Today is World Mental Health Day.
While we don’t think twice about heading off to a doctor for our physical health, it’s a rare individual who prioritises their mental health. Those of you who do, I salute you…you are a true warrior. No, this isn’t a typo. I DO mean “warrior”. A brave fighter who stands, when all they feel like doing is disintegrating. Who practices BEING WITH their inner experience, IDENTIFYING their NEEDS in that moment & takes ACTION to CREATE the CHANGE they seek.
Taking a warrior stance against inner world struggle & working on a more integrated sense of self requires practice… EVERY DAY. The mind muscle needs to be trained & it WILL take effort.
Some days, the weight of the world (inner & outer) can feel SO great that to just get out of bed is a feat of herculean strength. The reality is, life throws challenges at us all the time…some we can plan for, many hit us by surprise.
Beyond Blue in Australia reference one in five Australians experience a mental health condition in a given year and almost one in two experience a mental health condition at some point in their lifetime. Contributing factors include genetic predisposition; racism; job loss; financial stress; discrimination, violence, abuse & prejudice among the LGBTI population; intimate partner violence & abuse…a far from complete list, however the picture is clear. There are SO MANY factors impacting upon our mental health that are beyond our individual control. So, what CAN we do?
With so many things going on that we CAN’T control, what exactly CAN we control?! It’s through taking control of the things we can that we can regain our motivation, redefine our goals & deepen our purpose. Do a little mental health house-keeping & take a look at the things within your control that affect your mood, relationships (with self & others), energy levels…you get the picture. If you haven’t also reflected on your smartphone habits, hydration, nutrition & night time routine (sleep hygiene), add them to the list NOW.
We can most certainly make changes to our day-to-day destructive habits to then promote healthier ones & attempt to influence the behaviour of others (I will continue to take a stand for human rights & the equality of all), we can’t control the choices other people make. We can, however, control how we RESPOND to what we NOTICE happening within & around us. The key here is NOTICE & RESPOND. To notice we need to be aware. To respond is to make a more considered, informed choice in contrast to being in a toxic state of reactivity.
Meditation provides one avenue for promoting skills in non-judgmental awareness of our inner experience; a set of skills for being with destructive emotions & thoughts; riding the wave of toxicity without reacting to it; to be open to constructively responding, or not, to what it is we’re noticing.
All of this is easier said than done. It requires effort. It may require the facilitation, guidance & supervision of a Psychologist. Recruit your team. Developing new skills & consistently applying them to then create healthier, warrior-strengthening habits requires work. And we can do it.
Look after yourself. Look out for each other. Be your personal best.
Psychologist in Private Practice in Canberra who has a passion for practicing what she preaches…*puts smartphone aside*
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