I just want to talk about mental health. It seems to me that every other person is on medication suffering from stress, anxiety, depression or some form of mental distress. It used to be mainly adults that suffered when I was a kid but nowadays children and teenagers seem to be struggling with school, friends and generally within themselves. So what is impacting our lives now that is making this massive shift in our mental well-being?
Times have certainly changed rapidly in the last 20 years. Technology has a huge part to play in the changes that have happened to social interaction. Once upon a time we picked up a phone and called a friend or even walked next door to see a neighbour. Now we send a quick text. No one seems to have time for anyone and yet we all judge ourselves on how many Facebook friends we have. These are not real friendships which is so confusing for the younger generation. Alongside that, bullying has increased as this is hard to monitor when it’s done through social media or messaging.
Teens in particular are at the mercy of social media. They wake up look at their phone get on social media and are slapped with how they should look, what brand of clothes they should wear, what they should eat, where they should go at the weekend, how many likes they got for their last post and is that enough etc etc etc. It’s no surprise that our teens are anxious with all these expectations, not forgetting there’s good old-fashioned study on top of all this. Most of them are just confused about who they should follow, how they should act and are they good enough!
Many of us adults also just feel out of control. There’s work, kids,housework,gardening,shopping, cooking and cleaning. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg. We have stress at work, stress at home, little to no time to even think about ourselves, and friendships to maintain alongside a social life. Social media slaps us in the face with everyone else having a perfect life and a full on fun weekend surrounded by our numerous friends. But have we all just lost touch with reality?
What is causing the increased mental distress?
So I have a theory on why people are suffering so badly with their mental health. Years ago all we needed to do was survive. We needed warmth, food, somewhere to sleep, and clean water to drink. Our instincts were basic for survival. Flight or fight would regularly kick in as we fought to literally survive. Our days were spent hunting for food and protecting ourselves and our family. We lived in communities and worked together to grow crops, walked miles for clean water, washed clothes in a stream, picked fruit and cooked over an open fire. All our energy was focused on these basic needs.
Our fears were therefore based around the need for survival. Without this basic fear our heads have gone wild. We escalate everyday small problems into fears. Things like I’m running late, my boss is in a bad mood, I can’t find a parking space, there’s a traffic jam, I don’t know what to cook for dinner, I’ve failed a test etc etc. None of this will kill us!! And yet we allow these things to stress us out throughout our day.
The modern day world
So if we look at what we now have to do it’s no wonder we are suffering. We have technology to deal with which has rapidly grown at a rate that is too difficult to deal with. Our poor kids have been the guinea pigs for this new era of social media, having very little need for actual social interaction. Parents are equally to blame with the launch of the mobile phone. We are so distracted with texts, football results, answering emails and obsessive googling.
So what happens to that fight for survival? Well it’s no longer necessary so our instinct turns to what we have. Our stress builds around social situations, over thinking, worry about what everyone else has, cars, work, commuting, exercise, diet, in fact anything. We have become obsessive worriers trying to keep up with a rapidly changing world. With so much going on in our lives it’s no wonder we have so little time. Yes we are mostly warm, well-fed and clothed but look at the sheer amount we do and have to worry about. We have forgotten how to live simply and just want more and more. We have lost touch with nature, with community spirit and true friendships.
What is happy?
People seem obsessed with happiness. What is happy? Is it the laughter and silly photo’s we see on social media? Of course not that is only a moment. Happiness is deeper than that. It’s feeling at peace with yourself and content with your life. It’s having a positive outlook on life and making the most of what you have. Very few people can say they have nothing. They might feel insignificant and like they have so much less than everyone else, but that is their self-esteem and anxiety talking.
But how can I feel happy?
So how can we get this feeling when we are bogged down with stress and life and lack of time. One thing we can all do and it only takes a minute is to practice gratitude. Being grateful for what we have can rapidly change our whole outlook on life. I recently read a great book called The Magic. I would highly recommend this if you are serious about making some changes. It can completely turn your thoughts around so that you feel rich, motivated and positive about life. Think of all the things you have that you can be grateful for. Your warm bed, the food in your fridge, your health, your children, your job, the money you have, the air you breathe. There are hundreds of things we can be grateful for and it makes us realise just how much we have.
To appreciate nature is another way to find peace and happiness. Walk along a beach with bare feet, feel the sand between your toes, listen to the waves’ crash and breath in the salty sea air. Take a walk bare foot if possible on the grass and appreciate the birds singing, be aware of your surroundings and marvel at what a wonderful world we live in. Look at the sunset, get up early and watch the sunrise, look at the stars and the ever-changing moon. These practices keep us grounded and help to relieve stress.
Meditation is another way to relieve stress. There are hundreds of free mediation videos online. Use technology for the good. It is truly amazing what we have access to and once we have learned to use it to our advantage, the world will become a better place. Start off with a 5 – 10 minute meditation and increase. And yes you do have time. You can get up 10 minutes earlier or do it on your lunch break. It is best not to do it last thing at night as you want to keep your awareness, not go to sleep.
