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Research: Why Breathing Is So Effective at Reducing Stress

Changing how we breathe can change how we feel. So what makes breathing so effective? It’s very difficult to talk your way out of strong emotions like stress, anxiety, or anger. Just think about how ineffective it is when a colleague tells you to “calm down” in a moment of extreme stress.

In a highly stressed state, our prefrontal cortex — the part of our brain responsible for rational thinking — is impaired, so logic seldom helps to regain control. This can make it hard to think straight or be emotionally intelligent with your team.

With breathing techniques, it is possible to gain some mastery over your mind. Research shows that different emotions are associated with different forms of breathing.

A Yale team evaluated the impact of three wellbeing interventions:

Breathing Exercises: the impact of a particular program, SKY Breath Meditation- comprehensive series of breathing and meditation exercises.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction: a meditation technique to be aware of each moment in a non-judgmental way.

Foundations of Emotional Intelligence: to improve emotional awareness and regulation.

 For example, when you feel joy, your breathing will be regular, deep and slow. If you feel anxious or angry, your breathing will be irregular, short, fast, and shallow. When you follow breathing patterns associated with different emotions, you’ll actually begin to feel those corresponding emotions.

How does this work? Changing the rhythm of your breath can signal relaxation, slowing your heart rate and stimulating the vagus nerve, which runs from the brain stem to the abdomen, and is part of the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the body’s “rest and digest” activities (in contrast to the sympathetic nervous system, which regulates many of our “fight or flight” responses). Triggering your parasympathetic nervous system helps you start to calm down. You feel better. And your ability to think rationally returns.

When U.S. Marine Corp Officer Jake D.’s vehicle drove over an explosive device in Afghanistan, he looked down to see his legs almost completely severed below the knee. At that moment, he remembered a breathing exercise he had learned in a book for young officers. Thanks to that exercise, he was able to stay calm enough to check on his men, give orders to call for help, tourniquet his own legs, and remember to prop them up before falling unconscious. Later, he was told that had he not done so, he would have bled to death.

In a second study, conducted at the University of Arizona, SKY Breath Meditation was compared to a workshop that taught more conventional, cognitive strategies for stress-management (in other words, how to change your thoughts about stress). Both workshops were rated similarly by participants and they both produced significant increases in social connectedness. However, SKY Breathing was more beneficial in terms of immediate impact on stress, mood, and conscientiousness, and these effects were even stronger when measured three months later.

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#stress #covid #strategy #mentalhealth #workfromhome

How can we help?

Please review our services below. If you don’t find what you are looking for, please contact Arcus. We would be pleased to discuss your project. Often change management requires a combination of numerous services including culture, appreciative inquiry, capacity and strategy planning, etc.

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Covid-19: The Great Fake Economy “Reopening”.

Covid-19: The Great Fake Economy “Reopening” and its Impact on our Collective Futures. Several economies, including Ontario, have decided on a “phased” Covid-19 rollout to reopen their economies.

Consider this. Northeast China (https://lnkd.in/eqV6Ani) right now is seeing another resurgence after they opened their economy and 100 million people are now subject to Covid-19 quarantine restrictions barely two weeks later.

White papers from the Imperial College of London (https://lnkd.in/e9wsp75) and MIT (https://lnkd.in/eFBUaif) suggest using “waves” of economic openings and then lockdowns to control the spread of the virus.

The Covid-19 models call for a one month open, two months closed cycle. The goal is to deliberately increase infections every couple of months, until a vaccine is developed, which could take years.

It would be prudent for governments to “reopen” their economies in cycles, over the next 18 months until Covid-19 herd immunization. With a 30-50% immunization success rate, a vaccine isn’t the solution.


Client Successes

Below is a sample of the range of services that Arcus has provided to clients. Please contact Arcus for case studies and to discuss how we can help you.

Review a sample of our client successes.


