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?

Clean Slate

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Doesn’t it feel sometimes like life is coming at us at the speed of light?  So much information out there, so much to process, review, consider, choose from.  Which way should one go?

I constantly work on taking some time to myself to decide what matters and what I want to focus on because then I have to power to scan opportunities for what is in sync with what I said I wanted.  Not having done this work leaves me vulnerable to bombarding of information that happens all the time.  This isn’t wrong, we are all competing in this world for attention and a chance to have a voice about something, to leave an impact.  I just have it that it will only get louder so it is my job to create safe spaces where I can be with myself, access the divine within me and then act from there.

Often times people argue that we should just let ourselves be, go with the flow, respond to things in life as they come.  This is their right.  It doesn’t work for me though.  Just couple of weeks ago in a parenting class, I heard that one of the constructive ways to tell a child to STOP running is to tell them to USE their walking feet.  Or instead of telling them to STOP talking or being loud to USE their whispering voice.  It would probably take me decades to come up with these positive reinforcement strategies whereas people who’ve been educators for years learn them and use them and are effective with children because of it.

Expecting of myself to just go with a flow, be unprepared, not self reflect or plan ahead is actually a huge set up for failing in life and in addition, being hard on myself for reasons that are not even justified.

Everything in life, when studied, researched and explored can be simplified and broken down into distinctions, and not to rob us of freedom but to guide us through it with more clarity, wisdom and power.

I realize, as I am getting older, there are distinctions in everything people do and can be successful at, so why not stop, reset, re-evaulate what we really care about and then take on the things we really want with all of our being, learn the distinctions and practice until we master it?

There is nobody else coming! This is it! The time is now. What do you really want that is worth stepping back, learning about and giving your life to?