Don’t Be A Slave To Technology

iMac computer on white desk in bright lit room

Hooked On Apps

With modern-day technology right at our fingertips, it can become very easy to fall trap to an addiction. Whether it’s dating apps, gaming or binge watching Netflix all day, everyone has a tendency to surf the border between a normal experience vs. a pathological one. This is because technology does a great job at targeting our reward center in the brain known as the nucleus accumbens. This is where the neurotransmitter dopamine is released, making us feel good!

It’s very difficult for us to step away from technology because it’s so prevalent in our lives. Unless you decide to go live in the great outdoors somewhere in Colorado or Montana, you’re going to be surrounded by technology whether you like it or not. Unless you decide to live without cable, internet or even a cell phone, then you’re going to be surrounded by technology. It’s scary to say but there’s almost no escaping it!

So what can we do so that we don’t feel enslaved to it? We have to harness the willpower within us to balance our lives. Consciously, we know that we need to make a change but we often lack the strength to do so. It’s easier to succumb to our habits of relying on technology because it provides instant gratification, on a conscious level and all the way down on a neurochemical level. Minute amounts of dopamine release is enough to keep us engrained in our daily technological habits.

The willpower that I am talking about involves putting aside your technological habit and replacing it with something else, whether it’s for 5 minutes or a couple of hours. The replacement obviously should be something not related to technology, such as reading, exercising, socializing, etc. Most people fail at this point because they realize that they should be doing something else, but end up just doing what is easier; in this case, technology.

It’s quite a challenge these days to get involved with activities that don’t incorporate technology, especially as it continues to rapidly evolve. Honestly speaking, it sometimes feels like a virus that surrounds us 24/7. This virus might be more deadlier than COVID-19; it might not kill you, but it certainly has the potential of psychologically harming you over many years to come. How about the young man who committed suicide after he found out that he owed $750,000 dollars on Robinhood after an unsuccessful investment? But let’s not view technology as a virus because it seems too gloomy to do so, but it is food for thought!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

I Am Immune To Negativity

Young black man with glasses holding hand on chin

Positive Affirmation: Negativity

“I am immune to negativity because I don’t allow outside forces to influence me and affect my emotions, state of mind and mental wellbeing. Negativity does not penetrate me because I am comfortable in my own skin and do not allow outside forces to break into my psyche in order to put me down. I can walk through life with many arrows shot at me and I will not fall because I stand straight and tall and I am confident in my actions. I am immune to negativity day and night!”

I Am Free Of Internal Noise

Colorful brain diagram labeled with words

Positive Affirmation: Internal Chatterbox

“I am free of internal noise which constantly whispers negative messages into my mind and attempts to degrade me on a daily basis. I am free of this internal noise because I have full control over my mind and I decide what comes in and goes out. I am the master of my mind and no outside force can influence it without my permission!”

Why Mental Health Is The New Medicine

Shallow focus photography of white bald man holding brown chess piece over chess board

Paying More Attention To Your Mental Health

As we continue to move forward with every passing year, society will come to appreciate the importance of mental health. This is because with every passing decade, societal events seem to be getting worse; I’m not being pessimistic, just realistic. How much longer will people continue to experience adverse events in society and not have an honest conversation with themselves about their mental health?

I predict that society will shift its focus more from physical ailments onto mental ones. Genetics we can’t control, but a great diet, a sound sleep hygiene and a consistent exercise routine are things we have heard of over a million times; in other words, we already know what we need to do to stay physically healthy and fit. But can the same be said about our mental health? Do we really know how to stay mentally health?

If we do, then why have mental health cases increased during this coronavirus pandemic? Because we have no clue how to stay mentally health! We have a pandemic hit and CNN and Fox News pounding more negative news into our minds, leaving us nervous, worried, anxious and some even psychotically-destined! Most of us have not even encountered this virus and have never developed any physical symptoms, yet our mental health has taken a hit!

Has anyone ever stepped back to think that maybe the real target of this virus was not our physical health but our mental? The body is very sturdy and can survive many physical ailments; if it weren’t, we wouldn’t have survived as humans to see the year 2020. But our mind is weaker than our body because it’s vulnerable to fear, manipulation and confusion; through control of the mind, our body slowly breaks down.

It’s time to wake up and pay more attention to your thoughts. It’s time to pay more attention to what you feed your mind. It’s time to pay more attention to what sources of information you rely on. It’s time to pay more attention to what you are reading. It’s time to pay more attention to your emotions because they always stem from your thoughts first. It’s time to pay more attention to your environment. It’s time to pay more attention to your dreams.

