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Featured

Take A Step Back: 4 Situations When It’s Best To Be Silent

There are many situations where speaking up and expressing our thoughts and feelings is the best thing we can do for ourselves and for others. However, there are also situations in which it’s better that we step back and just listen. 

Learning to identify these situations is valuable because it can make or break relationships and affect how conflicts are resolved. “There are times when speaking up will only make things worse,” agrees psychologist Riyan Portguez. “So always consider the context, mood, and environment before you say something.” 

“There are times when speaking up will only make things worse. So always consider the context, mood, and environment before you say anything.”

Riyan Portuguez, Psychologist

Riyan shares some situations when it’s best to keep your peace. 

  1. When you are physically unable to think clearly.

This happens when you are tired, drunk, or even hangry. “Couples always receive the advice that ‘You should never go to bed without fixing the problem,’ but I don’t agree with that statement all the time,” Riyan says. “This is because if you are tired, you will be more irritable, impatient, and have difficulty regulating your emotions. These increase the likelihood that you will say something that you will regret later.”

So rest, sleep on it, and discuss the conflict when you are in a better physical state.

  1. When you are feeling emotional. 

While there is anger that can and should be expressed right away regardless of the circumstances  — when you are being violated, for example — you should also be mindful of the times when you know that your rage will be uncontrollable and hurtful to others. “During these situations, it’s better to take a powerful pause,” Riyan advises. “Tell the other person that ‘I don’t think I can handle this situation well right now, I need some time off, we’ll discuss this when I’m in a better state of mind.’” This at least informs the other person that you are not brushing off their concerns and are still willing to resolve the conflict. 

Now, if the other person still demands a response from you, you need to put your foot down and stand your ground. “If they are being insistent, it only means that they are also experiencing heightened emotions; you cannot expect them to think clearly either,” Riyan explains. “So tell them firmly but politely that you do not want to engage with them when they are like that, that they also need to cool off if they want to have a productive conversation.”

  1. When you don’t know the whole story

If you are asked to weigh in on an issue that you are unfamiliar with, speculations on your part can do more harm than good if the issue is about something that will likely have a big impact on another person. For example, if someone is asking your opinion about which vaccine brand works best against COVID-19 but you are not a medical doctor, admit that your knowledge is limited instead of sharing rumors or unverified information. 

  1. When you are explicitly requested not to speak.

This can happen when someone needs to have a difficult conversation with you, or when they just need a listening ear as they unburden themselves. In such cases, resist the impulse to defend yourself or offer advice; instead just practice active listening. 

Being silent is not a sign of weakness; learning to control your reactions and identifying your battles takes maturity. “Before you say something, always go back to your intentions,” Riyan suggests. “Are you responding out of fear, insecurity, or hate? Or is it because of concern or love? Your answer will help determine when you should speak up and when you should stay quiet.”

MindNation psychologists and WellBeing Coaches are available for teletherapy sessions 24/7 if you want to improve your communication skills, manage your emotions, or improve your relationships with loved ones or co-workers. Book a session now at https://bit.ly/mn-chat

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Employee Wellness Work in the New Normal

3 Tips To Boost Trust Between Remote Team Members

In the book “New Insights On Trust In Business-To-Business Relationships,” authors Sandra Simas Garca and James Barry state that when buyers and suppliers enjoy high levels of cognitive trust among themselves — that is, they are confident in the other person’s ability to do the job — it leads to better communication, easier conflict resolution, and more collaboration. 

The same benefits can extend to members of your remote team so as a leader, it’s important you ensure that everyone is working hand in hand to achieve company goals. “Trust is the only way teamwork can happen because if teammates don’t trust one another, there will be conflict and resentment,” advises Darlyn Ty-Nilo, President and Managing Director of Viviamo, Inc., a custom publishing and marketing company that creates various paper products for specific target markets. “Conflict will lead to lack of commitment, avoidance of accountability, and, finally, inattention to results.” 

“If someone in your junior’s family got hospitalized, for example, or if a peer’s home got flooded after heavy rains — these will affect their mental health and productivity. By knowing where they are coming from, you can make the necessary adjustments and support.”

Darlyn Ty-Nilo, Viviamo Inc. President

Darlyn shares three tips for building trust and boosting teamwork among team members:

  1. Create avenues for deliberate communication and work visibility.
    These are the first two principles of the “Visible Teamwork” framework created by podcast host, author, and career coach Pilar Orti. “It means creating structures where team members are continuously talking to and aligning with each other,” says Darlyn.  “When people are constantly updating each other about their work, it’s easier to find out who needs help or how ideas can be further refined.” 

