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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/

Travel Soothes My Anxiety – Connie Ferris

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Travel Soothes My Anxiety

Since I was a child I always knew that my mind worked in a more detrimental way than others. I would overthink even the smallest of situations. Forgetting my P.E. kit or not completing my homework would result in panic and on the rare occasion, tears. Not many people can understand anxiety unless they suffer from it themselves. However, when you finally understand your anxiety, certain events in your life begin to make sense. You understand why you acted that way and what may have triggered the anxiety. One good thing about educating yourself on your mental health is you begin to learn what is a trigger for your anxiety and what is good for your self care. For example, exams and judgement from people are big triggers for my anxiety, however travelling and seeing the world soothes my anxiety.

Like a lot of people who suffer from a bad mental health, I was diagnosed with anxiety and panic disorder when I was experiencing a big life event. I was in my second year at university and balancing university, work and a relationship all became too much for myself. However, when I started to learn about my condition and when I read online about other peoples experiences, I discovered that every individual is different and everyone finds different things triggering. For me, I have never experienced anxiety at an airport, train station, hostel, hotel or in a new city. However, for some people travel can be very stressful and just because I do not find travelling stressful this does not mean that someone else with anxiety who does is abnormal.

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Freedom

My anxiety for the most part stems from what other people think about me. When I’m travelling I feel like there are no expectations of me from anyone and therefore I cannot fail at anything. I can visit whichever attractions I like and/or I can spend a day just lounging at the beach. Everything I do is down to my discretion and so if I don’t feel up to doing something one day, then I don’t have to. This may not make sense to a lot of people as my anxiety is such a personal experience. Only I know what goes through my mind, after all.

Although I feel at home when I’m travelling, I can understand why travel can bring about anxieties in other people, especially when backpacking or long-term travelling. There’s the uncertainty of money running out and things becoming too expensive. There’s also the concern of running late for flights, trains, buses etc. Although these are perfectly valid reasons to feel uneasy or anxious, they do not faze me in the slightest. I know that I will be okay because the world is not as big as people think. Having some perspective on just how big the universe is, you’ll soon realise that you’re not that far away from home.

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Returning Home

Another reason as to why I do not feel anxious when travelling is because I always have in the back of my mind that if everything goes wrong then I can simply return home. My rule of thumb whenever I travel anywhere is that I always have emergency funds in a separate bank account that I do not touch unless I need to. The funds need to be sufficient enough to get a flight back home from wherever I may be. For example, if I were in the United States of America then I know a flight back to London will cost roughly between £500 – £1000 and so that is the amount I need to keep in my emergency fund.

It is also good to have an emergency fund in case you desperately are not ready to go home, you are running out of money but you have some work lined up, you just need a little to get you by until your first paycheck. This isn’t an ideal situation to be in as your emergency fund should only be for emergencies but as long as you remember to pay your emergency fund back then no harm no foul.

I Love to Travel

I could write about travel all day if I wanted to however the reason for writing this post was to explain why travel does not cause me anxiety. Primarily, I think the reason for this is because I love it so much. I think I would stop loving to travel if it did start to cause me anxiety simply through association. I hate anxiety and if it was connected to travelling in any way then I would also begin to dislike travelling. Fortunately for myself, I can continue to travel anxiety free for now and just enjoy every moment of my adventures.

Connie

Author Bio: Connie is a travel and lifestyle blogger over at www.earthtoconnie.com. She began her blog in 2018 and ever since she has slowly been making her way around the world. Discussing advice and tips for long term travel whilst sharing her own adventures, there is something on her blog for everyone.  You can also keep up to date with all her new content through her twitter, facebook and instagram.

Blogmas – Last Minute Stocking Stuffers

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Hello everyone and welcome to one of the last Unsanity #Blogmas posts for the 2019 season! I didn’t have the patience or time to write one blog per day, so I opted for 10-12 over the course of the month to give myself time to get them uploaded and scheduled.

I hope you’ve been enjoying them like I have been while writing them for you. There’s alot of good stuff in here, and it’s going to be hard not to want to duplicate some next year (yes, I plan to do it again! We’ll see how the year goes leading up to December haha.)

