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Anthony Cirillo

Reducing Stress and Hardwiring Compassion

By November 26, 2012

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The effectiveness of cognitive-behavioral interventions (CBI) in reducing occupational stress have been documented but very few studies have examined its effectiveness among nurses.

Sarid Orly, Ph.D., of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beer-Sheva, Israel, and colleagues conducted a study involving 20 nurses who participated in a CBI course and 16 control nurses matched by age, education, marital status, and hospital department. The authors sought to evaluate the impact of CBI on nurses' occupational stress and overall well-being.

The study compared the sense of coherence (SOC), perceived stress (PSS), and mood states of 20 nurses who had participated in the CB course to that of 16 control participants using a pre-post test design.

The researchers found that the 64-hour course, conducted in four-hour increments once per week, yielded significant increases in participants' SOC and vigor when compared with that of control nurses who did not participate in the CBI. PSS and fatigue were also significantly reduced.

You might want to check out The Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project.

Caring too much can hurt. When caregivers focus on others without practicing self-care, destructive behaviors can surface. Apathy, isolation, bottled up emotions and substance abuse head a long list of symptoms associated with the secondary traumatic stress disorder now labeled: Compassion Fatigue.

While the effects of Compassion Fatigue can cause pain and suffering, learning to recognize and manage its symptoms is the first step toward healing. The Compassion Fatigue Awareness ProjectŠ is dedicated to educating caregivers about authentic, sustainable self-care and aiding organizations in their goal of providing healthy, compassionate care to those whom they serve.

This site has numerous resources for caregivers working in many professions. The Compassion Fatigue Awareness ProjectŠ also offers original training materials, workbooks, and texts.

Compassion and empathy starts with the individual. A person can't be compassionate and empathic to others unless they are compassionate to themselves.

In her TED Talk "The Power of Vulnerability" Brene Brown explores how people can embrace their vulnerabilities and imperfections so that they engage in their lives from a place of authenticity and worthiness. She calls these wholehearted people. They have the compassion to be kind to themselves first and then to others, because as it turns out, she says, you can't practice compassion with other people if you can't treat yourself kindly.

Healthcare has to heal itself before it can heal others. The company CEO2 calls it Mastering Self. Uncovering, re-igniting individual passion and purpose leads to compassion and self-care and then to compassion and empathy for patients.

Learn more ~ or join the conversation!

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