I just wrote (in the blog entry “Lost Brain”) some reasons why we lose our sanity, but what are solutions towards proper brain function? Here are some ideas. A balance of these are essential. If you’re on overload in one area, work on that particular area until it is no longer maxed out then proceed by adding other solutions, stopping others, or coming to that particular solution/activity/action point at a later time. Then, in the ideal world, utilize all of your solutions and ideas with just the right balance to maintain maximum results. This is done by utilizing sources, resources, solutions, ideas, and more… with the measurements and dosages that result in optimal health maintenance and the highest amount of brain function possible resulting in maximal life success in whatever way that means to you. Each person is different. What you do, how you do it, the effectiveness, and results all depend on what is going on for your life and body at that particular time, your end goals, and where you are at in your starting point. However, with all this in mind, these are some of the solutions that I’ve discovered: Make sure your basic needs are met: Housing, food, clothing, heat, medical. Indulge on yourself but don’t overindulge. Sometimes a basic need is that $5 cup of coffee or $250 mink coat. However, sometimes a seemingly immediate, mandatory need can wait – even if it’s that candy bar that is on sale. But, if you need it, you need it. Don’t beat yourself up over the head for it. It’s okay to need that $5 cup of coffee when you have $0.05 left in your pocket. Human connection: Friends are essential toward sanity. Surround yourself with good people, great environments. Say hi to people at the grocery store and where you hang out in art venues, fund raisers, coffee shops, restaurants, or pubs. Volunteer for random causes. Get involved in random organizations. Church can help, but with every organization, there are good, healthy ones and very caustic ones. I highly encourage to mix it up. Keep human connection ideas balanced in how you interact, who you interact with, how often you interact. It’s okay to say no, but it’s also okay to push yourself. Medical Needs Met: If it’s meds, it’s meds. If it’s message therapy, whirlpool therapy, chiropractic, shamanism, nutritionist, naturopathic remedies… those too can do wonders towards making sure the brain works and stays working to its fullest. I’ve discovered that a balance of a variety of therapeutic methods do the best work in gaining, improving, and maintaining brain function. Leave negativity/mean people behind: Abuse and caustic situations kills the brain and the body. According to science, even plants are affected by mean thoughts and actions. Talk. Ask. Engage. Wonder. Explore — with others. Find a therapist, life coach, parents, family members, friends, spouse… Mix them up and use every source possible for a healthy balance to bounce ideas off and maximize your life potential for personal and professional goals. We each have different view points, life experiences, expertise, listening abilities, problem solving abilities, approaches to life problems, etc. – capitalize on each other’s areas of expertise. We need to declutter our brains like we do our attics, but share our decluttering without dumping all of it on only one person or organization. Neither do we want to dump our “stuff” on someone who really doesn’t want or need our declutttering. That balance is a tricky one to try to figure out, takes brain power, knowledge, and know-how to make it work. It’s a trial-and-error process. But, like everything else, you just gotta try. If it doesn’t work, if you reach a roadblock, it’s okay to take a step back and try it from a different angle. Your brain will go haywire if you hoard all that misplaced information within yourself. You’ll have literal dead spots, fried spots, black spots, empty spots, grey spots…in your brain, organs, bones, and cells within your body… if you don’t process what’s “bugging you” in just the right way. Further the verbal processing by finding solutions towards problem solving solutions for what is bothering you, your dreams, your goals, random ideas, etc.: If you don’t have just the solution you need, find the person or organization to help. Do this by making new friends or reaching out to professionals or experts in the field you are needing information on – especially if you are afraid you are uncertain if you’re “thinking straight” in that particular arena. This might mean finding multiple types of business experts, philosophers, therapists, life or business coaches… (For instance, there is a hypnotherapist who plugs in positive messages – at least that’s my interpretation of what her work entails. With her particular form of “magic,” she reverses the “negative tapes” in my mind where my brain is telling me I’m not good enough either implanted there by my dad, people, the church ideas from what I was raised in, myself, and more. She does excellent work and her flair with this particular work does amazing “stuff” for my brain along with professional and life progress. However, I still need to find a therapist who does excellent work in cognitive therapy because I’m a verbal processor. I’d advertise my most favorite therapist who was accessible through Skype, but he’s no longer practicing.) But, if you’re afraid of financial mayhem, find an accountant or a bookkeeper. If you’re afraid of not looking the part professionally, find a professional or life coach, beautician, and/or clothing designer. Think outside the box and find