In this time of remote working, this means making attendance to virtual check-ins and alignments mandatory. At Viviamo, Inc., for example, Monday mornings are sacred because this is when they hold their town hall meeting  — all of their 17 employees gather virtually and spend up to two hours aligning on priorities of the week and other matters. On top of these, departments are expected to hold their own regular meetings every week. 

It also means utilizing dashboards, collaboration tools, and chat groups to keep track of deliverables and project status in real time. “So if you see, for example, that the target was not met today, you can act on it right away and do better tomorrow, instead of waiting to act on it at the end of the month. By then, everyone is already stressed and anxious,” she points out.


2. Know your team member’s context and mood. Part of creating deliberate communication is making an effort to get to know your team members on a personal level. This is because an employee’s mood, emotion, and overall disposition can impact their job performance, decision making, creativity, turnover, teamwork, negotiations, and leadership. “If someone in your junior’s family got hospitalized, for example, or if a peer’s home got flooded after heavy rains — these will affect their mental health and productivity. By knowing where they are coming from, you can make the necessary adjustments and support,” Darlyn explains.

To encourage team members to open up, Darlyn has instituted a buddy system among Viviamo’s employees. Each group is composed of three to four members and they must follow one rule — no shop talk allowed. “They are just supposed to check-in on each other’s mental and emotional state,” she relates. Groupings are changed every quarter so that there is enough time for members to build relationships but also have opportunities to get to know others in the organization. 

3. Make time for planned spontaneity. This is the third and final piece of the Visible Teamwork framework. “Building trust cannot be all related to work,” suggests Darlyn. Virtual coffee hangouts, drinking sessions, and other virtual teambuilding activities increase trust  in the workplace because they allow  team members to relate better to their colleagues. Encourage everyone to participate in these bonding sessions, but don’t force attendance on those who beg off; instead, explore other options for establishing interpersonal relationships such as casual one-on-ones or more frequent chats with their buddies. 

Teamwork brings numerous benefits to companies. It fosters cooperation, broadens different perspectives and ideas which might end up bringing much better results, and increases productivity. 

MindNation conducts bi-annual Pulse Surveys so that managers can understand employee struggles, how they feel about the company, and flag possible sources of stress. Those who are struggling can avail of 24/7 teletherapy session with psychologists and WellBeing Coaches or participate in Group Sessions. For more information about our services, visit www.mindnation.com or email [email protected]

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How To

5 Ways To Effectively Communicate With A Loved One

Do you have difficulty telling your partner you are frustrated at them? Do a friend’s annoying habits trigger you, but you choose to stay silent to keep the peace? 

This is where knowing the difference between constructive and destructive criticism comes in. 

“It’s important to relay feedback to a loved one even when it’s negative because we want to help our loved ones to become better versions of themselves,” says MindNation psychologist Jessa Mae Rojas. “Additionally, when we are able to go through difficult communications with our partners unscathed, the relationship becomes stronger.” 

This does not mean you have to call them out about every little annoyance; some things are better left unsaid. “As long as what you are saying helps the person improve and does not make them question their self-worth or self-confidence, then that is constructive criticism,” Jessa says. “Everything else is just nitpicking.” 

Ready to have the constructively critical conversation? Here are some do’s and don’ts for relaying feedback to your loved one:

“It’s important to relay feedback to a loved one even when it’s negative because we want to help our loved ones to become better versions of themselves.”

Jessa Mae Rojas, MindNation Psychologist

DO:

  1. Time it right. Don’t do it when they are tired after a long day, or if YOU are tired after a long day. And especially do not get into the conversation when you are angry because you might end up saying something destructive instead. If tempers are high, step out of the room for awhile, take deep breaths, or do activities to distract you until you calm down. 
  2. Focus on specific behaviors, not on your partner’s whole personality. Don’t just say, “You’re just no fun.” Get specific instead by saying, “I’ve noticed that you don’t seem to enjoy online parties with my friends. Can you tell me why so I can understand better?”
  1. Give your partner a chance to explain or offer feedback. You have had your chance to speak, now it’s to sit back and listen. Remember that you are having a dialogue, not a monologue. 

