Tag Archives: writing

Spring Self Care Ideas

Hello friends!

I made something for you – with spring coming up soon and everyone in a panic over this COVID-19 virus spreading – here are a few things you can do for self care. I hope you enjoy!

Self Care Ideas

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

Blogging Goals for 2020

Catch the Sunrise

I know I’m a little late to the game with these New Year’s posts… but life has just taken up too much of my time since Christmas. I was out of work for a bit for the holiday, then my bosses were out a bit for the holidays and one of them still is (jealous!) and things have just been really hard to concentrate on. Well, I’m hoping that will change in this new year and I want to get my mojo back and stop procrastinating.

I’ve come up with a list of a few goals that I want to implement for my blog this year and a few things I really want to focus on. Most are for my blog, but there are a few things in there unrelated to the WordPress blogging platform, but still include writing or publishing.

  • Write more authentic material about my life, my mental health and how I deal with it. Afterall, this is a mental health focused site, and I would like to keep it that way.
  • Upload more photography with my posts that I have taken, or taken specifically for that post. Too many times I’ve used sites like Unsplash for photography for my personal posts, and while I do have a photography page on my blog here, I think I need to start taking specific photos for each blog I’m writing and put some more time into that aspect.
  • Publish another piece or two for Thought Catalog this year. I’ve written one before, but it’s been so long, I think it’s time I write some more in my down time… whenever I may have that.
  • Create a page on my blog for my Virtual Assistant Services that I offer to small businesses. I’ve been doing them freelance for a little bit now, and I don’t really have set documentation yet except a SOW and way to Invoice everyone. I think it’s time to focus on that a bit more.
  • Continue taking guest bloggers throughout the year. I’ve been doing this since October 2018 and would love to make this consistent on my blog for 2020 and beyond even. I can count this as an ongoing goal I think and make it happen!
  • Challenge myself to write at least 4-5 posts per month of my own content and help tips for readers.
  • Focus on Pinterest more to drive traffic to my blog and make my own Pinterest graphics to go along with each post I create. I haven’t really been focusing on Pinterest much, and from what I hear, it’s great for impressions and to find new readers.
  • Write about my experience with online schooling with SNHU and how my classes go. I am taking 2-3 classes this year and I really want to keep track on how it goes. I know alot of people do it these days and want to keep up with it.

what are your goals for 2020 for your blog?

Another Dietary Plan with Antidepressant Implications? – John Caruso

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Another dietary plan with antidepressant implications?

The connections between diet and physical health have long been assumed. While the science exploring this is still in relative infancy, most of us understand the concept of “you are what you eat.”

But is it possible that how we think is also affected by what we eat? Could simple dietary changes give us a boost into more vibrant mental health? Or prevent us from sliding into poor mental health in the first place?

To answer those questions, let’s not make assumptions. Let’s see what the science says.

Published in the October 2009 edition of JAMA Psychiatry (formerly Archives of General Psychiatry), researchers from the University of Navarra set out to determine what impact eating the Mediterranean diet might have on the incidence of depression.

Using a massive sample size of 10,094 participants, researchers measured incidents of depression after a median of 4.4 years, then compared those outcomes with the results of a 136-item food frequency questionnaire to determine any potential correlation between adherence to the Mediterranean diet and clinical depression.

Their results were not insignificant.

They found the Hazard Ratios (probability of depression incidents) to be considerably lower among those who adhered more closely to the Mediterranean diet than those who did not.

The researchers grouped participants into five groups based on their adherence to the diet and compared the risk of depression relative to the group who least closely adhered to the diet. Here is how they performed (from least close to closest adherence).

Group 1:               Least adherence to Mediterranean diet

Group 2:               26% reduction in risk

Group 3:               34% reduction in risk

Group 4:               51% reduction in risk

Group 5:               42% reduction in risk

The closer participants adhered to the diet, the greater the reduction in risk. Curiously, the group with the closest adherence bucked the trend and experienced a slight uptick compared to the group just behind them, but the reduction in risk of 42 percent is still quite significant.

So we should all just adopt the Mediterranean diet then, right?

Not so fast!

While these results are extremely encouraging, we need to take a closer look at them, as well as other studies to see what they mean to us.

First of all, the results of this study need to be replicated to find out if there is consistency. And while adherence to the diet as a whole may have shown lowered risk, risk was not eliminated entirely. Also, some foods showed increased risk when evaluated independently.

For example, while fruits and nuts showed decreased risk of between 31 percent toward the lower end of consumption and 39 percent on the upper end, meat products showed a decreased risk of 8 percent on the lower end and an increased risk of 35 percent on the upper end.

