Recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials the would otherwise be thrown away as trash and turning them into new products. When we think of the term or the action of recycling, we usually are thinking of plastic bottles, metal objects, cardboard materials and so on. However, in light of May being Mental Health Awareness Month, I would like to focus this blog post on how we recycle our personal experiences and heart-felt pain.
Our health and wellness journey cannot exclude our mental health. Our mental health impacts our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being and vice versa. It is tightly interwoven into all aspects of our life. Mental health is one of our greatest assets and supports our ability to overcome challenges and obstacles. It impacts our relationships, our abilities to function in the workplace, individual life goals, finances, and much more. If we do not address our mental health as part of well-being, our desire for healing and being whole will never come to fruition.
Everyone single human being walking this earth has experienced stress. The stress can differ among us and will sit on a sliding scale of intensity in different points in your life. That stress can lead to avenues of great pain and mental anguish. If we do not address that pain in our lives, over time, we end up recycling it into our future experiences. Those recycled feelings and experiences if not processed in a healthy, productive way, will strengthen the vicious cycle of unresolved pain.
Therefore, the question is, what are the proper materials needed to recycle our pain so that it can be used for a new purpose in life and not just left-over trash that can clutter our potential? Lets look at some material needed to translate the experience in a productive way.
1. Identify It! Become self-aware. Notice your reactions, emotions and mental thoughts that occur in a situation. Where are they coming from and are they congruent with the experience? Alot of our responses to a situation, a person or event are exacerbated by previous experiences. It is a build-up of old trash that never was taken out, let alone recycled.
2. Slow Your Roll! Before making a final decision or display an extreme reaction; feel that pain, sit with it, and give yourself time. Be gentle on yourself and others. We are wrapped in emotions and thoughts that can be projected onto others, intensifying the current experience. Spend time with yourself, sort out those emotions, clean up your thoughts and place it into its proper context.
3. Practice a Wellness Approach! Whatever relieves stress in your life that is not harmful to you, do it! Go for a bike ride, practice yoga, meditate, confide in a friend, or try something new. Remember, an “approach” is different than a one time “occurrence”. An approach is something you can regularly incorporate into your life that can assist you in recycling that painful expereince.
4. Turn Your Pain into Purpose! One of the biggest influence on my healing in life has been giving back to our world. What I realized early on was that my experience is not exclusive to me. I am not alone and am walking this earth with many hurt human beings. When I began to take my message to the streets, I realized that there were others who could benefit from what I was learning. If you want to recycle your pain into a product that has a new, fresh and fruitful use, help someone else. You will quickly find that your pain becomes the catalyst for your purpose.
Lets make a deliberate effort to address our mental health in our wellness plan for our lives. Make your pain, your emotions and your thoughts a priority, so that all other areas of your life can evolve. Remember, there is truth in your pain. Do not be ashamed of it, but instead, recycle it for a new use in order to support the growth in yourself and others. Our world, your community and you are depending on that process.
“One small crack does not mean that you are broken, it means you were put to the test and you didn’t fall apart.” -L. Poindexter