Tag Archives: Anxiety

How-Mindfulness-can-help-workplace

How Mindfulness Can Help Corporate Employees

A Third Of Corporate Employees Are Feeling Stressed, Anxious Or Depressed. How Can Mindfulness Help?

Earlier this year, results from an Australian study of over 3,500 employees across 42 organisations from different industries found that one third of the participants were suffering from some form of mental disorder. Of those, 36% were suffering from depression, 33% from anxiety, and 31% from stress.

The results echo the statistics from other parts of the world. In the UK, the National Centre of Social Research reports that 26% of people have been diagnosed with a mental disorder, and a further 18% experience an undiagnosed mental disorder each year. The USA reports 20% – 32% of adults have a mental health condition each year, depending on the study. Research on prevalence in Canada and New Zealand show similar results.

Staggeringly, 58% of women and 73% of males who met the clinical criteria for depression or anxiety did not know they had a problem. Only 17% of participants in the clinical ranges for depression or anxiety were seeking help. 47% of employees do not feel comfortable discussing a mental health condition with their manager.

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The implications for workplaces include increased absenteeism, presenteeism, disability claims, accidents, injuries and illnesses, grievances and complaints, turnover and legal implications.

Globally, mental health problems are estimated to cost workplaces 2.5 trillion US dollars, and that’s expected to rise to 5 trillion by 2030, according to the World Health Organization.

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What Is Stress? And How Does It Lead To Mental Health Problems?

Everyone feels stressed from time to time. Stress is the biological and physical response to a perceived threat or danger and is often described as a feeling of being overwhelmed or worried. In modern day society, everyday stressors include managing work and family commitments, work deadlines, financial pressures and family issues. Stress can also be caused by sudden negative change, including loss of a loved one or job, or experiencing trauma, such as a major accident or natural disaster.

Not all stress is bad. Stress can be highly motivating at times and can enable us to perform in job interviews, work presentations etc. The majority of people are equipped with the ability to handle short lived periods of stress. However, prolonged periods of stress or excessive stress can lead to significant mental and physical health problems including depression and anxiety.

Everyday stress can be the toughest type of stress to tackle because the source of the problem tends to be more constant, and the body therefore stays in a state of alarm.
Something needs to be done to stop the tide.

Why Businesses Should Be Investing In Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Training?

A decade ago, one in five employees were living with a mental disorder in a given year and, according to the latest studies around the world, the statistics are worsening. There is still a stigma associated with mental health conditions, and approximately half the time, individuals do not seek help or even know they have a problem. In very real terms this means that management is often operating with half of the information they need to manage their employees.

To tackle this issue, it’s important for HR professionals to offer a wide range of wellbeing initiatives, as one size does not fit all.

Mindfulness based stress reduction training is evidence based education that has proven effective in reducing stress, anxiety and depression, and can be offered in conjunction with other organizational wellbeing initiatives, to improve staff productivity, performance and wellbeing.

According to PWC, organizations that are dedicated to creating a mentally healthy workplace, can expect a positive return on investment (ROI) of 2.3.

If you are interested in running our Mindfulness At Work course for your team, please contact us at admin@thewmhi.com or give us a call.

Author: Tania Young
Tania Young

Tania is an experienced Mindfulness Facilitator who has delivered training to organisations across Australia. Tania is also a Human Resources professional with almost 10 years experience working for medium to large corporate businesses across different industries in London and Sydney. Tania combines her a wealth of HR knowledge and experience implementing wellbeing initiatives, to support employee wellbeing, drive engagement, performance and productivity.

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3 little known things that are making people’s mental health worse

3 little known thingsThe mental health in the workplace is in crisis. Yet most people, even clinicians, don’t understand the depth of the problem. Here, we briefly reveal some problems in current approaches.

