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Featured Self Help

7 Solutions For Time Management Issues

Whether you’re a student, stay-at-home-parent, or working in a company, time management is an essential skill to have. When you are better at planning your day, prioritizing work tasks, and eliminating distractions, you can achieve your goals and be less impacted by stress or burnout. 

Here are some things you can do to manage your time better:

“Spreading yourself thin will sabotage the success of anything you’ve already committed to. By learning the art of saying a tactful “no” to others, you’ll protect your time budget and improve your focus on your most valuable activities.”

Salma Sakr, MindNation Chief Growth Officer
  1. Avoid multitasking. Multitasking — also known as switchtasking — is doing multiple tasks at once. Many people believe that multitasking makes them productive, but all that shifting back and forth between tasks isn’t actually that efficient because each time you do it, it takes your brain more time to refocus. Not only does multitasking reduce productivity, it also increases the likelihood of mistakes happening and negatively impacts our stress levels. So try to complete one project or task at a time before moving to the next one; your brain will thank you for it. 
  1. Merge different email accounts into one inbox. According to a 2019 report by management consulting company McKinsey & Co., the average professional spends 28% of the work day reading and email. Get this time back by making a few changes to your email settings and having all incoming email delivered to just one inbox.
  2. Treat your calendar as your time budget. Time isn’t money, not always, but it does behave like money; it must be budgeted because when it’s gone, it’s gone. So when you schedule things into your calendar, think of it the same way you would think about withdrawing money from a bank account. Everyone has a weekly limit of 168 hours; try your best to live within this time budget and never overdraw because once you do, you’ll go into time debt.
  3. Avoid having back-to-back-to-back appointments.This isn’t practical or realistic, especially in today’s information-overloaded world. Leave space between your appointments for unexpected interruptions, to take a moment to relax, or to prepare for the next meeting.
  4. Say “No” more often than you say “Yes.” Always remember that whenever you say “yes” to one thing, you are, in effect, saying “no” to something else. In other words, spreading yourself thin will sabotage the success of anything you’ve already committed to. By learning the art of saying a tactful “no” to others, you’ll protect your time budget and improve your focus on your most valuable activities.
  5. Procrastinate properly. When a new idea comes into your head, ask yourself, “Do I need to do this now, or can I do it later?” As long as you are using your calendar properly as a time budget, procrastination can actually be your friend. Appropriate procrastination can help you, because you’re still going to complete those ideas, just at a later date. Don’t limit your calendar to what can be done today or within a week; instead, think in terms of months or even years.
  6. Identify your Most Valuable Activities (MVAs). These are the top two activities that you excel at, the ones that would cost you the most per hour to pay someone else to do. All the other activities that you do during work time other than those two MVAs are your less valuable activities, or LVAs, and if you’re like most people, you’re likely spending the majority of your work time in these very low value, low impact LVAs.

In order to achieve maximum results during the limited amount of work time you have each week, prioritize your MVAs in your calendar and delegate LVAs to your team or your colleagues when possible. By leaving less room for options, you minimize the temptation to multitask and improve your overall focus. The result: more disposable time, and you reach your goals faster.

Time will always fill the space you give it, so use it wisely. 

If your team is struggling with productivity, MindNation has a repertoire of virtual webinars to help employees with time management, manage stress, and avoid burnout. Partner with us to help build happier, healthier, and more productive teams. Email [email protected] to know more.

By Salma Sakr, MindNation Chief Growth Officer

Categories
Self Help

7 Reasons To Invest In Therapy

Cost and time are two of the common barriers to therapy. You probably consider it an added (maybe even unnecessary) cost, and you wonder if you even have the time to squeeze in a session every two weeks on top of all the things you need to do. But just like you have no qualms visiting and paying for a doctor to treat a physical ailment, neither should you hesitate seeing a mental health professional for your mental health concerns. Below are the five reasons therapy is a worthy investment: 

“Therapists are trained to listen to you and help you out of your situation; and because they are essentially strangers, they can provide a safe and unbiased environment where you can be honest. “

Kevin Quibranza, MindNation People & Operations Head
  1. Therapy can help you organize your feelings, thoughts, and experiences so you can get a better understanding of yourself. 

When you spend enough time with a therapist, you will be able to know yourself better and ultimately control some aspects of your life which you thought were not possible. A good example of this are people who have anger management issues. By talking to a therapist, they are able to understand the past traumas that shaped their present condition, allowing them to finally manage that condition.

  1. Therapy can help you have more fulfilling relationships. This includes with family, partners, and colleagues.

Your mental health defines how you view life. If you are in a state of depression for example, and leave it untreated, you may start believing that life is bleak and relationships are useless so you start pushing people away. But if you have a healthy state of mind, good relationships will always follow.

  1. Therapy can help you achieve your goals, stay focused, and hold yourself accountable. 

The ultimate goal of therapy is to remove roadblocks — whether innate or situational — so you can achieve your life goals. This is why we advise people to see a psychologist or Wellbeing Coach even if they do not have problems yet, so they can take preventative measures and arm themselves with certain life skills (i.e. communication skills) to make them cope with unexpected situations better.

  1. Therapy can help improve your mood and quality of life.

Therapy can give you opportunities which you never thought possible due to limiting beliefs such as self-esteem issues and faulty thinking. These are normal and are experienced by everyone, so it always helps to have a third party expert who can help us get rid of our own perceived limits and provide us with a different perspective.

