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Get Inspired

5 Fearless Females Who Are Inspiring Us Right Now

To cap off International Women’s Month, here are five women who are breaking biases, smashing the glass ceiling, and paving the way for future generations.

  1. Jessica Jung
    Korean-American singer, songwriter, actress, novelist, and businesswoman

“I actually learned that you should never give up, and if you love something, take courage and absolutely go after it.” — Jessica Jung

Jessica rose to fame in 2007 as one of nine members of the K-pop girl group Girls’ Generation. The group was dubbed by TIME Magazine as one of the most influential K-pop acts that helped introduce Korean music to the world, and in 2013 even became the first K-pop group to reach 100 million views on YouTube. 

In 2014, Jessica launched her luxury brand business Blanc & Eclare. She was subsequently dismissed from Girls’ Generation due to conflicts between the group’s schedule and her work with Blanc & Eclare. Even though fans questioned her decision, Jessica continued to follow her own path, releasing new music as a solo artist and becoming an actress. Blanc & Declare’s products are now being sold in around sixty stores in locations such as Seoul, New York, Beijing, Hong Kong, Bangkok, Taiwan, Shanghai, Tokyo, and Vancouver. In 2020, she published Shine, a young adult romance novel about a Korean-American K-pop trainee whose experience closely mirrors Jessica’s. A sequel, Bright, is currently in the works. 

2. Kathrin Jansen, Kizzmekia Corbett, Elena Smolyarchuk, Nita Patel, Hanneke Schuitemaker, Sarah Gilbert, et al.
The women who gave us the COVID-19 vaccine

“Women often don’t recognize, you have incredible strength inside you. It just needs the right moment to come out. I think in science, you can do this.” – Nita Patel


Throughout the pandemic, women scientists, researchers, and medical professionals have been at the forefront of the rapid development of the COVID-19 vaccines.

  • Kathrin Jansen led the effort at Pfizer that produced the first vaccine approved for emergency use.
  • Kizzmekia Corbett is an immunologist in the U.S. National Institutes of Health who helped design the Moderna vaccine.
  • Elena Smolyarchuk is the chief researcher of the first completed clinical trials for the vaccine Sputnik V.
  • Nita Patel – and her all-women team of scientists in Maryland – led development of the vaccine for Novavax.
  • Hanneke Schuitemaker is the global head of viral vaccine discovery for Janssen Pharmaceuticals (owned by Johnson & Johnson).
  • Sarah GIlbert is the architect of the University of Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.

This good news comes at a time when many working women are feeling the double burden of managing full-time work and household responsibilities due to pandemic-related school closures and work-from-home orders.  According to Nita, the COVID-19 crisis is negatively affecting women’s “productivity, boundary setting … and mental well-being.” But she also hopes there is a silver lining to the pandemic: A new generation inspired to get into science.

3. Angelina Mead King
Restaurateur, hotelier, race car enthusiast, sustainability advocate

Angie Mead King (L) with her wife Joey Mead King

The greatest lesson I’ve learned is that life is very short to do things you don’t want to do, so make sure you spend your waking moments doing the things you love doing…”

After Angie King came out as a transgender woman in 2016,  she experienced many instances of discrimination, from being questioned by an immigration officer at the Changi Airport in Singapore to being asked to leave women’s bathrooms in public establishments. But with the support of her wife – international host and model Joey Mead King – the two are now one of the most prominent LGBTQ+ couples in the Philippines.

“I think a lot of shock value [comes from questions like], ‘How can a real woman still have a relationship with a transwoman?’ It’s so categorised,” Joey said in a 2021 interview. “[People think] if you’re a transwoman then you must automatically favour a male. Our relationship broadens people’s perspective on the possibilities of love. It’s not just A, B, or C.”

4. Monique Ong
Traumatic Brain Injury Survivor, MindNation co-founder and Chairman

Monique Ong

“If I just believed the doctor telling me that [I was] below average and cannot go back to work, then I would never get better.”
Mon sustained a devastating traumatic brain injury (TBI) in 2017 that left her with aphasia, a disorder that causes the patient to have trouble speaking, reading, writing, and understanding language. She was told that with therapy, her brain capacity could improve up to 80% — at the most. But she refused to let doctors determine her fate; in her quest to return to her normal life, she challenged herself and those tasked to treat her.  When she was tested by her neurologist six months after her accident, her brain was operating at 95%.

In 2019, she co-founded MindNation, an innovative mental health and well-being company that has grown globally as a trusted partner for organizations and communities alike.

5. Hidilyn Diaz
Weightlifter, the first Filipino to ever win an Olympic gold medal for the Philippines

Hidilyn Diaz (Photo from Tatler Asia)

Don’t ever give up. Even if some are saying that you are not capable or limiting you… we are born to break barriers. You can do it.”

