What is “Healthy” Mental Health?

mentalhealth1

Mental health is commonly associated with psychiatric, mood, or personality disorders.  Society at large associates mental health with “crazy”.  Why is mental health so negative?  Shouldn’t the health of our minds be a positive?  Could the negative stigma of mental health be, in large part, due to its negative associations?  What is the positive counterbalance?  What is good mental health? If we do not have a clear picture of what good mental health looks like how can we fully understand mental health issues and to what target we are aiming?  What is good mental health?

Mental health is commonly defined by negative symptoms and behaviors.  If someone’s’ thoughts, feelings, or behaviors fall outside the norm and lead to unwanted or negative consequences it is deemed an issue.  A doctor may prescribe psychiatric medications to lessen unwanted symptoms.  Group and/or one-on-one counseling may be part of the treatment plan.   However, what are we aiming for, and what is the target of good mental health?  Other than attempting to stabilize a person with mental health issues in hopes they can have a full life, or not compromise others, we have no real goals to aim for good mental health.

emotional-intelligence1

Emotional intelligence is a term used to define someone’s emotional maturity.  Is the individual thinking illogically?  Are their thoughts distorted?  How does one respond to stress?  Does the individual take responsibility for their emotions or do they blame others?  Does one take other people’s actions personally? Does one depend too much on others or do others depend too much on them?  Emotional intelligence is a good gauge for positive mental health because it is the direct result of our thinking.

Mental health isn’t necessarily about positivity or looking “on the brighter side”.  Mental health has far more to do about identifying the thinking which is causing our feelings, and discovering the underlying beliefs which reinforce how we perceive and experience ourselves and the world.  Distorted thinking and fallacious reasoning are two main culprits in the creation of negative feelings, beliefs, and actions.  It is one big circle.  If my thinking is illogical or distorted, my feelings will become illogical and distorted.

cbt

A key to mental health is the regular practice of accurate self-appraisal, owing our emotions, discovering our thinking causing our emotions, and challenging our thoughts for sound logic and clarity from distortions.  Far too often, we accept our thoughts as they are and without question.  Thinking is not just a voice in our head, a conversation we are having with ourselves or the story we tell.  Thinking is a key in discovering and understanding how we create our experience and reality. It is a key only you can use.

types-of-distorted-thinking-thoughts-cognitive-behavioral-therapy-cbt

If you have a negative or unwanted feeling check your thinking for common thought distortions above : ) do any of these apply? Or checkout this link to CBT worksheets here!

Mental Climate Change

 

 

We have all heard of Global Warming and Climate Change. If technology has been so damaging of the natural environment, wouldn’t it follow logically, technology may be having a similar damaging effect on the internal environment of our minds? What if our dependency on media were similar to our dependency on fossil fuels, polluting the natural environment of the mind, and changing the “climate” of our minds, changing the way we think, feel and experience the world? What if our dependency on consuming media was also becoming an addiction? We would have blind faith in technology and deny the any serious or potential damage occurring to ourselves. Isn’t that precisely where we stand now, accepting whatever technology we are given to consume without serious question to its overall effect or the future it will bring? This is precisely where we stand today. However, the damage in our minds is not as easy to see as the damage of the natural environment in the external world, so, it may be far more dangerous and addiction and disease.

My post on “Screen Life” goes into some of this more ; )

 

Media Fuels Mind

Media is extracted

out from under

the pressures of reality

buried in layers

over the landscape

of our unconscious

minds.

Technology processes media

for optimal combustion

fuels the engine of our minds,

or distracts us from the reality of our lives

but for a moment

of release from the ordinary

to escape

the boredom of being

unentertained

by ourselves and each other

or the feeling of loneliness

created by our inability

to effectively communicate

with each other,

and connect

naturally.

Mental Climate Change

causes Mental Warming

of the collective consciousness

into the rising solidarity

of a simultaneous experience

manifesting

fear

and pain,

anger,

and violence.

Tavius Dyer, Saturday, July 16th, 2016

3

Screen Life

Fun images depicting the idea of “Screen Life”.

4 5 6 7

Screen Life

I type and watch letters emerge from the blinking cursor as it moves across the screen.  I have a Screen Life. I blog.  I facebook.  I sometimes tweet, and have been trying to use instagram more (snapchat is beyond me – maybe I am too old;). There are so many ways to “connect” online, and new portals are opening up all the time.  It can take a lot of time and energy to keep up with others online.  The time we spend online on our phones is taking a life of its own.  The more time we spend in our Screen Life, the more our Screen Life becomes important.  Technology is a powerful tool to communicate and share media.  It is so powerful that it rivals real life!  What is it about our Screen Lives that is so important?

