Tag Archives: mental-health

Is social media controlling your life?

The pen that writes your life story must be held in your own hand.” – Irene C. Kassorla

You might think that you are in control of what you think, believe and purchase each day but our hurried modern lives are being manipulated in a big way and it’s time to seize back control.

The latest facebook-scandal, with former employee Frances Haugen testifying before a U.S. Senate Committee, has revealed the irresponsibility with which social media is using algorithms to spread misinformation and incite political violence.

Social media can be a wonderful tool to connect with old friends, and family living in faraway places of the world. But what we are hearing in the testimony is that these big tech companies know more about human nature and about your individual life, your needs, wishes and desires than you probably know yourself.

If something is for free like the use of social media then there is a price attached. These companies are there to make a profit and they need your personal data to sell to advertisers. The more clicks and shares, the more revenue for the advertiser on the same page.

This means that the loud, angry voices of outlandish lies and misinformation are getting the most attention. They have occupied the big stage while the majority of calm and reasonable voices are being drowned out. It creates a distortion of reality and what our world really looks like. While printed media bears responsibility and is liable for the content it disseminates, social media has been left off the hook by legislation. That really needs to change.

Multiple studies are in fact showing that too much time spent on social media affects mental health, especially those of young adolescents. It can exacerbate feelings of inadequacy of appearance, loneliness, depression and anxiety.

What you feed your mind with you become

Divisive hate speech, and bullying has always been a dark side of humanity. Social media however is amplifying such dysfunctional behavior on a global level. Scientists have found a correlation between heart disease and negative emotions expressed in language on Twitter, according to a major study.

What friends you choose, what social media feeds you look at and what you read gradually shape you into the person who you are today. You might think that you are in control but you are not. Countless digital media companies are competing for your attention. They have some of the world’s best social scientists and psychologists in their employment and know how to prey on human needs and weaknesses.

We all have the need to be seen, to be heard and to be understood. And, we especially want to belong to a tribe that thinks, feels and talks the same language.

If you happen to come across scientific data or information that might contradict what you think you believe in, you might become confused and then angry. Computer algorithms inevitably lead to opinions becoming cemented in separate information silos. People who see each other from different reality perspectives cannot talk or listen to each other anymore.

Time to seize back control

I have for some time blocked those “friends” on social media that have a tendency to always post negative news or are spreading misinformation. Be careful who you invite into your living room and who leaves big footprints of dirt on your lovely white carpet.

Photo by SHVETS production on Pexels.com

You need to stand guard at the doorway of your mind.

I would like to make a proposal for this week. Why not exclusively post just positive and uplifting information on social media for the next seven days? Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Can this information uplift, heal and boost the energy level of a fellow human being?
  • Is the information of a quality that it can elevate human consciousness in a positive way?
  • Will it make you laugh and enjoy the moment?

Lets make our voices heard in a positive way and let the world know that the majority of humanity is not divisive, angry and violent but kind, empathic, calm and reasonable.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Bridging the growing gender divide

There is false of Aristotelian logic, which is so much the basis of Christianity, and to some extent, Judaism in the west. Too rational, too logical, too masculine, chauvinistic, male dominated, head over heart, mind over body, heaven different than earth and so on, rather than yin/yang, inter-being, interwoven, inseparably.— Surya Das

One of the burning issues of our time is the big gender divide as we transition from centuries of male dominance toward more gender equality. There is a real crisis of mentally unstable boys growing up to be unhealthy men while girls seem to crush it at every level from education to job performance.

Just a brief look at some of the statistics reveal some staggering figures. More than nine times as many men compared to women at some point spent time in prison in the United States with men accounting for more than 80 per cent of persons arrested for violent crime. Women have lower arrest rates for all categories of crime except prostitution in almost every country in the world.

Women are at the forefront in the self-development industry and the elevation of awakened consciousness. They are indeed the better half of humanity showing more caring responsibility, empathy, creativity and intuition. In leadership positions their social skillset emphasizes collaboration, rather than the male notion of destroying a competitor.

But is the solution to our global problems the reversal of male dominance with female dominance? There are a lot of males out there feeling uneasy about some of the emanations from the feminist movement. Men are feeling left behind by women on all levels but they just won’t admit it and are resisting to do real inner, reflective work, still perceiving it as a weakness rather than a strength.

