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Mean Boss? Exercise Could Help Lower Stress, Study Shows

Mean Boss Exercise

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 01/26/2012 2:20 pm Updated: 01/26/2012 5:16 pm

If it seems like your mean boss needs to chill, maybe you should suggest he or she hit the gym.

A new study in the Journal of Business and Psychology reveals that bosses who don't take the time to exercise are more stressed and lash out at their employees, compared with bosses who make time for fitness, the Telegraph reported.

The Times of India explained the way the study was conducted: 98 students enrolled in an MBA program at two different midwestern universities completed questionnaires, along with their 98 supervisors. The students were asked to rate their boss's level of abuse -- examples include the boss putting them down in public, or telling them their feelings are stupid.

Then, the supervisors answered questionnaires about their exercise habits and levels of stress in the workplace.

Researchers found that the more stressed out the bosses were, the more likely their employees were to say they felt like they were being victimized, the Times of India reported. And, the more the boss broke a sweat, the less abuse reported on the part of the employee.

"This is the first study to examine how exercise can buffer the relationship between supervisor stress and employee perceptions of abusive supervision," University of Northern Illinois researchers wrote in the study.

Everyday Health reported that a previous study, conducted by University of California, San Francisco researchers found that exercise is linked with lower chronic stress levels for women.

No one wants a mean boss, but past research also shows how it can take a strain on your marriage. Research from Baylor University suggests that people are more likely to report fighting or having feelings of irritation or resentment toward a spouse or partner if they also report having a supervisor who puts them down or gets angry at them.

For more strategies to reduce stress, check out these 10 tips from HuffPost blogger and fitness expert Frank Sepe:

Meditate
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Find a quiet place, get completely relaxed, clear your mind and focus on your own breathing for 10 to 20 distraction-free minutes. Find time every day to give your self this mental and physical break.

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