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Societal Norms Don't Value Mental Health

Jun 8, 2021Updated 4 days ago
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The workplace culture is toxic. In the current economy, we are told that we need to hustle.
The business culture prioritizes money over mental health. Some people even advocate getting into business during a pandemic. If we replace our sleep with coffee and Ritalin, we too can succeed. We tie our value and self-worth to how hard we work and how much we earn
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Workplaces are obsessed with connectivity. With emails, with Slack with constant communication. This of course leads to a charge towards productivity. Employees armed with emails, Slacks and Zoom meetings work diligently at home, ignoring the pandemic around them. We are fixed to our screens and our phones, anticipating a work email at night. France literally passed a law freeing employees from out-of-hours emails.
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Our only tangible value becomes our work and productivity. This toxic work culture values us for our work. We can sometimes get ahead by working long nights and sacrificing our sleep and health. We are encouraged to always be on and hustle for the next paycheck and the next income stream.
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We have a toxic obsession with productivity. A ridiculous productivity hack emerges from the bowels of Silicon Valley at least once per year. These are based off of pseudoscience and the need to get a 5% edge in productivity.
A fundamental misunderstanding in neuroscience, coupled with the urge for more productivity created the dopamine fast. No, it doesn't work.
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We hack our health so that we can be smarter and more productive. This includes everything from downing unregulated supplements and unproven brain-boosting drugs, to injecting yourself with gene-editing technology.
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In workplaces, our rights are eroded for productivity. Amazon workers had to urinate in bottles and defecate in bags just to meet their quotas. All of this is done in lieu of just giving people a healthy break.
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People who struggle with mental health aren't depicted well or are ridiculed in our media.
There are few good depictions of mental health in television and movies. Crime shows and detective films tend to have schizophrenic killers. Other shows discuss and portray obsessive-compulsive disorder as cute and quirky. Rarely do we get protagonists that struggle with their mental health in a real way. The media and many fans ridiculed Brittney Spears after she had a mental breakdown. You might think we are past the time where we make fun of people for their mental health. Yet when basketball players like Kevin Love or Demar DeRozan open up about depression, a subset of fans is still in disbelief. After all, how can the rich and famous have problems?
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