Making The Impossible Possible
Did you ever rise above yourself because people told you that something is impossible to achieve? Well, at Earkick we decided to address a massive problem that is at the core of improving mental health at scale:
Measuring mental health in real time.
The challenge gave us wings and within less than a year our exceptional team made it possible. What’s more: we nailed it so well that any competition will have a hard time catching up:
- We collected over 6Bn data-points of real data in real-life situations
- Our solution is faster than any of the competing products we know and needs 10x less information from the user
- Our model predicts mental health with an 80% accuracy
- We support 80+ languages, which is absolutely unique
- Our models are so tiny that they edge computing for maximum privacy. To our knowledge, we are the only company that is predicting mental health trends on device
So how did we achieve this in less than a year? Here are the main points:
- We hired a superhuman team, by being extremely selective in our hiring. For a startup company, time is crucial and everything needs to be done as fast as possible, but there is no shortcut to smart hiring. It always takes time and attention to find the right fit, but the time spent will pay off quickly.
- We have a minimum meeting culture, where everyone can focus deeply and put the maximum amount of time into tasks that drive value
- A laser-sharp focus is key to success. We regularly assess every task for its relevance to the success of the company. This makes us focus on the things that matter most.
- We constantly motivate each other to push the limits of what’s technically possible.
Our future is bright. The next big challenge we’re facing is making measurement completely passive so that no user interactions are required anymore. Sounds “impossible”? Stay tuned.
The Power Of Habits 💪🏽
We all have them – habits. Good and bad ones, some that we’re not even aware of, some that we could do without and some that we really want to create. Habits are key to achieving our goals in life: Regular practice and dedicated time is what allows us to grow and push our limits further.
👉🏼 Meet Clo, a UX researcher turned certified digital wellbeing coach. Across her work, she’s witnessed the impact of our digital tools on productivity, healthy boundaries, and mental health.
Check out the video interview below to learn all about habits and how the Earkick app can help you succeed!
What exactly are habits? 🧠
Habits are unconscious behaviors we rely on for our everyday life. If we had to consciously decide all the actions we perform each day, we’d lose a lot of energy and time making up our mind: At what time do I go to the gym? What’s my commute to work? What do I eat for breakfast, etc.
Habits can be built more or less intentionally by repeating something over time until the behavior becomes a default action. Checking your phone every 10 minutes might be default but not intentional, but learning a new language by going to in-person lessons 3 times a week is very intentional.
How Can You Build Healthy Habits Easily? 🤩
- Leverage the 5 types of triggers: time, location, preceding event, emotional state, and other people (e.g. every time you take the bus to work you do one breathing exercise, or before eating a meal you drink a glass of water)
- Habit stacking: pair a new habit to an existing one, so you don’t have to create a whole new setup
- Implement intentions: write “if-then statements” for your new habit beforehand (e.g. “If I’m out with friends and they offer me wine, then I will get soda instead”)
- Design accountability with yourself or others
- Pair up with someone who’s already committed to building the habit you want
How To Avoid Running Into Common Pitfalls: 😅
- Understand why you want the habit, the deep root of desiring to change
- Use a habit tracker app with smart reminders and check-off functions
- Be flexible, not perfect: aim for 5/7 days instead of 7/7 days
- Start small instead of trying to change all your habits at once
- Replace habits instead of breaking them: You can’t erase an existing neural pathway, but you can overwrite it
- Engage in mindfulness: It helps you notice your feelings and catch yourself in moments you’re deviating from your goals
How Can Our Environment Be Leveraged? 💡
- Spend time in places and with people where the new habit you want to create is the norm.
- Change your environment to help change your habits. If you want to drastically reduce your time on social media, avoid spending a lot of time in environments where you’re habituated to be on social media. Those places are (unconsciously) linked to your social media habit and will trigger the desire to indulge in it.
Why Habits Matter For Workplace Mental Health 📈
- Having strong habits and a good structure helps to keep distractions at bay and saves hours for deep work. This is especially important in company cultures where employees’ days are caught up in meetings and protected focus time is rare.
- Healthy habits are key for physical wellbeing at work, especially for knowledge workers who spend most of the day sitting down in front of a screen: You can make it a habit to stand up and stretch regularly, hydrate enough or relax your eyes by going for a short walk outdoors.
- As a remote worker, you need clear boundaries to protect your mental health: Partition work hours and private hours to spend quality time with your family or for leisure. Clo regularly sees clients who work from home and struggle because work spills into the evening, leaving them less time to relax. Having healthy work habits at home lets you fully disconnect in the evening and during weekends.
