Wednesday 22 November 2017

#My1000Hours: Detox your mind

Out with the negative and in with the positive, Niall Breslin says it's time to #runyourlife

Niall Breslin
Niall Breslin

Niall Breslin

I found myself curiously watching an episode of Celebrity Big Brother a few weeks back. Now, I am a fan of being entertained and enjoy well-cast characters, but this seemed like a complete exploitation of men and women, orchestrated and manipulated by ratings-hungry TV producers.

The easy thing to say here is that the contestants signed up for it, and were well-compensated for their time, and perhaps there is point here. However, this was intentionally planned to become a cocktail of toxicity by TV producers.

The reason I bring up Celebrity Big Brother is because it reminded me of one of the most important recovery aspects of my gradual ability to deal and manage my mental health issues.

So far, I have spoken about mental fitness and emotional health in a broader sense, but I would like to point out some of the more acute principles I adapted into my everyday life in order to manage my issues more effectively - and perhaps it's something that you could implement to see if it has a positive impact on your mind.

First off, and this can be difficult, as you may need to make some tough calls. You must clear your life of unnecessarily toxic people.

People that drain you emotionally and are completely counteractive to the type of environment that best suits an individual's journey with their mental health.

Personally, I made a decision to inform friends and acquaintances who I felt pulled against my plans, that I needed to clear myself of negativity.

I was brutally honest. In fact, from informing some of these people that they were acting in a negative way, they made conscious decisions to alter their toxic personality traits and make the effort to change.

Once again proving, when it comes to emotional decisions, it's always best to be honest.

So, how can we all make some simple, practical and pragmatic changes in our everyday life, to clear ourselves of negativity and promote positivity which is a helpful and supportive environment?

Stop judging others

Judging others, especially when you know little or nothing about their background or situation is deeply toxic behaviour. Of course, some people's actions deserve judgement, but how often have you judged someone harshly in order to satisfy some internal unhappiness. Regardless, I have never judged someone and felt good about myself. I find myself holding back sometimes when I feel I am about to say something negative about others. I ask myself, 'will this make me feel better or am I being unnessesarily and unfairly negative, and contributing to a toxic and negative environment?' Being constructive is an entirely different matter (I do it for a living) especially if you have guidance to offer but bitchiness and being judgemental is not advisable if seeking a positive frame of mind.

Self-compassion

As a society we can be incredibly harsh on ourselves. We constantly beat ourselves up over issues that can often be out of our control. We are force-fed semi-fictional stories that are sold as fact in certain media, and we expect ourselves to emulate or live up to these synthetic and contrived lives. It can be incredibly difficult, especially for teenagers who are still fine-tuning their identities.

Of course, it's OK to kick yourself up the arse when you mess up, especially if it's something you control, but the issue is illustrated when we achieve something positive. We rarely congratulate ourselves, or enjoy the process. We almost see it as something that 'just happens'.

So, my advice. Have some self-compassion. Try do something everyday that when you go to bed that night, you can have a quiet moment just to say 'well done'.

Practice gratitude

We spend quite a lot of time cursing what we don't have, rather than celebrating what we do have. I can be the biggest culprit at times. Being aware of this is key. When I find myself courting envy, I step back, aware that I am being irrational and negative.

Every morning I practice 30 thank yous. Now, this sounds a little odd but believe me, if you want to commence your day with a positive frame of mind this is a great place to start.

Think of 30 things you are thankful for. It can range from toast or toothpaste, to the most valuable like your family or the roof over your head. Just try it.

Download the 'Headspace' app

Mindfulness and mediation can be a frightening world for those who don't fully understand it, yet can be of critical value to those looking to calm their mind. It is not floating in thin air while wearing a rope, nor is it chanting incoherent slogans to over-dramatic piano and string music. Those with anxiety issues for example, know that sometimes their thoughts can be their worst enemy. It's like an explosion of madness and can be very distressing for those who can't control it. This app, in a simple yet very effective way will bring you through the process. It's like going to the gym for the mind. Switching the mind off, even for 10 minutes a day and resting it can have profound effects on some.

To enter the 'Irish Independent' My 1000 Hours race in association with Berocca on Sat March 7 visit www.FITMagazine.ie/events.

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