Fifteen Minutes to Change Your Life
Since it’s Mental Health Awareness Month, we at Cornerstone wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the profund nature of mental health. Stress and anxiety, depression and sadness, obsessive thoughts and addictions: whatever you find yourself struggling with, often deep within, can become a burden for you. You might feel like life is a runaway train, or like you have no control over your own days. Moments zip by and you find yourself wondering how things got the way they did. This is an all too common aspect of mental health and it often goes unacknowledged within ourselves because we’re just too busy to recognize it. That’s why it’s important to give yourself ‘me-time’ each day. It doesn’t have to be long. Even fifteen minutes can change your life!
Sometimes I feel like everything is out of control. I don’t even know where to begin. What’s something I can do to fix that?
It may sound corny, but by taking fifteen minutes can truly change your life. I want to share two stories that mirror each other. They happened in two very different settings, all within the span of a couple hours. I often take fifteen minutes out of my day to go outside and think. I don’t bring my phone. I don’t listen to music. I don’t bring a book. Sometimes I sit in the pool or at a park bench. Other times, I find a quiet space out in the garden. I take that time to sit and contemplate life or even my inner-mind and motivations. I have found it to have profound effect on me, as it enables me to re-evaluate and change course when necessary.
Today as I did this, I sat outside contemplating how awesome nature is. The gentle breeze coursed through the palm trees and plants that line the pool. Birds were chirping. The water of the pool was rippling. It was all so very perfect. Isn’t nature astounding? The beauty that is our planet is awe-inspiringly vast and immeasurable. Flowers of different colors, leaves of different shapes, all swaying in the breeze. A breeze connected to the vast currents of our oceans, which we are blessed to be so close to here in Palm Beach. This world truly is a gift, and taking fifteen minutes of time to stop and reflect on that always helps me feel grounded; grounded in this awesome planet on which we live.
Nature abounds, even if we don’t stop to realize it as we drive by on the interstate on our way to work. Today thuogh, something very strange happened. I witnessed an aerial battle! Before you ask, no I’m not currently writing this from a war zone. Suddenly two magpies dove down to attack a large crow! Two other small blackbirds joined the fight too. The birds battled in the air, in the trees, all over the area above my head! It was a spectacle! I felt like I was watching a David Attenborough documentary in one of those IMAX domes. It was fantastic. And then, suddenly, the battle was over, and peace returned.
This spectacle I had just witnessed pretty much sums up what life is; whether it’s the hectic frenzy of an aerial battle or the calm gentle breeze rippling over water, life is conglomeration of that hectic busyness and moments of still peace in which we often find ourselves. And being in that maze, however necessary it may feel, has a tremendous impact on our lives and our mental health. That brings me back to the initial topic that I started off discussing: taking fifteen minutes out of your day can help you in ways you might never imagine. Yes, there will be times when things happen in a frenzy, but by grounding yourself each day, you’ll be more equipped and prepared to deal with it.
Maybe something is nagging at you. Maybe you feel like no one pays you any attention. Maybe you feel like you’re out of control, like life is just moving and you’re along for the ride.
You aren’t alone in feeling like this. That brings me to our second story of the day. As I sit here writing this at a cafe, people all around me are experiencing those same things I mentioned above. Two teens are sitting together. Neither one is speaking to the other and they’re both playing different videos aloud without headphones as they look at their individual screens. A young mother is seeking connection with her friend. She is talking in a frenzied manner trying to get out everything on her mind before her time is up. A grandfather is eating with his grandson, who is playing a soccer game on his device. Neither is talking. Cars are honking. People are fighting and stressed.
If any of those people or vignettes describe you, you can take solace in the fact that this hecticness of life is all around us, and sometimes within us. That young mother is looking for connection. The grandfather wants to spend time with his grandson. Those teens could be alone, but find comfort in their watching videos together.
That hecticness, like the aerial battle I witnessed just hours before, is over now. The grandfather has left with his grandson. The two teens have moved on. The mothers with their children have left. It’s quiet. The flurry has ended. The train can, and does, stop. Make it stop. Give yourself the time. You deserve it.
What will people think if they see me sitting alone?
All too often people stigmatize mental health. The reality is, however, that we all deal with various mental health struggles in our own ways. We’re all just trying to get by. Whether you are struggling to find connection, feel withdrawn and uncomfortable, or even if you just feel like you can’t stop the train that is your life for five seconds, you are not alone. Those people at the cafe are too. If your stress is through the roof and if all this makes you feel genuinely anxious, then taking five to fifteen minutes, like the amount of time you may have taken to read this, to stop and contemplate the beauty of this world, may do you a tremendous amount of good.
Remember, Mental Health Awareness isn’t just about other people. It’s also about you and your health. Our team is here to help guide you through your struggles and find balance. You can reach out to our intake coordinator today to set up an appointment.
In the meantime, try this: take fifteen minutes. Put your phone down. Go outside. Give yourself the break you need and the break you deserve. That fifteen minutes can have a profound impact on your mental health. That fifteen minutes can change your life.