Categories
Suicide Prevention

Stop The Stigma: Debunking The Top 5 Suicide Myths And Facts

CONTENT WARNING: This article includes descriptions of suicide that may disturb some readers.

Despite increased awareness drives about mental health challenges in recent years, suicide continues to be a serious public health issue. According to the World Health Organization, more than 700,000 people die by suicide every year; this number does not include those who attempt to die by suicide and survive. Even more troubling: suicide is the fourth leading cause of death in 15-19-year-olds. 

Unfortunately, many of us do not recognize the signs that someone is at risk for suicide or self-harm because of the many misconceptions society has about it. Additionally, the stigma prevents those with suicidal ideation to get the help they need to get better. 

“Not talking about suicide does not prevent suicide,” point out Luis Villarroel of Kintsugi-Psy. “All it does is make suicidal ideation cultivate in secret rather than out in the open, where people can help one another and address their issues.” 

Luis shares five common and harmful suicide myths and provides the facts to debunk them: 

Myth: Talking about suicide will lead to and encourage suicide.
Fact: On the contrary, talking about suicide allows individuals with suicidal ideations to seek help, rethink their opinions, and share their story with others so they do not feel hopeless and alone. “Anytime someone initiates a conversation about wanting to take their lives, we should take it as a call for help and never assume that they are joking,” Luis adds. 

Myth: Suicide attempts happen without warning.
Fact:
“Suicides are very rarely spur-of-the-moment occurrences,” Luis says. “Individuals who are suicidal show warning signs, especially to their loved ones, but it’s possible that these loved ones did not recognize those signs. This is why it may seem like the suicide was sudden.” 

Some warning signs of suicide include:

  • Withdrawal from friends, family and community
  • Dramatic change in behavior
  • Giving away possessions
  • Tying up loose ends, like organizing personal papers or paying off debts

“While it’s possible that there are other explanations for the above behavior, it’s always better to be safe than sorry,” Luis explains. “Reach out to the person and ask ‘Are you okay?’ or ‘How are you doing lately?’” If they don’t want to share, don’t force this issue, just say “That’s fine, I just wanted to know how you were,” or “Glad to know you’re okay, I’m always here if you need me.’”

But if you are really concerned or have concrete evidence that the person is attempting suicide:

  • Don’t leave the person alone.
  • Call your local emergency number right away. Or, if you think you can do so safely, take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room yourself.
  • Try to find out if they are under the influence of alcohol or drugs or may have taken an overdose.
  • Tell a family member or friend right away what’s going on.
  • Encourage the person to call a suicide hotline number
  • Get help from a trained professional

Myth: People who attempt suicide and survive will never attempt it again.
Fact:
This myth comes from the belief that the physical pain of self-harm will deter someone with suicidal ideation from further attempts. “But people who attempt suicide already believe that death is a preferable alternative to their current situation,” Luis explains. “So if they survived their attempt but the circumstances that led them to think about suicide do not change, you can expect that the attempt will repeat. Maybe the method used to end their lives will be different, but the ideation will still be there.”

Suicide attempts should be taken as call for help. Loved ones must work together to let the person with suicidal ideation see that other options for staying safe or solving their problems are available to them. 

Myth: Suicide only affects individuals with a mental health condition.
Fact:
According to the National Alliance On Mental Illness, many individuals with mental illness are not affected by suicidal thoughts, just as not all people who attempt or die by suicide have mental illness. Relationship problems and other life stressors such as criminal/legal matters, persecution, eviction/loss of home, death of a loved one, a devastating or debilitating illness, trauma, sexual abuse, rejection, and recent or impending crises are also associated with suicidal thoughts and attempts.

Myth: If a person is serious about killing themselves, there is nothing that we can do.
Fact:
“There is always something you can do; the question is, what are you willing to do?” Luis points out. “Reaching out is one thing, but don’t leave it at that. When someone expresses struggles or pain, take the extra step, be it helping the victim of an abusive relationship leave, or connecting someone with depression to a mental health professional. Show your concern in concrete ways.”

