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Employee engagement is suffering, from entry-level workers all the way up to company executives. A transparent and empathetic approach could be what’s missing. To combat suffering engagement in today’s fast-paced workplace, company leaders will do well to take ownership of — and advocate for — their employees’ wellbeing as well as their own.

Minding your mind to be in the moment

Practicing mindfulness could help mitigate stress and improve overall wellness

Muscle memory. Creatures of habit. “I could do it with my eyes closed.” These common phrases all refer to how the brain helps us streamline familiar tasks and sensory information so we don’t have to process it all in real time. But while going through life on autopilot, what might we be missing?

The idea of being more mindful has become increasingly prevalent as a way to combat this tendency. Mindfulness is all about being present, or in the moment. It can mean noticing small things, like the weather or a particularly nice cashier at your local grocery store, but it can also mean being more attuned to how emotions manifest in the body, whether stemming from joy or frustration or sadness. The point is to experience life fully, purposefully, and without judgment.

According to Kelly Barron, life teacher at eMindful, living on autopilot can be a joy-suck, and it can also perpetuate unhealthy habits, like stress eating1. If being open to life’s experiences is the first part of being mindful, using that newfound awareness to inform the way we deal with mental or emotional adversities is the pièce de résistance.

In Barron’s own words, “Being mindful gives us the opportunity to not only live more fully but also to see our mental and emotional habits more clearly and to choose whether or not we want to engage in them.”

Being mindful may come more naturally to some, but making a conscious effort to cultivate mindfulness can be beneficial to anyone. One way to do this is through meditation. Another way to practice mindfulness is by taking a moment to pause and ground yourself in the present, both physically and mentally2.

Both of these methods are intended to bring the body and mind back in sync, so we can act effectively on what we need, address any seemingly rogue emotions or intuitions, and remind ourselves to enjoy the little things in life.

Sources:

[1] Barron, K. “What is mindfulness?” eMindful. Accessed Oct. 20, 2023, from https://emindful.com/2019/01/14/what-is-mindfulness-making-sense-of-mindfulness-practice/.

[2] eMindful. “Mindfulness for Beginners: 3 Ways to Ease into Mindfulness if You’re New to the Practice.” Accessed Oct. 20, 2023, from https://emindful.com/2020/04/10/mindfulness-for-beginners/.

Wellness tip: Get back to your roots

Research points to a direct correlation between spending time outdoors and improving mood, attention and cognition

According to Nielsen, most Americans spend more than 10 hours per day with their eyes on some kind of screen1. Assuming this screen time takes place largely indoors, and with research showing outdoor exposure can help boost mental health and benefit cognition, it’s no wonder our workforces are struggling with mental health and stress.

There are several health and wellness benefits linked to spending time outdoors. According to WebMD, these range from getting more exercise and vitamin D to improving sleep, fostering social connections, enhancing self-worth and focus, fortifying the immune system, bolstering creativity, and lowering stress and anxiety2.

An article from the American Psychological Association details just how much getting outside could benefit our overall wellbeing, including lowering stress, boosting mood, increasing empathy and cooperation, and improving attention3. According to a 2019 study cited in the article, people with exposure to natural environments showed improved memory, cognitive flexibility and attention.

Making time to be outdoors can be challenging in today’s bustling society. However, it doesn’t take much to receive the benefit — according to a study conducted in the United Kingdom, people who spend at least two hours in nature over the span of one week reported “significantly greater health and wellbeing.”

Sources:

[1] Nielsen. “U.S. Consumers are Shifting the Time They Spend with Media.” https://www.nielsen.com/insights/2019/us-consumers-are-shifting-the-time-they-spend-with-media/. Accessed Oct. 20, 2023.

[2] WebMD. “Health Benefits of Getting Outside.” https://www.webmd.com/balance/ss/slideshow-health-benefits-nature. Accessed Oct. 20, 2023.

[3] American Psychologicl Association. “Nurtured by nature: Psychological research is advancing our understanding of how time in nature can improve our mental health and sharpen our cognition.” https://www.apa.org/monitor/2020/04/nurtured-nature. Accessed Oct. 20, 2023.

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