Everyday, we make decisions based on our mindset. Research has shown that our decisions are impacted by the beliefs we have and the state of mind we’re in. Mindset is important because it can have a significant impact on our lives. Having a healthy mindset means being able to make clear and confident decisions that align with our values. Fortunately, these ideal decisions end up benefiting us mentally, spiritually and physically. On the other hand, having a negative and fixed mindset can be harmful to one’s health and interpersonal relationships. The views we adopt for ourselves profoundly affect the way we lead our lives.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is to always have a growth mindset. I learned this from Dr. Carol Dweck who, after decades of research, discovered the power of mindset. She found that whatever we do can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities. So in school, work, sports, and the arts, those with a fixed mindset - those who believe that abilities are fixed - are less likely to thrive than those with a growth mindset. This mindset is based on the idea that abilities can be developed and that nothing is set in stone. They believe that with hard work and practice, anything can be achieved. And this is a common yet easily forgotten idea that we are told as kids. We were urged to remember that we could do anything we wanted as long as we put our mind to it. It seems that adults need to be reminded of this.
A healthy mindset reaches not only the mind, but the soul. Thich Nhat Hanh, a famous Buddhist monk, states that anger, despair, jealousy and delusion are the barriers to our happiness. Anger in particular can be dangerous because it can lead to violent actions. The main way we can cool our anger is by practicing mindfulness. Mindfulness means to be present and in the moment - it can be achieved by meditating, mindful breathing and mindful walking. He found that people who practice mindfulness end up losing their anger completely and spreading their happiness to others. What mindfulness does is that it helps you empathize with the other person. Whether you’re in a conflict or argument, those who practice mindfulness don’t get emotional and actually try to understand the situation. They realize the other person’s suffering, and that compassion overrides any anger they may have.
Lastly, mindset can also determine our physical health. The way we perceive ourselves and fitness in general is found to have impacts on our health risks. In one study, mortality risk was 71% higher for those who perceived themselves as less active than their peers. Researchers found three possible causes for this: stress, motivation and mindset. We feel stressed when we’re not active enough and have no outlet to vent out stress. For motivation, those who believed they were less fit were less motivated and less likely to do any exercises. For those who were fit, having a negative mindset resulted in a nocebo effect - the opposite of a placebo effect. This is where if you have negative expectations, the physiological effect of a treatment is reduced. One example of this is when hotel housekeepers and their exercise habits were studied. For those who didn’t count their work of cleaning rooms and pushing heavy carts as exercise, their health was average. For those who were told their work was exercise and believed it, they had lost weight and had lower blood pressure. This view had caused more of a physical impact on them, and may have resulted in a placebo effect.
We now know the benefits of having a healthy mindset. There are many activities you can practice to bring about positivity:
Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. New York, NY: Ballantine Books.
Hammond, C. (2018). How your mindset determines your health. BBC Future. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20180410-how-your-mindset-determines-your-health
Hanh, T. N. (2001). Anger: Wisdom for cooling the flames. New York, NY: Riverhead Books.
The relationship between spirituality and psychology has historically been a negative one. In the scope of religion, science and faith were always thought to contradict each other. Now, however, there is growing research on the positive association between these two factors. Some studies even reveal that religious people are healthier both physically and mentally. Since both spirituality and religion can bring a sense of comfort, people can find strength in their beliefs to cope with stressful situations. It seems that having a belief system can go a long way in improving one’s mental health and wellbeing.
Before mental disorders were diagnosed, it was common for someone with depression to be told to take their concerns to their place of worship or to have more faith in order to feel better. This view is harmful because it associates mental disorders as a problem with faith rather than a treatable condition. It’s more that religion can be helpful for those whose spiritual beliefs and practices serve as an important coping tool for recovery. Mental illness is not a choice, and recovery looks different for every person.
There are a wide range of spiritual practices that can improve your mental health, such as:
Practicing mindfulness, or being present, can help decrease stress and anxiety, calming a person’s mind. This can be achieved through meditation and remembering to live in the moment. Many spiritual practices are derived from various religions across the world. However, it is common for many mental health treatments and therapies to have a spiritual aspect that is not specific to any religion.
Because spirituality and religion incorporate healthy practices that are good for the body and mind, there are many benefits to our mental health. First, it helps improve our self-esteem and confidence by giving us feelings of empowerment and helping us accept others regardless of their spiritual beliefs. We can build a sense of community with others and support them through spiritual practices. Having a strong support system is always good for mental health. Furthermore, spiritual teachings emphasize the need for doing the right thing. They teach forgiveness, gratitude, and compassion, which help people cope with challenging situations.
Research shows that individuals have better mental health if they belong to a particular community or have religious beliefs. Spirituality can help people in many ways. First and foremost, spirituality or religion can help people find meaning in their lives which is instrumental in improving one’s mental health. The fact that hospitals employ spiritual advisors to counsel patients demonstrates how essential spirituality is to people’s health and wellbeing.
Frye, D. (2020). Spirituality and mental health. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/return-stillness/202001/spirituality-and-mental-health
Job burnout is a state of physical or emotional exhaustion that involves a sense of reduced accomplishment and loss of personal identity. It can be considered a prolonged response to chronic emotional and interpersonal stressors on the job, and is deﬁned by the three dimensions of exhaustion, cynicism, and inefficiency. Burnout can be caused by being overworked, understaffed, and misguided by management. There is an abundance of research on the topic of burnout and how it relates to employee engagement and work life balance. Like many things in an organization, it can have a dramatic impact on one’s mental and physical health.
Personality plays a key role in how well we manage our time and responsibilities. This suggests that a positive mindset and attitude can help reduce stress when under pressure. One study found that all five personality traits from the Big Five model were highly correlated with job burnout and turnover. The traits were found to be predictors of job burnout where individuals who were higher in neuroticism and lower in extraversion, conscientiousness, and agreeableness were more prone to experience job burnout. It seems that communication and collaboration with other team members can dramatically decrease the effects of burnout.
When an individual is overworked for a long period of time, they can experience chronic burnout. It has three components: emotional exhaustion, cynicism and detachment. It’s different from short term burnout due to the fact that it can result in serious health issues. Long term stress on a person’s body can affect mood, heart health, and more. On top of that, it can weaken the feelings of fulfillment from job rewards (i.e. paycheck), employee engagement, and job creativity. This would mean that there are virtually no motivators either external or internal that would drive an employee to continue the job. This is how high turnover occurs.
Fortunately, there are many ways to reduce burnout. Although personality cannot be changed, specific behaviors and habits can. Next time you feel stressed about a project, try reaching out to a coworker. Talking it out with someone can be beneficial for both problem solving and mental stability. We are all human, and sometimes we need a break. It’s important for organizations to schedule consistent breaks for their employees so that productivity can be maximized. It’s also crucial that employees’ personal lives be considered so that everyone can have a good work life balance. If a team member is not performing as well as they should, try to first consider what’s going on in their lives. They could be going through a personal issue and need some time off. All employees need to be able to feel that they have control over their careers. Without it, they can feel helpless, overworked and burnt out.