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What Your Job Can Do to Your Heart

What Your Job Can Do to Your Heart

The funny thing about your heart not being in your job is that your job finds a way to affect your heart anyway. When researchers looked at men who felt unfairly treated at work, those who kept their feelings inside had more than twice the risk of a heart attack as those who coped in other ways.

We're not recommending that you yell at your boss or kick any dogs. Instead, find strategies that dissipate the anger. Don't wait. Anger and hostility can also cause high blood pressure and constrict your blood vessels, which can lead to problems, including impotence. (More than one-quarter of U.S. adults have prehypertension.

If you're unable to tackle the problems with your manager, your HR department, or your colleagues, at least try these anger-management tools:

  • Do the opposite. Instead of swearing at someone who cuts you off, consider that there might be a reason—maybe he just got a call that his wife is in labor. Don't use that finger; empathize with the poor guy about the 24,619 diapers he is going to have to change.
  • Choose smart words. Steer clear of words like "never" or "always." Statements like "This machine never works!" or "You're always forgetting things!" not only are inaccurate but also make you feel that your anger is justified because there's no way to solve the problem.
  • Get real with your expectations. Don't blame yourself for things that are out of your control, and don't blame your boss for things that are out of her control.

Medically reviewed in February 2020.

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