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8 Ways to Make the Office a Healthy Work Environment

8 Ways to Make the Office a Healthy Work Environment

Full-time employees in the U.S. work an average of 47 hours per week, which means that a large portion of your life is spent at the office or commuting to and from.[1] This might be good for your pocketbook, but unfortunately, it could be terrible for your health. Not only is stress one of the number one causes of doctor visits but a whopping 80 percent of adults fail to get the minimum recommended amount of weekly exercise.[2]

When you put these two things together, it’s no wonder that heart disease is so common. Working in an office naturally contributes to living an unhealthy sedentary lifestyle. The good news is that there are ways to combat this problem and make the office healthier for everyone.

1. Use Breaks Wisely

Do you remain seated throughout your breaks? This makes an already unhealthy desk job even more detrimental to your health. Instead, spend at least five minutes of each break walking. Alternatively, you can do exercises in your office. It doesn’t take much space to do something simple like pushups or sit-ups.

To further improve the health benefits of your day, you can begin incorporating desk exercises into your work time. This may seem difficult at first, but the truth is that basic stretching exercises that can be done even while sitting down are simple and will make you feel better.

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2. Commit to Healthy Snacks

Sugar is the biggest cause of weight gain, so it’s time to get rid of the doughnuts and other sweet treats. Replace them with naturally sweetened food, such as brain-boosting blueberries or apples, which are beneficial to many parts of your body. Need a crunch to get through the day?

There are many companies that deliver unhealthy snack boxes to offices around the country, but innovators such as Snack Nation have begun making it easier to get better quality snack food deliveries. Trade in the junk for variety boxes that contain items, such as vegetable chips and pumpkin seeds.

3. Transform Your Meetings with Walking

Want to get the best possible input from your employees or coworkers while also making them healthier? Walking is one of the top ways to improve your cardiovascular health, and you don’t have to keep a brisk pace in order to receive benefits.

Additionally, studies have determined that people are 60 percent more creative and able to communicate more effectively when they are walking.[3] It’s truly a win-win for everyone to walk while discussing meeting topics, regardless of whether you go outside or simply walk through the building. Just make sure everyone can hear the person who is speaking.

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4. Take a Meditation Break

Some companies have begun having a shared meditation session during the day, but even if yours isn’t interested in taking this step, you can put aside a few minutes to de-stress and center yourself. A solid meditation session only requires 10 to 15 minutes.

If this is too much time, even five minutes can be very helpful for calming your mind and reducing stress. If you’re a beginner, there are numerous apps you can use to help you learn how to mediate, such as the Calm app.

5. Build an Office Gym

If there’s not already an office gym in place, consider asking the owner if it’s possible to include one. There are many ways to sell this idea to the owner or supervisor as a major perk for them too. For example, people who exercise regularly typically need almost $1,100 less in healthcare expenses each year.[4]

A nice treadmill will be in the same general price range, so even simply putting a couple of them in an empty room would more than pay for itself during the first year. When you put it in terms like this, it doesn’t make sense for any office that has some extra space to not have a gym.

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6. Keep Your Space Tidy

Simply looking at a messy desk causes an increase in stress levels for most people.[5] Reducing your stress is a vital part of building a healthier environment, which means you need to commit to cleaning your desk and office space at least once a week.

Doing this will also reduce your risk of losing something important. Studies have indicated that people judge their coworkers based on how messy their desk is, so you could actually risk losing out on a promotion if you don’t take steps to alleviate the clutter.

7. Make Sure the Air is Clean

How long has it been since the air filter was changed in your office’s HVAC unit? If you have no idea and your coworkers are frequently sniffling, it’s definitely time to look into making your indoor air healthier to breathe. Occupational allergies are very common, and they do much more than make people miserable.

In fact, research has found that reducing indoor air pollution and increasing ventilation helps workers perform at a higher level.[6] If you combine this with walking meetings, everyone’s work-related creativity could jump off the charts!

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8. Stop Eating at Your Desk

Do you tend to work through lunch? Unfortunately, this will make you much more likely to gain weight. By taking time to go to the break room to eat, you’ll be able to enjoy and digest your food better. You’ll also be more inclined to make a conscious effort to choose food that will actually leave you feeling full and satisfied. Another major reason to eat away from your desk at lunchtime is to avoid the accumulation of stress that builds up when you don’t occasionally step away for a break. Remember: stress is a major health issue, so make sure to take care of yourself emotionally, mentally, and physically.

