I believe the body is the most precious thing we own and that the most important relationship we will ever have is the one we have with our body. I also believe that life, by its very nature, is fragile, disruptive and stressful. I have had my own body and life challenges that caused me to think about staying or leaving this life. I am one of the lucky ones who knew choosing death was not a choice. What were the signs that my mental health was suffering and in what way could I align my mind, body and soul to face these obstacles head on? Why me, am I the only one feeling this way? Where can I find the help I’m looking for? Like so many others, these were the questions that often plagued my mind and fortunately I’m a testament to the fact that you can and will find healthy solutions to life’s hardships.
If you’re like me you have recently been touched by the latest suicides of high profile people, witnessing the choice of death as what was perceived as the only choice in a desperate struggle to feel better. It’s not that suicide is only now profoundly impacting so many-it always has. As a teenager I had first-hand experience when my best friend tried to commit suicide–an attempt that left a lingering impression on me and my life. After graduation I worked at the Missouri Institute of Psychiatry in the drug research department where I saw a lot that left me feeling this truth: we are fragile human beings.
Not just skin and bone, but a spirit that feels, with mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual parts that somehow are supposed to work together, listening to each other to support our survival. The problem is that sometimes our choices and life feed and nurture us, while at other times, life, and choices can destroy us. To the world, on the outside, our life may look perfect. On the inside what we feel may be tragically different. We’re not all so lucky to live a healthy, safe and meaningful life. Life can be hard, painful and a struggle.
I brag that I make choices by living as a sensation scientist. I am privileged. My body is my profession and business. I was lucky that what is wrong with my mind: dyslexia was something I was able to figure out and overcome by learning to manage my learning disabilities. Not everyone is that lucky.
I brag my body is my laboratory. I am privileged. I love the body and my body, and I have discovered how to be in a relationship with my body and with the good, bad and ugly of life, surfing the ups and downs without getting lost in the down. I knew I needed help and with the support and guidance of many therapists, I learned how to go down and come back up.
I brag guided by the sensation of pleasure and Nia movement is the way I stay healthy and fit. I am privileged. I have researched not moving and moving and know how my brain is affected by a sedentary or mobile life. The body and brain love to move, but when you feel down, it can be hard to get up and get going.
I teach people that moving and living well is attainable. Many people can’t imagine this. They are the ones too far down who don’t know how to get up. They need our help. We can help.
We can let people down, know we care by giving them time to listen.
We can alert people, when we see others struggling, to their struggle and cry for help.
We can look, listen and feel and not avoid the hidden voice in us that tells us something is wrong.
We can care.
And if you are lucky, like me, you can stay mentally healthy by aligning with the Hippocratic oath, sworn by graduating doctors is the statement “first do no harm” and by:
- Choosing joy, pleasure and comfort.
- Speaking kindly to your mind and body.
- Lending an ear to your body, listening.
- Having faith.
- Trust whatever is happening has meaning and purpose.
- Shift controlling life to living in the moment.
- Make choices that leave you moving and feeling better.
- Don’t try to fix things, manage them.
- Postpone things that can wait.
- Get good at saying “no”.
- Find a balance between getting through it, and surrendering.
- Tell people what you need.
- Give to yourself before you give to others.
- Schedule life to support your energy.
- Sleep. Drink water. Nourish.
- Take mini 4-hour vacations.
- Find ways to release anxiety and tension.
- Love and laugh as much as possible.
By taking these steps you will be that much closer to a fulfilling and happy life, one suited for you that is both manageable and healthy. Remember that we are all in this together and we can get through this.
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