The mental health awareness month has arrived, and it casts light upon one of the most important industries of the world: tech industry. The startup culture and intense competition have made stress inevitable for tech entrepreneurs. As Aristotle said, “No great mind has ever existed without a touch of madness.” However, it is important to determine whether it takes madness to be an entrepreneur or being an entrepreneur makes them susceptible to mental health conditions. But it is found that both things are interconnected. Startup Grind stated that nearly 72% of entrepreneurs have been affected directly or indirectly by mental health conditions. It is also found that the issues regarding mental health and entrepreneurship are not talked about as much as they need to be. Being a tech entrepreneur in an era of technology is not a cakewalk. A tremendous pressure comes with a responsibility to deliver, innovate, and stand out of the herd. However, this pressure is expressed in healthy as well as unhealthy ways.
It is essential to bring these issues forefront and determine how the tech industry can help itself in this month of mental health awareness. One of the ways it can be done is with the help of technology itself. A startup FeelTank, headquartered at Los Angeles, has been striving to bring technology and mental health together in an exciting way. Kara Dake founded the startup, which is a combination of social network, teaching platform, and spirituality. The firm provides teachings to improve professional and emotional success with the help of more than 100 live and recorded classes and 30 experts.
Dake said, “The majority of today’s mental health problems stem from negative thoughts and unprocessed emotions. The FeelTank has been developed as a space for creators and entrepreneurs to experience guided videos from leading experts in personal growth and development to move away from states of overthinking to a place of more easeful, mindful feeling.”
Outlining the need of a combination of technology, spirituality, mindfulness, and self-improvement, Kate Mulder, a FeelTank teacher told VentureBeat, “It allows for our own smoother processing, better decision-making, removes unwanted ‘patterns’ and improves optimal functioning.”
The startup life and entrepreneurship can become stressful and put a lot of burden on mental health. Our bodies display emotions and thoughts that are inside us. Negative emotions give rise to fight or flight reactions, and cause tightening of muscles and restricted breathing. Physical movements, breathing exercises, and dancing help in getting into the flow of being in the present moment.
The theme of mental health awareness month for this year is #4Mind4Body. Many prominent leaders from Silicon Valley have been adopting yoga, meditation, and other spiritual practices to survive through a stressful routine. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter and Square, undertook a 10-day Vipassana meditation program, a retreat focusing on body and mind through complete silence. Fast Company revealed a podcast named Killing It. It involves interviews with people who achieved success despite undergoing through mental health issues. Another podcast named Faster Than Normal focuses on Peter Shankman’s attitude towards having ADHD. In addition, VentureBeat Engage podcast has information about more techniques that can be used to achieve inner peace. There needs to be more dialogue about addressing the issues regarding mental health that tech entrepreneurs face. An open dialogue between executives and leaders across the industry would help in addressing the issue.