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| 2 minutes read

Mental Health: The Kindness Fix

In a disconnected world, it’s great when the stars align. Serendipity is hugely underrated. 

For many years, I have been a passionate advocate of mental health and speak about it whenever I have the chance. We all have mental health: it’s not just about struggling, about diagnosed conditions (although I could write you a list), about plans and strategies. It’s a shifting state for us, for all of us, and just happens to be a hot topic in the workplace today. My life - at work and at home - is that of a willing guinea pig in mood lifting, self-examination and experiments. If it’s not illegal, I’ll give it a go. It’s messy and it works - for me at least - but I have often missed a North Star for direction and purpose. That is until I got lucky.

Last week was Diversity Week at AMS and I was fortune - no, privileged - to attend a session with John Amaechi ((6) John Amaechi OBE | LinkedIn). I didn’t know of John a week ago, but I feel lucky that I know him now. His articulate, authentic and relatable approach to helping people ‘recognize their souls in the dark’ resonated hard and since that session I have been devouring his content via any medium I can access. Thank you, John, it was, and you are fantastic.

He stands for so much more, but a regular theme that comes to the surface again and again in his work is kindness. I’m no David Goggins but I had often felt this to be a little light, a little loose in definition and as someone prone to many less charitable characteristics, considered it at best to be my way of paying off my personality debt. 

But it seems that is exactly the point. Kindness is a state of mind we can cultivate with mutual benefit. We give and we receive, and, in the process, we create a positive feedback loop that is good for the soul of the one and the many. We can all be kind and need to extend to ourselves as much as we do to others - it’s not cheating, it is a critical tool in enhancing engagement, performance, and peace of mind. And it’s completely free.

No one is asking or requiring sainthood, nor a huge investment in time. Check in on a colleague; throw a ball for your dog; put down your phone and ask a child what they’d like to do; make an extra coffee when you are in the office; cook dinner unasked. These micro moments really matter and, on an organizational level, help to create a culture of belonging and inclusiveness more effective than any enforced training session or corporate dictate. It’s not a weakness to show empathy, it is strength, and it is empowering. Deep down I have sensed this for many years but now, thanks to the serendipity of a Friday Teams call, I feel that my kindness can have a purpose and yours can too.

Don’t stop the meditating, the journaling, the healthy eating, or whatever lifts your mood, just be kind to yourself in the process. Your family and your colleagues will thank you for it. And just try to take a breath when your instinct is to judge or complain and offer support instead: it’s not easy and you will fail more than you succeed but you will reap the benefits.

So as my dad used to say: be lucky. And thanks again John, may you stay lucky too.


ams, diversity equity inclusion, employee enagagement, wellbeing