STRESS AT WORK

What is stress?

HSE defines stress as ‘the adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them’.

Employees feel stress when they can’t cope with pressures and other issues. Employers should match demands to employees’ skills and knowledge. For example, employees can get stressed if they feel they don’t have the skills or time to meet tight deadlines. Providing planning, training and support can reduce pressure and bring stress levels down.

Stress affects people differently – what stresses one person may not affect another. Factors like skills and experience, age or disability may all affect whether an employee can cope. 

There are six main areas of work design which can effect stress levels. You should manage these properly. They are: 

  • demands
  • control
  • support
  • relationships
  • role
  • change

Employers should assess the risks in these areas to manage stress in the workplace.

Signs of stress

Stress is not an illness but it can make you ill. Recognising the signs of stress will help employers to take steps to stop, lower and manage stress in their workplace.

How to help

The earlier a problem is tackled the less impact it will have. If you think that an employee is having problems, encourage them to talk to someone, whether it’s their line manager, trade union representative, GP or their occupational health team.

Help for line managers to have simple, practical conversations with employees which can help prevent stress is available in our Talking Toolkits PDF.

To protect employees from stress at work, employers should assess risks to their health. These example stress risk assessments may help.

You may need to develop individual action plans for employees suffering from stress. HSE’s Management Standards may also help you to identify and manage the six causes of stress at work.

YOUR FELLOW MAN

Too often the trend in our society is for people to be separated from either other, to be cut off from the great mass of humanity, and in doing so to be dehumanized a little bit more with each step.

Cars have taken us off the streets, where we used to greet each other and stop to chat. Cubicles have taken away a bit of the humanity in working, as have factories and even computers to some extent. Television has planted us firmly in our living rooms, instead of out with other people. Even movie theaters, where many people get together, cut us off from true conversation because we’re staring at a big screen.

And while I’m not railing against any of these inventions (except perhaps the cubicle), what we must guard against is the tendency of that individuality to have us focused on ourselves to the exclusion of our fellow human beings. The tendency towards selfishness rather than giving, on helping ourselves rather than helping our brothers and sisters in humanity.

I’m not saying we’re all like that, but it can happen, if we’re not careful.

So strike back against the selfishness and greed of our modern world, and help out a fellow human being today. Not next month, but today.

Helping a fellow human being, while it can be inconvenient, has a few humble advantages:

  1. It makes you feel better about yourself;
  2. It connects you with another person, at least for a moment, if not for life;
  3. It improves the life of another, at least a little;
  4. It makes the world a better place, one little step at a time;
  5. And if that kindness is passed on, it can multiply, and multipy.

So take just a few minutes today, and do a kindness for another person. It can be something small, or the start of something big. Ask them to pay it forward. Put a smile on someone’s face.

Don’t know where to start? Here’s an extremely incomplete list, just to get you thinking — I’m sure you can come up with thousands more if you think about it.

  1. Smile and be friendly. Sometimes a simple little thing like this can put a smile and warm feeling in someone else’s heart, and make their day a little better. They might then do the same for others.
  2. Call a charity to volunteer. You don’t have to go to a soup kitchen today. Just look up the number, make the call, and make an appointment to volunteer sometime in the next month. It can be whatever charity you like. Volunteering is one of the most amazing things you can do.
  3. Donate something you don’t use. Or a whole box of somethings. Drop them off at a charity — others can put your clutter to good use.
  4. Make a donation. There are lots of ways to donate to charities online, or in your local community. Instead of buying yourself a new gadget or outfit, spend that money in a more positive way.
  5. Redirect gifts. Instead of having people give you birthday or Christmas gifts, ask them to donate gifts or money to a certain charity.
  6. Stop to help. The next time you see someone pulled over with a flat tire, or somehow in need of help, stop and ask how you can help. Sometimes all they need is a push, or the use of your cell phone.
  7. Teach. Take the time to teach someone a skill you know. This could be teaching your grandma to use email, teaching your child to ride a bike, teaching your co-worker a valuable computer skill, teaching your spouse how to clean the darn toilet. OK, that last one doesn’t count.
  8. Comfort someone in grief. Often a hug, a helpful hand, a kind word, a listening ear, will go a long way when someone has lost a loved one or suffered some similar loss or tragedy.
  9. Help them take action. If someone in grief seems to be lost and doesn’t know what to do, help them do something. It could be making funeral arrangements, it could be making a doctor’s appointment, it could be making phone calls. Don’t do it all yourself — let them take action too, because it helps in the healing process.
  10. Buy food for a homeless person. Cash is often a bad idea if it’s going to be used for drugs, but buying a sandwich and chips or something like that is a good gesture. Be respectful and friendly.
  11. Lend your ear. Often someone who is sad, depressed, angry, or frustrated just needs someone who will listen. Venting and talking through an issue is a huge help.
  12. Help someone on the edge. If someone is suicidal, urge them to get help. If they don’t, call a suicide hotline or doctor yourself to get advice.
  13. Help someone get active. A person in your life who wants to get healthy might need a helping hand — offer to go walking or running together, to join a gym together. Once they get started, it can have profound effects.
  14. Do a chore. Something small or big, like cleaning up or washing a car or doing the dishes or cutting a lawn.
  15. Give a massage. Only when appropriate of course. But a massage can go a long way to making someone feel better.
  16. Send a nice email. Just a quick note telling someone how much you appreciate them, or how proud you are of them, or just saying thank you for something they did.
  17. Show appreciation, publicly. Praising someone on a blog, in front of coworkers, in front of family, or in some other public way, is a great way to make them feel better about themselves.
  18. Donate food. Clean out your cupboard of canned goods, or buy a couple bags of groceries, and donate them to a homeless shelter.
  19. Just be there. When someone you know is in need, sometimes it’s just good to be there. Sit with them. Talk. Help out if you can.
  20. Be patient. Sometimes people can have difficulty understanding things, or learning to do something right. Learn to be patient with them.
  21. Tutor a child. This might be difficult to do today, but often parents can’t afford to hire a tutor for their child in need of help. Call a school and volunteer your tutoring services.
  22. Create a care package. Soup, reading material, tea, chocolate … anything you think the person might need or enjoy. Good for someone who is sick or otherwise in need of a pick-me-up.
  23. Lend your voice. Often the powerless, the homeless, the neglected in our world need someone to speak up for them. You don’t have to take on that cause by yourself, but join others in signing a petition, speaking up a a council meeting, writing letters, and otherwise making a need heard.
  24. Offer to babysit. Sometimes parents need a break. If a friend or other loved one in your life doesn’t get that chance very often, call them and offer to babysit sometime. Set up an appointment. It can make a big difference.
  25. Love. Simply finding ways to express your love to others, whether it be your partner, child, other family member, friend, co-worker, or a complete stranger … just express your love. A hug, a kind word, spending time, showing little kindnesses, being friendly … it all matters more than you know.