DON’T

  1. Diagnose your loved one. “I think you have mental health issues,” or “Wow, your childhood really messed with your brain” will only deviate the conversation  from the main issue. 
  2. Make “You” statements. If you say, “You are impossible to talk to and you just don’t listen,” your partner will justifiably feel defensive. “I sometimes find it difficult to talk with you,” is a much more positive way to broach the subject.

If despite your best efforts your criticism is received in a negative light, don’t fan the flames by responding angrily. Instead, seek to understand why your loved one is acting this way. “Have a heart to heart talk; ask them ‘How would you want me to talk to you about this next time? Would you rather I write it down or send you a text message first, instead of talking to you about it directly?’” Jessa suggests. “These can help pave the way for more productive conversations in the future.”

If you and your partner are having difficulty communicating with each other, MindNation psychologists and WellBeing Coaches are available for teletherapy sessions 24/7 to help you build a stronger and lasting relationship. Message https://bit.ly/mn-chat to book a session now! 

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Featured

10 Takeaways From #LeadershipDuringCrisis: Tackling Mental Health During COVID-19 Virtual Roundtable

During Mental Health Awareness Month 2021, MindNation held its first ever virtual roundtable for business leaders to learn and discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected mental health and well-being in the workplace. 

“Traditionally, topics like substance abuse, anxiety, and depression used to be considered personal matters and not addressed in the workplace,” explains MindNation Chief Marketing Officer Cat Triviño. “But the lines are now blurred and we can longer deny the effects of mental health concerns on an organization’s bottomline and overall success.

Philippine Vice President Leni Robredo kicked off the event by delivering the Welcoming Remarks, sharing that “Building a better normal means constantly recognizing that no single area of human health is more important than another.”

In addition, data experts and mental health advocates Ajay Bangia of global market research firm Ipsos and MindNation Chief Insights Officer Piril Yagli discussed how creating a culture that values psychological safety affects a company’s growth and success during these trying times. 

Finally, top industry leaders Merlee Jayme, Global President of advertising agency Dentsu Mcgarrybowen, Mark Lyndsell, CEO for the Global English Region of business process outsourcing company Transcom Worldwide, and Kevin Williams, Country General Head of cloud solutions provider RingCentral, offered insights and new ideas on the implementation of mental health programs. 

Here are some of the key points shared by the speakers:

“We must open more spaces to talk about mental health, create avenues where people can share their struggles comfortably without feeling ashamed, and foster an environment of love, care, and support.”

Vice President Leni Robredo
  1. Mental health and well-being issues are a growing problem in the workplace.

When Filipino employees were asked to rate their mental wellness pre- and post-pandemic on a scale of 0 to 10 (where 0 is “depressed” and 10 is “feeling my best self”), they felt an 8 before the pandemic versus a declining 6.5 after the pandemic.
 

According to Ajay Bangia, the depression, stress, and anxiety felt by people are due to job insecurity, work pressure, and difficulty handling work-life balance. 

Additionally, people are feeling a high degree of isolation. “Loneliness is one of the key sources of mental health and well-being challenges during this pandemic,” Piril Yagli of MindNation says. 

  1. No one is exempt from mental health challenges, but some are more affected than others.

In the Philippines, employees who are 18-30 years old, working the night shift, and who indicated their gender as LGBTQ (or would prefer not to say) are the ones most likely to be struggling with COVID-related fears, financial pressures, personal matters, work performance pressures, and juggling work and family life. 

  1. Women with children are also facing greater amounts of stress levels.

Because of the pandemic, working mothers have to juggle being full-time mothers as well as breadwinners. “Their whole day turns into a roller coaster of work, then kids, then house chores, then preparing meals,” Piril shares. 

“Home used to be a place for rest, now it has merged into our work life,” Merlee Jayme of Dentsu Mcgarrybowen adds. “Work has eaten into all of our personal space.”

  1. All these mental health and well-being challenges significantly impact the company– to the tune of PHP7 million per year (for every 1,000 employees). 

This amount is lost due to:

  • Absenteeism. 13% of employees said they would take a sick leave due to mental health and well-being challenges
  • Presenteeism. 35% of employees revealed they are unproductive at work for up to two hours a day — equivalent to losing one day in a week or up to two months in a year. 
  • Talent loss. 5% of employees in a company stated that they would quit their jobs due to mental health and well-being challenges. 
  1. Unfortunately, not everyone is open about their struggles.

