How to Improve Mental Health at Work

May 2nd, 10:46 pm

How to Improve Mental Health at Work

When we feel that our resources are not enough to meet the demands of the situation, our bodies respond by producing stress hormones. Since not everyone has the same amount of available resources, stress levels may vary from person to person.

This list includes:

  • How to improve mental health at home
  • Activities to improve mental health
  • Fun activities to improve mental health

How Can You Manage Stress

There are internal and external factors that may cause stress, some of which are beyond our control. Fortunately, some ways can help us combat these and live a happy and healthy life. These are short-term and long-term methods of reducing stress.

Short-term strategies

  1. Meditation is a practice done by many for years as a way to deepen spiritual understanding and awareness. Nowadays, people practise meditation to achieve a tranquil and relaxed state of mind. To meditate successfully is to remove the things that cause chaos in your mind that are causing stress and focus your attention on the present moment.

Constant meditation can help you face everyday life calmly, reduce negative emotions and enhance your physical and emotional well-being.

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  1. Focusing on your Breathing is a simple, instant, and convenient way to do it when faced with a stressful situation. It’s an easy exercise that only requires a few minutes of your time and effort.

There are a lot of breathing techniques that you can learn but here is a simple method that you can try:

  • Breathe in through your nose and watch your belly fill with air.
  • Count slowly to three as you inhale. Hold for one second and then slowly breathe out through your nose as you count to three again.
  • Breathe in through your nose and imagine that you're inhaling peaceful, calm air. Imagine that air spreading throughout your body. As you exhale, imagine that you're breathing out stress
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  1. Progressive Muscle Relaxation helps relieve muscle tension that occurs when you experience stress. These tensions either result in backaches or neck pains. This is done by tensing muscles when you breathe in and relaxing muscles as you breathe out. How does one practice this? Here are the simple steps:
  • As you inhale, contract or tense a muscle group, such as your shoulders or hands, for 5 to 10 seconds. - Then, exhale and release the tension.
  • Relax for 10 to 20 seconds and work on another muscle group.
  • It may help when you have a mental image of stress going out of your body. For some, listening to a calm audio recording helps in doing this process.
  • Take the time to learn these techniques.

Find out more mental health activities and learn more about work-life management.

Long-term strategies

Reduce Stress
  1. A Healthy Diet is often a method overlooked when talking about reducing stress. Healthy foods have nutrients that improve blood flow, which is negatively impacted by stress. Treat yourself to a meal full of these nutrients: Vitamin C: citrus fruits such as oranges, strawberries, cherries, guavas, kale. This vitamin helps lower cortisol and blood pressure.

    • Complex carbohydrates: whole grains, vegetables, peas. These foods prompt the brain to make serotonin, a feel-good chemical, helping in the reduction of stress.
    • Magnesium: spinach, leafy beans, salmon, soybeans. A good intake of this nutrient helps in avoiding headaches and fatigue, and even improves the quality of sleep.
    • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: fatty such as salmon or tuna, walnuts, flaxseeds, almonds. This nutrient has been shown to decrease surges of stress hormones, depression, and even heart disease.
  2. Be With A Supportive Group or choose to build one from your circle. You don’t have to face stress alone. Be with people who understand your struggle and provide you with the opportunity to share your experience. These may either be your family or your closest friends.

Try running a group session with a coach.

  1. Take Time to Exercise and sweat out, even for a few hours in a day. It’s no secret that the benefits of physical exercise help in combating stress. Physicians encourage this all the time. Exercise or any form of physical activity helps produce chemicals in your brain that act as natural painkillers, or what is medically known as endorphins. It also reduces levels of stress hormones in the body such as adrenaline and cortisol.

    Here are some simple exercises that you can try:

    • Walking
    • Jogging
    • Dancing
    • Cycling
    • Swimming
    • Hiking

Find out dynamics to move your skeleton with your team.

  1. Reevaluate Your Lifestyle and see which parts of your routine are bringing stress to you on a daily basis. Some of the things that you can consider are the following:
    • Getting enough sleep
    • Reducing alcohol and caffeine intake
    • Avoiding cigarettes, drugs or other addictive substances
    • Avoiding people that stress you out
    • Managing and planning on how to spend your time.

Managing Stress At Work

Improve Mental Health at Work

Our work fills a large percentage of our waking day, so it’s no surprise that most of what stresses us are work-related matters. Commonly known stress sources are excessive workloads, unhealthy relationships with co-workers or with a boss, unclear work roles.

