A Chance To Breathe...

Uncomfortable Conversation With A Black Man

Here is episode four of this powerful and raw series hosted by former NFL player Emmanuel Acho. If you haven't seen these, I highly encourage you to sit, listen and learn. Acho's message of understanding, compassion and inclusion is powerful and necessary.

How to engage with life when you feel down

Withdrawing from activities you enjoy is both a product and cause of low mood. Break the cycle with behavioural activation

Need to know

When you feel low or fed up, it’s tempting to shut down and do very little. You might cancel activities and social events, and choose passive options instead, such as staying in bed or watching TV. It’s easy to understand why this happens: when you feel down or depressed, even simple tasks take a lot of effort and energy. It can also be distressing if things aren’t as enjoyable as they used to be.

Of course, during the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have had their activities and social events cancelled for them. For anyone experiencing depression or low mood, these restrictions will have compounded their desire to withdraw, and the prospect of coming out of lockdown might feel daunting. But, paradoxically, one of the most effective ways to improve a low mood is to do the very things you don’t feel like doing.

by Lucy Foulkes, an associate editor at Aeon+Psyche. Previously an academic psychologist, she is interested in social psychology and mental health. Her first book, about the science of mental illness, will be published in 2021.

This is a quotation I have read and reread many times in the last few days. It is so applicable to our world today, and my hope is that we all really read it for what it's saying. So indulge me for a moment.

Humanity is full of different ideas, beliefs and values, and honestly, that's what makes us who we are. I know that in my self-work these last few months, I have really tried to embrace people in the situation they are in, as opposed to where I think they should be; I've worked on acceptance as opposed to expectations. I look at it like this, it doesn't matter what my intent was, if my words or actions upset someone, I need to honestly look at my words and actions. Now this doesn't mean I have to acquiesce to the whim of every person and spend my life living in fear of upsetting people; rather I get the opportunity to learn that my words and actions have power. Every person has a story, and we need to honor that story so that we can speak to, learn from and develop with our fellow humans.

This isn't easy stuff - especially in today's climate. As a society we are all pretty charged up due to a host of national (and international) issues which individually would be overwhelming, but taken together it's too much for many.

We're all tired, we're all experiencing loss for what we thought these last few months were supposed to be, and we're all scared as to what the next few months will bring. Every. Single. One. Of. Us. Ironically, its the one thing we can all seem to agree on, we're scared.

So the next time I find myself wanting make an assumption about some one because of their political party, race, gender, sexual orientation, or belief system, I'm going to focus on believing them as they see it, and not as I think they should see it. I'm not going to be perfect with this, and it's going to take time, but as the Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said, "The journey of a thousand miles starts with one step."

Let's all try that...


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