It’s time to pay more attention.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Psych Patients Desire Authenticity

Two women and two men wearing blue face masks with Mona Lisa painting on wall

I Want To Learn More About You

It’s not so much the content of what you say but your approach and delivery. Anyone can walk in with pride and command a patient to do this or that, but the chances that the patient will listen to you or open up are not that high. An honest approach followed by consistent listening and the development of rapport and a strong therapeutic alliance will take the patient much farther into his or her treatment.

This is because like anyone in life, psychiatric patients desire authenticity. Patients are very good at sniffing doctors who are authentic from those who just go to work to make a living. The former are the ones who tend to be of the most help, regardless of the medical school or residency which they have attended. Patients want a doctor who can connect with them and put them before the doctor’s pride and image.

It’s very difficult for psychiatric patients to deal with their mental illness, especially when they are involuntarily locked into a psychiatric unit for up to 60 days at a time. Not only are they battling their internal demons, but their environment which is a closed unit with windows, some computers and a television displaying negative news from around the world. The last thing that they need is a doctor who is not authentic in their ways.

On the other hand, many physicians are struggling themselves with balancing work and their personal lives. Especially in the field of psychiatry, it’s not easy to listen and talk all day about other people’s problems and then go home and take care of yourself and your family. There is currently a high burnout rate among physicians around the world; the stress and pressure of the job is very demanding and adds up over time.

Many physicians don’t actually intend to mistreat a patient with disrespect; they are just so stressed out themselves that their encounter with the patient may come off as non-empathetic. But this is the difference between great physicians and mediocre ones; the former know how to keep their stress levels in check and maintain their professionalism at all times.

Overall, the field of psychiatry is not an easy one. Many believe that it’s not difficult to just sit around all day and talk, but talking everyday for 8-12 hours does become very tiring, especially if your life is not balanced. Whether patient or physician, everyone has a different struggle that they experience, but at the end of the day, we should all aim for authenticity and respect and nothing less.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Taking The Next Step

White dog running on narrow wooden bridge

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)

The Second Wave Is Forming

Digital map with number of total deaths from coronavirus

Coronavirus 2.0

Just when we thought that the coronavirus scare was going way, we were pulled right back in with more news of a second wave expected to hit next winter. However, this wave is expected to be worse because it will be at the start of the influenza season, where two forces will join together to attempt to take down as many humans as possible. The scary part is that we haven’t even finished with the first wave.

So if this is correct, then what will the next 7 months look like? Will we recover from this first coronavirus wave and relax for a while, before we gather the troops at the border and prepare for a second round of bullets? This goes to show you how much more powerful and deadly natural disasters can be as compared to human evilness.

But let’s not ignore all the other natural events that will also continue to occur, such as earthquakes and forest fires in California, hurricanes in Louisiana and Florida and tornados in middle America. In addition, influenza, the common cold and other potential diseases will hit as well. And for those who believe in global warming, well . . . you can add that too.

Let’s not forget the economy which is being slowly destroyed by the current wave of the coronavirus. The federal government is printing trillions of dollars out of thin air as if we had a magical money tree; this tactic will not work in the long run and they know that very well. But they must try something as desperate times call for desperate measures.

With the unemployment rate continuing to rise, many Americans will continue to remain out of work, relying on their savings and potential future governmental stimulus checks. Even if this current coronavirus clears up, many Americans will not be able to go back to work because their businesses are now buried. All of this will further contribute to poor mental health and many Americans will find themselves with a new diagnosis.

How are you handling this current pandemic and the news of a possible second wave this upcoming winter?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Mental Health Is King

Abstract photo of naked green person standing on green and white wall with arms hanging down

We Are Here To Help Each Other Out

Losing your mind is not something that you should ever entertain. It might sound cool to experiment with drugs because they alter your reality, but many have their reality permanently altered. The mind is extremely precious: it gets us through our day, allows us to experience creative sparks, keeps us functional and provides an opportunity for enjoying the world. Mental health is king!

With physical disorders, you can still manage to function. Of course there are some diseases which rob peoples’ lives way to early. But with mental health, you don’t necessarily lose your life early, but you may continue to suffer for years at a time; some suffer for their entire lives.

It’s important to note that the mind controls the body and not the other way around. If we don’t have a brain, our body becomes useless. The brain is the most vital organ because it controls bodily functions and allows you to experience consciousness. This argument cannot be made with the heart whose sole function is to pump oxygenated blood from your lungs to the rest of the body.

Your heart doesn’t provide you with consciousness and what’s life without consciousness? The only reason we are alive is to be conscious of our surroundings and to experience this creation called “life.” Our body is just here to carry our soul and allow us to survive on planet Earth. That’s why taking care of your mental health is vital to living a good and prosperous life.

