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By ianfielder, Oct 15 2018 08:14AM



Life stress events- things like loss of a job, death of a loved one and getting divorced (or married) raise the risk of getting sick. All sorts of other life events also generate stress, with possible negative health effects ranging from catching a cold to major depression to a fatal heart attack.


Certain events inflict severe psychological (and physiological) stress. Death of a spouse, getting diagnosed with a terminal illness and separation of children from parents are indisputably "major stressful life events." But no clear rules have been established to define what features place an event in that category (which makes stress research complicated, with often ambiguous results).

Some researchers hold that stress magnitude hinges on how much "adaptation" is required to cope with it (which is why marriage can be considered especially stressful). A second theory gauges stressfulness as the amount of threat or harm an event poses. Some experts view stress as a mismatch between demands and resources. A fourth view regards "interruption of goals" as the prime feature of a life stress event. These theories about stress-event criteria aren't mutually exclusive but on the whole the "threat or harm" perspective is the most commonly accepted.


Recent stressful life events (major and minor) psychologists may ask about to gauge a person's stress level include everything from the death of a spouse to taking on a mortgage to getting a speeding ticket. Life events commonly included on stress questionnaires may be objectively bad or good, major or minor. They include the death of a spouse, divorce, the loss of a job - or even a big achievement. Some stress checklists focus more on traumatic events, such as assaults; others ask about events that in the last year have brought major or minor changes to everyday life, requiring adaptation or readjustments, even if they are seemingly beneficial (getting a promotion). Some important events related to illness are those that affect social status, self-esteem, identity and physical well-being. Not all are equal in effect, and there's much variation in how people respond.


Depression and heart disease are commonly associated with stressful events, but stress's influence extends to other health problems as well. Stress can boost anxiety and discourage healthy practices such as exercising and eating well. At the same time stress can instigate bad behaviours such as smoking and drinking. All these responses can have negative impacts on important organs (brain, heart, liver), possibly resulting in multiple health problems either by triggering the onset or accelerating the progression of a disease.


Personal traits and situation and the circumstances in which a person lives make them more or less at risk for life stress. Neighbourhoods with low socioeconomic status are sites of higher-than-average levels of stressful events, and people with low personal socioeconomic status have more risk of encountering violence, death of a child and divorce. One stressful event - such as loss of a job - can lead to others (such as loss of income, moving or divorce).


The magnitude of a stressful event's impact depends a lot on the nature of the stress. Most damaging, research indicates, are experiences that threaten an individual's sense of competence or status, striking at a person's core identity. Loss of status, losing a job and interpersonal conflict with spouses or close friends can all exacerbate health problems, from raising the risk of depression to worsening high blood pressure and reducing resistance to respiratory infection.


Chronic stress may have a persistent detrimental effect on the body's disease-fighting immune system. Acute stress, like single traumatic events, may trigger a dramatic worsening of an existing condition, such as heart disease. In that case, a sufficiently powerful stress event can induce a fatal heart attack.


Article reproduced fromthe National Hypnothearpy October 2018 newsletter




By ianfielder, Aug 23 2018 11:38AM

Research demonstrates that the support of wellbeing in the workplace has a positive impact on staff, business and organisations. It includes benefits in terms of reduced absenteeism and presenteeism as well as improved productivity.


Whilst the landscape of health and wellbeing interventions is a broad one, it can be difficult to understand 'what works': or rather, the confidence which we should place in a particular intervention that it will have a positive impact on staff health and wellbeing outcomes. This research project was commissioned by Public Health England (PHE) to begin to address this gap. The study aimed to support an understanding of the landscape of workplace wellbeing interventions and the extent and quality of evidence being collected. We hope it will enable organisations to consider better whether interventions are having a positive health outcome and how to capture and gauge the evidence.


The report presents the findings related to a set of case studies collected via an open portal. The case studies were assessed against Nesta standards of evidence. They show promising examples of how to develop an evidence base for workplace health and wellbeing initiatives across different workplace wellbeing areas.


England's business and employer communities have an exciting and unrivalled opportunity to create a step change in how they support and evidence not only the health and productivity of their workforce, but, by so doing, the health of the nation as a whole.


