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How Can Organizations Support Employees with Health Challenges?

One of the responsibilities of human resources is to have a pulse on programs that help maximize human potential


According to the American Psychological Association, stress costs the industry $300 billion a year in absences, medical costs, lost productivity and turnover.

Let’s face it productivity, powerhouse culture and team building require healthy human beings who feel supported and engaged. I know first-hand the relationship to productivity and disease when I endured advanced cancer back in 2016. After winning a medal at the World Tae Kwon Do Colorado State Championship a few years earlier, I found myself in fetal position, barely able to lift my head. I remember lying in bed after a very difficult chemotherapy treatment, pondering how much energy it took to just be myself.

Energy is our capacity for action.

One of the responsibilities of human resources is to have a pulse on those programs that help maximize human potential to meet company initiatives. Autoimmune diseases create energy leaks in the capacity for action and are often a mystery to the medical world. When the body’s immune system starts to attack its own tissue, it results in a breakdown in the growth and repair cycle. Nothing thrives when it’s fighting against itself. The symptoms are varied and often unique to those caught in an autoimmune disease. 

After enduring two years of chemotherapy, 14 surgeries six weeks of daily radiation, and a MRSA staph infection, my immune system was shot. As a result, I developed an autoimmune disease that flares up when faced with stressful situations. For those of you who have not personally experienced an autoimmune disease, imagine a fish trying to swim through jello: though it has the desire to do what it’s created to do efficiently, the exterior environment blocks its capacity for action. The spirit is willing and the flesh is weak inside the autoimmune disease world.

So, how specifically can organizations support employees with autoimmune disease? Compassionately, action oriented, offering support systems that minimize potential flare-ups. Nearly 80 percent of disease is stress-related, according to Harvard Medical, autoimmune disease is one of many physical challenges directly triggered by stress. I know first-hand the link between stress and disease as I was diagnosed with advanced cancer one week prior to my final divorce court date. Knowing that stress directly effects the biological expression of an autoimmune disease, offering effective stress management programs that teach specific stress relief skill sets offers practical support. 

When your body betrays you and restricts your highest potential, it is easy to feel discouraged. A quick remedy to the discouragement is empowerment that comes from knowing there is something you can do to improve your choice of response to any situation. Stress is the power we give to circumstance to define our sense of safety and ability to handle situations effectively. We are the gatekeepers of our thoughts and our body is listening closely.

When I was told that the doctors were going to “try” to get me five years at 38 years old with three young children, I made up my mind to choose life no matter what is spite of the diagnosis. As Einstein says, “the field directly affects the particle.”

Your mind has a direct impact on your biology. Dr. Joe Dispenza offers a Ted Talk on the power of our thoughts on our biological functioning.

As organizations, (HR/Training and Development/Chief Wellness Officers) provide inclusive wellness programs that empower their employees to take back their identity/personal power in the midst of physical setbacks they will create a dynamic culture of empowered human beings who have the ability to overcome and seek creative solutions.

Are you feeling like a fish swimming through jello? Overwhelmed by the condition of your body? Reflect on this: You are the gatekeeper of your thoughts, the landlord. Who are you giving free rent to that is trashing your interior world? Fear? Doubt? Worry? It’s time to evict and take back your identity that perhaps has been lost in the disease. Resist the urge to give the disease the power to define who you are and what you are capable of handling. Don’t give the disease the power to define your capability to move through it with confidence and strength.

As a result of my personal experience with a life threatening disease, I have produced five 30-day, three-minute-a-day personal excellence and wellness programs that offer a daily message, reflection and forward action step:

·      The Art of Stress-free Living

·      A Cancer Conqueror’s Mindset

·      Work-life Balance

·      Cultivate Healthy Relationships

·      Stress Solutions for the Soul

Click here for more information.

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Lauren Miller

Lauren E Miller, has a masters in adult education with a certification in human resource development. She has personally conquered two of life's top stressors at the same time, advanced cancer and divorce. Now Google's No. 1 Stress relief expert, award-winning author, speaker and certified executive and life coach, Miller provides process driven programs with structure, guidance, support and accountability designed to create positive change in behavior resulting in positive impact on business (IOB) and life purpose. For more on her work in the world please visit her main website: LaurenEMiller.com .

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