Today is mental health awareness day.

If you, like me, feel that the discussion about mental health is still surrounded by a frosty silence, then we should start doing something.

Just the other day I read that, based on a recent research by the CIPD-the professional body for HR and people development-only 32% of organisations care to train their managers to support staff’s mental health problems.

This is a very low percentage if we think that mental illness is the leading cause of absenteeism at work. We underestimate our mental health while focusing on reaching high performances (in fact, if we were more attentive to our well-being, our performances will naturally improve).

We don’t talk about it, because it’s not visible enough, it’s not tangible. And, let’s be honest, it’s often associated with weakness and vulnerability.

But what does it mean being vulnerable in this fast, competitive society we live in today?

To me it means being exposed. Peeling those layers of protection we feel the need to wear, in order to hide those part of us that hurt or have been hurt. Being vulnerable means showing our most inner part and exposing it to judgement and criticism, perhaps. At least, we feel that is what is going to happen.

But what happens when we respond to vulnerability with compassion and empathy? We actually connect with people’s feelings and experiences. We give the message that it’s OK to be ourselves, to not be perfect, to have doubts, to feel like we need help.

Now, you might be thinking… oh another of those things…. emotions.

Hell no…

If you act with more empathy, the people around you will be more capable to accept their vulnerability and discover they can be resilient.

I want to invite you today to reflect on what you can do at work or in life in general to help other people to discover their source of resilience. If you are a manager, get educated or coached on what dealing with mental illnesses at work means and how you can make a difference to your teams. If you are dealing with some discomfort, try and speak to someone who you can trust… You might find out you are actually dealing with similar problems!

Let’s break the stigma #mentalhealthawareness. Let’s open up.

MY TIP: stress management. We all deal with some sort of stress in life, but sometimes it is so much that it affects our well-being. Very often at work. It’s awful when you can’t control it. I know it very well-I have been there! And you know why? Because nothing was ever perfect for me. And because perfection is not attainable, I worked and worked, till my body screamed to stop.

So, here a useful little exercise you could try.

Set out some time to think of a recent event/situation that made you stressed:

  • recollect the event, what thoughts and feeling did you have?
  • how did you label the people involved? (mean, idiot, awful…etc)
  • how did you label yourself in this situation?(not able to deal with it; not brilliant as usual; idiot!)
  • how did you describe the situation itself? (terrible, painful, extremely stressful etc.)
  • what hopes did you have at this point?(why did I get into this? this should not be done like this etc.)
  • what behaviour followed these thoughts?(walk away, anxiety, palpitation, anger, screaming at your boss! etc)
  • and finally: can you identify if these thoughts made the situation worse? or better?

The majority of times they do make it worse, indeed. These thoughts become goal blocking and we start panicking and getting very stressed. This exercise is quite useful to understand where the stress is originating from, what beliefs we hold that make things worse and how we can start changing some of our thinking process. Perhaps also reevaluating our expectations of the situation.

Let me know what you find out and if you find this exercise useful.

Until the next one.

With Kokoro

Assunta

#mentalhealth #kokoro #stressmanagement #wellbeing #employeengagement #management #leadership #caring #employeewellbeing #coaching

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