The Mental Pillar - Karen Berrios

The Mental Pillar

We have been discussing my 5 pillars of health, the pillars that I look to day after day, week after week, on how to guide my life to be the healthiest and most fulfilled possible version of myself! Do you have pillars that you keep track of and use as a guide? I highly recommend it.

One thing I mentioned in my main article is that all of the 5 pillars correlate with each other. When one of them suffers, they all suffer. When one of them does great, the other areas are often great as well too! I really try to pay attention to each five knowing that they equally support each other.

These articles are meant to give you specifics about myself and really pull back the curtain into what my life looks like when it comes to health. I am also writing them as encouragement to write down your own pillars. Writing them down makes them feel real and more achievable.

Last week, we covered the physical pillar of health. In great detail I went over my diet, how often I sleep, what types of exercises I prefer, and more.

This week I am covering the mental pillar of health.

Without a strong mental state, we are going to have a hard time achieving anything in life. Without a strong mental state, we are going to have a hard time with pushing ourselves to be great. Without a strong mental state, we will allow toxic emotions to rule us. Without a strong mental state, we won’t be able to show up for the people around us.

Do you notice a theme? A strong mental state in life is needed for everything. I am going to go over what I do to remain strong.

Honestly, no-one teaches you to be resilient in your mind. From the moment we are born we are taught to follow direction and conditioned to respond with acceptable behaviors in given situations in order to receive acceptance or some sort of instant gratification. From very early on in life we are taught that we must not question authority, we must follow orders from our parents, our teachers, our government, God. How could we possibly dare to challenge any of it? We are taught to belong to groups, to have labels, to recognize what is right and wrong before others, etc. But my thought is no one teaches you to be strong in your mental state. I do believe this may come through a process of time and when facing personal challenges. Some of us may be able to endure and overcome, while others will not.

So why is that? Our DNA? Our personality traits? How were we raised? Our childhood experiences? Were we taught to submit or to question? Why some are able to withstand pain, challenges and even suffering and come out strong at the end while others will be mentally broken and walk their lives in a mental prison of suffering, anguish and pain. Do you know why?

I don’t have a solid answer for you, but I do know that I was one of those people that walked around life being a victim to my circumstances. Dwelling on my pain, my misfortunes, past trauma, or whatever I was challenged with. I always had to look for a way out, an outlet and usually my coping choices weren’t the healthiest for me. I guess this is one of the reasons why there is so much addiction in the world. We are not mentally strong to cope with pain, life challenges, disease, cancer and we look for a way out to help us survive. But who has not experienced pain in life? What sets you apart is how you choose to face it and this my friend is not something that is taught at your elementary school curriculum. I wish it was though, I see how many young kids struggle with so much pain, bullying at such a young age and many may not see a way out. This is why there are addictions, runaways, and even suicides.

So, what helped me become stronger in my mind? Yes! You guessed it… Jesus 🙂

Please please pay attention to what I am saying, this is NOT about religion, or me trying to impose my faith on others but when I met Him I learned who I was. I had lived in deception for soooo long not knowing who I really was, being tossed like the waves in the ocean back and forth with my thoughts, my emotions, completely lost without hope of direction. I know many people go to school, earn degrees, hold worth praising careers and while this is all wonderful and admirable, it does not make you strong in your mind.

Don’t take me wrong, I love learning, reading, and I think the moment we stop learning, it will be the moment we stop living. This journey of life is a constant learning process. Cancer has taught me that it has no barriers, no boundaries and it comes full force to snatch your health, your peace and invade your thoughts. Knowing Jesus and His heart for you and me has taught me to stay present, to stay focused on Him and what He says about me and my situation vs my current circumstances. He’s become my dwelling place, my strong tower, my shield. To Him I run in time of trouble or in gratitude. He has helped me see the truth about me and others. While humanity may not have all the answers, or the cure for cancer, HE does!

In my quest in trying to figure stuff out, I’ve read many self-help books, gone to therapy, and done endless chats with girlfriends and while this could have been helpful, it lacks substance to hold me through a lifetime. Binding my mind to the mind of Christ has helped me be strong in my thoughts, to stay present, to stay focused, to have hope for the future, to lead my life in excellence. Although I am a work in progress, I must say that I am so much better than before and I long to continue to grow in Him.

In this process He’s taught me the following tips to help me stay strong and healthy in my mental state:

 

 

1.- Value Yourself.- Honoring yourself by recognizing how valuable you are and what you need to stay healthy is HUGE. Recognizing your needs, setting boundaries, and receiving truth that you are highly loved and accepted is vital. You are enough, you are loved, you are valuable, and your mind must believe it! You don’t have to earn it… Just receive it, YOU ARE VALUABLE! … Do you believe it?

2.- Find your crowd.- spending time with like-minded individuals will help you stay connected, focused and encouraged in your journey.

3.- Bless others.- this practice will help you stay humble and train your mind to recognize the needs of others and how your journey, your experiences, while painful, could serve to help others. This will bless you consistently and remember what was meant to hurt you God can turn it to bless you!

4.- Learn to self-regulate.- recognizing when stress is bubbling up, anxiety is kicking in and knowing what to do to stop it, will help you stay mindful of your needs, your environment and your choices. Have a call to action for you to follow when dealing with stress and anxiety.

5.- Practice Prayer.- I am a strong believer of prayer. This should be a daily practice as it is my experience and others that this will quiet your mind and help you stay grounded and collected to tackle your day.

6.- Set Goals.- having clarity of direction in your life will help you stay connected to your life’s purpose and desires. Whether these are academic, professional, or personal. Celebrate your progress as you continue to pursue your goals.

7.- Stay out of routine.- this is a good one, especially if you have a creative personality. It is good and healthy to step out routine from time to time. It will recharge your mind to stay strong and clear.

8- Avoid self-medicating.- I so enjoy a glass of wine here and there, but I’ve also been guilty of self-medicating to avoid my feelings, and I know that this is the norm for many. Using drugs and alcohol will clutter your mind and it will bring additional torment that you don’t need. Be intentional to stay out of it!

9.- Ask for help when in need.- Recognizing that you need help is half of the battle. Make sure you seek help from people you trust and remember just because someone calls himself a doctor is not a guarantee that they have your back.

10.- Follow the other 4 pillars I’ve shared, Physical, Emotional, Social & Spiritual.

God loves to prove His strength when the odds are the greatest and hope is the smallest. Jesus is our shelter and our deliverer but just like “David the shepherd boy from the bible, it is up to you to pick up the stones and face your giant. I sincerely hope you find this article helpful and as always I welcome your comments and experiences. God bless!

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I’m inspired to share my healing journey here, and trust you’ll find hope, encouragement and purpose as you discover the healing power that lies within you. Sign up to get notifications when I post a new article.

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