Mental Health Awareness Month

The month of May has been Mental Health Awareness Month in the US, so lets review some facts about Mental Health.

One in five adults in the US will experience a mental health challenge at some point during their lives. One in five. And over forty percent of people suffering from a mental health event will take over a year to seek out help.

Stigmas around mental health and its treatment can include shame, embarrassment, ego and pride, discrimination and even culture. Many “isms” go hand-in-hand with mental health: substance abuse, food, and sex are common ways that people can avoid themselves. People can overwork, over acquire possessions and people in their lives to numb themselves so that they won’t have to feel what they do when there’s no action around. Simple logic dictates that we see a doctor when we’re physically ill. Working to treat our emotional health is no different.

What is Mental Health?

Mental Health is a state of emotional well-being in which an individual:

Realizes their own capabilities

Can successfully mange the normal stresses of life

Can work productively

Can contribute to their Community

What is a Mental Health Challenge?

There is a major change in someone’s thinking, feeling or behavior that interferes with the person’s ability to live their life.

The interference lasts longer than typical emotions or reactions would be expected to.

How to observe Mental Health Awareness:

1. Take care of yourself. Sometimes life’s ups and downs can seem to be heavy and burdensome.

2. Check up on your friends and family. Often, all people need is a non-judgmental listening ear. Support and encourage your friends and family if they are being treated for any mental problems.

3. The more mental health is discussed, the more accepted it will become. Learn about what behaviors and language to watch for in your friends, family and also in yourself.

Some resources:

Crisis Text Line

Text MHFA to 741741

Mental Health First Aid USA

https://www.mentalhealthfirstaid.org/mental-health…/

Finding a Behavioral Health Professional

www.psychologytoday.com/us

Facing our Fears

The feeling of disconnection and numbness that afflicts so many people’s lives comes from  habitually absenting ourselves from our difficult experiences.  

Like a mountain climber that is stuck on their rope and would rather die there that way, we’re terrified of sinking down into those places within us that we refuse to inhabit.  The grief for what we’ve lost or never had, the longing for a worthiness that we don’t feel, the unknown of it all threatens to swallow us whole.  So instead, we insulate in the form of alcohol, drugs, sex or material objects; or we find a way to exist in an anxious suspension above our fears and loneliness.

We can undermine our own efforts to move forward, remaining in fear of becoming self; because to walk the maze towards our next selves means we need to face all that we’ve neglected or abandoned, and relinquish that which no longer serves us.

Sacrifice is a show of trust in the unknown.  Like quitting a job only to have a new opportunity appear that very afternoon, or ending a toxic relationship only to meet your true love two days later, there is magic in sacrifice.  Life is calling you, and the severance of the tethers that bind you to outgrown thoughts/ideas/reactions is you answering that call.

#growth #personalgrowth #psychology #cognitivebehavioraltherapy 

Real Love

The idea of a thing, situation or person is often what is fallen prey to rather than experiencing the thing, situation or person itself.

We can see this especially at play in matters of love; in our lives, in our friends’ lives and in fictional characters on TV and in movies.  However, very little of what is offered actually leads up to us having an authentic experience of love.  It can be that when we grasp for what we think we want and fail to find it, we bring suffering to ourselves and to those around us.  We can feel that we’ve not found love, but something else…

Often the feelings of anxiousness, nervousness, and thrill in the area of love are actually romance, and not really love itself.  Romance can be a lot of fun as long as we don’t try to make too much out of it; if we do, it could become painful.  Romance may lead to love, but it can also fade without growing into anything more than flirtation.  If we cling to it and try to make it  more, we might pine for a fantasy or worse; find ourselves stuck in a situation that was never meant to last or be to begin with.

Real love is identifiable by how it makes us feel.  Love should feel good.  And its important to realize WHERE these feelings come from; from within ourselves – NOT from an outside source.  True love activates this.  Authentic love doesn’t ask us to appear in a certain manner, drive a certain car, live in a certain zip code.  When someone really loves you, their love for you awakens your love for yourself.  Its SO much deeper than just romance.  We realize that we have to trust ourselves, and not somebody else. They remind us that what we seek outside of ourselves is a mirror of what’s already inside of us.  Real love is empowering; reminding us that we always were, and always will be, completely enough just as we are.

Writing your own Story

When you reach a certain age and look back over your life, it seems to have had an order; it seems to have been composed by someone.

And those events, when they occurred, seemed merely accidental and occasional and just something that happened, turn out to be the main elements in a consistent plot.

So, who composed this plot?

Just as your dreams are composed by an aspect of yourself of which your consciousness is unaware, so your whole life has been composed by the will within you.

Just as those people you met became effective agents of the structuring of your life, so you have been an agent in the structuring of other’s lives. And the whole thing gears together like one big symphony; everything structuring and influencing everything else.

Its as though our lives were the dream of a single dreamer in which all the dream characters are dreaming too, and so everything links to everything else, moved out of the will of nature.

~ Arthur Schopenhauer

Just sit with it

Sit with it

Instead of drinking it away, smoking it away, sleeping it away, eating it away, sexing it away or running from it in whatever manner,

Just sit with it.

Healing begins with feeling.

A New Year

You wanna make a resolution?
Then start a revolution. Within yourself.

Instead of the morning bathroom mirror pep talks and mantras, tell the person in your mirror that you love them and that you’re proud of them.

