Health Related Issues From Work Related Stress – Yoga Exercise Reduces Stress

Americas’ No. 1 Health Problem and Industry “Healthy employees make for a healthy company”

Recent national work related surveys have found 80% of workers feel stress on the job and half of those report their job as very or extremely stressful. One quarter of all workers view their jobs as the number one stress in their lives. All this employee stress is more strongly associated with health complaints than financial or family problems.

Consider what these occupational pressures are believed to cause the employee:

62% routinely find they end the workday with neck pain
44% reported stressed-out eyes
38% complained of hurting hands
34% reported difficulty sleeping because of stress
30% of workers suffering from back pain
28% complaining of “stress”
20% feeling fatigued
13% with headaches.

For our minds any stress can be too much, keeping us in a continual cycle of flight or fight. Invariably, an employee body carries the physical stresses of a host of perceived emotional threats from stressful work related issues. The manifestation of these repeated physical and emotional events can contribute to hypertension, strokes, heart attacks, diabetes, ulcers, neck or low back pain and many other “Diseases of Civilization”. The effects of long-term stress can increase the risk of debilitating diseases like depression; heart disease and a variety of other common illnesses like sleep disturbance and immune deficiency.

It has been estimated that nearly 80 percent of all visits to primary care physicians are the result of stress related problems. Work related stress is far and away the leading source of stress for most adults. Employees are not the only ones suffering. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that U.S. employers lose about $70 billion a year due to the absenteeism, lost productivity and disability caused by mental distress.

Job stress is very costly with the price tag for U.S. industry estimated at over $300 billion annually as a result of; accidents, absenteeism, employee turnover, and diminished productivity, direct medical, legal, or insurance costs. On top of these expenses industry has additional payouts associated with workers’ compensation awards, tort and FELA judgments.

According to a survey of 800,000 workers in over 300 companies, the number of employees calling in sick because of stress tripled from 1996 to 2000. An estimated 1 million workers are absent every day due to stress. 40% of job turnover is due to stress. To replace an employee today will cost a business on average between $3,000 and $13,000. Unanticipated absenteeism is estimated to cost American companies $602.00/worker/year and the price tag for large employers could approach $3.5 million annually. A 1997 three year study conducted by one large corporation found that 60% of employee absences could be traced to psychological problems that were due to job stress.

Surveys also indicate that 60 to 80% of all accidents on the job are stress related. A whole host of job related injuries are believed to be more severe because of stressful influence. For example repetitive musculoskeletal injuries like carpal tunnel syndrome have become the nations’ leading workplace health cost and account for almost a third of all Workers’ compensation awards. According to a recent 2008 survey, 14 million Americans, say that a doctor or therapist has recommended yoga to them. In addition, nearly half of all adults agree that yoga would be beneficial if they were undergoing treatment for a medical condition. Yoga is increasingly recommended by the medical community as new research shows yoga is a valuable therapeutic tool for many modern health conditions.

A rocky economy and soaring medical costs have actually forced many companies to reduce the amount of benefits they offer. Yoga sessions included as part of a corporate wellness program have proven to be a relatively inexpensive perk. Many businesses are able to bolster employees’ health and also make them feel like the company cares about them. A one-time corporate sponsored yoga session could cost a company as much as $10 an employee. The price tag of building an on-site fitness center with regular yoga classes could be upward of $1 million.

Nearly 50% of workers say they need help in learning how to manage stress and 42% say their coworkers need such help. These workers are hungry for a quick de-stressing or stretching technique that can be done at their desks without alarming their co-workers or during a short work break.

A corporate sponsored yoga program will help bottom line profits as a special money saving gift for the benefit of both its employees and stakeholders’

Yoga reduces the physical effects of stress on the body. By encouraging relaxation, yoga helps to lower the levels of stress hormones. Related benefits include lowering blood pressure and heart rate, improving digestion and boosting the immune system as well as easing symptoms of conditions such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, asthma and insomnia. Yoga series of postures accompanied with controlled breathing exercises have become a popular means of stress management and relaxation. The simple techniques of yoga will help alleviate discomfort by releasing tension and creating a peaceful mind.

Yoga restores your body’s natural energy, which will counter the physical effects of stress on the body. The yoga sequences’ ultimate goal is to introduce you to effective tool to enhance harmony in your physical, mental and emotional life. Yoga with its quiet, precise easy movements will draw attention away from your busy, chaotic day into a calming moment as you gently move your body through a series poses that require balance and concentration. At the end of a yoga session you feel invigorated, yet relaxed and calm.

