The first full week of May is National Anxiety and Depression Awareness Week and was initiated by the non-profit organization Freedom From Fear, a mental illness advocacy group.
Each year more than 40 million Americans will suffer with an anxiety disorder and over 20 million will suffer from some type of depressive illness. The cost to the economy of these terrible diseases is billions of dollars each year; the cost in human suffering is immeasurable. One of the primary goals of this project is to help individuals suffering with anxiety and depressive disorders to find treatment.
Arianna Huffington, President and Editor-in-Chief of the Huffington Post Media Group recently wrote a detailed blog, Mindfulness, Meditation, Wellness, and Their Connection to Corporate America’s Bottom Line. Among the multiple reports and statistics included in her blog she states that according to the World Health Organization (WHO) the cost of stress on American businesses is as high as $300 billion dollars, this includes not only the cost of employees missing work along with not being able to function as efficiently because they are under stress, experiencing anxiety, or depression but also because of the increased cost of insurance and healthcare:
Though awareness is growing, there are still too many companies that don’t yet realize the benefits of a focus on wellness. “The lack of attention to employee needs helps explain why the United States spends more on health care than other countries but gets worse outcomes,” wrote Jeffrey Pfeffer, professor at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business.
Ms. Huffington’s blog continues with an example of one company that recognized the value of making sure their employees wellness was a top priority:
One company that did wake up was Safeway, whose experience is described in the recent documentary Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare. CEO Steve Burd recounts that in 2005 Safeway’s health care bill hit $1 billion and was going up by $100 million a year. “What we discovered was that 70 percent of health care costs are driven by people’s behaviors,” he says. “Now as a business guy, I thought if we could influence behavior of our 200,000-person workforce, we could have a material effect on health care costs.” (Read more of the results at the original blog posting.)
Psychologist Daniel Goleman also wrote a blog about emotional wellness at work, Emotional wellness at work = healthy bottom lines in which he explains the impact of someone being in an unhealthy emotional cycle and how that can affect their work and leadership ability and how that will have an impact on not only efficiency but the bottom line.
It can be perceived as an obstacle for an individual to separate personal and professional challenges when they feel overwhelmed, confused, stressed, anxious, or depressed; when we are experiencing any of these we have a tendency to try to “tough it out” or “just keep going”, as stated by Mark Williams and Danny Penman from their book, Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World, “Notice that very often, the very first things we give up are those that nourish us the most but seem ‘optional.’ The result is that we are increasingly left with only work or other stressors that often deplete our resources, and nothing to replenish or nourish us — and exhaustion is the result.”
Awareness to realizing you are in an unhealthy cycle is the first step to making healthier changes in your life. Many times there is uncertainty as to where to even begin when you want to improve your life or the quality of your life and this is when people turn to a Wellness Coach. A Wellness Coach can offer various types of programs to manage every day work stress. For ideas visit the Inc. article, Wellness Programs that Work for Small Businesses.
For those who are in high stress jobs like the examples in The 10 Most Stressful Jobs of 2012 or even the top 10 Careers With High Rates of Depression a Coach that specializes in trauma, stress, anxiety, and depression would be most beneficial. It should be noted that the most common type of profession in the two aforementioned lists are those of the medical community including first responders such as firefighters. Those people who tend to sacrifice so much of themselves for other people’s welfare have the strongest tendency to neglect caring for themselves and working through the traumatic experiences they face almost every day. In order to function efficiently in such important jobs however, they must make sure their needs are cared for first in order to function and care for others at their very best.
Coaching looks at a person as a whole and as already complete as opposed to focusing on certain parts of an individual and offers the skills and tools to begin making the adjustments that will uplevel your life and allow you to manage the stress and anxiety of everyday life. Coaching along with different types of Bodywork therapies can help your body relax and let go of the stressors and emotions that may be holding you back or causing you anxiety or depression along with difficulty sleeping and many other trying symptoms. For more information on how to get help with these and many other physical and emotional challenges please visit, Motion and Potion.