Happiness, workplace, stress, heart health

Workplace happiness, productivity and your cardiovascular health

Causes of cardiovascular diseases are not due  to clinical factors alone. Other aspects of wellbeing such as psychological and emotional factors, physical environment and social factors also play a role in cardiovascular health. The workplace is one place where all these factors can interact together to make an impact on cardiovascular health. 

Stress is a serious cause of heart diseases in people of African descent. Hence, workplace stress has more implications for people of African descent like us. 

A stressful workplace elicits negative psychological and emotional wellbeing. It may be equally tasking physically. It will definitely have a negative impact on cardiovascular health. Now, a stressful workplace and poor cardiovascular health has various pathways that affect productivity. 

  • A stressful workplace may elicit anxiety, depression and poor psychological well being that prevents employees from performing well.
  • It may lead to cardiovascular diseases like raised blood pressure
  • Poor cardiovascular health will lead to employees calling in sick often with increased absenteeism.
  • Frequent ill-health and absenteeism leads to low productivity 

If we agree on this, then we agree that it is important to create a happy workplace. This involves creating a refreshing and happy physical space, supporting employees to manage their workload, supporting them to handle setbacks, and equipping them to collaborate with their leaders, coworkers and customers/clients.

While there’s no single recipe for happiness at work, emotions (positive or negative) influences how you approach your work, and how far you’re willing to go to execute a task.

Black women, work, productivity, heart health

How Happiness Improves Productivity

Happiness is associated with greater output in the workplace especially when the skills set of employees are matched adequately with their tasks and they are provided with the tools to collaborate with other team members and serve their clients. 

In simple words, when you’re happier, you’ll not only enjoy your job but will record better output than if you were not. Say, spend less time on an assignment, drive more business, record fewer mistakes, and all.

This is not all, it is also important to create positive emotions. Positive emotions are essential for improved heart health. The presence of pleasurable emotions such as happiness,  joy, excitement, contentment, and gratitude  has been linked to better cardiovascular health. These positive emotions are linked to better work performance and productivity

Positive emotions  enhance healthy lifestyle choices because happy people tend to sleep better, make healthy food choices, smoke less and get more exercise. All of these on their own are linked to better cardiovascular health. People who practise these lifestyle choices are less likely to call in sick and be absent at work. How productive is an employee who has had poor sleep most nights of the week?

In addition to that, when you are happy, there’s reduced secretion of cortisol (a stress hormone), which is healthy for your heart and protects against insulin resistance. Stress on the other hand increases cortisol secretion, insulin resistance and  leads to other changes that increases your chances of developing heart diseases like increased blood pressure. 

So indirectly, if you’re unhappy or stressed in your workplace – your heart also takes a share of the harm. An unhealthy heart will contribute to low performance. 

How to improve happiness at work

Here are a few tips to improve happiness at work: 

  • Make your workspace look beautiful. Add some potted green plants 
  • Use positive, polite and encouraging words
  • Build a network of colleagues that you can share happy moments with
  • Share meals and leisure time together
  • And lots of more of everything that creates positive energy

Despite your best efforts, some events at work may cause you to be sad, stressed, and unhappy. It’s not a problem yet until you allow it to linger for long. The good thing is, you’re aware of the risks associated with a stressful workplace, the  negative emotions and its effects on your heart’s health. We are here to help. 

If you need to talk to us about work related stress and  your cardiovascular health, feel free to contact us.

Was this piece helpful? Feel free to share your opinion or experiences in the comment section.


Davidson, K. W., Mostofsky, E., & Whang, W. (2010). Don’t worry, be happy: positive affect and reduced 10-year incident coronary heart disease: the Canadian Nova Scotia Health Survey. European heart journal, 31(9), 1065–1070. https://doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehp603

Kivimäki M, Kawachi I. Work Stress as a Risk Factor for Cardiovascular Disease. Curr Cardiol Rep. 2015;17(9):630. doi:10.1007/s11886-015-0630-8

Felix AS, Lehman A, Nolan TS, et al. Stress, Resilience, and Cardiovascular Disease Risk Among Black Women. Circ Cardiovasc Qual Outcomes. 2019;12(4):e005284. doi:10.1161/CIRCOUTCOMES.118.005284

Cho, H., Kim, S., & Lee, Y. H. (2021). Sport coaches’ positive emotions, task performance, and well-being: The mediating role of work satisfaction. International Journal of Sports Science & Coaching, 16(6), 1247–1258. https://doi.org/10.1177/17479541211026246


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