what we do
We create innovative, customized, effective, and scalable stress resilience solutions. We accomplish this by:
Leveraging our deep understanding of stress, resilience, mindfulness, wellbeing, neuroscience, and medical research
Integrating that knowledge with your organization’s specific strengths, constraints, and felt needs
Collaboratively customizing, implementing, and refining solutions that are relevant, efficient, and effective
Our core solution (Stress Management and Resilience Training, SMART) acts as a template for many of the solutions we create. SMART has been tested in over two dozen clinical trials and offered to hundreds of thousands of participants since 2008.
We have trained several hundred trainers in our train-the-trainer course (Transform) since its launch in 2010.
We are presently working with several premier Fortune 500 companies, hospitals, health systems, universities, and others.
From the Desk of Dr. Sood
Thank you for spending a few precious minutes with me.
Employees and citizens that are a gift to their organization and the world have four core skills: Grit, Innovativeness, Focus, and Team-thinking. Let me share with you five key insights we leverage to nurture this GIFT in people.
#1. Intervene Upstream to Impact Downstream
Research shows that a family of behaviors (such as engaged presence, innovative thinking, discipline, courage, positivity) help enhance performance and decrease stress. A set of core principles (such as intentional attention, higher purpose, gratitude, kindness) influence these behaviors. The principles, in turn, depend on the healthy engagement of the right neural networks.
So, the sequence is: Engagement of the right neural networks (Step 1) – leads to – Embodying a set of core principles (Step 2) – leads to – The practice of a family of positive behaviors (Step 3) – leads to – Sustained thriving (Step 4) and positive organizational outcomes.
Solutions that focus only on the positive behaviors act too downstream and seldom provide a lasting benefit.
Instead, engaging the neural networks that host the upstream principles, naturally leads to a robust and sustained change in a broad spectrum of downstream behaviors and outcomes.
For example, asking people to sound positive and upbeat is insufficient. Instead, infusing hope, inspiring meaning, enhancing self-worth, and integrating a culture of resilience, will naturally lead not only to lower stress, but also better engagement with work, higher productivity, improved relationships, lower turnover, better health, and more.
This understanding (intervening upstream to impact downstream) and its application helps us create solutions that remain relevant despite a change in organizational systems, processes, or priorities.
#2. The secret to long-term success and happiness is in embracing core values
The two words that describe a successful organization are: thriving and virtuous. Research shows, being virtuous, which translates to thinking, speaking and doing good, is critical to long-term success. Our solutions help people thrive by doing good and becoming good.
Our focus on embracing the core values isn’t just a “feel-good” intention. A robust line of research supports our firm belief that organizations that serve a pro-social meaning are the ones likely to survive over the long-term, have lower turnover, and deliver better financial returns.
#3. Integrating cutting-edge science is the key to creating “sticky” solutions
Solutions anchored in a single person’s experience are vulnerable to biases and unlikely to remain relevant for the long-term. Instead, solutions that leverage the science, particularly the recent developments in neuroscience, that have been validated in multiple research studies, and that have been offered across several platforms and vetted by a large number of people, are more likely to inspire sustained behavior change.
Just as we wouldn’t drive a car without knowing how the steering wheel operates, we shouldn’t live our life without a basic knowledge of how our brain functions. An essential component of our solutions is helping participants understand some of the neural traps that create disengagement, unwanted stress, and impair physical health. We share this information (synthesized from over ten-thousand research studies) in an easy-to-understand language that is fun and participatory.
In our presentations, we commonly hear participants say, “I wish I knew this science forty years ago.” The relevant neuroscience provides a validating and uplifting perspective toward stress, burnout, disengagement, and mental health issues. Hence, we provide insights into the brain’s functioning and some of our instinctive predispositions that shape our current behaviors, as the first step in most solutions.
#4. Customization is essential
Some of us have a single discrete stressor. Many struggle with fatigue and forgetfulness, while dealing with relationship issues, financial pressures, and a health concern. Every person, team, and organization’s stressors are unique. When offering solutions to different people, while the basic ideas (such as the neuroscience insights) remain similar, the specific skills we suggest change based on the felt needs.
Work-centric solutions are somewhat different compared to solutions for a patient fighting chronic pain or anxiety. A thirty-year-old patient with advanced cancer may need a different approach compared to an octogenarian with a similar diagnosis.
We leverage the vast collection of insights and skills we have accumulated and developed over several decades, and customize the solutions for the individuals, groups, or organizations based on their strengths, constraints, and goals.
#5. Keep it novel, simple, scalable, engaging
We try our best to avoid cliches and make every effort to keep the approach fresh and relevant for twenty-first-century struggles. Simplicity is our guiding principle. Knowing that majority of us can’t spare 45 minutes every day for meditation, most of the practices we suggest are just a few minutes long. “We aren’t adding more milk to your cup; we are adding chocolate powder to the mix, so it doesn’t take any volume but changes the entire flavor!” (assuming you like chocolate!)
We have tested our solutions in both short and long in-person versions, online, and with written material in close to 30 clinical trials, the most for any resilience program. The results are very encouraging in every format we have tested. Further, the basics of the program can be shared in as little as a single 60 to 90 minute presentation. We strongly believe in democratizing wellbeing and pride in our scalability.
