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18 September 2012
We all have to work. It is the nature of life that we must occupy ourselves in ways that sustain our community and our own existence. In times past that work could have been trotting around after a tasty looking mammoth or cultivating a nice tuber crop. In the modern world what we describe as work usually involves employment by another person or organisation. We spend an estimated 92,000 hours working in an average lifetime so no wonder it shapes our experience. Now a new study has found that it also shapes your health and may increase your risk of a heart attack.
These findings are the result of a new study by researchers who did a meta-analysis of studies originating from thirteen countries across Europe that included more than 197,000 people. These were studies in which the participants were asked questions about their job including how free they were to make decisions, their job demands, excessive workloads, and levels of time-pressure. The studies spanned an average of 7.5 years and took place between 1985 and 2006.
The researchers defined that someone was experiencing job stress if they experienced high work demands but low levels of decision making and control.
The analysis showed that even after taking into account socioeconomic status, gender, age, and lifestyle there was a significant link between job stress and risk of heart attack. People experiencing job stress were 23 per cent more likely to have a heart attack during the studies than people not experiencing job stress.
It all adds new meaning to putting your heart into your work and adds impetus to the need to find your passion and spend those 92,000+ hours doing something that soothes your soul, feeds your mind, and sustains your body.