Only 10% of employees would tell their superiors that they are taking a sick leave due to mental health challenges. This is because there is still a stigma surrounding mental health especially in the workplace. Employees fear that talking about depression, anxiety, or other mental health concerns will negatively affect how managers view them and their job performance.

  1. Three things that companies can do to address the mental health crisis in the workplace:
  • Create a Mental Health company policy. While the Philippines’ Department of Labor and Employment requires workplaces in the formal sector to implement Mental Health Workplace Policies and Programs, many companies still have not created such.
  • Stop the stigma by talking about mental health openly. “Leverage mid-level managers to talk with their teams, understand their challenges, and make them aware what help is available,” Piril suggests.
  • Lastly, partner with a mental health and well-being provider who cares. While many corporations do have Employee Assistance Programs, research has shown that the usage rate of these support systems are lower than 10% because most of them are not accessible 24/7 all year round. “It is important to partner with a mental healthcare provider that has psychologists and WellBeing Coaches who are available all day, everyday, so that employees can get help the moment they need it, rather than waiting until it is too late,” she adds.
  1. To create a workplace culture that values and supports mental health and well-being, managers need to be more empathetic and employee-centric. 
  • “Show empathy. Let your colleagues know you feel the same way they do, that you can talk about real things, not just revenues and client budgets,” Merlee suggests. 
  • “Mental health needs to be overcommunicated,” Kevin Williams of RingCentral shares. “When people come to you, ask the easy yet hard question, ‘How are you doing?’ ‘Are you happy?’”
  • “What we need today are leaders and organizations with a high degree of Emotional Intelligence,” Mark Lyndsell of Transcom Worldwide adds. “As a leader I’m willing to sacrifice IQ provided I have leaders who are grounded, transparent, authentic, and flexible.”
  1. Listen and understand the needs of the organization. 

47% of employees think they have too much work,” Piril shares. “So please make it a priority to talk to your teams, try to understand what they’re working on, is there anything that can be simplified, automated, or outsourced?”

  • “In our office, we have Wellness Wednesdays,” Merlee says. “These are no-meeting days that employees can use to catch up on work or just zone out.”
  • “At RingCentral, we have a quarterly company CaRING Day — adding a paid holiday and an extended weekend to every quarter to encourage our teams to disconnect from work and recharge,” Kevin adds
  • Employees of Transcom are encouraged to communicate openly with their leaders. “Every single day we poll our employees on how they are feeling; and if they are feeling down, to tell us why,” says Mark.
  1. It takes action and collaboration from all sectors to create happier and healthier spaces for all. 

“We must treat mental health as an important aspect of our healthcare agenda,” says Vice President Leni Robredo. “We must open more spaces to talk about mental health, create avenues where people can share their struggles comfortably without feeling ashamed, and foster an environment of love, care, and support.”

  1. There is no health without mental health. 

“The last 15 months of the pandemic has shone a spotlight on the mental health of organizations and many have been found wanting,” Mark adds. “I believe that there is so much more we can and should be doing, and as a leader it starts with me.”

According to Piril, the top 5 things that employees want to overcome their mental health and well-being challenges are psychologist services, WellBeing Coach consultations, training on mental health and well-being, fitness coaches, and sick leaves for mental health concerns. “For a mental health and well-being program in the workplace to be effective, the provider needs to listen to the voices of the employees, understand their challenges, and provide solutions specific to their needs,” she says. 

MindNation uses a data-based approach to create proactive, customized, holistic health programs for your employees. Partner with us to build happier, healthier, and more productive teams. Email [email protected] now!

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Featured

7 Important Things Every Dad Should Teach His Kids

Fathers, like mothers, are pillars in the development of a child’s emotional well-being. Studies have shown that when fathers are involved, affectionate, and supportive, it positively impacts a child’s overall sense of well-being and self confidence. 

We asked Filipino journalist and father-of-three TJ Manotoc to share some things that  he wants his children — and every child — to grow up knowing so that they become healthy and happy individuals:

“My kids always ask me what my definition of success is, and I tell them it’s not how much money I earn or what kind of car I’m able to buy — it’s to raise them to become happy and healthy human beings.”

