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“And you can’t imagine what has happened in the company. People who used to have migraines, don’t. People are sleeping better. People have better relationships. People interact with other people better. It’s been fantastic.”  Oprah Winfrey

Self-insured employers know this all too well: creating and implementing a successful wellness program to improve employee health and productivity is no simple feat. Many factors are at play and they all require serious dedication from participants. These include, but are not limited to, care coordination, member compliance and expert case management, all of which are extremely difficult to apply and carry out at a consistently high level. Predictive modeling and the ongoing production of data analysis and health intelligence is a great way to pinpoint risks within a population and health plan. But like any good case manager would attest, the best risk avoidance method is prevention.

Prevention can come in many forms – healthy eating habits, exercise, regular sleep cycles and proper hydration are all examples of strategies that work; but that’s easier said than done. Generating effective and lasting member buy-in can be a wearisome task.

In the above quote, TV powerhouse Oprah Winfrey, is discussing the positive effects of one type of wellness activity that has shown promise in the workplace: meditation and how it can promote a healthier, and compliant employee population. Read full article here.

Meditation is simply the practice of cessation of thought through the direct concentration of attention, yielding a peaceful state of mind. There are various methods of achieving successful meditation (you can find them here) but they all share a common goal: to relax the mind. Who wouldn’t want the tranquility and feeling of rejuvenation that comes with 20 minutes of a stress-free, thought-free recreation? In fact, the health benefits of meditation are no hoax and have been scientifically and are backed by reputable sources (see here).

Some general benefits of meditation include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • Reduced stress, anxiety and depression
  • Reduced high blood pressure
  • Promotion of smoking cessation and healthy behaviors
  • Reduced sleep apnea
  • Reduced risk of heart disease

There are many more benefits that, in the name of brevity I won’t bore you with, but the results are undeniable. The important question as it relates to this article is not whether meditation works but instead, how to best implement it into the workforce. The Occam’s razor answer: through wellness programs. Perhaps employers could encourage participation by offering discounts for meeting meditation milestones. We are only limited by our own skepticism and resistance to change. Though meditation might be difficult to fully integrate into a wellness program, the success (as shown by Oprah  and others) is worth the time and investment. Per tmhome.com, Forbes has claimed that workplace stress alone is responsible for up to $190 billion in annual U.S. healthcare costs.” It quite unsurprisingly seems that happy, engaged and motivated employees make for a prosperous work environment.

What are your thoughts on introducing meditation as part of your workforce wellness program? Your thoughts and comments are most welcome!

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