Researchers call for behavioral counseling, stress management in military
Thursday, 29 September 2011 16:00It's no secret that soldiers at war - and even those at home - experience high levels of stress due to the physical demands and psychological trauma that results from military training and combat.
A team of researchers at the RAND Corporation have called on U.S. military officials to improve behavioral health training for soldiers, in terms of both quality and access.
The scientists reported that military personnel should make efforts to increase the number of men and women using existing services, and ensure that healthcare providers and counselors running these programs are doing a good job. Additionally, the team said that confidential care is of great importance in increasing the use of behavioral health training.
"Efforts should focus on changing the culture at all levels of the military to encourage those in distress to seek help along with efforts to identify and intervene with service members who are at risk of suicide," said lead author and social scientist Rajeev Ramchand.
One way military officials can supplement counseling and training programs is by providing soldiers with tools and resources for stress management.
Strong emotional intelligence may reduce workplace stress, improve employee performance
Thursday, 29 September 2011 16:00Emotional intelligence is defined as an aptitude at identifying and managing emotions in a way that is healthy and constructive, according to HelpGuide.org.
The nonprofit organization reports that there are four factors that influence emotional intelligence: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness and relationship management.
The first component involves being more aware of one's own emotions and what effect they have on actions and thoughts. Part of this is knowing personal strengths and weaknesses. Self-management is the skill to control negative responses to stressful or challenging communications and or situations. It involves handling feelings and situations in a way that yields positive results. These two aspects are integral for employees dealing with intense workplace stress.
Additionally, workers need the skills to build good relationships with co-workers. Social awareness is the ability to recognize how others may be feeling and respond appropriately. Relationship management is key in helping to influence, manage and inspire others.
Research that was conducted at the Institute of HeartMath revealed that heart rate variability feedback, which helps individuals gain heart rate coherence, may significantly reduce workplace stress as it allows users to view changes in their emotional state. Technology offered by HeartMath provides this in an e-learning format.
High deductible insurance plans come with benefits, drawbacks
Thursday, 29 September 2011 16:00In a study, researchers at the RAND Corporation, Towers Watson and the University of Southern California found that employee health benefits that include deductibles of $1,000 or more can mean big savings for both employer and consumer.
Lower expenditures resulted from patients being able to make their own decisions when it came to care - namely, in choosing whether to see a specialist or take name brand pharmaceuticals - according to the study.
"Unlike earlier time periods, it seems that today's consumers can have greater influence on the level and mix of medical services provided once they begin to receive medical care," said lead author Amelia Haviland, of RAND Corporation.
However, the team also observed a slight decline in cancer screenings and childhood immunizations among consumers during the first year of their high deductible plan. Authors of the study said this statistic raises some concern over individuals skipping needed healthcare services.
Results of this study suggest that organizations should work with staff members to help them choose the most appropriate employee health benefits to suit their needs.
Police officers fight more than crime
Thursday, 29 September 2011 16:00Each day, law enforcement officers risk their lives and cope with the trauma of having co-workers killed or injured in the line of duty. As a result, police are in a constant battle with workplace stress.
International News Magazine recently published an article by John Theobald, a police officer who went on to get his graduate degree and help others in his field deal with the stressors of being in the law enforcement field.
"At that time it was becoming increasingly clear that the stress factor in police work was manifesting in high rates of divorce, alcohol abuse, suicides and other acting-out behaviors. Having experienced it firsthand, I was determined to seek some method that could help ameliorate this situation," Theobald said.
The former officer helped officers in 10 metropolitan areas learn how to relieve their stress through holistic, non-medicinal means.
According to HeavyBadge.com, officers also deal with workplace stress as a result of demanding shifts and a negative public perception.
This suggests that employee wellness programs aimed at stress management may be needed in many police departments in order to help officers cope with their anxiety.
Nearly half of Canadians have sleep disorders
Thursday, 29 September 2011 16:00Disrupted sleep patterns have been strongly linked to anxiety, as it has been shown that workplace stress can keep people up at night and a lack of rest may make individuals less able to cope with relatively minor problems.
As a result of the chronic health and productivity issues that sleep disorders can cause, a team of researchers at Universite Laval in Canada conducted a study to determine the prevalence of these conditions in the country.
In a sample cohort of 2,000 volunteers, the team of scientists found that roughly 40 percent of the population experiences a symptom of insomnia about three times weekly. Signs of the sleep disorder include taking more than a half hour to fall asleep, waking for longer than 30 minutes at a time during the night or rousing from sleep earlier than planned.
Additionally, 20 percent of respondents said they were dissatisfied with their quality of sleep, and about 13 percent showed signs of clinical insomnia. Perhaps worryingly, just 13 percent of individuals who experienced at least one symptom of the sleep disorder sought treatment from a healthcare professional.
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