Category Archives: Opinions and Advice

M for mental health

 

I think you all know by now that I started blogging because of my depression and that it’s a subject that is dear to me. Many thinks that mental illness only has bad sides but being depressed reminded me how creative I can be. Because I had to take time off from work, I started painting in drawing, I found my love of writing back, and I write about subjects that matters to me.

I’m recovering from depression, meaning i’m not debilitated by it anymore and sometimes I actually forget about it… But I make sure to take care of my mental health, everyday. You don’t have to be mentally ill to take care of it, staying  mentally healthy requires as much work as being physically well.

1) Nurture your relationships: We are social animals, it’s important to have a strong support system. When  you are not feeling well to have people to count on. Nurturing your relationships also means staying away from negativity and toxic friends and family. Appreciate the time you spend with the one you loves, reach out to the ones in need, forgive. If you don’t have anybody get a pet, it improves your mood, trust me.

2) Take care of yourself physically: Proper nutrition and physical activities, can go a long way in improving your mental health.It doesn’t have to be extreme, try to eat fruits and vegetables everyday, take a walk, do some yoga, have sex! Anything that can make your feel better physically. Your brain is part of your body, people tend to forget that.

3) Take time for yourself: We are so bombarded by external . We tend to forget to take some personal time to regroup. Introverts feel the need much quickly but extroverts are not immune to burn outs. Don’t ignore your body when it’s asking for a break. For example (from personal experience) catching a cold every month is a warning for you to slow  down. Take a couple minutes per day for yourself, stay a little longer in the shower,go walk your dog by yourself, meditate, stay away from any electronic gadget while you do that.

4) Embrace gratitude and positivity: Be grateful to be alive, try to be less judgmental, don’t take everything personally, be compassionate towards the ones that do you wrong. Accept people for what they are, see life in a positive light every day. It takes effort, but once you get it, it becomes natural.

5) Express yourself: We tend to keep our feeling bottled up and it eats us alive, specially when we keep secrets. You don’t have to be talented at anything to express yourself. Write your feelings down in a journal, if you are scared for your confidentiality, flush it down or burn it when you’re done writing. For the artistic ones, write poems, draw, paint, play music. Try to be as authentic as you can, because wearing a mask is very tiring and it can drag you to abysses you don’t want to visit.

I don’t like to tell people what to do, or maybe I do. I’m not a scientist or in expert in psychology, I just share what I’ve learned throughout my year of self exploration. I hope it helps you! And if you think you might have a mental illness PLEASE SEEK HELP!  If you know someone struggling with mental health issues, do the best you can to help them and ENCOURAGE them to see a  PROFESSIONAL.

WE MUST REDUCE THE AMOUNT OF LOST LIVES WE HAVE DUE TO LACK OF PROPER CARE!! 

 

Kisses!

 

S. Green

 

A fellow blogger committed suicide

I won’t say her name, she was not on WordPress and I can’t verify that information. Reportedly she suffered from depression. He blog was about empowering black girls, making them proud of their natural beauty. I feel sad because it’s another proof how depression doesn’t show on someone’s face. That girl used her gift to help others and she needed help herself. The taboo of mental illness is very dangerous. I only started feeling better, when I allowed myself to tell others I was depressed and I wasn’t ashamed of it.

I don’t really know what to say because I didn’t know her, but when someone commits suicide I can relate, and it pains me because it can be avoided. I feel like there is a mental health crisis everywhere and people just bury their head in the sand! People are screaming for help and  no one seem to realize the gravity of the situation. A lot of efforts are being made but a lot more needs to be done, we need to stop the stigma! Increase the awareness!

We cannot keep loosing such talented lives because  their illness is not taken seriously enough. The internet is a good way for us to share our feeling and talk about our struggles. I know the WordPress community is doing a lot in terms of awareness and blogging has helped me personally to find a meaning in life.

