In the late 1980s I saw a documentary on TV that I’ve never forgotten, it was about sick societies. It described how, in America, people were able to buy over-the-counter drugs for a number of medical conditions, and although that wasn’t happening in the UK yet, it was coming. The point was that Americans were getting more and more focused on ill health as a result.
Nope. This is exactly what happened in the UK, remedies and solutions appearing that focused our society on ill health in ways never before imagined. Gradually, over the intervening years, life has become more and more stressful, and there is a far greater focus on health. You might think that this is a good thing, but by the same token it’s put a drip feed of uncertainty in our minds about the human body.
Now that we have social media you can’t switch it on without seeing that someone needs prayers for themselves or someone else who has something that needs curing. I send those prayers of course, but I’m aware enough to realise that this focus is contributing to mental health issues.
Me as an Idiot!
I was talking to a former friend a few years ago now, saying that I did not like going into supermarkets and hearing the constant mention of what foods were healthy, what foods helped to prevent this, that, and the other. One supermarket in the UK traffic-lighted food, and red meant that fat and/or sugar-wise it was very bad for you. My question was, why are they selling it in that case? It struck me as a contradiction to warn you and also sell you the food for a profit.
I told said friend and she commented, as people usually did, that I was worrying unnecessarily again. She told her very straightforward, plain speaking, logical, husband that night and he looked at her and said “You think Deb’s wrong? Haven’t you noticed that I always wear earphones and play music in the supermarket? I do it to stop exactly that drip feed of negativity that she’s talking about”.
I was so pleased I wasn’t the only “idiot”. My friend did admit that had stopped her in her tracks as he was so sensible.
Let’s Look at the Facts
Whether you take any notice of anything you hear makes no difference to the fact that your brain has heard and processed it. We live in a world where our bodies are constantly under perceived threat of something or the other and perfect health is rarely mentioned.
We don’t keep fit because it’s a good idea, we keep fit to avoid bad things. We don’t eat healthily, we eat to avoid bad things. I remember reading many times that tap water is bad for us for many reasons, yet there are only two bottled waters that are deemed safe by someone or the other, the rest are polluted. I was past getting afraid of water by that time, but a few years before water and I would have fallen out big time!
To add to all this we now have the mental health situation being given a high priority, by everyone from the royals to your favourite stars who have suffered such. It’s good that we’re talking about it, but the focus is especially important for people who suffer from mental health concerns.
Okay, none of this sounds good, and none of it is good for the mental health of an anxious person – as I well know. I was a victim of this thinking for years. I mean decades.
You will be familiar that a positive focus in life is important for both mental and physical health? Yet we’re also encouraged to focus strongly on the negative impact of many things on our minds and bodies. What can we do to alleviate this?
Meditation is your greatest ally. Calming the mind calms the body, and gives both time to heal. If you broke your leg you’d put your foot up to rest wouldn’t you? It’s just as vital to put your mind up to rest everyday. A healthy mind is proven to help the body, and trust me when I tell you that your anxiety will diminish if you can get a regular meditation programme going.
If you are susceptible, and maybe even if you’re not, avoid, avoid, avoid, as much talk of ill health, posts about ill health, programmes about ill health, as possible. Whilst it’s nothing to be ashamed of, and I was certainly never ashamed to have anxiety – I had reasons as you do – it’s more than important to protect the mind and body from this constant drip-feed. If you have a worry talk to your doctor, and although in the UK they’re under a great deal of pressure, the NHS website is a useful resource for advice. I’m sure other countries have similar options.
Be very wary of social media. I was on the group page of one of the world’s most positive thinkers who works scientifically and spiritually on the subject of health. His work is extraordinary and backed up by evidence. Almost the entire page consisted of people asking for healing, for which I do not blame or criticise them one iota, but it was just too much.
No Lack of Compassion
I mean it when I say that I feel no blame or criticism towards people asking for help. The important point for me, and I’m the only person who can look after my mind in the way I know it needs to be looked after, is that I know that constant sad talk will get to me if I’m not vigilant.
I don’t like apparently turning my back, if you consider sending out a heartfelt prayer for ‘all those on this page’ turning my back, but it’s something I have to do. Just as I wouldn’t walk into a gym and yell ‘put 200 kilos on that bar and throw it over here’, I can’t lift the heavy weight of pain of too many people at once. I know that about me.
In order to protect yourself you need to know your tolerance levels and what you can and can’t take too, there’s nothing wrong with that, there’s no shame in that. Like me, you will be the way you are for a reason. It indicates no lack of love or compassion.
When I was 8 years old a member of my family joined the London Ambulance Service as a front line ambulance driver. What this person did not know, could not have known, was that they were on the verge of a mental deterioration into acute anxiety, and for good reason. The other thing they didn’t know was that it would take the form of an inappropriately strong and negative focus on health.
This person went round hospitals asking doctors about various things, they encountered them in their job, and no matter the horror of the day, or the nature of their latest research, they came home and talked about those things at tea times. I was 8, my brother was 1, and he told me that he grew up dreading tea time. I won’t repeat the stories to you, suffice it to say that they were never going to build a healthy mindset, especially around having a body.
Follow the Positive Rules
Eat well, eat healthily because you want to feel wonderful, not because you’re full of fear. Exercise because it raises your endorphins and gives you a buzz. No need to worry about why you’re exercising. You don’t need to think of the negatives, just do the good things because they make you feel good.
Respect the health of your mind as much as you do the health of your body, but remember that you don’t need constant reminding that mental health is now a big issue in western society. You know this, you know to seek help if you need it, knowing what others are going through can be comforting, but you already know that you’re not alone in anything you feel. You literally can’t avoid knowing.
The most important rule though is that you won’t heal a damaged, broken, unhappy, mind by keep using it on unhappy things, anymore than you would repair that broken leg by walking on it without support. You need to move away from that thinking in order to heal your mind.
The Law of Attraction/Manifesting
My final, and best piece of advice, is to learn about and follow the ideas around the Law of Attraction and Manifesting. Because their singularly most important point is:
Keep your mind focused on what you do want, not what you don’t.
Make up positive sayings and read them everyday, suggestions might be:
- I’m strong and positive
- I love and trust my mind
- I enjoy focusing on good and happy things
They’re only suggestions, there are thousands upon thousands of Law of Attraction sayings out there to help you. Find the ones that work well for you. Remember though, what you’re saying doesn’t have to be real at first, this is you saying what you want to be, and the more you say it, the closer that feeling will come. You’re literally reprogramming the mind, including your subconscious.
I haven’t enjoyed writing this particular blog, it’s focused on more bad stuff than I normally like to consider. However, I have one personal rule that cannot be broken:
Your stress and anxiety is your greatest teacher, it tells you exactly what’s wrong and exactly what you need to change. It even shows you what you need to do.
Sometimes we have to look at what may be undermining us in order to avoid it. We have to be mindful of the not-pretty-stuff so that we can deal with its impact. We never stop caring about others, but we remember that we can’t carry the pain, fear, suffering, anxiety, and depression of other people for too long and in too great an amount, without our minds starting to struggle. We have to remember that, because we’re no use to man nor beast if we go down too.
We can’t be unhappy because other people are, because then we lose our ability to help them.
You see, being happy, being mentally centred, being positive, believing in the good things and that everyone deserves them, and focusing on those things as much as logically possible, is loving towards yourself and others. Your children, grandchildren, friends, family, colleagues, everyone whose life you touch, will thank you for taking care of yourself and showing them how.
There is nothing more loving.
To your happiness