Merge's Blog

A framework for boosting employee well-being (in tough times)

well-beingSajel Bellon is a professor in human and behavioural sciences, a psychotherapist, and the Founder of Mind Armour™ & SOS Psychotherapy. She is also my professional colleague, and I am so pleased that she is guesting on the blog today talking about what it takes to enhance employee well-being.  Given the pandemic that has drastically changed our workplaces, her post today about how to move people “from pain to possibilities” is more than timely, it is essential!

Moving People from Pain to Possibilities, even during a Pandemic

Think about a time when you were so immersed in a task or project and you lost all sense of time, everything else and everyone around you. It all faded into the background. A time where you were enjoying what you were doing so much so that you walked away from the experience feeling energized.

In positive psychology, this concept is referred to as a state of ‘flow’ (Csíkszentmihályi, 1997). Research has shown that being involved in more tasks and activities that allow us to be in states of ‘flow’ or engagement, have lasting positive effects on our well-being and enhance the learning (Buil, Catalán, & Martínez, 2017).

As leaders, managers and supervisors, we can make the conscious effort to incorporate opportunities in our working environments and projects, to create more engagement and experiences of flow. This can prove to be especially beneficial when considering and investing in professional development and training, where we hope to influence change. This is just one of many evidence-based techniques.

Socio-education is a Mind Armour™ strategy, where we leverage elements of education and well-being, emphasizing strength-based interventions. This cultivates learners with more than just learning objectives or outcomes. It develops the learners in the areas of resilience, optimism, mindfulness by introducing and exercising concepts like growth mindset, engagement, and perseverance. Mind Armour™ aims to revolutionize the current approach to mental health and well-being in the high-risk or high-stress sectors.

Use the S.H.I.E.L.D. framework

For example, S.H.I.E.L.D. is an integrated framework, taking the best from the principles of high-impact learning in education and the strength-based approaches from positive psychology. Right now, especially during these unprecedented times, while we are facing a global pandemic (COVID-19), we need to be promoting well-being as our main defense against future adversity and the consistent exposure to trauma that comes with high stress sector jobs, like being on the frontlines. Frameworks like this need to be integrated throughout the system, including in training and development. It’s not just ‘what’ we educate about, the 1- or 2-day awareness workshops, but more importantly ‘how’ we educate. Embedding the design and delivery with strategies to enhance well-being as a by-product benefit. S.H.I.E.L.D does just this. It introduces a strength-based approach which can be applied to every single person, organization…AND in every training session!

S ocio-educational Strength-based Strategies

H uman Connection & Context to Content

ntegrated & Intentional for Integrity

E mpowerment & Edge for Engagement

L earners to Leaders for Legacy

D emonstrate & Do with Discussion

Imagine leveraging these opportunities throughout the daily routines of employees and workers at all levels of the organization. Promoting wellness and resilience isn’t just about adding new practices and exercises to already jam-packed days, but more about leveraging what we already do. Being more strategic and intentional in design, strategic planning with a focus on future growth and innovation can be enhanced when you have people primed and filled with purpose and passion.

Leverage what is good

Let’s stop focusing on what’s wrong and the deficits. Instead, let’s leverage what is good and what is working within ourselves and our personal and professional systems. Let’s work on embedding and implementing strategies that will benefit our peoples’ well-being, while serving our communities in minimizing the ripple effects and stigma associated with mental health and occupational stress.

Let’s make our solutions simple, integrated and sustainable. As leaders, managers and supervisors, we can choose to be part of a bigger purpose and use our skills to influence our community and culture in moving towards healthier workplaces, psychologically and physically. Boosting well-being boosts people to perform better, ultimately boosting the bottom line. It’s well worth the investment!


  • Buil, I., Catalán, S., & Martínez, E. (2017). The influence of flow on learning outcomes: An empirical study on the use of clickers. British Journal of Educational Technology.
  • Csíkszentmihályi, M. (1997). Finding Flow. New York: Basic Books.
  • Park, N., Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. (2004). Strengths of character and well-being. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 23, 603–619.

So, what are you doing to consciously and deliberately leverage S.H.I.E.L.D opportunities within your people to boost their well-being?  Please share your experiences by commenting below.

Sajel helps professionals gain real perspective on how we talk about and manage stress as individuals, in organizations and as a society.  To learn more about her and her work, visit her website at

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