Friday, November 18, 2011

Reaching for the stars

Anybody struggling with disorders like depression and anxiety will from time-to-time be aware of the lack of control he or she has over how they feel (after all they are called disorders for a reason). The sensations grip not only the person’s mind but her or his body and spirit as well.

While there is much to say about the power within a person as a vehicle to overcoming adversity, today I want to talk about how to harness the power of people and things outside of ourselves to help in the process of finding wellness. This is not because I lack confidence in my own or any other person’s inner strength as a means of overcoming mental troubles, but rather because the person suffering mentally can sometimes lack confidence in their inner strength and therefore will at times need to draw it from elsewhere.

An illustration is helpful here. In the late 1970s, NASA launched the space probe Voyager into the solar system to take pictures of outer lying planets. To get where it was going it had a certain amount of power it could direct into changing course, but a key factor in its journey was the way it harnessed the gravity of the planets it visited along the way that worked as a slingshot to propel it from planet to planet and then into outer space where it continues its amazing interstellar mission to this day.

We humans are not so different. We all require power external to ourselves to get where we are going in life’s journey.

These power sources will differ according to each person’s personality and needs, but here are some practical everyday examples.
  • Relationships: be they family, friends, a special someone, God
  • Regular means of enjoyment: this can be from entertainment (such as music, TV shows), creative self expression, exercise, personal reflection etc
  • Periodic things to look forward to: such as holidays, parties and catch ups over coffee
  • Spontaneous things: like running into an old friend, finding a funny clip on youtube, going on a picnic

Of course these examples are far from mind blowing, but it is often simple nuts-and-bolts aspects of life like these that can help slingshot us out of the blues and reach for the stars.