Updated: Sep 29, 2020
Originally published HERE
This world is heavy, and keeping your spirit light and your habits centered in mindfulness isn’t always easy. Challenges in our daily lives and increased consumption of news and media can contribute to higher anxiety, leading to physical exhaustion, leading to burn out. Ain’t nobody got time for burn out. The world needs you, dear, even if you’re not at your best. Although I’ve done internal work over the years with the support of a multitude of resources, I thought it’d be best to leave my tendency to be the knower behind (because I’ve still got a long way to go), and give the page to an expert in the field. Justin K. Dodson, PhD, is a native of Memphis,TN. He received his Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from UT Chattanooga. Dr. Dodson continued his education at Lipscomb University where he was the first Black male to receive a Master’s in Counseling, and the first Black male to receive a Ph.D in Counseling Education and Supervision from the University of Memphis. He’s been featured on Ashely On Life Podcast discussing Stress in the workplace as well as Black men and mental health and WREG News Channel 3’s spot “ Counselors encourage explaining pandemic, racial injustices to children.”
What I’m saying here is Dr. Dodson is a big deal and a real one. I’ve had the joy of friendship with Justin since our freshman year of college at UTC, and his kindness, wisdom, authenticity, ability to listen, engage, and support make him a beautiful friend, and no doubt, a stellar professional. I’m delighted to share his calm wisdom with you, and I’d like to encourage you to follow his work @itsdrjkeith.
HERE’S DR. DODSON’S 5 WAYS TO KEEP YOUR SH*T IN CHECK… FIRST - PAUSE Breathe. Breathe deeply through your nose expanding your diaphragm. Pretend your stomach is a balloon you must inflate. Think about what is happening, what you are doing and what is happening to you versus what could be happening to someone else. It’s really important to decipher between what is yours and what is not yours. You are only responsible for what is “your stuff” and be MINDFUL to not absorb other people’s stuff. Sometimes people dump heavy things on us, but be intentional on how to support yourself first. That’s not selfish because you must consider your own emotional wellness first. You do this by first putting events, thoughts, experiences in their respective spaces. Recognize what emotion you feel when certain events happen in your life. NEXT - REFLECT Chill out. Recognize the pattern of emotions you experience and identify what’s your typical response? Ask yourself, what do I want to do with this emotion? Does your typical response/behavior continue to serve you? Does it yield the outcomes you desire? Reflection is vital when making decisions that could potentially be the difference between “making and breaking you”. Remember that you are enough and there can be meaning in all things. THEN - RESPOND Time to work. Identify how you want to respond to yourself, to others, to what is yours and what isn’t yours. Positive self-talk is important here as sometimes we find ourselves needing a hype man to convince us that we are justified in what we are doing. At this point you have taken deep breaths, reflected, and now it’s time to put your money where your body is and respond in the moment. Be your own hype man. Make a decision and stick with what feels best for your soul. This should also allow you to look at yourself in the mirror and be ok with your choices. Give yourself permission to be present with yourself with no time limits or expectations other than being healthy. NEXT COMES - ACCOUNTABILITY Take accountability. The truth doesn’t care who tells it. The truth should rarely be a surprise. Truth starts with yourself. Be honest with how you have contributed to your own mess without blaming other things as to how you got here. Be honest with other people. Being clear when communicating to others is expressing kindness. Being honest with yourself is demonstrating emotional wellness. NOW - GRATITUDE Be thankful. Identify what you are thankful for. What’s good in your world? As much as we can be a pity party for one when things aren’t going as well as we would like, there is always something to be grateful for. Name 2-3 things daily that you are thankful for. I, for one, am thankful for Dr. Dodson for taking the time to share with us, and I’m thankful for you taking the time to read today. Look at that...gratitude, a breath, and maybe a little smirk from some joy or peace in your heart. Love and light to all.