Health Promotion Officer: ‘Don’t ignore what your mind is telling you’
Shanika John
May 23, 2023

Health Promotion Officer: ‘Don’t ignore what your mind is telling you’

This generation has created a work environment in which signs of health problems are often ignored in preference to work.

And, Chief Health Promotion Officer in the Ministry of Health, Shanika John said a number of persons adopt a robotic routine that does not always allow for connection with the mind.

“Our mind operates in a way that it sends signals to our body so that pain that you are feeling in your stomach is your mind saying to you that something is wrong.

“But we are so busy and we are so numb that we pass it by and later on, the doctor says to you ‘I think you may have a stomach ulcer’ and you ask yourself…’How, when did this come?’….” John told persons on May 15. John was the guest speaker at the launch of the St. Vincent Electricity Services Ltd -VINLECs Environmental Health and Safety Awareness Week at the company’s Cane Hall plant.

Stressing that VINLEC is one of the leading organizations that promotes Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) in the work place, John said one must always pay close attention when the body is talking through pain and other signs.

“That pain you have been feeling is something linked to a particular organ … One day you are at work and you’re not feeling well and you take two steps and then you collapse and wake up in the hospital … and you are like ‘I have been fine all the time’, but have you been really paying attention to the signals that your brain, your mind has been sending to your body…?”John questioned.

She said that many times, people just push through when they experience something like a headache.

“Our generation has created this environment that we say ‘but we press’. I find it is one of the most toxic things that we can do to ourselves where no matter how tired, how exhausted, how much something hurts we press, rather than dealing with the situation, we push past it,” John noted.

The Chief Health Promotion Officer said that sometimes, pushing past what one is feeling, costs “way more” than if you had just stopped.

She said some persons refuse to stop and take stock of themselves as they are sometimes afraid of what they will feel, and that persons must at times pause and listen to what their body may be saying.

“It might be sometime physical in terms of a pain, or it might just be the energy that you need to get started for your next step,” John stressed.

She also noted that in these times, persons are also afraid to ask for help, maybe seeing it as a sign of weakness, a mindset that they need to get rid of.

“For some people, asking for help is a struggle. Don’t assume that what you are seeing and people are ignoring means that they are not willing to help you.

“Sometimes they just can’t see it. Some people cannot see when there is a need to offer help because they simply don’t know how to offer help and they don’t know you need help and that is the reality of it,” John said, adding that some persons are also afraid to hear “no”, or, “I can’t help”, but that should not stop someone from asking.

“Your mind has a way of telling your body physically when something is right and when something is wrong. The longer you ignore those signals the greater the results are going to be in some instances where your health is concerned.

“And the same thing operates for your occupational health and safety. The longer you go thinking that you can just throw your helmet on one side, one day it might not be on properly and the side that is not on properly might get the greatest outcome,” John said.

VINLEC’s environmental health and safety awareness week was held under the theme, “Healthy Mind and Body-Safe Practices in our Community.”

The opening ceremony also heard from VINLEC’s chief executive officer (CEO) Dr. Vaughn Lewis, general secretary of the National Workers Movement (NWM), Noel Jackson, the company’s OSH Officer Anthony Patterson, and public relations officer (PRO), Bria King.

Employee, Raheem Hall, was recognized for submitting the winning theme for the week of activities, while several employees did skits centered on occupational safety and health.