Updated: Sep 1, 2019
Pause for just a moment.
What is running through your mind? The grocery list? Kids soccer practice? That
thing you forgot to do at work? The mess you have yet to clean up? The in-laws
that are coming in a few weeks? The upcoming holidays?
Feel the tension in your body? Notice your shortened breath?
Now, take a big, deep, breath. Relax.
Every day, all day, your mind is tasked with keeping your life in order; from the
proverbial big picture down to the minute details, your mind is constantly at work.
According to the Laboratory of Neuro Imaging at UCLA 1 , on a typical day an
average of 70,000 thoughts move through YOUR mind alone - amazing!
Consider how many billions of collective thoughts your city, your state, your
country has in just one day! Just that thought is mind-boggling. However, such a
large demand comes at a price; your brain must process, organize, and execute
a response to all of those thoughts.
In a world that is increasing in pace and demand, while decreasing in vital human
connection and perceived time, the quantity of thoughts increase but the quality
of those thoughts decrease. Think of yourself as a bank, with a fixed amount of
mental and physical capital. If you give a little to everything that flashes before
your eyes or resonates in your ears, you will have spent your capital thinly on
inconsequential, meaningless fluff with nothing left for the meaningful, important
subjects in your life. We only have so much resource to give.
Noting this, it is no wonder that our inner personal tension and chaos begins to
seep outward, only to perpetuate the cycle on a wider scale. In the last five years
American society has seen an increase in mental illness 2 : levels of depression,
anxiety and sleep disorders all increased. You may not count yourself as one of
this population, but we are one community at large. A stressed community is the
reflection of many, many stressed individuals. So, how do we break the cycle?
Bring it back home, and by home, I mean to your own house: Your mind. Your
body. By taking care of one, the other will benefit. Countless studies have shown
that increase in self-care leads to an improvement in mental health and general
wellness 3,4,5,6 . Be it something as simple as replacing negative thoughts with
positive ones, meditating/taking time for yourself, or gifting yourself with a
massage, these actions allow us to be more present in our daily lives for the
things that matter. And when each of us takes care of our own “home” we all
benefit in our extended community. So, give yourself, your loved ones and the
community at large the gift of self-care.
In the following posts we will continue to explore the benefits of different
modalities to enhance and maintain good mental health. See you then!
1. “Brain Trivia.” UCLA Laboratory of Neuro Imaging. n.p. , n.d Web . 4 Nov. 2012.
2. Lathm, Tyler. “Mental Illness on the rise in the U.S.” Psychology Today.
Psychology Today Mag., 18 May 2011. Web. 4 Nov. 2012.
3. “Positive thinking: reduce stress by eliminating negative self talk.” Mayo Clinic.
Mayo Foundation for Medical Educational and Research. , 28 May 2011.
Web. 4 Nov. 2012.
4. Stopper, Melissa Conrad. “Meditation may reduce stress and improve health.”
Medicinenet.com. Medicinenet.com., 9 Sep. 2009. Web. 4 Nov. 2012.
5. Field T, Morrow C, Valdeon C, Larson S, Kuhn C, Schanberg S. Massage
reduces anxiety in child and adolescent psychiatric patients. Child
Adolescent Psychiatry 1992; 31: 125–31. Web.4 Nov. 2012
6. Cady, S.H. & Jones, G.E. “Massage therapy as a workplace intervention for a
reduction of stress.” Perceptual Motor Skills 1997 Feb; 84(1):157-8. Web. 4