How can positivity, laughter and a dog called Dave help tackle mental health in the workplace?

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Alex Crowther – who works at the Good News Post – with Olly Murs.

Shane Dean is a renowned journalist and motivational speaker, who works with business leaders across the UK to inspire their staff through positive news stories and talks. He is Editor of the Good News Post. 

Here he talks about how you can best tackle mental health issues in the workplace. 

With one in four people suffering mental health issues and the UK facing an epidemic, bosses are discovering the truth that it is the biggest cause of absenteeism.

Staggering figures show firms are losing £30 billion every year through lost work days and lack of productivity.

Yet staff who are happy and positive do wonders for producing powerful firms with strong attendance and success. Sir Richard Branson is one business leader who lives and breathes happiness, fun and productivity.

A mental health expert recently told me he had never seen such startling issues in adults in his 30 years, describing it as an epidemic and rising exponentially.

In one of my first jobs, my colleague Simon was unable to do his work due to overwhelming negative thoughts.

Mental ill health can be feeling ‘a bit down’ to suffering disorders such as anxiety and depression, or even bipolar disorder or schizophrenia.
I myself struggled with crippling anxiety and destructive habitual negative thinking for several years, avoiding work and life, before getting control of my brain with positive thoughts.

Those became habits and I managed to break free over time, renewed with positivity and passion.

Tips for workers

After 20 years of experiencing a wide variety of workplaces, and as a journalist and public speaker, I have developed some tips for workers and managers to transform workplaces. Here’s a few…

Happiness culture

Google’s ‘campuses’ offer massages, nap rooms, while Lego HQ has games, indoor slides and table football to let out stress. You could simply have an attractive safe space for people to relax and let off steam. Perhaps a garden area or light room with plants.

Offer free fruit to staff – healthy food foster healthy minds. Encourage a happiness culture and one where ‘It’s ok not to be ok’.

Get a dog

Yes it’s simple but a dog has powerful effects. They are on the rise in workplaces across Britain. Ryan, the leader of a fast-growing construction firm Apache takes Dave the puppy Bulldog along to work.

The very process of having a dog around lowers blood pressure and releases Dopamine, a happy chemical into our brains. My own King Charles Spaniel, ‘Jeffrey’ comes into my places of work. Jeffrey has a transformational effect on people. Olly Murs recently met the popular pup. (Pictured)

Laughter

Which leads us nicely onto laughter. Dave and Jeffrey make people laugh. Workplaces that cultivate laughter are more productive. Facilitate fun. Live by the mantra, work hard, play hard, and integrate the two.

Walking meetings

Walking has a magical effect on mental health, boosting a range of feel-good chemicals. Encourage walking business meetings. Walk at lunchtimes.

Have 5 minute walk breaks to flood brains with oxygen and loosen up stiff bodies.

Just breathe

Inspire staff to turn off social media for a bit. Instead, breathe deeply. In for four, hold for five, out for six. Such simple deep breathing is transformational when done regularly.

Life can be tough but make your workplace a culture where workers are helped to be passionate, positive and productive.

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