Research shows that people are more prone to having heart attacks on Monday mornings, particularly between 5 a.m., to 10 a.m. The main reason for this statistical increase on the first day of the week, when you’re typically supposed to be wide-eyed and rosy-cheeked, is due to the long-term effects of stress.

You don’t have to be a statistic; you have the power to change your destiny.

Stress, over long periods of time, causes a host of health problems like sleep disturbance, weight gain, and heart disease. And Monday morning, when you start thinking about how much you have to do, how you hate your job, demanding boss, or irritating coworkers – and up goes your chances of a heart attack or sudden cardiac arrest!

Research into the increasing number of stress-related heart attacks has shown that such victims are usually people who do not truly enjoy their jobs and would rather not be in their current profession. And isn’t that just simple logic? When you enjoy what you do, work becomes fun and more play than work. And no one’s ever had a heart attack because they chose to do what they love! 

I don’t want to generalize and tell you that everyone who enjoys their job doesn’t face stress. But those who do follow their dreams and do what they enjoy are less susceptible to this kind of stress than those who don’t.

The truth is that most of us do not enjoy what we do. Sooner or later, work becomes simply a means of putting food on the table or something to fill your days with. And as you get sucked further and further into the professional and business world, the rest of your life takes a backseat – family, friends, relationships, personal goals, and dreams, etc., etc.

In the end, you become a mindless drone who really doesn’t even know what you’re working for. That year-end bonus you receive? 

Ever wondered why it feels so hollow or why even going shopping or buying that gorgeous car doesn’t make you feel as happy as it should?

Somewhere along the way, you’ve lost what it means to enjoy life or go after what you really want. Real life, commitments, workplace demands – you have let yourself get lost amongst all these things and you’ve forgotten what it is to have fun while working.

I’m not saying don’t fulfill your responsibilities or don’t work hard – I’m saying take the time to figure out what you want to do instead of what you are expected to do! 

For most people, career forms the basis of your entire life – family is absolutely vital, but to run the family and lead a comfortable, secure life, you need a job that pays well. And if you don’t enjoy your work and focus too much on just giving back to your family, the stress will build up as will resentment – you will end up hating the very people you want to support!

It’s okay to want things for yourself. It’s okay to not like the job you’re at and it’s okay to not be perfect! If you don’t enjoy the work you are currently doing, all you’re going to end up with is stress – you probably constantly keep messing up simply because you don’t want to do it and therefore, don’t give it your best.

Then, you get yelled at by your boss, forced to redo stuff, only to come home and get the silent treatment from family members who think you work too hard or spend too much time at work.

Let it go. The film Frozen certainly got that bit right – you don’t have to be perfect, and you don’t have to be afraid of struggling! Instead, pick a job or career that “you” want to do and will enjoy doing, where each day brings pleasure instead of a chore or a means to an end.

Or, you may decide to start a business. I know, it seems scary. But once you start taking steps toward entrepreneurship, it gets easier.

It may mean you end up giving up a great salary for a greater life. It may also mean you are faced with more challenges than your current 9-5 job, but at least you’ll be happy!

But most importantly, when you follow your dreams and find a job that gives you satisfaction – you will feel like you’ve found your place in the world. Isn’t that what everyone wants? To know that you belong and that there is a true purpose to your existence?

Family is important as is being able to sustain yourself – when you do what you love, it will become an outcome in and of itself! Don’t be afraid to chase your dreams. Don’t be afraid to take risks, and don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone to discover what you want to do.

When you do, every Monday morning becomes that elusive bright start to a new week and new opportunities. And instead of heart rate spikes, stress hormone rushes, and the risk of a heart attack, you will have a smile on your face, more time to spend with family, and a career you love!

All the best, 

Dr. Antwala