In response to the articles circulating on the Internet about why positive thinking is bad, I’m going to talk about why it’s good. It’s always helped me and I know it will continue to.
Trigger warning: I talk about my experiences with self-harm, in-depth, in the first bullet point. Feel free to skip down to the other three if you aren’t comfortable reading.
It kills negative self-talk.
I don’t have infinite self-esteem. I get discouraged, I doubt myself, and I tear myself down; it’s only human to do so.
Positive thinking allows me to break the thought process. Back when I self-harmed, I didn’t know how to stop the hate. I kept insulting myself, kept pushing myself, until I cracked and then I’d dig my nails into my arm to assert control again. It never made me feel better; it just numbed my emotions for a little while because of the shock.
When I stopped seeing my counselor, I resolved to be more optimistic starting that summer. I recognized that I was losing control to the negative thoughts in my head and I sought to get it back. Part of this results from practicing mindfulness for several years, but now I can turn my thoughts around within minutes.
Just the other day, I was reviewing the Finite Math test I recently took and found out I made several “silly mistakes” because I misinterpreted the question. I felt stupid and inadequate. I thought that no matter how much I studied, I’d just flub up the class anyway since I clearly couldn’t even read the questions properly. And that was when I had my realization…
If my mistakes were so simple, they’d be easy to fix! No Venn diagram sleight of hand necessary! Needless to say, I felt much better after having this thought and finished my review in peace.
It’s a non-vicious cycle
Positive thinking is an art form in itself, but once you get the hang of it, one thing leads to another and suddenly you’re on-top-of-the-world.
Often times, when I walk around my school campus, I’m actively working to release stress. Immediately, I try to let go of whatever’s worrying me and replace it with something else. Plugging in headphones and drowning out your thoughts is always a great last resort, but I like to re-focus my thoughts before I wear out my eardrums.
Just yesterday, I had a really tough lesson in Finite Math and, as I was walking towards the dining hall, I started thinking about this blog. Recently, I’ve seen a spike in traffic, I’ve solidified my voice, and got in touch with some awesome mental health activists. (More on that later.) All things considered, my blog is thriving and I can’t think about that without instantly feeling better. This is my first real step towards fighting the stigma around mental health; I can finally say that I’m living the dream.
Then I started thinking about how, even last year, I couldn’t have even dreamed of where I am now. Studying what I’m meant to at my dream university fighting for what I care about. Can it get any better than that?
Sure, I’m hitting hitches in the road, but that’s just a part of life.
Bottom Line: Having a positive lifeline can turn a bad day around.
It inspires others
As you lovelies know, this past Christmas I gave my dad a little book of inspirational quotes that I handwrote. It couldn’t have come at a better time for him because he was feeling particularly low after a slew of false alarms and failures in general.
Not even a month later, he interviewed for a job. (This is the one I mentioned last week.) Lovelies, I’m very happy to say that they did offer him the position, however, it turned out to have more travel than he could commit to. They’d have him flying out to all parts of the world for 2 weeks at a time every quarter and my dad just isn’t willing to do that so he had to turn it down.
Bottom Line: I’m not fishing for praise, but I can’t say for sure that my dad would have even had the strength to interview for this job without my inspiration blast.
By the way, I find it extremely fulfilling to lift other people up when they’re struggling. That’s why when you lovelies reach out to me about how my blog has touched you, I’m equally touched.
It helps me power through adversity
If I could tell my seven-year old self only one thing, I’d tell her it gets better. That one day she’d go to sleep at night feeling safe and content. That one day her battle wounds would heal enough that she could close other people’s. That one day she’d find all the answers she sought.
I didn’t see a way out back then. I figured I’d be stuck in darkness forever so I may as well accept it. As long as I believed that, I was stuck. It wasn’t searching for a needle in a haystack because there was no escape plain and simple.
Until I changed my mind, I had no hope. Now I struggle to find reasons not to hope for the best.
As Will the Krill (from Happy Feet 2) says…
“I fear the worst too, but only because fearing the best is an absolute waste of time!”
If you don’t believe in the light at the end of the tunnel, you have no reason to worry, you’ll never find it. If you do, pick up a flashlight and walk with me.
