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20th October 2020

Unlocking your mental health and wellbeing

You may have seen that the CIOB launched a new massive open online course (MOOC) entitled ‘Mental Health in Construction’ recently. This course actively encourages dialogues from industry professionals across the globe, for those who take part they will learn to understand the signs and symptoms of poor mental health and understand how to manage their own mental wellbeing, as well as how to better support their colleagues too.

So why is learning about mental health essential? Well, mental health includes emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing. It directly fuels our beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and actions. As a result, it directly impacts how we experience stress, connect with others, and operate our lives. Think of improving your knowledge of mental health as upgrading a GPS to better navigate through the rough terrain in life. The better your GPS, the greater access you will have to informative data and insights, empowering you to get through more challenging obstacles and paths throughout your journey with ease. As you experience these benefits, you will also be able to share your knowledge and insights to help others achieve similar successes and joy. 

In my experience, a helpful way to view mental health is by referring to it as “emotional fitness”. Similar to physical fitness, I can read all the fitness books in the world, but that won’t help me achieve physical fitness goals unless I practice the techniques as well. Furthermore, if I don’t know what I’m doing at the gym and someone asks me to help them lift a heavy load, if I agree to help and can’t, I’ve now put that person and myself in a lot of danger. Similarly, if I don’t know how to effectively neutralize my stress, how do I expect to effectively support others in times of need? The sooner you learn and practice the techniques to manage your mental health, the stronger your “emotional fitness” will become, and the easier it will be to handle heavier loads in life and support others effectively as well. 

There are lots of different methods to support your mental health and wellbeing. Personally, mindfulness meditation has been the single most impactful technique I have practiced and applied to improve every aspect of my life. In addition to managing stress, anxiety, and despair, I’ve learned to forgive my mistakes instead of burying myself in guilt and shame, leap towards self-care rather than self-destruction, develop mature relationships based on trust and support instead of childish relationships built on loneliness, status, or being in control, and showed appreciation and affection towards others instead of judging and criticizing them. In the CIOB MOOC, I explain exactly what this technique is and what it is not. Oftentimes, people set high expectations on themselves or overcomplicate the practice in some way, resulting in setting themselves up to quit. With as little as practicing five minutes each day, one can experience shifts in improving their mental health and wellbeing. 

I got involved in the CIOB’s MOOC on Mental Health because I want people from all walks of life in our industry to see and believe that they are not alone in facing whatever mental health challenges they’re experiencing. That support is abundant through the CIOB, various external organizations, and most of all, through their own mindset by practicing effective techniques. I want to help our industry connect more with their hearts and less with their egos, so they can see clearly how they might be believing, thinking, feeling, and acting in ways that cause more suffering than relief towards their mental health challenges. 

As a mindfulness meditation student and teacher with Luminous Ground Meditation and an industry professional, I am committed to supporting the global community as best as I can. This initiative with the CIOB is a practical steppingstone to help our industry strengthen its resilience to thrive. I challenge all readers of this blog to check out the course with an open mind and heart and see how they might be able to show themselves greater support. 

As you’re reading this, I hope you can acknowledge all of the elements in this world that support you and are cheering for your success. The clothes and shelter protecting you, the food nourishing you, the people who helped produce those goods you’re benefiting from, the sunshine, and other elements that support you every day. The sooner you break free from your belief that you’re alone with no support, the sooner you can open your heart to welcome and embrace the rich support that has always been right under your nose.