Wednesday, 21 September 2011 16:00Preparedness is known to be a key prevention effort for stress, but researchers at Tel Aviv University recently established a psychological basis for why carrying out tasks routinely helps to reduce feelings of anxiety.
In order to reach their conclusions, the team of scientists examined the habits of basketball players, who often have ritualistic ways of playing the sport. For example, dribbling the ball a precise number of times before shooting.
"The routine they perform in the moments before shooting the ball is a method to focus their full concentration and control their actions," said lead researcher David Eilam.
Authors of the study said that routine behavior helps individuals reduce their stress levels by helping make the situation seem more controllable and predictable. Additionally - and this is especially true in the case of athletes - having the belief that a certain action will lead to success may help people actually perform better.
Results of this study suggest that workers should be encouraged to plan their daily tasks and given the freedom to carry them out how they wish. Also, employee wellness programs can help reduce workplace stress while strengthening employee performance.
Tuesday, 20 September 2011 16:00While the wonders of technology have made it possible to send messages to coworkers with the click of a mouse, an inbox that becomes inundated with demands and memos can quickly become more of a stressor than a convenience.
A Guardian article states that about 34 percent of employees feel stressed out over the number of emails in their inboxes. Those who did not feel anxiety over their volume of unread messages reported that they felt comfortable waiting up to a week to respond, which may not be good for business.
An article on Psych Central reports that there are many ways that workers can manage their email and reduce workplace stress.
First, be sure to utilize tools and labels that are built into most email systems. For instance, color-coding messages to prioritize them can help make the task of responding seem more manageable.
Additionally, set reasonable boundaries. One rarely has an actual need to check work email from home, and confining office tasks to regular workday hours has been known to reduce levels of job stress.
These findings suggest that employee wellness programs aimed at reducing workplace stress may be particularly useful in settings where the main mode of communication is email, which likely applies to most modern offices.
Tuesday, 20 September 2011 16:00Rudeness in the workplace may be a bigger problem than managers think, as a new survey reveals that one third of customers have been served by a worker so hostile that they would likely not return to the business, but respondents said they rarely make a complaint.
Moreover, the volunteers told the University of Southern California and Georgetown University researchers that they encounter this kind of service experience about once every month.
Authors of the study said that this kind of behavior is likely to have a significant impact on a business' bottom line, especially in retail shops and restaurants.
"Regardless of the perpetrator or the reason, witnessing incivility scalds customer relationships and depletes the bottom line," wrote the corresponding authors.
The researchers said the best remedy for this problem may be training to promote civility and anger management.
Since anger is sometimes the result of intense stress, especially in the workplace, results of this survey suggest that employee wellness programs may help administrators create a more productive, happier staff, not to mention improve a company's bottom line.
Tuesday, 20 September 2011 16:00The Franklin Institute reports that stress and sleep disturbances are strongly associated with one another. An uneasy mind may find it difficult to achieve sleep at night, while a tired brain may be more susceptible to experiencing stress.
As a result, organizations that wish to boast a healthier, more productive staff should provide workers with tools and resources to manage stress as well as tips on achieving a good night's rest.
According to Carol Scott, M.D., a blogger for the website Fast Company, individuals should avoid substances like caffeine, nicotine and alcohol in the four to six hours leading up to bedtime. These drugs can hinder one's ability to fall asleep or reduce the quality of rest.
A clean, cool, dark bedroom is also key in developing healthy sleep patterns. Also, bed should only be used for sleep, sex and rest, according to the medical expert.
Scott recommended that individuals let the sun be their guiding light in the morning. Having the shades open to let the sunlight in during the waking hours can prep the body and mind for the day ahead.
Employee wellness programs have also been shown to help reduce workplace stress and gear staffers toward a healthier, more productive life.
Monday, 19 September 2011 16:00Numerous studies have linked psychological and social stress with the onset of a host of conditions, from diminished mental health to obesity. Now, researchers have discovered a link between psychosocial anxiety and aggressive breast cancer.
In a study, a team of scientists from the University of Illinois School of Public Health found that patients with higher levels of stress were significantly more likely to have an aggressive form of breast cancer when compared to their less-stressed counterparts.
However, study authors noted that their methodology was such that they were unable to determine whether mental anxiety was the cause behind or the result of a diagnosis of aggressive cancer.
"It may be that the level of stress in these patients' lives influenced tumor aggressiveness. It may be that being diagnosed with a more aggressive tumor, with a more worrisome diagnosis and more stressful treatments, influenced reports of stress," said researcher Garth Rauscher, Ph.D.
According to BreastCancer.org, an estimated 12 percent of women develop breast cancer at some point in their life.
When considering the prevalence of the carcinoma and cost of treatment, prevention efforts may be the most effective course of action against breast cancer. Employee wellness programs that provide tools and resources for stress management have been shown to significantly improve staff health and strengthen employee performance.
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