I want to say to all of you , keep up the good work! Every post, every comment, makes a difference. We have to continue the work because it’s important.  For the ones who read us, we are there for you, depression is a very dark cave where it’s hard to find a way out. But there is a way out… you have to keep hope and faith. The pain is so hard sometimes, so deep, you cannot breathe, you don’t see yourself going on like that… Some days you wish you could die just for a couple of days… to have a break…with life. I think the only solution is patience.

Personally the  combination of therapy and medication worked for me. Therapy is the most important, not only talking to a psychologist, but also meditation, mindfulness, writing, everything that can help you clear you mind. I remember I use to postpone my death, for a week, a month, a year. Give myself small goals or rewards, to get through the week. It’s hard I know… if you can’t do it by yourself it’s okay… go to the emergency room… it’s not a fun thing, they treat you like you’re crazy, unless you are lucky and find a good nurse, but at least you will be safe. Sometimes a night in the ER is enough to keep your compulsions in check.

Anyways! That’s all for today! Remember… there is always hope. Help is available, don’t be ashamed, depression is a deadly disease.

Kisses!

A to z challenge (A)/ Bucket list- Animal

Of course I’m starting this challenge with the word ANIMAL! 

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I’m going to share with you lessons that I’ve learned from my favorite Animal, Jack!

1- Be resilient

When you fall on your face (he literally does), get back up and jump again! I don’t know how many times Jack has tried to jump with one of his toys (not all were given to him), twice his size usually he falls, but then he gets back up, tries another angle and jump again. Wouldn’t it be great if we acted like that in the face of failure?

2- Share your love 

Express affection, to the ones you love. Don’t be scare to make them feel special. There is no way to stay mad when Jack is jumping around because he’s happy to see you. Sharing your love with others can only have good repercussions.

3-Never refuse love

Never turn down acts of love. He’s always up for cuddling, when he gets tired he just goes away. But he always take a little bit of love from others.

4-Appreciate the small things in life 

Jack is an expert in that matter. It doesn’t take him much to be happy. A new gift, a trip to the garage to go take out the trash makes his day. We should appreciate more these little moments of joy.

5- Be brave 

Jack is a Shi Tzu, but he is not scared of big dogs. Sometimes I’m scared for him, but most of the time after showing his bravery, the big dogs befriend him. Jack think he can fly, he’s always jumping, for such a small dog you would think he’d be scared of falling, but he play on is strength and agility. Sometimes we should forget that we are small, be brave and take calculated risks.

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Self care day

This morning I had a fight with Bf, nothing important but I decided to threat myself. I looked up some masks online to clean my face and make my hair shiny, since I’m very bad at following recipes I twisted them a little.

Face Scrub:   

I used Brown sugar and lemon, too transform into a paste, since I the brown sugar I had was an expensive one I mixed it with white sugar to make it more consistent. I scrubbed my face with it, in circular motions, then I did the same for my lips. I used a toothbrush on my lips because I wanted to remove all the flakes.

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Face mask: 

It’s currently on my face right now, I used egg white, I whisked it until it becomes like a mousse. Then I applied it in my face. I also put honey on my lips.

Hair mask: 

 

I used the egg yolk to make myself an hair mask, I mixed it with honey and olive oil, I did not measure the quantities, I just eye balled it. I braided my hair in about 6 portions and I applied it over my hair. I’m gonna wait until my face mask dries to wash it. I”m gonna go in the shower and wash it off. I’ll shave and use the rest of the face scrub to my body before shaving. The idea just came up 🙂 , not waste Hehe.

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Face toner: 

I will tone my face with apple cider vinegar and water concoction.

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I’m gonna go wash my hair now. I highly recommend that give yourself this little pleasure when you feel low.

Kisses!

