mental health

Quitting Violent Media

In the past decade new studies have been showing that the more violent media a person consumes, the lower the person’s overall level of happiness. At first I thought is was garbage, but I was highly biased. I would binge-watch the Saw movie series, read horror novels, and play gory video games. Hence, I figured it had nothing to do with the chronic depression I used to have because I did it for years. But I decided to temporarily quit it.

I swapped out my scary movies for documentaries and my horror novels for self-improvement ones. Very soon did I notice the benefits. My mood picked to a moderate degree. I wasn’t as pessimistic or dark-minded. I felt slightly more upbeat about the world, when normally I’m a very cynical person. I don’t know… I was just a lot happier. Plus, consuming media that was helpful in some way made me feel empowered about making major changes in my life. I firmly believe that all of these little improvements have to do with quitting violent media.

This is how research explains it. Numerous research studies have shown a positive correlation between the amount of violent television watched and levels of aggression in youth. In adults, it’s still kind of similar. In adults who are engrossed with violent media, their amygdala (“emotion center of brain”) shows activation on an MRI, revealing it’s triggering anxiety. This is because subconsciously, humans react to forms of violence with fear. Therefore, constant exposure to something negative can have harsh consequences. 

Then of course, have constant exposure to any stimulus can cause desensitization. To be fair — I’m already a little jaded due to my past and also working a job handling emergencies. I don’t want to put even more exposure to violence on top of that to where I am desensitized to things I shouldn’t be. It’s a sad existence once a person gets that burned-out or jaded.

Quitting violent media wholly makes sense. At least, it does for me. When I was consuming violent media for most of the day it definitely contributed to my poor attitude and apathy. When anyone surrounds themselves with violence and sadness, it will affect them eventually. And when I replaced violent media with motivating stories, my mood improved to where my underlying depression wasn’t quite as intense.

This is just food for thought. Research only points to correlation, and also the field of research is relatively new because violent movie and video-games only recently garnered attention from the scientific community,

mental health

Mental Illness Doesn’t Excuse Behavior

 

“Don’t blame me! My mental illness made me do it.”

“I wasn’t in control of myself, my mental illness was.”

“Why would you blame me when I have [mental illness here]?”

“It’s abusive to hold someone me accountable when I am mentally ill.”

 

Well. I have heard all of these before. And if someone ever tells you this, I recommend to really assess the situation between you and the other person, and then create distance. You don’t deserve to be responsible for anyone but yourself.

I struggled with mental illness when I was younger (depression and PTSD). I have mentally ill family members (addiction and Type I Bipolar Disorder.) I had mentally ill partners (Borderline Personality Disorder and psychopathy).. While they were mentally ill, they were still always responsible for their behavior. Emotions can be intense for those who are mentally ill, and when combined with poor impulse control it can lead to being destructive. That’s understandable. It is very sad to see people struggle this way.

However, they are responsible for themselves (with very few exceptions). Emotions can be tolerated. Impulses can be restrained. It’s certainly not easy for them, as it often requires therapy and/or medication to make progress in those areas. But it is kind of a choice for a person to lose complete control over their behavior.

If a person was about to freak the hell out on another, there are options before doing so. He could leave the room. He could distract or soothe himself. He can try to communicate to the other person how he is feeling. But exploding at another, or having an out of control outburst, is inexcusable. Understandable, yes. Sad, yes. Ok? No.

It’s hard to even want to make people who struggle with mental illness responsible for their problems. They obviously lead harder lives, and it may feel like pointing fingers at the victim. Part of me sometimes feels the same way. Yet as I mentioned, there are always alternatives to being out of control.

Mental illness is a single aspect of a person. Only a small part of them. It can have a large impact on their lives, but it doesn’t make all the decisions. If anything, it gives tendencies to be easily overwhelmed by emotions and impulses. Everyone has a chance to get better and change their behavior.

What excuses I listed at the top were said to me when the person was either feeling guilty/ashamed/afraid of their behavior or if they were adverse to recovery. It may have also been manipulation or even what they truly believed. I learned not to accept them. I can interpret the excuses to try to understand where they’re coming from, but it isn’t a justification for their treatment towards me.

