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Wellness in the Workplace

How can we create a work life that is healthy and joyful?

March 5, 2012

Recently, Jane Aldrich, WLNS Anchor and JoyWorker, Mark Stiles of the Connections Television Show and Dr. Jean Morciglio, Dean of Extended Learning and Professional Studies from Lansing Community College, discussed how to increase health, wellness and happiness in the workplace.

Jane, How did you get interested in promoting workplace wellness?
I got to a point in my life where the news I would take home with me would be so overwhelming, I would come home and be grumpy and crabby. I was not being a very positive person at all. The first thing I would want to do is try to numb myself out, and I think a lot of people do that.

How did that lead to your current practice that promotes workplace wellness?
For the last 30 years I have been doing reading, research, and reporting that tells me that there are other and better ways to deal with stress.

What have you learned?
It's all about the mind, body, and spirit connection. And I add a fourth, which is emotions. We now know so much more about how the body works and the physiology and how it is directly impacted by our thoughts and our emotions. There are studies that show the effect of seeing happy movies that make you laugh and sad movies that make you cry and what happens to your cardiac system as a result. Happy people are healthier people. So my focus now in life is to help people remember how to be happy.

What are some specific strategies we can use to promote health and wellness in the workplace?
The things that help me navigate my busy life, being in the limelight, and also having to sometimes report on negative news, is to start my day, every day, in gratitude. Gratitude for me is just going back to appreciating what I have, and feeling the gratefulness of that. Do things physically... we are talking about exercise. It can be little things daily. Even the food you eat is important. Finding a little bit of quiet time can also be beneficial. Open a book that inspires you, close your eyes, pray, meditate, there are ways to learn those things. Whatever feels right to you, still your mind, and breathe. Find the things you are grateful for, and just listen.

What advice can you give someone who is struggling at work?
First and foremost, you have to practice what you want to experience yourself. See the positive aspects of everyone around you. Every time you think about a person, only think about the good things. To me, by appreciating people, by stating things out loud, I appreciate this about you, I appreciated that you did this, thank you for doing that makes the workplace more positive. Our whole work environment would change astronomically if people started to say thank you.

How are these strategies connected?
Appreciation, gratitude, exercise, and quiet time all work together to form a cohesive person. I love the quote "When you know better, you do better." ~ Maya Angelou

Jean, are there some courses at LCC that help people find a better work/life balance?
I agree that the more you know, the more confident you are. So taking a skill building class like a computer class can be very helpful. You might also take some things for pure enjoyment, such as photography or memoir writing.


Jane Aldrich is news anchor for WLNS-TV and offers workshops, presentations, and life coaching through JoyWorker. Visit her website at www.joyworker.com.

Dr. Jean Morciglio can be reached at morcigj@lcc.edu.

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