Mental health is one of the most important topics in the world today. It’s becoming easier for people to talk about disorders like anxiety and depression and the stigma is being broken down piece by piece. Comics are an amazing source of mental health inspiration because they feature characters who go through similar issues and show their vulnerability. Superhero Mentality is a series that focuses on a comic character with a mental health or physical disorder and reveals their coping strategies and routines. It’s my hope that the segment encourages readers to discuss their mental health and find their own positive mantras.
Anxiety is a common disorder that affects people across the world. Jessica Cruz, Earth’s first female Green Lantern, has battled with anxiety for years. It’s left her feeling broken and worthless, yet she’s never stopped fighting to overcome it.
Everyone’s anxiety is different and Jessica’s trauma is rooted in her friends being killed in front of her. The survivor’s guilt caused an intense feeling of anguish, to the point that Jessica suffered from panic attacks. Her condition worsened when she was subjected to psychological torture by the Ring of Volthoom, a device that forced her to accept it as its new wielder.
It’s why she’s come up with strategies that help to calm her down:
Listening to music
To get started for the day, Jessica sits in bed and listens to calming music. She takes the time to breathe, to meditate and to live in the moment. I like the idea that music can keep us grounded to the present because it has the ability to evoke positive emotions.
Some studies have shown that classical music is good for improving focus because it has a tempo of 60 beats per minutes. It’s thought that this can increase the brain’s efficiency to process information. I’d imagine Jessica listening to a soft melody that can help her wind down and stop her thoughts from wandering.
Next, Jessica moves on to a physical workout that helps to stop her from being trapped inside her head. This involves creating constructs with her ring in a high-intensity cardio workout. Exercise is useful for pumping endorphins through the body and contributing to a sense of happiness.
Jessica often spends time with her sister Sara because they have the kind of relationship where they can tell each other anything. They do a range of activities together, which might be something as simple as washing dishes.
From a mental health perspective, this is great for Jessica because it gives her a routine that she can stick to. Focusing on small tasks stops the mind from getting fixated on self-defeating thoughts. The relationship Jessica shares with her sister is so important for her mental health because Sara has never stopped believing in her.
Another part of Jessica’s daily ritual involves pampering her cat Crouton. Spending time with her pet helps Jessica to relax and not overthink. Animals are a commonly used as sources of comfort and pet therapy can help with the healing process. Therapy cats form a part of the treatment method.
Therapy cats provide affection for people who are craving companionship or dealing with a mental health disorder. Emotional support felines have a gentle temperament that may help to alleviate certain feelings. In a sense, Crouton can be considered Jessica’s therapy cat, providing another method of support for when anxiety is too much to handle.
The support of a friend
Jessica’s positive mental health routine wouldn’t be complete without spending time with her Green Lantern cohort and friend Simon Baz. On the surface, Baz puts up a tough exterior. But when Jessica needs his support he is always there to listen. Jessica is aware of how irrational her thoughts can be and Baz provides an outside perspective and guiding hand.
The bond that Jessica and Baz share is a good example of how someone who doesn’t have anxiety can help a friend. Baz makes the effort to understand Jessica’s feelings and goes out of his way to make her feel better. Even the smallest bit of encouragement can do wonders for an anxiety sufferer.
Even with her coping strategies, Jessica has still been overwhelmed by anxiety. But the fact that she continues to stick to her routine is a sign of progress.
(Please note that Superhero Mentality is not meant to be taken as lifestyle advice. Everyone has their own mental health coping strategies. What works for one person might not work for another. I’d love to hear your positive mantras and what has made a difference in your life.)