My major point is if someone who is mentally ill tells those excuses, you must urge them to get help and keep your distance. You don’t need to be, nor deserve to be, made to feel like you’re responsible for the other person.

You can love them. You can spend time with them. But it doesn’t benefit anyone if you don’t hold them accountable for their behavior by blaming yourself instead.

 

mental health

Mindfulness and Work

Working is the perfect time for mindfulness. You’re already wrapped in a project, paper, or meeting. You may or may not be miserable doing so. But you can turn the experience around by being mindful. It’s turning a negative into a positive.

A brief overview of mindfulness is a mental state achieved through being fully engaged in the present. It can include calmly accepting one’s internal emotions, thoughts, and feelings. Kind of think of it as a more active form of meditation.

In today’s society, mindfulness is crucial. People wake up in the morning in a race to get ready, yet multitask on their phones until they are running late. They rush to work with their music blaring, getting stressed out by 8:00 am rush hour. At work they lose energy and motivation as the day drudges on. They don’t get as much done as they’d like, yet still come home exhausted and in need to spend all evening on the couch watching Netflix or browsing the internet. What happened? Do people even remember their work day?

Sadly, almost 50% of the time people are thinking of something else other than what they’re doing. Therefore, a significant amount of our time is spent on autopilot. What’s worse is that people are losing their ability to concentrate and focus due to this issue. Stress builds up.

Well, it’s all a mess. Unfortunately, it’s the norm for a significant amount of Americans.I feel the missing link is the faulty approach to work. We see work as a source of stress that must be endured. However, mindfulness can even make you happier at work. I’m a firm believer of this.

Mindfulness can ease the hardships of jobs, or make your work be joy. Taking a moment to concentrate how the pen feels in your hand, how the seat of the office chair feels, the murmuring of chatter in the hallway — it can be revitalizing. Being deeply involved in what you’re doing is simply relaxing. Forget on whether or not you want to be at work, as in that moment you have the option of a mini relaxation session.

 

When working, trying first focusing on your breathing? Are you breathing through your chest or your stomach? Take slower and deeper breaths. What are your thoughts? Are they negative or positive? Acknowledge each thought, then let it drift away. What are you doing? Are you writing or typing? Feel the keyboard underneath your fingers, or the pen in your hand. Relax your fingers and hand. Then relax the rest of your body. Finally, really throw yourself into what you are doing.

While writing this post, I am actually doing this. I already feel better — at ease.

Here’s a different example of mindfulness from my own life. I’m taking a summer college class that requires about 3-4 hours a day of work on an online lab. The lab work is dull and hard to get into because all I’m doing is labeling anatomy parts on cadaver images. Interesting for the first thirty minutes, but eventually you get bored as hell.

What changed my attitude is being mindful while working. I feel the breeze of the fan blowing on my back, the slickness of the shiny paper in my very expensive textbook, how my fingers curl around the pencil. When reading the text either on the screen or in my textbook, I read thoughtfully. Occasionally I’ll close my eyes and pay attention to my breathing, Once I identify the anatomy part and label it, I linger on how nice it is to be able to learn a significant amount about the human body. After the study session, I feel impressively happier. Grateful even — I had an opportunity to sit down and relax a while, even if it was doing work.

I could’ve had a rotten attitude. But I wasn’t going to waste precious time of my day cursing underneath my breath thinking of how I’d rather be anywhere but there at my office desk.

Mindfulness can be done anywhere. Work is stressful — thus try being mindful at work. You can either take breaks to focus on your breathing or hyperfocus on a task. A change in awareness can cause a profound inner shift. It leads to a calmer attitude, and eventually you might become a generally mellow person once you get skilled at mindfulness.

mental health

Stop Staying Inside: How it Affects Our Mental Health

I noticed a lot of my fellow millennial peers, and sometimes myself, shirk any remote chance of having an adventure in favor of staying inside. I realized that is bullsh!t. People are already building up walls for themselves through phone addiction, anxiety, and being lazy. We don’t need to check off the preference “always wants to stay inside.” But I understand.

