Metaverse and Mental Health

Metaverse and mental health - person's eye looking at city

Running Away from Your Anxiety

Imagine a world where reality no longer matters. People are no longer motivated to be successful, to educate themselves or to work hard. Some will even toss their morals straight out the window. Reality will no longer matter because virtual reality will become the norm. Whether morning, noon or night, in this world, people will have fallen in love with the metaverse. They will longer feel alive in the real world. Religion? Forget about it. Virtual reality will become their newfound religion. The metaverse and mental health are going to cross paths in many ways. This article will focus on the metaverse and anxiety.

With all the anxiety that we’re already experiencing since March 2020, the metaverse will become an escape for the masses’ mental health problems. Who needs antidepressants for panic disorder when you have the metaverse? Why see a shrink when you can put on a headset and escape reality? When you feel like rushing out of a room due to a sense of doom from your panic, you will instead put on a headset and escape into VR. For all the good reasons why one should have to take care of their mental health, they will all vanish in an instant when the metaverse will go mainstream.

Some will do it consciously while others will not pay attention to it; running away from anxiety will become the norm for many. It will be easier to enter the metaverse when feeling anxious and waste countless hours in another state of consciousness. When returning back to reality, people will feel miserable because their anxiety will still be present. They will do the bare minimum to get by, thinking all day long about the metaverse until the first opportunity to reenter it. Reality will become a hurricane of anxiety! People will no longer have any motivation to treat their mental illness; the metaverse will be their medication.

Metaverse and mental health - white woman wearing black virtual reality headset

The Metaverse is Not a Solution for Mental Illness

No virtual reality platform, video game or illicit and unstudied substance will ever be a proper treatment for mental illness. People will continue to use these avenues as ways to escape their suffering, but no shortcut has ever properly treated a mental illness. The treatment of a mental illness often requires three important factors:

  1. The courage and desire to seek help
  2. Therapy
  3. And oftentimes, medication

The metaverse and substances will never be a treatment for mental illness, but more of an escapism. It will be easier for people to enter another world than to spend countless hours with a therapist or take a chance with psychotropics. I am not here to blame the metaverse, but only to spark food for thought. Many people abuse substances to attempt to treat anxiety and depression, but drugs only make their symptoms worse. Who is to say that people will not attempt to treat their illness with the metaverse?

Use the metaverse for entertainment and psychiatry for your mental health concerns; don’t mix the two.

Smiley GIF

The Metaverse

The metaverse - white man wearing Oculus headset

Mental Health and Virtual Reality – Do they Mix?

The metaverse is a virtual-reality space in which users can interact with a computer-generated environment and other users. People will be able to wear a device or log onto a platform on their computer or television and enter the metaverse. What you will be able to do in VR is endless. Imagine being able to play table tennis, hang out with friends at virtual bars or go hiking on your favorite Appalachian trail. Everything you’ve always wanted to do in real life, you will be able to do so in the metaverse. While it sounds good, you can also imagine all the downsides that VR will bring to society.

So how is the metaverse going to affect mental health? Well for starters, people might become more disconnected in real life. Especially with the COVID-19 pandemic not going away, they will be more tempted to stay indoors and hop into their VR niche. It’s going to be much easier to come home from work and put on a headset than make an effort to meet up with friends. People will rely even more on technology to socialize and lose more of those in-person benefits such as touch, physical closeness and empathy.

The Metaverse and Psychological Addiction

Everything you’ve always wanted to do, you will be able to on the metaverse. Ever wondered how heroin feels? You obviously don’t want to try it in real life, but what if the metaverse will offer “heroin bars?” You will be able to consume the drug and feel as intoxicated as in real life! This might lead to higher addiction rates, despite being virtual experiences! Also imagine all the people who are struggling with their love life. What if the metaverse can offer prostitution, perhaps even for free? All you will have to do is hop into VR and experience a “virtual sex session.”

Everyone is excited about all the positives of the metaverse, but we cannot ignore the negatives. Look how hooked we are to our iPhones, internet and Netflix. Now imagine taking these experiences and intensifying them by 100x, literally transporting our consciousness into an alternate reality. Your brain is going to release great amounts of the “feel good” neurotransmitter called dopamine. My concern is when you’ll tap out of VR and come back down to reality. What will happen to your dopamine levels? For all the people who complain that “reality sucks,” they will likely be tempted to spend more time virtually. Repeat this process enough times and we can likely see society developing a “virtual reality” addiction.

