Tag Archives: books

Distraction in the Modern World – Taryn the Dragon

Greetings to The Unsanity readers from Taryn The Dragon in South Africa. I work full time in the Data industry, study part time and blog on the side. I’m quite new to blogging and this is my first guest post. I’m super amped to have this opportunity. Thanks so much Koral Dawn.

dragonballWhat you need to know about me

I have depression and anxiety and a host of other chronic illnesses that have had a huge effect on my life. In 2019 I entered therapy to deal with all of the stress. I’m on a journey and I have had to take a deep look at myself and the world around me. There is an underlying theme that comes up often with mental health issues is that of mindfulness: Being conscious or aware and present in the moment.

Recently I have been watching videos that could help me become more in tune with myself. Observing people like Dr Gabor Mate, Alan Watt, Dandapani, in the hopes of understanding what mindfulness truly means. I know it sounds cliché but it has been quite a revelation. You can find my musings about this journey on http://www.dragonscodex.net.

Let’s talk about the world we live in

Adulting does not come with an instruction manual. Even great parenting does not quite prepare you for living in this golden age of technology. Information at the click of a button. Friends on WhatsApp (1 billion users) or WeChat (697 million users) or Facebook (1.59 billion users). Strangers on Twitter (320 million users) or Instagram (400 million users). Family just a Skype (300 million users) call away. [1] How do we actually get anything done? What I’m saying is that we now live for the thrill of ‘Distraction’. And this is why we need to cultivate a mind-set geared towards mindfulness.

How to move beyond distraction

Have you ever looked at your device and just thought “FFS ~ now what!?”. That’s a very good indication that you need to start practicing mindfulness for your own sanity. Let’s explore a few mindfulness concepts to aid you in your daily success.

Stop making excuses

Image by TeroVesalainen from Pixabay

Do what you say you are going to do. If that means going to the gym at 5am, do that without fail. You are building trust with yourself and in so doing gaining confidence in your decision making.

Control your awareness

Multi-tasking is great but it splits your focus and actually makes it harder to allot sufficient time to a specific endeavour. If you’re working on a proposal put the phone away and close your emails. The world will not fall apart if you give yourself 20 minutes to do something. Focus on this one thing. If your attention drifts bring it back to what you are doing.

Meditate

Image by CadreLuxe from Pixabay

No I don’t mean go assume the cross-legged sitting asana and chant endlessly, unless that’s your jam. I mean have some quiet time to get away from the noise. Be still, sit with your thoughts, have a nice cup of coffee. Be comfortable doing absolutely nothing and being alone.

Get clarity

Know what you want to achieve. Know how you are going to achieve it. The easiest way to do this is to make a list or keep a journal. And always note your achievements as they keep you on the path you want to travel.

Walk away from energy vampires

Ain’t nobody got time for this! To quote Dandapani: “Treat energy the same way you treat money. It’s a finite resource that needs to be wisely managed and invested.”

Uplift others

Image by Grae Dickason from Pixabay

When stuck in your own mind or even your own world where things are not quite going according to plan, do something for someone else without expecting any benefit in return. By uplifting others you uplift yourself. You’re present in a beautiful moment that will keep you going through difficult times.

Embrace change

All of these concepts require some effort on your part. It means you need come to terms with changing your life. As for me, it has helped me find this lovely Zen spot where there is less stress, more energy and more love. I’m really enjoying it this balance.

[1] Attribution for stats: https://makeawebsitehub.com/social-media-sites/

Six Ways to Feel Your Best This Winter – Amy Jackson

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Are you a fan of winter? I personally love the chance to break out my fluffy jumpers and to enjoy a hot chocolate, but what I’m not a fan of are the darker nights, the increased amount of illnesses in the air and generally feeling a bit under the weather. So when it comes to winter wellbeing, how can we make sure we’re feeling as good as we were during those summer months? How can you keep your physical health in check while taking good care of your mental health too? Well, I’ve done a little research and put together six of the best wellbeing tips to keep you feeling great all through the winter! 

1: Maintain a healthy diet

While in the colder months, it can be tempting to reach for the comfort foods and sugary snacks, but this isn’t necessarily the best thing to do for your body. One of the easiest ways towards winter wellbeing is to make sure you enjoy a healthy diet. Plenty of fruits and veggies are an absolute must, as it will keep your immune system in check and ensure that you’re taking in those essential vitamins. Even though it’s colder, it’s still important to keep hydrated too, so ensure that you drink plenty of water and don’t have too much caffeine. 

