The World Health Organization describes stress as the “global health epidemic of the 21st Century”.
The rising levels of stress in the workplace is cause for concern as it directly and adversely affects personal and business success. Stress is no stranger to the workplace, in fact over the past 5 years, stress levels in Canadian companies have doubled costing employers in excess of an estimated $50 billion annually in direct medical and indirect costs.
Stress and mental health issues are the leading reason for long-term disability claims; ahead of cancer. The estimated cost of depression and distress is $14.4 billion in lost productivity. Employee engagement numbers continue to tumble, presenteeism or sub-optimal performance is estimated at $22 billion and absenteeism is estimated at $5.48 billion. The sheer magnitude of these statistics along with mounting pressure for organizational performance signal a necessary change in the way we work.
STRESS AND THE BODY
The truth is stress is getting us down. Stress carries several negative health consequences, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, as well as immune and circulatory complications. Exposure to stress can also contribute to behaviours such as smoking, over-consumption of alcohol, and less-healthy eating habits.
In 2014, 23.0% of Canadians aged 15 and older (6.7 million people) reported that most days were ‘quite a bit’ or ‘extremely stressful’.*
Stress is everyone’s business, it shows no prejudice and impacts all of us. We are often misled, and believe that it is only the catastrophic events in work and life that contribute to physical and mental distress. On the contrary, accumulative stress is the biggest culprit. Research shows that even one stressful situation promotes a cascade of over 1,400 biochemical changes in the body, producing harmful hormones like Cortisol and depleting our bodies of regenerative hormones, like DHEA, also known as the vitality hormone. If left unmanaged, these stress-effects can continue to plague an individual long after the situation is over… several hours, days or longer. Stress becomes a problem when the individual is not able to handle an event or situation and becomes overwhelmed. The good news is that stress levels can be managed. Individuals can actually learn how to manage stress and become more resilient amidst change, chaos and demanding workloads.
*Source: Statistics Canada 2014 – Perceived Life Stress.
Below is an insightful visual of the impacts of stress.
PROTECTING YOUR BEST ASSETS
Indeed, a stressful workplace contributes to the rise of mental health issues and illness; however, a physiological safe environment can play an essential part in maintaining positive health. Psychological health comprises our ability to think, feel and behave in a manner that enables us to perform effectively at work, in our personal lives and society at large. Employee psychological health and well-being continues to be a priority for organizational sustainability.
On average employees spend 60% of their time at work, a quarter of all employees view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives. Employment conditions have a profound effect on a person’s physical, mental and social health. The workplace presents a unique opportunity to support employees with not only an income, a sense of identity and purpose, social contacts and opportunities for personal growth.
Our ability to build resilience is one of the best antidotes for stress. Building a culture that encourages and supports resilience training makes good business sense.
The Alignment Project team is missioned to support individual and organizational health through educational workshops, tools and technology to mitigate stress, overwhelm and burnout. Additionally, our suite of customized workshops support productivity and focus, energy management and performance, communication and interpersonal relationships.
HRV: THE WINDOW TO OUR WELL-BEING
What is Heart Rate Variability (HRV) and Why is it Important?
Heart rate variability (HRV) is a method for assessing the effects of stress on your body and is considered an index of overall health status and well-being. It is measured as the variance between heart beats as you breath in and out. Research evidence increasingly links high HRV to good health whilst decreased HRV is linked to stress, fatigue and even burnout. HRV is a powerful predictor of disease and all-cause mortality.
Scientists and physicians consider HRV as a marker of physiological resilience and behavioral flexibility, reflecting our ability to adapt effectively to stress and environmental demands. In healthy individuals the heart remains responsive and resilient, primed and ready to respond.
HRV is also a marker of biological aging. Our heart rate variability is greatest when we are young, and as we age the range of variation in our resting heart rate becomes smaller. Although a decline in HRV as we age is a natural process, having a low HRV for one’s age can be linked to increased risk of future health problems and premature mortality.
By reducing stress-induced wear and tear on the nervous system and facilitating the body’s natural regenerative processes through a regular practice of coherence-building techniques, it is possible to restore HRV to healthy values.
LEADING EDGE TECHNOLOGY by HeartMath®
Inner Balance™ Trainer
Use it on your iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch
The new Inner Balance App and Sensor is an innovative and fun way to improve performance and well-being through real time, precision feedback and training.
Inner Balance shows your heart-rhythm pattern (HRV), as a breathing pacer with built-in coach guides you into a more aligned inner state. The Inner Balance App works exclusively with the, one-of-a-kind, HeartMath iOS Sensor that attaches to your iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch, and your earlobe. The iOS Sensor feeds your heart rhythms into the app. No technology on the market today tracks at the high level of the HeartMath iOS Sensor.
Inner Balance™ BlueTooth® Sensor for iPhone and Android™
NEW – This product is compatible with Android and iOS (Apple) products.
InnerBalance New App Features
The Inner Balance app now has a helpful onboarding video and an audio guide that will walk you through the Quick Coherence® technique.
Get the FREE app, available for download from the Apple App Store, Google Play Store or Amazon Kindle Fire
Learn to Access a State of Active Calm
The emWave® Pro is a scientifically validated heart-rate monitoring system that facilitates learning techniques to create an optimal state in which the heart, mind and emotions are operating in-sync and balanced. This is achieved through a patented process which displays heart rhythm patterns in real time showing you when you are in this high performance state. We call this coherence.
The emWave® Pro helps you achieve coherence and alignment through simple-to-learn exercises and a rich graphical interface. Using a pulse sensor plugged into your USB port, the emWave® Pro collects pulse data and translates coherence information into user-friendly graphics displayed on your computer screen. Through coherence techniques, interactive exercises and game play, the emWave® Pro helps you bring your heart and mind into a coherent state, building resilience, increasing energy, and promoting focus, mental clarity and emotional balance.
The Coherence Breakthrough
The Inner Balance™ and emWave® Pro technologies are based on “the coherence breakthrough”. Coherence is a state of synchronization between your heart, brain and autonomic nervous system that has been proven to have numerous mental, emotional and physical benefits. You can think of coherence as a simultaneous state of relaxation, readiness and revitalization. Some refer to this as a balanced state of composure or poise. Coherence improves performance, health and emotional well-being.
Typical Benefits People Notice With 2 Weeks of Genuine Practice:
- More ease and inner peace
- Better sleep
- Less friction in relationships
- Less worry
- More alertness
- Better focus and decision making
- More positive attitudes
- Increased composure and calm
HeartMath is a registered trademark of Quantum Intech, Inc. For all other HeartMath trademarks go to www.heartmath.com/trademarks
HeartMath has developed highly successful programs for self-improvement in mental, emotional and physical balance. HeartMath Technology and materials are not intended to replace treatments for medical or psychological conditions by licensed physicians, psychologists or other health care professionals.