Watching the news, reading social media feeds, and internet headlines, realizing some of my family and friends have drastically different views on politics, religion and many other values, morals, and beliefs is enough to make a person just want to crawl in a hole and cover it with a rock. As I navigate my day as the office manager of a busy private practice counseling center while completing my master degree in mental health counseling and working weekends as a bartender at a busy restaurant and doing my best to be a good single mom to a teenage daughter, I can tell you one thing….I have learned how important it is to know where you stand. I am a researcher, a naturally curious person and pretty open minded when it comes to new thoughts, ideas and theories in the beginning and will allow myself time to learn more before coming to my own conclusion. In that time I will process the views of others and take it all into consideration as I continue my research. I like to believe that most people approach new information this way, but I am realistic enough and have seen and heard enough in the practice of counseling to know its not true in all cases.
The fact is we all will see, read and encounter thoughts and ideas that challenge us to our core. I believe that in every situation there is a choice, the choice is really simple, to look at it from a positive opportunity for growth or to allow it to turn negative. When I say growth, I don’t mean accept and learn from the actual information in front of you necessarily, because the fact is sometimes we just know the information will never align with our belief systems and research would be an absolute waste of time. What I mean by an opportunity for growth, even in those obvious situations where you know you will not change your mind, is how you choose to proceed in the situation, how you mentally choose to process and deal with it? Everything we consume through our senses in daily life effects our body on a deeper level, not just the food and drink, not just the physical activity, but what we read, watch, listen to and write out. So ask yourself, how good are you being to your mind, body and soul when you take all of that into consideration?
We often hear about parents protecting their children from bad influences of social media, too much screen time, keeping them away from bad influences of other kids and encouraging them to eat right, exercise and don’t do drugs or smoke or drink. Don’t you find it a bit ironic how many of those things we decide to bring in to our own lives after preaching the opposite to our kids. The truth is, all of those things do not just stop being bad for you once you become an adult. We learn we can’t punch Tommy in the face and call him a stupid liar on the playground at school just because he said there is no Santa Claus. Yet, too many times I see adults calling each other names on social media or the news. What kind of examples are we setting for our kids? I understand it is impossible to protect our children from everything and honestly I have no desire to protect my child from it all, how else will she learn? I want to help guide her and learn what it all means and how to process it in a logical and healthy way.
Shit happens….we lose games, we make bad grades, you get a speeding ticket, or someone you like doesn’t like you back, a friend may talk about you behind your back, families break-up, you didn’t get the part in the play, you may not get accepted into the college of your dreams, you may not have enough money to have, do and see all the things you wish you could in life….you know what this is called? Life and we are all in it together. Life is full of choices, maybe you are not responsible for exactly where you are right now, but maybe your parents are, or your grandparents. The truth is we are all the result of life before us and the big world keeps on turning and producing the next generation. The point is, there will be a point when you do get to decide for yourself. How we choose to see the world around us is so important but even more important is how you see yourself in the world around you. If you had to describe yourself in ten words what words would you choose? Are they positive and strong or angry and negative. Do you look at the life dealt to you and fully embrace it and look for the opportunities to be and do better or do you wallow in it and make excuses and blame others? The mental part of life is the toughest part of life, it will make you or break you.
Negativity is like a cancer, and recent studies show it is actually linked to diseases within the body. When you are feeling ill you need to consider not only changing what you eat and drink or how often you exercise, but also what you are choosing to read and watch and listen to and how you respond to the world around you. Create a psychological health habit just like you would habits for diet and exercise. Don’t allow yourself to consume junk mentally and when it does cross your path, make a choice to process it from a healthier perspective. It is a proven fact that stress is one of the leading causes of disease in the body and most stress is caused by how we respond to the world around us. It is time for a little psychological warfare on the negative vibes being put out into the world. You can give to the needy, work at a soup kitchen, volunteer for great causes, but if you really want to give back to the greater good teach yourself and your children how to accept life as a gift, tackle it with excitement and be thankful every day for the little things in life and most of all learn to respond with love and kindness. If you are about to respond ask yourself three important questions…. Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?
With love, health, happiness and positive mental health,