Take a walk in the woods. Notice the trees; all the different kinds of trees. Big ones, small ones, tall straight ones, smaller crooked ones. Oaks, maples, and who knows what other kinds. Notice all these trees and then notice how you just accept these different kinds of trees for what they are. You don’t get all hung up about the crooked ones or the pines if the maple trees are your favorite. You just accept them as they are and walk on.

Now try that with the people around you and see what you notice. Can you really accept them for who they are or do you get hung up on something?

Go back to the mirror for a minute.
Instead of lashing yourself and telling yourself you can do better, just admit how hard you’re being on yourself. We’re all human, and we’re all gonna make mistakes and we’re all gonna be way too hard on ourselves. Nobody here is an enlightened master. But here’s a spoiler; even enlightened masters screw up. Give yourself a break. For once. Can you really do it?

It’s just three things but it’s so much, isn’t it?

A long time ago, Khalili Gibran wrote “And God said to love your enemy. And I obeyed Him and loved myself”.

Let’s make 2022 so much better than 2021. I have faith in us.

newyear #2022 #breakthepattern #psychology #innerwork #resolution #cycles

Gratitude

When we practice being thankful, we go through the process of counting our blessings, acknowledging the wonderful people, things and places that make up our reality. While it is fine to be grateful for the good fortune we have accumulated, true thankfulness stems from a powerful comprehension of the gift of simply being alive. When we feel it, we feel it regardless of our circumstances. In this deep state of gratitude, we recognize the purity of the experience of being, in and of itself, and our thankfulness is part and parcel of our awareness that we are one with this great mystery that is life.  

It is difficult for most of us to access this level of consciousness as we are very caught up in the ups and downs of our individual experiences in the world. The thing to remember about the world, though, is that it ebbs and flows, expands and contracts, gives and takes, and is by its very nature somewhat unreliable. If we only feel gratitude when it serves our desires, this is not true thankfulness. No one is exempt from the twists and turns of fate, which may, at any time, take the possessions, situations, and people we love away from us. Ironically, it is sometimes this kind of loss that awakens us to a thankfulness that goes deeper than just being grateful when things go our way. Illness and near-miss accidents can also serve as wake-up calls to the deeper realization that we are truly lucky to be alive.  

We do not have to wait to be shaken to experience this state of being truly thankful for our lives. Tuning in to our breath and making an effort to be fully present for a set period of time each day can do wonders for our ability to connect with true gratitude. We can also awaken ourselves with the intention to be more aware of the unconditional generosity of the life force that flows through us regardless of our circumstances.
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#thanksgiving #blessings #breath #gratitude #beherenow

Underneath the Surface

Often, when we’re unhappy, we fall into the habit of thinking that, if only one or two particular things in our life would change, everything would be fine. We might focus on the fact that we need a new car, or a raise, or a change in our living situation. We dwell on this one thing and strategize, or complain, or daydream about what it would be like to have it. Meanwhile, underneath the surface, the real reason for our unhappiness sits unrecognized and unaddressed. And yet, if we are able to locate and explore the underlying cause of our discontent, all the surface concerns have a way of working themselves out in the light of our realization.  

Maybe we really do just need a new car, and maybe moving to another city would improve our life situation. However, it can only help to take some time to explore what’s going on at a deeper level. Sometimes, when we take a moment and stop focusing on external concerns, we get to the heart of the matter. We might realize that all our lives we’ve been dissatisfied, grasping at one thing after another, only to be dissatisfied about something else once we get what we want. Or perhaps we’ll notice a pattern of running away from a place, or a relationship, when things get too hard. We might then wonder why this keeps happening, and how we might work through the difficulty rather than just escaping it. The point is, slowing down and turning our attention within can save us a lot of energy in the long run, because it is very often the case that there is no external change that will make us happy.  

Once you’ve taken the time to inquire within, you can begin to make changes that address the deeper issue. This can be hard at first, especially if you’ve grown used to grasping for outside sources in order to quell your discontent, but in the end, you will be solving the problem at a deeper level, and it will be much less likely to recur. 

Judgement

Though it is human to evaluate people we encounter based on first impressions, the conclusions we come to are seldom unaffected by our own fears and our own preconceptions. We see the world as we are, and not as it actually is. Additionally, our judgments are frequently incomplete. For example, wealth can seem like proof that an individual is spoiled, and poverty can be seen as a signifier of laziness — neither of which may be true. At the heart of the tendency to categorize and criticize, we often find insecurity. Overcoming our need to set ourselves apart from what we fear is a matter of understanding the root of judgment and then reaffirming our commitment to tolerance.

When we catch ourselves thinking or behaving judgmentally, we should ask ourselves where these judgments come from. Traits we hope we do not possess can instigate our criticism when we see them in others because passing judgment distances us from those traits. Once we regain our center, we can reinforce our open-mindedness by putting our feelings into words. To acknowledge to ourselves that we have judged, and that we have identified the root of our judgments, is the first step to a path of compassion. Recognizing that we limit our awareness by assessing others critically can make moving past our initial impressions much easier. Judgments seldom leave room for alternate possibilities.

Mother Teresa said, “If you judge people, you don’t have time to love them.” If we are quick to pass judgment on others, we forget that they, like us, are human beings. As we seldom know what roads people have traveled before a shared encounter or why they have come into our lives, we should always give those we meet the gift of an open heart. Doing so allows us to replace fear-based criticism with appreciation because we can then focus wholeheartedly on the spark of good that burns in all human souls.

Back to the Beginning

One of the most powerful and honest images there is.

If we find ourselves repeating the same behaviors in different jobs, with different partners and in different situations; and if we don’t go back and examine how it all began, we’re just treating symptoms instead of the cause.