Reducing Stress in the Workplace: How to Trigger Our Innate Healing Process by Dr. Ann Marie Byrd
Our lives move at a rapid pace, and each and every one of us has demands on our time and energy on a daily basis—especially in the workplace. Regardless of our occupation, stress and pressure that we experience on the job can have damaging effects on our health. According to a study reported by the American Institute of Stress in collaboration with The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), conceptual and practical issues relating to worksite stress management should be taken very seriously by employers. The following statistics from the stress.org website provide an overview of stress-related occupational health problems:
Occupational pressures are believed responsible for:
•30% of workers suffering from back pain;
•28% complaining of “stress”
•20% feeling fatigued
•13% with headaches
Job stress is costly. Job stress carries a price tag for U.S. industry estimated at over $300 billion annually as a result of:
•Direct medical, legal, and insurance costs
•Workers’ compensation awards as well as tort and FELA judgments
So as employers, and as an employee yourself, what can you do to decrease stress in your workplace? In evaluating stress, we can attempt to analyze our responsibilities and make changes that alter both our tasks and our mental attitude towards those tasks. For example, being organized, multi-tasking and be willing to embrace change can decrease our levels of anxiety. However, in some professions the task cannot be changed. In those circumstances, escaping our tasks a few times a day can be a quick-fix remedy.
Scheduling a regular lunchbreak, while combining a gentle walk or yoga with a healthy lunchbox snack, is a terrific way to re-fuel mid-day. Taking a few minutes in the late afternoon to listen to calming music and enjoying a short meditation immediately decreases blood-pressure.
Is your desk or work environment physically uncomfortable? Consider having an ergonomic work place evaluation of your office. If you suffer from back pain, a popular alternative is a stand-up desk assembly, as well as office chairs that offer optimal support and functionality, allowing you to alternate your body position throughout the day.
Another simple way to obtain a few precious moments of peace and tranquility in the workplace is the use of aromatherapy.
Reflect back on a happy memory in your life- a day on the beach, cookies baking in the oven, an embrace from someone you love. Do those memories have a certain smell that you associate with that unique moment? Probably. As human beings, smell is indelible, permanently marked on our memory. A musty book might remind us of a day wandering in an antique market; the scent of a lily garners a moment picking flowers for a special celebration; salt water stirs emotions of a first day learning to surf.
Recalling these moments, we know that smell has the power to trigger specific memories and responses—but can it possibly change our moods, perhaps even improve our health?
Aromatherapy, otherwise known as essential oil therapy, is “the art and science of utilizing naturally extracted aromatic essences from plants to balance, harmonize and promote the health of body, mind and spirit. It seeks to unify physiological, psychological and spiritual processes to enhance an individual’s innate healing process” (NAHA).
Interestingly, aromatherapy has deep cultural and historical roots that can be traced as far back as 2,500 years in Egypt, China and India, burning incense and plants, for medicinal health and spiritual cleansing.
In France in 1937, the perfumer and chemist, Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, promoted the use of essential oils for physiological ailments in European culture, and the benefits became a trend that eventually emerged in American homeopathic medicine.
Now, in Southern California, a luxurious visit for a massage usually involves a pleasant, popular essential oil such as lavender, eucalyptus, or peppermint. These oils calm the senses and elicit powerful emotional responses.
Therefore, to alleviate stress and anxiety in the workplace, use essential oils in either a roll-on form for your wrists or neck, or pre-mixed and diffused spray to refresh and rejuvenate your spirit throughout your day. Keep these products nearby in your car or desk so that when you feel the tension rising, you can breathe, spray and relax. Sharing oils with co-workers also promotes a sense of mutual well-being and compassionate leadership.
Essential oils are available at your local health food store, and samples are plentiful so you can experiment and explore as to which scent is best for you.
Enjoy in good health!
-Dr. Ann Marie Byrd is a Regional Account Manager for Marque Medical
The information provided is for general interest only and should not be misconstrued as a diagnosis, prognosis or treatment recommendation. This information does not in any way constitute the practice of medicine, or any other health care profession. Readers are directed to consult their health care provider regarding their specific health situation. Marque Medical is not liable for any action taken by a reader based upon this information.