For the longest time, there are clear categories in sports based on which gender is most represented. For example, football, basketball, boxing, boxing, and weightlifting are examples of male-dominated sports because they are thought of as being more “masculine.” On the other hand, gymnastics and figure skating are thought to be female-dominated sports because they are more “feminine.” Hidilyn changed all that by not only getting the gold for weightlifting in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but also setting a new Olympic record for her efforts. 

Hidilyn’s success has attracted many young Filipinas to start taking up weightlifting themselves, bringing new meaning to the phrase “lift like a girl.”

Talk to a MindNation WellBeing Coach so you can reach your full potential and become the best version of yourself. Book a session now through bit.ly/mn-chat or email [email protected]


Categories
Featured Mental Health 101

Hello, D.E.A.R: A Communication Technique For Setting Boundaries

We know how important setting boundaries are to our mental health and well-being. However, it can be hard to communicate these boundaries or call out those who cross them. We fear that insisting on setting boundaries may make us seem difficult, unfriendly, or even troublesome.

Fortunately, the D.E.A.R conversation technique – developed by Dialectical Behaviour Therapist Dr Marsha Linehan in the 1990s – can be used to effectively remind people about your need for setting boundaries without hurting their feelings. MindNation psychologist Maria Teresa Empleo explains below:

D is for DESCRIBE

“Describe the situation where your boundaries were crossed, sticking to facts and neutral terms,” says Maria. This means when someone oversteps your physical boundaries for example, you say something like “I notice that you like to hug me when you see me in the morning” instead of inserting an opinion such as “You’re so inconsiderate of my personal space.” Try to give the other person the benefit of the doubt; they may be wholly unaware of your boundaries.

E is for EXPRESS

When people upset your boundaries, stick to “I” statements when calling them out. An example would be “I feel uncomfortable when you do this” or “I don’t feel happy when you do that.” Do not label, i.e. “Calling me after office hours is so rude” or question the other person’s intentions, i.e. “You keep interrupting me during work, do you want me to lose my job?” “These will only hurt the person or make them defensive, and you will lose any chance of an amicable resolution,” reminds Maria.

When people upset your boundaries, stick to “I” statements when calling them out.

MindNation psychologist Maria Teresa Empleo

A is for ASSERT

“Specifically tell them what you want to happen in the future, such as ‘I would appreciate it if you would greet me in the morning with a high-five instead of a hug,’” suggests Maria.  “Or ‘I prefer that you send work-related messages between 8AM to 5PM only.’ Do not hem and haw, say “Maybe” or “Sorry,” or be vague, as in “I’m sorry, but maybe you could do something else to greet me in the morning?” This can lead to confusion, give the impression that your boundaries are negotiable, and encourage new expectations and demands among those around you.

R is for REINFORCE

“End the conversation on a gracious note,” Maria says. Statements like “I appreciate you hearing me out,” or “Thank you for respecting my boundaries,” will soothe any feelings that may have been hurt or offended and increase the chances of an amicable resolution. 

If despite your best efforts you find it is difficult to set boundaries with someone, you have two choices:

  • Limit contact by physically avoiding the other person or asking someone else to run interference for you. “But in cases of sexual harasment or physical abuse, you have every right to report the threatening behavior to the authorities right away,” Maria cautions.
  • Go no-contact. This can be asking to be transferred to another team or leaving the company altogether, unfriending/unfollowing the person on social media, or going as far as to tell friends and family that you want to minimize contact with the person.

When you are firm in communicating and setting your boundaries, you show that you value yourself, your needs, and your feelings more than the thoughts and opinions of others.

Book the MindNation Self-Love Pack© to get THREE 1-hour consultations with a psychologist who can help you with setting boundaries, living intentionally, and having better relationships with the ones who matter. This plan is available for free when your organization avails of the CareNow Plan© for teams. Visit www.mindnation.com to learn more.

Categories
Self Help

6 Ways To A Successful Digital Detox

A digital detox refers to a period of time when you refrain from using digital devices such as smartphones, televisions, computers, and social media sites.

Some reasons you may need a digital detox:

  • Checking your social media accounts is the first thing you do when you have nothing to do
  • You are constantly missing sleep to stay on your devices
  • You are fixated with the like, comment, or share counts on your social media posts

A digital detox does not mean you have to give up social media and Netflix for the rest of your life. Rather, it is about taking steps to become more more mindful of gadget usage so that you reduce dependency and improve your physical, mental, and even social well-being. By going on a digital detox, you can focus on real-life social interactions without distractions, let go of the stress that comes from constant connectivity, and improve your physical health. 

