The constant battle for workplace success can leave us overworked and full of stress-related tension.

As if the stress itself wasn’t enough, the American Psychological Association (APA) reports that stress may also impact our health. “Along with its emotional toll, prolonged job-related stress can drastically affect your physical health. Constant preoccupation with job responsibilities often leads to erratic eating habits and not enough exercise, resulting in weight problems, high blood pressure, and elevated cholesterol levels,” says the APA.

A new study examined the link between work-related stress and the risk of type 2 diabetes. Researchers looked at more than 5,000 patients, aged 29 to 66, who didn’t have diabetes at the beginning of the study. During the follow up nearly 12 years later, they found about 300 of the patients had been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and reported high job strain.

“Men and women who experience high job strain are at higher risk for developing T2DM (type 2 diabetes mellitus) independently of traditional risk factors,” the study says. “Preventive strategies to combat the globally increasing T2DM epidemic should take into consideration the adverse effects of high strain in the work environment.”

How stress impacts your health

According to WebMD, letting stress build can lead to adverse health-related problems. In addition to increasing the risk of developing type 2 diabetes:

  • Nearly 40 percent of adults have health-related problems caused by stress.
  • It’s been reported that 75 to 90 percent of doctor visits are from stress-related complaints.
  • Stress contributes to headaches, high blood pressure, heart conditions, diabetes, skin conditions, asthma, arthritis, depression and anxiety.
  • Stress costs American industry more than $300 billion annually, as reported by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
  • More than 50 percent of emotional disorders are due to chronic and untreated stress reactions.

Reduce your work-related stress

Here are four tips you can implement into your daily routine that may help you relieve and decrease stress in the workplace.

1. Take breaks. It’s important to take advantage of breaks. Even 10-minute breaks can give your body and mind time to refresh. Use those precious minutes to take a lap around the office or go outside for a short walk.
2. Set attainable goals. This is important in life as well as in the workplace. Know what your capabilities are and set goals that you can reach without causing unnecessary stress.
3. Watch your moods. If you start to get angry or upset, get up and walk away. Even just a few minutes away from the situation can help you regroup and come back ready to take on the challenge.
4. Eat a healthy lunch. Avoid running out for fast food. A well-balanced meal can help you stay focused and avoid that afternoon slump.