If we want to answer the question “Is burnout a mental illness” we need to first establish an understanding of what mental illness is. Or better what is the definition of mental health.
According to WHO (World Health Organization), mental health is “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community”
Is burnout a mental illness?
Mental illness refers to a wide range of illnesses and conditions such as depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and many more.
Mental illnesses have been stigmatized in the past and have only recently started to gain recognition and realization that they deserve. Though we are still far from addressing them equally as other types of illnesses. This is partly because our mind is such a complex thing that we are still discovering and understanding. Science still has many unanswered questions regarding what is going on in our minds and why.
Burnout as such is not a mental illness but more of a symptom. There are many underlying reasons why a person burns out. The majority of times, burnout is preventable. The main problem lies in the fact that society praises productivity and being busy all the time. We feel pressured by our colleagues and peers.
Peace and calm are the new “black”
Burnout is chronic exhaustion, often closely connected with work-related issues. It is a consequence of many, many smaller decisions and actions done during a longer period of time.
The opposite of burnout is inner peace and being a motivated and healthy individual. And it doesn’t take much to become one. It really doesn’t. Because it all comes down to healthy habits.
Our mind produces between 6,00 and 50,000 thoughts per day. The more thoughts that cross your mind, the more active your frontal part of the brain is. And that is also where the key to peace and calm lies.
In order to achieve a more pleasant state of being, we need to consciously decide, we will decrease the activity of our mind. And how to do that?
Glad you asked. In my coaching practice, I use the biohacking platform that is based on a revolutionary concept of the FlowCode®. With the help of a biohack portal, we intentionally work on achieving the state of flow. This is also our most desired state. The state of high performance but without the negative and harmful side effect of burning out.
What are the signs of burnout?
Psychologists have been studying burnout and its effects of our mental health since the 70′ when a famous psychologist first came up with the term.
We recognize several stages of burnout and the sooner we recognize them and address them, the higher the chance of preventing it.
Is burnout a mental illness question comes in place right here. If a person recognizes that they suffer from symptoms of chronic stress and they don’t do anything about it, what does that say about the person?
Clearly, there are some issues to address. Perhaps we are not clear on our priorities and values. Perhaps we suffer from limiting beliefs and are unable to set boundaries to protect our mental health. Because we do not feel worthy. There can be various reasons. But to conclude, I don’t think burnout is a mental illness and it can be prevented and treated in the earlier stages without heavy consequences.