Multitasking: Could it be Hurting your Mental Health?

When an interviewer asks what a person’s greatest strength is, one possible answer is that they are able to multitask. Most people believe they can effectively multitask but they are actually doing more harm to themselves than good. When someone is being very productive and completing multiple things at once, they normally are actually just very good at working on one thing at a time very quickly, as only 2.5% of the population can actually multitask with any skill.


Instead of being twice as productive, the multitasker is less likely to produce high-quality work and leads to more confusion. Researchers believe that rather than being on a higher level than a mono-tasker, multitaskers are actually rewiring their brains and making it more difficult for them to concentrate on one thing at a time.


In our modern world, technology has given everyone the illusion of being a multitasker because we’re able to work on multiple screens at the same time. When you’re at home, you could be writing a report with the television on, and also be checking your phone periodically. The distractions of the television and phone will limit the quality of the report you’re trying to complete and also will take you longer than without them. It can even be dangerous to multitask, as texting and driving have been known to be a dangerous example of multitasking that can result in injury and even death.


While at work, one of the biggest distractions and illusions of multitasking is email. Typically, a person will check their email at several points throughout the day so they can respond quickly and stay on top of their tasks. Unfortunately, checking email frequently can lead to an unproductive day and research also shows that this constant habit could be decreasing your IQ. The best way to counteract this effect is by limiting the number of times throughout the day that you check your email and taking more control of your day.


Aside from being unproductive, attempting to multitask can make it more difficult for you to get back on track with your work and focusing throughout the day. Although it may seem like a great way to take charge and be in control of your day, taking on several projects or tasks will actually lead to a less productive day.


Offensive Statements You Should Never Say to a Person With a Disability


The term disability is a broad one, encompassing a range of things from mild to severe, intellectual to physical. Some disabilities are obvious, while others may not necessarily be apparent. According to the U.S. Census bureau, there are nearly 12 million people with disabilities in the workforce. So, whether one is aware or not, the chances are good that he or she has, or will, encounter a person with a disability on the job. With that in mind, it is important to understand that certain statements or questions, regardless of the intention behind them, are universally perceived as offensive to those with disabilities.


“What happened?”

Humans are curious creatures, by nature, and it is understandable that one might be interested in knowing the background of a person’s disability. Asking “what happened?” or “Were you born this way?”, which may seem like nothing more than a conversation starter to the one asking, is never appropriate upon first meeting. It is purely the right of people to maintain the level of privacy they are comfortable with, and to share, or not, on their own terms. Putting them on the spot is invasive and offensive.


“I forget you’re disabled”

Generally speaking, this statement is made with the best of intentions. Likely, the person saying it is trying to communicate that he or she values their disabled coworker as a person. However, Within the disabled community, there is debate as to whether this is a positive statement or not, tied to the varying ways persons with disabilities identify with their own disability. Since it is controversial, it’s best simply to avoid saying it.


“How do you…?”

There’s no doubt that for a person with a disability, accomplishing many of the everyday tasks the rest of the population takes for granted, involves challenges and accommodations. It is understandable that there is a level of curiosity around how he or she is able to do things. Asking overly personal questions (e.g., “How do you use the bathroom?”) is simply rude and intrusive.


There is an expected protocol for one’s behavior within a professional setting. The above questions and statements are never acceptable to broach in the context of the workplace. Of course, should a professional relationship evolve into a personal one, with a greater level of shared intimacy, the subjects mentioned might not remain taboo forever. But, as a general rule, they are best to avoid in the workplace.

A New Year’s Resolution to Keep: Making Your Mental Health a Priority

After the ball drops in Manhattan and New Year’s Eve celebrations die down, many of us turn inward to look at ourselves and figure out how we can make this new year the best year ever. It could be that we vow to get physically fit, we might promise ourselves that we’ll finally quit smoking, or we could say we’ll take steps to get enrolled in school and earn that degree we’ve always wanted. For most of us, creating a list is one thing, carrying them out is quite another, but this year, we should each take a moment and make a promise to make our mental health a priority.

