16 May 2019

The Mind Is A Terrible Thing To Waste

I am happy to return to writing my blog after taking a few weeks off. The title of this blog has a lot to do with the purpose for my brief hiatus; I needed to take some time off. We have all heard the phrase that I chose as the title for this particular blog. In most instances it is used in reference to the need for continuing or achieving higher education. However, I would like to look at the phrase from a slightly different perspective. In order to do that I want to share a few descriptions that Webster uses in the dictionary for the word “waste”. Webster uses such words as, ruin, to wear away, to make weak, to lose strength. When we think about the mind, automatically we must consider where the mind is housed in the body. Although directly associated, the brain and mind are not the same. Dr. William Salt explains that your brain is part of the visible, tangible part of the body. Your mind is part of the invisible, part of the body where thoughts, feelings, attitudes, imaginations, etc. originate. Therefore, we can interpret this to mean that the brain is the physical associated with the mind. The mind then permeates every part of the body and is the control center that governs all of the body’s functions and activities.

The month of May is National Mental Health Awareness month. I have come to realize that it is easy to neglect the need for mental health largely because it is not an organ we can see such as our limbs, breasts, eyes, etc. We may even think that because the brain is housed in such a hard compartment, the skull, it would take major trauma, or a severe blow to adversely affect it. Honestly, nothing could be further from the truth. Although the brain is an organ, it behaves and has much of the functionality of a muscle. As a result, we must take care of it as such.

I recently was privileged to hear a speaker on the subject of mental health who made a very simple yet profound statement that resonated with me loud and clear. She stated that it is important that we recognize our human limitations and are well aware that we are not “superwoman” or “superman”. Those are fictional character that do not exist in real life. In all the complexities of everyday life we must recognize that our minds need rest just like our bodies. Additionally, our minds need exercise just like our bodies. To take that further, it is imperative that we discover and strive for a balance between the two – rest and exercise. When we do so, we can expect the mind to function at its maximum capacity. However, when we ignore the crucial need for rest and exercise (of the mind), just like any other muscle, it will break down! Even machines need regular maintenance in order to operate the way they were designed. I do not have a medical degree of any kind, but I would like to share a few basic tips to help you on your way to better mental health. And rest assured, I am not just writing TO YOU, I am writing to MYSELF as well!

1) Listen to your body – your mind is especially designed by the Creator to give you signals and warning signs when it is being overtaxed.
2) Each of us has a specific “body rhythm”. When you find it, you will learn how much sleep and rest you need to function well.
3) Pay attention to your emotions and mood swings. If you are having long, extended periods of crying spells, unresolved “heaviness” (oppression / depression), anger, and other emotions out of your norm, make an appointment to see a professional and don’t delay.
4) Relax whenever possible. That doesn’t make you a lazy person. Wow, was that a hard lesson for me to learn! Don’t just relax your body, relax your mind as well. Turn EVERYTHING off sometimes — phones, television, music, etc. Even 30 minutes of quiet time can make a huge difference.
5) Laugh – HAVE FUN! Life is too short to be serious all the time!
6) Get away from it all! Even if you cannot afford a vacation, take a drive in the country, go on a picnic.
7) Seek a form of exercise that you do not see as a chore! Walk, run, yoga, bicycle.
8) Do something worthwhile to help someone else. It will make you feel good in the process!
9) Talk . . . make sure you have someone you can talk to who will listen, not be judgmental, and not try to give you all the answers.
10) Pray – Give everything to God! He has all the answers and the solutions.

Source: First Lady Denise