  1. You are more likely to have better health and wellbeing.

We all have days when we are burnt out or struggling, and on those days, our bodies do not feel as well as they should — we have problems sleeping, feel extra tired, or even experience headaches or back pains. There is a direct correlation with how your mind is at the moment and how your body feels. This is why at MindNation, we always advocate holistic health — take care of BOTH your mind and body, as well as the other dimensions of well-being (i.e. emotional, cultural, and spiritual).

  1. Therapy provides emotional relief that you might otherwise not be able to find.

There’s nothing wrong with talking to friends or family — if you just need quick advice or a listening ear, that’s okay. But sometimes, we need more than a shoulder to cry on. There are situations that our family members or friends may not be equipped to handle, or they aren’t willing to handle it since they also have their own problems.

Therapists are trained to listen to you and help you out of your situation; and because they are essentially strangers, they can provide a safe and unbiased environment where you can be honest with your thoughts and feelings and not worry about being judged or shamed.

  1. Therapy is the “mental and emotional health education” that you never got at school.

Mental health education in our country still has a long way to go, as evidenced by the stigma towards those mental health concerns. By going to therapy and asking questions, you learn about your condition, ease your anxieties, and receive treatment that is rooted in facts and science instead of myths or conjecture.

I have personally seen what happens to people who do not take care of their mental health because they do not want to spend additional time or money to address their concerns — their conditions worsen and they end up spending even more time and money to treat them.
Therapy is a valuable tool that can help you to solve problems, set and achieve goals, improve your communication skills, teach you new ways to track your emotions, and keep your stress levels in check. It can help you to build the life, career, and relationship that you want. By looking at therapy as an investment, you ensure a better future for yourself and those around you. 

MindNation psychologists and WellBeing Coaches are available 24/7 for teletherapy sessions. For those in the Philippines, book a session through the @goodwork.ph app, the country’s largest app for home and wellness services, and get as much as PHP1,000 off on your first session! Use the voucher code GWMIND1 (PHP500 off for WellBeing Coach) GWPSYCH1 (P1,000 off for Psychologist). Promo runs until October 15, 2021 only.

Download the GoodWork app through Google Play or App Store now!

-Written by Kevin Quibranza, MindNation People & Operations Head

Categories
Self Help

8 Ways to Overcome Impostor Syndrome

Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks struggles with it. So do Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, tennis superstar Serena Williams, and Nobel Prize-winning poet Maya Angelou. We are talking about imposter syndrome, defined as an internal experience of believing that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be. 

“Imposter syndrome is the experience of feeling like a fraud despite your successes,” says psychologist Riyan Portuguez.  “You think you only got to where you are because of luck, and that any moment someone will expose you for being inadequate or incompetent.”

While imposter syndrome usually appears in high achievers, it can affect anyone no matter their social status, work background, skill level, or degree of expertise.

Some of the common signs of imposter syndrome include:

  • Self-doubt
  • Attributing your success to external factors like good luck or good timing
  • Fear of failure or committing mistakes
  • Fear that you won’t live up to expectations
  • Fear of being judged by others

“Imposter syndrome is the experience of feeling like a fraud despite your successes.You think you only got to where you are because of luck, and that any moment someone will expose you for being inadequate or incompetent.”

Psychologist Riyan Portuguez

Causes

Certain factors can contribute to the experience of impostor syndrome. These include:

  • Family dynamics: Family expectations and the value of success and perfection in childhood can stay with an individual throughout their life.
  • Cultural expectations: Different cultures put different values on education, career, and different definitions of success.
  • Individual personality traits: Perfectionism can lead to imposter syndrome.

Imposter syndrome vs. humility
Imposter syndrome is oftentimes mistaken for excessive humility. But being humble does not mean having a poor opinion of yourself. Instead, you accept yourself and your many good qualities, as well as your limitations. 

People with imposter syndrome, on the other hand, will beat themselves up for committing mistakes and constantly ruminate on what they did wrong or how they could have done better. “Imposter syndrome results in impairment and missed opportunities,” Riyan points out. “When a promotion is offered, for example, a humble person will accept it graciously, acknowledge that they will encounter challenges, and ask for help when needed. On the other hand, someone with imposter syndrome will reject the promotion just because they feel they do not deserve it.” 

How to overcome it

While imposter syndrome is not a recognized mental disorder, it can contribute to mental health challenges like anxiety and depression. So if you see yourself exhibiting characteristics of imposter syndrome, you need to do something about it right away:

  1. Own your successes. “Credit yourself for your achievements and always remind yourself that you deserve the recognition you get,” says Riyan.
  1. Temper your perfectionist tendencies. Instead, learn how to set goals that are challenging but at the same time realistic and achievable.
  2. Accept that mistakes are a part of life. “No one is perfect; there is always room for growth,” reminds Riyan. “Treat mistakes as opportunities for you to become a better version of who you are.”
  3. Be comfortable with discomfort. Navigate your feelings, even the uncomfortable ones. Whenever you experience feelings of self-doubt or inadequacy, ask yourself why you are feeling this way and what made you feel this way. “By doing this, you will eventually identify your triggers and find ways to control them,” Riyan explains.
  4. Repeat after yourself: “Feelings are not facts.” Just because you feel unqualified does not mean you are unqualified. Be aware of the automatic defeatist thoughts and feelings you have, and work on countering those with reality-based statements, such as, “I am qualified for this task because….”
  5. Stop comparing yourself to others. “You are unique in your own way, you move at your own pace,” says Riyan. “If there is something that you need to compare yourself to, it’s to who you were before.”
  6. Use social media moderately. Spending too much time on social media can cause feelings of inferiority and will only make your feelings of being a fraud worse.
  7. Talk to your trusted friends and loved ones. Irrational beliefs tend to fester when they are hidden and not talked about, so the more you talk about it with someone, the more you realize what the problem is and that you are not the only one struggling. Loved ones can also give you the confidence boost you need to overcome your self-doubt. 