Photo by Dane Deaner on Unsplash
Photo by Dane Deaner on Unsplash

2: Wash your hands

When it comes to winter wellbeing tips, hygiene is a must. Winter is a time of year when we become more susceptible to viruses, and in some cases, it can be difficult to avoid them, especially when everyone in the office is sick. You can stock up on supplements and vitamins, but ultimately, the most effective way to avoid catching these pesky illnesses is to wash your hands. Hand sanitiser is great in the short term, but you’ll find a number of them don’t actually destroy viruses, which is what the common cold is. You’re better off washing your hands with soap and water before eating, touching your face, or preparing food. Ensure that if anyone in your house is unwell that they follow the same rules too! Keep towels separate, regularly clean surfaces, and ensure that cups, plates and eating utensils are properly cleaned too. 

3: Keep moving

It can be tempting to stay curled up on the couch watching Netflix during the colder, darker nights, but it’s still important to keep moving during the winter. Regular exercise will mean that your joints are kept mobile, and it’ll help you stay warm too. Of course, you don’t have to go hard with high intensity workouts if you don’t want to – gentle exercise such as yoga is still just as effective! 

4: Sleep well

Getting the right amount of sleep is crucial for winter wellbeing. We can often feel more tired in the winter, but actually, there’s no biological need for extra sleep at this time of year! It’s a no brainer that sleeping in or having naps during the day will make it difficult for you to fall asleep at bedtime, so resist the urge to stay in bed on those chilly mornings! Even though you don’t need extra sleep, making sure you still get a good nights’ rest should be high on your list of priorities. A good night’s sleep will ensure your immune system is in top condition and is also beneficial for mental wellbeing too. We all differ in terms of how much sleep we need, but the general amount is between 7 and 9 hours for adults. 

Photo by Kate Stone Matheson on Unsplash
Photo by Kate Stone Matheson on Unsplash

5: Keep your skin healthy

The colder weather can often mean that our skin is in need of a little extra TLC, so make sure you give it some! Dry skin can occur as a result of the colder temperatures and if you’re spending more time with your heating on at home, so ensure you invest in a good moisturiser to keep it feeling hydrated and soft. The same can also be said for your hands too – especially if you’re washing them more frequently. Pick up a good quality hand cream at the same time and regularly apply it throughout the day, including after you’ve washed your hands. It’ll prevent your skin from drying out, and will keep them feeling soft all through the winter!

6: Stay social

A lot of us think of holiday parties once we enter the winter months, but for some, it can actually be a pretty lonely time. No doubt the colder weather will make you want to wrap yourself up in a blanket and hibernate for a couple of months, however, staying social and keeping in touch with your friends will work wonders for your mental wellbeing. So don’t cancel those plans just because there’s a bit of a nip in the air – wrap up warm, get out there and enjoy yourself!

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About the Author: Amy Jackson is a mental health and lifestyle blogger. Her blog Sassy Cat Lady focuses on her recovery from OCD, along with general lifestyle tips and advice. She’s a lover of cats, a good gin and tonic, and Taylor Swift. 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Amy_May_J

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/amymayj/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sassycatladyblog

Bloglovin: https://www.bloglovin.com/@sassycatlady

Learning To Slow Down in a Fast-Paced World – Zoe Thomson

Learning To Slow Down in a Fast-Paced World

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Convenience is wonderful. Having everything at our disposal, all the time. Never having to worry about opening hours when we have online shopping, or missing a TV show when we have catch up and streaming. But when everything is available 24/7, it means we have to be too.

People apologise for taking social media breaks, we’re overloaded with information, and if you don’t keep up with current events you’re left behind. We’re under pressure to be plugged in all the time and it’s taking a toll on our mental health.

We’re exhausted all the time because we’re not allowed to switch off. Every waking moment has to be filled with something productive so we can make more money, work more hours, learn more skills. And then we experience burnout, and we’re even farther behind, there’s no way we can catch up. It’s hard not to feel like we were doomed from the start.

Mindfulness takes the autonomy away from our day to day lives, and helps us slow down and truly be present in the moment. Practising mindfulness sounds like an easy task, but nowadays with constant stimulation and entertainment around us, it’s a real challenge to be bored. How many times have you picked up your phone today?