The root cause appears to be that there are far too many fathers who have been exceptionally bad role models for their sons and daughters over generations. It is the “absent-father-syndrome” that is cause for many mental problems.

Several studies show that boys growing up without their biological father often feel deserted, insecure, fearful and anxious. A stepfather can never replace that void created by the absent father. I have seen the hurt in a stepchild when a father refuses to engage.

Among the 25 most cited school massacres in the United States, two thirds were committed by boys from broken or fatherless homes! Criminologists Michael Gottfredson and Travis Hirschi, found the absence of fathers to be one of the “most powerful predictors of crimes .” Fathers serve as role models for their sons who maintain authority and discipline, thereby helping them develop self-control and empathy toward others, key character traits lacking in violent youth.

According to a UNICEF report “school-aged children with good relationships with their fathers were less likely to experience depression, to exhibit disruptive behavior, or to lie. Overall, they were far more likely to exhibit prosocial behavior.”

While women seek help when they experience mental health problems such as anxiety or fear, men often retreat into typical male dysfunctional behavior such as addiction, political and religious extremism or violent crime. It seems to be completely overlooked in the political narrative that men and masculinity feature prominently in both past and present populist movements.

What is the solution?

First and foremost fathers need to step-up and take responsibility for their children. Abdicating and delegating responsibility solely to motherhood is archaic and stems from a medieval patriarch mindset. A positive father-figurehead understands the art of integrating female caring responsibility, empathy, and intuition with the positive male features such as structure, protection, discipline and authority.

As humanity moves toward the elevation of consciousness it is crucial that we transmute the typical gender narrative to another level.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Integrating the feminine and the masculine

Integrating the feminine and the masculine aspects of personality is the challenge both on a personal and collective level. The great Swiss psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung Jung describes the two primary archetypes of the unconscious mind: The “animus” is unconscious masculine side of a woman, and the anima as the unconscious feminine side of a man, each transcending the personal psyche.

Greek philosophy which found its way into the tenets of Christianity believe that humans are fundamentally flawed and wounded.

Our cultural indoctrination pronounces that finding that “soul mate” will heal that inner wound or void. Disappointment and relationship meltdown is inevitable. It is an illusion and we should never delegate or make our happiness conditional to the behavior of another person. Only the awakened self can heal that wound through the integration of the “shadow”, as Jung puts it.

How do we integrate that “soul mate” within? There is a beautiful image evoked by Plato who describes his idea of “soul mates” as the one longing for the other half “and so they would throw their arms about each other, weaving themselves together, wanting to grow together.”

The encounter, study and integration of the unconscious mind into the mature personality is key to becoming fully human. As a humanity we need to fully embrace our female and male traits. It is that which has the potential to catapult us toward a happier future, giving us that valuable skillset to confront the challenges ahead.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Your sacred path

All the people you have met throughout your life and the experiences you have had up to this moment in time have made you into the person who you are today. Yet, there still might be that inner voice whispering that there is more to life than you have been taught or have learned.

Caroline Myss is quoted as saying that “as a vital part of a larger, universal spirit, we each have been put here on earth to fulfill a sacred contract that enhances our personal spiritual growth while contributing to the evolution of the entire global soul.”

Connecting with the global soul

Our individual souls are connected to a global soul comprising all life on the planet. Each person has a unique destiny and soul purpose and it’s not about what kind of job you are doing or the things you own. These might be a manifestation of what you become in the becoming of who you really are.

It is almost essential to find alone time for contemplation and inner reflection and to walk your sacred path alone. The urge to walk a pilgrimage first starts as a whisper and becomes ever more louder. The need to go on this soul adventure is sometimes met with strong resistance by the loved ones or family members around you. They will sense that you are in a process of shifting your consciousness and will confront you with all sorts of arguments to dissuade you from walking.

The universe will test your willpower

In a way it is the universe testing your willpower but the sad truth is also that most people are too afraid to make the changes necessary to improve their lives. Family members or partners want you to stay in the tribe and share the same beliefs, mannerisms and habits. Often they will be projecting their own fears onto you if you decide to go on a journey of untrodden paths. Partners in this way often block each other instead of lending support and encouragement to the other.