I feel using technology to communicate can connect us to some information about others who may be across the world.  This is cool.   We can share pictures and videos more easily as well.  There are many conveniences in our digital devices.  However,  online communication lacks the most import information we need to really understand each other, ourselves.  Once we take our bodies out of the communication we lose almost everything we would have in person to help us understand each other;  facial expressions, gestures, posture, tone of voice and the overall feel of someone’s presence.  It has been said 90% of communication is body language.  At best, are we communicating with 10% of the information we need to understand each other when not in person or over the phone? Yes.  

The issues of communicating without most of the information we need to understand each other is pretty obvious.   Let’s take facebook for example.  We have all seen things blow up online, be misunderstood, taken out of context, or just plain read it wrong.  Some people have ended relationships or feel there life is over because of something “happened” online.

While more people “connect” online, more people feel anxious, lonely, depressed, and fearful than ever before.  If technology is truly connecting us for the good, then why doesn’t it really feel good the more we do it?  It is a growing feeling inside of us who have a Screen Life; something is missing, something just doesn’t feel quite right.  Perhaps, we feel misunderstood, lonely, sad, fearful, or just don’t feel like we fit in to the online world anymore.  What about the real world?  

Let us not forget, the digital age has given us digital media in our digital solo-universes, but the real world is where others are, and where connections are made which make us feel more whole, and a part of something greater than ourselves.  It is important as people to remember, Screen Life is not the only life.  Let’s not forget to spend some time outside, together, or with ourselves doing something or nothing in the big beautiful world all around (outside!).

Tavius Dot Org

Along Came a Spider

Along came a spider.

She spread her web along the mainstream.  She caught nearly everyone that tried to pass and wove them into cocoons. Then she drained them slowly of all things which gave them life.

The spider masterly managed her ever growing web.  She had constant connection to everything that was going on.  She could tell when anything moved or changed. The movement was carried through the web and brought back to her.  She learned how to read the signals. Eventually, the spider mastered her web and was the envy of all the spiders.  

Some jealous spiders tried to use her web, but she was a black widow.  She seduced them all and killed them.

After some time, her web became so intricate and varied she would get lost.  Then came the day when she had spun too much web and entangled herself.  She hadn’t even realized she had done it.  She was too busy thinking she was managing her web when in fact she was just spinning herself into a cocoon.

The other spiders began to traverse her web and devour everyone she spun in their cocoons as they spun their own.  

And the rest will be history ; )

Some Significant Problems with Politics in America

The main problem with politics in America is simply the fact that the United States is not a true Democracy.  If it were, the popular vote would prevail.  However, we elect representatives who vote as they do, without real accountability to their constituents beyond their own re-electability, but in some rare cases.  Senator Bernie Sanders is one of them.  Here is a man who marched with Martin Luther King and has been the voice for equality and majority his ENTIRE career which spans decades and insists on not taking money from big business but the voters directly!

Now, we see, in America, a defiance of establishment politics, meaning more Americans are fed up with the same old bull shit.  The usual suspects (Democrats and Republicans) are getting outted or as close as will be allowed.  It is time for change.  We have a political system who polarizes the middle as if it were the full swing of the political pendulum.  Anybody, not just left or just right of the middle is polarized, like Bernie Sanders, labeled a communist (as if that is ideally a bad thing).  I am not for the popular “pretend” communist regimes of modern history who were really dictatorships under the guise of Communism, almost as much as America is an Oligarchy under the guise of Democracy.

Basically, what I really want to say is this. No matter how close Bernie Sanders gets to winning the Democratic Nomination, even if winning the delegates people vote for there are still 700 “Super” delegates or roughly 15% of the delegates who get to vote however they please, and most already voted for Hilary Clinton, even before the country really began to weigh in on what it wanted.  If we the people vote for more delegates to Bernie Sanders, he still wont get to run for president because there are a bunch of people we don’t directly elect that vote as they please.

