James Rhodes' in his autobiography 'Instrumental' writes: 'Our whole cultural identity is centred around not being good enough, constantly needing things that are shinier, faster, smaller, bigger, better,' a sentiment with which I deeply empathise. Looking back on my teaching career the one thing I know that became central to my depression was never being good enough.
Londoners are depressed. 12% of men and as many as 20% of women living in London had symptoms of depression or anxiety in a survey carried out by the National Centre for Social Research and the University of Leicester.
The UK's stress and personal debt statistics speak for themselves. And the way things are right now, they don't make for a pretty sight. The long cycle of downturn to recovery doesn't feel like it's fully over yet. Maybe reading the news headlines hasn't helped my optimism - they do have a tendency to relay information in a brutal and stark kind of way. Here are some examples of this very phenomenon in action:
In a world that is obsessed with 'authenticity' what differentiates genuine, perhaps even altruistic ways of communicating, versus a weird kind of sanctimony that accompanies an empty inbox?
The agitation and restlessness that can follow switching a smartphone off, which is punishing to witness, does look very similar to withdrawal symptoms as the individual struggles with the disconnection from 'the stream'.
If you have a dead plant on your desk take note. The conscious act of replacing it and simultaneously choosing to prioritise self-care could save your life.
I went through a phase in my journey where I was sharing my anxieties with women and men. Generally it was well received, sometimes not. It didn't bother me. But by me becoming aware of my anxieties and not taking them personally or seriously I was able to let them be as there were, and they had less power over me
When it comes to work, the term 'mental ill health' still holds certain stigmas - it is something that we just don't talk openly about and often the illness will remain completely hidden.
Mindfulness isn't about smelling a butterfly wing, though if you're into it be my guest, what it does deliver is a practice that may potentially give you a longer life and while you're living longer, living better.
It's Mental Health Awareness Week so a good time to reflect on the crucial role businesses can play in supporting mental heath issues. There's not just a moral case but an unquestionable business case for doing so: each year one in four people experience a common mental health condition - such as stress, anxiety or depression - and the overall cost of mental health to the UK economy is estimated at £70 billion per year.
I don't particularly like the word 'wellness'. For me it immediately conjures up images of people drinking overpriced coffee in sweatpants after having spent a fortune on some revolutionary new yoga routine that involves balancing your cat on your head.
Let's face it, gone are the days when a little gentle pampering and whale music will cut it in a hotel spa. I want braggable results from my treatments - and at LUX* they kindly pander to that sense of entitlement.
Being too busy to take a holiday may seem like proof of your success, a sign that you're doing well, are important, but taking a break gives you time to relax and recharge, spend time with the special people in your life and then return to work energised to do a better job.
As a mindfulness teacher, it's my job to support others in improving their wellbeing, often through discovering a slower pace of life. So imagine my shock when I realised just how far I'd got sucked into the doing frenzy that our culture seems addicted to.
Their problems are simple - too much time at work, little or no respite from screens and not enough sleep. In both cases, they were taking 'slices' off their sleep to try to get more work done and in the process had plummeted into exhaustion and mental illness.
I rarely get moved or struck by things that I read. I don't know if it's as a result of ripping books to shreds and examining their internal organs as part of my time in university, or if I'm just a cold-hearted bitch, but this sentence, and the passage which followed, really stopped me in my tracks.