A healthy and stress free workforce is something that all employers should strive for. Not only are such people generally more engaged and productive, but they also take much less time off with stress related illnesses, and employee turnover is much lower.
Teaching is undoubtedly one of the most stressful professions, with a recent study from the National Union of Teachers (NUT) suggesting that as many as 90 percent of teachers had considered walking away from the profession over the last two years.
What can be done to reduce their stress levels? A recent study from Linnaeus University and University West suggests a solution may come from the very heart of the profession itself.
Learning Your Way to a Stress Free Life
The researchers spoke with teachers from over 20 schools to measure things such as their health levels, quality of their work and the amount of learning is required for their job. The results suggest that there is a strong connection between the amount of learning we do on the job and our overall stress levels.
In other words, the results suggest that the key to a healthy life is not only for teachers to spend their time teaching, but also to spend a good chunk of time learning and developing their own skills and knowledge.
The Power of Flow
The researchers highlighted the power of flow, which is the sensation we have when we are completely immersed in an activity that is both incredibly enjoyable and highly effective. The authors explored the relationship between such a state of flow and the overall health of the teachers in the sample. As before, they found an extremely strong correlation between the two.
A large part of this is due to the impact flow has on our perception of work, with the state inducing us to believe that our workload is much lower than it actually is.
"Doing something that you are interested in, gives you a positive stimulation and the workload seems less high. At the same time, the challenge cannot be too big, there must be a balance between the demands an your own control of your work situation."
"What this research indicates is that to be healthy, we need to constantly learn and develop, in our profession and as people. If we enjoy our work to the extent that we are completely absorbed in it, as in the state of flow, we should have the optimal possibilities for a healthy influence from our work. So find a job that you really enjoy and make sure that you learn and develop at it," the authors say.
The message seems clear. If learning new things and having a strong passion for the work that you do can reduce stress levels in a workforce as stressed out as teachers, imagine what it can do for you in your own workplace.
See Also: How to Fight Stress in 10 Easy Steps
How much time and effort do you put into ensuring that you’re learning new things each day? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.