Yoga is suitable for yoga beginners. It will be easy to follow along even if it is your first time. Yoga can help health conditions best when combined with treatment as recommended by your doctor. Even if you now experience good health, yoga can be an enjoyable addition to your regular exercise routine. A corporate sponsored yoga incentive can provide a low cost per employee illustrated do-it-yourself technique for a calmer, more peaceful attitude.

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Evolution of Yoga

For more than 5000 years yoga has been a constant source of health and fitness for human beings. Emerging from the pages of Upanishads yoga traces its origin in India. The benefits of yoga are far-fetched. They don’t stay restricted to ensuring a healthy body. The different realms of these ancient exercise theories, observations and principles concentrate on the mind and body connection to nourish and rejuvenate us physically as well as mentally.

It is indeed true that Yoga in present times is identified as one of the most popular forms of physical exercise but initially it was a system of esoteric knowledge. From being passed away verbally from “Guru” to their disciples as a part of the scared teaching to organizing yoga classes in the different parts of the country today, it has come a long way. It has evolved with the changing time.

Today yoga is practiced and preached extensively throughout the world. With the yoga teacher training and hot yoga teacher training programs many enthusiasts are viably trained throughout the world so that they can skillfully culminate a society comprising of mentally and physically healthy people. With more and more celebrities and athletes across the globe giving their time and dedication to hot yoga and health yoga classes the likelihood of consuming synthetic supplements for getting a fit body and healthy mind has relegated below its levels.

The scientifically enriched realms of Yoga aim to detoxify impurities from within leading you towards a healthier heart, mind and soul. In short it does not restrict itself to ensuring a great body. There are enumerable benefits attached to with practicing it regularly. The benefits include improving the physical strength, concentration and giving stress relief.

Among the most important hot yoga benefits are included the benefits which it serves for chronic illnesses. People who are suffering from heart diseases, obesity and diabetes have proven to garner immense benefits from regularly practicing it.

Yoga is universal anyone and from any age group can practice yoga. You being fit or unfit never appear as a requisite for dedicating your fitness regime to it. The modification of poses which came along the evolution ensured that you reap maximum benefits from practicing the same. Yoga is never about pain; rather it is all about nurturing inner strength. Regularly practicing it makes you feel well from within. Yoga gives you the look, health and lifestyle to be taken pride of.

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Wellness Coordinators: Approach Employee Health Holistically (You Can’t Afford Not To!)

There are multiple determinants to health. And you do want to address as many as you can through your work site wellness program, correct?

Essentially, in the workplace setting, employee health is determined as a function of individual practices, organizational practices and the greater community in which the organization resides. In order to approach employee health holistically then, the workplace wellness program must address these three levels.

Individual Health Determinants

Researchers estimate that the individual determinants of health account for up to an estimated 40% of how healthy an individual is. At the individual level, biology, genetics, age and gender all impact individual health. Researchers estimate that these physiological determinants of health account for approximately 10% of how healthy an individual is.

Researchers have also found that an individual’s experiences in childhood impact how healthy they are in adulthood. Experiencing trauma in childhood adversely influences how healthy they are in adulthood.

Individual lifestyle factors, personal health practices and coping skills also play a significant role in how healthy an individual is. Researchers estimate that these could account for up to 40% of how healthy an individual is.

The traditional approach to worksite wellness has typically focused on individual health and lifestyle factors and personal health practices in particular.

Organization Determinants of Health

Researchers have clearly established that a person’s health is also determined by social and economic factors, as well as individual factors. These are commonly classified as the social determinants of health. Research has estimated that the social determinants of health account for between 15 – 40% of how healthy the individual is.

Management practices in the workplace contribute significantly to employee health and wellbeing. Management practices can either contribute to or detract from employee health and wellbeing.

The work environment clearly influences and impacts the health and psychosocial wellbeing of employees. There is extensive evidence on the connection between the workplace and employee health and wellbeing. Many workplace conditions profoundly influence employee behavior, health and wellbeing.

If the workplace is unhealthy, why would we ever expect employees to be healthy? It is for this reason that effective, successful 21st century worksite wellness programs focus just as much on organizational health, as they do individual employee health.

Community Determinants of Health

Employees and employers do not exist in isolation. Both are influenced by the community in which they live, work, play and operate. Typical community determinants of health include the physical environment (air quality, water quality, sanitation, etc.), the social environment and the cultural environment. Included in the environment is access to healthcare and social services.