6 Signs you might secretly be an Artist

Society generally define artists an an unidimentional point of view, but some of us who appear to be mainstream might secretly be artists. There are no clear line between scientific personalities and artistic personalities. It is believed that people that are good in math for example cannot be artists, or they assume that kid’s who have trouble following in class are artists. The truth is we all have a little bit of both in us, some more than others. It becomes more complicated when, like me, you fall right in the middle.

 

 

1-You work better when your’e tired

 

It’s late at night, when I’m starting to feel sleepy that I get inspired. In college, I would write my papers at night, not specifically because they were last minutes but because for some weird reason I could produce more. Night time has always brought me great pleasure in delivering beauty.

 

tired

 

2-You like gray areas 

I’ve always been good at math, but I always found it boring. I preferred classes that asked for more subjectivity even though I was guaranteed excellent grades in science, I would choose a risky communication class, just for fun. I also never had patience for a straight line, the beauty of curves and the irregularities have always been more appealing features.

gray

 

3-You can’t label yourself

I have been labelled has corporate, or a math geek, but it never quite fit. I have so many different interest that I cannot be described with one word. It’s easier to show the more conventional side of myself and accept the labels given to me, but deep inside of me I’ve always new I was weird. A difference, when embraced properly has the ability to shine inextricably.

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4- You just feel…things

Sometimes I just feel that urge to express myself, and it’s like a thirst that won’t be alleviated before I get it out. I can’t sign so I write, or paint. And when I do I have that wonderful feeling of satisfaction, and I keep it secret, like my greatest treasure. I don’t want to share it because then, it becomes real, and each time, like my first born, I take criticism like an insult to my integrity.

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5-You don’t think you’re an artist 

Major warning sign! lol! Even though I write and paint, I still don’t identify as an artist, again with my distaste for labels. Writing comes so easily for me I don’t take it as a talent. I think I’m an average writer. I hate drawing, when I do they look better than people who can’t draw at all but still…I don’t call myself an artist. When I think about it I cringe and I’m overwhelmed by fear.

 

5 steps toward preventing a life of regrets

1-Think before you act: 

Life is made of a succession of choices, and each choice brings us to a different path, it important to think carefully before taking a decision. If we know that we are doing what is “right” in our book, whatever the consequences regret will be easily removed from the equation.  Avoiding a situation or missing an opportunity because of fear is also considered as an action. So before we let an opportunity slip trough our fingers, we should carefully assess the pros and cons.

“Get correct views of life, and learn to see the world in its true light. It will enable you to live pleasantly, to do good, and, when summoned away, to leave without regret.” 
–Robert E. Lee

“Always Do Your Best. Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.” 
–Miguel Angel Ruiz

 

2-Assume the consequences of your actions

We must take control of our destiny. Every action has his consequence, and they are caused by the choices we made. Nobody but us is responsible for our choices. If we act according to someone else’s advice, the consequence will be a result of our choice to listen to that person. We have to take responsibility (total or partial) for what happens in our life.

“There’s not a chance we’ll reach our full potential until we stop blaming each other and start practicing personal accountability.”
― John MillerQBQ: The Question Behind The Question

“Taking personal accountability is a beautiful thing because it gives us complete control of our destinies.”
― Heather SchuckThe Working Mom Manifesto

 

3-Don’t waste time and energy blaming others

Once we become adults, NO ONE is responsible for our well being. It might be difficult to admit but it’s the truth. Bad things will happen to us, and sometimes it will be completely somebody else’s fault, or worse just bad luck. It takes a lot of time and energy, to blame others and to try to understand the reasons behind their behaviors. Sadly not everybody think before they act, and even if everyone did, knowing the answer would not fix our problems. We can only work on ourselves, it takes time but it’s energy well spent.

“If you could kick the person in the pants responsible for most of your trouble, you wouldn’t sit for a month.” 
― Theodore Roosevelt

 

4-Be resilient

As human our body allows us to be incredibly resilient. Our need of control makes us cloud our mind and prevents the brain from doing what it can do naturally, cure itself. By letting go, forgiving and staying positive, bring up our resilience level therefore we are less  susceptible to experience regret. We should take every failure as a learning opportunity. With experience, getting back up will become increasingly easy.

