Have you ever been in the middle of feeling sorry for yourself or angry at your spouse or feeling indignant at the way you were treated, and suddenly you hear a story of extreme sadness? It's amazing how hearing of a tragedy changes the way we view our current situation. Although it's appropriate to examine one's frustrations and how to rectify them, if you compare it to the loss of a child, a cancer diagnosis, car accident, war, hunger — suddenly your current issue doesn't seem so insurmountable. It's at those times we take a minute and become grateful for our gifts of life, health and love. So, try improving your immune system by saying thank you — out loud! Grateful people are happy people.
SOURCE: Molly Ross, executive director for the Integris James L. Hall Jr. Center for Mind, Body and Spirit
Exercise can play role in work-life balance
Researchers have found that exercise plays a role in how individuals feel they can manage their work-life balance.
“Individuals who exercised regularly were more confident they could handle the interaction of their work and home life and were less likely to be stressed at work,” said Russell Clayton, assistant professor of management at Saint Leo University and lead author on the paper.
Conflict between work and home can be categorized in two ways. Work interference with family describes typical job-based pressures that can lead to interference (either time or psychologically) in family time. Family interference with work occurs when personal issues find a way into the workday and compete with “work time.” Researchers wanted to find whether exercise helped both.
Studies have shown that exercise helps to reduce stress. A previous study examined Tai Chi exercise programs over 12 weeks. Another study looked at high-intensity aerobic exercise. Both showed reductions of self-reported stress. What researchers didn't know is whether the reduction of stress helped individuals feel they had better work-life balance.
“The idea sounds counterintuitive,” Clayton said. “How is it that adding something else to our work day helps to alleviate stress and empower us to deal with work-family issues? We think exercise is a way to psychologically detach from work — you're not there physically and you're not thinking about it either — and, furthermore, it can help us feel good about ourselves.”
Researchers examined responses of 476 working adults to survey questions. Respondents were asked on a four-point scale questions about exercise behavior. For example, “I exercise more than three days a week.” Respondents were then asked a number of questions on a 7-point scale about their confidence in handling work-family conflicts.
“Our findings suggest that employers can help employees with work-life balance by encouraging them to exercise,” Clayton said.
These findings are forthcoming in the Human Resource Management journal. Researchers were from Saint Leo University, Saint Louis University, University of Houston-Victoria and Illinois State University.