TJ Manotoc, Journalist and father of three
  1. For his sons, to always respect women. “There’s so much misogyny and disrespect for women nowadays that I want my sons to know that such behavior is not cool or funny and can really be hurtful,” he shares. “I always tell them that before they say or do anything to another girl or woman, they should first think about their own sister and mother, and how they would feel if they were the recipient of such disrespectful words or actions.”
  2. To know how to cook, clean, and do the laundry. “If you enter the adult world knowing how to do household chores, you will have a much easier time being loved,” TJ laughs. “And if you really can’t do chores or have the time — at least be neat and clean when you are living with someone else!”
  3. For his daughter, to be brave. “I believe it’s especially important to encourage girls to speak up for what they believe in, to use their platform for good and not just for aesthetics,” he says.
  4. And to learn self-defense! “The world is a scary place, and she should be able to protect herself and not wait for a man to come to her rescue,” he points out.
  5. For all his children, regardless of gender — that it’s okay to feel your emotions. “This is a bigger issue for sons because their feelings are stifled a lot. We should do away with toxic statements like ‘Be a big boy’ or ‘Be a man’ and allow our little boys to be human beings,” he opines. “If something bothers them, hurts them, or physically pains them, they should know that it’s okay to cry.
  6. Financial literacy. This includes how to take care of money, how to budget, what to buy and when to buy them, or how to invest. “I wish these were things my parents taught me back then and I hope that more parents teach it now, because finances are really something that a lot of people struggle with when they get into adulthood,” he says.
  7. To go ahead and dream. “Don’t stifle your child’s dreams by saying ‘No, you have to be a doctor,’ or ‘No, you have to do this, not that,’”
    TJ expresses. “Doing this puts a boundary on their dreams and tells them that they cannot be who they were destined to be. So allow them to spread their wings and expose them to as many things as possible so that they can discover their meaning in the universe.”

He adds: “My kids always ask me what my definition of success is, and I tell them it’s not how much money I earn or what kind of car I’m able to buy — it’s to raise them to become happy and healthy human beings.”

For TJ, the best way fathers can cultivate healthy and loving relationships with their children is to create opportunities where they can bond and spend time together in a very natural and relaxed manner. “One thing I struggle with is when I see families sitting down at the dinner table and the kids are “supposed” to bond with the parents, they are “expected” to share what went on during their way even if they are tired or in a bad mood. Instead of forcing the kids, parents need to find ways to pique their child’s interest and open them up to conversation,” he suggests. “Everyone has different moods — when they feel chatty or when they just want to be alone — so my advice to parents is to give their kids the space and time they need to be themselves. Trust and respect are essential to a positive parent-child relationship.”

Want to build a healthier relationship with your child? Our WellBeing Coaches are available 24/7 for teletherapy sessions to help you improve your communications skills and become a more empathetic parent. Book a session now through FB Messenger http://mn-chat or email [email protected]

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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

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Featured Get Inspired Mental Health 101

Top 10 Mental Health Myths Debunked (Part 2 of 2)

This time we talk about suicide, medication, and why seeking professional help is important.

Last week, we discussed some common misconceptions about mental health (insert link). This week, Prof. Jhon Carandang returns to shed light on five more misunderstandings about mental wellness. 

  1. Mental health concerns are like cancer; the person can get better, but the condition will never go away. 

Prof. Carandang: “This is partly true, but there is no need to regard it in such a negative light. People can and do recover from their mental health concerns, but they will need to continuously attend therapy, take their medication, or religiously practice self-care to prevent relapses. With the right care and support, many people with mental health issues go on to live productive and fulfilled lives, have good relationships with others, and excel and work. ” 

  1. When my friends confide their problems to me, I always give them tons of advice but they just wouldn’t listen. So it’s their fault they can’t snap out of their depression/anxiety/stress.

Prof. Carandang: “This is because more often than not, people who are troubled or struggling do not need advice; all they require is someone who will listen to them. I honestly believe that listening is the highest form of kindness that you can show others; when you take a pause and try to understand someone else’s perspective, it is only then that you truly grasp what he or she needs. Even as a psychologist, there are many times when I don’t say anything during the entire hour of therapy, and my patients are thankful for it.

The only exception to this rule is when your friend is talking about committing self-harm, suicide, or harming other people. In this case, you need to convince them to seek the help of a professional immediately, or offer to accompany them to one. If they are resistant, reach out to a mental health professional yourself, so that he or she can give you tips on how to handle the situation and convince your friend to see an expert.”

  1. People who take medication for their mental health will become addicted to it or experience negative side effects.

Prof. Carandang: “Addiction and negative effects to medication only occur if the patient veers away from the dosage or treatment plan prescribed by his or her psychiatrist. Never self-medicate, and always show up for follow-up sessions even if you are already feeling fine.”

