Pilot Study # 1: The Wise Program.
The Effectiveness of Psychological Resilience Training in the Workplace.
Objective: The purpose of this pilot study was to assess whether our eight week Wise program would improve resilience, health and psychological outcomes (stress, depression and anxiety) for employees, in particular Child Protection Practitioners, in the West Division at the Department of Health and Human Services.
Methods: The Pilot Study explored the impact of attention training on all levels of awareness, psychological well-being, depression, anxiety, tension/stress, sleep, resilience and coping ability. In addition, the study attempted to determine the impact of eight weeks of training on blood pressure scores. Data was collected from participants pre and post intervention, as well as one month post program.
Results: The Pilot showed improvement in all levels of mindfulness, psychological well-being measures and stress, as well as in resting blood pressure scores. The findings suggest that an eight week psychological resilience program reduces mental stress and enhances psychological well-being, sleep and coping ability. Negative correlations between mindfulness behaviour and depression scores were found, illustrating that as awareness increased, psychological distress decreased. Higher correlations post intervention were also found indicating a clear association between low awareness and high depression, anxiety and stress scores (and vice versa). A wide range of physical difficulties such as anxiety, high blood pressure, insomnia and migraines were also alleviated.
|· 96% reported feeling calmer and more relaxed.|
|· 81% stated they were less ‘reactive’ and more able to recognise when they were in default mode.
· 58% of participants are still performing regular relaxation, awarness, mindfulness meditation or other stress reduction activities. This has increased from 20%.
· 93% stated they had coped better with difficult or stressful situations
· An overall reduction in DASS scores(Depression, Anxiety, Stress) scores post intervention
· A negative correlation coefficient found between awareness and DASS Scores.
Attention & Awareness
· 94% of participants had increases in their MAAS Score.
· 90% found their concentration and focus had improved
· 83% reported they were better able to listen attentively and communicate effectively
· 66% reported improvements in sleep post intervention
· Normal healthy range increased from 19.7% to 65.8%
· Isolated Hypertension decreased from 21% to 9.8%
· 66% of participants still frequently using the resilience tools and coping mechanisms at work.
· 84% still participating in frequent informal or formal awareness practices.
Conclusion: The Pilot Study has shown to be acceptable with potential merit as a proactive workplace mental health intervention. The data collected has shown the Wise program effectively improves psychological resilience, health and psychological outcomes (perceived stress, and depression and anxiety scores) for employees at the Department of Health and Human Services.
Pilot Study # 2: Wise Worker.
The Effectiveness of an Integrated Mind/ Body Program to Improve Musculoskeletal Health & Psychological Resilience.
Overview: The Wise Worker program is a four week musculoskeletal health and resilience program designed to prevent injuries, reduce stress and improve psychological wellbeing. The curriculum is designed to teach participants how to integrate and apply mindfulness into their everyday lives, as well as how they can protect themselves from pain and injuries at home and in the workplace. Embedded within the context of Mind/Body and Integrative Medicine, the program teaches evidence-based practices and tools to assist with self-regulation, as well as workplace morale. Practical guided instruction from the facilitator assists with improving flexibility, reducing pain, increasing blood flow and circulation, promoting relaxation and improving overall wellbeing.
Methods: We explored the impact of self-awareness, goal setting, health screening, education and practical exercises on clinical health outcomes. We determined the impact of four weeks of training on blood pressure, flexibility, core strength, hydration, metabolic age, stress levels, sleep and self-reported feelings of wellbeing. Mental health and personal injury data was collected from the participant’s pre and post intervention, as well as at the completion of the program and one month post program.
Results: The Wise Worker program showed noticeable improvements in core strength, hamstring flexibility, hydration and metabolic age, as well as large reductions in resting systolic blood pressure scores. A number of personal goals were achieved throughout the four week program and positive health behaviours were cultivated. Self-reported data, as well as written testimonials, revealed numerous benefits ranging from increased self-awareness, better team cohesion, ability to be more mindful at home and at work, improved coping ability, increased ability to protect from injuries, as well reduced stress levels.
Positive Health Behaviours
|· 87% of participants achieved at least one of the three health goals they set at the start of the program.· 89% stated they had become better at self-nourishment (i.e. more exercise, more water, less smoking, better food choices, more relaxation etc.)|
|· 94% of participants are performing injury prevention techniques at least once during their shift.· 94% of participants are now performing injury prevention techniques at home.|
Clinical Health Outcomes
· 66% of participants had a reduction in their systolic blood pressure.
· 37% had a reduction in their metabolic age (i.e. an increase in their metabolism).
· 49% had an increase in their hydration levels.
· 87% reported feeling calmer and more relaxed.
· 80% stated they were less ‘reactive’ and more able to recognise when they were in default mode.
· 93% stated they had coped better with difficult or stressful situations.
· 73% of participants had an increase in their hamstring flexibility.
· There was a noticeable increase in core strength (the number of staff who could do an unassisted sit- up increased).
· 63% reported improvements in sleep post-program.
· 86% stated they feel better in their body, have more energy and are moving more freely.
· 69% found their concentration and focus had improved.
