There are days that cranking up the car cruising to a destination isn't so bad. Then there are days where the roads have snow/ice, it's windy, below freezing and you have to leave an hour before you normally leave to get to your destination on time while ending up late to your destination anyway. My GPS gives me quicker routes along the way so that if I'm sitting in traffic not moving, I can find alternate routes to get me to my destination quicker. At times this is really effective but sometimes I have to sit through it and devour the amount of thoughts going through the 3 lbs of meat between my ears no matter what direction it gives me. The correlation of traffic on interstates, highways, avenues, streets, and boulevards compared to the nerves, neurons, and brain cells is remarkable. We have a rising mental health issue in our communities that need to be addressed more everyday. Becoming educated on what we can collectively do to build a healthy mind community is a step for everyone to be involved in.
16 milion Americans had at least 1 major depressive episode in the past year
1.1% of adult in the US live with Schizophrenia
2.6% with bipolar disorder
Over 43 million Americans experience mental illness in a given year
Children aged 8-15 years of age, 13% experience mental illness (1)
Mental illness will continue to become our biggest public health crisis we face in this society. Suicide, substance abuse, depression, mass shootings, etc. are problems that will increase if we do the minimum against mental illness. The time of a crisis should not be the time to become more aware and educate one another on this important part of society. It should be all the time. Mental health must become a strong priority of building a better community. More and more people are in need of a personal GPS. Mental illness is plaguing our country. The excessive traffic for people is becoming increasingly difficult to deal. Traffic can become confusing and problematic when the proper signs aren't visible. When a 4 way stop has no sign for people to stop, the area becomes more accident prone.
Who can we help 1st?
Young people, elderly and homeless. The traffic in these populations are the most vulnerable to accidents. Over half a million people are homeless in America, living on the streets a quarter of them are children.(2) There are an estimated 2,500 homeless youth under the age of 18 in the state of Minnesota alone.(3) The numbers are increasing daily. There is a lot we should do as a global community to repair the amount of homeless youth in our country. All families deserve optimal mental health care no matter their situation. More programs to support the mental health of these individuals would best serve our communities. Young people should always have 'GPS' access to help them navigate through some of the tough areas in life that may not be fully constructed. Helping people discover their signs, directions, and flow in their life would provide sustainability over time.
Declutter your mind
We must have our own personal highways clear before we can help others clear theirs. Cluttered thinking is as bad as being in a true traffic jam. Exercise as much as you can fit into your schedule. Attempting to keep up with the social media, current news, political administration's actions, reactions, scandals, and way of politics can cause a lot of misguided traffic. We are in a time that we must be mindful of the good flow of traffic in positive areas of our lives. We must have our thoughts as concepts we create about the world. Be the traffic light signal, in control of the flow of the traffic in your mind. Prioritized thinking helps to attack each situation with a sound mind. Avoid build up of procrastinated tasks, it can cause your interstate to clog up. Keep your thoughts in fluid momentum and when there is no good momentum, create a new road. Our community members are facing numerous mental health concerns that is silent. Depression leads to a numerous amount of other issues that must be saved for another blog. Post traumatic stress disorder can effect simple day to day tasks. Societal pressures creates even more roadways that can be helpful or harmful, depending on how constructed it in our lives. Building a stronger community will take more creative open dialogue about how to have more pathways for people to find the help they need. Help others understand their mind elements, build a foundation of positive support, and help yourself and others discover their loves in life.
It starts at a young age. Our young people are on their mental highways when the roads aren't fully constructed. As a founder of Bready Life, my goal is to build a foundation of support for young men. We need mentors, coaches, presenters, careers enthusiasts, to help form an ongoing GPS system for youth to connect with. Young men are the foundation of success in the community. As we come together for the better of our young people, our foundation grows stronger. Together we do better, we are better together.
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Often times we find ourselves stuck at a bit of a crossroad when it comes to understanding how to drive our own motivation. The simplicity of “Just Do It” can be complex all in its own which can cause those struggling with dim introspection to lose drive and motivation. Many can relate to this paradox with the goal of health and fitness. You might have said this a time or two: “I’m going to start working out at the beginning of the month.” Or “ I am going to make healthier food choices starting Monday.” That illusive Monday never comes… Perhaps yours is “ I want to lose weight, and I know I have to exercise, but I can’t exercise until I lose some weight first.”
