Why Work Stress Is Even Worse For Your Body Than You Think

Everyone experiences work-related stress at some point in the lives. The pressures and stress of the day-to-day can be quite taxing and can even take a toll on your mental and physical health. In fact, being in a constant state of stress can negatively impact your entire body (via Health). For instance, chronic stress can cause cardiovascular issues, like high blood pressure. That's because the stress hormone cortisol can narrow or constrict your blood vessels, causing your blood pressure to rise. Over time, high blood pressure can damage your arteries and increase your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke.

Work-related stress can also cause insomnia. Many people who experience stress also experience hyperarousal — a state of increased alertness and anxiety. This can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep and can even contribute to sleep disorders in the long-term. Other side effects of stress include headaches, memory problems, hair loss, high blood sugar, gastrointestinal issues, skin problems, back pain, and premature aging.

How to manage stress

If you're experiencing chronic, work-related stress, there are a few things you can do to help manage or reduce it. One way to combat stress is to exercise (via WebMD). Although it might seem counterintuitive, working out can actually relax your body and reduce your cortisol levels. Exercising can also releases endocannabinoids — signaling molecules that can help improve your mood and relieve stress.

Another effective way to reduce work-related stress is to take a break. Giving yourself some downtime in between tasks can help relax and recharge your mind. While you're on your break, you can try meditating, listening to music, or taking a walk outside. If you work at home, you can even try doing yoga. Talking about your problems at work or school can also help lower your stress. Whether it's with a therapist, colleague, or friend, talking about what's bothering you and reframing your negative thoughts can help manage your stress levels. Staying away from negative thought patterns can help reduce the impact your stressors have on your mind and body.