  1. People who commit suicide display warning signs before committing the act. Their family/friends should have spotted the signs and been there for them.

Prof. Carandang: “More often than not, people who have suicidal ideations do not show signs that they are thinking about taking their own lives. Just as not everyone who is sad is depressed, not everyone who is happy is not struggling inside. This is why we should be mindful of our words and actions, because someone who is thinking of suicide is already experiencing severe depression, and what we say or do can inadvertently be the trigger that pushes their vulnerabilities over the edge.”

  1. Therapy is a waste of money. Why spend money talking to a professional when I can just talk to my friends for free!

Prof. Carandang: “Don’t think of it as simply paying to talk to someone; think of it as similar to going to a doctor when you have a physical illness — we don’t balk about paying them when our physical health is on the line right? So why should it be any different when we need to consult with a psychologist or psychiatrist about our mental health? Now, if financial constraints are really the issue, I think it’s also the responsibility of the patient’s friends and loved ones to pool funds to provide the necessary mental health care to the patient. Think of it as your act of charity; you could literally be saving a life by donating money to cover the costs of therapy. Or you can help them look for companies that offer free counselling services.”

If you are struggling or know someone who is, MindNation psychologists are available 24/7 for teletherapy sessions. Book a session now thru bit.ly/mn-chat.

What other topics about mental health and wellbeing do you want us to cover? Let us know in the comments below. 

— Written by Jaclyn Lutanco-Chua of MindNation

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

5 Ways To Recharge Your Energy

Managing your energy more effectively throughout the day to boost productivity

In today’s fast-paced world, multitasking seems like a great way to get a lot done at once. But according to American-Canadian cognitive psychologist and neuroscientist Daniel Levitin, doing more than one thing at a time is taxing on the brain and drains precious mental energy. “Asking the brain to shift attention from one activity to another causes [parts of our brain] to burn up oxygenated glucose, the same fuel they need to stay on task,” he says. “The rapid, continual shifting we do with multitasking causes the brain to burn through fuel so quickly that we feel exhausted and disoriented after even a short time.” This leads to a rapid decline in decision-making skills, creativity, and productivity. 

“It’s funny to me to think about how quickly we freak out when our cell phone battery starts to weaken, but how seldom we even notice when our own brain power starts fading away,” says Salma Sakr, Chief Growth Officer at MindNation. 

“So in the same way we  keep an eye on our finances to make sure we don’t go bankrupt, it’s important we pay attention to how we spend and invest our energy so we don’t end up running out. “

How can we best replenish our mental energy and attain consistent peak performance when faced with so many things to do at work and at home? Salma suggests 5 ways we can keep our body and brain primed throughout the day:

  1. Start your day right
  • Hold off on checking email, social media, or any media for that matter, right when you open your eyes. “This way you can fuel your brain with something positive, inspiring, or energizing first,” Salma suggests. 
  •  Don’t rush through your breakfast, coffee, or smoothie. Take time to savor the meal. 
  • Try listening to a guided meditation or podcast, or reading a few pages of an inspirational book. 
  • Go for a walk, do some gentle yoga.
  • Add a little humor to the morning by sharing a funny story with a friend or family.

“Once you get started and you feel that energy starting to flow, you end up doing more than you expected and you actually enjoy it,” Salma says.

2. It’s not just WHAT you eat, but also HOW you eat

  • Make sure to eat slowly, and stop before you think you’re full. 
  • Also make sure that you’re eating often enough to maintain a consistent energy level. Going too long between meals can actually cause your energy to tank and even reduce your immunity.

3. Find time to move throughout the day

“I suggest you try to get up and move for at least 10 minutes every hour using a 50-minute, 10-minute work cycle during the day,” Salma offers. “If you feel more tired, or more stressed, you may want to shift to 25 minutes on and five minutes off, so that you’re recharging even more often. You can even combine strategies, whatever the day calls for.”

4. Don’t forget to practice self-care

“Incorporate the things you enjoy doing into your routine, such as listening to music, using aromatherapy, doing gratitude exercises, thinking about someone you care about, or watching a funny video,” advises Salma.

