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December 29, 1989 - Image 70

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-12-29

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Work Hazards

Continued from preceding page

Alla/IC( 21


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12-F FRIDAY, DECEMBER 29, 1989



How we cope with stress in
the workplace, says Johnson,
depends on several factors,
among them the degree of con-
trol we're allowed to have on
the job and the nature of our
social community in the office.
"Are you allowed to input in
_planning and decision-mak-
ing? Do you have control over
deadlines? Are you socially
isolated or do you have others
around to turn to for advice?"
queries Johnson. "These are
just some of the factors to be
considered when evaluating
your work environment."
Johnson referred to a study
conducted in Sweden which
concluded that the quality of a
worker's social support, rather
than his specific job, may be a
good indicator of how well he
copes with job stress. In addi-
tion, Johnson believes that
social interaction with co-
workers may improve car-
diovascular health.
This social support includes
being able to talk to fellow
workers during breaks or as
part of work, and meeting
with co-workers outside the
workplace. Johnson remarks,
"Isolated people tend to die
earlier than those with a rich
social life. Humans need social
interaction. It's natural to
turn to other people to help
handle stresses and strains.
When that collective creative
coping is not available, pro-
blems arise."
Johnson points to telephone
operators as an example.
"They are not encouraged to
interact with their fellow
employees and they're heavily
monitored," he reports. "As a

group, they manifest many
symptoms of stress."
If stress is prolonged, says
Johnson, it can have a damag-
ing effect not only on the in-
dividual but on his/her family
Johnson cites many of the
symptoms of stress, such as
sleep disorders, stomach
upsets, muscle tension and
fatigue. In the past, he says, a
philosophy has prevailed.
These "warning signs" of
stress "mean that your body is
reacting to how your brain is
feeling. We used to advise peo-
ple to "tough it out." We know
now that the brain is the
source of tremendous in-
fluence throughout the body.
If the brain feels something,
the body feels something."
Stress can have a wide range
of effects, from the
psychological to the behav-
ioral to the physical. These ef-
fects can be non-specific and
difficult to pin down. Com-
pounding the problem is the
fact that individuals respond
to stress in different ways.
If this is all making you feel
— well, even more stressed out
— take heart. According to
Johnson, stress does have its
positive side. "Studies have
shown that monotony, bore-
dom and lack of challenge can
also be stressful. We need a
certain amount of challenge in
our life to be fit. Otherwise,
our attitude spills over into
the rest of our life."
"Jobs that require us to be
flexible and adaptive are more
likely to help us cope with
changes in our personal life,"
says Johnson. ❑


Safety Tips For Seniors

Accident prevention is a
major component of Red Cross
health and safety services.
The following information
has been specifically prepared
to meet the safety needs of
senior citizens.

Safety In The Kitchen:
All areas should be well
lighted, especially sink and
Stove should NOT be under
a window with curtains.
The exhaust hood should
have an easy-to-clean filter
and should discharge outside
the house/apartment.
The pilot light should have
automatic cut-off if it goes
Adequate counterspace
should help minimize trips
back and forth.
Use exhaust fan when stove
is in use.
Keep pan handles turned

away from other burners and
stove edge.
Do not wear long, loose
sleeves while cooking (fire
Keep knives stored in rack
or drawer (pointing IN).
Keep potholders near stove
while cooking.
Keep small appliances
unplugged when not in use.
Keep countertops clear of
all unnecessary objects.
Keep drawers and cup-
boards closed. (Catch to pre-
vent drawer fallout.)
Wipe up all spilled grease,
oil, etc. (Fire, slipping, germs.)
Use stool or stepladder for
climbing, not chair. If unable
to safelyclimb, have someone
else do chores requiring
Store all products in prop-
erly labeled containers, using
plastic or shatter-resistant
glass when possible.


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