The metaverse - white man wearing cyber glasses

The Positives of The Metaverse

Okay, not everything will be bleak. Perhaps many people who are lonely, avoidant, anxious or depressed will find relief in the metaverse. They will be able to socialize with others without the fear of feeling rejected as in real life. They will be able to conquer their phobias and anxieties by titrating experiences at their own pace and comfort level. People with depression might be able to enjoy any activity they desire, which they could not otherwise in a depressed state of mind at home. Those who are shy and avoidant will be able to interact with others at their own pace. People who are autistic will more easily connect with others who are also autistic and enjoy similar activities. Perhaps some people will also meet their partners in the metaverse and fall in love!

Let’s be realistic; you’re never going to be able to experience all the activities you’ve ever dreamed of. In reality, work, relationships, stress and other factors always tend to get in the way. But in VR, you will be able to go skiing, skydiving or visit Paris for the first time within the comforts of your home. Technology is going to become so advanced that skydiving will likely feel as if you are actually falling in the sky. Maybe you won’t even have to leave home to go to work. Your employer will provide you with a number or code that you will be able to use to clock in virtually and work from home. Sitting at home and working virtually rather than sitting in traffic for an hour will likely result in reduced stress!

For people who have always struggled to exercise and get in shape, the metaverse might become an easier outlet to get started. Don’t have enough money to afford a Peloton or motivation to head to your local gym? No worries! Just hop onto VR and start cycling away. Building confidence while exercising virtually might prove to have a beneficial effect on your mental health.

The Future is Virtual

In conclusion, it’s too early to predict all the positive and negative aspects of the metaverse. I’ve touched upon a few of them above just to get our minds to anticipate what the future might have in store for us. But as with any new technology, there will always be some downfalls that we need to prepare ourselves for. Everyone will be susceptible to different pitfalls and we will have to manage them when the time comes. But if we can at least anticipate them before the metaverse goes mainstream, we can mentally prepare ourselves beforehand so we don’t experience any major surprises.

What are your thoughts on the metaverse? Do you think that society is doomed and this is just another form of control by the elite? Or do you believe that VR will bring more benefits than risks? I’m tempted to believe that it will be an equal mix of positive and negative aspects. I believe that the COVID-19 pandemic and virtual reality might make us more distant in person. This will cause us to rely more on technology as a form of communication. I also believe that we are going to become even more disconnected from nature than we already are. Think about it, who wants to go spend time in a forest when you can just hop onto VR and do it from your couch? My main concern is that humanity will consciously transition from reality into VR and experience great difficulty transitioning back.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

The metaverse - smiley GIF

Nobody Cares Work Harder

Red brick wall with live, work, create quote

Whenever you find yourself complaining about the difficulty of your job, remind yourself, “nobody cares, work harder.” After training your mind to work hard over many years, you start deriving pleasure from the process. Anyone would prefer to relax and not have to work for a living if they had the opportunity, but even then, happiness is not guaranteed. Hard work has the potential to bring you satisfaction which often translates into happiness. But you must balance your hard work with free time and leisure activities. If it’s all work but no play, then happiness will fly away.

Whenever you are experiencing those long grueling days at work, remind yourself that you are not the only one going through them. Happiness will be your reward before your turn off the lights at night. But you must enjoy what you do. This cannot be reiterated enough. If you went to college and are now working a job you dislike, somewhere along the way you made a mistake. Rather than continuing to devote the rest of your life to something you don’t enjoy, make a change today. You control your present which influences your future.

Nobody cares work harder blue neon sign on wall

Nobody Cares Work Harder and Stop Complaining

A common mistake many people make is complaining a lot about their job. The complaints are endless and often quickly pile up. One of them is that their job or schoolwork is too difficult and demanding. Nobody cares work harder! People don’t care about the process; they are only impressed with the results. In reality, the results don’t matter that much. What matters is the hard work you clocked in for many years to achieve those results. Why don’t people care about your hard work? Because it’s not attractive. They don’t want to hear about your complaints. People want to see the fancy cars and flashy clothes that your hard work earned you.

