Data entering clerks busily working in Upper West Region, one of the beneficiary regions
Data entering clerks busily working in Upper West Region, one of the beneficiary regions

The findings, published in the journal Stress & Health recently, was based on a study involving 203 people, indicate that the damage from thinking over and over again about conflicts between job and personal life is likely to cost both your mental and physical health.

In the study, led by Kelly D. Davis of OSU’s College of Public Health and Human Sciences, repetitive thought refers to thinking repeatedly and attentively about the parts of your job and your personal life that clash with each other: for example, that late-afternoon meeting that prevents you from attending your son’s baseball game.

Noting that repetitive thought is a maladaptive coping strategy that impedes daily recovery from stress, Davis said it keeps the stressor active and thus gets in the way of recovery, and it results in negative outcomes in the health categories of life satisfaction, positive affect, negative affect, fatigue, perceived health and health conditions.

Positive affect is the extent to which a person subjectively experiences positive moods, and negative affect is the extent to which someone experiences negative moods. In this study, health conditions referred to a list of 22 conditions or problems, such as stroke or diabetes.

In addition, repetitive thought is related to two other types of cognition that also can have adverse effects on health: rumination, which is persistent, redundant thinking that usually looks backward and is associated with depression; and worry, which is also persistent, redundant thinking but tends to look forward and is typically more associated with anxious apprehension.

As the participants of the study, ages 24 to 76, each in a romantic relationship and roughly two-thirds with at least one child at home, Davis said work-family conflict is not just a women’s issue or even just a parent’s issue, given the number of workers who are caring for their own mother and/or father.

“Practitioners can assist individuals facing the dual demands of work and family by reducing repetitive thought, and the related issues of worry and rumination,” Davis was quoted as saying in a news release from OSU. One technique that can help is mindfulness: intentionally paying attention to the present-moment experience, such as physical sensations, perceptions, affective states, thoughts and imagery, in a nonjudgmental way.

“You stay in the moment and acknowledge what you are feeling, recognize that those are real feelings, and process them, putting things in perspective,” she said. “In the hypothetical baseball game example, the person could acknowledge the disappointment and frustration he was feeling as legitimate, honest feelings, and then also think in terms of ‘these meeting conflicts don’t happen that often, there are lots of games left for me to watch my child play, etc.'”

“Planning ahead and having a backup plan, having a network to support one another, those things make you better able to reduce work-family conflict,” Davis suggested. “But it shouldn’t just rest on the shoulders of the individual. We need changes in the ways in which organizations treat their employees. We can’t deny the fact that work and family influence one another, so by improving the lives of employees, you get that return on investment with positive work and family lives spilling over onto one another.” Enditem

Source: Xinhua/


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