What New Habit Are You Eager To Build? 🙌🏽
Clo’s goal for example is learning to wake up early. She realized that she prefers doing focused work and going to the gym in the morning. So she decided to give herself “more morning” by getting up earlier.
If you are building a new habit, please share it with us – we’d love to root for you!
How To Get In Touch With Clo:
Twitter Clo: @clo__s
Twitter This Too Shall Grow: @this2shallgrow
LinkedIn Clo: @Clo S
LinkedIn This Too Shall Grow: @This Too Shall Grow
Instagram This Too Shall Grow: this2shallgrow
We’ve just updated Earkick. You can now personalize the log view and the things you want to log. In the log view you can choose between list- and the new calendar-view. With the calendar view you have a better overview over your mental health on a monthly basis. Press the icon on top as indicated with the arrow in the figure below.
Personalize the things you want to track in the settings under “Tracking Options”. You can track emotions, anxiety/panic, health (from Apple Health), and Weather & Location. Get a more personalized logging experience. This makes Earkick your very personal mental health tracker.
Earkick is available for iPhone and iPad. We hope you enjoy the new features. Have fun!
10 seconds of your voice or video is all Earkick needs to visualize your current mental wellbeing.
Starting from today you can explore a totally new experience of logging your daily mood, anxiety levels, actions and more! 🚀
All you need to do is log how you are feeling with a text message or a voice / video memo. The recently inserted AI automatically analyzes your current mental wellbeing. It will suggest how you’re feeling and pre-fill the emotions and correlations identified. Best results are guaranteed with at least 10 seconds of voice or video recording, but less will do too.
Let’s say you’re feeling great overall, but you haven’t paid attention to an underlying apprehension that’s due to an upcoming workplace meeting. Being an exceptionally attentive listener – Earkick will register it.
Let’s say you are feeling awful today, but it’s triggered by a night of poor sleep while completely detached from any anxiety – Earkick will notice the difference. Should you not agree with Earkick’s auto-suggestion, you can change every parameter at the touch of a button.
Finally Succeed At Keeping A Journaling Routine 💪
Gone are the days where you had to find expressions for your emotional state. From our research we know that to establish and maintain healthy habits, the first steps must feel intuitive and effortless.
To make it even more fun, try habit stacking to ensure a seamless experience: Pick a habit that you already do every day, such as brushing your teeth or getting coffee. Attach the 10-second-logging to it and you won’t have to worry about remembering to make time for journaling ever again.
And the best part? Earkick does continuous analysis for you, keeps all your data safe on your phone and provides you with easy-to-understand visualizations of what’s going on in your life. Getting immediate feedback is actionable and rewarding. And having your trends visualized will empower you to own your journey towards great mental health.
Curious to check it out and learn more about yourself? Download the Earkick mood & anxiety tracker and get started now!
“Maintaining one’s mental health is essential to one’s well-being throughout one’s whole life, from early infancy and adolescence to old age. Earkick offers a unique machine-learning based assessment of mental health utilizing a multi-modal approach to provide a continuous evaluation of the mental states and supplement normal diagnosis and therapy. Not only can this technology reduce cost and stigma, but it will also help you learn more about who you are”Prof. Dr. Fernando De La Torre, Research Associate Professor at Carnegie Mellon University ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
We are proud to announce that Earkick Co-founder and international Computer Vision and AI pioneer Dr. Herbert Bay has been appointed as one of the Digital Shapers 2022 of the category “AI Masters”. Each year a committee selects 10 individuals as AI Masters who are masterminds revolutionizing AI or impacting the world with their innovations in AI.
Note: Some images in this post are under copyright by handelszeitung.ch
“As a digital shaper I am driving the change in how mental health is being measured, improved and mastered using cutting-edge Machine Learning algorithms. Also, I’m frequently motivating tech entrepreneurs to leave their comfort zone and shape the future.”
Herbert has received a highly awarded PhD in Computer Vision and Artificial Intelligence from ETH Zurich, one of the top 10 universities in the world. His passion for Computer Vision and Neural Networks started 23 years ago back in 1999 during his exchange year in Montréal. Since that time, Herbert is at the pulse of Computer Vision and AI both as a hands-on researcher and entrepreneur building world-leading AI companies. Herbert’s work has received international recognition and numerous awards as fundamental contributions in AI and Computer Vision.
“I love AI. It can perform human-like tasks such as reasoning, planning, and problem-solving in a scalable manner. This and the huge potential to disrupt many industries makes it beautiful in my eyes.”