So, does that mean that some meat is beneficial while a lot of meat is detrimental? And some fruits and nuts are beneficial while a lot of fruits and nuts are very beneficial?

Perhaps. But this is why further studies are needed. Can these foods be studied in a vacuum, or do they work synergistically with one another when in proper balance?

This is precisely the reason to take these results with a nice grain of Mediterranean Sea salt.

What is our takeaway then?

When you look at the results of this study and add them to the results of others that have shown similar findings, such as this one about the DASH diet, this one about turmeric, and even this one about saffron, you can start to see a common thread begin to emerge.

We are seeing more and more evidence that some of these whole foods-based, nutrient-rich diets may offer more than just benefits to our physical health. They may offer a profound impact on our mental health as well.

Much more research is needed to confirm these findings and to discover what mechanisms within these diets may be responsible for their potential benefits. But in the meantime, they give us a great head start in chasing down some answers.

(And when you chase them down, always chase them down in consultation with your physician!)

Reference: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/210386

The statements contained in this article have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. Unless otherwise specified, no writer for PursuitOfGreat.com is a licensed physician, medical doctor, trainer, nutritionist or health professional of any kind. Do not consume anything written about on this website if you are allergic to it.

The opinions expressed herein are for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis and treatment. Please consult a physician or health care professional for your specific health care or medical needs.

Please talk to your doctor before beginning any exercise or diet program, including those found in this article. The information provided in this article is not intended as a substitute for consultations with your doctor nor is it intended to provide medical advice specific to your condition.

Author Bio John Caruso is the owner and writer of www.PursuitOfGreat.com, a site specializing in health and wellness reviews, positive mindset, belief, finances, and solutions that provide an equal playing field in life for all. The goal of PursuitOfGreat.com is to find and share tools that anyone can use to achieve greatness in life, regardless of who they are or where they come from. Stop by and, if you find something that helps you, spread the word! Twitter Pinterest

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.

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS

https://www.amandarobinspsychotherapy.com.au/articles

https://twitter.com/amandarobins7

https://www.pinterest.com.au/amandartherapy/pins/

https://www.facebook.com/amandarobinspsychotherapy.com.au/

https://www.instagram.com/amandarobinstherapy/

https://www.linkedin.com/in/amanda-robins-a861a782/

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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Getting Your Child Reading Ready for School – Elaine Gallagher

Today, I have a special guest post for back to school season from a good friend Elaine! While it’s a bit unrelated to mental health, which I try to focus on, Elaine wrote this for another blog, and it was never posted sadly, and I hate to see writing go to waste like this, especially with useful information! Elaine has written for me previously and you can see her post here if you are interested in seeing her other contribution to my blog.

Summer is the time of the year that we all look forward to as we count the last days of school. A break in the morning routines, rushing out the door, doing homework and squeezing in dinner time is on hold for a few months. It’s time to reconnect with your family and friends. But school is only on a break and we should remember that learning is a lifelong endeavor.

You often hear teachers and parents talk about the “summer slide”. That is the anticipation that children will drop up to two reading levels over the summer as they are no longer in the routine of reading every night. This is especially true of those in the lower grades who are just climbing to grade level.

As a parent, what can you do to prevent the summer slide?

Here are some suggestions:

Visit the library on some fun activity days (after the park or pool) and take a few books out. What is your child’s favorite author or genre? Encourage reading more books in a series or in a specific genre. Have your child look for books on their level to encourage reading confidently at that level and to keep their skills strong. Take turns reading the book together. Discuss what is happening in the book and make predictions and inferences whenever you can.

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Students should continue to log into their school’s reading website and continue accessing their individual reading records. Most schools will use these throughout the primary grades to monitor your child’s reading growth. You can also check out other fun sites for students to continue reading by visiting We Have Kids.

They can alternate between reading books from the library and using these websites. Look for YouTube videos of their favorite books and have them read aloud to them. Listening comprehension is important and having continuous discussions keeps children interested in books and stories.

Model reading wherever you go! Read in the grocery store. Read on the train. Read signs when driving in the car. Model reading directions or recipes you are following. Put closed captioning on TV to follow along while characters are speaking. When children see the importance of reading in everyday life and tasks, they will be more apt to keep their skills up.

Children practice what they see. When they see their parents reading and enjoying it, they are more apt to show an interest. Explain how you find books in your interest areas and encourage them to do the same. Have an area set up in your home where you keep your favorite books and magazines. Make it represent you. If you love the beach you can display some sea shells and pictures on your shelves alongside your books. Have a cozy chair nearby. Cuddle up in your reading area with your child to encourage parent and child bonding over reading time.

