Finding Balance with Dr. Adrian Mesa
Is there a formula or secret sauce to “finding balance”? Find out when you make Time to be Kind with Marly Q and Dr. Adrian Mesa. In this short episode, you’ll discover the one and only thing you can balance, the important roles that purpose, self-talk and kindness play in your overall mental health and wellness PLUS simple ways we can all do our part to end the stigma surrounding mental health issues. Tune in now for a no fluff, real talk discussion on what it takes to grow and maintain a healthy mind, starting now!
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“Nobody hears the cries of the poor or the sound of a wooden bell.” ~ Haitian proverb
Listen to this Episode and Learn…
- Finding Balance in life isn’t a one-size-fits-all concept; it involves individual self-assessment, self-care, and self-analysis.
- Pursuing only monetary gain does not contribute to a balanced life; finding personal purpose is crucial.
- Maintaining mental health is key to achieving balance, and this requires self-reflection and understanding what matters to each individual.
- Stigma around mental health is still a significant barrier for many seeking help, especially in cultures where seeking mental health support may be seen as a sign of weakness.
- Kindness is reflective of one’s internal state; unkind behaviors often signify personal struggles.
- Self-talk and the way we communicate with ourselves greatly impact our mental health and the way we interact with others.
- Mental health education and openly talking about personal experiences with therapy can help break down stigma around mental health.
- Regular self-check-ins and being aware of our mental state can help foster empathy and understanding towards others.
- Suggesting professional help to someone showing signs of needing support should come from a place of kindness, compassion and empathy.
- Openly having conversations about mental health and practicing “Mental Awareness Now” (MAN) can significantly contribute to reducing stigma around mental health.
About Marly Q:
Kindness Influencer, Leadership Trainer, and Community-Builder on a mission to create a kinder world for over two decades. Through her podcast, she invites listeners to make “Time to Be Kind” each week to receive a spark of kindness, connection and community.
Connect with Marly Q:
About Our Guest:
Dr. Adrian Mesa is a prominent mental health advocate, founder, and CEO of Amp Mental Health. With a background as an army veteran, he brings a unique perspective to the field. Dr. Mesa hosts the acclaimed “Finding Balance” podcast, focusing on achieving equilibrium in life. His contributions extend to international guest speaking engagements, where he shares his expertise and insights. Driven by a mission to elevate mental health awareness, he continues to make significant contributions in creating a more supportive and inclusive society.
Connect with Dr. Adrian Mesa
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Marly Q 00:00:00
Hosting our Mankind Summit last month was just the spark of our efforts to elevate mental awareness now and bring an end to the stigma. Today’s episode is with a man who works to amplify mental health conversations every day. Let’s listen.
Marly Q 00:00:19
Yeah. Hello, and thank you for making Time to Be Kind with Marly Q and our special guest, PARKer today. He’s an old friend from high school who has made it his mission to elevate mental health here in South Florida. Dr. Adrian Mesa is the founder and CEO of Amp Mental Health. He is an army veteran, a professional photographer, and an international guest speaker, and the host of Finding Balance podcast, which I got to be a guest on. I will link it in the show notes for you. Welcome to the show, my friend, Adrian Mesa.
Dr. Adrian Mesa 00:01:01
Thank you so much, Marly. I appreciate it.
Marly Q 00:01:03
Thank you for making time to be kind. I know how busy you are, always being of service to others. So thank you for making this time.
Dr. Adrian Mesa 00:01:10
No, thanks for having me. An honor and a pleasure.
Marly Q 00:01:13
So I want to know, what is this secret sauce? What is the formula to finding balance? You name your podcast episode this. You believe in finding balance. Talk to me. How can we achieve this?
Dr. Adrian Mesa 00:01:24
I wish there was a secret sauce that I could just give to anybody and everybody, but there’s not. It’s very much so individualized, and it’s something you have to seek yourself. Everybody has different limits that they could push, and especially depending on the time of your life that you’re in. So I think a lot of finding balance is a matter of first understanding yourself, a lot of self assessment, a lot of self care self analysis, and then figuring out what is it that really makes you happy? Where do you find purpose? Where do you find that you just really light up? And then where do you find that you’re able to be of service to others and that’s fulfilling in itself? So I think it’s a combination of things. Again, if I had a pill that I could just sell to somebody and say, hey, this is how you find balance in your life, this is how you find your purpose, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. I’d be somewhere.
Marly Q 00:02:06
So I think that I joked about this and actually made a whole session at the Mankind Summit called Work Life. Balance is BS, right? I have a friend who wrote a book called Balance Is Bullshit. I wanted to hear your take on what balance even means.
