Fundamentals of Wellness Habits

Success of Habits

The importance of establishing healthy and productive habits has always been essential. Whether it be at an individual or organizational level, habits can play a key role in quality of work, productivity, and overall satisfaction.

What is a habit?

A habit is a routine of behaviour that is repeated and tends to occur subconsciously (Definition of Habit. Merriam Webster Dictionary. Retrieved on August 29, 2008). Developing a good habit and breaking a bad habit can be hard to do, but understanding how habits work, as well as their effects, can make a big impact.

The Habit Loop

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One of the most popular recent mentions of habits and habit training is in the bestselling book, “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. The book popularized the applications of habits and how to harness them to your advantage. Duhigg describes the Habit Loop as a three-step process, a uniform formula for any habit:

  1. The Cue
  2. The Routine
  3. The Reward

The first step, the cue, is the trigger that initiates the Habit Loop.

Here’s an example of a Habit Loop. Every time you are bored at work, you walk to the kitchen and grab a cookie. The cue, or trigger, is being bored. The routine is walking to the kitchen and grabbing a cookie. And the reward is a sweet crunchy cookie and more importantly, relief from boredom for a few minutes.

Over the course of a few months, you may find yourself gaining weight from the frequent cookies. It develops into a bad habit that you’re struggling to break.

So how do we overcome this habit loop? Studies described in The Power of Habit suggest that the easiest way to break a habit is to change the routine. By only replacing a single step of the Habit Loop, it makes changing a bad habit into a good one much easier. Going back to the snacking example:

Previously the Habit Loop was:

  1. Cue: boredom
  2. Routine: getting a cookie
  3. Reward: relief from boredom

But you can change it to:

  1. Cue: boredom
  2. Routine: chatting with a coworker
  3. Reward: relief from boredom

The cue and the reward are the same, making the habit much easier to change. However, the habit routine has now changed from a calorie-intensive one to a social, guilt-free solution.

So why are habits important?

Habits can be incredibly powerful. A single habit’s effect can trickle into every aspect of  your lifestyle—even in ways that you would not expect. These habits are called keystone habits. For example, starting to go for a 20 minute jog every morning can improve job performance and help develop positive relationships. There is no obvious relationship between going for a job and getting a promotion at work. However, keystone habits have a subtle way of impacting a lifestyle change.
When people aim for small and manageable behaviour changes, they can set off a ripple effect and stimulate further changes. Forming one small positive habit can increase self-confidence for working towards other health-promoting habits. In the workplace, habits can affect employee behaviour, productivity, and workplace culture. Making sure that the habits that are formed in the workplace are positive and healthy is vital.

Employee Wellness

Employee wellness has been climbing peoples’ lists of priorities for the past few years. From yoga classes to snack programs and even smoking cessation courses, the variety of wellness initiatives has substantially grown as the positive correlation between employee health and productivity has become irrefutable.

However, such programs have been around for years––they are categorized as Wellness 1.0. These methods are time consuming, often rely on external expertise, and require groups of people to be physically present and the same place and time during a workday. Since then, new data has emerged to develop the modern-day wellness program: Wellness 2.0

What is Wellness 2.0?

Today’s most effective wellness programs use digital tools and artificial intelligence to not only provide employees with holistic health solutions at any place and time, but also a centralized platform to track program data and employee progress. These programs shift employees’ notion of health from something that requires additional time to perform to something that is practiced every day through small habits.

Why does wellness matter for employees?

Let’s talk about why employee wellness is imperative to everyone. Here are the top few reasons employees and employers should care:

Productivity

For businesses to thrive, their employees must perform efficiently with their best capabilities. A survey conducted by the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans found that among employers offering and measuring wellness efforts, over half saw a decrease in absenteeism, while 66% saw increased productivity.

Furthermore, 31% of respondents have rated mental illness as the number one reason for loss of productivity. Holistic health and productivity come hand in hand: Programs that use Wellness 2.0 concepts can effectively improve and maintain employee productivity without excessively cutting into excess work hours. 

