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The other morning I read an article that said it all for me about stress and its ever-creeping affect in our lives. It was an excellent blog on forbes.com by Judy Martin.
The article shares some eye-opening stats: 39% percent of employees who responded in a COMPsych’s Tell it Now poll reported weight loss as their top health concern, while 26% chose stress. That is an 8% jump in one year for stress concern from 18% in 2012 to 26% in 2013.
Corporations are starting to take notice and I would guess we’ll start seeing employee assistance programs pushing stress management education in the next two years.
Here’s why it won’t work. The corporate model is based on one simple principle: more is better. While that principle may be true when it comes to profit margins it is blatantly false when it comes to living happier, healthier, more successful lives.
Employees will be inundated with “opportunities” to learn about stress, its role in healthcare, and how to manage it. In the end, the different stress management models and techniques will boil down to one more thing employees are responsible for doing and one more thing they have to squeeze into their schedules.
The result will be increased stress and increased demoralization. Corporate advisors will suggest increased incentives. They will also suggest punishment (I mean disincentives) for employees who do not follow their advice.
Albert Einstein is quoted as saying, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” We might add that some things work perfectly well in some areas of life and fail miserably in other areas.
Preventing and reducing stress doesn’t require doing more in our lives. It requires changing the quality of our moment by moment experience.
Here’s my solution:
• We all experience the stress free state every day. During exhalation when you breathe all the way out there is a pause before you begin inhaling and during the pause your mind falls silent and you experience the stress free state. The same is true for every inhalation.
• The stress free state isn’t a mystical experience. It is simply resting the mind and allowing awareness to come to the forefront of our experience. Balancing the ratio between awareness and thinking reduces stress and makes us more alert.
• Lowering stress in our lives is as simple as becoming aware of our daily experiences of the stress free state and learning to experience it by choice.
Adding one more class or one more exercise to our already overbooked schedules isn’t going to lead to less stress. We need a solution that makes us feel less stress so we are motivated to keep learning. If this principle is not followed, stress reduction is going to follow the path of obesity with its thousands of diets, theories, and medical interventions but very little results.
Educating ourselves about stress isn’t going to rid our lives of stress. Learning stress management techniques that only temporarily relieve our stress isn’t going to change our lives.
We need to experience less stress, feel less stress and enjoy life more.
Stress reduction should be stressless.
Hope you're loving life,
Creator of The Living Stress Free® Program
Co-founder of Living Stress Free Inc.