Dr. Adrian Mesa 00:02:21
I think Balance, again, it goes back to we all have our I guess where we have our livelihood, right? Where we make money, we draw revenue, which is great, but that can’t be everything. We can just constantly be pursuing money. I think it was Bob Marley who said money is numbers are infinite and the pursuit of that is futile. Right. If we’re just pursuing monetary gain, then we’re not going to get anywhere. So I think a lot of this has to do with, again, finding our purpose and figuring out what is it that we want to do. And so in order to find your balance you have to make sure that you’re not just pursuing that one thing and you’re also filling yourself.
Marly Q 00:02:56
So there’s different areas of our life, right, that we are in constant balance with. I joke that and with my friend at the event, LulyB , that having this as a measure of success is bullshit because we can’t really be in balance at work and at home and as a parent or as a leader in the community all at the same time. We can’t balance all of that at the same time. So to me, the only thing that we can balance and how we can find balance is actually our mental health, right? Which is why the acronym for mankind was Mental Awareness. Now I believe that the key to finding balance is really appear in our mind and doing what you alluded to when I asked you that question and kind of put you on the spot, the self reflection, the pausing, what’s actually going on up here, what actually matters to me, what lights me up. This is a process of having the awareness of what’s going on in our mind, right, and us being the one that gets to define what balance even means, what balance feels like in our life, right? And that pursuit is, I think, a healthier one. What do you think?
Dr. Adrian Mesa 00:04:05
I’m thinking of my daughter right now, right? And I’m thinking to myself, if I want to be this business owner and this entrepreneur and pursue for my practice to grow and to serve more people, that also requires some sacrifice on my part, where I have to turn to my daughter and say, hey, there’s going to be days where I’m going to be very devoted to this particular project. And it doesn’t mean that I’m a bad father. It just means that I have to communicate that to her and say, hey, I’m going to sacrifice some of my time with you and I hope you understand that. But again, it goes back to communication. If we’re pursuing something, something has to give. So that’s where there’s a tipping point. And I think what a lot of us do is we reach that tipping point but we don’t describe or communicate that sacrifice to the people who are around us. And that’s where we run into a lot of difficulties. I think as long as you have a strong support system that’s backing you and that also understands your mission, then everybody’s going to be on the same page. But if we’re neglecting that side of it, that’s where we’re going to run into some problems, where that sacrifice is going to lead to my detriment rather than my success.
Marly Q 00:05:08
Yeah. Communication is absolute key right. With others that we care about and communication with, like, self. How are we talking to ourselves? Right. Why do you think in the work that you do every day at Amp Mental Health, your practice for the last is it three years or so?
Dr. Adrian Mesa 00:05:23
Been three years.
Marly Q 00:05:24
Three years. Congratulations. I remember it was a birth of 2020. It was a positive baby from 2020. And you’ve served so many people. And I’m wondering, on a day to day basis, I’m wondering what are some of the patterns or the biggest objections that you hear people have to even seeking some mental health like support and building that community of support around them? What are some of those objections or challenges that we need to overcome?
Dr. Adrian Mesa 00:05:52
I think it’s just old school stigma. I think there’s still a lot of stigma that exists within day to day conversations. When you bring up a therapist or psychiatrist, especially in the Hispanic culture, where we view it as either a sign of weakness or, oh, Baha, we baylo Kero. And it’s like, well, the more I have to explain to people that, hey, you don’t have to be crazy. Actually, the people who I deal with day to day don’t have psychosis and don’t have severe mania. They’re actually people who are depressed, anxious, overworked, overwhelmed. They’re in stressed relationships. Maybe they have financial issues. And I’m sure anybody listening to this falls under one of those categories. We all have relationship issues. We all have questions of what is my purpose? And existential questions about our lives and what we’re supposed to be doing. These are a lot of people that are coming here, people who aren’t finding a sense of fulfillment in life. People just don’t understand why their mood is down, why they’re irritable. And so we do a lot more exploring. So I think it boils back down to stigma and then fighting against that stigma with education. I just keep warming people over and over and over again, saying, hey, it’s okay. Hey, you’re not alone. Hey, we’re all going through something. And I think that’s the message I continue to try to convey so that people understand that seeking mental health help isn’t a sign of weakness. Doesn’t mean they’re crazy. It actually just means they’re human.
Marly Q 00:07:11
Yes. And it means the same way that you would go to, I don’t know, an ankle doctor or you would go if you break your nose. Right. You would go to see a therapist. If you have a big life transition, if you have experienced some kind of trauma, big ‘T’ or little ‘t’, if you’re undergoing, like, big level of stress or overwhelm in your life right now and you don’t feel capable or equipped or supported enough by your family or the people around you to get you out of it, it’s only kind. And that’s what I want to ask you. How does kindness play into how we can break down this stigma? Or how does kindness play a role in how we can elevate and amplify mental health?
