Study after study shows that high levels of stress, experienced day in and day out, are significantly detrimental to health and well-being. Scientists warn that stress contributes to health problems ranging from obesity and diabetes to heart disease and infertility. One study shows that working more than 60 hours a week and failing to get regular sleep can double the risk of having a heart attack. But only 28 percent of Americans say that they do a good job of managing stress. Companies are – thankfully – getting involved. Wellness programs are becoming robust within medium and large organizations across the US and throughout the world.
- DuPont reports a 47% reduction in absenteeism over a six-year period for participants in a corporate fitness program. They also found that such employees used 14% fewer disability days than nonparticipants – a total of nearly 12,000 fewer disability days overall.
- A study in the journal Ergonomics concluded that “Mental performance was significantly better in the physically fit than in the un-fit. Fit workers commit 27% fewer errors on tasks involving concentration and short-term memory as compared to un-fit workers.”
- In a study of eighty executives over a nine month period, those who worked out regularly improved their fitness by 22% and demonstrated a 70% improvement in their ability to make complex decisions and compared with non-exercisers.
- The Canadian Life Assurance Company found that 63% of participants in a fitness program reported being more physically relaxed, less tired and more patient during the workday. Some 47% reported being more alert, had better rapport with supervisors and co-workers, and experienced a higher level of enjoyment at work.
- At Union Pacific Railroad 75% of employees reported that regular exercise improved their concentration and overall productivity at work.
- General Motors found that employees who participated in a physical fitness program had a 50% reduction in job grievances and on-the-job accidents, and 40% reduction in lost time.
- The Coors Brewing Company found that it got as much as $6.15 return for every $1 invested in a corporate fitness program. Companies including Equitable Life Assurance, General Mills and Motorola have all reported at least a $3 return for every dollar invested.
This is all great – I’m so excited to see companies investing in their employees wellness – but at the end of the day – it is our own individual responsibility for creating balance and wellness for our own selves – in our own lives. If you live in high stress, start chipping away at areas where you can reduce this – and counteract those areas in your life that are stressful by adding daily meditation, breath-work, yoga or other mind-body-spirit practices. Eat for fuel, not for emotional reasons. Sleep well. Our society equates success to always being busy – always doing something or you aren’t being productive – but a successful person knows – or relearns – how to sit still and rest – because resting is resetting/recharging/renewing yourself – sitting still you find insights that would have never had surfaced had you not taken the time to sit still and reflect – work when you work, rest when you rest. Your whole wellness – your whole being – will thank you for it.