Expert Opinion: Stress is a Secret Health Epidemic

Meditators have known the benefits of meditation for thousands of years, and modern neuroscience is finally catching up. In case you missed it, Benefits Pro’s Expert Opinion column recently reported on the ways chronic stress is affecting the work force.

It’s no secret that stress is bad for you- causing problems such as hypertension, irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, headaches, and mood swings, to name a few. And to make things even worse often those who are really feeling the pressure try to handle these symptoms with unhealthy band-aids such as drug & alcohol consumption. And the proof is in the numbers: 49% of Americans are at high risk for stress related illness.

And we aren’t just talking stress headaches; stress impacts your performance at work.

If you left work yesterday at 8pm exhausted from barely sleeping the night before and trying to regain strength after working through lunch, how likely are you to meet your friend for a glass of wine? If your answer is “very” then you are not alone. But when that glass leads to a few glasses and that leads to forgetting to set your alarm for the next morning..

The more stressed you are the more like you are to miss work. And your whole office is made up of people just like you.

I’m sure it will come as no surprise to hear that stressed employees (when they do make it into the office!) are more likely to be unmotivated, perform poorly and have low morale and higher incidence of illness and accidents.

And your boss has taken notice.

More than 70 percent of companies today have well-being programs to keep employees physically healthy, many also have programs to promote mental health and reduce stress.

But here’s the rub:

Employees often report that they don’t feel they are benefiting from their corporate wellness plans because they don’t have time or they can’t break away from their desks.

Vicious cycle, much?

The truth is: these changes need to start at the top. Bosses and management are not only responsible for communicating about available resources, they need to walk the walk. When leadership incorporates stress management into their own lives, employees understand the company’s commitment to these practices and feel more comfortable taking a break from the grind.

The good news is:

You didn’t think I was going to give you all that bad news and not also share with you a totally simple game-changing tool that the world’s top performers use, did you? I’m talking about meditation, the most powerful stress relieving tool we have available. After just one, twenty-minute session, the stress starts to melt away. As you continue with a consistent practice, your brain starts performing more elegantly and efficiently. Your brain computer recovers, and your body heals. This is why so many of the world’s top performers meditate. This is not a coincidence, they are not special. They have done the work.

Read the full Benefits Pro post here.

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