How to Protect Your Mental Health in Marketing

Personal Growth and Psychology behind Success. Interview with therapist Yuri Bondarenko

How to Protect Your Mental Health in Marketing
Personal Growth and Psychology behind Success. Interview with therapist Yuri Bondarenko
Hi everyone :)

This is another article for my Life section. We've got a lot of great stuff coming, among them some interviews with people who managed to make their professional ideas come true. They do their best every day to make their product/service better and add value.

We'll be talking brand, marketing, life and inspiration. If you're inspired, energized or motivated by brand stories or case studies told by professionals, then these articles are for you.



My first interview for this section is with therapist Yuri Bondarenko, an expert in practical personality psychology when it comes to interpersonal communication and business.

Spring 2024. Friday. Downtown Moscow. I'm walking down Sretensky Boulevard. Its streets smell of coffee from the endless coffee shops strewn along the roads. It's like they invite you to take a contemplative walk and find answers to the questions that trouble you, reflecting back on your past and thinking about the future.

A quiet back alley. There are windows opened — it's a therapist's office. Everyone feels relaxed and calm in that office; minimalist furniture, subdued light and fresh air make it the perfect place to see yourself. Time begins to slow down.

Exclusive: Yura answers the most pressing questions and gives tips and advice in an interview.



  • A professional re-skilling diploma in Practical Personality Psychology in Interpersonal Communication and Business from Lomonosov Moscow State University

  • GESTALT-PODKHOD (Russian for GESTALT-APPROACH) Society of Practicing Therapists; first level

  • Completed Brief Strategic Therapy training at the Tsentr Kratkosrochnoy Strategicheskoy Terapii (Russian for Centre for Brief Strategic Therapy)

  • 5Prism Academy of Professional Coaching; Diploma in International Level Coaching (Coach according to the standards of the ICF International Coaching Federation)
Yura, tell us about becoming a therapist. What inspired you to walk that path?
To coin a phrase, “I decided to be a therapist before it became mainstream.” I actually thought of it back at school. I didn't have many friends growing up, but I was on friendly terms with basically everyone. I always found human behavior fascinating, I loved thinking about why my fellow classmates did this or did that, why they acted like that, etc. It kept me up at night. The first time I'd heard that my voice sounded very calm and soothing over the phone was actually at school. A girl from my class told me though I'd be better off doing some phone sex job or something. I kept trying to get to the bottom of human behavior at college (I got my degree at a technical university) and then at work. Back in 2013, I realized I had to do something about it, maybe study and get a diploma, so I applied for a re-skilling program at Moscow State University to get a license as a consulting therapist. I basically made a decision overnight. I picked a university and went to the interview. I got in.

But it's not only about the inspiration. I am interested in people and their minds, the way they think, causation and incidence in their lives.

I have a question that's been on my mind for a while, professionally-wise. Marketing and PR experts are stressed out all the time. Are there any strategies or ways to protect your mental health if you belong to the world of marketing? (research (in Russian) Over 80 % of marketers and PR managers are stressed out at work | Research | News | )
The list actually goes on. If you're a marketing specialist, you're likely to experience burnout and imposter syndrome. With stress, it's always good to get to the root of it. And I don't mean thinking back to your childhood and looking for answers here. I mean you need to understand what's causing that emotional state to appear, why you're experiencing all those negative emotions. Then and only then do we need to find tools and solutions.
For example, a person can get stressed at work because they have too much of it to do, they get overwhelmed and feel like they can't do it. But they can't say anything to their boss or company owner for reasons (they don't want to ruin the relationship; they've got issues with personal boundaries, etc.). Sometimes they have a lot of work to do, but that's not what’s causing stress; it's the team, maybe some tension among co-workers. It might be both. There isn't always one answer.

I could recommend a couple of things that are usually must-dos when it comes to stress:

1. The first thing I would recommend is to get tested for vitamin and micronutrient deficiencies (iron, magnesium, etc.). You don't have to get a referral from your doctor if you're okay with paying for it; otherwise, you need to see your GP in a city polyclinic. Even if you have a healthy diet, stress and heavy workloads can wash all these useful substances away. We need to replenish them.

2. Stress tends to build up in your body. You need to de-stress, in other words, release it physically. Go to the gym, sign up for martial arts or dance classes. Anything you'd enjoy. This will release all that pent-up energy. But it needs to be regular; a one-time gym gig will do exactly that—help you one time and that's it. Make room for two or three sports sessions in your schedule and stick to it. If you can, go for walks, breathe in that fresh air. Go up those stairs, walk to a store—anything to get your body moving.

3. I would also recommend turning the subconscious when you think “I'm stressed, and I'm not feeling great” to conscious (“I'm stressed because...”). Become more aware of the way you think and behave, of the way you feel. Write all of it down, listing possible reasons why you feel that way. There are two ways you could go about doing it. First, whenever you feel something—write it down. If you don't have a pen on you, use your phone. A simple “time—feeling—event” will do. Imagine you come out of your boss's office, and you're feeling down and anxious. Use your phone. Make a note. Second, make a habit of doing it at night. Do the same, but focus more on your emotions and the event because time will only be a ballpark estimate.