Humans aren’t meant to spend the majority of our days inside. We need shelter for survival and to store things we like. Humans have been shown to get depressed and anxious when indoors for so long. It is a pitfall for happiness. If so, why are people choosing to rush to isolate themselves?

On the bright side you can do whatever you want inside your home. You could cook an extravagant meal. Paint a 5ft x 5ft painting. Do an at-home workout. Read that book that has been collecting dust. But really, most people collapse on the couch and watch TV. This is after work. Before work. On the weekends. People are missing out on real life. And you have to make life happen the majority of the time.

The risks of too much time indoors are:

  1. Depression
  2. Little exercise
  3. Anxiety
  4. Less vitamin D
  5. Insomnia
  6. Too much TV/social media = depression
  7. Obsessive thinking
  8. Isolation from loved ones

Do you recognize any of these?

Last year I wasted my summer break from being cooped up in my apartment because of social anxiety. Besides working the midnight shift, I never left the house more than once week. I missed out on so much, which I have no excuses for. But what makes me mad is that I convinced myself that I will still have an enriching, interesting life. Well, I was wrong.

The longer I stayed inside, the more nervous I became of leaving the house. Thus, I got even more miserable. It doesn’t take social anxiety for this to happen. If you spend all your time inside, one day it will probably be hard for you to leave too. Don’t be a wimp like I was.

Inside your apartment, reality is almost warped. Everything is to your own low standards if you don’t know otherwise. Spending time out in the world forces us to experience new activities, also gives us feedback on how we are thriving in life. Without those experiences, we become the socially awkward generation that tries to pretend our awkwardness is cute, but it is really just our own incapability. We also are becoming a very unhappy group of people.

Going outside and having new experiences jumpstarts ourselves. Spending just 45 minutes outdoors can help our mood, circadian rhythm, and our overall energy levels. That can just be running errands, Or it can be planning out a solo picnic at the park with your dog. You have the choice to make it as cool as you want it to be.

mental health

How to Make the Most Out of Therapy (+) Notecard Activity

I believe everyone can more or less benefit from therapy. I myself have been in therapy for the past awhile. I was also in therapy on and off when I was younger, but it was more focused on my family dynamics that benefiting my own issues. This time I do have the chance to solely focus on myself in therapy, and I have been making immense progress.

What kept me from making progress at first were a few issues on my end. First of all, I was doubtful of my therapist. She certainly never did anything wrong. I just had an aversion to therapy because my family influenced my previous therapist that I was a liar about abuse, thus I never got helped I needed. I was also afraid to talk about certain topics with my current therapist, or I would end up rambling about nothing in particular. I was also unprepared for each appointment. It’s clear that I was avoiding getting down to my root issues. I was doing great at first, but the deeper we got, the more I used avoidance techniques. Otherwise, wasting time.

When people are beginning to confront their core issues, or deep emotions, they reel back and pull away. In this case, I would not use my time in therapy productively. I was just being a coward. Then when the day came that I developed a “I don’t care anymore”/ apathetic/stoic attitude I became able to deal with my core issues.

Being an advocate in a domestic/sexual abuse and sex trafficking shelter, I know how it works. Therapists deal with just about everything, and nothing can really be that unusual after a certain point. So I figured I have freedom to be as honest as possible. Again, I had nothing to lose at this point.

In therapy, just be completely honest. You are paying a trained person to help you. You shouldn’t really care what they think, as that isn’t what therapy is about. Therapy is sometimes difficult, but so is life.

I began by telling my therapist I was still kind of doubtful of her. I knew it would be awkward to do so, but I figured therapists are excellent at dealing with awkwardness. I said we worked well together and I liked her, but it’s just my view of admitting to myself that I need a therapist. We talked it out for the rest of the session. My solution is that I have nothing left to lose by putting effort into therapy. It is kind of like my “idfc” attitude. If I am paying her, or, well, my insurance, then I might as well just do what I’m supposed to do. I’d be stupid otherwise.

To remove the barrier of being off topic and being unprepared, I made notecards for myself. Each notecard has an issue or topic that I need to sort through, and has the major points or certain details on it. Additionally, on the day before my appointment I write down what I want to do with that appointment itself. Then afterwards I write down the key takeaways from the appointment.

