How A Healthy Mind Will Improve Your Bottom Line
Don't leave money on the table when you neglect to invest in the mind.
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The three pillars of health: mind, body, soul. We throw these three words around, but only two of them are actually mainstream. It's ingrained in us that we need to keep up our physical health. We know that physical activity is important to staying agile, releasing endorphins, managing our weight, preventing bigger issues like diabetes and maintaining our overall health; especially as we age. It's also ingrained in us that we need to take care of our soul. You can't avoid advertisements for yoga, meditation or religious affiliations. Taking care of the body and soul is part of everyday conversations. But what about the mind? What exactly are we as individuals and companies doing to keep a healthy mind?
As a transformation coach, I focus on mindset. It's clear to me there is a disconnect around the first pillar of health. When I talk about mindset, people often get defensive or uncomfortable and say they don't need therapy (mindset isn't therapy). There's a stigma that exists around anything that sounds like mental health. But every single one of us has mental health. Depending on how you take care of it determines if you have good or poor mental health (just like physical health). When you take care of your mind, it helps you stay in good mental health. So, why as a society do we get uncomfortable or push away discussions when it comes to the mind, when we know it's one of the three pillars of health?
Shame. Stigma. We fear being rejected and called crazy, so we stay silent. When I was in corporate, I would never have said I needed a mental health day. I didn't want to be seen as weak or not capable of doing my job. I wanted to be seen as competent and sane, so I plowed through when my mental health was poor. Studies show that mental health issues negatively impact performance, productivity, communication and engagement. Stephanie Wemm and Edelgard Wuffert of The National Center for Biotechnology Information did a study to test stress and the decision-making process. They found that stress and negative emotions adversely impacted decision-making. Therefore, I wasn't doing my employer any service to suppress my issues, I was only taking away from the company and myself.
Related: 5 Steps to Creating a Workplace Focused on Mental Wellness
We also often associate mental health with conditions such as bipolar, schizophrenia and borderline personality disorder. Untreated, these conditions can be a challenge to the individual and those in their personal circle, but mental health is far more than these extreme disorders. After the Covid pandemic swept the globe, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that poor mental health nearly doubled to 40 percent. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that .25 percent of people are diagnosed with Schizophrenia, which means that the majority of poor mental health falls under other categories. Poor mental health is simply when our mental health is not where we want it to be.
Anxiety, stress, boredom, loneliness, anger, fear and resentment all negatively impact your mental health and keep us from the clarity, joy and peace we all want. Don't most of us deal with these from time to time? There's a symbiotic relationship between the mind and mental health; it's not one or the other, they play in the same space. When you have a healthy mind and mindset, then your mental health will benefit and you're able to have enjoyment in life.
We need to be promoting mental wellness and mindset discussions, not suppressing them. Imagine if there was shame and stigma around exercising. Could you imagine the impact on obesity, depression and diabetes? Companies often give discounts to their employees for getting gym memberships and doing physical fitness activities. Ultimately, it lowers their cost of insurance and employees are healthier with more energy. Shouldn't the same be done for the mind? The WHO reports that globally there's a $1 trillion loss in productivity annually due to depression and anxiety. They also report that for every dollar spent to treat mental health, there's a return of four dollars in improved health and productivity. Imagine the productivity levels, the elevated communication skills and the better decisions being made if more focus and investment were put toward the mind. Wouldn't insurance costs go down and productivity go up?
Related: How to Address Mental Health at Your Workplace
The University of Warwick found that employee productivity was 12 percent higher with happy employees and 10 percent less productive with unhappy workers. If happiness is good mental health, then shouldn't more companies and individuals be focusing on the mind and mental health? Sounds like money is being left on the table by grazing over the first pillar of health. Two in five people are experiencing poor mental health; that sounds like a lot of opportunity for growth! Instead of a reduction in forces, swapping out technology or other expensive company overhauls to increase revenue, how about starting with mindset development?
What can you or your company do to understand mindset and improve mental health?
There are coaches, courses, books, motivational speakers, lunch and learns and loads of other resources to tap into mindset tools and to understand how the mind works. Hire someone to come into your office and educate the employees. Bring in a mindset expert and motivational speaker to get your company into action. Educate your leaders on mental health so they can better support their staff. Hire a personal coach to teach you fundamental mindset tools and be a sounding board when you need one.
Invest in yourself and your employees and watch job satisfaction, loyalty and overall productivity rise. It's more expensive not to invest, not to mention that life is too short to be miserable.
Mental health and the mind are not something we should get defensive about or hide from. Just like taking care of the body and soul, we need to normalize taking care of our minds as part of our daily activity. Mind, body, soul; the three pillars of health. So what are you doing for your mind and what are you doing to promote mental health and wellness around the office? As an individual or a company, a healthy mind will impact your bottom line.
Related: Is Your Company Embracing These Employee Well-Being Trends?