When working with clients, I frequently hear the terms "mental health" and "mental illness" used interchangeably. Yet, as this Globe and Mail article explains, these are very different concepts. Much like our physical health, there are numerous things we can do to protect and promote our mental health. In addition to calling on each of us to take responsibility for our mental health, the article provides some practical advice about ways in which to do so : https://www.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/careers/workplace-award/why-everyone-needs-to-take-care-of-their-mental-health/article34249717/
A recent study by the World Health Organization (WHO) has concluded what many of us in the mental health sector have long suspected: depression is now the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide. It estimates that 322 million people were living with depressive disorders in 2015, marking an 18.4% increase since 2005. The agency also calculates that depression is costing the global economy over $1 trillion (U.S.) a year. If you would like to learn more, you can check out this informative article on the CBC's website:
Mindfulness can be a great stress-busting tool for the workplace, but it can seem tricky at first to integrate it into your workday. This article, from the New York Times, provides several good basic exercises you can try, meditation cushion not required: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/25/well/mind/how-to-be-mindful-at-your-desk.html?_r=0
In honour of World Mental Health Day, here is an interesting article from The Guardian on mental health in the workplace: "Mental health is not only about darkness and depression." The article addresses major misconceptions about mental health in the workplace and provides information on how employers and managers can better support their staff. You can check out the article at: www.theguardian.com/small-business-network/2016/oct/10/mental-health-not-only-about-darkness-depression
Many of the people I work with initiate therapy in the hope of getting "closure" for losses in their life. However, what if the concept of closure is not only a false premise but perhaps even leads us astray? This insightful podcast from On Being interviews Pauline Boss about the myth of closure and provides an alternative, more realistic approach for dealing with profound loss. You can check out the podcast here: http://www.onbeing.org/program/pauline-boss-the-myth-of-closure/8757
In honour of resolution season (aka. January), here is a timely article about dieting and self-punishment from The Guardian: http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/commentisfree/2016/jan/10/diet-punishing-body-gisele-bundchen-oprah-weight-watchers. It speaks to how shaming. hating, and punishing our bodies and ourselves can undermine our ultimate goals of being healthier and happier. So what is a dieter to do? It may seem counter-intuitive, but the article suggests setting more pragmatic and measurable goals, in addition to being kind and good to yourself . It is an interesting article that makes a number of great points, most particularly that "you can't take good care of a thing you hate."
As witnessed by the ever popular "I'm a perfectionist" response to questions about a person's greatest weakness, perfectionism is viewed by many of us as a mildly negative yet also rather positive personality trait. While we may know isn't necessarily good for us, it often well regarded in our culture and even celebrated. Yet, as I've frequently seen in my counselling practice, chronic perfectionism can become problematic, and even contribute to serious mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. In this video made in partnership with the Ontario Bar Association, I speak about this important issue and different ways to help overcome it. You can also check out this video and others on mental health issues in the legal profession at: http://www.oba.org/openingremarks/Mental-Health-Briefs
In the last decade or so, cellphones have gone from being a luxury to a practical necessity. With their ability to keep us connected to our loved ones, work, and society at large, they provide countless benefits and are a major source of convenance in a seemingly ever more hectic world. However, there is growing evidence that cellphones may also be a source of stress, anxiety, and even life dissatisfaction. One study of college students for example found a correlation between high cellphone use and anxiety, greater unhappiness, and poorer grades. We may also be becoming a bit too reliant on these handy devices, as a growing number of people report having anxiety when separated from their cellphone. A recent study at the University of Missouri even found that people who were unable to answer their ringing cellphones experienced an increase in their heart rate, blood pressure and anxiety levels, and a reduction in their cognitive skills. Despite the many benefits of cellphones, it seems they can also be quite the little anxiety producing machines.
Interestingly, however, cellphones have also recently come to the forefront in helping people deal with anxiety. There are a growing number of cellphone apps that are specifically aimed at reducing anxiety through various means including music, meditation, breathing exercises and even a virtual “worry box.” The scientific jury is still out on whether these apps offer any tangible benefits, although I personally know of people who have found one specific app or another to be quite helpful. The trick seems to be finding an app that meets your specific needs and works best for you individually. If you are looking for an anxiety-busting app yourself, a great place to start is to check out Healthline’s list of top anxiety apps, available at: http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/top-anxiety-iphone-android-apps#promoSlide.
If you are finding that your cellphone is more of an anxiety creator than reliever, here are some things you can try to mentally decouple from your phone without throwing it in the trash bin:
Know that cutting yourself off from your cellphone may be a bit stressful or even anxiety producing at first, so it is often a good idea to start slow and gradually increase it over time. I would also suggest consulting a professional if you experience high levels of stress, anxiety, or any emotional issues in relation to your cellphone.
If you have a favourite cellphone activity reduction activity or app, please feel free to share it in the comments below. Till next time.
A little bit of stress can be a good thing and even helpful to your work, but when is it too much? In this video, recorded as part of the Ontario Bar Association's (OBA) Opening Remarks initiative, I identify some of the signs of chronic stress and offer some practical tips and tricks for managing it. You can check out the video at http://oba.org/MentalHealth/Mental-Health-Briefs/Chronic-Stress
$20.7 billion. That is the estimated annual cost of lost labour due to mental illness in Canada, and it is a number that is only expected to rise. With mind-boggling statistics such as these, it is hardly surprising that companies are starting to take note and thinking seriously about how to promote mental wellness in the workplace. An interesting article from the Globe and Mail explores this topic, with lots of additionally incredible statistics on mental health (e.g. each week half a million employed Canadians are unable to work due to mental-health problems), personal stories, and descriptions of what some employers and agencies are attempting to do about it. You can check out the full article here.
Kind-Mind Counselling & Wellness Services
Telephone/Text: 647-677-MIND (6463)
Telephone/Text: 647-677-MIND (6463)