Paradigms, Yoga, and Mental Health

Hello friends,

In the past, mental health had such a negative stigma. It was often thought that if you had anxiety or depression or any other type of mental illness that you were crazy. Even the statement mental illness has a negative connotation. When most people think of being ill, they think of a way to cure that illness. But with mental health, a cure is not always necessary. This week, we talked about paradigms. After reflecting on what a paradigm truly is, I realized that a lot of people have a paradigm surrounding mental illness. Before I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression, I had a paradigm with mental health. Even though I have had anxiety and depression most of my life, until my diagnosis, I believed that mental illness was faked. I grew up with the belief that depression was something to be ashamed of because if you had depression then it must mean that you have failed. I assumed that depression and anxiety only effected “bad” people, those who are struggling are usually looked at as lazy or draining to be around. This is only one example of a social paradigm that has affected my life. After the discussion over paradigms I really began thinking of how individual’s beliefs effect everything going on around us. When talking about globalization, your stance truly does depend on how you were raised. During the breakout rooms, my peers were discussing how they did not support globalization because they think local companies are better. I mostly stayed quiet during the discussion but all I could think about was how everyone has such different beliefs on topics, and it is usually caused by an impression someone else left on them. I wasn’t able to step back and decide if globalization was good or bad because I felt I didn’t have enough knowledge to argue either side. That’s why it’s a wicked problem, because no one truly knows what to do about it. I really don’t feel like I contributed to anyone’s learning except my own. Sometimes staying quiet can impact things more than you’d ever realize.

Like I said earlier, I have anxiety and now that I’m living away from home, it has escalated. This week I tried breathing exercises for my mindfulness practice. Whenever I was feeling too anxious to continue my day, I would try to sit down, close my eyes, put one hand on my stomach and one hand on my chest and just feel my breath. The tension would release from my body and it helped me calm down immensely. Then at night, even if I wasn’t feeling anxious, I would do the same thing. Taking that time daily to just sit in quietness and focus on my breathing helped my anxiety so much. I was hoping to find a day to do yoga, but I was too overwhelmed with everything going on. I’m hoping that during my growth with mindfulness that I will find time to learn new ways to practice.

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