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)

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)

Stream of Consciousness

Multicolored-digital-wallpaper-art

Influenced by Outside Forces

How do you know that you have control over yourself? How do you know that you’re being yourself? What if your thoughts are being manipulated or influenced by your environment? Everything you do is influenced by your surroundings, even when you think that you are in control. Your stream of consciousness is influenced by your surroundings. Now this doesn’t mean that you aren’t enjoying your experience. You may very well be celebrating quite often that is! But please understand that you are being influenced every second of your celebrated experience.

Who are these outside forces? Everyone who is part of your reality: movements outside your window, strangers passing you down the street, marijuana smokers staring outside their windows, parking garage employees, liquor store workers, friends, family, social media, the news and the list goes on. Do you get my point yet? Even if you have a strong grip on reality, your mind is being influenced. Keep in mind that influence does not necessarily equate to manipulation.

What is influence and what is manipulation? Being influenced to think, feel or behave in a certain way can be a good thing; it’s not always bad. Being manipulated can be good or bad but it’s always at the advantage of the person or entity who is doing it. Also keep in mind that you can be influenced and manipulated by the internet, television, podcasts, apps, billboards and books; it doesn’t always have to be by people.

Stream of consciousness face

Stream of Consciousness: What is it?

A stream of consciousness is a person’s thoughts and conscious reactions to events, perceived as a continuous flow. Your unconscious mind records every waking second of your existence, including when you’re asleep. This continuous flow of recording is designing your reality and influencing your thoughts and behaviors. Your unconscious sprinkles on to your conscious mind what it has deduced from your environment, and you react accordingly. On the other hand, you can also be aware of your stream of consciousness when it occurs on a conscious level. As a matter of fact, you’re constantly experiencing a continuous flow of thoughts and reactions to events; sometimes you don’t notice it because you don’t think about it.

The bottom line: don’t drift through life without being aware of your stream of consciousness, because you never know if you are being influenced by a negative outside force.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Stream of consciousness GIF smiley face

I Can Only Imagine

Low angle photography of yellow architecture

Creating Your Reality

You’re given a brain that is blessed with a mind. This mind gives you the ability to experience reality, mental health, perception, emotions, thought content, relationships, etc. This mind gives you the ability to create, though you never thought about doing that before, have you? I can only imagine how wonderful it is to be able to visualize something into existence.

Many of us rely on our environment to create our reality; sometimes our mental health too! We rely on others to provide us with happiness, joy and contentment, when we should be providing this for ourselves.

What is the solution? Writing the rules. Waking up tomorrow and deciding that you will start taking things in your own hands. Waking up tomorrow and crying your tears out, realizing how much power you truly hold.

You disconnecting from your environment which is most likely half asleep and living in a trance like sheep in a pen. Aren’t you ready to evolve beyond this? Aren’t you ready to create and design your reality so that you can avoid mental health suffering?

I can only imagine: white hand holding green Earth

I Can Only Imagine What Reality Looks Like

The one defining feature that separates humans from animals is our imagination. Through imagination we can create our reality. Through repetition of thoughts, our unconscious mind somehow learns to attract our desires into the physical realm. I’m not sure how it works but it does. Have you ever repeatedly thought of something and then noticed it appear in your life? It usually happens when you least expect it.

You don’t always get access to it, but at least you can observe it. But sometimes you do get access to the object or person you visualized. My point is that our thoughts shape our reality, but I don’t understand how. Somehow, we attract in our life what we think about. I don’t have an explanation for how it happens, but I’ve noticed that it does.

Your job is not to focus on how your mind manifests things into reality, but to use your mind to manifest whatever you desire. A lot of people don’t use their imagination and live simple lives. Are you satisfied with just having a random job, house and a car? Don’t you want more out of life? If you do, then you have to start using your imagination and believing that your dreams will become a reality.

It can happen and it will happen. You just have to do it. I can only imagine.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Same Mental Illness, Different Perception Of Reality

Woman with white paint on palm and face

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)

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Planes Are Dropping COVID-19

Flying plane in dark leaving trail of smoke behind

When Reality Turns Into A Video Game

We’ve touched upon mental health patients who were previously stable and decompensated from the coronavirus pandemic, as well as patients who were not stable in the first place and who further decompensated mentally. But we haven’t touched upon normal people with no preexisting mental health conditions who became psychotic due to the coronavirus pandemic.

There are people who were previously functional prior to the Chinese virus hitting the streets of America. These people were going to work, were completely functional, interacting with friends and family and going on with their normal lives; not even their families were ever suspicious of any loose nuts or bolts in their mental health.

Until the coronavirus hit. Some of these people reported that they were watching a lot of news and constantly worrying about people dying; imagine a tea kettle exploding. They would watch the news so much that it slowly starting impacting their lives: they stopped going to work and started spending more time isolated at home.

Keep in mind that these people never had any previous mental health symptoms. Now that work was out of the picture, they found themselves at home entertaining strange thoughts, such as the UPS truck driver delivering them a package filled with a bomb or the actual virus itself.

If that’s not enough, they even started experiencing visual hallucinations for the first time. Some of these visions included seeing shadows on the walls and the sky turning pitch black. They even started to believe that their cell phone was being traced and also reported hearing voices in their head telling them that they would get the coronavirus.

At this point in time, they became completely nonfunctional within a matter of a month. Keep in mind that not everyone has insight into their psychosis; to some of these people, what they were experiencing felt like reality, but in reality, they were experiencing a video game: planes dropping COVID-19 in the form of dark smoke, evil characters dropping off contaminated UPS packages and demons entering their minds and whispering, “gotcha ya!”

