America is experiencing a brutal mental breakdown | by Jared A. Brock
We need to talk openly about the pandemic behind the pandemic
The mental health crisis in the United States is far from over.
In fact, it’s probably just getting started.
After all, we are dealing with:
- Almost two years of social isolation.
- Soaring food and fuel prices.
- Housing costs unaffordable in all states of the country.
- Crushing student debt, medical debt, consumer debt, mortgage debt, and government debt.
- The specter of financialization and automation taking tens of millions of jobs.
- Climate change and extreme weather events, including heat domes, floods and fires.
- Profound decline of democracy and freedom in the world.
- Huge uncertainties about the future.
- Algorithm-based terrorist organizations like Youtube and Facebook are radicalizing millions of people, spreading fear and breaking social cohesion.
- No end in sight.
Tens of millions of Americans have lost a loved one to Covid in the past two years.
It’s a horrible way to die – more than 860,000 Americans have died of Covid, gasping for air, with lungs full of mud, or on fire, or filled with a thousand stinging bees.
These are huge numbers, so it is important to personalize them:
Take a moment to seriously imagine losing your own mother.
Or your favorite aunt or uncle.
Or your husband or wife.
Or your sister or your brother.
Or your son or your daughter.
Some of us don’t have to.
Because of all these traumas, American minds are suffering greatly.
The statistics are staggering:
What happened to life, freedom and happiness?
In the grand scheme of human history (or even American history), Covid will be over very soon. Probably three years or less.
But the pandemic behind the pandemic — mental illness — shows zero signs of slowing down until we radically change the way we live in America.
It really is that simple.
Keep living as we live and America will inevitably crumble.
Insanity, as they say, is doing the same thing and expecting different results.
We must change.
So what can we do to inoculate ourselves against the highly transmissible emotional “viruses” of worry, anxiety, stress, rage and fear?
America is a nation addicted to speed.
Everything is always rushed and schedules are packed from sunrise to sunset – with a culture of toxic hustle and bustle that says start much earlier and end long after dark.
It’s time to break away from the hectic bustle.
Don’t let others place expectations on you and, more importantly, don’t overload yourself with unrealistic and unnecessary expectations of yourself.
Take a real inventory of your current speed.
Why the rush?
What do you gain by hurrying?
And what are you losing living to the fullest?
For highly motivated Type A achievers, remember this saying from the Marines:
“Slow is smooth, smooth is fast.”
Before Edison’s light bulb, Americans had on average ten o’clock of sleep per night.
Depending on your body, you probably need 9-12 hours a night.
And when you get those hours is almost as important as how long they last.
Everything changes when you prioritize personalized sleep.
We just had our first baby twelve weeks ago, but because we’ve made sleep our #1 priority, we still feel fully rested, unlike all the other couples we know.
It’s very simple: organize your waking life around sleep, not the other way around.
Get your 9-12 at the right time for your body type, and you’ll produce better work, think much more clearly, be healthier, and most importantly, you’ll be a kinder partner, parent, and parent, more sweeter and more loving. friend.
Homo sapiens just isn’t wired to spend his life staring at a superstimulus light box.
Just accept it: we are natural, offline, earthly and spiritual monkeys.
Phones implant a digital nervous system in us, causing 24/7 ambient anxiety, while addiction algorithms intoxicate us through a mix of stressful news and direct misinformation.
It will be obvious to future generations that it is imperative for humans to live the majority of their lives offline.
So turn off your phone as much as possible. Live a fully present and embodied life. I gave up my phone ten years ago and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
Human happiness requires human solidarity.
Not mitigated by screens.
When we are face to face, our brain can sense that the other person’s pupils are dilating. We smell subtle odors and pheromones. Our heart rates tend to regulate when we synchronize.
So create a community wherever you go.
You can do this by think like one mangrove.
A mangrove is a small, mangy shrub that can grow in terrible soil and salt water. They are designed to withstand harsh conditions, low oxygen mud and the constant beating of the waves.
and you know what? These beauties know how to create a community! They sink deep roots, filter out all manner of crap, sequester carbon, and plant seeds. Soon, a mangrove shrub turns into an entire forest teeming with marine ecosystems, creating veritable islands out of thin air. Some of these mangrove “communities” grow so large that they slow down hurricanes and protect shorelines from tsunamis.