Mental health is an integral part of our lives, whether you’re a child or a senior citizen because it is the way we perceive the world, how we interact with loved ones, how we feel about ourselves, how we perceive and deal with stress, and how we make decisions about our lives. Make this year the year you work on yourself from the outside in and make your mental health a priority.


Move as much as you can

Depression and other mental illnesses can make the simple act of getting out of bed seem like an impossible task. If your mental health needs attention, going for a walk and exercising can give you a boost in your confidence and energy levels. When you’re depressed, any exercise you’re able to get is an achievement and you should also make sure to give yourself with a healthy reward when you’re able to sustain a more active lifestyle.


If you’re still struggling to exercise, try simply getting out of bed and fighting the urge to go back to it for as long as you can.


Stop dieting

Every year, millions of people go on a diet in attempts to lose weight and feel better about themselves. Instead of going on a new trendy diet or cutting out a food you love, try implementing new, healthy foods into your diet slowly. If you’re struggling with body image, dieting can exacerbate these feelings of inadequacy, especially if you’re unable to lose weight in the time period you want.


Make time for those that you love and that love you

As adults, we all struggle from time to time with scheduling enough time for friends and loved ones when life at work and home get busy. Making time for those you love and that love you is really important and you should try to set aside at least one time a month for a get-together. Along those same lines, you should be careful with your time and yourself when it comes to friends and stop making time for those that put you down or add more stress to your life.

Social Media and the Effects on Our Mental Health

Social media is an incredibly powerful tool that has been incorporated into our daily lives, there’s no doubt that it can affect our mental health. Social media allows us to keep in contact with people who don’t get to see on a daily, weekly, or even yearly basis, but unfortunately, it can also act as a catalyst to mental health disorders if what you’re seeing on the screen makes you feel bad about your own life.


A recent survey taken in the UK polled 1500 Facebook and Twitter users and the results showed that over half of the participants had feelings of inadequacy and 60 percent reported feelings of jealousy because their followers and friends had more exciting lives by comparison to their own.


For those of us who spend a large amount of time on social media every day, it can be difficult to disconnect from it. In fact, studies show that social media may actually be addictive. It allows us to break away from our lives and have a distraction, but it can also give us unrealistic expectations, cultivate our insecurities, and point out things that we don’t have in our lives. What experts do agree on is that those who are overly dependent on social media and technology for social interaction are more likely to exhibit feelings of anxiety. When we see our friends and all the places they’re visiting and the life events they’re experiencing, it can cause us to look at our own lives and feel inadequate with what we’ve experienced and the things we haven’t been able to do.


Because many people who regularly use social media are addicted to it, they will regularly check their feed to see what their followers are posting. Unfortunately, when we’re addicted to social media, scrolling through our feeds only makes us feel less in control afterward.


If you’re struggling with an addiction to social media and feel like you’re mental health is suffering, as a result, begin making a change by making a conscious effort to limit your time on social media each day. If you’re finding that difficult, remove the apps from your phone so that to sign into your accounts, you need to go to a web browser. This will also keep you from seeing the notifications every time one of your followers’ tweets or shares a post.


It’s also a good idea to make an effort to see your friends and family in the real world. Too often we rely on interacting with our loved ones through social media, which can be a great tool but shouldn’t be used as a replacement for actual interaction. Whenever you are with them, be present. Put away your cell phone when you’re out with them and give them your attention.

Managing Workplace Anxiety

There’s no denying work can be stressful. For those of us who suffer from an anxiety disorder, each day can be a struggle to get out of bed, get dressed, and get to work on time. Those who are unsure of their talents and abilities may voluntarily miss out on opportunities that would put them ahead in their companies because they don’t know if they’d be able to fulfill the needs of the position. Public speaking and traveling can be difficult for most people to adjust to, but missing opportunities willingly can also exacerbate symptoms of anxiety disorders.