On the Camino Aragonese between Jaca and Puenta La Reina, Spain

In a few days time I will start my 14th pilgrimage walk, walking for the second time from Porto in Portugal to Santiago and then to Cabo Finisterre, the westernmost point of the Iberian Peninsular. Each walk has been different, and unique. Looking back these walks have proven to be truly transformational not only in the way they have led me in making major changes to my external life but what has happened on a spiritual level. My two books on the Camino in essence tell this story that began in early 2007.

When I served in a pilgrims’ hostel as a volunteer in 2019 I had the opportunity of literally talking to hundreds of pilgrims from all walks of life and nationalities on what motivated them to walk this ancient path that at times can be truly challenging both emotionally and physically.

Why do people go on a pilgrimage walk?

Some people start the Camino as a sporting adventure that then turns into a spiritual journey.  An American pilgrim I walked with some years ago said to me: “If you don’t approach the Camino with humility it will humiliate you.”

The Camino is telling you that this journey is not about accomplishing something but in un-becoming from everything that you thought you were and touching that place deep in the soul who you are truly meant to be.

Is the Camino part of the bigger journey of humanity seeking a common spirituality that transcends the boundaries of religious dogma?

The Camino is an analogy of life

The Camino is in many ways an analogy of life. If you can deal with the roller-coaster of the walk’s trials and tribulations, you will be steeled for whatever challenges life throws at your feet in the acceptance of the impermanence of all things.

I’ve heard stories from pilgrims who have suffered terrible personal hurt and tragedy. Others were walking while defying a life threatening medical diagnosis or who had just survived cancer.

Experiential spirituality reveals itself in helping and supportive hands, in the recognition of fellow souls going through tough trials and tribulations. There is a deep sense of that one truth that we are all one humanity.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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The “boiling frog” syndrome

A well-known fable tells us that if a frog is put into boiling water it will immediately jump out. But if the water is only gradually heated the frog will not perceive the danger and be boiled to death. The story is a warning of how a creeping normality of crisis situations delude us into a feeling of false complacency. We fail to act until it is too late.

Our daily habits, thoughts, beliefs and actions play a major part in determining our future. The compound effect of bad or good habits over a period of years and even decades are hugely underestimated.

The compound effect of good and bad habits

Eating for lunch a burger with French fries and a soda drink will affect your body but not harm you in a big way if you eat healthy foods most of the time and you metabolize sugars and carbohydrates with plenty of exercise. But eating mainly processed foods over years and decades will have a devastating impact on your mental and physical health in the long term.

In the same way if your self-talk is mainly negative about yourself or if you incessantly blame others for everything that is going wrong in your life you will most probably be a grumpy, unhappy and miserable person during old age looking back on a life not lived and opportunities missed.

How often have you been buying things you don’t really need because you said: “Its only a few pennies.” But added up over years and decades you could have put aside a small fortune in savings.

Complacency is our biggest enemy

Social and political developments in the recent past should be shaking us out of our sense of complacency and nonchalance. It appears that the general social consensus on values and norms that has prevailed for most of the past decades is seriously being eroded. An independent press, non-partisan judiciary and democratic voting procedures are seriously under threat in countries such as Hungary, Poland, Turkey and first and foremost in the United States. If the United States is no longer the world’s best example of a working democracy authoritarian rule as we see it today in China and Russia will entrench itself in many countries.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Like a physical body gradually weakening from the effects of bad nutrition, you don’t perceive the spiral downward immediately. In my home country South Africa the seeds of maladministration and corruption were sown with the election of a populist demagogue Jacob Zuma as president in May 2009. For a while things, like the national airline, appeared on the surface to still be functioning perfectly. But after nine years the rot was there for everyone to see. Most parastatal institutions are bankrupted, leaving numerous towns and cities in dire lack of basic services such as electricity and water supply. It will most likely take generations to get South Africa back on its feet economically.

We tend to forget that political parties, governments and institutions have been created by bodies of individuals. They are a reflection of who we are. When a social pendulum of change swings into a new direction it is at first always led by a minority that eventually become the majority view.

A crisis is a way marker

Crisis situations, whether on a personal or collective level, always tell us that the status quo is no longer workable and that things need to change. The art is to perceive the small, telling signs that something is moving into the wrong direction and to adapt accordingly. It is the frog sensing when the water temperature is rising to a dangerous temperature and when it’s time to get out.

