June, 2008 Archive

Overtime at Work could cause Anxiety and Depression

June 20th, 2008 by Christiane

Do you belong to the lucky ones who still can put in overtime? Well, as it turns out now, it may be good for your paycheck but not as good for your psyche.

According to a recently published study by Norway researchers, people who put in more than 40 work hours per week have a higher risk for anxiety and depression.

The researchers compared about 9,000 people, who work 40 hours or less with 1,350, who worked regularly overtime. “Results: Overtime workers of both genders had significantly higher anxiety and depression levels and higher prevalences of anxiety and depressive disorders compared with those working normal hours.” (Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, http://www.joem.org/ )

According to the United States Department of Labor (http://www.bls.gov, )
full time worker spend just under 43 hours at work per week. In 2006, about 18 % of full time workers put in more than 50 hours per week. Currently, about 3 % of the workforce has a part time job because they can’t find a full time job or their companies cut the work hours because of the economic downturn and about 5 % of the workforce holds more than one job.

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Marital satisfaction higher without children?

June 13th, 2008 by Christiane

Children bring much joy to your life. Are you sure? Think again! According to Daniel Gilbert, Harvard university psychology professor, having children has a negative effect on marital satisfaction. It’s an illusion that children increase people’s happiness.

Gilbert , author of the book ‘Stumbling on happiness’ based his statement during a happiness conference in May in Sydney, Australia on several studies that are quoted in most developmental psychology textbooks: Many couples experience a dip in their marital satisfaction after the birth of their first child. Particularly at risk are those couples who married after a relatively short courtship, are not settled in their partnership yet and get a baby soon after marriage. If couples postpone having children until their careers are under way, work on their financial stability and further concentrate on building up a sense of “we-ness” , their marital satisfaction will be more resilient against the challenges of raising children.

The deepest point in marital satisfaction often comes when the kids enter adolescence. Having a grumpy and moody teenager at home puts a strain on parents’ happiness. Marital satisfaction returns when the kids leave for college.

What Gilbert didn’t say, or it was not reported by the media, is that later in life grown children and their kids, so the grandkids, become a main source for the mental well-being of the elderly. A study by Karen Fingerman showed that the majority of “relationships between parents and their adult children improve as parents transition to old age”….”Generally, there was a feeling on both sides that this was as good as the relationship had been, and both sides felt appreciated and nurtured.” (Karen Fingerman on Purdue University, http://www.purdue.edu/uns/x/2007b/071126FingermanAge.html )

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How to help your kids finding happiness

June 2nd, 2008 by Christiane

Every time I ask my students about their goals for the next ten years, they put starting a family and raising happy children at the top of their priority list. Only – until now there wasn’t much known about what actually makes children happy. More toys, better video games, a bigger house and/or garden, parents who would stay together, good grades, sports……?Psychologists at the University of British Columbia in Canada are saying all of the above doesn’t count much when it comes to happiness in children.

According to the answers of more than 300 children aged 9 to 12, the answer to the quest for happiness is Spirituality.

Children, who got high happiness marks by their parents and teachers, gave high importance ratings for statements like “I believe that a higher power watches over me” or “developing meaning in my life”.

Spirituality is in the study defined as having an inner-belief system and is not the same as religion. Consequently, attending church had no bearing for the happiness level of the children in the study.

Other factors that influenced the level of happiness in children have been social activities, sports and temperament.

Many psychologists today believe that temperament is the inborn part of personality, and for example being an optimist or a pessimist is a factor of temperament. Simplified, whether you view a glass as half full or half empty is inherited to a certain extent.

Still, even if someone is born as pessimist, it’s possible to modify the outlook:

Ask yourself (or ask your child) at bedtime what positive things happened during the day and what you are grateful for. Research shows that focusing on the positive will make you happier over time and is good for your health. Read on: http://www.coach4u.net/blog/2-steps-happiness.html

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