While experiencing imposter syndrome is normal, you don’t have to let it control your life and stop you from achieving your goals. Overcome your perfectionist tendencies by setting realistic goals for yourself, and accept that mistakes and failures are a part of life. Whenever you start to doubt your own skills, talk to others so that you realize your fears are unfounded. Finally, take ownership of your successes. Learn how to accept compliments, and draw strength from it.

MindNation psychologists and WellBeing Coaches are available for 24/7 teletherapy sessions if you need someone to talk to about your fears and insecurities. Book a slot through FB Messenger http://m.me/themindnation or email [email protected]

Categories
Self Help

How to allow your WellBeing to thrive

Well-being is not just the absence of disease or illness; rather, it involves how you feel about yourself and your life. Well-being is the state of being happy, healthy and successful. It enables people to successfully overcome difficulties and achieve what they want out of life!

To achieve a thriving state of well-being, we need to balance the five different dimensions of our lives: physical, emotional, mental, social, and cultural. We call these our WellBeing Capital® — think of these as independent bank accounts, each needing capital to function.

  1. Physical WellBeing

This is the most fundamental dimension of well-being; it is ensuring that you have a safe place to live, enough to eat, adequate clothes and access to transportation. Other aspects of the physical capital includes having good physical health, insurance, money, and other financial assets that make you feel secure.

You can check on the status of your physical well-being by asking yourself:

  • Are you constantly moving?
  • Are you eating mindfully and is it what your body needs? 
  • Do you get enough sleep?
  • Do you spend time with nature?
  • Do you have hobbies and dedicate time for them?
  • Do you feel physically secure – at home and at work?
  • Are you hydrated?
  • Do you have enough savings especially for a rainy day?
  1. Emotional WellBeing

This is more or less who YOU are and what you feel. It includes your values, skills, knowledge, experience, education, interpersonal skills, and problem-solving abilities. It also includes certain personality traits, such as conscientiousness, optimism, perseverance, self-awareness, and confidence.

Check-in on your emotional well-being: 

  • Are you setting healthy boundaries for yourselves, between the people you love, and at work?
  • Do you talk to yourself? Do you introspect and motivate yourself enough?
  • Is it easy for you to connect with others, with yourself, with your emotions?
    Do you take adequate time to get off social media?

  1. Mental WellBeing

Mental well-being is about creating authentic happiness in our lives and tuning into our feelings. Even though it is important to honor and be present with all of our feelings as they arise — even the difficult ones — it can be helpful to remember that we always have a choice about where we put the focus of our attention.

To check on your mental well-being, ask yourself:

  • Do you meditate? Do you take a few minutes of your day for calmness and to be completely in the moment?
  • Do you journal? Do you track your thoughts and process your responses well?
  • Are you grateful for your blessings and your failures, and things that you are still waiting for?
  1. Social WellBeing

This refers to the connection and relationship that we have with others. When you feel a sense of belonging, you increase your mental health.

Look around you: 

  • Do you feel like you belong — at home, at work, with your friends, in your community, in your country?
  • Do you have a healthy network for the varied areas and aspects of who you are?
  • Are you a trusting and trustworthy person?


It’s hard to think about these questions given the situation we’re in now given that we’re all in a social well-being struggle. As much as I advocate self-reliance and independence, we truly need our people and need to understand how we express our love and trust, and connection with others, and if we’re not doing that well, we will need help.

  1. Cultural WellBeing

This is the last dimension of well-being and is all about the support you get from your community, your happiness in it, your workplace culture, and your country. Good assets that are part of the Cultural Capital include volunteering work, recycling, or having a sense of meaning in life. It also means that what you are doing at work is aligned to your reason for being. In short, it is asking ourselves ‘How do we make the most out of our lives?’

Other questions to ask yourself:

  • What is your purpose in life? Do you spend enough time and resources to build to or find that purpose in life?
  • Do you have an IKIGAI, or what the Japanese refer to as their reasons for getting out of bed each morning? It’s usually an alignment of what the world needs, what you need, and your purpose.
  •  Do you have a personal mission/vision in life? Do you know where you are going and how your work supports where you want to be?
  • Do you take enough time to explore — not only physically through travel, but also through new experiences like food, music, art?

Self-care to boost your WellBeing Capital®

To build your overall well-being, you have to make sure all of the above dimensions are functioning to an extent. This is where self-care comes into play. We must make self-care a habit so that the next time we’re faced with stress in any aspect of our WellBeing, we have enough self-regard to step back and work on what’s missing.


