The past few years have seen an explosion in research into brain structure, organization, and function. As a result, brain fitness is becoming a crucial area of scientific investigation, much like physical fitness has been a central part of human health and well-being in the past few decades.
Brain fitness refers to the brain’s ability to learn what a person needs to know to live and thrive in a changing environment. Research on this subject focuses on several key skills and concepts we draw on in every area of our lives, such as learning, memory, brain plasticity, and reasoning.
As civilization shifts from local to global and from a knowledge-limited society to one built on the free flow of information, we will need to develop conditions that foster brains with a lifelong capacity for learning.
The concept of brain fitness is founded on the understanding that learning constantly affects brain health and learning capacity in a continuous cycle and that the human brain may be trained or healed by modifying stimuli and environmental factors (a concept known as brain plasticity).
Protecting and enhancing the health, well-being, and productivity of workers—individually and collectively—is the primary goal of occupational health and safety. That aim cannot be completed without a thorough understanding of stress and how it affects people and organizations. It must also include a well-thought-out program that will lessen or avoid the negative impacts of workplace stress.
Every person’s life, no matter who they are, involves stress. It affects individuals’ inner sense of well-being. It also influences their interactions with family, friends, coworkers, and strangers and their ability to perform at home and work. Excessive exposure to stress causes physical or psychological symptoms, and persistent exposure might result in disease and impairment. It alters people’s views, emotions, attitudes, and conduct and impacts the organizations where they work.
Create a Stress Management Program
Many overlapping components make up an efficient workplace stress management program. Even when they are focused on reducing stress, some are included in general organizational management, while others are formally recognized as stress management programs. Some are directed at specific individuals or groups of employees, while others focus on workplace stressors. Still, others address the stressors that influence the business as a whole, unavoidably affecting some or all employees. We’ll look at the components of a workplace stress management program in the following areas.
1. Controlling the effects of stress.
This section addresses people who are already experiencing the impacts of stress. The “medical model” aims to convince people experiencing symptoms to seek treatment from expert professionals who can assess their issues, uncover underlying causes, and provide the necessary care. This could occur through the employee health service, employee assistance program, or other counseling services the company offers.
One-on-one interviews and exams, telephone “hotlines” for emergencies, and comprehensive facilities with a diverse staff of certified specialists are just a few examples of the wide range of services that may be provided. These services may be attended to by full or part-time specialists, and through contractual or ad hoc referral agreements with professionals who visit the worksite or are based in the community.
While some programs address every issue, others may place a greater or lesser emphasis on certain stress-related syndromes, including hypertension, back pain, drug and alcohol abuse, or family issues. Service components of the stress management program can include:
- Awareness of the correlation between stress and a variety of recurrent or persistent physical problems, including muscular aches and pains, headaches, gastrointestinal troubles, and others. The medical expert or counselor will spot the pattern and focus on the stressors that are genuinely to blame rather than just giving out drugs and advice that only treat the symptoms.
- Searching for the causes of manageable stressors in the work environment when many employees in a given unit or area report similar symptoms or complaints.
- Reaching out to employees who were involved in or witnessed a catastrophic event, such as a deadly accident or violent incident.
- The option to postpone disciplinary actions against employees due to stress-related performance or behavioral issues to give them a chance to manage or reduce their stress, regain their composure, and resume working.
2. Lowering individual susceptibility.
The most prevalent components of stress management programs are those that increase employees’ ability to handle stress by decreasing their sensitivity. These may consist of seminars or workshops, complemented by booklets, audiotapes, videotapes, and other materials that teach staff how to manage stress better. They share the following characteristics:
- Instruction in problem-solving skills and self-awareness to recognize the telltale indications of mounting stress and pinpoint the stressors at fault.
- Assertiveness instruction to make workers more nimble and resilient in their interpersonal relations.
3. Addressing stressors at work.
Employers should take steps to reduce workplace pressures that could negatively affect workers’ ability to do their jobs. Managers and supervisors at all levels need the proper training to recognize and handle “people problems” that inevitably develop in the workplace.
4. Stress within the company.
If stressors are not appropriately managed, they affect workers at all levels as they permeate the workforce. This kind of situation calls for the setting of achievable goals and objectives, early detection, and assessment of potential factors that may derail these plans, coordination of the organization’s capacities to deal with them, and communication of outcomes to the workforce. The last requirement is especially significant during lean economic times when employee collaboration and maximum productivity are crucial for handling crises like top-level management changes, pending mergers and takeovers, threatened plant closings, relocations, or staff reductions.
5. Managing one’s pressures.
Managing stressors that arise at home and in the community is fundamentally a problem for individual workers. However, employers find that the stress is inevitably brought into the workplace where it affects employees’ well-being and ability to do their jobs. Employers are establishing programs to help workers deal with such stressors, and in some cases, they are finding it expedient (and even critical) to do so.
Protecting and enhancing the health, well-being, and productivity of workers—both individually and collectively—is the primary goal of occupational health and safety. That goal cannot be achieved without a thorough understanding of stress, the mechanisms through which it affects people and organizations, and a well-thought-out program that will both lessen and, more crucially, avoid its negative consequences.
About the Author: Steve Johnson is a qualified content writer with experience in writing on a variety of subjects. He has written much content on Therapists and Stress Management.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio: https://www.pexels.com/photo/group-of-people-having-a-discussion-while-seated-on-the-floor-3863788/
The opinions and views expressed in any guest blog post do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in the article or linked to therein. Guest Authors may have affiliations to products mentioned or linked to in their author bios.
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