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MeditationMental Health and Identity

Mental Health and Identity

Stereotypes can make us question whether we belong. Reflecting on our values can empower us to stay grounded in our own truth. You’ll need a pen and paper.

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Better mental health starts with Headspace

Hi, everyone. As we get started on this meditation, have writing materials ready, like a pen, pencil, or your journal. There's a powerful intersectionality between mental health and identity. Mental health, your emotional, social, and psychological wellbeing, it's something you're aware of all the time, whether you know it or not. It's not the same as mental illness. Your identity gives you a meaning, a sense of belonging and purpose. It's rooted in your beliefs, core values, and cultural heritage. So when you're in a tough situation and your identity is challenged or even offended, your mental health is directly impacted. This can be distressing. Of course, on the flip side, you feel empowered and encouraged when your identity is validated, when you feel cemented in who you are and others see you that way as well. This is why there's a powerful intersectionality of mental health and identity. Let's explore this further through mindful identity. Mindful identity understands there's no absolute truth or objective reality of who you are. Your perception is your reality. Therefore, it's entirely subjective. You are the expert of your story. An example of an objective reality, or absolute truth, is stereotyping. Stereotypes, regardless of how they come across, can cause harm. For instance, the model minority myth is a harmful and false stereotype. It indicates that all Asians are the same, are healthy and wealthy. It minimizes the diversity of narratives among Asians and masks the disparities that do exist. A stereotype like this can perpetuate mental health stigma. When you feel like you don't fit a mold, or objective reality, you feel like something's wrong with you. You may even question your core beliefs and values. This can have a negative impact on your mental health. How have you experienced stereotypes? Close your eyes and get comfortable. Let's get introspective. We'll start with square breathing. Inhale, count of four in your head, hold breath, count to four, now exhale, count to four. Again, inhale for four, hold breath for four, exhale for four. Inhale four, hold breath four, exhale four. Last time, inhale, hold breath, exhale. Visualize a container of any design that appeals to you. Anything with a lid that you can put things in. It can be a cardboard box, a pretty hatbox, mason jar, Tupperware. It can be anything you want, and it's your container. Now recall times when you felt invalidated for who you are and what you believe or even being stereotyped. It can be microaggressions, a conflict, interaction with a friend, or workplace situation. Notice how you feel when you think about these recollections. Notice your thoughts, what you may see. Be with this for a moment. Now, imagine sending those feelings, images, thoughts to your container. You can imagine walking up to your container and placing these items and closing the lid and walking away. This is intended to help you contain things when they can't be immediately solved. For instance, when you're having trouble falling...


Duration8 min

About your teachers

  • A former Buddhist monk, Andy has guided people in meditation and mindfulness for 20 years. In his mission to make these practices accessible to all, he co-created the Headspace app in 2010.

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  • Eve is a mindfulness teacher, overseeing Headspace’s meditation curriculum. She is passionate about sharing meditation to help others feel less stressed and experience more compassion in their lives.

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  • As a meditation teacher, Dora encourages others to live, breathe, and be with the fullness of their experiences. She loves meditation’s power to create community and bring clarity to people’s minds.

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  • Kessonga has been an acupuncturists, therapist, and meditation teacher, working to bring mindfulness to the diverse populations of the world.

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  • Rosie Acosta has studied yoga and mindfulness for more than 20 years and taught for over a decade. Rosie’s mission is to help others overcome adversity and experience radical love.

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