Stressed? Try Butterflies.

Fifteen years ago, I would have told you to get out of my office (get out of my face) and stop wasting my time.  10 years ago, I would have called “bulls-” on this malarkey.  Today, the image above calms me.  And I’ve come to believe that I need thisIt’s good for me.  It’s good for the team around me.  (But let’s not get too excited.  I’m a toddler here.  I’m on the 3rd step of a 107 step program.)  And since it has now been endorsed by the Truth, the Wall Street Journal,  I’m in. (:)  Lao Tzu (604 BC – 531 BC): “A Journey of a Thousand Miles Takes a Single Step”…Time to take that step… To Cut Office Stress, Try Butterflies and Meditation? (Some excerpts below)

  • Some 70% of Americans know the feelings: Some time during the workday, the stomach tightens. The heart races.  Palms grow damp, breathing becomes shallow.
  • Job Pressures are the No. 2 cause of stress after financial worries…
  • More employers are trying to help…efforts include “mindful communication” and “cognitive behavioral training” as well as office designs featuring leafy plant covered walls.
  • Such stress-busting attempts may have some rolling their eyes (DK: Note to self – used to be me), but research shows they can actually change the way the brain and body react to stressors.
  • Employees were coached on accepting daily hassles without judgment.  If stuck in traffic…they were encouraged to appreciate the sights, sounds and smells around them without stressing out.
  • To reduce the stress of boss interactions, they were also taught mindful communication – visualizing themselves in the meeting while focusing on breathing, paying attention to what is being said, and asking questions rather than blaming, criticizing or becoming defensive.
  • Another tactic involves training employees to screen out negative thoughts and focus on hopeful or positive aspects.  (Employees) were encouraged to identify a compelling life purpose, such as being a good parent or staying healthy into retirement, and ask themselves throughout the day whether their actions were helping or defeating that purpose.
  • Coaching asked employees how they talked and thought about themselves, exploring whether negativity and self-criticism where holding them back. Some workers carried an index card through the workday, making a mark every time they noticed themselves saying or thinking something negative.  They also did exercises to replace negative thoughts with hopeful ones.
  • Research shows that exposure to nature can help lower blood pressure, pulse rates and levels of stress hormone cortisol.  Natural light streams…outdoor cafes at the edge of a meadow of wildflowers…(watching) butterflies “really does change your mind…and alleviates pressure.”

Image Source: i-managed


  1. Love those butterflies, and good on you for taking tiny steps. It IS good for you and for your employees. And I know of no one – not one person out of the 5,000 I worked with in my former life – who have gotten as far as you have. You go Dave – and I’m right behind you (taking steps that is).


  2. I’ll add to the applause, David. From where i sit, you’re working on educating yourself and improving quality of life for you and your employees all the time, and it’s laudable. As we’ve discussed before, I also think having dogs in the office helps to lower stress, drop BP, and encourage interactions between employees that are healthy and relaxing. I know it made a huge difference in the halls of HBSP. Nothing like a good game of ball with a 160 lb mastiff to introduce a little levity into the day. 🙂


  3. Maybe thats why I’ve always loved butterflies and its made me feel awesome to be around them! My brain is flying back to the Butterfly Conservatory in Niagara Falls now, for maximized stress relief :).

    I’m working on the whole lowering stress aspect in life. Love the post!


  4. Stress .. the silent killer. Anytime someone takes ownership of managing their own stress is a reason to applaud! In my stress management workshop, we start by identifying what our life compelling purpose is. So many people don’t have that. They live life in autopilot, instead of with purpose. And so much depends on how we choose to respond to stressful situations. We can’t always control what happens, but we can control how we respond. Road rage or crank the tunes and chair dance in traffic? Your choice.


  5. Isn’t it wonderful to just stop, watch and breathe…… We just need more practice.


  6. I love this. And I totally believe it works. I have started breathing deeply before interviews and public speaking and it really seems to calm my nerves…great post, as always!!!


  7. David – thanks for sharing – good timing for me and a reminder to focus on ways to limit or repurpose the work stress. Also reminds me of a time when I was driving across South Dakota on a lonely highway. Butterflies were everywhere, maybe millions. Not sure why, but beautiful and a reminder of the wonder of nature. I am relaxing just remembering it.
    – Michael


  8. Great picture and article. Could use a bucket or two of butterflies lately.


  9. Great article! Especially as a butterfly lover and one who needs to de-stress – OFTEN



  1. […] Stressed? Try Butterflies. ( […]


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