Mood

A study from the University of Sheffield found that happier employees are higher performing. Mental health, stress relief, and physical activity are components of a well rounded wellness program that can lead to happier employees, and therefore better employees. 

Healthcare Costs

Did you know that Americans spent an average of $714 on out of pocket healthcare in 2016? With these numbers increasing each year, employers are beginning to spend more money on their employees’ health as well. Wellness programs help cut annual increases in medical care costs. A meta-analysis shows that medical costs fall by $3.27 for ever $1 spent on wellness programs, and absenteeism costs fall by about $2.73 for every $1 spent. The negative correlation between an effective wellness program and medical costs is clear and crucial to address.

Lower Turnover

A study by Leadership IQ showed that almost half of new employees left a company within 18 months, with 89% of these failures resulting from poor culture fit. Implementing an effective wellness program not only helps employees feel happier at work, but also creates a sense of community and care in the workplace.
Employee wellness should be a top priority for everybody. Prioritizing health by implementing Wellness 2.0 strategies in the workplace not only benefits employees, but also the company by decreasing healthcare costs and turnover while increasing productivity. Investing in employee wellness means investing in the future of your company.

 

Preventive Medicine

“Treatment without prevention is simply unsustainable.” – Bill Gates

What is preventive medicine?

Preventive medicine’s goal is to protect and promote health to people before they become sick. It’s about preventing disease and illness rather than treating it after people get sick.

Why is preventive medicine important?

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Americans use half of the preventive services offered to them by employers.

Preventive medicine is critical to human health. In and out of the workplace, preventive medicine has been transforming healthcare. The first and most obvious reason is that employees deserve to maintain their health and be healthy. They are the most important resource of a company, and human capital can make or break an organization.

The second is that from an organizational perspective, it makes fiscal sense to invest in preventive medicine. By taking the necessary steps to prevent illness, this translates to reduced absenteeism, reduced health care costs, and increased productivity. A survey reported that employer health care costs have increased 36% in the last five years. Now is the time to invest in preventive healthcare for employees.

Effective and meaningful investments in health and wellness can be done through investigating health risk factors, including disease, disorders, and chronic pains associated with a group of employees.

Furthermore, preventive health also applies to leadership. A study shows that when leadership within an organization is participating and engaged, it gets the best engagement and returns with preventive health within the other employee groups (Goetzel et al, 2010).

Sometimes a certain subgroup of employees can be at high risk for certain diseases, including but not limited to obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Using personalized and customizable preventive wellness programs can target and provide the appropriate programs for those subgroups. Common risk factors associated with chronic disease are: tobacco use, alcohol consumption, physical activity, and unhealthy eating. Read Optimity’s blog for an example of focusing on a subgroup: https://blog.myoptimity.com/2018/02/20/how-to-promote-healthy-heart-lifestyle-choices-at-your-company-webinar-recap/.

Healthy Habits in Group Settings

Businesspeople having a lunch break.

Jim Rohn, motivational speaker and development coach, said that any person is the average of the five people they spend the most time with. Our thinking process, self esteem, and decision-making are all affected by our close peers. Most importantly, those around us influence our habits, which are the regular tendencies that we perform as directed by the subconscious mind.

How does this rule apply in the context of workplace wellness?

We tend to adopt the characteristics of groups that we are part of, associating ourselves with the group and its characteristics. Promoting a culture of wellness and implementing health initiatives will directly impact many employees, leading them to make lifestyle changes and increase productivity. However, these employees will also positively influence others, creating an environmental norm of healthy habits. Spending time with people who value and model healthy lifestyles changes a person’s definition of “normal”, leading to cognitive and behavioural shifts.

How can I use my wellness programming to optimize this rule?

