I write a lot about looking for the negative aspects of mental health. Today I was reminded about happiness.
Happiness seems elusive but if we can balance our view, happiness is there and directly parallel to negativity.
For example, my car engine exploded, I got a newer and better car.
My sunglasses fell apart, so I borrowed my daughters so I could drive.
A family member died and I was reminded about how loved and supported I am.
I got an infection in my tooth and got antibiotics, I cared for myself and took back my health.
These simple occurrences can be the ones that are the most annoying and have us lose sight of the good parts.
Take a moment to reflect how an annoying situation turned out right.
Mental Health Disorder is an illness that is diagnosable. The illness affects a person’s thinking, emotional state and behavior and disrupts their lives. Examples are depression and anxiety which is common and the not so common schizophrenia and bipolar disorder which can lead to a disability.
Mental Health Problem is a much broader term that included both mental health disorders and symptoms of mental disorders that may not be severe enough to warrant a diagnosis of a mental disorder.
Slang terms used for mental health issues are crazy, psycho, mad, loony, nuts, cracked up and wacko. None of these terms are helpful for give much information on the subject.
Helpful Resources for your mental health and if you are assisting others.
National Institute of Mental Health – http://www.nimh.nih.gov
World Health Organization – http://www.who.int/topics/global_burden_of_disease/en/
From: Chapter 1 of Mental Health First Aid USA ISBN:978-00692-60748-0
There are tons of videos, advice columns, gurus, spiritual healers, philosophical beliefs, religions and venues that have their own way of teaching meditation. Some groups have quiet rooms, some have mellow music, some chant, some sit, walk for 10 minutes or an hour or a day. Some charge money (if they do then don’t go there) some are free (that’s the right one). There are just too many to go over.
I believe that you have to find the right one that resonates with you. If at anytime you don’t feel quite right with the meditation group, then leave. The idea here is to find a place that is peaceful, free of distractions, comfortable and safe even if it is a candle and low light at your kitchen table.
Here are some guidelines for meditation practice.
- get still, in the beginning you won’t be able to sit still for too long, your mind will wander.
- don’t give up, the more you practice sitting still the easier it becomes.
- let your thoughts come and go like waves on the ocean.
- if you fall asleep, you need more sleep.
- you are aiming for being alert and relaxed.
- use soft music or a candle to focus on if you need it.
- keep trying to meditate on a regular basis.
- try to keep your eyes open, I know not everyone does this but I think it helps with focus.
If you go with a group then find one that is focused on meditation.
FYI-I had panic attacks for over thirty years and I tried everything to get better, nothing worked until I did meditation. Why did it work? Because I stuck with practicing meditation and quite naturally and organically I was gradually healed.
Meditation is not a quick fix for anxiety or any other mental health issue. It is a long-term permanent fix, just keep trying and it will work in your favor in the long run.
Yesterday was Valentine’s Day and many share their love and enthusiasm for our families, lovers, friends.
Let’s not forget to give a big Valentines to ourselves. After all we are very important too. Here’s some helpful ways to love yourself.
- Stop calling yourself names. eg. I am such a jerk.
- Stop thinking about the worst case scenario. eg. The world will end if I say the wrong thing.
- Identify negative beliefs you have about yourself and get rid of them. eg. I am a really bad cook.
- Rewrite and reframe your internal dialog. eg. I am a good dancer.
- Celebrate yourself. It’s OK to give yourself a reward.
- Visit a therapist. Self examination is healing.
- Support yourself with positive self talk.
Every day is a chance to take good care of yourself and be your own Valentine.
“Accept yourself, love yourself, and keep moving forward. If you want to fly, you have to give up what weighs you down.”
― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
Free will may not be all it’s cracked up to be. Free will gives us the freedom to do not only good things but unhealthy things like self-destructive behavior. You may say I can do what I want because I have the free will to do so – so I will.
On the other hand you have the freedom to say I won’t – this just may be the freedom you are looking for.
I won’t take what does not belong to me. I won’t talk to the pretty co-worker but go home and talk to my partner. I won’t take that hit of coke or pop that pill or take that drink. I won’t engage in unhealthy behaviors. I have the freedom to choose either way. But “I won’t” just may free you up to enjoy a fuller life.
