We are constantly finding those we can surround ourselves with — a friend, a family member, a partner, an acquaintance, a mentor, or maybe a stranger who was, fortunately, kind enough to help make our lives a little easier. These people help guide us into light, which we never would have thought to look for without first being aware of it. They connect us to our souls and to the world; they ignite the spark that drives us to be who we aspire to be, and they thrive off of seeing us bloom.Continue reading “Reconnecting with the World through Space Song by Beach House”
Athlete Mental Health: Improving Professionalism
Athletes see a mental health turning point after Naomi Osaka takes a stand at the French Open at the beginning of June.
By Caleb Izaguirre
Naomi Osaka attends a conference after winning the Australian Open in Melbourne, February 2021. Photograph: Natasha Morello/Tennis Australia/AFP/Getty Images
What were once seen as deficiencies and irregularities are now important health specifications that could hinder an athlete’s life and physical performance. While organizers of the Grand Slam(s) say Osaka’s defiance against the French Open was hurtful to tennis, Naomi Osaka retains that she didn’t feel comfortable performing press conferences this season.Continue reading “Athlete Mental Health: Improving Professionalism”
When I was little, my mother told me that when a baby first laughs, a fairy is born. I later found out that the notion came from Peter Pan, but I’ve never forgotten the sentiment — laughter is magical.Continue reading “World Laughter Day 2021”
Star Wars fans are using the film franchise to make connections to their mental health.
Written by Caleb Izaguirre
With The Bad Batch releasing on Disney+ this Tuesday, many fans are eager to watch their favorite characters return for a follow-up to The Clone Wars. And while May 4th is Star Wars Day, there are more than a few avid members of the fandom who like to celebrate the month’s official designation as Mental Health Awareness Month.
Nearing the end of my chronological binge watch of the prequel trilogy and its affiliated media this summer, I recognize that I have always been a huge Star Wars fan. The films and T.V. series have always been meaningful to me. I realized this when I saw the theatrical release of The Clone Wars (2008), and the variety of content has shaped me ever since.
In the offset of my personal love for Star Wars, a question arises in my mind about some of the franchise’s titular Jedi philosophy: how can you stay one with the Force?
Now, I am not talking about traveling across the galaxy through hyperspace in order to become a Jedi (unfortunately), but I am suggesting that each of us use May 4th to check in on our own force: our personal wellbeing and for those we care for.
It is also critical that we be aware of so-called ”Dark Side” challenges, such as conflict, social isolation, and/or even disconnection, which can lead to behavioral addictions. The common theme shared between us is that we are “luminous beings” requiring connection and compassion. To be stronger, we need to know that someone cares about us.
So how can you stay connected to the living Force?
The following are the best tips and principles to live by:
- Care for your mental and physical health first. When you’re prioritizing your commitment to thinking clearly and feeling strong, you can better interact and set an example for others.
- Use humor to deter hate. Have fun and allow a little levity into your daily life. It’s healthy to see friends and family behaving comedically and enjoying their lives. It helps everyone learn to laugh at their own humor and cope with stress. Humor also promotes child-parent bonds alongside those for friends and peers.
- “Be mindful of your thoughts.” Obi-Wan’s advice throughout the Star Wars franchise is an important reminder to each of us to pay attention to how stress affects our physical and psychological health and responses. The mind is powerful, and if you’re dealing with high stress and anxiety, the world can seem cold. You might clench your teeth, or experience neck, back, or aching joint pains. You also may consume too much or too little. You might feel depressed enough to struggle getting out of bed. To tackle this, you need a plan. Try breathing deeply to reduce the “fight or flight” response that your body is experiencing under stress; relax your mind; exercise for twenty minutes every day; improve your attitude through positive people and activities; and finally, maintain a healthy diet.
- Request resources for the “Light Side.” In the films, Darth Vader made the mistake of thinking that he could control everyone and every event around him. He emotionally and physically isolated himself from others. Luckily, his son, Luke, sought out Yoda for guidance in combating the powers and temptations of evil and was able to overcome a lifelong challenge. Just as Luke searched for Yoda, you can seek help from trained professionals. Magnify Wellness offers a resource database of offering support for people who feel isolated or stuck in a challenging mental state, which can only lead to other medical issues. Our team monitors and maintains these resources to help individuals in healthy ways.
While applying the Star Wars franchise to serious mental issues may seem to make light note of such cases, I take this subject very seriously.
