So where do we currently sit? We are mid-October of 2016. A new year is quickly approaching. The Toronto Blue Jays are currently down 2 games to none to the Cleveland Indians (Extremely frustrating). For many of us, we ask ourselves:
“Did I accomplish my 2016 goals?”
“Why did I fall short?”
Before I continue, I would like to stress that I don’t claim to be an expert in anything. Simply put, I’m not. With this said, I have a theory to why many of us fall short of our goals – or even just that elusive chase of living in peace. To live in peace seems like a pipe dream now a days. Let’s amplify that a bit more, for those living with a Mental Illness, peace doesn’t feel like it’s coming anytime soon. I should mention this applies to everyone, not just those that battle Mental Illness.
So why do we struggle with finding balance? Stress. That day to day grind wears us down and it is relentless.
Many of us work large amounts of hours over the course of any given week – and yes, our work can be stressful. There is something that I’m getting at here. That is, self-inflected stress. I’m terrible for this, personally. You may be wondering:
“What exactly is ‘self-inflected stress’?”
Great question. Let me explain by using a few examples. The first one would be the obvious: over thinking. I think all of us can admit to over thinking. It always seems to be about the simplest things. Many times comes from day to day conversations, I’ve spoken on this before in previous articles for HMC. We over analyze what people say, text message, even silence – everything. More times than not, the conclusions we can rapidly jump too are extreme. This can affect stress in a plethora of different ways. For now, let’s move on. We will come back to this.
Let me share something with you that I still battle with, but more specifically used to be a large crutch of mine – placing blame. To give this topic justice, let me ask you, the reader, something. Think of a time where you were so angry about something, maybe an argument, breakups, displeasures with others, being in situations you don’t want to be in – anything. Usually, you start to feel mad and give yourself excuses and place blame on others. It stresses you out. At least in my experiences, you suck others into this. You talk to friends and explain the situation in hopes they will have your back and help vent your frustration, but in turn, you end up putting negative energy on them. I have become very aware of this.
Let’s dissect this a little further. Energy day in and day out is valuable. For those that deal with Mental Illness, energy comes at a premium. Speaking from my experience anyway. Over the last few years, I’ve never been more tired mentally in my life than I have over that stretch. Everything became more stressful. As mentioned in my previous article for HMC, I deal with anger. With this anger came the need to place blame on others; this in my mind, would temporarily make me feel better and as if I had done nothing wrong. Well that, in fact, was wrong.
What I mean by this is, every situation we end up in – we put ourselves in it. I want you to honestly think about that for a moment, of course, there will always be some exceptions – but more times than not, we put ourselves there. In any conflict I’ve had in my adulthood, I can honestly say I had put myself in the middle of it. There are external factors, but any situation – I put myself in it. Fights: breakups; difference, of opinion and career stress – I had a large part in it. Try it yourself, don’t look for the simple out, think of any given situation from start to finish. Chances are you will likely pinpoint when you could have handled any given situation differently.
My last point of this malicious hamper known as stress is social media. Once again very vaguely spoke about social media in one of my articles for HMC, but I’m coming at this from a different angle. Once again, you may be wondering how this does tie into Mental Health, I promise – I will get to that.
When we log onto Facebook, Instagram etc. we are open to a variety of different things. Sometimes, great things. Cat photos, hilarious memes and updates of the people we care about most. With this, social media can cause stress, and of course Anxiety. A good friend and I discuss something that we do from time to time. We call it a “social media audit” . What this consists of is removing things off our platforms that can be seen as things that affect our positive energy. I know that sounds a bit tacky, but it’s true.
There are many things I care not to see when online. Politics, racism, even opinions on sports (I love sports, but they can breed a lot of hate). It’s not that I turn a blind eye to these topics, I don’t. I just don’t enjoy them. They cause anger, outrage, and with that, my Anxiety goes frantic. So every few months, I will remove that kind of content. I selectively put things on my platforms to encourage and make me smile. Once again positive energy is contagious and when happy, your mind works more effectively. The state of your mind can be everything.
Let’s face facts here. We live in a negative world at times, but does it really have to be? Being that mindset can be everything, simply changing your surroundings can go a long way in the state of your Mental Health.
Through the past year, I have consciously worked on taking accountability for my actions. With this I’ve noticed a great sense of relief, I’m accountable to myself. I do not blame others for my mishaps, I don’t complain about current circumstances. That does nothing but cause stress. Things could always be worse, yes I know that sounds cheesy, but doesn’t make it not true.
Appreciate what you have around you, friends, family, your health. These are your rocks. Learn the importance of when to embrace others in regards to their problems, sometimes they may just need an ear, but keep your mental state in mind. Sometimes others will want to drain your positive vibes, may not be intentional, but keep your chin up and senses tuned. In any given situation where you feel stress, remember you have control of these moments. It may not seem like it, but take a moment breathe and proceed to think about what you can do, chances are you have more options than you think.
Jay-Z once said:
“Remind yourself, nobody is built like you. You design yourself”
Regardless of your circumstance, live your absolute best version of your life. You only get one crack at it.
About Joel Wheeler
Sales Manager for a local supplement company by day, free thinker and mental health advocate by night. Joel has become outspoken about his day to day struggles about mental health and has brought him to Healthy Minds Canada to share his stories with the hope to help others and offer support.