Dr. Adrian Mesa 00:07:50
Well, I think the way that we behave outwardly is often a reflection of what we’re feeling internally. So I think being kind is just a reflection of the struggles that somebody’s not dealing with. Right. So when we are not kind, typically somebody is extremely irritable, angry. They’re not really angry at the world around them. Right. The lady who’s getting into a fight with the Starbucks woman, what do you call the barista? The barista? Yes. I’m sorry, I don’t go to Starbucks often. The person who’s getting into a fight with the barista over not perfecting their drink to the matter that they wanted isn’t necessarily mad at the barista. They’re probably mad at so many different internal issues or even personal problems that they have in the background. And so we just have to be aware that when somebody’s not being kind, it’s not what’s wrong with them, it’s what happened to them. And often, look, we don’t have time to sit there and start analyzing everybody’s life who’s irritable and angry outwardly. Right. But if you can stop and you could ask yourself that to yourself and say, well, you know what? Something must have happened to this person, there’s some sort of trauma that’s lingering in the background, then it might make you respond a little bit differently.
Marly Q 00:08:51
Yeah. It helps you kind of to detach from that right. And not kind of identify that person’s behavior or reaction with who they are, but rather what they’re currently experiencing and maybe aren’t equipped or supported enough to kind of get over that reaction, that tendency that we have to kind of be short fused, to be irritable, to snap back at people, to be reactive rather than responsive. Right. So I do think that if there is a foundation of kindness towards self, we are much better equipped and able to extend some of that kindness to the barista or the person at the grocery store, or even the person that just cuts you off in traffic and in line. Right. So I think that kindness is fundamental to mental health and wellness, the way that we talk to ourselves. So a communication to others is the challenge for you. That’s a great opportunity to look like how are we communicating with ourselves? Because the way that we’re talking to ourselves translates a lot in how we are communicating with other people too. Right.
Dr. Adrian Mesa 00:09:45
I agree 100%. I think self talk is something else that we have to definitely instill from childhood. And these are things that we don’t often talk about in elementary school or middle school or in high school. But I think the way that we communicate with ourselves, the way that we view ourselves. That internal dialogue that exists when we’re trying something challenging, it’s really important that you listen to that and say, well, what am I telling myself? Am I encouraging myself or am I constantly discouraging myself and saying, oh, you’re so stupid, you’re not getting this right. This should be so easy. No, you’re trying something new. It should be challenging. Right now you’re a rookie and it takes a long time for you to become a veteran who really understands whatever challenging tasks you’re trying to conquer. But I think the problem that a lot of us have is we see things like a 30 minutes, do it yourself, remodel your home in 1 hour and 30 minutes and not realizing this takes months. What you’re watching in 30 minutes takes months. And it’s stressful. That internal dialogue is extremely important.
Marly Q 00:10:41
It’s so important. I am with you on that, for sure. We can go off of that like on a three day conference, just talking about the importance of self talk and kindness. For sure. When we touched on the importance of education in being able to break down the barriers and the stigma surrounding mental health. Right. If that’s the biggest obstacle that we have for people not seeking the support that they need, is the stigma tied to having mental health conversations and seeking the support that you need education? That is what I like about amp. And the content that you put out is that you all are consistent and you have a podcast and you’re putting out basically the same information, inviting people in, making it more approachable for somebody that kind of has that resistance or that hesitation or culturally we’re brought up to kind of keep your problems to yourself. You’re not going to go and talk to a stranger that you don’t know about your problems. Right? How can we, as everyday people, PARKers here listening. And in case you’re new to the world, Adrian, I’m putting you on the spot. What’s a PARKer?
Dr. Adrian Mesa 00:11:37
He performed random acts of kindness.
Marly Q 00:11:39
Good job. Good job, PARKer. He’s a PARKer for a long time. So, yes, in case you’re new and this is your first time listening, a PARKer is you, me, and we all of us who perform acts of random kindness. And I believe that education is so important yes. To break down the stigma, what are some other ways that just we in our everyday life can contribute to ending this stigma?
