The CBR Project's training programs provide education on the medical effects of chronic stress, as well as practical tools like yoga and meditation that help aid workers combat what they colloquially refer to as ‘burnout’.
Psychological stress, and the disorders that accompany it, are widely recognized as major contributors to absenteeism, high staff turnover, poor morale and reduced productivity at work. Stress has also been shown to significantly impair memory and the ability to learn.
There is a large body of medical evidence that mindfulness, meditation and yoga help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression as well as increase stress-management, self-awareness and concentration. The entire concept of the CBR Project centers on making active change in the world based on this evidence – investing in the mental health of humanitarian relief workers is a low-cost point of leverage to improve the lives millions.
In studies by institutions such as the Mayo Clinic, Harvard Health, and the American Psychological Association, mindfulness practices have been shown to promote mental clarity; memory; physical and emotional balance and flexibility; increased creativity and divergent thinking; emotional intelligence; and a sense of agency.
The capacity to develop these skills and, ultimately, gain greater resilience and mental strength is made possible through the neurobiological results of repetitive mindfulness practices. At a technical level, this involves enhanced neural plasticity; modulated brain activity; optimized immune and inflammatory systems; optimized stress response, released chronic stress patterns; increased vagal tone; and improved psychosocial functioning.
There are now thousands of peer-reviewed articles on the effectiveness of meditation and mindful movement, a selection of which are available here:
- Harvard Business Review: Mindfulness Can Literally Change Your Mind
- Harvard Business Review: How Mindfulness Benefits CEOs
- Sonima.com: The New Science on the Benefits of Yoga
For a full review of the evidence of over 200 scientific papers, please read the CBR Project White Paper, available here: