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Losing sleep over rude colleagues? Build a 'psychological buffer.'
Your co-workers could be causing your insomnia.
- A new study has shown the reasons why incivility at work causes sleep problems such as insomnia.
- Negative health problems associated with workplace stress include cardiovascular disease, negative mood, and increased blood pressure.
- The researchers suggest creating a "psychological buffer" between you and your workplace through a variety of techniques.
A lot of attention has been given to the negative consequences of social media on the human psyche. Likewise, specific and long overdue workplace issues are under dissection: gender discrimination and sexual harassment, fair pay, and surviving in the "gig economy." One lesser discussed yet pervasive topic is now being looked at: incivility.
Given all of the incivility in social media, that it seeps into our workplace is not surprising; it was there long before we could tweet out unthinking nonsense at strangers. In some ways we're becoming, by the day, a less empathetic culture. A recent study, published in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, pinpoints one major issue arising from rudeness at work: sleep problems.
The team, comprised of researchers in Oakland, Portland, and Missoula, Montana, used a microcosm to better understand macro effects. Their research is based on a survey of 699 U.S. Forest Service employees. Specifically, they wanted to know if rude co-workers caused them to have trouble falling or staying asleep. The answer was a resounding yes.
The team notes that a lot of research on this topic has focused on antecedents and outcomes, yet there is a dearth in the literature on why incidences of rudeness are associated with detrimental outcomes. By identifying these relationships, they feel that they might effectively pinpoint solutions for buffering yourself from the negative effects of dour attitudes.
Likewise, attention has been given to negative health outcomes, such as cardiovascular disease, negative mood, and increased blood pressure, while less has been devoted to how incivility affects sleep. When workers disengage from work, more health problems pile up, such as increased strain, burnout, depression, and reduced life satisfaction.
Lack of sleep contributes to the aforementioned health problems. By zeroing in on that particular issue and offering techniques for shielding yourself, these downstream effects can be reduced.
How to start changing an unhealthy work environment | Glenn D. Rolfsen | TEDxOslo
Oakland University assistant professor Caitlin Demsky, one of the authors of the study, became interested in the topic after observing how incivility affected her own mental well-being, as well as that of family and friends. As she says:
"Workplace incivility is an extremely common workplace stressor, unfortunately, and I have devoted much of my work to understanding how and why incivility affects employees both at work and outside of work. Given the prevalence of incivility, I am also interested in understanding ways in which organizations and employees can protect themselves from the negative effects of incivility."
To understand why incivility results in sleep issues, the researchers used two psychological models. The perseverative cognition model of stress posits that rumination over negative events leads to negative health outcomes. A co-worker is rude and you mentally play out the instance over and over, creating a negative feedback loop. This model has been shown to reduce cortisol and cardiovascular recovery time, implying that the fight-flight-freeze mode of your nervous system remains ramped up, hours and days after the event has occurred.
The effort-recovery model states that recurring workplace stressors add up over time. Isolated incidents repeat, contributing to chronic health problems. Being preoccupied with work when work is no longer happening perpetuates, adding to your cognitive load.
The combination of these two models appears to contribute to insomnia. Not only does rudeness set off your nervous system in a detrimental fashion, it also leads to increased self-blame and higher levels of rumination. Despite your attempts to "let go" of troubling instances, they remain in your consciousness well into the midnight hour.
The researchers suggest that the key to dealing with this problem is creating psychological detachment from incivility. Translation: Engage in activities between work and bedtime that reduce stress and take your mind off these issues. Ruminating and escape mechanisms, such as drinking alcohol and scrolling through social media late at night, do not contribute to positive health outcomes. Instead, the authors offer one word: relaxation.
Zen sesshin (retreat) in Lanau, Cantal, France. Kin hin walking meditation.
(Photo by: Godong/UIG via Getty Images)
Numerous means for relaxing exist. In the paper, the researchers mention five to help build a psychological buffer:
Exercise. There is no shortage of literature supporting the fact that moving your body relaxes you. Cardiovascular exercise stimulates the production of endorphins while reducing levels of cortisol and adrenaline—one of the exact problems that rumination causes.
Volunteering. I'm currently reading Trillion Dollar Coach, an homage to the legacy of Silicon Valley coach, Bill Campbell. The authors note that while bookshelves are lined with endless "self-help" books, few are "help-others" focused. Volunteering has been shown to lower blood pressure and elongate life span. Often, it isn't all about you, and you can benefit by moving out of your own way in the service of others.
Meditation. Reducing blood pressure and pain; tamping down certain psychological disorders; reducing anxiety, depression, and insomnia—these are just a few of the benefits of meditation. This is one of the most well-studied and verified techniques for calming an overactive nervous system.
Taking a walk. As Rebecca Solnit writes in her tribute to walking, Wanderlust: A History of Walking, "Thinking is generally thought of as doing nothing in a production-oriented culture, and doing nothing is hard to do. It's best done by disguising it as doing something, and the something closest to doing nothing is walking." In other words, a great way to get your mind off of it by putting it elsewhere. And yes, walking reduces stress and boosts creativity as well.
