This Monday, Dr. K talked with Alinity, a Twitch streamer known for streaming a variety of games. They discussed topics such as dealing with hate, self-image and cultivating detachment.
The Problem With Mental Health
Alinity expressed that her psychiatrist does not comprehend Twitch and gaming culture, and therefore it would be hard for them to understand her problems and help her. One of the issues in the field of mental health right now is that most psychiatrists are too old and do not have the personal experience when dealing with the problems that the internet generation — our generation — faces.
Dr. K explained to Alinity that it is entirely understandable that she thinks that her mental health provider would not understand her problems. However, if she were to talk with her provider anyway, and if they got a better understanding of what she was dealing with, then that would allow her psychiatrist to help her and other people with similar issues. And if they did not understand, she could look for a mental health professional on the younger side.
Many people deal with hate on social media. One of the reasons mental health providers don’t understand how to help those people is because they do not have enough experience with this issue. If more people were to see providers for the problems they are facing, then perhaps providers would have a better idea of how to help them.
Click here to learn more about mental health, depression, and suicidality.
Why Do People Hate?
Dr. K and Alinity talked about how she wakes up every morning to a lot of hate on social media. People harass her every day, and that affects her mental wellbeing. She said that people seem to hate an idea of her, which is not the same as the person that she is. She said that if people were to get to know her better as a person, they would not be obsessed with harassing her every day.
Dr. K asked an important question: why do people hate? One of the reasons people hate on a famous person is that it allows them to feel like a larger group. We are suffering from an epidemic of disconnection and loneliness. Often, people collectively send hate towards a public figure because they see others doing the same. They want to belong to a group, even if the sole purpose of it is to hate. They do it because they think it is a joke, and they forget that there is a human being on the other side of the screen that can be deeply hurt by their words and feelings.
How to Create Lasting Change
Dr. K suggested that one way to deal with the hate that Alinity gets is to realize that people hate Alinity, not Natalia. Alinity expressed that she needs constant reminders to be able to do that, which is very exhausting.
We tend to think that the way to deal with the effect of the external world on or minds is by pushing down on our feelings and reinforcing positive affirmations. While that is partly true, pushing down on your emotions is not productive. That only makes you feel conflicted and invalidates your feelings, which does not lead to lasting change.
A better strategy is to try to accept that your feelings are valid. Real change comes from meeting yourself where you are. You cannot expect to get from point A to point Z unless you start at point A first. Accepting your current circumstances and slowly sowing the seeds of positive thought loops is an effective strategy to create lasting change in life.
We also tend to think that we need to move from point A to point Z in one go. However, this results in frustration if you don’t know what point Z is or when progress appears too slow. The solution to this is to reframe: focus on moving from point A to point B. Purely focus on taking the next step forward. It doesn’t have to be the best option — just being the best possible step is good enough. It can be paralyzing to think of making the perfect move to advance in life, so it is better to focus on taking the next step and reorienting along the way.
Self-Image and Cultivating Detachment
One of the most important realizations that Alinity came to during this stream is that she cannot control the narrative about her. The only thing she can do is to try to focus on her actions and not making mistakes. The internet will always have a story about everyone, and the best a person can do is try to be good and try to be themself.
A lot of people get caught up in the consequences of their actions. They think about whether they will succeed or fail in terms of their goals. That often keeps them paralyzed and prevents them from moving forward, because they are so afraid of failure. The solution to this is cultivating a sense of detachment from the outcomes of your actions.
Check out this video in which Dr. K talks about detachment/vairagya:
Vairagya is a Sanskrit word that means “detachment.” Practicing Vairagya enables you not to be overwhelmed by what the world throws at you. There is a lot of freedom that comes with the understanding that we can only control our actions and not their outcomes. It allows us to move forward without being held back by the shackles of either success and failure.
Meditation – Triphasic Breathing
At the end of the interview, Dr. K taught Alinity a meditation called Triphasic breathing. In this meditation, you breathe in three phases. Let’s learn how to do this meditation.
- Hold your chest as steady as possible, and as you breathe in, push your stomach out. As you breathe out, pull your stomach inwards. When you breathe from your belly, your chest and shoulders should barely move. This step is the first phase of this technique, and it is called abdominal breathing.
- After you’ve breathed into your belly, mindfully expand your chest and breathe in a bit more air. This step is the second phase of this technique. Breathe like this (from your belly and then into your chest) for a few breaths.
- After you have breathed into your belly and chest, breathe into your shoulders and raise them slightly. This step is the third phase of this technique. Breathe like this (into your abdomen, into your chest, and then into your shoulders) for a few breaths.
- Close your eyes, sit up straight, and in the beginning, do at least five rounds, progressing from phase one to phase three.
Check out the full interview here!