Recent contributions

  • A survey of 2,350 consumers and 1,320 business leaders for feedback on
    sustainability trends
  • Architecting a multi-year change strategy for a Fortune 500 company
  • Mentoring a CEO on organizational change
  • Excellence transformation of a leading B2B services company
  • Creating a new sales deployment model for a healthcare company
  • Developing a position evaluation and compensation model for a professional medical association   
  • Improving services to customer segments by deepening their understanding of customer attitudes

Media Coverage

Arcus has been quoted extensively in media on a range of topics and can offer research studies, insights and ideas. Arcus serves as a subject matter expert in a number of functional areas such as growth, change management, human resources, operations, strategic planning across 36 industries. Below are some examples of recent coverage.

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Total compensation / total rewards strategies

Arcus research indicates that the variable component of compensation is driving significant shifts in how talent is hired, engaged and retained. This means that compensation budgets are subject to major fluctuations depending on the overall performance of teams and the organization. As a result, it has become important for HR leaders to be much more involved in the broader business operation and to understand how business results- sales and revenue growth impact compensation budgets.  Find out more about total compensation / total rewards strategies.

 

In the past, variable compensation was more likely to be present at C-level or within the sales organization. Today, it has permeated into many different functional areas and has become integral to effective performance management systems. The end goal is to attract, motivate and retain skilled employees and strengthen the performance of the organization.

 

Arcus will develop  a highly customized compensation solution that will be aligned with your expectations, the strategic plan and business goals of the organization. The approach will take into consideration:

 

  • A “current state” analysis and report to define benchmarks and desired outcomes
  • The organizations reputation and HR strategy for recruitment
  • The compensation framework that would best meet the organization’s budget and goals
  • A performance management system that is aligned with specific strategic outcomes

Other actions will include:

  • An evaluation of competitive compensation plans and market salary benchmarks
  • Incentive plans that will deliver the best results
  • Pass all plans through a legislative compliance filter to mitigate risk
  • Pay equity benchmarks that are consistent with the performance management plan

 

Arcus has over 200 subject matter experts who will augment team and provide cutting edge knowledge and ideas to your project in a diverse range of areas such as pensions, benefits and reward mechanisms.

 

Contact Arcus to schedule a call/meeting to discuss how we help you with a plan for your Compensation and Incentive Strategy that is aligned with your organization’s compensation budget, strategic plan and business priorities.

Related information:

Executive and Organization Compensation Planning

  •  Job Evaluation and Impact Measurement
  •  Organization Wide Compensation and Rewards
  •  Executive Compensation

Compensation planning

  • Base compensation
  • Total compensation / total rewards strategies

Incentive planning

  • Compensation and Job Evaluation outsourcing
  • Annual incentives / variable compensation
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Do flex-hours increase employee productivity?