To truly benefit from this rule of averages in the workplace, employers must establish above-average habits in their employees. Wellness is no longer simply fostered through lunch-and-learns or healthy snack programs; it is a continuous, social aspect of the workplace that should be as habitual as other regular work duties. Today’s digital wellness platforms provide accessible, enjoyable health solutions that are easily integrated into anyone’s life. Employees see their coworkers immerse in community-oriented programs and look to do the same, leading to higher engagement, better health, and increased productivity.

 

Habits and Employee Engagement

Employee performance is often related to employee health, happiness, and financial security. With high employee engagement, employers can channel the positive attitudes so that employees are more loyal, productive, and healthy. Employee engagement is important because when employees are engaged, they are more efficient, creative, and motivated to produce good work.

What is employee engagement?

Employee engagement is about getting employees excited, loyal, and motivated. The two-way commitment between the organization and its employees is vital to the culture and livelihood of the organizational community. Employee engagement is about “how we create the conditions in which employees offer more of their capability and potential.” 

How do habits affect engagement?

Developing positive workplace habits can build up on employee engagement. Some examples of good company habits are daily huddles, weekly messages, forums, and holistic training. At an individual level, effective workplace habits include looking for leadership opportunities, being punctual, and listening to feedback. These measures are great for individual and company success, but there are habits that are even more important than these.

Possibly the most important habits in the workplace are habits related to health and wellness. When employees are healthy—physically, mentally, and financially––they perform better. They also have the energy and ability to perform other positive workplace habits.

Habit development is gradual and sustainable. This means that when organizations invest in habit training, the results are long-term. Using habit-science, we can identify keystone habits that correlate to other good habits. Furthermore, by focusing on the process of habit training, we can improve engagement and create consistency. Continuous improvement of workplace habits can lead to breakthroughs in engagement and productivity.

Microlearning

Microlearning: Another temporary health trend? Just bite-sized training?

Employers may be hesitant to shift from traditional training methods to microlearning; however, using this convenient, focused, and adaptable form of learning can be beneficial for various functions within the workplace.

So, what exactly is Microlearning?

Microlearning is a focused form of training that provides information in the appropriate amount at the appropriate amount to help a learner achieve specific business outcomes. It easily fits into the natural flow of a workday and is based on voluntary participation, thereby giving employees freedom to learn when it is convenient, rather than at a set period in the day such as with seminars. Furthermore, content must be science-based to be considered as microlearning. For example, nutrition facts are based on scientific data rather than the latest celebrity trends. Additionally, microlearning is continually adapted to drive behaviours for specific business results. An organization’s goals are constantly changing with its environment and target market’s needs. With microlearning, employees can be taught new functions and habits that are required to meet these needs without investing in a full-blown training intervention.

How can I create a microlearning strategy?

There are four general steps to creating an effective microlearning strategy. Each strategy will be different depending on your business and goals; however, these steps are a great place to start.

1. Identify End Goals

What is the problem you are solving? How will you measure success? These are questions that you and your peers will have to answer as quantitatively and specifically as possible. Target the aspects of the business or past incidents that led to these conversations and needs.

2. Required Behaviours

What steps are required by employees to solve this problem? Again, the more specifically these steps are broken down, the more efficient the process will be. Avoiding ambiguity is key to any microlearning strategy.

3. Separate Foundational Knowledge

It is crucial to distinguish knowledge that is necessary for the behaviours and knowledge that is simply nice to know. Microlearning should focus on the crucial information required to execute the behaviours, while knowledge that is nice to know can always be added on-demand. For example, to execute a manufacturing step, it is crucial to understand how to use a particular machine and safety precautions in performing the step.

4. Build Content

With all these steps above in place, you and the key stakeholders in the organization can consider what kind of content to implement. Short videos? Reminders? Reinforcement questions? There is a large variety of content type; however, it is important that the content is suited to both your organization and its needs.

