Wellbeing and Social Change//

What to Do When Helping Others Impacts Your Mental Health

Being a tool of social change comes with an array of mental health hurdles.

Frank Hoffmann cannot simply be labeled as a social leader or a gynecologist. Frank is a person who feels responsibility for others. His profession exposes him to the life of a human from its unborn state to its older stage. The multiplication of breast cancer cases over the past years have spread like an epidemic, and very few solutions have been successfully tested. Frank realized that there is a specific gap between the ages of 30 and 35 when women should be diagnosed for breast cancer, because the earlier the tumor is detected, the more effective the treatment can be. Yet there were no sure techniques or tools that existed to improve the diagnosis.

In his quest to find a solution to this problem, Frank identified touch as the key to increasing the quality of the diagnosis for breast cancer. Who could he find with a very refined, sophisticated and developed sense of touch? The visually impaired. With his organisation ‘Discovering Hands’, established in 2004, Frank has revolutionised the early detection of breast cancer, thereby allowing for people with a disability to become valuable contributors to society.

The feeling of responsibility which remains a constant within Frank led him to become a social entrepreneur. This new chapter of his life was full of pressure, and he placed himself as the central figure of the entire operation. However, he lost his own personal balance throughout the process, and this impacted many domains of his life.

Frank accepted The Wellbeing Project’s offer to become a participant in the Inner Development Program, during which he focused on inner work and learned that awareness and mindfulness are an absolute necessity for him, and others. Learning to recognise our failures, difficulties and flaws and listening to ourselves can pivot the mind to new objectives.

“Becoming a tool of social change is more effective when you have done the inner change,” acknowledges Frank when looking back at the difficulties he was confronted with and the process of wellbeing he has accomplished. Furthermore, Frank recognises that if life had been different for him he would not be the person that he is today, and hopes to encourage others to accept the struggles and difficulties that present themselves on our journeys.

“My participation in The Wellbeing Project very promptly gave me new ideas on the topic of “inner work”, which developed during the individual and group work as part of our retreats to the most practical test stones for reframing of some basic life settings.

Despite my previous work on various crucial factors influencing my biography, I was able to experience a new effective and sustainable treatment of these problem areas, thus improving my inner work unexpectedly successfully.

Even as a scientifically qualified medical doctor, I did not manage to eliminate the critical barriers to true inner health before attending The Wellbeing Project. It was all the more amazing for me to realize how enduringly hindering just one subtle false belief can be.

It was all the more gratifying for me to find that even decades old wrong assumptions can be healed, if only the right frame conditions for an effective inner work are offered. It is the soul itself that thanks you for the (often painful) processing of these old conflicts. It thanks with an increase in energy for your daily work, a more stable health – and an irrepressible zest for life!” (Frank Hoffmann)

There is a fine line between being a healthy leader motivated by making a change, and a leader submerged by pressure and struggles with their own wellbeing. According to Frank, each human being has his or her own way to start and engage on their own process of wellbeing. The beauty is that it makes you grow and makes your difficulties part of your strength.

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