Insurance · 5 December 2015

The small business advent calendar: 5 December A treat to help you relax

day 5
Over the days leading up to Christmas well be revealing one juicy morsel of small business reading every day
Behind the fifth door of our small business advent calendar is some good news about reducing stress and increasing wellbeing not just for Christmas, but all year round.

Small business owners work 63 per cent more hours a week than employees and take fewer days of holiday each year so it’s no surprise that a US study in 2012 found American entrepreneurs to be, on average, more stressed than the rest of the population. Reducing stress is likely to be at the top of many owner-managers? Christmas wishlists.

Mindfulness the practice of taking time out of the day-to-day stresses of life in order to focus on positive thoughts and feelings has been shown to be one way of tackling the problem.

Researchers including Richard Davidson at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have found that dedicating time to breathing slowly and thinking positively can decrease the levels of stress hormone cortisol that the brain produces and the best thing about it is that just five minutes a day can make you calmer.

More intense periods of meditation have been found to increase cognitive ability as well as relieving tension. Researchers at Harvard Medical School found that participants who took part in an eight-week mindfulness programme had denser grey matter in their hippocampus the part of the brain responsible for learning at the end of the study.


 
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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Hannah Wilkinson is a reporter for Business Advice. She studied economics and management at Oxford University and prior to joining Business Advice wrote for Kensington and Chelsea Today about business and economics as well as running a tutoring company.

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