Hot Topic: How Are Your CORTISOL Levels Today?

People today harbour higher levels of stress than others. What is more interesting however, is that recent studies suggest stress levels are higher at home than at work.  This latest news stems from a book published by sociologist Arlie Hochschild on reviewing social and work lifestyle patterns for parents.

Home is where the stress is…

A study by Penn State, which questioned 122 employed adults, found that their levels of cortisol (steroid hormone stress level indicator) were much higher at home than at work. Interestingly, the levels of stress perceived by the participants did not always match their actual stress levels. This was found by requesting participants to provide an honest account of stress levels at various intervals throughout their working day while also taking swab samples to measure their levels of cortisol.

These results do not necessarily suggest that people should spend more time at work to reduce their stress levels, nor does it suggest that they are in fact unhappy at home. It simply identifies that work-life balance for many could be causing more stress than originally anticipated.

It may be the case that the stress of ensuring everything is done at work on time, tends to come out more when we are home. It was suggested that creative hobbies can help with this to distract your mindset from work and bring yourself to a leisurely mentality. This is supported by the fact that results from adult participants who were more active in sports reported they felt relatively healthy. The levels of cortisol in those individuals, compared with the levels of working parents, indicated lower levels of the steroid.

Studies suggest that many employees see their career as something they are ‘obligated’ to; when in reality – according to stress level research – their job gives them an equilibrium ground to balance and focus on things in their professional lives, leaving other topics at home. As it is our private residence which accommodates the higher levels of our daily stress chemicals, this should force people to create a healthier work-life balance for themselves. 




People in high income jobs experience the same levels of stress at home and at work

The one exception to the study applies to those in high income professions as this group of professionals tend to experience the same levels of stress at work and at home. This is thought to be because most high income jobs come with a high level of responsibility, and in turn, a higher level of stress associated with it.

While many would presume that their work life is the focal point of their anxiety levels, it may be interesting to know that your office could actually act as your ‘place of rescue’! Do you suffer from high stress levels? Are you more stressed at home or in the office? Comment below!

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