Mental Health

Pop-Up Sermon: Stop Crippling People

Stressful Practices

(Photo Credit: Odyssey)

Although a true commitment to helping people is commendable, don’t become their crutch—don’t cripple them. At some point, you have to allow them to do things on their own. Yes, show them how it’s done, and then leave them to demonstrate that they want to put your teaching into practice. If you fail to end an unhealthy practice of attempting to solve everyone’s problems, or fail to discontinue doing everything they don’t want to or cannot do, then you’re placing yourself on a path to experiencing serious mental health issues (if you don’t already have them).

When will people ever grow if you never give them an opportunity?

Without a change of these toxic practices, people will take advantage of you—and you may never recognize it. You will inevitably destroy your body by trying to be a Superman or Superwoman for everyone. Let me take a moment to unsettle you: you’re really not a Superman or Superwoman—you’re really a “do-boy” or “do-girl,” meaning you’re getting used, hoodwinked, bamboozled.

Ameliorate the quality of your life by teaching people how to execute tasks, and then let them do the work. Learn to be more than a crutch for others.

#PopUpSermon

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

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10 Tips to Improve Your Self-Esteem

Man Crying

(Photo Credit: The Telegraph)

Numerous people can benefit from a significant improvement in their self-esteem. When you have low self-esteem or unsatisfactory self-esteem, don’t be ashamed; take steps to boost it. You possess the authority necessary to take control of your life. A healthy self-esteem is essential for a healthy life to materialize. Recognizing how important a strong self-esteem is to a productive and fulfilling life, this piece offers ten tips to aid you in strengthening your self-esteem.

1. Take Charge of Your Own Life. This is your life—choose what you want it to do for you. Make life submit to you; don’t allow it to dominate you.

2. Accept the Notion that You Are Responsible for You. When you claim responsibility for your life and are able to own your failures and celebrate your successes, you place yourself on the path to a healthier self-esteem.

3. Reject Those Committed to Destroying You. Surround yourself with people committed to building you up and advancing you. Disconnect from those who consistently attempt to undermine and attack you. Refuse to allow your friends and family to destroy you with their words and actions. If necessary, separate yourself from them.

4. Speak Positive Words to Yourself. People with an unproductive self-esteem constantly speak negative words to themselves. Their thought-life is consumed with self-defeating thoughts and images.

5. Take Calculated Risks. If you’re going to reach your full potential, comfort zones must be eradicated. Comfort zones kill dreams; comfort zones extinguish passions; comfort zones limit possibilities. Never permit the fear of failure to prevent you from tackling a challenge.

6. Discontinue Comparing Yourself to Others. Focus on yourself. Become the best version of yourself possible.

7. Love Yourself. You will never experience true happiness and joy when you fail to love yourself.

8. Be Trustworthy and Loyal. Let your words and actions prove you to be trustworthy and loyal.

9. Win with Grace, Lose with Class. Be a great winner and lose honorably.

10. Be a Giver. Being an authentic giver fills you with joy and dismantles the elements that compose low self-esteem.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison    

You Need A Reality Check

Reality Check

(Photo Credit: Globster)

Sometimes you have to give people a reality check.  Reality checks are beneficial for people.  They help to provide people with the necessary understanding of who they are and how they developed into the people they are today.  Too often people get selective amnesia and think that they simply arrived where they are without the help of anyone else.  It’s important to help people to realize they may only be as good as those who helped them to get where they are today.  Unfortunately, individuals can fool themselves into actually believing their own lies. When you live and believe your own lies, you’re delusional, and delusional people need to be placed in a mental facility for treatment.  Are you a delusional person needing to benefit from mental health services because you live and believe your own lies?

Don’t be afraid to check yourself into a mental health facility to receive the mental health treatment you need to overcome psychological problems.

The fundamental reason why people would rather live a lie than the truth is they don’t have the confidence in who they really are to live the truth. They believe the lies they live are going to mask the truth about them, but you can never camouflage the truth about yourself; the majority of folks will recognize the truth about you. When you attempt to hide the truths about yourself, you’re simply wasting time.  All of the time you invest in being phony could be used to make serious advancements toward becoming the person you long to be.

Do you realize that phony people are dangerous?  Why are they dangerous?  They are dangerous because they will inevitably become so frustrated that the only way they can live with themselves is to destroy the people around them.  If you don’t believe this, you haven’t been around people who are truly delusional.  When you have an experience with a really delusional person, he or she will aid you in understanding why he or she (and others like him or her) has the potential to cause you and others great harm.

We need to have greater national discourses in America about mental health.  Our national conversations about mental health, however, cannot overlook the importance of calling people to be themselves.  There must be stronger encouragement for people to welcome and appreciate truth, including truths about themselves.  When people have a better appreciation and embracement of truth, they will begin to love themselves genuinely.  A healthy love of yourself is essential.  You cannot truly love yourself until you embrace everything about yourself, including your ugly truths.

