Where do you stress more? You may think that for most, stress would make it’s biggest appearance at work, however, a recent study from Penn State University shows that the home is where we stress the most.
Research shows that even for those with a happy home life, work can be a much less stressful experience than time at home. Think of the things that may trigger stress at home – many are connected to relationships or monetary issues which often rank at the top of stressor lists… When cortisol was measured in test subjects, scientists found that the majority of those being tested had significantly lower levels in their bodies at work than at home.
The type of home life or subject didn’t seem to matter according to this study – men, women, single, married, divorced, parents or those without kids all showed the higher stress levels at home. It is also interesting to note that occupation made no difference – perceived “high stress” job or not, cortisol levels were still higher at home.
In terms of happiness, women were more likely to report this at work while men reported being happy at home. Researchers believe that this may be due to many women still doing more of the housework and childcare duties, so feeling that they have less spare time.
So why do we feel less stress at work? It is felt that there are a number of factors: for example society tends to still place more value on paid work and whereas you can advance and achieve higher competency at work, few people would ever feel that way about their home life.
Interestingly, researchers also suggest that there are habits we have at work which we should try bringing into the home. For example, in a professional setting you tend to learn quickly to set boundaries about things such as interruptions. Researchers suggest that you do the same thing at home when you are needing some time out. For example, explain that you need some uninterrupted time but provide an avenue where family members can write things down for you to read later whenever they may have the urge to interrupt you.
At work, the showing of appreciation is often common-place, whereas at home this is often not the case. If this happens in your home, it is suggested that you try modelling the behavior yourself. Even if you live alone, researchers suggest rewarding yourself for accomplishments.
Whether you feel stress at work or home, there are good strategies you can put in place to help manage the stress. Try bringing in some of those behaviors that are often seen as a courtesy in the workplace and see whether this could be an effective strategy for you…