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Keep a reading log! If children keep a reading log required by school or just for them, they will be encouraged to have many books on their list. If there is a prize or recognition given at school for reading over the summer, keep encouraging them. Sign up for reading competitions at the local library or bookstore if available.

Work together with your child and encourage them to continue their reading growth and interest in reading. Make it clear how important reading is during their education and throughout their lives. Take a look at Child Mind for additional tips on keeping your child reading ready for a new school year.

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And above all, enjoy your summer vacation and the ease of relaxation which comes from a much needed break.

Elaine Gallagher is an elementary educator for over 20 years and a freelance writer. She
currently teaches 2nd Grade. She loves music, dance and reading. You can connect with her on Facebook (Elaine EMG), Instagram (@ellyelementary) and Pinterest (Elly  Elementary). Also, take a look at her two blogs: One on Education and one on Healthy Living.

Surprisingly Simple Ways to Help Overcome Situational Sadness & Stress – Allison Shorter

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Allison Shorter and her family live in Colorado where they enjoy hiking, healthy living, and homeschooling. They lived in China for almost 4 years where they started a non-profit to help teenaged orphan girls with jobs, life skills, and sex trafficking prevention. Since being back in the US, her mission is to educate others about an overall healthy lifestyle including CBD oil, essential oils, and general wellness. You can find her at HealthyLivingInColorado.com, Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Stress Happens

Since I started my health and wellness journey, I have tried to find natural remedies for things that I would have just popped a pill for previously. I realize medicine is still really helpful for many people, but natural remedies are my thing.

So here I’ll share some tips with you on helping to overcome mild situational stress and sadness naturally. I’m not a doctor (please consult with yours), but here is what has worked for us.

Just recently my husband and I were both going through a hard time emotionally. We were adjusting back to the US after our years in China, we had just moved yet again from North Carolina to Colorado, and my mom had recently passed away. Things were stressful, and we were sad.

I researched a little bit and used my practical knowledge and experience to alter several things in our lives. With some time, we were feeling more like ourselves. Here’s what I did:

Mediterranean Diet and Lifestyle

The first thing I did was change our diets. We usually eat more protein based food, but admittedly we had been stressed so I wasn’t cooking much. So right away I switched us to a Mediterranean Diet and spent more time in the kitchen because the Mediterranean Diet is said to improve mood and outlook.

For breakfast we mostly ate eggs and vegetables.

For meals we also ate lean meats like chicken, fish, and things like falafel with hummus. We ate more whole grains like pasta and bread than we ever do, but for a few weeks, it was fine.

The diet is also very veggie and fruit heavy, so we eat a lot of that.

For snacks we ate nuts, seeds, nut butters, and pita crackers.

The most difficult thing was probably no sugar. I don’t eat much sugar anyway, but it makes things like coffee more difficult. But sugar can make sadness worse, so I didn’t eat any.

The Mediterranean Diet is not only about the food, but also about lifestyle. Those in the Mediterranean enjoy a slow meal with loved ones, have a glass of wine, take in sunshine, exercise, and rest in the afternoon. So we tried to do more of these things on a daily basis as well.

Vitamins and Supplements

I also started a regimen of vitamins and supplements. Some of them we already used, but I might have added more than we were taking, or introduced it altogether.

    • Omega 3 vitamins: Omega vitamins are really good for your brain and can help optimize the health of your brain. This is one reason the Mediterranean Diet is recommended because it offers a lot of fish and nuts on plan that are high in Omegas.
  • Adaptogenic herbs: These can help relax the nervous system and reduce cortisol levels. Ashwagandha is a popular adaptogenic herb you may have heard of.
  • Probiotics: Gut health is so important to every system in your body! Sometimes called the “second brain,” your gut needs some extra love when there is stress going on. And probiotics can help with digestion, immunity, and other systems.

 

  • Essential oils: My favorite essential oils when I am stressed or feeling anxious are lavender, chamomile, doTERRA Balance, and doTERRA Peace. This article explains the benefits of each oil and how to use them. Best Essential Oils for Calming Anxious Feelings

Relationships

Another really important thing to make sure you have in your life is solid relationships. That was one of the difficult things for my family is that we had just moved across the country to a place where we didn’t know anyone. It takes time to meet people in a new place.

So we made sure to reach out to friends who knew us for years and who would support us in the stress and sadness of the season. Lack of relationship can make your whole life seem low. Good relationships take work to maintain. But relationships are worth it, and necessary to emotional health.

I hope you find these tips helpful on your health journey!

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

 

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?

practice

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?

