Sustained levels of stress can be harmful and may lead to numerous health issues, affect professional and family relationships and contribute to poor work performance. According to United Health Foundation’s most recent America’s Health Rankings, Virginia ranks 8th among all 50 states for the number of poor mental health days – days in which an adult reports that their overall mental health was not good in the past 30 days and therefore may not be able to fully participate in work or other activities. Balancing work, family life, and financial and health concerns may be taxing for many employees; however, according to a recent UnitedHealthcare survey, almost 90 percent of employees said meditation, or mindfulness, has a positive impact on a person’s overall health and well-being, including 41 percent who believe such activities can have a “Significant impact.” Employers that foster a workplace culture that prioritizes well-being, including mindfulness programs, can help their employees cope with challenging times whether at work or at home that may lower stress, reduce health risks, improve health decisions and focus, and sense of well-being. To some, mindfulness is a hard topic to grasp, but the goal of mindfulness can be very simple. With practice, mindfulness may free employees of habitual patterns of thinking, judging, feeling and acting, and may help them perform better, ignore distractions, and make better decisions throughout the day. Following a solid body of research by universities and institutions, mindfulness programs are now offered by some health plans, and medical centers, hospitals, schools and businesses.
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