The high cost of stress:
According to the annual 2004 Attitudes in the American Workplace Gallup Poll stress is also very costly with the price tag for US. industry estimated at over $300 billion annually.An estimated 45% of job turnover is due to stress.
The same poll also showed that:
- 80% of workers feel stress on the job, nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress and 42% say their coworkers need such help.
- 25% have felt like screaming or shouting because of job stress, 10% are concerned about an individual at work they fear could become violent.
- 62% routinely find that they end the day with work-related neck pain, 44% reported stressed-out eyes, 38% complained of hurting hands and 34% reported difficulty in sleeping because they were too stressed-out.
- According to a survey of 800,000 workers in over 300 companies the number of employees calling in sick because of stress tripled from 2000 to 2003. A 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. $200 billion a year is lost to industry from stress-related ailments.
Effectiveness of meditation in reducing stress Management
Recent research on the benefits of meditation in reducing stress-related illness has convinced many corporations nationwide to use meditation training as an integral part of their stress management training programs in the workplace. Meditation has been the subject of hundreds of clinical studies in recent years. Below is a summary of key studies:
- Meditation decreases oxygen consumption, heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure, and increases the intensity of alpha, theta, and delta brain waves-the opposite of the physiological changes that occur during the stress response.
Herbert Benson, M.D. Harvard Medical School
- Meditation significantly controls high blood pressure at levels comparable to widely used prescription drugs, and without the side effects of drugs.
Hypertension, AMA Medical Journal
- Meditators are able to reduce chronic pain by more than 50%, while increasing daily function and markedly improving their moods, even 4 years after the completion of an 8-week training course.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, M.D. Stress Reduction Clinic, University of Massachusetts
- 75% of long-term insomniacs who have been trained in relaxation and meditation can fall asleep within 20 minutes of going to bed.
Dr. Gregg Jacobs, Psychologist, Harvard
- Two groups were compared: meditators and non-meditators. The meditators were less anxious and neurotic, more spontaneous, independent, self-confident, empathetic, and less fearful.
Atlantic Monthly, May, 1991
- Twenty out of twenty-two anxiety-prone people showed a 60% improvement in anxiety levels following an eight week course in meditation.
University of Massachusetts
- In a recent study, 77% of individuals with high levels of stress were able to cool down-lower their blood pressure and cholesterol levels-simply by training themselves to stay calm.
Health, October, 1994
- Women with severe PMS showed a 58% improvement in their symptoms after five months of daily meditation.
Health, September, 1995
- Relaxation therapies are effective in treating chronic pain, and can markedly ease the pain of low back problems, arthritis, and headaches.
National Institutes of Health, 1996
- Reducing stress can dramatically reduce heart disease. In a five-year study of heart disease patients, those who learned to manage stress reduced their risk of having another heart attack by 74%, compared with patients receiving medication only. Reducing mental stress also proved more beneficial than getting exercise.
Dr. James Blumenthal, Duke University, 1997
- Twenty-eight people with high levels of blocked arteries and high risk of heart attack were placed a program with regular practice of meditation, yoga, a low-fat vegetarian diet, and exercise. Twenty people in the control group received conventional medical care endorsed by the AMA. At the end of a year, most of the experimental group reported that their chest pains had virtually disappeared; for 82% of the patients, arterial clogging had reversed. Those who were sickest at the start showed the most improvement. The control group had an increase in chest pain and arterial blockage worsened. (Follow-up studies suggest that the stress-reduction element may be the most significant factor in achieving these results.)
Dr. Dean Ornish, San Francisco Medical School, University of California, Lancet Journal
- Meditation may slow aging. A study found that people who had been meditating for more than five years were biologically 12 to 15 years younger than non-meditators.
International Journal of Neuroscience, 1992.