It’s nearly 5:00, and you’re watching the clock. In a few blissful minutes, your terrible workday will be over, and you’ll get to retreat to the comfort of home.
This scenario is familiar to millions of Americans who are dissatisfied with their current occupations.
However, it’s just now being confirmed that working a stressful job actually does have real effects on how fast your body ages.
Stress has already been implicated in lowering immune function, negatively affecting your cardiovascular system and possibly raising your risk for cancer. This new study cites a stressful job as being the catalyst for damaging cell DNA that’s critical for keeping us in good health.
Here are the findings of this study:
“A study led by Kirsi Ahola of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health measured the length of DNA sections called telomeres and how the lengths varied in association with job stress. It found that people with the most job stress tended to have shorter telomeres.” – TODAY Health (Full Study Results Here)
This is important because telomeres typically shorten with age or after exposure to oxidation. If the telomeres become extremely short, the cell often dies. If the cell doesn’t die, the short telomere causes it to function incorrectly, further damaging the body.
Telomere shortening has been associated with many health disorders, including diabetes, cancer, Parkinson’s and heart disease. This means that by working a stressful job, you could be raising your risk for these age-related health disorders.
Other types of stress can also contribute to short telomeres.
Stressing about money, marriage or relationship problems, health problems or the stress of past trauma can also contribute to shorter telomeres. Interestingly enough, men tend to have shorter telomeres than women.
It’s no secret that stress has become a problem for our society’s mental and physical health. However, it hasn’t really been the focus of many federal health initiatives. If stress has become a contributing factor for so many possibly devastating health issues, reducing stress should become our primary focus.