Have you ever thought if your job and waistline were getting along?
I bet you have not but this is about to change.
The point is not about how much you really enjoy or despise your job. The point is that even if you like your job it can still be rather stressful. Right?
This brings you to the stress and big waistline connection which is well documented but is there any data supporting the job and waistline connection?
A study, conducted by Dr. Eric J. Brunner over 19 years (American Journal of Epidemiology, January 22, 2007) found that higher job related stress levels were connected to excess fat around the waistline which can be detrimental to your heart. The participants in the study were between 35 to 55 years old (6895 men and 3413 women between the age of 35 and 55) reported job strain levels which included heavy demands, little decision-making power and little social support. Both men and women who reported job strain on at least three occasions were 73 percent more likely to have heart disease and high blood pressure.
A very interesting finding was that socioeconomic status and tobacco use, was also taken into consideration but had little relevance. The study provides a solid evidence that high psychological workload and lack of social support at work can cause abdominal obesity or big belly and that is bad news for your heart.
What is even more important, is that stress is the connection between job and waistline.
What can you do about it?
Here are some of my favorite stress relief techniques that are easy to use in the working place:
Here are my 4 favorite techniques inspired by Chinese traditional medicine. I practice them on myself any time I have an unusually stressful day, too many concerns, a bad night's sleep, a headache for "no reason" after a long day or a deadline approaching.
1. Head acupressure points
Put your hands on your head (you may sit, stand or lie in bed). Locate the base of your skull with your thumbs. Press your thumbs in and slightly upward in the direction of your eyes. Repeat 10 times
Press your middle fingers right in the middle of your eye brows and slightly above them. Hold the pressure for 10 seconds and release. Repeat 5 times.
Then slide your fingers along your eyebrows until they reach the temple. Position your middle fingers in the temple area and make a circular movement and slide the fingers behind the ear down to the side of your neck. Repeat 5 times.
2. Hands acupressure points
The point is located on both hands, about 1.5 inches (3.8cm) in from the edge of the webbing between your thumbs and index fingers. Put your left thumb on the right hand point and squeeze. Then with your index finger massage your palm. Do the same on the other hand. Repeat 5 times.
3. Neck stretch and self massage:
Loosening and relaxing your muscles by stretching and massaging your neck is a very simple, but very efficient stress relief technique that makes you feel less tense and rigid. Bend your head forward, then in a slow circular motion move your head from your right shoulder to the left. Do the same starting the circle from the right. Try it - it works!
There is nothing better and less expensive than breathing as a quick stress relief method. Take a deep breath.
Yes. A deep breath and slowly exhale. That's it!
Do it Again.
3 times is enough. The more oxygen you supply to the brain, the more endorphines (the hormones that make you feel good) are released.
Now you are ready to face any stressful thoughts or situations that come your way
In conclusion: If you have a particularly stressful job or you hate your job- your heart can literally suffer. Please read my article Can your waistline measurement save your heart.
The great thing is that now that you know that your job and waistline are connected you can do something to prevent this from happening.
Well, start by getting a tape measure.
To sum it up: There is a growing body of evidence that waistline > 35 inch (women) and > 40 inch (men) is a strong predictor of heart risk, diabetes and high blood pressure. There is also solid data about the relation between job related stress and abdominal obesity.
By Neli Stoyanova MD
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