Scrabble letters spelling out Teamwork on the Scrabble board

Building a Culture that Supports Mental Health By Creating Opportunities to be Kind

I came across this article over the weekend and there was something in it that made me stop and rethink what we know about workplace stress and mental health.

3 Ways to Build an Organizational Culture That Supports Mental Health

Now, I don’t want to discuss all three ways but there was one that stood out to me because I’ve talked about this on my other site many times in individual terms, but hadn’t really considered how we could encourage a cutlure like this at work.

Encourage Acts of Kindness Toward Others

A recent study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology found that having people engage in regular acts of kindness toward others decreased anxiety and depression symptoms compared to other interventions, including one involving cognitive behavioral therapeutic exercises aimed at identifying and revising one’s own negative thought patterns.

As I said, I’ve seen this same research. More than once. I’ve talked about it here and here, and probably a few other times as well. On the individual level, acts of kindness toward others are beneficial for not only the receiver but the giver. As a peer, I can do what I can to give to my coworkers, but what does it look like to have a culture that encourages, rewards, and maybe even expects that kind of behavior?

Clay, in the article above notes that it’s important to set an example as a leader. That’s a good place to start, but what else can we be doing? How do we create a culture at work that is supportive instead of competitive, and how much could that help with the stress levels? What does management look like when we aren’t using comparisons to measure our people but doing everything we can to be kind and assist all of them to not just be better employees, but healthier people working in a community?

It’s worth thinking about.


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