YOUR MIND SPACE
Day in, day out, we challenge our mental health as we strive to make an impact in the community. One may ask, “What is mental health?” As explained by the World Health Organisation, it is state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community. Every minute, we are faced with a million choices that will affect how are day goes. Sometimes we have good days or great days, and in other cases, we have bad days and terrible days. We battle many aspects of our lives; family life, friendships, romantic relationships, parent-child relationships, etc. And the manner in which we respond affects our cognitive, emotional and behavioral well-being.
As adults, one of the most common social environments we find ourselves in is the workplace. At work, we make use of our mind and mental space, which can cause a lot of stress on our minds. And depending on the kind of challenge we may be handling; the stress may be overbearing or manageable. What contributes to stress can vary hugely from person to person and differs according to our social and economic circumstances, the environment we live in and our genetic makeup. But the bottom line is that, we are faced with stress and how we handle it matters.
So what is stress? Stress is basically a response. Stress is a motivator. Stress is a protector. Stress can be a lot of things depending on how we respond to it. Medical News Today explains that it is a feeling that people have when they are overloaded and struggling to cope with demands. When we have a continuous struggle to respond to stress over long-term, we get overwhelmed and drained. In today’s space of business, we are challenged to constantly be on our toes. Because of existing competition, the rise of new businesses similar to ours, our human hunger to please our superiors and the urge to seek self-fulfillment through our achievements, we put ourselves under a lot of stress.
Although Mental Health Awareness is recognized several times in a year, there are still frightening numbers showing that people continue to endanger themselves because of their jobs. The case may however be different when we consider the younger generation who arguably have more awareness. How is this possible? Kelly Greenwood in a CNBC Make It interview highlights that mental health is something the youth are used to talking about freely. The impact is being felt globally as more and more millennials quit their jobs. Millennials feel that their jobs have an outsize role in their overall mental health. Because of longer work hours and stagnant wages, millennials suffer from higher rates of burnout than other generations. Many of them have even quit their jobs for mental-health reasons. (Business Insider)
According to findings published in the Harvard Business Review, half of millennial (defined in this survey as 23-38 years old) and 75% of Gen-Zers (18-22 years old) respondents have quit a job partially due to mental health reasons. (To put that in perspective, only 20% of the total survey respondents reported doing the same.) For baby boomers (55-73 years old), the number was the lowest, with less than 10% leaving a job for mental health-related reasons. Also, according to a report analyzing data from the Blue Cross Blue Shield Health Index, major depression diagnoses are rising at a faster rate for millennials and teens compared with any other age group. Since 2013, millennials have seen a 47% increase in major-depression diagnoses. The overall rate increased from 3 to 4.4% among 18- to 34-year-olds.
Millennials were three times more likely to experience symptoms of anxiety than Baby-Boomers, and Gen-Zers were four times more likely. Not surprisingly, millennials in the survey were also 63% more likely to know how to seek “company support,” such as counseling or mental health training, than baby boomers.
Your workspace can affect your mental health and your mental health can affect your performance at work. The two factors are interdependent and must both be taken seriously. Given that most of us spend the better part of our days and our energy at work, increasing hostility in the workplace does not bode well for our emotional or physical well-being. The type of mental health risks we face in the workspace come in many forms – the type of work we are engaged in, the attitude of our employers and how they communicate with us, the soft skill capacities of our work colleagues, the inadequate work resources we have to get the job done as well as managerial practices. The impact on our mental health also varies and is unique from person to person. While some may suffer sleep disorders, others have anxiety, mood disorders. Increased depression, substance use and abuse and health issues.
We are not the only ones who will suffer when our mind space is in a mess. Research has shown that organizations are suffering as well. Some of these hostile effects include increased turnover, poor productivity, negative attitude among workers etc.
Our mental mind space should be very important to us if we want to make the necessary impact in our lives and in our work place. Although our workplaces may provide some support, we are responsible for ourselves. Anytime we feel stressed and find that our mental health is threatened, here are 4 things we can do:
A problem recognized is a problem solved. One healthy habit we can engage in is taking time out every day to feel. We must find time in our routine to calm down and analyze how our day went. If you correctly map out your day, you will be able to detect at what point your emotions were high and where they were low. Then you will discover the things and situations that negatively and positively affect your mood. If you take time to learn your emotional cues, you can learn to regulate your stress so that you spend more of your time in a “stress-free zone.”
2. Reach Out
Reaching out can be done in many forms. And we do not need to wait to feel stressed to reach out to family and friends. We should make it a habit to take time off and spend time with people that matter to us. But when we feel stressed, we need to find an avenue for release.
There are many forms of release. One way is self-help – including lifestyle changes such as reducing alcohol intake, sleeping more, and eating well. We can also seek help from psychotherapists. They will listen to you patiently and non-judgmentally as you explain your stress management issue. Together you will establish what it is you would like to get out of therapy, taking into consideration the resources that you have available such as time and motivation. You will then begin working with your specially chosen stress management expert. You should immediately start to feel calmer and reassured, knowing that you have come to the right place to start winning the battle against unhealthy stress.
Although we may have the privilege of a support system, we must be open to making more sustainable and lasting changes. It is necessary every now and then that we redesign our lives. This will require us to look thoroughly at our lives, our routines and our relationships. We need to let go of the relationships that weigh us down and redesign our routines to include time for ourselves.
Your mind space matters. Your mental well-being can make or break your life. Clearly, the journey of nurturing a healthy mind space is not a cake walk. However, with these 4 key steps each and every person can begin to walk the journey with the bigger picture in mind. Better prospects await you on the other side of stress and mental illness. Simply get up, take a step and make a change. There are several resources available to us to assist us and inform us in making this change, and I encourage everyone to take this step to protect their mental space and help the next person to do same.
Are you ready for TRANSFORMATION?
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo: The H.E.L.P. Coach
Dzigbordi K. Dosoo is a Personal Impact, Professional Growth and Influence Expert specializing in Humanness, Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Power – H.E.L.P.
A career spanning over two decades, she has established herself as a Certified High Performance Coach, Speaker, Author, Wellness Expert and award-winning Entrepreneur with a clientele ranging from C-Suite Executives, Senior Management, Practitioners and Sales Leaders spanning 3 continents.
She is the Founder of Dzigbordi K. Dosoo (DKD) Holdings; a premier lifestyle business group with brand subsidiaries that include Dzigbordi Consulting Group& Allure Africa.
She is one of the most decorated female entrepreneurs in Ghana having being named “CIMG Marketing Woman of the Year” in 2009; “Top 10 most respected CEOs in Ghana, 2012; Global Heart of Leadership Award and, Women Rising “100 Most Influential Ghanaian Women”, 2017. She has also been featured on CNN.
She can be reached on firstname.lastname@example.org and @dzigbordi across all social media platforms.