If you find yourself in one of those positions, and we know there are plenty more, the best way to illuminate your path is to ask yourself : “Why do I want this, what will my life look like if I have it. ” This is the identification process. Here is where you see yourself living, having, and feeling the way you want. Once you have identified the desire, you have the first step to understanding your why.
Living life well is more than just being fit, or eating healthy. It is being competent in all areas that influence your total being. And they all rely on each other. When you work out, chances are you crave healthier foods. When you crave healthier foods, you plan your meals before going grocery shopping, or you have an idea of what you will be eating to avoid irrational hunger. You save money because of your planning. That is 1 less stressor on your finances. You take your own food to work, you are more energized from eating a balanced meal, and you look forward to another healthy decision after work. With all of this healthy activity, you find that you sleep better. You are less restless because you have expelled excess energy, and properly fueled your body for the day. You are more mindful of the week ahead, therefore you are more prepared. All because of 1 healthy change to your lifestyle.
The second step is the reality check. You’ve identified where you want to be, and you start to compare that to where you are. This can be overwhelming. It may appear that your goals are far beyond your reach, only because you are standing at 1 point and expecting to just step into the desired point. But it doesn’t work that way!
In such a world that thrives off of instant gratification, this is likely one of the hardest pills to swallow! Vince Lombardi once said to his players “Only in the dictionary does success come before work.” Without putting in the effort, there can be no result. Winning does not come if you never got around to starting! And once we get past this thinking can we open up the possibilities to what lies ahead of us. This brings us to the third step: The work.
The work process can be long and grueling, or fun and challenging. It is all about perspective. In this work phase, I like to think of it as laying a bridge. This bridge connects you from where you are (your current state) to where you want to be (your desired state). It is made up of the steps needed to get you there. This bridge is laid one brick (step) at a time. Start to scale back your thought process of what life should be, while expanding off of what life is. This is called brick laying. One brick= one small step that you can take that collectively adds to the whole.
Now that you see can see where you want to be in relation to where you are, building the bridge to get you there seems more realistic. You can become proficient in laying the bricks to success in whatever capacity. Only then can you truly begin to live life well, and know from within what you why is.
Challenge: What are 3 small intentional steps you can make and complete within the next 3 weeks?
Tonnisha Russell, BA, CWHC
The world has always been a culturally diverse place. In today’s world these cultures
are coming closer together causing clashes that often lead to conflict rooted in the lack of understanding or acceptance of the other.
Understanding comes prior to acceptance and often time pre-judgements are made based on current perceptions and stereotypical information we’ve been exposed to during our lifetime. We have a decision to make in that moment when we encounter someone that is outside of our world of normal. This decision involves seeking to understanding and choosing to accept in order to maximize the relationship.
Cultural proficiency is the vehicle that leads to this understanding of one another. This is when we understand and value our own culture and the cultures of those around us (Lindsey & Lindsey, 2016). Notice the definition begins with understanding one’s own culture prior to seeking to understand another. Understanding is not something that automatically happens, but takes effort, courage and the willingness to seek it. In every relationship understanding often makes the difference in how we respond to each other’s actions, appearances, and cultures. One statement that changed my perception was made by an older gentleman that lived next to me when I first moved to Minneapolis by the name of Mr. JB. He stated, “The world would be a much better place if we all worked to understand each other.” Understanding one’s story, motivation, dreams, goals, values, and spiritual beliefs makes us more more accepting of each other. This further shapes our perception causing us to make more informed decisions during interactions. We react differently due to us knowing more about them.
A husband will make different decisions the more he seeks to understand his wife. A
mother will make different decisions when she seeks to understand her daughter. A coworker or boss won't assume the worst when mistakes are made when there is more understanding. In Proverbs 2:2-5 the Bible (ESV) says, “Making your ear attentive to wisdom and inclining your heart to understanding; yes, if you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” It's amazing that we can find the knowledge of God when We seek to understand. We all have a relationship like this with someone.
To maximize how we can be Better Together we must seek to understand those who are not like us. A family, church, small business, large organization, non-profit, and government can all be Better Together when their is an environment of seeking to understand. The more we do this together, the more of God we will see in our lives.
Take the opportunity to ask someone that is not like you to tell you their story and you share yours with them. Then reflect on the difference in your perception before and after your discussion. We Are Better Together!