What Is The Businesss Case For Mindfulness GUEST BLOG BY Gregory Burdulis
It is my great honor to have Greg Burdulis write the blog this week. I saw his TEDx talk he gave on Youtube, which you can watch below, about three years ago, and I was so moved by his talk that I had to contact him and speak with him. We have since become friends, and he has had a great impact on my life.
Mindfulness is Gregory Burdulis’ passion. He has been practicing mindfulness for over 25 years and lived for 7 years as a monk in Burma. In the monastery, he experienced firsthand the power of mindfulness in reducing stress and increasing well-being. Greg has devoted his professional life to helping people learn what he learned as a monk. He shows how mindfulness can address the concerns of our busy modern life. Greg applies his background in dance and yoga to develop centering practices that fit easily into your daily routine. Greg teaches mindfulness at Google, Facebook, PepsiCo and other large organizations that recognize the personal and business value of mindfulness training.
Why we should do business mindfully
The World Health Organization estimates that stress costs US businesses over $300 billion annually. Stress is expensive and has a negative influence on results. Reducing its costs makes good business sense.
Work can create stress
A recent study by researchers at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center found that a mindfulness-based intervention at the workplace reduced the stress levels of employees exposed to a highly stressful occupational environment. Results of the study published in May in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine showed that members of the surgical intensive care unit displayed a 40% decrease in biomarkers indicating the level of activation of the sympathetic nervous system—the fight/flight response.
“When stress is part of the work environment, it is often difficult to control and can negatively affect employees' health and ability to function. People who are subjected to chronic stress often will exhibit symptoms of irritability, nervousness, feeling overwhelmed; have difficulty concentrating or remembering; or having changes in appetite, sleep, heart rate and blood pressure," said lead author Dr. Anne-Marie Duchemin, research scientist and Associate Professor Adjunct in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center.
High stress, lower results
“What's stressful about the work environment is never going to change, but participants’ reactions to the work stress did change,” said Maryanna Klatt, associate clinical professor in the Department of Family Medicine at Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center. The negative effects of stress on businesses are huge because stressed employees are less productive, less collaborative, less creative, less healthy, and less engaged. The bottom line of the business suffers accordingly.
Smart businesses reduce their employees’ stress and educate them on how to manage stress, because as Klatt intimates, workplace stress may not change. But our response to it can change. Mindfulness is the foundational skill that allows us to change. Mindfulness changes our default stress reaction into a response that minimizes damage to our bodies, our emotional well-being, our relationships and our work.
Here is how I put it: “Mindfulness doesn’t eliminate stress, but significantly reduces its negative impact.” Stress management is one major business reason for staff to practice mindfulness.