unconventional ways to “solve” what’s bothering you. Try “strange and weird” ideas and concepts and see what happens. Network, ask, and explore. Human touch: Hugs and massages. If you don’t have someone who touches you, I highly encourage you to make appointments for a massage. Your body needs human touch. Massages are so very therapeutic in many, many ways. The great thing is that there are so many masseuses that you can choose just what type of massage you want and ask for someone who specializes in just that technique. If you want a wonderful place to try, I recommend Massage Envy in Gig Harbor – or a place like that. The people at the front desk will help guide you – and encourage you – to try different therapists and techniques. Pain Management: Reduce pain levels through whatever works best for you. Massage, electrical impulse stimulation, swimming, running, the right pain med therapy, antidepressants, meditation, taking time outs… Just remember, if there is pain, there is an underlying reason for that. Your body is stressed from one reason or another. It will only stop once you find the root cause. You can go crazy trying to find the root cause, though – especially with the U.S.’s version of Western Medicine. Fix the Problem. Let go: Sometimes you have to do what you can do, then let the rest go. We make such a big deal of things. Sometimes we just need to take a moment, step back, watch, evaluate, re-evaluate… There is a balance between action and letting go. Sometimes the problem involves seeing an MD, DO, Psychiatrist, Chiropractor, Naturopath, Massage Therapists, Bookkeeper, Accountant, Attorney, Interior Designer, Cosmetologist, Shaman, Priest… Sometimes it means divorce or marital therapy. Sometimes it means hiring a housekeeper. You can change you, you can do what you can. Sometimes finding, creating, maintaining your mental well-being involves “indulging in the frivolous” or letting go before you yourself go insane. Try different solutions, therapists, experts, expertise, books, ideas… Don’t overload yourself, don’t be flighty, don’t overextend or spend too much money in your quests, but don’t dismiss ideas either. Be open to solutions and try them. If we don’t try, we won’t get anywhere. Research, ask, plan, act but keep a balance from preventing yourself from going crazy and making yourself go crazy in your quest for ideas and solutions. Proper food intake: Avoid an onslaught of the same food ingredients, give your body a break, cleanse your cells (like you would your bathroom, house, car…), eat a balanced meal with a balanced diet, eat foods that make your body feel good (each body is different depending on your body chemistry, your health and well-being at that particular period of time, what it can handle, life circumstances, etc.). Eat the right dosages with the right frequency. I currently hate the subject of food and it’s incredibly overwhelming to me, so I tend to under-eat. That does not help with brainpower. If you need to, find someone to help you with the task of figuring all this out. If you’re like me, it might take an onslaught of people. Surround yourself in beauty: Find beautiful things to look at, see, and do. Create beautiful spaces to live in, dwell in, spend time in. Surround yourself with beautiful people. Look for beautiful aesthetics and environments in every way possible. Purchase beautiful things and engage in beautiful experiences. Simplistic beauty, chaotic beauty… whatever beauty feeds your soul. It could be nature, colors, furniture, art work (making it yourself or enjoying the work of others), comedy, kindness, love, a merry-go-round, a park, a ferris wheel, a grandfather clock, a fire pit or fireplace, music, a beautiful yet functional pen, a heavenly cup of coffee such as where I’m at now. Engage in creativity. Someone shared that an adult friend of hers enjoys coloring in a coloring book. Some write books, blog, write poetry, take pictures, create works of art (via forms of music, paint, clay, metal, beautiful gardens…), or combine a variety of artful creativity venues towards gaining and maintaining sanity, meaning, and understanding in life. Some dance. Some engage others in dance. Neither Perfection nor excellence are mandatory. It’s okay to flop. You’re getting your shit out, shit down, shit done. With that shit in a better place and form, beauty emerges in one fashion or another – seen or unseen – but the end result is some sort of a flicker, a regaining, a re-emerging of sanity. Socialize. It’s overwhelming of all the possibilities of where and how you can meet new people, gain new experiences, and learn new ideas. Meetup groups, bookstore events, cooking classes, lectures, learning groups, worship centers (any kind), craft circles (sewing, scrapbooking), live theatre and musical events (it’s amazing just how much community can be gained through attending community theaters, dance halls, and symphony hall events), events at a local college or community college… A fun sense of community, new ideas, and new friends can be gained through attending these events. Write things down: Keep lists, a calendar, etc. Writing things down will assist towards planning, attaining goals, keeping a sense of sanity, attaining things that you’d either forget to do or make excuses not to do, and yielding a sense of accomplishment and excitement. I absolutely love the Franklin Planner. Don’t make excuses. Do no allow for procrastination. Strategize, yes. Procrastinate, no. Never put all your eggs in one basket. Keep life – and your solutions – balanced, spread out. If