Mental Health

The physiological and psychological impact of stress and anxiety can have a detrimental effect on overall health when left untreated. Stress and anxiety are a constant, keeping it at bay is sometimes overwhelming, and makes eventual depression difficult to escape. Mental illnesses among those suffering are profound and complicates other comorbid chronic illnesses. As human beings, we are too quick to judge, and we seldom realize that others are judging us as well. Most often our beliefs about mental illness are wrong, either we don't understand the illness, or we generally don't care about those living with the illness. Mental illness has a huge stigma associated with it, especially among cultures that consider it taboo to seek help or even talk about mental health issues.

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Addiction

Addiction is real and is a problem, but it is preventable in the majority of people. There is a biological component to addiction because of genetic predisposition. One must also consider the behavioral component of addiction, like most maladaptive behaviors, it is influenced by multiple factors that include, environmental, social, mental health, behavioral, and genetics. If you consider free will and free choice, the choice of taking or not taking drugs rests mostly on the user, and the same goes for alcohol abuse. Often addicts will make excuses regarding their drug use, they often will disregard the detrimental impact it has on those closest to them, especially family and friends. Could it be a problem of self-destruction and individual narcissistic tendencies? Well it seems like it, the selfish desires of addicts, transcend all types of addiction, whether it's food, drugs, alcohol,  gambling, or even sex addiction and more.

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Expectations versus Reality

Our expectations can sometimes give us a false sense of comfort. When we place unreasonable expectations on ourselves, it clouds our judgment and overall sense of well-being. Placing realistic and plausible expectations on one's future endeavors allows an individual to set and create goals that are attainable, achievable, and sustainable. Our personal goals, aspirations, and individual circumstances may differ, while our needs are rooted in happiness. We all want to be happy, and considering realistic expectations can give you a glimpse of the possibilities. Life may not be what we expect it to be, only our actions can determine that. The reality of unreasonable expectations is often disappointing since there is so much that can affect or control your future reality.

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Leadership

As our world changes, we seek leadership and guidance through challenging times and uncertainty. The strength of leadership is the ability to lead by example, guided by empathy and understanding, and not delusional egocentrism. It sometimes feels like people who aspire to lead, prey on the gullibility of their constituent’s lack of critical thinking abilities. History has shown us repeatedly the mistakes of bad leadership, as well as the successes of great leadership. A true and sincere leader has a vision for the future, who sets attainable goals, and aspires to carry them out. A leadership competency and ability combined with an inspiring, dynamic vision for the future builds the foundation for great governance. Nelson Mandela emphasized that a good leader must have a good heart and head, honestly, you can't have one without the other. A great leader has the empathy and understanding to lead their people with kindness, humility, and compassion.

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Making a Difference

It does not take much to make a difference or have a positive impact on someone's life. The fundamental need and willingness to uplift the life of a single individual or many is simply rooted in selflessness. The gift of giving is taught in the texts of many religions, although not practiced widely across cultures due to the confines of selfishness. A mere sharing of food, and time, or donating to causes that truly make a difference is no doubt a sincere act of selflessness. We live in a world of greed, filled with ambitions without merit and gratitude, where most people seldom stop and think about people who face hardships every day. Kindness, humility, and compassion are often limited to those who truly make a difference daily since they are instilled with empathy and understanding for all.

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Critical Thinking

I sometimes wonder, have parts of society become so gullible that they do not become truthfully informed? It does seem like some people are somewhat deluded, that even the simplest of understanding is blinded by a lack of common sense, or maybe they never had sense at all. People are failing to even use the basics of critical thinking, to create a reasonable deduction to all the convoluted nonsense that they see or hear. Mainstream media and social media are preying on the vulnerability of those who lack critical thinking skills. Let's be realistic, if you can't think for yourself, how are you able to comprehend your present existence or even your prospects?

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Friendship

I often tell people that I get my fun and laughter from my younger friends, while I get my wisdom and guidance from my older friends, sometimes the reverse and everything else in between. I strongly believe that friendship is not bound by age, and with that in mind, we can gain much insight regardless of age. Throughout our journey in life, we cross paths with so many people. Some just in passing, and just a few can have a tremendous impact on our lives. Subtle conversations can lead to long-term friendships, or on the other hand, you wish you had never spoken to some people. Nonetheless, those that had a positive impact on you can be cherished for the rest of your life.

