PHILADELPHIA—Stress. New research from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) is taking another look at the issue. So listen up and learn how a virtual office can help you reduce your stress levels.

CMU’s Sheldon Cohen and Denise Janicki-Deverts worked to determine if psychological stress is associated with gender, age, education, income, employment status and/or race and ethnicity—and if the distributions of stress across demographics were constant over the 26-year period.

The results: women, individuals with lower income and those with less education reported more stress. They also show that as Americans age, they experience less stress and that retirees consistently report low levels of stress.

"We know that stress contributes to poorer health practices, increased risk for disease, accelerated disease progression and increased mortality," says Cohen, the Robert E. Doherty Professor of Psychology within CMU's Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences who is a leading expert on the relationship between stress and disease.

Cohen and Janicki-Deverts found that those most negatively affected by the 2008-09 economic downturn were white, middle-aged men with college educations and full-time jobs. The authors suggested that this group may have had the most to lose since both their jobs and their savings were at risk.

"It's hard to say if people are more stressed now than before because the first survey was conducted by phone and the last two were done online," Cohen said. "But, it's clear that stress is still very much present in Americans' lives, putting them at greater risk for many diseases such as cardiovascular, asthma and autoimmune disorders."

Stress is just a part of life. There’s nothing we can do to completely eliminate it. But working from a virtual office can help you cut back on stress. Virtual offices can empower those telecommuting options. Virtual offices can give employees the freedom to work at least part of the day, or several days of the week, at home. With that comes an escape from stressful commuting time, office politics and just the pressure of trying to meet deadlines in a noisy environment.

Check out this video on how to deal with stress: