“…the minds of men, which like fluids always adjust to the level of the objects that surround them, become hardened…” – Cesare Beccaria

How do you take your coffee? With sugar? Milk? Black? Alongside the morning news, Facebook or twitter feeds? Or do you do crosswords to get your mind going in the morning? Or, maybe, you never really gave it much thought…

There is an expression, You are what you eat. And, there is another expression, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” The essential idea in both messages is that what we put in, we get out.

When we watch a scary movie before bed, is it really a wonder why we have strange dreams or nightmares that night? Similarly, if the first thing we do each day is read all of the horrible stories in our news feed, or on TV, should we not expect to be more anxious or worried all day? What would happen if you read, or wrote, or listened to something empowering first thing in the morning?

The fact is, even for the toughest of people, are minds are incredibly sensitive instruments.

We have the option to choose what type of mental and emotional chemistry we want to create in our mind. This will then guide virtually all of our actions in life. It is important, therefore, that we choose how we take our morning coffee.

We are all a little crazy. And the pressure to fit in can be quite burdensome – especially when deep down we all want to belong in some way, to be loved deeply for who we are. However, when we don’t seem to fit in, when we aren’t sharing that unique human bond that unites our soul to another’s, our spirit is weakened.

In life, when it begins to feel as if everything is too far outside of our control we are susceptible to depression. Sherwin Nuland experienced depression first hand – as many of us have and do – and witnessed the phenomenon to a terrible degree. This man went from a surgical resident who had graduated from Yale Medical school, to a mentally-ill psychiatric patient at a very startling rate. In the Ted Talk titled, “How Electroshock Therapy Changed My Life,” Nuland tells the tale of his spiritual resurrection using science, wit, and emotional intensity. What starts as a slow, first-person narrative, becomes a shocking revelation.

(Strong Language, viewer discretion advised.)

Nuland’s recovery was remarkable. And it came about primarily through a change in his neurophysiological state. We often seek the help of a pill in order to accomplish this, or perhaps a drink will do. It’s true these things do have the ability to change our state. Yet, the side effects seem to cost more than the potential short-term fix. It’s not that we can’t have mild pain reliever when we have a migraine, or have a night out with friends in order to cheer ourselves up. But, there is grave danger when our spirit is dependent solely on a substance. Additionally, when we rely on stronger, more intense drugs, and longer bouts with them, the risk hardly outweighs the reward.

Changing the state of both your mind and body is necessary if you are not well. This change can be accomplished in many different ways, most of them short of electroshock therapy – which, I feel the need to add, is NOT being recommended here, and should only be done under the supervision and administration of professionals, if at all. Take a walk. Ride a bike. Listen to music, cook, dance, play with a child, talk to someone about nothing. Just break the pattern. Get out of the state you’re in just choose your method wisely.

Adversity never ends. And as Nuland said in his talk, “Anything can happen to you. Things change.” People can help you if you give them the opportunity, but you need to know where you want to go. Nuland concludes with a powerful statement: “There is recovery. There is redemption. And there is resurrection.”

Learn to be the Phoenix, resurrect yourself, allow yourself to be reborn time and time again. In sickness and in health – RISE!