This is why some companies thrive by adapting to changing market conditions while others procrastinate. It is why some species adapt and others become extinct. Some marriage relationships adapt to changing needs and circumstances while others end in divorce. It is why the enlightened leader picks himself up during a crisis, using it as a tool of change in valuable lessons learned while the other stays in the shadow of self-pity and recrimination.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Beware the false prophets!

“The prophets are prophesying lies in my name. I have not sent them or appointed them or spoken to them. They are prophesying to you false visions, divinations, idolatries and the delusions of their own minds.” Jeremiah 14:14

Organized religion arguably provides structure, meaning and community to many people battling with the struggles of life yet during these challenging times we are seeing a proliferation of “false prophets” capturing the minds of individuals with messages of  fear and guilt.

During my lifetime several good friends got caught in the web of religious sects, surrendering their lives including all their material assets to the group.

They would bombard me with enthusiasm of how their lives had been transformed by “the teacher” “priest” or “guru”. I would repeatedly be invited to attend a meeting and made to feel like losing out on something very important.

The common traits of the cult

Fundamentalist groups and cults of all persuasions share a common trait. They are tribally insulating,  separating the convert from all former friends, spouses, family and associates. Anyone not sharing the same belief structure is termed as a non-believer, or as the enemy.

After having made the enormous personal sacrifice of giving up an old life it is extremely difficult to escape. Few people have the courage to admit that they made a huge mistake by believing in an illusion. After all external ties have been severed the individual is at the mercy of the group in providing  a livelihood, food and shelter. The friend, son, daughter, spouse you once cherished as a carefree individual is bombarding you with quotes from the master. You will hear:  “But the guru said …”,it is the opinion of the guru that …” “the guru would not approve that …” “I would first have to ask the teacher if I can …”

At this point the friend or family member is far gone down the road of mind control, repeating the teachings of their leader like a recording device on automatic. They will find numerous excuses if you question the lavish lifestyle of the cult leader while the devotees are donating their last pennies. “Its all ultimately for a good cause,” they would say.

Decent and intelligent human beings are particularly vulnerable to the cult when they are going through a crisis of meaning or mental health challenge.  The “prophet” is the last straw of hope, seemingly offering the perfect recipe. What follows is the complete surrender of personal responsibility to the guru or belief structure of the cult.

The false promise of hope when people are vulnerable

We’ve had this phenomenon of “end times” during several historical cycles. During the Middle Ages most of Europe’s population was decimated by the bubonic plague. Science was at its infancy with the false prophets having easy play in convincing people that the deadly disease was God’s punishment for sinful ways. Persons not conforming to the shared belief were vigorously persecuted and often burned at the stake. The sins could be absolved by paying tithes. The higher the donation the “higher the likelihood” of having a good afterlife in paradise.

We falsely had assumed that humanity had become immune in the 21st-century to such crude preaching and the questioning of basic science. The messaging today comes in the guise of political parties with a charismatic figurehead and bearing all the hallmarks of the religious cult.  Several extremist parties in western democracies essentially are in the business of fear-mongering and xenophobia. They are supported by a billion dollar industry of alternative reality media stirring a cocktail of hate and negativity. The  first step toward authoritarian control is to dehumanize your opponent or the person with a different belief, culture or mindset.

Evil and delusion of the mind can always be identified by language of hate, disrespect for fellow human beings and blatant lies. Social friction points along race, gender and economic lines are over-emphasized. Division, dissent and chaos is sown by an “us against them” propaganda.

We are indeed living in dangerous times. A growing number of people are feeling left out and  stranded during rapid social and economic change. The uncertainty and fear is the feeding ground of the false prophets offering simple solutions for complex global problems.

The chosen few must commit to a strict code of conduct, belief and ritual.  

As human beings we make mistakes with feelings of guilt often deeply submerged in traumatic childhood experience. Self-esteem is shattered after a job loss or family break-up.  There is that underlying promise that by committing to the cult  those bad feelings will disappear. In reality the  guru will repeatedly stir the feelings of inferiority to maintain his stranglehold.

Protecting our vulnerable family members from the false prophet is no mean task. The groundwork is laid in strengthening self-confidence, self-esteem, self-love and a spiritual mindset based on common decency and respect.

Experiential spirituality is freed from the shackles of fundamentalist belief in the awareness that we are fallible and incomplete human beings, learning the lessons of life as we go along.

