Apr 22
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Advice for mental health awareness week

Mental health awareness week.

The recognition that our mental health is as, if not more important, than our physical health, becomes more and more apparent in today’s world. We live in a far more disconnected world than ever before; our individualistic, consumer orientated societies, the time we spend on screens rather than in the real world, the obsession of our media on fostering fear divisions and black & white viewpoints. The direction the world has taken over the last century or so, the recent events especially the pandemic and wars have only exasperated this reality. We are social animals and we need connection with others; however we live in a time of increased dis-connection, is it any wonder we have a mental health crisis.

So how do we go about changing this? The first point which many of us need to internalise is that just as we look for positive results in our life materially, physically, financially etc. by creating the right causes to achieve these things, education, hard work etc. the same dynamic is a fundamental truth for our own minds. We tend to miss the fact that what we do, think about, read, listen to and bring into our mental space is a cause for our future mental states. Perhaps due to the delay we fail to recognise this cause and effect dynamic within our minds but it is absolutely the case, possibly even more so than on the physical level, that our mental state today is a function of what we brought into our minds previously. Working with our minds is not only essential but eminently do-able!

How do we approach this seemingly daunting task of working with our mental state?

The key to begin with is creating awareness within our minds, knowing how we are feeling and thinking inside not running away from that reality. Simple awareness and meditation practices do this very easily and effectively. They will also bring an ability to focus and direct our attention where we need it to be which becomes more and more essential.

We then need to take a frank and honest look at our negative states of mind; anger, grasping attachment, anxiety, fear etc. as these are manifestly causes which lead to unhealthy mental states. Again the key here is observation creating space between ‘ourselves’ and these states and thus being able to let them go.

Finally to directly counter the disconnect we all feel, as mentioned earlier, we may not be able to physically change things such as screens, the media etc. but we can change our internal reality and bring connection into that level and that is sufficient. Some of the most connected people I’ve ever come across were solitary hermits which no physical connection with others but through their minds were more connected than most of us. And the key to this? As all major spiritual/religious traditions state very clearly, love and compassion. Bringing these into our minds, initially towards ourselves and extending the feeling to all living beings brings connection, confidence, health and happiness into our minds and hence into our world.

Make working with your mind an integral part of your life, it works and the benefits cannot be overstated. Start today!

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