How To Help Our Mental Health at Least a Little

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A few weeks back, I got hooked on watching Suits with my husband.  I really enjoyed the first season and loved that we could binge watch the show as there was already 6 seasons available on amazon prime.  As a coach, I master manage my time, so initially, I would get my work done pretty fast to get back to TV and watch some more.  The beginning was inspiring to me, I liked the character development and would comment on it with my husband as we would relax for an hour or so before we go to sleep.

Then, naturally,  we started getting busier and we could no longer sit together and watch so my husband gave me a go ahead to watch on my own.  I watched it shamelessly: episode after episode, season after season.  I starting doing everything I possibly could do with a show in a background because at some point, and this often happens to me when I binge watch something, the show looses it’s charm, the plot loosens, things begin to be less believable and it gets very obvious that the writers are milking it.  All of this works because by season 3, most people are so in love with the characters, and for those of us who binge watch, curiosity trumps desire for quality and value.

But here is the thing, I pay attention to what I am thinking and how I am feeling, part of it is my job and I do that with others so I naturally do the same for myself.  The more I watched the show, the worse I felt about myself.  I often, when I get into a show like this and watch it for a couple of days, even dream about characters being in my life.  Luckily, I allow this to happen so rarely that I can just watch my experience almost like it’s not happening to me, appreciate that life is really not about sitting on a couch and watching someone else’s life but rather living your own.

Yet, I wonder, how many people give into show after show on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu or whatever else is out there and begin to slowly lose sense of living their own life.  I studied Film in my undergraduate and graduate studies and I truly appreciate what a piece of good writing for film and television can do and the message it can send to the masses, but I worry, I truly worry about our minds getting slowed down and sloppy over time.  I worry that watching fictional lives before our eyes has us not make an effort in our own.  Having a great life, accomplishing your dreams and having success requires an effort and I worry that getting used to stories presented to us makes us lazy thinkers.

Here is my truth, I watched the Suits for a few days, 6 seasons and 90 or so episodes I believe.  I want you to know, I felt it.  I felt the effects of being almost lost in my own life from being fed someone else’s story for such a long duration.  I had a couple of dreams with those characters in them and I definitely felt down on myself.  It’s been a bit more than a week that I stopped and I feel I snapped back into reality, but I worry that there are people out there who do this all the time.  And if so, it’s not surprising that things that we witness on news are happening, that people are losing their mental health and that the issue is seemingly out of control.

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Our minds are vulnerable and if we feed them information that makes us feel angry or paralyzed, it is easy to drift and feel a heavy heart.  I am not saying that this can prevent all the suicides and crimes that happen in the world, but I am sure that if we spent less time in front of the screens and more time with our feet in the grass looking at the sky, we will feel happier overall.  I know I feel really crappy after I eat junk food and watch stupid TV shows.  When I don’t, when I eat clean and read inspiring books, I inevitably feel high on life.  Sure, this is not an answer for everyone but it can sure help prevent an experience of despair and going down to rabbit hole to most of us.  As humans, we are vulnerable, so the more we work on feeding ourselves the good stuff, the better chances we have of staying sane.

What are you feeding your body, mind and soul with?

Let go and let love

We have all experienced a heart break at least once in our lives.  By the time I was 30, I was an expert in being heartbroken.  And not only that, each failed relationship was feeding into my fear that I was not enough and that true love will never really knock on my door. I think everything I did since I became an adult was geared towards learning how to find and keep a guy.  I knew I was smart enough to succeed in other things, but the matters of heart – that I felt I had no control over. As someone who suffered from an eating disorder for a good chunk of my 20s, I knew what it felt like to be addicted to something.  And the power that had me to stop ED was the power that had me find love.

Now, I don’t believe that we can control when love will happen – that is in the hands of Higher Power, but I do believe that we can, and are responsible, to create a clear and pristine space for it, so that it can show up for us.  In the clear and pristine space, LOVE does show up.