Since I’m slightly obsessive about the appearance of everything I write down, I do little headers and creative forms of bullet points. You can bother to make it look nice, but it might be a little weird for people to see you decorate topic reminders for therapy.

Having this guideline keeps me on track so I keep going linearly forward in my progress. Often times I have to step in and say in the beginning of the appointment, “This is what I would like to talk about. Do you agree this is relevant?” Once we exhaust the topic, I ask her “What do you think we should work on?” I find this useful in staying on track.

I will be starting EMDR therapy to process past trauma, so I will probably expand on this later.

Is there any questions people have for me? There are a lot of thoughts on this, but I’m unsure of what is beneficial for people to know.

 

 

 

 

mental health

How Not to Care About Being Judged

The fear of being judged holds back many people in life. In its own pathetic way, the fear of being judged is so intense that others really miss out on life. It is missing going out to try new things, or asking for help before you assume you know what you are doing only to f*ck up, or going for that new hair style, etc, etc. For others the fear of being judged prevents you from functioning, to where you become so anxious you become like a useless drip in any situation outside your home. Well, I overcame that. Which is why I’m typing out this blog post.

It came in a series of ideas.

The first idea is that I am an insignificant person. I don’t hate myself by saying this. But people aren’t relying on me like a military official, a president, or some other high-authority person. No, I am a rather all-around good person that a lot of people probably don’t know. Accepting that I am never going to have thousands of people relying on me helps me escape the thought that people truly care about every single action I do.

The second idea is figuring out why I judge people. Most of the time I judge people who stand out with a pleasant uniqueness, or it is because a person’s presence gave me a bout of insecurity. However, once I make the brief judgement about the stranger, my brain already skips on to the next thought. I already forgot about the person a few moments later. I figured this is how people probably see me too. They think “Oh. She has piercings and colored hair. Huh.” Then there they go on their merry way. I am never thought of again.

I believe that to be true. Only so much can be stored from a person’s current consciousness. then put into long-term memory.  Why would you be that meaningful to people that you’d use up precious memory space? Even more so if the event noticed was irrelevant to the observer. So, in essence of my knowledge of psychology, I am still insignificant.

There is also a flipside for being judged. If you seriously are finding yourself to be the center of attention, you have come a person of interest to general society. This could mean that you will probably be a person who will impact society. Or that you are doing something severely out of the norm. Hard to tell, right? Neither option sounds completely bad though.People just have the stupid tendency to hammer down the nail that sticks out above the rest.

The third is the most important. It does not matter if others judge you. They don’t understand your thoughts, motives, and motives as well as you do. They don’t know the backstory. If they are so ignorant about what they are judging, then why should you allow them the power to make you feel bad? I quit giving people that power a long time ago.

Here’s an example. I am in a very difficult class right now. I understand the material. I just have trouble forming the concept into words that will become easy to understand once they leave my mouth. Hence, I raise my hand to answer the professor’s question for the class, only to not make any sense. I know I probably sound stupid. The professor and I go around in circles until we come to a consensus that my answer was actually right. I made myself a facsimile of a poorly trained parrot that is secretly intelligent, and that is ok. I did not care that my peers probably were thinking I’m a dunce.

Why do I not care? If I wasn’t smart I wouldn’t be where I am right now in many ways. The poorly constructed answers that spew out of my mouth in a fifty minute class is not a valid nor reliable measure of judging me as a person. Therefore, I dismiss them all.
I hope that example was somewhat clear. The gist of this entire post is that life is short and you should just do what you want without losing sleep over judgers.

mental health

What Self Care Is and Is Not: A Pragmatic and Stoic Guide

I am a very pragmatic person who always stays on top of responsibilities no matter what is going on with me. I could be tired, burned out, a little down, but still keep a productive routine? Why? Following a structured routine that completes obligations is a form of self-care.

Self-care it is not entirely about indulging into whatever comes to mind. It is not spending a few days shirking responsibilities, eating comfort food, and watching television. You will probably regret it, then feel guilt. However, sometimes this is necessary for a few hours in the evening or in the quiet hours of the morning. It is recharging in that sense.

