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Time To Look Inside At Your Mental Health

Written by: Dr. Don Wood, PhD, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


Doesn’t it feel like every month, there’s another message about some issue we need to be aware of?

businessman showing hologram of the brain on his hands

It can be overwhelming, especially if you’re a caring person. May is no exception to the Awareness campaigns. You can choose from Arthritis Awareness Month, Better Sleep Month, Mental Health Awareness Month, National Walking Month, and Women's Health Care Month. These are all great causes, so which do you choose? Chances are you will choose to be aware of or support something that has affected your life. Let’s take a look at something that most likely has affected everyone’s life at some point, Mental Health Awareness Month.

What Do You See When You Look Around?

According to Mental Health America, the theme of Mental Health Awareness Month 2023 is “Look Around, Look Within.” If you look around, you can’t help but see mental health issues everywhere.

For example, the homeless crisis in cities across America. Has it always been like this, or did we just start to notice it? When did homelessness peak in America? In the 1980s the number of homeless people in the United States increased substantially, shoving the issue into public consciousness. The rise was due to two factors: the economy and the deinstitutionalization of the mentally ill.

The numbers appear to have grown over the years, however, it just appears that way. We are more aware of it now. Before, the homeless population was pushed into remote areas like vacant wooded areas. Now we see them on the streets and corners begging for money.

The homeless population has come out from the shadows into our conscious awareness. That should be a good thing in a sense, now we can do something about it. However, nothing is being done to alleviate the epidemic. In fact, I believe it has become worse. The government has only paid lip service to the problem. Law enforcement often arrests the homeless which in turn makes it harder for these homeless individuals to gain employment or suitable residential arrangements. To make matters worse, governments are providing needles and drug centers for users to get their fix without fear of being arrested. Is that really the solution?

This is a mental health crisis, not a drug crisis. Drug use is the symptom of the problem and, unfortunately, the typical situation is to treat the symptom and not the root cause. As I stated earlier, the theme of Mental Health Awareness Month 2023 is “Look Around, Look Within.” When you look around the mental health crisis in this country is clearly apparent.

What Do You See When You Look Within?

The next part of that statement is to “Look Within.” What do you see when you look within?

Are you taking care of your mental health? Have you ever thought that you need to be aware of how your mental health is before you can seriously start helping other people? As they say when you’re on a plane, “Put your oxygen mask on before assisting other people.”

Helping yourself before you help others? Isn’t that selfish? Not at all. It’s actually a brilliant life concept – unless you help yourself first, you won’t be able to help others. With your oxygen low, what good can you do? With your tank empty, how can you pour into others?

When you prioritize yourself and you develop a strong sense of self-love, taking care of yourself becomes natural and effortless. Not only does self-love empower you to prioritize your well-being, but it also sets the foundation for earning the respect of others.

When you invest time and effort into improving your mental health, your overall well-being improves: you start having more energy, and you’re more positive and enthusiastic. As such, you’re able to be more present with others, express your thoughts and creativity, and operate on a higher level. You’re happier and calmer. And it all starts with prioritizing YOUR mental health. Let’s look at some famous quotes from people to illustrate the point.

From Maya Angelou: Poet, dancer, singer, activist, and scholar Maya Angelou was a world-famous author. She was best known for her unique and pioneering autobiographical writing style.

“As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.”

"Nothing can dim the light that shines from within."

“The real difficulty is to overcome how you think about yourself.”

From Brené Brown: Brené Brown has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame and empathy. She's the author of five 1 New York Times bestsellers:

“You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.”

“Talk to yourself like you would to someone you love.”

From Princess Diana: Diana, Princess of Wales, was the former consort (1981–96) of Charles, Prince of Wales (later King Charles III); the mother of William (born 1982) and Harry (born 1984); and one of the foremost celebrities of her day.

“Every one of us needs to show how much we care for each other and, in the process, care for ourselves.”

From Lena Horne: Lena Mary was an American dancer, actress, singer, and civil rights activist. Horne's career spanned more than seventy years, appearing in film, television, and theatre.

“It is not the load that breaks you down. It’s the way you carry it.”

From Anne Lamott: Anne Lamott is an American novelist and non-fiction writer. She is also a progressive political activist, public speaker, and writing teacher. Lamott's writings, marked by their self-deprecating humor and openness, cover such subjects as alcoholism, single-motherhood, depression, and Christianity.

“Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you.”

From Faith Hill: Faith Hill, originally Audrey Faith Perry, American country music singer known for her commercial success on both the country and pop music charts. Hill grew up in Star, Mississippi, where she began singing at an early age.

“It’s okay to take time for yourself. We give so much of ourselves to others, and we need to be fueled both physically and mentally. If we are in balance, it helps us in all our interactions.”

From Lucille Ball: Lucille Ball, was an American actress, comedian, and producer. She was nominated for 13 Primetime Emmy Awards, winning five times, and was the recipient of several other accolades, such as the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award and two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

“Love yourself first and everything else falls in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”

From Fred Rogers: Fred Rogers, better known as Mister Rogers, was an American television host, author, producer, and Presbyterian minister. He was the creator, showrunner, and host of the preschool television series Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, which ran from 1968 to 2001.

“Taking care is one way to show your love. Another way is letting people take good care of you when you need it.”

From Jim Rohn: For more than 40 years Rohn was one of the most influential and motivational speakers and authors for people seeking advice and guidance on every type of personal development. He monitored and mentored Tony Robbins and received the 1985 National Speakers Association CPAE Award for excellence in speaking.

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.”

Now, after reading these quotes, and when you look within, what are you noticing about how you can help yourself during Mental Health Awareness Month?

And there it is!

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Dr. Don Wood, PhD, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Don Wood, Ph.D., author, speaker, Founder & CEO of the Inspired Performance Institute and creator of the patented TIPP method. TIPP is a cutting-edge method inspired and developed through the newest developments in neuroscience and designed to clear away the effects of disturbing or traumatic events, repurpose old patterns, and set the individual’s mind up for peak performance. In essence, it “REBOOTs” the brain’s stuck thought pattern, making it possible to enhance alpha oscillations with a noninvasive and effective shift in brain wave activity. Author of two top-selling books, Emotional Concussions and You Must Be Out of your Mind.



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