“Mental health is not a destination, but a process. It’s about how you drive, not where you’re going.”

– Noam Shpancer, PHd

Last night, no, actually around 4:00 am, my mind churned. Over and over again it imagined terrible scenarios for relational challenges. I slowly woke up and figured out that my brain was working on solutions. Then I said, “Thank you. Good work. Now it’s time to sleep” and the night finished well.

(Thank you @Etienne Boulanger #Unsplash)


It’s not easy to live with incessant thoughts and turbulent emotions.

Suddenly our brain switches to a difficult place.

The intensity of emotions surprises us.

The pre-frontal cortex, the rational part of our brain, is offline in “fight or flight” mode.

Reactions and words are not pretty.

Can you relate?  

If only we might have paused instead of acting like our closet relative, the chimpanzee.

Luckily unlike a chimpanzee (and please note, a chimpanzee is not a monkey. Although I’ve described what can be coined as “monkey brain” monkeys have tails and are not as smart as apes.)

…humans have the capacity to sort through thoughts and emotions. We choose how to act. We take steps to strengthen our mental health. We’re able to nurture ourselves through self-care. So what’s the catch? 

Self-care is an ever-evolving practice. 

Committing to self-care is learned. 

Thank you @ToaHeftiba #Unsplash

Let’s not focus on the “Why” it’s so hard for some of us to cultivate self-care. Even if it’s contributing to today’s “Quiet Quitting”, the younger generations understand the importance of heeding that “Inner Voice” better than any Baby Boomer or Get X-er.

Bottom line: Caring for ourselves is an act of kindness.  

What do you do when feeling “off”, “down” “ballistic”, “out-of-whack” and or “consumed”?  

From On the Spirit Road here are a few tips for managing the chimpanzee within:

  1. Moments Change

It’s not possible to control or suppress negative thoughts. Instead, turn towards the difficult feeling and acknowledge it, even thanking it for showing up. Then, let the negative thought float away, like imagining a cloud moving across the sky. Allow the moment to change and evolve into something else.

To accelerate the change:

  • Move your body;
  • Call a friend;
  • Go outside for fresh air;
  • Volunteer (or think about someone in need and take action).

2. An Experience and Not Who You Are

Emotions consume us. Remember that the experience is just that – an experience versus being who you are- you are not the experience!

To ease out of complete absorption:

  • Acknowledge the emotions with kindness;
  • Give yourself compassion; 
  • Step back and say nice things to yourself;
  • Dance to your favorite playlist.

3. Notice your attention

We become where our attention is focused. If thoughts are negative switch them up (yes, easier said than done)

Thank you @Brad #UnSplash

How?  

  • Consider a memory that created laughter;
  • Imagine a place that brought you joy;
  • Wish someone well;
  • Go and do something that makes you happy now (drive across town to your favorite bakery, for example). 

By switching attention we remind ourselves about how happiness feels. We want to notice “Happy” and feel it in our bodies. This is where our attention should be.

Please note:

When we’re really stuck it’s important to seek professional help. There’s nothing to feel embarrassed about. Life isn’t easy. Asking for help is loving yourself.


As you come closer to the end of the year, push the pause button and take care of yourself on the drive. Tend to the process of self-care, the details for sustaining a happy and healthy life-journey.  


#LivingAsATraveler #SpiritRoadTravel #Spirit #Travelguide #wellbeing #beautifuldestinations #selfcare #mentalhealth

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