Being A Great Sport

Angry white man wearing a red tank top with hands on face

Maintaining Composure During Times Of Adversity

You will encounter many situations in life where you will lose your cool and make a fool out of yourself. Let’s hope that those situations are in the past and that you can now prevent future ones from occurring. But we all know that life is very unpredictable; one minute you’re on top of the world and the next you’re fuming and steam is coming out of your ears. The key is not avoiding distressing situations as sometimes life just throws you in the middle of them without any control on your part.

But just because you lack control in certain situations does not mean that you should allow them to throw you off your game. You have to be quick to react and come up with effective solutions on the spot while maintaining proper composure. By doing this, you will avoid many awkward encounters, problems with your job and burned bridges. Anyone can act appropriate from time to time, but not anyone can be a great sport at all times.

Maintaining composure during times of adversity is not easy depending on the situation that you find yourself in. It’s so much easier to just blow up, get your anger out of the way and move on with your day. But what’s easier is not always most effective; this applies to anything in life. Oftentimes, the easier solution brings upon temporary fixes that end up crumbling when more adversity is encountered down the road.

You have to find a way to remain composed at all times, even when dealing with conflicting and uncomfortable emotions. This applies to your professional life as well as your social; the more consistent you remain in your display of emotions, the more trust people will have in you. This is all based on behavioral psychology; people are turned off by hotheads and attracted to those who are cool, calm and collected.

So the next time that you encounter a situation where you feel like you might lose your cool, take a step back and remind yourself, “This too shall pass. Just play it cool and try to make the most out of it without displaying your frustrating emotions.” The more you practice being a great sport, the easier it will become for you to handle life’s conflicts and roadblocks.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Improving For Life

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It Never Stops Ending

As a human being, there is never a limit to how much you can improve. Even when you think that your physical and mental health are top notch, there is more that you can still do. Sometimes when we have everything going for us, we start to become complacent, allowing room for error to creep into our lives. Life is a journey and it never stops short of improvement.

Even spiritually, you can always improve and better yourself. There really is nothing that you can argue against the process of improvement. This is because improvement is very subjective; what may be considered “awesome” for one individual is considered “subpar” for another. The process of improvement is different for everyone, but it should be universally accepted that there is always room for improvement no matter how great everything may be.

If you lack the motivation to improve, then that’s a big problem on your hands. You may not see it now, but over time you will realize how your lack of motivation in the past contributed to your current problems. One of the greatest concepts to live by is something called delayed gratification. This is based on the idea of working hard today while living for tomorrow; delaying gratification in the present moment so that you can enjoy prosperity in the future.

Not many people have the will or stamina to apply delayed gratification in their lives. This requires sustained discipline to live by this concept day in and day out, especially when encountering many setbacks and failures. Many people fall short of reaching their full potential because of the lack of sustained discipline; they allow life’s adversities to prevent them from progressing in the right direction.

But if motivation has never been an issue for you, then remember to never stop improving. There is always something that you can find in your life that needs to be worked on; you just have to be honest with yourself and find the energy and time to dedicate to the task at hand. This is especially important when it comes to your physical and mental health; no one is going to help you be healthy without you first helping yourself.

Most people think of physical health but forget the importance of improving their mental health. As the body gets rusty year after year, you think the brain remains invincible? You have to make adjustments to your thoughts, perception and perhaps even interests in order to keep your mind in alignment with your present reality. One big traumatic experience may be the trigger to your slip and fall, turning you into a raging alcoholic and sacrificing your mental health in the process.

Always aim for improvement even when you think that you have accomplished everything; it never stops ending.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Same Mental Illness, Different Perception Of Reality

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Mental Illness Personalized

The subjectivity related to the field of mental health has a lot to do with the many different versions of a particular mental illness. Someone with MDD may by suffering from a decreased appetite and sleep, while another person with atypical depression may be experiencing an increased appetite and sleep. Mental illness may affect everyone differently even if the diagnosis is the same. That’s why we cannot assume that we understand what everyone is going through.

It’s not that the mechanism of action of a mental illness is different for everyone; the same imbalance in neurotransmitters and structural brain changes may be occurring in everyone who is affected. But not everyone views a similar environment in the same way and that’s why mental health is unique to each individual. In order to more effectively help a person suffering from a mental illness, we must become more effective and empathic listeners.

One’s surroundings, financial and marital status, background, childhood and even race affects their perception of reality differently when suffering from a mental illness. For instance, a rich 40 year-old man may recover more easily from depression than a poor 40 year-old man isolated in a rural area. One’s environment and background are extremely important to how they handle their present day mental illness.

Can you see how and why mental health is so personalized to the individual patient? Half the battle of defeating a mental illness has to do with a patient’s current social and financial status. If a patient has nothing going for them, think how much more difficult it is for them to harness the inner strength and desire to recover from their mental illness; medications will not always carry the heavy load all the way to the finish line.

