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Tag Archives for " mental health "

May 05

How Corporate Wellness Programs Boost Employees AND Companies

By Dr. Jack Singer | Self Improvement , Stress , Stress Management , Workplace Wellness

Corporate wellness is a current buzz word, but the fact is, some businesses have been offering corporate wellness programs for years or even decades. New research on corporate wellness and the physical effects of stress is making more and more corporations interested in implementing their own wellness programs, and I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes the norm in the future.

Arguably the most convincing study on corporate wellness was recently published by the American Psychological Association (APA). It tackles the argument that some companies have for not enacting wellness programs – more specifically, some argue that although these programs benefit employees, they are costly and don’t help the business’s bottom line. As it turns out, this thinking is wrong.

APA Study Shows the Financial Benefits of Corporate Wellness Programs

This study looked at stock portfolios from two different groups of publically-traded companies. The first group had established wellness programs for their employees – robust wellness programs that had won industry awards. The second group was composed of traditional publicly-traded companies that had no wellness programs.

The researchers then compared the performance of each groups’ stock portfolios over a period of 14 years. In the end, they found that companies with wellness programs outperformed the S&P by more than 200 percent.

This study demonstrates that not only do corporate wellness programs benefit individual employees – they also impact a company’s profit. This shows that it is financially and fiscally smart to implement wellness programs in order to increase revenue and profitability.

How Corporate Wellness Works on the Individual Level

Obviously, this study took a macro-level view of corporate wellness, examining performance at the company level. So how does corporate wellness work at the individual level to produce these astounding results on corporate profit?

On the individual level, corporate wellness programs work to raise the health of your workers. By focusing on physical health, mental health, diet, and exercise, your employees stay healthy and strong. They get sick less often, which means fewer insurance claims and fewer missed days of work. And their work improves because they are alert, confident and perceptive. They make fewer mistakes, their productivity improves and so does their morale. These individual effects then add up to company-wide improvements which fuel profit growth.

Corporate wellness programs contain a range of elements related to physical health, exercise, diet and mental health. Although all of these components are important to a well-rounded corporate wellness program, I argue that mental health is a crucial concern for any business starting a corporate wellness program.

This is because mental health impacts other forms of health and there are proven ways you CAN change the amount of stress in your life. This is done by understanding how stress forms – that it isn’t a result of events but rather your interpretation of those events – and then taking steps to change your interpretations. Doing so not only improves your mental health, but your physical health as well.

Apr 21

How Stress Impacts Physical Health: Fight or Flight in the 21st Century

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Stress , Stress Management

In my last blog post over at Advising the Advisors, I talked about how stress forms. Although most people view stress as the result of specific negative events in their lives, stress is actually not formed by these events but rather how you interpret them. A negative event can trigger a series of negative thought patterns, and when you get caught in these tangents you, yourself, create your own stress.

Fortunately, we are capable of changing our thought patterns. With every event we encounter we make choices about how we interpret the event (whether we realize it or not). By becoming mentally aware of how we interpret events, we can reduce and even eliminate stress in our lives. Saying goodbye to stress means living a happier, more productive and fulfilling life.

However, a focus on mental health does more than just reduce stress. Actually, this reduction in stress will improve your physical health as well. Let me explain how stress impacts physical health by first taking a look at fight or flight in the 21st century.

Fight or Flight in the 21st Century

Think back to the last biology class you took and you might remember an idea called the fight or flight response. This is a biological system that originated back in early human history when physical threats were abundant. A sudden noise, for example, would trigger the fight or flight alarm system to go off in your brain. This stress response would make us more vigilant so we could protect our own lives. If a hungry tiger was lurking around the corner, we were primed to process that information quickly and make the right choice (fight or flight) so we wouldn’t end up as dinner.

Our fight or flight response still works in the 21st century, but the things we respond to are a lot different than when the system was first developed. Many of us live in safe environments, so we don’t have to worry about being devoured by a predator. However, events in our lives can still trigger the fight or flight alarm system. Our subconscious mind doesn’t know if this is a life-threatening event or not, but it is not going to take any chances. If we interpret the event as a threat, we create stress and flip the switch that turns on the fight or flight nervous system.

