It’s pretty clear that when you feel stressed, unfocused or unhappy, enjoying work and producing at peak performance levels is difficult.
The greatest costs associated with stress used to be difficult to measure because they come in the form of lost creativity, declining happiness, declining productivity and mental illness. Today these costs have been directly studied and the results are clear.
The WTO says that in the United States alone business costs directly related to stress in the form of production loss is over 300 billion dollars. And they report stress level continue to rise; up 25% for men and 18% for women over the last three decades.
Our healthcare system directly reflects this. Between 70% and 75% of healthcare costs come from preventable chronic diseases such as high blood pressure (affecting 69 million Americans) and diabetes (affecting 25 million Americans). The Academy of Family Physicians states that 75% of doctor visits are stress related.
It is estimated that as much as 600 billion dollars is lost because of sick days and workers simply unable to show up for work, or showing up in a condition that is drastically below peak performance levels.
So much focus is on treating the illness. Up until the last few years very little has been focused on wellness and prevention. With 70% of medical costs arising from people’s behavioral choices, there was a profitable reason to look into mindfulness, awareness and stress reducing techniques.
The National Institute of Health survey points out that in people who meditated regularly, there was a 30% reduction in death from cardiovascular related causes. Studies on mental functioning in meditators indicate significant improvements in the ability to focus and concentrate on complicated problems and the ability to manage their emotions. Studies from the iopener institute, a company that helps the largest companies in the world support their employee’s higher functioning and happiness quotients, have found that programs where people meditate and practice mindfulness the cost of employee turnover was reduced by 46 percent, the cost of sick leave was reduced by 19 percent and productivity increased by 12 percent. Happy employees take 6 fewer sick day per year.
Being mindful, present, happier and healthier on the job is a win for the employer and the employee, and it’s measurable.
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