We weren’t meant to live at such a fast pace. When we slow down and take in our surroundings, we appreciate so many people and things that we might have previously took for granted. It’s better for our health, and it’s better for our relationships. Practising mindfulness helps us become more aware of our thoughts and feelings so we’re better able to manage them instead of getting overwhelmed. We’re more tuned in to our senses and surroundings and we’re less likely to do something on autopilot because our brain isn’t distracted – or it’s not desperate for a distraction anymore.

Mindfulness is easy to practice daily and doesn’t require hours of your time. You can practice mindfulness wherever you are or whatever you’re doing. If you find yourself being pulled in every direction and your thoughts are scattered all over the place, start with some mindful breathing. If you can, go somewhere quiet. Take one big, deep breath. Aim for around 5 seconds. Hold it for a second, and then exhale, releasing the tension from your brow, jaw, and shoulders. Imagine the hundreds of scattered thoughts and noise leaving with the tension, and allow yourself to start from the beginning with a clear mind.

There are loads of other great mindfulness techniques you can practice every day or just whenever you feel stressed.

Focusing on one thing, and not having your mind in six places at once, will reduce stress. The stress that used to pile up and eat away at you doesn’t have any power over you now; because you have control. You might eventually find that you don’t get as overwhelmed with the fast paced world as you used to, and you start doing things with intention, instead of just doing things for the sake of it. You might learn something about yourself, about what you need and what you don’t need. You’ll learn that it’s okay to disconnect, and go down your own path. The easiest way to win the game is to stop playing. Instant and autonomous works for robots; not people.

Zoe

Author bio: Zoe Thomson is a freelance writer living in Scotland with her boyfriend and one spoiled pug. She runs her own mental health blog, No Light Without Darkness, and has published work on The Mighty and I am 1 in 4. You can find me here: Blog, Twitter

Bi Polar Disorder and Anger – A Raging Lunatic Tells All – Jodie Sand

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BIPOLAR DISORDER & ANGER: A RAGING LUNATIC TELLS ALL

My rage is like an old-school boombox with fresh D batteries. I carry it around with me but the music isn’t a catchy melody. When it explodes from the speakers, it’s static that grates on the nerves. It makes zero sense.

Sometimes, a stranger will invoke my wrath. But more often than not, my temper is directed at the people who I love the most or spend a lot of time with. It has cost me friendships, romantic relationships, jobs, loyalties and a marriage.

Taylor Swift’s Blank Space lyrics come to mind:

Wait the worst is yet to come, oh no
Screaming, crying, perfect storm
I can make all the tables turn
Rose gardens filled with thorns
Keep you second guessing like
“Oh my God, who is she?”

IT’S OK TO BE ANGRY

I’m not saying anger is inherently bad. My mom used to quote scripture about it: “Be angry and do not sin,” she advised (Ephesians 4:26). Popular psychology agrees about positive and negative methods to express your anger. I’ve been rightfully furious with disrespectful children, disloyal lovers, an ex-husband, friends and my family. But the volume and violence it feeds are shameful.

I spit eff-bombs and insults like an over-chewed piece of gum until my voice is hoarse. I’ve pushed, scratched and even thrown a series of punches at a man who gutted me with lies. Was my anger justified? Yes! Were the intensity of my anger and the cutting nature of my serrated words necessary. No!

Rage isn’t an emotion that shows up on lists of common bipolar disorder symptoms. Mood swings from suicidal depression to euphoric mania are the hallmarks of this tricky mental illness. In my case, these moods seem to be the key to the swells of emotions like stormy seas.

The hopelessness of depression makes me examine my life for toxicity and search for the root of my agony. I remember the people who I’ve loved who have gouged my broken heart. The bosses and coworkers who have sucked away my marrow. The comments from family who mean well but hack away at my façade of confidence and wellness. The friends who don’t call. The children who forget to do their chores.

This is the blame game I play. The blues don’t mellow me. They feed my festering rage until anger spews from my mouth like acidic vomit.

My episodes of mania are no kinder. The false happiness of mania euphoria waxes and wanes, sometimes all in the same day. My grandiosity and endless energy and the rapid speech and big ideas are exhausting. I’m too tired to sleep. Suddenly my tongue is forked. My patience is gone and my temper flares with righteous indignation. The blame game begins again.

PSYCHOTIC DELUSIONS

Psychosis is “a serious mental illness characterized by defective or lost contact with reality, often with hallucinations or delusions” (Merriam-Webster). In my anger, I’m psychotic. I’m paranoid at 3 a.m. when my meds fail me and rest is elusive.

