Mental Self-care (wk 44)

I remember watching a television singing show where a female contestant auditioning seemed different from the rest of the crowd. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. She had a beautiful voice, as the majority of contestants did, but what was even more captivating was how she looked. All American blond, she had this ethereal quality about her that set her apart from the others, lighting her up. Listening to her backstory, she mentioned in an off handed way that she had never seen an ‘R’ rated movie, [she was 21], never drank, cursed, or smoked. She only concentrated on her music, which is what she lived for.

I know genetics has a lot to do with things like this but I also wondered if not being exposed to the harshness that life has to offer might also have a visible impact on a person. If our skin was never overexposed to the sun, we would certainly notice the difference. Could filtering out the negativity in our lives make an even more visible impact. Aside from lessening the stress in our lives, does something happen on a molecular level that exudes from our being? Meditation brings inner peace but is that inner peace visible to the naked eye?

This week, Cheryl Richardson’s book, Life Makeovers, talks about mental self-care and brings up studies that have shown a direct correlation between negative outside influences and a lowering of our immunity system status, that could leave us vulnerable to various diseases. [The author did not give links to cited studies]
However, I do not need scientific studies to tell me how noisy distractions can raise stress levels.
There is a reason spa’s pipe in soothing music for their guests to relax to, how walking in nature is calming, and why meditation is recommended in quiet places.

People are not aware how many unsettling distractions they are bombarded with on a daily basis.
Dogs barking, horns honking, police sirens blaring, overhead airplanes flying in for landings, construction crews working, loud people talking over all the noise. We learn to live with this elevated volume but that doesn’t mean it’s not having an effect on us.

The same can be said with visual stimuli. Nice art, pleasant photographs that allow our minds short respites from the daily grind, and once again, walks in nature. The only problem is that most of us do not spend our lives in museums, rural countrysides or down by the beach.

We work our jobs, fight traffic home, throw a meal together, then sit down to relax, turn on the t.v. and our senses are immediately assailed by the latest news,crimes, violent shows, or merely useless things being hawked to a tired crowd looking for something to make life easier.
It wears on our souls and we let this all into our lives for no other reason than we are too tired to fight it. It’s there. Deal with it.

This week’s call to action is to limit the negativity that is seeping into our lives. Halt it at the door of your mind. Instead of turning on the t.v., read a book.Turn off talk radio and tune into soothing music instead. Don’t engage in negative talk with others. Leave a conversation if you must. Limit social media. Keep scrolling. Don’t feed the trolls.It’s this type of mental self-care we need to keep our boundaries strong and our systems healthy.

(photo by stock images)