(Have You Considered Changing Your Job?)

The American Psychological Association reports that chronic stress is linked to the six leading causes of death—heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver, and suicide. According to numerous studies, work stress is the number one cause of stress.

Work Stress

If you’re in a job that piles work stress on top of all the other stressors in your life, it can be extremely difficult to relax.

Being able to relax, balance, and de-stress is vitally important to your life, your health, and your ability to be happy.

How Stuck are You?

Let’s get real for a minute. Are you truly trapped in a job or career, or do you just feel that way? Is it worth your freedom to stay in a job that makes you feel overworked and undervalued?

If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re not alone. You can and should do something about it rather than sticking it out.

This topic is big. It made Forbes magazine. Forbes referenced a job stress survey by Monster.com reporting that 42 percent of 7,000 U.S. workers actually left a position due to a stressful work environment.

I have personal friends who have left high-stress positions for less stressful, more satisfying jobs. And my husband and I both started our own businesses rather than returning to corporate America after being laid off. We are all far happier now. We are contributing to humanity and our lives are far more balanced.

In another survey, 549 out of 900 workers (61 percent) said they had experienced physical illness from stress, including insomnia, depression and family issues. Seven percent have even been hospitalized due to work-related stress.

Chances are, unless you work for one of today’s forward-thinking firms, neither your management nor your company will help you find relief. Some companies address the stress issue by giving extra time off or letting people work from home. But employees report that 66 percent of their workplaces do nothing to alleviate their work stress.

Find a Job with Less Work Stress

Find a new jobYour network is always the best place to begin looking for more suitable employment. People you know are in a position to help you. Perhaps you know someone who has left your company and paved the road to an employer they can recommend.

If you don’t have a strong network, now is the time to start one. Begin by making connections with influential people in other departments or divisions within your company. Next, join some professional associations outside of your firm. Becoming active where others will get to know you and your capabilities is the best thing you can do to get hired.

But how do you know if your new job will be less stressful if you don’t know anyone at the new company? Sit down when you have an hour or so and search the Internet for companies with a more humanistic corporate culture.

I did this for five minutes and came up with the following:

  • Great Places to Work lists the best places to work in 2016 for women, parents, diversity, retail, the best small and medium workplaces, and the best places to work in 2017 for technology.
  • Healthiest Employers lists the 100 healthiest companies in each year, 2014 through 2016, that recognize employee well-being as a strategic corporate capability.
  • Healthiest Companies lists 44 healthiest large and small companies in America to work in 2015.
  • Best Corporate Cultures lists the 25 most enjoyable companies to work for in 2014.

Don’t be discouraged that the last two lists are a little older. Positive corporate cultures can remain intact for a long time. Just be vigilant and check all of your resources.

Glass Door’s website, www.glassdoor.com, gives you the best opportunity to see what’s going on inside many corporations. They provide detailed company ratings, including comments from actual employees. Go to the “Companies” tab and search on the company you want to research.

You can reduce your stress immediately by forming a plan B to find yourself a better job. Just knowing your current status is temporary and you are planning to improve your situation will make the stress much easier to take.

Find a Less Stressful Career

Are you still in the planning stages for your career? Will you be attending college? “Business Insider” asked career information expert, Laurence Shatkin, PhD, to identify jobs with less work stress that pay high salaries.

He used Bureau of Labor Statistics Data to identify 17 jobs matching these requirements. He came up with: orthodontist, marine engineer/naval architect, computer hardware engineer, food scientist, astronomer, economist, political scientist, mathematician, law teacher, actuary, physicist, optometrist, computer or information systems manager, art director, statistician, geoscientist, and applications software developer.

The same list from the previous year included additional choices: dental hygienist, engineer, technical writer, urban/regional planner, and audiologist.

Following are eight high-paying jobs identified by “Business Insider” that do not require college: communications equipment mechanic, aircraft mechanic, respiratory therapist, electrical technician, retail buyer, web developer, registered nurse, and commercial pilot.

Monster.com published the article Seven Hidden-Gem Careers addressing alternative careers with less stress that may offer just what you are looking for.

Careercast.com also provides an annual list of jobs with less work stress, although not all on the high paying side. On their list this year are information security analyst, diagnostic medical sonographer, tenured university professor (professors expressed a lot of controversy regarding this one), hair stylist, medical records technician, medical laboratory technician, jeweler, audiologist, dietitian, and librarian. Last year’s list also included audiologist, seamstress/tailor, multimedia artist, and drill-press operator in addition to most of the others.

Do What You Love

Your best bet is to identify a job you love doing because it involves your passion and talents. John Swartz, regional director of career services at Everest and spokesperson for their annual Work Stress Survey said, “There are many reasons for feeling stressed at work, but those who feel like they’ve been able to have control over their careers and work in a field they’re truly passionate about, end up being more satisfied and productive.”

Your passion is what you are meant to do while on this planet. Take it from me—I realized I liked writing more than anything else when I was in elementary school, but I tried everything to avoid it as a career. I was afraid it would become tedious if I was forced to do it. But look what I’m doing now—and I’m more satisfied than I’ve ever been with my vocation.

To decrease your work stress even further, click here to download my free eBook, 10 Ways to De-stress Your Life Permanently. Yes, the recommendations are based on yoga!