Good morning and Happy Sunday, December 15, 2019
I hope you had the opportunity to enjoy the brilliant full moon this past week! It was the last one of the year and decade. Moon beams are truly magical and filled with energy! The wonders of nature and the universe never cease to amaze me. Be sure to take time to enjoy as many as you can; from glorious sunrises, to breath taking sunsets. Each is beautiful and amazing in its own way. Set some goals for 2020. Together we can make the New Year awesome and amazing!
Last Sunday I wrote about trauma and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy. I want to take that theme further over the next couple of weeks. I hope you will follow me on my journey. Comments, questions and thoughts are always welcome.
I spoke about the relief this therapy brought me. It was like a miracle for me. It rid my mind of the near nightly violent dreams and nightmares. It allowed my heart and soul to open. The cleared space is free to empower new thoughts and pursuits. My mind is uncluttered and vibrant. EMDR therapy is an amazing process, but it is just part of what aided the boost in my mental health. The lifestyle I have been building for years enabled it to work quickly and easily. This was all part of an extensive life altering experience. It has created a healthier and happier lifestyle for me.
So what occurred in my life that got me here today? Let me tell you about the mental, physical and spiritual parts to this puzzle. Each plays a significant and integral role. They each assist one another in maintaining a healthy life balance.
Mental healthis a vitally important component in maintaining a balanced and healthy life. If an imbalance occurs, we feel the negative effects. Corrective action is required before the ill effects can have an impact on our mind and body. We know continued stress can affect our body and health. It can also cause anxiety which leads to other health issues. The more stress we endure, the greater the chance of anxiety. As a result, we must take good care of our mental health; as we do for our physical health. If you have not been focusing on both, then the time to begin is now. Do not focus on controlling the balance. Just become more aware of when imbalance occurs. Then you can take action to flush out the negative and boost the positive.
I never put much thought into dealing with mental health struggles of my own. I was under the misconception that “mental health issues” were only the woes of others. My recollection of childhood and growing up seemed fairly normal. Nothing crazy or unusual occurred, or so I thought. During counseling, several incidents were revealed that caused fear and anxiety. These marks on my mind would have an impact later in life. Imagine all you have learned and observed during your life. Many times, how we react to situations now is based on what we learned from our past. Often, the reactions are from what we saw or learned as kids.
As adults, stress and anxiety seem to be natural components of our everyday lives. We learn how to navigate the bumps in our own way. Some of us are better at resolving these issues than others. How we were raised, our personalities and lives are all different. As much as we are on different paths, we are all heading in the same direction. We all gather information and observe how those closest to us handle discomfort and negativity. We learn from them and mold ourselves as best we can. If you do not take the time to evaluate your own mental well-being, how will you ever know it requires attention.
At a young age I learned it was best to bottle everything up inside me. That process carried through for a great majority of my life. I always focused on building my physical body, while neglecting to evaluate my mental health. I took it for granted that how I felt was normal. When life is tough you deal with it.
I have been living my life, doing what I deem best for me. At various times in our lives we all experience pain, sadness, stress or anxiety. These seem to be a fact of life with our fast paced existence. We have heartbreaking moments; due to family, social, work or relationship issues. Depending on your age, it can be school, career or just life creating further stress. Sadness and pain can be attached to all of these for a variety of reasons.
If this is really part of what we have to endure in life, how can we make it better? Having an adult daughter and falling in love with a special woman soon made me realize I was out of balance. I needed help to get myself back on track. It was beyond my control and abilities.
A strong support system is a great starting block. The backbone of my mental health support system includes my daughter, family, friends and a very special love. They provide a unique quality of support, inspiration, encouragement and love. Allowing support is just as important as the people providing it. If you open yourself up to the process it is quite amazing. If you close yourself off, like I had been for many years, nothing ever changes or improves.
I never learned how to openly communicate in a relationship, so consequently they failed. I had no problem communicating at work or with friends. I believe this is a learned behavior; one I was never taught. When you hit the bottom, you realize there are relationships in life much more valuable than things. I never wanted to jeopardize the relationship I shared with my daughter. She is an amazing part of me. My daughter wants to see me happy; as much as I want to see her happy. When I met and fell in love with my partner, I knew I could not let her slip away due to my issues. She inspired me to be a better person and reach for my stars. I followed her to yoga class one day and a new world opened for me.
The introduction of yoga and meditation began a couple years before counseling and EMDR therapy. They brought new mental clarity and peace. The practice of yoga assists in building muscular strength, increases joint flexibility, while calming your mind. Yoga allowed me to release my ego during practice. Freeing yourself of ego is quite invigorating. Do not worry about what others are doing or what they see in you. Yoga is not about impressing others. Yoga is a journey into yourself. It allows you to go inward and look at your inner being. Your path is yours alone. It frees your mind to concentrate on you. It assists to create clarity and a calm mind. Yoga should not be considered an exercise, like lifting weights or cross fit. It is a pathway to meditation.
Meditation allowed me to relax my mind and go deeper than I ever had before. I will admit, meditation took a bit of practice. My mind was full, spinning and not so easy to slow down. I began sitting in my dark closet early each morning. This provided a quiet safe place. I would get comfortable, close my eyes and would only last a few minutes. I increased my time when I began to focus on my breathing. I would breathe slowly counting to four, holding for a second and then counting four to a slow exhale. This brought the focus to my breath, which allowed my mind to relax. Within a month my meditation was exceeding twenty minutes. My mind was clear and free. I enjoy meditating first thing in the morning. Five minutes clears my mind and sets the tone for my day. I highly recommend it, as I do yoga. If you need assistance, please reach out.
Yoga and meditation required practice. I may never master the poses or postures, but that is not the purpose of yoga. The primary purpose of yoga is to achieve a higher consciousness, where there is no conflict or worry. Meditation is similar, clearing your mind of thoughts or stress. During my yoga teacher training, my yoga master told me achieving a gap between thoughts is where you discover bliss. This is where you find peace and clarity in your mind.
Grounding is another way to relax your mind and feel the earths energy. Getting outside and enjoying nature has benefits all their own. Whether you sink your feet in the sand at the beach, walk in a forest, visit the desert or just walk barefoot in the grass, has magical effects. The energy of the earth and grounding yourself in nature brings mental peace and relief. I can sit at the beach for 20 minutes and melt away stress and the anxiety of life. Sharing that time with someone special has increased benefits as well.
Allowing yourself to lean on others is not a sign of weakness. As humans, we need the nurturing support of those around us. We are all in this together. Let us make an effort to support and build each other up. Asking for help is difficult for some people. Make it easier for them; offer your assistance and love as often as you can. It is not something you can force. Patience is a virtue. Be sure it becomes one of yours to follow.
When you know you have the right support and love, life becomes easier to manage. You may be feeling the stress of life, but someone next to you may feel a depression that is far more evasive and daunting. Do not ever under estimate the power of a smile, hug or friendly greeting. Be the power you want others to be for you.
Please tune in and join me again next Sunday for more! I will continue this discussion on the mental, physical and spiritual parts of my healthy life puzzle.
Thanks for your love and support! Embrace Life! Be sure to get outside and enjoy nature!!