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3 Ways To Improve Wellbeing At Work

February 11, 2018

 

Michelle McQuaid best-selling author, workplace wellbeing teacher:

 

The word ‘wellbeing’ is increasingly being thrown around workplaces today. As a result, the emerging field of positive psychology with its promises of evidence-based approaches to improving wellbeing has led to CEOs, CFOs, human resources leaders, consultants, coaches and trainers around the world to introduce these practices. Even governments have been getting in on the act. But is any of what’s been done really working?

 

So what evidence-based approaches might help to improve your wellbeing?

 

Practicing mindfulness

 Knowing how to be aware, how to pay attention and how to sustain our attention is the foundation to being able to effectively apply any of the other skills that can help us to flourish in a sustained way. For example, Felicia and her colleagues have found that teaching mindfulness to teenage students through the .b program can help to improve depressive symptoms, lower stress and lead to greater wellbeing. Studies have also found that mindfulness-based interventions for adults have consistently been found to reduce self-reported measures of perceived stress, anger, rumination and physiological symptoms while improving attention and cognitive capacities that may help you to have a more positive outlook, sense of cohesion and overall quality of life. Personally, I’ve found one of the practices Felicia teaches students to text a buddy during the day a reminder to “.b” - stop, be and breathe - can be a helpful mindfulness practice. In addition, there are many reputable programs to teach mindfulness in workplaces. · Engaging in self-compassion - some researchers are finding that mindfulness only reduces depressive symptoms concurrently if people are taught to be self-compassionate and speak kindly towards themselves rather than engaging in self-criticism. There is also increasing evidence that people who are more self-compassionate may be more motivated to change their behavior, making it easier to create lasting positive changes to our wellbeing. Understanding that self-criticism shifts our brains into a state of self-inhibition and self-punishment that causes us to disengage from our goals, whilst self-compassion activates our brain’s care-giving and self-awareness systems enhancing our motivation, performance and resilience is something every employee should be aware of. Personally, I’ve benefited hugely from Dr Kristen Neff’s wonderful toolkit of self-compassionate practices. · Shifting the curve - Geoffrey Rose, a famous epidemiologist, suggested that if you shift the curve of a population you not only decrease the probability of serious mental disorders, but you also increase the probability of flourishing. Felecia also believes that introducing practices like mindfulness, self-compassion and other evidence-based wellbeing interventions in workplaces, families and schools is the key to helping more people flourish.

 

Engaging in self-compassion

 some researchers are finding that mindfulness only reduces depressive symptoms concurrently if people are taught to be self-compassionate and speak kindly towards themselves rather than engaging in self-criticism. There is also increasing evidence that people who are more self-compassionate may be more motivated to change their behavior, making it easier to create lasting positive changes to our wellbeing. Understanding that self-criticism shifts our brains into a state of self-inhibition and self-punishment that causes us to disengage from our goals, whilst self-compassion activates our brain’s care-giving and self-awareness systems enhancing our motivation, performance and resilience is something every employee should be aware of. Personally, I’ve benefited hugely from Dr Kristen Neff’s wonderful toolkit of self-compassionate practices.

 

 

Shifting the curve

Geoffrey Rose, a famous epidemiologist, suggested that if you shift the curve of a population you not only decrease the probability of serious mental disorders, but you also increase the probability of flourishing. Felecia also believes that introducing practices like mindfulness, self-compassion and other evidence-based wellbeing interventions in workplaces, families and schools is the key to helping more people flourish.

And while evidence is still being gathered to test this hypothesis, Felicia recommends the range of tested interventions featured in the 10 Keys For Happier Living created by Action for Happiness as a great place for workplaces to start.

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