While healthy employees are good for an employer, healthy work places are good for the community. Being seen as a great place to work is good for the employer, but also good for the community. The more great places to work there are in the community, the healthier the community will be.

Through corporate social responsibility type initiatives, employers are also contributing to the health of the community.

Worksite wellness in the 21st century is more than just a focus on the health status of employees. Worksite wellness encompasses programming and interventions at the organizational and community levels as well.

Success Plus Value

With their multi-dimensional focus, employee health, wellness and wellbeing programs can deliver considerable value to an emp

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What’s The Definition Of Physical Health and Does Good Health Naturally Mean All Natural Is Good?

Let’s begin with a good health definition in general. The WHO health definition (World Health Organization), albeit from 1948: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. Assuming that’s true, what’s the definition of physical health and does good health naturally mean that “all natural” is good, especially as it applies to food?

What’s the definition of physical health?

Is there one?

Based on the WHO health definition as it applies to physical health, is it safe to say that simply because everything is working as it should in the absence of disease or infirmity (weakness or ailment), that we’re not necessarily in good physical health?

What do you think?

I personally believe there is more to being healthy in the moment. On the other hand, I also believe that because we are only guaranteed the present, if you’re healthy, don’t take it for granted. Enjoy it while you can.

I also believe the state of our physical health depends largely on our personal health plan. In other words, it depends on how well we take care of ourselves on a regular basis. That includes:

Eating habits
Exercise habits or lack thereof
Sleep habits
Spiritual habits
General living habits
Without seeming as though I am a pundit, expert or zealot about any of the aforementioned, that I am personally the definition of physical health, the definition of spiritual health, or anything that resembles the definition of good health, in a nutshell, what I’m saying is all the bullet points have a bearing on our physical health.

What do you think?

It’s about good health

One dictionary provides this definition of health:

“The general condition of the body or mind with reference to soundness and vigor: good health; poor health.”

The ancient Roman poet Virgil said, “The greatest wealth is health”.

I couldn’t agree more but I am a bit troubled by the amount of over-emphasis placed on physical health, as if it is mutually exclusive from the other aspects of health.

I believe health is about:

The “soundness and vigor” in which we pursue and maintain these factors has a direct and indirect effect on each and every one of the factors.

Furthermore, I find it troubling that the word wealth is so overly associated with money and financial wealth.

It’s not to say that I don’t see the importance of physical health and financial wealth. They are both key components of overall health but they are not stand-alone concepts.

What are your thoughts?

All Natural

The “all natural” phenomenon, especially as it applies to food, is one of the biggest marketing ploys ever. If it’s not a scam, it’s a joke.

It means nothing!

There is a HUGE difference between organic and all natural. Don’t confuse the two and by all means don’t fall for the propaganda that leads you to believe they are one and the same. They’re not.

Organic, at least as it applies to food, is highly regulated. It actually means something. However, keep in mind that just because it’s organic doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy.

All natural can mean pretty much anything. As far as the food we eat is concerned, it is not regulated. It is a highly misleading tag.

Don’t be fooled.

I’m not saying don’t enjoy it. I’m not saying all natural is bad. I’m simply saying it’s about as superfluous term as there ever was. There is no depth to it.

My formula

For me, it all boils down to a few simple concepts and principles beginning with:

Best Effort
These are indispensable. They cost nothing and should be applied at all times.

Next are the 5 F’s:

Food – Not just what we eat but includes anything we consume physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. If we are what we eat, this says it all.
Fitness – Includes all the 5 bullet points mentioned above
Finances – Affected by the previous two and affects the previous and next two
Fulfillment – It’s about completion and includes all the bullet points mentioned
Fun – The importance of how it affects health and is affected by it is often overlooked
I have tagged the 5 F’s as the components of a bulletproof life.

To sum it up, all the above is important but the proper balance is the key. I believe too many of us are simply out of balance. Furthermore, there is not a one-size-fits-all balancing act.

Last but not least, from the late, great Redd Foxx:

“Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.”

Agree? Disagree?

Leave comments.

Bob is a retirement planning and safe money professional who specializes in life insurance products and who has more than 20 years experience.

His company, A Bulletproof Life is the 5 F’s: Food, fitness, finances, fulfillment, fun. and is based on his motto: Honesty, respect, best effort

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No one has EVER lost one cent doing business with A Bulletproof Life.

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