As an adventurer and sailor Herbert is attracted by particularly difficult problems. Tell him that something can’t be solved or built and he’ll immediately embark on a journey to make the previously impossible possible. Currently, he is after a global challenge: Tackling the mental health crisis. Measuring mental health in real time is an unsolved problem and Herbert believes it can only be solved using AI.
All through his career Herbert has enjoyed helping several Fortune 500 companies, SMEs and startups overcome barriers using his analytic, creative and visionary talent.
Last but not least Herbert is a team player and believes that the big global challenges can only be tackled collaboratively: “Working with brilliant people is the only way to create big changes” says Herbert who’s always had the privilege of working with top notch teams. Currently, his team at Earkick consist of incredible AI engineers and visionaries from world-class universities such as MIT, CMU, ETH, etc.
If you want to join our team, we’re always looking for exceptional talent. Feel free to send us your CV to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Earkick Ambassador Jamal Rizvi On How To Make Mental Health Attractive.
Initially, Jamal – a mental health social worker, podcaster, painter and blogger- got involved in mental health through volunteering. He found it so grounding and meaningful, that he decided to become a full time professional. Next to pursuing his current degree Jamal now works with a multidisciplinary group of health professionals and takes care of a small group of people in the Hackney community of East London. He sources activities for them such as gardening, singing, yoga or painting groups that they can join to regain their mental wellbeing and reconnect with their community. The goal is to create safe spaces for people struggling with mental health issues. Jamal helps folks establish healthy and easy-to-start habits such as going for a walk outdoors and supports them with the assessment of their financial situation.
Check out more about his story, his work and his mission in below video interview:
Mental Health Is A Gem, But Not A Luxury
As the world’s first male Earkick Ambassador Jamal shares why he joined the movement: “The fact that the Earkick app is free and accessible on the app store to anyone with a phone immediately breaks down that barrier that mental health is a luxury.” He’s been witnessing the incredibly long waiting line people in crisis have to put up with to obtain mental health services in the UK. A lack of resources and stigma keep people from getting support earlier. That’s why Jamal is on a mission to make the conversation about mental health the new normal, well aware of the fact that proactively reaching out to others is an underestimated superpower.
Creating Fun Content Each “Whensday”
With If not now, when? Jamal has created a smart and fun blog full of ideas, stories and playful tips around giving people the tools to talk about their mental health.
“When something is stigmatized, it naturally means people don’t talk about it. But just because people don’t talk about it doesn’t mean people don’t WANT to talk about it. And if people don’t talk about it, they won’t really know what to say when the opportunity actually comes up if they need to support someone or themselves.”
Jamal’s blog offers a reference, easy-to-use templates and copy-and-paste pieces to help people get comfortable with having much needed conversations. Every “Whensday” you’ll find a new idea to inspire your journey with mental health in an engaging way. You’ll discover that talking about mental health doesn’t always have to be the same tips. It can be edgy, controversial, more viral and more shareable:”To destigmatize we need to get people to share. People share when there are emotions involved, when they are excited, in awe or even shocked.” To Jamal mental health is more than anxiety, depression and panic attacks. He wants us all to expand the definition of mental health by including a much wider, colorful picture.
Understanding Yourself Better Is Key
When Jamal was offered a private health care package by his previous workplace, he chose to use it towards therapy – a resource he otherwise would not have been able to afford. Therapy felt very natural and taught him how important the freedom of expressing oneself in the presence of an attentive listener is. He also learned ways to balance workplace mental health and mental health outside of work in an enjoyable way, giving burnout no chance to creep into his life. In therapy he realized that no lofty goals are needed to embark on the journey to master mental health. The small objective of “I want to understand myself better” was enough to let Jamal relax and get the best out of the therapy sessions.
Making Mental Health Attractive
Taking care of one’s mental health is a real asset, something to be proud of, something to share with joy. And it all starts with making mental health visible, measurable and manageable.
“Because mental health is so wrapped up with feelings and emotions, the specific emotion we experience in the moment feels infinite. We forget that last week or last month we actually felt a very different way. Seeing our trajectory over time helps remind us of the bigger picture.”
Not knowing your triggers and what causes your heart rate to go up or what circumstances lead to high-stress situations, leaves you with only reactive and defensive responses in your daily lives. This applies to your private life, your work life and your social life.
Jamal wants everyone to be proactive and in control of their overall health. Ready to take the drivers’ seat and master your own journey to great mental health?
