I teach you how to cultivate a mature sense of self and nurture your mental health holistically. Learn with me weekly: evolvingbeings.substack.com

Part 1 of 4

A series on managing mental health in an integrative way.

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As humans, we are complex and multi-faceted. Many different things work against and in favor of our mental health and well-being. This includes our bodies, emotions, thoughts, relationships, social systems, environment, past experiences, stage of life, and sense of meaning and greater purpose.

In this 4-part series on holistic mental health and well-being, we discuss the many dimensions of mental health that lie beyond just our brain chemistry. In this first part, will be discussing the dimensions of our mental health that have to do with our inner individual lives. …

Therapy is for anyone, not just for those who are suffering.

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Before studying the art and science of therapy, and engaging in therapy myself, I used to have the same perspective that I believe the majority of society has:

Therapy is for the crazy, for the mentally ill, for the weak-willed, and for the people in deep crisis.

After years of immersing in different theories and philosophies of human nature, engaging in therapy myself, and eventually ending up training to become a therapist, I am now convinced of this instead:

Therapy is for everybody, especially for people interested in self-knowledge, personal evolution, and in learning how to love, lead, and live to their fullest potential.

And how to apply this knowledge to your personal evolution.

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I was a confused kid growing up. Academically, I was bright, often top of my class. But when it came to emotions and relationships, I was a mess.

When I reflect on the things I learned in school, I often question how many of those things are actually useful to me on a daily basis in my adult life. I wonder what my life would’ve been like if I had instead received comprehensive education on my mind, emotions, and relationships.

Some might argue that you can’t teach these things. At this point in my life, as a therapist, well-being educator, and prolific self-learner, I’d confidently say they’re wrong. …

And become more confident and secure in who you are.

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1. Live By Your Own Principles, Values, and Standards

Living from your authentic self means living a life that’s your own and not driven by the standards, norms, and expectations of others. To develop true inner confidence and live from your authentic self, you alone must define what’s important to you, what you believe, and how you want to live.

If you the approval of others didn’t matter to you…

  • How would you actually want to live?
  • What would you care about?
  • How would you spend your time?
  • What would you believe in and express?
  • How would you present yourself?
  • What would you do for a living?
  • What would you buy or not buy?
  • How would you spend your free time? …

Going forward, I believe the most important thing that can happen in our society is for the emotional temperature to go down. Not because I believe we can’t take the heat, but because I truly believe that humans do their best thinking when their instincts and emotions are quiet. The brain just gets more energy to do a hard task like thinking things through carefully.

For the past few decades in this nation, we’ve been a period of slow societal regression with rising tension and polarization between opposing groups. Those who study human evolution and human nature have been observing these dynamics and predicted many decades ago that this exact mayhem would be happening during our time. …

10 Lessons I Learned in 2020:

  1. Emotional maturity and mental complexity prepare us to navigate crises and adversity more gracefully.
  2. A learning and growth mindset can get you through the hardest of times.
  3. Forced loss can be a blessing in disguise.
  4. Under pressure, strong bonds strengthen while weak ones break.
  5. Communities of common interest are vital to well-being.
  6. Technology, used wisely, can enhance an already full life.
  7. Unearned privileges alleviate hard times. Practice humility and gratitude.
  8. Man is an animal and threats to his survival, real or perceived, can turn him against his own kind.
  9. Living outside of our nature is killing our species. The virus is a symptom. One of many that will continue to arise until we relearn to live in harmony with nature.
  10. We must proactively take care of our physical, emotional, mental, relational, and economic health like our lives depend on it. Because they do.

Living from your solid self promotes well-being and self-actualization.

What Are the Pseudo Self and Solid Self?

We all have both a pseudo self and a solid self (also referred to as the true self).

The pseudo self is like the persona or mask that we wear for the world that’s based on its standards, expectations, and demands for who we should or shouldn’t be. The pseudo self seeks external approval and behaves in a way that’s going to be received well by others or at least not rejected.

The solid self, on the other hand, is that inner authentic core within us that’s based on the things that we truly think, feel, believe, and want for ourselves in our lives. …

Cultivating more emotional stability and maturity in our lives.

What Is Emotional Enmeshment?

Emotional enmeshment is when there are unclear emotional boundaries between ourselves and other people. Those other people are normally those we’re in relationships with or groups we’re a part of, such as our family, our inner circle, a community, or a team of some kind.

Because we are a social species, we’re wired to emotionally affect and be emotionally affected by other people. When emotional boundaries are unclear, we pass on our emotions or we take on the emotions of other people. Emotional states become contagious and spread throughout the group.

Evolutionary Context

From an evolutionary perspective, emotional enmeshment is an adaptive ability. Our early ancestors didn’t have complex verbal language skills, so they communicated their survival needs with each other through emotions. Infants and young children do the same today with their caregivers. …

Gatherings are a great time to learn, grow, and evolve.

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For those of us with difficult family dynamics, family gatherings can be a challenging and stressful experience. Through my personal lived experience and work as a therapist, I’ve learned that it helps to go into them with a learning and growth mindset. This means intentionally engaging in our own personal development process and practicing emotional maturity when we gather with our families.

Here are a few ways to do so...

1. Practice Awareness

As a social species, we tend to experience unconscious processes like emotions and automatic thoughts as we relate to others. …

Embrace a learning and growth mentality to survive them.

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Do you ever feel a sense of dread over having to gather with family for the holidays? Do you ever find it hard to set and hold healthy boundaries with them? Do you ever feel overwhelmed by their emotional demands or caught in the middle of their drama at the dinner table?

Ram Dass once quoted:

“If you think you are enlightened, go and spend a week with your family.”

That idea has always resonated with me.

Not all of us are lucky enough to experience the holidays as a cheerful and peaceful time with family. For people with difficult family dynamics, the holidays can be a time of high stress, sadness, and emotional exhaustion. …

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