Kintsugi Celebrates World Mental Health Day 2018

By Grace Chang

Building mental resilience is this year’s topic-du-jour from the World Health Organization, and as we head into the fall, October 10th becomes a particularly pronounced time of year for embracing the upcoming holiday season and end-of-year rush.

In September 2018, Grace Chang, Founder/CEO of Kintsugi interviewed 63 women across the world from 19-65 years old and learned a great deal about how women cope with stress, anxiety, and depression.

As anxieties run high for families with kids returning to school, professionals eking last minute sprints before year-end, and students finding their personal and professional footing, we can rest assured that we are not alone in trying to find our place in the world and finding the right balance in our lives.

We can rest assured that we are not alone in trying to find our place in the world and finding the right balance in our lives.

Last month, Kintsugi had the fine opportunity to interview more than sixty individuals from San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Austin, Wisconsin, India, Berlin, Prague, Poland, Australia, Singapore, and dozens of places across the globe on pressing top-of-mind issues. People generously gave not only time but were also vulnerable with how daily stressors can impact the quality of relationships, especially the relationship with oneself. The study was particularly unique in that the sample set was comprised entirely of professional women from 19 to 65 years of age.

The most frequently cited daily challenges included: time management, work-life balance, purpose in life and impact, focus and concentration, and meeting expectations. It was not uncommon to hear many of the expectations and stress come from within; in fact, it was universal that everyone felt a sense of “not being able to do enough.” Only upon reflection was it more apparent that the individual had improved her toolset of coping methods from earlier in her career.

How we cope today has certainly changed and the most frequently cited methods included:

  • Physical activity: walk, exercise, yoga, hiking, gym

  • Talking to friends, spouse/significant other, coworkers, and family

  • Regularly scheduled therapist visits

  • Diversions/excess in entertainment: reading, watching TV/movies, audiobooks, games, shopping, drinking, eating, weed, shopping

  • Relaxation: meditation, bath, cooking, ASMR, breathing exercises, mental visualizations, meditation apps

  • Journaling: writing, gratitude journal, jar of kind self notes, post-its

  • Planning: establishing routines, to-do lists, personal goals, learning new skills

  • Medication for ADHD, beta-blockers, antidepressants, Xanax

  • Crying: acknowledging the feeling and then letting it pass

  • Sleeping: overwhelmed, nap for a refreshed state of mind

Overwhelmingly, the honesty was refreshing and my hope is that this open discussion is indicative of a change in how we acknowledge our feelings privately and publicly. Given the cultural shift and allowance to be more truthful about our challenges, I encourage all of us on World Mental Health Day to set aside time for self-care and know that building mental resilience takes a belief and kindness towards yourself and patience. I promise you: you do have what it takes.