1. Overreliance on Medications to Treat Anxiety and Depression

Few people have problems acknowledging that, as a society, we are over medicated. Yet, most of us expect to walk out of the doctor’s office with at least one prescription. When it comes to mental health, that’s not a good idea. The evidence shows so called anti anxiety medications and anti depressants do not have better results than placebos for mild to moderate anxiety and depression and just slightly better than placebos for severe depression. We do know, however, that all these medications can have serious side effects, not just on physical health, but on mental health too. There’s increasing evidence that antipsychiatric medications can cause the very same pathology they were meant to treat. In fact for some medications, suicidal thoughts is listed as a side effect. Go figure!


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2. Poor Explanations for Mental Health Problems

It’s usually agreed upon that how well you define a problem is key to resolving a problem. In the same vein, how we explain mental health problems determines what we’ll use as treatment. Hence, a bad explanation of why I have mental health problem results in bad, or inappropriate treatment. With a move to pathologising mental health problems across the world, we are reducing the importance, as societies, of other better or equally effective treatments; many without side effects.

3. Bad Science

There are some theories floating in the mental health space that are being accepted as factual. These theories have not been validated and should not be used as fact to treat mental health problems. For example, the theory that mental health problems stem from a chemical imbalance in the brain. Most people believe that this is fact, because it has been presented that way. But in fact, it’s just one of the theories out there. When someone says they have been feeling anxious or down, there is no way to test whether they have a chemical imbalance in the brain. And even if we could, and we did find a chemical imbalance, we couldn’t know if it caused the emotions, or if it was an effect of the emotions. Its not as simple as is being presented.

In mental health, it pays to get a second opinion.

Author: Peter Diaz
Peter-Diaz-AuthorPeter 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 organisations 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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Real Impact of Toxic Workplaces

What’s The Real Impact of Toxic Workplaces?

There seems to be general consensus on this one: some workplaces are a haven to work in and many others are toxic.

Having a workplace where people can thrive is good business, and helps avoid a litany of problems. But, this is not just a one sided topic. Even in mentally healthy workplaces, people can experience severe anxiety.

Severe anxiety at work can be difficult to manage. That’s why when anxiety hits your workplace, it’s good to have an insight into what is potentially going on for your colleagues. Watch Peter Diaz explain to a class of managers and HR managers his past experience of severe anxiety at work.

(Please note: not everyone experiences anxiety the same way, and it is advisable, when appropriate, to find out what it is like for them)

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Expert insights and tips on how to build resilient and mentally healthy workplace cultures delivered straight to your inbox each month.

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 organisations 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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7 Ways To Enhance Hope

One of the common themes that emerges from stories of people who have recovered from mental illness, is that of Hope. In studies of consumer recovery stories, it has been found that having Hope for a better future is a major, if not essential element of recovery.

So, how do we help engender hope for someone living with mental illness? Here are 7 ways you can help a person find hope for their recovery.

1. Have Hope Yourself

We must first hold the hope that a person can recovery, even if they themselves do not. Even beyond ‘hope’, have a certainty that Recovery is possible. While we can never know for sure what the future will hold for a person, it definitely won’t happen if they don’t believe it is possible.

2. Say it

It sounds so simple, but many people have been told that they will always have a mental illness, that their condition is ‘chronic’ and that they cannot expect any better, essentially ‘this is as good as it gets’. Simply saying ‘recovery is possible’, can have a huge impact.

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3. Look at the Statistics

There are plenty of longitudinal studies that show that over time, up to 68% of people will experience either total (clinical) recovery or significant improvements which are considered ‘psychological’, or ‘personal’ recovery. Those studies also show that we cannot predict which people will experience this recovery based on the severity of their symptoms at any one time. It doesn’t matter how bad it seems, Recovery can happen for anyone.


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4. Look at Others who have Recovered

For some people, the statistics may not be enough, but actually seeing, reading about, or meeting people who have recovered from mental illness can be a very powerful experience, and help them to have hope for their own future.