To examine the films’ relationship with mental health, it is imperative to understand that the limited information drawn from their fictional universe is a means for safer mental health education, discussion, and some room for play, allowing fans to draw comparisons between their role models from “a galaxy far, far away…”
Examining Star Wars with this methodology adds the value of entertainment to the heavy task of mental health study, and it provides students, patients, and medical professional representation of disorders that are mainly cited through theory and discussion.
Part of what makes Star Wars so special is the abundance of positive mental health advice and philosophies.
The Star Wars franchise has touched the hearts of so many adults and children since it began almost half a century ago. The steeped battlefield of good versus evil alongside the characters and stories of George Lucas have continued to play a role in defining our culture and mental health.
Don’t forget to catch the extended 70-minute debut of The Bad Batch streaming this Tuesday on Disney+ at 12:01 AM PST!
Artwork designed by Iris Ho
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Thanks for reading!
The cast of Persona 4 in one picture. From left to right (top): Chie Satonaka, Kanji Tatsumi, Youske Hanamura, and Teddie. From left to right (bottom): Naoto Shirogane, Yukiko Amagi, Yu Narukami (the protagonist), and Rise Kujikawa. (ZetGaming)
The above picture shows a group of friends. This group happens to be made up of the main characters of a video game called Persona 4, and the picture does a great job of depicting each of the characters’ unique personalities: Rise looking at Yu with admiration, Naoto hiding half of her face with her hat (which reflects her tendency to hide who she is), and Chie’s cheerful look towards the camera. The image serves as a great way of communicating how these characters are during the game’s story. Even though these people have different personalities, the image beautifully shows how they all accept each other for who they are and love each other all the same.Continue reading “Pursuing My True Self: A Review of Persona 4”
I’ve seen Pixar’s Soul twice – the first time with my best friend and the second time with my sisters. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that these are the people who consistently guide me to the light switches in life – the message of Soul was one of them. I was stopped dead in my tracks because the story’s message struck a chord both times – the first time an artery and the second time a vein. I started thinking about the oxygenated blood I’ve taken from the world and the people in it and questioned the oxygenation of the blood that I’ve given back. I began following a cascade of thoughts about the trends in the path I’ve been on.Continue reading “Pixar’s Soul, Curiosity & Mental Health”
Written by: Melissa Liu, NJ
In the infinite galaxy of cyberspace, people’s identities lie within the few letters that comprise their usernames. With a few clicks of keys, one can forge a new identity in seconds. Users can easily modify their personalities on the web, endowing themselves with whatever character traits they choose. To capricious frequenters of social media, this can have quite a charm. However, people can also slip further into the unreality of contrived identities, composing increasingly misleading personas that may appeal to other online uses but may also produce unwarranted psychological effects as they drift further away from their true selves.Continue reading “The Online Disinhibition Effect: Exhibiting Our Better Selves through the Complexities of Cyberspace”
Craving an animated show that stars an ex-sitcom actor, who is also a horse, and his journey through alcoholism, depression, and relationships? Or maybe one that highlights the pitfalls of Hollywood culture and child stardom and how toxic that environment can be to a person’s mental health? Look no further, Bojack Horseman has you covered.Continue reading “Bojack Horseman Review: Navigating Mental Illness”
“If we actually link up, you won.”
How many times have you “made plans” knowing that you won’t commit to them? This is not out of spitefulness or disrespect, but because of a misunderstood nature of being — introvertedness. This article will take a glass half-full approach to the pandemic, to discuss how it has empowered introverts in several ways. To begin, let’s address the difference between the view of introverts pre versus post Covid-19 and what it all means.Continue reading “Mental Health in Media: Introverts & Covid-19”
Based on this Tweet:
Sometimes we need to slow down and get to know ourselves before moving too fast. Our society is persistent in being “actionable,” meaning that we tend to favor taking immediate, measurable, and physical steps toward solving our problems. This can be a great thing, however, the most crucial and frequented aspect of our development is often the expense: our inner thoughts. According to Michigan State University’s Stress Less with Mindfulness program, “the average person has around 80,000 thoughts per day. […]. Ninety percent of these thoughts are ones we have had before” (Millet). If we’re so familiar with these thoughts, then why do we tend to avoid them? One answer could be that our thoughts can pull us into a state of vulnerability; self-reflection requires acknowledging that you don’t know certain things and need to explore them further. However, do not let this deter you – self-reflection is a critical factor in principle life skills such as communication, leadership, and of course, mental health.Continue reading “Mental Health in Media: Self Reflection”