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Help Your Brain Reset

Wednesday, May 20, 2020 - Joe Kiedinger

Did you know that we’re in the middle of Mental Health Awareness Month? Living in these unusual times, it’s more important than ever to be on top of our mental health. Because our routines have been changed, our social connections have been blocked and we’re a little stir crazy at home—it’s time to really dial in to our overall well-being.

A colleague of mine, whose wife is a psychologist, says she estimates that 80% of people who say they’re depressed are not clinically so. Rather, the vast majority of people have found themselves focusing too much on their own worries and inadequacies. What does she advise? It’s quite simple: serve others.

What happens in the brain when we shift our awareness from thinking about ourselves to helping other people? We stop that downward cycle of negativity and gain some perspective. There are so many people in our community who are facing more dramatic hardships than our own. We experience gratefulness for what we have and we feel a sense of purpose in making others’ lives better. You know the feeling. It’s like breathing in a chest-full of sunshine. You stand up taller, feel lighter and can’t help but smile.

Your way of serving others may be in small acts, like asking how someone’s weekend went and listening intently to their response. Or it could be in bigger ways like delivering goods from food banks to folks in the community. Just serve. Get your mind off yourself and onto others and you’ll feel the difference.

JOE KIEDINGER

ACTION PLAN: When you catch yourself in a downward spiral of negativity, ask yourself, “How can I help someone today?”