· 85% reported they were better able to listen attentively and communicate effectively
· A number of staff and managers reported staff were working better as a team.
Here’s what Employees are Saying about our Workplace Resilience Programs
Jonathan van Rooyen. CEO. Portfolio Manager, The Infrastructure Fund. “I work in a leadership capacity on a $1.7 billion Global Infrastructure Investment Fund. I recently completed the 8-week Wise program run by Sally Cumming of Engage Health. The program focused on developing 3 areas critical to effective leadership: 1. Self-Awareness; 2. Authenticity; and 3 Compassion. I can say in all honesty, this program was the most effective Leadership Development Program I have been associated with during my 20-year career. Sally has an extraordinarily effective manner and understands the challenges of dealing with time-poor, highly-distracted financial services executives.
I commend the Wise program to others who are seeking to extend and differentiate themselves in a leadership capacity.”
Gill Banez. Development Manager, APD Projects. “I was inherently skeptical about the effectiveness of mindfulness programs such as the Wise program. Having tried various approaches in an attempt to improve workplace management and relationships, I observed Sally’s achievements in business and as a successful athlete and was eager to learn the strategies that lead to her success. The eight week program presents strategies in an orderly and relatable way which allow immediate real world implementation right at the outset. I’ve enjoyed a renewed outlook which extends well beyond the workplace and I would recommend its implementation to any business of any kind.”
Mark Deverall. Assistant Principal, Northern Bay P-12 College, Corio. “Working in a public secondary school faces numerous challenges and difficulties. We recently had Sally facilitate mindfulness teacher training at our campus for all staff. This was timely towards the end of year. Overwhelmingly the staff feedback was positive in regard to feeling an immediate improved sense of wellbeing and appreciative for gaining an understanding of mindfulness in a school setting, both from a professional perspective but also an introductory aspect for educating students. Sally was comprehensive in her explanation of the physiological reasoning behind mind and body stress and stress reduction. This was complimented with practical strategies and meditations that left all staff feeling better and enabled a positive organizational morale that carried across the remainder of the year. We would highly recommend this program for schools with it showing a clear ability to improve teacher and support staff wellbeing.
Amanda O’Donnell. Disability Support Services, Department of Health and Human Services. “I would certainly recommend the course and have found it to be a positive experience learning to recognise what I am feeling and taking steps to deal with stress. I have felt that I am better able to recognise when I am stressed at the time and take steps towards addressing it at that point in time”.
Sarah Sims. Child Protection Practitioner. Department of Health and Human Services. “Thank you very much! This course has helped a lot with my personal life. It has changed me for the better and I am extremely grateful. Thank you.”
Maree Millard. Housing Advice & Assistance. Department of Health and Human Services. “I have loved this course. The kindness practice has been great. I am now kinder to myself. I exercise every morning and meditate every night. I have found I am sleeping so much better. When I used to try and problem solve at 3am I now mindfully breathe and return to sleep really fast. Thank you”.
Dominique Swift. Child Protection Practitioner. Department of Health and Human Services. “This was an invaluable experience provided by excellent practitioners. I would highly recommend to everyone to adapt as a basic wellbeing measure”.
Jamie Camamile. Disability Support Services. Department of Health & Human Services“. This course is fantastic for many different reasons and can be relatable to anyone. This course achieved amazing results for me in my ability to be aware of myself and those around me. There is no-one that wouldn’t benefit from taking the time to complete this course”.
Here’s what Disability Support Staff from DHHS are saying about the 4-Week Program
“Doing the Wise Worker training with my colleagues has been a great experience- it has definitely contributed to improved team spirit. It was nice to see staff so relaxed and so engaged in the training. DHHS provides lots of training but the program is for the staff- how to look after ourselves and become better carers”.
“My blood pressure was high 153/107 on the first day. I was very happy on my last day of training. It dropped down to 121/79 as I was eating healthily, walking, drinking more water.”
“I found the program to be very beneficial, both for the workplace and in everyday life. Practicing mindfulness and meditation has made me more aware of both myself and my environment and learning these new techniques has helped me to reduce stress and positively impacted my overall wellness”.
“Would highly recommend this course to everyone. It caters for a range of people and topics which tie well together. You are able to learn lots of information relevant to different areas/ interest.”
“I found this a very great course to be involved in. It has opened up the way I think about meditation and relaxation and have put it to use in my own life and been able to teach my own children and grandchildren”.
“It was wonderful to be reminded of how good it feels to exercise whilst doing the stretching session. It was very motivational”.
Here’s what staff from Kikki.K Head Office are saying about the 8 -Week Program
“This has been an incredible experience for me personally. Thank you!”
“I’m feeling much more equipped to deal with stress and anxiety after doing this course. I never thought I’d enjoy meditating but now I meditate at least once a week”.
“I have adored the sessions and will really miss them in my work week”.
“This program made a big difference to my resilience and how I feel going through my day to day”.
“Thank you for taking us through the course and being honest and open and allowing us to be our full imperfect selves. The techniques, science and skills I’ve learnt will be invaluable skills for life”.
“This course has brought a new feeling of calmness to my life. I have always been an anxious person and tend to catastrophise things”.