Anxiety and depression among UK workers up nearly a third in four years, figures show
This is the title of an article from the UK Independent newspaper.
Sadly, in my view, the article catalogues the issue as a political football rather than one which is causing untold misery to ever greater numbers of people.
- A misunderstanding
More seriously the article misunderstands what the issue is in the first place.
“The findings, published on Mental Health Awareness Day, have prompted urgent calls for the Government to ensure better mental health provision in the workplace”
It is as if ‘mental health’ is like a new coffee machine, just pop a few more in the workplace and everything will be just fine -and of course what really matters, productivity, will be just fine too.
The great god of productivity upon whose altar we are all to be sacrificed.
- What the real reason is
The following is my highly biased opinion…
The cause of the rise in anxiety and depression is twofold. One reason is that people, as a rule, do not understand the psychological source of all their (our) experience and so continually behave in response to psychological stressors as if they were real life hungry lions about to pounce. As a long game this does not generally end well, although there are of course exceptions.
The second reason is that the prevailing story we have about what society is/should be is one driven by greed and lack of wisdom. It is based on poor quality stories about life rather than life itself.
There is no need for society to be this way – as humans we also have innate qualities such as compassion which could be the driving forces of communities that exist to help each other rather than for the very few to manipulate the many in order to grasp evermore wealth and power.
We choose to buy into dysfunctional and toxic stories and live them out. Of course we are increasingly anxious, stressed and depressed.
- So what to do?
- Higher consciousness through deliberate practice
Insight means seeing into the nature of how we experience the world. That sounds like just so many words until you actually do some regular meditation, or look more deeply into approaches such as the 3 Principles. Then you make some shifts inside that change everything on the outside. When you ‘get’ that life is actually enough and you do not have to believe your every thought, greed and hatred doesn’t seem to make so much sense. Giving people a hard time at work to make yourself richer doesn’t make so much sense.
Values refers to developing a sense of self efficacy, the belief in your ability to affect the course of your life and the desire to do it in ways that benefit yourself and your community. In this ever connected world we are none of us islands and we need each other in order to be able to nurture each other. It is in the nurturing of each other that our hearts grow. In our hearts growing we refuse to accept the old ways of exploitation of people and planet.
Higher consciousness comes from paying attention, deliberately paying attention to how life is, to how our thoughts and feelings really work. It comes from being willing to fail in the face of our conditioned feelings and thoughts yet being willing to try again. It seems so much easier to go unconscious with a few beers, go back to work and get stressed and keep doing that until you die. Not so many will make the choice to go against the forces that deliberately and callously promote unconsciousness, but then much change has come from minorities, from within. There are different ways to begin this deliberate practice. One very popular way that is becoming increasingly available is through mindfulness meditation, another is through self hypnosis. both are increasingly evidence based as effective for gaining insight into our ongoing thoughts and feelings and greater levels of agency.
You may be interested in:
- The time is now
Ironically there has never been a time where so much wisdom and means of accessing our own innate intelligence has been so easily available to so many. Take your first step – see what makes sense to you and incorporate it into your life today and build the habit so it becomes part of you – a part of your new and changing being in the world.
- what’s next?
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