SHAKE THE MONDAY BLUES

It is Monday morning. People have the Monday blues apparently.

My newsfeeds are ram packed full of memes about Monday mornings, groaning about going back to work, about how the weekend ended too soon and that they are reaching for the coffee to begrudgingly kick start the beginning of the week…..

Ugh! *Makes dramatic huff, sigh and shoulder shrug to go with the noise of the word*


It’s all too easy to get caught up in negativity on a Monday morning and you end up feeling like you should be unhappy because ‘everyone else is’! It’s absurd. And, as a person, it is no way to start your week or any day – heck, the Monday blues can put a huge strain on your mental and emotional well-being!

It only takes one negative voice to create a descent into the gloom and that voice might even be our own inside our own head. Yet it is like a domino effect and a half when collective consciousness (figuratively speaking!) starts to take swipes at poor old Monday morning, and before we know it, we are in a grump and are dramatically huffing and puffing our way into the Monday blues.

How do you combat it? How do you turn it around? Let’s nip this in the bud, shall we?

It is not hard to create an environment where you don’t have to experience these feelings and you look forward to going into the office, or to work each day; being aware of doing it is a step in the right direction. Then altering our experience of life to one, which is far more rewarding and enjoyable on many levels.
Do some or all of this stuff to beat the Monday blues:

Get Enough Sleep and Rise Early:
At times we burn the candle at both ends leaving no room for rest, but research says that you cannot catch up on lost sleep. There may be no more important night to get rest than Sunday night, and no better remedy for Monday blues than a solid night’s sleep. The Dalai Lama is quoted as saying, “Sleep is the best form of meditation.”


Feeling down is not helped if you’re feeling exhausted too. And tiredness can make small problems feel like huge issues. Grab an early night tonight – not only will Blue Monday feel shorter but you’ll feel better on Tuesday.

Prepare for Monday on Friday:
I have a flash card blue tacked to my office light switch that reads “Is tomorrow planned?” I want to be able to step into my office and know right away what it is that I am doing. In particular when stepping into the office on Monday morning.

Have a think about what’s coming up at work next week. Is there anything that will be hanging over your head if you don’t get it done beforehand? Don’t leave dealing with a complaint, a long-winded but inevitable task or an unwanted phone call for your Monday. Bite the bullet and once it’s done, that’s another weight off your shoulders that can leave your weekend feeling much lighter. Getting the tough stuff done as early as possible on Friday means your Monday will be less fearful or dread inducing.

Have an After Work Plan:
What is there to look forward to on a Monday?

Beating the Monday Blues isn’t just about what you do at work but what you do when you’re not. Plan to go and see a friend, eat something delicious somewhere nice or go and sweat out some stress in the gym; do something that makes you feel good, something you can look forward to.

Keeping yourself busy with activities you enjoy will set you up to take control of Monday, rather than letting Monday control you. Choose your Monday rather than being a passive recipient of it. Plan it well and turn it into something to look forward to.

Switch Off:
Find some time in your day to disconnect with it. That is, you can let go of Monday at regular intervals in the day. Take some time out for a quality break – use that to have some fun as I suggested in the previous point, or engage in some mindfulness, some self-hypnosis, some solitude. Be unplugged and disconnect from the world for a while.

You’ll be much more productive with your working role as a result too. Read this article for more on this subject:
Solitude – The Importance of ‘Me Time’ and How It’ll Make You More Successful

Exercise:
Exercise and fitness are essential for everyone. It changes your body, releasing chemicals that reduce anxiety and stress, and increase happiness. Even just a short run, gym workout or a walk in the park.
Exercise is also an opportunity to take some time out to let your brain relax and wander. If you’re feeling low energy or uninspired, getting moving is the best thing that you can do.

Go and get oxygenated and get some feelgood chemicals in your system at the same time.

Do What You Love:
It was Steve Jobs that said: “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it, keep looking. Don’t settle.”

It couldn’t be truer! You might find it difficult to be good at something you’re not passionate about; equally you might struggle to enjoy something you’re not passionate about. It’s as simple as that. Passion is a key component in Jim Collins’ three circles theory of business success: you must be passionate about it, it must make economic sense, and you must be the best at what you’re doing.

When work is such a major part of your life, then maybe you should consider doing something you enjoy or love? You’ll be skipping into work on Monday’s instead of dreading it.

Be Goal Focused:
Think about why you’re doing what you’re doing. Why do you work? What are you working toward? What is the purpose?

Having a goal in mind and written down, you’re always reminded of why you’re doing what you’re doing. You have a path, a reason to get up, look forward to getting into work on Monday and get stuck in to reaching that target. Being aware of that, reminding yourself of it, gives your Monday (and any other day) some purpose and inherent value rather than feeling blue about it.