For more inspiration, follow Jamal on his socials or sign up for his blog:
Download the Earkick mood & anxiety tracker now. It’s free forever.
And if you’re interested in becoming an Earkick Ambassador, reach out to us via email@example.com!
Have you ever watched your cat sleep like an innocent little angel and wished you could do the same? Your cat spends about 60% of its life enjoying everything from refreshing cat naps and light dozing to stretches of deep sleep. And it does so in countless adorable insta-ready positions, always looking like it’s floating on cloud nine.
We, on the other hand, often find ourselves tossing and turning sleeplessly in bed. Why can’t we just doze off, even when we feel exhausted?
How can we be wired AND tired?
If that is you:
You’re Not Alone 😅
Sleep problems are pervasive and the causes range from crazy work schedules, a 24/7 lifestyle, relationship issues to mental and medical conditions. In America, 70% of adults report that they obtain insufficient sleep at least one night per month, and 11% report insufficient sleep every night – and that was a decade before COVID19 hit. Sleep-related problems don’t discriminate between gender, ages or socioeconomic classes, and we may feel less alone knowing that up to 70 million Americans share our fate. The reason why we should pay close attention to our sleep is a vicious cycle we do not want to be caught in: poor sleep may lead to anxiety and depression, just as anxiety and depression may lead to poor sleep.
👉🏼 👉🏼 So let’s skip to the good part and check out best practices for breaking the tired-of-tired-spell!
Use the Earkick mood tracker to get an overview of your sleep and emotions in an effortless way. No login required and the app is completely free of costs. Start your journey to freedom today!
Pick Your Friends For Victory ✌🏽
Think of the following actions as being your friend or being your enemies when it comes to better sleep.
To start with, pick one friend you want on your team and kick one enemy out of your life. Go for the ones that look easily doable first. Stick with it for at least one week before adding more actions. Improvement might be very incremental, therefore it is best to keep track of your progress. The simplest way is to download the free Earkick app, define the actions and set the reminders. You’ll get your stats starting from your third entry and you’ll be able to see what works best for you.
Your Friends 😇 Your Enemies 😈 Keeping bedtime and wake time consistent from
day to day, even on weekends
Stay on the phone or other devices before and during bedtime Writing down tasks and plans to clear your mind
for the night
Long or frequent naps Journaling to express thoughts and feelings and stop rumination before bedtime Caffeine after noon or more than 2
cups of coffee per day
Staying active with regular, light exercise Smoking Calming breathing exercises Alcohol before bedtime Using calming nature sounds and music Large meals before bedtime Reading a good book Watch series before bedtime Taking a warm bath or shower Working until right before bedtime Listening to a guided session or sleep story Having upsetting calls before sleep Drinking herbal tea (valerian, kava root,
chamomile, peppermint, ashwagandha)
Not drinking enough water Checking your medications Putting up with pain Fully darkened and cooled bedroom Clutter on and around the bed Diffusers with chamomile or lavender scents Stuffy air in the bedroom Using earplugs and sleep mask Noise pollution and blue lights Mindfulness for 10 minutes (meditation, yoga,
prayer, progressive muscle relaxation)
People or things that you dislike in your bedroom Drinking warm milk before sleep Popping sleeping pills without a proper plan Table 1: Friends and enemies of good sleep
The Benefits Of Good Sleep – All Yours! 🤩
Getting better sleep will cut down on grogginess, irritability, mood swings and avoidable mischiefs. Well rested you’ll see your ability to concentrate and memorize improve. And the best: You will have more leisure to cuddle your cat. Go for it!
👉🏼 Download the Earkick anxiety tracker today and start building up healthy habits one little step at a time!
It’s back-to-school time after the summer break and more students than ever struggle with mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
So, what can you do if you notice changes in your school friend? When someone looks tired, anxious or seems at edge more often than not? Maybe they start avoiding social activities or mention a lack of motivation or increased mood swings?
Dare To Start A Conversation 👋🏼
Many peers will just pretend like everything is ok or feel like they should not interfere in private matters. Not so Sophia. Just as she loves to observe nature, she’s very attentive to her peers’ mental wellbeing.
Sophia is a 17 year old student and mental health advocate. As an official Earkick Ambassador, she knows first hand that supporting peers who are struggling emotionally can make a huge difference in their daily life. Check out how she approaches peer support and what she learned from her own experience with overcoming the very common habit of finger picking 👇🏽👇🏽👇🏽
A Few Simple Hacks 👌🏽
A lot of what happens during schooltime is anxiety-inducing. There’s pressure with grades and tests, having a lot on the plate or having drama with friends and relatives. While you may not be able to fix your peers’ problems, some of Sophia’s strategies are a great start – give them a try!