As individuals, we should not be afraid to speak up about suicide, mental illness, or to seek out treatment for an individual who is in need. Eliminating the stigma starts by understanding why suicide occurs and advocating for mental health awareness within our communities. Start by sharing articles on suicide awareness and prevention, as well as those related to mental health;  additionally, look for and connect with groups that have the similar objective of wanting to remove the stigma surrounding suicide. 

“Breaking the stigma  about suicide is going to be hard, you may encounter resistance because of the stigma surrounding it,” Luis admits. “But suicide is something that we have to accept is a reality in our society, and talking about it can help any individual who is struggling with unhealthy thoughts and emotions get the help they need.” 

If you or a loved one is in crisis, the MindNation Chat Helpline is available 24/7 if you need someone to talk to. Additionally, MindNation psychologists are available 24/7 for teletherapy sessions via sms chat, video chat, or voice call. Rest assured that all conversations are secure and will be kept confidential. Chat with a friend or book a session now though bit.ly/themindnationchat. 

Categories
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
Featured

7 Important Things Every Dad Should Teach His Kids

Fathers, like mothers, are pillars in the development of a child’s emotional well-being. Studies have shown that when fathers are involved, affectionate, and supportive, it positively impacts a child’s overall sense of well-being and self confidence. 

We asked Filipino journalist and father-of-three TJ Manotoc to share some things that  he wants his children — and every child — to grow up knowing so that they become healthy and happy individuals:

“My kids always ask me what my definition of success is, and I tell them it’s not how much money I earn or what kind of car I’m able to buy — it’s to raise them to become happy and healthy human beings.”

TJ Manotoc, Journalist and father of three
  1. For his sons, to always respect women. “There’s so much misogyny and disrespect for women nowadays that I want my sons to know that such behavior is not cool or funny and can really be hurtful,” he shares. “I always tell them that before they say or do anything to another girl or woman, they should first think about their own sister and mother, and how they would feel if they were the recipient of such disrespectful words or actions.”
  2. To know how to cook, clean, and do the laundry. “If you enter the adult world knowing how to do household chores, you will have a much easier time being loved,” TJ laughs. “And if you really can’t do chores or have the time — at least be neat and clean when you are living with someone else!”
  3. For his daughter, to be brave. “I believe it’s especially important to encourage girls to speak up for what they believe in, to use their platform for good and not just for aesthetics,” he says.
  4. And to learn self-defense! “The world is a scary place, and she should be able to protect herself and not wait for a man to come to her rescue,” he points out.
  5. For all his children, regardless of gender — that it’s okay to feel your emotions. “This is a bigger issue for sons because their feelings are stifled a lot. We should do away with toxic statements like ‘Be a big boy’ or ‘Be a man’ and allow our little boys to be human beings,” he opines. “If something bothers them, hurts them, or physically pains them, they should know that it’s okay to cry.
  6. Financial literacy. This includes how to take care of money, how to budget, what to buy and when to buy them, or how to invest. “I wish these were things my parents taught me back then and I hope that more parents teach it now, because finances are really something that a lot of people struggle with when they get into adulthood,” he says.
  7. To go ahead and dream. “Don’t stifle your child’s dreams by saying ‘No, you have to be a doctor,’ or ‘No, you have to do this, not that,’”
    TJ expresses. “Doing this puts a boundary on their dreams and tells them that they cannot be who they were destined to be. So allow them to spread their wings and expose them to as many things as possible so that they can discover their meaning in the universe.”

He adds: “My kids always ask me what my definition of success is, and I tell them it’s not how much money I earn or what kind of car I’m able to buy — it’s to raise them to become happy and healthy human beings.”