From now on, whenever you meet someone who you think might be suffering from a mental illness, don’t be quick to assume that you understand their pain and suffering. You really have to listen to them carefully and even then, you might not relate. But you don’t have to be able to relate in order to be of help; listening will always go a long way to helping a mental health patient feel heard and more accepted.

Let’s continue to come together and share our experiences with mental illness. By opening up and spreading more honesty, love and joy into the world, we will be able to create a place where people will no longer be ashamed of their mental health status; a world where acceptance and appreciation of one’s differences will be the reality at play.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Encountering The Memories From Your Teens

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Riding The Wave When It Brings You Memories

They say to never live in your past but that only applies if your past is haunting or preventing you from moving forward. Your past can hold you back if you don’t let go, especially if you have encountered traumatic experiences. Sometimes people hold onto their past, reanalyzing their mistakes over and over again, as if revisiting those memories will do anything productive. I think you get the point; avoid your past if it doesn’t contribute anything meaningful to your present.

But if your past is full of beautiful memories, by all means, revisit it as often as you get a chance! Beautiful memories from your past can still serve as insightful lessons which you can utilize as refreshers. Think of your memory vault as a bookshelf full of useful information; all you have to do is dust off the pages and dive in. Don’t let the memories stored in your hippocampus go to waste.

If your hippocampus is good enough to still hold onto childhood and adolescent memories, why not use them to your advantage? Diving into the past can help you relax in the present, especially after a long week at work. But many don’t revisit their awesome memories because they are afraid of feeling sad in the present moment, especially if their present moment is not as exciting as their past.

This is a bad way to view the situation. Many people don’t have as good of a present situation as they had in their past, but this does not mean that they should not revisit their past. Your past is not something that you should feel jealous or envious of just because your present is not as exciting. If anything, revisit those memories and learn from your past to see if you can implement some of those tactics in the present.

In other words, utilize the power of your brain; don’t just live in the present. Your brain is capable of so many extraordinary tasks, but many don’t take advantage because they are too caught up in the present moment. Sometimes you have to check out of the present moment in order to obtain a greater clarification of your life. The saying, “focus on your present and future cause those are the ones that you can change” is not completely useful because it’s leaving out the past.

It is true that you want to focus the majority of your energy and time on the present and the future, but dedicate a small percentage to your past as well. Retrieving memories is one of the most beautiful capabilities of the human mind; utilize this to your advantage and don’t let it go to waste.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

You’re Not Crazy, Just Different

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Your Perception Is Unique

The word crazy should be eliminated from the mental health community. It really serves no purpose besides reinforcing the stigma behind mental illness. There has never been a time in the mental health community where the word crazy served a useful purpose. All it does is label those who act differently than the rest of society. But has labeling ever accomplished anything useful in this world?

The truth of the matter is that people are going to continue to use the word crazy and there’s nothing we can really do besides advocate otherwise. But you shouldn’t get bothered by the fact that someone is labeling you as crazy; just brush it off and move on with your life. The more we remain strongly united in the mental health community, the easier it will become to shake off the many attacks that prevail.

The beauty about mental health is that there are many differences among us. We are trained to believe that having a mental illness is all bad; that’s it for you, you’re done for! But it’s quite the opposite. Many people who come to terms with their mental illness find a new love for themselves and some even claim to experience more energy and creativity, in a good and healthy way (not the manic kind).

These differences are what is going to continue to unite us in the mental health world, but we need to step up to the plate and embrace our differences on a global scale. The more people that we can touch, the easier it will become to have the many who are ashamed and embarrassed of their mental illness come out of the shadows. Can you imagine the day when the world will no longer associate a mental illness with a stigma?

I know that many of you continue to suffer on a daily basis because of your mental illness, and I feel your struggle, but you have to also find a way to discover the beauty behind your altered perception of reality. If you continue to dwell on the negativity associated with your mental illness, you are only giving it more power and energy to keep haunting you.

In my previous article, I talked about the importance of learning how to take back control of your mind. Now I’m taking it a step further; the importance of recognizing and connecting with your differences and unique perception and really tapping into them so that you can harness the good that lies beyond. The truth is that I have no way to teach you how to do that; you have to learn it for yourself.

At the end of the day, remember that there is no such thing as “crazy;” it’s just another label thrown around by mankind to help contribute to division and hatred. Everyone is different and that’s what makes this world beautiful.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Don’t Give Up On Your Mental Illness

Split photography of girl in front of plants

Tomorrow Is Another Day

There are many days when you just feel like giving up. No matter what you do, your mental illness is slowly taking over, controlling you as it pleases, when it pleases. Sometimes it feels like you’re just a bystander observing another entity running your life; you’re just on the sidelines in pain and discomfort. You keep trying to find ways to control it but whatever you do, it strikes back harder. Sometimes the most entertaining thought is giving up on everything.

