The Power Of Knowledge

Books on shelves

Why You Need Knowledge

One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to garner as much knowledge as possible. This can be accomplished with many different sources, such as reading books, articles, magazines, surfing the internet, watching educational television channels, and learning from people! I believe that the best source of knowledge are books themselves. There is something magical about the process of reading a book; it keeps you engaged and wanting to learn more.

But why am I addressing knowledge and its importance? The reality is that knowledge opens up doors in life; it allows you to sway in different directions and avenues and to meet new people who also have knowledge. Knowledge attracts knowledge. It can also protect you from danger; it provides you with facts, experiences and awareness of different situations and people.

I believe that a lot of people underestimate the power of knowledge; especially in this day in age since everyone is so distracted with technology. For instance, Gaming Disorder is now a real psychological diagnosis! Who would have believed that growing up 10-15 years ago?

Gathering knowledge can also help you with your mental illness. For instance, someone who is experiencing the terrible feeling of a panic attack, can prevent it from turning into a nightmare by remembering what he or she read in a book or article about panic attacks: they can be dissolved by taking deep breaths, they can be lessened by not fighting against them, and even distracting yourself by shifting you attention to another thought process or topic at hand can help dissipate them.

One of the goals of the DSM movement is to come together and share our knowledge and experience of mental health disorders, so we can learn together and ultimately end the stigma!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Focus On Yourself

woman with green eye peaking through green plants

Do Not Lose Track Of Your Importance

We are often so preoccupied with the lives of other people that we forget to focus on ourselves. “What are they doing tonight?”, “He or she is in that relationship…”, “If I do this, then others will think that…” When we focus on what others think about us, we become distracted and start to lose track of our goals. The best thing you can do for yourself is to remain focused on your plan, work hard, ignore all the buzzing that goes on around you and strive for success!

Why do some people focus on others? Insecurity is one reason. People want to feel needed and by addressing their attention to other people, they believe that they are gaining valuable information about themselves through the eyes of others. What is wrong with this process is that a lot of times, other people do not care about you as much as you think they do, and this results in valuable time lost on your part.

I am not suggesting that you become self-centered for the rest of your life, but maintain a successful ratio of focus (The DSM ratio): 80% focus on yourself and 20% focus on others; this way you are not out of the loop with the viewpoints of other people.

One common trap that people fall into is that they become bored with their life. And what can boredom lead to? Depression, anxiety, worries and stress! They see other people on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest living exciting lives, and in return, they start believing that their life is dull and mundane.

In reality, we do not know if any of these people we observe on the internet are happy to begin with! Just because someone is flashing luxurious pictures on their social media account, does not mean that they are not struggling internally. Do not be fooled by the mirage of modern day materialism; somewhere in the minds and hearts of all people lie some mental health concerns and heartaches.

Turn your boredom into something productive: reading a book, studying for an exam, exercising, socializing, etc. There is always something that you can focus on which will help better yourself. And that focus should be on you!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Focus On Your Goals In Life

Fist pump directed towards the sunset after achieving your goals

Keep Your Garden Free Of Distractions

It is important to be goal-oriented and shoot for the stars! Goals give you direction and allow you to visualize where you want to stand in the future. The problem is that we tend to lose track of our goals or give up on them. People give up on their goals because of lack of success in achieving them, laziness, distractions, drugs, addictions, mental illness, relationship issues, etc. Goals become replaced with distractions, and distractions prevent you from achieving your maximum potential in life.

Why should we shoot for our maximum potential? Because it can provide us with more happiness when we realize that we achieved everything we set out to accomplish. Falling short of the prize can result in regret and even depression in some. Our maximum potential can open up new doors in life that can take us in directions beyond our wildest dreams.

Never give up on your goals and do not be afraid to fail! Failing is part of the process and even the most successful people have said “learning occurs more from failing than succeeding.” This is because through failure we build character and receive the opportunity to analyze our shortcomings and grow from them. Failing, ironically, is therapeutic to our mental health because it instills perseverance, growth, character and resilience; and we need all of that in this day in age!

Sometimes we become distracted from our goals. Distractions are like weeds that pop up in a garden; sometimes we forget to take them out. At first, the weeds may not even be noticeable, but over time, the garden starts to look messy and unattractive.