This post is all about Stocking Stuffers for you last minute shoppers who need small gifts for your co-workers or family/friends. All of these are under $10 USD too no less! (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.)

mad libs

Christmas Mad Libs to play with your family during the gathering.

sugar cookie

This caffeine free sugar cookie tea for the tea lovers to try during the cold winter months.

cherry bath bomb

Everybody loves surprises – give the gift of cherries and a surprise inside with this bath fizzer.

makers mark

Have a friend who loves Maker’s Mark? Get them this awesome sweater for their bottle you bought them for Christmas.

cake decorating

This Cake Decorating tip set from Baker’s Dozen should do the trick for the baking enthusiest in your friends group.

cremo

For the man in your life who shaves every day for work – this cream fights razor burn and nicks to keep him smooth.

salt scrub

Infused with Dead Sea Salts to give you younger smoother skin. Maybe stick with giving this to a friend vs a co-worker. They might get the wrong impression, lol.

unicorn slime

For the child on your list, or for a co-worker who needs something to occupy them on lunch.. this is the perfect fun gift to give!

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.

 

Ohio’s Beauty in the Fall – Lexie Wohler

Have you ever seen the colors of fall? The leaves changing to different colors are some of the most incredible things to see. There is nothing quite like taking a drive and seeing the colors blend beautifully together. Instead of seeing just green on the trees, you get to see bright red, orange and yellow. We often take the fall weather and the fall beauty for granted because we have lived here for so long.

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We don’t always see the beauty for what it is, until someone else mentions it to us. We often hear the comments of, “What a beautiful fall we are having”, and “it’s nice that we get to see the change of seasons unlike other places.”

Some of my family members come up to Ohio just to see what fall looks like for us. Many of my relatives don’t get to experience the serenity of fall because of where they live. They are in awe of the changing colors and the different atmosphere they feel when they come to Ohio in the fall.

Most of the time, the leaves start changing color in the middle to late September and they continue falling until after thanksgiving in November. When the leaves start dropping, you can see clear across the valley that we have in our backyard. The smell of fall is something very different, too. You can tell that fall has come when the air has a crisp clean sent to it and you feel the colder air in your lungs when you take deep breaths.

It is so refreshing to walk outside on a crisp clear day. It is one of the ways I enjoy fall. I take walks and photograph the changing colors of the leaves and the beauty all around me.  I hear the leaves crunching under your feet as you walk. Have you ever walked outside and smelled the air after a thunderstorm? Well multiply that clean smell by 10 times and add the rustling of the leaves all around you and you just know fall has come.

Sometimes the fall can be fairly warm for our Indian Summer as we call it, in the 60s and 70s. Whereas some other years, the temps can drop to the 50s pretty quickly. The temperatures are some of my favorite aspects about fall. They are often just perfect enough for me to break out some of my favorite sweatshirts and some of my favorite sweatpants. There is nothing like sitting around a warm campfire, drinking warm cider as the temperature drops to the 50s in the evening and into the night.

Some of the fun things you can do include going on nature hikes in some of the area’s finest Metroparks systems. The truth is, you never know what kind of animals you’ll see, from possums to beavers to deer and sometimes even wolves and coyotes. My family often jokes that we have the Disney movie Bambi, right in our backyard with all the woodland creatures around us.

Some other fun things to do include going camping and sitting by campfires and raking a huge pile of leaves just to jump in them and have them spread all over your yard. Fall gives you more wonder to gaze at than you ever thought possible.

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Come experience fall in Ohio if you’ve never been here before. You will not be disappointed.

As the catchphrase goes for Ohio, whatever you’re looking for, you can always find it here.

*Lexie is a repeat guest blogger for The Unsanity and you can find her bio and previous posts here.

Six Tips to Relieve School Stress – Just Call Me Jess

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The new school year is right around the corner and almost everyone is excited! Yes summer break is coming to an end, but the year will be filled with new opportunities to learn and make new friends…for most. For some, the new school year can be stressful! There is school supplies, new environment, new teachers/professors, stress if there is difficulty learning or reading and the list goes on!