 

wellness

Health does not simply come in the form of a lunch-and-learn or an hour-long workout session; it is a lifestyle consisting of habits that address health from a holistic perspective. These habits are trained through practicing a routine that is started by a cue and leads to a reward. Such habits are gradual and long-term, leading organizations to healthier employees, higher engagement, and more efficient operations. Furthermore, habit training does not require a comprehensive training intervention. Rather, organizations can incorporate micro-learning so that employees are constantly adapting their habits as the organization’s goals evolve. Healthy employees not only improve a company’s bottom line, but also help individuals lead a more fulfilled life in and out of the workplace.

Optimity can help make the wellness needs for your employees easier to manage. Optimity’s platform is scientifically supported to provide health content and micro activities that are 30 seconds to 2 minute long in order to prevent chronic health outcomes. The proactive approach will produce better workers, who are more healthier, happier and more productive, while bringing down health care costs for the employer. If you want to learn more about how Optimity can help your employees and your organization, reach out to engage@myoptimity.com to get started.

 

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Top 3 Health Issues Facing Employees Working with Heavy Machines

Posted by Tasneem Panchbhaya 

With the annual CMPX expo that happened down the street from us this year, it came to a reminder that a lot of employees whose job requirements entails a lot of heavy lifting, and transporting of heavy equipments to new locations, are an overlooked population.  

Because they’re not the average 9-5 office worker, there isn’t much focus surrounding their health and wellness needs. Companies focus a lot of attention on workplace safety and how to prevent physical injuries on the job, but there isn’t a huge focus on these employees other wellness needs.

Employees who work for companies that require them to work around big and heavy machines, face many health outcomes that could have been easily prevented had there been more of a focus on a proactive wellness approach targeted for their needs. The following are the top 3 health issues these employees face who tend to be on the go, working around heavy equipment:

 

Musculoskeletal

Musculoskeletal-Disorders-in-the-Workplace

Musculoskeletal disorder, or MSD for short, is a condition that affects the human body’s movements, so that includes, but not limited to the following parts: muscles, tendons, ligaments, nerves, blood vessels and more. MSD is the leading cause of pain, and disability in all workplaces, especially amongst employees who have to transport heavy equipment. In North America, MSD’s direct cost is estimated to be $20 billion, and their overall indirect cost are to be between $45-54 billion. These are unnecessary cost, associated to an issue that can be easily prevented had employers implemented a wellness initiatives that focused on these needs. Heavy loads require higher muscular force, and this constant repetitive impact can lead to or promote the development of degenerative disorders. To learn more about posture and movement, check out this webinar, co-hosted with Dr. Kleinberg.

A tip to decrease the likelihood of developing a musculoskeletal disorder is through stretching. Stretching helps improve an individual’s flexibility, essentially the range of movement around a skeletal joint. It allows for that muscle to grow, strengthen and lengthen, leading to its ability to better adapt to the amount of force put upon that muscle. Meaning it’s ability to stretch becomes stronger and longer, which decreases the chances of the muscle tearing, because it will now need a lot more force for it to tear. These small changes, of implementing stretching into your daily routine will decrease the chances of one acquiring a musculoskeletal injury.

Occupational Safety

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When it comes to working with big and heavy machinery, injuries are bound to happen, often even leading to disabilities. the biggest concern for employers of this industry is injury prevention. If the organization’s culture values the importance of injury prevention, and provides wellness initiatives for this, then fewer injuries are less likely to occur. There needs to be thorough training occuring in order to keep information up to date and relevant for employee. In addition to these extensive training, providing constant tips and reminders to employees is an effective thing to do.


Mental Health

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Occupational safety and mental health, work hand in hand. When under stress you put yourself at risk of getting injured. Working around big and heavy machines can become a stressful environment for workers who have to work around them daily. When it comes to handling machines, it requires a lot more work and attention in order for the task to get completed without any injury. These responsibilities and workload can become stressful, and as we all know constant stress can lead to unfavourable health conditions. The best way to minimize these outcomes is by providing early intervention. Employers need to implement a wellness initiative that fosters  proactive approach to mental health. Be sure to join us for our stress management webinar where we’ll go into more depth on the topic of stress management: what it is, and how to prevent it.