Dinah Salonga, a mindfulness facilitato, wellness advocate, and co-founder of YogaPlus Inc, Manila’s premiere yoga studio, shares some ways you can successfully achieve a digital detox. 

  1.  Recognize when your digital use is becoming excessive.
    The first step to doing a digital detox is acknowledging that there is a problem,” Dinah suggests. Are your loved ones complaining that you are spending too much time online? Are the number of likes in your posts affecting your mood for the day? Is your work suffering because you are tired from staying up all night binge-watching? “These are signs that you are becoming addicted to digital devices,” she advises.
  1. Set limits. If you cannot completely disconnect (i.e. your work requires you to be on social media), set boundaries. “For example, allot only one hour a day to work on your posts or engage with your followers. Set the phone aside during mealtimes or when you are spending time with loved ones. Stop watching the tv series when it’s 30 minutes before bedtime,” Dinah suggests.   
  1. Hack the hormones. “The happiness chemical dopamine is released by our brain whenever we come across something new and pleasurable,” Dinah explains. “When we see people liking our posts on social media, discover a new, entertaining show on a streaming app, or beat our previous record in a video game, we get a dopamine rush and keep wanting more, leading to a digital dependency.”

The key to an effective digital detox, therefore, is to replace time spent on digital devices with another activity that will give the same dopamine high but is not as harmful.

Dinah Salonga, Co-founder of YogaPlus Inc

The key to an effective digital detox, therefore, is to replace time spent on digital devices with another activity that will give the same dopamine high but is not as harmful. “Anything that will give you a sense of accomplishment – such as crafting, working on a puzzle, learning a new language, or exercising – will also cause your brain to light up without any negative consequences to your health and well-being,” Dinah says.

  1. Change the pattern. Is your smartphone the first thing you pick up when you are bored? Do you decompress after a long day at work by binge-watching the latest series? If digital devices have become ingrained in your day to day behavior, try to introduce new habits to break the pattern. If you are bored, go for a walk; if you are stressed, meditate.
  2. Listen to your body’s signals. Don’t ignore warning signs that you are spending too much time on your devices, such as an aching back, blurry vision, or fatigue.  These are your body’s way of telling you that you need to take a break.
  3. Seek help. You do not have to go through a digital detox alone. Ask a friend or family member to act as an accountability partner. “Choose someone who will tell you to go to sleep when they see you chatting past your bedtime, or even be willing to take your phone away if you have been spending too much time on social media,” Dinah advises.

Help can also be in the form of a MindNation WellBeing Coach who can teach you techniques to form healthier habits; an initial 1-hour session costs only P500. Book a session now by emailing [email protected]

Doing a digital detox is challenging because smartphones and apps have become an integral part of our daily lives. Hopefully the tips above can help you reduce – if not eliminate – your dependency on these technologies and free yourself to spend more time and energy on the things that matter. 

Categories
Mental Health 101

5 Therapy Myths And Misconceptions Debunked

There is no shame in seeking help. MindNation psychologists and WellBeing Coaches are available 24/7 for teletherapy sessions. Book a session now https://bit.ly/mn-chat  or [email protected]

No one bats an eye if you go to a doctor for a heart problem; but mention that you are seeing a psychologist for mental health concerns and people will judge, shame, or even criticize you. 

“People avoid therapy because of the stigma surrounding mental health,” explains MindNation psychologist Maria Teresa Empleo. “And because no one wants to talk about it, people just come up with their own ideas of what therapy is about.”

Myths and misconceptions about therapy can prevent those affected from getting potentially life-changing support. If you or a loved one is in distress and are considering professional help, below are five common myths about therapy to stop believing:

MYTH: “Going to therapy means I am crazy.”

FACT: “While there are people who go to therapy for serious mental issues, this does not mean that they are crazy, weak, or hopeless,” Maria stresses. “Rather, going to therapy is an indication that they are mature and have the strength to come out, ask for help, and do whatever is necessary to make themselves better.”

Additionally, you can go to therapy even if you don’t have a major mental disorder. “Majority of people who go to therapy just need help managing everyday problems,” Maria points out. “During this pandemic, for example, my clients are mostly those who want to deal with work stress, relationship problems, and adjustments to the new normal. Many others just want to improve their well-being, relationships, or self-esteem.”

MYTH:  “I need to divulge my deepest and darkest secrets in order to get better.”

FACT: “You and your therapist might have to explore these if they are directly related to your current problem,” Maria admits. “But do know that talking about them can help ease your emotional burden.” 

That being said, going deep and personal is not a requirement for treatment. “Therapy is a safe space. If there are things that you do not want to talk about just yet, we will not pressure you,” she assures. Once you are ready, rest assured that MindNation teletherapy sessions are guaranteed to be secure, and confidential. 

