Stress Management, the Practical Way

Article excerpt

As early as 1983, an article in Time magazine reported that "about one out of five" Fortune 500 companies had a stress management program in place. Such a program included exercise programs, health exams, and meditation. One company recorded savings of "$130,000 a year from reduced absenteeism alone."

Today, nearly 30 years later, an ever-growing body of research continues to point to meditation, and practices such as qigong and yoga as effective tools in managing stress. Studies have found that meditation lowers blood pressure significantly, and tai chi improves the overall health of adults. Dr. Mehmet Oz has recommended meditation to beat stress. And in 2009, the Mayo Clinic endorsed meditation, qigong, and yoga for their health benefits, particularly in stress reduction.

There's no mumbo-jumbo here. It's really very practical, says Dona Tumacder-Esteban of GreenLightWorks, a company that gives wellbeing and anti-stress workshops to corporations and organizations.

"It's all about managing your energy level," she says. "You're expected to be at 100 percent at work-that's what you're being paid for." But at the end of an eight-hour workday, our energy level might be at only 40 percent. By the time we get home, hungry and tired from a one- or two-hour commute, this might be down even further, at 20 or even 10 percent.

Repeat this cycle everyday continuously for months and the result would be an inefficient workforce.

It's a Skill

GreenLightWorks' David Montecillo says, "The way stress depletes your energy is it affects your immune system in the long haul." Just like a car that runs everyday without maintenance will eventually break down, the human body under too much stress is prone to back pains, hypertension, ulcers, migraines, and other health conditions.

Both Montecillo and Esteban know what stress in the workplace is like, having come from the corporate world. Montecillo, with a background in advertising and banking, and Esteban, in human resources, teamed up in 2003. Since then, GreenLightWorks has taught stress management skills and techniques to some 40 companies-among them Globe, SGV, Greenwich, as well as a number of real estate companies.

These techniques are what they practice in their own lives, says Montecillo, who has been practicing meditation and Eastern modalities such as qigong for more than 12 years. "We integrate a lot of different schools into one," he says.

A practitioner of movement meditation and breathwork for over 10 years, Esteban adds that there is nothing esoteric about their workshops. "Our program is really a good integration of Western and Eastern principles," she says. And with solid backgrounds in business-she is an MBA candidate at the University of Western Australia, while Montecillo holds an MBA from the De La Salle University-they are able to incorporate the latest findings in organizational behavior and related fields into their workshops. "Everything that we say and do is grounded on research," Esteban says.

After a thorough assessment of a client's needs, she and Montecillo draw up a program that considers the industry the client is in, the ages of the participants, and their corporate culture. …