Unfortunately, many take their mental health for granted by abusing drugs, not visiting a psychiatrist when depressed or anxious and not getting the proper sleep that they need. Think of your mental health as the health of a computer. Your mind continuously downloads information every second of your waking and sleeping life; it never shuts off.

A computer does the same besides when you press “shutdown.” The problem with a computer is that if you are careless and visit random websites and download a bunch of crap, it will acquire viruses and trojan horses and begin to malfunction. The same can happen with your mental health.

That’s why it’s important to exercise, eat properly, get a good night’s sleep, socialize and maintain a meaningful life. Drugs and alcohol should be minimized or not even used at all. You should try incorporating 10-15 minutes of mindfulness a day and you should always strive to be as happy as you can. Mental health truly is king!

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Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Social Media Impacting Your Mental Health

Woman with pink shorts and exposed legs holding phone with Instagram on

The Exotic Lifestyles Of Instagram

With so much time on our hands during this social distancing chapter of our lives, it’s hard not to notice the exotic pictures on instagram and other social media websites. Believe it or not, not everyone is stuck in your typical apartment or house in a normal town. Many are stuck in exotic places like Caribbean islands! But does social media negatively impact your mental health?

You bet it does. But it also depends if you allow it to. Remember that everything works on an unconscious level: our interactions with others, our observation of the environment, our perception of others’ lives, etc. Everything is recorded in the unconscious mind. Social media is basically a snapshot of others’ lives in that timeframe, but it is not at all representative of how those people are feeling.

The problem with social media is that when we observe pictures that we are attracted to, we forget to remind ourselves that it does not mean that the people in those pictures are happy with their lives. We just focus on the glamour and when we do that, it has the potential to make us sad in return, because we compare it with our ordinary lives.

So what you end up getting out of social media is a small dopamine rush by noticing beautiful and attractive pictures of people, places and things at the expense of your own happiness. That’s because the dopamine rush (which is minuscule in this case but strong enough to notice) lasts for a very short time, but your unhappiness can last for a much longer time.

So what you end up doing is revisiting these social media websites to get more of your fix, rather than focusing on your life and how to improve your mental health. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t spend time visiting social media platforms, but be aware of your state of mind and how it can be easily influenced by social media; don’t be oblivious!

And definitely don’t envy the exotic lifestyles which you notice on Instagram. Being envious towards others’ success will only make you miserable and prevent you from developing your own success. Don’t be that person. Rather, be appreciative and happy for others’ success. Would you want others to be envious of your success? I hope that you wouldn’t.

We are supposed to live happily together by teaching, sharing and helping each other. Our goal is to try to diminish the negative traits in humanity and promote new positive ones that can be passed down to future generations!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Finding Refuge In The Park

Green trees in park at golden hour

Forest Fuel: Nature Heals My Mental Health

If it’s not work then it’s being at home. If it’s not being at home, then it’s being stuck within your mind while at home. It’s fair to say that most people would agree that life has dramatically changed within the last couple of months and certainly not for the better. It sometimes feels like we have become prisoners to our own home; the rooms feel like they are closing in on us more every day.

But it’s our mind that is closing in on us. We start to become inpatient when spending so much time in the house: activities become repetitive, the news is getting old and going “virtual” is not at all exciting. The fact that we’ve reached a point in time that our government is telling us to stay home is quite worrisome.

They keep emphasizing “social distancing” repeatedly like we’re little kids who do not comprehend the first time around. But there is a reason that many of us do not comprehend social distancing and that’s because we are losing our mind by staying indoors all day. But one gem that remains available is our parks!

Finding refuge in the park is no exaggeration. It provides a calm and relaxing environment where we can sit on benches, jog on trails, walk on grass and converse with friends and family. Now that mother nature has rewarded us with the beauty of Spring, the park has become an even more pleasant place to retreat during this coronavirus pandemic.

The park is like a reset of your mental health throughout the day. Whether you are still working or casually relaxing within the comforts of your home, the park provides a beautiful opportunity to relieve your stress and connect with nature. Putting all medications aside, nature is still one of the best healers of mental health!

It helps you leave your hole which you call your “home” and allows you to release your thoughts into the wild, allowing the trees to scatter them away into the distance. The park welcomes you with a big hug provided by the sun rays and wind streams brushing away from the trees and on towards you; the park engulfs you with mental comfort!

If you are feeling sad and lonely during this COVID-19 catastrophe, remember that you are not alone! We all are. But don’t be afraid to leave your home and find a park to help heal your mental health. Don’t remain in your house for endless days at a time; you are ripping your mental health apart by doing that.

Let’s consciously connect together in the park!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)