Most people might be surprised at the subject I’m writing about today, or maybe not, who am I to judge? I’ve been thinking of writing about mental health for a while.
Health is always the first priority in my life, it goes above all, and to me, goes without saying. Mental health is no different.
As an entrepreneur, researcher and overall hobbyist tinkerer, one could argue I’m practicing what is called in our world “corporate meditation”, taking those short moments off and dive inside your own mind, to reflect, and revitalize.
Below you’ll find the lessons I drew from nearly 10 years of meditation along with some illustrations.
I put my intent, love and focus on making this accessible to anyone: Whether you are a CEO at a big corporate dealing with office politics, a teen in high-school dealing with anxiety — it’s for you.
Lesson 1: “Zoom out” if you have to
Ever been wanting to write that angry email? Or get into an argument with someone? Feeling angry, emotional, and want to do something about it?
Don’t. At least not now.
Take a step back, or as I like to call it: “Zoom out”. I find myself sometimes sitting at my computer, my hands keep going to my keyboard, trying to write something passive-aggressive to someone because I felt emotional towards them. I feel like “I have to” do this, because, how else would I ever fulfill this emotionally escalated need?
More often than not, I have given into this inner thought, and the result was only more heated discussions, more emotion, more need to write angry responses. And it never ends.
In my mind, I visualize this red, evil path. I cannot see any other path. The only way ahead seems towards anger.
When I go away from my computer, and lay on my bed, or do something, and think about what happened, or simply distract myself by having a meeting or doing some chores, I suddenly feel as if I’m the beginning of this cross-section, where not one evil, but multiple positive paths branch out among the evil. Suddenly, I feel more clear, and, have a choice.
Even when things seem they can’t get any better, do take that time to “zoom” out and let your mind be able to see those other paths and clear your tunnel-vision.
Lesson 2: Change, but do it with love
“In am so chaotic.”
“Why do I keep messing this up?!”
Sounds familiar? Well, you’re not alone. And thank God, I’m not either! In any case, this is often what I hear people including myself think or say to themselves.
Instead, take what goes wrong as a sign of your body and mind you need to change something:
“I should pay more attention to things I do”.
“I should log my mistakes and see what new methods I can try”
By accepting you’re acting like this because of something you do, not because of something you are, you’re inherently listening to your body and mind.
Lesson 3: Learn to draw positive vibes from others
This was one of the hardest past and recent lessons for me, and the very start of my journey onto a better self.
Whenever I saw someone having more success than me, I inherently got jealous. It’s important to accept jealousy is a normal feeling, and even natural. It’s envy that you want to avoid.
Jealousy is “I wish that I had what you have.”
Envy is “If I can’t have what you have, neither can you.”
You see the difference? Jealousy doesn’t sound so bad right now, right?
But jealousy can still be overwhelming, and it can be hard to not enact on it.
For instance, there was this period in my life where I got jealous at people with relationships a lot, because I just lost mine. I didn’t really enact on it, but I noticed that subconsciously, I more and more drew away from people with relationships I wanted to have myself. After a break of around 7 days when I didn’t spend time in the places where it bothered me the most, meditation, and simply going out with friends.
One of the things I learned to feel when meditating during moments like this, is finding out why it made me jealous.
And a surprise unfolded.
All that made me jealous were actually very happy feelings — they were happy, they had something good.
From that point on, I started not to focus on the jealousy, but on the reason why I became jealous in the first place, to the very details of it. Write it down if you have to!
The result was that I found myself happy amongst couples I previously found making me jealous.
Instead of retreating from other peoples well-being or financial success, I was attracted to it, and they were to me, allowing me to “pull up” on them, and become more like them.
Imagine if more people do this, we would all grow from each other!
Lesson 4: Don’t isolate your gratitude
The final and most recent lesson, which came from a dream. We all have reasons to be grateful at something or someone, just as we have reasons to be anything else than that.
I don’t know if this problem happens with more people, but it’s certainly something I’m dealing with a lot in my life.
“I’m so glad you made it! Congratulations!”
If you ever thought “Yes, but not thanks to you” to a comment like this, then you should keep reading.
In the dream, there was this woman who looked very poor, with ripped, dirty clothes. She asked me for money, or else she had to become a prostitute in order to support herself.
While feeling bad for her, I decided to walk away and don’t offer any support. Later on, the dream flashes forwards to the same woman, but this time she looked very wealthy, wore the finest clothing.
She had this beautiful smile. I was looking right at it. I could tell she was grateful, even towards me, despite me not having helped her.
After waking up, I started thinking: “What would I have done if I was in her place?” I probably would still have smiled, but it would be more of an evil grin, the kind of grin you’d have if you want to rub your success in someone’s face. I probably would have said “Look at me now, ***hole”, and walked away.
How toxic that would have been…
But not anymore. I took the message, and learned a lesson that night. Instead of concentrating your gratitude on one specific entity, I now try to view it as “diffused” over the entire spectrum of my brain.
I hope to become someday like that woman, smiling even at someone who hasn’t done anything for me, or didn’t believe in me.
The tide turns
These lessons above each play an important role in my (and hopefully your) mental well-being. But all together, they solve an even bigger problem that exists in every human’s mind: Anxiety. At any point in our life’s we probably felt anxious. It could be for many reasons, for my case, whenever I let people come close to me, I start to care about what they think about me.
It turns out, fortunately, for us that anxiety is something that stems from many feelings and thoughts. Often, it feels as if your mind is clouded and keeps on thinking in circles.
The lessons above allow me to break down the most pressing thoughts and review the situation. Then, I notice my anxiety fades, even when I thought it was beyond recovery.
My thought often begin as:
“Why does he say this about me? Is he even a friend at all? Have I let him get too close to me too fast?”
“What if I’m only friends with him because I get something out of it?”
“If I even worry about this, isn’t our friendship really fragile?”
After a break, and using the lessons I learned over the course of years, they turn to:
“Who cares, the fact that he’s still here means he sees you as a friend, and probably didn’t mean it they way you think he did.”
“The fact you think this means you care more than just a practical relation.”
“It isn’t because you don’t worry about it because of a fragile friendship but because of a mix of inner feelings”
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