Luckily, I have been there done that, when it comes to the stress associated with school. My anxiety would increase as the time got closer and would skyrocket the day before, “is my outfit right”, “what if I didn’t prepare enough”, “what if no one talks to me and I don’t make any friends”, and etc. As I would sit to take a test, I would begin to panic and often have to go outside of the classroom to catch my breath. Eventually, I began taking my classes outside and away from other classmates.

Stress is your body’s response to a challenge or demand. When you do not address the stress, it can begin to affect many aspects of your life, body and mind. Stress can often cause bodily effects such as headaches, insomnia, muscle tension, over eating or loss of appetite, and body aches. It can emotional cause you to have anxiety, lose focus, lack motivation, be easily frustrated or irritated, or even become depressed. When you are stressed you are more likely to use substances to cope, have angry outbursts, isolate yourself and have a decrease in participation in activities you once found pleasurable.

Throughout my experiences with stress, I learned many tips and tricks to decrease stress and rationalize my thoughts.

  1. Identify Your Stressor. If you walk into school/class and you begin to tense or you begin to have negative emotions identify where that comes from. Stressors can be anything and frankly that’s what makes them hard to identify. This is why it is important to have an effective self care and mindfulness routine so that you can identify your body’s responses to outside stimuli. Your body and mind will tell you that “this is not a safe place” or a “this is not comforting”.  Is it the subject, teacher or assignment you forgot to do? Once you identify the stressor it is easier to…
  2. Eliminate the Stressor. School can be a stressor in and of itself. The pressure to do well and achieve adequate grades will stress you out! Now add, family pressures, obligations, work, friends, relationships, bills, assignments, deadlines, extracurriculars…have I caused your heart rate to increase yet? Unfortunately some stressors we cannot eliminate but for the things we can impact, find alternatives.
  3. Breathing Techniques. I know, how cliche’! But seriously, taking slow breaths in and out will allow oxygen to get to the brain, your heart rate to slow and relaxes your body. Breathing in for 10 seconds, holding, and releasing for 10 seconds will allow you to make better decisions and become in tune with your body and what it needs.
  4. Exercise.The benefits of exercise are endless! Exercising is a mindfulness technique used to reduce stress, develop a healthy lifestyle and allow excess energy to be released. A simple 30 minute workout could reduce your stress and allow you to think clearly about decisions and what you need to do to have a successful day (this is why it is normally recommended in the mornings).
  5. Take A Mental Health Day. The brain is the most important organ in the body and yet we care for it the least. Stress can lead to many physical symptoms but also mental symptoms. I often see patients that have developed Anxiety Disorder or Major Depressive Disorder due to stress. How? If you continuously stress about your grades in school to the extent that you sacrifice your sleep or rarely eat you will get physically sick. You will also (eventually) burn out, lash out, fall out due to stress, lack of sleep and poor diet. Now there are no social supports, because you have isolated or pushed them away due to your emotional response to stress and you are not succeeding in school because you have burned out and fell out due to exhaustion. What is not advertised in school is taking time to care for your mental health. You will not give your best self if you are not caring for yourself.
  6. Seek Help. Speak to your teachers, counselor, family and friends about what is going on and how they can support you. I often suggest  individuals disclose their stressors to their support system in hopes that they can help combat them. If the stressor is one you cannot avoid, develop a plan with your support system so that they know how to be there for you during that time. If you need to be told to rest, eat, sleep, bathe, meditate, journal, listen to music, etc. let them know that. They cannot help you unless you tell them.

Good luck on your new school year! I know it will be everything you wish for and then some. Remember to implement these tips and stay positive!

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Hi I am Jessica, founder of Just Call Me Jess, a mental health blog that seeks to reduce stigma by normalizing the conversation surrounding it. I am a Licensed Master Level Social Worker with experience working with adults with severe, persistent mental illnesses and substance use.

Check out my blog for a FREE Weekly Self Care Calendar!

