(Guest Blog) From Reactive to Responsive: Mindfulness Programs Help Reduce Stress in the Workplace

(by Lianna Della Torre, Vice President, Employee Benefits, USI Insurance Services)

How Does Mindfulness Help?

In just 1-to-2 minutes, employees can practice short mindful techniques that can help them move from being reactive to responsive. Simple pauses can allow time for creative thinking and improved work outcomes.

Imagine an employee sitting at his or her desk focusing on a specific time-sensitive project. In that time, the phone rings constantly, emails are streaming in rapidly, and the employee hasn’t been able to eat lunch. The stress can be overwhelming.

Rather than focusing on the noise, distractions, and the looming deadline, the employee can take two minutes to step away from the computer. In the first minute he or she can take a few deep breaths, reducing the stress hormone. Another moment can clear the mind and allow the employee to think clearly about the project at hand.

Taking a walk can also have a calming effect. Another effective exercise involves sitting up straight in a chair with both feet grounded on floor, hands laying comfortably on your lap, and taking four deep breaths. This can allow the nervous system (fight or flight response) to remain calm. Just by breathing a person can help control stress levels.

Others Leading the Way

Employers need to take a hands-on approach when it comes to promoting mindfulness in the workplace. This practice can take many forms. Whether it’s the sound of a bell every hour, reminding employees to stand up and take a walk, or scheduled yoga classes, new and innovative solutions can help manage stress.

Mindful Work Advocate and founder of BreakTogether, Elizabeth Ross-Holmstrom, states, “Workloads are the leading cause of employee stress, so let’s teach people how to manage stressful work. In less than 10 minutes a day we teach the power of pause to reduce distractions and improve outcomes.”

USI Solutions

USI has developed a range of solutions to help employers introduce mindful practices into the work culture. These include:

  • Population Health Management Consultants, who focus on wellness design, disease management analysis, and aligned incentives to improve health.
  • Assisting with communication and materials promoting mindful behavior and stress reduction that are available through carriers.
  • Experienced Employee Benefit consultants who can help to design a simple mindfulness program and determine if there are additional resources available that a firm may already be paying for through their carrier and EAP program.

Learn More

For more information about solutions to reduce stress, increase awareness, and promote emotional wellbeing in the workplace, contact Lianna DellaTorre at 207.239.3562 or lianna.dellatorre@usi.com.

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