How To: Be Resilient Against Your Chronic Society Anxiety – Ariette Hung

About the Guest Author:  
This article is written for The Unsanity Blog by Canadian blogger, Ariette Hung. She is currently working towards a Master’s Degree in Clinical Counseling. She cares deeply about mental health literacy, promoting resilience and growth, and instilling hope in others in times of adversity such as mental health struggles. When she isn’t studying, you can find her at her blog, ariettehung.com, where she blogs about saving money, side hustle ideas, entrepreneurship, and how to run a profitable blog.
Social links: Pinterest | Twitter | Instagram

According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America (ADAA), the defining feature of social anxiety disorder, also called social phobia, is intense anxiety or fear of being judged, negatively evaluated, or rejected in a social or performance situation.

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In today’s post, I will be outlining some clinical insight on managing, reversing, and becoming resilient to your socially anxious thoughts, behaviors, and tendencies.

Practice mindfulness meditation and practice breathing techniques.

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When you’re anxious, you might feel physical changes in your body that make you feel pain or discomfort — it can manifest in shortness of breath, heart palpitations, sweaty palms, feverish feelings, tension, dizziness, nausea, or in the sensation of suffocation.

Managing your anxiety through meditation and breathing techniques can be very grounding and can assist you in adjusting misaligned and irrational thoughts to positive, and rational schemas. With proper therapeutic breathing techniques and meditation, you can soothe your nervous system and calm your heart rate.

My Calm-Down-Anxiety-Breathing Technique

  1. Sit up straight and relax your shoulders.
  2. Try to release any tension in your body.
  3. Place your hand above your diaphram (belly) and your heart.
  4. Breathe in slowly for four full seconds. Exhale slowly over 6 seconds.

Slowing your breathing can help you relax and regain your sense of equillibrium.

Resources to help: Headspace, Yoga with Adriene, The Mindful Kind podcast

Try exercises that reduce your anxiety.

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Exercise is closely linked to mental health, because your mind feels better and more “awake” when your body is moving. This is because your body produces endorphins when you exercise, which gives your mood a boost, almost like a natural “high”.

Hate traditional working out or the idea of going to a gym? Try these: Swimming, dance class, yoga, rowing, hiking, going for a walk, running, spinning, biking, skiing, skating

If you incorporate physical exercise into your routine on a regular basis, you will feel much better!

Prepare accordingly for socially anxious situations.

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Give yourself a pep talk and remind yourself that it’s going to be okay. If you know that large crowds overwhelm you, ask a buddy to stick by your side throughout the night.

Truth is, no one is going to pay as much attention to you as you think they will. And I know, your brain tells you otherwise and you feel panicked. Your feelings are valid.

But, your perception of reality might be warped. In order to assist you, have a friend “coach” you through socially difficult situations (whether it’s talking to your crush, talking to your professor, standing up to your parents, or asking for a raise at work), and if you see a counselor for your anxiety, I recommend working on your anxiety with him/her.

Implement self-compassion practices.

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Journal about good days. Forgive yourself for bad days.

Challenge negative thoughts with the talk-back technique. writing

The purpose of this exercise is to identify the ugly, inner critic inside your head, and challenge those negative notions with a rational and positive voice.

Write down all the negative thoughts you have about yourself. Unleash your inner critic.

Your list can look like…

  1. You can’t do anything right.
  2. You are a failure.
  3. You are never going to make it.

Now, think about it, are these facts really true? Embody the most rational voice you have (maybe impersonate the most practical, logical person you know) and talk back.

Your talk-back statements may look like…

  1. You may not have succeeded at everything you’ve tried, but you’ve at least tried and you’re improving every time that you do it. That’s still a win.
  2. You are not a failure. Failure is something that can happen to you but it is not something you are. So, you can fail, and maybe you have, but it doesn’t define you. If anything, again, it means that you tried and that deserves credit.
  3. You may not be where you want to be right now, but you will be if you continue to work at it. After all, anyone who has ever “made it” in life has hustled for it.

Point is, the rational voice is right. It is not there to sugarcoat anything or baby you. But it is there to put things into proper perspective so you can see yourself and your problems with a realistic lens. Using this technique, you take control of your schemas.

To whoever is reading this article today,

I hope that this blog post and its suggestions are helpful to you.

I understand that anxiety looks different for everyone as we are all individual, unique people so please consult a professional consultant as needed. These are suggestions and practices that I have developed to aid me through my own anxiety over the years (it’s considerably managed), and have studied in school as an aspiring psychotherapist.

I may not know you and you may not know me, but know that I am rooting for you.

With love and light,

Ariette