The Mindful Company: Fixing Asia’s stressed-out millennials

“Let Go.”

It might seem a bit silly but having that small reminder can help keep everything in perspective. I remember getting my first Reminder Cuff from The Mindful Company at a time where my job had completely taken over my life. I was so stressed that I couldn’t control my emotions. I’d react to every little thing that would happen. I wasn’t sleeping, dreaded going into the office every day and bingeing on wine after work to temporarily alleviate how unhappy I was.

Sometimes the simplest of reminders is all you need for things to change and this is exactly the ethos behind The Mindful Company. Started by two Australian entrepreneurs based in Singapore, Ciara Yeo (previously an investment banker) and Ling Lim (an ex-accountant), this social enterprise creates clean and stylish accessories “designed as a subtle reminder for your everyday.”

“It started with the idea of creating a tangible reminder that could be worn to the office, as the workplace tends to be a source of stress for many,” Ciara tells us. “We wanted to encourage ourselves and the people around us and thought that a bracelet would be a good start. We started designing the Reminder Cuff – a simple cuff [plated in gold, rose gold or silver] with a subtle engraving.”

The Mindful Company's Reminder Cuffs are all unisex

Some of their first Reminders were “Breathe”, “Gratitude”, “It’s a Journey”, “Be Kind”, “Be Still” and “Courage”. Sure, you can say it’s cheesy but there’s no denying that with everything we’re faced with today (a tough economy, choice-overload, ambition addiction and mass consumerism) diverts our focus away from the simpler things in life. It’s perhaps the reason why millennials are prioritising experiences over material things.  According to a report from the American Psychological Association, millennials have the highest average stress levels and for millennials in Asia? The pressure to do well and stigma around depression and anxiety is even higher.  Over 60% of Hong Kongers report experiencing stress and anxiety related to their job. 

“We wanted to create a brand that promotes mental resilience, personal reflection and kindness. As life is full of ups and downs, the company’s mission is to encourage reflection and resilience through everyday reminders. We want people to celebrate the good times, to take a healthy perspective towards the challenging times, and embrace the crazy changes that life throws at them,” explains Ciara.

The Mindful Company's co-founder Ciara Yeo

In our interview, we chat to co-founder Ciara Yeo about mindfulness and mental health in Asia, the future of social enterprise and next steps: 

Mindfulness and mental health has been a huge topic lately. How does it relate to you personally?

Mental health affects everyone as much as physical health does. Whenever you go through a personal challenge, it’s going to be a mental battle too. It’s great to see that there’s an increasing emphasis on mental health. Learning ways, such as mindfulness practices, to tackle personal challenges and stress is beneficial, particularly in today’s fast-paced world. Just like everyone else, I go through stressful and challenging periods and have personally found it beneficial to lean on mental resilience practices to help keep things in perspective.

How do you think businesses and companies can be more mindful and why is it important?

I recently read Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull, one of the founders of Pixar. Catmull stresses the importance of putting your people first – teaching them how to react to failure in a way that encourages introspection and healthy acknowledgement of problems. Catmull believes that this is the secret to Pixar’s creativity and productivity. There is a trend within businesses of encouraging employees to build mental resilience to promote productivity and healthy work cultures. I think this is great. How businesses can be more mindful depends on the management’s mindset. A change in an organisation’s mindset starts at the top.

Reminder Braids from The Mindful Company

Do you face any unique challenges or difficulties as both a social enterprise and a business?

Having a strong mission and purpose has actually helped us make better decisions and prevented us from falling into the trap of being ‘everything to everyone’.

Where do you see The Mindful Company going in the next few years?

We hope that The Mindful Company adds value to our staff, the community around us, and helps encourage healthy conversations around mental wellbeing and health.

In Asia, in particular, people don’t seem to be as forthcoming about how they’re feeling. Do you feel this is the case?

We get asked this quite often! As a generalisation, we do notice that people are more hesitant when it comes to discussing their emotions. We’re also noticing that things are changing with the millennial generation, potentially as a result of social media and the promotion of the ’embracing failure’ rhetoric.

Reminder Chains by The Mindful Company

What would your advice be for aspiring entrepreneurs?

We’ve learned that entrepreneurship is about humility, generosity and gratitude. The Mindful Company is where it is today because a large number of people gave us their time, advice and support. Hence, for budding entrepreneurs, we recommend finding a support network, whether it be family, friends, co-founders or a coach. These people will get you through the challenging times – don’t be a hero, ask for help if you need it.

What’s the one thing that gets you out of bed each morning?

The sun! My body wakes up when the sun rises.

What’s the last thing you read or saw that inspired you?

I recently completed a week-long trek in Tasmania, Australia. Being outdoors inspires me.

What’s your favourite quote?

“When you arise in the morning think of what a privilege it is to be alive, to think, to enjoy, to love.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations”

What’s the best lesson you’ve ever had?

The importance of integrity. 

In this Story: #culture / #wellness