Today marks Let’s Talk Day – a day to raise awareness, challenge the stigma and continue the conversation surrounding mental health. At TC Energy, we strive to build a culture where people feel safe, heard and supported throughout their personal mental health journey, today and every day.
Meet Irvan. A team member, mental health advocate and champion of positive coping strategies, including meditation and yoga, who shared his story with us.
Why is mental health so important to you?
I’ve never thought that mental health was separate and distinct from physical health. We know that stress impacts the body and that the impact can also lead to physical disease. Mental health is important to me because being at a low is debilitating. You don’t perform at the same level and there’s a lot of resistance, even with menial tasks. Life in general feels like a challenge. When you’re feeling your best, you naturally want to do your best, take on new challenges, and expose yourself to new things. You’re also far more effective and life feels awesome!
Why did you join the mental health champion network at TC Energy?
First and foremost, to learn. And secondly, to share what has worked for me. While growing up, I had a lot of questions. As I grew older, these questions resurfaced and could no longer be ignored. Questions like, “What is my purpose?” “Who am I?”, and “What is the true nature of my existence?” When I couldn’t overlook these questions anymore, I stopped asking, stopped doing, and started observing. Meditation was what naturally came next – and from there my journey started. That was three years ago.
What coping strategies do you find helpful in your daily routine?
My daily routine varies. Typically, I wake up early in the morning and complete my yoga and meditation practices. These practices are my lifeline and nourish and energize me in a way that’s hard to describe in words. I’ve been fortunate to have received these ancient tools in their purest form from an enlightened yogi/master. It goes without saying that I still have good days and bad days. However, each day is an opportunity to start fresh and to learn, grow, and evolve – this makes life beautiful!
What do you find helpful when supporting a child, family member, or friend struggling with their mental health?
Listening, listening, and more listening! If someone is putting themself in a vulnerable position to share, then the least I can do is given them my undivided attention. Just listening can be so comforting to the other person. I also encourage people to access the resources, tools and organizations that are available to help.
What advice would you offer if people are interested in exploring meditation?
A lot of people don’t meditate because they’re afraid of all the thoughts in their head. Your thoughts are only as powerful as you make them. If you see them as just thoughts, they’re powerless. On the flipside, if you get entangled in your thoughts, then they will overrun you. The choice is always yours. Same principle applies to emotions. A simple 15-minute meditation practice changed my life three years ago.
How do you think we can begin to remove the stigma associated with mental health?
Acknowledge it, talk about it and actively look for ways to move people from a state of poor mental health to good mental health. It took a global pandemic to help us acknowledge that mental health is vital to our overall wellbeing. It’s encouraging to see conversations happening in this area, but this alone is not enough. We need to do more as a society, country and global community. Everyone needs to be talking about mental health in the same way we talk about physical health. Every industry, every employer, and all employees need to be involved in the discussion. Then and only then will we extinguish the stigma. The next step is to help people – there are so many resources available for physical health, but nowhere close for mental health. This needs to change.
If everyone makes a commitment to end the stigma around mental health – in whatever capacity we can – then we’ve already taken a huge stride in the right direction.
One of my favorite quotes from Sadhguru (a yogi, mystic, bestselling author, and poet) really puts into perspective what we can achieve with focused effort: “A world full of love, light and laughter. Its time has come. Let’s make it happen.”
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