:: LIFE :: Soldier of the Spirit

I definitely don’t want to give the anyone the wrong impression or make it seem like I’m suggesting that adopting a rosy outlook on life is a cure for depression, because I know first hand what a sensitive topic this can be. I know that things like depression and anxiety are medically classified as mental disorders or illnesses. And yes, they are basically the result of a biological function that isn’t technically considered normal. And yes, I know all too well that they are scary, and dangerous and should be treated. But I don’t think nature, in this case, is necessarily so stalwart an opponent that nurture doesn’t have a fighting chance in the ring.

It feels like a lot of people hear the words “mental disorder” and immediately place those people into a bucket labeled “sick” or “broken,” as if to say they don’t have control over their lives or actions because they were dealt this particular “fate." But I don’t think it’s necessarily a flaw to feel emotions with the power of a thousand suns. Inconvenient sometimes? Yes, terribly so. But defective? Quite the opposite. So I wonder what would happen if, instead of attributing everything to a medical diagnosis and assuming no responsibility, we turned back around and looked at ourselves, questioning if the lives we lead are in support of and nurturing to the human spirit. If we all carried a little more weight, is it possible to ease the heaviness of the world we’ve shaped that encumbers those who are already slated to take the brunt it?

We live in a complex, evolving world that can be hard on even the most biologically stable limbic systems. But in the same way that the mindful practice of combat breathing stops the stress response in a real soldier, being more mindful about our own emotions and spirits could have a positive impact on those of others. Rather than continuing to propagate a cycle of illness and defeat with things like ignorance and pride, we could all apply a few simple, mindful rules to our lives that, I believe, would have a tremendous impact on the human spirit. Ironically, it’s as simple as the basic rule of physics: for every action, there is a reaction, because health and happiness are contagious. By investing in myself, I am investing you. And vise versa.

This article from Psychology Today seems very simple and obvious on the surface, because it is. It explains the most basic functions of life that our ancestors lived by, before the world was littered with so much excessive, external stimuli that we’ve allowed to clog up our spiritual arteries and muddle the goodness inside us. Before we were entrepreneurs and celebrities, we were and are humans first. Why behave any other way?

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