Listening to music. The journal that published this study is run by the American Psychological Association, a resource rich in details on the relaxing power of music. From pain treatment and stress reduction to sleep aid, identifying the right music can do wonders to a person. For a deep dive on this topic, check out neuroscientist Dan Levitin's work.
While the emphasis of this study is placed on buffering techniques utilized by the worker, Demsky notes that employers also play a role in mitigating the effects of stress on their employees as well. She concludes:
"While our research focused on specific employee behaviors that can help protect victims of incivility from sleep problems (i.e., psychological detachment from work, relaxation), organizations play an important role in addressing workplace incivility as well as encouraging employees to take time away from work to recover. This may be through explicit policies or modeling strategies such as supervisors avoiding sending work-related communications outside of work hours."
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The team caught a glimpse of a process that takes 18,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.
- In Italy, a team of scientists is using a highly sophisticated detector to hunt for dark matter.
- The team observed an ultra-rare particle interaction that reveals the half-life of a xenon-124 atom to be 18 sextillion years.
- The half-life of a process is how long it takes for half of the radioactive nuclei present in a sample to decay.
Humans are particularly prone to shiver when a group does or thinks the same thing at the same time.
A few years ago, I proposed that the feeling of cold in one's spine, while for example watching a film or listening to music, corresponds to an event when our vital need for cognition is satisfied.
Certain colors are globally linked to certain feelings, the study reveals.
- Color psychology is often used in marketing to alter your perception of products and services.
- Various studies and experiments across multiple years have given us more insight into the link between personality and color.
- The results of a new study spanning 6 continents (30 nations) shows universal correlations between colors and emotions around the globe.
The root of color psychology<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9e40cf62fa8922fcca6c57e2fcb215b6"><iframe type="lazy-iframe" data-runner-src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OM4fXB23pCQ?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>There is a very likely chance you've even been "fooled" by color marketing in the past, or you've chosen one product over another subconsciously due to colors that were designed to influence your emotions.<br></p><p>Companies that want to be known for being dependable often use blue in their logos, for example (Dell, HP, IBM). Companies that want to be perceived as fun and exciting go for a splash of orange (Fanta, Nickelodeon, even Amazon). Green is associated with natural, peaceful emotions and is often used by companies like Whole Foods and Tropicana. </p><p><strong>Your favorite color says a lot about your personality. </strong></p><p>Various studies and experiments across multiple years (<a href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/49595886_Personality_Traits_and_Colour_Preferences" target="_blank">2010</a>, <a href="https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/jopy.12087" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2014</a>, <a href="http://oaji.net/articles/2015/1170-1448038739.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2015</a>, and more recently in <a href="https://www.verywellmind.com/color-psychology-2795824#modern-research-on-color-psychology" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">2019</a>) have given us more insight into the link between your personality and your favorite color.</p><p>Red, for example, is considered a bold color and is associated with feelings such as excitement, passion, anger, danger, energy, and love. The personality traits of this color might be someone who is bold, a little impulsive, and who loves adventure. </p><p>Orange, on the other hand, is considered representative of creativity, happiness, and freedom. The personality traits of this color can be fun, playful, cheerful, nurturing, and productive. Read more about color psychology and personalities <a href="https://bigthink.com/mind-brain/color-personality-psychology?rebelltitem=2#rebelltitem2" target="_self">here</a>.</p>
Study reveals which colors best suit which emotions around the globe<img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yNDYzMTk5OS9vcmlnaW4uanBnIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYyODc4OTg5OH0.bY-pu-MFNivdJLDJuBp9TBKrhwuy7hngUa1aIWxQMVw/img.jpg?width=1245&coordinates=0%2C93%2C0%2C94&height=700" id="33fff" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="1a5d7bb00dac94bd6201616789fb4882" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="concept of color psychology how colors make us feel color emotions" />
Certain colors are globally ties to certain emotions, the study reveals.
Image by agsandrew on Shutterstock<p>In this particular survey, participants were asked to fill out an online questionnaire which involved assigning 20 emotions to 12 different color terms. They were also asked to specify the intensity with which they associated the color term with the emotion.</p><p><strong>Certain colors are globally linked to certain emotions, the study reveals.</strong></p><p>The results of this study showed a few definite correlations between colors and emotions throughout the globe. Red, for example, is the only color that is strongly associated with both negative (anger) and positive (love) feelings. Brown, on the other end of the spectrum, is the color that triggers the fewest emotions globally.<br></p><p>The color white is closely associated with sadness in China, while purple is what is closely associated with sadness in Greece. This can be traced back to the roots of each culture, with white being worn at funerals in China and dark purple being the Greek Orthodox Church's color of mourning. </p><p>Yellow is more associated with joy, specifically in countries that see less sunshine. Meanwhile, its association with joy is weaker in areas that have greater exposure to sunshine. </p><p><a href="https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/09/200910150247.htm" target="_blank">According to Dr. Oberfeld-Twistel</a>, it is difficult to say exactly what the causes for global similarities and differences are. "There is a range of possible influencing factors: language, culture, religion, climate, the history of human development, the human perceptual system."</p>