From an evolutionary perspective, we're programmed to deal with high levels of stress -- but only in short bursts. If you came upon a predator in the wild, you would either run away or get eaten in a matter of minutes. If you lived to tell about it, your nervous system would recover quickly.

One of the reasons stress is such a huge problem in modern society is that it's chronic. And nothing induces chronic stress the same way an unhealthy work environment can. That's why it's worth celebrating the five CEOs highlighted in this piece.

Every year,, a website that allows employees to rate their own workplace and bosses, come out with a list of the top CEOs in America. Using the data from this list, and focusing only on publicly traded companies, the following slideshow highlights these inspirational leaders, and how they came to earn their reputations.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.