MYTH: Follow-up sessions are not needed.

FACT: Because most patients feel an improvement in their mood after the initial or second session with a therapist, they no longer return for additional sessions. But follow-up sessions are important because they reinforce the practices taught, ensuring that you do not end up repeating the negative thoughts or habits that caused you to seek help in the first place. “When you feel better, have a clearer headspace, and are no longer as sensitive or emotional as the start, then you will be in a better place to work on your triggers,” Maria explains

MYTH: Therapy is expensive.

FACT: If your company does not yet have an Employee Assistance Program that includes sessions with mental health professionals and you have to pay for therapy out of your own pocket, this article lists the reasons you should consider therapy as an investment and not an expense. 

[J]ust as you would not think twice about paying a doctor to treat physical health concerns, you should also regard psychologists, psychiatrists, and WellBeing Coaches as experts in treating mental health concerns. 

Maria Teresa Empleo, MindNation psychologist


Also, just as you would not think twice about paying a doctor to treat physical health concerns, you should also regard psychologists, psychiatrists, and WellBeing Coaches as experts in treating mental health concerns. 

MindNation psychologist, psychiatrist, and WellBeing Coach teletherapy sessions are available singly or in packages so you save more on follow-up sessions. Purchase at bit.ly/mindnation-shop or thru the Goodwork.ph app.

MYTH: “I’d rather talk to a friend, at least that’s for free.”
Friends are a great source of support during tough times, but because of your close relationship there will always be that fear of judgement. On the other hand, because psychologists, psychiatrists, and WellBeing Coaches are strangers, there is no need to worry about bias and censure. More importantly, they are trained and licensed mental health professionals, so they can offer science-based solutions to help you cope with life issues and mental health challenges.

Are you ready to talk to a MindNation psychologist, psychiatrist, or WellBeing Coach? Read this article to find out how you can choose which therapist is right for you. IF you are curious to find out what goes on during the first therapy session, we give you the rundown here. Finally, here are some things you can do to make sure that you get your money and time’s worth during your therapy session.

Categories
Self Help

5 Ways To Cultivate Mental Agility

Mental agility is all about taking in change and finding the best course of action to move forward despite undesirable circumstances. It also means successfully overcoming difficulties so you can achieve what you wat out of life.

How do you improve your mental agility and achieve a thriving state of well-being? By balancing the five different dimensions of our WellBeing Capital®:

Physical Wellbeing: This is ensuring that you have a safe place to live, enough to eat, adequate clothes and access to transportation. Other aspects of the physical capital includes having good physical and financial health.

Emotional Wellbeing: This is more or less who YOU are and what you feel. It includes your values, skills, knowledge, experience, education, interpersonal skills, and problem-solving abilities.

Mental Wellbeing: To be mentally well is to create authentic happiness in our lives and tune into our feelings.

Social Wellbeing: This refers to the connection and relationship that we have with others. When you feel a sense of belonging, you increase your mental health.

Cultural Wellbeing: This is all about the support you get from your community, your happiness in it, your workplace culture, and your country. It means that what you are doing at work is aligned to your reason for being.

Self-care to boost your WellBeing Capital®

To build your mental agility and overall well-being, you have to make sure all of the above dimensions are functioning to an extent. This is where self-care comes into play. We must make self-care a habit so that the next time we’re faced with stress in any aspect of our WellBeing, we have enough self-regard to step back and work on what’s missing.

I used to think of self care as something that I had to deserve. That I can only allow myself to rest and recuperate when I’m tired or burnt out. But when you’re already burnt out, a weekend or a day off isn’t going to cut it anymore.

Instead, make self-care a daily habit through the following ways:

  1. Keep your mind and body in check. Listen to what your body needs; if that’s extra time to breathe or a little stretch in the morning, do it. But don’t overdo it; always remember that rest is productive too.
  2. Limit your news intake. We don’t need that much information, all we need is to be informed well enough for our peace of mind.
  3. Social distancing does not mean emotional distancing. Please do keep connected, and as much as possible CALL. Hearing someone else’s voice, especially someone we love, can give us instant calm and we need.
  4. Get some sun. Feeling locked up isn’t the best thing for our sanity, so only if you can and only if it’s safe, open the window and bring in that vitamin D.
  5. Meditate. Simple acts of breathing, grounding, and being aware of our surroundings can make us less anxious and bring us back to what we need to address. Prayer is one very practical way we can apply mindfulness to daily life.
  6. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Be grateful for anything and everything good. Starting or ending your day with a grateful mindset will only set you up to see things in a better light.