Mainly self-care is about attitude. It is a choice to see every moment as a great opportunity. Even if there is a challenge or an irksome task ahead of you, it could be an experience if you make it one. Self-care is incorporated because you are nourishing your mind and body with a stimulating activity. Doing the task can be a chance to practice being mindful, acting with purpose, and being productive. All of which a human needs to do in order to thrive.

I used to struggle with this. Previously my days of self-care would be wasting a weekend browsing online or playing video games. It is an easy thing to do when you have excuses. You can tell yourself that you deserve to do nothing after working hard all week, and that you should definitely eat that whole pizza because you are feeling deprived. How is that self-care? When you approach it pragmatically, it isn’t nourishing or stimulating your mind or body. There are no benefits. Quit the excuses.

Here’s a common situation. For example, you don’t want to do that job project or do your homework. What will happen if you don’t do it? You will fall behind and will later be scrambling to catch up. Self-care would be doing the project mindfully and use it as a learning experience. Preventing future problems is a pragmatic approach to self-care.

Another example is my gym routine. Sometimes I balk at going to the gym either because I am tired or feel like I don’t have time that morning. Well, exercise has been proven to increase energy levels and all it can take is a fifteen minute workout. Knowing all the benefits can make it be seen as self-care. You never regret a workout.

Before and after a busy day is when I engage in the stereotypical self-care. I do not act entitled to be lazy. Self-care for me would be working in my journal, reading, or pampering myself with a beauty routine. In the morning I would check social media for twenty minutes, followed by journaling, and eating a mindful pre-workout meal. When I get back from the gym I make my appearance nice. Then I am ready to really start the day because my morning was energizing. In the evening I soak and massage my feet while reading a book or take a bath in Epson salt if I got stressed. This is what I consider self-care that is not productive. Contrary, I am educating myself by reading a nonfiction book and taking care of my body.

Overall, here is a list of what self-care is not.

————————————————————————–

 

  • Self-care is not avoiding responsibilities.  You know it will create more problems in the future and stress you out more than the amount you are stressed out now. Sit down and do it, or do it in blocks of time until it is complete. You will thank yourself later and build pride.
  • Self-care is not binge-eating. It is fine to have two scoops of peanut butter fudge Ben and Jerry’s, but no amount of saying you deserve it will counter the calories and feeling sick. It is mentally unhealthy to forever exclude junk food from your diet. However, you are never entitled enough to eat an absurd amount of junk. The self-care option would be a small amount of sweets, followed by a healthy meal to nourish your body. Food is for nourishment.
  • Self-care is not laying in bed all day. Your body is not meant to be confined to a bed for hours. Your complex and structurally amazing body has the ability to power you through the day and complete numerous tasks. Nourish and energize your body by being active. During your few scheduled hours of downtime you can recline back and relax. Just balance out movement with being still.
  • Self-care is not having an excessive amount of screen-time. It is so unhealthy to be glued to a screen all day. The world itself offers enough enrichment and amazement that a screen is not needed. Additionally, being too invested in social media and television shows is living vicariously through others and fictional plots. Just go out and explore the world.

 

 

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Now here what self-care is. In fact, here is a huge list.

  1. Engaging in a creative outlet. It is both productive and creating something beautiful.
  2. Reading or going out to get a library card. Try a self-help or a self-esteem book.
  3. Doing a bit of tidying to declutter your living space.
  4. Cooking a nourishing meal to last you a few days.
  5. Pampering your skin, as it part of general health-care
  6. Dying your hair the color you always wanted, or doing a hair mask by soaking it olive oil for an hour.
  7. Giving yourself a massage or soak your feet. This is especially important if you are an athlete.
  8. Exfoliate your skin. Make a DIY exfoliator by mixing coconut oil, sugar, and coffee grounds.
  9. Yoga or simply stretching.
  10. An indoor workout for at least fifteen minutes. It’s an energy booster at the very least.
  11. Going on a walk. If it is cold, bundle up. It’s only too cold if you aren’t dressed appropriately.
  12. Meditating. If you’ve never done it before, just focus on your breathing for two minutes.