5. At night, unwind properly

  • Place your digital device out of reach, because it’s way too tempting to check in when it’s by your bed.
  •  “If you have to sleep with the TV on, make sure to choose shows that are relaxing or even boring, so your brain isn’t trying to pay attention,” Salma suggests. “Also, set a timer for the TV to turn off.” 
  • Listen to an audiobook or read a few pages of a book. “Most people who read before bed only actually read a few pages because their eyes start to get tired and their brain starts to recognize this consistent thing they do when they are ready to fall asleep,” shares Salma.
  • Create a quiet comfortable space to sleep in. Studies show that a cool temperature of about 20 degrees is best for the body to rest, and you should also minimize light and sound. 

Take a few moments right now to write down a couple of ways you can recharge your energy throughout the day. Make sure your plans are realistic, and keep them short and simple. Then, think about someone you could ask to join you from time to time to help you stick with your commitment.

Make sure to  repeat these new habits consistently enough for adaptations to start to add up.  “A good rule of thumb is  the power of two days — never miss two consecutive days of completing a new positive habit,” Salma shares. “You can miss a day — because let’s be honest, life gets in the way and all our plans need to be realistic — but fight the urge to miss a second day so you don’t fall back into your old habits.” So push yourself (though not too much) and use the ‘2-day rule’ as a way to build your habit. 

Finally, don’t be hard on yourself. It’s not easy to break out of old habits and build new ones so be patient, start small, and be kind to yourself. 

— Written by Jaclyn Lutanco-Chua of MindNation

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

8 Ways To Improve Diversity And Inclusion In Your Workplace

A diverse and inclusive team positively impacts creativity, innovation, and the company’s bottomline 

Workplace diversity refers to a company that employs people of varying characteristics, such as gender, age, religion, race, ethnicity, cultural background, sexual orientation, languages, education, abilities, etc. Such a team brings diverse viewpoints and perspectives to the organization, all of which can help you develop great new products or services and ways to cater to customers. 

Partner with MindNation to build a workplace that is respectful and inclusive for all. Email [email protected] now.

A diverse workforce has many direct and tangible benefits, such as:

  • Higher revenue. Companies that have more diverse management teams have 19% higher revenue.
  • More innovation. Inclusive companies are 1.7 times more likely to be innovation leaders in their market.
  • Better decision-making. When diverse teams made a business decision, they outperformed individual decision-makers up to 87% of the time.
  • Higher rates of job acceptance. 67% of job seekers said a diverse workforce is important when considering job offers.
  • Better performance than competitors. Racially and ethnically diverse companies outperform industry norms by 35%.

Hiring a diverse team, however, is just the first step to success. The next thing to do is to create an inclusive culture, one where people from all backgrounds feel welcome. Inclusivity can contribute fully to the organization’s success, and is the key to maintaining diversity in the workplace. 

Below are ways you can support inclusion and diversity in your workplace: 

  1. Make sure your management team models diversity and inclusion. The makeup of your top executives speaks volumes about your culture and sends a strong message not just to your employees but also to customers, partners, and shareholders . Are men and women equally represented? What about people from various cultural and religious backgrounds?
  1. Observe diverse traditions, celebrations, and holidays from other cultures. The easiest and most fun way to do this would be to create a culturally diverse holiday calendar in the office. Encourage your colleagues to get involved and find appropriate ways to celebrate these different traditions. It can be wonderful for team-building and a great way for colleagues at different levels of the organization to connect. 

When larger organized celebrations are not practical, make it a point to personally acknowledge a significant religious or cultural holiday. Even just sending a greeting via email can mean a lot to a colleague especially if he or she is far from home. 

Apart from celebrations, be sensitive to your colleagues’ cultural or religious practices. For example, avoid scheduling client lunches during a time of fasting or holding meetings during a time of prayer.

  1. Foster diverse thinking. This is important because different people from different backgrounds and generations sometimes have vastly different perspectives on all sorts of issues, from how they compose an email to how they receive feedback during employee reviews. Make sure that team members cultivate their empathetic skills, so that they are able to understand how other people at the company think.
  1. Strengthen anti-discriminatory policies. Explicitly prohibit offensive behavior (e.g. derogatory comments towards colleagues of a specific gender or ethnicity), and reprimand, demote, or terminate offenders depending on the severity of their act. By protecting your employees from offensive and harmful behaviors, you promote a positive and inclusive work environment. 
  1. Be aware of unconscious bias in the evaluation process and promotion opportunities.

