Study: Women at greater risk for stress-related neck pain
Thursday, 06 January 2011 16:00Prolonged workplace stress is known to cause physical symptoms such as fatigue or body aches, and some people may be more prone to them than others. In fact, according to a recent Swedish study, stress-related neck pain is a common occurrence, and it affects female workers more than their male colleagues.
In one part of the study, the researchers distributed questionnaires to more than 800 professionals who used computers at work. They found that the women respondents experienced more neck and upper back pain, regardless of their occupation. Moreover, the pain was related to psychosocial factors, such as the stress related to every day work duties.
The study's author, Anna Grimby-Ekman, a postdoctoral student at the University of Gothenburg, says that while the association between physical work - such as heavy lifting - and pain is clear, her research has begun to shed light on some of the mental reasons for muscle pain among those whose jobs are less physically demanding.
The American Psychological Association reports more than 30 percent of Americans are living with extreme stress, and almost 48 percent think their stress levels have increased in recent years.
However, it has also been shown that women who practice yoga postures, breath control and meditation recover from stress faster than those who do not, according to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. To facilitate such outcomes, some companies offer employee health benefits that cover wellness programs.
Happy people make happy employees
Thursday, 06 January 2011 16:00Happiness at home may equal happiness at work, according to a study published in the Journal of Occupational and Organizational Psychology.
Assistant professor Nathan Bowling at Wright State University and a team of researchers analyzed 223 studies that were completed between 1967 and 2008, all of which looked at the correlation between general contentedness and happiness at work. They found that people who had a positive outlook on life in general also enjoyed their jobs more than those who felt negatively about life.
Bowling said the results may not bode well for those seeking happiness through their careers. He and his team found stronger links between a general positivity and a subsequent satisfaction in the workplace than job satisfaction and a subsequent overall happiness.
"These results suggest that if people are, or are predisposed to be, happy and satisfied in life generally, then they will be likely to be happy and satisfied in their work," said Bowling. "However, the flipside of this finding could be that those people who are dissatisfied generally and who seek happiness through their work, may not find job satisfaction. Nor might they increase their levels of overall happiness by pursuing it."
While a job may not have the power to instill overall happiness, workplace stress can certainly have an impact on general well-being. As a result, companies that make efforts to reduce their workers' stress levels tend to also boost employee performance.
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