The point is that some people cannot handle catastrophic events like the current coronavirus pandemic; the intensity of the situation overwhelms their rational mind, converting it into an irrational battlefield. So they end up getting admitted to an inpatient psychiatric unit and placed on psychotropic medications such as Zyprexa and Thorazine. Thankfully, these medications are powerful enough to end their psychosis but not all return back to being completely normal.

Do you know anyone adversely affected by the coronavirus?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Silently Panicking

Brown and black desk globe with yellow "stay home" sticky note on top of it

Living In A Ghost Town

The coronavirus pandemic is every bit as mental as it is physical. You are not in the clear if you don’t have physical symptoms because your perception on reality has now been altered. It’s not like you purposely altered your perception; it just happened as a reaction to the virus infecting humanity. Just take a look outside and you will see how quiet the streets are; ghosts have replaced human beings.

New York is not what it used to be. It now takes 30 minutes to get from eastern Queens to Washington Heights where Columbia University is located; on a normal day, it would take 45-60 minutes. Walking down the streets of Manhattan, very few people can be observed. Almost everyone is wearing a mask and you don’t even have to wait at a red light if you are attempting to cross the street; no cars are coming in the opposite direction!

There are more parked cars than there are moving vehicles. Sadly, people are either at home or in the hospital; society feels totally shut down. At least hospital cafeterias and coffee shops remain open; there are no lines and the food options have decreased greatly. But you can still get a nice warm veggie pizza however!

No more long Starbucks lines. You can now receive your Caramel Frappuccino in a couple of minutes. But as you slowly make your way back outside, you unconsciously start to panic after you see the empty streets again. You also develop a dry cough . . . “Does this mean that I have COVID-19?”

As you very well may now, this time of the year you are still susceptible to acquiring a common cold or the flu. But because of the coronavirus slowly destroying society, you start to freak out when your cough persists. Your anxiety level starts to build as you wonder if you are walking around infected. If you are living alone at home, you start to become sad as you start to feel isolated and distanced from society.

But then you remind yourself that the rest of the world is isolated at home too and that you’re not the only one. But does that help?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Psychotic And COVID-19 Positive

Psychotic man leaning on frosted glass panel door

When Mental Illness Trumps COVID-19

When psychosis infects your brain and reality retires on vacation, anything can hit you and you’ll likely remain oblivious. That’s because psychosis takes over your thoughts and the way you interpret reality. Imagine the part of your mind that is in tune with reality laying on the beach holding a corona and stating, “I’m done . . . I can no longer deal with his psychosis. Peace.” What’s left in your brain is psychosis with an evil smile stating, “My turn.”

The problem with psychosis is that even patients who are infected with COVID-19 may not be aware of their symptoms . . . or they may be aware but not fully comprehend the nature and severity of their illness and situation. You may try to explain to them that they are infected with a deadly disease and they may look at you like, “COVID? Is that a satellite dish detecting gray space folks?”

When a patient suffers from psychosis and COVID-19, oftentimes, the psychosis trumps the physical disorder. That’s because psychosis takes over the mind and when the mind is distracted, physical symptoms become slowly buried. Unless severe pain is involved, shortness of breath and fever are no match in the ring versus auditory hallucinations and delusional fantasies.

So what becomes of this situation is the question. The patient will end up being treated for the coronavirus and hopefully recover, while quarantined that is. But as far as their insight goes, they will not care that much about their physical symptoms. They may complain that their cough is getting worse or even their shortness of breath, but as compared to a person with no psychosis, their complaints will be minor.

It’s always important to keep in mind that a psychotic patient cannot always relate to reality as well as other people can. It depends on the severity of their psychosis, but psychosis is psychosis at the end of the day . . . something is still off in their thought process and content. That’s why we have to be extra cautious with patients suffering from a mental illness and who are COVID positive . . . they may never report their symptoms in the first place.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

You Decide Your Reality

Below view of window ceiling architecture based on the perception of reality

The Garden Of Positive Affirmations

I often hear people saying “this or that will be hard, my life is so miserable, I can’t take it anymore”; what they don’t seem to understand is that they’re feeding their mind these negative comments. Your mind is like a garden; it’s easy to grow weeds (negative thoughts) but it takes work and effort to grow flowers (positive thoughts). Be thankful for what you have definitely promotes flowers!

“You decide your reality” means you have a large saying in how your life goes; your perception of reality plays a large component. Studies have shown that people who practice positive affirmations (daily repetition of positive phrases) are happier, more optimistic and have a clearer perspective on life.

We often get stuck in negative thoughts based on events that occur in our life; negativity has such a strong impact on our mind and personality if we don’t learn to tame it. First, is coming to terms with the fact that negativity will never go away; it’s just part of life.

After you have accepted this, now your task becomes to tame negativity: learning to not be as strongly affected by it and quickly putting it aside shortly after its inception, will help you recover more effectively.

Practicing positive affirmations does not mean that you are ignoring your reality and being unrealistic. It is a tool that can help you stay positive and reframe the way you think, believe and perceive the world and your surroundings.

Find your positive inner child and have fun creating positive affirmations; you have been given free will to control your thoughts. Why let the world decide for you how to think, feel and react when you are the controller of your mind?

The DSM Ready Movement is based on positivity; a free community based on openness and honesty and the advancement of human consciousness through the power of love!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)