Follow me at www.twitter.com/just_jess_18 or www.pinterest.com/callmejess7

Taking Action Against our Negative Thoughts – Auburn Roe

 

Author Bio: As a born and bred London blogger, Lois is passionate about spreading positivity, talking about mental health and empowering other millennial to push boundaries in order to live their best lives.

Social Links:

www.auburnroe.com

www.instagram.com/auburnroe

www.facebook.com/auburnroe

www.twitter.com/auburnroe

There’s so much pressure in today’s society to be happy (thanks social media!) and it’s so normal for us to compare ourselves to others, whether we’re aware we’re doing so or not. When I first started university 3 years ago, I realized I wasn’t having as good a time as all my friends seemed to be having… fast forward 2 months and I was at the lowest point I’d ever been.

Now I’m not totally putting all the blame on social media – I should probably give some credit to the combination of a nasty relationship break up and moving to a completely different city 200 miles from home. I love social media (it’s part of what I do for a living so I kind of have to), but there’s no denying that it’s put a strain on how today’s younger generations view themselves and others.

After eventually realizing how something so innocent as seeing my friends having a good time on Instagram could be so damaging, I didn’t know what to do. There was no way I was just going to give it up (as addictive as it is, I wasn’t going to just throw away my way of connecting with the world), but I knew something needed to change.

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I decided to try to transform it into something slightly more positive by following people that would supposedly bring more value to my news feed. You know, the typical motivational speakers; the likes of Gary Vee etc. etc.

Eventually I found someone that changed the game for me.

Mel Robbins has a very ‘no bullsh*t’ attitude when it comes to self-development and loving yourself. She delves into the science behind why we feel the way we feel, and what we can do to counteract negative thoughts.

No ‘imagining a cheque for a million dollars’ or anything like that, just good old-fashioned FACTS.

Through Mel’s (completely free) online content, I started to understand why I was having such negative thoughts and that it was no wonder I was feeling as low as I was.

Once I’d got to the root of what Mel calls my ‘limiting beliefs’, I was able to use her golden nuggets of mental health wisdom to tackle my cynical thoughts, which included (but were by no means limited to):

  • Everyone secretly hates me
  • I’m not good enough to do the things I aspire to do
  • I’m going to look back on my life full of regret
  • I’m a selfish person

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s important to note that if you’re going through a seriously low patch to the point where you have no energy to do anything (I know I’ve been there), then all you can do is pretty much just ride it out. Wait for the storm to blow over.

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And when you notice the clouds slightly starting to dissipate, that is when you’ve got to take action on those toxic inner commentaries.

Somewhere along the timeline of our lives, we develop a DEFAULT way of thinking (usually from our childhood) and this default way of thinking takes the PHYSICAL FORM of neurons in our brain called the ‘Default Mode Network’. This forms our automatic thinking patterns, so by identifying when we think these thoughts, we can counteract them with something positive like “I am good enough”. This can help us to live and think deliberately (even if we don’t believe it at first), and eventually believe in ourselves enough to achieve our goals. Even just knowing that the only problem was what I believed, I knew that I could at least try to work to change that.

The next thing I learnt was this crazy thing I had never heard of called the RETICULAR ACTIVATING SYSTEM. Like, it even SOUNDS scientific. And that’s because it is. (Why do they not teach this sh*t in high school?!)

It’s the part of our brain that filters what you focus on.

Ever heard a song for the first time in ages and then suddenly you notice it playing on the radio every time you go to the supermarket?

Ever felt kind of low and then suddenly feel that everything in your life is an absolute disaster?

That’s because your Reticular Activating System is filtering in what you’re already thinking about. If our brain consciously registered everything we experienced, our heads would be so overloaded with information that we would probably spontaneously combust. So when we feel low, the fact that that person cut you off earlier whilst you were driving home from work can feel like the end of the world.

Taking action against our negative thoughts is the only way to achieve a calmer state of mind and in turn have a happier outlook on life in general. Yes, it takes a lot of discipline and you’ll realize how hard it is to force yourself out of your auto-pilot mode.

