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.
Monday, 15 August 2011 16:00In a mouse model, researchers at the University of Haifa found that anxious mothers may have offspring that exhibit anti-social behavior.
However, they also discovered that stress-relieving interventions for the parents were effective in reversing this effect to some extent.
"As our study shows that the inheritance of the effects of adversity can be modified by timely intervention, this may have important educational and therapeutic implications,” said lead author Micah Leshem.
Since working mothers are by no means uncommon in today's workplace, the findings have some relevance to workplace stress and preventing social problems in future generations.
Stressed-out moms may find some relief in HeartMath's emWave2®. The handheld device has been shown to be effective in relieving feelings of tension inside and outside of the office.
The emWave2® is an interactive system which reads the user's heart rhythm through finger or ear pulse, providing immediate feedback through a visual displace. Using the tool may help employees learn how to reverse their stress and gain control over their mind and emotions.
Sunday, 14 August 2011 16:00"Comfort foods" are known as such for a reason, since individuals often reach for the cookies or potato chips when they are feeling stressed and are in need of relief. A study conducted by researchers at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Calgary's Faculty of Medicine recently examined the brain mechanisms behind this effect.
Scientists discovered that stress has the potential to lead to a "re-wiring" of the mind, in which a person's ability to regulate their appetite or food intake is impaired.
Authors of the study noted that humans likely evolved to have this response, since an absence of food causes stress and the effect would spark early humans to seek out a source of nutrition.
"Furthermore, the fact that the lack of food causes activation of the stress response might help explain the relationship between stress and obesity," said co-author Quentin Pittman, Ph.D.
In a mouse model, the researchers observed that blocking a stress hormone in rodents alleviated the brain effects that were previously shown to lead to overeating.
Some workers often go to lunch for pizza or burgers as a release from the day's stressors, but this may lead to an overweight, unproductive workforce. Employee wellness programs that provide tools and resources for stress management may be helpful in teaching individuals how to let go of their anxiety in a healthy way.
Wednesday, 10 August 2011 16:00Chronic workplace stress can lead to a number of conditions, from depression to physical ailments. The Chicago Sun Times recently reported on yet another ill effect of anxiety in the office.
According to the news source, employees are becoming hostile in the workplace due to increased workloads and intense demand stemming from layoffs and a poor economy, findings which were discovered by researchers at Indiana Wesleyan University-Marion.
“It’s very hard to target because you don’t really know if someone means to be rude, so it’s an insidious problem,” said study co-author Jeannie Trudel, quoted by the news source. “There are very, very negative effects of accumulated minor stresses when a workplace is considered uncivil.”
An article in the UK newspaper The Telegraph reported that rudeness in the workplace can lead to decreased concentration, mistakes and poor memory, making a major impact on employee performance.
Employee wellness programs that provide tools and resources for alleviating workplace stress may help hostile workers to relieve their anxiety in a healthy way, which may help them be a little nicer at the water cooler.
Wednesday, 10 August 2011 16:00Upon standing in front of a room ready to give a presentation, even the most dynamic, creative and well-communicating employees may begin to choke up and feel their stress levels rise.
It's no wonder, considering that fear of public speaking is one of the most common phobias among Americans, according to the University of Delaware.
"In stressful situations, the ability of working memory to direct attention to what's relevant is compromised," said psychologist Sian Beilock in an interview for NewScientist.
The expert recommended that individuals try to write about their worries before going into a speaking event, which may help keep the stressful thoughts from popping up at an inopportune time and cause a flub in the speech.
Additionally, she said that intense concentration may be counteractive when speaking in front of groups because it intensified the pressure.
Beilock noted that performing well under the microscope is a learned behavior.
Employee wellness programs that teach workers how to control their stress levels may also give them the skills they need to succeed when all eyes are on them.
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