Working in a high stress job can take a toll on mental and physical health. New research shows that over half of American workers experience stress in their jobs daily. While some occupations like urologists and judges rank among the most stressful due to high stakes, others like phone operators and retail supervisors also make the top 10 list. Understanding the most stressful jobs and developing resilience is key for professionals in these fields.

What Makes a Job Stressful?

Several factors contribute to making a job extremely stressful. These include:

- Dealing with life or death situations: Jobs in healthcare like anesthesiologists and acute care nurses have to make quick decisions that impact patient health. Similarly, public safety telecommunicators deal with emergency response situations.

- Managing people and operations: First-line retail supervisors and phone operators have to oversee teams, interact with customers, and manage business operations - all very demanding.

- Performing under pressure: Judges and magistrates, film and video editors face tight deadlines and have to deliver quality work under pressure. Accepting criticism also plays a big role.

- Long and erratic hours: Many high stress jobs require working nights, weekends and overtime. The hours can be unrelenting.

- Emotional demands: Nurses, doctors and first responders often need to manage their own emotions when facing trauma, grief and human suffering. Compassion fatigue is a real issue.

How Workplace Stress Impacts Wellbeing

Unrelenting stress at work can seriously impact physical and mental health. According to the American Psychological Association, over half of Americans say work is a significant source of stress.

Prolonged stress contributes to cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders, compromised immunity and gastrointestinal issues. It can also lead to anxiety, depression, burnout and other mental health struggles.

Beyond health, high job stress also impacts relationships, productivity and job satisfaction. This is why even positions with good compensation make the most stressful jobs list. No amount of money can offset the effects of unrelenting anxiety or pressure.

The Top 10 Most Stressful Jobs in 2023

The Occupational Information Network (O*NET) rankings offer great insight into the most demanding and stressful jobs. The top 10 most stressful jobs are:

1. Urologists

- Stress Tolerance: 100/100
- Median Annual Salary: $208,000
As specialists dealing with urinary tract and reproductive system disorders, urologists have to make high stakes diagnoses and perform complex surgeries. Dealing with cancer and diseases like infertility exert heavy emotional and mental toll.

2. Film and Video Editors

- Stress Tolerance: 99/100
- Median Annual Salary: $62,680
Working on tight deadlines with little room for error, video editors experience enormous pressure. Most editors now work freelance intensifying the stress. Competition is also fierce in this creative field.

3. Anesthesiologist Assistants

- Stress Tolerance: 98/100
- Median Annual Salary: $121,530
Anesthesiologist assistants have to monitor patient vitals and reactions to anesthesia during operations. Any errors can severely impact patient outcomes or even lead to death. The stakes are very high.

4. Judges and Magistrates

- Stress Tolerance: 98/100
- Median Annual Salary: $148,030
Judges and legal professionals endure criticism and backlash, especially in high profile or criminal cases. They have to assess cases objectively, identify truth and make pivotal decisions amidst public scrutiny. Courtroom pressure is extremely taxing.

5. Phone Operators

- Stress Tolerance: 98/100
- Median Annual Salary: $37,630
Phone operators deal with barrage of demanding calls daily. Whether assisting with billing and technical issues or responding to emergency situations, they have to display extreme patience and composure at all times. The pace can be unrelenting.

6. Acute Care Nurses

- Stress Tolerance: 98/100
- Median Annual Salary: $77,600
Caring for patients with critical, life-threatening conditions like heart attacks in ERs and ICUs exerts heavy mental and emotional toll on nurses. Working nights and overtime also intensifies burnout risk.

7. Obstetricians and Gynecologists

- Stress Tolerance: 97/100
- Median Annual Salary: $208,000
Delivering babies and caring for mothers exerts immense pressure and liability for OBGYNs. Also treating female cancers like ovarian, cervical and uterine cancer exerts emotional toll over time. Hours can be long and erratic

8. Public Safety Telecommunicators

- Stress Tolerance: 97/100
- Median Annual Salary: $46,670
Public safety telecommunicators operate emergency response communication systems, directing first responders to sites of accidents, crimes and fires. Receiving countless emergency calls and coordinating rapid response exerts tremendous stress daily.

9. First-Line Supervisors of Retail Sales Workers

- Stress Tolerance: 96/100
- Median Annual Salary: $39,230
Overseeing teams and operations in the fast-paced retail sector involves interacting with stressed employees and frustrated customers. Work hours can extend into nights and weekends during peak seasons, negatively impacting work-life balance.

10. Nurse Anesthetists

- Stress Tolerance: 96/100
- Median Annual Salary: $195,610
With specialized training, nurse anesthetists provide anesthesia to surgery patients and monitor their vital signs closely. Any errors can severely impact patient health or even lead to death. The job involves immense responsibility and pressure.

Building Resilience Against Workplace Stress

While many occupations today involve dealing with pressure, some careers exert much heavier toll than others. For professionals in the most stressful jobs, building resilience through self-care and supportive work cultures is key.

Strategies like taking regular breaks, having confidantes, exercising, finding meaning in work and maintaining work-life balance can help mitigate burnout. Seeking professional mental health support when needed is also important.

Organizations also play a big role in helping employees manage stress in high pressure roles. Offering wellness benefits, flexible schedules, remote work options and coaching are some ways managers can address excessive workplace stress proactively.

By understanding and proactively addressing factors contributing most to burnout, both individuals and leaders can cultivate healthier and more engaged teams - even in the most demanding fields. The most stressful jobs require deeper focus on holistic employee wellbeing to prevent turnover and performance decline.

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