- Share deep breathing exercises: they lower down heart rate and can be done anyplace.
- Ask your peers out for a walk: Science shows that a moderate leisure activity, such as walking, is the best outdoor activity for improving mental health
- Signal: Give peers fist bumps or high fives ✋🏽 to show acknowledgement and signal “I see you”
- Show presence, let your peers know you enjoy being with them and that there’s always room for talking
- Introduce yourself, try to talk to everyone and be welcoming
- Be real and honest:
“People know I’m honest, so they can be honest in return”Sophia Zheng, Earkick Ambassador
Share Your Own Mental Health Story 📔
Sophia shares her own experience with uncertainty and anxiousness, especially during COVID. Years of online-schooling took a toll on her peers and herself. Yet, she succeeded in fading out a finger picking habit with replaceable habits such as using a doodle book or listening to music. Sophia makes sure to keep herself accountable by writing down her goals and breaking them down into achievable tasks – a proven strategy that can be accomplished easily by using the Earkick mood & anxiety tracker.
Sophia rewards herself for reaching her goals, practicing self-care and being kind to herself. One thing she wants her peers to know is that “a bad situation isn’t gonna stay a bad situation”
Encourage Hobbies 🎯
Sophia likes to take photographs of mars and the milky way. She also colors and draws animals and plants. Going outside and observing things from a different perspective gives her joy. That’s why she encourages her peers: “Find the things you enjoy and the niche you want to be involved in. It’s a great way to keep you fulfilled and engaged in the life you want to cultivate”.
Download the Earkick app for free on the Apple store today to make a positive step in your mental health journey.
Expert Interview with Journalist & Editor in Mental Health Davia Sills:
Why creative expression, high productivity and good mental health require intentional breaks. How journaling can become your super power and how social media can be navigated safely. Find the video interview and the full transcript below!
K: Welcome, Davia. I’m so excited to have you here. You’re a journalist, you’re a writer on Psychology Today. You’re an editor, social media marketing consultant, screenwriter. Can you tell me why you say that I should “do nothing” and how doing nothing can actually be beneficial for my mental health?
D: Well, this is actually one of my favorite topics because I myself – as well as many of my clients who are successful in their areas- we all have trouble stopping work. It’s difficult to find that balance between who we are at work and who we are at home. And it’s so important for our mental health, especially these days, when a lot of us are working from home and those boundaries are blurred even further.
So the great thing about doing nothing – for those of us who are highly productive people- is that it actually increases your productivity
You need that chance to do nothing in order to give your brain a chance to learn something new, to gather information and turn it into long term memory. You also need that time to be more creative and not just go with your first solution to a problem, but have the time and space to make different connections, think more deeply and come up with more divergent and creative solutions. So it can be very helpful even to people who don’t think that they need it.
K: I imagine a student or someone you know in school, how can they apply this? They’re bound to a schedule, they have homework…
D: That’s a great point. It often feels like when you’re in school, you don’t have a lot of time. You’re always running from one thing to the next. But the good news is: you don’t need to have a long break to “do nothing.” Research has found even short breaks can be helpful for your brain and help refresh it. That’s the good news for students who are in school. Especially for young people, those breaks are needed in a time in your life when you’re still trying to figure out who you are and what you want to do. You’re still really getting in touch with your identity. Taking those breaks and exploring things that are interesting to you. Exploring curiosities, resting and relaxing can help give you the space you need to really reflect on your values and what makes you you. So it can be extremely helpful for all ages, really, but definitely for college students. 2
K: When you describe this, I immediately see students and professionals of all ages turn to online devices and scroll through social media. What’s your take on this? Social media being a major part of our lives – is that what you mean by “doing nothing?”
D: Well, I’m so glad you brought that up because it’s definitely not social media and other things that we do online. The games we play can be a lot of fun, but you’re focusing your attention on them and that can be draining in its own way. Doing nothing is like when you’re a kid: you are just given this free time. Maybe you have a set of toys or games, but there are going to be those times when no one’s watching you. And those are those times when you make up your own games and you make believe and you have this room for creativity and fun and play.
And it’s really important that as adults, we give ourselves that time. Time away from screens, time away from content, times to just feel whatever we’re feeling. And, you know, creative writing can be really helpful with that. Creative writing is one of the passion areas of mine, and I think it’s very important for your mental health.
