Workplace mental health is a growing concern for Canadian employers, and for a good reason. According to the recent Mental Health Index from LifeWorks, almost half of all employees report being more sensitive to stress, and 34 percent are considered high risk for mental-health impacts, meaning depression or anxiety is interfering with their lives.
If your team is struggling with negativity, overwhelm, or burnout, you’re certainly not alone. With the right tools, you can help your employees regain their mental and emotional equilibrium. Enter mindfulness: a holistic set of techniques that can improve well-being in the workplace.
In this blog featuring insights from TEC Canada Speaker mindfulness expert Trish Tutton, we’ll look at how mindfulness can be used as a tool to help your employees manage stress and improve their mental health. We’ll also explore the benefits of mindfulness, discuss best practices for integrating it into the workplace, and share Trish’s actionable tips for getting started.
3 BENEFITS OF MINDFULNESS AT WORK
Most of us spend one-third of our lives at work, so it’s worth making the effort to make it as enjoyable and stress-free as possible. To help, Trish shares how mindfulness supports mental, emotional, and physical well-being, and how Canadian business leaders can integrate it into their workplace strategies for mental health.
Here are 3 areas where a mindfulness practice can be a powerful tool for improving workplace wellness:
1. IMPROVES MENTAL WELLBEING
The mental and emotional well-being of your team directly affects their day-to-day experiences at work. With mental resilience, a team member can navigate a tough situation in a cool and collected manner, rather than getting frustrated and snapping at a colleague.
You can train the mind to be in the present moment with a mindfulness practice. This stops the brain from racing, lost in endless thoughts, and helps your employees experience a greater sense of calm and enjoyment at work. Plus, did you know that the physiological lifespan of an emotion in the body and brain is 90 seconds, according to Harvard neuroscientist Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor? With a mindfulness practice, your team can learn to free themselves from the emotional loop.
2. IMPROVES EMOTIONAL WELLBEING
Mindfulness promotes positivity and optimism, which can be especially important during trying times. For example, research on negativity bias – our brain’s default state of focusing on the negative – shows that the brain uses two-thirds of its resources to search for threats and problems. Meditation, a key element of a mindfulness practice, can counter this tendency by increasing alpha waves, which can produce emotions like gratitude and hope.
Not only does this increase happiness and well-being, but Shawn Achor’s book The Happiness Advantage shows that more than 200 studies on 275,000 people demonstrate that happy workers:
- Perform better as leaders
- Receive higher performance ratings
- Are less likely to take sick days, quit, or become burnt out
3. IMPROVES PHYSICAL WELLBEING
The mind and body are closely connected, and a mindfulness practice can help your employees calm their nervous systems, reducing stress, illness, and burnout.
Dr. Mladen Golubic, Medical Director at the Center for Integrative Health and Wellness and Professor of Clinical Family and Community Medicine of the University of Cincinnati, explains the mind-body connection this way: “In 2010, researchers discovered a positive feedback loop between high vagal tone*, positive emotions, and good physical health. In other words, the more you increase your vagal tone, the more your physical and mental health will improve.”
*Vagal tone is related to the activity of the vagus nerve, which is the longest nerve in the body. When your body has a higher vagal tone, you can relax more quickly after experiencing stress. [Source]