12/23/2011 09:00 am ET Updated Feb 22, 2012

Release Your Stress and Refocus in the New Year!

In this past year I've become acutely aware of the mounting stress that has been rising in our work culture. More than ever we've become a round-the-clock operation. Now, in a slumping economy, we are hounded with external pressures, overwhelmed with information overload, asked to deliver more with less, work longer hours, and have less personal time for renewal activities. What are the results I'm seeing from people in this past year?

Exhaustion, lack of focus, reduced health and burnout. This leads to lower job satisfaction, morale and productivity. Hardly the results we want when we want to get the economy moving.

There is plenty of evidence that suggests that work stress is a major factor in workplace turnover. [1] In addition, it has been estimated that corporations lose over $300 billion annually because of work-related stress! What's going on here?

In recent years, corporate America has started to take action, with companies like Google, Apple, Aetna, Intel, Twitter, Facebook and many others leading the way integrating mindfulness into the workplace as a means to reduce stress and re-empower people to get connected to what matters.

Smartphone applications have come out to help us take advantage of technology to integrate more of this into our daily lives.

For example, if you have an iPhone, you can get many mindfulness apps that are available to integrate mindfulness into your life. The Mindful Solutions at Work Program just got released that introduces simple practices to integrate into your day, keeps track of your practices and even sends email reminders of how you're doing to help you stay on the path.

Here's a fun two-minute video that shows you how this works in daily life.

One of the major reasons that corporate America is grabbing onto this is because the science is there that backs it up.

We have evidence that intentionally paying attention with mindfulness is connected to areas of the brain responsible for attention, memory, learning, awareness, empathy and compassion. We've seen reduction in activities in areas of the brain associated with stress and fear.

These are all critical in operating optimally in the current business climate.

See if you can put your judgments aside and let your experience be your best teacher in this new year.

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interactions create a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.


[1] "Stress at Work." U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication Number 99-101. 1999.