Improving your health doesn’t have to be as difficult as most people believe. If you’re still uncertain how to fit things like exercise into your schedule, be sure to look at how to make each day ultra-effective. Making a few simple lifestyle changes, such as exercising for 30 minutes a day and swapping out junk food for healthy snacks, can reduce your expenses, improve your quality of life, and extend your lifespan.

Featured photo credit: Alan Clark via flic.kr

Reference

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Holly Chavez

Writer, Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner

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Last Updated on January 17, 2019

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

8 Simple Mindfulness Exercises to Bring Peace and Happiness to Your Life

In life, we all need to be conscientious of what we are doing. You don’t need to live a life of stress if you don’t want to. You can achieve peace and happiness in life by carefully building mindfulness exercises into your life’s routine.

Exercising mindfulness isn’t rocket science and as importantly, you can do it. It will, however, take a few tries to get into the groove of things but once you get it, it is like riding a bike, you will never lose it.

Trust me. It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. In this article, I will share with you 8 mindfulness exercises that will help you to boost your energy, vitality and live a more peaceful and happier life.

Why Is It Hard to Live A Peaceful And Happy Life?

Our Habitat Has Become Too Technological

The world has accepted the idea that technology is often the cure for all evil. We have accepted, as a society, that everything technological will make us live a better life without fully investigating the many side effects that modernity brings.

There are a number of technological side effects that have a tremendous impact on your life that the media rarely tells you about.[1] Some of them include self-harm, economic inequality, having less sex, and even suicide. The global community is becoming less happy because of technology.

How can anybody live a peaceful and happy life when they are depressed? Technology advancements, ladies and gents, is a major reason for why we are living a poor life because it has infiltrated our lives too much.

According to my research, Americans spend an average of 8 hours a day looking at the computer screen — The average screen time spent on smartphones alone is about 20 hours per week. That’s a lot! No wonder why living a happy and peaceful life is so difficult these days.

Too Many People Don’t Want to Unplug

Americans check their phones an average of 80 times during vacation.[2] Some admit to checking their smartphones 300 times every single day. In countries like Brazil, India and China, the situation is no different.

The reality is that people are constantly plugged into technological devices and this behavior is literally making people all over the globe fight an inner war with themselves, which consequently makes them very sad. As we know, war is the enemy of peace which won’t make anybody happy.

Listen carefully:

We have a global anxiety epidemic because people don’t want to unplug from their smartphones and most people aren’t doing anything to fix it. It is a sad state of affairs but very real. This obsession with technology is turning us into perishable robots who live terrible lives.

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The era of anxiety is here to stay. There is little doubt about it. We can, however, fight back with the best remedy of all — We call it mindfulness!

Thank God there is an antidote to this whole technological madness. Without further ado, let’s go straight to the mindful exercises.

8 Mindfulness Exercises to Start Practicing

There are tons of mindfulness exercises available for you to engage with out there.[3] In the paragraphs below, I will include the best ones I’ve personally tried or have seen my close friends and family members try.

Are you ready for it? Let’s go!

1. Pray Daily

You should pray on a daily basis. Why is that you may ask — Well, because science has told us to do so.

When people pray, they feel peaceful, almost eliminating anxiety. Worries become secondary, and often gives people energy and hope to cope with the difficulties of life.

Prayer can make you more confident and focused. Prayer also helps you with self-control, helps to control pain, and can protect you against illnesses and disorders like cancer and high blood pressure. At least, this is what researchers from Harvard Medical School have said.[4]

Pray. You won’t regret it.[5]

2. Pay Attention to Your Inner Thoughts

A lot of people allow themselves to be influenced by their negative thoughts. Be different and resist believing in them. It is a bad habit that can lead to unhappiness.

By the way, if you do feel this way, chances are high that somebody other than you put these thoughts into your head.

Here is my secret to combat this cancer — look at things objectively. I bet that if you look at things as they are, you will realize that most if not all of your negative thoughts are only inside of your head.