I used to think of self care as something that I had to deserve. That I can only allow myself to rest and recuperate when I’m tired or burnt out. But when you’re already burnt out, a weekend or a day off isn’t going to cut it anymore.

Instead, make self-care a daily habits through the following ways:

  1. Keep your mind and body in check. Listen to what your body needs; if that’s extra time to breathe or a little stretch in the morning, do it. But don’t overdo it.
  2. Limit your news intake. We don’t need that much information, all we need is to be informed well enough for our peace of mind, and then we cut off and go about our day.
  3. Social distancing does not mean emotional distancing. Please do keep connected, and as much as possible CALL. Hearing someone else’s voice, especially someone we love, can give us instant calm and we need.
  4. Get some sun. Only if you can and only if it’s safe, open the window and bring in that vitamin D. Feeling locked up isn’t the best thing for our sanity.
  5. Meditate. Simple acts of breathing, grounding, and being aware of our surroundings can make us less anxious and bring us back to what we need to address. Prayer is one very practical way we can apply mindfulness to daily life.
  6. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude. Be grateful for anything and everything good. Thank you for another waking day, for internet access, for your job, for the food that you eat. Starting or ending your day with a grateful mindset will only set you up to see things in a better light.

Taking good care of all aspects of your life is paramount to achieving improved well-being. If your physical, emotional, mental, social, and cultural dimensions support one another, it will increase the likelihood that you develop resilience and stay healthy.  The key here is to always have that unconditional self-regard: understand that there should be no ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’ in taking care of ourselves. Now more than ever, we have to put utmost value on our wellbeing.

How’s your well-being today? Take our FREE WellBeing Quiz! It’s a simple True or False test that can be completed in just 2 minutes. Visit www.themindnation.com to get started. 

Categories
Self Help

8 Life Lessons We Can Learn From A Jedi

In the Star Wars films, the Jedi are powerful individuals who uphold peace and justice in the galaxy by wielding the Force (an energy field created by all living things). Aside from being skillful warriors, the Jedi are revered for their calm demeanor, wisdom, and patience. 

The good news is that the Jedi way of life is something we can adopt in our own everyday lives — you don’t even need telepathic skills or wear a robe to do so! Find out how below:

  1. Resolve conflicts peacefully.

“A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack. — Yoda

Even though they are skilled with lightsabers, the Jedi are first and foremost peacekeeping, philosopher-warriors who espoused fighting as a last resort. “In Episodes 7, 8, and 9, we never saw Yoda with a lightsaber,” points out yogi Lasse Holopainen, founder of Urban Ashram Yoga in the Philippines (www.urbansharamyoga.com). “Seek to achieve your goals without having to go into conflict.”

  1. Widen your perspectives. 

“Many of the truths that we cling to depend on our own point of view.” — Obi-Wan Kenobi

Actions are neutral; it’s only when we start labelling them as good or bad that we start reacting to them positively or negatively,” says psychologist Luis Villarroel, founder of Kintsugi-Psy (www.kintsugi-psy.com). “Just because we make a mistake does not mean we are failures.” By looking at things from another point of view (i.e. treating mistakes as a learning opportunity), we can manage our reactions better and avoid getting overwhelmed by negative feelings. 

  1. Strive for balance. 

“Only the Sith deals in absolutes.” — Obi-Wan Kenobi

Black and white thinking are rarely ever true. For instance, the light side of the Force is made up of admirable qualities like harmony, rationality, peace, and order; on the other hand, the dark side comprises passion, chaos, and emotions. But even the traits of the dark side are not wholly bad.“If we have no emotions, we won’t be able to express our feelings which can be unhealthy. If we don’t have passion, we won’t feel excitement, which we need to be able to achieve goals,” Luis points out. “And finally, if we did not have chaos, we would not have ‘good accidents’ like the invention of penicillin.” 

StarWars.com
  1. Be mindful.

“For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is.” — Yoda

“The Force is this gift of energy that people manifest and feel everyday,” says Lasse. “The problem is most of us don’t use this living energy in a constructive or directed way. Instead of being in control, we let ourselves get swept away and stressed by other people’s Forces.”

One way to stay present and balanced is to have a mindfulness practice, such as meditation, martial arts, yoga, or ikebana (the Japanese art of flower arrangement). “When you keep your mind still, you are fully in the Force and become its tuned instrument, instead of something that is syncopated and not in tune,” advises Lasse. 

  1. Manage your anxieties. 

Careful you must be when sensing the future, Anakin. The fear of loss is a path to the dark side.” — Yoda

When Anakin had a vision of Padme dying, he became so obsessed with preventing it that he inadvertently ended up making it come true. “When we let anxiety overwhelm us and start thinking ‘I will fail’ or ‘I am doomed’ it can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy, defined as a prediction or expectation coming true simply because the person believes it will and the person’s resulting behaviors align to fulfill the belief,” says Luis. 

  1. Don’t expect things you haven’t earned.
    “This is outrageous! It’s unfair! How can you be on the council and not be a master?!” — Anakin

    “What ultimately destroyed Anakin was that he felt he was owed something, that he should have been a Jedi Master, etcetera etcetera, and Emperor Palpatine used that to turn him to the dark side,” says Lasse. “So avoid future suffering by not having too many expectations and attachments.”
  2. Learn to let go.
    “Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose.” — Yoda

    Realize that thoughts and feelings are not facts. “Just because we feel something doesn’t automatically mean it’s true. Just because we think of these things doesn’t mean they will come true. Instead, live in the present moment and appreciate what it has to offer,” suggests Luis.
  3. Leave a legacy you can be proud of.