You might also consider your own development in addition to other goals related to what you do. Training, ongoing development, education and personal growth is essential for job satisfaction. Perhaps that is because not only are you learning and developing, you also have an end goal in mind – an exam or deadline to work towards and that is incredibly motivating. These kinds of goals can lead to you having other options and directions in life that give you more ‘get up and go’ to remove Monday blues.

Have Fun:
A little (or a LOT) bit of fun and laughter is a great way to shake off a case of the Monday blues. Bring humour, and playfulness with you into your Monday. This is a simple way to brighten the day and it’s a good supply of energy to help productivity.

Read more about these topics here:
1. How and Why You Need To Be More Playful and Childlike.
2. The Science of Laughter: Why Laughing is Really Good for Your Health.

Develop New Habits:
If you have trouble getting started on Monday mornings, then forge new habits that will banish the Monday blues. That is, start engaging in more of the afore mentioned points so that they become second nature; healthy habits that have you looking forward to Mondays and seeing them as filled with opportunity, excitement and enjoyment.

Reward yourself along the way for taking new actions that build the habits that produce bigger results over time.

While some may consider Monday to be the worst day of the week, you, on the other hand, will learn to make the most of it. Take charge of your Mondays by relishing it and supercharging it. All you need is a momentum to keep you going. Wave goodbye the the Monday blues; soon Mondays may even become your favourite day of the week. Maybe….

WELLNESS AT WORK

We spend a shockingly high percentage of our lives at work. If your people are unhappy, unhealthy or have any other issues surrounding wellness – then you must address this! Failure to establish a culture that encourages wellness will lead to your people having wandering eyes and your business being less attractive to the next generation of workers, who often value happiness over pay and benefits…

You might have spent time and resources on building a strong vision and brand, improving your product/services and investing in new tech. But that overlooks the most important element of your business… your people! What have you done to improve their wellness? I thought it was timely to highlight the importance of a happy and engaged workforce as it’s “Cranky Co-Workers day” tomorrow!

THE IMPORTANCE OF WORKPLACE WELLNESS

We recently compiled our own research into what factors most affect the happiness and well-being of people at work. We surveyed over 2,500 employers and employees around the globe. Our results highlighted that factors like enjoyment of role, trust and work-life balance are more important to employees than salaries – when it comes to feeling happy at work.

(To read our whitepaper which outlines all our research Click Here)

Workplace wellness is critical to your business due to the huge cost implications related to employee illness and stress. According to the 2017 Health and Safety Executive report, “37% of all work-related sickness is due to stress, including anxiety and depression; costing UK employers an estimated £3.7 billion a year in absenteeism.”

So what sort of initiatives should you implement to improve workplace wellness within your business?

Tips to improve workplace wellness:

EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE TRAINING

Superior emotional intelligence (EQ) improves your worker’s performance, wellness and stress levels. Sounds too good to be true, right? To effectively develop a culture of mindfulness and self-reflection it is important to have training sessions or even ”lunch ‘n’ learns” that provide practical exercises and takeaways to help improve EQ.

Here at The Happiness Index HQ, we have an in-house specialist who has empowered us to diagnose our EQ personality types:

  • Emotional – expressive, empathic, creative, energetic…
  • Instinctive – knowing decisive, territorial, conviction, certainty…
  • Rational – logical, organised, objective, process-driven…
  • Reflective – intuitive, self-aware, insightful, visionary…

This helps us understand how to communicate with each other and work collaboratively. This is an effective technique for wellness, as we modify our behaviours to ensure we complement each other’s working practices. We also know when to take our foot off the pedal if someone is more sensitive to certain behaviours, or personality types.

ASK DAILY WELLNESS QUESTIONS

An effective technique is to ask your people questions daily that make them consider how they approach their day in terms of healthy mind, body and working practices. You don’t necessarily need written or verbal answers. Simply asking the questions will lead to the individual considering their choices and answering internally. This will help your people to think positively and tailor their working practices.

Example questions:

  • “What are your personal goals toward your own health and well-being today?”
  • “What form of exercise will you partake in today?”
  • “What can you do today that will make you happy?”
  • “What can you do today to improve someone else’s day?”

FOCUS ON FLEXIBILITY

“Working nine to five” may have been a big hit for Dolly Parton but for most of us, it’s archaic. It’s also a very unattractive prospect!

Thanks to technology people expect to be able to fulfil their duties away from the office. People can work in any country and at any time – day and night. Assuming everything gets done, does it really matter if everyone is chained to a desk all day?

It goes without saying that not everyone can work from home effectively, so it’s important to get to know your people and learn what works best for everyone. For those who do work well from home, it will lead to a boost in performance and offer a break from a grim commute and the stresses of office politics.

CONSIDER THE LOSADA LINE

We borrowed this strategy from workplace psychology guru Shawn Achor and his incredible book The Happiness Advantage. The theory is centred around focussing on the number 2.9013. Don’t worry I’ll explain…

According to mathematician Marcial Losada, this is the ratio of positive to negative interactions required to make a workforce happy and ultimately successful. The idea is that it takes about three positive comments, experiences or even expressions to fend off feelings of negativity and sadness. If you drop below this ratio your worker’s wellness and performance will drop and if you rise above it at a ratio of 6 to 1 – you are in the golden range where performance is highest and workplace wellness improves massively. Start complimenting your people and getting them to “pay it forward”. What have you got to lose?

SLEEP HAPPY, WAKE HAPPY

Another powerful approach is a self-reflection exercise that encourages positive thinking. This is also a by-product of The Losada Line. The practice involves reflecting on your day just before bed and thinking of three positive things that happened to you in the last 24 hours. This ensures you scan your memories with a positive filter and start to see the good in things… even if they are minute and your day was particularly bad! Eventually, this way of thinking will be instilled and you will start to think more positively in general.

By encouraging your people to do this, you will create a team of happy workers who look for the best in every situation.

