Posts Tagged psychology
As you may or may not know, May is National Mental Health Awareness month in the United States. Here at MINES improving services, knowledge, and awareness around mental health issues, and providing solutions to these issues is our business, our specialty, and our passion. Therefore, it’s safe to say that Mental Health Awareness Month is important to us as it allows us an opportunity to jump into the national conversation around critical behavioral health topics on a national level and help the fight to increase awareness and decrease stigma around mental health.
To shed some light on why this is so critical, consider the following statistics:
US General Stats:
- 1 in 25 adults are currently diagnosed with a serious mental illness; 1 in 5 are currently diagnosed with some sort mental illness
- There are a wide variety of anxiety disorders, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and specific phobias to name a few. Collectively they are among the most common mental disorders experienced by Americans.
- Approximately 10.2 million adults in the U.S. have co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders.
- Serious mental health illnesses cost people $193.2 billion in lost earnings every year in the U.S.
- Nearly 60% of adults with a mental illness did not receive care in the previous year.
- 3% are currently diagnosed with a serious mental illness; 14.3% are currently diagnosed with some sort mental illness.
- Men die from suicide at twice the rate as women.
- 6 milling men are affected by depression per year in the U.S.
- The Top 5 major mental health problems affecting men in the U.S. include: Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Psychosis and Schizophrenia, and Eating Disorders.
- Men are significantly less likely to seek help for mental health issues than women. Causes for this include reluctance to talk, social norms, and downplaying symptoms.
- 5% are currently diagnosed with a serious mental illness; 21.2% are currently diagnosed with some sort mental illness.
- 12 million women in the U.S. experience clinical depression each year. Roughly twice the rate of men.
- Although men are more likely than women to die by suicide, women report attempting suicide approximately twice as often as men.
- Many factors in women may contribute to depression, such as developmental, reproductive, hormonal, genetic and other biological differences (e.g. premenstrual syndrome, childbirth, infertility, and menopause).
- Fewer than half of the women who experience clinical depression will ever seek care. And Depression in women is misdiagnosed approximately 30 to 50 percent of the time.
- 50% of all chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14; 75% by the age of 24.
- 20% of 8 to 13 year of age in the U.S. will be diagnosed with some sort of mental illness in their lifetime.
- Girls 14-18 years of age have consistently higher rates of depression than boys in this age group.
- Nearly 50% of kids with a mental illness did not receive care in the previous year.
- LGBTQ adolescents are twice as likely to attempt suicide than non-LGBTQ youths.
- More than 90% of children who die by suicide have a mental health condition.
This month from MINES
All throughout this Mental Health Awareness Month, MINES will be tweeting out stats to stoke the conversation and resources to help those that may not know where to go. We will also be sharing thoughts, resources, and insight from different members of the MINES team around some of today’s important behavioral health issues right here on MINESblog. So please follow if you are not already, and feel free to share with anyone you think may benefit from the information. And if you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health issue, please encourage them to reach out to one of the resources above to find the help they need. And as always, if MINES is your Employee Assistance Program and you need help, information or just need to talk, call us 24 hours a day at 1-800-873-7138.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Treatment Referral Helpline –
- National Institute for Mental Health – nimh.nih.gov
- NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) – nami.org
- Mental Health America – mentalhealthamerica.net
- Mental Health America of Colorado http://www.mhacolorado.org/gethelp
- Anxiety and Depression Association of America – adaa.org
- Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance – dbsalliance.org
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – suicidepreventionlifeline.org
- Veterans Crisis Line – veteranscrisisline.net
- National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention – actionallianceforsuicideprevention.org
- United Way- unitedway.org/local/united-states/
Keep the conversation going
As always we ask that you don’t let the conversation end with the end of the month. We don’t have to wait until next year to keep talking about Mental Health especially when there are so many people out there in need of help and information. Keep good track of your own health and wellbeing, don’t be afraid to seek help if you need to, and assist others by talking to them and sharing information and directing them towards care providers that can help them.
To your wellbeing,
The MINES Team
What is grief?