 

With a digital wellness platform it can make make getting wellness to all employees easier. The Optimity app is loaded with hundreds of health topics, some of them even relating to occupational safety and injury prevention. Having access to a coaching tool that have activities and information related specifically to occupational safety is important to have. This eliminates the concern that employers have about employees neglecting the importance of occupational safety. With more emphasis put onto this, employee’s overall health is bound to increase, with injuries decreasing, resulting in more productivity and lower injury related cost for employers.

Optimity

We can help make the wellness needs for your employees easier to manage. Optimity’s platform is scientifically supported to provide health content and micro activities that are 30 seconds to 2 minute long in order to prevent chronic health outcomes. The proactive approach will produce better workers, who are more healthier, happier and more productive, while bringing down health care costs for the employer. If you want to learn more about how Optimity can help your employees and your organization, reach out to engage@myoptimity.com and request a demo.

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How to Help Women Flourish in the Workplace (Webinar Recap)

We had a great webinar on March 8, in honour of international women’s day. International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world – in many countries, it is a national holiday. It has grown to become a global day of recognition of women’s achievements and a call to action to support women’s rights and advance gender equality.

I sat down with Optimity’s CEO, Jane Wang, to talk about how to promote women’s health in the workplace. You can watch the full webinar here. Note, due to some technical difficulties, the slides have been uploaded separately. To view the slides, please click here. The following are a few key takeaway points from the webinar.

We’ve come a long way to see women grow socially, economically, culturally and politically. Achievements of women can even be seen even in the workforce. With more than 50% of the working force being women, it’s important for employers to promote women’s health in the workplace.

While life expectancy is higher for women than men in most countries, a number of health and social factors combine to create a lower quality of life for women. Many of the health issues that arise, can easily be prevented if addressed early, which is why worksite can also be a good source of solutions to existing health problems and the place for promoting healthy activities.

 

The top 3 health issues for women that was mentioned in this webinar are:

 

Cardiovascular Health

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Most people believe that CVD is more common in men that women. But in reality heart attack and strokes kill more women than men. Women are more likely than men to die within a few weeks of a heart attack. 8.6 million women worldwide die from heart disease each year. Of those who have heart attacks, 42% die within a year. Leading a healthy lifestyle can lower your risk of heart disease, whether you’re male or female. To learn more about a healthy heart, check out last months webinar on “Healthy Lifestyle Choices for a Healthy Heart”.

Cancer

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Cancer is the second leading cause of death in women. Contrary to most beliefs, breast cancer is not the leading cause of cancer death in women. Lung cancer kills more women than male. This is due to the increasing number of women who use smoking as a coping mechanism for stress. One in four women in the United States smoke. Stopping smoking and reducing exposure to environmental tobacco smoke can reduce the risk of chronic lung problems. Check out our webinar on mindfulness and  meditation in the workplace to get tips on reducing stress and finding healthier coping mechanisms.

Mental Health

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Mental health is another major health issue for women. Although death by suicide is higher for men, attempted suicide rates are higher for women. Job stress among women is widespread; 42% of women have said they were bothered by stress from their jobs. Helping educate women on mental health issues, and giving them the confidence to seek assistance and speak to their doctor, is vital. One way to promote mental health is through nutrition. Studies show that a healthy diet is a proactive approach to optimal health, and that an unhealthy diet is actually a huge risk factor for depression and anxiety. Watch our past webinar to learn more about nutrition and mindful eating in the workplace.
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These top 3 health issues are present in both men and women, however more women die from these chronic illnesses than men. Fortunately, genetics plays a minor role when it comes to susceptibility. With a healthier lifestyle with more physical activity, healthy diet and less stress, one can help prevent almost all chronic illnesses.