The truth is that there is no one-truth. God’s garden is made up of a multitude of plants, animals, cultures, religions and languages. The beauty and adventure of life lies in the individual exploration, the  opening of new doors and walking onward new paths of insight and knowledge accumulation in becoming of who we really are.

External belief systems have too often in the past been forcibly imposed, robbing the individual from essentially living a life of meaning, authenticity and soul purpose.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

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Facing your biggest fear

“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.”
–Eleanor Roosevelt

In our age of information overload a subtle message has been crafted that we are immortal beings. At the root of most fear is the fear of death. We are awakened to this truth when a loved one dies or when confronted with a terminal illness.

There is a lovely story from Indian folklore about a mouse constantly in fear that a cat would catch and kill her. The mouse was so fearful that it seldom left its burrow.

“How I wish I were a cat. I would then have nothing to fear,” the mouse thought.

A genie nearby took pity on the mouse. In an instant the mouse was turned into a cat. But then as a cat, she saw a dog and became afraid again, wishing she were a dog. The genie heard her again and her wish was granted. She turned into a dog.

Then she saw a lion and she was terrified by his power and strength and wished she could become a lion so that she would not have to be terrified ever again. Her wish was again granted and she became lion. At this stage, she saw a man who was about to shoot her with a gun. Naturally, she wished she could become a human and she did. But then, when she was sitting in her house, she saw a mouse. She started shouting for she was scared of the mouse!

Fear is an illusion

Most fear is an illusion of the mind. It distorts, perverts and falsifies the reality of the moment. Fear often breeds anger and anger turns to hate. It is the fuel of the professional deceivers whose messaging is amplified to millions on social media. We fall prey to our deepest fears if we don’t recognize and confront them.

A typical reaction to fear is distraction and addiction. It could be anything from substance abuse to digital entertainment. The distraction is only momentary and will not remove the underlying fears that grow ever bigger as we lose control of our thoughts.

Looking fear into the eye

The first step in transmuting fear is acceptance. “Yes, I am afraid that I won’t have enough money to pay the rent. Yes, I’m afraid of losing my job. I’m afraid of falling ill…” In imagining the worst-case scenario you will soon realize that your fears are only thoughts. Replace those fears with what would be the opposite of fear such as courage and self-confidence. Some personal mantras could be the following:

  • I have full trust in the creative power of the universe to provide an answer.
  • A am a magnet of health, prosperity and abundance.
  • I have faith and trust.
  • I love and accept myself the way I am

Structure and planning

Winston Churchill once said that plans are of little importance but planning is essential. We like to structure and control our lives. But life is never like that. Unexpected external circumstances like a global pandemic are especially challenging for people who like to be in control of things. At times we simply have to accept things as they are and let go. The falsity of things to which we become too attached are revealed during times of crisis.

Recognizing fear

Typical physical reaction to fear is a shortness of breath, an increased heartbeat, sweating, or chest pain. You might wake up at night having bad dreams or finding yourself in the rollercoaster of a thousand different thoughts and scenarios. There are numerous methods of practicing mindfulness and meditation. One of the most effective ways of practicing alignment and thought discipline is the way you breathe. You might want to check out my downloadable online course here.

Time for introspection

Especially during times of crisis it is crucial to take a time out for introspection and reflection. Toxic emotions such as fear, anxiety, anger, chronic negativity and hate will turn you into a stranger to your true self. Below the surface of the darkness lie hidden the seeds for renewal and change. Accepting and loving the self with all the shadow and the light is finding the inner truth and the path to soul purpose.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing…

If you have found this article useful please share to spread the message. I’ve also recently compiled brand new online courses that you can download onto your computer or smartphone on ways of how you can transform your life on multiple levels. Also check out the recent reviews of my book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul.

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The broken modern workplace

The more a job inherently resembles a game – with variety, appropriate and flexible challenges, clear goals, and immediate feedback – the more enjoyable it will be regardless of the worker’s level of development.

– Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi –

Roughly two-thirds of employees hate their jobs, according to a global Gallup poll conducted two years ago. Clinical burnout, depression and suicide are only some of the effects of the broken workplace. Many people simply find no meaning or purpose in what they are doing for most of their lives.

