Saturday 25 January 2020

How a 'happy list' can beat stress in office

Nick Collins London

STRESSED workers could improve their problem-solving skills by taking a few minutes at the start of the day to write a note about something important to them, a US study suggests.

Writing a short essay about the importance of friends and family, for example, can counteract the damaging effects of stress on the ability to complete tasks, researchers found.

Stressed people performed almost 50pc worse on a problem-solving test but their scores caught up after carrying out the writing task. The exercise could help stressed workers improve their creativity and raise the performance of struggling pupils, the researchers said in the Public Library of Science 'ONE' journal.

The team of psychologists from Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh asked 73 students to rank 11 values, including relationships with friends and family, politics and music, in order of how important each was to them.

One group then wrote an essay about why the top entry on their list mattered to them, while the other 'control' group, wrote why one of their lowest-ranked values might be important to someone else. They all then completed a word game.

In the control group, those who reported the highest levels of stress scored almost 50pc lower than those with the lowest stress levels. But chronically stressed people who had written about something that was important to them scored just as highly as low-stressed participants. (© Daily Telegraph. London)

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