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Employee Wellness Get Inspired

Seeing Success: 7 Steps To Developing a Growth Mindset At Work

A growth mindset is the belief that a person can continue to learn and become more intelligent with effort, and that failure is an opportunity to grow. People begin to be successful the moment they decide to be. 

In contrast, someone who has a fixed mindset believes that they are born with a certain amount of talent and intelligence that cannot be improved no matter how much effort they put forth, and that failure is the limit of their abilities. 

In addition, someone with a growth mindset sees mistakes as a learning opportunity and openly accepts criticism because they believe it will help them grow. Someone with a fixed mindset often gives up and takes criticism personally. 

Out of these two mindsets that we manifest at a very young age springs a great deal of our behavior, how we see setbacks, and how we see our relationship with success and failure, from both a personal and professional context. Ultimately, it sets the stage for our capacity to be happy — do we ascribe to a fixed mindset where we think that we are born this way and there’s nothing that we can change? Or do we want to have a growth mindset where we feel that we are capable and worthy of success if we put our heart to it?

“Many people assume that there are only two possibilities when you do something — you either succeed or fail. What they don’t understand is that failure and success are on the same track; not only that, the road to success is paved with many failures.”

Cat Triviño, MindNation Head of Communications and Content

Here are some ways we can cultivate a growth mindset:

  1. Build transportable skills. This is defined as a specific set of skills that don’t belong to a particular niche, industry or job; rather, they are general skills that can be transported between jobs, departments, and industries (hence the name). Examples include learning how to solve problems, your ability to be mentally resilient, learning how to communicate in times of difficulty, getting things done within the timelines, and also your capacity to take risks. Building these skills early and keeping them sharp and fresh constantly keeps you grounded and builds your overall ability to keep going and exploring new things.
  2. Cultivate meaningful experiences. These are situations that take us out of our comfort zone and force us to adapt. Think of them as vitamins or antibodies that boost our immune system and help us withstand career change and adversity. Being able to be resilient in times of crisis is an example of  a  meaningful experience; when we see our hardships and things beyond our control as something we can learn from, they take out that fear of failure.
  3. Invest in enduring relationships. Great relationships can make you stronger and your impact bigger. Surround yourself with people who are good influences so that you will be motivated to become someone unique and indispensable. That being said, when it comes to relationships in the workplace, you will need one of each of the following:
  1. Community of experts — These are people you look up to, who can help you come up with better answers. After all, you can’t always be the smartest person in the room.
  2. Critical colleagues — These are people who constantly give you feedback not because they just want to criticize, but because they want you to be better.
  3.  Champions — Find mentors and truth-sayers who are on your side. They will tell you when you’re wrong, so you grow as a person.
  1. Anchor on your “why.” Inspiring ourselves to move forward and motivating others starts with us being clear on where we’re heading. So think about your purpose in life. What is your cause? What do you believe in? Do you want to challenge the status quo? Do things differently? Then from your “why,” allow yourself to create the structure, the “how.” How do you make your “whys” realized, what specific actions will you take? The result of knowing the “why” and the “how” is the “what” — what is your purpose? What can you get out of this?
  2. Reframe success and failure. Many people assume that there are only two possibilities when you do something — you either succeed or fail. What they don’t understand is that failure and success are on the same track; not only that, the road to success is paved with many failures. So it is important to understand that challenges or setbacks are assets. Failure forces us to learn and grow. Everytime we hit rock bottom, we should recognize it, honor it, respect it, and understand that this will only make us more skilled and better
  3. Trust time and the process. When we fail, it’s not because we didn’t try hard enough; sometimes it’s because the  universe is telling us that it may not yet be the proper time.
  4. Make self-care a habit. Self-care is what makes us feel good about ourselves and what we do. When we constantly reward ourselves with adequate self-care, we will develop a healthier growth mindset as well, because we will want to be able to give the world the best of us, not what’s left of us. 

A lot of what influences and fuels our careers and our lives are our purpose and mindset. Being able to know our whys and having enough motivation to be able to constantly see failures as growth creates not only so much bigger opportunities for ourselves, it also creates inspiration for others.

MindNation has a repertoire of webinars to train your team on how to build a growth mindset, have a purposeful career, and have happier, healthier, and more productive lives. Message us at [email protected] to know more!

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Featured

Kana Takahashi Of MindNation: Building A World Where Mental Health Is Valued, Accepted, And Supported

In 2014, Kana Takahashi was a bright-eyed pre-med student taking up Psychology at one of the Philippines’ top universities when one of her professors started talking to the class about mental health. “Back then, I didn’t know much about mental health,” she explains. “So when I heard my teacher talking about it, I got really curious.”

This curiosity led her to join the Youth For Mental Health Coalition — the only mental health organization in the Philippines at that time — and it was here that Kana became aware about the state of mental health in the country and the stigma faced by people with mental health concerns. Up until 2018, she immersed herself in advocacy work, learning not only about mental health but also about other causes like feminism and human rights.  From attending seminars, she was soon conducting them herself; additionally, she became involved in groups that pushed for laws like the Safe Spaces Act (which increases protection against sexual harassment, among others), the bill legalizing divorce (which is still currently being deliberated in Congress), and the Philippine Comprehensive Mental Health Law (which was signed into law last June 2018).

