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Bringing Stress Prevention and Resilience

Into the Workplace. Presented by James E. Porter. President, StressStop.com. Stress in the workplace: facts and figures. Obstacles to overcome. Teaching stress management to the management. The benefits of autonomy.

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Bringing Stress Prevention and Resilience

Presentation on theme: "Bringing Stress Prevention and Resilience"— Presentation transcript:


Bringing Stress Prevention and Resilience Into the Workplace

Presented by James E. PorterPresident, StressStop.comSlide2

Stress in the workplace: facts and figures

Obstacles to overcome

Teaching stress management to the management

The benefits of autonomy

The ROI of lowering stressTeaching behavioral changeBringing the six step model in the workplaceCreating a year long program Five tips for bringing this back home to your workplace

Overview of the ProgramSlide3

66% of Americans cited work as a significant source of stress.64% of people frequently feel irritable and anxious at work.80% of workers feel stress on the job.

Workplace stress is as bad for the heart as smoking and high cholesterol.75-90% of all visits to primary care physicians are for stress-related concerns

Facts and figures about stress

Source Robison/APA/Stress.orgSlide4

College Professors LawyersTeachers PhysiciansCollege Presidents Insurance Agents

Real Estate Agents

Occupational Stress & Heart Disease

Rates of death from heart disease are twice as high in the second column than the first.

Source: NIOSH Total Worker Health Webinar Series

Column 1 Column 2

Dr. Dan


, Univ. of COSlide5

Nurses who said their work pressure was much too high had a nearly 50% increased risk of ischemic heart disease compared with women who reported a manageable work pressure.

Nurses who reported work pressure being a little too high had a 25% increased risk.

Danish study of 12,000 Nurses followed for 15 years.Slide6

The stress of an unhealthy workplace

YouTube Video:

Introducing Workplace Mental Health with Dr. Martin


American organizations are skittish about acknowledging stress in the workplace. - The FAA example

We need to get over the fear of talking about stress.

In Europe and Canada job stress is the responsibility of the employer. In the US job stress is the responsibility of the employee.

Obstacles to OvercomeSlide8

How do you think the average person manages his or her stress?Slide9

They drinkThey smokeThey eat emotionallyThey spend money on things they can’t affordThey engage in high risk activities like gambling

Counter-productive copingSlide10

Stress doesn’t always DIRECTLY cause health problems. It causes the unhealthy lifestyle choices that lead to health problems.

Work-life stress is the “cause of the causes. It’s an occupational hazard in and of itself.”

Dr. Leslie Hammer, Occupational Health Psychologist

Counter-Productive Coping

Work Stress

Less sleep, smoking, less exercise, junk foodSlide11





1. Our culture promotes stress like a badge of honor.

2. Mindset against managing stress.

3. Doctors receive little or no training.

4. Prescriptions mask the symptoms of stress

5. So the patient can pretend he has no stress.Slide14

Masking the Symptoms of Stress

When you mask the symptoms of stress it allows the patient to pretend he has no stress. And that’s why they put it last instead of first.Paving over the rumble strip.Slide15

Short list of Stress-Related DIS-EASE

Heart diseaseHigh blood pressureAllergiesAsthma

Auto immune disorders

Recurrent colds

Gastro-intestinal problemsUlcersColitis/irritable bowel syndromeInfertility/EDInsomniaDepression



Migraine headaches

Chronic painSlide16

How Do We Change?People put stress reduction last

They engage in counter productive copingDoctors don’t really help by prescribing drugs that only mask the symptomsJob stress is a major source of stress and US companies don’t want to even talk about it.

Most stress management techniques can’t be used while we are at work.Slide17

Bottom up and top downBottom up: Empowering workers to make their own changesTop Down: Inspiring workers to want to change.

Two Directional ApproachSlide18

Bottom Up: The Six Step Stress Prevention Model

Step 1 Raising Awareness: Connecting the dots between your symptoms of stress and your sources of stress.

Step 2 Problem solving:


unnecessary stress.Step 3 Cognitive Restructuring: understanding how your thinking affects your experience of stress.Step 4 Mindfulness: Staying in the present momentStep 5 Resilience:

Taking a proactive approach

Step 6 Social Support:

Your #1 weapon against stress.Slide19

Step 1: Raising Awareness

Raising Awareness

Stress symptoms: rapid heart beat, cold hands, dry mouth, muscle tension, headaches, sleeplessness, upset stomach, etc.


ealing with


at the symptom level makes it preventable

Taking a different message from your stress symptoms.


: The Stress Profiler/


Step 2 Problem solvingEliminating unnecessary stress

Top ten sources of stressTurns problems into solutionsKeeping a log or a journal of your stressWe’re not talking about managing stress here this is actually eliminating it!

Activity: Make a listSlide21

Step 3 Cognitive Restructuring

Become aware of negative self-talkA+B=CThe Activating Event + Beliefs = The ConsequenceMost people think that A=C

All our opportunity for personal growth lies in the small space between stimulus and response – Stephen Covey

Activity Do the Hokey Pokey





Step 4 MindfulnessMindfulness vs. Mindlessness

Present moment awareness is refuge from anger and anxiety Flow: Finding engaging tasks at workActivity: Formal mindfulnessSlide23

Step 5: Resilience

Taking a proactive approach instead of a reactive approach ExerciseYoga


Relaxation techniques

Tip: Make this a part of your daily routine, no different than taking a shower or brushing your teeth.Activity: YogaSlide24

Step 6 Social Support

Connecting with every single person you meetListenEye contactAddressing people by name.You’ll get a dopamine or


hit so you’re managing stress every time you connect

Activities: Introducing yourself, and thanking them for being here. Plus Standing OSlide25

Teaching Stress Management to the ManagementGive workers more Autonomy and SupportTeaching Behavioral ChangeCreate year-long programs

Top DownSlide26

When supervisors are taught about stress and model it in the workplace, they not only endorse your programs, they model the behavior.

