Concerns about mental health and wellbeing within our workforce have been building. The latest ABS National Health Survey has revealed higher levels of anxiety, psychological distress and depression among millions of Australians.
Influencing our mental health and wellbeing at work, particularly in times of uncertainty, where job losses, altered working hours and budget cuts are creating upheaval for many, is paramount. Many organisations are embarking upon resilience training for their staff to equip them with the skills to manage and maintain their mental health. This is a good thing since it seems the world we live in is taking it’s toll on many.
Our level of perceived happiness has a huge impact on our mental health. If we are feeling positive we are likely to take more positive actions such as:
• thinking creatively
• collaborating with others
• experiencing increased energy and drive to succeed
• getting more done
The key is to try and get people to feel good more of the time. There’s an interesting model called the Happiness pie originated by Sonya Lyubomirsky. The happiness pie dictates that 50% of your happiness is due to your DNA so there are some people who are naturally just happier than others. 10% of your happiness is down to circumstance so things like your educational level, where you live etc. There’s also 40% which is down to you. This is quite significant because those people who have better mental health use this 40% They manufacture positive emotions, they help themselves feel good more of the time and they do that by just paying attention to little things. It might be that they are consciously grateful for the positive things that are happening in their life, they notice that the sun’s shining outside, they’re grateful that somebody brought them a cup of coffee. This positive focus gives them that little surge of excitement and all those positive hormones that create and maintain positive mental health. My friend is particularly good at this, her house flooded and whilst most of the furniture was ruined she was so positive about the whole thing and said “well we’ve still got a roof over our head, thank goodness for insurance and what a great opportunity to change the furniture!”
Positivity has huge benefits for mental health: feeling excited, motivated, inspired, thankful are all emotions that release dopamine and endorphins which increase your sense of well-being and mental health.
Happiness is a choice and we can choose to implement strategies to accentuate it. If we can train our brains to focus on making the most of the 40% of our happiness that is down to us, we are more likely to overcome hurdles and obstacles, feel less stressed and identify opportunities.
Shawn Achor, publisher of ‘The happiness advantage’ advocates using 2 minute strategies to increase our sense of wellbeing. The following 2-minute strategies can be used to increase your happiness quotient:
• Write down 3 things you are grateful for
• Smile at someone
• Write down a positive experience (this helps to stamp it into your brain)
• Praise someone
• Write down 3 achievements you’re proud of
• Practice mindfulness – be in the moment for 2 minutes
• Send a positive text/tweet/email to someone
• Listen to music that pumps you up
• Have a 30 second dance party
• Focus on a happy memory
• Take 2 minutes to notice the little things that bring you joy
We can all influence our mental health and wellbeing at work for the better. If you’d like more information on resilience and wellbeing training, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.