Along the way,  Kana started to reconsider her plans of becoming a doctor. “I started to ask myself why I wanted to become a doctor, and the answer I came up with was that I wanted to help people. And I realized that what I wanted was to help people now, not after four to five years of medical school.” With that in mind, Kana decided to just look for work that could sustain her financially and at the same time continue her advocacy work with the organizations she was currently affiliated with.

“I started to ask myself why I wanted to become a doctor, and the answer I came up with was that I wanted to help people. And I realized that what I wanted was to help people now, not after four to five years of medical school.”

Kana Takahashi, MindNation Co-Founder and CEO

The birth of MindNation

Along with some friends, Kana co-founded MindNation in January 2020, with the initial goal of providing mental health services for organizations, as mandated by the Philippine Mental Health Law. The company started with just four people (including Kana) and one psychologist.

But in March 2020, just three months after the company launched, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. Many businesses coped with lockdown measures by cutting down on expenses — including putting all talks with MindNation on the back burner.

A CEO of any other start-up would have wrung their hands and panicked, but Kana was unfazed. “I didn’t get worried because I knew that what we were doing had value,” she says. “It was just a matter of making companies understand that — especially with the pandemic — investing in people is not a waste of resources.  Before the pandemic, all that companies wanted to see were numbers — ‘How can the mental health program that you are offering me boost my revenue?’ ‘What’s the ROI?’  But because of the pandemic, we were able to shift their mindset from ‘How can this benefit my business?’ to ‘How are my employees doing?’

Going above and beyond

And while other companies looked for ways to tighten their belts during the pandemic, MindNation did the opposite — they started offering their teletherapy services for FREE to the sectors most affected by COVID-19, from Philippine-based employees and students, to retrenched employees, medical frontliners, and even to members of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+ community). 

“We partnered with amazing mental health advocates like Senator Risa Hontiveros, as well as LGBTQ+ organizations, and women’s organizations to offer these pro bono services,” Kana points out.  “The fact that many non-government organizations were willing to work with a business like us — which is very rare — is proof that they saw the value in what we were doing,” Kana says.

Growing strong

Today, MindNation has a team of 50 employees and 20 psychologists, some of whom are located in other parts of the world. The company is now partners with over 40 organizations across industries, has expanded into Middle East North Africa (MENA), and is currently looking to grow more in other parts of the world.  In addition, they have gone beyond offering their services solely to organizations; individuals with mental health and well-being struggles can now also avail of the company’s 24/7 teletherapy sessions.

“MindNation’s vision is to build a world where mental health is valued, accepted, and supported,” Kana explains. “And we can only do that by making mental health care accessible to all.”

Best assets

Kana attributes the company’s growth and success to its team. “Every successful company has great people, people who go to work not just to work but to actually make a positive impact,” she says. “That’s what I‘m really proud of. In MindNation, we don’t work to feed the pockets of certain people, we do it because we’re working on life changing things.”

When it comes to supporting mental health in the workplace, the company walks the talk and has made the mental health programs that it offers to its client-partners available to employees as well. MindNation team members have access to 24/7 teletherapy sessions with psychologists and WellBeing Coaches and mental health leaves with pay. “The culture inside is also great, we can talk to each other about work and personal matters while maintaining a good working dynamic,” Kana shares. 

Looking ahead

Kana is looking forward to taking up post-graduate studies related to mental health so that she can grow the company more and support more employees. “Personally, I want to be able to help as many people as possible, even in little ways, whatever help looks like for them,” she affirms. 

Partner with MindNation to build happier, healthier, and more productive employees. Message us on https://bit.ly/mn-chat or email [email protected].

Categories
Featured Self Help

7 Solutions For Time Management Issues


If your team is struggling with productivity, MindNation has a repertoire of virtual webinars to help employees with time management, manage stress, and avoid burnout. Book these talks for your team by emailing [email protected]

When you are better at planning your day, prioritizing work tasks, and eliminating distractions, you can achieve your goals and be less impacted by stress or burnout. Whether you’re a student, stay-at-home-parent, or working in a company, time management is an essential skill to have.

Here are some things you can do to manage your time better:

“By learning the art of saying a tactful “no” to others, you’ll protect your time budget and improve your focus on your most valuable activities.”

Salma Sakr, MindNation Chief Growth Officer
  1. Avoid multitasking. Many people believe that multitasking makes them productive, but all that shifting back and forth between tasks isn’t actually that efficient because each time you do it, it takes your brain more time to refocus. So try to complete one project or task at a time before moving to the next one; your brain will thank you for it. 
  1. Merge different email accounts into one inbox. According to a 2019 report by management consulting company McKinsey & Co., the average professional spends 28% of the work day reading and email. Get this time back by making a few changes to your email settings and having all incoming email delivered to just one inbox.
  2. Treat your calendar as your time budget. Time isn’t money, but it does behave like money; it must be budgeted because when it’s gone, it’s gone. So when you schedule things into your calendar, think of it the same way you would think about withdrawing money from a bank account. Everyone has a weekly limit of 168 hours; try your best to live within this time budget and never overdraw.
  3. Avoid having back-to-back-to-back appointments. Leave space between your appointments for unexpected interruptions, to take a moment to relax, or to prepare for the next meeting.
  4. Say “No” more often than you say “Yes.” By learning the art of saying a tactful “no” to others, you’ll protect your time budget and improve your focus on your most valuable activities.
  5. Procrastinate properly. When a new idea comes into your head, ask yourself, “Do I need to do this now, or can I do it later?” Appropriate procrastination can help you, because you’re still going to complete those ideas, just at a later date. Don’t limit your calendar to what can be done today or within a week; instead, think in terms of months or even years.
  6. Identify your Most Valuable Activities (MVAs). These are the top two activities that you excel at, the ones that would cost you the most per hour to pay someone else to do. All the other activities that you do during work time other than those two MVAs are your less valuable activities, or LVAs.

