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Hunger for power could mean poor heart health

Hunger for power could mean poor heart health

If you’re ambitious, driven and determined you’ll more than likely achieve plenty of goals in your life, such as landing that top position within your company or even starting a business of your own.

But according to a new study, there are some downsides to being power-hungry, such as it affecting your health.

Researchers from the University of Utah have concluded that moving up in your workplace aggressively means you’re more likely to have a higher risk of heart problems.

And on the opposite side of the spectrum, people can increase their health by going about their job in a polite and respectful manner.

The researchers looked at 500 undergraduates in four different studies to see how various personalities have an effect on wellbeing, comparing those with a warm-dominant style to folks with a hostile-dominant personality. While both demonstrated a sense of high personal power, the hostile participants were more likely to suffer interpersonal stress and antagonism.

The blood pressure levels of 180 students were also monitored to gauge their reaction in stressful situations opposite people who were told to act dominantly.

Again, hostile-dominant people came out worse as they were more likely to see their pressure rise when interacting with a fellow dominant individual.

Further investigation into married couples also discovered that those who were hostile-dominant suffered more conflict in their relationship and less support from their spouse.

From looking at previous studies the researchers linked the high levels of stress and blood pressure rising to making the person more prone to heart disease.

Results were then presented to the annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society.

“It's bad news for relentless power-seekers the likes of Frank Underwood on House of Cards, climbing the ladder of social status through aggressive, competitive striving might shorten your life as a result of increased vulnerability to cardiovascular disease,” study author Timothy Smith, professor of psychology, noted.

“And it's good news for successful types who are friendlier, it seems that attaining higher social status as the result of prestige and freely given respect may have protective effects.

“However there is some evidence that it is possible to teach old dogs new tricks, and if you do, it can reduce coronary risk.”

So next time you feel the urge to go behind people’s backs in the workplace to benefit yourself, or work extra long hours to catch the attention of your boss and make others look lazy, think about the long-term effects of your actions.

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