For TJ, the best way fathers can cultivate healthy and loving relationships with their children is to create opportunities where they can bond and spend time together in a very natural and relaxed manner. “One thing I struggle with is when I see families sitting down at the dinner table and the kids are “supposed” to bond with the parents, they are “expected” to share what went on during their way even if they are tired or in a bad mood. Instead of forcing the kids, parents need to find ways to pique their child’s interest and open them up to conversation,” he suggests. “Everyone has different moods — when they feel chatty or when they just want to be alone — so my advice to parents is to give their kids the space and time they need to be themselves. Trust and respect are essential to a positive parent-child relationship.”

Want to build a healthier relationship with your child? Our WellBeing Coaches are available 24/7 for teletherapy sessions to help you improve your communications skills and become a more empathetic parent. Book a session now through FB Messenger http://m.me/themindnation or email [email protected]

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
Featured

Beyond Fasting: 5 Lessons We Can All Learn From Ramadan

Today marks the end of Ramadan, the holiest month in the Islamic calendar. One of the key obligations of Ramadan –and the one most familiar to non-Muslims — is fasting. For 29 to 30 days (depending on the lunar cycle), Muslims abstain from eating and drinking during daylight hours. They begin their fast at dawn – usually by eating a light meal known as Suhur – and end it once the sun has set with a meal known as Iftar. Not everyone has to fast — children, the elderly with medical conditions, those who are sick, and pregnant and breastfeeding women are exempted from fasting. Women can also break their fast during Ramadan if they are menstruating; they and any others who miss a few days of fasting for whatever reason can then “make up” for the missed days when the month is over. 

But the fasting is not limited to food and drinks. “We also fast from unhealthy habits and bad behavior,” explains Neiveen Essam, MindNation’s Marketing Manager for the Middle East and North Africa. “These include smoking, swearing, gossipping, arguing, bullying, fighting, or being disrespectful, cruel or selfish.”

This just goes to show that the month of Ramadan is more than just depriving oneself of physical indulgences. Below is what Ramadan is actually about, and what we — regardless of our religious views — can learn from it.

“We use the time to reflect and improve ourselves… By doing this, we realize where we are and where we want to be.” 

Neiveen Essam, MindNation’s Marketing Manager for the Middle East and North Africa
  1. It is a time of introspection.
    Ramadan essentially pushes people to slow down from their fast-paced lives and recalibrate. “We use the time to reflect and improve ourselves,” says Neiveen. “We ask ourselves questions like ‘Do I like where I am in my life? What’s gone well over this past year? What more can I do? And what can I do less?’ By doing this, we realize where we are and where we want to be.” 

What non-Muslims can do: Every so often, take a break from your regular routine and reflect on your life. Think about where you are now, what you’re doing, and your habits. Are you happy and content? If not, what can you do about it?

  1. It teaches empathy.
    By going without food and water for an extended period of time, Mulims realize what it must be like for many people all over the world who experience hunger and thirst on a daily basis. “We learn to be more compassionate towards the less fortunate,” says Neiveen. 

What non-Muslims can do: Develop a habit of gratitude. Take a few moments each day to consider at least three things you are grateful for. You can record them in a journal, or just allow them to absorb your thoughts.

  1. It reminds us to be generous.
    Iftar before the COVID-19 pandemic was a festive time of day.  Communities and organizations would prepare tables laden with food and set up chairs in public places so that anyone and everyone — most especially the needy — can eat for free. This year, such gatherings are banned because of social distancing measures, although most people continue the tradition on their own by ordering small Iftar meals from restaurants and distributing them to poor neighborhoods.

    What non-Muslims can do: There are many ways to safely do charity work during the pandemic. If you want to serve in person, speak with your local churches or community groups to find out what opportunities are available; if you prefer to stay at home, gather and/or donate much-needed supplies to organizations in need.
  2. It brings people closer together.
    “Traditionally, people take Ramadan as an opportunity to meet and socialize, especially if they do not meet a lot throughout the year,” explains Neiveen. Families and friends share Iftar or Suhur in each other’s homes, with some even going to more than one home in the span of an evening. But because social gatherings are banned this year, many are connecting with their loved ones through digital platforms instead. 