Key Findings

The study graded evidence of a relatively small number of interventions above a Nesta level 2.

Findings highlight interesting examples of promising practice. Substantial levels of evidence for health and wellbeing outcomes were not greatly forthcoming.


This does not mean necessarily that these interventions are less effective, but that academically rigorous methods of data collection or evaluation are not being used to underline their effectiveness.

Organisations collected a variety of data types to explore the impact of their interventions.

The data provided included health measures, business indicators, and other forms of feedback. Some interventions were able to collect data about the direct change in individuals' health and wellbeing outcomes, others focused more on perceptions and confidence in dealing with health issues.

Mental Health featured strongly amongst the submissions received.

A strong number of submissions were received on Mental Health showing the current focus on the issue by organisations. We were also encouraged to see submissions on the subjects of domestic violence, sleep and menopause. No submissions were received specifically on the subject of financial resilience or smoking. This may not necessarily mean that these topics do not feature in the wellbeing landscape, only that that they did not feature in the submission body.


The majority of case studies were submitted by providers of wellbeing.

There was a strong representation of case studies from workplace wellbeing providers. A third however were submitted by employers, highlighting the in-house resource being contributed to staff wellbeing. Submissions were received from both small and large organisations.


Recommendations

Small and medium sized organisations can learn from their peers to find approaches that match their size and aspirations.

The increasing focus on workplace wellbeing provision should not come at the expense of effective workplace management cultures.


The design and implementation of evaluation approaches should be borne in mind from the outset.

Qualitative and subjective evaluation methods of feedback as well as quantitative and objective data sets may support a better understanding of employee experiences of workplace wellbeing.

Organisations should not put off using basic evaluation tools to begin with: what gets measured gets done.



By ianfielder, Aug 15 2018 11:17AM


Hypnotherapy helps fight IBS symptoms. These are the findings of a thesis from Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden which proposes implementing this treatment method into the care of severe sufferers of this common disease.


Irritable bowel syndrome, or IBS, is an very common stomach disease that manifests as abdominal pain and discomfort, disturbed bowel movements, abdominal swelling and bloating. Recent studies indicate that 10-15 percent of all Swedes suffer from IBS to varying degrees.

Yet researchers still do not know what causes the condition and no effective treatment is available for those suffering from most severe symptoms.


Studies at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, show that psychological treatment using hypnosis may offer effective, lasting relief. The studies are part of a thesis which concludes that hypnotherapy should be used in clinical care of patients with severe IBS. "We have four different studies showing that hypnotherapy helps treat IBS, even when the treatment is not provided by highly specialized hypnotherapy centres. The treatment improves gastrointestinal symptoms and quality of life, and patient satisfaction is very high. The method also makes efficient use of health care resources," says Perjohan Lindfors, doctoral student at Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg.


Source: University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Published in National Hypnotherapy Society August 2018 Newsletter.





By ianfielder, Jul 11 2018 02:30PM


Mindfulness training and hypnotic suggestion significantly reduced acute pain experienced by hospital patients, according to a new study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

After participating in a single, 15-minute session of one of these mind-body therapies, patients re


ported an immediate decrease in pain levels similar to what one might expect from an opioid painkiller. This study is the first to compare the effects of mindfulness and hypnosis on acute pain in the hospital setting.


The yearlong study's 244 participants were patients at the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City who reported experiencing unmanageable pain as the result of illness, disease or surgical procedures. Willing patients were randomly assigned to receive a brief, scripted session in one of three interventions: mindfulness, hypnotic suggestion or pain coping education. Hospital social workers who completed basic training in each scripted method provided the interventions to patients.


While all three types of intervention reduced patients' anxiety and increased their feelings of relaxation, patients who participated in the hypnotic suggestion intervention experienced a 29 percent reduction in pain, and patients who participated in the mindfulness intervention experienced a 23 percent reduction in pain. By comparison, those who participated in the pain coping intervention experienced a 9 percent reduction. Patients receiving the two mind-body therapies also reported a significant decrease in their perceived need for opioid medication. "About a third of the study participants receiving one of the two mind-body therapies achieved close to a 30 percent reduction in pain intensity," said Eric Garland, lead author of the study and director of the U's Centre on Mindfulness and Integrative Health Intervention Development. "This clinically significant level of pain relief is roughly equivalent to the pain relief produced by 5 milligrams of oxycodone."


