The best stress reduction methods are a matter of endless dispute. But for years, according to Sara Gottfried, a researcher at Harvard Medical School and the author of The Well-Being Workplace, we’ve placed a lot of weight on thinking about what people are doing at work, what feels “engaging” or “challenging,” and thinking of mental exercises to prevent burnout.

A new study of almost 9,000 nurses in the U.K. suggests that the only way to increase the number of nurses with a high income is to create an atmosphere where nurses’ lives and work are regularly enjoyable. The study—which is based on data from professional organizations in the U.K.—found that effective measures to boost the incidence of nurses with well-paid careers include positive, enjoyable relationships with coworkers and high stress levels linked to high turnover in nursing roles, and the death of a peer; nurses participating in the study who had been assigned a role in a “high strain” environment more often complained about stress and were more likely to feel anxious and distressed.

The data suggest that, while the best stress reduction techniques involve thinking about the right kinds of experiences to offer (and ways to channel them), the key to fulfilling work is simply good timing.

“The research shows that you can give people good salary but you’re not going to get a well-paid employee if they’re going to have to deal with constant change,” said Gottfried, who wasn’t involved in the research.

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This story was originally published in the International Herald Tribune, where it was reproduced with permission.