What non-Muslims can do: Video chatting is great, but if you want to make your weekly calls with family and friends more special, try hosting a game night just to spice things up. There are many options available online, from simple trivia games to classic board games that got virtual makeovers. 

  1. It boosts your spiritual well-being.
    Fasting from bad behavior, reflecting, and being charitable are all ways we can find meaning in our lives and become more motivated to become better people. “It is very easy for God to just tell us to donate to the poor,” Neiveen says. “But by telling us to fast, He lets us really feel what the less fortunate are feeling so that when we DO donate, it is more sincere and impactful.”  

    What non-Muslims can do: Find your Ikigai —  what is your reason for getting out of bed each morning? Answering this question will lead you down a road where you will think more in-depth about yourself and allow you to notice things about yourself that will help you achieve fulfillment.  Read more about Ikigai here

Even though Ramadan only lasts a month, it is possible to carry its lessons throughout the year. “Once you learn the lessons, be consistent,” Neiveen advises. “Always remind yourself that not only can you be a good person, you can be a better person by continually practicing good habits and abstaining from  bad ones.”

MindNation Arabia offers a free Psych session promo this month in partnership with Scoop Empire.

Categories
Mental Health 101

What is Gaslighting?

In 2018, Oxford Dictionaries named “gaslighting” as one of the most popular words of the year. It is defined as the act of undermining another person’s reality by denying facts, the environment around them, or their feelings.

“Gaslighting is a form of manipulation,” says psychologist Riyan Portuguez. “A person who gaslights seeks to gain more power in an argument by portraying themselves as the victim or making the partner question their worth.” 

Common statements you may hear from gaslighters include: 

“I was just joking.”

“I didn’t do that/I never said that. You’re imagining things.”

“You have issues.”

“You’re upset over nothing.”

“Here we go again.”

“You’re being sensitive/you’re so dramatic.”

“Gaslighting can be unintentional, especially in cases where one person is so afraid of losing the other that they will say anything to divert blame or avoid a difficult conversation,”

Riyan Portuguez, psychologist

While gaslighting is most often mentioned in the context of a romantic relationship, any relationship that has a power dynamic (i.e. friends, family members, or workmates) can be a breeding ground for this toxic behavior. This means that not only is it highly likely that most of us have been gaslighted at some point in our lives, it’s also possible that we have inadvertently gaslighted other people as well. 

“Gaslighting can be unintentional, especially in cases where one person is so afraid of losing the other that they will say anything to divert blame or avoid a difficult conversation,” explains Riyan. “But we need to understand that gaslighting is self-defeating, because it does not resolve the conflict in a mature or proper way.” 

When left unexamined, gaslighting can have a devastating and long-term impact on our emotional, psychological, and even physical well-being. This is why it’s important to learn how to spot the technique, shut it down, and minimize the psychological impact on our daily lives or the lives of our loved ones.

How to tell if you are being gaslighted

According to Dr. Robert Stern, author of the book “The Gaslight Effect: How to Spot and Survive the Hidden Manipulation Others Use to Control Your Life,” signs that you are a victim of gaslighting include:

  • No longer feeling like the person you used to be
  • Being more anxious and less confident than you used to be
  • Often wondering if you’re being too sensitive
  • Feeling like everything you do is wrong
  • Always thinking it’s your fault when things go wrong
  • Apologizing often
  • Often questioning whether your response to your partner is appropriate (e.g., wondering if you were too unreasonable or not loving enough)
  • Making excuses for your partner’s behavior

If you don’t typically experience these feelings with other people but do with one particular individual, then you might be a victim of gaslighting.

