Category Archives: Strategies

stonewalling communication

How Stonewalling Sabotages Communication and How to Stop It

Communication is the basis of all human interactions. It lets us say what we want, share ideas, and make real relationships. Unfortunately, stonewalling is a bad habit that often gets in the way of good conversation. Stonewalling is when someone tries to avoid or ignore attempts to talk or connect on purpose. This behavior, which is caused by worry or being defensive, makes it hard for people to understand each other. In this blog post, we’ll talk more about the negative effects of stonewalling, look into why people do it, and talk about how open conversation, active listening, and empathy can help us get past this problem and build stronger relationships and a better understanding.

Understanding Stonewalling:

Stonewalling can look like avoiding someone, pulling away physically, or changing the subject over and over again.

stonewalling communication

It can also take the form of shouting over the other person’s words. But no matter what form it takes, the underlying message is always the same: that you don’t care what the other person has to say. By putting up mental walls, stonewalling stops people from talking to each other and makes them feel alone, unheard, and disconnected. Stonewalling leads to frustration, anger, and a lack of real connection, whether it happens in personal or professional interactions.

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Seeing the Behavior:

To get past stonewalling, the first step is to see the behavior in ourselves and others. It’s good to aks ourselves, ‘Where do I do this to others? Where do I shut others down because I find it hard to hear their opinion?’ Getting to know ourselves and being kind to ourselves and those around us are very important. When we find ourselves being stubborn, it is important to think about why we are acting that way. Are we trying to avoid pain, strife, or hard truths? When we know why we do something bad, we can deal with the problems that are making us do it.

Open conversation can help build bridges:

Open discussion is a great way to break down walls of stonewalling. By talking to each other in an honest and open way, we build an atmosphere of trust and mutual understanding. Listening actively is a very important part of this process. When we really listen to others, we support their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. This shows that we want to connect with them and help them feel empathy.

Also, empathy is the most important part of good dialogue. It lets us put ourselves in other people’s shoes, see things from their point of view, and react with compassion. Empathy gives us the power to bridge gaps, turn conflicts into learning experiences, and build bridges instead of walls.

How to Make Friends:

Communication is more than just words; it’s about making real relationships with other people. We can make our relationships better if we stop stonewalling and start talking, listening, and showing empathy instead. These habits help people understand each other better, make it safe to be vulnerable, and make it easier to solve problems. As we learn to use the power of connection, we learn important things about each other. This makes our relationships stronger and improves our personal and professional lives.

Open conversation helps us grow as people by making us more self-aware and giving us a wider view of things. Through open conversation, we hear different points of view, which makes us question our assumptions and helps us learn more about the world. This helps people feel like they belong, respect, and value the different experiences and thoughts of others.

Effective communication is the key to teamwork, collaboration, and the success of a company in the business world. By having open conversations, actively listening, and showing empathy, we build a work environment that values the contributions of each person. This leads to more imagination, new ideas, and the ability to solve problems as a group.

In a world where good communication is the lifeblood of human relationships, stonewalling puts up obstacles that stop people from understanding each other and growing as people. To stop this behavior, we must first be able to see it in ourselves and others. By becoming more self-aware, being kind, and practicing open, active listening and empathy, we can break down the walls of stonewalling and make relationships that are stronger. Let’s not forget that conversation isn’t just about what we say; it’s also about how we connect with the people around us. We can build a world where understanding, sensitivity, and cooperation thrive, making our lives and the lives of those we meet better.

Author: Peter Diaz

Peter Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Peter is passionate about assisting organizations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

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Behavioral Health Disorders: Types, Causes, Symptoms, and Effects

Behavioral health disorders focus on daily habits, actions, and character traits that affect a person’s physical and mental health. They often involve a pattern of aggressive and disruptive actions that lasts longer than six months. They manifest in children, teenagers, and adults.

Several factors contribute to behavioral health problems. It could be changing schools, parents getting divorced, being bullied, etc. This often causes truancy, run-ins with the law, substance abuse, and mental health disorders like depression.

Malnutrition, genetics, and brain damage also cause behavioral health disorders. Adults dealing with this problem often have problems in their jobs and relationships. This article looks into behavioral health conditions, the types, causes, symptoms, and effects.

behavioral health disorders

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Types of Behavioral Health Disorders

There are different types of behavioral health disorders. They include:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Disruptive behavioral disorders
  • Dissociative disorders
  • Pervasive developmental disorders
  • Emotional disorders

We discuss examples of these conditions below.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is more common in children. According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study, 6.9 million (9.4%) children have been diagnosed with ADHD. Adults also develop this ailment, especially if their ADHD was not diagnosed when they were young.

According to the Mayo Clinic, adult ADHD symptoms may not be as apparent as ADHD signs in children. However, if diagnosed with this condition, you’ll experience decreased hyperactivity and struggle with impulsiveness, restlessness, and difficulty paying attention.

The treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children and older people is the same. It includes psychological counseling (psychotherapy), therapy and, potentially, medication.

Emotional Behavioral Disorder

This condition affects a person’s ability to be happy, control their emotions, and pay attention in school or at work. It manifests as:

  • Inappropriate emotions or behaviors under normal circumstances
  • Unhappiness and depression
  • Learning difficulties without the impact of other health factors

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)

ODD is an ongoing pattern of rebellious, uncooperative, and hostile behavior towards authority figures. Children diagnosed with this ailment are usually spiteful and are always in trouble with authority figures.

Generally, an oppositional defiant disorder isn’t diagnosed in teenagers or adults. But children with undiagnosed and untreated ODD may manifest it in late adolescence and adulthood. While the known symptoms stay the same, adults with ODD might exhibit a lot of anger.


Ordinarily, anxiety is an emotion everyone feels at some point in their lives. However, it becomes a behavioral health condition when it affects how you live your daily life. For example, if anxiety causes insomnia and panic attacks and affects your ability to function at work or school, it is considered a behavioral disorder.

According to John Hopkins Medicine, approximately 18% of people ages 18-54 have an anxiety disorder in a given year. It includes:

Anxiety disorders are severe and require accurate diagnosis and treatment.

What Causes Behavioral Health Disorders?

behavioral health

Behavioral disorders cannot be precisely identified with one factor. Instead, several environment and psychological elements influence it. The abnormal behavior associated with these conditions often have a biological, family, school, or work-related origin.

Some of these biological origins are:

  • Physical illness or disability
  • Malnutrition
  • Trauma
  • Brain damage
  • Hereditary factors

Parents are more likely to have children with behavioral health conditions if they suffer from:

  • Substance abuse
  • Mood disorder
  • ADHD
  • Anti-social disorder, and
  • Schizophrenia
  • Stress

However, people with behavioral disorders may also come from families without a history of the disease. Therefore, it is crucial to identify the cause of a behavioral health problem. To do this, psychiatric, mental health, or medical professionals would conduct an extensive examination.