Taking good care of all aspects of your life is paramount to achieving improved mental agility. If your physical, emotional, mental, social, and cultural dimensions support one another, it will increase the likelihood that you stay healthy and face uncertainties with more resilience.  The key here is to always have that unconditional self-regard: to understand that there should be no ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’ in taking care of ourselves. Now more than ever, we have to put utmost value on our well-being.

How’s your well-being today? Take our FREE WellBeing Quiz! It’s a simple True or False test that can be completed in just 2 minutes. Visit here to get started. 

Categories
How To

No Time Wasted: 5 Tips For Making The Most Out Of Your Therapy Sessions

Congratulations! You’ve finally found a therapist that you feel safe and comfortable with, and you’ve come out of your first teletherapy session feeling supported and empowered. Now comes the challenging part — staying the course on your journey to better mental health.

According to MindNation Operations Head Jen Alonte, it’s important to return for follow-up therapy sessions so that your psychologist or WellBeing Coach can check on your progress. “Most mental health concerns are caused by long periods of unresolved problems or issues that cannot be ‘cured’ in just one session, especially if the concern is something serious like depression or anxiety,” she says. “And even if you ‘feel better’ after just one session, it does not hurt to have follow-up sessions to solidify whatever therapy was introduced in case a trigger occurs.”

“Most mental health concerns are caused by long periods of unresolved problems or issues that cannot be ‘cured’ in just one session,”

Jen Alonte, MindNation Operations Head

That being said, continuously showing up for therapy is a fairly major commitment in terms of time, emotional space, and finances. This is why it’s important that you  put in the time, energy, and effort into every session so that you do not waste valuable resources — both yours and your therapist’s. Jen shares some tips for ensuring that no money, time, or energies are wasted:

  1. Eliminate distractions. Keep your cellphone on silent, and make sure you are doing your teletherapy session somewhere calm and quiet. “Make sure there are no other people around who will vie for your attention,” Jen says. Lastly, don’t schedule your session right before or after a meeting so that your mind is not filled with distracting thoughts.
  2. Come prepared. “A day before your session, think about what you want to discuss with the therapist and write them down so that you don’t miss anything,” Jen suggests. Also, don’t forget to check if your Internet connection is stable and that your device’s camera and microphone are working so that you do not run into technical problems in the middle of the session.
  3. Be seen. Even though MindNation teletherapy sessions are also available through voice chat or sms chat, the best set-up would still be one where the therapist sees your face. “This is because psychologists can learn a lot from facial expressions and other non-verbal cues,” Jen explains.
  4. Be open. No need to be afraid or shy; psychologists, psychiatrists, and WellBeing Coaches are trained professionals whose job is to listen without bias or judgement and offer the best kind of support. “Our psychologists mostly use Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as a form of treatment, so what you say will help them determine the right course of treatment for you,” Jen explains. “So if you hold back, the advice that they will give will also be limited.”
  5. Give feedback after the session. MindNation Care Coordinators send feedback forms to clients after they complete a session. “Be sure to fill in the form honestly. This is because by default, we will always assign you to the same therapist for follow-up sessions since they already know your background. But if you are not comfortable with the therapist for whatever reason, let us know right away so that we can assign you to someone else,” Jen assures. 

Getting the most out of therapy might be challenging at times, but if you are committed to taking care of your mental health and participate in therapy sessions properly, you can help yourself achieve better mind, better you.

MindNation psychologists and WellBeing Coaches are available 24/7 for teletherapy sessions via video call, voice call, or sms chat. Rest assured that all conversations will be kept secure and confidential. Book a session now through Facebook Messenger https://bit.ly/mn-chat or email [email protected]

Categories
Relationships

Time To Talk Or Time To Walk? The Best Ways To Resolve Relationship Conflicts

Not only are relationship conflicts normal, they are inevitable. “A serious relationship or marriage is a union of two distinct people who grew up in different families and, hence, bring with them different cultures, belief systems, values, goals, habits, and behavioral patterns,” says Aiza Tabayoyong, a family and relationship expert from The Love Institute, a pioneering company equipping couples, parents, and individuals with skills on how to have fulfilling relationships with those dearest to them. “For those who are in a heterosexual relationship, gender alone carries biological and psychological differences.” 

Additionally, it takes a lifetime to know all there is about someone; Aiza even compares it to studying in school. “When you start dating someone, your knowledge and awareness about them is equivalent to what a child knows during the preschool years,” she explains. “Once you get married, it’s as if you are entering elementary school. On your 25th anniversary, you have just completed high school. I would say that you only become an expert on your partner — the equivalent of a doctorate degree — when you have spent 50 years together.” 

“This is because once you start living together and form a family, you will be facing new situations that you otherwise would not have encountered as single people,” she adds. “Parenthood alone comes with a whole gamut of experiences that will require both parties to adjust each other’s temperaments and values. And it is during these times of adjusting that conflicts occur.”