The modern workplace has not only alienated many people from their inner being and purpose but is having a huge toll on productivity and long-term prosperity. The complexity of the individual becomes reduced to a role within an institution which is seldom congruent with core values and soul elevation.

People want to be seen and to be validated

Basic human emotional needs are to be seen, to be heard and to be validated. If these needs are met from an early age the child will thrive, and feel protected by the parents leading by example.

Especially if there has been a pattern of emotional neglect in childhood with parents giving recognition and validation only with achievement, the “inner child” will desperately seek validation through career achievement. The tragedy is that many a modern workplace implies that the employee is a “family member” but ruthlessly discards that member when it no longer performs or when times get tough.

With the person’s identity becoming closely intertwined with the corporate identity there comes a disconnect to soul purpose, as individual talent and the need for elevation of consciousness find no room for growth and expression.

Photo by Ian on Unsplash

The modern workplace stifles creativity

Clockwork performance parameters, the rapidity and the bland similarity of job descriptions stifle imagination and creativity that is so much the food for the soul.

Over the past decade I have conducted countless workshops in the corporate environment on topics such as “stress resilience” burnout-prevention, reintegration of absentees after long-term illness and the creation of a healthy work environment.

My key take-aways are that much of the problem can be found in lack of leadership or failed leadership. Most companies still have a top-down approach to management. Supervisors and managers are often chosen on the basis of job performance skills rather than people skills. They are then not even trained in the basic skills of coaching, mentoring and guidance of people.

The other, not to be neglected aspect, is how we spend our leisure time. Over-consumption of negative mass media absorb a huge amount of psychic energy, leaving little time for inner reflection, recuperation and alignment.

The need for new leaders

The good news is that the pandemic is changing the way we work in more ways than we could ever have imagined. Working flexible hours mainly from home not only reduces the stress of commuting, and looking after family but is visibly illustrating that people work more effectively in their own time and space if they are not micro-managed in a big office.

While the baby-boomer generation looked at work primarily as “a job” with clear boundaries between work and life, the millennial generation places far more emphasis on a company culture of personal growth, and self-development. The new managers are mentors and coaches with a social skill set that takes cognizance of individual expression and visibility within the company matrix.

Are you selling your soul?

If you currently find yourself mired in a structure that is making you feel unhappy, unfulfilled and constantly fatigued and tired then hard questions need to be asked. You could well be in an environment or a company that has outlived its purpose for you. It is a tragedy to see people selling their soul. They wither away in a life of misery and ultimately fall seriously ill because they are deeply unhappy in the environment where they spend much of their most valuable productive years. The remaining energy is drawn primarily on focusing on the next vacation and counting the years to retirement in the illusion that life begins after a career is over.

On the long term you cannot suppress the presence and inner needs of the soul, crying out for imagination, creativity and growth. It is in those moments when we feel energized, empowered and in flow with our inner truth and our being that we are on the right track.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing…

If you have found this article useful please share to spread the message. I’ve also recently compiled brand new online courses that you can download onto your computer or smartphone on ways of how you can transform your life on multiple levels. Also check out the recent reviews of my book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul.

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How resilient are you?

“If we have peace of mind, even negative experiences do not upset us. Peace of mind is also good for our physical health. Medical experts have found that anger, hatred and fear eat into our immune system. Being calm and relaxed is better for our physical well-being.” – The Dalai Lama –

During these times it is all-important to look after your immune system. We will have to live with the pandemic for some time with the rollout of vaccinations taking their time and much uncertainty about virus mutations.

In my last Blog we looked at the importance of breathing through the nose. The nose is a natural filter system, releasing nitric oxide which widens the blood vessels allowing for better transportation of oxygen to vital organs.

But there are many other building blocks to a healthy and resilient immune system. When your immune system is weakened your emotional and physical defense walls will break under the strain. The big question everyone is asking: What can I do to protect myself and my loved ones?

Vitamin D deficiency

Early indications are that people with a vitamin D deficiency are more prone to catching Covid. The vitamin is connected to the activation of T cells in the body, which play a key role in immune response. Elderly people and those living in climate zones with little sunlight are especially prone to vitamin D deficiency. When you get older the skin gets less efficient in producing vitamin D when exposed to sunlight. It leads to a loss of bone density and in extreme cases to osteoporosis and other diseases. It is suspected that vitamin D deficiency may also lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, and other autoimmune conditions. Known also as the sunlight vitamin you would need exposure of between 10-30 minutes of sunlight per day to get enough vitamin D into your body. But it also depends on the sensitivity of your skin, your age and how dark your skin is. Seafoods, mushrooms and egg yolk are another way of getting vitamin D into your body.

