I went out to lunch the other day with a dear old friend and over some greasy pizzas covered in chilli oil, we engaged in a rather argumentative yet healthy discussion. The theme? Mental health therapy delivered to youngsters. Playing devil's advocate, he was against having kids go to therapy as he thought it would lead them to believe they had a problem, possibly causing them to actually develop a mental health issue. Although I can understand where he is coming from, I think there are some substantial points to bring to light.
This traditional idea of a long leather couch positioned next to a therapist with a pen and paper should be modified. We exist with enough technology around us to make this an option, not a mandate. There are other forms of therapy and even online solutions, such as some of our products. I would urge kids to these, not because they have a problem, but because it's valuable information. Our greatest power is having information and knowing how to apply it.
But my friend kept pushing. He said that sometimes you have to 'man up'. He remarked that when you run a marathon and you get to the 19th mile and just want to quit you need to man up and push through to the end. He thinks that perhaps sometimes, if you’re having a bad day, you can 'man up' and just get to tomorrow. There is a massive difference between these two as they stand today. What are they? When you run a marathon you don’t simply just show up and hope to make it to the end. You practice for months before, possibly running three miles, then five miles, then ten miles every day until the day of. That way, by the time you get to that 19th mile, you have had enough training to know how your body works and how to push yourself correctly in a way that won’t be harmful to your muscles and body. That’s all that I am asking people to do. Train yourself. Know what techniques you can use to make you feel better. Practice and practice so that the day you are feeling low, you know what to do.
Currently, there is no emphasis on this because focusing on your mind through therapy seems 'weak'. Well, it’s not. It would be foolish to run a marathon without any training, or swim the Channel without any practice, and it is foolish to not prepare yourself with tools to help you get out of a depressing mindset. Push yourself, as if you’re in that 19th mile, but don’t do it blindly. Do it knowingly, as you would with any physical sport.
We put five-year olds in football camps after school. No one says thats too young to start learning how to play football. Why can’t we also have them learning how to train their minds?
Conversing with Dr. Andres Fonseca the other day he said something that truly shocked me albeit being apparently obvious. We are nothing more than our brains, and if we don't take care of them our very being could be harmed. So take care of your head, please.