In order to achieve maximum results during the limited amount of work time you have each week, prioritize your MVAs in your calendar and delegate LVAs to your team or your colleagues when possible. By leaving less room for options, you minimize the temptation to multitask and improve your overall focus. The result: more disposable time, and you reach your goals faster.

Time will always fill the space you give it, so use it wisely. 

By Salma Sakr, MindNation Chief Growth Officer

Categories
Employee Wellness

Stop Idolizing Overwork: 7 Things You Can Do To Overcome Hustle Culture

Are you constantly on the go? Do you devote 110% of yourself towards your work or other responsibilities? Do you feel guilty for putting your feet up, taking a day off, or even taking a nap? Is your mantra “I’ll rest when I’m dead?”

If you answered “Yes” (or even a firm “Maybe”), you are part of the hustle culture, also known as “Burnout Culture,” “Toxic Productivity,” or “Workaholism.” “Hustle culture is this mindset that we have to work hard to be considered productive and exemplary, and that if we don’t, we are useless and worthless,” explains yoga and mindfulness facilitator, educator, and licensed psychologist Ria Tirazona

While working hard is important, the hustle culture practice takes it to another level. “Working hard means you devote your time and energy to something that’s important to you, but you’re still able to take care of yourself,” Ria points out. “On the other hand, hustle culture is telling yourself ‘I’ll rest when I’m dead.’”

“Rest is not the enemy, and slowing down is not wrong. You need to change the attitude that not producing any output means we are not worthy. Hustle culture can be changed, and the change has to start with you.” 

Ria Tirazona, Psychologist and Mindfulness Facilitator


Who is impacted 


Hustle culture is not just practiced by executives and employees; students are branded “mediocre” or “lazy” when they do not pull all-nighters, while stay-at-home parents are shamed for everything from not preparing Instagram-worthy food to raising paragons. 

Even worse, we are oftentimes our own worst judges. “As a teacher, I constantly feel the need to study more, to take another course, to get another certificate,” Risa shares. “Before, I did it as part of continuing my education to improve my skills; but now it’s like I need to collect more proof that I am competent.”

“We have become consumed by this need to have more, to produce more, to be more. And if we choose to do the opposite, which is taking it slow or easy, we are negatively judged,” she adds.

How it came about

The rise of hustle culture can be attributed to advances in technology — everything is so accessible now that the line between yourself and your job has blurred. “Before the advent of email and instant messaging, we had to wait until the next day to get the memo for the tasks that needed to be done. Now, we get emails at two o’ clock in the morning,” Ria points out.

Ironically, while the COVID-19 pandemic has amplified hustle culture, it has also shed light on its negative effects.

“On one hand, because the lines between work and home are blurred, companies expect that employees can produce more output because they’re ‘just at home,’” Ria explains. “And if you’re an employee in a company that’s struggling to make it, of course you’re going to hustle to keep your job.”

But to some degree, the lockdowns have also caused people to start becoming more aware of the negative effects of hustle culture — burnout, stress, anxiety, and poor physical health. “Because life is harder now, there is a growing number of people who are starting to say ‘No, I can’t do this,’” Ria shares. “More and more groups now are also highlighting the importance of mental health and well-being, which was not really talked about pre-pandemic.”

How to cancel hustle culture

If you want to stop toxic productivity and take care of yourself better, here are some things you can do:

  1. Ask yourself — “What is my ‘rest narrative?’” “If your mindset towards rest is that it’s bad and it’s laziness, then you will continue to overwork because you don’t want to be called ‘bad’ or ‘lazy,’” Ria says. “But if you believe that rest is a healthy way for you to care for your well-being and a space to connect with what is important, then your attitude will change.”
  2. The second question to ask yourself — “Is hustling really worth it?” Refusing to hustle when everyone else in your organization is doing it can be scary — it can cost you goodwill with team members, a promotion, or even your job. “But as much as we want to go with the flow, there’s also a lot of value in going against the flow,” Ria advises. “You cannot keep going with a system that will cost you your physical and mental health, your relationships with loved ones, or even your life. So maybe it’s time you stand up for what’s important to you — money, prestige, or your health?”
  3. Set and enforce boundaries. France recently passed a law making it illegal to send work messages after office hours. If you live in a country that does not have this law, take it upon yourself to decide when to stop working, and don’t be afraid to communicate this to others. “We also have to give people the benefit of the doubt — sometimes they’re not even aware that they are causing you to overwork,” Ria explains. “So we need to take it upon ourselves to advocate for change.”