What Are the Symptoms of Behavioral Health Disorders?

Several signs indicate when a person has a behavioral health condition. They include but are not limited to the following:

  • Hurting or threatening to harm themselves, other people, or animals
  • Damaging or destroying their property
  • Stealing or lying
  • Not doing well in school or at work
  • Substance abuse, e.g., drinking, drug use, or sexual addiction
  • Constant loathing toward authority figures or the world
  • Extreme shifts in conduct or character
  • Having problem handling frustration or disappointment
  • Frequent tempers and outbursts
  • Feelings of despair
  • Withdrawing socially and isolating from friends and family
  • Intensive anxiousness or worries that hinder everyday activities
  • Changes in weight, e.g. becoming anorexic or obese
  • Changes in appetite
  • Ignoring personal hygiene and appearance
  • Easily getting irritated or agitated
  • Frequently appearing angry
  • Blaming others

While there are no physical symptoms of behavioral disorders, people suffering from this condition while addicted to harmful substances like drugs may show signs like a burnt fingerprint. They may also be shaking and have bloodshot eyes. If you notice any physical signs with a family member or friend, get them help.

What Are the Long-Term and Short-Term Effects of a Behavioral Disorder?

effects of behavioral disorders

Failing to diagnose and treat behavioral health conditions on time may have short-term and long-term consequences. This affects a person’s personal and professional life. For instance, they may get into trouble for acting out.

Students may get suspended or expelled for fighting or lashing out against their teachers and other authority figures. Some children may have to switch schools and run out of options if the same problems continue. Similarly, adults may lose their jobs, and their marriages may fall apart due to strained relationships.

Adults may also have strained relationships with family, friends, and colleagues and cannot associate with other people. So, again, seeking help early is quite essential when dealing with behavioral disorders.

When Should You Seek Medical Help?

Firstly, we should point out that people with behavioral disorders, like most mental health patients, may not recognize they have a problem and will not seek help. This is common with people battling addictions, be it drugs, alcohol, or a gambling problem.

Therefore, it is often up to the people closest to them to show them how their character differs from what’s perceived as ‘normal’ and encourage them to get treatment. So, how do you recognize when it is time for an intervention?

As an individual, you should see a mental health professional if you are:

  • Contemplating suicide
  • Threatening others with violence
  • Harming yourself or others
  • Hallucinating or hearing voices

You should also see a doctor if you or a loved one exhibit one or more of the following behaviors:

  • Cruelty to animals
  • Criminal behavior
  • Engaging in bullying and intimidating others or impulsive behaviors
  • Withdrawing socially
  • Exaggerated feelings of isolation
  • Little or no interest in school or work
  • Inability to function in relationships

Note that people with behavioral health issues usually feel different from others. As a result, they believe they don’t fit in and have emotions they can’t understand or identify. This ultimately leads to frustration and more behavioral problems.

How Is a Behavioral Disorder Diagnosed?

When you visit a medical health practitioner, the first thing they do is conduct a test to arrive at a diagnosis before commencing treatment. They will ask about your health history and listen to a description of your symptoms.

Some of the questions the doctor will ask includes:

  • When did you start exhibiting this behavior?
  • How long does the behavior last?
  • How long has the behavior affected those around you?
  • Did you recently experience any significant life changes, trauma, or transitions that could have triggered the behavior?

Ensure you answer these questions honestly. Unlike physical illnesses that show on imaging tests, behavioral health disorders cannot be diagnosed by conducting an X-ray or MRI test. So, the information you provide helps the doctor pinpoint the possible cause and arrive at a diagnosis.

How Is a Behavioral Health Disorder Treated?

There are different treatments available for behavioral health issues. This includes:

  • Conflict Resolution Classes: Here, you learn how to find a peaceful solution to a disagreement. When a dispute arises, rather than lashing out, you negotiate until you find a solution.
  • Counseling: It focuses on assuming that the environment determines an individual’s behavior. The counselor helps you deal with thoughts of suicide, addictions, family, marital problems, stress management, problems with self-esteem, etc.
  • Group Therapy: Group therapy is the treatment of multiple patients at once by one or more healthcare providers. It is an effective treatment for externalizing behavioral problems, anxiety, and depression. It works best when members experience similar difficulties and function at similar levels, and you can combine it with individual psychotherapy.
  • Medication: Although medication does not cure behavioral health disorders, it can help control and modify extreme behaviors. However, note that these medications have strong side effects.

Finally, if you are at risk of harming yourself or others, your doctor may recommend an inpatient stay at a hospital or treatment center.


A behavioral health disorder is not a death sentence. Many have gone onto lead successful and happy lives. It does not have to derail your life and ruin your relationships. Instead, speak to a qualified health practitioner and seek out a treatment plan tailored to you.

Author: Peter Diaz

Peter Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Peter is passionate about assisting organizations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

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creativity fostering transformation

Creativity Fostering Transformation

That erroneous quote, “Houston, we have a problem,” sums up 2021. Between a rampant global virus, climate change, economic distress, racial inequity, and social isolation, we have pressing problems to solve. Given this, we would do well to turn to our innate super power— creativity, as a mean for addressing our most salient concerns of the day.

Creativity can be defined as the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, and relationships. It entails the emergence of meaningful new methods and interpretations and uses imagination and originality as tools for transformation. By tapping into these to forge new paths, we improve mental health and the well-being of our society. As Einstein said, “Logic will take you from A to B, imagination will take you anywhere.

creativity fostering transformation

Creativity is not the Frosting; it’s the Cake

Creativity is often viewed as the icing on the cake—meaning creativity isn’t essential or the highest priority in our personal or work lives. In fact, some people view it as a luxury or leisure activity reserved for the elite. Yet creativity isn’t something doled out to the chosen few. It’s a trait we all have and is a primary agent of growth and change. It allows us to:

  • Renew ourselves
  • Recharge our minds
  • Reclaim hope
  • Restore connections
  • Resolve problems

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Given this, it’s unfortunate that creativity isn’t always valued as a high priority. In fact, most of us are familiar with Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. It’s a theory in psychology that states humans have basic needs that are ranked in order of importance and priority. Our need for food, clothing, shelter, and safety is paramount, followed by the need for love and belonging. Creativity is ranked last. Obviously, if we’re starving and don’t have shelter, we might not be thinking about painting the Sistine Chapel or self-actualization. However, what if creativity, which is at the top of Maslow’s pyramid was viewed as the primary vehicle for meeting all of our needs?If this was the case and we tapped into this approach, we might:

  • Prioritize creativity within schools and organizations
  • Address economic problems and inequity to create a more just world
  • Foster empathy through arts programs in communities and businesses
  • Think outside the box and envision change and possibilities

With creativity, we see possibilities even when our current reality indicates otherwise. We need this vision or we will remain stuck in our circumstances. And while it can be hard to dream, if life hasn’t given us much reason to, creativity helps build the imagination muscle. It revises our viewpoints allowing us to “see again”. When this occurs, we have increased personal agency and these areas of our lives become enhanced: our vision and goals, systems, jobs, relationships, stories, issues and problems.