- start schools
- plant churches
- create art spaces
- cultivate community gardens
- build monasteries
- run fitness classes
- bring the foodies together
- bring together musicians
- constantly introducing friends, neighbors and colleagues
Mangrove dwellers weave together the fabric of society and root themselves deep in the ground, giving everyone and everything in their ecosystem a buffer against the inevitable storms of life.
When it comes to friendship and community, be like a mangrove wherever you go.
Instead of sitting in our car, at our desk, and on our couch, we have to start walking again for hours and hours every day – at least morning, noon and night.
Morning walks are amazing for setting your circadian rhythm, which triggers the pressure of sleep that will have you falling asleep fast that night.
While the West was taking care of Prozac, the Japanese were inventing forest baths.
The health benefits of walks in the woods are so compelling that companies are now encouraging their employees to hike in the trees during their lunch breaks.
Night walks are also great for your mental health; a good way to wash off the day and all its bad news. Earlier tonight I loaded baby Concord into her stroller and set off for our evening star ride. Nothing frees the mind like fresh air, starry skies and sweet sleeping babies.
(Or meditation if you prefer, but prayer is much better because it is relational.)
I am so obsessed with prayer that I traveled 37,000 miles around the planet to learn about different prayer traditions.
Prayer connects you to the transcendent.
It reminds you that you are part of a bigger story.
He welcomes you into a beautiful mystery.
It helps you remember that you are not actually in control.
It allows you to surrender.
This allows for trust.
As I’ve mentioned seventy-six times, my wife and I had our first baby twelve weeks ago.
It was the happiest twelve weeks of my life.
Children are the source of fresh water that keeps the human pond from turning into a toxic swamp.
Children don’t care about finances. Or politics. Or global warming. They just want you to see the dead toad they found on the road.
Teenagers can be the same way. They are always filled with hopes, dreams, ambitions, innocent ideas and respect. Because the global economy has yet to enslave and break them, teens help you rekindle your creativity, challenge your assumptions, and remember your previous vision and values.
So pack your life with kids and teens. For me, that means mentoring a group of teenagers on a weekly basis and regularly inviting families with young children. While the adults talk about grown-up stuff, you’ll find me wrestling on the ground, lighting things on fire in the garden, or teaching kids to cut vegetables with gigantic kitchen knives.
The best thing you can do for your soul is to help someone in a much worse position than yourselves.
Never forget that over 1,000,000,000 of our brothers and sisters live in slums and that number is growing by a million every daytime. Never forget that over 24,000,000 members of our global family are bound in slavery right now. Never forget that 690,000,000 men, women and children go to bed hungry every night and more than a million children are raped for money every day.
Two weeks ago I had business near London Heathrow, so I stayed at a hotel near Windsor Castle. I went for a night walk and took ten minutes to chat with two homeless women and a homeless man. I showed them pictures of baby Concord, cheered them on, and paid for their dinners. Why? Because these precious people are our brothers and sisters – they are worthy of our love and adoration, and we have disappointed them terribly.
Service is the best way to destroy your worries, anxieties, anger and fear.
Right now, my wife and I are helping an old friend from Africa build a language training school so they can finally become economically self-sufficient and escape the crushing financial burden imposed by extractive landowners.
If we all build a better world, we just don’t have to worry about tomorrow.
The truth is that for you and me, our worst challenge or setback pales in comparison to the day-to-day reality of others. This, of course, does not make our problems any less real or painful, nor should it; it just helps us gain a huge sense of proportion that erases anxiety.
Life is tough for Americans right now, and because the anti-human multinational corporations that run the nation simply don’t care about the most widespread welfare, it’s only going to get worse for the foreseeable future.
Will worry help you?
Will anxiety help?
Will anger help?
Will fear help you?
But if we slow down, sleep, disconnect and move in nature, build friendships and community, pray, play and serve, we can at least survive tomorrow.
We were made for each other.
Now go out and kiss someone.