Reducing Stress with Mindfulness
According to a poll conducted by Ipsos Read 72% of Canadians experience uncomfortable levels of stress. 26% of that stress is related to work life. The Canadian Mental Health Commission of Canada estimate that 30% of disability claims are related to Mental Health issues. The American Academy of Family Physicians claims that two thirds of doctor’s office visits are for stress related symptoms.
Companies are beginning to recognize that they need to do something about workplace stress that goes beyond a casual recommendation to “see your doctor”. Increasing mental wellness reduces stress and Mindfulness has been shown to have a positive effect on our general well-being and happiness.
Tania Singer at the University of Leipzig in Germany has done some extensive studies with regards to the positive effects of various meditative practices. Insight meditation which cultivates the skills needed in perspective taking i.e. seeing things as passing, as well as allowing closer examination of a particular experience, has been shown to reduce harmful stress hormones such as cortisol.
Jon Kabat-Zinn has been conducting research since the late 70’s on the benefits of stress reduction gained by various Mindfulness practices. His program called MBSR (Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction) is the granddaddy of intervention programs aimed at helping people better deal with anxiety and depression. Many studies have shown that MBSR is as effective in dealing with anxiety and depression as many of the top anti-depression and anti-anxiety drugs.
Forward thinking wellness programs are now recognizing that they need to go past the “break fix” model for mental wellness. Just like fitness encourages general physical wellness, Mindfulness practices increase general mental wellness. Teaching your employees Mindfulness practices and encouraging and allowing them to practice their meditative practices at work has huge financial benefits.
Becoming more mindful allows employees to increase their ability to remain focused, they become more resilient, better able to adapt to change, listen and communicate more effectively and reduce their overall levels of stress. This in turn results in fewer sick days and reduced health care costs.
Let us help you roll out your own Mindfulness strategy to help make your workplace a more wholesome and encouraging environment.