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Lutheran Medical Center Employees Take Challenge To Reduce Stress

WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. (CBS4) - Workers at a hospital in Wheat Ridge are taking a 30-day challenge -- not to lose weight or quit smoking, but to reduce stress.

CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh got a look at the new program just underway at Exempla Lutheran Medical Center. They call it the "Mindfulness Challenge." They promise just 5 minutes a day will make people feel better.

They are the people who take care of others in emergencies when they're sick and scared.

"Challenges can lead us to a lot of uncertainty and confusion, chaos," Nurse Diane Sieg told the group of employees.

But the Mindfulness Challenge is designed to reduce that with what Sieg calls "mindfulness."

"Mindfulness is about being in the present moment, awake and aware," Sieg said.

The idea is to turn chaos to calm by staying focused in the present. Sieg preaches that deep breathing and meditation can change lives.

"Just 5 minutes a day of one of these mindfulness practices is enough to change the neuropath ways in your brain," Sieg said.

"I thought it was relaxing, it was calming, it was perfect peace in the middle of my day," Dr. Tina Johnson said.

It's a nice change for Johnson, Chief Medical Officer.

Health care workers spend their time educating others. The challenge is a chance to live and breathe their own message.

About 110 employees have signed up for the Mindfulness Challenge. It is just one part of "Destination Wellness," Lutheran Medical Center's effort to keep workers healthy.

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