We love humor! We integrate fun and inspiring stories, interactive practices, and fascinating scientific studies, to keep the solutions engaging and enjoyable. We believe that for something to work in the long-term, it should be enjoyable in the short-term.
Our approach is secular, offered using inclusive language. We respect and honor the rich diversity that decorates our planet. We try our best to stick to the science and minimize personal bias. Our solutions are shared with humility and gratitude, considering it a real privilege that the participants have chosen to share a few moments and sometimes a few stories, of their vulnerability with us.
Integrating the insights I shared above, after about two decades of work, we developed an approach to resilience, wellbeing, and performance that we called Attention and Interpretation Therapy (AIT). SMART (Stress Management and Resiliency Training), our flagship resilience, wellbeing, and burnout solution that we have been offering since 2008, is an abbreviated version of AIT.
SMART integrates wisdom from:
Thousands of research studies,
Life experiences of hundreds of thousands of professionals and patients, and
Timeless teachings of contemplatives, philosophers, poets, and others
For most organizations, SMART is offered in two phases: Train and Sustain. The train phase entails sharing the core insights and skills of the four-module program. In the sustain phase, participants integrate and deepen their practice, that build toward creating a culture of resilience and wellbeing in the organization.
SMART has now been tested and found effective in several dozen clinical trials with results showing statistically significant and meaningful improvement in a variety of measures. These include:
50 percent lower anxiety (Assessed by GAD-7)
39 percent lower burnout (Assessed by MBI)
35 percent lower stress (Assessed by PSS)
37 percent lower depressive symptoms (Assessed by PHQ9)
30 percent higher mindfulness (Assessed by MAAS)
21 percent higher resilience (Assessed by CDRS)
18 percent higher happiness (Assessed by SHS)
16 percent higher health behaviors (Assessed by CHBQ)
In addition, participants reported positive changes in productivity, engagement, and fatigue.
We believe SMART is the most extensively researched resilience and wellbeing platform globally and has the strongest, most promising effectiveness data.
In developing SMART, our goal is to help democratize wellbeing and provide an authentic, trusted, and evidence-based stress, resilience, wellbeing, and burnout solution that economizes time and resources, will stand for hundreds of years to come, and is customizable to almost every demographic and individual’s or organization’s challenge or striving.
SMART aspires to help you reimagine productivity from twenty-first-century perspective. Counting the number of emails that employees answer in an hour is past its prime. The questions we ask are:
Are you seeking meaning (approach) or running away from fear (avoidance)?
Do you have a culture where members feel comfortable sharing their vulnerability?
How good are you with handling complexity? How can you get better?
Are you skilled at holding two simultaneous conflicting thoughts in arriving at a solution?
How good is your tolerance of uncertainty?
Do you feel skilled at handling inter-personal conflicts?
Are you good at not letting demanding clients get beneath your skin?
Do you care more about proving your personal worth or contributing to a meaningful cause?
Do you look forward to Monday mornings?
The most productive individuals and organizations seek meaning, honor vulnerability, are skilled at handling complexity, conflicts and uncertainty, care more about the purpose and less about personal accolades, and consider their work as their calling. Such a culture of pragmatic positivity, when it permeates the breadth of the organization, will foster a thriving and virtuous workplace. Every good outcome - productivity, engagement, reputation, low-turnover, profits - will naturally follow.
The Next Step (For Prospective Trainers and Organizations)
If you are an individual trainer or an organization and wish to bring SMART to your practice or group, I welcome you to spend a few additional minutes here, evaluate the following content, and reach out to us for further questions.
Why SMART? Distinguishing features of SMART
Want to Bring SMART to Your Organization? Our phased approach to bringing SMART to organizations
Want to Become a SMART Trainer? The path to start teaching SMART
Who is Using SMART Today? Different demographics and groups using SMART
Curious About Our Research? A synthesis of our research studies
With SMART, my colleagues and I have touched over half a million people in person in the previous decade, and presently are actively engaged with about two hundred thousand employees in some of the world’s most reputable organizations. It will be an honor to serve you and your group.
I am grateful to you for trusting me with your time.
I wish you well.
Amit Sood, MD MSc FACP
Want to Bring SMART to Your Organization?
We are working with several small and large organizations, across several industries, for creating stress, resiliency, and burnout solutions. We have delivered consistently positive outcomes for decreasing stress and anxiety, enhancing resilience, wellbeing and happiness, and improving work-related metrics.
With each engagement, we strive to:
Understand your unique strengths, constraints, culture, and experience
Develop a three to five year vision to help foster a culture of resilience and wellbeing
Start with a few pilot offerings and refine further based on feedback from employees and leadership
Focus our solutions on nurturing professionalism, excellence, integrity, engagement, and self-care
Create local capacity (where feasible) by training trainers/champions within the organization
Create digital on-demand solutions
Develop a long-term longitudinal connection
Please contact us for further details.
Want to Become a Certified resilience Trainer?
We have trained several hundred trainers since 2010.
You can become a Certified Resilience Trainer with us and teach resilience and wellbeing globally.
Please look at this link for further details.