In this video, Dr. Joe Dispenza said “Our thoughts can make us sick. We can think about our problems, imagine the worst case scenario in our life, and turn on that stress response just by thought alone. The science says that stress can push the genetic buttons that create disease. If our thoughts can make us sick, is it possible then our thoughts can make us well?”
If yes, I would want to think thoughts that “make us well.” The purpose of my project is to pivot the voice in our head to better feeling thoughts. “To dispel the mental toxins that cause unhappiness” as Matthieu Ricard said in his book A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill: Happiness.
Matthieu Ricard said we spend a lot of time and effort on studying in school, building a career, exercising our body, building relationships but we do very little to improve our inner state which determines the quality of our life!
Why is that I wonder?
According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental health:
- In any given year, 1 in 5 Canadians experiences a mental illness.
- By the time Canadians reach 40 years of age, 1 in 2 have – or have had – a mental illness.
- Young people aged 15 to 24 are more likely to experience mental illness and/or substance use disorders than any other age group.
Johnathan Haidt, a social psychologist and professor at NYU said in this video that there is a spike in anxiety, depression, self-harm, suicide amongst preteens and young teens. Because of social media, kids are now facing bullying and peer pressure at a whole new level.
Shouldn’t we also teach kids the skills to better mental health?
Johnathan Haidt and his co-author had compiled data and information on Better Metal Health here: https://www.thecoddling.com/better-mental-health
Dr. Libby Weaver talked about this “Rushing Woman’s Syndrome” and how even “perceive” stress plays an important role in woman’s health and weight. She said when we are under stress (perceived or real threat), our body runs the Sympathetic Nervous System where we burn glucose for fight or flight. When we are calm, our body runs on the Parasympathetic Nervous System where it is digesting, repairing, growing, creative and burning fat!
After meeting with people from the Richmond Art Gallery about this project, they gave me some really good ideas. Because I already have this concept of what I wanted to do in my mind, I am thinking strictly on how to make that concept into a reality. I didn’t really consider other options. After talking with other artists, I realized that I had such narrow focused thinking, even on a creative project!
During one of the workshops of the residency, the guest artist speaker also suggested talking with other people and other artists. Sometimes, great ideas are from these discussions which could happen any point during the process. Listening to others help us see different perspective and open our focus to more possibilities.
Maybe that’s why we should talk to people when we are stuck in a mental rut. I know I felt better after venting my frustrations and troubles to trusted family and friends. Especially if I couldn’t get out of the downward negative spiral by myself. They help me reaffirm and gave more strength to the better feeling thoughts.
It’s so interesting that as I am working on this project, I started reading Matthieu Ricard’s A Guide to Developing Life’s Most Important Skill: Happiness. On page 38 he said: “happiness is a skill, a manner of being, but skills must be learned.”
I am so grateful for this opportunity to share my learning through art with others.
Hopefully, after people have experience my temporary public art installation, they can take away something to add to their toolbox for better mental health.