“IT’S BETTER TO GIVE THAN TO RECEIVE”

Businesses are quick to invest in perks in their mission to boost wellness and productivity. The reality is that it takes more than that to make a sustainable difference.  By partnering with charities or local environmental drives you will allow your people to actively help others and witness how their efforts create positive outcomes for more than just a balance sheet.

This will improve staff wellness and happiness, as they will have more of a sense of purpose and will be proud to work for a business that genuinely cares about real-world issues. We recently partnered with Hope for children – a charity that helps to enrich the lives of underprivileged children around the globe. From a personal viewpoint, I find it very motivating to know that the harder I work, the more we can contribute to this great cause.

If that didn’t convince you, it will also bolster your customer relationships. This is demonstrated by The UK Small Business Consortium; “88% of consumers said they were more likely to buy from a company that supports and engages in activities to improve society.”

USE YOUR SPACE CLEVERLY

We spoke with Head of Design at Studio 11, Paul Bateman to discover whatare the best office designs to facilitate collaboration, health and productivity,“Companies are trying to attract and retain talent straight out of university and many students are used to the modern hot-desking approach that promotes flexible working. These non-corporate office style designs are increasingly more popular because businesses need to be agile to keep up in competitive markets.”

To further promote this flexible approach, you can make small tweaks to your existing office to maximise your space, whilst encouraging collaboration and catering to different working styles/needs. Some examples could be interactive walls that people can draw on, offices that moonlight as break-out areas or even nap rooms when not in use! Turn the conference room into a games room so people can take short breaks or have a game of table tennis during a meeting. Consider getting power sockets installed in comfy chairs, so people can work from a laptop in comfort. 

Health and fitness is another huge area that can be incorporated into office design. By installing furniture that doubles as exercise equipment you will encourage people to be less sedentary at work – which is a major health risk.  This can involve standing desks, exercise balls for chairs or treadmills with laptops attached so you can take a light stroll whilst you fill out your pivot table.

The options are endless. Find solutions that align with your budget and culture, then ask your people what changes they want to see. This is a huge step towards creating an environment where people will be excited to come to work.

FILL THEIR STOMACHS

The way to a worker’s heart is their belly. Your office should provide access to organic, healthy and tasty foods at affordable prices. This may also encourage workers from different departments to eat together and socialise.

Depending on budgets you can even provide complimentary meals, or at the very least healthy snacks like fruit, salad bars and possibly the occasional sweet treat for morale! You could also install a drinks fridge for after work socialising.

Provide advice and healthy eating programmes to educate everyone how to eat healthily and the positive implications it will have on their work and personal lives.

PROVIDE FINANCIAL AND RETIREMENT EDUCATION

A necessary employee wellness initiative is providing financial education that is based on different stages of everyone’s life and career. For example, new starters you can explain about investment and how pension schemes work. Whereas for older workers you can provide retirement coaching to alleviate concerns. This will help prepare them for a future where they won’t be employed.

This will encourage mindful career planning (and beyond), be a catalyst for positive change and most importantly demonstrate how much you care about everyone’s well-being.

COMMUNICATION IS KEY

Communication is the cornerstone of a healthy and happy workplace. Create an environment that encourages and empowers everyone to share their feelings and vent any concerns. This is a very healthy technique. By implementing a flexible feedback programme that allows everyone to voice their concerns and express sentiment – you can start to create action plans to remedy concerns, build on successes and promote a happier workplace where everyone has a say! This will ensure that “Cranky Co-workers Day” is nothing more than an abstract concept for you, your workers and all your stakeholders.

Here at The Happiness Index, we are advocates of our happiness formula: Happiness + Engagement = Productivity. Workplace wellness is synonymous with high performance, high retention rates and high revenue.  By following the above tips and concentrating on your people and their wellbeing, you will create a culture of health, happiness and productivity. This will boost workplace wellness, make you more attractive for new talent and help you become a workplace for the future.

THE POWER NAP

Congratulations – if you’re all into the power nap, you’re in illustrious company. Einstein, Winston Churchill, JFK, and even Leonardo da Vinci were all fans of the afternoon brain shut down. Whether this indicates some kind of connection to greatness is pushing it – but what isn’t in doubt are the benefits of taking 40 winks and enjoying a mental timeout from the rigors of the day.

There was a time when napping during the day found you labeled as a slob. A lazy degenerate with a bad attitude. Well, the sleepyheads out there will be pleased to hear that this is no longer the case – quite the opposite actually. 

These days, you don’t need to steal a few minutes of shuteye at a café or on a train. Employers are increasingly recognizing the power nap as an effective means of stimulating both attention and performance and are taking this into consideration when planning office layouts and schedules. 

However, approaching the issue can raise some questions. When should I nap? What happens if I nap too long? Where should I try to take my power nap? Well, wonder no more – here’s our 5-point guide to getting the perfect power nap and enjoying a more productive day. 

Rule 1 – Power napping is not for everyone

Sorry, but not all of us should power nap. If you suffer from insomnia or have trouble sleeping at night, power napping is probably a bad idea. It can confuse your body clock, disrupt an already dysfunctional routine and you could be staring at the ceiling until the wee small hours. 

Rule 2 – Duration is king

The key to successful power napping is duration. Too much takes you into deep sleep mode, leaving you tired and groggy afterward. Too little is……….well it’s just not enough. Experts tell us that maximum recharging during a power nap is achieved by going from stage 1 sleep (that lovely ‘drifting off’ feeling) to stage 2 (slowdown of brain activity). Going any further is not advised. So how long does this process take? In most people, 15 to 20 minutes is just perfect.

