Karen L. Kehler, MA,  MSHA - Private- Professional- Affordable Counseling Services
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Kehler Counseling Blog

Using Blogs for Mental Health

Are you bored?   Are you someone who loves stimulating conversation,debate, current events, politics, have broad experiences that are different from your friends and family? 
Instead for spending another minute on facebook - try searching out a Blog in an interest you have - that is written by someone you admire, respect, find interesting.  Do a Google- Bing - search for the subject you love - adding the word 'blog' to it - and start reading through them.   You do not have to submit a comment, you don't have to respond - you can just read - but read not just the Blogger's view - read through the comments of the others too.  Open up your world to how other people think - what others witness - manage - how others see their world, the issue, the subject you have selected.  
I'll admit that I enjoy Huffington Post  - if you can't find a subject or Blogger you admire or respect I'm not sure where you will!!  This site has morphed into a gigantic - world wide - comprehensive gathering site of every major subject you can manufacture.  It gets condemnation by the ignorant as being 'LIberal' but it offers detailed reporting, options for readers to post for others to read - and yes you do get to see how silly people can be - but you can also see very quickly - how OTHER people - especially other cultures and countries perceive us.    It is really interesting to see the comments from overseas about our government, health care system, issues of terrorism, Internet access, and our educational system differences.   The simple comments made - because of open world access - means that there is less bias, selectivity, or removed comments.  They have policies - but have given a forum we never had before to openly share with each other - our views - that millions can read and consider.   I'm constantly impressed by not just the humor of some views but also the thoughtfulness or the exposure of ignorance that posters bring to the 'conversation'.    Check out their 'TED' section for interesting current issue concerns. 
Now I want you to consider how reading and commenting on a 'thread' can fill in the intelligence gap - or I should say - stimulation gap - that you may be missing in your daily life.   If you have surrounded yourself with a specific group of family, friends, co-workers, neighbors and even professionals - you tend to get in 'fixed' conversations - since you're always sharing with the same audiences!   I found this extremely obvious during the recent elections - we all dealt with the "Fox" people -but there's also the sports- academics-gossip - church- school people - with their never changing conversation subjects.    And because 'it' never changes - neither does the content, the attitude, the result and boredom sets in . . .
Getting onto Blogs - especially in subjects you enjoy -will wake up that bored part of yourself and get you thinking about issues differently, enjoy positive feedback, feel inspired or enjoy that 'pay it forward' for informing someone.
 I'll also give a plug for LinkedIn - a professional networking site - that does the same with 'groups' that you can join - in your profession -interest - demographic - allows the sharing of advice, experiences, wisdom, inspiration, positive feedback, confrontation, opinions, and some rare laughs.  On professional sites you get support, public sharing, private emails and the 'group experience' of finding out you're not alone, others see your struggles and accomplishments and its a whole lot more stimulating for your brain than viewing everyone's latest beach or baby photos!     Personally, I'm sick of facebook as a 'Brag a lot' site - with no substance at all.   "Likes" are about the most 'heavy duty' you get. 
I would rather get a 'fave' and 'fanned' on a Blog for saying something meaningful, provocative, eye-opening or concise than a "like" for a recent trip to a beach. 
This experience has also filled in a 'gap' in my life - that is too demanding to expect a partner to fill.  On a Blog I can comment, confront, explain, acknowledge, educate, compliment and stimulate others on a wide range of issues that my loved ones may not care less about.   I don't need to try to 'make them' understand or enjoy it with me - I can do it despite what they want, think or do.   I can get my 'fill' of stimulation and not have to worry about it being perceived as flirting, inappropriate, invasive, or even obnoxious - Blogs aren't for that - that's why they are censored at a minimal level - those who attempt don't get posted.   You can mute your identity by using avatars and false names.  You can share without fear of embarrassing or exposing anyone (posts don't name names - if they're reputable) yet expose issues you have experienced to expose new perspectives to the conversation.   It is eye-opening to see how cloistered the world - the USA can really be!    I have been shocked by the naivety, the arrogance and stereotypes that so many cling to in our so-called tolerant world.   
So start a fan club today!  Who says only celebrities can have fans.  Many blogs or threads allow readers to 'like' and reply - like facebook - but be prepared for both fans who appreciate your effort to share as well as those who don't appreciate your difference of opinion.    I have heard that 'beware of the seagulls'  - they are the posters who will drop a nasty comment and fly off never to return - but the negativity can be gruesome!   Shake them off or take them in - as an opposing view that may have merit.   Put your voice out there.  Stop feeling insecure about friends and family 'brag of the day' and challenge your brain to not just read but post something insightful, poignant, personal, provocative - that gets people to think differently. 
Enjoy!  Let your Voice be heard. . . or at least read.
Karen Kehler

2 Comments to Using Blogs for Mental Health:

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