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Is there a mental health crisis due to the burnout economy?

Burnout economy is a term I am coining to describe the explosive health crisis in Western society. The race to achieve more and postpone life to times when we will have more favourable conditions is an illusion that creates a gap between reality, health, and our emotions. It causes cognitive dissonance and dissociation with our lives and authentic selves.

The Body Keeps the Score is my new favourite book, with an abundance of research and case studies. It outlines the relationship between body, mind and emotions. Bassel describes in detail the reactions and behaviour of victims of abuse, neglect, and war. The observations very closely resonate with the onset of burnout symptoms due to the economic stress on people.

To bring the topic closer to the economic realities, we move the traumatic experience to the work environment, either as an employee, employer or entrepreneur.

As a Communications Specialist, I am keen on diving deeper into the work community and providing techniques to improve the communication between people at the place where they earn a living.

Money and power are the core of most suffering

More often than not people are reduced to the unreal other in their work environments. If there is an area where deep breaths and mindfulness can be infused into creating healthier habits and patterns of behaviour it is business.

Especially because we don’t form intimate human bonds with our coworkers. Our interactions are more superficial and even if we feel connected we know the connections wither.  At scale, we see how people suffer from work-compounded stress.

We experience stress and trauma imprinted on the psyche from as early as conception. Burnout is the culmination of modern life.

In a work environment, our finances and ultimate survival in the world is dependent on the collaborative nature of our relationships with peers and superiors. The fact that there are bosses makes the relationship psychologically dependent. This creates opportunities for abuse. With the onset of burnout after the pandemic, we need to pay closer attention to relationships, interactions, and modes of communication that happen in a work environment.

In addition, most workplaces switched rapidly to preferred electronic communications. Thus decreasing the humanization of communications. The quick and constant pings detached from emotional cues leave people on the other side of the screen guessing and not tuning in. Instead, the words can only relate to pre-recorded personal meanings and reactions, leaving vast space for misunderstandings. Adding the continuous plug-in into the world of expectations, deadlines and KPIs, people have thinner patience and tolerance.

Every person we meet carries a story.

External triggers may appear insignificant to others but actually reenact the personal story on a subconscious level. They may overreact, exert control tendencies, be bullish or retrieve without reason. This doesn’t mean people should suffer bullying in the workplace or have no boundaries. It calls for mindful communication at the workplace! It is a call to transform a crisis into a human triumph.

The real danger is when people experiencing severe trauma are in leadership positions. Not only they can become perpetrators, but their character is translated into an organizational culture.

Non-violent communication with mindfulness is the most appropriate and progressive way to handle all, but especially work environments.

For everyone who has tapped into awareness, shedding of trauma or self-realization/actualization, there is now a responsibility to hold safe space for others in their work environments. To practice doesn’t mean for all to become gurus and teachers, but act and think as such in every aspect of life, including the most challenging work and business.