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.
Tuesday, 09 August 2011 16:00Finding respite from life's stressors doesn't need to involve taking a vacation or even walking away from the desk for an hour. Some techniques take just minutes to bring stress down to a manageable level.
Self-help author Lauren Miller said that individuals should not ignore their signs of stress, but take proactive efforts to bring themselves back to a state of calm.
"Stress is a signal within your body giving you the opportunity to identify and adjust your perception of any situation. You can take back your ability to maintain inner peace no matter what surrounds you when you make the choice to infuse your day with stress-relief practices," Miller said.
One technique she recommends is to imagine shaking stress from the body when a trigger presents itself. Miller said that visualizing the feelings of anxiety as they leave the body through a quick shake can have a meaningful effect.
Additionally, she said that quick bouts of exercise - such as a 60-second round of sit ups - can recharge the body and mind.
Employee wellness programs that provide tools and resources for stress management can also make a significant impact on anxiety in the office.
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