“If you strike me down, I will become more powerful than you can ever imagine.” — Obi-Wan Kenobi

Even if we pass away, our actions and ideals live on. “What we teach other people and how we affect them will live on into the future,” shares Luis. Similarly, instead of focusing on the loss of a loved one, focus on the good things about them. “Just because they are gone does not mean that what they did or what their lives had meant was gone. Celebrate that,” adds Luis.

Ultimately, living like a Jedi is about learning and controlling yourself. “The goal is to be mindful, to do the right things, to live a life that inflicts the least harm on others, that looks after collective good rather than individual good,” says Lasse. “It’s a practice; there is never a moment that you are absolutely a Jedi; you must constantly work for it until there comes a time that the moments you are not become less along the way.”

Categories
Self Help

5 Ways To Recharge Your Energy

In today’s fast-paced world, multitasking seems like a great way to get a lot done at once. But according to American-Canadian cognitive psychologist and neuroscientist Daniel Levitin, doing more than one thing at a time is taxing on the brain and drains precious mental energy. “Asking the brain to shift attention from one activity to another causes [parts of our brain] to burn up oxygenated glucose, the same fuel they need to stay on task,” he says. “The rapid, continual shifting we do with multitasking causes the brain to burn through fuel so quickly that we feel exhausted and disoriented after even a short time.” This leads to a rapid decline in decision-making skills, creativity, and productivity. 

“It’s funny to me to think about how quickly we freak out when our cell phone battery starts to weaken, but how seldom we even notice when our own brain power starts fading away,” says Salma Sakr, Chief Growth Officer at MindNation. 

“So in the same way we  keep an eye on our finances to make sure we don’t go bankrupt, it’s important we pay attention to how we spend and invest our energy so we don’t end up running out. “

How can we best replenish our mental energy and attain consistent peak performance when faced with so many things to do at work and at home? Salma suggests 5 ways we can keep our body and brain primed throughout the day:

  1. Start your day right
  • Hold off on checking email, social media, or any media for that matter, right when you open your eyes. “This way you can fuel your brain with something positive, inspiring, or energizing first,” Salma suggests. 
  •  Don’t rush through your breakfast, coffee, or smoothie. Take time to savor the meal. 
  • Go for a walk, do some gentle yoga.
  • Add a little humor to the morning by sharing a funny story with a friend or family.

“Once you get started and you feel that energy starting to flow, you end up doing more than you expected and you actually enjoy it.”

Salma Sakr, MindNation

2. It’s not just WHAT you eat, but also HOW you eat

  • Make sure to eat slowly, and stop before you think you’re full. 
  • Also make sure that you’re eating often enough to maintain a consistent energy level. Going too long between meals can actually cause your energy to tank and even reduce your immunity.

3. Find time to move throughout the day

“I suggest you try to get up and move for at least 10 minutes every hour using a 50-minute, 10-minute work cycle during the day,” Salma offers. “If you feel more tired, or more stressed, you may want to shift to 25 minutes on and five minutes off, so that you’re recharging even more often. You can even combine strategies, whatever the day calls for.”

4. Don’t forget to practice self-care

“Incorporate the things you enjoy doing into your routine, such as listening to music, using aromatherapy, doing gratitude exercises, thinking about someone you care about, or watching a funny video,” advises Salma. 

5. At night, unwind properly

  • Place your digital device out of reach, because it’s way too tempting to check in when it’s by your bed.
  •  “If you have to sleep with the TV on, make sure to choose shows that are relaxing or even boring, so your brain isn’t trying to pay attention,” Salma suggests. “Also, set a timer for the TV to turn off.” 
  • Listen to an audiobook or read a few pages of a book. “Most people who read before bed only actually read a few pages because their eyes start to get tired and their brain starts to recognize this consistent thing they do when they are ready to fall asleep,” shares Salma.
  • Create a quiet comfortable space to sleep in. Studies show that a cool temperature of about 20 degrees is best for the body to rest, and you should also minimize light and sound. 

Take a few moments right now to write down a couple of ways you can recharge your energy throughout the day. Make sure your plans are realistic, and keep them short and simple. Then, think about someone you could ask to join you from time to time to help you stick with your commitment.

Make sure to  repeat these new habits consistently enough for adaptations to start to add up.  “A good rule of thumb is  the power of two days — never miss two consecutive days of completing a new positive habit,” Salma shares. “You can miss a day — because let’s be honest, life gets in the way and all our plans need to be realistic — but fight the urge to miss a second day so you don’t fall back into your old habits.” So push yourself (though not too much) and use the ‘2-day rule’ as a way to build your habit. 

Finally, don’t be hard on yourself. It’s not easy to break out of old habits and build new ones so be patient, start small, and be kind to yourself. 

If you need help breaking out of bad habits or kick-starting new ones, our WellBeing Coaches are available 24/7 for teletherapy sessions. Book a session now via FB Messenger (m.me/themindnation) or email [email protected].  

