HES Unveils “Work of Art”

in Wellbeing

Work of Art LogoJozito’s Bob Merberg Served As Key Consultant For Innovative Emotional Well-Being Program

MindfulnessGratitudeOptimismConnection, and more.

The Art of Living an Emotionally Healthy Life

I’m delighted to tell you about a solution to an employee well-being gap I’ve written about often — a solution just announced by my client, Health Enhancement Systems (HES)…

Work of Art is a program about the art of living an emotionally healthy life, featuring the personalizationquality, and spirit that only HES can deliver. As a consultant on the product, playing a major role with background research, content development, testing, and some feature design, the release of Work of Art — a program I’m certain will make a difference in the lives of workers and the organizations that employ them — is one of the proudest milestones of my career.

I urge you to learn more about Work of Art, and to pass this message along to your colleagues, because it may just be the most important employee wellbeing product of its time.

Gratitude to Treat Mental Illness? Thank You, But No Thank You

in Uncategorized, Wellbeing

A new study repudiates gratitude interventions as a treatment for depression.

The original intention of positive psychology was to expand mental health, not to cure mental illness. But wannabes self-help gurus, and some mental health professionals, hawk positive psychology interventions as a panacea for clinical disorders.

As the study authors note, gratitude interventions have value (for example, improving relationships) —  but not much for the treatment of depression or anxiety.

Ultimately, the authors state (in Gratitude Interventions: Effective Self-help? A Meta-analysis of the Impact on Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety):

Consistent with past reviews, we found gratitude interventions had a medium effect when compared with waitlist-only conditions, but only a trivial effect when compared with putatively inert control conditions involving any kind of activity.

In other words, gratitude interventions didn’t fair better than other behavioral activities used as controls.

A remaining controversy is how the limited efficacy of gratitude interventions compares to popular antidepressant medications.

My 2 Biggest Employee Mental Health Flops

in Stress, Uncategorized, Wellbeing

What Were You Thinking?

Podcast interviewers and conference organizers often ask me to talk about my mistakes and failures. Thank you very much.

It’s okay; I get it. Others can learn from our mistakes and also take solace in the fact that we all make them. Listening to some presenter prattle on about how perfect their programs are  especially when they’re from companies with nearly unlimited resources  can be discouraging rather than inspiring. (Besides, if our professional social media is pervaded exclusively by self-promotion and ungrounded thought leadership, it’s hard to grow in a way that’s relevant to the real-life work environment.)

For some reason, two of my professional flops fell in the realms of mental health and emotional well-being. Continue reading »

Employee Happiness: “A Great Idea that Didn’t Work Out.”

in Uncategorized

In 2013, Carol Harnett and Fran Melmed interviewed Bob Merberg for their CoHealth CheckUp podcast (which is no longer in production). They asked him to discuss a “great idea that didn’t work out.” In this 2-minute answer, he talks about a positive psychology intervention designed to help employees cultivate happiness.

You can listen to the entire interview here.

 

 

Holiday Stress Programs? Bah!

in Commentary, Employee Wellness Programs, Stress, Uncategorized

The Joy of Sharing image

It may be too late for employee wellness professionals to adjust their plans for holiday-season programs this year, but now is an ideal time to rethink the holiday stress programs we typically offer.

Every December, wellness program managers promote programs about managing “holiday stress.” These commonly take the form of lunch-and-learns or communication campaigns. They have the usual catchy titles like Holiday Stress Less and Take the Hassle Out of the Holidays.

The holiday season is stressful for many employees — no doubt about it. And it’s distinct from other sources of stress in the workplace in that the conditions that cause holiday stress can, indeed, be modified with behavioral approaches.

But I suspect that our holiday stress programs add to employee stress. They contribute to a culture that considers stress the primary mental state in which we experience the holidays and, as such, comprise a self-fulfilling prophecy.

May I suggest a new approach to promoting mental health during the holidays, even if some of the content may be the same? Let’s offer programs that promote happiness and joy, rather than just trying to remediate stress. Next year, instead of teaching people to manage holiday stress, why not teach them how to nurture their holiday happiness? Why not publish newsletter articles like “How to Share Holiday Joy”?

Instead of “5 Tips for Managing Your Holiday To-Do List,” how about “101 Reasons to Enjoy a Holiday Vacation”? Rather than “Balancing the Burdens of Work/Life During the Holidays,” how about “Focus on Family this Holiday Season!”

[Originally posted by Bob Merberg in May 2010 on the In TEWN blog.]