But if you’re serious about taking control, why not use social media as a useful resource to help you get to that place?

Since my low point 2 years ago, and even only really in the last 6 months I have:

  • started my own freelance business
  • won an award at university for my academic achievements
  • seen my goals manifest literally before my eyes

It’s crazy how far a little bit of education, self-belief and hard work can get you.

Knowledge is, for sure, power. And although platforms like Instagram and Twitter are full of toxic, useless garbage, the information that can help you change your life is out there. You’ve just got to find it.

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3 Steps to Overcome Your Setbacks & Move Forward Confidently – Tyese Knight

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Hey everybody! My name is Tyese Knight. I am a mommy of 2 and a blogger at Strong Mom Sad Mom. I am passionate about helping moms with mental illness feel confident, strong, and empowered. I have struggled with anxiety most of my life and postpartum depression after the birth of my 2nd child. I am committed to breaking the stigma of mental illness by sharing my story to help others. Follow my journey on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, & Pinterest!

I have always been an ambitious dreamer. I set big goals and work hard to accomplish them. Sometimes my ideas work beautifully and sometimes I question why I even try!

In the race of life, we are bound to have setbacks, whether minor or major, that cause hiccups on the path to our goals. It can be challenging to rebound from these setbacks. Feelings of self-doubt, anger, guilt, or sadness can hold us back even more. Just because we have these feelings, it doesn’t mean that we should stop working towards our goals. Here are 3 steps to overcome setbacks and move forward confidently.

Step 1: Mourn Your Loss

So you messed up, screwed up, or just had some bad luck. Most people would say, “Don’t be sad about it.” I’m telling you now, go ahead and be sad or mad about it. It is okay not to be okay. We can’t be happy go lucky all the time!

Sometimes we just need to feel what we feel and get it out of our system. We are capable of experiencing a wide range of emotions for a reason. There is something we need to learn from those feelings.

If you need to bury your head under your comforter or veg out in front of the TV for a few days, go ahead and do it. Unpack your sadness and other negative feelings. Just don’t stay in that place permanently!

For the New Year, I made a goal for weight loss. As soon as January 1st hit, I was on it! I made better eating choices, started counting calories, and exercised daily. Unfortunately, after a weigh in at the end of the month, I was disappointed to discover that I did not lose a single pound. I was PISSED.

So I gave up…for a few days. Started eating my feelings and stopped waking up early to exercise. It was a pretty pathetic sight but I needed to be in that place for a while to lick my wounds.

Once you work out your feelings about your setback, you are in a better place to pick up the pieces and move on.

Step 2: Evaluate Your Missteps

This step requires you to figure out what happened to cause the setback. In other words, what could you have done better to prevent this from happening?

That means you need to put on your big girl panties (or big boy underwear) and admit that you may have played a part in your own setback. It might be hard to hear but if you really want your goals to work out, you have to take responsibility for your actions.

Sometimes we have our blinders on and we can’t see the situation from any perspective besides our own. It may be helpful to find a friend or colleague you trust to help you see it from a different point of view.

After my foiled attempt at losing weight, I whined about it on social media. Many of my friends chimed in, not just to give me support, but to give me advice based on their own experience with weight loss. I was able to get a new perspective, learn what I did wrong and gain new ideas for losing weight.

Step 3: Make a Plan to Improve

Now that you have felt all the feelings and discovered what you did wrong, it’s time to get back on track. Don’t wait too long to put your new plan into action. Now that you have some momentum, use it to your advantage.

Here are some questions you need to ask yourself as you prepare a new plan of attack:

  • Does your goal need adjusting?
  • Do you need more time to accomplish your goal?
  • What additional resources would help you?
  • What would you change about your approach this time around?
  • What or who can hold you accountable for your plan?

A final word of inspiration

You can do this! Don’t be anxious about trying again. Think about the courage it took for you to try to accomplish this goal the first time. Don’t let your setbacks hold you back!

I would love to hear how you are overcoming your setbacks and blasting through your goals like a boss! Drop me a line at tyese@strongmomsadmom.com to let me know how you have been inspired!