Grief is a natural reaction to loss. It can be a loved one, friend, co-worker, pet, and even sometimes objects such as a house or car. It’s important to understand that grief is a way in which our minds and bodies cope and that grief can be a healthy, even necessary, process. Everyone experiences grief at some point in their lives and works through it on their own terms. In fact, 1 in 5 people will experience the death of someone close to them by the time they are 18. Grief can be an extremely personal time where people may reach out to others or isolate themselves. We will discuss the difference between healthy and unhealthy grieving, along with the common stages of grief.
The stages of grief
Depending on where you look you can find anywhere from 5 to 7 stages of grief. For sake of brevity, we will focus on the core 5 stages. The stages are:
While these stages represent an overall progression, it is important to note that it is possible to move back and forth between stages, skip stages and even begin the stages again once you’ve reached acceptance. For instance, you may skip the bargaining stage and go straight into the depression stage but then fall back into the anger stage before finally reaching the acceptance stage. The healing process will be painful and depending on the level of grief you are experiencing can often take a long time. Sometimes it may take weeks, other times it can years to reach some form of resolution to the grieving process. It is important to focus on happy memories and positive thoughts when working through a loss. In 2008 psychologist Dale Lund of California State University surveyed 292 recently bereaved men and women age 50 and older and found that 75 percent reported finding humor and laughter in their daily lives and at levels much higher than they had expected. Other research has shown that being able to draw on happy memories of the deceased helps you heal — those who are able to smile when describing their relationship to their husband or wife six months after the loss were happier and healthier 14 months out than those who could only speak of the deceased with sadness, fear, and anger. Everyone works through grief their own way and in their own time but it is important to recognize when the grieving process has stagnated and is not progressing toward acceptance in a healthy way. This may be a sign that professional help is needed.
When is grieving good/bad?
As we mentioned above grief is a very natural, human reaction to tragedy and necessary to our healing process. Grieving is healthy when we are able to use it to process our thoughts and emotions in a way that lets us heal and eventually reach a state of acceptance that lets us move on from the tragedy. This does not mean forgetting about the people we may have lost or the events that might have happened, but simply reaching a place emotionally that allows us to live our lives normally. Grief is unhealthy when we stop progressing through the stages and get stuck. This may happen in any one of the stages and you may even switch between a couple but are never able to reach the acceptance stage. This can happen for any number of reasons. Depression, isolation, and compounding life sources of stress and grief are just a few factors that could lead to obstacles in the grieving process. If this becomes the case, it is often best to seek professional help. Contacting a professional grief counselor is the best first step in assessing where you are in the grieving process and to determine if there are other areas of concern that need attention. To get in touch with a qualified counselor you can talk to your primary care doctor and they can often make a referral. You may also have direct lines to behavioral health benefits through your employer’s health plan or Employee Assistance Program. Check with your Human Resources Department if you are not sure.
How to grieve in a healthy way
As we said, there is no right or wrong way to grieve, but there is healthy and unhealthy grieving. In order to help yourself stay positive and productive in the healing process it is helpful to keep in mind:
- You are not alone – Friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, church groups, and others you know socially can help. Think about whom you know that can support you.
- Don’t let others tell you how you should feel – Only you know what’s right for you. What someone else went through when they dealt with grief may not be what you experience.
- Let others know how they can help – What you need while navigating the grieving process may be different from moment to moment, day to day, and week to week. Let others know how your needs are changing.
- Everyone’s grief is unique – There is no guide to tell you when to start and stop grieving or when to move from one stage of the process to the next. However, if you feel that your grief is getting worse and that you are not progressing, there is help. Contact a grief counselor or EAP to get in touch with help. If your EAP is MINES our contact information is below.
Of course, this is not a comprehensive list and as you navigate through the healing process you may find that certain things help and others don’t. Find what works best for you.
How to help others grieve
At this point, you should see that grief is personal and can be a sensitive topic to some people. It can be hard to find ways to talk about grief or offer help if you know someone is grieving or struggling with a loss. There are things you can do, however, that offer support without being intrusive or overbearing. Things you might try include:
- Just being around – Sometimes there is nothing you can say that will make a person feel better. But just the fact that you are around can help. By being present and ready should they need something, the grieving person will feel supported even if you or they don’t know exactly what to say at the moment.
