Tuesday, 23 August 2011 16:00A recent Gallup poll reveals that smokers, now more than ever, agree that the habit is "very harmful" to their health, suggesting that many may have a desire to stop their life-threatening habit but don't know how.
About two thirds of smokers surveyed admitted that they are putting themselves at risk of lung cancer and cardiovascular disease.
The Cleveland Clinic reports that many people smoke because they believe that it helps relieve stress. While having a cigarette may temporarily alleviate tension, it's doing the opposite in the long run.
"Blood pressure rises, heart rate increases, muscles become tense, blood vessels constrict, and less oxygen is available to the brain and body to facilitate healthy coping. In short, smoking increases the stress level on the body," the health source reported on its website.
Additionally, the Cleveland Clinic recommends beginning a cessation program right away to curb the harmful effects of tobacco smoke, and that waiting for a "stress-free" time in life is not a viable option.
Employers who notice that their workers take frequent cigarette breaks may have a particularly stressed-out staff on their hands. Employee wellness programs that provide tools and resources for stress management may provide workers with a healthy outlet for tension and anxiety.
Sunday, 21 August 2011 16:00Stress has the potential to do more than cause feelings of anxiousness or unease, it can also lead to a host of conditions and illnesses. Until now, the medical community has had only an idea of why stress affects the body.
Researchers at Duke University Medical Center believe that the elevated adrenaline levels that occur when a person is stressed may be the cause of stress' possible disease-causing effect.
In a mouse model, a team of scientists found that inducing stress in rodents through an infusion of a compound that is similar to adrenaline resulted in DNA damage by triggering certain biological pathways.
"This could give us a plausible explanation of how chronic stress may lead to a variety of human conditions and disorders, which range from merely cosmetic, like graying hair, to life-threatening disorders like malignancies," said senior author Robert Lefkowitz, M.D.
For many individuals, their job is a main source of stress. Results of this study suggest that staving off anxiety may be key in preventing disease.
Employee wellness programs that provide tools and resources for stress management have been shown to be effective in reducing workplace stress, improving employee performance and lowering costs stemming from health insurance.
Sunday, 21 August 2011 16:00The myth of the "supermom" - a woman who can juggle a successful career and full-time parenting - appears to put a lot of pressure on women who choose to have both a job and a family, sometimes even leading to depression.
A study that was conducted at the University of Washington reveals that mothers who expect to make minor sacrifices in work or home life, such as skipping a kid's soccer game or leaving work early for a recital, tend to be mentally healthier than their counterparts with high expectations of themselves.
"Women are sold a story that they can do it all, but most workplaces are still designed for employees without child-care responsibilities," said lead author Katrina Leupp. "You can happily combine child rearing and a career, if you're willing to let some things slide."
The study involved 1,600 working moms who were 40 years old and married.
It's likely that women who feel pressured to be "supermom" experience high levels of workplace stress. Results of this study suggest that employee wellness programs that provide tips for a balanced life and stress management may help working moms perform better both on the job and at home.
Wednesday, 17 August 2011 16:00For many workers, taking a break in the middle of the day to eat a healthy lunch is a great way to relieve the stress of the morning and prepare for the tasks and problems of the afternoon.
While many managers realize this and encourage breaks, employees who experience high levels of workplace stress appear to be skipping lunch, according to a study conducted by UK insurance group Aviva.
“It’s well-documented that eating more healthily can improve general well-being and life expectancy, so there are countless benefits to adopting this approach in the workplace," said Doug Wright, head of clinical development at Aviva.
About one third of workers said that they routinely skip a midday break, and 25 percent said they will only leave the office for food if their workload allows it. Some 13 percent of survey respondents said they avoid eating at work altogether.
The survey also revealed that about 43 percent of employers encourage healthy lunches, but a total of 39 percent of organizations that offer food don't include nutritious items.
Employee wellness programs that provide tools and resources for stress management may help workers relax enough to realize that their bodies and brains need fuel to function properly.
Tuesday, 16 August 2011 16:00A study that was conducted at the Institute of Occupational Medicine at the Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Italy revealed that job stress among hospital and health clinic employees is strongly associated with a higher prevalence of hand dermatitis and other skin infections.
This may have a significant impact on employee performance in this industry, considering that hand-washing is an important part of preventing the spread of bacteria in healthcare facilities.
The research determined that heavy job demands, low social support and intense workplace stress were linked to the onset of skin infections. A total of 25 percent of workers reported having hand dermatitis within the previous year, and an additional 35 percent said they have had skin infections on other body parts.
"High demands, high strain, and the combination of strain with isolation (iso-strain) increased the reporting of skin disorders in the year prior to medical examination, whereas social support exerted a protective effect," said study authors, quoted in the journal BioMed Central.
Previously, a National Institutes of Health study revealed that job stress is associated with a higher rate of both inflammation and infection. The research was conducted at Ghent University in Belgium.
Results of this study suggest that healthcare workers may be in need of employee wellness programs that provide tools and resources for stress management.
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