Categories
Self Help

How To Cope With Never-ending Bad News

Bad news and negativity on social media is almost inescapable. As the COVID-19 pandemic enters its second year and newer, faster-spreading variants emerge, stories about surges in infections and deaths, announcements about renewed lockdowns, and posts about vaccine anxiety are dominating our newsfeeds.

Add into this mix the stressors carried over from last year (i.e. financial stress, isolation, and fear) and it’s no wonder that people are experiencing more mental health challenges than ever.

“Self-care is self-preservation.”

Kevin Quibranza, life coach

What should we do when we feel as if we can’t take it anymore? This is where self-care comes in. And while it may initially feel ludicrous to think of taking a break when there are so many problems that need to be fixed, we are actually duty-bound to take care of ourselves. “Self-care is self-preservation,” says Kevin Quibranza, life coach and MindNation People and Operations Head. “Everything in our lives — our goals, financial security, relationships with others — are dependent on our level of health, and self-care acts ensure that we stay healthy enough to achieve positive outcomes in all of them.” If we fail to take care of ourselves and get sick — whether physically or mentally — then we risk financial uncertainties, damaged relationships, and even our lives.

With this in mind, here are some things you can do to take care of your well-being when it all seems too much to bear:

Don’t forget the self-care basics. Prioritize sleep, eat mindfully, exercise, and stay in touch with loved ones. These promote not just mental health but also our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being, enabling us to feel less stressed and more resilient in anxiety-ridden times like these.

Reduce social media use. While social media is a great way to keep in touch with family and friends as well as stay informed about the latest news, studies have shown that excessive use can fuel feelings of depression, anxiety, and isolation. And if your newsfeed is becoming an obituary these days, it’s time to modify your habits so that you improve your mood. “You may not have control over the things you see on social media, but you are in control of the amount of time you expose yourself to it,” Kevin points out.

Some things you can do:

1. Use anti-distraction software. “I will only check social media for one hour each day” is easier said than done because social networks were deliberately designed to be as addictive as possible by some of the smartest people in the world. The solution — use tools that enforce discipline. Focus apps like Forest, Focus To-Do, and Pomodoro Timer can block the websites or apps that you want for an amount of time that you set, and can be a bit cumbersome to disable so you think twice about “cheating.”

2. Adjust who you are following. You don’t need to follow every news outlet or every famous journalist — limit it to just two or three so you are not bombarded with the same bad news in a short period of time. And if you have friends or relatives who regularly post fake news or propaganda that raises your hackles — that’s what the “Unfollow” function is for.

3. Institute a social media free day each week. Pick one day a week to go without your phone or social media, and it will go a long way to giving your mind the space it needs to slow down and rest.

Give yourself permission to express and feel your emotions. Apart from fear and anxiety, guilt and shame are two other emotions experienced by many during this pandemic. It is frequently felt by those who look at the infection and death tolls and wonder how they were spared, as well as by those who recovered after being infected. And while these feelings are normal, they can lead to longer-term mental health issues if left unresolved. If you are feeling survivor’s guilt, try to manage them by doing the following:

4. Practice being kind to yourself. Instead of asking “Why me?” try “Why not me?”

Meditate, breathe, journal. These mindfulness activities can provide a much-needed break from the barrage of bad news that tends to worsen your guilt.

Use compassionate self-talk. Accept that what you are feeling is part of being human.

Drop some responsibilities. Stress is caused by an imbalance in the different aspects of your life (i.e. work, relationships, “me” time) so analyze your schedule, responsibilities, and daily tasks. “If your body and your mind are both telling you that you need a break – listen to it. Stop what you are doing and indulge in activities that can boost your happiness or gratitude,” Kevin says.

5. Find ways to help others. Studies have shown that happiness and life satisfaction increases when we volunteer or help others,” shares Kevin. “It might seem hard to do while maintaining social distancing, but simple acts like talking to and empathizing with friends who are in need or helping your family with chores at home can really change your perspective.”

6. Talk to a mental health professional. You don’t hesitate to see a doctor if you feel pain or discomfort in your physical body, so neither should you delay talking to a psychologist or WellBeing Coach if you are feeling stressed, empty, alone, afraid, or overwhelmed. And even if you are not struggling, there’s no harm in checking-in with an expert. At the end of the day, we all benefit from knowing that someone will always be there to listen.

MindNation offers 24/7 online sessions with licensed psychologists and WellBeing Coaches in the Philippines and (for a limited time) in the Middle East and North Africa. Book your slot now through http://m.me./themindnation or email [email protected].

Categories
Mental Health 101 Self Help

The Pitfalls of Toxic Positivity

When a friend comes to us with a problem, it’s easy for us to give advice that falls into the trap of toxic positivity — defined by clinical psychologist Dr. Jaime Zuckerman as “the assumption, either by one’s self or others, that despite a person’s emotional pain or difficult situation, they should only have a positive mindset or—my pet peeve term—‘positive vibes.’”

Toxic positivity statements may sound like any of the following:

  • “You’ll get over it.”
  • “Don’t be so negative.”
  • “Always look on the bright side.”
  • “Think happy thoughts.”
  • “It could be worse.”
  • “Everything happens for a reason.”

Focusing on the positive and rejecting anything that may trigger negative emotions may sound like a good thing, but according to Joyce Pring-Triviño, TV presenter, and host of the podcast “Adulting With Joyce Pring,” toxic positivity denies, minimizes, and invalidates genuine human emotional experiences. “When we exhibit toxic positivity, we deny all the negative experiences that make us human,” Joyce points out.

