It’s no secret that Mental Health has been the fastest growing health focus area across the western world in recent years, and this is also represented in the resources and attention allocated to mental health education and intervention in the work setting – after all, we spend on average one third of our lives at work these days!
However, even with such a big profile and improving awareness of its importance, one of the questions we often get at Pinnacle Health Group is “how can we practically improve our mental health whilst at work?”
Here are 5 practical solutions to consider:
There is so much available evidence for the positive effects of meditation, and to point to just a few – studies from UCLA have shown that “meditators” have better preserved brains than “non-meditators” as they age; another recent study by John Hopkins proved that meditation matches anti-depressants for its ability to reduce anxiety, depression and pain; other research, including one by Mrazek, Franklin et al – concluded that just a two-week mindfulness course improved cognitive performance in students, and led to better scores in their exams.
Meditation will only keep ingraining itself as a must-do in the workplace due to the facts – and we guide people to take a novel approach to implementation, and embrace initiatives at work such as:
- Attend Meditation classes for yourself
- Block off a meeting room or quiet area for 30 mins each week – and meditate
- Download an online guided meditation sessions and listen with headphones
- Embrace the quiet space on floors and zen out!
Make sure you join us this month for our 30 minute meditation classes and learn the skills to help improve your mental health today.
COUNSELLING OR COACHING FROM A PSYCHOLOGIST – ON-SITE OR TELE-HEALTH CONSULTATIONS
The stigma associated with seeing a Psychologist or counsellor is no longer a big deal – and we are all recognising the benefits to our entire life of being mindfully aware, and ensuring optimal mental wellbeing.
Explore the options available to you as an employee, or in your local suburb – and you will find suitable on-site, or tele-health consultations that are available with a clinical and workplace-specialised psychologist.
These sessions with a psychologists or counsellor are a proactive way to help you to build resilience and mindful behaviour – and help identify their key personal flags for stress, anxiety or burnout.
Gone are the days where simply being told to be “mentally well”, or reading broadcasted information on mental health is best practice. Interactive online platforms or community hubs (usually linked to staff intranet) are ways to gamify and make being mentally well fun and engaging, and are easily accessible to many employees.
Practical functions such as questionnaires or surveys, games and challenges, and continually updated content is a fantastic way to champion a mentally well culture. It’s also a great forum to promote any events or services that your organisation is planning.
WELLNESS & FITNESS SERVICES
The natural release of endorphins with any physical exercise is a fantastic way to improve mental wellness, and lead to feelings of accomplishment, calm, clarity and engagement. The feeling of euphoria is often described after exercise of various intensity – and the ability to break up the working day with exercise has huge benefits on productivity, and concentration alone.
Having regular scheduled times for exercise, whether that is blocking your lunch hour to go for a run or accessing more sanctuary-style services such as massage & yoga it can be a real positive force to improve your mental wellness.
According to a large study conducted by the World Green Building Council’s “Better Places for People” campaign, simple steps like improving air quality, increasing natural light and introducing greenery – those which typically have environmental benefits such as using less energy – can also have a dramatic impact on the bottom line by improving employee productivity and wellbeing, and reducing absenteeism, staff turnover and medical costs.
Most of our modern, progressive buildings have breakout areas, sit-to-stand desks, great end-of-trip facilities and quiet areas – which can all have a positive impact on your mental wellness as a tenant.
Embrace the space, and explore and appreciate the features and design of your building – it can really make you notice how great your work environment can be!
Eileen Luders, Nicholas Cherbuin, Florian Kurth (2015).
Forever Young(er): potential age-defying effects of long-term meditation on gray matter atrophy
Madhav Goyal, Sodal Singh (2014).
Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-beingA Systematic Review and Meta-analysis.
Michael D. Mrazek, Michael S. Franklin, Dawa Tarchin Phillips, Benjamin Baird, Jonathan W. Schooler (2013).
Mindfulness Training Improves Working Memory Capacity and GRE Performance While Reducing Mind Wandering.
Online Volume 24:5. Clinical Psychology