Take a few moments to consider yourself on a wonderful holiday, strolling along a sunny beach, barefoot over warm sands. Jumping into waves, sea fizzing around you, a smile on your face as you enjoy the natural state of wellbeing...
Recalling memories like these remind us of the brain’s profound influence on the whole body and the feelings of ‘wellness’ experienced when mind and body are in harmony.
Most people know it's possible to enjoy good health like this. But relying on holidays obviously isn't practical, there are too many social determinants of health that leave much of the population feeling that a 'better quality of life' is a distant dream.
Latest research states that 'Stress, depression and anxiety together rank as the largest reason for absence in the workplace.' But what if this problem were explored in light of cutting edge research?
Recent scientific studies have shown that stress is not inherently good or bad for health. In fact evidence reveals 'what you think about stress' determines its impact on, for example - heart health. 'If you see stress as bad it can seriously harm your health - if you see it as good (a natural part of life) then the effects can even be positive for health.'
Could a better understanding of workplace stress improve population health?
Social Epidemiology research looking at health inequalities highlight the connection between status and health. One idea is that people of 'higher status' with more control in their careers experience stress quite differently from those in lower status jobs where ‘high demand and low control’ can leave workers in poor health due to stress.
We asked colleagues what they find empowering when it comes to boosting wellbeing...
“Quality time with friends and doing things you love. Music | Time outdoors connecting with nature! | Physical activity | Riding my bike to work is always a good start to the day | Being treated as a person with a life, hopes and aspirations (and fears too) by colleagues. Encouragement. Recognition. Praise.”
These all sound feasible and if combined with well communicated up-to-date knowledge, including for instance the variety of Active Workplace initiatives available, it could be possible to increase quality of life for the majority.
Taking a holiday is great for health ~ but feeling really well at work each day might be more than just a distant dream.