I tell myself: No one cares. Everyone sees me for the fraud I am. Life is unfair. Everyone is out to step on me on their way to something better. I can’t convince myself otherwise. I’m raging. Is my life punctuated with trauma or am I the source of the drama? I wonder.

Bipolar disorder is the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain. “For those who have anger stemming from bipolar disorder, it can range from mild to wild,” according to MentalHealth.net (source). Mine is a wild ride.

While the bipolar community can’t seem to agree about whether or not anger is a symptom of bipolar disorder, they do agree about how to get help.

KNOW YOURSELF

Identify your anger triggers. Certain topics of conversation, events, activities and even personalities or people may initiate irritability or rage. Be mindful when you begin to get upset and then limit or control exposure to those things.

When you do find yourself in a sticky spot, politely disengage. Resist the urge to be embarrassed. Tactfully end the conversation, hang up the phone with a pre-planned excuse or graciously excuse yourself and walk away. Don’t be shy about setting boundaries. You’ll really be embarrassed if your anger dominates the situation.

The second part of knowing yourself is identifying and engaging in activities or visiting places that calm and bring serenity. Make a list of your triggers and strategies to alleviate them.

Home is my haven and oasis. An afternoon of solitude is often where I find the most peace. Harnessing your bipolar disorder is not a mind-over-matter problem to be solved. Along with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder is the most dangerous mental health problem. If you suspect that you are bipolar or a diagnosis has been confirmed, you need medication!

CONSULT YOUR HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS

Bipolar disorder presents a very real risk of suicide. Don’t try to convince yourself that you won’t get that bad or you’ll know when to ask for help. Trust me; you won’t! You’ll also endanger yourself, your reputation, and other people if your behavior becomes reckless or impulsive.

If you’re taking lithium for your bipolar disorder and you notice irritability or aggression, talk to your doctor. These are not common symptoms of this mood stabilizer, but patients who are prescribed lithium have reported increased irritability, according to Healthline.com (source).

No matter what you’ve been prescribed to treat your bipolar disorder, don’t change or stop taking your medication without consulting your doctor. Unmonitored med tweaks can trigger dangerous depressive or manic episodes.

Even when you feel like your illness is well-controlled on medication, do yourself a favor and see a mental health therapist. A counselor can employ Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help. CBT is “psychotherapy that combines cognitive therapy with behavior therapy by identifying faulty or maladaptive patterns of thinking, emotional response, or behavior and substituting them with desirable patterns of thinking, emotional response, or behavior” (Merriam-Webster). Anger management classes may also be helpful if group therapy is your jam.

Don’t forget the French proverb: “Anger is a bad counselor” (source).

SOURCES

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/psychosis
https://www.mentalhelp.net/bipolar/and-anger/
https://www.healthline.com/health/bipolar-disorder/bipolar-anger#is-anger-a-side-effect-ofmedication
https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cognitive%20behavioral%20therapy
https://www.quotes.net/quote/40350

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About the Author: Jodie is a chronic illness and mental health blogger who battles fibromyalgia, bipolar disorder I, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and gastroparesis every day. Her primary focus is fibromyalgia but her mental well-being her and gastrointestinal issues influence the way she deals with her chronic illness. She created CutTheChronic.com after job loss revealed she is no longer employable in a traditional way. Jodie is a former reporter and marketing professional with a degree in journalism. Reflecting on her skills, training and passions pointed her toward blogging as her next career move. Jodie finds writing extremely therapeutic as she searches for answers and hope for herself and other chronic illness sufferers. Means to living a better life reveal themselves in the process and inform her posts. She is fleshing out her blog with a body of posts that are educational, research-focused, inspirational, instructional, honest, raw and humorous. Jodie finds joy and strength in her husband Trevor and their blended family of three children. Her three loud and goofy hound dogs and a personality-packed flock of seven ducks provide levity. She’s a documentary junkie, novel reader (when she has time), car camper, stand up paddle boarder, yoga dabbler and runner. She’s also a foodie with a passion for home cooking. She is writing a low FODMAP cookbook to help her make peace with her IBS and gastroparesis and share with her readers. You can find her at her website Cut The Chronic.

It’s About to be a New Year – Lexie Wohler

 

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As 2019 draws to a close, what things do you think about? Do you look back in regret over the things that you weren’t able to accomplish? Or do you look forward to new opportunities that will dawn for you on the horizon? Do you look forward to spending more time on the things that are really important or do you dread the do to list that the new year brings? How many times does another new year stress you out instead of excite you? Think about why the thought of the new year scars you, and figure out a way to combat the anxiety and fears that you have.