That is what happens when we let distractions take over our life and interfere with our goals. Make sure you tend to your garden (mind) everyday and keep it precious and a place of comfort and happiness. Together, the DSM movement is our garden where we can come together and share our goals, experiences and mental health concerns.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Dating, Mental Health And The Impact On Millennials

Millennials sprayed in skin paint taking a group picture with a cell phone

The Emotional Epidemic

Loneliness rates are increasing at an all time high and dating has turned into superficial hookups and one-night stands. Burnout was just recently classified as a mental health disorder by the World Health Organization. Depression and anxiety are increasing, not decreasing. Friendships and relationships are becoming more superficial; no one has time for anybody.

People are marrying at a later age and divorces are still at an all time high. Student debt is plaguing the country with unhappiness; one report tells the story of a student who attempted to import Cocaine from Panama to try to pay his student debt. It is evident that the millennial generation is facing a unique time of hardships not experienced by prior generations.

What is behind this rise in hardships and why is our generation experiencing it? The culprit, unfortunately, might be technology itself. We have become so hooked and dependent on laptops, cell phones, television, social media, Instagram and Facebook, that it has caused us to become detached from one another.

Back in the day, the lack of technology forced people to interact with each other on the street, work and school way more frequently than present day; that was the only opportunity for socializing. Nowadays, if millennials go out, they may attend a bar which again involves superficial relationships that either lead to an intimate rejection or an overnight quickie, only to never see the person after the next day.

Is there a solution to this madness or are we doomed? I believe the solution involves deleting dating apps, spending as little time as possible on social media websites, watching television at a bare minimum, and in return, spending more time exercising, meditating, praying and getting involved in hobbies. Even psychotherapy can be beneficial; a mental health diagnosis is not required.

I think most importantly is changing our mindset: lowering our expectations, being more loving with each other and being forthcoming regarding our mental health issues; putting an end to mental health stigma! We need to lose our selfish mentality that everything is “about us.” We need to form a cohesive alliance again, and tackle these hardships together. The DSM movement is about prevailing together!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

The Power Of Being Thankful

A wooden sign on a palm tree stating "thankful"

Being Thankful Will Deliver You More Positive Results

We are so bombarded with work, education and distractions that we forget one important thing: being thankful for everything we have. Depression and anxiety can stem from being overstressed, but did you know that by reminding yourself everyday of all the things you have to be thankful for, can lower your chances of developing a mental illness?

This is because by being thankful on a daily basis, you force yourself to recognize all the good things you have in your life, which uplifts your mood and stabilizes your mind; stabilization takes you down the right path in life.

But one mistake people make is that they are not thankful enough. Being thankful once in a blue moon is like trying to lose weight by exercising once a month; it’s not going to happen. The key word is “daily.” Everyday, from morning to night, you should be thankful in your heart and in your mind.

Remind yourself of all the great things you have: the job you have, your family who is still around, the roof above your head, the good health you are in, etc. This is called positive reinforcement; you are self-delivering encouragement for the life you lead.

Being thankful helps to keep negative thoughts away. Remember that your mind is like a garden; weeds (negative thoughts) don’t take effort to grow, but flowers (positive thoughts) must be carefully planted and taken care of on a daily basis; otherwise, they rot.

Rotting is equivalent to poor mental health: depression, anxiety and even hallucinations. It’s time for you to forget about yesterday, and start being thankful for today.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Don’t Be Afraid To Walk Away

A courageous man holding a camera walking on a train track during winter

Courage Is The First Step In Finding Change

Friends come and go. Relationships come and go. But often times, we get stuck in a toxic relationship that no longer serves us any good. Relationships and friendships are hard to come by, so we tend to hold on to them with dear life, in order to avoid loneliness. But little do we know, that by holding on to these relationships prevents us from growing. We must learn to listen to our intuition; our gut feeling which tells us if a person is right or wrong for us. Society these days has dulled our intuition; there is so much emphasis on the mind, leaving us to forget that our intuition was created to protect us.

