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How Job Stress Affects Your Heart

Medically reviewed by Mike Kenneth Go Doratan, MD · General Surgery · The Medical City Ortigas

Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Jun 14, 2021

How Job Stress Affects Your Heart

These days, it seems that more and more people are stressed out. This is especially true for millennials who seem to deal with a lot of stress more than other generations. And it’s taking a toll on their health. Job stress and heart health are one of the most notable examples of how stress affects a person’s health.

But before we get to that, let us talk about what job stress is.

What is Job Stress?

Job stress seems pretty straightforward. Also known as work-related stress, job stress is essentially stress that is caused by a person’s job. But it goes much deeper than that.

Factors such as a person’s salary, work hours, their co-workers, their boss, can cause job stress. Here are some more things that can cause job stress:

  • Pressure to perform or succeed in the workplace can cause a lot of job stress
  • Lack of support from superiors or from co-workers can increase the stress that a person experiences at work
  • Bad management, or management not listening to the needs of their workers can also cause job stress
  • Feeling stuck in a dead-end job can also cause stress

All of these factors contribute to a high level of stress in the workplace. Workers who often experience these things tend to be more stressed out and can find it hard to do their job properly.

What’s more, stress can cause a lot of strain on the body. It can even cause serious illness if the symptoms are ignored.

What is the connection between job stress and heart health?

If you have ever been anxious, you might have felt some changes in your body. Your heart starts to beat faster, and you start to feel tense. Your body responds the same way when you are under a lot of stress. Biologically speaking, this is our “fight or flight’ response kicking in during a stressful situation.

This might be useful if you were a caveman trying to outrun predators, but these days it is mainly caused by stressful situations, such as a traffic jam, or stress in the workplace.

The effects of stress on your heart might not be noticeable at first. But if you are constantly under stress day in and day out, then stress can have a significant effect on your health.

Stress can also affect your heart indirectly. A lot of people tend to overeat, or drink, or smoke in order to cope with stress. These habits, in turn, pose a great risk to your heart health. This is why it is so important to recognize just how big of an impact job stress has on your heart.

For millennials, stress can cause them to take up these bad habits at a younger age. This means that when they grow older, they would start to feel the negative effects of these habits on their heart.

job stress and heart health

Stress also has an effect on your mental health

Aside from your heart health, job stress can also have an effect on your mental health. Having job stress can lead to mental health problems such as depression and burnout.

Mental health problems can also affect the way you work, and can make you under perform or not be able to do your job properly. When that happens, you feel even more stress, which affects your mental health even more.

Mental health problems also affect your overall health. Aside from developing unhealthy coping mechanisms, your body can start to feel the physical symptoms over time. Here are some of the physical symptoms of mental health problems:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Chronic pain
  • Stomachaches
  • Constipation
  • Lack of energy
  • Changes in your appetite
  • Low sex drive

This is how big of an impact stress can have on your health. It might not be apparent early on, but you will definitely start to notice the effects as your stress gets worse. This is why it is important to take steps that would help lower your stress levels.

How Can You Reduce Stress?

Here are some useful tips when it comes to reducing job stress.

Eat right

The food you eat can have a big impact on not just your health, but your well-being, too. Eating healthy food makes you feel better and healthier, and can help you better cope with stress on a daily basis. Try to eat more fruits and veggies and less processed foods.


Exercise not only keeps your body strong and healthy, but it also helps regulate your mood and make you feel less stressed. Exercise also helps you sleep better at night. Ideally, you need to have at least 30 minutes of exercise each day.

Get at least 8 hours of sleep

Speaking of sleep, you need to get at least 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep at night. This helps your mind and your body rest, and prepares you for the day ahead. Additionally, taking a 20 to 30-minute nap in the afternoon can also help you sleep better and helps you cope with stress.

Take a break

Continuously working can put a strain on your mind, and lead to stress. Take a quick 5 to 10 minute break for every hour you are working. This helps keep your brain working at its best, and helps prevent being too overworked.

Take up a hobby

Having a hobby, such as painting or playing a musical instrument, is a great way to relieve stress. It’s something to keep you busy, and something that holds your focus and lifts up your mood.

Avoid taking up habits such as smoking or drinking

Smoking and drinking are common coping mechanisms for job stress, especially for millennials. But the reality is that they are not really good coping mechanisms and can, in fact, cause even more stress in the long run.

Treat yourself to a massage

Being under a lot of job stress can cause you to feel aches and pains all over your body. A great way to relax would be to get a massage so that you can calm down and rest your tired muscles.


Meditation and mindfulness allow you to focus on what you need to do and be in the present. This helps take away any distractions or negative thoughts that can cause you stress.

Talk to a therapist

Lastly, if you feel that the job stress you are experiencing is too much, do not hesitate to seek professional help. Talking to a therapist can help you develop healthy coping mechanisms, and also helps put things into perspective, so that you can be less stressed at work.

Key Takeaways

Being under too much stress is never a good thing. A lot of people, especially millennials, feel that stress means that they are working hard. This may be the case, but at the end of the day, their bodies and their health are the ones to pay the price.

That’s why it is important to not overwork yourself, and take breaks every so often. Your health is very important, and should always be a top priority.

You can find more heart health tips, here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Mike Kenneth Go Doratan, MD

General Surgery · The Medical City Ortigas

Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Jun 14, 2021

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