A tactful way would be to reply to an after-work email with “Thank you for this email, I’ll respond to it in the morning/on Monday.” After a few times, your colleagues will know not to do it again. 

However, do know that not everything you ask for will be granted. There will be times when you will need to work longer or harder — to meet a deadline or take care of a work emergency, for example — so you should also be flexible when needed. Just be sure these are exceptions, and not the norm. 

  1. Make rest and self-care a lifestyle. “Rest should be a part of your everyday experience, not a special occasion,” Ria says. “So don’t wait until you’re sick or burned out to rest, which is what the hustle culture emphasizes. Slowing down is good because in that little place of pause, you actually become more productive because you’ve cleared the clutter from your mind.”
  2. Specifically, take a nap. If there is one thing that Ria advises people who want to stop overworking, it’s to take an afternoon snooze. “Naps have been proven to boost brain health, reduce fatigue, and improve our well-being,” she says.
  1. Know your “flow.” Note that resting is not the same as being unwilling to push yourself further. “We all want to be the best versions of ourselves; but part of that is knowing our capacities and when we’re starting to lose that capacity,” Ria explains. 

Psychologists call this the “flow,” a state of mind in which you become fully immersed in an activity, your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost. It is also a dynamic and ever-changing state. “Sometimes you’re at your peak and you’re challenged, other times you need to recover,” she says.  “So go ahead and challenge yourself, but be aware of signs when you need to take a break.”

  1. Follow the rhythms of nature. “Two forces exist in the universe. Yin is a passive, negative force, while yang is an active, positive force,” Ria teaches. “And these forces exist everywhere in the world, even inside us. So there will be times when we are more active, which is yang; and there will also be times when we need to slow down, which is yin.” Both need to be balanced so we achieve better well-being. 

Another way to look at our energy is to compare it to the cycles of the moon. “You can be at a phase when you’re creating something new, when you’re working hard, and you’re producing a lot,” she says. “But there’s also that phase of emptying out and recovering, so that you have something to draw from again.”

“Rest is not the enemy, and slowing down is not wrong,” Ria concludes. “You need to change the attitude that not producing any output means we are not worthy. Hustle culture can be changed, and the change has to start with you.” 

If you are experiencing burnout, stress, or anxiety as a result of hustle culture, MindNation’s psychologists and WellBeing Coaches are available 24/7 for teletherapy sessions. Book a session now https://bit.ly/mn-chat

Do you feel that your organization exhibits toxic productivity? Partner with us to build happier, healthier, and more productive teams. Message us at [email protected] to know more about our services. 

Categories
Self Help

7 Reasons To Invest In Therapy

Cost and time are two of the common barriers to therapy. You probably consider it an added (maybe even unnecessary) cost, and you wonder if you even have the time to squeeze in a session every two weeks on top of all the things you need to do. But just like you have no qualms visiting and paying for a doctor to treat a physical ailment, neither should you hesitate seeing a mental health professional for your mental health concerns. Below are the five reasons therapy is a worthy investment: 

“Therapists are trained to listen to you and help you out of your situation; and because they are essentially strangers, they can provide a safe and unbiased environment where you can be honest. “

Kevin Quibranza, MindNation
  1. Therapy can help you organize your feelings, thoughts, and experiences so you can get a better understanding of yourself. 

When you spend enough time with a therapist, you will be able to know yourself better and ultimately control some aspects of your life which you thought were not possible. A good example of this are people who have anger management issues. By talking to a therapist, they are able to understand the past traumas that shaped their present condition, allowing them to finally manage that condition.

  1. Therapy can help you have more fulfilling relationships. This includes with family, partners, and colleagues.

Your mental health defines how you view life. If you are in a state of depression for example, and leave it untreated, you may start believing that life is bleak and relationships are useless so you start pushing people away. But if you have a healthy state of mind, good relationships will always follow.

  1. Therapy can help you achieve your goals, stay focused, and hold yourself accountable. 

The ultimate goal of therapy is to remove roadblocks — whether innate or situational — so you can achieve your life goals. This is why we advise people to see a psychologist or Wellbeing Coach even if they do not have problems yet, so they can take preventative measures and arm themselves with certain life skills (i.e. communication skills) to make them cope with unexpected situations better.

  1. Therapy can help improve your mood and quality of life.

Therapy can give you opportunities which you never thought possible due to limiting beliefs such as self-esteem issues and faulty thinking. These are normal and are experienced by everyone, so it always helps to have a third party expert who can help us get rid of our own perceived limits and provide us with a different perspective.

  1. You are more likely to have better health and wellbeing.

We all have days when we are burnt out or struggling, and on those days, our bodies do not feel as well as they should — we have problems sleeping, feel extra tired, or even experience headaches or back pains. There is a direct correlation with how your mind is at the moment and how your body feels. This is why at MindNation, we always advocate holistic health — take care of BOTH your mind and body, as well as the other dimensions of well-being (i.e. emotional, cultural, and spiritual).