A new year can be scary in all of its aspects, and its okay to be scared and uncertain about what the year may bring. But don’t let the uncertainty and doubts stop you from accomplishing what you want to do in your life. Remember, each new day of the year is a chance to get out of your comfort zone, impact the world in ways that you never thought possible, and to impact others in ways you never expected.

Don’t let anyone talk you out of following your dreams. Follow your heart and your dreams.  Do your best at anything you do. When times get tough, turn over your worries to productivity and leave them at His feet while you continue to do His work. Don’t let anyone or anything stop you from finding your purpose in your life. Don’t let anything or anyone stop you from doing what your heart wants you to do. You will give the tools needed to face each new day this year, head on. Keep moving forward in 2019 and never let anything stop you.

Some people choose to go back to school and finish their degree or change their degree in order to get a better job, to make more money in order to provide for their families. While others may be offered a raise in their profession, others may not get a raise right away. Remember as you go through the year to be patient with yourself about the choices you make. Don’t feel as though you have to take on everything and anything all at once. It’s not healthy or achievable for you. Don’t lose yourself in the things you’re trying to do. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself that you literally become an outer shell of yourself. That isn’t ever worth it.  Don’t rush into things that aren’t what you really want to do. Instead, take the time to figure out what your passions are and really focus on them. If it’s writing, then go all in with it and take some classes at a school or online to hone your skills. If it’s painting, then take some painting lessons through YouTube or through a painting group like Painting With A Twist. Remember, no amount of education can ever hurt you in your quest to figure out what you want to do in your life.

If you’ve constantly been taking care of other people in your life, use this new year as a time to finally rest, recharge and focus on taking care of yourself. You can only take care of others if you are healthy yourself. Don’t run yourself raged trying to carter to everyone else’s needs. Remember, some of the people won’t be pleased no matter how much you cater to your needs. If someone gets offended by you taking the time for yourself instead of focusing on them, then you can distance yourself from them or completely cut yourself off from them. There is never anything wrong with taking the time to care for yourself, physically, and mentally.

Let this new year be your best one yet. Enjoy every part of the journey as best you can.

Lexie Wohler is a repeat guest blogger and you can find her first post and bio here.

Blogmas – Unique Gift Ideas for Anyone

BLOGMAS 2019

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With Christmas being less than 2 week away now, there’s still time to get unique gifts for everyone on your list from Amazon with two or one day delivery to most states. I’ve curated a list of a few, erm, strange yet useful gadgets and items that anyone on your list would appreciate this year. (This is in no way an ad and I do not get any compensation for featuring these item’s on my blog whatsoever. These are items I have selected from personal interest.)

910aPPf8uXL._AC_SL1500_Of course we need to start off with this shower/bathroom/anywhere wine holder for while you’re getting ready or relaxing. Made for those wine-os who just need a place to store their glass so they don’t spill it and lose their precious wine. “Finally… a little “you” time. Pull out that silky robe. Crack open a great book. Light a few candles to set the mood for the pièce de ré·sis·tance: a truly luxurious soak.” I’m just going to come out and say it: everyone on your list can use this even if they don’t put wine in it.

 

81ZP5qBBb-L._AC_SL1500_Even if you don’t like nature (which, I don’t know why you wouldn’t) this bird feeder can entertain you and anyone else in your household for hours including pets. Are you a photographer? This is the perfect gift to get some wildlife/bird portraits you normally wouldn’t be able to get. And guess what! It includes the suction cups that they guarantee are weather resistant and will not slide down on the window. Enjoy seeing wild birds up-close like never before.

 

81+gDVjidxLNeed a solid yet funny and comical planner/to do list to keep yourself organized during the day… Look no further. There’s a lot to be said for sloth philosophy, and this notepad says it all. And honestly, I added this little guy to my cart as I was writing this because maybe it will help me get my sh*t together a little… after my little naps. Get your to-do list out of the way so you can focus on what’s really important: relaxing. Take it slow and have fun without worrying that you’ve forgotten some obligation. Maybe indulge in a nap full of slothlike, stress-free dreams.”

