Many years back, my psychologist highly recommended that I book a trip to somewhere special for the sole purpose of taking a much needed mental health break. I was experiencing another episode of depression and high anxiety at that time. So, I wasn’t able to fully wrap my head around the idea that going away somewhere special would be of benefit to my mental well being. I put my trust and faith in the hands of my psychologist. As a result of this, my wife Sharon and I booked our first trip to Disney World.
Since that time, we have visited Disney World on four different occasions. We always feel blessed and grateful every time we visit the happiest place on earth. Personally, I feel even more blessed and even more grateful for what the Disney experience continues to teach me about my capacity to live with and manage my mental health challenges. And now here in this article, I share those teachings with you.
But before you continue reading, I wrote this article with YOU in mind. Although it reflects what Disney World teaches me about my mental health, it is my hope that YOU can relate to what I’ve written about in this article. In other words, have you had these same experiences in YOUR day to day life?
We are all on a journey of managing our mental health. Maybe, just maybe, there’s something written here that speaks to YOU and YOUR life. Happy Reading!
- Positive mental health not only means being excited and enthusiastic of some “thing” that truly lifts my spirits and gives me positive energy. It also means that I must grab hold of that thing and jump right into it, experience all that is has to offer, with the courage to make it happen. And that’s pretty cool!
- Many times, I ask myself, “Am I feeling anxious or is the feeling better described as nervous anticipation!?! “Feel the feeling and pocket it”, I say to myself. Then, Do It; whatever “It” is. Most importantly, once I do “It”, I then realize my capacity to push through the nervous anticipation. I become mindful that I CAN do “It”, and I CAN do “It” again and again successfully. Now that’s positive mental health.
- I give myself permission to live the experience through my eyes, through my perspective, knowing that a lot will happen over the next several hours of the day that will ultimately conjure up a full range of emotions. I actually say this to myself, in my head, in advance, in preparation for the exciting moments ahead. I feel less anxious and more ready to take on any experience that awaits me.
- My wife and I manage the details. Specifically, I manage the details very well by not attaching heavy feelings or heavy emotions to the details. If I do, I then I get distracted and take the details to heart, and run the risk of not managing me while I’m trying to manage the details. I say, “Details are just ideas and things that I can do. I’ve managed this detail before. I can manage this detail again”. And that feels great!
- I also give myself permission to feel like a Winner!! Although I may not know what it actually means to feel like a Winner, I pretend, in my way, in a safe and happy way that makes total sense to me and to my heart. All of a sudden, there’s no past, no future, JUST NOW & FEELING LIKE A WINNER!
- I give attention to my voice. I actually listen to my voice as if I’m hearing it for the first time. I listen to my tone and I gauge my energy in my voice. Then, I ask myself, “Is what I hear in my voice a reflection of what I am feeling and if I don’t like what I hear, what am I going to do about it?”
- I don’t let the adult me run the show or steal the show and get in the way of experiencing fun and laughter and being silly and goofy!
- My wife Sharon and I band together. I really believe that we are literally transforming our individual selves into an amazing two person tribe, ready, willing and able to take on anything that comes our way. Personally, I move from “Me To We”. And you know what? Working through that “Me To We” transition and then arriving at that place of “We” feels so empowering. “This is a shared and happy journey” I say to myself. Neither of us should experience it in isolation of one another.
- I like daily rituals especially when I am experiencing what I am experiencing that is new and different. I like simple daily rituals like getting out of bed the same time every day to eating the right foods that I know contribute to good mental health. I like simple daily rituals because this organizes structure and predictability in my head, my thoughts and my actions. And no doubt about it…many times I need just that – structure and predictability.
- And finally, allowing myself to feel happy and to share my happiness with others is without a doubt, the best strategy for my mental health and well being to avoid getting stuck in a rut.
About The Writer
Robert Manolson, BA CCDP (Certified Career Development Professional), Leading Fun At Work & Team Engagement Expert, & Mental Health Champion is the Creator & Facilitator of Powerful Play Experiences, Positive Workplace Mental Health… For Teams.
As Robert shares his energy and passions, he continues to challenge leaders in today’s ever busy, always stressful world of work to acknowledge fun at work and team engagement as an invaluable positive workplace mental health strategy. Robert believes that it’s really all about taking that risk to start authentic, honest conversations about mental health both in work and in life.