1) $200 billion a year is lost to industry
from stress-related ailments.
George Pfeiffer, WorkCare Group
2) 75-90% of employee visits to hospitals are
for ailments linked to stress.
American Institute of Stress
3) Stress is linked to the following illnesses:
hypertension, heart attacks, diabetes, asthma, chronic pain, allergies,
headache, backache, various skins disorders, cancer, immune system
weakness, decreases in the number of white blood cells and changes
in their function.
Nation's Business, December, 1994
4) Chronic pain, hypertension, and headaches account for 54% of all job absences-all stress-related ailments. Alternative Therapies Journal, 1996
5) 30% of adults report high job stress nearly
every day. A 1991 study reported that more than a third of respondents
were considering changing work because of job stress.
Northwestern National Life Insurance
6) Those who reported a history of workplace
stress over the past 10 years developed colon and rectal cancers
at 5.5 times the rate of the control group.
Joseph Courtney, UCLA School of Public Health, Epidemiology, September, 1994
7) Stress is more powerful than diet in influencing
cholesterol levels. Several studies - including one of medical
students around exam time, and another of accountants during tax
season-have shown significant increases in cholesterol levels
during stressful events, when there was little change in diet.
Dr. Paul Rosch, Professor of Medicine, New York Medical College
8) High levels of stress cause nerve factor
growth (NGF), which hinders the ability of disease-fighting cells
to ward off infections, suppressing the immune system.
Reported in Psychology Today, January, 1996
9) Four hundred people were intentionally exposed
to common-cold viruses. Those who scored highest on a test of
stressful life events were more than twice as likely to develop
colds after exposure than the people who scored lowest.
Dr. Sheldon Cohen, Carnegie Mellon University, National Institute of Health Conference
10) Severe stress is one of the most potent
risk factors for stroke-more so than high blood pressure-even
50 years after the initial trauma. In a study of 556 veterans
of WWII, the rate of stroke among those who had been prisoners
of war was 8 times higher than among those not captured.
Lawrence Brass, M.D. Yale Medical School
11) Those already suffering from high levels
of athersclerotic plaque/coronary heart disease will experience
even more constriction of blood vessels when under stress. On
average, the most clogged arteries constricted an additional 24%
when the subject was experiencing stress, while the healthy vessels
(in the same subject) remained unchanged. Healthy vessels can
handle the stress, but the damaged ones have lost their capacity
Alan Young, M.D. Cardiologist, Harvard Medical School
12) Epinephrine, released by adrenal glands
in response to stress, triggers blood platelets (the cells responsible
for repairing blood vessels) to secrete large amounts of a substance
called ATP. In large amounts, ATP can trigger a heart attack or
stroke by causing blood vessels to rapidly narrow, thus cutting
off the blood flow.
Thomas Pickering, M.D. Cardiologist, New York Hospital, Cornell Medical Center
13) In a study of 100 people with rheumatoid
arthritis, levels of prolactin were twice as high among those
reporting high degrees of interpersonal stress than among those
not stressed. Prolactin migrates to joints where it initiates
a cascade of events leading to swelling and pain.
Kathleen Matt, M.D., Arizona State University
Recent research on the benefits of meditation in reducing stress-related illness has convinced many corporations nationwide-including Marriott, Adolf Coors, Polaroid, Hughes Aircraft, Pacific Bell, and NASA-to use meditation training as an integral part of their stress management programs. Summaries of that research follow:
1) Meditation significantly controls high blood
pressure at levels comparable to widely used prescription drugs,
and without the side effects of drugs.
Hypertension, American Health Association Medical Journal
2) Meditators are able to reduce chronic pain
by more than 50%, while increasing daily function and markedly
improving their moods, even 4 years after the completion of an
8-week training course.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, M.D. Stress Reduction Clinic, University of Massachusetts
3) 75% of long-term insomniacs who have been
trained in relaxation and meditation can fall asleep within 20
minutes of going to bed.
Dr. Gregg Jacobs, Psychologist, Harvard
4) Meditation decreases oxygen consumption,
heart rate, respiratory rate, and blood pressure, and increases
the intensity of alpha, theta, and delta brain waves-the opposite
of the physiological changes that occur during the stress response.
Herbert Benson, M.D. Harvard Medical School
5) Relaxation therapies are effective in treating
chronic pain. The meditation technique of silently repeating words
or sounds while ignoring intruding thoughts can markedly ease
the pain of low back problems, arthritis, and headaches.
National Institutes of Health, 1996
6) Reducing stress can dramatically reduce
heart disease. In a five-year study of heart disease patients,
those who learned to manage stress reduced their risk of having
another heart attack by 74%, compared with patients receiving
medication only. Reducing mental stress also proved more beneficial
than getting exercise.
Dr. James Blumenthal, Duke University, 1997
7) Twenty-eight people with high levels of
blocked arteries and high risk of heart attack were placed in
a program with regular practice of meditation, yoga, a low-fat
vegetarian diet, and exercise. Twenty people in the control group
received conventional medical care endorsed by the AMA. At the
end of a year, most of the experimental group reported that their
chest pains had virtually disappeared; for 82% of the patients,
arterial clogging had reversed. Those who were sickest at the
start showed the most improvement. The control group had an increase
in chest pain and arterial blockage worsened. (Follow-up studies
suggest that the stress-reduction element may be the most significant
factor in achieving these results.)
Dr. Dean Ornish, San Francisco Medical School, University of California, Lancet Journal
8) Two groups were compared: meditators and
non-meditators. The meditators were found, on a number of scales,
to be less anxious and neurotic, more spontaneous, independent,
self-confident, empathetic, and less fearful of death.
Reported in Atlantic Monthly, May, 1991
9) Twenty out of twenty-two anxiety-prone people
showed a 60% improvement in anxiety levels following an eight
week course in meditation.
University of Massachusetts
10) A study of women with severe PMS showed
a 58% improvement in their symptoms after five months of daily
Health Magazine, September, 1995
11) High school students who study relaxation
techniques stay in school more often and have fewer incidents
The Education Initiative, Mind/Body Medical Institute, Harvard University, May, 1996
12) In a recent study, 77% of individuals experiencing
high levels of stress were able to cool down-lower their blood
pressure and cholesterol levels-simply by training themselves
to stay calm.
Reported in Health, October 1994