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Over the last half a century or so Bhutan, often cited as one of the happiest nations in the world, has undergone some serious structural changes politically. These changes started back in 1952 when the country started to break with the traditional, benevolent monarchy that has governed for centuries, and move towards a modern democracy. The citizens of Bhutan cast the deciding vote in a referendum and the country's first parliamentary elections were held in 2008.

But that doesn't mean it's been easy. Bhutan’s citizens may have voted for democracy, but initially it was difficult for them to evaluate whether they truly liked the changes that brought. In short, they were (understandably) institutionalised to living in a benevolent autocracy – so they had no benchmark of democracy against which to compare their new situation. They only knew rulers who held absolute power – how should they now relate to political leaders who were accountable to them personally at the ballot box? Quite a mind-set shift for anyone to make! 

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Lifting the mood in the NHS

Posted by on in Motivation

People working in the NHS are more likely to experience job-related stress than any other public sector workers. Budget cuts, staff shortages and resource shrinkages have created a culture of over-engagement and burn-out.

When we started working with NHS Employers to research the wellbeing in NHS Trusts, we found a group of organisations full of hard-working people who are committed to their roles. But these talented individuals were often left frustrated when they felt bureaucracy got in the way of patient care. People were finding it difficult to feel proud or excited about work. Instead, a barrage of negative emotions was threatening to take over, affecting the level of people’s positive wellbeing and their ability to deliver the exceptional care that motivates and excites them at work.

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The trouble is when you are depressed or even anxious to the unobservant outsider you look fine.  You are not covered in spots, nothing seems to be in plaster and you are probably not actually gibbering - You are trying to cover the whole thing up by putting a brave face on it and carrying on.  You don't want to let the side down.  Being depressed/anxious comes under the heading of not being “right in the head” and people don’t like that. 

They don’t know how to react to it even if you did have the courage to tell them.  You fear their reaction might be “pull yourself together, buck up, smile and the world smiles with you”  You’d love to more than anything in the world oblige but unfortunately however much you chastise yourself for being a wimp, and surely its your fault you cant, cant, can't pull yourself out of it.  Being mentally ill in corporate Britain isn't fashionable whatever they might say in the HR department.

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Are you man enough?

Posted by on in Health

The arrival of Men's Health Week brings with it an opportunity to think and reflect on any number of issues related to men and their health. I'd like to use the opportunity to talk about a key issue that has a profound effect on both the physical and mental health of men, one that isn't talked about enough. That is the issue of masculinity.

We know that men tend to compare themselves against a masculine ideal which values power, strength, control and invincibility. This is something that is played out across multiple touch points in a man’s life, from being told at an early age to ‘man up and don’t cry’ in the playground, to the tough guy heroes portrayed in TV and films, to telling your mates in a joking way to “toughen up”. Throughout their lives, society teaches our boys that they need to act tough, show strength and, effectively, be invincible.

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Looking after men's wellbeing at work

Posted by on in Health

"Women seek help. Men die." - Angst & Ernst 1990

Organisations are increasingly recognising the need to have a clearly-defined wellbeing strategy in place. While some of these can be very sophisticated, they can sometimes fail to recognise the differences between men and women when it comes to mental health. Over the last few years, men’s health has come increasingly to the fore with recent research finding that men experience mental health differently to women.

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Cary CooperGood Day at Work™

The new wellbeing resources hub founded by @profcarycooper and Roberston Cooper. Join for FREE and access blogs, videos, downloads, podcasts and more.

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MD of Cary Cooper's business psychology firm, Robertson Cooper - for all things wellbeing, engagement and resilience at work.

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Professor Cary Cooper, Director and Founder of Robertson Cooper Ltd, Distinguished Professor of Organizational Psychology and Health at Lancaster University.

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