I now have greater awareness about increasing movement and taking breaks more regularly due to the sedentary nature of my work.
A four-hour course for managers that introduces them to the ingredients for a more proactive approach to psychological health and safety. It is designed to be interactive and to draw on participants own resources as managers.
1. Exploring the terminology and why that is important;
2. What is your duty of care as a manager?
3. Psychological Risk Management
4. How do you spot when someone is having problems?
We are drowning in information and also expected to process it faster. Problems arise if we try to stay focused when our brains are tired – inertia builds. Neuroscience research provides hard evidence about what attention is, how it works, how to attain it and use it productively. By leveraging the full capacity of our brains and our environments, it’s possible to think better and apply our energy more effectively at work, and in our personal lives.
What is going on in your gut could be affecting your brain. The latest science shows there is a bidirectional feedback loop commonly referred to as the “gut-brain axis” that facilitates two-way communication between the gastrointestinal tract and the brain. This loop influences your mood, stress-levels, and other fundamental features that constitute you. What so many of us do not know is that you have the power to influence this process.
One of the most common reactions to mistakes is criticism. Most of us are very good at being kind and understanding toward others, but not toward ourselves. We all have our inner critic, that judgmental voice inside us that brings us down. When we are self-compassionate, we are kind to ourselves rather than harshly self-critical. Through practice we aim to give self-judgement less energy and thought. When we become capable of letting go of any grasping and aversion that arises, we become capable of containing the emotions and letting them go.
We’re living through challenging times. But inherent in nearly all challenges are opportunities for renewal and transformation. How you respond to crises has a lot to do with the lens through which you habitually perceive the world. Whether through a “doom and gloom” lens or through the lens of optimism, or somewhere in between, deliberately shifting your focus can help you move from a state of insecurity, and powerlessness into a state of empowerment and action.
We live in a working world where we’re almost always able, and often expected, to switch on and work from wherever we are to meet deadlines. We’re burning out. The good news is that you are able to help protect yourself by managing the way you approach your workload and how you rely on your personal resources.
Within us exists a multitude of conflicting desires. You want to do one thing, supersize your lunch, binge drinking, or wasting time on a smartphone app, but know you shouldn’t. Although humans have one brain, it can be helpful to think about our behaviour as if we have two independent “minds” that function with different capacities. One “mind” governs brain functions that are concerned with the long term, and what is best for you. The other “mind” includes brain functions that help in the short term and serve to obtain immediate gratification.
In modern society, we get stressed through psychological and social disruptions. When we worry, we turn on the fight or flight stress response but this is likely to be disastrous for our health and wellbeing when provoked chronically. Stress affects our circulatory system, energy storage, growth, reproduction and the immune system and is linked to the aging process, sleep and depression.
There are plenty of reasons why getting off the couch and being more physically active is a good thing. Our bodies are dynamic biological machines; one's that need to move to maintain it's functioning. The focus of this workshop will be on increasing awareness of the relationship between levels of physical activity, our bodily systems and our minds. In particular, an appreciation of how our body and minds are not separate, but function as interactive and interdependent systems.
A more connected workforce is more likely to enjoy greater fulfilment, productivity, and engagement while being more protected against illness, disability and burnout. On average, we spend more waking hours with our co-workers than we do with our families but this does not guarantee that we develop strong relationships. Real connection requires more than a chat around the water cooler. What is needed is to create an environment that embraces the unique identities and experiences of colleagues inside and outside the workplace.
A mentally healthy workplace and increased employee engagement are interdependent – by looking after employee’s mental wellbeing, employee morale and loyalty, innovation, productivity and profits will rise. It is not only essential to look after your own mental health but keep your eyes and ears open for your colleagues too. Social relationships are critical for promoting wellbeing and for acting as a buffer against mental ill health.
When we’re constantly stressed, food digestion gets put on the back burner. Stress depletes vital nutrient stores. Superfoods are fantastic to incorporate into the diet as they contain high levels of vitamins and minerals that offer many health benefits such as boosting your immune system and natural weight-loss.
There's nothing wrong with problem solving, right! Well, except when we let the problem replay over and over again in our mind. This is a very common response to negative emotional situations and its called 'rumination'.
The practice of Mindfulness helps us to shift perspective and to realise that our emotions and sensations are just thoughts, rather than 'truth' or 'me'. Through continuous practice, mindfulness meditation helps people to draw themselves out of rumination,to allow letting go of what you can't control - the past and the future - and focus instead on the present.
It may seem admirable to work yourself sick, but the longer you burn the candle at both ends, the faster you'll burn out. Prolonged stress has negative consequences. One of which is adrenal fatigue, which comes from overstimulating the hormones that fuel high-energy behaviour. Stress causes changes in the body's chemistry, altering the balance of hormones in ways that can have an impact on your entire body. The adrenals are no longer able to keep up with the ever increasing demand for cortisol production needed to overcome the stress and they become exhausted.
Our fast and busy lives place an inordinate amount of pressure on our bodies and lack of time can often mean an increasing reliance on convenience food. Maintaining a healthy BMI with a diet of real food is the key to good health, processed food is not. Eating junk food kills stomach bacteria that protects against obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease and inflammatory bowel conditions.
In our modern world, our brains are arguably our greatest commercial assets as many jobs focus less on physicality and more on mental acuity and talents. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that convey signals throughout the body. Vitamin deficiencies appear to leave people vulnerable to experiencing disrupted, lacking or ineffective neurotransmitters. However, when optimised they can serve to enhance mental clarity, improve decision-making and lead to greater productivity and mental agility.