Dr. Adrian Mesa 00:11:59
Besides education, if you are seeing a therapist, speaking openly about it, speaking openly about what that experience is like, not being afraid of the judgment of others. Because once you understand that your friend is seeing a therapist and they begin to describe to you what that therapy session is like, or maybe they begin to discuss with you why they needed a medication and what that medication did with them, then that alone is going to help them understand, like, oh, this is normal. This isn’t just for some person who is sitting on a street corner. This is my good friend who’s a successful individual, who is a parent, who has a lot of good things going for them. And it just so happens that they are finding the benefits from seeking therapy, from having the sounding board of somebody who’s just being objective, listening and then challenging their thoughts or their thought process. I think it’s really important for us to just openly discuss those things to people, also to people who we know we can trust with that information. Right. But if it’s a close friend of yours and you have the opportunity to describe to them what that therapy session is like and really break down that stigma that they might carry, that alone is going to carry a lot of weight, and they’re going to be able to realize, oh, wow, maybe let’s see what this therapy thing is about. This doesn’t mean you have to be going through a life crisis to seek therapy or to seek mental health help. I think we constantly have to be feeding our mental health to avoid or to try to prevent ourselves from requiring those crisis scenarios.
Marly Q 00:13:16
Yes, I need to stop and amplify that because that’s MAN, that’s Mental Awareness Now. If we have a practice, a daily habit of checking in, check in with yourself, man. What’s the mental awareness now? What’s going on? How am I feeling? How are we just checking in with yourself? I think that is such a small but important step. If we actually do it on a daily basis, that allows us to, I think, even increase our ability not just to be kind, but to be empathetic with the people that we work with, the people in our home, the people that we see out and about when they react a certain way, to not immediately blow them up. So in a situation like that where maybe it’s a coworker or a friend and you kind of want to be the spark of suggesting that they seek some mental health therapy, how can you even like, I even paused trying to get that out. So I’m like, how can you help someone who clearly not just who you assume needs help, but who clearly is displaying signs of needing support and someone to talk to? What might be the kindest way to offer that support?
Dr. Adrian Mesa 00:14:17
I think just asking them, hey, have you ever considered seeking some help or seeing a therapist? I think just asking the question in a way that’s compassionate and empathetic if you’re asking in the heat of the moment, hey, have you ever seen hey, you, sounds like you really need to sit there. But no, it’s coming from that place of compassion and care saying, it sounds like you’re going through a lot. Have you ever thought about speaking to somebody professional about it? Because it’s hard for me as your friend to be objective. Maybe I know your family members, maybe I know different parts of the relationships that you have with your whoever. So it’s really important for that question to be raised and for that person to explain to them, I am your friend and I am here for you, but I might not be the best person to give you guidance or help you really process what you’re telling me about.
Marly Q 00:15:01
I think that’s awesome, and I’m so glad that you shared that and that we’re amplifying how curiosity, how kindness, and how simply asking someone for the support that they need. Many times people might share either struggles or problems or situations with family members, with friends, at a networking event or something, venting it out on social media. Right. A lot. And I find that if we all, as PARKers, can actively look for opportunities to be the spark of inviting people to seek that kind of support, that could also be another way that we can help to end this stigma, right? Not so much just from a different perspective. What do you think?
Dr. Adrian Mesa 00:15:41
No, I think absolutely the more we talk about it, the more we break the stigma. That’s why I’m constantly just I’ll be vulnerable myself and say there’s some struggles going on right now without over sharing. But I think just the more conversations we have about mental health, mental health help, being mentally aware, being able to self assess, I think that’s where we break the stigma and that’s where more people seek help.
Marly Q 00:16:03
Yes. So tell us about I know that you started a nonprofit. Can you tell us a little bit about the Wooden Bell Foundation? I’m super curious to know.
Dr. Adrian Mesa 00:16:13
Yeah, we started it was just like two months ago. It’s something that’s been in my heart for some time now, is to be able to have people that may not be able to afford mental health care and for us to offer some sort of a scholarship for those people to be able to access it when funds aren’t available to them. And so that’s the goal. It’s called the Wooden Bell Foundation. I don’t have the bell here right now, but I once went to I think it was in Dominican Republic. Don’t ask me why. It’s ran in English on the bell. But it says nobody hears the cry of the poor or the sound of a wooden bell because the wooden bell, the sound, it’s just a thud. It doesn’t carry. It’s not really amplified. And that stuck with me. I said no. I named the Wooden Bell Foundation because nobody hears the cry of the poor or the sound of a wooden bell, but we do. And so we’re going to make sure that those people who really need the care can have access. And that’s what we’re trying to do. That’s basically where we’re at.
Marly Q 00:17:08
I think that’s beautiful. And I’m also going to call you a crazy man for starting a business and a nonprofit at the same time because I also have done such crazy things. But here we are, just two kids from Hayalia, trying to make a difference in the world and elevate mankind together. I’m so grateful for you making the time in your busy schedule to spend time with us and amplify mental health every single day. Thank you, Adrian.
Dr. Adrian Mesa 00:17:30
Thank you so much, Marly Q I appreciate it.
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