Talk in terms that supervisors understand: Anger management, emotional intelligence, brain science, or in terms of ROI: increased energy and productivity, less accidents, improved attention.

Research shows (Leslie Hammer) that a supportive supervisor helps lower employee stress.

Dose of Sherry (5 minute meeting starters) at Certified Angus Beef Executive Board Meetings.

Client who won the Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award: Departments who don’t have supervisors participating in the program are the most stressed.

Teaching Stress Management to ManagementSlide27

In recent years, Mr. Bertolini set about overhauling his own health regimen, as well reshaping the culture of Aetna

with a series of eyebrow-raising moves. He has offered free yoga and meditation classes to Aetna employees; more than 13,000 workers have participated. Those who have reported a 28 percent reduction in their stress levels, a 20 percent improvement in sleep quality and a 19 percent reduction in pain.

They also become more effective on the job, gaining an average of 62 minutes per week of productivity each, which Aetna estimates is worth $3,000 per employee per year. Demand for the programs continues to rise; every class is overbooked.

Aetna is at the vanguard of a movement that is quietly spreading through the business world

. Companies like Google, General Mills, Goldman Sachs and Black Rock are offering meditation classes, yoga and classes in Emotional Intelligence.

At Aetna, a C.E.O.’s Management by Mantra



, the unconventional chief executive of Aetna InsuranceSlide28

Give workers more autonomy

high demand low control

high demand high control

low demand low control

low demand high control

Postal sorting center or short order cook

Airline pilot or CEO

Night watchman

Clerk in slow business

2 dimensional Demand/control model





High stressSlide29

Give workers more autonomy and support

3 Dimensional Demand/Control/Support Model

“going postal”Slide30

Teaching Behavioral Change

It’s not enough to just tell people what to change. Need to teach them HOW to change.Teaching the stages of change.Understanding what it means to relapse.

Most clients are in Stages 1 or 2


#1 reason why people relapse into their old behaviors is stress.” James ProchaskaTeach Tiny Habits model of BJ FoggFloss one tooth (Asking people to walk for 30 minutes a day sets them up for failure!)

Right after I wake up: I will meditate for 2 minutes

Builds success momentum





Michelle Segar: Finding the right why


eight loss, future health outcomes, don’t motivate people

Doing things that make you feel good now

Importance of feelings over health concepts.

Why – how - DoSlide32

We run a program that includes:Weekly emails.

Exercises that take 5 minutes or less.Online tools that can be used at home and work.

Optimized for where they are in the stages of change.

Year Long ProgramsSlide33

Only an extended program has any chance to bring about these important benefits of lowering stress: Reducing

Absenteeism Health Care Costs



Increasing Productivity Job Satisfaction Concentration

Customer Service

The ROI of stress managementSlide34

Allocation of resourcesLeslie Hammer: When you manage stress you have

a worker who has energy to spare and who can allocate resources in other areas including their ability to concentrate on what they are doing at work resulting in increased productivity, decreased accidents, etc.

Energy management

Need a new stress prevention model.

Dr. Leslie Hammer, Prof. Portland State UniversitySlide35

Step 1 Start from the top downTeach stress management to the managementReplace toxic bosses with supportive bossesGive workers more autonomy

Bringing back to your organizationSlide36

Step 2: Build out from the middle: Be the change you want to see in the worldStart by doing it yourself

Create your own storiesJim’s story of resisting journaling.

Ryan Picarella: Be your own guinea pig

Bringing it back to your organizationSlide37

Step 3: Build Stress Management from the ground up; Go liveCreate Stress Management and Resilience Champions

Use the audienceGet testimonials: Ask people whether or not they do yoga, exercise, or meditate. Let them speak to their peers.

Support groups for meditation; book groups; relaxation/nap rooms?

Bringing it back to your organizationSlide38

Bringing it back to your organization.

Step 4:Teach behavioral change

Emphasize short-term benefits;

Do it in the morning to experience the benefits all day.

Attitudes follow behaviors.

Convince them with the idea that once they incorporate stress mgmt. into their lives it will become as easy as brushing their teeth.Slide39

Step 5: Lunch & Learns are not enough!Move to a year-long program or at least 3 months (to achieve any real change)

Adopt the 6 step modelTry a multi-pronged approach (high-tech and low-tech) Give people options


on-line options (for people who want options other than physical challenges)

Bringing it back to your organization.Slide40

How would your life be different if peace of mind (i.e., stress management) were your highest priority?Slide41

CALL me or email to set up an appointment to learn how to bring our 6-step model into your organization:



jim@stressstop.comPhone 800-367-1604Join my Linked-In Discussion Group: Managing


Contact Info:

Stop Stress This Minute:

Published by


Primary PreventionReduce sources of stress at an organizational levelSecondary PreventionReduce stress symptoms at an individual level

Tertiary PreventionHelp individuals cope with stress related disease

The Standard Occupational Stress Prevention ModelSlide43

Stress and Optimal PerformanceSlide44


Cognitive fusion I’m a lousy parent

I’m no good at anything


The practice of not confusing self with passing thoughts DistanciationName it and tame itDistancing yourself from difficult emotions

Flow: Finding engaging tasks at work

Step 4 MindfulnessSlide45

Stress is a term borrowed from architects and engineers

Stress is the amount of weight you can put on a bridge before it collapses under the strain of that weight.Hans


said if he had it to do over again he would have chosen the word strain

We strengthen our bridges with yoga, exercise, meditation, sleep, napsStep 5 Resilience