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How to make your Soul Glo

If you hadn’t guessed it by now, I am a child of the 80’s and 90’s. Coming to America used to be an absolute favourite of mine and I watched it endlessly. In the film, Prince Akeem (played by Eddie Murphy) is the heir to the throne Zamunda and on the surface he has it all (“the royal penis is clean your highness!”). But he isn’t entirely happy. In his search for a woman that will arouse his intellect as well as his loins, he lives in squalor and finds happiness without any of his possessions. What the film depicts (in a very funny way) is what life is all about.

In our society we seem to ignore the importance of looking after our psychological state until we hit crisis point. As a result, people tend to see or think about mental health when they think of the extremes of mental ill health. The strange or crazy people that you stare at and feel slightly intimidated by. However, look around you. Really look. Every single person that you see has an inner world that you can’t see. That’s mental health. It’s on a continuum, we are all on that continuum and it’s completely normal and equally wonderful. Our bodies ARE our minds and life would be boring if we were all the same.

Looking after that beautiful mind of yours is simple. Small things can make huge differences. With some help from the classic film (and some tenuous links!), here are my top tips to help you do just that.

“Listen, I know what I like, and I know you know what I like, because you were trained to know what I like, but I would like to know what you like?!”

Think about what you do and why. Consider the impact of living your life in this way. Not just the impact on yourself but on everyone around you. You might spend your life doing things for a purpose that turns out to be a complete waste of time (especially if your focus is too narrow). That can be quite devastating when you finally realise it.

“Time does fly fast, my son. It seems only yesterday I ordered your first diaper changed…”

Without stopping to think, we risk missing out on life for what it is (to the detriment of ourselves and those around us). Stop ‘doing’ and start ‘experiencing’, before it’s too late.

“I started out mopping the floor just like you guys. But now… now I’m washing lettuce… soon I’ll be on fries, then the grill…”

The wanting mind is a destructive mind. Stop comparing what you have to what others have and learn to appreciate all that is yours. That doesn’t mean don’t have goals and strive for more, it means don’t negate or belittle what you have in the process. Appreciate the little things, as long as your basic needs are met, experiences and not possessions are what’s important.

“I am badly in need of a manicure…”

Think about your healthy and unhealthy habits. Improve your emotional first aid kit by expanding your healthy repertoire and limiting your unhealthy ones.

“This shitty enough for ya?” “Yes, it’s perfect.”

Stop ruminating and/or making predictions. They both just send you round the twist and lead to bad feelings. Proactively work on the things you can change and let go of the things you can’t.

“To be loved, to be loved, WOW what a feeling, to be loved…”

See the world through a child’s eyes. See the wonder in things and practice gratitude. It’s easy to get bogged down by life but there is always a new way of looking at things and something to be thankful for, even in very hard times. Learning how to do this for the little things can make a big difference.

“Oha, it is my twenty-first birthday. Do you think perhaps just once I might use the bathroom by myself?” “Most amusing sir… Wipers!”

How we interact with people is so important for our wellbeing. The way we listen and talk to people can easily imply judgement and blame, and cause conflict or inhibit others from talking. Avoid ‘you’ messages, don’t assume (ask) and think before acting. Respond don’t react.

“No journey is too great when one finds what one seeks…”

Strive for a meaningful existence. The world is so much bigger than you are. Engage in activities that you love and use what you’re good at to benefit as many people as possible. Find the joy in life by getting involved. Absorb yourself in your experiences as much as possible.

“You see they’re McDonalds, we’re McDowells…”

Stop trying to be anything or anyone. You’re perfect just as you are. You don’t need to be anything or anyone else. Remember that.

“Randolf, Randolf… we’re back!”

Believe in your ability to make a difference. Believe in your ability to change. Believe in your ability full stop. Smile. Give compliments. Make some random acts of kindness. They will make you feel good and make those around you feel good too. They are also very easy to do.

And finally…

“Bark like a dog… a big dog… hop on one leg… make a noise like an orangutan…”

Stop doing what you’re told and start using your mind to it’s full potential.

Remember, with all the tips above, they take time to master. “He who would learn to fly one day must learn to stand and walk, one cannot fly into flying” (that is not mine, that is Nietzsche’s!).

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This Post Has One Comment

  1. Great read Jo.

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