5. Help Create a Vision

Snyder and colleagues have studied Hope and found that there are 3 components of hope. The first is that people must have something to be hopeful for. As practitioners, we can help people to consider some of the things they would like to have for their life. Exploring personal values, what is important to the person can help them to identify a picture of how they would like their life to be (see next month’s newsletter for ways to explore values).

6. Set some Goals

It has been said ‘the tragedy in life does not lie in not achieving goals, but in having no goal to reach’. Sometimes we worry about setting people up for failure. While it is important to consider the timeframes we place on our goals, we do need to have something to strive towards. Research has shown that simply having a goal improves wellbeing, whether or not the person achieves it.

7. Build Self Confidence

The third of Snyder’s components of Hope is ‘agency’. This is the person’s own belief that they can achieve their goal. You can build agency by helping the person to identify all the things they have accomplished in the past. Help the person make a list, a song, or a drawing about those achievements. Ask them what their strengths are, or use strength cards, to help them identify their own internal and external resources.

Hopefully, we have given you some new ideas on how to help a person find Hope for recovery from mental illness. Do send us an email at admin@thewmhi.com to let us know how you go with these ideas, or if you have any others to suggest.

Smiles,

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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Zen and The Art of Effective Anxiety – 10 Tips To Hold On To Your Anxiety

It’s not always easy to hold onto your anxiety. At times, when you least expect it, a strong feeling of relaxation can come over you. To make matters worse, although anxiety is common, many people out there want to stop you from feeling anxious and uptight. Oh! How much do we love you dear anxiety! The feeling of nervousness, restlessness and discomfort that is caused by some inner storm that does not let us stay in peace. There is absolutely no way in which we would want to steer clear of the path that leads to your home.

If you too love this feeling of uneasiness and discomfort, then we bring 10 tips for you that would help in keeping your beloved anxiety by your side, always.

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  • Live in Dreams – This is the best thing that you can do in order to maintain the level of your anxiety. Real fears are far smaller than we imagine them to be. When you plan to stay away from reality and live in a hypothetical world, there is no way in which your stress would lower and your anxiety would go away.
  • Never Face Your Fears – If you don’t see your fears coming, there is no reason why you have to face them. A great way to increase your anxiety is to never face your fears. Running away from stress or social situations that cause anxiety can be a great idea.
  • Never Meditate – Meditation relaxes your mind and also provides you the much needed peace. For holding on to your anxiety, never even think of doing any kind of meditation.
  • Never be social – Being social means spending your time in positive activities around positive people. If you become social, the fear of a gathering will never bother you and this resilience will make your anxiety disappear. Never do that then!

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  • Don’t take responsibility for your problems – There is absolutely nothing wrong with you. If it wasn’t everything and everyone else, your life would be perfect! Remember: Anxiety and stress do not interfere with your personal, professional and social life. Therefore, you don’t have to accept that you have a problem and you don’t even need to make an effort to solve it. So, keep blaming your problems on everything and everyone else and keep telling yourself how great you are.
  • Never Divulge Your Issues To A Confidante – If you talk to people about your fears and your issues or even maintain a log about them, you will never be able to maintain your anxiety. The stress of being with people and talking to them is too much for you to handle. Better be alone and try to be happy with your anxiety.
  • Never believe – whoever tells you that you can get over anxiety is a fool. Don’t trust him. He is just misguiding you.
  • Worst Case Scenario– never think about being ready for the worst case scenario. This would help you in decreasing your anxiety and staying happy. The worst thing you can do for your anxiety is to think of other options.
  • Have unrealistic expectations – whenever you have unrealistic expectations for yourself or for others, you get to increase your anxiety. Why not keep doing it again and again?
  • Don’t get help – anxiety cannot be cured. It is something that you must live with. There is practically no use going to a doctor nor attending a Mental Health First Aid Course. Getting help or treatment would only waste time and money. After all, you are probably the only case in the world that no treatment exists for anyway!
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 organisations 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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