I live in Nova Scotia, Canada. It is now getting dark by 5:30pm. It is cold, 0 celcius or below. There is snow falling outside. Between November and February, the early darkness, cold temperatures and snow will continue. We won’t see relief until April or May.
I’m not here to talk about the weather though. I am here to talk about how I FEEL in the weather, about Seasonal Affective Disorder. I feel moody. I feel irritable. I don’t want to go outside (which for me is odd as I require nature to truly feel peaceful). I am less able to handle the daily stressors that I was coping with effectively only a few weeks ago. What is happening ?
There has been a lot of debate recently over the impact that mindfulness and meditation have on people who practise these activities.
Some people swear it’s their salvation, others warn of the mental health damage they can leave in their wake.
So who can you believe ? Are mindfulness and meditation the key to happiness ? Or will they cause more mental health issues, bringing up horrible traumas that we have locked within us ? Is it all a fad, just another gimmick for us to spend our hard earned money on ?
Every once in a while we come across stories that can be life changing. While reading the book “The Tao of Pooh” by Benjamin Hoff, I was introduced to just such a tale.
Meditate. Yoga. Take a walk. Have a nap. Read. Light some candles. Drink some tea.
These are just a few of the hundreds, maybe thousands of things someone can do as “self care” exercises. Self care is defined simply as doing something you enjoy for no other reason but to show appreciation to yourself.
It’s a great thing, and extremely necessary because people don’t do enough for themselves.
However, self care exercises can easily become another spoke on the wheel of anxiety and judgement.
You should. We should. They should. I should….
Should – used to indicate obligation, duty, or correctness, typically when criticizing someone’s actions.
The word “should” denotes an expectation. Families should have children. Children should learn and grow according to the recommended timelines. Parents should send their children to the best schools and enroll their children in physical activities. Young people should go to college. Everyone should get a job. You should save money to buy a house. You should save money for retirement. We should spend money to boost the economy.
Is this word really damaging though?
I have my entire life tried to “do more”. I wanted to read novels before I knew all the letters in the alphabet. Over achiever right here! I strived for perfection because I was led to believe that is how one becomes successful. I wanted to get into college, get a career in veterinary medicine and make a good living. I had a list of goals: become an RVT, get a car, get a Rottweiler, get married and buy a house. Those were my goals. By 2006 I had completed college, became an RVT and was driving around in my car with my Rottweiler puppy and my future husband. In 2010 we bought our house.
What is success?
Most literally, success is simply the accomplishment of an aim or purpose. (Google Dictionary)
Success comes and goes, and our own versions of success can change as time goes on. Everyone’s version of success will always be unique. When someone feels successful personally, others may still judge them as unsuccessful only because their version of success is different.
Some people feel success is tangible, like a new car or a better paying job. Others will argue success is intangible, like the fulfillment people feel that comes from helping others, such as volunteering.
There are positives and negatives to both sides.