A Stressful Job Might Actually Be Good For Your Health

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by Katie Rosseinsky |
Published on

It’s long been assumed that stress can have an incredibly damaging impact upon your health, but according to a new study, your high pressure job could do you good in the long run.

New research from Indiana University has found that employees in high-stress roles are one third less likely to die than those in less demanding positions, but only if they are allowed to control their own workflow.

Researchers questioned thousands of workers in their 60s from 2004 and 2011, and found that those who took control over their stressful workload were 34 percent less likely to have died than those in less intense jobs. Hey, we never said this would be an entirely uplifting study…

Conversely, the team at Indiana University also discovered that those in very stressful roles who were unable to make their own decisions and were not given the freedom to manage their workload were most likely to be unhealthy and die sooner.

Lead author Erik Gonzalez-Mule said, ‘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.’

‘When you don’t have the necessary resources to deal with a demanding job, you do this other stuff,’ he added. ‘You might eat more, you might smoke, you might engage in some of these things to cope with it.’

So, a micro-managing boss could be far more damaging than the actual demands of your job – meaning that the study’s authors are arguing for the need to restructure businesses to allow employees to set their own goals and prioritise their decision making.

‘Stressful jobs cause you to find ways to problem-solve and work through ways to get the work done. A stressful job, then, instead of being something debilitating, can be something that’s energising. You can set your own goals, you are able to prioritise work. You can go about deciding how you are going to get it done. That stress then becomes something you enjoy.’

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