Maintaining your wellbeing is one of the most important things to prioritize in your life, but it can sometimes seem overwhelming or challenging to make it a daily priority. Life can undoubtedly get busy, but that doesn’t mean self-care and your own personal happiness should take a back seat to any other commitments you have going on in your day-to-day. If you are unsure of how to improve the overall quality of your wellbeing, take a look at 5 simple suggestions that are sure to make a massive impact.
Sometimes, the best way to overcome our mental health challenges is to, rather than focusing on the problem(s), turn away from them. Shifting our focus and perspective can empower us to transcend, to rise above, any problem we face.
Perhaps a clarification is in order before going forward: Changing focus isn’t about avoiding or ignoring or even getting rid of problems. Avoiding, I learned from my own life experiences as well as through working with others, tends to make problems bigger. Fighting problems to make them disappear doesn’t work, either. Some things, such as mental illness, brain injury, and chronic health problems, don’t fully disappear.
The idea of quieting the mind seems like a foreign concept, esoteric and perhaps even the stuff of science fiction. As our society get busier and noisier and faster, so, too, do our minds. Stress levels have skyrocketed, tens of…
Life. It’s a ride. Specifically, it’s a roller coaster, and according to Grandma in the movie Parenthood (1989), a roller coaster is wonderful. She describes,
“You know, it was just so interesting to me that a ride could make me so frightened, so scared, so sick, so excited, and so thrilled all together! Some didn’t like it. They went on the merry-go-round. That just goes around. Nothing. I like the roller coaster. You get more out of it.”
Panic attacks are nasty little–no, nasty huge–storms that can hit suddenly, and tear through the mind and body like an F5 tornado, the strongest type of this destructive storm. In describing tornadoes, Enchanted Learning says that their intensity is difficult to measure “because a tornado usually destroys local measuring equipment, and also because tornadoes only exist for a short time at random places and they are gone before meteorologists can study them.” That description sounds a bit like panic attacks, doesn’t it?
Ah, life. So many adjectives describe it. Magnificent, stressful, wonderful, difficult, joyous, challenging, invigorating, and exhausting are but a few words that apply to the four-letter-word “life” (and there are, indeed, some four-letter-words that can also describe it). Note that among the words just listed, “easy” is not present. In the words of the great philosopher/writer Voltaire, “Life is a shipwreck…” That it is. As human beings, we must struggle against many obstacles and challenges. From the moment of our first interaction with siblings or our first play date with friends, we have to discover and rediscover and re-rediscover how to work with others to keep our sailboats afloat. We have to protect what is ours yet share what is ours. We have to adjust our behavior according to social norms yet be true to ourselves. We have to figure out how to navigate relationships that involve power disparity. We have to defend ourselves yet avoid being aggressive.
When I worked as a teacher and then a teacher/counselor in different high schools, I was shocked to discover that a significant number of students, both female and male, were trapped in unhealthy relationships that ranged from toxic to downright abusive. Out of care and concern for these adolescents grew Losing Elizabeth. I wanted to reach teens, starting in middle school but older adolescents as well, through a simple story, stripped of extraneous detail that could detract from the message. I sought to write a tale of fiction that would entertain rather than preach and one that could reach younger adolescents before they begin to date as well as older ones who themselves might be trapped in a controlling relationship. The result was Losing Elizabeth.
Let’s face it. Being human is often no easy task. Myriad challenges can greet us on a daily, even an hourly, basis. We face struggles both intrapersonal and interpersonal. There are work difficulties and home difficulties. Illnesses physical and mental rise up to block us in our quest for a life worth living. All of this is enough to make anyone want to hole up in a dark, quiet room and rarely leave.