In order to mitigate the symptoms of anxiety disorders and manage anxiety in the workplace, it’s a good idea to be proactive every day so you can live a happy and healthy work life. It’s also important to realize that feeling anxious is a perfectly normal response to stress, but if it becomes overwhelming, that’s when you need to actively take steps to make positive changes for your overall wellbeing.


Be Self-Aware

Being self-aware means checking in on your own physical and emotional responses when feelings of anxiety arise. Be mindful of what exactly is causing your stress and try to see how you can make changes. Are you overwhelmed by unrealistic deadlines? Do you dread everyday responsibilities? Figure out whether or not you need to reorganize or if you’re procrastinating on projects. Don’t try and disregard your feelings because they won’t go away, in fact, they’ll probably intensify. Instead, try to pinpoint exactly what is causing the excessive stress.


Make time for yourself

When our plates are full and we feel like we have no time for ourselves, that’s when we especially need to carve out our day and make extra time. When we’re feeling anxious and overwhelmed, we’re less likely to exercise, but our bodies need it most at that time. Try hard to care for your mind and body by eating the right foods, getting enough sleep each night, and squeezing in some workout time.


Reach out to friends and family

Loved ones can be a source of guidance, wisdom, and support. More than likely, you have someone in your circle who is experiencing feelings of anxiety and a loss of control. If not, someone is going to have gone through it at some point in their past. Even if you don’t want to discuss this with friends and family, just knowing they are there for you can be a positive re-enforcement.


Seek help from a professional

There is no shame in asking for help if you aren’t managing your anxiety alone. If you’re struggling with an anxiety disorder and don’t feel like you’re getting anywhere, it’s best to seek out help in order to manage it effectively. A clinical psychologist will help you figure out not only where your stress is coming from, but how to deal with it so you can live a life that is not controlled by anxiety, but by yourself.

Spread the Positivity Virus

Peer pressure is something adults tell children to watch out for. They are afraid because children are thought to be impressionable. Little do they know, the attitudes of their friends can affect them in similar ways. Your colleagues may not try to get you to engage in illegal behavior, but surrounding yourself with negative people may lead to negative feelings, and the same can be said with positivity. But why does this happen?

The culprit may be social cues. Most humans have the ability to sense a mood shift, based off of nonverbal cues. These can include posture, facial expression, and movement. Someone who is frowning is sad. Someone who can’t stop tapping their fingers is jittery. Someone with their arms crossed is closed off. There are hundreds of social cues humans subconsciously recognize.

Social cues are said to make up 55% of all communication. Before we learn our first words, we observe our family’s behavior and categorize behaviors by their intended effect. This means we can recognize the mood in any given situation without directly asking about it even before we begin school.

Obviously, social cues are a key to this puzzle, but how exactly do they fit in?

When someone does not adhere to social norms, they stick out like a sore thumb. Sometimes, there is an event which calls for celebration or one that calls for grief. However, sometimes a group’s mood can be a byproduct of one or two people’s attitude.

Daniel Goleman says that leaders influence their teams’ moods. A manager who angrily points out all of your mistakes can make you feel angry in return. A respectful boss will inspire respect from their employees. In your social group, there is almost always one particularly vocal friend (whether they are happy, sad, or any other emotion), who acts as the leader of the group. Everyone else tends to model their behavior around this centralized person.

There are circumstances where it is appropriate to experience negative emotions, but living a happy life is important to your mental health. Spending all of your time with negative people will ultimately lead you to feel more negative. Experiencing the world with positive people will allow you to enjoy more in life and lead to a deeper appreciation of all life has to offer.

Positivity can be spread as easily as a disease. Every positive word or action transfers this positivity to the next person. Surrounding yourself with positive people is the best and easiest way to live a fulfilling life.

So what are you waiting for? Go out into the world and find new people to share your positivity with. After all, your positivity is just as contagious and can make ripples in the world.

