May is Mental Health Awareness month, and what better time than now — in the midst of a global pandemic — than for us to bring awareness, and compassion, to our collective mental health.
Typically, it can easy for someone to make lots of assumptions about another person’s experience of depression or anxiety. Let’s consider what some of those mis-guided judgments or myths may look or sound like:
· “Your life looks so good from the outside, what do you have to be sad or depressed about?”
· “That trauma was so long ago, why can’t you just let it go?”
· “None of those fears ever come true, so why are you still anxious?”
· “Oh, come on, you look fine; no need to worry about your weight!”
· “Can’t you just be grateful for what you have and not be so depressed?”
· “Just chill out, why are your emotions all over the place…up and down, up and down; just relax!”
One of the ways to shift out of a a fixed mindset is the ability to hold two truths to be possible at once.
For example, someone can be depressed and grateful for their life; they are not mutually exclusive.
Remembering the “and” is one of the key tools for dualistic thinking — allow for more that one possibility or truth to exist at the same time. Sometimes this is easier said than done.
And right now is the most perfect time of all to bring awareness to our mental health.
Because right now, amid this global pandemic, we are all experiencing emotions that can be challenging to our mental health.
We are all to some extent feeling:
We all need tools right now. And despite your ability to hold your sh*t together on a regular day, you may notice being overwhelmed by your emotions and thoughts, which may be the very thing keeping you stuck in them.
Of course, how you are responding to the pandemic and its associated challenges will vary based on your circumstance. However, there is no one on this planet immune from the stress, anxiety, overwhelm, uncertainty and fear that has come with Covid-19.
I think the vaccine against this is awareness. And, mental health month or not, I always say the first step towards growth and change is awareness; without awareness we are on autopilot, with reactivity and judgment.
Without awareness, we stay stuck.
But right now, we have a choice: we can stay stuck in our challenge, or we can choose to grow. (And growth can look different for each person; there is no one way it has to look.)
I believe that right now is an amazing opportunity to not just survive, but to actually thrive in your life.
And by thriving, I mean that right now is a great opportunity to slow down, take an honest look at your life, and choose to let go of what’s not working or holding you back, and cultivate resources and strengths to carry with you for the rest of your life.
Don’t let this be confused with the idea that thriving means you have to take up 5 new impressive hobbies, learn a new language and have cleaned out every nook and cranny that you’ve overlooked for the past 10 years. Remember, we are trying for compassion here, not judgment and comparison of the Jones’s.
Thriving implies growth, transformation, forward momentum; these are also the very qualities of being alive. Without growth you’re dying a slow death.
So, let this month be awareness into your own mental health. Ask yourself, “How am I doing, and where do I need support, tools or resources?” And not only be willing to hear the answer, but to take action on the steps you need.
And know that there’s plenty out there right now to help you through this time, and also know that you’re not alone…
So, here’s what I’ve done (along with my partner in life and love, Dr. John Schinnerer) to be in service this month: We’ve gathered over 25 experts from all over the world in fields of relationships, parenting, mindfulness, positive psychology, trauma, mindset, resilience, business and leadership, dating and sex, and more to provide a free resource for your growth. It’s an online summit that launched Monday May 11: Surviving to Thriving, Growth Through Adversity During the Pandemic.
We wanted to provide resources, inspiration, motivation and tools to use this time during the pandemic to transform the mindsets, habits, patterns, tendencies or outlooks that can propel you forward in how you choose to live your life. Quarantine or not, remember, growth and awareness is always a choice.
So can come join us and sign up for the summit if you’d like (click here). Each speaker gives two interviews — one 45-minute one in which they share tools pertaining to their area of expertise, and a 5-minute one that shares their three top tips for getting through the pandemic. And unlike most online summits, these interviews are free for 30 days. (Oh and no matter when you read this, the summit will always be available; you can purchase it for a small fee at any time.)
And if you want to hear me talk about ways you can thrive in your relationship, tune into this week’s podcast where I share science-backed tools on how to create deeper intimacy, connection, vulnerability and communication.
You got this! Your future self thanks you for taking the time now to pause, look within, hit the reset button and choose to live intentionally.