  1. Therapy provides emotional relief that you might otherwise not be able to find.

There’s nothing wrong with talking to friends or family — if you just need quick advice or a listening ear, that’s okay. But sometimes, we need more than a shoulder to cry on. There are situations that our family members or friends may not be equipped to handle, or they aren’t willing to handle it since they also have their own problems.

Therapists are trained to listen to you and help you out of your situation; and because they are essentially strangers, they can provide a safe and unbiased environment where you can be honest with your thoughts and feelings and not worry about being judged or shamed.

  1. Therapy is the “mental and emotional health education” that you never got at school.

Mental health education in our country still has a long way to go, as evidenced by the stigma towards those mental health concerns. By going to therapy and asking questions, you learn about your condition, ease your anxieties, and receive treatment that is rooted in facts and science instead of myths or conjecture.

I have personally seen what happens to people who do not take care of their mental health because they do not want to spend additional time or money to address their concerns — their conditions worsen and they end up spending even more time and money to treat them.
Therapy is a valuable tool that can help you to solve problems, set and achieve goals, improve your communication skills, teach you new ways to track your emotions, and keep your stress levels in check. It can help you to build the life, career, and relationship that you want. By looking at therapy as an investment, you ensure a better future for yourself and those around you. 

MindNation psychologists and WellBeing Coaches are available 24/7 for teletherapy sessions. Book a session now through bit.ly/mn-chat.

– Written by Kevin Quibranza, MindNation

Categories
Employee Wellness Mental Health 101 Self Help Work in the New Normal

5 Ways To Disagree With Your Boss (Without Getting Fired)

Speaking up for what you believe is a good thing, but when it comes to disagreeing with your boss, you need to be careful and tactful.

A 2018 study by Gallup reported that 94% of people feel stressed at work, with 35% saying that their boss is a cause of workplace stress. One possible reason for the latter is the fear and anxiety that comes when you need to voice a disagreement with a higher-up. While most workplaces these days are trying to establish a healthy culture where communication is open across all levels, dissenting with a superior is still a tricky thing. Doing so might make him or her think you are being difficult or disrespectful, but staying silent might give everyone else the impression that you are apathetic or complacent.

So how can you deliver your opposing opinion without suffering unfavorable consequences? Below are some strategies that you can employ: 

  1. Take note of the timing

Sometimes it’s not just what you say — it’s also when and where you say it. If you are in a relaxed team meeting where everyone is sharing suggestions and ideas, then feel free to chime in with your own thoughts. But if the discussion is starting to get heated and your manager is starting to display signs that they are getting angry, embarrassed, or feeling ganged-up on, it might be best to wait until things cool down. Then set up a separate, private meeting to talk it out. 

  1. Start off on a positive note. 

While work conversations should ideally be honest and straight-to-the-point, you will need to moderate your bluntness when you are talking to a person of authority. So begin your opposition by clearly mentioning something positive, like a portion of the idea that you liked. Segueing into the disagreement is much better than blurting out “I think your idea is wrong because…” right off the bat.  

  1. Ask and listen before reacting. 

Take a deep breath and try considering the issue from your superior’s point of view. Try to know his or her motivations for making such decisions; the best way to get them to listen to your side is to be able to reflect back to them that you understand what’s important to them. So ask questions, research the context, and gather information so that once you state your opposing view, it is based on facts and logic, not on emotions. 

  1. Rephrase the disagreement in the form of a suggestion

Instead of telling your boss what you think should be done, make it seem like you are asking for an alternative take on the matter. For example, you could say something like “I like your idea of holding team meetings every week, but what do you think about holding them on Wednesdays instead of Mondays so that….?” By letting your manager make the final decision, you still show respect for his or her authority. 

  1. Respect the final decision. 

Always mentally prepare for the possibility that you will speak your mind but nothing will change. If that happens, you need to respect your boss’s decision and let it go. Instead of feeling angry or sad, take the rejection as a learning opportunity; even if you disagree with his or her point, try to at least understand it, so you are able to support it. At the very least, rejection builds mental resilience, so you still get something positive out of the whole experience. 

By following the tips above, you can hopefully disagree with your boss in a way that is courteous and convincing but won’t cost you your mental health or your job. 

— Written by Jaclyn Lutanco-Chua of MindNation

Categories
Featured Get Inspired Men's Mental Health Mental Health 101 Self Help

6 Ways to Support A Man’s Mental Health

Expert-recommended strategies to get men to open up about their feelings or seek help

A 2020 survey by the non-profit American academic medical center Cleveland Clinic has found that the COVID-19 pandemic is having a bigger impact on the mental health of men than many admit. 77% of respondents said that their stress levels increased during the pandemic, while 59% reported they felt isolated. Despite these, the same survey revealed that 66% of respondents rarely discussed the toll that COVID-19 has been taking on their mental health, while 48% said they put off seeing a doctor for non-COVID-19 health concerns. 


While the reasons for men’s reticence to discuss their mental health may be complex, traditional masculine values such as self-reliance and stoicism are likely to play a role, with talking about mental health seen as a weakness by many. “We live in a very patriarchal society where men are expected to be strong,” says Sarge Lacuesta, Editor-At-Large of men’s lifestyle magazine Esquire Philippines. “We can’t talk to most men about their mental health concerns because they see it as a sign of weakness, and for some, mental weakness is even worse than physical weakness.”  


