One field that struggles constantly with job-related stress is health care, especially for those who work in surgical Intensive Care Units (ICU).
The word “intensive” is practically a synonym for the word “stress”.
Here is a crazy experiment: give these ICU workers one hour off in the middle of their workday to meditate, perform yoga, enjoy relaxing music, and watch soothing ASMR videos – then see if that helps their stress.
Well, one team of researchers almost did that exact experiment and just published the results in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.
“Almost” did that exact experiment? Yeah, almost. There were no ASMR videos of course.
The researchers involved ICU employees in traditional relaxation activities then measured psychological and biological markers of stress to see if there were changes.
At the start of the experiment, the ICU workers were randomly placed into one of two groups.
Group 1 received relaxation education along with performing mindfulness activities and yoga practices – all to the backdrop of relaxing music. This occurred for one hour in the middle of each workday at the workplace.
Group 2 did not participate in the relaxation education and activities.
The ICU workers in both groups were psychologically assessed with standardized questionnaires for stress, depression, and anxiety. Additionally, the workers had their saliva collected and measured for salivary amylase, an enzyme which increases in saliva when individuals are stressed.
After two months, the first group that participated in the relaxation education and activities had significantly lower levels of salivary amylase in their saliva and lower depression/anxiety scores than the control group.
Interestingly though, the relaxation methods did not reduce the stress scores for the first group. This could mean that although the employees were still experiencing and feeling stress from their workday, the relaxation methods were still reducing some of the depression/anxiety feelings due to stress and also reducing the biological changes induced by the stress.
It is too bad that they did not include ASMR videos or other type of ASMR stimulation methods.
But what they have done is published the details of their methods. This means their experiment could be recreated by another research team to have ASMR stimulation as the primary method for relaxation.
Their research tools were not too complex or expensive; written questionnaires to assess psychological stress and saliva collection to assess biological stress.
And I bet it was not too difficult to find a bunch of stressed out employees willing to volunteer one hour of their workday to some guided relaxation techniques.
Click HERE to read more about the study and perhaps think about doing this experiment as an ASMR research project.
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