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By Matthew Miller, PhD., Vice President, Behavior Science at StayWell

We can all agree that too much stress is not healthy for anyone. Long-term stress can contribute to everything from heart disease, to strokes, to cancer and beyond. Ironically, it seems that the subject of stress, or stress management rather, is causing employers…well, stress. In fact, according to StayWell’s book of business results, it is the second most prevalent health risk for employers, coming in right behind weight.

While the three most common sources of stress listed below are no surprise, what might surprise you is that technology may actually be a key stress management tool for corporate wellness programs.

  • Job responsibilities (53.4%)
  • Coping with too much (46.3%)
  • Finances (35.5%)

With job responsibilities coming in at as a top stress source, you may anecdotally hear that employees aren’t maximizing the benefits of their current corporate wellness program simply because they don’t have time, or feel they can’t break away from their desks. And while most employers and employees alike understand the potential benefits of mindfulness and meditation, like increased productivity, lowered stress, improved memory and better sleep — many have had difficulties implementing any sort of structured habits or programs.

This is where virtual reality (VR) comes in. Combining this technology with guided meditation practices provides an instant, mobile and trackable solution that can sweep an employee away to a babbling brook or a coral reef right after their 2:30 p.m. board presentation. Other key benefits of a VR approach to meditation include: 

    • BIO-FEEDBACK
      By syncing popular wearable devices, such as an Apple Watch to visualize the impact of guided meditations on heart rate, technologies like StayWell’s recently acquired Provata VR solution will help users better understand which meditation exercises, locations, and times of day have the greatest impact on heart rate.
    • REAL-TIME INSIGHTS
      By partnering with employers and health plans, organizations have access to comprehensive real-time insights on your own client dashboard.

But you don’t have to take our word for it, just read a few of the reviews that StayWell’s Provata VR app has received.

 

“After dealing with constant stress these past 2 years, I can say that after using this app for a month I see improvements. My anxiety has lessened after listening to a meditation, and it helps me feel more calm and centered when I start and end my day. Best meditation app I've ever used!” – MUSICLOVE210

 

“I can’t believe how much I lowered my heart rate and feelings of stress with 5 minutes of ‘calm’ meditation! Can’t wait to try more.” Sender riwhheke

 

Although it’s Stress Awareness Month, it’s important to remember that managing stress is important to your mental and physical health year-round. To learn more about helping employees reduce stress, the benefits of virtual reality meditation, and how to incorporate this into your employee wellness program, sign up for our June 7 webinar here.