SuperTalk Mississippi

Give yourself the gift of mental health awareness

Stock image

I have spent almost 30 years on the proverbial couches of licensed therapists and in the offices of various pastors, as well as a week at an emotional healing retreat called Onsite, outside Nashville, where I received intensive therapy. In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, here are 10 things I have learned about maintaining emotional wellness:

  • We are all neurotic; it is simply a matter of volume. Loud and proud, some days.
  • Whatever emotion I am experiencing is okay. Acknowledge it, and let it be. Paul McCartney could have been a psychologist.
  • If the feeling is not serving me well, consider healthy ways to move on from it. Eating an entire box of chocolates is NOT one of them. Neither is raising my voice or verbally attacking someone.
  • Anger is often a secondary emotion, masking other emotions, such as fear, insecurity, or sadness.
  • Just breathe. I have learned several effective breathing techniques while practicing Yoga. Also, another great song lyric, this one by Anna Nalick, advises us on survival techniques.
  • Sometimes our Serotonin is M-I-A. That I can explain this chemical compound warrants a shoutout to my high school chemistry teacher, Mr. Roth.
  • It is okay to use prescribed medication to replace missing chemicals in the brain. It is not okay to self-medicate with unhealthy behavior.
  • Comparison is the thief of joy. Social media is a den of thieves.
  • Woulda, shoulda, coulda. What is in the past is behind us. We cannot un-ring the bell. Acceptance brings serenity; say it, pray it.
  • We are human beings, not human doings. My job is not solely who I am.

When guests arrive at Onsite, they hand in their phones and electronic devices for the week. Instructions include the use of first names only and no discussion of work or job titles. There are game nights and bonfires, delicious food, and maze-walking. Hours of therapy throughout each day is not a picnic, but it is food for the soul. The most glorious part is the disconnection from devices and outside distractions, while connecting more closely to your own heart and mind, as well as the lives of others. Like a Yoga class, Onsite is a no-judgement zone.

Of course, my most dangerous judgment zone is between my ears! It is called perfectionism. The pursuit of perfection is really an exercise in futility because perfection is ultimately unattainable. I can write those words, speak those words, and intellectually digest those words, but LIVING those words is hard for me… and for a lot of females. To feel imperfect is also to feel unworthy. Feeling unworthy leads to a lack of self-esteem and a lack of confidence. This false narrative of not being enough can run in an endless loop.

Unless I intervene. Cognitive therapy has taught me to throw facts in the way of feelings. My Bible has taught me to use faith against feeling.

Knowledge is power, so I read books about emotional wellbeing. These are my top five recommendations:

  • The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance — What Women Should Know by Katty Kay & Claire Shipman. Combining research in genetics, gender behavior, and cognition, with examples from their own lives and those of other successful women, Kay and Shipman, both journalists, offer inspiration and practical advice.
  • Dare to Lead: Brave Work. Tough Conversations. Whole Hearts. by Brene Brown, a research professor at the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. While this is a book on leadership, the principles are readily transferable to all aspects of life, including emotional wellbeing. She says, “We don’t avoid difficult conversations and situations; we lean into vulnerability when it’s necessary.”
  • The Land Between: Finding God in Difficult Transitions by Jeff Manion, a teaching pastor at a Michigan church. Life is full of unwanted transitions. It is our response to the land between that will determine whether our journey through the desert will result in deep, lasting growth or prove destructive to the soul.
  • The Outward Mindset: Seeing Beyond Ourselves by the Arbinger Institute, a leadership development firm whose mission is bringing humanity to the workplace. Like Dare to Lead, this book’s lessons also apply to family and intimate relationships, which help shape our emotional wellbeing.
  • The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer, a pastor in Oregon. This book provides a roadmap to staying emotionally healthy and spiritually alive in the chaos of the modern world. I am three quarters of the way through this book right now. I read it with a pen nearby, there is so much insightful content full of aha moments!

So, give yourself the gift of mental health awareness this month. I promise you will reap the benefits year-round.

Stay up to date with all of Mississippi’s latest news by signing up for our free newsletter here

Copyright 2024 SuperTalk Mississippi Media. All rights reserved.

Related posts

This website uses cookies to improve your experience. We'll assume you're ok with this, but you can opt-out if you wish. Accept Read More