Work as a source of mental well-being

When work goes well, it also feels good. With a smooth work flow, the employee can feel the value of their work. Often, it feels like “I’m good to have figured this out”. One’s self-esteem increases as things progress and get done, writes Occupational Psychologist and Service Manager Susanna Paarlahti.


Many things are needed for work to flow well from one’s professional skills to having circumstances that do not obstruct working. However, people are ready to make an effort for a feeling of meaningfulness in order for things to work and the work to flow. The efforts are worth it sufficiently often even though they might also tax your strength.


Interaction increases the flow and the sense of belonging


A good work flow is characterised by functioning interaction with others in which the flow of information functions and feelings are shared. Joy is allowed to spread, while concerns are approached with the sense of solution. No one hides information, news spread and reactions to news strengthen the sense of togetherness in a meaningful way.


Everyone can feel like they belong in this group that works together. The sense of belonging creates the willingness to help and the boldness to ask for someone else’s opinion or help.


The goal is mutual. Reaching it creates value for everyone in the work community.


Many workplaces have experienced the above at least occasionally. However, if work stress extends, it may lead to an accumulated workload in which both the atmosphere and flow of work start to crumble.


Stressful work may threaten the mutual vision


With an accumulated workload, the situation may lead to a vicious cycle — sometimes fast, sometimes slow and unnoticed. In particular, if it happens slowly, it may be difficult to identify realistically that the positive flow has not existed for a long time.


Attention may have been paid to new, hopefully temporary, disturbances caused by efforts to solve the situation. At the same time, many members of the work community may accumulate too much recovery deficit.


If the situation at the workplace needs to be fixed, it is worth evaluating whether to start by fixing the recovery deficit or by creating a shared goal vision. In a work community, there is a tendency to look to the past: to draw inspiration for the future by going through past experiences. If this is the case, it is important to ensure that everyone has the capacity to do this.


There is a risk of drowning in the past if thinking about previous experiences arouses feelings that pull you away. This creates anxiety and blocks energy from flowing. The anxiety disappears, however, when you get a hold of the shared goal vision again. You can find your own place and feel like you are ready to work again.


How do you find solutions for work flow issues?


Finding solutions at the workplace is primarily about management and working together. However, an occupational health team and an occupational psychologist appointed to the organisation can support supervisory work or lead discussions in the work community when the creation of a goal vision is starting or the community feels stuck in some way. You can contact your occupational health team through your appointed occupational health nurse.


For some members of the work community, experiences related to atmosphere reforms may arouse emotions and require processing. In this case, talking to an outsider may open locks inside the mind just as a massage releases tension in the muscles. You can find a way to express what you are feeling, put things in perspective and find their place.


Pihlajalinna’s Worry in Mind mental health line is the right address for discussions to inspect your experiences, wishes and needs. We offer quick, low-threshold discussion support as well as more regular brief therapy for a couple of months.


More information about the Worry in Mind mental health line for occupational health customers (in Finnish)



Susanna Paarlahti,

Service Manager, Occupational Health Psychology




Do you know how to utilise your occupational health team’s psychologist?


All of Pihlajalinna’s organisational customers have a dedicated multi-professional team including an occupational psychologist.


The occupational psychologist is a specialist on psychosocial matters, i.e. questions impacting the well-being of the mind. The questions may be related to interaction in the work community, improving the flow of work processes, memory load, clarifying conceptualisation and recovering from work stress. Even questions related to identifying the strengths of employees of various ages, the benefits of various management methods or processing phases that used to burden the work community are issues that could potentially be processed with the psychologist in your occupational health team.


For example, the occupational psychologist can evaluate the psychosocial circumstances of the work as part of a workplace survey. They can also participate in the planning of the following year’s action plan. Or they could help the supervisor think in problem situations, just like the pilot helps the ship’s captain when the shipping lane is particularly difficult to navigate.


The team’s occupational psychologist supports the entire work community in multisectoral processes with multiple phases. You can contact the occupational psychologist in your occupational health team through your appointed occupational health nurse.




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