One of the things that I’ve done is just to take ten minutes, whether it’s in the morning or it’s at the end of the day: just write out whatever comes to mind. No judgment, no looking at it afterwards. Just get out whatever is on top of your mind. It doesn’t have to be perfect. No one is going to read it. But there is a catharsis in doing this, and it is helpful. It’s one way that you can really get in touch with yourself. Not like through a device, even though devices are great. We learn so much from them. They’re a source of entertainment, they’re a source of service in our daily lives. So much of what we do during the day, like ordering our food, getting our morning news etc. happens on our devices. We can even get exercise videos and education on our devices. It has become such a major part of our life. By the same token, it’s really important to have that time away from the device.
K: Absolutely. Now, I know quite a few young people who say that they would like to do these morning pages or the journaling part, but writing is not their thing. So they turn to voice or video recording to get out all their thoughts. They would rant. They would vent. And it helps them. Does the benefit also apply to this kind of liberating yourself?
D: Absolutely. And I love that you say that, because we know ourselves best and not everyone is a writer, not everyone is a professional writer, and not everyone feels like writing is the best tool for them. So as you said, sometimes they’re more comfortable just talking, sometimes they’re more comfortable doing something physical like painting or sculpting or some sort of art. That’s not my strength personally, but a lot of people can get into the same flow. Flow is so important! It’s another way as we’re talking about doing nothing or giving yourself a relaxation activity. It enables you to get into this mindset and this flow where we are able to gather, to get more creative and we’re able to do better problem solving. So there are so many ways to get there.
K: How about going back and revisiting whatever you’ve written or recorded? Is that a must to reap the full benefits of this expressive communication?
D: I feel like that depends. And you need to set your intention beforehand. Sometimes it’s good to just get it out and to not go back there because the work that’s been going on inside you, is already happening inside you. Perhaps if you’re working on a specific problem in your life that you don’t know how to deal with. Maybe you have something at work, like a presentation coming up that you’re very stressed about and maybe that’s the subject of your writing. Then it could be good after a time away from it to go back and see what you’re really worried about and then take that a step further and see: “Well, what are things I can do? What are some steps I can take that could help me benefit?”
So much stress and anxiety occurs when we’re worried about these worst case scenarios that never happen
Sometimes it’s good to just challenge that worry and say: “First of all, if this happened, would it really be that bad? What are the real implications for my life?” and “I can’t do anything about this part of it, but maybe I can brainstorm some ways that I could be the most successful and have the best possible outcome.”
K: Yes! Speaking of worry and anxiety, there’s quite a number of people who turn to social media or Google to find answers, to find inspiration, to read up on their discomfort. What is your take on that?
D: Well, as with so many things with social media, it can be mixed. Some people don’t have the knowledge and language to describe what they’re going through and what they’re feeling. And when they see someone on social media who’s saying “this is my story, and this is what I’ve been through,” and they can really relate to it, that can bring a kind of emotional peace and that can help. With the assistance of a mental health care provider, they can dig further into that and see if that is indeed their problem and what they can do to have better mental health. But there’s also a flip side, of course, which is when we see these influencers on social media and we want so much to be like them, especially if we admire them. And a lot of times on social media, you’re getting the sort of surface level cut, you’re not getting the deep cut. And so you can hear it like a horoscope. You can hear the symptoms, and you can say: “Well, that does kind of apply to me in my life,” but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a certain condition. And I want to caution young people, especially: like. You’re hearing things and it’s always good to check that out and follow up with a healthcare provider and be sure. Especially if you have symptoms that are concerning to you. But just because you’re, for instance, sad one day doesn’t mean you have major depressive disorder. Just because you’re really stressed out about your upcoming final doesn’t mean you have generalized anxiety disorder. And part of mental health is we all need to take care of our mental health and make these lifestyle habits and things that are good for us in our life. But self diagnosing can be hard for us and make it seem a lot more challenging to overcome our symptoms than it has to be.
K: In my case, I would turn to tracking my symptoms or tracking how many times I really feel sad or how many times I actually have these symptoms. I would want to make sure that I, on one hand, don’t pathologize what I feel and on the other hand catch early signs of real disorders. What’s your take on that?
D: Absolutely. I’m so glad that you have an app (Earkick) that can help with that because a lot of the time when we’re feeling bad in the moment, it’s hard to tell how big a part of our life that actually is. In our moment, in our present – it can feel overwhelming at the time. But if we have that longer term tracking, as you said, it’s a lot easier to say: “Okay, well, this is an understandable brief period of my life where a friend betrayed me and I’m upset about it,” or “this temporary thing happened, and it’s really bothering me, but I’m generally doing okay.” Or perhaps it is the early signs that there is a mental health condition that could be looked into further.