Common causes of relationship conflict
Even the most compatible of couples will encounter conflict because of the following reasons:

  1. Triggers and issues stemming from childhood. “For example, if a partner lacked attention as a child and they feel they are also lacking attention in your marriage, that can be a trigger,” Aiza enumerates.
  2. Differences in values. This encompasses a wide variety of subjects, including isues pertaining to money, sex, spirituality, goals, and family roles. “Who has more say in the relationship? How will the children be raised?” Aiza enumerates. “How much sway do in-laws or extended family members have in decision-making? If these are not discussed properly before the marriage, conflict will occur.”
      
  3. Lack of communication, validation, and affirmation. “We’ve become so used to doing things a certain way when we were single that when our partner acts the opposite way and neither wants to compromise, that also poses a conflict,” says Aiza. 

When to ignore, talk it out, or walk away
Just because relationship conflicts are normal and inevitable does not mean you should give up on the idea of having a harmonious marriage. Unresolved relationship conflict is very stressful, and this stress can negatively affect the physical and mental health of both partners as well as any children that they may have. However, not all issues need to turn into conflicts; in the same vein, you should also know which conflicts are more grave and require more drastic measures. Aiza shares some ways you can tell the difference and what you can do to resolve them:
 

  1. When to let your partner be
    “It is not worth the conflict if the issue is about something bigger involving your partner and not about you,” Aiza assures. “In such cases, just let them express their emotions and do your best to love and understand them.”

An example would be the expression “Shut up.” During one of your conversations, you might have said it in jest, i.e. “Oh, shut up, that’s not true,” but your partner reacted like they were disrespected and got triggered. In such cases, instead of lashing back with “You’re so sensitive, I didn’t mean anything bad about it,” just pause and give them time to cool their tempers. Then when they are ready, gently ask if they want to talk about why they reacted in such a manner, so that you know not to do it again next time. Whether they want to talk about it or not, just make a mental note to refrain from saying “Shut up” next time.

  1. When to talk it out, work it out
    A relationship becomes problematic when the conflict stems from different values and you and your partner are triggered with deep feelings about certain issues.

A classic example would be matters involving money, i.e. when the two of you differ in how much to spend, what to spend on, how much money to lend to relatives or friends, etc. In such cases, you need to sit down and try to come up with a compromise. To do this, start by expressing your feelings, then hear out your partner. Use “I” statements such as “I feel __ when you spend on ___. But I want to understand why you are doing this, can you explain it to me?”

Then, as always, hear out your partner from a place of love and understanding, i.e. “Oh, so you were raised to think of money this way, which is why you did this and that. Now I see.” Finally, bring up options so that you can come up with compromises. That way, everyone comes out a winner.

  1. When to walk away

Every person should have a list of behaviors that they will not tolerate in a partner.  Ideally, these non-negotiables should have been seen before the marriage. For Aiza, examples of toxic behavior include extreme disrespect and abuse (whether physical, mental, or emotional), pathological reasons or disorders that you are not qualified to handle, or psychological incapacities. 

“It is sad if these things are discovered within the marriage. But if the love is strong and the other person wants to make it work, then try to work it out, maybe with the help of a professional,” Aiza advises. But if the partner continues to be in denial, resorts to gaslighting, or keeps falling back on toxic habits despite promises to the contrary, then you need to decide if this is still a relationship that you want to continue.

This is not to mean that you should file for separation, divorce, or annulment at the drop of a hat. “If you love each other, and you spent spent a lot of time getting to know your partner well enough during the dating process, if you knew what you were getting into and you took your marriage vows seriously, if you were not coerced into the relationship and there was love to begin with — then everything can be worked out,” Aiza assures. “But if you got married simply because you were swept off your feet or were coerced or pressured, or you never had the opportunity to really get to know your partner — then maybe all these conflicts are a sign that you were not meant to be. Do still try to work on the relationship, don’t give up over the smallest conflict; but if you’ve done everything you can and you still don’t see any change in your partner, then you’re probably better off ending it.”

“Do you have enough common values that you can adjust to differences in way of thinking? Is there good enough communication? Is there a good level of maturity?”

Aiza Tabayoyong

According to research conducted by relationship company The Gottman Institute, 69% of conflicts in a marriage can be resolved successfully. This is where Aiza stresses the importance of getting to know your partner well. “Do you have enough common values that you can adjust to differences in way of thinking? Is there good enough communication? Is there a good level of maturity?” she lists. “Marriage is forever, it is ‘I love you until death do us part’ and not ‘I love you only until it’s convenient and comfortable.’ And when the love is true, that will hopefully be a strong enough motivation to keep going and to keep fixing any relationship conflict.”