It’s much better to get to know someone first before you express the power of who you are.
Not all are trustworthy. Some people are predators. Some want to destroy for the sheer pleasure of it.
It is perfectly OK to protect yourself, emotionally, physically, financially.
However, if you find someone you can trust, treasure them. This is truly rare.
We all play a number of roles during the day. Co-worker, parent, helper, listener, child, adult etc.
We play so many roles we forget to authentic.
We are authentic when we are truly ourselves with no fear of judgement.
It’s better to be your honest self because you will be happier and a better role model for others to be authentic too.
Our hearts can become broken so easily. Broken from fear, endings, trauma, and tragedy. How many times have you seen something that makes you really sad and feel helpless to change the situation? We have all run across this many times. A homeless person, the high functioning drug addict, the mentally handicapped, the poor, stray animals, the dying. What about our own personal suffering. Everyone has some challenge. It’s part of the human existence.
Tears flow from our eyes when we see others suffer and sometimes see a reflection of ourselves in that suffering. New Age philosophy makes claims to just think positive. That is unrealistic and impractical. You can’t just think for something to change for the better.
Each heart is unique; each heart has to find its own way of mending. What works for one heart will not work for another. Let’s ask: why is my heart broken and how can I move on?
- Take time to be still.
- Take time to grieve.
- Use extreme self-care.
- Try new things.
- Volunteer your time.
- Read about healing.
- Stay connected to others.
- Stay in the present moment.
- Get support.
In the meantime, hold yourself in high regard and shower love onto yourself. Know that this will pass.
During my life I have sought direction and meaning of my life in many ways. Religions, gurus, books, fashion, food, and people who I thought knew more than me. I wasted so much time and energy trying to fit into where I didn’t belong.
So I stopped for a long time and got to know myself really well. I found my own way of being, my own direction, my own wisdom.
If you are seeking direction and meaning in your life, look within your thoughts. Ask without judgement: Why do I behave this way? Where did I learn this or that? What beliefs are outdated? Where does sadness live in my body? Where does joy live in my body? Where do I want to be? What do I want to do?
We all have other obligations, I get that. We have families and work but for five minutes every day ask a simple question. What is good for me? Write it down and visit it often and eventually your desires will manifest.
You will know your own wisdom by feeling content and in the zone. Will there be obstacles? Definitely. The obstacles are left over stuff that has to be processed in order to move on. It’s OK, process and move on.
The more you know your own wisdom, the more meaningful your life will become and there is no need to justify the meaning of your life to anyone. You now belong to you. You are your beloved. You are the “god” of your own existence.
What a beautiful and powerful gift you can give to yourself: Your Own Wisdom.
I admit it. I like to be right. Everyone does.
However to demand others see things our way is actually wrong. The need to be right all the time comes from the fear of losing control and credibility and feeling threatened. That is a real uncomfortable way to live.
“The truth you believe and cling to makes you unavailable to hear anything new.” – Pema Chodron
Here’s 5 negative results of insisting on being right all the time.
- You will not be open to other possibilities.
- You see others in a condescending and belittling manner.
- There is no open dialog.
- You will end up alone and isolated.
- It is disrespectful to others.
“What we can or cannot do, what we consider possible or impossible, is rarely a function of our true capability. It is more likely a function of our beliefs about who we are.” -Anthony Robbins
Here’s 5 positive results of letting go of being right all the time.
- You become kinder and accepting without feeling threatened.
- You become more compassionate and understanding.
- You can communicate better.
- You will be open to new experiences.
- You will have the willingness to be wrong.
“You can change your beliefs so they empower your dreams and desires. Create a strong belief in yourself and what you want.”- Marcia Wieder
If we can, for just a moment, become detached from the need to be right and listen to another’s opinion we open ourselves to deeper understanding and acceptance. Being detached to having it your way will also eliminate judgement and resistance.
So be considerate to others by being confident enough to live without the need to be right. You will be happier, unafraid to make mistakes, kinder, willing to learn, humble and brave enough to build character.
Happy— I Don’t Have To Be Right All The Time— Day.