“Furthermore, suppressing or avoiding negative feelings can lead to increased anxiety, depression, and overall worsening of mental health,” Dr. Zuckerman says.

Psychotherapist Carolyn Karoll adds: “The pressure to appear ‘OK’ gives the impression that the person is defective when they feel distress, which can be internalized in a core belief that they are inadequate or weak. Judging oneself for feeling pain, sadness, jealousy—which are part of the human experience and are transient emotions—leads to secondary emotions, such as shame, that are much more intense and maladaptive. They…don’t give space for self-compassion, which is so vital to mental health.”

Lastly, by not acknowledging the wrong in the situation, we don’t leave room for the other person to take steps to resolve their situation. “After all, how can things get better if we’re already saying that they should be okay with what is happening?” says Joyce. 

If you find yourself constantly turning to toxic positive statements to help a friend or loved one cope with their fears and anxieties, the first thing to do is not to  blame yourself. “It’s also human nature to not want to dwell on the bad things,” assures Joyce. “We want to be distracted by the good because otherwise, we will get anxious ourselves.”

The next time the opportunity presents itself, work on doing the following instead:

  1. Listen and validate other people, even if their sadness makes you uncomfortable. Everyone’s entitled to their own feelings. Don’t shame another person for their emotions.
  2. Use healthy positivity statements: 
  • “I know it’s hard but I believe in you.”
  • “It’s okay to feel bad sometimes.”
  • “Always look at the bright side.” 
  • “It can be difficult to see the good in this situation, but we’ll make sense of it when we can.”
  • “Things can get really tough, but I am here for you.”
  • “I know this isn’t the outcome you were hoping for and that can be painful. But trust that this feeling won’t last forever.”
  1. Do not offer unsolicited advice. Instead, ask “How can I support you?” or just say “I’m here if you need me for anything.”

While it may seem beneficial to tell others to look on the bright side of things and find the silver lining in all life experiences, it’s also important to acknowledge and listen to emotions even when they aren’t pleasant. By helping your loved one pay attention and process their feelings as they come and go, you can help them understand themselves and their situation better.

Listen to Adulting with Joyce Pring’s “Toxic Positivity” episode here!

If someone you know is feeling especially stressed, overwhelmed, or anxious, MindNation’s 24/7 Care Hotline is available all day, every day, on FB Messenger. The service is FREE, completely confidential, and the staff is trained to ease your anxieties. Drop us a line http://m.me/themindnation

Categories
Get Inspired Self Help

When To Grit Vs. When To Quit

According to business author Seth Godin, “We’re fooling ourselves thinking that sticking it out is the way to get ahead.”

Many of us are familiar with the saying “Winners never quit and quitters never win.” But according to business writer Seth Godin, author of the bestselling book “The Dip: A Little Book That Tells You When To Quit (And When To Stick)”, winners DO quit and quitters DO win. “Winners quit all the time,” he writes. “They just quit the right stuff at the right time.”

The Dip and The Cul-de-Sac

“Every new project (or job, or hobby, or company) starts out exciting and fun,” Seth writes. “Then it gets harder and less fun, until it hits a low point–really hard, and not much fun at all. And then you find yourself asking if the goal is even worth the hassle.”

For Seth, this low point can be one of two things:

  • The “Dip,” the point where something you’ve started is no longer fun, becomes difficult, and most people give up.
  • A “Cul-de-Sac,” a dead end, where you try and try or work and work and nothing happens.

According to Seth, what really sets superstars apart from everyone else is their ability to tell the two apart. Winners see the Dip as a barrier, a temporary setback that will get better if they keep pushing. If they are able to overcome it, they will come out more exceptional than when they started out. 

He cites a well-reported study which found that salespersons usually give up and move on after the fifth contact with the prospect because they think they are wasting their time and the prospect’s. Five times is the Dip. But according to the study, 80 percent of customers buy on the seventh attempt to close the sale! If the salesperson had stuck it out and pushed on, he or she would have found success.

On  the other hand, those who recognize that they are in a Cul-de-Sac and have the guts to quit early have the benefit of freeing up time and space to reinvest their energies on something more worthwhile. 

“In both cases, it’s about being the best in the world. About getting through the hard stuff and coming out on the other side,” states Seth. 


On the other hand, Seth states that losers fall into two basic traps. “Either they fail to stick out the Dip–they get to the moment of truth and give up–or they never even find the right Dip to conquer,” he writes.

Seth advises that people need to figure out first if they are in a Dip that is worthy of their time, effort, and talents. “If you are, the dip will inspire you to hang tough. If not, it will help you find the courage to quit, so you can be number one at something else.”

So how do you know if you’re in Dip or a Cul-de-Sac? Seth offers the following suggestions in an interview with author Josh Kaufman. Read Here

When to grit and when to quit

1. Find your why. “If you are showing up at work or training everyday just because you showed up yesterday, or if you are showing up because you believe that showing up is the only way to support your family, then you’re making a mistake.”

2. Ask yourself — “‘Is there a dip on the horizon? Can you see it coming?’ ‘Have other people you’ve worked with found that spot?’ If yes, you have to stick it out because your turn will come.”

