How to Create Positive Mental Health Workplace

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In recent years, increasing attention has been focused on workplace wellness and mental health. As a major part of life, people spend most of waking time on their works. Working in a negative work environment can lead to physical and mental health problems, while a healthy work environment is crucial to job satisfaction and good performance. There is strong evidence that workplace with higher levels of mental wellbeing is more productive. Thus, mental health has become one of the core assets of companies.

What is mental health

Mental health is just as important as physical health. It is all about how we think, feel, behave, and the ability to cope with normal difficulties in life. Being mentally healthy means being resilient, being confident, having the abilities of managing and expressing your emotions, playing a full part in your relationships, your workplace, and your community.

We all experience the periods when we feel stressed, worried, anxious, sad, afraid, or angry. These are all normal emotions. However, when these become serious enough to impact on the ability to function daily and last for a long time, then it develops into mental health disorders.

There are many types of mental disorders, anxiety and depression are the most common ones, which estimated cost the global economy US$ 1 trillion per year in lost productivity [1]. According to the Workplace Health Survey 2017 [2], 63% of respondents reported that their workplace stress resulted in a significant impact on their mental and behavioral health. And data suggested that higher levels of stress contribute to increased absenteeism and mental and behavioral health risks.

Fortunately, there are effective treatments and evidence-based interventions available.

How to create positive workplace mental health

1. Raise awareness

It is important to raise the awareness of mental health in the workplace, to acknowledge that we all have mental health, may suffer from mental health problems, and have a personal responsibility to learn how we can improve and maintain our wellbeing in order to lead meaningful and satisfying lives. As employers, effective policies should be developed to help employees who have experienced mental health problems and take appropriate support for them.

2. Talk more

Talking about your feelings more with your colleagues, managers or someone around you can help maintain good mental health and cope with difficulties. It is not a sign of showing weakness, but a way to exchange ideas. The one who you decide to talk with is crucial, and who must be supportive, you can trust, and feel comfortable to talk with. You can decide what you want to disclose, when and where, all by yourself.

On the other hand, when you find people around appear to have mental health problems, you can encourage them to share with you, if you can give them helpful advice.

3. Keep active

Regular exercises are good for mental wellbeing and physical fitness because they are closely related. Researchers have found that at least 30 mins of moderate intensity physical activity on the most day of the week is good for mental health, especially for depression and anxiety. Keeping physical active can help reduce stress and boost productivity, but it doesn’t mean that you need to go to a gym every day. Keeping physical active includes anything we do to move our bodies. For example, climbing stairs, walking to the office, and even standing. For that reason, employers may consider investing in standing desks, ergonomic chairs, monitor arms, or other ergonomic office furniture for helping employees keep active and have a positive mental health in the workplace.

4. Accept yourself & love yourself

Researchers have discovered that [3] low self-esteem can lead to mental health illness like depression and anxiety. In addition, they have also found that practicing self-love is associated with an increase in happiness, greater satisfaction with life, and greater resiliency.

We are all human, we are not perfect, and will make mistakes, in order to make mental health, we should learn to accept ourselves, love ourselves, and forgive ourselves in sometimes.

5. Live a healthy lifestyle

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle can significantly improve mental health, particularly for issues such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.

What we eat and drink matters. Regular meals, plus plenty of water, are ideal.

According to the researches, fruits and vegetable are good for mental health, while fatty and junk food may increase the risk for psychiatric symptoms by changing the bacteria that live in our gut. In addition, we need to be careful with drinking alcohol, which may increase feelings of anxiety in the medium to long term.