engage in job crafting are happier and are more productive than co-workers who don’t.”
However, the study’s authors also admit job flexibility can be difficult in some professions. For example, researchers say it might not be feasible to give a construction worker “autonomy” over what he or she is doing since “there’s usually just one right way to do things.”
Interesting how stress can be seen as a health benefit or a killer – depending on the amount of control you have over your own work. We’d love to hear what you think about the results of this new study. Generating conversations around the latest news in the world of health is another way we are working to reach our goal of one day making Arizona the Healthiest State in the Nation!

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