Mental health is a big issue for people who run their own businesses.

Business owners often feel isolated or under pressure to pretend that they are doing better than they are. Admitting that they’re struggling and asking for help is tough.

When they do, they often find that they’re not alone and that its a very common problem but that still begs the question: what can we do to feel better?

Kate Patterson
Louise Moles

Drive members Kate Patterson and Louise Moles are Thrive Consultants, teaching people how to use the The Thrive Programme®

We asked Kate and Louise to tell us what they’re good at and how our members can use the Thrive techniques to improve their mental health amd well-being.

This is a compilation of a Q&A in the Drive Facebook Group.

 

Kate Patterson At work, I’m good with people, managing them, teaching them and getting the best out of them so they can be successful. I guess empathy, being a good listener and being able to deal with challenges well are my key qualities. I’m good at problem-solving and thinking out of the box. Taking all of the above into account I’m good at showing people how they can take charge of their own mental health and mental wellness.
Not Work: I really enjoy gardening, walking and taking photos as I go, I am observant, which can have its disadvantages and I like to capture moments in time. Pieces of art and music can often move me to tears. I love to travel and have seen some amazing places. I prefer the open spaces of the Yorkshire Moors, the Fens or the seaside rather than hills and mountains of Scotland or Cumbria or the Alps!

Louise Moles I work thoroughly. Being warm and welcoming is important for peeps to value and invest in their mental wellbeing. I tailor my approach to the needs of the client. My session format is intuitive. I will happily guide with a firm kick up the bum when necessary! I can empathise with a good balance of challenging, and drawing on evidence-based knowledge. Outside of work you can find me by the sea, and where there are animals. Or up a hill! I prefer the unique, I’m in love with art history and architecture, enjoy decor or designing my next tattoo!

Helen Lindop How can we balance our mental health and happiness with all the other commitments in our lives such as growing a business, family etc?

Kate Patterson Looking after our mental wellness is a habit, like brushing our teeth twice a day.  It takes practice to create a habit, once it established we have it for life.

Louise Moles One of the major factors is to learn how NOT to take responsibility for other people’s feelings. We are absolutely not responsible for how other people choose to feel.   Until we have this foundation in place, our mental health suffers.

Helen Lindop I think I ask this kind of question of everyone, but what’s the key mistake you see people making with their mental health?

Kate Patterson In its simplest terms using their imagination in an extremely toxic and unhelpful way. Our imagination is really powerful, we can use it to our advantage as in imagining all the things that could go really well instead of imagining all the things that could go wrong. Most of the terrible things we worry about never happen! They’re pure imagination and we invent them to torture ourselves so why not imagine more useful and delightful outcomes?

This is not a new notion! Marcus Aurelius said something similar in about 160 AD.

Louise Moles Another key mistake is trying to find answers in the past. There’s a shed-load of fascinating research and studies on memory, and this has re-shaped what we understand about achieving mental wellness.#

Kate Patterson There’s no point in worrying or regretting things that happen in the past. Just “do” your future differently

Louise Moles Another mistake is putting lots of effort into being ‘resilient’. Aiming for a bounce-back attitude means you first have to be knocked down! I’ve banned that buzz word! It’s much better to learn that whatever happens we choose our reaction and don’t need to get knocked down!

Ann Hawkins How do you teach people to deal with unhappiness? Its a normal part of life and sadness is appropriate in some circumstances but the “positive thinking” brigade would have us believe that all unhappiness should be banished! I’m a fan of stoicism.

Louise Moles We teach people that they are in control of the emotions they experience. Sadness isn’t something that happens to them, its something they choose to feel, and if its appropriate to the circumstances, that’s fine because they also decide when to feel better. Its all about being in control and not at the mercy of external influences.

Kate Patterson We see people who have been searching for someone or something to make them feel better for years. When they realise they can make themselves feel better they see the possibility of their own future. We often see people who have tried every type of help possible so they may be on medication or under a psychiatrist or their GP. Psychiatrists are beginning to say “out loud” that the medical model for depression isn’t working, recognising that there is a cognitive element that is missing.

Just as some people go through life wearing rose tinted spectacles, some have chosen to wear grey tinted ones, and sometimes, the specs get murkier and murkier. We show people how to wipe the murk away and get a clearer perspective on what is possible.

Andy Boothman I’d like to think that the stigma of mental health is being broken down but it feels that some businesses are still behaving badly in this area. I love the work you’re doing in schools and feel that is much needed to help kids understand their feelings – positive and negative.

Louise Moles We’re seeing changes and moving away from the stigma, but this is only being achieved superficially by businesses/celebrity culture/wider voice ‘talking’ about mental health, and what short term good comes from campaigns such as ‘wellbeing week’ or ‘stress awareness training’. We need the language and whole narrative to change in order to make a real difference.

Kate Patterson I feel the main issue is that people are hearing that it’s “good to talk” about your issues … It’s only good to talk if you talk to people who understand what you mean and can help you tolearn how to make the changes you need to. There’s a huge amount of research about the impacts of the feelings of powerlessness, negativity and catastrophising.

Andy Boothman Mental well being is more openly discussed than it used to be, but there’s still a huge elephant in the room in most of the conversations, because, as you say, people don’t have the tools or resource to make meaningful changes. I think that what you’re doing is fab, very much needed on lots of levels.

To get in touch and find our more about what Kate and Louise are doing, see their websites:
http://www.katepatterson.co.uk/
http://www.thrivewithlouise.co.uk/

Find out more about the work Kate and Louise are doing in schools in this interview:
Creating well-being in schools

and a special Q&A on “What we can do to improve children’s mental health”.