Misconceptions about Creativity

It’s interesting how we categorize creativity and tend to think only certain people or industries are creative. “I’m not creative,” someone might say, or “I’m not an artist.” In fact, we often deify people in the entertainment industry for their talents yet neglect to recognize creativity in the people around us.

Here are just some groups that also tend to be highly creative:

  • Children
  • Artists (painters, writers, dancers, actors & musicians)
  • Scientists
  • Leaders
  • Entrepreneurs
  • Parents
  • Teachers
  • Builders
  • Cooks
  • Gardeners

Another misconception is that there is a causal link between creativity and mental illness. While many individuals living with mental illness might be highly creative, there are equally as many who would not be described that way at all – by themselves or others.Instead, I would argue that creativity is healing and restorative whether we have a diagnosis or not. Creativity helps us transform our challenges into works of beauty and endows life with purpose. Not to mention the enormous contribution it makes to society and humanity.

Creativity in the Workplace and Education

Without a doubt, work and school environments have changed radically in the last year. We’ve all had to “pivot” and adapt to a new normal. Creativity increases flexibility and spontaneity as we learn new ways of doing things. In the work place it can help us navigate interpersonal conflict, balance budgets, innovate, market, produce, and make a profit.

That said, work and school environments often operate counter-intuitively. Instead of embracing approaches that enhance learning and productivity, sometimes these methods are stifled. We look to companies like Apple or Tesla and praise them for their innovation, yet creative strategies are often not supported in the work environment. And students at school who color outside the lines are sometimes frowned upon. Instead of being viewed as mavericks who can reach new heights, companies and schools often prefer folks keep to the status quo.

If creativity is to flourish in our communities, work and school environments must allow a degree of play, risk, connection, exploration, trial and error, and rest and reflection. These are the ingredients that foster new configurations and possibilities.

Jumping into the Void

Creating takes courage. It’s often a leap of faith and into the unknown. It can make us feel vulnerable as we wonder if we will succeed or fail. Do we dare dream? And can we step into something new and unfamiliar?

To begin revitalizing your creativity, why not take an on-line class, work with a mentor, or sit down with few distractions and focus on a task you’d like to work on. Feel free to take a little time out to explore and play. You will most likely begin to feel renewed.

Not only that, when we look at our lives from a creative vantage point, we start to see ourselves as characters within our own narrative. We can shape the story, honoring core scenes and events that have occurred while creating new ones too. This is really key because during the pandemic, most of us have been stuck in an unhappy narrative and we might feel a little short changed on hope. Yet creativity allows us to foster optimism and to rebuild. We can turn to the poetry of Emily Dickinson who wrote, “I dwell in possibility, a fairer house than prose…” And from this sense of possibility, we can soar to new heights and see things from a radically different view.

lise profile

Lise Porter is a licensed marriage and family therapist, consultant, and trainer for the Workplace Mental Health Institute. She is based in Los Angeles and is also a working actor. Her book, Own Your Life: How Our Wounds Become Our Gifts is available on Amazon or through her website,


How to Stop Being Fake and Start Living Your Authentic Self

Authentic. It’s a word we use to describe when something is real or genuine and not a copy or something false. You can say that a Rolex watch or a painting by Picasso is authentic. But what about a person…?

By this definition, humans too, are naturally authentic. Your mere existence makes you so. Just look at a newborn baby – they are completely themselves. They want to cry, they cry, they want to sleep, they sleep, they want to relieve themselves, they just go for it. There´s no guilt, no shame, no over analysis.

But we can´t keep doing that forever! You wouldn´t get very far in the world. As we are socialized, we learn to modify our behavior, to adapt to different circumstances, in order to survive, and to get the best outcomes.


But often, through the process of interacting with the world around us, we can take this too far, and start to behave in a way that is not necessarily true to ourselves and to our own nature.

And so, people can also lose that authenticity, and become fake, or false, doing things that are in conflict with, or even the opposite to their core personality and beliefs.

People put on a fake persona for many different reasons. Many people struggle with showing their authentic selves due to fear, anxiety, and other uncomfortable emotions. They feel that if people knew who they really were, they wouldn’t be as well-liked, lose their respect or even lose their love.

However, being authentic is actually one of the crucial aspects needed for healthy relationships that are impactful and meaningful. How can anyone love you for who you are, if you are not being yourself to begin with? And second, wearing a mask, or putting on a persona day in and day out can be tiring. It´s a heavy costume to wear, and we can end up exhausted and burned out. It is so much lighter and easier to let go of that person and just Be You.

Which leads to the question; how can you start living your authentic self? Below we’ll answer that question and take a closer look at the common mistakes and misperceptions people have when it comes to being authentic.

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What Does it Mean to be Your Authentic Self?

Being authentic isn’t difficult but does take practice (as with everything in life). To be authentic, you must have a keen awareness of who you indeed are, including what you care about, believe in, and stand for.

An authentic person, for example, says and does things that are in absolute alignment with their core beliefs and identity. They don’t change their views, actions, or opinions to please other people, and they answer questions with honesty and consistency. For example, authentic people:

  • Make decisions that align with their core beliefs and values.
  • Pursue their passions no matter what others might say.
  • Set boundaries and, in all circumstances, enforce those boundaries by walking away from toxic or harmful relationships.
  • Let themselves be vulnerable and open-hearted under the right situations and with the people they love and care about.
  • Listen to their conscience, the “inner voice” that guides us and, amazingly, is always right.

The examples above should give you a good idea of what it means to be authentic and live an authentic life. To make it even more profound, though, being authentic will show you where you’re going and give your life clarity.

As an authentic person, you know what your core values are, and you make every decision in your life based on those values. In turn, this allows you to build the life you dream about, give you more joy and happiness, and inspires those around you to be more authentic.

Common Mistake People Make About Authenticity

As with all things in life, becoming your authentic self takes time, effort, and practice. The fact is, we all change and grow as we get older, and our core beliefs and values change also.

