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De Parte del Maestro
By Josh Flores

Cuidate (Part 1)
The world in which we live is fast paced and in the melee it is very easy to feel the need to become a sprinter to keep up.  However, I feel that life is not a sprint, but a marathon. 

In preparation, marathon runners train and develop their pace so when the day of the race arrives they will be prepared.  Life requires the same sort of training and preparation—if you wish to enjoy a fruitful one. 

If you choose to approach life as a sprint then what will eventually happen is you will get burnt out.  When you are young you are able to keep a sprinter’s pace for a longer period of time and you are also able to sprint more frequently, generally whenever life dictates the need to do so. 

This is why I am bringing this message to you now; trust me, the old adage “time flies when you are having fun” is true and before you know it you won’t be as young as you were and that is when the sprinting gets tougher.

Okay, okay enough with the analogies, let me cut to the chase—young people, you need to take care of yourselves.  I know the feeling of youth, feeling unstoppable, invulnerable, and on top of the world.  It is great to have those feelings, but be warned that they can be a double-edged sword.  They can truly help you accomplish great things, but they can also give you a false sense of immunity.  Believe me when I say the things you do now will affect you in the future, some things more than others. 

There are a few primary categories that you should be most concerned about in truly cuidandote (taking care of yourself)—they are your mind, body, and soul.  I know that may seem a bit generic but if you are healthy in all of these areas then you will almost undoubtedly be happy.  In life the ultimate prize in my opinion is happiness. 

Let’s start with the mind.  The one thing that separates us from most other species is our ability to reason over behaving instinctively. 

The ability to reason allows us to make a calculated well thought out decision before we act; although we do not always use this ability.  I believe that the mind is so powerful that we have little understanding of what it is truly capable of doing. 

Scientists speculate that we significantly under utilize our brain’s full power.  It’s like having a Ferrari that you can’t drive over 35 mph.  What is the point of that? 

Now I am not saying that you will be able to move mountains or part the Red Sea with your brain, but what I am saying is that you can accomplish whatever you set out to do if you have that right mindset or focus.  If you are like the average human being, there is a good chance that you have some data already saved in your brain’s hard-drive; some things are good and some are bad. 

What I am talking about are your experiences up to today.  These experiences have a lot to do with your frame of mind or mindset.  Based on what you have experienced in life you will have a mindset that is positive, negative, or somewhere in between.

So if you are in a positive mindset then you are on a good path to an overall healthy mind. 

If you have a negative outlook, then you are probably somewhat justified in feeling that way.  I am sure it is due to some sort of drama or bad experience that created these feelings in your life.  Know this, you are not alone. 

One thing that I often say in my classroom is ‘everybody has drama’—nobody has a perfect life.  Some people are better at dealing with things than others.  If you feel like you are dealing with something that you can’t handle, it is okay to ask for help.  It is definitely not a sign of weakness to seek help; in fact it is a sign of courage to be able to be real with yourself and admit it. 

If you are in this position, I would highly recommend looking to your parents and family for guidance.  Parents and older people are a wealth of knowledge and may have gone through something similar to whatever it is you are experiencing. 

If you are uncomfortable or unable to turn to family then you should seek out your school counselor or a teacher that you feel you can talk to.  Most schools also have psychologists that may be able to help sort out some issues.  Regardless of who you decide to turn to, it is important that you do get help if you feel like you need it.

How do you know if you need help? 

Once again, it is important that you are honest with yourself.  Many people think that getting counseling or psychological help is only for people who are crazy. This is a huge myth. The truth is most people could benefit from some sort of counseling. Often, it is simply a case of being able to share what you are feeling and getting some sound advice about how to deal with these feelings. 

If you are like most people then you are probably somewhere between the positive and negative. This is life; there are peaks and valleys that you will go through.  How you deal with them is what is important.  It is helpful to have positive outlets.  An outlet can be any activity that allows you to navigate through life’s stresses in a healthy way.  Some suggestions are writing, exercise, or sports. 

Everyone is different and deals with things differently.  Some people seem unfazed by things that happen to them, while others are greatly affected.  Though it is easier said than done, it is a good idea to not allow the little things get to you.  There is a saying that encompasses this idea: don’t sweat the small stuff

There are undoubtedly a number of things that are worthy of stirring up emotions and feelings so pick and choose wisely what you permit yourself to get worked up about. 

Next time I will address physical health and nurturing your soul.  ¡Hasta la próxima vez!

I would love to hear from you about my column please send me feedback or let me know if there is something you would like me to write about.  You can e-mail me at [email protected]. ¡Gracias por tu apoyo!





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