Numerous studies have shown that using simple tools to help us retrain our mind to focus on the positive can increase feelings of well-being and decrease feelings of depression. These tools can also open us to the possibility of greater social connections, improved sleep, enhanced memory and stronger immune system function.
In February 2022, the Heart of New Ulm’s Worksite Wellness Action Team and Brown County Mental Health Action Team will once again begin offering New Ulm-area employers the opportunity to participate in The People Project, a free, unique project designed to help employees build resiliency and promote health through happiness. The project incorporates fun, evidence-based mental well-being strategies that result in better-connected, happier people.
The goal is to create a community that flourishes where residents feel supportive connections to one another, individuals have honed resiliency skills, and the community culture attracts people to want to live and work in the New Ulm area. The two HONU action teams previously offered The People Project program in 2020 and 2021 and approximately 1,500 employees at six worksites participated. The action teams are hoping to get more businesses to participate in 2022 in order to help generate additional ideas and partnerships.
Cheri LeBrun, human resources manager at United Farmers Cooperative, said, “Since we started the People Project, I have noticed a lot more ‘Please’ and ‘Thank Yous’ being thrown out and people noticing or at least asking if they need help with something. I thought we as a company did a good job to start with, but since kindness and gratitude were topics of the People Project, I really noticed how much our employees do show kindness and gratitude to each other.”
Sarah Mertz, retail manager at Midwest Bank, said, “We implemented quite a few of the suggested activities from The People Project and our staff felt like it drove them more. It helped to improve their work every day. They really appreciated the support they received from leadership to show gratitude toward the activities and the staff. Since COVID, we have not been able to do as much out in the community conducting random acts of kindness as we normally would, so participating in this program has helped to fill that gap.”
For companies that wish to participate, one or two representatives are needed to serve as champions. The necessary time commitment for champions is 15-30 minutes per week during the project, a one-hour kick-off meeting, pre- and post-assessments of 15 minutes each, launching a monthly happiness tool, and mini-group meetings every month.