Yoga VS work related stress

Yoga VS work related stress

7th August 2018

According to the most recent UK government figures, 11.7 million working days are lost due to work related stress, anxiety and depression, costing businesses £5.2 billion annually.

In 2009, researchers including persons from Bangor University, School of Healthcare Sciences, looked into ‘the effectiveness of yoga for the improvement of well-being and resilience to stress in the workplace’. In this article we take a look at what they found, and whether yoga in the workplace could help to reduce the above figures affecting employees and businesses.

How did the study work?
In this small but valid study, researchers recruited British university lecturers who’s workload increases had led to a significant increase in work stress, anxiety and depression. The group of 48 participants were split into two, the first receiving the yoga intervention and the other to serve as the control group, receiving no intervention.

All 48 participants were asked to complete 2 forms to measure how they perceived their wellbeing and resilience to stress before the start of the study, as well as at the end. They were the Profile of Mood States Bipolar (POMS-Bi) and Inventory of Positive Psychological Attitudes (IPPA), which asses both positive and negative emotional states.

The yoga intervention was made up of a 50 minute Dru Yoga class, during the univercity staffs’ lunch break, once a week for 10 weeks. The classes comprised of warm-ups, followed by stretching, twisting and bending movements and postures, finishing with a relaxation period.

What did the researchers find?
In the majority of the POMS-Bi and IPPA areas of measure, the yoga group improved between 2 and 5 times more than those in the control group, from the start of the study, to the end. The yoga group reported that they felt less anxious, confused, depressed, tired, unsure and had a greater sense of life purpose and satisfaction.

This study shows that even a relatively short yoga program (a 50 minute class each week, for 10 weeks) can reduce employees stress levels whilst improving their overall wellbeing. In turn, this can potentially reduce sickness absence and bring down that £5.2 billion annual cost to businesses. If you’re interested to read more, the full study can be downloaded from here.

Does your workplace offer yoga classes or other stress relieving activities for their staff? Please comment below, I’d love to hear your experiences.

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