If you're addicted to checking your email and regularly work through evenings, weekends and vacations, you might be a workaholic -- and your health may be suffering because of it. Recent research has found a link between workaholism and reduced physical and mental well-being.
The Kansas State University study, which will be published in the journal Financial Planning Review, found that well-being is generally not a priority for workaholics.
"We found workaholics -- defined by those working more than 50 hours per week -- were more likely to have reduced physical well-being, measured by skipped meals," doctoral researcher, Sarah Asebedo, said in a statement. "Also, we found that workaholism was associated with reduced mental well-being as measured by a self-reported depression score."
To figure out why some choose to work overtime even when they know it's not good for health, the researchers turned to a mathematical analysis called Becker's Theory of the Allocation of Time, which helps to measure the cost of time. The theory highlights the paradox that working overtime leads to more income, but less time to spend this income. it also suggests that as income increases, workers are more likely to develop unhealthy habits around working excessively.
"[Becker's Theory] looks at the cost of time as if it were a market good," Asebedo said in the statement. "This theory suggests that the more money you make, the more likely you are to work more. If you are not engaged in work-related activities, then there is a cost to the alternative way in which time is spent. Even if you understand the negative consequences to workaholism, you may still be likely to continue working because the cost of not doing so becomes greater."
The findings are based on data from the 1979 cohort of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth that included 12,686 young men and women. All the study participants were interviewed each year until 1994, and are still interviewed biennially.
Of course, it's no secret that overworking can have a negative effect on your health and happiness. A number of studies have shown the detrimental toll that work stress in particular can take on your health, including depression and an increased risk of heart attack and diabetes. And workaholism in particular has been associated with poor sleep quality, weight gain, high blood pressure, depression and anxiety, not to mention unhappy marriages and higher divorce rates.
And with the possibility to work from anywhere, at anytime, it's easier than ever to become a workaholic in the first place. More than eight in 10 Americans are stressed about their jobs -- citing an unreasonable workload as their number-one stressor -- and 61 percent of employed vacationers will work through their vacation this year (up from 52 percent last year).
But turning on that out-of-office autoreply and taking some time to rest and recharge can actually have a positive effect on not just your well-being, but also your productivity. Even a short nap can boost cognitive functioning, improving creative thinking, learning and memory.
"Renewal is not for slackers," Tony Schwartz, CEO of The Energy Project, told the Huffington Post. "Renewal is a way in which to increase your capacity to be more effective."
Also on HuffPost:
Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and CEO, News Corp
News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch recently <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/23/rupert-murdoch-meditation-transcendental_n_3131268.html" target="_blank">tweeted</a> that he was trying out <a href="http://www.tm.org/" target="_blank">Transcendental Meditation</a>, a popular technique developed in the 1960s and followed today by famous practitioners like Oprah, David Lynch and Candy Crowley. The media tycoon <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/23/rupert-murdoch-meditation-transcendental_n_3131268.html" target="_blank">said on Twitter in April</a>, "Everyone recommends, not that easy to get started, but said to improve everything!"
Padmasree Warrior, CTO, Cisco Systems
Warrior, the chief technology and strategy officer of Cisco Systems, meditates every night and spends her Saturdays doing a "digital detox." In her previous role as Cisco's head of engineering, Warrior oversaw 22,000 employees, and she<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/24/technology/silicon-valley-worries-about-addiction-to-devices.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0" target="_blank"> told the New York Times in 2012</a> that taking time to meditate and unplug helped her to manage it all. “It’s almost like a reboot for your brain and your soul,” <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/24/technology/silicon-valley-worries-about-addiction-to-devices.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0" target="_blank">she said</a>. “It makes me so much calmer when I’m responding to e-mails later.”
Tony Schwartz, Founder & CEO, The Energy Project
The Energy Project CEO Tony Schwartz has been meditating for over 20 years. He originally started the practice to quiet his busy mind, <a href="http://csp.org/practices/meditation/docs/schwartz-meditation.html" target="_blank">according to his book <em>What Really Matters: Searching for Wisdom in America</em></a>. Schwartz says that meditating has freed him from migraines and helped him develop patience, and he also advocates mindfulness as a way to improve work performance. "Maintaining a steady reservoir of energy -- physically, mentally, emotionally and even spiritually -- requires refueling it intermittently," <a href="http://blogs.hbr.org/schwartz/2011/12/how-to-accomplish-more-by-doin.html" target="_blank">Schwartz wrote in a Harvard Business Review blog</a>.