Rule 3 – Timing is everything

The timing of your power nap is crucial – so it’s only right we consult with the people who do it best. The siesta is a long-established cultural pillar in many Mediterranean countries so it would be logical to assume that the sweet spot for power napping is ‘siesta time’. In other words, sometime after lunch and before 3 pm. After the post-lunch energy crash, many people lose focus. Don’t leave it too late though – napping after 3 pm could have an adverse effect on your night’s sleep. 

Rule 4 – Find your ‘nappy’ place

First, please excuse the terrible pun in the headline. We couldn’t resist it – but in our defense, choosing your napping zone is a serious business. A place where there’s less risk of being disturbed is a good start. If you can lie down, all the better, although a comfortable chair or even a reclining work chair can do the job too. And why not use those expensive noise-reducing headphones for something other than music? They’ll keep out intrusive noise as well as acting as a ‘stay away’ warning to your co-workers!

Rule 5 – The dozing is in details

So you’ve established you’re a power napper and decided the duration, place, and timing – so what now? Well before you doze off, eliminate as many distractions as possible. Close your laptop or mobile. Shut off your computer screen. If you have a landline telephone (yes, they still exist), divert or hold incoming calls. If you’re lucky enough to have an assistant, tell them you’re in ‘Do Not Disturb’ mode. Whatever it takes! 

Happy napping!

As promised, here’s your surprise

Drinking coffee just before a power nap sounds like a crazy idea. However, there are physiological reasons that make it perfect sense. Caffeine doesn’t kick in straight away. It takes between 20 and 45 minutes to start to do its job. So if you drink a cup just before your power nap, you’ll feel more alert when you wake up. Try it – it really works!

BENEFITS OF SLEEP

We’ve all been there. Your alarm goes off after a sleepless night and you drag yourself out of bed like a bear with a sore head. A bad night’s sleep can leave you feeling tired, irritable and unable to concentrate. You crave a pick-me-up in the form of sugar or caffeine, and long for the moment you can crawl back under your duvet. 

On the other hand, nine hours of sleeping like a log can see you springing out of bed feeling bright-eyed, bushy-tailed and ready to take on anything the day might throw at you. But when you’ve got a lot on your mind, getting a good night’s sleep can be easier said than done. 

Just like regular exercise and a healthy diet, getting enough good sleep is an essential part of looking after your health. Here I’ll take a look at some of the health benefits of sleep and why it’s important to make sleep a priority.

A mother and her young son laying on a bed
  1. Improve your attention and concentration 

  2. It’s no surprise that getting a good night’s sleep can help to keep your energy levels up. But plenty of rest can also help to keep your mind from wandering and maintain your attention throughout the day.

  3. Not sleeping properly can mean that both your body and brain don’t function properly the next day. It could impair your attention span, concentration, strategic thinking, risk assessment and reaction times. This is even more important if you have a big decision to make, are driving, or are operating heavy machinery. So getting plenty of sleep can help you to stay sharp and focused all day long.

  4. Learn and make memories 

  5. Not only does sleep allow your body the time it needs to rest, repair and rebuild, but it does the same for your mind too. As you sleep, your brain begins to organise and process all the information you’ve taken on during the day. It converts your short-term memories into long-term memories. This helps you to learn and means that when you wake up, you can often see things more clearly.

  6. Help you maintain a healthy weight

  7. Not getting enough sleep can make it more difficult to control your appetite and might cause you to gain weight. If you’re not sleeping properly, your body will need more energy because it’s awake for longer. Some research has even suggested that being sleep-deprived changes the level of hormones that signal hunger and fullness in your body. This can make you more likely to choose unhealthy foods (like those high in sugar), and to overeat, particularly later in the day. So sleep plays a key role in regulating how your body uses food for energy and getting enough sleep could help to control your weight.

  8. Keep your heart healthy

  9. A lack of sleep can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure, diabetes and coronary heart disease. Waking up too often is thought to stimulate your sympathetic nervous system – the system responsible for your body’s ‘fight-or-flight’ response. The ‘fight-or-flight’ response is how your body physically reacts when it senses danger. Your sympathetic nervous system also activates your cardiovascular system and increases your blood pressure to prepare you for waking up. But if you’re being kept awake too often, your body can’t compensate for this rise in blood pressure and your level may remain higher than expected. Having high blood pressure is also a major risk factor for stroke and coronary heart disease.

  10. Not only that, but poor sleep has also been linked to poor insulin regulation and resistance. Insulin is the hormone that controls your blood sugar. If you’re not getting enough sleep, your body’s ability to regulate your blood sugar becomes disrupted and the levels of sugar in your blood can increase, and can cause diabetes. So getting enough sleep is an important factor in looking after your cardiovascular health.

  11. Keep your immune system strong

  12. Getting a good night’s sleep can help to keep your immune system fighting fit and keep germs at bay. Sleep gives your body the time it needs to rest and repair, which is one of the reasons you feel tired and want to sleep more when you’re unwell. Sleep supports the proteins and cells of your immune system to detect and destroy any foreign invaders your body might come into contact with, like the common cold. It also helps these cells to remember these invaders, so if you come across the same bugs and germs again, you’re prepared to fight them off. So a good night’s sleep helps to strengthen your body’s immune response, and it’s essential to allow yourself time to rest and recover when you’re not feeling well. 

  13. Take care of your emotional wellbeing

  14. If you’ve got a lot on your mind and are struggling with your emotions, going over things in your head can often keep you awake at night. If you’re up all night worrying, you might begin to see a change in your mood and a lack of sleep can leave you feeling low. This could then cause you to feel anxious and create more negative thoughts about not sleeping. This might keep you awake even longer and can turn into a vicious cycle of worry and poor sleep. Try practising mindfulness to help you sleep and take care of your emotional wellbeing. Or try putting pen to paper and writing your concerns in a diary before bed. This could help put your thoughts in order and help you to get to sleep. 

  15. Look after your mental health

  16. Not only is sleep important when looking after your physical health, but it plays an important role in looking after your mental health too. If you’re not sleeping properly, you’re at a higher risk of developing poor mental health.