IS SELF-CONFIDENCE A SUPER POWER?-YASMEN AHMED

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Hi! I’m Yasmen, a CBT Integrated Therapist & Clinical Hypnotherapist.
Everyone deserves emotional wellness, inner peace and light in their spirits. My purpose is to inspire you to rekindle your light within in a world that can often feel lonely, disconnected and dim. My mission is to widen your mind with gems of knowledge, feel accepted and inspired towards embracing and becoming your best self!
These tools are easily accessible through my online platform Inspire with Yas- a heart centered space filled with inspiration, positivity, self-love and drops of magic. Join the community and be inspired daily!

You can also follow me on Instagram or Facebook.

Is self-confidence a super power?

Quite simply, no.
Self- confidence is not a super power, it is something we can all have and achieve. Over the years, self-confidence has been perceived as a ‘gift’ that only a selected SPECIAL few have. We have been split into two groups. One group of individuals who are lucky enough to be born with this natural trait and the other group are the “unlucky” ones who did not get this trait.

But how have we got this wrong?

Let me first begin by asking you to do one little thing. I want you, just for a moment to remove this pre-conceived idea that self-confidence is some sort of innate personality trait or gift that only ‘special’ people are born with.

Confidence is a SKILL, just like any other skill. Learning to walk? That’s a skill. Learning to drive or play the drums? That’s a skill. Learning to bake amazingly delicious cakes? Heck, that’s a pretty good skill.

We go through life continually learning new skills in all areas of our lives. We get good at a skill by learning to master it. But when it comes to self-confidence we fail to put it under the same umbrella. Why do we think of it as an innate superpower? Are we born with knowledge of how to drive a car or how to tie our shoe laces? Or are we taught first then told to practice it?

Self-confidence is the same thing. But instead of being told to practice this skill, in society we have instead just assumed that it is something we must already have within and can’t be learnt. Which we know is untrue.

How do we become masters at it?

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1.   PRACTICE

When we want to get good at any form of skill, what are we told to do? PRACTICE! Just like building physical strength, we need to work on building our muscles of self-confidence by exercising them daily through different tasks.

The more you exercise and strengthen your self-confidence muscles, the easier it will get.

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2.   TAKE IT STEP BY STEP

You would not throw yourself right into the deep end of a swimming pool if you never learnt to swim right?

It is the small steps that make the biggest difference and shifts in our lives. Practice exercising

your self-confidence in smaller environments first. Do you want to master self-confidence when giving talks or speeches? Start with mastering the practice of speaking to yourself in the mirror first. Then move up to practicing in front of family and friends. Then when you feel comfortable, slowly excel to bigger audiences and keep growing.

The key here is not to rush and most importantly be kind to you. Give yourself credit for each small accomplishment you complete.

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3.  REMOVE THE LABELS

We are often given labels from a young age from our parents, friends, teachers and society. We take these labels as truths and allow them to limit us towards achieving our goals, hopes and dreams.

Let’s say as a child you were labeled as the ‘quiet and shy kid’ but your brother or sister was the ‘confident and talkative kid’. Without realizing, you will live your life never believing you could be anything more because you were not “blessed” with the gift of self-confidence like your brother or sister. You will keep yourself stuck, limited and remain within the barriers of your own mind.

Do not allow words or labels given to you, define who you are. They are not real. Give yourself permission to explore and become the person you want to be instead.

Lastly

It all starts with YOU. Self-confidence can be achieved by anyone, it is not a superpower only gifted to some. Nothing is stopping you but yourself. Don’t you think it is time to start stepping into your own power?

Striving Towards A Simple Life – Just a Bit Further

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Is it even possible?

Is it possible to live a simple life, given the velocity that life careens through the cosmos these days? A life that gives you room to breathe and ultimately to live life on your own terms. Not necessarily life as the result of ditching everything and living off-grid in a self-hewed cabin in the wilderness of northern Ontario, but a life regardless of where you are, that in all intense purposes is simple.”