P.S. Update on my daruma doll; it was barely clinging onto the edge of my desk much like I’m hanging onto life by a fingernail right now. I’m not falling, I’m surviving.
P.P.S. I don’t see this week’s Boundless Challenge happening because a ton of schoolwork/homework piled up on me last minute that’s all due Friday. Sorry about that!
Because most people get depressed from time to time, there is that eternal question if depression is a real illness. The answer is: yes. The clinical one, that is. It has been said that about one out of eight United States residents will likely become clinically depressed. Some experience it once in a lifetime, while others have multiple episodes. This is a fact: if a person gets depressed for the first time, there is a 50 percent chance that he will fall to the same predicament again. And come the second time, there is the threat that he will go into a third depressing episode.
Depression is a real illness as it involves the mental, emotional and even physical faculties of the person. It is not just a transient sad feeling that will go away when one wills it to. There are symptoms and signs as well as corresponding treatment. If not handled properly and immediately, it may escalate to worse conditions. Like any other illness, depression has also variations.
There are three types of depressive disorders: major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder and dysthymic disorder.
Major depression is a culmination of all the symptoms and signs that intervene with one’s capability to act normally. It can happen once, but recurring episodes are possible.
Its less severe counterpart is dysthymia which is characterized by the same symptoms of major depression, only they do not totally interfere with one’s activities. A person who has dysthymic disorder can suffer major depression sometime during his life.
Bipolar disorder is also a type of depression that involves drastic mood changes, from being very high one minute to severely depressed the next. The manic cycle can make the person hyper and overenthusiastic but it changes as soon as the depressed cycle hits. The depressed cycle encompasses all the symptoms of depression.
Because depression is an illness, there are symptoms. Again, they are the following:
1. Persistent “empty” feeling
2. Unbelievable hopelessness
3. Feeling guilty and worthless all the time
4. Lack or loss of interests in activities that used to bring joy to the patient and this includes sex.
5. Prominent fatigue
6. Has a difficult time making decisions
7. Development of sleep problems
8. Loss of appetite and drastic weight change or loss
9. Suicidal attempts and thoughts.
10. Pronounced irritability
11. Physical aches and pains that have no physiological basis
The good news is at the end of this dark tunnel called depression, there is hope. Treatment is available in three types: psychotherapy, antidepressant medicine and the combination of the two.
Picking scabs is a hard-to-break habit that can lead to unsightly and harmful conditions, like infection, blemishes, or scarring. If done compulsively, it can also be a sign of a Body-Focused Repetitive Disorder (BFRD) called “Skin Picking Disorder”. While difficult, it is possible for you to rid yourself of this behavior through patience, effort, and, if need be, outside assistance.
Treating Your Scabs
Disinfect the wound. Open wounds and sores can develop infections. Always wash a new wound thoroughly with soap and water as soon as you obtain it. Then clean it up with an antiseptic wipe or a bit of Neosporin and apply a bandage to protect it while it heals. You can also try using betadine or peroxide on the wound to clean and remove unwanted bacteria. These basic precautions will help to keep it clean and prevent infection.
Keep the scab protected. Scabs form over wounds to keep out germs while the body repairs skin cells and tissue. It is important to help the healing process by protecting this barrier.
- If you cannot bandage it, try applying moisturizer or lotion as it heals. Scabs kept protected will usually leave less scarring. The slight skin massage that comes with applying moisturizer will also increase circulation and help it to heal properly.
- Take a fingernail file and smooth the scab down to the surrounding skin. Then, when your hand rubs across the area, it will be less of a temptation and harder to pick.
Be proactive. Ensure fewer scabs by using healthy products to properly cleanse your skin. Make sure that skin products aren’t causing blemishes that tempt you to pick.
Breaking the Habit
Study yourself. There may be reasons why you are picking at your scabs, ranging from purely physical (they itch) to mental or emotional (perhaps as a way to relieve tension). Understanding the root cause can help you to break the habit.
- Not everyone who picks their scabs has a behavioral problem. Some amount is normal. Other times it is a sign of skin problems, drug use of withdrawal, or other conditions. It only becomes a behavioral disorder when it is so frequent that it impacts other aspects of your daily life.
