Career Woman

Why a healthy body drives a healthy business

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Life today can be complicated. Between balancing work and family life, and finding time for extracurricular activities, it’s no wonder so many Australians feel burdened. In fact, a 2015 study conducted by the Australian Psychological Society found that 35 per cent of Australians have a significant level of distress in their lives, while 26 per cent report above-normal levels of anxiety. The survey results saw anxiety symptoms at their highest rate in five years.

When we feel overwhelmed by stress, our work suffers. This is a problem for employees as well as business owners. It is estimated that mental disorders cost the Australian economy $20 billion a year ($12.3 billion to businesses for depression alone) in lost productivity and work participation. It is therefore in the best interests of everyone (employers and those they employ) that mental health is taken seriously and addressed appropriately. After all, a mentally healthy work environment will help increase productivity, performance, creativity, staff retention and can lead to recognition as an employer of choice.

With almost half of Australian workers feeling their workplace is not mentally healthy, the task falls on businesses to make the wellbeing of its workers a priority. These four tips are simple things anyone can do during their workday to ensure they stay healthy.

1. Spend some time daydreaming

A recent study shows that allowing your mind to wander could enhance cognitive ability and help you perform better. How is this possible? Cognitive neuroscientist Dr Moshe Bar believes the benefits of daydreaming might be due to the awakening of multiple regions of the brain.

“This cross-brain involvement may be involved in behavioural outcomes such as creativity and mood, and may also contribute to the ability to stay successfully on-task while the mind goes off on its merry mental way.”

Next time you feel frustrated, take a step back, grab a cup of coffee and let yourself be transported to your therapeutic fantasy world.

2. Take a walk outside

A variety of studies conducted over the years show the advantages of getting outdoors. Living a greener life is proven to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, and also offers numerous physical benefits – such as lowering blood pressure and heart rate, and an overall improvement of pulmonary function.

When it comes to business, taking a stroll in the park can restore your focus, make you feel more energised, aid in mental wellbeing and provide you with valuable stimulation. All this will assist you in becoming the most efficient worker you can be.

3. Set goals

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the pressures of work or everyday life. With deadlines to meet and bills to pay, it can be hard to focus in the office. This is where setting goals comes in. Whether it’s writing out your targets for the day or planning goals for the year, putting your ambitions on paper will help you complete them. As mindhealthconnect puts it: “People tend to increase the amount of time and effort spent on an activity and develop effective strategies when they have a goal to achieve.”

4. Breathe deeply

According to meditation guru Nikki Jankelowitz, “deep belly breathing” activities help with our relaxation response, which tells our body that we are safe and sound from any physical danger. A few deep breaths is sometimes all it takes for us to experience a sense of calm. Blood pressure can lower, heart rate can drop and our mental health can improve. When we are tranquil, we are able to look at our work more objectively and therefore tackle it more effectively.

If you can’t find the time to hit all the points on this list, try out at least one – you’ll feel better for it.

About Raeleen Hooper

Raeleen Hooper is a well-respected women in business. As Chief Sales & Marketing Officer for the Snap Franchise Group and as part of the executive team, she is working to transform the business from instant print outlets to becoming the leading brand in print, design and websites.

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