Long Term Mental Health Problems Following Natural Disasters

   In the wake of Hurricane Harvey, it is important that we recognize the effects that are caused by such natural disasters, especially the mental health problems that are bound to come about and how the victims of disasters such as this are going to have a hard time moving forward for some time.

   Mental health problems are amongst the most common side effects when it comes to natural disasters. Due to all the devastation and massive loss, disasters can cause issues such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and depression. However, the issue in this is that these mental health problems rarely occur during the early stages after the emergency. They tend to become more apparent as time goes on and are sometimes overlooked in such emergencies. The reason for this is that initially, these disasters can cause a majority of the population to suffer from grief and shock. So once that stage is over, it is usually expected that people will make an attempt to return to their normal lives and when they are unable to do so, it is because of these mental health problems emerging and affecting their everyday lives. Other disorders and problems that can come up include, acute trauma disorder, anxiety and anxiety related disorders, panic attacks, night terrors, and other mood disorders. These effects usually are not permanent when the persons affected seek immediate treatment and they normally last anywhere from a few months to a few years in some cases. However, if they go undetected and untreated, they can lead to becoming full mental illnesses.

   On the bright side, there are ways to minimize the damage to mental health after these natural disasters. The first step is to be aware of the signs and be able to recognize that a problem is there. Ignoring or not recognizing these issues can only lead to them becoming more permanent. There are many programs available to help with dealing with the mental effects of a disaster. Some of these organizations include the World Health Organization, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Organization, FEMA, along with other agencies. Seeking out supportive and trauma counseling immediately after the disaster can help curb long term mental health damage, and they can continue long after the disaster has subsided. So as we think about physical effects of disasters such as Hurricane Harvey, it is also imperative that we remember the mental health issues such as PTSD and depression that can emerge after these disasters are over and understand that if left untreated can cause long term mental illnesses down the line.

Signs and Symptoms of Mood Disorders

Mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disease are usually highly treatable medical illnesses. The issue is that people don’t get the treatment they need due to not understanding the signs associated with these disorders. Being aware of what to expect when these occur is very crucial and necessary for getting the proper help. Here are some of the signs and symptoms of these mood disorders so that you can look out for them and get the help you or a friend might need.


Signs and Symptoms of Depression


When it comes to depression, you might find yourself or see a close one experience extended periods of sadness. For whatever reason that may be, you just can’t seem to get out of this bad mood. This can carry on and affect your everyday life through work or social encounters with friends and family. Prolonged sadness can also be linked with unexplained crying spells where all of a sudden you feel the need to cry. This can happen during various points of the day or at night. These are very common signs of depression. Other signs and symptoms include, Significant changes in sleep pattern and appetite, anger and anxiety, pessimism and indifference, loss of energy with persistent lethargy, feelings of guilt and worthlessness, inability to concentrate and indecisiveness, inability to take pleasure in former interests along with social withdrawal, unexplained aches and pains, and recurring thoughts of death and suicide. If you are experiencing five or more of these symptoms within two weeks or more, you should go and consult a doctor for a thorough evaluation.


Signs and Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder


Bipolar disease is different from clinical depression as it comes in two phases, the manic and depressive states, however, the symptoms for the depressive state are very similar to that of depression. These shifts in mood can be very severe as they go from extreme highs in energy to deep despair. Some of the symptoms that you can expect in the manic state are increased physical and mental activity and energy, heightened mood along with exaggerated optimism and self-confidence, excessive irritability and aggressive behavior, decreased need for sleep without experiencing fatigue, grandiose delusions and inflated sense of self-importance, racing speech and thoughts with flights of ideas, impulsiveness with poor judgements, reckless behavior, and in more severe cases one can experiences delusions and hallucinations. Reviewing your family’s history and being open in conversation about these things can help you receive the treatment needed for yourself or for a close one who is experiencing these symptoms.