Dr. Kathleen Hall knows the impact stress has on our daily endeavors. As founder and CEO of The Stress Institute and Mindful Living Network, she has had a front row seat to just how much havoc it can wreak on every thought, every word and every action we take. Today, the internationally recognized ambassador for mindful living provides individuals, corporations and organizations with the tools they need to create more mentally and physically balanced lifestyles. This is a Q&A with Dr. Hall that first appeared in our October 2013 edition of Connect.
What role does stress play in our lives?
Stress affects every facet of our lives, physical, psychological and our society. It creates enormous costs to individuals, families, all government agencies and corporations. Most people experience high stress levels because of their personal finances or because of the global financial challenges we’re facing today. Too many people are just overextended.
Define living mindfully.
After years of working with individuals and corporations, I discovered a relationship between not living mindfully and increasing levels of stress. Most of us are overbooked, overworked and overwhelmed. Simply finding a quiet moment seems almost impossible these days. Mindful living is the awareness
that every thought, word and action affects you, society and the environment. As you practice mindful living, you realize your stress level is a product of your awareness, perceptions and choices. Stress is a symptom of not living a mindful life.
How do we alleviate stress in the work environment?
You can create a company that resembles the characteristics of a healthy family. Employees want to work for a mindful company – one that embodies work balance, fairness, healthcare and adequate
time off for vacation and unforeseen critical events. Mindful companies create an inspiring and healthy work environment for their employees.
Give us a couple tenants to living mindfully every day.
The first would be a reverent respect and a greater awareness for every living creature. This is the core of mindful living. We are interdependent with every living thing, and therefore, every thing we say or do has a cause and effect. Another way is mindful listening. Most of us live so fast these days that we
hear others, but we do not really listen. Mindful listening is when you stop; look deeply into another person’s eyes, focus on them and listen to every word, body movement and tone with an open and aware
heart. This lets them know just how valued they are.
Can we really live stress free?
No living thing can live stress free. Stress is a biological feature of life. Every living thing expands and contracts to survive, which means we experience stress. But stress can be a great source of information– one that tells you what experiences negatively affect your life. The way to live a life with less stress
is to either change your perception of your stress or remove the source from your life.