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Strength

You will never know your full strength, until you are tested on so many levels, and you are unable to count the times when you are able to muster the energy to muddle through life. The strength I am referring to is not your physical strength but your mental strength. You can have the best physique full of muscles, but without mental strength you have nothing. I have experienced overwhelming adversities with chronic illness, and I have overcome many obstacles and challenges along my journey. My mental strength helped me to overcome the obstacles, and work through the challenges I faced. My family and friends played a vital role in helping me fulfill my goals. There are times when you will feel down, stressed, or even depressed, your will to survive, and your determination to succeed will dictate the path you take.

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Faith and Respect

It is now the time of the year when we celebrate. When cherishing special moments with friends and family. While including a time for reflection. I am no doubt grateful to have come so far despite the odds against my survival. I was given a religious name Vishnu; a Hindu god. The amazing thing is I was never a religious person, I am just spiritual. I respect the many religions and faiths and the fundamental teachings of various religions. My values and beliefs are grounded in my upbringing, and the diversified knowledge that I gained over the years. Considering that there are over eight billion people in this world, stemming from multiple faiths and followings. Was this a divine plan of God? Who knows? The fact is people of these multiple faiths and followings are given a divine right to choose their own faith or spiritual path in life. In every faith out there in our world, there exists the same basic religious principles and teachings that we all follow. Our world is changing, poverty, wars, natural disasters, constant racism, and prejudice. History has taught us so much, but it seems that some of us have not learned from it. Maybe we do see this or we seem to ignore it. The only thing that changed over the years is the manipulation of these religious teachings and principles, and the lessons from history.

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Perspective

As we welcome this new year, our minds are filled with resolutions for the year ahead. How often do we really seriously think about our goals in life? Are those goals realistic? Do we have concrete plans? Or are we just winging it. Now let me get a little philosophical about a life perspective, about which we should think. When you ask yourself, "what is my purpose in life," think about what you want to contribute to life, rather than what you expect in life. Contributing to society is much more meaningful and rewarding than just obtaining possessions in life. It is important that you are realistic about your goals. Set realistic attainable goals, which are rewarding and meaningful to you. As we think about our overall purpose and goals in life, we sometimes tend to doubt ourselves. We all experience doubt sometimes, and doubt can lead to you making a mistake or taking on an opportunity for success. Nonetheless each and every one of us can do amazing things in life. It is important not to doubt yourself regardless of how challenging life gets. The moment you begin to doubt yourself, you will fail to accomplish anything in life. To be realistic, is to understand that change can happen at any time. Understanding our individual abilities and assets, allow us to create a strong foundation for us to succeed and triumph in the trials of life. Our self-efficacy and individual self-worth is worthy of our time, energy, and effort. The imperfect society we live in, should not limit our potential to overcome any obstacle and challenge that we may cross paths with.

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Second Chance

When you are given a second chance in life, it allows you to pause and postulate your future. You can reevaluate your life, find new meaning in life, and redefine your life with new goals that are realistic and attainable. A second chance in life does not have to necessarily come from a near death experience like mine to give you a new perspective in life. All you need to do is make a positive change in your life, with enough determination and courage to make that change. I strongly believe that each and every one of us has that ability, you just need to tell yourself that you want to make a change in your life and do it. Just be grateful you have a healthy body, and not a body like mine. When I get up, I am in pain or when I go to sleep, I am in pain, even when I take a dump I am in pain. It is not the life I wanted, nonetheless I am stuck with it, and I have to live and cope with that. Never underestimate your will, courage, and strength to overcome the obstacles and challenges you face in life.

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Pain

Try to remain sane, even if you are in pain. If you are not in pain, just be glad you got to live again. We all experience pain at some point in our lives, whether it be physical pain or emotional pain. How you cope with pain enables you to manage the stress and anxiety that pain brings. Some of us manage pain by developing both healthy and not so healthy coping mechanisms. Physical and emotional pain are equally painful, and it can affect you on multiple levels of your life. Do not let anyone else tell you otherwise. Pain can ruin your day, or even you’re weak and you sometimes feel helpless. I tried not to let pain control me, even though it feels like it controls all the aspects of my life. Trying to understand one’s suffering can feel somewhat debilitating at times. Your individual experiences with pain can vary from person to person. You can take the right steps to find your ability to control your experiences, and on your terms, find the best ways to help alleviate your pain.

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