Besides luck which cannot be depended on, the solution to getting impressive results in life is working harder. No one can put in the work for you; only you can do it. So stop complaining and work harder. Don’t forget to also keep your dreams alive. Dreams provide the sugar that keeps your work effort bitterly sweet. Without some occasional sugar, your hard work becomes dull. Don’t make the mistake of working hard without dreaming. I like to remind myself of this formula:

60% hard work + 40% dreams = 100% success

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Peaceful Life

White man sitting on blue pillow meditating

A peaceful life matters a lot. Once you learn how to carry yourself with peace and comfort, life becomes much more enjoyable. Practicing living in peace and comfort is not an easy task for many people. Life circumstances, negative emotions and even mental illness often get in the way. But once you learn how to harness peace, your days will progress more smoothly, helping you achieve a happy state of mind. But when you lose touch with your inner peace is when your days become inflicted with pain and misery.

So how do you go about instilling a peaceful state of mind? The key is to slow things down by absorbing every moment of your waking state. A lot of us feel rushed and tempted to power through work and activities, forgetting how to relax. Powering through the day gives us a sense of accomplishment, but at the expensive of our mental health. Instead, you want to slow down your perception of doing things while preserving the quality of your work. This can be done by practicing mindfulness and learning how to enjoy being present in the moment.

White woman practicing a peaceful life near blue water

A Peaceful Life for Your Mental Health

Imagine all the people living life in peace! No more temptations to do each other wrong. Life would involve unconditional love and envy would cease to exist. Rather than feeling rushed, your perception of time would disappear; life would just be. You would no longer feel rushed to get done with work and get back home. Instead, you would cherish every moment of life while bathing in a peaceful state of mind. People would no longer make fun of each other because peace would overcome insecurity.

Now the above describes a fictional scenario but the point is that peace can bring you comfort. But the question is how do we obtain peace? With today’s hectic society, it sometimes feels impossible to find peace. As I mentioned above and in many previous articles, practicing mindfulness is key. The difficult part is not the actual mindfulness; it’s easy to sit and just think. I personally find that the most challenging part is getting myself to sit down and actually doing it. Right when the thought of mindfulness comes to my mind, I think, “but it’s so boring!”

If you can overcome that initial resistance that prevents you from doing mindfulness, then you’re golden. Once you sit down and get in that moment of mindfulness, the act is not difficult. You tap into a peaceful state of mind and become one with the present moment. You learn how to disconnect from your environment and focus on your inner thoughts and emotions. Once you practice mindfulness enough, you’ll start to notice that things don’t bother you as much. You’ll realize that your resilience and tolerance to stress and adverse outcomes improve. And once you overcome stress, your mental health also improves.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Influenced by the Environment

White man with arrows pointing to head

Everything regarding the way you interpret reality stems from the most important organ in your presence: the brain. How you think and view the world is based on your personality and interpretation of your surroundings. If you can match your personality with an accurate portrait of society, then you will experience a more realistic experience. But once you allow your mind to be influenced by outside forces, you become more susceptible to programming or the manipulation of your mind. You become influenced by the environment to your detriment.

So take what you can from society that is still good and add it to your arsenal. But always remember that it’s your mind that is most precious; keep outside forces in check. Protect your mind for it roams openly in a dangerous land, ready to be attacked by invisible forces. These invisible forces do not care for your sanity. As a matter of fact, they prefer that you join the sheep and obey without questioning. When you ask less questions, you make it easier for them to control you. Their ultimate goal is to control the masses because it makes them feel superior, as if they are God. But they will never be God.

Influenced by the environment - skull with brain experiencing waves of butterfly effects

How do you Know if you’re Influenced by the Environment?

If you believe everything you hear or read in the mainstream media, then you’re being influenced. Of course, almost no one will admit to “believing everything” they hear in the media. “Everything” is obviously an exaggeration. When I say everything, I mean generally being in agreement with what is televised on a daily basis. Many people are glued to CNN, Fox News or BBC without questioning what they see or hear. They were quick to stick out their arms for new mRNA vaccines as soon as they were released to the public. Many don’t question the fact that the vaccines came out within a year or that mRNA vaccines were released during a pandemic out of all times.