What to do if you feel you are being gaslighted

  1. Don’t say “You’re gaslighting me!” “Accusations will only make the other person defensive and escalate the situation. Remember that it’s possible your partner is not even aware that they are gaslighting,” reminds Riyan.
  2. Instead, point to specific, observable actions and how they made you feel. Use ‘I’ statements such as “I felt __ when you did/said ___.”
  3. When presenting your side, stand your ground. “Gaslighters will seek to confuse you. But if you know your truth, it won’t be as easy to sway you,” Riyan says.
  4. Always remember that you are not responsible for another person’s actions or emotions. Gaslighters usually claim that you provoked the abuse. “Most victims of gaslighting end up rationalizing the gaslighter’s behavior by saying ‘He reacted this way because I did this’ or ‘It’s my fault she said that.’ But if we start feeling responsible, it will be hard for us to recognize reality,” Riyan shares. “It’s good to be empathetic and try to look at the other person’s point of view, but if you are the one wronged, you need to put up healthy barriers.”   
  5. Talk to someone about what you are going through. These can be trusted friends, loved ones, or even a mental health professional. This does not mean telling them off the bat that the other person is a gaslighter. “Don’t seek to make the other person look bad because again, they might not even be aware of what they are doing,” cautions Riyan. Instead, focus on the problem or the situation and seek advice on what to do, or if your thoughts and feelings are valid.
  6. Know when to walk away. “If you have exhausted all means but the gaslighter refuses to change their ways, then you need to leave the relationship to protect your mental health and peace of mind,” advises Riyan. “You are not responsible for changing another person; better to spend your time and energy with people who are more deserving of your attention and who see your worth.”

How to stop yourself from gaslighting others

If you are worried that you might be gaslighting your loved one, here are things you can do:

  1. Think before you speak or act. “Before you say or do something during a difficult conversation, ask yourself if your words or actions will improve the relationship, or worsen it,” advises Riyan.
  2. Seek to find common ground, not to “win.” “What is more important to you, the relationship, or your need to be right?” asks Riyan.
  3. If you made a mistake, own up to it. “Nobody is perfect, so reevaluate yourself before you plunge into a difficult conversation,” Riyan suggests.
  4. If the other person really misread the situation or misjudged you, don’t get angry or defensive. “This can happen in partners who came from toxic or abusive relationships; they inadvertently bring their hurts and insecurities into their current situation,” explains Riyan. Instead of responding to their accusations with “You’re being dramatic, it’s nothing!” or “You’re just imagining things,” ask them to pinpoint what exactly you did or said that they found wrong, and explain your side. “Don’t avoid the conversation; use it to give your partner the reassurance that they need,” she adds.

It is entirely possible to stop gaslighting behavior, but it will take a great deal of self-awareness to do so. While there are some who are able to do it on their own, talking to a mental health professional can also help. Therapists can guide you in examining your actions and see if you have been, consciously or unconsciously, engaging in toxic behaviors. They can also help you to make needed changes that will make your own life and relationships better.

MindNation psychologists and WellBeing Coaches are available 24/7 for teletherapy sessions in the Philippines (and also in the Middle East for a limited time). Book your 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
Mental Health 101

8 Reasons Why People Don’t Seek Professional Help For Mental Health Concerns

Despite mental health being more visible than ever and care being more available, only a few people seek professional help for their mental health concerns; according to the World Health Organization, up to 80 percent of people with mental health issues do not seek treatment. 

Up to 80% of people with mental health issues do not seek treatment.

World Health Organization

Why is this the case? Based on a poll conducted on MindNation’s Instagram page last March 2020, below are the eight most common reasons people avoid therapy. We asked MindNation People and Operations Head Kevin Quibranza to comment and share how we can overcome these thoughts and fears:

  1. Shame. (“I don’t want to be labelled ill or crazy. If word got out that I was seeing a psychologist, it could negatively impact my career, relationship, or other life goals.”)

    “Being afraid to do what needs to be done because of what others think is detrimental to your health,” says Kevin. “Don’t be ashamed to seek help.”

    When confronted with these negative voices, the best thing to do is to tune them out. If they harangue you, keep your replies short (i.e. “I see,” or “Okay”) and resist the urge to expound or explain yourself. Switch the topic if you have to. With nothing to continue on, the naysayer will stop there.

