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.
Tuesday, 09 August 2011 16:00A column in the Seattle Times speculated on why flight attendants are becoming an increasingly hostile group of workers, in light of a new report that placed airline companies among the top worst performers due to poor customer service.
According to the American Customer Satisfaction index, airlines make up half of the top 10 worst-performing companies in the nation, reflecting less-than-stellar employee performance, wrote Christopher Elliott.
However, the fault may not lie completely on their shoulders.
"Flight attendants are under a great deal of stress because of increased security threats, continually changing federal regulations, bankruptcies, furloughs, salary cuts and loss of pensions and benefits," Elliott noted.
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee wrote a report about rudeness on the job. The authors said that hostility is often the result of intense workplace stress. Conversely, a well-performing staff likely stems from organization policies that ensure employee wellness.
Employee wellness programs that offer tools and resources for stress management have been shown to improve a company's employee performance as well as reduce workplace stress.
Monday, 08 August 2011 16:00It's often been said that random acts of kindness can help spread good karma. Now, researchers at the University of California, Riverside reported that positive activities can also improve mental health.
In a study, a team of scientists found that individuals who performed positive activity intervention, which included staying optimistic and focusing on personal strengths throughout the day, were effective in alleviating their symptoms of depression.
"Because it is in many ways common sense, it is all the more important to have scientific validation and more low-cost highly effective means to help people submerged in the sea of depression," said Kim A. Jobst, editor of the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
Results of this study suggest that stress management through positive means may be effective in lifting an employee's spirits. Authors of the study said that such wellness-promoting interventions may help individuals eliminate their need for certain pharmaceuticals.
Since feelings of sadness or anxiety can often interfere with employee performance, the findings underscore the importance of employee wellness programs that focus on reducing workplace stress and promoting a healthy staff.
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 16:00Workers in the UK are cutting holidays and vacations, a study by international health insurance company Bupa indicates. The research, performed by YouGov, indicates that 42 percent of workers have no plans to get away for a week or longer. People who planned holidays of a week or more were 10 percent more likely to report themselves as "fairly" or "very" healthy.
Almost 20 percent of those who are leaving feel guilty about it, and many reported that they would be checking personal emails or even thinking about work while gone.
"While people may be aware that taking time out from their day-to-day responsibilities is important in maintaining physical and mental health...money and work worries mean many people are not prioritizing the need to relax," said Jenny Leeser, Bupa's clinical director of occupational health.
She also indicated that workers who did not have time to rest may have difficulty handling everyday work pressures and workplace stress, possibly risking a decrease in employee performance and health.
The research determined that over half of workers are experiencing more stress than last year, and significant percentages responded that their mental well-being, the health of their eating habits and their ability to cope with stress were improved by vacation.
Wednesday, 03 August 2011 16:00Despite the unemployment rate holding near 9 percent for over 2 years, American employees are demonstrating increased confidence in their ability to find new jobs, as nearly 2 million left their positions in May, Bloomberg Businessweek reports.
“When the economy is rebounding, workers are more likely to quit their jobs to take another,” Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James & Associates, told the news source. He indicated that the willingness to seek new work is a sign that employees are more confident the overall economy as well as the job market.
While Brown told Businessweek that consumer confidence and employee departures had not fully recovered to pre-recession levels, he also noted that employees' frustration with their work tends to grow as the economy improves.
Brown also noted that employees may take cues from their colleagues, leading to further job switching. The May rate of quits is significantly higher than the most recent low, which was 1.5 million in January of 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Quitting due to frustration may be a sign of stress or dissatisfaction in current jobs as well as confidence in alternate job prospects. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that many companies run corporate wellness programs to decrease employee stress and reduce health benefit costs, which some research indicates may improve employee performance.
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