Garland's previous research has indicated that multi-week mindfulness training programs can be an effective way to reduce chronic pain symptoms and decrease prescription opioid misuse. This new study added a novel dimension to Garland's work by revealing the promise of brief mind-body therapies for people suffering from acute pain. "It was really exciting and quite amazing to see such dramatic results from a single mind-body session," said Garland. "Given our nation's current opioid epidemic, the implications of this study are potentially huge. These brief mind-body therapies could be cost-effectively and feasibly integrated into standard medical care as useful adjuncts to pain management."

Garland and his interdisciplinary research team aim to continue studying mind-body therapies as non-opioid means of alleviating pain by conducting a national replication study in a sample of thousands of patients in multiple hospitals around the country.





By ianfielder, Jun 4 2018 04:39PM




There’s no use beating up on yourself after the fact. Just because you’ve slipped up during your recovery from drug and alcohol addiction does not mean that all of your efforts have been for nought. So what now? It’s time to regroup, examine why you’ve slipped and take the necessary efforts to get back on track. After all, having made so much progress, you’re not going back to your old lifestyle. Start with these moves.


Forgive Yourself


This is necessary to free you from the bitterness and anger that could be disastrous to your physical health and hold you back in anything positive that you are trying to achieve, according to an article in Psychology Today. They add that forgiving ourselves is often even more difficult than forgiving other people.


For one thing, you need to unpack any limiting beliefs or negative emotions that you’ve attached to your slip-up, otherwise your forgiveness will seem insincere to yourself. In order to do that, you’ll have to let go of the past and recognize you are not perfect and everybody makes mistakes. Re-reading positive affirmations is one way over this hurdle.


Talk to Loved Ones


Your friends and family can help you cope, and you need all the emotional support you can get as you’re in the throes of a serious mental illness. Besides, relationships are the very foundation of mental health, says an MSN expert, and your well-being will only be harmed by isolation whereas a kind word and understanding can do wonders in boosting your self-esteem and empowerment.


Remember to choose wisely when you open up. It must be someone who you feel comfortable with and who you trust. This will make it easier to be absolutely honest about your situation, which is vital to effective communication. The process can be cathartic as it releases a lot of the tension that you’ve been feeling since the relapse. You’ll also gain the benefit of perspective from someone who can look at the problem from the outside.


Adjust Sobriety Strategy


This means that you have to re-examine where you go, what you do and who you spend time with as all of these can provoke future relapse. Though most of these tips are related to the holidays, they actually work year-round. You’ll notice how important it is to avoid old friends from the days when you partied too much or people that cause you stress.


About that last word. The reason for your relapse may have been jumping back to work too quickly or taking on more than you can handle in other aspects of your life. If that’s the case, then it may be time to step back and enjoy a little peace and quiet. This could mean a weekend to yourself to visit the sea or a session of mindful meditation.


Sweat it Out


A jog in the park or swim at the pool may help you return to form. Besides the buzz you get from the rush of endorphins, adrenaline and dopamine, you’ll feel a sense of achievement by continuing to strive toward your fitness goals. Working all that tension out of your body also makes you more relaxed and stabilizes your sleeping patterns, putting you in a better mental state from which to move further on your recovery plan.


Do not forget to match the exercise with healthy eating, which will also give you a much-needed mood boost. According to a doctor writing in Mind Body Green, a nutritious diet relieves symptoms of depression and anxiety by reducing inflammation and increasing production of hormones like serotonin.


Seek Professional Help


There are therapists who deal with this problem for a living and they can provide coping strategies as you struggle to regain sobriety. You’ll also find support groups in the real world as well as online in addition to helplines specifically for people in your position. Don’t hesitate to use these resources rather than fall into old habits of crippling depression and self-doubt.


Whatever you do, remember that you are not alone in the fight to stay sober, so keep moving forward.


Image via Pixabay.


Original piece by Constance Ray



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