Another example in our lack of Democracy is the 1992 Presidential election when Al Gore had a million plus more votes than George W. Bush, but because of the “Electoral College” (representatives that vote for us by area who actually elect our president),  George W. Bush won the presidency.  And the electoral vote which gave Bush the election was in a district of Florida run by a Bush relative, who called for a questionable recount after Al Gore was already determined President of the United States of America!  Somehow, George W.  Bush got the victory despite over a million Americans more voting for Al Gore.   That somehow, is the electoral college like “delegates” in nominee elections who vote for us, many of which do not vote based on what the people vote, necessarily.  As long as the citizens of the United States of America are removed from the direct election of elected officials and those officials merely reflections of the popular vote, America will not truly be a Democracy, and real freedom will remain our biggest lie.

The plain fact is that the United States is a Democratic Republic which is significantly different than the freedom-totting true Democracy America pretends to be and violently will upon much of the rest of the world.  How can you give something to someone you don’t actually have yourself?  How can the US give Democracy to other countries when the US is not really a true Democracy itself?

This is another important point in Bernie Sander’s campaign, stop trying to control the rest of the world overthrowing other people’s governments.  It’s not working.  Many of America’s enemies were made this way, including Ben Laden (al qaeda), and Saddam Hussein (Iraq).  Who are we to tell other countries what to do when we do not even get to tell our government what to do?  So our government kills with our money in our name and we have little or nothing to say about it?  How is this Democracy?  When do I get a say?

And so it is.  A rant.  A rave.  Easily dismissable as emotional and sophomoric, but the ideas are real, and they are significant in the lives of everyone. We need to stop feeding the lies, and live in the truth.  We must demand it.  It’s time to take back our country (if we ever really had it to begin with), and promote real Democracy, where the people directly elect their officials who only represent the majority.  A government for the people, by the people, just as the United States Constitution guarantees US citizens.  When are we going to get our Constitutional Rights guaranteed us?  Until the majority is directly represented, our constitutional rights are at root denied, and we fail to be a true Democracy.  When are the people of this country going to rise as one and make a real change for the people, by the people and accept no less?  What will it take?

I was thinking about the “checks and balances” of the Republic of the United States.  There are three distinct branches of government,  the executive, which is the president, the legislative, which is the congress, and the judicial, which is the court system.  I believe, until we have a strong third party “Independent” in our political process bi-partisanship will continue to polarize America.  Bernie Sanders is an Independent running on the Democratic ticket.  I imagine, unfortunately, that no matter how the Democrats vote, even if Bernie Sanders gets more delegates by vote, the “super” delegates will ensure Hilary Clinton is the nominee.  The only way Bernie wins the nomination is if he gets more than 60% of the overall delegates. This would be nothing short of a miracle.  I have had my doubts since the get go, and continue to have them even now.

We have won the most important thing in this election process already,  the motivation of our youth to participate in politics like never before, and the overall desire for change translating into votes.

Now we just need votes to make the real changes without any degree of separation in representation of the majority.

You Are Your Valentine

It may seem corny, “Love Yourself”,  but it really is true and a very powerful truth.  Love comes in infinite forms.  It shows up through different people in different ways at different times.  Love is unique.  It may not show up how we want it to at the time.  Staying open to how love shows up is then the challenge.  Looking back on my own life, I can see how Love shows up just how it is needed to when it needs to.

Valentine’s Day pushes romantic love, red roses, and diamond jewelry.  Most everyone has had a romantic relationship and most everyone has lost a romantic relationship.  I can attest that loss only leads to greater gains, eventually, if we work through it.  People are not always meant to be in our lives forever, despite how it may feel at the time.  Sometimes, people show up hugely, or intensely, and then seem to fall off the face of the earth and vanish forever.   I have had my fair share of love and loss.  I continue to love those I have loved by honoring their memory with positive thoughts and warm wishes.  Sometimes, this is all we can do, especially if we have lost someone, whether through lack of relationship or death.

The coming and going of people important in my life has been a challenge for me since childhood.  My Mom said when I was really young I would cry when people left.  I really attached to people quickly and deeply.  It is my nature.  I also know what it is like to feel like I have been left behind, that I am not good enough for someone else.  Honestly, it usually is the other way around.  We move on or are forced to move on because we have experienced what we needed to experience in that particular relationship and something new is calling us if we open ourselves to it.  I believe, we are meant to be with who we have been with and will be with.   The process of letting go and reopening is the challenge.  The better we get to know ourselves in loss and grief the better we get know our own love and how to give it to ourselves and then others.  Loss seems to force self-love, or denial and self-destruction.  I have lived both paths and choose the former.

