The ThrivePass 9-5 Series: Mental Health

For the next installment of our ThrivePass 9-5 Series we’re focusing on your mental health. From long hours, and constant interruptions here’s how you can manage all of the stress that comes with a full-time job.


Talk calm to Stay Calm

Stress and anger can breed when we react too quickly. If you’re working on leveling out your mood while at work, and decreasing stress, a good first step is to watch how you react. Sharon Melnick, Ph.D., a business psychology and author of Success Under Stress, recommends a cooling breath technique. Breath in through your mouth, as if sipping through a straw, and then breath out regularly through your nose. Done correctly, you should feel a cool, drying sensation over the top of your tongue. This will give you time to calm down and reevaluate. Another technique? Talking quietly and calmly. Tensions can rise when you or the person you’re speaking to feel attacked. A way to avoid any unnecessary stress is to manage your volume. Talk slowly, and calmly. This technique will even help others around you remain sane.


Exercise for Mental Health

Myriad studies have shown the efficacy of exercise on the improvement of mental health, and no surprise we’re big proponents of this tip. Exercise can do a lot for your body, just as it can do a lot for your sanity. In a recent study for the National Institutes of Health, exercise was found to improve self-esteem and cognitive functioning, decrease anxiety and depression, and improve mood and motivation. Exercise can also help you remain on a consistent sleep cycle, and offer increased energy and stamina throughout the day.


Eliminate Interruptions

The average employee has 30-100 projects on their plate. That’s a lot of work to do, and it can be difficult to accomplish when you consider the average worker is interrupted seven times an hour, and distracted up to 2.1 hours a day. If you’re finding the main culprit of workplace-insanity lies in interruptions, it may be time for a quick fix. Melnick advices approaching interruptions one of three ways: “accept the interruption, cut it off, or diagnosis its importance and make a plan.” You may have recurring interruptions that, when recognized, can be anticipated and resolved ahead of time. You can also train those around you, by answering emails or phone calls during certain hours, having “office hours” for miscellaneous questions, and scheduling do-not-disturb times throughout the day when you need time to get work done.


A Shift in Perspective

It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind—to become increasingly invested in the success or failure of the company you work for. A key to improving your mental health at work is by recognizing what you do and don’t have control over. Do your job, and do it well, but recognize that all companies are the conjoined efforts of many. When you take a failure personally it can be hard to stay sane. Instead, switch your perspective. Look at problems objectively, offer solutions when you can, and delegate when you can’t. Understand that when others are mad, or stressed it’s probably caused by similar sentiments as your own anger or stress.


A Holistic Approach to Mental Health

If your body is strong your mental health will be too. There’s a great deal of overlap between stress management and general wellbeing. If you’re finding your mental health diminishing as the days go by, it may be time for an assessment of your over-all health. Consider your exercise and diet, your sleep pattern, water intake, and how you’re feeling head-to-toe. It’s important to recognize when you don’t feel well, or right, and speak to a doctor as this can sometimes be an indication of a larger problem. If you’re stressed at work on a regular basis, make sure you’re body is healthy first. If you’re looking on more tips on how health can play into your mental health take a look at our previous post: All Day Energy.

Your mental health is an essential part of your overall wellbeing, and if you’re feeling stressed, anxious, depressed or otherwise we encourage you to seek medical attention. These tips are only suggested lifestyle adjustments that can improve your mental health at work.

How do you stay mentally strong from nine to five? Let us know by commenting below or on our Twitter. As always, stay up to date with all ThrivePass news by following us here or on Twitter and LinkedIn.