[Tweet “#Stress is making you sick! Learn how stress impacts physical #health here.”]

How Stress Impacts Physical Health

The fight or flight response has not changed much from our early days. Our body physically tenses up as we prepare to flee or to battle. We become hyper-vigilant and on edge.  And our other systems shut down or become minimized so we can expend our energy in fight or flight mode.

All of these things impact our physical health:

  • Anxiety and tension can raise blood pressure and make you susceptible to heart disease and other illnesses.
  • Our hyper-vigilant state means it is hard to sleep and can bring about insomnia.
  • Our immune system is minimized during the fight or flight response, making us more receptive to illness with a decreased ability to fight that illness off.

This demonstrates how stress can have a physical impact on our bodies, and how reducing stress can improve our physical health. In fact, the American Medical Association has admitted that ‘gatekeepers’ in the medical community (such as family practice doctors and internists) say that 2 out of 3 of their clients don’t have a physical disease. They do have real symptoms, but these symptoms are caused by some kind of stress. They run busy practices so the most efficient procedure is to treat the symptoms. However, what we really need to do is deal with the original cause of these symptoms – stress and our ability to manage it.

Knowing how stress impacts physical health, every individual who wants to live a happier and healthier life should focus on their mental well-being. Not only is it possible to reduce your stress by changing how you interpret events, but in doing so you can also improve your physical health.

Apr 07

The Power of a Psychologically Healthy Workplace

By Dr. Jack Singer | Blog , Featured , Work-Life Balance , Workplace Wellness

For many years now, the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Center for Organizational Excellence has recognized companies across the U.S. that embody the principals of a “Psychologically Healthy Workplace.” For years, I’ve been involved in cutting-edge research on the specific ingredients that make up such workplaces.  All organizations should strive to embrace these characteristics, not simply because they are psychologically healthy for the employees, but because with healthy employees, absenteeism is less, morale is higher, and the quality of products is consistently higher.

Characteristics of a Psychologically Healthy Workplace

Employee Involvement

When employees participate in decision-making, including encouraging and considering their suggestions, they embrace those decisions and it foster’s creativity.

Work-life Balance

Helping employees to handle the challenges outside of work, such as the responsibilities of single parenting, takes much pressure off of them. Flexible working hours, for example, is one ingredient of the work-life balance equation for employees.

Personal and Professional Growth and Development

What does the company offer employees to increase their competencies? Cross-training opportunities for employees to rise within the company also keeps employees from looking elsewhere.

[Tweet “5 Characteristics of a #Psychologically Healthy #Workplace – Employee #Health”]

Employee Recognition

Getting a raise is a form of recognition, but there are many other types of recognition, from company-wide awards ceremonies to fancy trips for top producers. The bottom line is that everyone loves recognition for his or her efforts and loyalty.

Health and Safety

Providing health and wellness workshops directed at educating employees about healthy lifestyles and preventing potential health problems is a must, not simply for the employees and their families, but for the overall health of the organization. For example, when companies bring me in to provide wellness workshops, my goal is to teach employees how to develop permanent resiliency skills, so that they never get overwhelmed by the stressors inherent in their jobs.

Examples of Comments from Employees About Why They Love Their Jobs

The APA surveys employees to determine what aspects of their jobs they love and they post them in their Highlights from the Good Company Blog. Here are some examples:

“Management listens to our concerns. There are regular Q&A’s where we can submit anonymous, public questions.”

 

“I love my job because I get to work from home every day, with flexible hours.”

 

“My co-workers are fun to work with.”

Having fun in the workplace is a major motivator, yet is missing in most work settings. Think strategically how you can improve this within your company and you’ll see a significant improvement in employees morale and overall dedication.


Ready to start reducing stress in your life so you can Develop the Mindset of a Champion? Download my FREE 5 Step Mental Toughness Guide HERE!