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Week 11 - Mental Health 101

Week 11 - Mental Health 101

As I explained at the conclusion of the last post I believe it is now necessary for us to move into the Mental Health realm next before tackling Exercise.  This whole wellness journey is going to require time and effort.  And who has the extra time to devote to studying new material and then devote more time to putting that knowledge into practice?  The only way to do that is to free up some of your time.  And it is my belief that much valuable time is wasted pursuing activities motivated by unhealthy self-talk that serves a different purpose other than to aid in the advancement of health, happiness, and contentment.

Our MIND is a powerful thing.  Our self-awareness, cognitive skills, and ability to act on intellectually derived conclusions have set us apart, allowing us to develop into the most advanced animal on the planet.  We have used our minds to control any and all predators, and for all practical purposes WE have become the king and queen of the forest!

But that unique evolutionary development of a pre-frontal cortex can be a two-edged sword.  Yes, we have the ability to reason beyond the capabilities of the rest of the animal kingdom and reason gives us the ability to choose.  Not simply instinctual choices but reasoned choices about how we will live out our lives.  The trouble is this makes us vulnerable.  We are vulnerable to the input from the sources of our learning, good and bad

 I don’t believe anyone would argue that an individual’s best chance at succeeding in this world is if the environment he/she grew up in was a loving one, and where access to good food, secure housing, education, and positive experiences were the norm.  An environment where a healthy sense of self-worth or self-esteem was developed.  I would argue that it is those who have a high self-worth who make the wisest choices for themselves.  And wise choices for yourself leads to a healthy mental state.

We will explore how the human mind dominates the direction of the potential health status both of the individual and, ultimately, our species.  Wow, that’s powerful!  The importance of understanding this mind-body connection cannot be understated in order for it to work to our advantage.   

We take in information via our senses.  The mind coordinates this information and we ultimately develop belief systems.  From these belief systems we form judgments.  Our judgments stimulate our actions and it is these collective actions or choices we make that we wrap up into what we call “my life”.

These choices include what you will have for dinner, what friends you choose to hang out with, what activities you choose to engage in, and even what thoughts you “choose” to have.  Yes, even your thoughts are ultimately derived from past sensory information coupled with your responses to that information.  These thoughts, derived from your experiences, past, present and future, create your ever evolving Belief Systems

Now, I am not trying to change your belief systems.  I just want you to be aware of the mechanics of the development of belief systems.  You will come to your own conclusions.  But by making them your OWN you become empowered.  And empowerment is the first step to a healthy mental state.

So, where do we start in our self-discovery?  The first thing we will do is acknowledge and evaluate the greatest influences on our belief systems.

The Big Ones: 



 Mother: from, “Don’t try and be someone you’re not”, to “You can become anything you set your mind on becoming.”



Father: from “Do what you’re told”, to “That’s a great idea!




  Teacher: from “There is only one way to get ahead”, to “Think outside the box.”




 Preacher: Many roads lead to hell, but only one road leads to heaven”, to “Seek and ye shall find.”



This week make a mental note, or even a list if you'd like, of the greatest positive influences these people have had on you.  Look at your life and see what things that you really enjoy came from what these people said, gave you, the environment they fostered, or the example they set that now lives inside you and has given you abilities, strength, and peace.

On the other hand make a list of habits you have that may have grown out of less-than-stellar examples, advice, or environment. 

These influences can’t help but be both good and bad.  And becoming a true individual, which is the characteristic of mentally healthy people, will require you to face them, accept them, and then decide if you still want to be influenced in the same way.  Believe me, there will be many yes’ and many no’s.

This is truly a beautiful world,
we're on our way to expriencing it to the fullest!

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