“Do not brood over your past mistakes and failures as this will only fill your mind with grief, regret and depression. Do not repeat them in the future.” 
–Sivananda

 

5-Don’t look back

Keep moving forward! We should not spend a lot of time if any dwelling on our past mistakes. What is the most important is what we can do now to make our situation better. When we made a bad call, we can have a cry but start the repairing process as soon as possible. Mistakes we made when we were kids (including teenage years) ,should not be regretted, our brain were still developing. They stay in our memory to prevent us from repeating them. What is important is NOW. We must focus on what we can do today, live a meaningful life.

“Don’t let the past steal your present.” 
–Terri Guillemets

S. Green 

10 tips + 1 to an uncluttered mind

The ability to simplify means to eliminate the unnecessary so that the necessary may speak.  ~Hans Hofmann, Introduction to the Bootstrap, 1993

We read a lot about clutter, how it affect our lives negatively. The solution is usually to clean out our house or offices, but what about our minds? What can we do to have a clean and organized mind?

 

1-Devellop good habits

 

Habits are what we do everyday, without having to think about it. Establishing a routine and good habits for our daily responsibilities, live us space to think about more important issues. Think about it once, schedule it, practice it for a week or two, it becomes an habit for life.

2-Write it down

Pen and paper where invented or a reason, as well as computers and cellphones, we don’t have to memorize everything. Why not write down what you have to do or things we want to remember? Then we can forget about it and since we have created the habit of checking our agenda daily we will stay in check with our duties. 

3-Compartmentalize

We tend to generalize our life. The truth is that our life can be divided in many categories, physical health,mental health,friendship,romantic relationship,professional life. Once we start seeing our lives as a conglomeration of different aspects, it will be easier for us to rationally evaluate ourselves. The same goes for our days, we are awake about 16 hours a day, when asked how your day was, if less than 8 hours of that day was bad, it was actually a good day!

4-Act on it

We tend to get anxious about issues we have to solve and spend a lot of time thinking about it. Most the time the solution is to simply deal with it. Pick up the phone, write the email, we should do what it takes to get rid of problems and our lives and remove unnecessary stress.


5-Get rid of stuff

Yes, Physical clutter, also clutter our mind, because we spend to much time thinking about cleaning up, having to many choices can be stressful, and ugly is never good for the mind.


6-Be mindful

Be in the moment, we should take more time to be present. It seems contradictory to creating habits be it’s not, it’s complementary, remember?  We left space in our mind. We forget too often that we can find happiness in the simple things.We should take time to clear our mind, to meditate, to feel, to be alive. Our existence is a miracle in itself and what is more beautiful then a miracle?

7-Have a good laugh 

There is nothing more relaxing than a good laugh (I might be lying 😉 but you can replace the laughter by whatever else relaxes you). For the seconds you spend laughing, there are many positive chemical reactions that goes through our brain. It’s fast way to get  rid of mental clutter, it works even when we force ourselves to laugh. Laughter is also a good way to bring people together, socialization


8-Eliminate toxicity

We should eliminate anything toxic in our lives. It goes to say that toxic friendships and relationships are to be avoided. Anything that can affect our health physically should also be reduced. The guilt that results from unhealthy habits is a poison to the mind.

9-Embrace positivity

We should surround ourselves with positive people. Adopt a positive attitude. Read and learn about what make the world better. Aspire to good, empathize, be compassionate, express love and appreciation towards others. Filling our lives with positive energy is healthy food for the mind.

10- Define priorities

Our brain is like a machine, if we give it to much to do, it freezes and messes up. It is important to define our priorities and to find a proper balance. Our willpower is a scarce resource we should use it efficiently.

