Fairy tales, folktales, and mythology have traditionally been the messengers of moral lessons. Even the acculturated, modernized, and romanticized versions from Disney can provide some pearls of wisdom. There is nothing quit like a Disney movie to warm my heart and make me cry. I saw the new Disney movie Moana this weekend. Of course, it is full of the movie tropes and scripts that Disney is so well known for. The climax and ending are predictable and the cultural references are blended together and watered down. I won't go into a full critique of this movie as cultural appropriation as many writers have already done so here, here and here. I am just glad that the heroine is a person of color, which is a small step in the right direction.
I spent this past weekend on the Oregon Coast with my parents, my partner, and our two dogs. I didn't realize how much I needed this time away until I came back on Sunday night and I noticed that my shoulders were a little less tense and my outlook a little more optimistic. Taking a walk on the beach, even on a cloudy day, was so healing. Research shows the sense of awe that I felt from taking in the beauty of the ocean can biologically boost my immune system and my mood.
At age 30, I am struggling with delay of gratification more than ever before. Delay of gratification is the ability to hold out for a bigger reward or pleasure when there is something tempting right in front of you. For example, I have a hard time saying "no" to a fun trip with friends when I should be saving money toward bigger life goals such as getting out of student loan debt or buying a house. Recently, I heard a wonderful podcast by On the Media titled "Busted: America's Poverty Myths #2 Who Deserves to be Poor?" that helped explain why I am struggling so much with delay of gratification and self control. This podcast episode is part of a 5 part series on the American poverty myths. The whole series is really worth a listen. But on this blog post, I am going to focus on the study on delay of gratification that is mentioned in the beginning of this podcast episode.
I remember the first time I was introduced to the idea of positive psychology in my undergraduate psychology class. Until then, I have never heard of positive psychology. I thought psychology was about the study of mental illnesses and how to treat them (a.k.a, the deficit model). It blew my mind that mental health can be about happiness and thriving, instead of just about the absence of problems. Is thriving possible? Can I live a life that is more than get up, go to work/school, come home, got to bed, rinse and repeat? After 10 years of higher education, clinical training, traveling, and learning from people around me, I think the answer is yes.
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The information provided in this blog is not a substitute for professional mental health treatment.