This stigma is particularly dangerous for men because they are more likely than women to turn to dangerous or unhealthy behaviors to cope with their struggles.  The suicide rate among men is 4 times higher than women’s, while they are almost two times more likely to binge drink than women. Not only that, men consistently have higher rates of alcohol-related deaths and hospitalizations. They are also more likely to have used alcohol before dying by suicide.


We need to clear the misconception (not just among men but for everyone in general) that showing emotions is a sign of weakness. “While it’s a healthy social skill to be able to behave professionally even when you’re not feeling at the top of your game, letting your guard down at socially appropriate times isn’t a sign of weakness,”  writes psychotherapist Amy Morin in her bestselling book “13 things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do.” “In fact, being aware of your emotions and making a conscious decision to share those emotions with others — when it’s socially appropriate to do so — can be a sign of strength.”

It is highly possible that a male friend or loved one is experiencing feelings of depression or anxiety. By following the strategies below, you can help the men in your lives overcome the stigma, feel comfortable to reach out for help, and receive the right kind of support: 

1.Take the mental health language out of the conversation, at least initially.

“Most men will take offense when you say that they might be ‘depressed,’” advises Sarge. “For them ‘depression’ is a dark word that means they have a disability and can no longer lead normal lives.”

For Sarge, a better approach would be to use the word ‘anxiety.’ “We’ve been hearing about ‘pandemic anxiety’ all over the news, so the term has become more common and accepted in our daily lives,” he explains. “So start the conversation with something like ‘You seem worried/anxious/preoccupied about something, want to talk about it?’ Most men are less sensitive to that.” 

2. Show relatable role models of hope and recovery.

While Hollywood celebrities like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson or Ryan Reynolds have been open about their mental health struggles, talking about them may not necessarily inspire men to get help. “Regular men will find these actors unrelatable. They will think ‘These are artists, they lead crazy, unbalanced lives, of course they’re depressed. But I’m not a celebrity so my situation is not as bad,’’” points out Sarge. “Instead, introduce your man to another male relative, friend, or co-worker — an everyday person who is also under a lot of pressure, a lot of anxiety, but is able to lead a normal, productive life because he has sought help. These are more relatable than celebrity stories.” 

3. Encourage a light-hearted approach. 

Humor offers a healthy means of coping with life stress, and men love humor. “So instead of making their mental health struggles sound so dark and technical, help them make light of it,” advises Sarge. 

The next time you catch a man brooding or feeling frustrated, help him recognize the potential humor in just how ridiculously frustrating and annoying it can be. In your imagination, take the situation to an extreme that becomes even more ridiculous until he finds himself amused. For example, if he is behind the wheel and stuck in traffic, imagine that hours pass, then days…until by the time the light turns green you are already in the future and cars can already fly. 

“When you are able to laugh at your condition, it means you understand it enough to make light of it and are not burdened, intimidated, or scared by it,” says Sarge. 

That said, using humor comes with a caveat. “When a person makes a joke about commmitting suicide, always take it seriously,” Sarge cautions. “Even if he doesn’t push through with taking his own life, it can lead to self-destructive situations.” 

4. Direct him to safe spaces where he will feel comfortable and secure

“Because of the stigma against male mental health, most men can become sensitive, defensive, or modulate themselves in front of other people,” says Sarge. “Most men will not go to a therapist because they think that it’s a waste of money, and that it’s a very vain or bourgeois habit.”

Men will be more likely to seek support for their struggles if it is made available online, if they are guaranteed anonymity, and if help is made available at more convenient times of day. MindNation’s chat helpline (link at the end of the article) is one such place; it is available 24/7 on FB Messenger and is guaranteed to be 100% secure and confidential. 

5. Call attention to his responsibilities — but phrase it the right way

“Don’t tell a man that he has to get help because he has to be able to work productively and feed his family,” cautions Sarge. “This promotes toxic masculinity and adds to the pressure he feels as the ‘man of the house.’ A better way to play to his responsibilities would be to show him that when he takes care of himself, he is also modelling good self-care habits to his family and ensures that his children do not experience the same emotional struggles as him.”

6. Assure him that asking for help is not a weakness. By reaching out for help, it shows that he is strong enough to admit that he does not have all the answers, and that he’s brave enough to deal with uncomfortable emotions like humility, fear, and embarrassment, head-on. And that’s a real sign of strength.

Always remember that it takes a village to care for a person’s mental health, especially a man’s. “Men are victims of toxic masculinity as well,” Sarge points out. “It places them in a vulnerable position that keeps them locked-in and unable to express themselves.” The important thing to do is to get the message across that they are not alone and it’s okay to ask for help. 

If you think a male friend or loved one is struggling, MindNation’s chat helpline on FB Messenger is available 24/7 if he needs someone to talk to. The service is free, completely confidential, and the staff is trained to ease anxieties. 

— Written by Jaclyn Lutanco-Chua of MindNation

Categories
Employee Wellness Get Inspired Mental Health 101 Self Help Work in the New Normal

10 Tips For Handling Difficult Conversations At Work

How to manage contentious exchanges at work without making things worse

Conflict is inevitable in the workplace. You have to deliver bad news, ask someone to make a change, or correct an inappropriate behavior. These moments all require conversations and these conversations are difficult. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has only amplified potential conflict. New working conditions and external threats and pressures have led to a rise in mental health concerns, possibly affecting work performance and team dynamics. As a manager, you need to resolve these conflicts in a timely and professional manner that minimizes disruption to productivity. But this can be easier said than done when emotions are running high. 