 

 

61iz-7+DEUL._AC_SL1000_Now, you might not be into camping, but if you love the outdoors and have 2 poles or trees in your back yard, this portable hammock is definitely for someone on your list. With that price of only $25 or under, and a complete 5-star review of over 2,000 people, something tells me you can’t go wrong with this. This is a double hammock, and can hold up to (get this) 1,000 pounds! Something tells me I’m going to be adding this to my wish list today…

 

 

8130lg1zKQL._AC_SL1500_Trying to drink that water your doctor keeps telling you to drink daily to stay hydrated? Do you hate the taste of plain water though? Check out this leak-proof water bottle infuser to add your favorite fruits to. It is 100% BPA Free, comes with a carrying handle and it’s easy to clean for when you need a refill. “Water is plain, water is boring, and water is tasteless – and since we live in a sea of flavor packed alternatives (usually swimming in sugar and potential dangerous chemical additives), it’s easy to see why we skip the healthy option altogether.”

 

61r1l3Mg+WL._AC_SL1001_Picture it: you come in to your office in the morning and it’s warm because they had the heat on all night. This little fan will give you just the right amount of comfort at your desk to help cool you off for a bit. Did I mention that it plugs into your computer or laptop in order to work? How cool is that? It’s got 3 speeds, it rotates to fit your needs and is available in a few colors.

 

81LTiTxKdUL._AC_SL1500_Give the gift of cold to that beer lover in your family or friends list. “The HOPSULATOR TRíO keeps your drinks 20x colder than a standard neoprene can-cooler, so that your last sip has the same refreshing kick as the first.” Don’t have a beer lover in the family – fear not. This can also be used to keep your coffee and tea warm wherever you are with the lid attachment.

 

 

910ZdSN33oL._AC_SL1500_This cutting board is the perfect gift for the chef in your life. My husband and I actually have a cut out of Pennsylvania and we LOVE it, even if it’s just for decor half of the time. Just selcet the drop down menu and pick your state or your friends state and ta-dah! This fun, whimsical laser-engraved artwork calls out all the wonderful sights and places in the state of your choice. I mean, of course I had to choose NJ to feature, because I will always be a #JerseyGirl. Did I mention that this is bamboo? Bamboo is much gentler on knives than most cutting boards and won’t ruin them when you cut on this.

 

I’m Fine – How Often Do We Mean It? – Ami Ireland

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This next guest spot is from a dear friend of mine I had the pleasure of meeting online this year and working with. In continuing to work with her, I got to know her more and more each day, learning about her disability and what life likes for her. If you havent read any of her blog yet, please head over to Undercover Superhero and take a look around. I promise you’ll find something that intrigues you. 

The phrase “I’m fine” is one of the most popular answers to respond with when asked about how we are feeling. But do we actually mean it? If no, then why do we use the phrase as a default response?

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A recent poll I conducted on Twitter shows that out of 108 people, who took part in the poll, 52% of them use the phrase and mean it between 0% to 25% of the time. There are so many reasons as to why that is:

It’s Easier To Hide How We Really Feel

I’m sure that many of you will agree that we often feel like a burden when we open up and feel anxious about the other person thinking or saying “What have you got to be down about?”, “Things could be worse” or something similar. There is still so much stigma around mental health which also causes us not to express how we are truly feeling. The lack of understanding and empathy towards one another is something that I, personally, think that is the main issue with regards to replying with “I’m fine” as there are some people who just do not or choose to not understand mental health.

Convenience

“I’m fine” is definitely a lot easier and quicker to say rather then going into detail about how we actually feel. Then again, this can coincide with the fear of how others react to when we open up. Also, it could just be convenient to say if you were to quickly acknowledge a passer-by in the street or something.

Repetition

If like me, you have a variety of conditions, it can get pretty exhausting repeating ourselves to different people. As a result, this is where convenience ties in making the phrase an easier and quicker response.

Fear

The fear of causing others around us to worry. It could possibly be due to the fear of finding out who our true friends are and how supportive they are.

27% Of People Use The Phrase and Mean It Between 25% > 50% Of The Time & 19% Of People Mean It Between 50% > 75% Of The Time

This is interesting. As you can see, the less of the amount of people who use the phrase, the more of the chance they actually mean it. Personally, I think this is because people are in the process of realising who understands mental health and those that choose to ignore it.

Is It A Test Or Cry For Help?

Do we reply with “I’m fine” to test others? This could explain the process of finding out who truly care about how we feel. On the other hand, it could be a cry for help, which will also let us find out who care enough to be supportive.

3% Of People Use The Phrase and Mean It Between 75% > 100% Of The Time

I’ve been thinking long and hard about why only 3% mean it between 75% and 100% of the time. Here are my thoughts:

Trust

The person has surrounded themselves with those who are supportive and understanding which enables them to open up rather than just saying “I’m fine”.