As with everything in life, there will be obstacles and bumps along the way. To be authentic means to evaluate those obstacles, get over those bumps, and be the person you are inside on the outside. Some of the mistakes people make on the road to becoming theory authentic selves include:

Equating Being Authentic With Being Rude, Aggressive, or Mean

Being authentic means sticking to your core beliefs and values under all circumstances. For some, this is often mistaken, if you will, for being an A-hole. Many people think authenticity is speaking your mind and saying your opinion no matter what the situation.

In fact, the opposite is true. An authentic person doesn’t feel the need to force their opinions or beliefs on others. Yes, they will undoubtedly try, under some circumstances, to persuade people to see things “their way.”

However, authentic people know who they are and don’t waste time trying to change people who don’t want to, or aren’t ready, to be changed. Also, they use tact, compassion, and respect when talking to those whose opinions differ from their own.

Not Being Sure of Who You Are

Less a mistake than a situation, not knowing exactly who you are is one of the obstacles you need to overcome on the journey to being your authentic self. That’s why authenticity is so difficult for teens and younger adults as they simply don’t know who they are, at least not entirely.

Making the time to understand yourself, realize your core values and set your life on course to be authentic is necessary for all people. It takes listening to others, reading books, meditating, and being open to at least hear all opinions before making a judgment.

Trying To Remove the Risk of Failure, Embarrassment, or Pain

Many people make this mistake on the road to become their authentic selves. They try to be someone whom they are not, to avoid pain, embarrassment, and failure. However, all of these emotions and feelings are natural and need to be confronted in a healthy way.

For example, you need to realize that failure, though not optimal, is a natural part of life. Embarrassment? The only valid reason to be embarrassed is if you try to be someone you’re not, and it blows up in your face. If you are behaving in an authentic way, and you accept yourself as you are, then there is never anything to be embarrassed about.

How To Start Being Your Authentic Self

Being authentic, as we mentioned earlier, takes time, effort, and introspection. Below are a few methods you can use to let your authentic self shine through:

  • Learn what your strengths are, whether with language, emotions, physical skills, etc.
  • Look at failure as a natural part of life rather than a roadblock or weakness. Everyone fails. The real winners are those who don’t let failure stop them from achieving their dreams.
  • Spend time every day doing things that help you realize who you are and what you stand for. Read books, listen to podcasts, learn from a mentor, practice being authentic, etc.
  • Actively practice spotting and dropping judgement – of yourself and others.
  • Don’t try to do it all at once. Start with smaller goals like becoming healthier, setting boundaries, and speaking from the heart.

Final Thoughts

Becoming your authentic self is a worthy goal; it’s true. It’s also a goal that will take some time to achieve, so don’t rush it. Instead, take little steps, be unafraid to fail, and never, ever let anyone try to tell you who you are.

Remember, becoming your authentic self isn’t something that one day happens and is set for the rest of your life. As you grow and mature, your authentic self will change and evolve also. If you allow that person to shine, your life and the lives of those around you will be much brighter.

year of the yin metal

3 Top Tips from Ancient Wisdom on how to exceed in 2021

Imagine having a map of the upcoming year, something to guide you forwards, to show you which roads to take, and pointing out the pot holes to avoid.

Welcome to the ancient world of Chinese Metaphysics and Wisdom. The ancient 10,000-year Chinese calendar converts each moment of time into characters, these can have a Yin or a Yang(strategic or active) component and belong to one of 5 elements (metal, water, wood, fire, or earth). The combination is unique to each hour, day, month, and year creating patterns for each moment of time, from which wisdom and insights can be gained.

What was the pattern for the year just passed, 2020 you may ask? The image was one of a heavy metal object, sinking into the cold ocean.

A few signposts, predictions I had identified were ;

  • Companies will be axed and some large ones will sink
  • The economy will decline and pessimism and despair will be seen
  • There will be more unrest and uprising amongst the people.
  • People will start to hoard
  • Lungs and mental health issues will be prominent.
year of the yin metal

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Each year I guide companies, senior management teams, and leading individuals on how to maximize the year, what to look out for, and what strategies to adopt.

In addition to the chart of the year, each one of us has our own personal chart and once we analyze both charts in conjunction, (personal and the year chart), this gives clarity on how to maximize the year for personal and professional / benefits.

chinese yin yang calendar

What’s in store for 2021? The Metal / Ox year.

2021 is the Year of the Yin Metal / Ox, and the year begins on the 3 February which is classed as the first day of spring (following the solar /farmers calendar).

The elements involved are strong water and metal, similar to 2020, which means a year of high emotion, many clashes, challenges and depression to begin with.

What is the Visual for 2021?

The year is visualized as beautiful jewels encased in ice or freshly dug out from the icycold ground. The frozen and cool jewels are mysterious and admired.

They appear cool and reserved, almost beyond reach.

The good news is there are “diamonds in the dirt” to be discovered in 2021.

However to benefit from 2021, a new mindset needs to be cultivated.

We need to dig in the correct field to find these diamonds.

Here are my 3 top tips to maximize your success in 2021.

1) It all starts with NEW thoughts!

Problems this year will be solved with new ways of thinking. The old thinking patterns will no longer work. There will be new discoveries, new solutions, new successes when the thinking patterns change; New ideas, New products, New ways of Business, New ways of living. A year to develop strong intuition and instinct. Creativity in 2021 will be high, however communication skills will be lacking. There is a feeling of preferring to hold back and not share with others.

2) Specialize

Specialize, do not generalize this year. Do not try to be good at everything. There is a need to focus on the Value you add to the world, providing solutions that are practical and that work. Many companies will want to shine, to stand out from the crowd and to be seen. Over confidence can lead to downfalls this year. Ensure the foundations are strong on which you are building the confidence.

3) Sensitivities

An emotional year and one where people do not take rejection well. Words can heal or harm, remember this in 2021. Bitter words are hurtful and once issued they cannot be taken back. Separate the issue from the person. Lead with kindness and sensitivity in 2021. Become more “human”. If Ego is high, then people become fearful, destructive and behind the scene events start to happen. The leader becomes more isolated, loses respect and is plotted against. Be hard on the issues and soft on the people

Covid will remain with us for the duration of 2021, and the vaccine will feature prominently.

Turbulent times are still ahead and so managing cash flow and considering different business models will be critical.

There will be a feeling of “every man/woman for herself” in 2021 and so team building, opening communication channels and encouraging sharing will be critical.

sally forrest

Sally Forrest is renowned for her expertise in Chinese Metaphysics and works with leading companies, families, entrepreneurs and professionals. She is also a certified Pharmacist, has an MBA and is the co-founder and CEO of SoulCentre – Asia’s Premier Personal Development Centre

Psychological Safe Defense image

Learn To Survive And Thrive Despite Narcissists, Sociopaths And Psychopaths

Have you ever had an interaction with someone that wasn’t quite violent or blatantly rude but left you feeling ‘off, rattled or shaken? What was going on there?

