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While mental and physical health are often conceptualized as separate domains, our minds and bodies are inextricably connected. For instance, exercise increases the release of serotonin, which can elevate mood and regulate the sleep cycle. The simple act of worrying, on the other hand, can trigger physiological responses similar to the way physical stress and injury can. While the body has a remarkable capacity for recovering from a single acute stressor, chronic, repeated activation of the stress response can be especially damaging both physiologically and psychologically. Because humans have the capacity to worry about abstract and often non-immediately resolvable problems such as loss, career, finance issues and self-esteem, modern life can be wrought with stressors that lead to low mood, depression and a negative sense of self.

Because the mind plays a vital role in an individual’s overall health and well-being, an atmosphere that supports a healthy mental state can have significant psychological and physical benefits. Interventions to mediate stress can either be direct or indirect. This includes providing access to therapies that help promote relaxation and address mental or emotional trauma, instituting policies that improve sleep hygiene or encourage altruism and community engagement, and promoting the use of sensor technologies that increase awareness of physiological and environmental factors to inform positive behavioral changes.

The WELL Building Standard® recognizes the features of the built environment and identifies workplace policies that can be implemented to positively impact mood, sleep, stress levels and psychosocial status in order to promote and enable overall occupant health and well-being.

To read more about the MIND requirements of WELL, Click Here