Never in our history have we seen so much anxiety and depression, suicide and substance abuse. Why? What has changed?
Our world is moving fast and some of the ways we formerly met core emotional needs no longer inherently exist in our way of life. The way we achieve them now must be different than it was decades ago, but all that matters is that we find a way.
We fundamentally require connection to our self, to a higher purpose and to others. Until recently, large families throughout history lived close together and engaged in a wide variety of connecting activities like reunions, dinners, rituals and traditions. Today’s fast-paced technology dependent world is simply different. Effective new methods of human connection will eventually catch up with our modern life. We are getting there, but meanwhile, on an individual level there is some work to do.
Self- awareness time connecting with yourself and your higher purpose, whatever version of that fits you. This is a key ingredient to developing your most authentic self. The You that knows your path, your value, and your purpose. This step involves fully feeling and working through all emotions, even your negative emotions. This can happen through meditation, journaling, walks in nature, yoga, purposeful deep breathing or any method that helps you stop, release your thoughts, fully feel and open yourself to deeper awareness. Historically, people did this somewhat effortlessly, by lifestyle and societal culture.
Now that we have 24/7 information and entertainment at our fingertips it has become much easier to look out than in.
Spending effort and time in meaningful connection with others. This means not waiting for others to come to you. (They probably won’t, they are too busy on their phones!) It means understanding your value (developed from the first step) and then reaching out to build others up, without fear of rejection and without expectation of return. It is not about the response from them. It is about you growing and expanding. Over time, these deposits into your emotional bank pay off in a big way.
Because we are housed in a physical body, we are governed by physical limitations. As a result, we feel optimum mental and emotional stability when our nutrition and sleep are on point. Athletes know peak performance requires solid fueling habits, including the right food, supplements, sleep, inspiration and relaxation time. The last 50 years have seen an enormous increase in readily available processed fast foods, foods that do our mental or emotional health no favors.
What we eat, read, watch and listen to impacts us. Fuel well to feel well.
We are energetic beings. Think of a horse racing around a pasture right before a storm. Can you imagine if the horse stuffed those feelings and stood still despite how he felt inside? Picture the aggression that comes from a dog who has spent time on a chain in a backyard. Modern life is sedentary, causing us to stuff and ignore our energy. We are usually the spectator, rather than the participant. All of that pent up energy leads to anxiousness, restlessness and discontent.
Exercise, outdoor sports, dancing, playing with kids, going out with friends, laughing, crying, screaming and singing at the top of your lungs are all great ways to release and let go!
Purposeful learning leads to awareness. As children, we are sponges. Endlessly curious, open to possibilities, eager to take it all in. The happiest, most productive people nurture and feed their inner spark to learn and grow. Because of this they are never bored, no matter their environment.
In centuries past, education and learning were highly valued and respected. What happens to our emotional health when we spend more time consuming mental cotton candy than in searching for profound insight? We are seeing the answer.
Traveling, reading, going to conferences, hiring a coach or counselor, trying new experiences and learning new skills are solid ways to kickstart insight and fire up your life.
We are wired for struggle. We crave it. So much so, that when life is too easy we are miserable. Without realizing it, we subconsciously create chaos and drama, especially relationship and financial drama, as an outlet simply to feel alive. Our biological need for this is real. Channeling it into something constructive is the key. Incredible fulfillment comes from accepting challenge and experiencing struggle. The pain you feel from doing something hard makes you feel alive. Pushing past our limits for a solid purpose is a rush like no other.
We all have modern life stressors but most of us have enough to eat, a warm bed, toilet facilities and minimal imminent danger of being decapitated by warriors or wild animals.
In decades past, children, for the sake of family survival, had to work long hours on farms and in family businesses. Now they are “busy” with dance classes, concerts and gymnastics. These are good things that follow progress, but these activities fail to bring the same sense of purpose as knowing the family is relying on you for the survival of the unit. To some extent, along our journey of progress, we’ve lost some of our innate soul charging challenge. In a subconscious search for it, we run up our credit cards, pick fights with our spouses, become the mean girls in high school and generally cause ourselves drama.
Progress has achieved its goal. At the same time, societal anxiety, depression and substance abuse have risen at the same pace that the elements we used to rely on to keep us “human” have fallen out of our lifestyle. Building back in elements to meet our core emotional needs takes purposeful work, but as the rate of opioid overdoses, suicides, anxiety and depression skyrocket, it is clear the stakes have never been higher.
Susanne Moore and her daughter Alex Holden are founders of the NeuraBoot app and method. NeuraBoot is a connecting experience to build strong minds and full hearts, using a support system coupled with personalized, gamified small steps.