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Elisa Goldstein, Ph.D.Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
A blog about mindfulness, stress-reduction, psychotherapy and mental health.

Does Your Opinion Matter?

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. Updated: Nov 2nd 2010

 

voteWhen it comes to the elections, there are a lot of opinions that are thrown around. Some people say, “He’s no good for this…” or “She’s no good for that…,” but the bottom line is, if you don’t vote, your opinion doesn't seem to really matter.

The way I see it is that all the actions we take in this world have a psychological impact on us. If we volunteer our time to give to the world, we’ll likely cultivate some good feelings from that. If we spend our time causing harm to people, we’ll likely cultivate some bad feeling from that.

Voting is an action that sends the message internally that your opinion matters or in other words, that you matter.

It’s as if all the actions we take in life are like planting seeds in the garden of life and watering those seeds.

Vietnamese Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Hanh often asks us which seeds are we watering? Are we watering seeds of Joy or seeds of Suffering?

Voting with the awareness that it is an action toward realizing you are important is watering the seeds of meaning.

In this way, we can think of voting as an opportunity for mental health.

Note: If you notice any automatic negative thoughts arising saying, “My vote doesn’t make a difference, so it’s an exercise in my futility…” as best you can, see this for what it is. It is a thought that also endorses an underlying belief of hopelessness or unworthiness. Or if there’s a thought trying to argue that this post is exaggerating the effects of voting and it can’t possibly be a benefit to mental health, just look at what the net effect of that thought is. It keeps you from trying out consciously voting with the awareness that your actions matter.

There are a lot of subtle forces at play that want to keep us at status quo.

There are plenty of people in this country who would love to vote, but aren’t able to. In so many ways this is privilege.

Go ahead and make it a point to vote today and realize as you’re in the process of doing it that you’re sending the message internally that your opinion matters.  Feeling that you matter is a boost to your mental health, it’s a plain truth.

As always, please share your thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction provides a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.

 

 

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.

Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in West Los Angeles and is author of the upcoming book The Now Effect, co-author of A Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction Workbook, Foreword by Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of the Mindful Solutions audio series, and the Mindfulness at Work™ program currently being adopted in multiple multinational corporations.

Check out Dr. Goldstein's acclaimed CD's on Mindful Solutions for Stress, Anxiety, and Depression, Mindful Solutions for Addiction and RelapsePrevention, and Mindful Solutions for Success and Stress Reduction at Work. -- "They are so relevant, I have marked them as one of my favorites on a handout I give to all new clients" ~ Psychiatrist.

If you're wanting to integrate more mindfulness into your daily life, sign up for his Mindful Living Twitter Feed. Dr. Goldstein is also available for private psychotherapy.

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