- People pick their skin for various reasons. For some it is boredom, while for others it can be a way to relieve negative feelings, depression, or stress. Sometimes it is unconscious; at other times the picker experiences feelings of guilt.
- Keeping a log can make you aware of when, where, and how often you are picking, especially when it happens unconsciously. Whenever you catch yourself, record it in a notebook.
Develop effective coping strategies. Once you have an idea of when and why you are picking your scabs, try things that divert your attention or remind you not to pick. It may take one or more different ways to control your behavior. Be strategic and use methods that suit your own situation.
Try challenging yourself. If you are a self-motivated and competitive person, make breaking your habit into a sort of contest. Set a number of days or hours to go without picking and gradually increase this. Then reward yourself for significant progress.
Make picking more difficult. One way to stop is to make the habit physically hard. Cut your nails, wear gloves, or cover the scabs. Having shorter fingernails will make it harder for you to pick. Keeping scabs bandaged will prevent you from looking at them and help you resist the urge to pick.
- Try soft cotton gloves. Not only do they act as a barrier, but they should make you even more conscious of the behavior and help you to reduce it.
- If you tend to pick at your arms or legs, wear long sleeves and pants whenever possible. If the scabs are on your ankle, wear high socks. This way, even if you give in, you will pick at the fabric rather than the skin itself.
Apply acrylic fingernails. This is another way of making your picking harder — and also a fashion-sensible one. It will be more difficult because you will have to scrape with thicker nails, which won’t catch the skin as easily. Thin nails are sharp and can slice off the scab.
- If you go this route, have the manicurist make the nails as short and thick as possible. This will be added insurance against damaging the skin.
Replace your habit with something less destructive. When you feel the urge, distract yourself or channel your energy into something else. Try reading books, going for a walk, or watching television when you feel the urge to pick.
- Finding a habit that occupies your hands is even better and is something that is commonly used to quit smoking. You might try drawing, gardening, knitting, doing a puzzle, playing the piano, or crocheting. You can even just hold a coin or paperclip. If nothing else works, sit on your hands.
Practice positive affirmation. Remember to respect yourself whenever you catch yourself picking. Press on the scabbed area or wave your hand over the scabs, with a reminder that you love yourself and want to protect your skin. Try this technique before bed and when you wake up.
Don’t give up! It will take a long time to undo the habit at first. But if you are successful just once, you can do it again and will eventually reduce your picking. Be proud of your progress. With care and time, you can gradually free yourself of the habit.
Getting Medical Help
Recognize a problem. If out of control, scab picking can be a sign of a bigger behavioral problem called “Skin Picking Disorder.” People with Skin Picking Disorder compulsively touch, scratch, pick, or rub their skin, which can result in scarring or worse.Try asking yourself the following questions:
- Does your skin picking take a lot of your time up?
- Do you have noticeable scars from skin picking?
- Do you feel guilty when you think about your skin picking?
- Does your skin picking cause significant disability socially or professionally?
- If you answer yes to more than one of these questions, you may have SPD.
Seek professional help. Scab picking may indicate SPD or another medical problem, like psoriasis or eczema. It is important to consult a medical professional to find out what is causing it, and whether it is independent or a symptom of a different, underlying problem.
- There are any number of different therapies available for chronic scab picking. Some might involve medication to relieve physical triggers, while others use behavioral therapy. Once a doctor discovers what is wrong, she can advise you on the best treatment.
- SPD is a variant of Obsessive Compulsive disorder because of the compulsive urge to perform repetitive behaviors.
- Your SPD may be related to depression, bipolar disorder, attention/deficit hyperactivity disorder, and an eating disorder. Other conditions similar to SPD include body dysmorphic disorder, trichotillomania (pulling out hair), and nail biting.
Follow a medical regimen. Your scab picking may be due to a physical problem and not to SPD. It may be dermatological, like eczema, for example, an inflammation of the skin that can cause itching. In this case the doctor may prescribe medication like corticosteroids or other topical creams.
- Remember, the medicine will treat the underlying cause of your scab picking, but it will not address the habit itself. Even if the physical triggers disappear, you may still feel the psychological urge and need help.