The power of love shows up through all sorts of people in different ways at different times.  The challenge is allowing love to show up as it is rather than closing our minds to what we want it to be, to accept love as it is.  Love is ever-changing, even between people who have know each other a while.  And I think this kind of dynamic love begins with us, our relationship with ourselves; to practice love on ourselves so that we can learn how to do it better and be able to share more of our own love with others as we can and choose.  When we are self-loving we know love better and can spot love better when it shows up in our life because we experience it within ourselves and know what it is intimately and personally.  The more I practice a loving relationship with myself, the more all of my relationships can become more loving.  I really think that is the way life is suppose to be, one person loving another, starting with ourselves : )

Tip to try-

I have practiced dating myself over the years by taking myself out to a nice dinner of my choosing, and a movie I want to see.  There is often almost no time and energy left at the end of the day for quality time with ourselves.  I have found I have to make it.  So, I propose a Date night.  Take yourself out.  Have fun!  You don’t have to compromise.  You can do whatever you want.  Valentine’s Day is a great opportunity for those who do not have plans with someone else, or who want to give themselves the gift of time with themselves to try a Date Night with themselves, or start with a walk in your neighborhood, stop in a local cafe or spot you have never been.  Get out and have an adventure with yourself!

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Would you be mine ; )

5 senses in 3 dimensions versus 2 senses in 2 dimensions

I have always been fascinated by technology and communication.  My personal insights and studies were about how technological advancement on modes of communication affect the human condition.  In other words, what happens to humans who use technology to communicate more and more.  There is a basic trade off when using technology to communicate.  For starters, reality is three dimensional, and we have five senses to experience it (feeling, sight, sound, smell, and taste).   Technology provides two dimensions and only two senses, sight and sound.   There is an obvious trade off, which is fine in moderation.  However, what happens to us as we spend more and more time experiencing life in two dimensions with only two senses?  Those senses begin to dominate our reality and overpower the other senses.  Eventually, the two dimensional audiovisual reality becomes more important and powerful a stimulus than the three dimensional reality we all share with five senses.  That is quite a trade off.

I am not saying use of technology in communication is bad.  I am saying, overuse of technology in communication is bad.  Why is it bad?  We ultimately trade our natural three dimensional reality and five senses of experience for two dimensions and two senses.  That is not all.  More problematic is the fact that the more we use technology to communicate the more our brain adapts to using it.  The more our brains adapt to using technology to communicate the more our brain seeks technology to communicate.  Some might say, so what?  The problem goes deeper.

Technology in communication is developed to get and maintain your attention.  The longer you are online the more adds they can sell, for instance.  Technology is used to manipulate media into something that rewards your pleasure center of your brain much like drugs our sex does.  However,  the doses are smaller and less noticeable, but over time unconsciously rewire your survival instincts so that you believe you actually need technology to survive.  We become addicted.  And like any good addict we are in denial.  We defend our online lifestyle and take any counter to it as a personal offense rather than considering information with an open mind and making conscious and educated decisions.  Scientific research is not funded by people who want to understand what technology is doing to us rather than how to profit from our growing need and dependence upon it.

As Nietzsche said, “religion is the opiate of the masses”, I say, “technology is the new opiate of the masses”.

Be aware.  Make conscious educated choices. Keep an open mind.

Tavius Dot Org

Truth

What is true for you?  Each individual has the choice to believe whatever they wish.  If you are not getting what you really want out of life then maybe you should take a really close look at what you believe.

I have spent decades studying and learning through practice and experience different ways of being and thinking.  I have come across some very simple tools which challenge the way we think about things in ways that can free you from the false beliefs and control of those beliefs.  Ultimately, you should be enabled to think about things in different ways so you can be aware of your options and consciously choose what is best for you.

Where to begin?  Let’s start with the age old questions of “what is knowledge, and what is reality”?  Let’s simplify this discussion by saying they are the same.  I believe reality is based upon what an individual knows.  I also believe the thing we can know most is this reality right here, now, and all around us, this moment, this world as we sense it.  What we truly know we sense moment to moment. What we see, hear, smell, feel, these all make up what we really know best and are dynamic and changing constantly.  I like to say that the senses give rise to sensation which we call consciousness.

Am I clear enough, yet? I don’t blame you if this gets a bit confusing. Some of these words and ideas are “loaded” as well as difficult to absorb for anyone.  That is one thing I am trying to do here, simplify things so that the truth can be self-evident and manifest, which it is. However, our experience of truth manifest is quite another thing.