K: A part of this is also educating yourself and getting the right information and also the right inspiration, I imagine. I wonder what your best practices, your advice to people is, is if they want to inform themselves online. What are the good sides of it and what are the caveats?
D: Right. Online and social media can be great places to connect with people from all over the world who have shared similar experiences to yours. And it can also be a great way to learn about things that you might not otherwise know, including different types of conditions and problems. So when someone is consuming online content, the first thing to remember is we consume a lot of it. And all of it affects us for both good and bad. And we’re not always aware of how deeply it affects us, but it does. So one of the things I would say is: How do you feel after you consume a piece of content? Do you leave it feeling like you’ve been helped, like you have a positive, upbeat experience? Does it feel like this is something that will be of benefit to you? Or do you leave it feeling like: “Oh, my goodness, I have so many problems. My mental health is in this completely horrible state. I have to change my life immediately?”
Both experiences are ones that we’ve had online. And it’s just better to be able to come away from something and feel like it’s adding value to your life and like it’s making your life better. And that goes for evaluating the content that you’re looking for too. This is very important, especially for young people online. You have to look at the source. Are you looking at content that’s coming from a respectable institution of some kind, of a known brand, of a known organization? Are you looking at content from someone who has an expert background? Degrees are one way of looking at that. If someone has a PhD or an MD you are more likely able to trust them when they’re talking about their topic of interest, that the information they’re giving you is accurate. Look at the source and also look at the content itself. How much detail does it go into? Is it backed by research, especially research that has been peer reviewed? Are they able to provide examples, especially from science, that you click and say “okay, this is not just one person’s opinion, that this is something that we know right now based on the information we have in the world of science.” So I would say that those are all important things to consider when you’re consuming content.
K: Tying back to your previous point of healthy self expression, do you have any advice for people on how to express themselves in a healthy and positive way? Not only on the journal or on the app, but on social media? When sharing with others or being the person who encourages others or makes others feel heard and seen? What are your tips there?
D: I’ve worked with a couple of clients who have stories that they really want to share, and that can be such a powerful tool. It’s good for the general public to be more aware of and educated about what you’ve gone through and your mental health experiences. It can also be really strong and good for you because you have the power to decide what and how much of your story you’re sharing. That’s so important!
One of the things that I tell people is not to rush into sharing because you have the control. You don’t want to give that away. And so when you’re sharing your story, really think about it.
You have to be emotionally ready and in a place where you are ready to share it, where it would be healthy and cathartic for you
You have to be aware that sometimes there will be backlash. That’s just a natural function of the internet and social media. So you also have to be mentally prepared for that possibility and be able to let it just sort of wash over you and go away. Set your intention for sharing. Is it: “I just want to share my experiences?” Are you trying to reach a specific audience? Maybe it’s really important for you because when you are a young adult, you are going through this mental health experience and no one told you what to expect and what that was like, and that it could be whatever your mental health condition is. And maybe it’s very important to you that it is for young adults who are going through a similar experience. Maybe they have no tools and no way of knowing that that’s what they’re going through than through your story. They can figure out more of that and apply it to their own life and be able to take that either to themselves or to a mental health care provider and be able to say: “I’d really like to look further into this.”
K: Even if you’re dealt difficult cards in terms of mental health or health, you can turn the tables on that and become the person who helps others. Now, when it comes to professionals, therapists, psychiatrists, doctors who need a better presence online or need to express themselves in a way that’s beneficial to many, that scales their knowledge to many: I know that you help these people too. Can you speak to the importance of being very well prepared when you hit online channels?
D: It’s so important and especially when you’re in a profession like a therapist where confidentiality and privacy are so important. You would never share a patient story without their consent. You would never delve into that. And being prepared is good because when you’re thinking about the examples that you said and the stories that you share, you have to be very careful not to reveal any confidential information. Talking in a natural way is so important too, because it’s so easy to get clinical and be like: “These are all the symptoms in the DSM” – it’s not as helpful or relatable! You always want to come at it as if you are having one on one conversation with your audience, especially on social media. That’s very important because that makes it more likely that you’re going to be yourself and that you’re going to talk about your area of expertise in a relatable way.
K: Absolutely. And maybe you can also give us an idea on how you help enterprises or entrepreneurs express themselves in a productive and effective way?