Productivity improvement strategy: A compressed work week with flex-hours?Do flex-hours increase employee productivity? An Arcus Human Capital survey indicates that 75 percent of employees in Canada want a better work-life balance. A four-day work week is gaining momentum in North America.
Will a condensed work week result in higher employee satisfaction and productivity?An Arcus Human Capital Survey conducted indicates that a third of employees would be willing to trade up to 10 percent of their salary to spend more time with their family. The four-day work week is gaining momentum in North America. Several organizations have experimented with variations of flex-hours- with mixed results. The trend seems to be towards flexible hours with a 5-day work week of 40 hours.
  • Mr. Carlos Slim, the world’s second-wealthiest person has deployed a “radical overhaul” to balance work and home lives at his companies: A three-day work week with flex-hours.
  • Google’s CEO Larry Page has backed a shorter work week in the past: “Most people like working, but they’d also like to have more time with their family or to pursue their own interests.”
In August this year, Chrysler plans to talk to the United Auto Workers, which represents Chrysler assembly workers, about switching some plants to a four-day, 10-hours-per-day flex-hours schedule. It appears that a majority of employees are likely to prefer this option. There are other examples- Cambridge, Ont., engineering firm Babcock & Wilcox Canada Ltd. has negotiated a four-day work week in its latest employee contract. The trend seems to be a higher concentration of work hours each week with four,10-hour stints with flex-hours.Arcus’s human capital survey also indicates that this trend will accelerate over the next year as gridlock and transportation costs increase and the labour market becomes more competitive. The aggravation of commuting is the top concern for a majority of employees.A shorter work week is likely to result in significant productivity gains as employees spend less time on the road and more time at home. This is especially true for younger families. Another flex-hours finding was that more than half of the 240 organizations surveyed said they were looking at some form of flexible working format to address employee concerns about commuting. Thirty four percent of organizations already offer a condensed work week. Another benefit is the financial impact of fewer commutes to work- a saving of $400 per year per person for each extra day at home. For example, the City of Birmingham, Ala., has estimated about $1 million in cost savings as a result of a condensed work week for employees.
Highlights of the 3-day work week:
  • Allow people to work past the age of 70, 9 years longer than the typical retirement age of a worker.
  • People would have to work 11-hour days, a trade-off that will generate huge benefits for both workers and employers.
  • Having four days off would help to generate new entertainment activities
  • Offset by longer hours and a later retirement, as a way to improve people’s quality of life and create a more productive labour force.
  • The workforce could be spread over a full week, with employees working up to 10 or 11 hours a day.
Mr. Slim’s company – Telmex has a policy where employees who joined in their teens can access early retirement, and anyone who wants to work beyond retirement can do so at full pay but a reduced load of four days a week.A recent Arcus survey indicates that  45 percent of working adults are in poor shape to be able to completely cover their expenses during their later years. The strategy would mean that the workforce could potentially be spread over a full week, with employees working up to 10 or 11 hours a day. The positive outcome of a flex-hours three work days a week would be that employees would have more days off which could improve their work-life balance and as a result their quality of life. The economic benefits of spending more time at home may generate new entertainment activity and consumer spending in some sectors such as home improvement.There are other, more practical reasons why many workers might find a shorter work week more appealing. For one thing, it might make it easier for them to find a job. Unemployment, though on the decline, still remains stubbornly high at over 7 percent in Canada while the joblessness rate among young people remains in the double digits.Some small companies in Europe and the US have launched a four-day week flexible workplace policy. The advocates cite improvements in employee health and environmental impact as possible benefits. Some early adopters such as a company called 37Signals in Chicago moved to a 4-day work week and they continue with the initiative today. Twitter has said all employees can work from home starting this month.
Contact us to discuss a change management plan to transform your organization or for a complimentary presentation on a business problem your team would like to solve.

Client Successes

Below is a sample of the range of services that Arcus has provided to clients. Please contact Arcus for case studies and to discuss how we can help you.Review a sample of our client successes.

Recent contributions

  • A survey of 2,350 consumers and 1,320 business leaders for feedback on sustainability trends
  • Architecting a multi-year change strategy for a Fortune 500 company
  • Mentoring a CEO on organizational change
  • Excellence transformation of a leading B2B services company
  • Creating a new sales deployment model for a healthcare company
  • Developing a position evaluation and compensation model for a professional medical association
  • Improving services to customer segments by deepening their understanding of customer attitudes

Media Coverage

Arcus has been quoted extensively in media on a range of topics and can offer research studies, insights and ideas. Arcus serves as a subject matter expert in a number of functional areas such as growth, change management, human resources, operations, strategic planning across 36 industries. Below are some examples of recent coverage.
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Uncategorized

Lead With Superior Strategies. Deliver Better Results.

Arcus is a trusted advisor to clients. We understand that clients want small, nimble consulting teams of seasoned people who have years of knowledge and experience. And they want practical, highly targeted information and insights to address their needs.

Arcus is a leading research and strategy consulting firm whose mission is to help senior management solve their most challenging problems related to growth, organization and operations. The firm applies a fact-based, structured technique to solve problems.