Stop workplace stress

By Dr. Warren Willey
Columnist for the Journal

I think most healthcare providers would agree that if there is one potential intervention to improve quality, as well as quantity, of life it would be to control stress. It is estimated that, in the United States, 1 million people every day miss work because they are too stressed out. As workplace stress is very common and also nearly impossible to change (unless, of course, quitting your job and moving to Hawaii is an option) finding methods for dealing with the stress is likely the best solution.

Using the high stress work environment of a surgical intensive care unit, researchers at Ohio State University recently showed that on the job relaxation techniques cut stress levels by 40 percent and lowered the risk of burnout. Using a salivary biomarker, the intervention group showed good objective proof of the benefits of workplace stress reduction over an eight week intervention. The stress reduction intercession consisted of gentle stretching, yoga techniques, quick meditative sessions, relaxing music, and mindfulness (defined as the intentional, accepting and non-judgmental focus of one’s attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment).

Obviously, if this can be done in the high paced, extremely stressful, and emotionally difficult environment of a surgical intensive care unit, it can likely be done on your job. If you’re feeling the stress and pressures of your daily duties, take the time to learn some simple and quick interventions to help you deal with the stress. Your job satisfaction, at the very least, and your life expectancy, in the grand picture, are both likely to benefit.

Dr. Warren Willey is the Medical Director of a hormone management and medical weight loss center in Southeast Idaho. A widely-published author and speaker, Willey is a Board Certified Osteopathic Physician and did his postgraduate training at The Mayo Clinic. For more on his work and background, visit

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