- Food – When someone is grieving, sometimes food is the last thing on their mind. They may not feel up to cooking or going out to get something. Or they may be suffering from lack of appetite which is common during grief. Being handy with quick, nutritious, easy to eat items such as fruit, veggies, or simple dishes can be a great help. As well as helping them remember when they ate last and ensuring they are getting enough sustenance.
- Support for decisions – When depressed, people’s decision-making ability can suffer. Try to help the griever put off big decisions until they are in a better state of mind. If necessary be there to act as a voice of reason and clear thought should important choices come up that need to be addressed.
- Listening – If and when the grieving person is ready to open up and talk, be there to listen. Offer simple understanding and words of support. Try and keep them talking so that they can vent their emotions when they have a chance. Steer away from any judgment and instead offer encouragement as much as possible. Talking is healing.
- Let them cry – Seeing our loved one’s cry can be painful, but don’t let that make you discourage them from doing so. Crying can be an important part of emotional processing. Instead, comfort them, offer them tissues, and even cry with them.
Be there for the person in need but allow them the chance to choose to open up to you on their own terms and in their own time. Trust that if you are there for them they will let you know when they need you. Intervene only if you sense that they are getting worse and not taking care of themselves in a way that will help them get better in time.
If you are currently grieving, supporting someone who is, or have grieved in the past but have reached acceptance, continue to focus on and preserve the good memories you have. You may always feel the sting of the loss to some extent but as you remember your passed loved one, lost relationship, or even a lost pet, the pain will slowly disappear over time and the fond memories and times that made you laugh and smile will be all that remain. If you are struggling and having trouble reaching the point of acceptance and do not feel as if you are healing, please reach out to someone. Find a close friend or family member you can confide in, seek out a grief counselor to talk to, and again if your employer has an Employee Assistance Program use that resource to find the help you need. If you have MINES as your EAP, we are always here to talk 24/7, please reach out to us anytime at 1-800-873-7138.
To Your Wellbeing,
The MINES Team
Children’s Grief Awareness Day. (n.d.). Retrieved March 24, 2017, from https://www.childrensgriefawarenessday.org/cgad2/index.shtml
Konigsberg, R. D. (2011, March 14). Grief, Bereavement, Mourning Death of Spouse. Retrieved March 24, 2017, from http://www.aarp.org/relationships/grief-loss/info-03-2011/truth-about-grief.html
November is National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and National Caregivers’ Month. One of the first questions I am asked when I speak or teach on the topic of dementia is, “What is the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia?” The most logical answer is that everyone who has Alzheimer’s disease has dementia, but not everyone with dementia has Alzheimer’s disease.
Prevalence and cost
Alzheimer’s disease was discovered by Dr. Alois Alzheimer in 1906. It is a brain disease that causes difficulties with memory, thinking, and behavior. 5.4 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s, and more than 15 million caregivers are providing their care. Alzheimer’s accounts for approximately 70% of all cases of dementia and one in 9 Americans will develop the disease past the age of 65. With 10,000 Baby Boomers turning 65 every day in our nation, Alzheimer’s is a topic that cannot be ignored. Nearly half of us will have Alzheimer’s at age 85 and it is currently the country’s 6th leading cause of death. Unfortunately, it is the only disease in the top ten that cannot be slowed, treated, or cured. Aside from the heartache of Alzheimer’s, it is also the most expensive disease in the US, costing the federal government $160 billion each year for patient care.
Women and Alzhiemer’s
Women are at the epicenter of Alzheimer’s disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, a woman past the age of 60 is twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s as breast cancer. Two-thirds of Alzheimer’s caregivers are women and 2/3 of Alzheimer’s patients are female. The scientific community used to connect these numbers to the fact that women live longer than men, but now new studies are being conducted to determine if there is more than longevity involved in these gender statistics.
Hopefully by now you are alarmed but not despondent about the stark facts regarding Alzheimer’s. There is hope! Record numbers of clinical trials are underway, including four that address prevention. While Alzheimer’s cannot be prevented at this time, doctors and scientists are now convinced that lifestyle may play a part in reducing risks or delaying the onset of the disease.