Bill Ford, Executive Chairman, Ford Motor Company
The Ford Motor Company chairman is a big proponent of meditation in the business world, <a href="http://www.inc.com/articles/201110/more-and-more-entrepreneurs-meditate-how-and-why-you-should-too.html" target="_blank">according to Inc. Magazine</a>. At<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soren-gordhamer/bill-ford-on-compassion-i_b_2781129.html" target="_blank"> this year's Wisdom 2.0 conference</a>, Ford was interviewed by leading American Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield. Ford<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soren-gordhamer/bill-ford-on-compassion-i_b_2781129.html" target="_blank"> told Kornfield</a> that during difficult times at the company, he set an intention every morning to go through his day with compassion. And to lead with compassion, Ford said he first learned to develop compassion for himself through a loving-kindness (<em>metta</em>) meditation practice.
Oprah Winfrey, Chairwoman & CEO, Harpo Productions, Inc.
An outspoken advocate of <a href="http://www.tm.org/" target="_blank">Transcendental Meditation</a>, Oprah -- recently <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/dorothypomerantz/2013/06/26/oprah-winfrey-regains-no-1-slot-on-forbes-2013-list-of-the-most-powerful-celebrities/" target="_blank">named</a> the most powerful celebrity of 2013 by Forbes -- has said she sits in stillness for 20 minutes, twice a day. She's also brought in TM teachers for employees at Harpo Productions, Inc. who want to learn how to meditate. After a meditation in Iowa last year, <a href="http://www.oprah.com/health/Oprah-on-Stillness-and-Meditation-Oprah-Visits-Fairfield-Iowa#ixzz2XoJNWPAR" target="_blank">Oprah said</a>, "I walked away feeling fuller than when I'd come in. Full of hope, a sense of contentment, and deep joy. Knowing for sure that even in the daily craziness that bombards us from every direction, there is -- still -- the constancy of stillness. Only from that space can you create your best work and your best life."
Larry Brilliant, CEO, Skoll Global Threats Fund
Larry Brilliant, CEO of the Skoll Global Threats Fund and former director of Google.org, spent two years during his 20s <a href="http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/commencement-2013-larry-brilliants-address/" target="_blank">living in a Himalayan ashram</a> and meditating, until his guru instructed him to join a World Health Organization team working to fight smallpox in New Delhi. In his <a href="http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/news/features/commencement-2013-larry-brilliants-address/" target="_blank">2013 commencement address</a> at the Harvard School of Public Health, Brilliant emphasized the importance of peace of mind, wishing the graduates lives full of equanimity -- a state of mental calm and composure.
Arianna Huffington, President & Editor-in-Chief, Huffington Post Media Group
In a <a href="http://www.vogue.com/magazine/article/arianna-huffington-the-connector/#1" target="_blank">2011 <em>Vogue </em>feature</a>, Huffington described early-morning yoga and meditation as two of her "joy triggers." Now, Huffington has brought meditation into her company, offering <a href="http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/media/2013/06/8530708/her-cooper-square-hq-arianna-huffington-goes-even-bigger-yoga-meditati" target="_blank">weekly classes</a> for AOL and Huffington Post employees. Huffington has spoken out on the benefits of mindfulness not just for individual health, but also for corporate bottom lines. "Stress-reduction and mindfulness don't just make us happier and healthier, they're a proven competitive advantage for any business that wants one," <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/corporate-wellness_b_2903222.html" target="_blank">she wrote in a recent blog</a>.
Ray Dalio, Founder & Co-CIO, Bridgewater Associates USA
In a 2012 conversation at the John Main Centre for Meditation and Inter-Religious Dialogue at Georgetown University, Dalio <a href="http://vimeo.com/50999847" target="_blank">said</a> that meditation has opened his mind and boosted his mental clarity. "Meditation has given me centeredness and creativity," <a href="http://vimeo.com/50999847" target="_blank">said Dalio</a>. "It's also given me peace and health."
Robert Stiller, CEO, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc.
There is a dedicated <a href="http://www.gmcr.com/continuous-learning.html" target="_blank">meditation room</a> at the Vermont headquarters of Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc., and CEO Robert Stiller himself is a devoted practitioner. "If you have a meditation practice, you can be much more effective in a meeting," <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=aR2aP.X_Bflw" target="_blank">he told Bloomberg in 2008</a>. "Meditation helps develop your abilities to focus better and to accomplish your tasks."
Russell Simmons, Co-Founder, Def Jam Records; Founder of GlobalGrind.com
Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons has long practiced Transcendental Meditation, speaking out about the benefits of the practice and sitting on the board of the advisors for the <a href="http://www.davidlynchfoundation.org/" target="_blank">David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace</a>. "You don't have to believe in meditation for it to work," <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/russell-simmons/why-i-meditate_b_474689.html" target="_blank">Simmons wrote in a Huffington Post blog</a>. "You just have to take the time to do it. The old truth is still true today, 'God helps those who help themselves.' My advice? Meditate."