A self-service experience to build mental fitness for personal and professional development
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Expressions of stress, anxiety, and feelings of overwhelm or sadness are common around the water cooler these days. Comments like “I’m so stressed!” or “I’m just depressed,” or “I’ve got way too much on my plate!.” These feelings are so normalized in our daily lives that they are often associated with success. Josh Bersin, a global talent market analyst, and author, notes that 15% of all Americans currently take medication for stress or anxiety. This indicates these ‘feelings’ are a genuine health concern and raise the question of whether they signal success or sickness.
The Center for Disease Control reports that mental health disorders and stress affect nearly 1 in 5 US adults (44.7 million) aged 18 or older. But the impact extends beyond our wellness to relationships, performance, and ability to function in life and at work. More than half of those with mental health disorders also suffer from physical health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory illnesses, raising the total medical treatment cost 2 to 3 times. Businesses pay this bill and are looking for ways to prevent, treat and sustain recovery.
The unaddressed stress and anxiety risk is burnout, which is rising in the current economic environment. In 2019 the World Health Organization (WHO) officially defined burnout as “a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.” It is characterized by feelings of exhaustion, mental distance, negativity, and decreased productivity. Recognizing burnout as a medical condition indicates to employers that changes are necessary.
It’s no surprise that employee burnout is on the rise. Stress is present in all aspects of our lives. At work, at home (the pandemic), in the world (global conflicts), and in the economy (rising inflation and gas prices). In a 2021 Indeed survey of workers of all ages and ranks, 52% of respondents reported suffering from burnout. This is up 9% from 43% in 2020. Employers are trying to reduce employee stress and burnout with work-life benefits. Typical examples include schedule flexibility, remote work options, additional time off, wellness coaching, and mental health education. Unfortunately, these tactics may only address the symptoms of stress. They offer temporary improvements but not consistent, sustained growth and recovery.
In his New York Times best-selling book, Positive Intelligence, Shirzad Chamine shares his groundbreaking discovery that negative emotions (like stress and anxiety) exist in the left brain’s neural pathways. Using Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), researchers can see neural activity when patients feel negative emotions like stress and anxiety.
We experience these emotions as negative self-talk, which builds neural pathways to a negative mindset over time. Chamine notes that these “negative emotions are helpful, but only for a second as they alert us to dangers or issues troubling us. The challenge is that our left brain reacts, hurting our ability to see clearly and choose the most impactful response.”
Using fMRI technology, researchers also scanned patients feeling centered and calm. Chamine’s findings show that positive emotions activate neural pathways in the right brain. Commonly referred to as our rational brain, this is where we think clearly and innovate with creative solutions.
The ability to shift our mindset from negative to positive is a skill that requires recognizing and then changing negative thoughts into positive ones. It requires learning to move brain activity from the left brain to the right brain. The shift begins with awareness and requires a program with consistent, regular practice.
Mental fitness is a new field of mental health training based on the breakthrough research of Positive Intelligence ©. The Mental Fitness training company used factor analysis to identify three core mental muscles. Its technology measures the relative strength of positive vs. negative mental muscle as a Positive Intelligence Quotient(PQ) score.
The free PQ assessment identifies the thoughts that sabotage us relative to our ability to respond from a positive mindset. Mental fitness training moves insight into action to increase our positive mental muscles while reducing our negative ones.
Beating burnout is not only crucial for your mental and physical health; it is essential for your relationships, performance, and wellness. Innovative technology (fMRI scans) and breakthrough research (Positive Intelligence) are improving our ability to achieve the happiness and success we desire. As a result, mental fitness may just become the fitness craze of the twenty-first century!
Bersin, Josh. “Workplace Mental Health Has Become a Strategy For Business Performance.” Josh Bersin, 1 Aug. 2022, https://joshbersin.com/2022/07/mental-health-is-not-a-benefit-its-a-strategy-for-business-performance/. Accessed 22 Sept. 2022.
Chamine, Shirzad. Positive Intelligence: Why Only 20% of Teams and Individuals Achieve Their True Potential AND HOW YOU Can Achieve Yours. Greenleaf Book Group Press, 2016.
Threlkeld, Kristy. “Employee Burnout Report: COVI-19’s Impact and 3 Strategies to Curb It.” UK.indeed.com, Indeed, 11 Mar. 2021, https://uk.indeed.com/lead/preventing-employee-burnout-report. Accessed 23 Sept. 2022.
Unnamed, Unnamed. “Mental Health in the Workplace.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 Apr. 2019, https://www.cdc.gov/workplacehealthpromotion/tools-resources/workplace-health/mental-health/index.html.