“We tend to view difficult conversations as a personal attack, a power struggle that becomes a win-lose situation,” says Salma Sakr, Chief Growth Officer of MindNation. “But if both parties treated them as an opportunity to grow both personally and professionally, to increase understanding, and to achieve goals, then we can address the situation sooner and with more ease.”

While there is no one way to have a difficult conversation, there is a blueprint that we can use to support us as we head into those conversations:

  1.  Before inviting the other person to a conversation, clarify your primary and secondary purpose. Salma suggests you do this by asking yourself two questions: first, what is this person doing that they should not be doing? And second, what is the person not doing that they should be doing?
    For example, you have an employee who does great work but is always a day or too late with projects. The primary purpose of your conversation is to emphasize the importance of getting work turned in on time. Your secondary purpose is to understand why there might be delays, what is the root cause of them being late all the time? 
  1. Never initiate a conversation when you’re overly emotional. “It’s okay to feel emotions. Your emotions tell you that a conversation needs to happen,” Salma assures. “But you’ve got to time it right. When you are calm, you’re in a better position to initiate and engage.”
  2. Anticipate resistance. Resistance is defined as any form of negativity or non-acceptance, an unwillingness to move forward. It means the conversation is either not happening or it’s not going in the direction you want. Examples of ways people can be resistant in conversations: 
  • “What you’re asking for is not possible”
  •  “This isn’t fair”
  •  “It will cost too much” 
  • “I don’t have enough time to do what you want”
  •  “I told you I’ve already tried that”

Resistance leads to non-productive conversations. The good news is there’s actually a way to test for resistance without getting trapped in an unproductive back and forth with the person you are speaking to. “Frame your request using the magic phrase ‘Would you be willing…?’” Salma suggests. “By doing this you are gauging how resistant they are and giving them space to decide if they are willing or not.”

  1. Don’t use electronic or digital communication to engage in a difficult conversation. “The urge can be pretty strong to hide behind an email, text or chat when emotions are hot but things can be ‘lost in translation’ when written,” Salma points out. A face to face conversation (even just through video call) is always best. And, if someone triggers you with their email, don’t take the bait and don’t defend yourself. “Just don’t respond. Ask for a face to face meeting. If that’s not possible, ask for a phone meeting,” says Salma. 
  2. Don’t play the blame game. The go-to response when you are angry is to point fingers, which will make the other party defensive. So control your urge to be right, to be understood, and to win.  Instead, practice active listening and get their side of the story. Until the other person feels heard, you’re only going to get defensiveness and disagreement. You don’t even have to agree. All you have to do is acknowledge their reality.
  3. Cultivate curiosity. “Being a know-it-all closes off possibilities,” says Salma. “If you think you already know someone’s motives, you won’t try to understand them. And if you already know what someone is going to say, you avoid communication.” So genuinely show eagerness to understand, ask questions, and make sure you are having a dialogue not a monologue. There are two people in this conversation, so make sure you act that way.
  4. Stay focused You’ve probably been engaged in a conversation that took a wrong turn. Chances are, you got distracted, you forgot your objective. Focus on what you want, not on what you don’t want. When you keep your focus on what you want, it’s easier to get to your end result and move forward.
  5. Redirect so you are in control of the conversation. If you do find yourself facing a lot of resistance, or the person using many distracting phrases, you can use the following statements to help get you back on track. Examples include:
  • “I understand where you are coming from, but right now we are talking about your project delays.” 
  • “That may be true but that is not as urgent as what we are discussing now. Let’s prioritize.” 
  • “I suggest we park that and come back to it once we finish our conversation.” 
  • “Clearly you have a lot on your mind, let’s set up more time to discuss that after we finish what we came to discuss here.” 

“This way, you are giving space for their emotions but putting a boundary that this conversation is focused on a certain discussion and that you won’t deviate,” says Salma.

  1. Don’t generalize. Eliminate words like “always” and “never” because you will lose the other person, i.e. “You always do this…” or “ You never do that…” Instead, you bring forward the specific observable behavior. “Last week, I observed you did this…”
  1. Create accountability. Just because the conversation has happened and you both got through it doesn’t mean it ends there. Make sure to put a deadline within which you want to see the behavior or results changed/improved. “Ask them to book it in your calendar so you can reconvene and assess progress,” shares Salma. “This will ensure they remain accountable to the changes you have requested.” 

By following the tips outlined above, it is possible to transform difficult conversations into constructive exchanges. You may not be able to control how others think and react, but you can control our own emotions, thoughts, and responses so that the relationship with the other person becomes better for it. 