There are things you can do
Here are ten things that the Alzheimer’s Association suggests you can do to “Love Your Brain”:
- Break a Sweat – Exercise can reduce the risk of cognitive decline
- Fuel Up Right – Follow a balanced diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in fat
- Follow Your Heart – Avoid risk factors for cardiovascular disease like obesity and high blood pressure
- Buddy Up – Support your brain health by engaging and socializing with others face to face
- Hit the Books – Take a class – formal education may help reduce the risk of cognitive decline
- Stump Yourself – Challenge your mind – play games of strategy and speed
- Mind your Mind – Some studies link depression with cognitive decline making it important to seek treatment and reduce stress
- Catch Some ZZZs – Not getting enough sleep may result in problems with memory and thinking
- Butt Out – In addition to other health risks, smoking increases risk for cognitive decline
- Heads Up – Wear your seat belt in the car and use a helmet when playing sports or riding your bike
While there is no guarantee that doing the above things will prevent you from developing Alzheimer’s disease in your lifetime, these things may help reduce risk or delay onset. And…they make good sense for overall health!
Resources are available in our community. The Alzheimer’s Association is the nation’s leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support, and research. Visit http://www.alz.org for a variety of good information regarding Alzheimer’s. A 24/7 helpline is also available at 800.272.3900. All services are provided at no cost to families living with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Reach out, we can help
And remember to use your Employee Assistance Program benefits from MINES and Associates when the stress of caregiving for someone with dementia becomes overwhelming. Caring for yourself is key. You owe it to your family to stay healthy in order to achieve the best quality of life for both you and your loved ones with dementia. MINES and Associates also provides workplace lunch-and-learn sessions regarding Alzheimer’s/dementia.
During November, make a point of learning more about Alzheimer’s and encourage your friends and family to do the same. There is reason to be optimistic that a breakthrough will occur. In the meantime, take good care of your brain and reach out for caregiving help. It’s the smart thing to do!
To Your Wellbeing,
MINES Affiliate and Alzheimer’s/dementia Expert
October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. While breast cancer is a year around killer, October is a crucial month for fundraising, information distribution, community support, and many other crucial functions that help keep research and the search for better treatment, and one day a cure, possible. With this post I hope to give a brief snapshot of what a diagnosis of this terrible disease can mean from both a patient’s and caregiver’s view, as well as provide resources that you can use this month and onward to provide support, gather information, and help yourself or others that may be dealing with cancer in their lives.
Resilience in the Face of Diagnosis
A serious diagnosis brings with it life-changing implications both for the person receiving the diagnosis as well as their loved ones. This beginning phase that starts at the diagnosis is commonly known as the “crisis phase.” This is where emotions like fear and anxiety are most prevalent and panic can ensue. But time is of the essence here as it is often necessary to move fast as doctors plan and prepare your treatment options. Therefore it is imperative to remain resilient in the face of diagnosis so that you can think clearly and react quickly. During this initial time the best thing you can do is ask questions and remove unknowns so that you can start to generate realistic expectations of the treatment process and the disease itself. If you are the loved one or caregiver of someone that is facing cancer or some other serious diagnosis then this responsibility may fall on you.
Of course the person who receives the diagnosis is hit the hardest by cancer, but the impact does not end there. Spouses, friends, family, and co-workers are all affected as well. Some of these people may find themselves in the role of caretaker in some capacity or another. Caretaking can be an extremely hard job in both a physical and psychological sense, and in order to keep up their own wellbeing caregivers need to make sure they are practicing good self-care as well or else they can face adverse health effects and may find themselves suffering from burnout. Around this time last year we discussed self-care tips for caregivers who are caring for a loved one that has been diagnosed. If you or a loved one is currently in this tough, but crucial, caregiver role please take a look at our post here.
Knowledge is Power
Regardless of whether you are in the patient or caregiver role, knowledge is power. One of the best things you can do to prepare for dealing with a deadly disease is know your options and become familiar with those that can help you. Below we have tried to give a good balance of resources that are a great start if you are looking for information, support, or are looking to get involved with the cause. This is by no means an exhaustive list. There are tons of great resources out there. On that note please keep in mind that an Employee Assistance Program, like MINES provides, is a great source of support that is easy to access and free if your employer offers it. If you are not sure if you have an EAP, make sure to ask Human Resources for information.
