Recent research from the American Journal of Public Health analyzed the job stressors of 7,663 people over the course of 18 years, and found that certain factors in the workplace--especially unpredictability--were associated with increased heart attacks, or myocardial infarction. More specifically, researchers found that lack of control, job awareness, unexpected changes, job strain, and stress could lead to poor cardiac health.
“The risk of MI was about 1.8 times higher in a disorganized setting than in an organized setting,” said Ari Vaananen, lead study author, in a press release. “Clear organization of work tasks matters.”
Interestingly, most of these factors are also associated with job burnout, which carries with it other risk factors. What can workers do to keep themselves healthy? Vaananen said, “Employees may want to acquire new skills through education. They also may want to learn how the entire system works in the organization. Good knowledge of the organization and of their own clear roles at work may decrease negative emotions and chronic stress, and lower their risk for acute myocardial infarction.”
To combat the effects of chronic stress, it's also important to have some stress relief techniques that you learn well and use again and again, to reverse your stress response before it becomes a long-term condition and affects different areas of your health.
The following resources can help you overcome the risk factors discussed here, which are also related to job burnout. You'll also find some excellent options for stress relief, especially important if you're unable to change your work situation in the near future.
Resources from Elizabeth Scott:
- Job Burnout Quiz: Assess Your Risk
- Factors That Contribute To Job Burnout
- Stress and Your Health: The Effects of Stress
- Find Satisfaction In Your Current Job
Väänänen A, Koskinen A, Joensuu M, Kivimäki M, Vahtera J, Kouvonen A, Jäppinen P. Lack of Predictability at Work and Risk of Acute Myocardial Infarction: An 18-Year Prospective Study of Industrial Employees. American Journal of Public Health. October 15, 2008.
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