Let’s take another angle. What are words? Words are man-made signs and sounds associated with things both real and unreal, in this physical reality or unreal (man made ideas). Man made up words to represent reality that are not reality.  However, we use language as a means to think and communicate so much so that we think our thoughts are actually real.  The words in your mind, that voice in your head is just sounds, really.  The language is just language.  The only person listening is you.  So why talk to yourself at all?  Many people cannot silence their voice.  Many people think they are their thoughts or the voice in their heads.  That is one aspect of conscious experience, but symbolic of what is real, or shared.  I believe this world the ground, sky and everything in this universe is real.  It is the only thing we truly share.

I digress. It is easy for me to run off on tangents. I could try and put this all in an outline and maybe one day I will, but the point of this writing is for my mind to have a conversation with your mind imparting ideas to simplify and empower you in your reality.

Why don’t I use a list of simple ideas that can transform your experience with ideas which belief in could set you free.

1. This world, the physical world is real.
2. Our mind is an illusion.
3. Time only exists in the mind.
4. Language is man made and not reality but symbolic of reality (words don’t actually exist like the objects they represent).
5. The only shared time is now.
6. The only shared space is here.
7. People don’t make you feel.  Your thoughts create your feelings.
(Feelings are your body’s reaction to your thoughts.)
10. The only things you have the ability to control are your attitudes (or mental approach to things) and your actions (what you actually do). The thoughts and feelings we think and feel are so important, really are not, at least in affecting this world directly. They are to us, but not really to the world.  All they experience is our attitude and actions.  That is where we can change, ourselves, and only aspects of ourselves.

11. Numbers, including money are man made and only really has the value we allow it to have.  But of course, everyone knows that!  Then why do we let numbers and money have so much power?

12. Life is a miracle.  We can experience the miraculous every moment of our lives.

13. There is no objective “good” or “bad”.  Good and bad are personal judgments about whether we are getting what we want or not.  Most people don’t want people to kill people.  Most people believe murder is bad because it is not what they want.

Sound like some hippy dippy new age stuff? Well, it is. And then some. Common belief is that each person has free reign to change their reality with their minds. Funny thing is, how can you change reality with something that isn’t real? What you change is your perspective or degree of separation.  It’s a lot.  I know.  One day I will simplify it more.  For now, I am just writing some of this out to get it out of me, because it can only do so much good in my mind, but in your mind can do even more if you open yourself up to these ideas and try to understand them for yourself.

Life is a game. What game best describes your approach to life?

ClashofClans

Clash of Clans – a clan is a group of closely-knit families.

Life is a Game

What game do you choose to play?

I remember playing the board game life when I was younger. Roll the dice, move your board piece and see what opportunities you land on. I’ve heard the card game analogy of life not being so much about the hand you are dealt but more about what you do with the hand you are dealt.

I recently started playing an online game for the first time since XBox 360 Live first came out. My son plays Clash of Clans and so does my girlfriend. They connected in a clan and started playing the game together. One night, my girlfriend told me something my son was saying. He is 3 hours away and I wondered how she knew. She told me you can message each other while playing the game. I thought how hard it is to keep up with kids these days. There are so many different ways but it’s not any easier to connect. I think it’s harder, so I decided to start playing the game so I could connect with my son more. I know what it feels like to have an absent father and a father who wasn’t into what I was into and didn’t support who I was and what I liked. This was a win win.

Just today, my girlfriend shared with me how life is like a video game. “When I earn and save so many gems I can upgrade my Clan Castle or train more troops.” I thought this was a great way of taking a look at life from a different perspective.

I recently looked up the definition of Clan which means a close-knit group of families. I thought, how appropriate.

Game of War

Life has rules just as games do. If you don’t play by the rules eventually you don’t get to play the game. You lose your freedom. I know this personally.

That same father who was all about what he was about also once told me that if I wanted to play the game of life I needed to play by the rules or not play at all. His point was that I would not succeed in the game of life unless I learned to work within the rules and that if I didn’t want to play the game of this life then I shouldn’t.  I should find my own way. He wasn’t suggesting I end my life (though I have tried that), but that I should find another way that works better for me.

Walking War Robots

The game of life is a great analogy especially in this technologically dominated information stimulating, game playing (figuratively and literally) world we live. What is your game?  Is it a first person shooter where you work alone or alone in teams?  Is it a turn based strategy game, where you take time to calculate your moves before you make them? By what game or set of rules do you live your life by?

The choice is always yours. Change your game and change your life ; )

Tavius Dyer

Sharing is Caring 1offT by Tavius

Sharing is Caring 1offT by Tavius