Have you found yourself falling for liars, con artists, or manipulators on more than one occasion? We have too.

What about psychopaths? Ever wondered if someone you know is a psychopath? Sometimes it’s essential to know.

We are seeing situations where people face more extreme and antisocial behavior- and master manipulators end up using them and pulling their strings.

Having delivered mental health and resilience training across the world, to organizations of all sizes and in all industries, and to individuals from all walks of life, we know very clearly that one of the things people struggle with most, in maintaining their health and wellbeing, is dealing with difficult people.

Everyday interactions and relationships with friends, family and colleagues can be tricky enough, even when everyone involved has the best intentions at heart.

Psychological Safe Defense image

But more and more, we see more extreme antisocial behavior to the point where they could be dealing with psychopaths, sociopaths, and other master manipulators.

Suppose you are not prepared, not alert, or not equipped with techniques to deal with these people and situations. In that case, you could be at risk – sometimes physically, sometimes financially, but often psychologically too.

Therefore, for good mental health and so many other reasons, we need to build our awareness and understanding of people who may not have our best interests at heart. And develop a skill set to deal with these people, behaviors, and situations more effectively.

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We want to raise awareness and help people develop their psychological toolbox. We want good people to feel confident and in control when dealing with bad people out there – knowing that most people are good, well-intentioned people, but that, from time to time, they will come across dangerous people to their psychological and physical health. We also want them to know how to handle them.

We want to be aware and prepared to be able to:

  • identify different types of manipulators and understand their inner psychology
  • know how to spot other signs of manipulation and how to respond effectively to nip those in the bud
  • understand the dozen or so different strategies people can use in an attempt to shape your behavior, and how to neutralize them
  • look after your psychological safety and mental health effectively and securely when dealing with these people and their behaviors
Psychological Self Defense course

So, what are some things you can do to protect yourself, your loved ones or your teams at work?

Well, here are four things you can do, in a nutshell (we go into more detail and more strategies in our Psychological Self Defense course):

  1. Spot it early and leave, but if you can´t go, then…
  2. Get clear and confident in your own beliefs and knowledge
  3. Don´t try to play their game. Don´t try to outsmart them or trick them, or play pretend to catch them out. You´re not likely to win.
  4. Communicate in a way that is very clear, firm and transparent.
  5. Don’t try to control their actions, but stay cool, calm, and collected no matter what happens.

There’s a lot to talk about, and it’s imperative we do. But it’s hard to put this much detail here in writing. That’s why we created the Psychological Self Defense course where people can discover the strategies, tools and skills, to better deal with difficult people and to develop a type of “psychological armor” to protect themselves and their team from harm.

This online course shows you how to spot the different types of manipulators, the signs of manipulation, the ten sneaky strategies they use to pull the wool over your eyes, and the best ways to respond to this manipulation.

We consider this essential knowledge for everyone.  Of course, suppose you’re a manager or supervisor. In that case, this is even more critical knowledge to protect the wellbeing of your team – and avoid the legal implications these types could create for your company.

Please, do yourself a favor and check out the Psychological Self Defense course

It could be the best thing you do this year.

Author: Peter Diaz

Peter Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Peter is passionate about assisting organizations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

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What are the benefits of online mental health courses?

Research shows that mental health issues affect a significant number of employees. Poor mental health causes an increase in injury claims against your company, avoidable accidents, and a decline in productivity.

Mental health training online can be a crucial exercise for your team. You’ll discover essential tools and techniques to cope with mental health issues at the workplace.

What Is Mental Health Training?

Mental health training is a program that teaches employees about mental health conditions at the workplace. They will discover the warning signs, accept people struggling with mental health conditions, and help them get better.

Everyone at the company should attend a mental health training program, including:

  • Managers wanting to support their employees’ mental health better
  • HR teams and other related functions that incorporate mental health into their management and strategy
  • Employees leading programs or activities dealing with mental health, such as awareness campaigns
  • Leaders developing and reviewing their company’s mental health strategy
  • Employees whose work and behavior dwindle because of reasons that may affect their mental health

What You Will Learn in an Online Mental Health Training Program

You’ll learn various things via mental health training online.

  1. The Impact and Prevalence of Mental Health in the Office

You’ll learn about these aspects:

  • The mental health spectrum
  • Each employee’s unique role in the workplace’s mental health
  • The office’s mental health in the context of inclusion and diversity
  • Relevant laws and how to implement them
  1. Capabilities and Skills To Develop a Mentally Healthy Culture

You’ll learn these things:

  • How to develop a culture for change and each person’s role in this step
  • How to help employees that might be struggling with mental health issues
  • Proactive steps to have a flexible environment to support and manage mental health
  • Strategies to take care of an individual
  1. Join Other Leaders Who Are Driving Change in Their Enterprises

You’ll learn these things:

  • Mental health best practices from other companies
  • How to solve real-life issues via case studies you do with colleagues
  • How to get ongoing coaching and peer support

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Benefits of Mental Health Training Online

Your company will enjoy various benefits if it participates in mental health training online.

  1. Improve employees’ welfare. Employees are a crucial part of any company. Taking care of their mental health via online training programs helps them prosper and enjoy their stay in the firm. They will feel a sense of belonging and stay in the enterprise for extended periods.
  2. Participate in flexible and convenient programs. Mental health training online is suitable for your schedule. Your company’s staff can participate in them when they have time. The providers may also customize them to fit your needs.
  3. Avoid stigma towards people struggling with mental health issues. Stigmatization of these individuals may worsen their condition and discourage them from seeking help. Training your organization on mental health encourages it to recognize warning signs, accept the affected people, and help them.
  4. Save on costs. You’ll save on expenses incurred because of accidents caused by mental health issues. Employees will also be content and focused on their work, improving their productivity. They’ll use resources well to produce maximum output with no distractions, such as depression episodes.

Enroll for Mental Health Training Online

The Workplace Mental Health Institute, the Premier Mental Health Solution, offers expert, affordable, and high-quality mental health training programs online. Companies that work with us enjoy many benefits, including a 79% reduction of employees with mental health issues and a 57% improvement in employees’ wellbeing.

Contact us to discover more about our mental health training online.


Advanced Psychological Self-Defence

Protecting Yourself from the Expert Manipulation of Psychopaths, Sociopaths and Other Difficult People

Have you ever been in a relationship where, for some reason, you couldn’t quite figure out, you felt as if you were being controlled or restricted in some way? A relationship where you started to doubt yourself, your actions, and your emotions, or felt as if something just wasn’t right? If you have, there’s an excellent chance that you were being manipulated.

