“Couldn’t sleep at all last night, cause I was tossin’ and turnin’…all night,” are words we remember from the 1961 classic sung by Bobby Lewis. Ritchie Adams and Malou Renee, the song’s composers, are clear—somebody’s done somebody wrong and it’s causing sleepless nights.
During this Emotional Wellness Month, these words came to mind as I thought about all the things keeping us up at night. We don’t often talk about what’s going on in terms of emotional wellness, but today we’re celebrating an ability to “process feelings in a healthy, positive way and manage the stress of everyday life,” according to the University of New Hampshire’s website, www.unh.edu.
Maintaining emotional wellness helps relieve stress, increase feelings of contentment, and provides a reliable support network. When we’re emotionally well, we can relax and meet the challenges we face every day. In this country, however, in too many instances we haven’t come to grips with why emotional wellness and good mental health are to be valued.
In 2021, we’ve seen top athletes and performers sidelined by what’s going on in their heads and hearts. If we’re what could be characterized as sane or fairly balanced, we don’t have to give the mental and emotional wellbeing of others much thought until our world suddenly gets turned upside down by trauma and drama beyond our control.
The named hurricanes, floods, wildfires, and natural disasters can be the culprit, and whether they’re caused by climate change is a topic for another day, but there’s no way families can lose everything and be all right.
As a child, I remember a tornado struck our community and killed two people, and I recall being nervous about storms for months. With urban- sprawl development, and fewer trees to offer windbreaks and storm protection, when the meteorologists predict severe weather, it behooves us to pay attention to how this is affecting the children and survivors.
Of course, weather is not the only thing that triggers anxiety for families, communities, and individuals—drugs, health conditions, pandemics, work-life challenges, can all make morning seem as far away as next week.
Journaling, long walks, country roads on an autumn afternoon, meditation, classic books and movies all help me relax and maintain good emotional health. Helping others, spending time with friends and family (unless they’re the source of the trauma and drama) letting go of grudges, and forgiveness are also ways to stay emotionally fit. The key thing is to aim for a healthy mind, body, and spirit—you get to decide what that looks like.
Speaking of helping others, observe at least one Make A Difference Day this month though it is something we can celebrate and participate in all year.
This day of service to others has been around more than 20 years and was begun by USA Weekend and Points of Light and observed on the fourth Saturday. Its purpose was to “bring light to dark places” and be the difference in big and small ways in improving communities, according to www.nationaldaycalendar.com.
Think about how significant our time could become if we worked every day to make the difference. We could clean up neighborhoods, do minor repairs for seniors, spruce up public spaces, we could open doors (literally and figuratively) and assist in all kinds of ways. If we all did a little bit, we could make a world of difference. Don’t miss this opportunity to matter.
One final salute to General Colin Powell, an officer, and a gentleman. You were a beacon of light and hope, and we thank you for your life of honor and service.
Looking for inspiration, empowerment, uplift, straight talk, an encouraging word to brighten your day? You’ve arrived! Meet Dr. Cynthia Ann Bond Hopson, best-selling author, educator, inspirational speaker, sistergirl–she’s all that and more. Now listen to her new podcast, “Three Stores, Two Cotton Gins, One Remarkable Life: The Journey from There To Here,” and meet her favorite family and friends as they share laughter and heartwarming life lessons. Look for it on this page or wherever you get your favorite podcasts.