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Good Housekeeping
Charlene J. Owen, Staff Writer
September 25, 2012

New Study: Your Genes Might Affect How You Respond to Stress

Research says that your anxiety isn't about your work; it's about you. By Charlene J. Owen

Most people equate work with stress. Let’s face it--deadlines, reports, and presentations are hard enough to manage on time without your boss breathing down your neck. So maybe it’s the workload or maybe it’s your boss that’s causing you sleepless nights and the resultant eye bags large enough to be classified as luggage. But is your job really the cause of stress or is it something more internal?

A recent study published in the journal, Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Process suggests that stress is not so much the result of your environment (work, boss) but rather a genetic reaction. In the study, Swedish twins of different kinds (identical/fraternal) and different upbringings (raised together or apart) were tested. The results seem to point that genetic makeup is four times more important than the actual environment they were in, Forbes.com reports. 

Timothy Judge, lead author of the paper, explains that while changing jobs to get out of a stressful work environment is a good strategy, it doesn’t mean that the new job you have will have less stress involved because your own genes determine how you react to tense situations. By accepting this fact, you can start teaching your body to better cope with stress. Judge says that stress is more about “what’s inside of us than what we encounter outside in the work environment.”

So the next time you blame your boss for stressing you out, think again; you may just be more genetically susceptible to it than your co-workers. It may be the first step to finding a stress management regimen that’s right for you.  

(Screencap from Gossip Girl courtesy of the CW Television Network) 

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Charlene J. Owen
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