What, Exactly, is Manipulation?

While it does have a negative connotation, manipulation is a natural, effective and useful tool that helps us survive and thrive in society. We start using unconscious manipulation as infants and small children. For example, when they get hungry, babies cry. This manipulates their parents into doing what they need, giving them food. Children will often do the same thing once they realize how powerful their cries are, for example, using them to manipulate their parents into purchasing them a toy.


This type of manipulation is, truth be told, relatively normal behavior. All children do it, so the last thing you want to do is judge them or deride them too harshly. At some point, with discipline, most children grow out of self-obsessed manipulation and mature into adults who are considerate of others, kind and don’t need to use manipulation to get what they want or need; they ask. But it doesn’t always work out that way and, for some, immature manipulation traits can continue into adulthood.

When adults use wanton manipulation, however, it often is emotionally and psychologically dangerous and damaging. That’s because, at its core, manipulation is a subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) form of control. Control of an individual, a group, team, or organization, or even an entire nation. When a car salesperson pushes you to make a purchase, they’re trying to control both you and the situation to create an outcome that favors them (i.e., more sales). The problem is when their wanting to sell the car is more important to them, than your need to buy one.

You can walk away from that type of situation, of course, but it’s not as easy if, say, the person manipulating you is your partner, a colleague, or someone in power, and they’re doing it to ‘keep you in line’ or otherwise derive some other benefit from your abject obedience. In short, manipulation is a typical human trait that, when selfishly abused, can be quite damaging.

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The Different Types of Manipulators (And Why They Do It)

Manipulation covers a whole range of different scenarios and situations, from more ´mild´ forms, to those that are much more damaging and dangerous. To help us clarify, we´ve identified at least 3 types of manipulators:

  1. Immature – like a child, they don’t intend harm, but are merely self centred
  2. Entitled – they believe they deserve things to be their way, and don’t want to cause harm, but will justify hurting others, to get what they want.
  3. Pathological – they don´t care who gets hurt, or even enjoy causing harm to others. This includes sociopaths, who may act impulsively without thinking how others may be affected, and psychopaths who are cold and calculating and may even play along within societal rules to achieve their own objectives, but with zero regard for human life or emotions.
Psychological Self Defense course

Identifying the Obvious (and Not So Obvious) Signs Of Manipulation

Some of us are very trusting people, and when we meet someone new, it may not even cross our minds that they could have ulterior motives, or not be completely trustworthy. You might dive into a new romance, friendship, or business partnership assuming that the person has none other than the best intentions, only to find a little while down the track that things start to go pear shaped.

If you´re nodding your head here, it´s likely that you may have been burnt before in this respect. You´ve probably had friends and family tell you that you´re too trusting or naïve. And they could be right.

On the other hand, some people (usually those who have been burnt too many times before!) err in the other direction, and could be very critical and closed off, even suspicious towards someone new.

As with all things, a bit of balance is called for. It is worthwhile as you are getting to know someone that you remain aware, but not hypervigilant, to the way they behave and communicate.

To know if you’re being manipulated, you need to know the signs and, if you will, symptoms of unhealthy manipulation. Like the early days of the flu, things won’t ‘feel right’ when you’re being manipulated. That’s the best time to nip it in the bud, frankly, so knowing what to look for (and all the many signs of manipulation) is vital.

Things Don’t ‘Add Up.’

One of the most common signs you’re being manipulated is when situations and circumstances don’t add up or make sense. If your new partner is trying to convince you, for example, to sign away your home to them so that you can save money on a new mortgage. That doesn’t make any sense and would be a big red flag that they may be manipulating you.

You Start To Question or Doubt Yourself

Some manipulators are very good at what they do. So good, in fact, that they can start to make you doubt yourself and start seeing things their way. Their manipulations can make you feel as if you’re going a little crazy as your brain tries to figure out what’s going on.

Something Feels Off (Your ‘Gut’ Is Telling You To Be Careful)

Knowing how to feel and trust your ‘gut feeling’ is essential to sniffing out a manipulator. It’s a little feeling that says ‘hey,’ this doesn’t seem right’ or ‘get the heck out of here, this is a bad situation´. If something feels ‘off’ to you, there’s a good chance it is and that you need to extricate yourself from the situation.

Understand the Common Manipulation Strategies

People who use manipulation for evil or immoral intent have specific tried-and-true strategies they use and use often. Knowing these strategies will make it easier for you to spot if you’re in danger of becoming the victim of a predator, sociopath or psychopath.

Initial Grooming and Creating Trust

This strategy involves being nice to you and creating a feeling of trust and security. It can happen quickly (within a few hours) or over a longer period of time (weeks or months).

Playing Your Emotions With a Sad Story

Human empathy is an excellent thing, no doubt. Manipulators know this and use sad stories to hit your empathy button. Portraying themselves as weak or a victim, ironically, is how they manipulate their victims.

Foot in the Door

A classic strategy of persuasion: I ask you to make a small concession, to which you reluctantly agree. Like the unwelcome houseguest who asks to stay for ´just a couple of weeks, til I get on my feet´ and is still living with you (rent free) a year later.

Separating You From Those Who Love and Care About You

This is one of the most wicked forms of manipulation, putting a wedge between their victim and those who care about them (and who may alert you to their ways). They create drama where there is none, making their victim believe that their family or friends have shunned them (or worse).

Praise or Putting You Up On a Pedestal

This is a prevalent strategy used by sociopaths. By showering compliments, they overwhelm their victim’s gut feelings, leaving them highly vulnerable. Manipulators have used this technique to steal from people for eons, preying on their victim’s vanity or lack of self-confidence. Praising you for following their orders or giving them what they want

Ridicule and Sarcasm

Praise can often be alternated with ridicule and sarcasm, designed to avoid addressing your concerns (no matter how legitimate), create shame and self doubt, and deter onlookers from even considering your perspective or supporting you.

Twisting the Facts

This can be the most frustrating, but sometimes you won´t even know it is happening. This can include exaggerating or understating the facts, bias, outright lying, feigning ignorance, making excuses, leaving out important details, using language to mislead, and so on.

Reciprocity & Guilt

They may go out of their way to do something for you. It could be just that they are nice, but beware, if they try to convince you that you ‘owe’ them, they’re using reciprocity as a manipulative tool. Or they may flat out blame you when something they have done doesn´t turn out well. This is where it starts to take a horrible turn and can often lead to…

Fear, Threats and Intimidation

Creating fear, threatening violence or to reveal intimate knowledge is a potent strategy and used by sociopaths and psychopaths frequently. Some will veil their threats (however thinly) with storytelling. For example, by telling their victim a story about “a lady who went to the cops but later disappeared and was never heard from again” or “imagine what would happen if your family found out about what you did¨.