Honesty

I think the person is comfortable with being honest, regardless of the situation or outcome, therefore they are completely honest with each person they come across. Or the person does actually feel fine.

Do you use the phrase as an automatic reply? Or do you truly mean it?

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Author bio: Ami is a disability Blogger who writes about her recovery and talks openly about living with multiple disabilities. Her blog, UndercoverSuperhero is a place where she attempts to look at life more positively. Ami has a passion for volunteering and a strong love for superheroes. She aims to raise awareness of disabilities, illnesses, mental health illnesses, etc and has an ongoing series called “The Reality of…” which enables fellow bloggers and readers to raise awareness of the conditions they live with. You can find her on Twitter and Facebook.

40 Blogmas Ideas for This Holiday Season

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It’s that time of year again! Most would say it’s the most wonderful time of the year… Personally, I love the holiday season (minus the snow.) making people smile, festive recipes to test on the family and learning how to deal with new holiday stress.

I’ve never participated in Blogmas before, and I thought I would give it a try this year and do my own 12 days of Blogmas. I can’t really commit to 25 or 31 days of December at the moment, but I know I can at least do 12 of them and spread them out throughout the month of December!

If you don’t know what Blogmas is, it is a blogging challenge which consists in publishing a blog post either 12, 25 or all of the month of December. As its name suggests, Blogmas is the conjunction of the words ‘blog’ and ‘Christmas’ and anyone who has a blog can take part in the activity. This can give you consistent content, and help with daily views and publishing; not to mention to help you become a better writer than you already are. It’s good to have challanges in life, and a simple one like this can make the whole world of difference in your online presence.

Remember to have fun with this! It’s not meant to be stressful and if you find yourself not being able to keep up, you can always change the way you go about it like I am, and only committing to 12 days vs more than I know I can handle. Afterall, it’s YOUR blog and you can do what you want!

So on that note, I’ve decided to make a list of 40 Blogmas ideas that you may want to write about this holiday season. I’ve done a bit of research, and have curated this list based on what I personally would write about. 12 of these listed will be featured on my blog this season, you’ll just have to wait and see which ones! (These are in no particular order, I just wrote down whatever came to mind at the time.)

  1. Holiday Sales
  2. Home Decor
  3. New Years Resolutions
  4. Winter Self Care
  5. Gifts for Husbands
  6. Gifts for Wives
  7. Your Holiday Wish List
  8. Favorite Holiday Drinks
  9. Favorite Holiday Treats
  10. Favorite Holiday Dinner Components
  11. Winter Date Night Ideas
  12. 12 Days of _________ (gifts, giving, cookies etc.)
  13. Journal Prompts for Winter
  14. Gratitude Journal Prompts for Winter
  15. Gift Guide for Gifts Under $20
  16. Gift Guide for Gifts Under $40
  17. Winter Bucket List
  18. Christmas Day Routine
  19. Best Holiday Memory
  20. DIY Christmas Gifts
  21. New Years Blogging Goals
  22. Favorite Holiday Scents
  23. Gift Tag Printables
  24. Christmas Journal Printables
  25. Christmas Recipe Cards
  26. Stocking Stuffer Ideas
  27. How to Handle Holiday Stress
  28. Write Your Own Letter to Santa!
  29. A Guide to Christmas Events in Your City
  30. Top 10 Christmas Songs
  31. Holiday/Christmas Quotes
  32. Christmas Giveaway
  33. New Years Giveaway
  34. Unique Gift Ideas for Anyone
  35. December Goals/Blogging Goals
  36. Color Scheme Ideas for the Holidays
  37. Books to Read This Winter
  38. Top 5 Things You Love About Christmas
  39. Christmas Finances (with printable!)
  40. Top Unique Cookie Recipes for Christmas

#FreebieFriday – Mid Quarter Progress Report for Teachers!

Readers, I have something different for you today regarding Freebies! I decided to make something for the teachers that follow me (I know there are a few of you!) Instead of a “report card”, I made a mid quarter progress report that you can print out to give to the parents of your children. I know report cards are regulated by the school system, and this is an easy way to let the parents and guardians know how their children are doing after a few weeks in classes to see what they may need to improve on to get that A or B in the class for the report card!

As always, visit my Freebie Page for the other free items I’ve posted the last few weeks and to download the high resolution copies of these.