How many of us are desperately seeking this kind of quiet change? A major hurdle to overcoming this pilgrimage of living “simple” is the concept of “living simpler”. Sadly, this is pretty much polar opposite to the world as we know it.

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This comes as no huge shock, but we live a crazy, and insanely busy time.

What defies logic is; although we bemoan and complain about how insane it all is, when we flip the coin over we find ourselves glorifying busy and all the insaneness.

We extoll with our friends and colleagues on how many hours we can work. All of which goes hand in hand with how little sleep we need to work all those hours. At the expense of friends, family and relationships in general, we glue our noses to computer screens or our smartphones, using each precious second we can find. We become addicted to the “likes” and “comments” hoping they will inject a level of validation into what can be a somewhat superficial and sad commentary of our affairs.

Like sitting around a poker table, we raise the stakes higher and higher. We take on more commitments. Our jobs demand more and more of us, to produce greater outputs, meaning longer hours and even more commitments. We are driven to do more and, yes, buy more. Many people abuse themselves with drugs and/or alcohol in an out of control attempt to get distracted from the insaneness until they are anesthetized into dreamland and stressed beyond human comprehension.

Okay, that might be a stretch for some, but it certainly is the reality for many. But, granted it is tough.

Many of us were raised in environments where achievements and the pursuit of wanting more is hard-wired into our DNA. So, there is never enough and there is always more to be had. We push more and more to get further ahead. To be better than last year, striving for a better and more prestigious title at work. And always lurking out there somewhere, like a northern pike circling the shallow water for his next meal, is the lure of more money. We believe “money” to be the answer to all our troubles and strife. Believing that more money will buy us the peace, happiness and a simpler life we have so longed for.

What might happen though, if we decided to take a bit of side-step?

To strategically work on leaving the craziness and insaneness behind, and to go for a life that was much simpler in its complexity?

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Is it even possible?

Let’s make the assumption that it is. If so, what might a less simple existence even look like?

Again, I’m not suggesting or promoting heading off to a northern Ontario wood-lot deep in the boreal forests anywhere north of Manitouwadge and hand whacking a tiny cabin together with nothing more than an axe, grit and determination. Although, if that’s what you think it takes, more power to you!

Like I do, most of us live in the real world and we have real-world commitments. It is those commitments that require us to live in the real world. The reality we see each day when we open the front door.

How can we be in this world (the crazy and insanely hectic one), but move towards living simpler? How to get out of the “race” and to step away from the busyness, whether self-imposed or not. How can I/we slow things down, while fulfilling our purpose, doing great work and living a wonderful life?

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Breathing

Creating and living a much simpler life is all about breathing.

Establishing space through cutting or scaling back gives you space to breathe.

Doing more and having more doesn’t lead to happiness and fulfillment. In fact, the opposite is true. It’s about finding joy in the simple things, and being content with solitude, quiet, contemplation and savoring the moment.

A few things to keep in mind though.

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We Are Our Own Worst Enemy

All of the stress, the irritations, the dissatisfaction, and disappointments; all the craziness and rushing around; we created all of it. So, whether you like it or not, we are our own worst enemy. Every one of those things we created in our own minds. We made those decisions and we created these with attachments in our heads. By letting go, we can relax and live more simply.

Clutter and Complexity

Get rid of stuff.”

When we can get rid of “stuff” and become less attached, a couple of things can happen. If you sell some of the “tangible stuff”, you’ll have a bit of cash in your hand and most significantly, getting rid of clutter can result in these benefits:

  • sense of confidence – I have only X amount of space, so I need to be bold with what goes and what stays
  • more energy – relates to the first point. Puts you in the get things done mode
  • reduces anxiety – most of us prefer order as compared to chaos. Decluttering creates order and order reduces anxiety
  • creates more time – not overwhelmed now with the time that WAS needed to clean and tidy. Creates time for other things or to do nothingWhen we can do something like getting rid of the clutter around us, our lives start to become simpler.

Social Media

Might as well blurt it out there – “social media is the scourge of today. Okay, it might not be “the scourge of today,” but it rates right up there.