Why don’t people question? Because they put too must trust in their government and find it easier to trust a large entity than small sources. They believe that if they start listening to small sources, they will be labeled as a “conspiracy theorist.” Little do they know that the CIA supposedly invented the conspiracy theory tactic. They did this as a form of protection from the masses seeking the truth. But hiding the truth from a population of 7.9 billion is impossible; it will always leak. So as a form of insurance, they created a psychological tactic that labels the truth-finders as “nut jobs,” with the mainstream media as their pawns.

I’m not saying that you need to become a conspiracy theorist. Just keep an open mind to alternative stories and explanations, because the truth always lurks somewhere in the middle. Think outside the box.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Cannabis Legal States

Green and orange marijuana buds

Boy was that an election! Donald Trump never stopped being the president and Joe Biden’s mental status likely confused him regarding his election win. But guess who has been impressively standing on stage this entire time delivering the most useful message? Marijuana was recreationally legalized in the states of New Jersey, Arizona, South Dakota and Montana this year. Mississippi came in big by legalizing medical marijuana. It seems that with each passing year, cannabis is gaining more supporters who are pro-legalization. This will lead to more cannabis legal states.

The science remains young and we don’t have enough evidence to conclude any long-term health benefits or adverse effects. But we have reached a point where criminalizing cannabis users is no longer sensical. I mean, going to prison for possession of marijuana? That sounds very archaic. Remember, that even though marijuana is being legalized, should not mean that we become naive to its potential mental health side effects such as anxiety, psychological addiction or even psychosis.

Cannabis legal states - drawing of woman holding hair next to cannabis leaves

Are Cannabis Legal States the Future?

I predict that the United States will legalize cannabis in all fifty states within the next ten years. The people want it legalized, it’s no longer taboo to indulge and it’s great as a stress reliever. Not everyone enjoys drinking a glass of wine to unwind. Some people prefer to take a hit of a vape pen or consume an edible and call it a night. As long as cannabis is used in moderation and you’re not experiencing any mental health symptoms, it should be fine to use. The only thing going against cannabis at the present time is that we lack the science behind long-term side effects. But with ongoing clinical research trials, we will have those answers within the next 5-10 years as well.

Cannabis legalization is here to stay.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Keep Chasing Your Dreams

Keep chasing your dreams - live, laugh, love inspirational quote

It’s Not All About Hard Work

Everything starts with your dreams and imagination. What’s the point of working hard if you don’t know why you’re working hard in the first place? What’s the point of endless hours of devotion if all that hard work is not aligned with your dreams? Do you even have dreams? If you’re stuck and don’t know where you’re headed, then start with your dreams. Keep chasing your dreams and you won’t regret the process looking back in the future.

Whenever you become down in life and hopeless that your future is over, remind yourself of your dreams. Allow your dreams to fill you with power, motivation and inspiration. Every time you feel derailed off your path to success, use your dreams to get you back on track. You’ll encounter many moments of discouragement, disappointments and even failures, but it’s how you get yourself back up that matters the most. Use your dreams as an anchor to prevent you from falling too many times; to prevent you from drowning.

Keep chasing your dreams - man walking towards wooden bridge during winter

Keep Chasing Your Dreams – There is No Other Option

A life without dreams is a life without substance. You can have the best job in the world, but if the process and experience are meaningless, then you’re likely lacking dreams. Keep in mind that a great job does not equate to a great dream. You can use your family, intelligence, education and connections to land a great job. But to land a great dream, you need to use your imagination. No human can provide you with that if you refuse to utilize that part of the brain to begin with.

Ok so you have a dream. Now what? The next important thing to remember is to never allow failures to throw you off course. We’ve all experienced failures and had to get back up and restart the process. The restarting part is the most difficult, especially after you put so much work in and still failed. I mean, why keep trying right? Wrong. If you stop trying, then that’s when your dreams start wilting. You have to keep watering your dreams and get ’em back up strong. Once you recover from the failure at hand, about 2-3 weeks later, you feel back on a roll and continue the journey to success.