Wearing you Down

All of these strategies can play with your mind and emotions to such an extent that after some time, you simply get worn down and end up giving in to the bully.

How to Protect Yourself

The very best way to prevent yourself from becoming a victim of a sociopath or psychopath’s manipulation is to nip the problem in the bud as soon as it starts.

While most people are good, well meaning people just trying to do their best in this world, there will always be a small percentage,who are willing to trample on other people´s rights to achieve their own outcomes and agendas. Some of these are even wily or charismatic enough to make it into positions of power.

When it comes to protecting yourself, you really only have two options:

  1. Walk Away– If someone is trying to manipulate you, your best bet is to disengage completely and walk away. It might not always be possible, of course, but if it is, that’s your best course of action.
  2. Learn how psychological manipulation operates so you can spot it coming, and avoid you or your loved ones falling victim to it.

Either way, don´t allow yourself to be manipulated. The costs are simply too high. And when you see signs of psychological manipulation at play, whenever possible, speak out about it. If you don´t, you may find yourself or someone else in a world of trouble not too far down the road.

In our online learning course ´Psychological Self Defence´ we show you 18 different strategies you can use to handle a master manipulator, sociopath or psychopath, and how to protect yourself both in physically, mentally and emotionally.

Author: Peter Diaz

Peter Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Peter is passionate about assisting organizations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

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Looking after your Social Connection

Moving from Conflict and Separation to Love and Belonging

As we counted down to the New Year 2021, around the world millions of people were pleased to see the end of what for many has been the most challenging year in recent history, if not in their lifetime, and to welcome in a new year, with hope for something at least a bit more positive.

Observing the mixed emotions and reactions across different platforms including both mainstream and social media, one word seemed to keep coming up as important for people everywhere: Connection. And 2021 has also highlighted the importance of our connections and friendships.

It shouldn’t be surprising really, that after almost a year and a half of social distancing, quarantining, isolation and disconnection, that people are yearning to reconnect.

We are social beings after all. If you think back to our caveman times (well, you can imagine at least), we went from being lone homo sapiens wandering the lands, to forming tribes, who had a better chance of survival by coming together to fight the sabre tooth tiger and raise offspring together as a community.

But besides survival, was there another benefit? Perhaps psychological one in nature?


Maslow’s hierarchy of needs suggests that once our basic physiological and safety needs are met, we then seek to fulfil our need for love and belonging. And there it is, we need connection not just for physical survival but for our psychological survival and wellbeing.

Social distancing has meant not just a physical distancing between people, it has also meant an emotional distancing.

Perhaps one of the most distressing phenomena we have observed in the last 12 months has been the increased amount of conflict brought about by world events and the stresses that it creates. I´m sure you can think of examples of the following:

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  • Conflict between family members with different perspectives or different levels of risk tolerance–with some questioning whether we should we have that get together or not, others feeling hurt or rejected when family members are too afraid to see them – sometimes even their own parents or children. Or perhaps they do get together and then argue about the politics of it all.
  • Friends fighting on social media about the definition of pandemic, about how many masks to wear, about the pros and cons of lockdown, quarantines, presidents and prime ministers. We’ve even seen close friends of decades end relationships on the basis of philosophical differences. Of course, the trolls jump in to stir up the drama and discontent.
  • Partners who have become ‘COVID casualties’, no longer able to sustain a romantic relationship, either due to distance or domestic distress.
  • News articles about brawls in the street, fights in the supermarket, not to mention protests, riots and the like.

Indeed, it seems stress levels are at an all-time high, and conflict is at every turn.

Considering Moving to a Deserted Island?

Most people have at some point entertained the idea of escaping to a deserted island (if you could find a plane to get there!). When we keep coming into contact with people in a conflictual space (whether overt or covert) it can make us want to stop contacting and connecting with people at all. When every interaction raises our emotional temperature or requires a greater amount of emotional regulation on our part, no wonder we are feeling burned out by people. When the world and everyone in it is crazy, it is easy to want to withdraw from it all, in a self-imposed quarantine.

The problem is that while getting away from everyone may sound lovely, peaceful and refreshing, and indeed there can be many benefits from periods of self-reflection, it´s not a long term solution. The flip side is loneliness.

Loneliness has been recognized amongst psychologists as a huge concern for mental health, long before we ever knew what social distancing was:

  • A 2018 survey from The Economist and the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), found that more than two in ten adults in the United States (22%) and the United Kingdom (23%) say they always or often feel lonely, lack companionship, or feel left out or isolated.
  • A Cigna survey revealed that nearly half of Americans always or sometimes feel alone (46%) or left out (47%). 54% said they always or sometimes feel that no one knows them well.
  • And in a nationwide survey from the BBC, a third of Brits said they often or very often feel lonely.

And loneliness is not so much about being physically separate from people, as it is about feeling emotionally separate. That’s why you can be physically in contact with people, yet still feel lonely, or vice versa, oceans apart yet still feel loved and connected.

What are the benefits of Social Connection?

It is well evidenced that we DO benefit from positive social connections, mentally, emotionally, and physically:

  • Quality relationships help maintain brain health, slowing down cognitive decline and reducing risk of dementia.
  • Helps you live longer: a review of 148 studies shows that people with stronger social relationships improve their likelihood of survival by 50%.
  • Reduces susceptibility to inflammation and viral infection, something we should all be interested in right now, and helps us to recover from disease faster.
  • Lowers rates of anxiety and depression.
  • Better emotion regulation skills.

And conversely, lack of social relationships has been found to have a detrimental effect that is just as bad as smoking, high blood pressure or obesity, in terms of their association with illness and death.

What Do We Do About It?

So, if getting away from them all isn’t the answer, what can we do to reduce the conflict, and the so often subsequent distress and create more positive social connections with people?

1. Turn off the News / Social Media?

News and social media are part of the problem. In a previous article of WorkLife we talked about how the media feeds on fear and negativity to capture our attention and sell. Hence, it is clear that it is good to unplug from time to time. The problem is not with the mediums themselves, they are just a tool after all, the problem is that it is practically impossible to control the type of input you are getting. So even the most self-aware person with great mental habits cannot fight against our natural emotional responses to emotional content, nor can we beat the bots who program us for heightened emotional arousal (and therefore sales in advertising).