Recognize that your ugly truths are present to let you know that you’re still human and imperfect.  Keep working to improve those things about yourself that displease you.  You must, however, know that there are some things about yourself that you cannot change.  Some things about yourself are simply a part of who you were created to be.

When God created you, He made only one of you.  Be proud to be the person God wonderfully made you to be. He made you special; it’s your job to recognize it and thank Him for it.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Acknowledging Regrets Can Move You Forward

Emotional Health

(Photo Credit: CDC)

We all have our regrets.  Although we shouldn’t live a life full of regrets, it can be quite liberating to deal candidly with your regrets.  You may have invested greatly in people who have evinced that they were not worthy of your time, but the time you devoted to them speaks volumes about your character.  Even though those individuals may now be your enemies, learn to appreciate the lessons you’ve learned from your interactions with those who have proved themselves to lack gratitude.  Don’t allow your life to become consumed by focusing on regrets; instead, take the necessary time to think critically about the things you regret.

Too often people are afraid to confront challenges in their lives that make them uncomfortable.  Although many would have you to believe that you need to do whatever it takes to make you feel comfortable, it’s beneficial to have a constant healthy level of discomfort present.  Discomfort unveils to us that we’re human.  If you’re always avoiding phenomena that cause discomfort, then you’re trying to remove yourself from experiencing inexorable dimensions of the human condition.  You’re going to have to recognize that staying away from discomfort is going to limit your progression significantly.  Ultimately, you will discover your most impactful regret is failing to assess the emotional and physical toll of your regrets.

Forgiving yourself and the people who have hurt you are essential to experiencing true progress.  The regrets you have about past and present relationships and decisions you’ve made have to be placed in the proper context: you and others are human.  Every human being has made mistakes and will continue to make mistakes.  When you don’t forgive yourself and others for mistakes, then the weight of those mistakes hold you down, stifling any chance of you moving forward in life.  A failure to forgive yourself and others results in bitterness, even if you don’t recognize it.  You have to resolve whether you’re going to allow your own mistakes and those of others to defeat you.

Be open to a new beginning with yourself and others.

It’s important for you to realize you’re not the only one who has regrets.  Spend some time talking to others about their regrets and how they process them.  The discourses you have with them can offer you some practices you can employ to place your regrets in an appropriate context.

What if someone has hurt me so deeply, though?  Welcome to the real world.  On this planet that we inhabit, someone is going to do something to cause you harm, whether it be directly or indirectly.  Learn the lessons from your experiences with the person and move on to better people and things.

Don’t turn your regrets into more than they should be.  Do you really just want to be a drama queen or king?  If not, make a commitment to transform every regret into an empowering opportunity.  No one desires to be around someone who is emotionally exhausting.  You can run the people you need to succeed in life away from you.

Take a close emotional inventory.  What are the things keeping you from progressing?  How can you address them?  After you respond to those two questions, devise a practical plan for implementing the solutions birthed from your critical emotional inventory.  If you would like to involve others in this process, understand that this can be beneficial.

Refuse to allow your regrets to dominate you.  Choose to live and win!

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Violent Video Games, Mass Shootings and Mental Health

The Second Amendment

(Photo Credit: Fox News)

As Dr. Patrick Markey, Associate Professor of Psychology at Villanova University, recently disclosed on CNN, no empirical research evinces that playing violent video games leads to real-world violence. Although researchers should continue to investigate any potential connections between violent video games and violence in society, we shouldn’t get distracted by the most important issue we should be focused on concerning the recent mass shootings: mental health.  Even though all of the most recent mass shooters covered in the national media devoted significant time to playing violent video games, all of them had serious mental health issues that were not addressed.

While it seems that the divisive national debate about gun control and gun rights is dominating our attention, we need to dedicate more attention to mental health.  We need to make greater efforts to ensure that those with mental health problems do not get their hands on guns, and we need to provide them with the critical mental health services they warrant.

If we really desire to make America safer, then we won’t simply have discourses about how to reduce the number of guns in the hands of Americans; we will have meaningful discussions about how to decrease the likelihood of the mentally ill getting their hands on guns.  It’s time to get real about guns—not overly emotional.  Guns in the hands of mentally healthy Americans save lives.  The Second Amendment guarantees Americans the fundamental right to protect themselves with guns.  Knee-jerk reactions to recent mass shootings shouldn’t lead to diminishing the freedoms safeguarded by the Second Amendment.

It’s probably a good idea for parents to prevent their children from watching violent movies and television programs for exorbitant amounts of time, and it’s probably a good idea to keep your children from playing violent video games for an abnormal number of hours.  Adults should be aware of the number of hours they give to watching violent television programs and movies as well.  For those adults who play violent video games, reflect on the impact that this video game playing may have on you.  We have to be more responsible about the things we allow ourselves and children to consume, considering those phenomena could have negative impacts on us that go undetected.