But you can’t give up because that would mean that your mental illness has defeated you. No one deserves to lose a war against a mental illness; you may lose many battles but don’t lose a war! Losing a war is equivalent to losing your life, but losing many battles is like encountering many potholes on your journey throughout life. Potholes are okay as long as you keep pushing forward.

Even if you are medicated and still find it challenging to control your mental illness, you do not give up! There are always therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists and even family and friends who you can continue talking to. Giving up should never be the go-to strategy because with enough persistence, you will end up taking back control over your mind and defeating your mental illness.

But what do I mean by defeating? I’m not necessarily implying that you will never experience symptoms again; depending on your illness, that may prove to be a difficult task. But controlling your symptoms and learning to live with them when they do appear is what I mean by defeating your mental illness; reaching the point where you are no longer as bothered by them and you can live your life more comfortably.

You have to be realistic at times; symptoms do have a chance of recurring in the near future. For some, they enter remission and never experience symptoms ever again, but for many, symptoms do come back even if residual in nature. But with persistence, dedication and ongoing therapy, you can reach the point where you won’t be as affected and you can continue to carry on a comfortable life.

You just have to really want it and believe that you can reach that point in your life. Doubting yourself is definitely not the solution and living hopelessly is even worse. It can be a difficult process at times, but once you reach that stage where you feel like you have taken back control over your mind, you will feel amazing and discover a new type of confidence; one that will make you feel empowered and stronger than your mental illness.

Always remember that your mental illness does not define you. You define yourself.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Taking The Next Step

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The Courage To Try Something New

Part of maintaining excellent mental health has to do with developing courage to step out of your boundaries and try new things in life. It’s not easy to step out of your comfort zone when you’re so used to your routines, but sometimes your comfort zone is what is contributing to your poor mental health and you don’t even know it. It’s wise to reevaluate your life from time to time to see if you are doing everything you can to better yourself.

Many people continuously suffer from poor mental health by performing the same routine year after year. Some of these people are alcoholics, drug addicts or unemployed; they either prefer to stay in their current position or have lost the strength and courage to try something new. That’s never the place that you want to reach in life but sometimes life will bring you there if you don’t act quickly enough.

What I mean is that time flies; one minute you’re in your current situation and the next your still in the same exact position ten years later. When you don’t take control of your life, then life ends up taking control of you. When this happens, everything becomes unpredictable; even your mental health!

Stepping out of your comfort zone may feel uncomfortable at first, but once you actually do it and get over the initial hump, it often feels rewarding. As with anything in life, the more that you do it, the easier it becomes. The same applies with your mental health: you have to continuously keep it in check to make sure that you are doing everything you can to be happy. If you slack on your mental health, then it will slack on you.

So don’t be afraid to take the next step in life, even if you are scared and insecure about the process. Courage is something that you need to consistently work at if you want to be able to climb taller mountains and sail bigger seas. Without courage, it becomes quite difficult to experience bigger and better opportunities in life. Courage is what can also get you out of your current mental slump and into a more prosperous state of mind, but it takes a lot of will, desire and patience.

You can do it!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

There’s No Such Thing As Perfect Mental Health

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Your Existence Is Mental Health

If you believe that there is nothing wrong with your mental health, then you are deceiving yourself or in denial. Never believe someone who reports that nothing is wrong with their mental health. It’s like saying, “I never catch a cold. I’m pretty much healthy all the time.” If that’s the case, then you’re not human. Every living person on this planet has gone through something or is currently going through something; it’s called being human. No one can get past human suffering because this is what God wants us to experience as his creation.

We were created to experience pain and suffering in the form of mental health. We don’t necessarily have to have a mental illness but the mere fact that we are alive is game for suffering. Emotions such as sadness, anger, annoyance, irritability and many more make up the realm of mental health. The act of waking up in the morning and not looking forward to your day is part of your mental health.

Your existence is mental health and your existence is no where near perfect! Even if you have everything in the world going for you, you still fall infinitely short from perfection. Only God is perfect and humans cannot be God for there is only one; anything else you hear is Satan’s manipulation at play. Never believe a person who tells you that you can become perfect and turn into “a God;” that’s an impossible wish from its inception.

Don’t even strive for perfect mental health; you’ll never obtain it. Rather, strive to improve your mental health every single day by addressing the issues that bother you and sharing your experiences with others. The latter point cannot be overstated: you have to open up and bring what is inside out into the world so that others can hear, feel and experience your perception of reality. In doing so, you’ll be in better hands to tackle your mental health concerns.