There is no getting around it, we are addicted to those little electronic devices. Our phone, Ipads, computers and all that they deliver – we can never get enough. We check our FB feeds to see how many likes did that post get. We upload a picture of our dinner on Instagram and then head over and update our life on Twitter. Each time we “just check for a second,” a wee tiny blast of dopamine let’s loose in our brains and we become more and more addicted.

For too many of us, it’s insanely hard to stop.

In search of making our lives simpler, cutting back on social media time is an excellent element in our quest. In checking to see who’s doing what and who said what, we waste time and energy. Sadly, we get stuck in a trap of comparing ourselves with “influencers” and others on social media, which over time can erode our confidence and takes away the power we have within us as individuals.

Less screen time equates to more breathing time and space.

A Few Simple Things

How many feel that their lives and activities need to be complex. In that, complex equates to better. Often, that includes a cycle of “more complex and better” as time moves along. Yesterday’s complex and better doesn’t cut it today.

Striving towards a life that is simpler means looking inside of us, deep inside of us to discover those simple joys and activities in life.

For me, those include writing/blogging, reading and discovering new things; as well as the outdoors; including hiking and walking. Most importantly, spending time with Lynn, while she captures all of this with her photography skills and passion.

When we downsized our home after our daughter left for college, we gave more stuff away than I can remember. And when I say downsize I mean downsize… to a 700 square foot two bedroom home.

When our lives become focused on the simple things you love doing, life suddenly becomes simpler.

Less clutter; less stuff; less worry.

“No” Is Not A Bad Word

Most of us are not very clear about what we want. How many of us see a post on social media of something really neat or exciting and we become obsessed about doing whatever that was. Next thing you know, we find ourselves heading in a new and totally different direction.

When someone invites us out, we instantly say, yes. Why? Because we’re “yes people” or “people pleasers.” We simply cannot say no.

Because we can never say no, our lives and schedules get stretched to the breaking point. There’s never enough time left for the things that are most important to us.

No is not a bad word.

What if we worked really hard on those things in our existence that held the most and dearest value to us? Saying, “yes” to those things and “no” to the other stuff. If we knew what we wanted to create and the direction we want our lives to head in, we could say yes to these things, and no to everything else.

Saying no to more things would simplify our lives. No is not a bad word!

Do Nothing – Practice It Until You Get REAL GOOD at it.

Have you ever just sat back and did nothing for a day? Just hung loose and did NOTHING. No need to feel that the day had been wasted if something had not been accomplished.

We all need idle time. Time built in to sit and watch the clouds drift by on a warm summer’s afternoon. A time that is free to do nothing.

Many people feel the need to have every waking moment filled with activities and the need to accomplish so much, each and every day. The reality is we need that down time to rejuvenate ourselves…..to meditate; to think; to reflect.

Why?

Having that time to do nothing and just “be you” helps to foster and create contentment with life.

Get In Alignment

When working towards achieving a simpler life, at some point along the way it will become clear to you which things in your life are no longer in alignment with your values.

Part of living more simply will help you identify those unnecessary aspects of your daily life. It might be less FB and social media time, or it might be areas in your life that need significant review and thought. This could be your job; friendships; where you live; belongings (getting rid of things) or anything else that just doesn’t line up with your simpler existence.

So, is it even possible?

Yes, it is possible and like much of life, it comes down to a decision. We are the only ones who can decide if we want our lives to be less hectic and more simple in existence.

It doesn’t mean packing up and living in a tiny cabin out in the hinterlands cut off from everything. It’s about making priorities; figuring out what we want our lives to look like and then acting on those things to accomplish it.

Something tells me that as time marches on, life will become more and more complex, with greater demands on our time. Perhaps now is your moment to re-evaluate where you are… where you’re headed. To start now and simplify your life to create something that gives you room to breathe and room to live!

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To quote Yvon Chouinard, an early rock climbing pioneer and founder of the outdoor equipment and clothing company Patagonia and environmental activist.

Thanks for reading and stopping by.