Seek psychological treatment. If your picking is not caused by a physical condition and is Skin Picking Disorder, you may need to consult a professional about getting counseling. One common psychological treatment option is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT.
- CBT is often used to help people replace bad habits with good ones. There are different forms of available for scab picking.
- Treatment may involve dermatological therapy, antidepressants, anxiolytics, or antipsychotics.
Consider habit reversal training (HRT). HRT is a form of CBT, for example, based on the idea that scab picking is a conditioned behavior. It helps you recognize situations in which you are likely to pick and discourages the behavior by substituting alternative responses, like balling up your fists, when faced with the urge to pick.
Consider stimulus control (SC), as well. SC is another method that lessens sensory triggers in your environment that lead to picking – that is, “high risk” situations. It teaches you how to avoid circumstances that might lead you to pick, like changing your bathroom behavior if looking in the mirror is your trigger.
I have been looking into minimalism for a while now. Many YouTubers have decided to take on a minimalist life style. I know that my mental health conditions, and even just my daily state of mind can really be affected by the state of my environment. I also have OCD tendencies and a messy bedroom really annoys me and stresses me out. I get overwhelmed quite easily and I am hopeful that a minimalist lifestyle might help me!
So that’s my own motivation. My inspiration came from a mixture of Youtube video’s including ones from Sugar Mamma. But the convincing ‘tipping point’ for my new year venture was a video by Rachel Aust . In this video she launches her 30 day minimalism challenge! And that is the one I am going to try to follow!
The challenge is a simply laid out list of 30 small bite-sized challenges to do over the course of days. I think it makes a great new years resolution challenge. Or as I prefer the term ‘new year’s lifestyle and happiness goal’
30-day-minimalism-challenge(FREE PDF -FROM RACHEL AUST)
So What Is Minimalism?
I always thought minimalism was art, a very empty or basic home or perhaps just living with no luxuries. However, as you can tell from the video above the definition, or at least the modern definition is very different. The minimalist life style is based on enjoying a fuller life, by having less chaos, distractions and stresses in your life – Not just throwing everything out! The idea is to keep things you need and that make you feel good, but discard everything else. Rachel Aust reminds us that things that we love and make us feel good, are different to sentimental objects that just clutter up our homes. The main elements are defined in the picture below.
My plan is to try and share an update with you guys every 3 days. I’ll let you know what challenges I did, if it made me feel any different, things I’ve learnt, new resources I’ve found that have helped me along my way and perhaps a few sneaky pics!
Taken from studentminds.org.uk
We’ve been noticing something odd about social media. According to social media, everyone is having an amazing time… all the time. If we are to believe social media, then everyone is out partying with their best mates every night. We don’t believe it! We know that for many of you, the best night isn’t a night out and there’s lots more to get up to during Freshers’ Week.
WHAT’S YOUR BEST NIGHT IN?
There are lots of expectations we have about university, especially to do with nights out and clubbing. A lot of these expectations are set in our first few weeks and go on to dictate our university social lives well after Freshers’ Week.
You see this most often through students Facebook or Instagram photos or Tweets. The trouble is, we only post photos of our parties and our pranks; the exciting times. We don’t share photos of our quieter evenings, of the things we do for a break or to look out for ourselves. It is time for us to stop feeling like we are missing out every time we choose to stay in.
As Freshers’ Week gets started all over the UK, we’ll be sharing your #BestNightIn photos to help students feel confident to do what they want during their first few weeks at university. Together we can remind every student in the UK that students really do stay in and there’s so much out there to make your #BestNightIn.
From the 12th September we want you to tell us about your Best Night In: share a photo and add the hashtag #BestNightIn.
Last year’s #BestNightEver campaign interacted with over 1000 people through the Student Minds website and we received over 50 #BestNightEver photos across our pages. During the first two days of the campaign, we saw a noticeable change in how people talked about their Freshers’ Week.
#BESTNIGHTIN 2016 EXAMPLES
Here are some of the best photos shared to our social media channels:
DO YOU WANT TO SHARE YOUR SUPPORT FOR THE #BESTNIGHTIN CAMPAIGN?