you’re spiritual minded, enjoy God’s presence, love and care… all the good flowing from the Universe. Pray. Be still. Ask. Wait. Remember you are loved. And with that love, believe and trust. From there, go on faith. Take one step at a time. Put your hand in God, the Universe, whatever/whoever is out there and beg that you won’t be forgotten. You won’t. You aren’t. Whoever/whatever (God, the angles, spirit guides, and more) are all out there is just waiting for you to ask. Whether we like it or not, we’ve been spiritually connected for millions of years. We live within a spiritual world with electrons and energy sources floating about that we know little to nothing about. Unfortunately, the spiritual realm is very real and can truly affect us. I’m extremely grateful for the movement toward re-awakened awareness within Western cultures. Do not discount paranormal activity, demonic activity, auras, psychic abilities, and more. People are frauds in every sector and belief system. These realms are no different. However, these subjects are real, have validity, meaning, and have stood the test of time – accurately and inaccurately – just like philosophical thought, Christianity, Muslim religions, Buddhism, etc… I have no idea why we are so bound and determined to believe in Western medicine and that our particular religious belief system is God’s absolute truth and THE way. Western medicine is new, has created incredibly high amounts of significant harm, and is still ignorantly ignorant even though we’ve made incredible strides and we’ve been able to help in incredible ways. Every thought and belief system has its time and place – including Western medicine, Christianity, and more. Unfortunately, no matter how much we wish and how hard we try to believe, these are not the only answers. They are part of the answers, part of the solution, but there is more. I absolutely love the Bible verse: “Seek the scriptures for in them ye think ye have eternal life.” Our spiritual health affects our mental health. What we believe spiritually affects how we perceive the world, our health, our well-being, and who we are down to a cellular and energetic level. Learn who you are and what you want to believe with an open mind. It’s okay to not know. It’s okay to be solid in your knowing. There’s a reason why you know – and don’t know – what you do and don’t. Be comfortable with that and be comfortable with others where they are at. But continue in your quest in knowing. In doing so, you’ll find ideas and solutions that will bring you at ease on a very deep level – which ironically includes your ability to think and process information in ways unimagined. Demons can create mental-health and life- craziness just as much as chemical imbalance and wrong choices can. If you want answers and solutions, keep and open mind, but don’t bank on one or the other as being the sole reasons for the problem. This is well-known and well-documented. We pick and choose what is true today and what was true in biblical times. People today are plagued by demons and blessed by angels just as in any period of time in history. In other words, open-mindedness and exploring spiritual solutions can have a wonderfully positive impact on your mental wellbeing. We all know it. It’s preached about it from the pulpit, written about in the holy scriptures, and researched extensively. Only, we limit possibilities, ideas, and solutions that are extremely detrimental to our health and wellbeing. We come up and believe crazy ideas and discount the valid ones. Let’s search for truth and realize demons and angels are alive and well today just as they were in every moment in time, place, and period in history. Of course, exercise is always helpful. A simple walk will do. Some need to run. Others need to go to the gym. Yoga is known to help. Mix it up, if it isn’t enjoyable, try something else. Keep the options open. If it works, and it seems to be a good fit for your needs, end goals, and desires, then avoid excuses for sanity’s sake. Live outside of your own little box, bubble. Reach out to others. Learn what other people are experiencing, thinking, living though, need. Share yourself with them if you can and let them share theirselves with you. Befriend others and be a friend. You don’t have to agree with them to like – or even love – them as your fellow friend and a fellow human being. You do, however, need to be able to trust them. But that takes either learning to trust them, or learning that they are not trustable. Friendships takes incredible risk. But, that’s life. Life takes risk. It takes a risk to take one foot and put it in front of the other whether or not you are fully capable of taking that step – or feel competent in stepping out. It is risky to learn of subjects that reach outside your comfort zone. But, it’s risky to drive. If you take a road trip and visit a town or city 45 minutes down the road, that local will have a whole different feel, way of life, viewpoint, people, and experience than you’d ever guess. It brings beauty and meaning to your life. The same goes with being a friend. Of reaching out in – and with – love to someone else. Male, female, infant, “ancient,” religious, athiest, spiritual, bible-believing, republican, democrat, red haired, black-haired, the same ethnicity and culture or a different one, locally-familiar or world-travelled, artsy or mathematically inclined, left-brained or right brained, a baker or a cook… we all can learn from each other. We all need each other. By reaching out and letting others reach out to