Earlier this week we stumbled upon an article about mental health from digital entrepreneur Carson Jones, which has become such an important topic in our society lately. Mental health is something that was simply brushed under the rug for so long and considered a faux topic that should only be discussed with close relatives, professionals or even worse, not discussed at all. For that reason, when entrepreneurs and the business world begin discussing it’s importance, we wanted to follow up and ask a few questions:
Q: Carson, I loved reading your perspective on mental health and anxiety, but you’re in marketing, so what qualifies you to talk about mental health?
A: I love that question because I think that’s part of where the problem lies. For so long, people just assume that you have to be a doctor to discuss mental health. In actuality, it’s the people that deal with anxiety and depression that we should be talking to. While I have never personally been to a level I would call depressed, I have experienced high levels of anxiety in my life due to expectations, work load, overthinking, stressful scenarios and other outside factors that will begin to eat away at you inside if you don’t address them.
Q: What do you think causes anxiety?
A: There are so many factors that can cause somebody to be anxious. I’m always empathetic to that because it could be something as big as a teacher in 6th grade that told them they were a loser and would never amount to anything (happened to me) or it could be something as simple/stressful as knowing a credit card bill is coming up before pay day. It’s not always visible and can sometimes be fleeting, for example, everything can be perfectly fine and you’re about to fall asleep when your brain decides “I’m going to remind you about that terrible experience you had 10 years ago.”
Q: You are in the digital world, do you think cell phones and social media is creating a lot of this?
A: I think social media and cell phones are a nice “scapegoat” for the real issues. Social media can be damning to a person if they dwell on only what they see. Comparisons ruin peoples mental well being because we only see the PR versions of other peoples lives. We see the highlights, the filters, the vacations. People aren’t showing their Tuesday nights on the couch, and the people that do show the inside of their real lives are breaking through! We all have things that we are going through, and anybody that says their life is perfect is either lying or lacks self-awareness in their own lives.
Q: How do you cope with anxiety when you’re constantly on social media?
A: Self-awareness and the ability to talk about what’s bothering you is so important. For me, being open about issues and talking about them out loud to someone I trust has helped so much. It has been refreshing to see the internet community begin rallying around mental health because nothing will change until people understand that it’s ok to talk about it without feeling judged or ridiculed. For me, personally, I have found so much mental peace through activities of mindfulness. Every morning I wake up, I do 20 minutes of yoga and at least 10 minutes of meditation. That 30 minutes, where my phone is away from me gives me the mental clarity to pursue the digital mine field every day. Mindfulness is vital, whether that’s through music, reading books, listening to podcasts or silence (which has terrified me my entire life). Try this, when you get home at night, see how long you can go without turning on the television. When my mind feels fulfilled, my anxiety levels are always much lower or non-existent. I tend to get anxious when I feel stagnant or un-fulfilled. Anytime I speak about anxiety, I always speak in “I” language because I recognize I’m not a doctor and will never generalize mental health because it’s a different experience for every person! However, I do believe that if you can understand the root of the circumstances, times, people you are around when you feel anxious, you can begin to address those issues at the root of the problem.
If you want to read more about Carson or any of his entrepreneurial ventures, check out his website and feel free to reach out on Twitter @carsonjones1