Stress Reduction

At Daybreak, we’re building a better workday for people all across the globe. To get there, we apply scientific findings from research papers from across the world to ensure that Daybreak is backed by scientifically validated research.

87.5% of survey participants held that a stress management program will help them perform their duties well

“A majority (87.5%) of the participants held that a stress management program will help them perform their duties very well as opposed to 12.5% who think the stress management scheme will have little impact on their performance.” [Source]

Workplace stress is responsible for 120,000 deaths a year

“…workplace stress is responsible for up to 8 percent of national spending on health care and contributes to 120,000 deaths a year.”

“In recent years, General Motors spent more on health care than it did on steel.” [Source]

Job stress costs U.S. businesses up to $300 billion annually
“It is estimated that job stress costs U.S. businesses between $150 billion (Spielberger, Vagg, & Wasala, 2003, citing Wright and Smye) and $300 billion annually (American Institute of Stress).”

“Job stress carries a price tag for U.S. industry estimated at over $300 billion annually as a result of: Accidents, absenteeism, employee turnover, diminished productivity, direct medical, legal, and insurance costs, workers’ compensation awards as well as tort and FELA judgments.” [Source]

Headaches cost U.S. employers $17 billion per year in absenteeism, lost productivity and medical expenses

“A significant 29 percent of all respondents suffer from headaches due to visual disturbances. According to the National Headache Foundation, headaches cost the nation $17 billion in absenteeism, lost productivity and medical expenses.” [Source ]

The Benefits of Mindfulness

15 minutes of mindfulness has the same impact as a day of vacation

“As a general measure of immediate well-being, participants were asked, ‘How are you doing right now?’ on a visual analogue scale from 0 (very bad) – 100 (very good). Participants also answered questions assessing positive and negative affect in the previous 24 hours. Participants were asked how much they felt from 0 (not at all) – 100 (extremely) on several sets of emotions from the modified Differential Emotions Scale (Fredrickson, 2013; Fredrickson, Tugade, Waugh, & Larkin, 2003) that sampled the affect circumplex (Feldman Barrett & Russell, 1998). We averaged positive emotion responses to create a positive affect metric; a negative affect metric was constructed in the same way.”

“Comparatively, 15 minutes of meditation had .33 (SD = .13) of the impact of a day of vacation.” [Source]

Mindfulness has the potential to be beneficial for software engineers

“A seminal study of practitioners on a three-month retreat showed that while normally people’s attention declines over the course of a task, this effect had virtually gone away after 1.5 months of intense practice and stayed like that even after the retreat had ended. Of course, a three-month training is not something that is feasible for the average software engineer.”

“Now if we want to implement a mindfulness intervention in the workflow of a software engineer, how could we go about this? These more practical recommendations follow primarily from my own experience as a mindfulness practitioner and as a meditation teacher. First, it should be emphasized that, given its potential adverse side effects, it is not advisable to force it upon software engineers. It is also important to set the expectations right; as mentioned, the cognitive benefits are limited, and the first gains are likely to arise in emotional resilience.

Having established these boundary conditions, if software engineers would like to engage in a mindfulness practice at work, in my experience, the best approach is a combination of substantial practice before the day starts and small mindfulness breaks during the day itself. The longer mindfulness session (ideally at least 20 minutes) serves to cultivate and develop cognitive skills, while the shorter sessions serve as reminders and refreshers during the workday. In fact, it has been suggested that these short—less than three-minute—sessions may be the most effective breaks (i.e., more effective than, for example, browsing social media for the same amount of time). One could take such a short mindfulness break after completing a subtask, such as writing a routine. Alternatively, it is possible to set a timer to interrupt a debugging session, which may help to give a fresh view of your program.”

“To have a productive mindfulness break, it is important to not completely close yourself off from what is going on but instead to perceive it mindfully. A mindful attitude involves not only having some sense of kind attention toward it but also a sense of curiosity. You can investigate your gut reactions to the current situation, or you can investigate your intention. Also, realize that a brief mindfulness break won’t always lead to feelings of calm and bliss. The trick is to be present and OK with whatever shows up in these moments. The goal is not to be a perfect meditator!”

“In conclusion, it is fair to say that mindfulness has the potential to be beneficial for software engineers. Mindfulness has been associated with limited cognitive benefits such as a reduction in distraction and more substantial emotional benefits, such as improved ability to manage emotions and resilience in the face of setbacks.”

“Incorporating mindfulness in the software engineer’s workflow has to be done with skill, and then it can make a large difference.” [Source]