11-Rest

Like any other body part the brain needs to rest. We wouldn’t spend our days doing push up without taking breaks, the same goes for our mind. We should allow ourselves to rest, to do activities that are pleasing and does not involve too much brain power. Another good way to rest….is to sleep.

5 Rules to everyday happiness

1- You can only change yourself 

Many times we get angry because of other peoples actions and we spend time and energy trying to fix people or to understand their behaviors. Once we realize that we can only change ourselves our perspective will changed.  We should focus  in finding the best reactions and behaviors towards others depending on their personalities, while remaining true to ourselves.

2- If someone doesn’t know better, he cannot do better

That rule is related to expectations towards others. We usually expect others to behave like we would and that often lead to disappointment. People actions are often motivated by the information they have in hand. If someone did not learn empathy, kindness or politeness for example, it is impossible for them to express them.

3- When faced with adversity, take a step back

When something bad happens, we tend to react emotionally. My strategy is to have my emotional moment for about 2 minutes (depending on the situation), then take a step back, regroup and take a rational decision. It is quite difficult when the “right” thing to do goes against what we feel like doing, but practice makes perfect.

4- Be compassionate 

Remember that there is good in every person. We should try to see other people’s point of view and do our best to empathize with them. Compassion removes anger and helps us find inner peace, therefore it is vital to also be compassionate with ourselves.

  • 5- Sometimes you just need to breathe

One day I was panicking, and posted about it and someone commented “just breathe, seriously, take deep breaths it will help”. I tried and it made a huge difference for me. Our body has natural remedies against stress and anxiety, and on of the best of them is oxygen. Maximizing the amount of oxygen that goes through our lungs and focusing on ourselves can go a long way.

Feel free to share your own rules, when it’s in writing they appear clearer to you and they become easier to follow.

Kisses !

Rejection

    
‎I  remembered once again how much I fear rejection, even the smallest kind brings my spirit down completely. I feel surrounded by a cloud of sadness, and suddenly my self worth is at its minimum. It’s crazy how other people can affect your well-being.
I’ve been trying to build a healthy  “Self defense system” ready to respond properly to exterior events. I think I’ve finally figured out who I am and it’s easier for me to recognize my different defense mechanisms I’ve create while I was younger. They don’t fit my current self anymore and some adjustments are to be made.
When you spend years thinking that you are not worthy of love, it is  encrypted in your mind. Reprogramming your brain is not easy, and since we are animals the most effective way to so is through classical conditioning.So basically pair up your triggers with positive reinforcement. For example slow people use to get on my nerves, and I would ruminate about it and try to understand their though processes. Now when I get irritated by someone who is slow, I think about Jack and one of his mishaps and smile. Since I don’t get mad at him because he doesn’t know better I tell myself the same thing for humans. Hopefully with time I will be more tolerant of other’s pace.
If I keep my train of thought we might have the recipe for  responding “well” to rejection. The only thing is that we should tackle the underlying causes of these reactions. For most people it revolves around self worth, self esteem and self acceptation.  It is nearly impossible to completely get rid of negative emotions when faced with rejection. It wouldn’t be advisable because I believe these emotions can be use for personal growth. The danger in being rejected is the fear it implements into our brain so we prevent ourselves from taking risks that might be worthwhile. My little trick against that fear is to ask myself What’s the worse that can happen and if the worse will leave me at the current position I’m in, I go for it. Being rejected is part of life and most opportunities work with statistics, the more you try, the more chance you have to win.
The second part of rejection, is the one I’m struggling with, and a lot of people who have  experienced abuse or other traumas can relate. It’s questioning your entire  existence every time you get rejected, because it’s hard for you not to take it personally. For example, when my boyfriend doesn’t want to have sex with me, even when I know he’s tired, I bit myself over it and feel like less of a woman. Rationally it makes no sense but that’s how I feel. How do you break away from this cycle, how do you learn to love yourself? It’s a vicious cycle because lack of self confidence is not really sexy. I do a pretty good job at it when I think about my intellectual self but not my physical self. Does repeating to ourselves that we are worth something will make us believe it? I think having a good life partner helps on that matter because for some strange reason we seem to believe others more than ourselves. Trying to focus and celebrate what is good about us is also another solution.
Social rejection is something many have to deal with throughout their life. When it happens in early life it creates scars that remains open during adulthood. As we all know,  Once burned, twice shy. The need to belong is one of the basic human needs to be psychologically healthy thus  essential to our survival.
It is proposed that ostracism uniquely poses a threat to four fundamental human needs; the need to belong, the need for control in social situations, the need to maintain high levels of self-esteem, and the need to have a sense of a meaningful existence.[29] A threat to these needs produces psychological distress and pain.
The solution (from my point of view) to social rejection during adulthood is to be yourself. I know it’s cliche but it’s true. Something they forget to tell people is that they are not as unique as they were brought to believe.  Each person is different as a whole but shares common traits with others. These similarities are what create bonds. When you don’t feel included in a group it might be because your true self wouldn’t like it anyways. Recognizing who you really are and accepting it is the first step towards building more meaningful relationships. Something else that we should remember is that what they call norm, is about 70% of a population, which means, that 30 percent of us are weird, so the is about 1.8 billion weirdos in the world, i’ll take my chances! What’s also great about being “abnormal” is the notion of rarity. The more you are rare the more value you have. So I’ve just scientifically proven that you are worth a lot. Isn’t that great! I should apply that for myself maybe.
We cannot get away from rejection, we can only manage it. Continuously working on our love for ourselves can be the antidote to that venom. So, let’s all give ourselves a hug tonight and remind ourselves that we are worthy of love!
Kisses.