This is something I have recently discovered and it’s amazing. Have a look at Wim Hof otherwise known as the Ice-man. He does some amazing breathing techniques and cold exposure exercises. Personally I jump in my pool every day or go for a swim in the ocean or even a cold shower. Sunrise is the best time. By getting up and out of your bed when you don’t want to starts your day with YOU in control. You decide to put yourself out of your comfort zone and make a difference to your day. Starting the day this way is amazing. It lifts your spirits and the rest of your day is a breeze. There’s not much else that your day can smack you with that’s as uncomfortable as that cold water. You will find your stress is more manageable and things that used to make you uncomfortable emotionally just don’t. Presentations, confrontation, deadlines all become easier because you take control of your day as soon as you get up.
Again look up the Wim Hof breathing technique. Please do not dismiss this or underestimate its powerful effects. My own GP highly recommends deep breathing techniques for anxiety. It is by far the better alternative to medication and it is scientifically proven to work. If you are already on medication use breathing techniques to help you reduce your medications or maybe even stop. Any alterations to medication have to be done under medical guidance and can take many months.
With every change you make in life you have to work at it and be consistent, One walk will not make you fitter but consistent walking will build muscles, reduce your stress and increase your cardio fitness. .
You have to change
Nothing is going to change in your life unless you decide to make that change. It’s as easy as that. You say OK tomorrow I’m going to set my alarm get up go for a walk and have a cold shower. These things make such a difference and anyone can do them. You may find resistance from family and friends initially. It’s so funny when we take control and decide to do something different people get nervous about the change. You are bound to get “what a load of rubbish” or “there’s no way I’m getting up early out of my warm bed”. That’s fine this is for you and soon people will notice a difference in you and may even follow what you do. No one else can make you happy you have to find your own inner peace and happiness.
Who are your friends
Think for a minute about who you hang out with the most. Do you mix with people that you aspire to be like? Or do your nearest and dearest whinge and moan about life and bring you down? You need to be surrounded by people who inspire you to be the best version of yourself. I’m not saying ditch anyone that is having a hard time. Just make sure that you are not surrounded by people who you have to constantly bring up. The danger with this is that they bring you down.
Also, be aware of people who befriend you in a crisis. This may sound harsh but there are people who love to help which is great but be aware, when your problems have solved these friends may well disappear. It is sometimes because they feel they are no longer needed and sometimes it’s because maybe their own life isn’t too great so a crisis in someone else actually makes them forget their own problems for a while.
Friends should always encourage and be happy for you when you make change and achieve. You may find you need to be brave and let certain people go. This is so important and don’t ever be afraid of being alone it’s just a transition. As soon as you up your vibration positive people will surround you.
But I hate my job
So many times I hear but I hate my job and I need the money. But why do you hate your job? Is it the stress of the work, the people you work with, the hours you do, the low pay?
All this can be changed but you have to make the change outside of your work first. You take control, make a start and before you know it your life will change for the better. Listen to good motivational speakers, the internet is full of them. Find the ones who resonate with you and make it a daily habit. Read books in the evening that inspire you instead of watching the same boring old TV shows that you probably fall asleep to. These positive moves will give you back your energy and motivation. Many people say I can’t I’m just too tired. Yes we all need our rest but tiredness can also be lack of motivation, depression, or even boredom.
Just break out of that treadmill and the same old routine. Eat well, get to bed early, set your alarm no snooze button and just make a start.
Seek new opportunities
Use the internet for the good. There are thousands of online businesses if you want the laptop lifestyle. This can give you freedom to work anywhere, and an unlimited income. Do your research, be determined and get excited about life and what it has to offer. You don’t have to go all out and quit your job. Start looking into new opportunities and find something that really grabs you. You’ll be amazed at how much energy you have when you are doing something new and interesting. Most businesses require a website and this is a fun, easy and inexpensive way to start. With good online training anybody is capable of this. Just make a start and let your creativity flow.
So where to now?
We’ve looked at the rapidly increasing technology and it’s potential to cause harm. Stress and anxiety are modern day diseases brought about by the pressure we put ourselves under, Our lives have evolved so rapidly and our fight for basic survival is no longer needed. This has diverted our stress into our modern day lives causing an increase in mental health. distress. Our body’s want to respond to danger but that danger is no longer there so it reacts to minor stresses throughout the day putting constant demands on our nervous system.
Your first goal is to set that alarm early and move.you have to work to find happiness and follow your dreams. These things don’t land on your lap you need to create them.
Look up the book The Magic and practice gratitude. This is such an important step so please don’t dismiss it.
Get moving walk/run/swim.
Get back to nature walk on the beach or grass be aware of your surroundings and appreciate all that you have.
Jump in the ocean or go to the pool or just switch the shower to cold. You have to get out of your comfort zone and bring back those basic instincts. Research breathing methods and Wim Hof. This is fantastic for stress and anxiety. His breathing methods change our basic physiology so that we tap into our lost primitive instincts.
Once you have made a start and you can feel the happiness and energy emerging look at your circle of friends.
Use our wonderful technology for the good. Seek new groups that have interests like yours. Break out of old habits.
Keep alcohol to a minimum it lowers your vibration and makes you tired. In fact, you are likely to not want it once you start practicing these methods.
Think about your job. Can you be better at it or make a move to change to new job or create your own online business?
Be gentle on yourself and stay in touch with your feelings. Don’t push too far too soon but set goals and stick to them.
Remember we are role models for our children. If they see you happy, successful and grateful for everything you have they will look up to you and want to follow.
Remember you are in control of your life and are responsible for your happiness but you have to change to create it.
If you have any questions or need more information on anything I have discussed please get in touch. I will be more than happy to help and guide you through this.
Lots of love and good luck!