Minorities & Mental Health: A Candid Conversation with Clinicians

Minorities & Mental Health: A Candid Conversation with Clinicians is an event hosted by Dr. Karla Sapp to acknowledge Minority Mental Health Awareness Month.

During the conversation Dr. Sapp and her Featured Guest Panelist will discuss the correlation between Minorities and Mental Health, barriers preventing Minorities from receiving Mental Health, the STIGMA surrounding Minorities and Mental Health. Dr. Sapp and her Featured Guest Panelist will also discuss the current events faced by African Americans and its impact on their Mental Health.

Command Your Life

A few year ago, I was presented with a book, by Gretchen Rubin entitled, “The Happiness Project”. I was told by the giver of this book that it had changed his life and that in him knowing how I am always looking for ways to better myself and others, he felt that the book would be great for me to not only read but add to my personal library and share with others.

Now, initially, I was reluctant to even open the book and begin to read, as I had already skimmed the back cover and wasn’t as intrigued; however, after letting sit on my bookcase for a month or so, I made the decision to give it a chance and see what I could learn. As individuals we are so focused on all the things happening around us and allow them to consume us that we never really engage self-discovery. We are easily distracted. We lose our focus on what is important, and to be honest, what is most important is our continued growth. We fail to realize that we can learn from anyone and/or anything, and it is those things that we are experiencing resistance that we eventually learn the most from. With that being said, I opened the book and begin to read.

To my surprise, a few pages in, I was introduced to a concept that intrigued me and found myself considering how I could possibly implement this concept into my daily life. Rubin shared that as she began to engage in identifying her resolutions for the first month of the year (she decided to add more resolutions monthly) she noticed that she had some overarching principles that stood out to her. Let me first address the resolution aspect, before going any further. Typically at the first of the year, we all engage in a process of identifying our New Year’s resolutions. The most common resolutions include: getting a gym membership and working out, eating healthier, losing weight, be a better person, and of course the list could go on and on. These resolutions, we are so quick to make, however, we are even more apt to forget about them within the first few week so the year and start to engage in unhealthy habits that go against the resolutions we made for ourselves.

Having the latter notion, is what really drew me in to Rubin’s discussion of the overarching principles she noticed among her resolutions that resulted in her arriving at her own personal twelve (12) commandments that she stated, “would help me as I was struggle to keep my resolutions” (p. 11). How cool would that be to develop my own personal list of commandments that would help me throughout the year to maintain focus and stay on track towards my goals.

Now we are all aware of the Ten Commandments that God provides us in the Bible, which tells us how we as Christians should behave, however, how many of us have ever took the time to think of how we have the ability to “Command” our own lives, personally and professionally, by developing commandments, our own set of rules, that would empower us to act in a certain manner. Seems trivial, but if taken very seriously, it can be one of the most powerful tools utilized. Of course, we think, who has the time to sit down and come up with commandments. It is just as simple as writing down the grocery lists your to-do list for work. It comes down to how serious you are about taking control over your life.

As I sat and thought about the goals I had for myself, I began to identify commandments that I felt would help me to be successful in maintaining my focus, completing my task, and achieving my goals. I arrived at the following commandments that I felt governs my behavior on daily basis:

Karla’s Commandments

1. Live life with no regrets

2. Wake up early

3. Never set limits on my ability to achieve my goals

4. Laugh out loud, always

5. Remain true to form

6. Find something to believe in and pursue

7. Think positive

8. Engage in random acts of kindness

9. Practice mindfulness

10. Treasure family and friends

11. Express gratitude

12. Be consistent

13. One day at a time

14. Make time for myself

15. Indulge in Natures Beauty

16. Be present

17. Stay humble

18. Always be honest

It is these eighteen (18) commandments that have catapulted me into a new realm of my life. A realm that is characterized by happiness, success, confidence, spirituality, and goal-achievement. I find myself being very intentional about the activities I involve myself in making sure that they are aligned with my commandments. If activities and/or goals do not align with my commandments or at some point veer off course, I immediately re-evaluate my intentions and determine if I need to abandon the activity and/or goal or at least place it in a safe place until such alignment takes place.

Being aware is very important to ensure that such things take place. I try my to have an awareness of self, my activities and/or goals, others, and the environment in which I am in on a daily basis. Without a sense of awareness, I am not able to maintain focus or allow myself to be intentional in all that I am doing. This awareness also allows me to gain a sense of balance and have control over my life.

Having control is what commanding your life is about. Commanding is all about taking charge, and that is what you as an individual must do if you desire to move forward and attain all of your heart desires. So are you ready to take control and command your life? If you are, start today by identifying your personal principles that will help you to begin commanding your life.

If you would like to read Gretchen Rubin’s book, “The Happiness Project”, it can be purchased through Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, Books-A-Million, and at www.harpercollins.com. Feel free to also follow her daily blog at www.happiness-project.com.