Avoid sugars

Sugar is found in most processed foods and sodas. There are multiple reasons why you should avoid sugar. One of the primary reasons is that sugar is responsible for weight gain and diabetes 2 which puts you in the major risk category for Covid. A recent Spanish study found that 80 per cent of serious Corona patients were overweight. Obesity is characterized by a chronic state of low-grade inflammation with an increase in cytokines, or inflammatory molecules, which reduces the body’s ability to respond to respiratory infection. You are also putting your mental health at risk with a high sugar diet. Researchers believe that blood sugar swings, neurotransmitter dysregulation and inflammation may all be reasons for sugar’s detrimental impact on mental health.

Emotional stress

Negative stress is often triggered by a thought. Negative news media. Negative people around you. Dwelling on the past and the future robs you of the preciousness of the moment. A negative mindset and toxic emotions such as anger, resentment, jealousy, anxiety and fear have a devastating effect on the immune system. It puts your body into fight or flight mode triggering those stress hormones that you don’t want too much of. “Emotional shifting” is a good way of dealing with a negative mindset. Ask yourself what you can be truly grateful for. Recall those moments or memories that expand your vibrational energy. Focusing on a positive experience will relax your breathing and trigger the recovery mode that you need to bring those stress hormones back to a normal level.

Deep walking in nature

Walking in a forest or on a beach, spending time in those green and blue spaces of nature has an enormous impact on boosting your immune system. Exposure to the natural sounds of nature will reduce your blood pressure, muscle tension, heart rate and the production of stress hormones. Spending time in nature also provides a welcome respite from those countless distractions pulling at our minds throughout the day.

Relationships

We human beings are social beings. We need people around us to make us feel seen, cherished and wanted. Social bonding is essential for our health and a good immune system. Social support systems play a pivotal role in managing high stress levels. Loneliness and social isolation have a huge effect on mental health. Connecting with friends, family and loved ones should be a primary focus, even if the pandemic currently prevents direct physical contact.

These are only a few guidelines to help you navigate these difficult times. But Challenging times can also be important stages of transition, elevation of consciousness and restructuring of soul purpose.

Reino Gevers – Author – Mentor – Speaker

One more thing…

If you would like to learn more about these and other topics, check out my books and online video courses in my store or go to linktr.ee/redfishsword

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A mental health challenge

The other day I observed a heavily-masked woman in a supermarket in no uncertain terms telling off a customer to keep his distance. A passenger on the plane refused to take his window seat when he found another person sitting next to him. Many people are currently feeling anxious, afraid and even paranoid.

The pandemic is having a huge effect on mental health, according to a report released recently by the World Health Organization (WHO).

“Bereavement, isolation, loss of income and fear are triggering mental health conditions or exacerbating existing ones. Many people may be facing increased levels of alcohol and drug use, insomnia, and anxiety,” the WHO said.

During these times when we are constantly being bombarded with “Covid news” on all channels it is more important than ever to guard your mind against the indoctrination with negativity. These are challenging times where it has become more important than ever to protect your mental health and to guard your mind against fear and anxiety. We cannot ignore this dangerous virus and have to take precautions but we do have it in our power to reduce the consumption of negative news.

Learning the lessons from a crisis

Every crisis teaches us something.  We need to look beyond the surface. As a humanity we need to go into deep introspection on what we are doing to our earth and our fellow living beings.  Nature is teaching us that we need to move away from an exploitative to a more sustainable economic model.  Short-term external gratification cannot replace the soul’s yearning for spiritual growth and meaning. Because humanity is in this together in fighting a common enemy, it is a huge opportunity in bringing communities and nations together. The mere fact that a vaccine could be made available in such a short time is a result of an unprecedented level of international cooperation between scientists and governments.

Practicing awareness of thoughts and emotions

Being locked down in our homes gives us time for reflection on what truly matters. If we stay calm, centered and in alignment with the higher self we can be of much more support to those loved ones around us, especially those facing a mental health challenge.  

