A San Francisco-based psychiatrist, Josh Gibson, MD, has nearly 15 years of professional experience treating patients in occupational therapy. In addition, Josh Gibson, MD, is interested in empathy research.
According to a new study conducted by Drexel University, people may be more inclined to feel empathy when experiencing physical discomfort. Results published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology indicate that mild physical discomfort raises an individual’s awareness of exterior discomfort in his or her immediate surroundings.
To make this discovery, researchers showed both painful and neutral images to participants. While viewing the images, one group held a sandpaper-covered object in one hand, while a second group held an object wrapped in smooth paper. The brain activity of participants who held the sandpaper-covered object was greater than the activity of those holding the object covered in smooth paper.
The team also conducted a second study on the theory. In this experiment, members of one group of participants was instructed to use a rough, exfoliating soap to wash their hands, while members of the second group washed their hands using a soft soap. The first group’s members were more likely to display a willingness to donate to an unfamiliar charity after handwashing than members of the second group.
Josh Gibson earned his MD from Columbia University in New York, where he received the Arnold P. Gold Foundation Award. Today, Josh Gibson, MD, treats clients in his private psychiatric practice in San Francisco, where he focuses on occupational therapy for professionals in the workplace.
One way that professionals are seeking to improve mental health in the workplace is through a practice called mindfulness, which studies have indicated may have a positive effect on the stress levels and sleep quality of employees. Other studies have shown that mindfulness may also allow workplace leaders to feel a greater sense of confidence, improving their ability to effectively communicate business visions to other staff members.
Many mindfulness practices in the workplace focus on direct meditation, but professionals can also engage in other exercises to help increase mental mindfulness while on the job. Common techniques include avoiding the impulse to read texts or emails on a cell phone during breaks, taking time to appreciate the color and taste of a meal during lunch, and remembering to relax the muscles when tension is noticed.
Josh Gibson is a former psychiatrist who now works as an executive coach and consultant.