As with any trend, it’s just a matter of time before the pendulum swings the other way. I read today that beards are now to be shaven off; the lumbersexual is yesterday’s news.
Simultaneously, several authors are publishing books about how great stress is and that we should stress more. Yes, you heard it right. You are probably like the rest of us, still absorbing all the dire information on the consequences of too much stress. How one neuroscientist after another scientific research experiment has proven that stress releases a dump of hormones in our system that literally kills us from the inside.
We all agree that stress is awesomely useful in life-threatening situations, but not in every-day life all the time. We know this because we are stressed out most of the time and we’re feeling far from great. Our minds are raising, we don’t feel present, we’re moody, we don’t sleep well and we certainly don’t feel like we are enjoying life. If you are like most of us, you feel like you are never really enough. Overwhelmed, in catch-up mode, rings a bell?
So, just as we are getting used to the idea that there may be some merit to the practice of calming our minds down at times; that we benefit from having tools that give our systems a change to recuperate; that life only is available in the present moment and that there are ways to train ourselves to live there; when employers start launching stress-reducing programs to help with our demanding work lives; when top-performing companies including the US Army offer meditation and mindfulness programs; that’s when these authors can’t help themselves – They announce with no uncertain sound bites that: Stress is good for us, and that can be scientifically proven!
Thanks. That’s just great. As in, that’s just great fuel in the fire of the less caring employers who have been on the fence about these high-cost taking-care-of-staff BS programs. Now they don’t have to! Hand out copies of books that show the upside of stress and why you should stress more, and we’re back to square one.
But wait. I’m wrong.
Company programs that teach stress-reducing techniques have been proven very profitable! Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction courses have been proven to increase the ability to handle stress with 59%. They have simultaneously been proven to increases workers efficiency with 65%, concentration with 26-88%, improved work place relationships with 76% while sleep difficulties decreased 35%. Not to mention the risk of getting the flu going down with as much as 67%. This is a cost-saving proposition – and we love us some great ROIs.
Phew! I thought I would have to shave off my imaginary beard.
Along with my strong conviction that if there is anything this corporate world needs, is to know how to handle stress, know how to calm the mind and create space – for everyone – for some much-needed stillness.