  17. Reduce your stress levels

  18. There are lots of things that can cause you to feel stressed, and how you personally deal with stress will be different from someone else. But feeling stressed, for example from work, relationships, financial or health concerns, is often a key factor if you’re struggling to sleep at night. When you’re feeling stressed, your body releases ‘stress hormones’, for example cortisol, which can keep you awake. On the other hand, a good night’s sleep can have the opposite effect and relax the systems in your body that are responsible for this stress response.

  19. Maintain good relationships

  20. It’s no secret that a bad night’s sleep can leave you feeling grumpy. So making sure to get enough good sleep can help to put you in a more positive headspace. And when you’re feeling good, it’s likely to be felt by the people around you, like your colleagues and loved ones. So getting enough sleep can help you to maintain good interpersonal relationships.

  21. Not only that, but how much sleep you get can affect your language, reasoning and communication skills – all key factors when building relationships with others.

SPEAK YOUR MIND

How many of us have believed we should remain quiet, instead of consistently fighting for our truly remarkable ability to vocalize our thoughts? While it’s true that listening to others at least some of the time, can transform you into a well-respected person, sometimes echoing your voice into distant territories can change the world. Too many of us believe we are not worthy. But the most timeless route to demonstrate your infinite capabilities, and endlessly interesting thinking, is to open your lips and express something confidently.

Confident people know they have an advantage, because they’re more likely to meet potential friends, travel to out-of-this world places, and have life-changing experiences, than those who are the exact opposite of them. Regardless if you’re afraid to talk or can’t go a minute without talking, I’ve learned some key methods of becoming a more confident human being through countless moments of keeping silent. Read on to start living a more self-confident lifestyle today!

Practice expressing a clear point of view:
Most of us have spoken at least once, but instead mumbled a jumble of incoherent language. Just recall how many times you’ve muttered um or an uh, and weren’t able to define what you’ve wanted when you nervous about something. It’s not a big problem until it often gets in the way of getting what you want. Notice how people might have gotten what they wanted, and you had much less of a say of your own wants, simply because you weren’t able to articulate your desires clearly. Confident people know how important language is, and how it is both a tool to tear down hidden assumptions and a barrier to positive change. Don’t expect people to read your mind. A good tip is to take a public speaking course online or at a local community college. You’ll likely not only learn how to speak clearly, but learn how to speak better in general.

Set clear boundaries for yourself:
This is especially important, particularly if you want to become more confident to discuss what you would like to have. Say a friend has asked you to help clean their house an hour each day for five days. What exactly do you want? In other words, your request isn’t something that you kind of want. You could set a boundary of only vacuuming and cleaning dishes an hour, for three days a week since you’ve had a back injury recently. Imagine how much you would lose if you weren’t willing to simply disagree and come up with a more practical plan. Now say you’re trying to help tutor a student. You could set a clear boundary of only helping them if they choose to read their textbook first. If you didn’t tell the student that, imagine how they might have begged you to solve every problem without trying to help themselves first! Confident people are not only good at getting what they want, they’re good at knowing what they truly want. Try to learn how to set more maintainable goals, using devices such as SMART goals. Knowing how to set goals will help shape what your boundaries, and lay a groundwork into discussing your needs.

Take responsibility for your own needs and wants.
After all, no one is willing to take responsibility for what you need or would like to have, but you. People who aren’t confident blame others, when they could take responsibility for at least some of the issue. They think the world is too overwhelming for them to handle, so they refuse to step in and instead sit in the sidelines. You can’t always wait for someone to help you, so you have to take the initiative to help yourself. Confident people will be afraid at times, but they still do it, because they know that the benefits greatly outweigh the pain and fear. Make an effort to look after your ambitions, desires, and cravings. Instead of putting the blame on someone else, ask yourself ”what can I do to change this?” Start making an effort to take responsibility for your own actions by living a healthy lifestyle and being mindful. If you do that, a strong-willed voice might very well come easily.

Don’t speak to please others. Speak to please yourself:
Have you ever felt like people expected too much from you? Many of us expect others to act a certain way, and conform to a certain label, so that they can meet our expectations. I say to abandon that. The next time you want to speak for something, think of how you alone will benefit. What will you alone gain? What new ideals, or ways of thinking will you reap? It’s always good to do nice things, but you should want to become more confident mainly in order to satisfy yourself. Confident people want to please themselves, while not wanting to step on others people’s feet. Start planning and writing your own bucket list, and think about it for a little while, perhaps while walking briskly or having a shower. Do whatever you can, and edit it if you need to. It will help acknowledge what’s truly important to you, and cause you to want you to make yourself happier.

Conclusion:
The truth is, you’re not going to communicate more confidently around other people just by reading this alone. You’ll need to practice for days, and possibly even months, if you truly want to become assured, assertive, confident, whatever. Although all of this might seem too overwhelming to digest, it will become a lot easier if you learn how to respect yourself first. In fact, taking care of who you are yourself is arguably the most crucial method of not only speaking up for yourself, but becoming a more accomplished and enriched human being. Confident people also surround themselves with confident people, so motivate yourself to hang out with other people. And finally if you can speak, you probably can speak confidently. Put it to good use.

MULTIVITAMINS

Men require more of some nutrients and less of others, compared to women. A daily multivitamin can help bridge that gap.

Vitamins are essential to your overall health. They perform many critical roles in your body, from producing energy to ensuring proper function of bodily systems.

Not getting enough of certain nutrients can negatively impact your health and even result in chronic diseases.

Men aged 19–70 need to make sure to get enough of the following vitamins and minerals (1, 2):

  • Vitamin A: Necessary for skin, eye and immune health.
  • Vitamin C: Essential for your immune system and collagen production.
  • B vitamins: Involved in energy metabolism and red blood cell production.
  • Calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin K and zinc: Vital for bone health.
  • Vitamin E and selenium: Help protect your cells from damage.