4. Once you have these notes, you can analyze them and try to find some out-of-the-box solutions. For example, if you keep feeling anxious after you talk to your boss, then focus on why it's making you feel anxious and stressed. It might be because they're not satisfied with how you're doing your job, or they're not listening to you when you tell them about a potential new project, or you're feeling overwhelmed with all these new tasks.

5. Once you notice a pattern, write down three solutions to that problem. For example:
—Make sure to prepare for that conversation with your boss. Make a plan and a list of issues to discuss. This will save time and help you deliver your ideas better
— Make a rundown of your achievements, be sure to focus on numbers. Show the strengths of your work
— Think about quitting your job to do something else/go someplace else :)

So, to sum up: get your blood tested to rule out any deficiencies. Then every time you feel stressed, write it all down. Analyze it, come up with solutions and make them come true.

Source: courtesy photo
Personal growth has long been a focus of my attention. I'm self-taught. I collect bits and pieces of information and make my own conception of it. And that's where I grow. As an expert, what do you think personal growth means? What problems or challenges in life does it help solve/address?
That's an interesting question. I wouldn't say it solves anything. It's when a person starts addressing and solving their issues—that's when they grow personally.

The very idea of personal growth was first conceptualized in humanistic psychology (C. Rogers and A. Maslow) and existential psychology (V. Frankl). The Great Russian Encyclopedia defines personal growth as the process of realizing a mature personality, unlocking its inner potential, the fullness of its inherent possibilities.

It's been popularized a lot, sometimes to an extent that washes out its meaning. There is no single definition, though; there are basically multiple schools of thought with different understanding of the concept. Brief Strategic Therapy has no theory of personality. We work based on what a client believes their personal growth is.

Take this, for example. Some people believe that personal growth occurs when they keep their temper at bay and avoid having a fight at home. Some think personal growth is opening another successful franchise. And they are right, they just have different definitions of it. Two different ideas of personal growth for two different people. The thing is, they have different backgrounds, goals, etc., in the first place.

The business world believes that personal growth is a set of knowledge, soft skills, hard skills that you keep improving. In other words, it's tools that a person uses to solve their personal and work problems. The bigger these problems are, the more requirements there are for personal growth.
Following up on that topic, my next question is, are there any practical steps towards personal growth?
There's this rule of thumb. It sounds simple, but it's actually very hard to do. As usual. Go where it's scary. This is the correct step. You can't have personal growth without getting scared. And I'm not talking about life dangers or something. Imagine you're afraid of public speaking, but they won't notice you otherwise. Then do it. How? Breaking it down will help—like it or not, it always helps. If you need to speak to a large audience full of strangers and deliver some professional expert speech, then break it down into smaller tasks. For example: speak to a small audience full of strangers — speak to a large audience full of people you know — speak to a small audience of people you know — livestream your speech for a loyal audience in a private Telegram channel — film yourself speaking. Of course, this is a very simplistic example. But I think it drives home the idea of breaking it all down.

That's it for the fear. If we talk about personal growth in general, don't go out on everything at once. Pick one thing you want to start with and double down on it. Everything else will join sooner or later.

How do you think we can fulfil our creative potential as we're improving ourselves?
It's all about knowing yourself. This is the first step. When we get to know ourselves, our strengths, our desires, better, that's where we begin to realize our true potential.

This is where you need to reflect, analyze your actions, your decisions and be open to everything new. Creative potential is not only about creative activities (music, painting); it's also about creative energy, skills, approach to solutions.

There's this tip that I use with my clients all the time. It's good. Every time you want to say “I don't know” when it comes to a question or a situation, come up with at least three solutions.
You might not know the answer. “How does a kettle heating element work?” It's important to start guessing even if it seems ridiculous. But this is how you can improve your creative approach to problem-solving.

Thank you for your time, expertise and inspiration you shared with us today.
Thanks for the interesting questions.
The spring sun shines brightly as I walk home and reflect on the answers we got today. I want this interview to guide me through my life journey, inspiring me to open new horizons and understand myself better. Silence and peace encourage us to find answers to the questions that trouble us, reflect back on our past and think about the future.

See you soon!
The spring sun shines brightly as I walk home and reflect on the answers we got today. I want this interview to guide me through my life journey, inspiring me to open new horizons and understand myself better. Silence and peace encourage us to find answers to the questions that trouble us, reflect back on our past and think about the future.

See you soon!
Hello, my friends!

The launch of this blog was inspired by my professional love for brands, innovative solutions that harmoniously combine brand, audience, content and creativity altogether.

Together we will find out about trends in marketing communications.
As a professional I have already helped hundreds of local and international brands working with content and implementing their communication strategy in different media.

Best wishes,

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