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News You Can Use - October 2014

Information and tips to help you live healthier and happier


Study links propensity to worry to early death

Worrying

Your personality may dictate how long you'll live. After studying 1,633 men over a 12-year period, researchers at Purdue University determined that chronic, excessive worrying can take several years off your life. Negative thinking triggers the release of cortisol, a stress hormone that can be dangerous when elevated for long periods of time, says study author Dan Mroczek, Ph.D. Unhealthy coping techniques, such as overeating or drinking to excess, may also contribute.

"We observed that neuroticism levels are a clear indicator of how long one can expect to live," Mroczek said. The good news is that participants in the study who found a way to reduce their worry lived longer. "Neurotic men whose levels dropped over time had a better chance at living longer," Mroczek said. "They seemed to recover from any damage high levels of the trait may have caused."

How can you reduce the negative impact of chronic, excessive worrying to your health and longevity? Mroczek said that those who worry excessively can learn to deal with their potentially negative personality trait in a positive way. "For example, very neurotic people can work toward dealing better with stress," he said. "They can seek treatment, take up yoga, schedule daily walks to help themselves unwind, listen to calming music or even meditate."

Strategies to decrease worry and anxiety

Worry is something that you can change if you see it as a bad habit. It's nothing more than your own thought process. You can train yourself to become a non-worrier, just as you trained yourself to fret. Below are some strategies to eliminate worry:

  1. Take responsibility for making your "present" life work for you. All you really have is your immediate experience. Take the challenge of appreciating and enjoying your life.
  2. Have the courage to face whatever you are running away from. Take action here and now.
  3. Recognize the futility of worrying. People sometimes believe, "If I only worry enough then..." Is there really anything you can change by this investment of your time and energy?
  4. Practice "non-worry behavior." Each time you're inclined to worry, remind yourself, "No amount of worry will change this situation, so I'm not going to worry at this moment." Give yourself shorter and shorter periods of time to worry.

Your EAP is here to help

Remember, your EAP is available to help you or your dependents with any personal, family or work-related concern, including issues related to stress, worry and anxiety. If you or a family member needs help, why not call an EAP counselor today? We're here to help.


Employee Assistance Program Services

The Broward County Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available to all Broward County Government employees and their families to assist with most personal problems affecting the quality of life at home or on the job at no charge. Participation in the program is voluntary and completely confidential. Licensed professionals can assist you with:

  • Family problems
  • Work conflicts
  • Stress
  • Grief and loss
  • Financial problems
  • Depression
  • Substance abuse
  • Anxiety
Call for a free and confidential appointment or more information at 954-357-5600 or email at eap@broward.org. Additional information on our services is also available at Broward.org/HumanResources/EAP.

Copyright © 2014 Healthy Exchange. This newsletter is not intended to provide medical advice on personal wellness matters, which should be obtained directly from your physician.


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