Written by Carissa Ee

Ever feel like you are slightly crazy? Well there is good news. You are actually really normal. I would say that most people, quite often, feel as if they are about to enter into the abyss of madness.

The news media likes to frequently point out the fact that the most common medication prescribed in North America is antidepressants, with the two most common mental illnesses being depression and anxiety. This is because it makes all dramatic news stories sound more dramatic when we realize how much the chaos in our world affects us. While many factors contribute to the high rate of depression, it is undeniable that the fast paced, stress filled, workaholic culture we live in is a contributing factor. When do we ever stop? Answer: we don’t. And neither do our brains.

Just imagine your brain being smacked every time something stressful or painful or concerning or worrying or anything of that nature comes up during the day. The poor guy would get terribly bruised. He probably is just begging for a break. And that is, in fact, exactly what he needs. In another metaphor, imagine your life as one of those old fashion balance beam weigh scales. On one side, place all of the stress, worry and such you experience in one day. It’s heavy. It is really imbalanced to one side of the scale. That is what many people’s lives are like. Out of balance. Or in neurological terms, disintegrated.

When I mentioned play I am sure some of you thought of video games or the horror of playing board games (although some people like them). Be relieved, that is not necessarily what it means to play. While games can be play for some people, the true definition of play is any activity in which when you engage in it you loose sense of time and wish it would continue for the joy that it brings. This could be sports, or hiking, or sitting outside, being with people, or drinking a coffee in a bookstore, it’s really up to you. The point is, it is something that consumes you to the point that your brain gets a break as it looses itself in joy. This, in turn, gives your poor bruised brain a break. It also balances the scales with all of your stress and crazy living.

If you are really struggling, this may only be one factor that is needed in order to achieve wholeness, but it will help to a small degree. Another way of looking at this is attempting to ‘take in the good’ or ‘find joy in the little things’. It is a bunch of little moments that allow you to take a breath and put down the weight of the world for a time.