MindNation psychologists and WellBeing Coaches are available 24/7 to help you address past traumas or build better habits so that you can have better relationships with the ones you love. Book a teletherapy session now Facebook Messenger http://bit.ly/mn-chat , or email [email protected] 

Categories
Mental Health 101

Ease The Anxiety: 4 Ways To Cope With Fear And Worry

In a survey of more than 6,000 Filipino employees conducted by MindNation between September 2020 to April 2021 on the state of their well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic, more than half (53%) of the respondents said they felt varying degrees of anxiety mainly due to fears of the COVID-19 virus, financial pressure, and personal matters..  

“Anxiety is defined as distress or uneasiness caused by fear of danger or misfortune, as well as excessive worry,” says MindNation psychologist Jessa Mae Rojas. While a little bit of anxiety is normal and can be helpful in signaling danger —  for example, it reminds you to practice social distancing policies when you are in a populated space — too much anxiety can leave you feeling weak, tired, irritable, or find it difficult to concentrate on tasks. You can even experience physical symptoms like gastrointestinal problems, insomnia, hyperventilation, and heart palpitations. All these can affect your productivity at work and relationships with loved ones. 

Managing anxiety
While we cannot stop anxious thoughts from entering our minds, there are things we can do to control our reactions to them. “Always remember to keep calm,” Jessa reminds. This means:

  • C — Cultivate positivity.
    Negative thoughts produce more unnecessary anxiety, so always practice positive self-talk. “Instead of saying ‘I can’t do this,’ say ‘I can do this,’” Jessa suggests. “Another thing you can do is stand in front of the mirror every morning and tell yourself that you are smart, beautiful, confident, and that you can do anything.”

    Additionally, try to develop a story with positive outcomes. When you reframe an experience, it turns something stressful or traumatic into a challenge that can be overcome; or, it can turn a really bad day into a mildly low point in overall wonderful life.  Just be careful not to fall into the trap of toxic positivity, or the assumption that you should always be happy despite being under difficult circumstances. “All our feelings are valid, and suppressing negative ones can lead to increased anxiety, depression, and overall worsening of mental health,” Jessa points out.
  • A — Allocate time for worrying.
    Jessa advocates the Worry Time Technique, which involves designating a specific time, place, and length of time each day solely for worrying.” Anytime you become aware of a worry during the day, write it down on a piece of paper and put it in your pocket or somewhere out of sight; since you will have time to think about that worry later, there’s no need to get anxious over it now,” Jessa instructs. Download the Worry Time Worksheet from MindU here.

    “At the end of the day, when your worry time comes around, settle yourself down at the worry place, pull out the paper, and reflect on your worries.” Journaling can help at this point; just write out whatever is on your mind, instead of ruminating. 

“The Worry Time Technique makes worrying less intrusive in your life and allows you to manage your anxieties effectively, giving you a greater sense of control,” she adds.

  • L — Label your emotions.
    Giving emotions a name (i.e. “I feel angry,” or “I feel confused”) provides a deeper understanding of what happened, how it affects you, and helps you see the possibilities for what to do next. Instead of your emotions spiraling out of control, you feel less anxious and triggered.

    Start by writing down the event that activated your anxiety: “I made a mistake at work.”

    Then, write down what that event made you believe about yourself: “I am such a failure. I should always do a perfect job.”

    Name the emotion you feel: “I’m worried I’m going to get fired.”

    Finally, dispute this belief: “I usually do a good job but I am not good at everything. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes. My boss was very happy with my report last week. I will learn from this and perform better next time.’ 

    By labelling your emotion, you are able to understand what is going on through your mind more clearly, and build a road-map to address the problem. This makes you more relaxed and confident.
  • M — Meditate regularly.
    “Mindfulness meditation —  or the type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment — is an effective strategy for managing anxiety,” Jessa shares. By training your brain to stay in the moment, whether it’s through focusing on your breath or your five senses, you let go of regrets of the past as well as anxieties about the future.

If you notice a team member struggling with anxiety, you may want to refer them to a professional for help. Mental Health professionals can help with streamlining the process of identifying triggers, maintaining long-term strategies through behavioral therapy, and more.

The MindNation CareNow Plan provides your team access to 24/7 teletherapy sessions with MindNation psychologists and WellBeing Coaches through sms chat, video chat, or voice call. Email [email protected] today to inquire!

Categories
Suicide Prevention

Stop The Stigma: Debunking The Top 5 Suicide Myths And Facts

CONTENT WARNING: This article includes descriptions of suicide that may disturb some readers.

