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Ergonomic Tips: Psychosocial

1. Stress is everywhere in life. Too much stress has been related to increased potential of a variety of physical complaints, ranging from increased blood pressure to increased risk of CTDs.

2. What is stress? It is not a very precise concept, but stress is typically defined as a perception, with both psychological and physiological effects, resulting from an environmental situation which is perceived as presenting demands which exceed the person's capabilities and resources for meeting it.

3. There are typically 5 factors that are associated with stress. 1) Lack of control over work. 2) The supervisory climate. 3) The stimulus provided by the work itself. 4) Relationships with fellow workers. 5) The psychological workload. Understanding what causes stress is the first step in keeping stress at a reasonable level.

4. Some researchers believe that psychological stress in the work place may contribute more to upper extremity CTDs than the physical work environment.

5. Stress is not in itself a bad thing, it is how we respond to stress that determines whether it is a positive or a negative in our lives.

6. What are some of the warning signs that stress is becoming unmanageable? 1) Feelings that you are behind in your work and will never get caught up. 2) Feelings that you have no control over your job. 3) Changes in your health. 4) Changes in your productivity. 5) Feelings of anger, frustration, annoyance with yourself, co-workers, and management. 6) Feelings of extreme boredom.

7. To reduce the adverse effects of stress, learn how to relax. Relax by sitting back, taking a few deep breaths, and allowing your mind to empty for a few moments.

8. To reduce stress, try to maintain a sense of humor. Things are not always as dire as they first look.

9. To reduce stress, take advantage of social occasions involving your co-workers. Develop a camaraderie and support system.

10. To reduce stress, always try to get sufficient rest. Many doctors advocate that we need at least eight hours of sleep to be able to work at our best.

11. To reduce stress, take advantage of policies offered by the facility such as stress management classes.

12. Human beings tend to be resistant to change. When change occurs in our lives, stress can result. Learn to accept changes when they do occur, especially when the changes are outside your control. And remember, some changes are even good!

13. If you are having a problem with your co-workers or your supervisor, talk it out with them. It is always better to try to achieve some solution to a problem instead of keeping it bottled up inside of you.

14. Take classes in time management to reduce stresses on the job (most of us are not good time managers).

15. To reduce stress, change routines either at work or off work to break feelings of monotony in your life.

16. To reduce stress, take advantage of opportunities at work to develop new job skills, and hone your existing job skills.

17. Exercise is one of the best ways to combat psychological stress.

18. If your company has an on-site exercise program, take advantage of it. If it does not, start one!

19. Take advantage of any on-site exercise facilities at your company. Or, see if the company offers discounts to off-site exercise facilities.

20. Stress may be the result of a feeling that you do not have control over job-related issues. Become part of any Agent-Management teams in order to get involved and increase control over job decisions.

21. Snack healthily during the day (fruits, etc.) to avoid fatigue resulting from blood sugar drops.

22. If stress becomes too burdensome, get away for at least a short period.

23. Let your supervisor know if stress is becoming a problem in terms of your job.

24. Interruptions when trying to work are a source of stress. Be aware and sympathetic of how activities like unscheduled drop-in visits and hallway conversation will affect your co-workers.

25. Try to set up your work area so you have visual privacy when at work. Try to minimize those distractions that can produce stress.

26. If you are seeing a doctor about a physical complaint such as an upper extremity CTD, be sure to mention it if you feel stress on the job. This needs to be made part of the treatment as much as medicine and physical workplace changes.

27. Colors can effect both your metabolism as well as evoking strong emotional responses. Red can raise blood pressure, pulse rate, and body temperature. Green tends to reduce nervous and muscular tension, and is ideal for sedentary tasks requiring concentration. Blue is restful and sedate, and lowers blood pressure and pulse rates.

28. Whatever colors you use in your work environment, avoid deeply saturated or extremely bright colors. Keep the colors mild.

Ergonomic Tips:  Introduction
Ergonomic Tips:  For Office Workers
Ergonomic Tips:  Workstation
Ergonomic Tips:  Physical Environment
Ergonomic Tips:  Psychosocial
Ergonomic Tips:  Materials Handling
Ergonomic Tips:  Vision & Monitors
Ergonomic Tips:  Personal Risk Factors

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