Unleash Your Inner Peace: Navigating Allostasis in the Workplace!

Coworkers sitting side-by-side in meditation, with sunlight streaming in through the window behind.

If you can learn to unleash the power of allostasis, you might be on your way to creating more balance and peace in both your personal and professional arenas. 

When faced with a stressful situation, your body activates a stress response system, usually releasing hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Once the stressor is resolved, your body returns to a state of balance. 

Allostasis is your body’s ability to manage stress. 

But in today’s crazy world, your employees have stressors coming at them from all directions. Repeated exposure to stressors can lead to what researchers refer to as your allostatic load.  This is identified as chronic wear and tear on the body’s systems, which can lead to physical and mental health problems…anxiety, depression…the usual suspects, which we know too well. 

As an enlightened Leadershipopedia Leader, you know that your employees do their best when they are happy and healthy. While you can’t control an employee’s home life, there’s a lot you can do to make the workplace feel more peaceful. Imagine work feeling like a mini retreat each day! 

Firstly, you’ll want to notice early warning signs that your team’s allostasis is out of whack. Employees who are normally pleasant and organized might start to seem forgetful, very easy to irritate, and may demonstrate notably volatile emotions. But don’t overlook the quieter employees or the charismatic ones. Many people have had to become experts at hiding their stress. So here are a few other things you might consider doing.

  1. Share knowledge. Help your team build resilience and manage allostasis by empowering them with knowledge. My book, Build Your Best Brain, is an excellent starting point that can be shared with employees.
  2. Brain breaks. Encourage short breaks throughout the day for mindfulness, short walks, or other activities that leave employees feeling connected and refreshed. 
  3. Flexible work. Where possible, provide hours and remote work options, allowing employees more cognitive bandwidth to manage allostasis on their own terms.
  4. Invest. Ask your team what small changes could add zen to their day, whether it’s setting up plants, warm lights, or buying noise-reducing headphones. If your team is remote, give them a small budget to try something at home. 

Most importantly, remember to lead by example. Begin your meetings with a few deep breaths, music, or moments of gratitude. Invite folks to do your team calls while they take a leisurely stroll. You’ll notice an improvement in energy, focus, innovative thinking, and collaboration! 

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