What is a Wellness Program? Managing Stress in Your Workforce

Sarah Szul  Health Solutions Manager

Sarah Szul
Health Solutions Manager

It has been well documented that prolonged stress and its accompanying emotional strain compromises our immune system responsible for fighting off disease. A well-known researcher and authority on stress, Dr. Hans Selye, defined stress as “the rate of wear and tear on the body.” Over 1,200 hormones are released into the blood during a stress response, putting extra demands on our body. Psychological stress not only makes us feel tired and older, but there is now proof that stress ages us on a cellular level.
Recently, scientists have identified a direct link between stress and aging. In one study, researchers have shown that chronic stress speeds up the shriveling of the tips of the bundles of genes inside the cells. This shortens the life span of the cells and also deteriorates them. This process is associated with aging, cancer and dying at younger age.
Most of the stress we deal with today is self-generated by our mind in the form of worry, anger, fear of growing older, thoughts of negative experiences, relationship problems, financial issues, traffic and so on. By realizing and connecting the dots that much of the time our thoughts create the actual stress response, we can increase this awareness and learn not to be controlled by stress-producing thoughts. As an employer, you can encourage employees to make time each day to relax, let go of stress, center ourselves and create the balance they need to live healthy lives.
Therefore, the more times an individual experiences the stress response and the more prolonged it becomes, the faster a body will age. A recent study has demonstrated that there is no such thing as a separation of mind and body. Staying productive, healthy and mentally fit depends on how well employees manage their stress. The following are steps you can share with your employees to reduce stress.

Steps to manage stress:
1. Take at least 20 deep breaths a day to release stress.
2. Take breaks, relax or meditate daily to calm your mind.
3. Be proactive, not reactive, to stress-inducing situations.
4. Practice being in the moment and become the observer of your thoughts.
5. Be willing to forgive and release anger quickly.
6. Lighten up, let go, laugh and have fun.
7. Learn to ride the wave of change.
8. Recognize what causes you stress and develop coping strategies.
9. Follow your joy and that which excites you.
10. Know your limits and learn to say NO.
11. Turn off communication devices periodically.
12. Make time for yourself.
13. Exercise.
14. Develop a positive attitude.