Thursday, 17 November 2016

Thought 388: Mental Immunity

"To fall ill and harbour mistrust is in their eyes sinful:
one must proceed with care.

A fool, whoever still stumbles over stones or humans!"

- Thus Spoke Zarathustra

While many are aware of physical immunity that comes with a good diet, quality sleep and regular exercise, closely linked but not identical is mental immunity.

In an old post Depression I linked depression to a psychological version of the immune system destroying disease that is Aids (the post is now called Depression as the AIDS of Mental Health). 

For when depressed the slightest hiccup, the slightest toxicity in communication and information, in interaction and exchange, can tip one into a suicidal trance. 

It was from my battling depression along with anxiety that made me think in terms of mental immunity, i.e. keeping one's thoughts in such good order as to be less prone to being brought crashing down by negative happenings, internal and external. 

Three things most of all helped me overcome the worst of depressed symptoms and they are all linked:
  1. Relaxing
  2. Practising self-compassion as opposed to self-bullying
  3. Loving myself as opposed to loathing myself
As I've written before, negative self-talk causes stress in the mind-body complex and can exacerbate if not cause depressed states. 

This is why obsessional perfectionists often fall prey to depressive illness as their endless and repeated self-criticism in failing to achieve what they consider to be adequate work causes stress chemicals to flood their bodies in what is commonly referred to as 'fight or flight' mode, even though there is no objective reason to fight or to flee. 

When it comes to low self-esteem and particularly the issue of self-loathing, these often stem from puritanical drives to constantly be doing and producing, and be everything to everyone, as though one is only allowed to love oneself when earning X salary, being in Y job and having achieved Z external recognition. 

[As Mark Passio rightly notes, self-loathing also stems from a past trauma that has been buried into the subconscious mind and not consciously addressed let alone resolved.]

People who feel they need to accomplish a lot each day in order to be okay with themselves are of course more vulnerable to depression than others who are content with themselves no matter how little they have achieved and how conventionally unsuccessful they are regarded as being. 

It follows that true mental immunity comes from a variety of factors including unconditional self-acceptance, quieting one's self-criticism, relaxing (prolonged nervous tension can be fatal for mental health - see post Nervous Tension) but also harder to grasp principles such as 
  • learning the truth about the world (i.e. unlearning mass mind control methodologies which can be toxic for psychological well-being)
  • learning the truth about oneself (i.e. communing with one's inner temple and drawing the lessons you need to draw as to your person - self-respect in other words - see post Self-Love and Self-Respect)
  • learning the truth about others (i.e. understanding the differences that lie between you and other people, the level of mind control they're under, their level of morality, whether they are friend material or not, whether you should engage with them or not, whether you can learn from them or not)
  • realising what is and what is not in your control (politics and the thoughts, emotions and actions of others are largely out of our individual control)
  • aligning one's actions and emotions with one's thoughts (i.e. unity consciousness which gives rise to genuine free will - see post Free Will as Acquired), 
  • engaging in creative industry and expression (which is a great way to feel accomplished and discover one's artistic soul)
  • understanding and complying with Natural Law (i.e. realising that actions have consequences and that there are laws of nature, including moral ones, we are bound by and which are in operation at all times)
  • understanding that consciousness is a part of nature that the brain taps into rather than originating solely from the brain organ 
  • unlearning dogma, of a scientific or religious kind
  • learning about evil and therefore unlearning moral relativism (which is part of understanding Natural Law)
  • prioritising what gives one energy and positive fulfilment and reducing or avoiding thoughts & activities that emotionally deplete one or make one depressed
  • opening one's heart and crown chakras 
  • critically evaluating one's relationship with family members, partners or close friends (see Parents as People). 
  • realising that the personal things people say about you is usually a reflection of their own way of thinking and value system
  • not being overly compassionate or moved by the suffering of others (see post Self-Punishment is not Enlightenment)
  • not giving a fuck about social expectation or what people think of you
  • seeing Being as your womb and your home
  • giving up on pride or ego identification
  • admitting you have been wrong and will be wrong in the future
  • accepting that perfection is not humanly possible
  • learning the lessons given by your past
  • living in the present moment (i.e. being engaged in the now whilst being aware of the whole)
  • not feeling beholden to other people (i.e. either putting them on pedestals or comparing yourself unfavourably to them)
  • choosing love over fear (love being the force that expands consciousness and fear being the force that shuts consciousness down).
  • re-evaluating one's habits and routines and deciding whether they are good or bad for one
  • accepting that you cannot please everyone
  • carefully monitoring the content of your thoughts, the things you choose to pay attention to, the desires you wish to cultivate, the people you spend time with, the information you choose to take on board
  • making one's peace with one's past so as to be able to embrace the present
and there are many other elements besides.

All this to say that while many researchers extol the benefits of exercise and diet for conditions like depression those are only at the periphery of the actual mental and emotional labours that have to be done in order to boost one's mental immune system so as to be in a position to deal with life's many challenges. 

And as I've said before it is most arduous to care for others if you yourself are in need of care. This is why enlightenment involves care for the self as well as for others, but care for the self needs come first since not caring for oneself can only lead to poor quality in the care you give others.