you, you can gain a sanity you never realized you lost or gain the sanity you’ve been seeking to find. Never lie, evade from the truth, deny what is truly going on, etc., but always look for the positive. Always find a reason to be grateful – even for the shitty things and life experiences. Even if your day starts out bad or things don’t turn out the way you think it should. Even if your coffee tastes like mud. You don’t have to drink it, but you can enjoy something about it. You can learn and apply lessons from shitty, muddy coffee. There is always a reason to be grateful for a storm. But, in order to be grateful, in order to learn, and in order to let go and accept, you have to acknowledge what truly is happening, going on, etc. Your eyes have to be open – literally or figuratively. If you close your eyes, use it to regroup, rethink, gain a different perspective, utilize a different sensory organ, or to rest. We have so many boxes, so many ideals, so many beliefs, so many “musts,” so many norms. Let those all go to the wayside. Everything is relative. Everything is a matter of perspective. None of us truly “know.” We’re all “faking it till we make it.” Some are better fakers than others. Some know more than others. Life is an experiment, a time to gain knowledge and understanding, a blip of time within time that is either meaningless or has meaning… we can either be a pawn in the mayhem or we can be – and become – who and what we are meant to do and be. There are so many “truths.” All of these “truths” are “truths,” “half-lies,” “incomplete truths,” and more. Life is a learning, growing process. We think we make progress, but in reality, I’m just not so sure… Just look at history – world history, political history, cultural evolutions, human evolution, your family history, generational history, your personal history, the history of your friends and friends’ friends. We’re all just bumbling along. Some “get it” better than others… All this to say… we all make mistakes, we all “miss stuff,” we are all “crazy” or “going crazy” in some capacity or another. Some just hide it better than others. There are very, very few who truly seem to have it all together – and if you ask them, they’d likely deny it. We like to think there is one RIGHT way, that we know THE way… That idea, the fear of the idea, or the tendency toward that idea is when we get stuck. “The truth is in the pudding.” It’s a mixture of things, a combination of ideas and solutions, that work. Every story, cell, structure, community is different – even siblings are different when raised in the same family. We react to our environments differently, so do our bodies. Thus, a solution that works for you might not work for me and vice versa. It’s okay. That’s why we have all these ideas, solutions, books, resources, people… that is why we have each other. We just need to explore and try new things, to learn from everyone and every situation we can. Think, but don’t think too hard. Try, but don’t try too hard. Take life and yourself seriously, but not too seriously. Stay balanced. Keep balanced. Break things down and take one step at a time. Stay active, keep active, but don’t overdo it. Stay realistic but don’t make excuses. Reach beyond your comfort zone, but don’t fall off the cliff. Let money be acknowledged, but don’t let it hinder progress. It takes money to make money. Sometimes you have to invest – which means fixing things – before you can capitalize on the benefits through reaping profits. Thus, feel free to invest in your personal health and well-being before it literally breaks your bank and/or ends your life. Avoid judgements, criticisms, complaints, excuses… acknowledge whatever and whoever sources are blocking or preventing progress and/or creating mayhem. But, the negative whirlwind of should-a, would-a, could-a.. blaming, shaming… just is completely unhelpful for your anyone’s mental health, brain capacity, and brain function. Find reasons to smile and laugh. Laughter has been known to cure cancer and is well known to positively impact our health and personal wellbeing. If we laugh, take things less seriously, and continuously find ways to be grateful, we will find ourselves less stressed, less overwhelmed, and no longer in-the-dumps. Never, ever be or feel alone. Once that happens, you will lose your sanity. But only you can solve that problem of being alone. We’re all alone until we make sure we’re not. Don’t cling. Don’t be clingy. Don’t let others cling onto you. Never rely on others but do not feel afraid to reach out to meet whatever need you have. Never be greedy nor expect others to be there for you, but don’t hesitate to ask. Always be the first to give, but don’t give too much. Do not take advantage of others nor allow others to take advantage of you. Never be or feel alone. You can’t work to your fullest and bring in your maximal income potential if your not healthy mentally and/or physically. They often go hand-in-hand. If you’re losing ground, immediately act. If you’re floating by, it’s time to improve. Do what you need to do before you crash. It’s much more expensive to recover than it is to maintain. If you fall flat on your back, sometimes you’ll never be able to get up again. It takes money to make money. So, don’t make excuses that will sacrifice your long-term wellbeing. Shamelessly invest in yourself, but don’t be selfish about it. With all these tips, tidbits, incomplete ideas in mind… when it all comes down to it… Be good to yourself: Love yourself. Love others. Love and be loved. Only then will you find sanity.