Another interesting article on Mental Health from the UK

As many of my readers know I read a lot of articles from all over the world. I am U.S. based and we are WAY behind the rest of the world in terms of mental health awareness. A horrible place to be for a society that encourages gun ownership…. I mean you would think we would be investing heavily into mental health services and studies where everyone is armed to the hilt. I even own fire arms, but I digress…

So our friends in the UK are starting to focus on mental health issues and how it will impact employers in 2020

Perhaps this is the best avenue to take to induce more change in mental health. When businesses are affected a broader swath of the public at large takes note.

From the article: “Greater awareness, and implementation of policies relating to the issue will help. Further, as awareness grows, and as employees become more comfortable discussing mental health issues, employers will likely start to provide more support for employees. The lack of early identification and support (whether or not the employer’s responsibility) is often the issue. The silence and stigma are without doubt a contributing factor.”

The article elaborates a great deal on Prince Williams work on the issue, he has taken a leading role in the discussion and that has created a higher profile to the issue. The article is without question a European/UK piece and I’m not saying that smugly but there are concepts and undertones within the text that simply don’t translate well to a U.S. or Asian culture. Simply put, European governments have put a much greater emphasis on work place corporate accountability.

There are far more “pro” worker laws there, and this is largely without unions (all though they do exist) I think the article does a decent job of illuminating the issues, from a work place perspective. I am not sure it can translate completely abroad. In the U.S. for example, most employment is “at will” you really don’t have many rights as a worker. On the positive side you are also not beholden to an employer either. Ideally, we meet in the middle somewhere. I know if I was working for an employer who created the conditions by which I could have better outcomes with mental health I would be far more loyal to that company and much more productive.

What I would like to see in the U.S. (can’t speak for our Asian friends on this one) is governments incentives companies to offer more services and benefits. I believe companies would do this in earnest if there were more reward to doing it. We can’t simply dismiss out of hand a companies need for profits, its how we have accumulated so much wealth in the west. That said a touch more balance toward more worker benefits would be a pleasant change. Certainly, our friends in the UK seem to be attempting to have the discussion, seems like a great place to start

Seasonal blues? Here are 3 foods you can eat to help your mood.

It’s winter in the west and if you have anxiety like me, the bleak weather of the winter can really make a bad mood worse. Most of us soldier through and do the best we can. That said there are things you can do during the doldrums of winter to improve your mood. As someone once said, “you are what you eat”, thankfully that isn’t true because god knows what I would have morphed into after all these years.

I found an article here that provides the 3 foods.

From the article:   Berries

Be it strawberries, blueberries or raspberries, the berry family helps a great deal when it comes to fighting stress and exhaustion. The berries are believed to prevent the release of cortisol — a stress hormone — thereby combating stress.

Dark chocolate

You know the feeling when on your lowest days, you get this strange urge to bite into a chocolate? It is because studies have shown that chocolates — especially the dark kind — have a high polyphenol content. Polyphenols are a type of antioxidants that can help you get through some tough feelings. Grab a bar with the highest cocoa content.


Did you know that the carbohydrates from natural sugars and potassium in bananas can help fuel your brain and make you feel less mentally exhausted? Bananas are rich in magnesium as well, which can help with anxiety and make you sleep well. This winter have more bananas than you usually do, especially if you feel the blues.

Berries are remarkable, if you can work them into your diet you will benefit greatly. As I discussed in this blog post Cortisol is a huge culprit in many health issues. Anything you can do to combat it is a positive.

Of course, berries are not in season in the west right now due to the weather. You’re likely going to have to pay more to get them now, still berries are not cost prohibitive but do be mindful of cost. Blueberries are always a good value and usually run cheaper then say strawberries or raspberries.

Consider adding these foods to your diet. Balance is paramount when putting things into your body. Will it help? I don’t know for sure but the three listed, in moderation are very good sources of macro nutrients and vitamins.

If the secondary effect is less anxiety that’s a win win !

Time, Money & Anxiety

I am going to cut right to the chase with this post. Over time if you invest money wisely, you will have less anxiety.

How you do it:

  1. Set up an automatic investment from your paycheck. This can be through your employer or a company like fidelity, every paycheck money comes out and goes into your investments.
  2. Select “large cap” mutual funds. You don’t have to be an investment analyst here. Select mutual funds that invest in successful companies. If their portfolio includes companies like: Apple, Microsoft, Proctor and Gamble, Coke these are all established companies that make money.
  3. Do this for years. Yes, 10-20-30 years. That’s YEARS.
  4. At the end of the period you should have plenty of money and your anxiety will be reduced.

Sounds simple doesn’t it? It actually is, the trick is not panicking with every stock market move and staying consistent. The stock market goes up and down, some years the return is 20%+ some its -20% but on average you can expect from 7-10% return over 30 years. The trick is reinvesting your returns and compounding interest.

So, the simple example is you invest 100 dollars at 10% return you make 10 dollars. Year two you invest 110 at 10% return you make 11 dollars. So, if we look at the example below. If we start with 100 investment and invest 100 a week for 30 years at 8% in the end, we would have 600K

Here is a link to the calculator I used, put in your own numbers see where you end up. Anxiety sucks, saving for your future might be the best thing you can do NOW that will help you relieve stress then. Imagine if you were a young child and you could do something then that would have helped you now, would you have done it?

Beyond the Trees

You decide the title

My life, –
How much more of it remains? 
The night is brief. 

Masaoka Shiki 1867–1902

The sun is going down, it is twilight, the sun has gone below the horizon. I am sitting on a porch, overlooking the woods that abut my house. I have my lap top out, which I shut from time to time to decrease the illumination which detracts from the evenings glow. I can hear insects buzzing, a car motor passes in the distance.

I am alone, I am quiet, I am in the moment.

The time slips away, there are minutes left to the twilight. The clouds orange glow begins to fade, I must squint to the horizon to capture the last vestige of the sun. Then it’s gone.

I am alone, I am quiet, I am in the moment.

“How much more of it remains” I whisper to myself as I read the Haiku. “I don’t know” the voice inside my head says back. It’s dark now, the evening is upon me, night is stalking the last light of my day. I wonder to myself “I should head inside now, its getting late”

I am alone, I am quiet, I am in the moment.

I close my lap top, pack up my things and head inside. The moment passed, but I know the night is brief.

Tomorrow is another day, and as I start to engage sleep I realize that today I achieved a goal. I “enjoyed the moment”

When was the last time you did?