If you need more help on promoting women’s health in the workplace, reach out to us at engage@myoptimity.com.

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Physical Wellness is NOT Enough

TIME STAMP: 4 MINUTE READ

Posted by Tasneem Panchbhaya 

Wellness programs can be found in most companies throughout North America these days, yet too many corporate wellness programs focus solely on the physical wellbeing of employees. Gone are the days where a purely physical wellness program works. Together with physical wellness, mental and financial wellness all contribute to a complete wellness program that leads employees to be happier, healthier and more engaged than ever.

Workplace wellness programs can come at a cost, but if they are executed correctly then they have the potential to offset rising healthcare costs and build a healthier, motivated and more focused workforce.

To have a complete wellness program, financial and mental wellness need to be included as well. Here’s why:

 

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Mental Wellness

According to the World Health Organization, as many as 450 million people worldwide suffer from a mental or behavioral disorder, and the average costs for employees with depression may be 4.2 times higher than those incurred by a typical employee. While mental health is not as easily measured as an employee’s blood pressure, it is still just as important. When an employee’s mental health is suffering, it can lead to more serious health problems. Even stress can be a silent killer.


Things like absenteeism, high turnover and loss of productivity are often signs that are linked to poor mental health. Employers can start to incorporate mental health into their wellness program by ensuring that employees have access to mental health benefits, as well as an employee assistance program. Employee Assistance Programs have proven to work well in a wellness program, as they provide referrals to mental health professionals while maintaining a high standard of confidentiality. Employers who provide mental health programs as a part of their workplace wellness program are proven to have an advantage over those who don’t in terms of lower incidents, staff turnover and workplace injury. Activities such as yoga, massages and meditation are an easy way to start bringing mental wellness into your overall wellness program.

 

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Financial Wellness

Financial wellness can be categorised as having control over one’s finances, or the capacity to manage unexpected expenses or bills. Financial wellness programs offer employees the chance to better educate themselves on a variety of financial information that they would not bother to search for themselves or that may be stressing them out.


To provide an adequate financial wellness program, employers must provide resources that help short and long term financial goals. Financial planning for retirement is great, but what about next week’s bills? Employees with low financial confidence risk making bad financial decisions, or avoid making them at all, and as a result end up stressed and unhappy.


As with any wellness program, financial wellness programs need to be tailored specifically to the employee. Every employee’s financial situation will be different and will require a specific plan.

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Any wellness program that is implemented within a company should incorporate all types of wellness in a more holistic approach. It is no longer beneficial to the employee or employer to miss one of these crucial elements out of their wellness program. Read more tips on how to avoid failing traditional approach to wellness programs.

At Optimity, our customized holistic approach incorporates all aspect of health, by providing customized solution to wellness. Our approach garners positive results.

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We help the average worker take productive 30 second to 2-minute micro-breaks that have long last beneficial impact. These micro-habits boosts their mood, helps them focus and encourage social connectedness to their culture. Optimity’s app provides users with tips on financial wellness, that way employees now have the tools to confidently make smart decisions about their finances.


Want to know more about how we can help you implement a personalized coaching program in your company? Reach out to us at engage@myoptimity.com and lets have a chat.

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Positive Psychology For Your Well-Being

Posted by Abena Osei-Kwabena

TIME STAMP: 2 MINUTE READ
You probably already know that a positive attitude and generally feeling good is linked to better health, a longer life and improved well-being overall.  The opposite is also true as harbouring negative feelings and anger can pose negative side-effects on your body, like increasing your risk of developing heart disease.
Psychological wellbeing is a concept that encompasses a well-managed, balanced and a broad experience of life. Positive psychology shows positive feelings which are correlated with a healthy lifestyle, happiness and endurance while overcoming psychological issues like anxiety, stress, anger, depression and hatred.
The three pillars of positive psychology are:

 

1. Positive sentiments

These include wellbeing, optimism and encouraging feelings.
2. Positive characteristics
These are a person’s passion, interests, inspirations, intelligence and determinations.