Let’s not give violent television programming, movies, and video games too much credit for the recent mass shootings, however.

Our efforts to reduce the number of mass shootings should be concentrated on addressing mental health issues, preventing the mentally ill from obtaining guns, and ensuring that those who aren’t mentally ill are able to get guns to defend themselves and others from those who would attempt to engage in mass shootings.

Dr. Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Cyberbullying and Student Safety

Cyberbullying

The advancements in technology have been tremendously beneficial.  These wonderful improvements in technology present new challenges for school administrators, however.  Twitter, Facebook, blogs and etc. are constantly frequented and used by numerous K-12 students.  School administrators must handle problems that occur on Facebook and Twitter, which largely occur while students aren’t at school.  Many students across the nation are engaging in cyberbullying, primarily through Facebook and Twitter.  Administrators already have a difficult job of preventing and responding to disciplinary problems that transpire on their campuses; now, they have to think critically about how to address cyberbullying that takes place off-campus.

Social media employed wisely and purposely proves to be valuable.  Unfortunately, too many students use Facebook and Twitter as vehicles for intimidation, hate and aggression.

Cyberbullying is a phenomenon that cannot be simply addressed by administrators—it requires a collective effort.  Parents must do a better job of monitoring their children’s online activities.  It’s not a matter of functioning as “Big Brother” toward your children; it’s a matter of committed parenting.  If you deeply love your children, you will be concerned about how they behave in all spaces, including online.  When parents discover their children are involved in cyberbullying, they need to contact administrators immediately, and they need to take all necessary steps to end cyberbullying.

Students who are interested in maintaining safe schools need to report cyberbullying when they witness it.  Let administrators know when you see activities on Facebook and Twitter that constitute bullying.  If you’re being bullied online, let your parents and school administrators know.  Don’t wait until the bullying gets out of control to inform your parents and school administrators.  You should let them know that you’re being bullied when it first begins.

Your life could depend on you mustering the courage to disclose with your parents and school administrators that you’re being bullied.

If you’re not being bullied online, don’t encourage others to bully people.  Laughing at others who are being bullied is a form of participating and encouraging bullying.  Bullies like attention and when you laugh at what they do, they feed off of your laughter and increase in their intensity.

While it’s important for school administrators to be proactive about cyberbullying, they must understand that they cannot react (or overreact) to everything that’s reported.  It’s not wise to address every ephemeral argument between students on Facebook and Twitter.

More research should be devoted to helping school administrators to fight cyberbullying.  A national think tank composed of administrators, teachers, students, legislators, law enforcement officials, counselors, psychologists, and etc. should be convened to discuss cyberbullying and to establish best practices for combating it.  Scholars need to engage in more research that helps school administrators better respond to cyberbullying.  In the aftermath of the Sandy Hook Elementary mass shootings, we must learn valuable lessons about how we have to do a better job of preventing tragedies from happening at our schools.  We will never end all tragedies from occurring, but this does not mean that we shouldn’t do all we can to prevent the ones we’re able to thwart.  If we see the potential of bullying taking place online that could lead to something drastic, we all have a responsibility to do what we can to stop it.

Although the current national discourse about school safety is predominantly focusing on guns, let’s be sure to place a high priority on cyberbullying, especially cyberbullying on Facebook and Twitter.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Check Your Emotions

Check Your Emotions

Everything is not always going to go your way.  When things fail to go your way, don’t try to force the environment in which you’re situated to be dominated by your negative mood.  People are not always going to do what you want them to do.  You have to learn to control your emotions.

You will not always get your way.

While many adults make a serious effort to teach children that they will not always get their way, many adults need to be taught the same thing.

Don’t “fly off the handle” simply because people don’t respond in a tone that is exactly the kind of tone you desire.

When you have unacceptable mood swings, swing your attitude immediately in the direction of your lips and bust yourself in the mouth with it (your attitude).  If you want to hurt someone with your attitude, hurt yourself.  It’s unfair to take your emotions out on those who don’t deserve to feel the stinging effects of your reckless emotions.  If your emotions change with the wind, you will find that people are not going to want to be around you, and they will remember how terrible you treated them when you feel like being in a good mood.

The world does not revolve around you.  People are not placed on this planet to please and serve you.  Before you get an attitude with someone about much ado about nothing, try to consider the things that person may be going through and how they don’t need you imposing your nasty attitude on them.

Even people who claim to be considerate of others and claim to live an honorable life, they still need to do a daily self-assessment to make sure their not making everything about themselves.

You need to be sure that you’re not taking everything so personally.

Check your attitude.  Check your words.  Check your actions.  Check yourself.

Antonio Maurice Daniels

University of Wisconsin-Madison