The formula is simple: 40% hard work + 60% dreams = success

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Think Outside The Box

Person wearing brown cardboard box making peace sign

The Box Will Always Be Full

How long will you keep ignoring your inner urge to seek the truth? Even when you’re presented with tad bits of revelations, you rewind back to your comfort zone of trusting your present reality, as if somehow it were the accurate narrative. This is your psychological defense mechanism hardwired into your mind. Sometimes defense mechanisms have to be severed to evolve as a human being. The alternative is continuing in your present state of mind, which may not be satisfactory or purposeful to your growth. You have to think outside the box.

Many people never leave the box because they never think to do so, don’t care enough, don’t know how to or leave but quickly return back to their comfort zone. Let’s provide an example: ever since you were born, you have been surrounded by authority figures. These figures have included your parents, the educational system and the government. When in the world have you ever been alone and free?

It’s no wonder that every time you attempt to leave the box, you start to experience psychological discomfort and come running back telling yourself, “I have trust in our government, I have trust in the system, I have to trust the process.” As it has already been said, the box will always be full, but are you willing to leave square one and upgrade, perhaps even exponentially, to higher pyramidal levels?

Think outside the box - human head with open window in head

Think Outside The Box – The Upgrade

So how do you go about thinking outside the box? Start by changing your outlook on life by implementing a curious state of mind. Think of a child who explores their environment, asks many questions and tries new activities. You have to find that childish side of you again and tap into it. The beauty about that childish state of mind is that it allows you to develop a lot of curiosity and imagination. This will open you up to new sources of information that can provide you with truth, alternative views on reality and newfound knowledge.

The next question is how do you tap into your childish state of mind? If you’re thinking about maturity, then no, you don’t have to become immature. A childish state of mind can be tapped into by desiring to be curious and exploring for new information. Many people aren’t curious to open up to new sources of information because they’re comfortable in their comfort zone. As I’ve previously written in another post, always staying in your comfort zone can hinder your growth. A comfort zone is safe but comfort does not always equate to growth. Oftentimes, comfort can hinder your growth by preventing you from trying new activities, talking to new people and opening up your mind to new sources of information.

The Execution

Now that you have successfully tapped into your childish state of mind, it’s time to continue your exploration. Thinking outside the box is not only about exploring new sources of information. You also have to be curious to study human behavior. Pay attention to your surroundings and observe the interactions of people in your environment. Notice how they dress, exchange words, converse and pay attention to their body language. Much useful information can be gathered from your surroundings that can help you evolve. Studying human behavior makes you smarter and sharper by expanding your emotional intelligence.

Emotional intelligence is important to have because excellent communication skills can open up new doors for you. By getting good at studying body language, you can place yourself in a great position when conversing with people. This will allow you to know how to interact with them so that you can get the best outcome of the situation you find yourself in. Some may ask, “doesn’t everyone already do this?” No, many people don’t pay attention to human behavior; they are too stuck in their mental bubble. As a result, they don’t get as much out of their encounters with others, missing potential opportunities for improvement.

Think Outside The Box – The Maintenance

You see, thinking outside the box is a mindset that you have to work at if it doesn’t already come naturally. Some people like myself developed a psychological lens since childhood (check out the learn more about me section). But even then, I must still keep working at maintaining this state of mind. We are so influenced by society, that it’s very easy to crawl back in the box and forget about expanding our consciousness. Now you can imagine that this can be a challenge for those who don’t naturally think outside the box. In other words, your aim should be to always think outside the box; make it a permanent mindset.

You must also be careful with the news sources that you rely on to get your information. While mainstream media provides you with the most juicy pictures and stories, much of that information may also have a twist or agenda. These twists and hidden agendas can easily influence you to remain inside the box. You end up becoming comfortable with what’s presented to you and no longer care to explore more independent news sources. You start to believe what is presented to you without even asking questions or doing your research. When this happens, your mind becomes captured by your environment and prevents you from thinking outside the box.