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Do you notice the difference between what is self-care and what isn’t? The repeated message throughout this post is that self-care is nourishing your body in some way. You only get one body and one brain. Thus it’s best to treat it right.

mental health

Things You Don’t Owe Anyone

You don’t owe anyone anything. Nobody is entitled to your time, body, or money. Yet I watch a lot of people give everything they have to others, but leave little for themselves. It is a sign of insecurity and weakness,

I would like to assume that most women want to be independent and strong. So why do they let others dictate how they spend their time? I used to be the rather passive at one point. I was in a string of physically and emotionally abusive relationships, which left me too afraid to stand up for myself. I didn’t see myself as deserving of any joy or independence I could earn myself. Then something changed in me. I wish I could say exactly what changed, but I began not to put up with anything I didn’t like. However, I do it tactfully.

 

You can be assertive without being demanding and mean. Instead of making accusations or demanding respect from others, you can express how you feel and respectfully ask them to change their behavior. The classic example is “I feel ___ when you do ___. Could you please try doing ___ instead?” If this doesn’t work, then you can be stronger about pushing your agenda.

Assertive Steps... Great for teaching assertiveness; however may needs some qualifiers for how not to be aggressive (teaching civility):
Basically follow this model. Although I am sure the majority of the time you will be safe.

It is not about thinking you’re a “goddess” or a “queen” who deserves the world. At the end of the day your life doesn’t affect the seven billion people on this Earth. You are insignificant to the world. However, just by the fact you are a human being you deserve to be happy and have the best life possible. Part of this is being assertive, strong, and independent.


So let’s get clear about what you don’t owe anyone.

  1. You don’t owe anyone your body.

 

This is key for girls. Whether you are single or in a relationship, your body is yours alone. Social media teaches women that the world revolves around sex and sexuality. It suggests that is part of a person’s self-worth. Men are encouraged to sleep with as many partners as possible even when they don’t want to, because it is just “what men do.” Women are given the double-standard of either being a prude or being promiscuous. While I am not a feminist, I can see this is a problem. The truth is is that your body is yours. If you don’t want to share it with someone, then it is your right to say no. If others don’t respect that, the blame falls on them.

  1.    You don’t owe a good appearance to others.

Society and social media teaches men and women they must always look put together. If they don’t, they are either a slob or downright lazy. I used to be trapped in this out of insecurity. Everyday I would have to do my hair and makeup, no matter if I was sick or tired. People became so used to me being done-up that on the rare occasions I went without makeup they asked if I was sick or tired. I’d joke, “No, I’m just ugly.” That is quite sad. Now I realize it is utter garbage. If I don’t want to put full effort in my appearance no one should really care. Of course people may judge me, but it is their problem if they prioritize physical appearance over who you are as a person.

  1.     You don’t owe others your time.

So many people feel pressured into investing time into people or activities. They are generally worried if they don’t they are being selfish, rude, and that the other person’s feelings would be hurt. Honestly, most people don’t care. Although it took time, I learned how to tell people “no.” The other person would just say “ok” and leave it that. The majority of the time they don’t ask why you are unable to spend time with them or do an activity. Time is precious and can never be taken back. Spend your time doing what makes you happy.

  1.     You don’t owe others perfection.

Men and women alike are pressured to be perfect in every way. If they are not successful in one area, then it must mean they are a failure at life. This black-and-white thinking is what tears a person down. You don’t have to be perfect. What matters the most is if you strive for self-improvement and try to make progress everyday. If others do expect you to be perfect, then you should set them down and explain you can’t always be super-human. I understand this issue very well. I am a very successful person that others look up to and rely on. However, they don’t know my troubled past, how I take pills just to emotionally function, and how I am very jaded. Sometimes I let people in to show them a bit of vulnerability. Often times they respect and admire me more. It shows them that even those who struggled can be great.

Overall, you don’t owe anyone anything. Your life is yours, and you are the master of it. Your freedom should never be sacrificed, as it is the greatest treasure a person could have.

mental health, Self-Improvement

How to Begin to Accept Yourself

Do you feel like no matter how hard you work, results don’t come? Do you struggle to be happy with where you are at, and self-loathing is your motivator? Or do you simply not like yourself? I can relate. I used to struggle with this too.