MindNation offers Company Culture Drive Ⓒ Talks — interactive webinars featuring experts on mental health and other dimensions of wellness. One of our most popular talks is “Having Difficult Conversations In The Workplace” where we train managers on how to handle tough conversations with team members, ensuring the well-being of all involved. To know more about this email us at [email protected]

— Written by Jaclyn Lutanco-Chua of MindNation

Categories
Employee Wellness Get Inspired Mental Health 101 Self Help Work in the New Normal

3 Things You May Be (Unconsciously) Doing That’s Causing Stress

Stress may be inevitable, but it’s also important and manageable.

Stress is defined as any type of change that causes physical, emotional, or psychological strain. It is our body’s response to anything that requires attention or action.  

“Stress is a spectrum,” says Kana Takahashi, Chief Executive Officer of MindNation. “There is a good kind of stress, which provides us a sense of urgency to get important things done. On the other hand, there is bad stress, which can lead to physical and mental health problems.”

Everyone experiences bad stress to some degree, mostly because we may not even be aware that we are doing things that contribute to stress. Three of the most common causes of bad stress are:  

  1. Comparing ourselves to others

Doing this will leave us feeling happy and dissatisfied. “Instead of thinking about what others have, you should remind yourself of the positive things in your life,” says Kana. “This can be easier said than done, especially if you are a competitive person, but once you do, the rewards are worth it.”

  1. Procrastinating

When you put off a task, you build anxiety and feel nervous, which is a huge obstacle to peace of mind. “But when you take the time to adequately prepare for the day or week ahead, you can help eliminate stress,” Kana advises. 

  1. Sweating the small stuff 

Are you a worrier? “If so, it’s probably adding unnecessary stress to your life because when you focus on what could go wrong, you’re not letting yourself appreciate what’s going right,” points out Kana. “It’s especially important not to waste your emotional energy on things that are out of your control. So when you’re late for work because of a bad Internet connection, just take a deep breath and accept that it is what it is. 

The next time you find yourself spiraling into stress, take a moment to step back and see if you are doing any of the above. When you begin to understand the cause, you can take steps to combat it and protect your mental and physical health.

If you are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or just need someone to talk to, you can reach out to MindNation psychologists or WellBeing Coaches 24/7 for teletherapy sessions. Message bit.ly/mn-chat to book a session now!

— Written by Jaclyn Lutanco-Chua of MindNation

Categories
Employee Wellness Get Inspired Mental Health 101 Work in the New Normal

10 Signs Your Company Has A Healthy Workplace Culture

Healthy workplaces tend to exhibit a common set of traits that foster excellence, productivity, and camaraderie.

Mentally healthy workers are happier, more productive, and more loyal. As a manager, you must make sure that your company has policies and practices that support a culture of growth, employee engagement, and prevention of mental illness. Does yours fit the bill? Below are 10 characteristics of a workplace that prioritizes wellness:

1. Relaxed and productive atmosphere

People enjoy going to work and do not feel stressed or afraid. They do not have to worry about being bullied, harassed, or intimidated by co-workers. Managers encourage them to be creative and think outside the box. 

2. Staff that’s committed to excellence.

Because employees feel good about the company they work for, they stay focused and strive to deliver top-quality products and services. 

3. Low employee turnover.

If staff retention rate at the entry or mid-levels is somewhere around 10 percent, that signifies that the employees are satisfied and the company is doing something right. This is particularly true if they are in the retail, hospitality, or IT industry, where the turnover is traditionally high. 

3. Frequent, open, and honest communication across all levels. 

Senior managers have an open-door policy and juniors are welcome to voice their opinions without fear of reprisal. Ideas are frequently exchanged during meetings. Difficulties are resolved in positive ways. Feedback is viewed as an opportunity for growth and not taken negatively. 

4. Team members that cooperate, support, and empower each other.

Co-workers are close, loyal, and trust each other. They joke around a lot and laugh often. Everyone works smoothly together and does not engage in office politicking or backbiting. 

5. Diverse and inclusive. 

The workforce is composed of people of different backgrounds who are valued for their individual strengths and experiences. Employees feel that they belong but at the same time know that they are also unique among their peers. 

8. Flexible and innovative.
Employees are encouraged to find new and better ways of doing business, even if the old ways are just fine. Management is also brave enough to do away with policies that do not work. .

9. Positive reinforcement

People need acknowledgement, appreciation, and gratitude to be motivated. A positive company thanks employees regularly in the forms of rewards, bonuses, raises, promotions, and certificates of achievement.

10. Emphasis on health, happiness, and well-being

The company trusts the employees enough to allow them to work on a flexible schedule so that they can lead more fulfilling personal lives without sacrificing work commitments. And when team members face challenges such as accidents, illnesses, or personal tragedies, everyone goes the extra mile and treats them with understanding, compassion, and respect.

Job stress cannot be avoided, but a healthy workplace culture can make the stressful atmosphere easier to manage and yield positive outcomes like lower employee turnover rates, reduced absenteeism, and increased productivity. Regularly ask for feedback on how your workplace could be improved, and remember to deal with problems as soon as they occur.


If you need help creating a mental health and well-being program for your company, MindNation is an innovative mental health and wellbeing company that partners with like-minded organizations to build healthier, happier, and more productive teams. Its program is based on an individual’s holistic dimensions of wellness to ensure that services provided suit his or her unique requirements and objectives. Email them at [email protected] to learn more about their products and services.

— Written by Jaclyn Lutanco-Chua of MindNation