1) Any time between the 12th September – 7th October, share any of the following messages on Facebook or Twitter:
“Join @StudentMindsOrg to share your Freshers’ Week #BestNightIn! http://ow.ly/lgfY303UG6k”
“Be proud of your nights in. Share a your #BestNightIn with @StudentMindsOrg for your Freshers Week http://ow.ly/lgfY303UG6k”
2)Download Best Night In images below to share on your Instagram, Facebook or Twitter!
At Student Minds we’re using #BestNightIn to show students that they’re able to make their time at university whatever they want it to be and there’s no ideal university experience that is perfect for everyone.
Shared from http://30ontap.com/
Having a goal-oriented mindset is both a blessing and a curse. Goals keep you centered and focused. They give you a purpose in life. A life without purpose leaves people sailing through the wind, trusting the wind to guide them on the right path. Truly ambitious individuals, however, have to work their asses off to achieve their goals. If they aren’t careful, their lives become consumed by work. As Rihanna’s new hit song (that very few people understand) says, “Work, work, work!”
Soon enough, these highly ambitious people are walking around with a workaholic alter ego on their shoulders. It’s a funny character. In one moment, it functions like an angel, telling us the good things we need to do to keep focused on our goals. In another moment, it functions like a devil telling us all of the good things we need to neglect in order to keep our goals in sight. Our sanity, our social life, and our relationships are thrown aside due to the influences of this devilish character. Stress reigns supreme. But, on the flip side, were getting that much closer to our goals right?
Someone needs to invent a remote that we can use to switch of that devilish workaholic alter ego that we have on our shoulders. Until that happens, we have to take matters into our own hands. We have to dominate our workaholic tendencies and regain some balance in our lives. These strategies are a good starting point for helping us regain that balance:
Stay Away from that Cellphone!
If you have to put caution tape around it and hide it in your underwear drawer, do it! Cellphones consume far too many hours of our days and make us too accessible. There is a reason why each workplace has stipulated working hours. Yes, you want to show commitment to your job by always being available to your boss, getting to work extra early, and staying at work long after everyone else has left. But at what cost? Put the cellphone away for at least an hour or two when you’re at home. Spend time with your family. Pay attention to your children. Relax with a glass of wine and a good movie.
Surround Yourself with Positivity
The energy we choose to surround ourselves with has a tremendous impact on our state of mind. You inadvertently become what you choose to surround yourself with. Surround yourself with people who are ambitious, but are actively demonstrating the ability to find a good work/life balance. You can learn a few things from them. These types of people will uplift you and help you appreciate the small things in life.
Focus More on Gaining Experiences than Material Things
Oftentimes our goals center on acquiring some new possession. We want the latest smartphone, MacBook, smart watch, high-end vehicle or whatever else these big retailers want to shove down our throats. Life is much more than the things we possess. When was the last time you actually made good use of your vacation time? Instead of allowing your vacation time to roll over into another year, make an effort to use up those days. Create a bucket list. Do something on that bucket list during your vacation. Yes, you may have to put off getting that high-end car for a few more months. However, it will be worth it. People who are more focused on enjoying life than acquiring possessions are much happier.
It’s time to break away from your workaholic alter ego. Don’t let life pass you by.
When to meditate properly? Is there an ideal time for meditating?
In truth, the answer depends on what you hope to get out of it. So if there is no single best time for meditation, how do you decide when should I meditate?
Research has shown that meditation has many mental and physical health benefits. Daily meditation practice is ideal for reaping these rewards. In addition, brief mini-meditations can be done as needed throughout the day whenever you want to calm your mind and relax your body.
Two experts – Laura Maciuika, EdD, clinical psychologist and Stacey Shipman, MEd, stress management specialist – share their advice about when a good time for meditation and when not to. They agreed that the best time of day to meditate varies from person to person, depending on schedule and needs. But below are their recommendations for some good times to consider.
The first thing to understand is that it’s a good idea to pick a time and stick with it. When you practice at the same time each day, you’ll start to form a meditation habit, so that after a while you’ll find yourself just doing your meditation without needing to think about it too much.
