It’s far from breaking news that stress is bad for you, but new research from the Harvard Business School and Stanford University has outed exactly how damaging it can be to your body and mind, and it’s not pretty: Workplace stress is just as harmful to your health as secondhand smoke.
In a meta-analysis of 228 studies, researchers looked at how 10 common workplace stressors—including long work hours, poor social support in the office and work-family conflict—affected four health outcomes: having a diagnosed condition, the perception of poor physical health, the perception of poor mental health, and, finally, death.
Those suffering from job insecurity are 50 percent more likely to rate their health as poor, which are the same odds reported by people exposed to secondhand smoke.
Additionally, similar to the effects of secondhand smoke, high job demands raise the odds of having a diagnosed illness by 35 percent, and long work hours increase odds of death by 20 percent. You read that right: 20 percent.