Anger

 

Do any of you have anger issues? I get irritated easily but I can control it, but my boyfriend for example gets frustrated for the smallest things. I know he was dealing with his anger issues but does it ever go away?  I don’t wanna spend the rest of my life with someone who’s always mad. I know he’s gonna propose soon, and I’m not as sure as I was before that I want to get married. I love him and he’s been very good to me and he adores me, but his outburst are a big problem. It’s hard for us to communicate, because he gets defensive, does any of you have an idea about how to talk to someone who has anger management issues?

With the whole mindfulness concept I’ve been embracing, I stay calm when he gets mad, because I know the anger is not directed towards me, but I don’t feel happy to have to deal with that. How do you know if you should marry someone? Should you break it of because of one bad traits of character? I really need an answer, I need advice.

I’m not very good at being angry, it’s not an emotion I have often, so I don’t really know much about it…maybe I should do some research on it.

Wikipedia defines anger as :

Anger is an emotion related to one’s psychological interpretation of having been offended, wronged, or denied. Often it indicates when one’s basic boundaries are violated. Some have a learned tendency to react to anger through retaliation. Anger may be utilized effectively when utilized to set boundaries or escape from dangerous situations. Sheila Videbeck describes anger as a normal emotion that involves a strong uncomfortable and emotional response to a perceived provocation.[1]

How do one defines his basic boundaries? It seems like anger is very subjective. In the definition they talk about perceived provocation, so basically this emotion is a reaction toward something you are not sure of. To be able to control it and not use retaliation as a response, a person needs to have the ability to empathize with others and enough self control to take a step back and see the other people’s point of view.

“Transformation is my favorite game and in my experience, anger and frustration are the result of you not being authentic somewhere in your life or with someone in your life. Being fake about anything creates a block inside of you. Life can’t work for you if you don’t show up as you.”
― Jason Mraz

Is Jason Mraz right? (he’s one of my favorite artist by the way). By being authentic do you get rid of anger and frustration ?Or  is it deeper than that? Let me know what you think.

Kisses!

 

 

This is a link to a brochure about managing anger : 

http://www.apa.org/topics/anger/control.aspx?item=2