When to meditate properly? Is there an ideal time for meditating? In truth, the answer depends on what you hope to get out of it. So if there is no single best time for meditation, how do you decide …
First thing in the morning as morning meditation routine
Recommended for: daily meditation practice. Your routine first thing in the morning sets the tone for the entire day. Before breakfast is generally a good time to meditate. But for beginners, especially folks who are feeling stressed out, meditating at all can be daunting. In that case, I recommend simply putting your attention on slower, deeper breathing—even for just five minutes—early in the day before getting busy with anything.
First thing in the morning (at whatever time you wake up) is a really great time to meditate because:
- Your mind is often more fresh and uncluttered without the tasks, worries and decisions that often fill our minds at other times of the day.
- You get the day off to a good start and set yourself up for a better day.
- You get it done first thing, so you’re less likely to forget about it or put it off.
One winter’s day I realised that the rising sun lands on your body and bathes you in warm light as you meditate. All quite sensible on a chilly morning! Give it a try sometimes, it’s a deliciously sensuous way to meditate! But you don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn to meditate in the morning.
Whenever you’re stressed
Recommended for as-needed mini-meditation. Throughout the day, it’s helpful to meditate for a few minutes whenever you feel overwhelmed or pressed for time. Meditation can help you settle your mind, feel more relaxed, and think clearly about an appropriate next step or action. It sounds counterintuitive and you can say:
“I don’t have time to meditate, I have so much to do!”…
But it’s often the thought of having too much to do rather than actually having too much to do that can create the stress.
If stress has you anxious, tense and worried, consider trying mini-meditation. Spending even a few minutes in meditation can restore your calm and inner peace.
Anyone can practice meditation. It’s simple and inexpensive, and it doesn’t require any special equipment.
And you can practice meditation wherever you are — whether you’re out for a walk, riding the bus, waiting at the doctor’s office or even in the middle of a difficult business meeting.
On your lunch hour
Recommended for daily meditation practice or as-needed mini-meditation. Of all the ways to use your lunch break to set yourself up for a great afternoon, the most important might be, well, actually taking a break.
If you begin to pair your meditation with lunch, pretty soon, you’ll think of meditation when you eat lunch, and it will become a trigger for you. Find a quiet nook in or around the office and carve out a slice of your lunchtime to sit in stillness to make it a habit.
A midday meditation break has a number of potential benefits. It’s an effective way to de-stress after a long meeting or difficult conversation. It can relax tight muscles caused by sitting slumped over a computer. By breaking your normal cycle of thinking, it can also boost focus, creativity, and productivity. Plus, it can be a great awareness building tool, allowing you to be more open-minded and accepting of others.
End of your workday
Recommended for daily meditation practice. Finally, as the day comes to an end and you start your commute home, try to do little meditation practice. For at least 10 minutes of the commute, turn off your phone, shut off the radio, and simply be. Let go of any thoughts that arise. Attend to your breath. Doing so will allow you to let go of the stresses of the day so you can return home and be fully present with your family.
For some people, meditating at the end of the workday is the perfect way to create a natural boundary between work and the rest of life. For beginners or people who find meditation intimidating, using the breath to re-center then can work really well. It’s the intention to create a clear boundary that’s powerful. What you don’t want is to allow work thoughts to run into the evening so that you’re neither still at work nor really fully at home. You can miss out on life that way!
Right before bedtime
Avoid meditating too close to bedtime so that doesn’t become confused with relaxing into sleep. In meditation, we’re practising the opposite—falling more fully awake. Usually, it’s best to have an hour between meditation and sleep so that those two things stay clearly separate in your awareness, your body, and your habits.
If you made it this far, I want to thank you for reading my words. You clearly have an interest in meditation and I honestly believe it is one of most beautiful gifts we can give ourselves and others. Here some tools to help you on this journey:
TinyRelax -free, android- makes it easy for people just learning the art of meditation.
This is a mindfulness and meditation app that is built around you. TinyRelax is perfect for those who are ready to incorporate meditation and mindfulness into their entire day, with meditations that target every aspect of your life, from sleeping to travelling, to being online. Even if you have never tried meditation before, TinyRelax is a life-changer.
30 Days of Meditation: Emotional Health and Wellbeing Workbook is designed to help you about improving your meditation habit
Source: When to Meditate?