Despite increased awareness drives about mental health challenges in recent years, suicide continues to be a serious public health issue. According to the World Health Organization, more than 700,000 people die by suicide every year; this number does not include those who attempt to die by suicide and survive. Even more troubling: suicide is the fourth leading cause of death in 15-19-year-olds. 

Unfortunately, many of us do not recognize the signs that someone is at risk for suicide or self-harm because of the many misconceptions society has about it. Additionally, the stigma prevents those with suicidal ideation to get the help they need to get better. 

“Not talking about suicide does not prevent suicide,” point out Luis Villarroel of Kintsugi-Psy. “All it does is make suicidal ideation cultivate in secret rather than out in the open, where people can help one another and address their issues.” 

Luis shares five common and harmful suicide myths and provides the facts to debunk them: 

Myth: Talking about suicide will lead to and encourage suicide.
Fact: On the contrary, talking about suicide allows individuals with suicidal ideations to seek help, rethink their opinions, and share their story with others so they do not feel hopeless and alone. “Anytime someone initiates a conversation about wanting to take their lives, we should take it as a call for help and never assume that they are joking,” Luis adds. 

Myth: Suicide attempts happen without warning.
Fact:
“Suicides are very rarely spur-of-the-moment occurrences,” Luis says. “Individuals who are suicidal show warning signs, especially to their loved ones, but it’s possible that these loved ones did not recognize those signs. This is why it may seem like the suicide was sudden.” 

Some warning signs of suicide include:

  • Withdrawal from friends, family and community
  • Dramatic change in behavior
  • Giving away possessions
  • Tying up loose ends, like organizing personal papers or paying off debts

“While it’s possible that there are other explanations for the above behavior, it’s always better to be safe than sorry,” Luis explains. “Reach out to the person and ask ‘Are you okay?’ or ‘How are you doing lately?’” If they don’t want to share, don’t force this issue, just say “That’s fine, I just wanted to know how you were,” or “Glad to know you’re okay, I’m always here if you need me.’”

But if you are really concerned or have concrete evidence that the person is attempting suicide:

  • Don’t leave the person alone.
  • Call your local emergency number right away. Or, if you think you can do so safely, take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room yourself.
  • Try to find out if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs or may have taken an overdose.
  • Tell a family member or friend right away what’s going on.
  • Encourage the person to call a suicide hotline number
  • Get help from a trained professional

Myth: People who attempt suicide and survive will never attempt it again.
Fact:
This myth comes from the belief that the physical pain of self-harm will deter someone with suicidal ideation from further attempts. “But people who attempt suicide already believe that death is a preferable alternative to their current situation,” Luis explains. “So if they survived their attempt but the circumstances that led them to think about suicide do not change, you can expect that the attempt will repeat. Maybe the method used to end their lives will be different, but the ideation will still be there.”

Suicide attempts should be taken as call for help. Loved ones must work together to let the person with suicidal ideation see that other options for staying safe or solving their problems are available to them. 

Myth: Suicide only affects individuals with a mental health condition.
Fact:
According to the National Alliance On Mental Illness, many individuals with mental illness are not affected by suicidal thoughts, just as not all people who attempt or die by suicide have mental illness. Relationship problems and other life stressors such as criminal/legal matters, persecution, eviction/loss of home, death of a loved one, a devastating or debilitating illness, trauma, sexual abuse, rejection, and recent or impending crises are also associated with suicidal thoughts and attempts.

Myth: If a person is serious about killing themselves, there is nothing that we can do.
Fact:
“There is always something you can do; the question is, what are you willing to do?” Luis points out. “Reaching out is one thing, but don’t leave it at that. When someone expresses struggles or pain, take the extra step, be it helping the victim of an abusive relationship leave, or connecting someone with depression to a mental health professional. Show your concern in concrete ways.”

As individuals, we should not be afraid to speak up about suicide, mental illness, or to seek out treatment for an individual who is in need. Eliminating the stigma starts by understanding why suicide occurs and advocating for mental health awareness within our communities. Start by sharing articles on suicide awareness and prevention, as well as those related to mental health;  additionally, look for and connect with groups that have the similar objective of wanting to remove the stigma surrounding suicide. 

“Breaking the stigma  about suicide is going to be hard, you may encounter resistance because of the stigma surrounding it,” Luis admits. “But suicide is something that we have to accept is a reality in our society, and talking about it can help any individual who is struggling with unhealthy thoughts and emotions get the help they need.” 

If you or a loved one is in crisis, the MindNation Chat Helpline is available 24/7 if you need someone to talk to. Additionally, MindNation psychologists are available 24/7 for teletherapy sessions via sms chat, video chat, or voice call. Rest assured that all conversations are secure and will be kept confidential. Chat with a friend or book a session now though bit.ly/mn-chat. 

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