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If you pay close attention, you will quickly realize that these voices aren’t worth your time. Believe me — Ignoring them and looking at things with objectivity is often the best course of action.

This article can guide you to beat negative thoughts:

How to Stop Automatic Negative Thoughts When You’re Overwhelmed

3. Smile Often

Smiling will slow down your heart. It will also relax your body because when you smile, your body releases endorphins which in itself has a number of positive benefits for you as a person.

Smile often! You may want to smile early in the morning, during the day, and late in the evening. It is amazing what happens to you when you decide to smile instead of being grumpy.

Surrender your problems to a nice smile. You will notice two things. First, most people just don’t which makes them live a miserable life. Second, if you decide to smile often, you will eventually smile unconsciously which is the ideal.

The moment that you smile unconsciously, you then know that you are truly happy.

4. Organize Your Working Desk

A messy desk will make you less productive and can agitate and overstimulate you. You don’t want that.

When you clear your desk, you engage in deep inner-thinking and your systematic decision making ends up becoming therapeutic.

Most people realize that they are most creative when their creative space is clean and organized. The former often makes people more aware of what they are doing which lends to less stress and more productivity.

Organizing your desk will also make you more energetic and focused because order often decreases chaos which is a condition that often slows down daily progress.

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5. Celebrate Your Friend’s Victories

I love this mindful exercise. One of the best ways to live a happy and peaceful life is to celebrate the victories of others. When you do that, you automatically make your friends in a better mood which makes you in a better mood, as well.

Happiness is contagious! We might as well celebrate others as much as we can. If you find out that your peer has won an award, celebrate with him! If your friend is the recipient of a local charity award, celebrate with her!

What is also awesome is that when you celebrate with others, they often celebrate with you in return. This, ladies and gentleman, will make you feel fantastic. You can’t go wrong with this one, period.

6. Listen to Your Spouse/Partner

God put someone in your life for a reason. You might as well listen to him or her.

I listen to my wife everyday. In fact, I often ask the following question to her, “Amanda, what are your thoughts about…” or “What am I missing about…” It is shocking what I hear back from her. Without her having much context and perspective, by the art of observation in my own nonverbal behavior and the behavior of others, she accurately gives me incredible insights which helps me out with living my life to the fullest.

I’m a firm believer that spouses are supposed to engage in interpersonal communication every day. I most definitely do and will continue doing it. You should do the same.

7. Give Yourself a Break from Technology

You can’t be in total equilibrium if your computerized devices control your life. You must get away from technology on a daily basis.[6]

How do you do that? This is my formula:

First, take this smartphone control test. It is only ten questions but this test will place you somewhere in the human robot cycle continuum.

If your score is between 25-30, take a break from the computer (or smartphone, pad, laptop/desktop) every twenty minutes and stop being on a computerized device after 8:00pm.

If you score between 30-35, still take a break every 20 minutes but stop being on these devices at 5:00pm.

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If you score more than 35, you need to take action immediately.

Limit computer use as much as possible throughout the day. Give yourself as many breaks from the computer as possible. Are you ready for the challenge?

8. Go Exercise

Go exercise at least three times a week. I don’t care if you need to workout early in the morning, late in the evening, on the weekends or during work days. Working out is absolutely imperative for you to live happy and peaceful life.

The stresses of the modern world are too much for you to neglect this important mindfulness exercise. When you go to the gym, you burn calories, focus on activities one step at a time, your mind relaxes, anxiety decreases, you sweat and often think about topics unrelated to your work place among many other benefits.

You must exercise at least three hours each week for optimum results. Why? Just take a look at all the benefits of regular exercising:

12 Benefits of Regular Exercise You Should Know

The Bottom Line

It’s in your best interest to learn and put these mindfulness exercises into practice. Now that our habitat has become too technological and many people just don’t want to unplug, engaging in daily prayer, celebrate your friends’ victories, and listening to your spouse are among the best ways to be mindful about what you are doing and how you are living.

It is possible to live a happy and peaceful life. It only depends on you.

Go exercise! Take a break from technology and invest in you! Life is too short for distractions.

More Resources About Mindfulness

Featured photo credit: Lesly Juarez via unsplash.com

Reference

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