3. Positive institution

This includes a positive group of families, friends, business partners, communities and society at large.
By analysing the system following these three pillars, the comprehensive wave of positive sentiments can help us take a step forward towards understanding our welfare. The advantages of positive psychology echo long, even though the temporary happiness has faded. Positive emotions and feelings amplify over time and place people on the path of growth.
There are countless advantages which positive psychology offers. It makes us  enables us to build trust and sympathy towards others, acts as a barrier against depression and stress, helps us overcome negative feelings, gaining flexibility and creativity and helping to build strong rapport.
To attain the power of positive psychology and boost your wellbeing, there are few things which can be done:
Self-recognition
Recognise what thoughts and beliefs you hold for yourself. You can gain acceptance of yourself when you realise that you don’t need to change for others. Self-recognition relates to that feeling of satisfaction and happiness that you hold without the involvement of anyone else.
Self-development
Always welcome new interests and their potential to help you develop further as a person. Being inquisitive and having a desire to grow can help with self-development and provides you with a feeling of contentment.
Vision
Always have a clear vision and mission in mind to achieve. Achieving your objectives fosters positive feelings which have extensive benefits.
Engagement
One of the  greatest approaches to nurturing our happiness is to improve our relationships. The feeling of care, trust, love, respect will aid in your progress, and receiving support from others will give you a feeling of connectedness and engagement.

If you’re looking to boost your own wellbeing or that of your company, then positive psychology is the way to go. In addition to looking after your physical health and diet, your mental, emotional, and social health are important aspects of your wellbeing that you need to look after.

A holistic health program, like Optimity uses  positive psychology to harness the power of contentment, mindfulness and internal potency which will help you find wellbeing and happiness. Try incorporating these tips into your daily life and see what a positive impact it can have for you!



Abena is a Client Services Associate at Optimity. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a BSc in Global Health. She is passionate about human rights and health education, and hopes to develop tailored interventions to combat health inequities around the globe. Her interests include story writing, camping and exploring different cultures on her travels.

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2-Minute Meditation for a Positive Attitude


Posted by Abena Osei-Kwabena

From cultivating greater awareness of self to relieving stress, meditation has numerous physical and mental health benefits. The practice conjures a sense of something related to spirituality, but is actually an extreme form of concentration that tones and strengthens the mind. It promises to promote inner peace and a positive outlook towards life.

Given the countless problems that work and life hurl at us on a daily basis, and the impact they have on our minds, meditation can be an excellent way to appreciate promote inner peace and living in the moment. Even a few minutes of meditation regularly can be transformative. Here is a 2-minute meditation routine for beginners.

  1. First, find a quiet and peaceful place in your home or outside, where it is easy for you to shift your focus inwards. Sit in a comfortable position with your spine in a straight but relaxed position. When you sit in a peaceful space with good posture, you will be able to enjoy the process more freely and have a deeper sense of calmness and tranquillity.
  2. Concentrate on your breathing. Try to take long and deep breaths while you focus on slowing down your breath. You can also chant an uplifting phrase or word like “relax” while breathing in order to center your attention. Try to block all distracting sounds, paying full attention to your your breathing and the word you are chanting.
  3. Next, try to enter into a quiet state of mind, while remaining relaxed and mindful of your centre of gravity. Observe any feelings, thoughts, or physical vibrations that arise in your consciousness. Eventually, you will be able increase your concentration one session at a time.

There is no set time to meditate, so you can start with 2 minutes daily and progress slowly. Let your comfort level decide what amount of meditation is right for you, but stay persistent in order to witness results.
Abena is a Client Services Associate at Optimity. She graduated from the University of Toronto with a BSc in Global Health. She is passionate about human rights and health education, and hopes to develop tailored interventions to combat health inequities around the globe. Her interests include story writing, camping and exploring different cultures on her travels.

 

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