Because men don’t lose blood monthly as menstruating women do, they’re at a lower risk of iron deficiency anemia. Therefore, iron requirements for men are lower (2).

While these nutrients can be obtained through a balanced diet, most people don’t consume adequate amounts.

SUMMARYNutrients are essential for your health, but many people don’t get enough of the recommended essential vitamins and minerals through diet alone.

There are many multivitamins designed specifically for men, which vary in form and price.

The following are some of the best options to consider.

1. Rainbow Light Men’s One Multivitamin

This food-based vitamin is tailored for men and provides added support for heart, reproductive and prostate health. One tablet contains 100% of the recommended daily intakes (RDIs) for nearly all essential vitamins and minerals.

It also contains a blend of vegetable juices, digestive enzymes and probiotics.

This product is free of gluten, dairy, peanuts, soy, eggs, fish and shellfish, making it an excellent choice for men with food allergies.

Amazon rating: 4.1 stars

Price: $35

2. Smarty Pants Men’s Complete

This chewable multivitamin contains 15 essential nutrients for men in six fruit-flavored chews. It contains the active forms of vitamin B12(methylcobalamin) and folate (methylfolate) for better absorption.

It also provides CoQ10 and omega-3 fatty acids for heart health and lycopene and zinc for prostate health

The chews are non-GMO and free of common allergens, including milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, shellfish, soy, gluten and wheat.

These chewable vitamins have 11 grams of carbs and 7 grams of sugar, so if you’re watching your carbs, a tablet or capsule vitamin may be a better choice.

Amazon rating: 4.2 stars

Price: $25

3. Megafood Men’s One Daily

This one-a-day, whole-food-based vitamin has all essential vitamins, plus added support for energy, stress, mood and prostate health

It’s made from non-GMO whole fruits and vegetables and contains no animal products, making it suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

It’s free of gluten, dairy, soy, eggs, fish and shellfish. Unlike many other multivitamins, it can be taken on an empty stomach.

Amazon rating: 4.6 stars

Price: $35

4. Garden of Life Vitamin Code Men

This raw-food multivitamin contains a blend of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants from 23 fruits and vegetables. Four capsules provide 100% of the RDI for nearly all the essential nutrients, except calcium and magnesium.

It’s formulated to promote energy and bolster heart, prostate, digestive and eye health. It also contains live probiotics and enzymes for digestive support

This multivitamin is vegetarian and gluten- and dairy-free, with no added fillers.

Amazon rating: 4.4 stars

Price: $53

5. Nature’s Way Alive! Once Daily Men’s

One daily tablet contains 22 vitamins and minerals, 12 digestive enzymes, 14 greens and 12 varieties of mushrooms.

It also contains adaptogens like ginseng and eleuthero for energy, saw palmetto and lycopene for prostate health and resveratrol and CoQ10 for heart health

This product is free of gluten, wheat and soy and has no artificial colors, flavors, preservatives or sugar.

Amazon rating: 4.1 stars

Price: $12

6. GNC Mega Men

Two caplets of this multivitamin contain 100% of nearly all the essential nutrients for men, except calcium and magnesium.

It also packs 400% of the RDI for vitamin D for immune support and bone health, selenium and lycopene for prostate health and antioxidants to protect against cell damage

Additionally, it contains a fruit and vegetable blend, key amino acids and nutrients for brain health, such as inositol, choline and grape seed extract

Amazon rating: 4.5 stars

Price: $30

7. NOW ADAM Men’s Multiple Vitamin

Two capsules contain 100% of the RDI for nearly all the essential nutrients for men, except calcium, magnesium and copper.

Not to mention, this multivitamin packs plant sterols and CoQ10 for heart health and saw palmetto and lycopene for prostate health

The softgel formulation may make it easier to swallow than a tablet or capsule.

It’s free of sugar, yeast, wheat, milk, egg, shellfish and preservatives. However, it does contain soy.

Amazon rating: 4.2 stars

Price: $17

8. Centrum One A Day Men’s Health Formula

One tablet of this multivitamin includes all essential nutrients for men, except iron.

However, it provides less than 100% of the RDI for several important nutrients, including thiamine, niacin, biotin, calcium, magnesium and vitamins A, E and K.

It’s formulated to support heart health, energy and metabolism and also provides 300 mcg of lycopene, which may support prostate health

This multivitamin is free of gluten, wheat, dairy, fish, shellfish and artificial colors and sweeteners.

Amazon rating: 4.5 stars

Price: $15

9. New Chapter Every Man’s One Daily

One tablet of this whole-foods multivitamin contains the majority of the essential nutrients for men other than iron, magnesium and calcium.

Moreover, it provides herbal and superfood supplements for heart health, immune support, stress and energy, such as maca, ginger, turmericand chamomile (

This multivitamin includes beneficial probiotics and is fermented, which may make it easier to digest and allows it to be taken on an empty stomach.

This product contains fermented soy and wheat but meets the FDA requirements for gluten-free foods. It’s also non-GMO verified, 100% vegetarian and certified organic.

Amazon rating: 4.2 stars

Price: $23

10. Source Naturals Men’s Life Force

Three tablets of this multivitamin deliver at least 100% of the RDI for most of the essential nutrients for men. However, it does not provide adequate amounts of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper, chromium and iodine.

It also features herbal support for men’s health concerns, including energy, prostate health and reproductive health

The recommended dosage of this vitamin is three to six tablets per day, so if you have trouble swallowing pills, a one-a-day style vitamin may be the way to go.

This product also contains soy, so it’s inappropriate for people with a soy allergy or intolerance.

Amazon rating: 4.2 stars

Price: $22

11. Nature Made Multi For Him

This iron-free, one-a-day tablet contains 22 essential vitamins and minerals specific to men’s health.