I know some of you have done personal development work.  I applaud that.  And, for what I am about to say, I think that such work can be more of an obstacle than support.  In fact, it is that we keep on thinking that there is something for us to “work on” that has us stuck in the same old pattern of “not enough”.  We can’t be both: complete and in need of more therapy/transformation. As a coach, I make sure my clients never feel inadequate, but rather see our work together as their consistent evolving inside of a committed, clean, powerful, safe and loving space.  I don’t have my clients feel like there is something to fix, something many of the programs, therapies, works out there are based on.  For as long as we think we need to fix our relationship with our parents, for example, we aren’t really focused or present to the prince charming that may be right in front of us – mistake number 1.

The mistake number 2 is that we hold on to our past like it’s real.  Our urge to love and find love has us hold on to people and memories where we at least somewhat felt like our feelings were reciprocated.  And instead of letting go of all past relationships that did’t serve us, we mess up more in order to cope with what’s already messed up.  When I had an ED, I binged to cope with my urge to binge.  Other words, only when I binged did I relieve the anxiety that I was feeling when I felt the urge to binge.  It is only when I realized that the voice telling me to binge was not REAL ME, that I was able to silence the voice and take actions that I wanted to take: anything from being with people, actually answering my phone, making a difference in the world and alike. It is when I observed the voice in my head, without thinking I needed therapy, to journal my emotions, to read more books on the subject and give my power away, that I was able to see that the voice in my head did not have power over my actions.  In fact, more I recognized that voice as NOT ME, more silent the voice became.

So, please ladies, do not cling to the past relationships that don’t serve you, don’t send more emails so that you can get a different response, or send that last text thinking something will change.  Your urge to do these things is coming from the voice that isn’t YOU and the relief from that anxiety to say something is only temporary and making things worse in a long run.  The voice that tells you to do so is not who YOU are.  YOU can hear it and dismiss it and then do what works: move on, go out on a date with a new guy, or go visit a friend.  When you keep falling back into the same pattern, you perpetuate addiction and the space stays cluttered.  Love only comes into the clear and pristine space.  So, let go and let love.

Who do you listen to?

Almost a year ago someone I know asked me to listen to CDs by Kevin Trudeau known as an author of “Natural Cures They Don’t Want You to Know About.”   I cringed at the sound of his voice but was assured that this was really worth my time.  Having no reason not to trust this person, I listened to the whole thing and even though material covered seemed pretty fair and right on, the way it was narrated by Trudeau really rubbed me the wrong way.  In fact, I had numerous discussions with my husband on this subject, looking at how I can go beyond who someone is as a person to hear what they are saying as valid.  Not my forte! I thought he was a fraud and even thought what he was saying was valid, I couldn’t get myself to go beyond it.  So I took ideas that worked for me and never listened to the tapes again (you are asked to do this over and over again and also join his secret society, then go on cruises etc.)

I have done a fair share of personal development work besides a traditional schooling and I am definitely one of those people who passionately talks about things I believe in and like.  However, one of the things I came to realize over the course of years is that the hype about something almost does it more harm than good.  My mom has worked in advertising for over 20 years and is well educated and cultured, and what I have come to learn from her is the subtle ways we can put ourselves out there so people know what kind of service we provide without being pushy, in their face and hyper about it.  In fact, all the preachy, motivational, over the top marketing and sales pitches are actually annoying and while I believe in “live and let live,” I realized that checking someone’s credentials and talking to people they actually served, versus checking out tweets and facebook posts goes much further than one’s being in our face all the time through social media..

Raving about something so much actually has smart people doubt in credibility of the person raving.  For those who lack confidence (and I was surely there till not long ago), raving blinds and is effective, at least until we begin to see the true colors of the person or the situation (and I have surely got burnt here as well).  One really valid point that came from Trudeau’s tapes was a segment on “Who do we listen to?” in which he advises us to be smart about who we allow to teach us, mentor or coach us.  I came to realize how true that was and that one is really to take advice or coaching for people who have done what we need to do with a level of MASTERY and are leading their life as an example.  Pitfall there is: most teachers, mentors and coaches know this and are using this to gear social media traffic their way.

So who do you listen to?  Check for yourself.  Ask around, Have a sample session to see how you click with the other person as 9 out of 10 times the hype is just a hype and no real value behind it.  In fact, it is confidence in what we do and that we do it well that has us be able to share mindfully what we do and let our clients/students find us.

Respectfully

A coach 🙂