American Cancer Society
Family Caregiver Alliance
Making Strides Events
The Rest of the Year
This October is sure to be filled with fundraisers, awareness campaigns, charity contributions, and screening reminders. As for the rest of the year please make sure to remain vigilant and proactive. Do the standard self-checks on a regular basis, make those screening appointments with your doctor, and be mindful of your wellbeing year-round, early detection can make all the difference for many potentially terminal diseases. With that said here’s to all the women and men out there fighting the good fight for themselves or their loved ones, and here is to an October full of support, hope, and progress.
To Your Wellbeing,
– Nic Mckane
The MINES Team
Suicide is non-discriminatory; it affects everybody regardless of gender, race, class, or age. According to the World Health Organization, 1 million people attempt suicide per year, yet it’s still not commonly talked about.
A person who is contemplating suicide is in so much pain that they do not see any other feasible options. Suicide is a permanent solution to temporary problems; the effect reaching far beyond the person who takes their life.
Suicide can be a symptom of depression; however depression is a treatable mental health illness that affects many people. Many people may struggle with feelings of sadness and hopelessness but never act upon suicide. Suicidal thinking is complex, so it is important to understand the warning signs to understand if the person needs immediate help.
A person who is struggling with suicidal thoughts may not know how to ask for help, they just want to stop hurting. You might feel uncomfortable bringing up the subject with someone you suspect may be suicidal, but talking openly about it, responding quickly, and offering support, can save their live.
Recognizing these signs and using the resources below may help you prevent someone from completing suicide:
- Isolating behaviors, withdrawing from family and friends
- Substance abuse issues
- Decline in work or school performance
- Being bullied
- Recent death of a loved one
- Increased mood swings
- Decrease in activities
- Giving away possessions
- Change in sleep or appetite
- Chronic mental illness
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Acting impulsively
- Seeking out lethal means
- Having a plan
- Having intent
Suicide Prevention Resources
- Suicide Prevention Resource Center– http://www.sprc.org/
- National Institute of Mental Health– http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/suicide-prevention/index.shtml
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline– http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
- American Association for Suicidology– http://www.suicidology.org/ncpys
- American Foundation of Suicide Prevention– https://afsp.org/
- The Trevor Project– http://www.thetrevorproject.org/
- Trans Life line– http://www.translifeline.org/
- 211– http://www.211.org/
Denver Metro Area Resources:
- 1.800.273.TALK (8255)
- 1.800.SUI.CIDE (784.2433)
- Text “GO” to 741741
To your wellbeing,
-Alea Makley, MA
The MINES Team
The Olympics have officially opened! This is a wonderful opportunity to get an in-depth look at a number of psychology of performance variables and factors in addition to the sheer joy of seeing individuals and teams at their peak performance. Who could ever forget the USA Dream Team’s performance to win the gold in basketball? Rulon Garner’s gold medal win over Alexander Karelin in wrestling. Larelin was the defending gold medalist and had not lost in 13 years. Michael Phelps winning 18 gold medals and 22 medals over his Olympic career and coming back again this year. Historic moments such as Jesse Owens winning four gold medals in the 1936 games in Berlin. This was when Nazi Germany saw him as a lesser human being because of the color of his skin. Ethiopian runner, Abebe Bikila, won the marathon gold in 1960, barefoot. Emil Zatopek’s winning the 5,000 meter 10,000 meter, and marathon in the 1952 Helsinki games after being told not to compete due to a gland infection. He had never run a marathon before. Jim Thorpe winning the pentathlon and decathlon in the 1912 Stockholm games. The first female Olympians in the 1900 Paris games.
The actual list of mind boggling performances is almost endless. Over the next few weeks, we will get to observe upsets when the favorites were viewed as unbeatable, persistence in the face of pain from injury, and compassion and generosity of spirit. A great example of compassion in the moment of competition came when Canadian sailor, Lawrence Lemieux was in position to medal and stopped to help capsized competitors who were injured. We will see records broken and participants happy just to be there.