Walking away takes courage, but you must take the initiative if you want new opportunities in life. New people who are motivated, successful, passionate and loving will help take your life to the next level. Old people who make fun of you, emotionally or physically abuse you and degrade you will keep you at a low and depressing level. The key to walking away is not caring if you lose that person from your life. Stop answering their phone calls, stop hanging out with them, stop enabling them to mistreat you! Be respectful to yourself and surround yourself with fruitful people who will make you shine and taste success and love.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Defeat Loneliness With Passion

A neon sign stating "fuel your passion"

Fire Up Your Emotions

There are more people lonely in the United States than ever before. But what drives loneliness? We are living in a society that promotes competition and selfishness; Darwin’s Survival of the Fittest at its finest. Everyone wants to get ahead of each other and can care less if the other person is suffering; it’s unfortunate but true. This in return makes us lonely because we may not share the same interests or drives as those around us; we end up being by ourselves. Some people are lonely even in the company of others; this means they find emptiness in the relationships they carry.

What is the solution? Introduce passion into your activities. Whatever you do, make it enjoyable and fill your mind with positive thoughts and energy. Don’t worry about the lives others lead. Focus on enjoying your life, your moments, your activities, your passion! Once you take your mind away from seeking companionship and focus on yourself, your life will start to slowly get rid of loneliness. But the key is passion!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Shoot For The Stars

A boy looking at a yellow wall that says "believe in yourself"

No Goal Is Above Your Horizon

Do you often find yourself struggling to have enough motivation to accomplish something? Motivation is something that needs to be developed. For some, it comes easier, for others it needs to be worked upon. But one thing is for sure: you must find a goal or two and constantly work towards achieving them. Every day, you must remind yourself why you want to accomplish that goal and work towards making progress.

One goal we should all shoot for is achieving a happy state of mind. Mental illness is very prevalent throughout the world and in particular, our society. Genes, epigenetics and stressors contribute to a decline in our mental health. Epigenetics is when some of our genes are silenced or turned on based on environmental triggers; this may result in depression, anxiety and even psychotic symptoms such as visual and auditory hallucinations; some even become paranoid or delusional (the husband who believes his wife is cheating on him, contrary to the evidence).

What do I mean by shooting for the stars? We often set shallow goals that don’t really bring us success or much happiness (i.e.: I will go to the gym once a week, I will not eat fast food twice a week, etc). I call these goals shallow because they don’t deliver “the stuff” that we’re looking for, and frankly, “the stuff” we deserve.

We need to become more motivated by increasing our goals and striving to achieve them. But it starts with you! You need to discover what you want to accomplish and set out to achieve it. Once you discover your goals, increase your motivation every day by reminding yourself how bitter sweet the end result will be.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Stay On Track With Your Plan

Paper, markers and coffee on a table

A Plan Maps Out Your Future

We’re often tempted to give up on a set course of action. Either we don’t see the results, we get bored and inpatient or we get new ideas the deviate us from the original plan. The key is discipline. We have to remind ourselves that nothing comes easy. Achievement takes a lot of work and persistence and along this grueling path, comes a lot of sweat and tears. But it pays off in the end once we reach the destination.

You want to commit to your plan everyday; even on the days you feel sad and gloomy. When you get through those gloomy days, you will have more energy during the happy days, and this will inch you forward to whatever it is you want to achieve. Mental health also comes into play with staying on track with your plan.

A good state of mind where you are free from depression and anxiety is key to maintaining consistency in your life. Depression and anxiety need to be eliminated from your life before giving yourself the best chance at achieving success. Your plan may even be to eliminate depression and anxiety, and the key is to stay on track with that plan! Once you have freed yourself from mental obstacles, success will be right around the corner.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Show More Love

Male and female hand coming together to form a heart sign

Love Trumps All

We live in a very competitive society, to the point that we have lost one important feature: love. We are so focused on getting ahead of one another, that we forget how to show love towards others; even towards our family! It is through love that we can get things done easier, garner more positive energy and move forward towards the destination we want to reach.

Love is contagious; the more we spread it, the more it comes back to us. Don’t let this fast-paced society turn you into a zombie; you are a God-loving spirit who needs to go back to his or her roots and utilize the strongest asset in your arsenal: love.

Via love, we will accomplish things more smoothly and our mental health will prosper in return. It doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor, love is endless and does not judge. Speaking of judging, don’t let judgement cloud your heart.

Spread love like birds spread their wings and flap that positive energy at everyone coming your way. By showing more love, you will fly high!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)