I felt like I did not make enough progress in the previous two years with anything. I scoff at my numerous achievements, thinking I barely did anything. What I have been having to do is step back and look at the bigger picture. Nearly a full two years ago, January 22nd to be exact, I was underweight and had a tumultuous lifestyle. I was a mess that everyone avoided or sugar-coated.  I made the decision to turn my life around because I grew tired of how I was. I woke up that day, then made the decision to change my life. Nowadays things are a lot different for me.

Even if I don’t fully acknowledge it like others do, I have improved. I am myself 2.0. I have gained about 35 lbs of muscle in the past year and have put on enough fat to where my period has come back. I do not engage in self-destructive behaviors and am rather optimistic in terms of myself. But why do I still feel it is not enough?

Self-acceptance is allowing yourself to be content with how you are at. It’s not being whiny about your perceived inadequacies. In the grand scheme of things, your insecurities don’t really matter. Nothing really matters if you are nihilistic, actually. As long as you hyperfocus on your insecurities, you’re going to be driving yourself insane.

I don’t buy into telling yourself that you are a “goddess” or a “warrior.” Rather, being content with yourself is one more problem you don’t have. It is acknowledging that you are doing your best. You may have a little longer and a bit farther to go, but you are fine with where you are at. Another way to look at it is that you have started on the path you have before you, and day by day you will get a little farther.  Change always comes, but you shouldn’t be miserable with where you are at.

I recommend writing a list of everything you have done this past year. No matter how little it is, just write it. Consider it the opposite of an everyday to-do list. Instead of writing out what you have to do, write down things you have already done. At least, this is what worked for me.

Also being grateful with where you are at makes a difference. Keeping a gratitude log works rather well for doing this. For each day of the month, write down one thing you are grateful for.
Self-acceptance is a journey. It does not mean being totally in love with yourself like some of the Tumblrinas out there. It is being content with your own place in the world. It’s acknowledging how far you come, and how great you can be in the future.

mental health

Three Coping Skills for Depression

Depression is certainly a mental illness with a lot of consequences. Lack of energy, decreased motivation, and low self-worth takes it’s toll. I used to have chronic depression for an extremelt long time, and found a useful way to cope. It’s all about your mentality to be honest.

Depression makes you not want to do anything because you don’t see the point in it. Then you feel guilty for having an ever growing to-do list that is not getting completed, and a cycle begins. Even with depression, you can only let this happen for so long before there are serious consequences for not meeting basic human expectations.

You have to stop playing the victim and be pro-active. Even if you have to drag yourself through the motions, at least you did them. That alone, while having depression, is quite an accomplishment. That is how you show life that nothing you tear you down. You got to be the boss of yourself.

Here are things that can help:

  1. Keeping a Schedule

I have always been a huge advocate for this. I don’t want you to jam pack everything you can in one day until you crash then never want to do it again. What I want is for you to figure out how long each task will take, then measure it out into your day while allowing yourself down-time. Often people with depression have periods during the day they are slightly better. For me it is in the morning, hence I try to do everything in the morning.

2) Lower Dissonance

An easy way to sum up dissonance is the cruddy feelings you get when you are not being how you want to be. I want to be successful. I want to be rather stoic and be able to deal with anything that comes my way, all while having an optimistic attitude. I study nihilism and stoicism to benefit my attitude, and try to work it into my life. Living up to the be the ideal me in my head is definitely worth it, although trying new things to be more assertive and confident can be uncomfortable.

3) Engage in some form of Self-Care

My self-care is working on what is meaningful to me. Depression can make it hard to do anything. But doing nothing is worse than forcing yourself to do things. 

Here are some ideas of self-care:

  • Cooking several batches of your favorite meal
  • Changing your appearance
  • Engaging in a hobby
  • Doing a creative project
  • Reading one of your favorite books
  • Read self-improvement articles online
  • Spend time with friends — go out somewhere if possible
  • Play with your pet or go play with a friend’s pet, if not visit the animal shelter
  • Take up a mindless activity like puzzles, Sudoku, crocheting, stretching, or organizing