1. MINDFUL AWARENESS
Often I find that clients can tell me their symptoms - the most obvious thing in the moment- I feel depressed, I feel exhausted, I’m anxious, etc. There’s a lot more of a struggle to slow down enough to actually see the where the symptoms are coming from. Or in this case, the root of what is causing disharmony in the Mental Landscape. It could be a whole host of things (we’ll get into all of that over our time together) and what you may not realize is that a lot of those things you have the ability to influence. You can’t, however, influence or alter anything you can’t pin down. How can’t fix a leak without knowing the source.
What I’m really getting at is that in order to evolve, we kinda, sorta have to know where were coming from. We have to see to start. This isn’t about fixing, you’ll always be perfect, in whatever condition you are, but growth is a beautiful thing too. So to be able to grow, it helps to build up a mindful practice. Mindfulness-awareness, two sides of the same philosophical coin. It just involves being open and paying a little more attention. Have you ever driven somewhere and then tried to remember what happened on the drive only to be totally blank on how you arrived? Was it teleportation? No..I’m holding my keys… Being consciously aware is the opposite of that. It’s being present for the whole trip, seeing the birds and all of the colours of your travels. You can do the same for your mental landscape. You can take in all of the sights and sounds that you may be missing out on. From there you have a much greater chance of being to influence the direction of your mental health.
Ps. Being mindful, present and aware has a whole host of added bonuses we haven’t yet touched on. F* Yeah!
2. BODY. IN- ON-AROUND.
In the wise words of John Mayer - “Your body is a wonderland.”. Though you may not always be open to seeing it that way or treating it as the temple that it is, I’m here to remind you that it is, in fact, a glorious, magical thing. It’s the vessel that is the physical home of your ol’ Mental Landscape. So treat her right!
A few things to ponder about your body.
What’s going in it?
And not just by way of food. Have you ever thought about all the other things you’re putting in there? Everything you ingest - water, supplements, vitamins, drugs, mouthwash, toothpaste - can have an effect on your Mental Scape'.
Let's take water. Water is the greatest. I love it more than most fish, so it blows my mind that we, even in Western countries let alone the rest of the planet, don’t have drinking water that supports mental health. In fact, there are a ton of contaminants in tap water that actual increase your chances of developing (or increasing) mood disorders and anxiety. Let’s take lead for example, a heavy metal still found in some North American tap water supplies. Lead is a cellular toxin and also competes with calcium in the body that leading to issues with calcium metabolism that include a decrease in neurotransmitter* release and blocks calcium channels. Basically, it disrupts the nervous system and causes symptoms that present as mood and behavioural disorders. Gross. And that's just one example of what you put in that bod of yours.
*A neurotransmitter is a chemical messenger that carries, boosts, and balances the signals between your neutrons, or nerve cells, and other cells in the body. These chemical messengers can affect a wide variety of both physical and psychological functions including heart rate, sleep, appetite, mood, and fear.
How about what’s going on it?
Just like the contaminants in water the same goes for the cosmetic products you use on your skin. Lotions, creams and oils are all just as easily absorbed as any medical cream you might get at the doctor. They also contain a host of chemicals that disrupt your nervous system, cause hormonal imbalances and throw your physiological chemistry out of whack.
What’s going on around it?
Have a look around you. The environment your standing in riiiiight now has an effect on your Mental Landscape. I’m sure you’ve been out somewhere, having a great time, surrounded by a crowd of people when all of the sudden you’re overwhelmed and bolt, as casually as possible, to the nearest exit. Something in your environment stimulated your nervous system and that was the end of your big night out for the first time in months. Any environment, no matter how subtle, will impact your Landscape. It’s easy to forget that we aren’t separate from it all, that it does have an effect on how we feel.
On a subconscious, or even vaguely conscious level, what are you letting in that noggin’ of yours? Think of all the types of media you come across in a day - print media, bus stop advertisements, Facebook, Instagram, t.v., internet ads, etc. That's a lot of things entering your conscious and subconscious mind in a day. A. LOT. Social media, for example, with it’s 'perfect life' syndrome can cause major delusions and therefore completely unattainable goals. You're left constantly trying to get to a 'state' that doesn't exist and the mind is left feeling defeated, always less than and in constant comparison mode. If we are subconsciously letting ever single one of these images into our headspace without a filter or a discerning thought, we risk suffering and struggle. We need to cultivate our awareness muscle to see things as they truly are.
It’s old, it’s cliche but it’s oh, so true. You are what you eat. It’s easy to pass the blame on your mood or depression - ‘Gahd, Jimmy was such a dick today, he ruined my mood.” or “I was born chemically imbalanced.”. But there’s a certain amount of responsibility you can take on for your moods and disorders. Though that might been infuriating at first - how could she say such a thing? - it’s actually incredibly liberating. You are not choiceless. You are not at the mercy of your Mental Landscape’s ebbs and flows through joy and suffering. You don’t need fall to pieces every time the cat doesn’t come home at night.
What you put in your mouth is what builds the hills and valleys of your Landscape. If you feed it garbage, rancid fats, poor nutrients - you’re Landscape is built on those shifty, weak, trashy foundations. When you consciously choose to feed yourself high nutrient, powerful, nourishing foods your foundation is built of stable, flexible, powerful building blocks. Your Landscape is strong enough to handle the earthquakes that occasionally hit us, instead of crumbling all around you. That’s the power of food+personal responsibility.
Vibes are what make the Universe go round. They can build us up or tear us down. They can cheer a friend or darken a room. They’re also a favourite key to tap into. Take a minute to think about a time when you were bummed and someone came bounding in the room like a radiating sun. Their energy was contagious. You just couldn’t help but smile. Everyone knows someone who just glows and causes everyone around them to do the same. And all they did was breath. It’s their vibe. We’ve all got one. It’s every changing but always there. We won’t always be a high-vibe star busting at the seams but we can grow our awareness of the vibes or energy that we are putting out and taking in. A heightened awareness of the subtle energies that are kicking around can keep your energies in a good place. Practice makes perfect on this one. It’s a subtle but well worth growing for the sake of your Landscape.