Mental Health in the Workplace
This was supposed to be a blog post about mental health in the workplace. “Workplace,” of course, means something different these days. At Media Profile, we’re following the advice of public health experts. As much as we are all eager to be together again, we’ll wait until it’s safe.
So “workplace” is still home for a while. And at home, the potential mental health issues are very different to what one might experience in an office environment.
Regardless of location, mental health impacts everyone. Here are a few things to keep in mind whether you are fighting an active battle or not.
- Mental health is health. Let’s say you break your leg. You wouldn’t try to ignore it until it went away. You wouldn’t be expected to snap out of it. You would go to a trained medical professional and follow their guidance until you heal. The same process applies to mental health. Seeking the assistance of a psychologist, psychiatrist or social worker to help with stress, anxiety or depression shouldn’t be seen as any different than putting a cast on that leg. And, like that broken leg, those other issues won’t go away by ignoring them.
- Know the mental health basics. Your thoughts, mood and behaviours all connect to, and affect, one another. It’s called the Cognitive Triangle, and it can have a real impact on how you’re feeling. If you’re having a stressful day, you might think certain automatic thoughts. Those thoughts might cause you to take certain actions. Those actions might make you feel even worse. And around it goes. But tackling just one of those points on the triangle can change things. For example, going for a short walk if you are feeling a bit anxious (a behavioural change) can change both your thoughts and your mood, potentially making you feel better quickly.
- Mindfulness-based meditation has very real benefits. For some this may sound a little new age-y, but the benefits of meditation and mindfulness on the way the brain works are real. Even Harvard says so. The challenge with mental health is knowing whether an issue exists (it might not be as obvious as a broken leg) and identifying when that issue is taking control of your mood, thoughts or behaviours. Developing a habit of mindful meditation teaches your brain to notice what’s going on in your mind or body.
- Neuroplasticity exists – take advantage. The brain is not static; it is constantly changing. In short, if you think you are locked into old habits, think again. The brain is a magical thing that can be rewired. Unhelpful automatic thoughts and negative core beliefs can be undone. Like training your muscles in the gym, teaching your brain to rewire takes practice and precision, but it can be done.
Mental health struggles are more common than you think. I’ve lost track of the number of people I know battling at least one of the most common mental health concerns. Many take medication on the advice of their doctors, and many more are using some combination of meditation and therapy to feel better. But because of the stigma, we don’t talk about it enough, so it can feel lonely. If you are struggling, know that you are not alone.
If you think you might be dealing with a mental health issue, there are many resources out there. It’s okay to ask for help. Talking to your managers can go a long way to finding support.
The above is intended for information purposes only. If you feel like you are in need of a diagnosis or medical help, contact your doctor. In an emergency, contact 911.