I took a public health course in college several years ago. I don’t remember much about the specific lessons, but one concept still invades my mind as a citizen and community member. We were discussing drinking and driving and the campaigns that surround the efforts of the public health professionals to convince people not to drink and drive. There’s a lot of psychology that goes in to advertising, and what was discovered was that ads like “DON’T DRINK AND DRIVE” were processed by the average brain as “DRINK AND DRIVE”. Spelling out the directive “DON’T” was not recognized by the average person, and statistics showed that the number of drunk driving incidents went up.
Now, when I see a public service announcement of any kind, I first scrutinize it for its content rather than it’s intended message. Then I hope I don’t get too hung up on the psychology and am able to receive the intended message, as I’m sure it’s meant to enhance our lives and keep us safe in some way.
In a conscious effort, I try to apply this psychology to myself and the way I live my life. It doesn’t work all of the time, but I keep trying.
Here’s a beginning list to myself about “What to Do”. As an exercise to get to the meaningful lessons, I had to first write what I “Don’t Want To Do”.
-Don’t waste time. Seize the moment, day, month, year. Engage in meaningful activities.
-Don’t accept or believe the blame people put on you. Know that your actions, past, present, and future are sound and well-meaning.
-Don’t second guess your intentions. Live with the best purpose in mind, always.
-Don’t criticize yourself. Recognize your strengths and live freely.
-Don’t work your life away. Take a vacation and enjoy the moments of disconnect from your job and your responsibilities.
-Don’t put too much emphasis on money. Spend some money on conveniences and experiences.
-Don’t hoard things for yourself. Give possessions away if they no longer serve you, or if you see someone who needs them more.
-Don’t try to manipulate people or situations. Let things unfold naturally.
-Don’t treat your dreams for the future as impossible. Believe in your imagination.
-Don’t rush through life. Practice mindful walking, eating, driving, etc.
-Don’t think your life is indestructible. Recognize the fragility of life and live as though your life is a gift…because it is.
-Don’t dwell on the past or spin future events. Live in the moment while learning from the past and fostering hope for the future.
This painting is not turning out the way I had envisioned. And instead of saying to myself “Don’t give up”, I’m thinking that “keep trying” is a better way to think of moving forward.
Happy New Year to all.
May 2018 bring fun surprises, unexpected blessings, and the best of health and happiness.