Here are some of the things you could do to remain centered:

  • When you feel a negative emotion such as fear accept that fact first. “Yes, I am afraid and anxious.” You can then go to the next step by replacing that emotion with a good thought or happy moment. What image or memory comes to mind that will expand your energy or makes you laugh?
  • Practice a gratitude ritual. What am I truly grateful for? Thank the universe for all the good things in your life. Do it first thing in the morning and last thing before you fall asleep. It makes a huge difference to your feeling of well-being!
  • Breathing meditation. Focus your mind on your breathing. At the count of one I inhale and at the count of one I exhale – counting until 21.  Check out my immune-boosting meditation on my Podcast.
  • Take a walk in nature. Meditative deep walking in natural surroundings cleanses body and mind on many levels. Do it however without the distraction of electronic gadgets. Focus on the moment. Feel the wind stroking your face. Hear the birds singing in the trees. Inhale the aroma of the wild flowers.
  • Our environment, our associations and our thoughts have a major impact on our mental well-being.  Radically reduce associations with people who bombard you with negativity, abusing you in dumping their rubbish onto you. Reduce the consumption of negative media to a minimum. What you feed your mind with is who you are and who you become.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

One more thing…

I have a special New Year offer on my latest book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul”. If you buy my new video Deep Walking with the key lessons from the book in my store, I will send you the paperback edition of the book for FREE.

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Rough times? Cues from nature

Our world is completely different to what it was a few months ago. Crazy times demand courage. When the carpet gets pulled from beneath your feet it takes time to go into the acceptance that the life of the past will not return.

It is an ideal time for introspection, recalibration and realignment. In taking the analogy from nature life is seasonal, moving from the birth of spring to the darkest of nights in winter and back to the light.

Moving forward from introspection

The Chinese philosophy of the Five Elements is rooted in the ancient wisdom of Buddhist and Taoist monks who spent much of their time observing and studying the rhythm of nature.

In the northern hemisphere we are moving from autumn into winter. Autumn is associated with the metal element when the body energies move inward.  Nature starts contracting and preparing for winter (water element) with plant and animal withdrawing into recuperation or hibernation.

When the elements of metal and water are in imbalance the emotions of grief, anxiety and fear become a challenge. In going forward from this energy and recreating balance on a mindset level the opposite side of these emotions are courage, steadfastness, alignment and the setting of healthy boundaries.

Humanity has broken the code of nature

Our skin, which is the outer expression of the large intestine, associated with the metal element, is all about setting and accepting boundaries whether we choose or deny body contact and what we inhale and exhale in energy around us. What we inhale we become. What are we inhaling in negative thoughts, news, and distractions? How much have we broken the code of nature in exploiting and destroying our own and the life systems of other living beings?

Moving from grief into courage 

Despite the fear, anxiety and melancholy sadness we are seeing many people navigating new territory, rediscovering community and vocation. In moving forward from the darkest of nights in winter the first step is the acknowledgment of what is. You could ask yourself the following questions:

  • What lesson can I extract from the new situation?
  • What resources, knowledge, networks can I activate?
  • What is the first step that I can take today to change my situation?
  • What are the things that I can still truly be grateful for?
  • What habits, attitudes, and mindset can I change at this point in time?

Creating the momentum for a new future and new opportunity is the time of spring and rebirth (wood element). We move into spring with the spiritual growth and elevation of consciousness we have attained during the time of winter. It is the necessary precondition, the time to plant the seeds for summer (fire element) so that you can harvest the seeds of your efforts in late summer (earth element).

Whatever situation you are finding yourself in at the moment you can regain confidence on a mindset level by accepting the cyclical nature of the universe. The yin and yang is constantly in motion between expansion and withdrawal, night and day, grief and happiness.

Look at yourself from a bird’s eye perspective and tell yourself: “May I be liberated from the sadness and the grief over that which was and is no more. I love and accept myself the way I am. I wish and pray with all my heart for a life of fulfillment, abundance and happiness.”

Repeat this inner prayer for yourself first and then continue by wishing this positive vibrational energy to loved persons that come to mind but also to persons you have problems forgiving and have hurt you in the past.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor and Consultant

P.S: If you found this article of interest, you might also want to check out my recent interview on OMTimes Radio on the release of my new book Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul.

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