3. Lastly, is the task getting more difficult? “If all you’re measuring is that you didn’t get fired, or your job reviews are better than average, and the company is not going not going out of business, that’s probably a dead end right there. There’s no dip coming, there’s no breakthrough, there’s no chance you’re going to be able to embrace the dip, push through it, and come out the other end exceptional.”

And if you’ve found yourself in an honest-to-goodness Cul-de-Sac, Seth advocates quitting. “Strategic quitting is a conscious decision you make based on the choices that are available to you. If you realize you’re at a dead end compared with what you could be investing in, quitting is not only a reasonable choice, it’s a smart one. Quitting is better than coping because quitting frees you up to excel at something else.”

To know if we are quitting strategically and NOT just reactively, Seth advises that we first ask ourselves three questions before making the decision: 

  1. Am I panicking? Quitting is a critical decision, so doing it when you’re panicked is dangerous and expensive. “When the pressure is greatest to compromise, to drop out, or to settle, your desire to quit should be at its lowest,” he shares. “The best quitters, as we’ve seen, are the ones who decide in advance when they’re going to quit. You can always quit later—so wait until you’re done panicking to decide.”
  2. Who am I trying to influence? “If you have a well defined person you’re trying to influence and they’re not listening, it may be time to quit. But when it’s a whole market, there are plenty of other people you could try to influence. Influencing a market is a hill you have to climb,” he states.
  3. What sort of measurable progress am I making? If you’re trying to succeed in a job or a relationship or at a task, you’re either moving forward, falling behind, or standing still. There are only three choices. “To succeed, to get to that light at the end of the tunnel, you’ve got to make some sort of forward progress, no matter how small. Too often, we get stuck in a situation where quitting seems too painful, so we just stay with it, choosing not to quit because it’s easier than quitting. That choice—to stick with it in the absence of forward progress—is a waste. It’s a waste because of the opportunity cost,” Seth points out. He adds: :”Measurable progress doesn’t have to be a raise or a promotion. It can be more subtle than that, but it needs to be more than just ‘surviving is succeeding.’” 

Finally, Seth cautions in his interview with Josh that encountering a Cul-de-Sac does not mean you have to quit RIGHT NOW. If you really need the income, don’t leave your job just yet, but do ACT like you’ve quit. “Live as if you have no income,” he advises. “Shop less. Don’t buy fancy coffee. Do it radically and completely until you’ve saved enough money to be able to really quit, to survive the transition, and get through the Dip.”

“To be a superstar, you must do something exceptional. Not just survive the Dip, but use the Dip as an opportunity to create something so extraordinary that people can’t help but talk about it, recommend it, and, yes, choose it.”

MindNation’s WellBeing Coaches can help if you are feeling “stuck” and need help achieving your goals. Book an online session with them now on FB Messenger http://m.me/themindnation or email [email protected]

Categories
Employee Wellness Featured Self Help Sleep

6 Secrets To A Good Night’s Sleep

If you’re tired of feeling tired, here are some simple tips to help you achieve better sleep

We all have trouble sleeping from time to time, but when restless nights persist, it can become a real problem. Studies have shown that inadequate sleep can have serious effects on our physical, mental, and emotional health, like increasing our propensity for obesity, heart disease, and Type 2 diabetes, as well as making us tired, moody, and unable to concentrate on daily tasks. “Think of your body as a computer,” says Dr. Rhalf Jayson Guanco, a psychologist and faculty member of the psychology department of the Adventist University of the Philippines. “Walking around in a sleep-deprived state is like working on a computer with a fragmented hard drive. You are not getting all the performance from that computer that you could.” 

Experts say adults need to sleep between seven to nine hours per stretch so that the body can repair and recharge itself for the next day. And when we are fully rested, we enjoy benefits such as improved memory and concentration, enhanced creativity, better decision-making skills, a more positive mood and mindset, and a healthier immune system.

If you have trouble settling down to sleep, Dr. Guanco shares some tips below that you can follow:

  1. Maintain a regular sleep-wake schedule, even on the weekends. “Doing so maintains your body’s circadian rhythm (also known as our “inner clock”), which can help you fall asleep and wake up more easily,” says Dr. Guanco.
  2. Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath, reading a book, or listening to soothing music. Don’t eat, do moderate to intense exercises, or drink alcohol or caffeine, or smoke three hours before bedtime since these arouse the senses instead of sending you into a relaxed state. “Also avoid doing activities that excite or stress you out, such as working, playing video games, or paying bills,” he adds.
  1. Create a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet, comfortable and cool. Dr. Guanco advises using blackout curtains to cover your windows, and wearing eye shades or ear plugs.
  2. Sleep on a firm, comfortable mattress. “The average lifespan for a good quality mattress is about 9 -10 years.,” he points out. 
  1. Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex. “This strengthens the association between your bed and sleep.  Take work materials, computers, and the television out of the bedroom,” he shares.
  2. Exercise regularly (but not too close to bedtime). Even just short bouts of exercise can lead to improvements in total sleep time, sleep quality, and time spent falling asleep. Exercise may also help reduce the symptoms of sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or sleep-related movement disorders. Just make sure to do it at least 3 hours before bedtime. 

If you need help fine-tuning your sleep habits, our WellBeing Coaches are available for online sessions  24/7, all year round. Book your slot now at http://m.me/themindnation or email [email protected].