Lost Relationships -Amanda Robins

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Growing up in a Narcissistic Family

The mornings were the worst. My sisters would be fighting, screaming, throwing the odd hairbrush or lipstick, pulling hair or ripping fabric. Blaming one another for missing makeup or the state of the bathroom.

There was no mediation in these epic before-work duels.

Growing up in a narcissistic family wasn’t peaceful.

Our parents were far more interested in themselves and their own problems than in their children’s ability to get along with one another or their emotional needs.

Their intense self-absorption left little room for empathy and validation or, well, parenting.

Our mother was highly anxious, obsessed with her children’s ability to reflect well on her. Any mistakes or imperfections attracted her immeadiate attention. Like a heat seeking missile, she would then become intrusive and controlling, her anxiety around appearances and social acceptance motivating intense criticism and judgement towards us.

The sibling rivalry that is a normal part of family life was exacerbated and exploited by my mother to prop up her fragile sense of self. She pitted us against one another in competition for her approval and affection, so that she could somehow feel better about herself. There was always a battle between us for the crumbs of affection she distributed sparingly.

Because of this, we never got the opportunity to repair our relationships.

We grew up in a household where there was no room for vulnerability, empathy or collaboration. Our early template for relationships was based on competition rather than caring. Even today as adults with our own lives, we are wary and distant, not able to grieve what was lost to us in childhood, or to make amends.

For myself and others who have been raised in narcissistic families, it’s an arduous pathway towards healing.

In their book on narcissistic families, Stephanie and Donald Pressman argue that children of narcissists might manage workplace relationships and setting boundaries at work, but at home it’s a different story.

According to the authors, those who have grown up in narcissistic families are often “people pleasers” trained to ignore their own boundaries so well that they don’t actually know where they are.

“Comfort in setting boundaries develops in children who have their feelings respected by their parents.”

Narcissistic parents do not respect other’s feelings, and children growing up in an atmosphere of repression, shaming and tangential communication never learn to ask for their needs to be met. In families like these, withdrawal of affection and approval will be used to control children. Parents will threaten children with rejection and anger when they don’t behave in ways that meet the parent’s needs. For young children, this is terribly destructive and teaches them to ignore their own needs.

As adults, children of narcissists are usually out of touch with their own needs.

Decision-making for those who have had their feelings invalidated as children is fraught.

Friendships and intimacy require us to make decisions about what we want to do, when and how, and this requires us to understand our feelings. Without this ability, relationships are either all-consuming (and exhausting) or cold and distant.

The Pressmans argue that children of narcissists often have an “all or nothing” approach to relationships. If survivors of narcissistic families cannot have a perfect relationship, they would rather end the relationship than negotiate or compromise. “They genuinely cannot fathom the possibility of sitting down with a spouse, friend or colleague and having a reasonable discussion to set boundaries so that those feelings and needs can be accommodated.” Having been consistently invalidated as children, they hold little hope for getting their needs met in relationships.

They often seem to expect that others will be able to read their minds. When they discover that their friend or spouse can’t do this, they are likely to become angry, disappointed or sullen, sometimes ending the relationship in disgust. And leaving their partner or friend puzzled and hurt.

The healthy give and take of normal relationships is not something that comes naturally to survivors of the narcissistic cauldron.

Attracting the right people into our lives and having healthy relationships is a challenge for those who have grown up with abusive parents.

As children of narcissists, we have been trained not to value or even acknowledge our own boundaries, because boundaries were not convenient for our narcissistic parents. We have also been trained to view relationships as mutually exploitative rather than opportunities for intimacy and connection.

Our friendships and intimate partnerships are often difficult and unfulfilling, fraught with danger and frustration.

Healing for the children of narcissists can take a long time. Self-awareness through therapy and reflection can help us change. Repairing our relationships and creating better ones is part of the journey towards growth and fulfillment.

Quotes are from The Narcissistic Family: Diagnosis and Treatment by Stephanie and Robert Pressman Jossey-Bass 1994

Amanda Robins, M.S.W, PhD.

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I am a writer and psychotherapist based in Melbourne, Australia. After a successful career as an artist and academic, I decided to retrain in order to work therapeutically with young people and studied Social Work at the University of Melbourne.

I now specialize in working with people with a history of trauma, especially those who have grown up in narcissistic families. I love writing about mental health and relationships from my own experiences and from my work with clients. I currently have a blog where I write about mental health and well-being, attachment, parenting, relationships and creativity.

My articles have been published on The Mighty, Therapy Route, PsychCentral and This Woman Can.

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