Low wages could harm your heart

By Shayna Brouker • Published: May 17th, 2013
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

Work-related woes can do a number on your health, both physically and mentally. Demanding bosses, an endless inbox and irritating cubemates can make even the most work world-hardened veterans weary. But one factor can really take a toll on your ticker — your salary. The European Journal of Public Health reports that those who earn less face a higher risk for high blood pressure and heart disease.

A study of more than 5,000 worker bees ages 25 to 65 collected health information for six years. Those with the lowest wages were more likely to suffer hypertension than workers with the highest earnings. The link was especially notable among women and people between the ages of 25 to 44, which didn’t surprise researchers since these groups typically make less money than others. Hypertension-inducing wages were found to be 17 dollars an hour or less, which equates to about forty-seven thousand dollars a year with inflation.

The simple, yet sad explanation is that some people gauge their social worth by how much they earn. Low wages also make everyday living a hassle. But you don’t have to let your paycheck define your outlook on life.

Remember which parts of your job fulfill you and give you purpose. Distance yourself from negative nellies and surround yourself with positive people. Let yourself lean on your peers for moral support when times get tough. Seek out the good stuff that happens in the office, whether it’s a compliment from a coworker or free pizza Friday.

Reorganize your desk into a space you’re happy to spend time in. Post pictures of past vacations, pets or family members. Listen to relaxing music. Take a walk outside to enjoy some fresh air when the office gets too stuffy. And never underestimate the power of a mental health day. Work doesn’t have to be a burden on your wallet and your health.