Some ways to do this include: 

  • Rewriting job descriptions so they are gender neutral and use words that strike a balance of gendered descriptors and verbs
  • Creating a blind system of reviewing resumes so you don’t see demographic characteristics
  • Setting diversity goals as an organization, so that you can keep track of your progress.
  1. Segment employee engagement surveys by minority groups. An annual pulse survey is common among companies, but many neglect to segment that data according to gender, generation, ethnicity, etc. By only looking at total numbers, you might miss the whole picture and an opportunity to identify issues pertaining to those groups.
  2. Have an open-door policy. One of the best ways to learn what employees care about is one-on-one talks with their manager. In order for these discussions to truly be effective, managers must have an “open door” policy so that workers feel comfortable in speaking their mind honestly and openly.
  3. Offer diversity and inclusion training. This helps employees understand how cultural differences can impact how people work, and interact at work. It can cover anything from concepts of time and communication styles to self-identity and dealing with conflict. 

Promoting inclusiveness and diversity within your workplace is one of the best ways to foster an open-minded, global company culture. Not only does this make good business sense—helping your company to better understand colleagues, clients, and customers around the world—it also makes the workplace a more interesting and personally enriching environment for everyone.

— Written by Jaclyn Lutanco-Chua of MindNation

Categories
Featured Get Inspired Mental Health 101 Self Help

Top 10 Mental Health Myths Debunked (Part 1 of 2)

We compiled five widespread mental health myths and asked our expert to address them one by one.

Are people with mental health concerns crazy or dangerous? Can friends who are depressed or anxious “snap out of it” if they try hard enough? Are teenagers immune to mental health concerns? Prof. Jhon Carandang, a registered psychologist and behavioral therapist with the Love Institute, helps us answer these questions.

  1. Mental illness is rare. All my friends and family members are fine, and so am I!
    Prof. Carandang: “It only SEEMS rare, and there are two reasons for that:

One — there is still not much awareness yet about the signs and symptoms of mental health concerns. Because of this, people don’t know that they or their loved ones are already suffering from depression, anxiety, or other mental disorders.

The second reason is the stigma surrounding mental health concerns. Even if people know they need to seek treatment or help, they are afraid to let others know or even talk about it because they will be labelled negatively.” (see #2)

  1. People with mental health concerns are crazy/unpredictable/unfun to be with so I should not hire them, get into a romantic relationship with them, or even be friends with them.
    Prof. Carandang: “It’s true that some mental health issues can be difficult to deal with, but only a small subset of people with mental health concerns display aggressiveness towards the general population. And if they do, the behavior stems from complex, multiple, overlapping factors (such as family history, personal stressors, and socioeconomic factors) and not because of the mental health concern itself. Many people with mental health concerns are responsible employees, great friends, and reliable romantic partners.  

Also, it’s not that they do not want to do fun activities with you, it’s because they are struggling with something inside that only they can understand, and this struggle can be very tiring and even debilitating, leaving no room for zoom parties, exercising, or eating out.
Instead of shunning people with mental health concerns, we should do our best to understand their struggles, empathize with them, and be patient. 

  1. Mental health concerns are caused by parental neglect or being scolded or spanked too often. It’s all the parents’ fault!

Prof. Carandang: “Mental health concerns are caused by many factors, and traumatic childhood experiences are only one of them. It is not right to blame a person’s por mental health on a bad childhood. There are people who grew up in loving families who end up having mental health concerns, just as there are children with turbulent family histories who grow up being able to cope with stress and negative emotions very well.”

  1. People affected can snap out of it if they try hard enough.

Prof. Carandang: “We are not in a position to know how much a person can handle, because we can never know the full story behind what he or she is going through. They could already be tired from fighting an inner battle that we cannot see. To say that someone can just ‘snap out of it if they try hard enough’ is a sign of apathy when what we should be communicating is empathy.”

  1. Adolescents don’t have mental health problems — their ups and downs are a part of puberty.

Prof. Carandang: “No one is exempted from mental issues — not by age, race, gender, wealth, or profession. Everyone is vulnerable, even young people if they have been subjected to harmful, neglectful, or stressful situations.” 

Stay tuned for Part 2 of “Top 10 Mental Health Myths  Debunked,” coming next Wednesday, January 13, 2021. What other questions or myths about mental health would you like us to talk about? Let us know in the comments below!

If you or a loved one is struggling with a mental health concern and you need to ease your anxieties, you can always reach out to MindNation psychologists thru bit.ly/mn-chat. Teletherapy sessions are available 24/7 and rest assured that all conversations are absolutely confidential.   

— Written by Jaclyn Lutanco-Chua of MindNation