    Lastly, surround yourself with enablers. Think about the people who are supportive or would be supportive of your plans to seek therapy if you told them. “Many people nowadays are open-minded with mental health problems and it is no longer as taboo for them as it used to be,” says Kevin. And if you don’t have any such people in your life, it’s okay. There are people out there in the world who are doing what you want to do, so increase your contact with their works, such as their books, their interviews, their TV shows, and so on.
  1. Practical barriers like cost (“Therapy is expensive. I’d rather talk to my friends, at least that’s free”) or inaccessibility (“My Internet connection is not stable;” “I don’t know how to use video conferencing apps.”)

    Reaching out to friends and family is free and highly recommended when starting your mental health journey. However, there will be cases in which your loved ones might also need to set boundaries when on the receiving end of concerns. The end goal of therapy is not to have you dependent on it, but to build your resilience so you can approach life and its obstacles as a stronger, better YOU. Mental health professionals are trained to do just that.

    TIP: As part of MindNation’s mission for accessible mental healthcare for all, psychologists and WellBeing coaches onboard are available for teletherapy sessions 24/7, and an initial session costs only P1,500 (for psychologist) and P500 (for a WellBeing Coach).

    MindNation sessions are available through video call, voice call, SMS/chat, and Care Assistants will be able to guide you every step of the way.
  1. Hopelessness. (“I tried it once, I didn’t feel any better. I guess it’s not for me.”)

    “Just because one psychologist’s approach did not work for you does not mean that another’s approach won’t,” explains Kevin. “Ask a friend, colleague, or doctor you trust to recommend another therapist who might be a good fit for you, although be mindful that you may have different therapy needs and goals than the one giving you the recommendation.”
  1. Distrust. (“I don’t like confiding in a stranger.”)

    “It might sound paradoxical, but the best person to talk about our problems are strangers,” points out Kevin. “They don’t have the biases that you or your immediate family might have, which can stop them from guiding you or giving you the best advice, plus they can offer a fresh perspective on a situation that may have trapped you for a long time.”
  2. Denial. (“Why should I go to therapy, there’s nothing wrong with me. I’m fine, everyone goes through what I’m going through; just give me a few days and I’ll be able to snap out of this funk that I am in.”)

    People usually resort to denial as a way of coping with anything that makes them feel vulnerable or threatens their sense of control. It could also be a defense mechanism against the fear of stigma mentioned in item #1.

    “Denial is never helpful,” says Kevin. “If you have mental health problems, you need to go to therapy right away to stop it from becoming something more serious. Those few days that you are asking for to ‘snap out of it’ can be addressed in a one-hour session.”
  1. Lack of awareness. (“My family thinks it’s a bad idea.”)

    This is usually said by older family members who do not understand the nature of mental health; the younger generation, thankfully, do not have such limited awareness. “At the end of the day, do what is best for yourself, because it will be you alone who will carry that burden,” advises Kevin. 
  1. Anxiety. (“I don’t know where to go. How can I be sure I won’t be scammed or the organization is legitimate?”)

    “Ask friends and other trusted sources for referrals, or follow the company’s social media accounts to read the reviews, comments, and see for yourself the work that they do,” suggests Kevin. 
  1. Other priorities. (“I just don’t have the time/money;” “I’m so busy with so many things.”)

    “Work can wait, your mental health cannot. You need to put your well-being on top of your priority list because everything else revolves around it; if you are mentally unwell, you cannot perform tasks as effectively, thereby affecting your productivity levels,” points out Kevin. 

Seeing a psychologist or WellBeing Coach for mental health issues should be as natural and automatic as seeing a doctor for broken bones or other physical ailments. “When you burn your hand, your first and natural reaction is to put it under cold water,” Kevin says. “Going to a professional to treat mental distress should also be a priority.”

Lastly, don’t think of therapy as an expense; treat it as an investment. By getting help now, you generate returns in the long-run for yourself, your family, your community, and your business. 

To book a session with MindNation’s psychologists and WellBeing Coaches, message http://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].