Whether you're dieting, detoxing, in training or just generally trying to look after yourself, there's no reason to stop eating out. Being just a little careful when ordering can make a meal out almost as virtuous as one at home. No longer are the only options fast food chains and unhealthy takeaway restaurants. But no matter where you grab your food, the trick is to get smart about what you're actually eating. Understanding food labels, reading between the lines of the marketing messages on packaging and knowing the right questions to ask can make a world of difference to your diet and lifestyle.
Everyone who is willing has the potential to lead and influence others. We all have passions and areas of strength but how we convey these to our colleagues and clients is not only key to how others perceive us but also how we can leverage our best influence? Storytelling might be the most impactful leadership method yet because it’s quick, powerful, free, natural and refreshing. Leaders establish credibility and authenticity through telling the stories that they are living. When they believe deeply in them, their stories resonate, generating creativity, interaction and transformation.
Relationships matter and having positive relationships in our lives means we experience less stress, greater happiness, emotional resilience and wellbeing. The challenge lies in how we deal with interpersonal difficulties at work and build positive and supportive relationships between individuals and teams. The solution is in how we choose to respond. And, our capacity to respond effectively is determined by how well we can communicate and our ability to manage our emotions.
Have you ever felt too tired to work yet still pushed on through the day? We all have a bit of a slump in the day, but research indicates that one in three of us experiences a feeling of being constantly worn out. It's time to think in terms of our emotional energy. Low emotional energy will affect your relationships and your overall wellbeing.
One of the most common problems people encounter at work is the level of distractions and interruptions they experience. This seems to be driven by the intensity of multiple demands coming at us from all sorts of directions. The result is that frustration builds as our energy becomes depleted along with the ability to manage our attention and stay focused on getting things done. This takes a serious toll on our performance and wellbeing. The problem lies in how we respond, in the strategies and habits that we adopt in an effort to cope.
Human adaptability has enabled us to survive, thrive, diversify and innovate. At its heart adaptability is our capacity to deal with the pressures and stresses of change in life, whether positive or negative, and to achieve our goals in a world of challenging uncertainties. The good news is that you can learn to be more adaptable and in doing so you will also increase your ability to manage your energy more effectively, to maintain and build your physical, emotional and mental resilience.
Stress makes your heart pound, your breathing quicken and your forehead sweat. It is understood to be the greatest cause of damage to your health, your mood, your productivity, relationships and quality of life. But while stress has been made into a public health enemy, new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe it to be the case.
When was the last time you competed on 'busyness'? These days, work-life balance can seem like an impossible feat. Technology makes workers accessible around the clock and fears of job loss incentivize longer hours. More time means more productivity only up to a point. Then people get tired and drained. Energy capacity diminishes with overuse so we must balance energy expenditure with energy renewal.
Pressure and long working hours mean that we tend to drop 'non-essential' activities, like the gym, lunch breaks, relaxation and social life. With each decision to cut out the things that nourish us, we become even more stressed and unable to cope. Mindfulness enables you to tune in to your mental, emotional and physical state and identify this tendency, then to use practices and techniques gradually to reverse the vicious spiral, committing to bring back activities which nourish you and drop habits which deplete you.
A good night's sleep is essential for our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. The less sleep we get, the worse we perform on tasks that require attention and vigilance, recall is impaired as are our decision-making abilities. The short-term productivity gains from skipping sleep to work are quickly washed away by its detrimental effects on cognitive performance and the ability to access higher-level brain functions for days to come.
By comparing the lifestyles of previous generations to our own, researchers have discovered that the rise of technology had altered our lives for the better - but also for the worse. A hundred years ago, most people didn't sit at work. Now, we sit in front of a screen when we would have shovelled, nailed or carried. Having a sedentary lifestyle can slow the body's metabolism to a crawl. Your body is meant to be active, so when you sit for too long, it shuts down and burns less energy. The answer is to look for opportunities to reduce and frequently break up your sitting time.
Barely a month goes by without some new report or study concluding that we are more stressed than ever. It’s understandable. After all, while the economic climate is improving, it is hardly stable. Just as pertinently, modern technology has facilitated an ‘always on’ culture so even when we’re not actually at work, we're expected to reply to emails and calls. The better people's needs are met, the more healthy, happy, engaged, productive and loyal they become. Take care of them and they'll take care of business.
A culture of spend today, rather than save for tomorrow is affecting many employees' wellbeing and productivity. Institute for Employment Studies (IES) and Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) research, the Employee financial wellbeing report, published in January 2017, confirmed this by showing that one in four employees report that money worries have affected their ability to do their job.
Maintaining a healthy weight is quite simply the fast route to a long and healthy life. It considerably reduces the risk factor for chronic disease, because excess weight is the common denominator for conditions such as type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure to coronary heart disease and cancers. While there are many genetic, hormonal or immune-related factors that can play a role in obesity, the truth is that for most of us, it comes down to a sedentary lifestyle, poor diet, and a lack of exercise.
The focus needs to be on a diet of nutritious meals to balance blood sugar, healthy fats and snacks, increasing hydration, regular movement and exercise, as well as quality sleep.
What we believe and how we think drives how we behave. We can either view our mistakes and failures as reasons to apportion blame and dole out punishment, or we can be deeply curious about them and embrace them enthusiastically as learning opportunities. To drive a culture of high performance for individuals, teams and organisations, we radically need to shape the attitudes we adopt in order to achieve success.