Yoga and meditation in the office to improve mental health in the workplace

The pace of life in modern society causes many workers to take on prolonged stress over time, which can lead to health problems. In fact, according to World Health Organization (WHO) and on International Labor Organization (ILO) approximately 12 billion workdays are lost each year due to depression and anxiety, costing the global economy nearly a trillion dollars.

This data needs to be acted upon. The WHO Global Guidelines on Mental Health at Work recommend measures to address mental health risks such as heavy workload, negative behavior and other factors that cause distress in the workplace. For the first time, on WHO recommends training for managers so they can prevent stressful work environments and respond to workers who are suffering.

The WHO World Mental Health Report (Overview), published in June 2022, showed that of the one billion people living with a mental disorder in 2019, 15% of working-age adults had a mental disorder. The work amplifies wider social problems than negatively affect mental healthsuch as discrimination and inequality. Bullying and psychological abuse (aka mobbing) is a key complaint of workplace bullying that has a negative impact on mental health. However, discussing or disclosing mental health remains taboo in workplaces around the world.

An individual’s well-being is reason enough to act, but poor mental health can also have a debilitating effect on a person’s performance and productivityDr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO

The guidelines also recommend better ways to meet the needs of workers with mental health problems, offer interventions that support their return to work and, in the case of those with serious mental health problems, offer interventions that facilitate their return to paid work. Importantly, the guidelines call for targeted interventions to protect health, humanitarian and emergency workers.

yoga and meditation

Within the framework of the WHO recommendations, the implementation of physical activities such as yoga: “Providing opportunities for leisure-based physical activity, such as resistance training, strength training, aerobic training, walking or yoga, may be considered for workers to improve health, mental health and work capacity,” for these workers with emotional stress, he recommends “evaluating physical exercise, such as aerobic and weight training, to reduce symptoms.”


Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the WHO says: “It is time to focus on the harmful impact that work can have on our mental health” and adds “The well-being of the individual is reason enough to act, but poor mental health is also can have a debilitating effect on a person’s performance and productivity. These new guidelines can help prevent negative work situations and cultures and offer much-needed mental health protection and support to workers.

Mental health risks

A separate WHO/ILO document explains WHO guidance on practical strategies for governments, employers and workers and their organizations in the public and private sectors. The The aim is to support prevention of mental health risks, protecting and promoting mental health in the workplace and supporting people with mental health problems to participate and thrive in the world of work. Investment and leadership will be essential to the implementation of the strategies.

“Because people are spending much of his life at workA safe and healthy work environment is essential. We need to invest to build a culture of mental health prevention in the workplace, reform the working environment to end stigma and social exclusion and ensure that employees with mental health conditions feel protected and supported,” said Guy Ryder, Director General of the ILO.

The ILO Convention on Safety and Health at Work (No. 155) and Recommendation (No. 164) provide a legal framework to protect the health and safety of workers. However, the WHO Mental Health Atlas found that only 35% of countries reported having national work-related mental health promotion and prevention programmes.


COVID-19 has caused a 25% increase in overall anxiety and depression worldwide, highlighting the unpreparedness of governments to deal with its impact on mental health and reveals chronic shortage of mental health resources Worldwide. In 2020, governments worldwide spent an average of only 2% of health budgets on mental health, with lower-middle-income countries spending less than 1%.

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