Is it realistic to stop using these tools altogether in this day and age? Well, those who do, report being happy with the decision, but for many of us this may be quite drastic. And it can have the unwanted side effect of further disconnection from others. So, if you do decide to unplug for a while, make sure you are filling that gap with other, more healthy types of connection.

2. Manage Your Own Responses to People

Yes, people can be jerks. But part of our development as adult human beings is to learn to navigate that. In fact, that is something we strive to teach our children from the first moment they begin to interact with other children.

Emotional intelligence is about being able to empathize, understand others, manage our own emotions, and relationships with people, not to run away and withdraw from others.

It’s good to be humble and remember that we have also been jerks to others at some point in our lives. Wasn’t it nice when others made room for our shortcomings? It can be helpful to step into a place of compassion, remembering that most people are doing the best they can with the resources (emotional or otherwise) they have available. Instead of allowing yourself to get frustrated or angry with others, recognize that they may actually be struggling themselves. This will allow you to approach them with greater kindness, or at the very least, help you to cool down a little while you consider your response.

3. Respect Diversity

Respect for diversity is crucial if you are going to have other people in your life. Not just diversity of gender, race or culture, but diversity of perspectives, beliefs and opinions. Because as soon as you have more than one person in a room,sooner or later differences of opinion, great or small, are unavoidable.

While it can feel great to surround ourselves with like minded people, there are benefits to having people from all walks of life, perspectives and ideologies in your social circle. It makes you a more well-rounded person.

In fact, many people love the sport of engaging in a debate over the merits and pitfalls of different ideas, but this only works if both people enjoy the debate, and it is done with a great deal of respect for the other person as a person, and therefore entitled to their beliefs.

At the end of the day, the world is full of different people. It would be pretty boring if we all thought and behaved the same. So, if you are going to nurture your relationships and social connections, “to each to their own” is a pretty wise philosophy to adopt. Stop trying to change or control everyone else (an impossible task), and immediately a weight will be lifted off your shoulders.

4. Listen to Understand

“But I can’t actually respect their opinion because it is not just different, it’s immoral, evil or downright dangerous!”, you may say. Unfortunately, adding a moral judgement doesn’t help matters. But consider for a moment – is it REALLY likely that your partner/family member / friend / colleague who previously was a regular ‘good’ person with positive intentions, overnight turned into a horrible, reckless person with no care nor concern for others? Or is it more likely that perhaps you´re not really hearing what they are trying to communicate. Nor them, you.

Genuinely try to step into their shoes, and understand what they are saying, even if you already have a counter argument for it in your own head. Where are they coming from? What is leading them to come to a conclusion so different from yours? Get curious. There might even be something to learn here.

Consciously remind yourself that ultimately, they have a good intention. You may disagree on the details but it’s likely that you both want to see the same outcome, you just have different ideas on how to get there.

5. Agree to Disagree

With so many polarizing topics being discussed right now, sometimes it is simply best to agree to disagree. As mentioned, diversity is good, but we don´t want to be so divided we can´t function. With some people it might be best to agree not to discuss certain topics. That is fine too. You can still love each other and bring a lot of positive to each other’s lives. Know which conversations to have with whom, and when.

6. Don’t Make Decisions in a Crisis

Sure, take some time out from people if you need to, but keep it in balance. Don’t write off entire relationships on the basis of one disagreement, or a relatively short period of discontent or distress.

In psychology we have a saying “Don’t make decisions in a crisis” which is pretty good advice in a whole range of scenarios. If you cut off people too easily, or if you only ever have relationships with people who never hurt you, offend you, anger you, disappoint you, or let you down, you will end up a pretty lonely, and bitter, person.

Accept that part of having relationships with other humans means experiencing the lows as well as the highs, accepting people for who they are, even if they are imperfect in your view.

Come Together

Human relationships are complex, messy, and often frustrating, yet they are also necessary, beautiful and meaningful. Make 2021 a year of reconnecting with the people in your life from a place of compassion, love and kindness. There is already enough fear, anger and stress in the world. As has become so abundantly clear – life is short, and we never quite know what is round the corner, so connect in ways that you can be proud of within yourself, so you can live with no regrets.

Author: Peter Diaz

Peter Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Peter is passionate about assisting organizations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

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Workplace Wellbeing Tips Get-people-moving

10 Essential Elements of a Workplace Wellness Strategy – Get People Moving

As Steve Wozniak, the cofounder of Apple, said to me“Take care of your employee’s mental health. It’s a high priority. You’re going to get better performance. Everybody knows that”. And it’s true, when you take care of your employees mental health, businesses perform better. In short, a happy employee is a productive employee.

The good news is that, while happiness is mostly up to the individual, individuals are socially driven. Good environments with good habits set up the stage for individual and collective happiness. Which brings me to element number two – Get People Moving.

Essential Element #2: GET PEOPLE MOVING

What is Get People Moving about? Well, it is about improving the general fitness of individuals. And the number one thing we can do to improve that, is to help people get off their behinds, stand up, and get moving.

Workplace Wellbeing Tips Get-people-moving

Let’s face it, sitting is the new smoking. It’s REALLY bad for you. And, on top of that, it wrecks the look of the bottom half of your body through muscle and organ atrophy (due to lack of exercise and compression) – Oh! You knew that? I figured you did but often we need a reminder. Other times we just need a kick up the butt, but we avoid getting one because we are sitting down (joke lol).

Joking aside, the question to ask is – How can we get more movement into what we do every day? A company I heard of moved the photocopiers back into a room so people would have to get up and walk to get their printing from time to time. I’ve heard that at Zappos, every 20 minutes or so loud music goes off, people get up and start dancing. What are you willing to do?

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I’ve also heard that many of the world’s most successful leaders and business owners have standing desks with a slow moving treadmill under them. Not only does this help their physical and mental health but it also helps ideas to flow.

Look, I get it, you know this stuff. Heck, you might even be the one telling others all about it! But, does that mean you are doing it? Knowing is one thing, doing is another. But it doesn’t have to be a huge effort. Sometimes the biggest difference is made by smallest and simplest change.

What small change can you make today that will bring the most results to your wellbeing?

By the way, we interviewed Jenny and Craig recently on the topic of physical and mental wellness. They are a brilliant couple that have a great approach to this. You can watch the video of the interview here –

Our next essential element of a workplace wellness strategy will be the Smiling Policy.

Talk soon!

Author: Peter Diaz

Peter Diaz is the CEO of Workplace Mental Health Institute. He’s an author and accredited mental health social worker with senior management experience. Having recovered from his own experience of bipolar depression, Peter is passionate about assisting organizations to address workplace mental health issues in a compassionate yet results-focussed way. He’s also a Dad, Husband, Trekkie and Thinker.

Connect with Peter Diaz on:
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