Religion forms buffer against work stress

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Source: The Telegraph

By , Science Correspondent

Having a religion could be the key to avoiding work stress as a study found those with a faith are less anxious in the work place, healthier and less likely to take sick days.

Religion is the answer to combating work stress because it provides a “buffer against strains” of modern life, research has claimed.

Dr Roxane Gervais, a senior psychologist at the Health and Safety Laboratory in Stockport, surveyed employees to find out how content they were with their working lives.

The study concluded that employees who are more actively religious are more likely to report low levels of anxiety, depression and fatigue and also higher presence of meaning in life, that is feeling that their lives have meaning.

Workers said that attending religious services connects them to a higher being as well as makes them feel better about themselves.

Dr Gervais said: “As the pace of work and life accelerates, people long for meaning, and the younger generation in particular is looking for more than just a big pay cheque at the end of the month.

“My research shows that religiosity in the workplace may act as a resource, making people more resilient to cope with the many challenges of working life. Such personal beliefs could be very helpful not only for employees, but also for employers providing people with a buffer zone.

“We should hence encourage employers to accommodate, where possible, employees’ religious beliefs while at work, and not shy away from the issue.”

These findings are being presented today (THURS) at the Annual Conference of the British Psychological Society’s Division of Occupational Psychology’s in Brighton.

Previous studies have shown that companies who accommodated workers beliefs improved morale, staff retention and loyalty.

The report also found that those who regularly practiced religion were more likely to have healthier lifestyles and so took fewer sick days.

Dr Gervais added: “Religiosity seemed to assist individuals in gaining better well-being and using more appropriate coping mechanisms.”

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