If you are not suffering from a mental illness, don’t go out there and mess it up by abusing drugs. It’s just not worth the risk. At the end of the day, I can’t tell you what to do with your mind and body; God gave us free will to do as we wish. But keep in mind that free will does not always act in our best interest. Even if you dabble in marijuana, what’s going to stop you from advising others to not partake? There’s an inherent goodness in all of us and we want to see others be healthy, but we have to tap into this goodness for it easily gets lost when not harnessed and utilized consistently.

There’s no psychiatrist, priest, leader or any human being that will ever provide you with perfect mental health. You have to accept this fact and continue living your life the best way that you can possibly can. And if you are suffering from a mental illness, please come out and share it with someone; don’t continue to hide behind your symptoms because we all know how difficult it is to suffer alone.

There’s no such thing as perfect mental health.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

How Are You, Really?

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Mental Health During The Coronavirus Pandemic

As mental illness continues to rise as the pandemic progresses, many of us continue to ignore how others around us are doing because we are too busy focusing on ourselves. Some of us continue to be polite and show interest in others, but deep inside, we only care about ourselves, hoping that the conversation will focus on us and not the other person. But this is the problem with society; we care more to address how we are feeling than how others are feeling. This has to be changed.

From now on, rather than superficially asking another person “How are you?”, let’s add an extra word and take it a step further, “How are you, really?” By just adding one extra word, you place so much more emphasis on the question by showing the other person that you’re willing to engage and listen on a deeper level. This results in the other person opening up about things that he or she would have never previously opened up about.

One approach that you should start using with anyone who you interact with is focusing on what they really have to stay and not what you want to hear. You may not be trained to do so as you’ve been living your entire life focusing on what you have to say or not really listening when others are talking to you. But it’s time to retrain the way you interact with others and this starts by attentively listening to others’ emotions and struggles.

It’s actually fun when you make conversations less about you and more about them. Developing your listening skills is a great tool to have because it actually sets you up in a better position during conversations; it prevents you from divulging unnecessary information without first processing it. It also helps you learn more about others and their ways, helping you understand how different people function and view the world.

People will also appreciate your time more when they see that you really care about what they’re saying. The truth is that even if you try this approach, you may not really care all that much about what others are saying, but with time and practice, it will become part of your repertoire and you will see that you’ll actually start to enjoy listening to what others have to say about themselves.

But most importantly, do it for mental health. So many people are afraid to share their struggles, believing that others don’t care or will make fun of them. Let’s change that for good. Let’s show humanity that we are different and that we are here to help others open up and talk about their struggles with mental illness. We are here to carefully listen and guide others, providing them with hope, strength and power.

How are you, really? Try it.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Aiming To Be Better Than Yesterday

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Everyday Is A New Opportunity

Are you waking up everyday with hunger in your heart and mind, desiring to be better than yesterday and seeking more out of life? Are you tired of mediocracy and aiming to better yourself and no longer be a slave of money, allowing it to work for you while you kick back and relax? If you answered yes to both, then you are already on the right track, but the next logical question is, are you actually putting in the work to better yourself?

This article will not focus on the hard work necessary to achieve more success and financial freedom in your life. I’m assuming that all my readers already know that dreaming without hard work will not get you far in life. I want to focus more on the mentality required to achieve success because many work hard and fall subpar to what they deserve. The more important factor are the thoughts that you hold on a daily basis.

You have to understand that 95% of life has to do with your perception of reality or the way that you interpret yourself, others around you and the environment. Many are pessimistic and complain on a daily basis, not realizing that this is bringing much negative energy into their lives. The dangerous part about the mind is that if you are not aware of your thoughts and are living in oblivion, you’ll never realize why you are not getting the results that you want.

You cannot continue to keep living blindly, not paying attention to your thoughts; they control everything about you. Think of your mind as a computer: whatever you place in it is what you get back out of it, known as the “user experience.” If your thoughts are not improving everyday, your experience will become dull. This is why many turn to alcohol and drugs to spice up their perception of reality.

Many are going to argue back, “I don’t want to focus on my thoughts everyday. I prefer to live the simple life and for me that is living day by day.” The problem with this mentality is that not much will be accomplished, even if they do desire more out of life. The difference between those who prevail and those who remain at a certain level of mediocracy is motivation and intent: they do what it takes to get ahead but in an ethical and honest way.

The truth is that you’ll encounter many days when you’ll feel like giving up, but those are the days when you have to push extra hard to maintain your positive state of mind. Think of adversity as life’s way of strengthening you; you have to experience pain before you experience more joy. Think of the stock market: it has to go down before it goes back up again. This is the cyclical nature of life; not everything can keep going up forever. So don’t become discouraged when you don’t see the results that you want; you have to keep chipping away and believe that whatever you want will one day manifest.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)