Additionally, it packs the antioxidants vitamin C, selenium and beta-carotene. Unlike many of the other products listed in this article, this is a basic multivitamin and mineral supplement with no added herbs or superfoods.

It has no artificial colors or flavors, no preservatives or yeast and is gluten-free.

Amazon rating: 4.3 stars

Price: $8

12. Vitafusion Men’s

This gummy multivitamin supplies 15 essential nutrients for men in two berry-flavored chews.

It’s formulated to meet the specific health needs of men as well as to support energy metabolism and a healthy immune system

What’s more, it’s gluten- and dairy-free and contains no artificial flavors, sweeteners, high-fructose corn syrup or synthetic dyes.

Two gummies contain 4 grams of carbs and 3 grams of added sugar.

Amazon rating: 4.4 stars

Price: $10

13. INNATE Response Formulas Men’s One Daily Iron-Free

One tablet of this food-based multivitamin is designed to support energy levels, heart health and immune response

It’s made from real fruits and vegetables, which may be easier for your body to digest and absorb, compared to synthetic vitamins.

This product contains more than 20 key nutrients for men, as well as a blend of superfoods and herbs for antioxidant and immune support.

Amazon rating: 4.3 stars

Price: $39

14. Naturelo Whole Food Multivitamin for Men

Four capsules of this multivitamin formulation contain extracts of 24 different fruits and vegetables. They also provide at least 100% of the RDI for all of the essential nutrients, except calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and iron.

Because this multivitamin is made from food, it has active forms of vitamin B12 and folate. Its vitamin C is derived from acerola cherries and its iodine is sourced from kelp.

Additionally, it contains digestive enzymes, probiotics and herbal blends that support brain, heart, prostate and eye health and antioxidants like green tea, turmeric, ginger, resveratrol and CoQ10

It’s non-GMO, gluten-free and does not contain soy, gelatin, egg, dairy, corn, yeast, caffeine or fillers. As a result, it’s a great option for both vegetarians and vegans.

Amazon rating: 4.6 stars

Price: $45

15. Optimum Nutrition Opti-Men

Three tablets of this multivitamin provide 25 essential nutrients for men as well as 1 gram of amino acids. It offers 100% of the RDIs for most vitamins and minerals, with the exception of calcium, magnesium, iron and vitamin K.

It also contains superfood and herb blends for antioxidant support and reproductive health.

In total, it’s comprised of over 75 different ingredients.

This multivitamin contains ingredients from oysters, so those with shellfish allergies should avoid it.

Amazon rating: 4.1 stars

Price: $35

SUMMARYThere are several multivitamin products designed to meet the specific nutrient needs of men. Multivitamins are available across a wide range of prices and forms.

BENEFITS OF HYDRATION

Water accounts for 60 percent of your body (or about 11 gallons or 92 pounds in a 155-pound person) and is essential to every cell. So it’s not to surprising that new research — reported on at a recent British Psychological Society Annual Conference — found that college students who brought water with them into an exam scored higher marks than their counterparts who didn’t have water.

Unfortunately, the researchers didn’t look into whether the students actually drank the water. Nor did they investigate the reasons behind the study findings. But the researchers hypothesized that drinking water could improve students’ thinking and/or help students stay calm and quell their anxiety — both of which could hinder their test performance.

Their thinking makes sense: Other research has suggested that staying hydrated keeps your memory sharp, your mood stable and your motivation intact. You can also think through a problem more easily.

Staying hydrated doesn’t just impact your brain, though. Here are a few ways water benefits your body’s health.

1. Water helps prevent dry mouth.

Water keeps your throat and lips moist and prevents your mouth from feeling dry. Dry mouth can cause bad breath and/or an unpleasant taste–and can even promote cavities.

2. Water promotes cardiovascular health.

Dehydration lowers your blood volume, so your heart must work harder to pump the reduced amount of blood and get enough oxygen to your cells, which makes everyday activities like walking up stairs–as well as exercise–more difficult.

3. Water keeps your body cool.

Your body releases heat by expanding blood vessels close to the skin’s surface (this is why your face gets red during exercise), resulting in more blood flow and more heat dissipated into the air. When you’re dehydrated, however, it takes a higher environmental temperature to trigger blood vessels to widen, so you stay hotter.

4. Water helps muscles and joints work better.

When you’re well hydrated, the water inside and outside the cells of contracting muscles provides adequate nutrients and removes waste efficiently so you perform better. Water is also important for lubricating joints. Contrary to popular belief, muscle cramps do not appear to be related to dehydration, but, instead, to muscle fatigue, according to Sam Cheuvront, Ph.D., an exercise physiologist.

5. Water keeps skin supple.

When a person is severely dehydrated, skin is less elastic. This is different than dry skin, which is usually the result of soap, hot water and exposure to dry air. And, no, unfortunately, drinking lots of water won’t prevent wrinkles.

6. Water helps cleanse your body — inside and out.

Your kidneys need water to filter waste from the blood and excrete it in urine. Keeping hydrated may also help prevent urinary tract infections and kidney stones. If you are severely dehydrated, your kidneys may stop working, causing toxins to build up in your body.

BENEFITS OF GARDENING

Staying fit doesn’t have to mean expensive gym memberships, and there are many health benefits from gardening. Discover the huge benefits gardening can have on your physical and mental wellbeing.

The National Gardens Scheme has called for doctors to prescribe patients with gardening on the NHS. A report published by The King’s Fund has recognised that there were a variety of health benefits from gardening, including reducing depression, loneliness, anxiety and stress.

Working on your garden is an excellent way to get all-round exercise for improving strength, endurance and flexibility and can reduce the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, obesity and other medical conditions.

To celebrate the warmer weather, AXA PPPhealthcare has released a new infographic, outlining 11 surprising health benefits from gardening.

health benefits from gardening