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It has taken Rosalinda Ballesteros at least 20 years to be able to include the study of happiness in debates about human development. And it is not for lack of importance; it is part of human growth.

Stress and depression are the main causes of illness, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Still, there are those who insist on denying their potential for personal harm and impact on the economy.

That’s why Ballesteros, Director of the Institute of Happiness Sciences at Tecmilenio University, takes it very seriously. This year, at the eighth annual Wellbeing 360 forum, 15 world-class specialists and more than 150 speakers will take part in a summit dedicated to integrated wellbeing.

Let’s talk about the importance of happiness

The forum, formerly known as Bienestar 360, aims to provide virtual attendees with tools to improve their health and maintain a positive emotional state.

“This year, we decided to take on the challenge of the emergency as an opportunity. We managed to redesign the event so as to be online. Over the course of a week, from October 26 to 30, we will bring together more than 150 speakers on wellness topics. We’ve been thinking about people’s needs during the lockdown period”, says Ballesteros via telephone.

The specialist, who holds a degree in applied psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, emphasized that the forum is not just a space for emotional support. They will also be discussing physical health and communication strategies for interpersonal relationships, both at work and at home.

The five themes for the event are:

Positive organizations

Wellbeing in education

Life planning

Positive families, and

Flourishing cities

“These topics are those which help us develop the tools we need to face our changing world and its many challenges,” says Ballesteros.

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Without happiness, there can be no human development

Human development is one of the areas which Tec de Monterrey is working on as an institutional objective for the year 2030. To this end, the work of Tecmilenio is to promote integrated wellbeing through the Institute of Happiness Sciences.

“When we talk about human development, the issue of wellbeing is included in that. There are people and business leaders who believe in this. (…) And even if you don’t believe it at first, there are positive business results that can be demonstrated as a result of the changes that are made”, says Ballesteros about caring for people in organizations.

For example, the WHO notes that “Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide and is a major contributor to the overall global burden of disease.” Helping people to have better integrated wellbeing impacts on industry and societies.

This relationship has not escaped the attention of health systems. In Mexico, it is already the responsibility of companies to take care of their employees. Official Mexican Standard 035-STPS-2018 aims to identify, analyze, and prevent psychosocial risk in the workplace.

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The wellness circle

If you take care of employees, you also take care of citizens. The work of Ballesteros at the head of the Institute of Happiness Sciences has taken a long time but it is now bearing fruit. There is now a standard for taking care of employees’ psychosocial health. Businesses are beginning to incorporate treatment in order to improve productivity.

“In Mexico, the leaders of organizations are more and more concerned with health and wellbeing. This is very important for job performance,” says Gizehlle García, a certified corporate wellness coach.

García’s job is precisely that of making employers aware of the benefits of looking after their employees. In Mexico, integrated wellbeing still needs to be included in all areas of development.

“When we started the forum eight years ago, the topic of wellness was seen as something weird. What we did was create the Institute of Happiness Sciences to give the subject the necessary importance,” says Ballesteros.

Her work, which goes further than the legislation, can no longer go unnoticed. NOM-035 means that companies can be fined if they neglect the psychosocial health of their employees.

“Universities like Yale teach the subject of happiness and 25% of the university’s population is enrolled. This confirms that we are on the right track,” highlights the professor.

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