All will get to face the stress of competing on a world stage where terrorism threats are a constant worry, Zika virus looms in the background, and personal health and safety may be compromised due to water sanitation or local crime.
How they respond will be related to a number of psychology of performance variables and factors such as their mental preparation and resilience (beliefs, visualization, problem solving), their training (finding that fine balance to peak in their events at this time versus burning out before), their social support network (how their coaches, teammates, friends, family, and loved ones add positive (support, encouragement, role modeling winning behavior and attitudes, affection)versus negative energy ( distractions and nonproductive criticism), how their nutrition holds up, and what is driving them to succeed.
The stories will be unfolding! I hope you get a chance to watch and learn.
Have a day filled with equanimity and extend loving kindness, compassion and sympathetic joy to everyone you meet today.
Robert A. Mines, Ph.D., CEO & Psychologist
August 2016: Spiritual Wellbeing
Welcome to the August issue of TotalWellbeing! This month we talk about Spiritual Wellbeing. This topic can be hard to define as it often means different things to different people depending on values, goals, beliefs, and background. But there is one aspect of Spiritual wellbeing that is common to us all and that is the drive to accept ourselves, the world, and our place within it. If you are feeling out of sync with yourself or the world around you it is important to take the time to meditate on the issue(s) that may be affecting you. While it is never a good idea to dwell on negative feelings, it is important to understand why we may be feeling them so that we can make changes, refine our values and understandings, and ultimately bring ourselves back into alignment so that we can feel better and move forward. For a closer look at this month’s topic and helpful resources please check out The Path and The Connection below.
Much more information on a variety of topics is available on MINESblog. Here you can expect blogs, articles, and tips provided by members of the MINES Team. Last month you may have heard about a little game called PokemonGo. In case you didn’t notice it has been quite the social phenomenon, and we couldn’t help but look at some of the wellness and social psychology implications of the game, so check out what Ryan Lucas, our Manager of Engagement & Development, had to say about this latest craze. And of course we will have some more great articles coming up so make sure to subscribe.
As always, for more information please check out the links to the left or hit the share button to send us a message. See you next month!
To your total wellbeing,
The MINES Team
The Path: Spiritual Wellbeing and Perspective
To be at peace with your surroundings you must first be at peace with yourself. This is no secret. If you are stressed, distracted, or otherwise out of alignment with yourself it is hard to focus on your day-to-day life. You may find yourself unable to enjoy certain activities, find it hard to focus at work, or find your productivity slipping, all because there is something on your mind that is distracting you, or making you question your values or purpose. When that happens it is important to take the time to self-reflect and think about why you feel this way. To help bring yourself back into a place where you feel satisfied and fulfilled on a spiritual level, it is important to take time for yourself. Relax, seek to define or re-define your values, think about how those values guide your actions in your day to day life, and consider how you can refine the aspects of your life that you can control and let go of the things that you cannot such as the values and actions of others, or the state of the world as a whole. Come to terms with these things and it will be much easier to come to terms with yourself and find inner-peace.
|Tips for you:
One of the key ingredients to Spiritual Wellbeing is self-acceptance and mindfulness. The ability to be self-aware without being overly critical of yourself can be tricky but not impossible. The key is to get above the negative thoughts in your head that are keeping you from being fully present in the moment. Don’t try to stop negative thoughts, as that is almost impossible, instead simply try to accept them and let them pass without affecting you. Use these 8 techniques for self-acceptance to help practice.
The Connection: Get Involved
Wellbeing does not simply start and stop at the individual. Our community is connected to each of our own individual wellbeing in a huge way. When we are well we can better function within our community. We can help our fellow humans thrive, and in turn, when our community is prospering, it helps each of us reach our goals as individuals. So why not help our community so we can all thrive together? Each month we will strive to bring you resources that can help you enhance the wellbeing of those around you or get involved with important causes.
|Community Wellbeing Resources:
While Spiritual Wellbeing focuses on looking within, we can’t truly be at peace with ourselves unless we understand our place in the world around us. It is important to remind ourselves from time to time how we work within the grand scheme of things. A great way to do that is to get out and interact with other people and at the same time find purpose for ourselves by helping others. Volunteering and helping with community-based events is a great way to do this. Volunteermatch.com makes it easy to find opportunities in your area where you can reach out and make an impact in your own community.