The Wrap-up

In conclusion, to think outside the box requires you to reunite with your childish state of mind. Once tapped into it, you must continuously work at executing this mindset by practicing curiosity, studying your surroundings and playing with your imagination. Lastly, you must make an effort to maintain this mindset by being careful with your surroundings and preventing outside influences from keeping you trapped in the box. I have no timeframe for how long this can last, but my recommendation is to maintain this mindset for life. You will only continue to grow and learn more about yourself and your surroundings. Growth will bring you satisfaction, happiness and a desire to further expand your consciousness.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

You Are What You Think

White dove flying near buildings

Designing Your Reality

Certain people in society who are very successful (call them the ultra 1%) have everything going for them: generational wealth, power, success, political influence, geopolitical decision-making and even concealment of their identity from the masses. They have mastered the art of designing their reality by utilizing wealth and power through the disguise of liberal democracy. Their identity is hidden and that is exactly how they prefer their game of chess. You can be that too; you are what you think.

But one thing the masses have (and you should too) is spirit over mind. We are all taught about mind over matter, as if the mind is the final designer of our reality. It is not if you tap into what God gave us all from inception; he gave us spirituality. You see, your mind is like a computer and like any computer, its memory can be improved, its processor can be sped up, its software can be recreated and its defenses against viruses can be reinforced.

But how exactly does one reinforce its defenses against viruses of the mind? Through one’s spirit. Now, I cannot tell you how to utilize your spirit because no one knows how to, except you and the creator of this world, God. The important point to take away is that you have the power to design your reality through your spirit, which is greater than your mind. You just have to be aware of it and actually put it to use.

You are what you think - drawing of three heads and two brains in front of city

You Are What You Think – Don’t Forget That

Besides utilizing your spirit to design your reality, you must also utilize your mind. Practice positive affirmations starting with “I am.” This signals to your unconscious mind that your affirmation is being directed in the present. Your unconscious mind responds to the present because it records everything in the present moment only. It doesn’t respond to the future because the future does not yet exist. Repeat your affirmations multiple times a day; a few hundred times if possible. Also believe your affirmations and feel that you already have what you’re desiring. Feeling it and believing that you already have it speeds up the process. No one knows how this actually works, but many successful people claim to have utilized this technique to achieve success.

Give your mind wings by utilizing your spirit as a guidance.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Creativity is Intelligence Having Fun

Person holding paintbrush covered in paint

Kill Rigidity with Creativity

You have one computer and that’s all you get. There is no yearly updated version like a brand new Windows computer or MacBook with a new M1 chip. Your brain is all you have and if you don’t continuously upgrade it by challenging yourself, seeking new horizons and crossing new boundaries, then you will remain in your present reality that will eventually dull your existence. Creativity is intelligence having fun.

Guess what happens when your existence is dulled? Mental health problems arise. To avoid such problems, you must constantly recreate your reality by keeping your decision-making in check. What do I mean by this? If you continue to make the same decisions month after month, your reality will not change much. You will become a slave to your environment. Your decisions prescribe your reality; if they’re not carefully crafted, you will puff up with confusion, dismay and displeasure.

Creativity is intelligence having fun - brain inside lightbulb

Creativity is Intelligence Having Fun – The Process

So how do you create wisely? Life is based on trials and errors. Start the trial, pile up the errors and continue to update your computer. But if you don’t start the trial, you don’t have any opportunities to improve yourself. To start the trial, you must first seek to be creatively intelligent. I’m not necessarily referring to arts and music, even though these can help to reshape your reality. I’m referring to your thoughts and getting creative with them. To be creative requires a special form of intelligence that anyone can tap into. It involves the will to use your imagination to explore new thoughts and ideas.

Try to find that inner child of yours that will help you become more imaginatively creative. Remember when you were a kid and how you loved to explore new activities? I used to love playing with snails and other insects in my backyard in Montreal when I was 5 years old. I used to pick them up and position them near each other and observe how they would interact. Today, I dislike insects. That’s what I mean by being creative; finding the desire to try new things. If you can tap into that desire, make it part of your personality and maintain it, it will become much easier for you to alter your reality.

Don’t be one of those people who are afraid to try new things. Your thoughts can be experimented with and can be used to improve your life. But if you remain rigid, life will keep providing you with rigid options. Rigidity prevents you from being flexible, thinking outside the box and trying new people, places and things. Rigidity can be deadly to your mental health. Kill rigidity with creativity.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

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