Day 139: Mental Health 301….

I like the quote offered by Chet in the first paragraph of today’s blog, from Chet’s book, 365 Daily Disciplines, “It is not things that upset us but our judgements about things.” This is so true, we just get ourselves so wrapped up in what I call, our Rat Brain Thinking. Constantly judging ourselves and creating narratives in our heads that simply aren’t true 99.9% of the time.

Research shows that on average, negative events impact people 5 times as much as positive events do! We are just programed to look for the negative, ruminate on it and drive ourselves nuts with judgements that don’t add up when we can pause, take a deep breath, and understand the negative consequences of our thinking!

This morning I read a helpful meditation on this very subject of mental health and 5 factors that influence our identity, our thinking and simply who we are!

Chemistry: Your DNA, genes, hormones, our chemical makeup. Brittle bones, low energy or high energy, weak eyesight, hypersensitivity, high tolerance for pain. We had no control over this, it was out of our control, we were born with this DNA!

Connections: I did not pick the neighborhood I grew up in, my parents chose the neighborhood. I was around very dysfunctional relationships and very loving and kind relationships. I witnessed alcohol addiction, abuse, and loving strong families. All of these connections, both positive and negative, helped shape my identity and my sense of purpose in life. I was literally born into these connections and a part of this thriving neighborhood.

Circumstance: Are things that happen to you and around you—none of which you control. I watched on many occasions a father, physically abuse his son, and the pain and embarrassment it caused the son. I witnessed on many occasions the neighborhood alcoholic arrive home from a two-day drunk, and the pain and misery the family suffered as a result of his drunkenness. I did not choose any of these circumstances. 

Consciousness: Is how you talk to yourself. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Be careful how you think, because your thoughts run your life.” As Chet said earlier, your thoughts don’t have to be true to hurt you, it’s your judgements about them that cause the pain. 

Choices: The Wild Card of the 5 are the CHOICES you make as you move forward. Yes, we are shaped by the first 4 C’s (Chemistry, Connections, Circumstances, Consciousness) but we as we move forward in life, the thoughts that we choose to believe will shape the rest of your life.

What needs to change in how you’re thinking right now?

What did you learn from your circumstances and how have these circumstances strengthened you?

Are their people in your life who drag you down, negatively impact you on a regular basis? Take a very hard look at these relationships and take positive action!

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