You Can Die from Working Too Hard
I often try to focus on recent studies, since science progresses so quickly.
And when it comes to stress, there have been a lot of interesting studies over the past few years.
However, we went back almost 15 years for this one:
Are Vacations Good for Your Health? The 9-Year Mortality Experience After the Multiple Risk Factor Intervention Trial
As you can guess from the title, the study examined the association between vacations and health. Vacations are obviously not an exact measure of stress or the lack thereof.
The study followed over 12,000 men for about 9 years, but it was, nonetheless, only an observational study, meaning that we can only draw hypotheses from it.
However, the results were astounding enough to warrant some discussion.
In general, the study compared how often the men took vacations with how often they died. Pretty simple.
The result was that men who took more frequent vacations were 21% less likely to die from any cause (and over 30% less likely to die from heart disease).
Again – this is only observation, and although the researchers tried to control for other factors like activity level, diet, smoking, etc., it’s really impossible to account for everything.
However, given the huge body of research that links stress to higher rates of disease, it’s pretty likely that stress played a significant role in these results.
Takeaway: Stress Will Kill You.
No joke. Stress may be the single most under-appreciated aspect of health. It likely has an even bigger impact than your diet.
Stress is an often-overlooked aspect of modern lifestyles, mostly because we don’t have great answers for how to reduce stress. Vacations, meditation, exercise, and other practices can help, but they’re not holistic solutions.
Whatever you do, pay attention to your stress levels, and try to do something about it. After all, it’s about more than potentially dying – being stressed all the time is really no way to live.
Images: Copyright © william87 from Fotolia