Mindfulness provides long-lasting protection from burnout

Recently published results show that the benefits of Mindfulness, to reduce burnout in employees, are long-lasting.  That’s good for employees… and cost effective for employers.

I have written about burnout before: here.  Burnout is characterised by three dimensions: 1) feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; 2) increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and 3) reduced professional efficacy.

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center  has publish data showing the long lasting nature of the benefits to healthcare professionals gained from their eight-week “mindfulness in motion” (MIM) training course.

Successful completion of the MIM program had previously been shown to significantly decrease perceived stress and inflammation, as well as increase sleep quality and work engagement…

However, you could argue these results mean nothing for the organization if a month after the program ends, usual stress and burnout levels return to base levels,” said Maryanna Klatt, who is a professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine at The Ohio State University College of Medicine.

“Demonstrating sustainability of the results of an intervention is nearly as important as demonstrating the effectiveness of the intervention, yet this is rarely done. Organizations need to be assured the return on their investment to reduce burnout and build resilience produces results that are maintained long after the intervention ends.” said Klatt.

A follow-up survey was sent via email to healthcare professionals (n = 220) who previously participated in the 8-week MIM intervention. Survey assessed burnout, perceived stress, resilience, work engagement. Average time since intervention end was 12.2 months. Results showed that there were significant differences from “pre-MIM” to  “12 months post-MIM”: ie less burnout, less perceived stress and improved resilience.

It’s been a stressful time for healthcare workers and this result demonstrates the lasting benefits of an eight week mindfulness programme.  Yet a 2018 study found that 40% of U.S. adult workers were so “burnt-out” at their jobs that they considered quitting – so maybe other sectors and employers should serious look at adopting mindfulness to reduce burnout.

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