Nevertheless, this should not stop us though from experiencing the best work-life that we want for ourselves. Here are some ways to reduce stress at work.

  1. Shift Your Negative Thoughts and reappraise your mental reaction to a given situation. Most of the time, we interpret everything negatively when stressed, jump to pessimistic conclusions, and doubt ourselves. Practice taking a few moments first to see facts without the stress filter before doing anything about it. Taking charge of how you respond to the situation is one of the strategies that you can do to reduce stress in the long term.

  2. Adapt the Problem-Solving Process where you define the main problem, brainstorm on solutions, and make action plans based on those. This exercise teaches you to actively cope with stress when you tackle it in small steps.

  3. Take Time to Recharge and utilize your time-offs. You are just after all human. Take this as an opportunity to unwind, to turn off your phone and work notifications. You’ll come back feeling reinvigorated and ready to take on new challenges.

  4. Establish Boundaries and let people know when you are available and when you are not. There is pressure to always be on 24 hours in today’s digital world. Setting boundaries is not just from work but also with yourself. Teach yourself to respect personal hours by not checking emails when in bed, eating from a table and not in front of your laptop, or even not answering phone calls after work hours.

  5. Talk to your Supervisor and share your current situation. If there is one person from work that should know what you are going through, it should be your immediate superior. Be honest about how you feel about your work. Be detailed as well about what are the things that stress you out. Include as well how it is affecting your health and well-being even outside working hours.

Seek Professional Help

While stress is manageable, it is helpful to know that you can get professional help when you need to. If you are already at a point where you are thinking of harming yourself, please seek medical attention. Below is a list of professional that you can tap:

  • Psychiatrists
  • Mental Health Counselors
  • Clinical Psychologists
  • Family Doctor
  • Your company’s affiliated mental health partners
  • Coaches and experts

Positive Stress

Improve Mental Health at Work

In most cases, stress is not always a bad thing. Sometimes, it motivates you to focus your energy on a particular goal or task, makes you feel excited, and improves your performance.

Positive stress results from going through short-term taxing situations such as preparing for a wedding, working on a new project, moving to a new location, starting a new career.

In Summary

While we cannot avoid stress in our daily lives because of the many inputs that we receive every day from people, family, or work, we can seemingly make ways to reduce it. We have laid out ways to face stress on a short-term basis or on a longer timeframe. We have also covered tips on how to deal with stress at work for you to improve your work-life.

The next time something stresses you out, take a deep breath and know it will always get better.

FAQs

What is Stress?

According to the Mental Health Foundation, stress is our reaction to abnormal pressure. These pressures are either from financial constraints, family conflicts, high workload.

While a little bit of stress now and then is good to keep us going, it can negatively impact us if prolonged. If not managed, this can lead to a range of acute to chronic diseases. It can also affect our mental state and can cause several mental illnesses.

Effective stress management habits enable one to cope with the unpleasant effects of stress on one's physical and mental well-being, allowing one to continue living life headstrong.

How do you know when you’re stressed?

Stress affects us in a variety of ways. This stress response manifests in different physical and emotional symptoms that lead to a change in behavior, emotional experience, and ways of thinking.

When your body encounters stress, it goes through three stages to combat it. First is the ‘Alarming stage’ or the more commonly known flight or fight response. If the stress is constant, the body goes to the ‘Resistance’ stage, where our body increases its capacity to handle more stress.

Unfortunately, the body’s capacity will not hold out longer. If stress persists, it will move to the ‘Exhaustion’ stage, where the immune system becomes affected, leading to health issues.

Physical effects

The most obvious effects of stress are seen by the naked eye. Here are some of those physical health issues when your body is in the exhaustion phase of stress:

  • Heart disease
  • Digestive problems
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Headaches, dizziness, nausea
  • Constipation or diarrhoea

Psychological and Behavioral effects

In other cases, constant stress may also change the psychological state of a person. Some of these are as follows:

  • Anxiety, can sometimes be excessive
  • Decreased self-confidence
  • Difficulty sleeping which may lead to insomnia
  • Disturbed concentration
  • Depression
  • Incapacity to make decisions

Some affect the person’s behavior such as:

  • Short temperedness
  • Frustration
  • Hostility
  • Forgetfulness
  • Disorganized

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