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Stress Management and Meditation in Corporate Culture: Key Components of Success and Work-Life Integration

Editor's Note: Take a look at our featured best practice, Organization Culture Assessment Questionnaire (8-page Word document). Each organization has its own culture -- the beliefs and norms of behavior that guide individual actions and decisions. These define what is expected from the members of the organization in order to "fit in." To under your organization's corporate culture, we can leverage an organizational [read more]

Also, if you are interested in becoming an expert on Organizational Culture (OC), take a look at Flevy's Organizational Culture (OC) Frameworks offering here. This is a curated collection of best practice frameworks based on the thought leadership of leading consulting firms, academics, and recognized subject matter experts. By learning and applying these concepts, you can you stay ahead of the curve. Full details here.

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meditationMeditation is the ancient-latest trendy buzzword making the rounds, and even those who wouldn’t give the concept a second thought a few years ago are now practicing on a regular basis. Some folks have been practicing for years and would appreciate reinforcement at work, where most of their waking time is spent! Clearing the mind with intention and utilizing a focused relaxation breathing technique to break/prevent an anxiety cycle is what it’s all about.

Go figure: When we perceive ourselves as having the least amount of time to “spare” is when “time-outs” are most indicated. Our mind/bodies need the opportunity to detach from external environments, to “clear out” and recharge; many are finding it an increasingly effective technique to take a “short break.

Increasing responsibilities and across-the-board economic concerns are creating a climate in which stress has become a routine part of doing business. And we’re paying for it in absenteeism, unprecedented incidence of depression, addictive behaviors and stress related illnesses, everyday irritability and “burn-out”. Maintaining a competitive edge can result in energy drainage from individuals and systems.

Stress has been identified as the #1 health risk in America. Programs incorporated into the workplace for stress reduction, while meeting the unique needs of the organization, create practical hand-on tools to enhance performance, productivity and memory; boost energy, and morale while promoting overall wellness of the participants

Some of America’s top companies who provide wellness programs, as well as stress management, include: AT&T Communications, Union Pacific Railroad, Johnson and Johnson, Du Pont Company, Sunbeam/Oster Company, and many others. Take heart! Lifestyles and stress levels can be changed with impressive results! Be proactive and create focus, creativity, decision making abilities, energy renewal and well being for yourself, management and the entire support staff.

Isn’t it time your company implemented a stress management program? If you‘re a reader who is not in the position to implement a new program, be proactive and ask for one! The goals of a Stress Management Program are to provide an understanding of the role stress plays in our lives, including recent studies of the impact of chronic stress on physical, emotional and mental states, and to provide experiences of different relaxation techniques that can be used in the daily lives of the participants.

Emphasis is on simple techniques, easy to learn, and that can be used in any setting to quickly produce a reduction in the level of stress being experienced in today’s turbulent world, both in and out of work. Integrating stress reduction/prevention/intervention techniques and a strong awareness of personal triggers to help bypass personal panic buttons from being pushed are goals of the program. Participants are encouraged to create personal goals to reduce stress and for work/life balance issues, especially in the realm of time management. Follow-up individual and team coaching is encouraged for optimal, consistent results.

Here are Workplace Stress Relief Tips (throughout the day):

  • Take Cleansing Breaths: Three sets of deep inhalations through the nose (belly rising) and exhaling through the nose, (abdomen deflating) can (temporarily) change your physiology.
  • Stretch: Practice Office Yoga and the Moving Meditation® Fitness Program throughout the day to release/reduce tension and increase energy.
  • Walk: A five minute walk outside can change your mood and mindset.
  • Listen to Music: A mood changer.
  • Eat Peacefully: This aids the digestion and gives you “time away.” Leave your office!
  • Take a “Mini-vacation:” Sit or lie down comfortably, close your eyes and visualize a favorite vacation spot. Be as relaxed as you were there. Stay there for a while.
  • Allow Time: Give yourself extra time for the unexpected.
  • Smile and Laugh: Humor has been proven effective in reducing stress.

Integrating work and life works efficiently with fast paced technology, especially for millennials who are adapting well to this reality.  The phrase “work-life integration” is blending what you do professionally and personally in order to make both happen. The trending shift (away from work life flexibility and balance) has happened as fast as the development and speed of technology.  Some may be finding it difficult to step away from the work-life balance they have worked so hard to attain.