D: Sure. One of the first things that I do is to figure out what your voice is. Are you more of a serious academic type? Do you like to be a little more laid back? Do you like to add a little humor? So the very first thing is to get to know who you are and what your voice is. And that’s regardless of what you’re talking about on social media. It’s always a good first step. The other important thing is knowing who you are talking to, because that helps you with why does it matter? Who are you talking to? Who are you giving this content to? What can you add that’s of value? And that is not just sounding like every other blog post out there. The great thing is, as we go through life, we all gather experiences and we all have interesting and helpful things that we can share with others. And the key is finding out what they are and then being able to talk about them in a relatable way online.
K: Wow. I imagine that once you gave birth to your blog post, to your poem, to whatever expressive piece of content you make, that there is a great way to step away from that and do nothing?
D: Once you’ve created something and you want to step back and do nothing, I recommend a couple of things: Because I’m a creative writing person, I like creative writing. You can also try a writing prompt if you want something a little more directed. For instance, imagine you’re in a coffee shop and the person that you either, most or least want to talk to at that moment comes in. What happens next? Things like that can be a great boost for your creativity. Also consider things that are simple as going for a walk. Creative people throughout time have gone on long walks to help give their brains the time to both take in the natural beauty around them and to refocus on what’s actually there outside to get inspiration. So doing something simple like taking a walk can be very helpful, especially if you live somewhere where there’s some nature around. Sometimes you live in a city, and that’s not possible, but there are parks that you can walk by. You also could think about something that you’ve always wanted to try and haven’t tried. You could pick up an instrument, or you could just turn on your favorite song and dance to it for a couple of minutes.
The important thing is that you’re feeling the value is not on what you’re doing, but on who you are, because we spend so much of our time doing, and sometimes it’s important to just be
K: That’s a great final statement. You spoke to gratitude and to the moments to take and just be. You have given us so many great insights and tips that I feel rich. And I hope the community will, too. Is there a way to reach you, to reach out to you if people would want to have your help?
D: Of course. I run a company called Storymoreconsulting. Thank you so much for allowing me to come on your show, I appreciate it. I have really enjoyed speaking with you, and I hope that what I’ve said will be of help to people. And just remember, mental health is important for all of us, and we deserve to take the time for it.
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From Vision To Company: Earkick’s 1. Year On The Way To Becoming The Leading Mood & Anxiety Tracker.
At Earkick we’re after a big vision: Empowering everybody to measure and improve mental health. Our extensive research suggests that continuous, effortless measurement is the best way to catch early signs of mental health issues. Data-driven mental health tracking via vocal and physiological biomarkers will allow everybody to stay in control of their mental health – in real time!
To bring our vision to life, we raised our $1.1M pre-seed round and hired a powerful team, backed by amazing investors and advisors.
When it comes to our team, we don’t make any compromises; we only hire the best in the field. Attracting and retaining top notch talent is tough. That’s why we successfully positioned ourselves on the far end of the flexible work, offering ample benefits as featured in The New Stack. Combined our current team members visited top universities such as MIT, CMU and ETH. Moreover, we are all experienced professionals from companies such as Apple, Google, SpaceX, Snap, Sennheiser, Magic Leap. We’ve created computer vision technology that is flying to Mars, built apps that are used by millions of users and sold companies to multinational corporations.
We’re proud to work with:
- Dr. Gagan Narula and Dr. Joao Palotti who drive our AI-team, advised by Sri Rajendran
- Nataliia Kozlovska, Marek Dajnowski and Igor Makara, who create first-class software.
- Prof. Dr. Jasper Smits our clinical advisor, Dr. Véronique Larcher our audio expert, and Nick Evans-Lombe, our finance advisor
- Roy Ashok, Mike Lynch, Matthias Heuberger and Schoscho Rufener who advise us with business development and B2B strategy
- Prof. Dr. Arzu Cöltekin is our research partner for multiple Innosuisse projects.
- Ella Mona representing our users and helping to shape the product
- Dr. Herbert Bay as Co-founder and CEO/CTO
- Karin Andrea Stephan as Co-founder and COO
Product: Top Rated Anxiety Tracker App
In order to collect and analyze the largest existing data-pool around mood and anxiety, we first launched an end-user product, a privacy-first app that is highly rated on the app store and was featured by Apple from the start. The Earkick mood and anxiety tracker is available for free on the app store download it and share it with your friends.
Workplace Mental Health
In addition, we built a fun and engaging way for companies to assess team mental readiness in a super easy way. Check out how it works!