I speak a lot about reclaiming, rebalancing, and reconnecting to our Self for better mental awareness. Our deepest Self, with a capital S, is that place inside of us where everything feels at peace. It is the Self that appears when nothing has changed in our outside world but still a deep and profound sense of inner serenity and peace washes over us. The Self that shows up when we’re painting, writing, reading, laughing, swimming... or doing anything that helps our mind relax.
The method to better mental health is simple. Remove what is stripping your happiness, and add more of what doesn’t.
FIRST, we need to assess our current situation. Where are we at in our lives? Look deeply and honestly. What is holding you down? Fear, relationships, career, finances, anything and everything. Write it down and bring it to the forefront of your mind. This can be challenging and somethings emotional, and this is okay – simply by recognising that it is there you have taken the first step towards removing yourself of it.
GET organised. What can you do to change the situation that is affecting your mental health? If you cannot change the situation, then you can change how you perceive the situation. Both options are in our control. If something needs to change for you to live the life that you are here to live, your choices cannot be passive. You play the lead role in this life and if things are negatively impacting your physical or mental health it is only you that can take the necessary change. The moment you let someone save you, you give away your power. After handing your lesson over for someone else to fix, you fall back into the same helpless and powerless state over and over until the time finally comes when you can stand up and choose strength over weakness.
CHECK your social media usage. This is the most important step and subsequently the most detailed. Get honest with yourself, what is draining you the most right now? Do you feel anxious from your own problems or from the problems of a billion others online?
Excuse my French, but get that sh** out of your system. Make real connections, listen to real stories, write real words. These are the things that will bring you back to life. Social media has literally been fabricated to create an addiction society, the more time we spend there the more the company makes in profit. They hire experts from the gambling industry who designed the slot machines (which are known to be one of the most addictive things to the human brain) to get us addicted. They then target users of all ages through advertisements exploiting the innate human desire for attention. We are social beings but behind social media we forget who we really are, how to build meaningful relationships, and how to enjoy life.
Instagram is so cleverly thought out that even the slight pause when you open the app before you get a notification is designed so that the release of dopamine hits you at the right time to suck you into a time-warp of mindless scrolling. Many people who work in Silicon Valley recognise the severity of the damage that social media has on our brain chemistry, so much so that they say things like, “…I don’t let my kids touch that sh*t.”
As people’s conscience creeps up on them, there have been more and more people surfacing to speak up about the dark truths behind social media. ‘The Centre for Humane Technology’ is a group that was created by tech insiders trying to encourage the change of design of social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram because they see the damage it is causing to our mental health. Even the group title suggests that the current design strategies are inhumane. One tech insider who worked at Facebook said that he feels guilty because he “was part of creating a software that is literally damaging the fabric of society.”
The question is, how much time do you really want to invest in companies that are strategically designed to negatively alter your brains chemistry? Companies that know exactly the damage they are doing, that refuse to let their children use the software that they have created but continue to advertise to yours in platforms such as 'Messenger for Kids', which is targeted at kids under 13 years of age.
Taking your life into your own hands and being responsible with how you use your time is vital to any kind of personal growth. Even taking regular breaks or setting a social media schedule is better than being consumed by it 24 hours a day. Personally, I think that it is an important time in history to get out into the world and to say bon voyage to ALL companies draining our lives and our earth for profit.
The average time that people spend on social media is 4 hours a day. If that continues throughout your life-span then a QUARTER of your life will be spent on social media.
How long would it take you to start living your dream? Instead of spending a quarter of your life on social media, why don’t you start writing that book? Or learn that language? Paint? Listen to old music? Go outside? Even better, instead of reaching for Instagram - let's check in with our partner? Our children? How are they feeling? When did we last ask? Slowing things down and enjoying the smaller things in life helps us to regain a lot of clarity on what is important.
I invite you to take a break from social media, even just for a day, or a week, or even better, a month and tell me how you feel. Tell me what withdrawals you feel from being ‘disconnected’ from society for the first few days, tell me your struggles. Most importantly – tell me how much lower your anxiety is, perhaps it’s completely gone. Tell me how your sleep is better, and how you feel less pressure to do and more time to just be. Tell me how your creativity can breathe and your shoulders are softer.
Of course there are more ways than these to achieve better mental health. There are many yogic techniques and Ayurvedic practices that I will share with you, but I encourage you to try the simple things first and see what a profound impact they have. It's in the small things that you find the magic.
Start with the things you can do.
Sending love on your journeys,