There are several reasons why mastering work-life integration is essential as well as maintaining personal balance- the kind where you can stand on one foot and not fall down! The balance need not be equal pieces of “the wheel of life” and compromises can be made without sabotaging well-being, happy family life and relationships.  Keeping a flexible calendar and writing in exercise-gym time, family time etc. can be helpful in the juggling and maintaining balance.  Taking meaningful time away from work, whether it be a few hours a day, a weekend or a few days and more vacation can be wonderfully recharging.

It’s important to honor your own bio-rhythms so that you do work when you believe you can perform the best and do personal activities to break up your day.  This is one way you can integrate work and life so that you remain sane and are able to accomplish (almost) everything you want to do from a personal and professional perspective. Taking “joy” and exercise-stretch breaks throughout the day clears your mind, stretches muscles and ups the endorphins (feeling good hormones) and creativity factor.

Keeping a flexible calendar and scheduling things like going to the gym, writing articles, reading, meetings, research at around the same time each day can be helpful to get into habits and have more control over what you’re doing and when.

Whether the problem is too much focus on work or too little, when your work life and your personal life feel out of balance, often times stress, along with its harmful effects, is the result. The good news is that most can take control of stress levels by giving yourself the time to do the things that are most important to you.  When life literally is beginning to feel “out of control” or “lopsided” and you feel off kilter, give yourself the gift of time to restore balance.  Consider disconnecting as much as necessary for stress reduction and the restoration of balance, following tips at the beginning of this article.

When we make the conscious choice to take a vacation or simply a few hours and disconnect, here are a few tips to keep in mind to avoid difficulties in disconnecting and re-entering the integration mode:

  • Anticipate having a wonderful time
  • If something goes wrong or not according to plan, try to see the humor in it and move on.
  • Once you’re settled in and go exploring, allow yourself to “get lost”.  ie: don’t have your nose glued to a map.
  • Know key phrases in the language.
  • Take some downtime every day or a siesta to relax and recharge.
  • Take extra time for family when you’re visiting…
  • Stay unconnected to the internet, phone, TV, newspaper for as much and as long as possible.
  • Bring home meaningful mementos-souvenirs-photos.
  • Compromise as much as possible with your travel mate(s) – After all, you are together  to have a good time.

On your return trip, try mentally “reliving” the highlights of your time away, like a slide show that you may access in the future for a few relaxed moments.  No guilt!

30-slide PowerPoint presentation
A company's cultural situation is challenging, multidimensional, and difficult to deal with. It constitutes a powerful set of emotional resources. To a degree, Culture can be compared to natural forces such as winds and tides. These elements are there in the background, sometimes unnoticed, [read more]

Want to Achieve Excellence in Organizational Culture (OC)?

Gain the knowledge and develop the expertise to become an expert in Organizational Culture (OC). Our frameworks are based on the thought leadership of leading consulting firms, academics, and recognized subject matter experts. Click here for full details.

Organizational Culture, also referred to as Corporate Culture or Company Culture, is the set of underlying and shared beliefs, vision, assumptions, values, habits, business philosophies, and ways of interacting that contribute to the unique social and psychological environment of the organization.

Organizational Culture permeates the organization, affecting all functions and all levels. It starts with what employees do and how they do it—and ultimately drives why employees do what they do. Culture is like the DNA of the organization.

That is why a healthy Company Culture leads to strong Performance, Growth, and Excellence—and the opposite is also true. For any initiative to be successful, we need a Corporate Culture that inherently supports that initiative.

Learn about our Organizational Culture (OC) Best Practice Frameworks here.

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About Eileen Lichtenstein

Eileen Lichtenstein, MS. Ed. has specialized for over 20 years in personal development coaching and training, including stress and anger reduction management, life and career coaching, effective communication and career challenges. Her background includes bio-feedback, adjunct at Hofstra University, certified Anger Management Specialist and EFTtapping Emotional Freedom Techniques practitioner.  Based in Westbury, NY, Eileen also conducts one:one coaching and group trainings via video skype, webinars and onsite.   She is founder and director of Balance & Power and author: SOAR! with Resilience®: The Interactive Book for Overcoming Obstacles & Achieving Success and eBooks. EFT tapping, meditation and breath implementation may be integrated into her training and coaching. Eileen has facilitated interactive trainings within medical, educational and corporate environments.

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