Don’t forget that PersonalAdvantage, your online benefit through MINES, has tons of great resources for all the dimensions of wellbeing that we discuss here. If you haven’t checked it out yet, or want to see what resources they have for this month’s topic check out the link below. You’ll need your company login, so make sure to get that from your employer.
|If you or a member of your household needs assistance or guidance on any of these wellbeing topics, please call MINES & Associates, your EAP, today for free, confidential, 24/7 assistance at 800.873.7138.|
|MINES does not warrant the materials (Audio, Video, Text, Applications, or any other form of media or links) included in this communication have any connection to MINES & Associates, nor does MINES seek to endorse any entity by including these materials in this communication. MINES accepts no liability for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided herein, nor any additional content that may be made available through any third-party site. We found them helpful, and hope you do too!|
Our businesses and as us as individuals have expectations, beliefs, and assumptions that if we don’t innovate (or as individuals, have new achievements and personal bests) we will lose business, lose ground against the competition, lose our position, and just plain lose in life. Farnam Street (firstname.lastname@example.org) has many resources on this topic and how these beliefs and assumptions affect performance. This week it highlighted an article by Andrew Russell & Lee Vinsel called Hail the Maintainers.
This article is a wonderful resource and stimulated my thinking for this blog post.
The assumption is that if business does not innovate, disruptive events can occur that will reduce performance, up to and including, the end of the business. Russell and Vinsel noted that innovation has become what psychologists would call an embedded, unchallenged assumption. They go on to state that innovation is a small percentage of the time and activity of most businesses. What is actually the case is that many aspects of performance are focused on maintenance. Those who do the maintenance, the day-to-day tasks, recalibration, and incremental improvements deliver consistent results for their customers and clients. They are able to continue and perform day after day. A key element is improvement versus innovation. What does improvement mean for your business performance?
On an individual performance level, it is important that we do our own personal maintenance. This involves getting adequate sleep, nutrition, exercise, stress management, and connecting moments. This also implies avoiding behavior patterns that detract from maintaining ourselves optimally such as smoking, over eating, working too much, and others.
On an individual performance level, we are faced everyday with maintenance and recalibration choices. Our self-talk related to these choices — our beliefs and judgments about these choices — influence our ability to stay within an optimal maintenance range. This is a complex range of behaviors and attitudes, not very amenable to all-or-none thinking. “Good enough,” “just show up,” “do your best, forget the rest,” and “soft face, calm interior” are a few handrails that can be used to override thoughts and judgments that may interfere with individual performance.
My dear friend, colleague, and business partner, Dr. Richard T. Lindsey, used phone cords as his metaphor for the importance of maintenance. His mission was to straighten all the phone cords that were tangled as a picture of maintaining our tools and gifts for optimal performance. He has been so successful that most of our phones no longer even bother having cords! !
There are events such as new laws, new technology, and new delivery models that are innovative and affect performance of business and individuals in dramatic ways. These are game changers, however, they are often not category killers. On the other hand, the majority of businesses and individuals that deliver consistently good service and products continue to perform in their sectorsWhat are the high performance markers for your organization? These indicators would include: profit margin, cash reserves (how long is your runway if a disruptive event occurred?), debt, cash flow, positive culture, organizational life span challenges and resolutions, clear organizational structure with bench strength and lines of authority, leadership that has clear vision and ability to execute, along with long range cognitive complexity, and finally the organizational ability to identify and make incremental changes as well as remove constraints in work processes and flow.
Individually, we also have high performance markers. What is your overall health level? Have you been healthier this year than last year? How is your daily energy? Is it improving or declining? What are your markers on endurance, strength, flexibility, and your immune system? Are your finances better or worse this year? How are your interpersonal relationships?
Whether organizationally or individually, noting the tension between innovation and maintenance can be an important awareness that allows for mindful and intentional management.
Have a day filled with loving kindness and compassion!
Robert A. Mines, Ph.D., CEO & Psychologist