Tag Archive | health

Just breathe 💙🕉

Mozart: Canzonetta Sull’aria – YouTube song 🎵

Relaxing songs list – website

How to use 4-7-8 breathing for anxiety – website

Diaphragmatic Breathing – Short youtube video to quickly learn how to breathe most effectively

(Content/possible trigger warning ⚠️: In part of this post, I briefly & lightly mention BDSM, a kink, where people, with consent, may be t**d up, usually in a s*xual context. It’s nothing graphic that I explain but just mentioning something to do with breathing that I learned in a fiction book about BDSM, that helps with meditation. But anyone who has experienced trauma may be triggered even by non graphic things, even by seeing certain words so I may block some things out with *** It’s important to face triggers but only when ready as possible, not by suddenly seeing a post on the internet when not in the frame of mind. Also, some asexual people do not want to encounter anything that has anything to do with s*x even if they weren’t traumatized because it’s icky or repulsive to them[not prudes at all, just grossed out and/or tired of hearing about the s*x constantly when it’s not in someone’s nature to want/crave it].

I’ll put a warning before the mention of the BDSM so any trauma survivors or aces can skip it. And I will put the caution signs ⚠️ ⚠️ ⚠️ ⚠️ at the end so anyone who skips can see where it ends and continue reading.)

The 4-7-8 breathing technique, also known as ‘relaxing breath,’ involves breathing in for 4 seconds, holding the breath for 7 seconds, and exhaling for 8 seconds.

This is a very simple and powerful technique to stop anxiety in its tracks. Of course, it may not work for every single person but is effective for many, if not most. For me, it works instantly.

I haven’t been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and never struggled with general anxiety but I have suffered a six month long battle with debilitating health anxiety in 2019. And in 2015 I lost my close friend unexpectedly to a heart attack and after that have struggled with bouts of anxiety off and on and fear of others I know all of a sudden dying. Every now and again but not frequently, I have this terrible suffocating fear arise that someone I know will die soon or is dying right now or will suffer an illness. It’s something that comes and goes and even though it’s not constant or usually frequent, it is difficult to bear when it does occur. It can feel like it will never end and like I am the only one in the world suffering it. I have also struggled with crippling claustrophobia, which I have conquered on my own as I frequently must get on elevators for work. It was important for me to heal it.

So while I don’t have anxiety as badly or frequently as some people and don’t currently have a disorder, I know what it’s like to be plagued by anxiety sometimes. I believe my experience with health anxiety in 2019 would have been diagnosed as a fullblown disorder if I would have asked for help. It takes extreme strength and courage to battle anxiety. It’s a display of strength and courage to live with anxiety, NOT a sign of weakness or cowardice. People with anxiety are forced to be stronger than people without anxiety have to be, yet often feel we are weak and cowardly if we are anxious and fearful. There is no way we would be surviving it each second if we were weak minded. It takes emotional and physical strength to endure. To me, it’s worse than depression and I have suffered severe depression off and on for years. It’s difficult to imagine the strength of anxiety survivors who live with it regularly. Just six months for me was nearly unbearable.

My anxiety when it arises, more often than not, manifests as physical sensations and emotions as opposed to thoughts. Because of this, mine may be easier to calm down when it does arise than if I had deeply rooted fears and thoughts.

My heart pounds, nearly out of my chest, my breathing becomes shallow, my head spins, and bolts of fear run up and down my body, heart palpitations, and I have this terrible feeling that someone I know is dying, near death, or will soon die. Sometimes it lasts off and on for days, usually just off and on in one day. It tends to be worse at night and early mornings when it is occurring. And sometimes my health anxiety for my own self tries to return and convince me I have cancer. It’s absolutely frightening and life destroying when it’s constant like in 2019. I developed uncontrollable rituals each day, incessantly checking for lumps and marks on my body. I stayed on Google day and night reading about diseases and looking at pictures of diseases I was convinced I had. It was a fullblown obsession. How I survived those six months, I still don’t know.

When it’s out of control, it’s very difficult to meditate or just breathe so best to catch it when a symptom or episode is just beginning, or beginning to worsen, or not quite as intense. When my heart begins to pound or those bolts of fear ripple up and down my body, I do the 4-7-8 breathing technique and instantly my body calms. It’s not a cure, of course, but a good way to get instant relief and if it becomes a habit, it may just be a “cure” for some or at least make anxiety less frequent. It’s just it can be difficult finding the motivation or time to make it an ingrained habit. Or for many, their anxiety is just generally too severe to be able to sit there and breathe, mindfully.

But for me, it does work. When I’m out walking, if I am hit with fear or panic or anxious sensations, I do that breathing technique. Also, I haven’t made it a habit yet but at night/morning, I listen to a peaceful song/music and do the breathing technique even if I am not currently anxious. It’s very pleasant and can prevent anxiety. It instills in me a peaceful sensation all throughout.

One thing to be mindful of is if we meditate only infrequently or haven’t in a while, meditation may bring out more fear or anxiety or anger or sadness or grief…, because we have emotions and responses to everyday life and certain experiences already inside us and often pent up. Meditation will loosen it up and bring it all to the surface/consciousness like a plunger loosening all the contents in a sink or toilet. Lol It may make it seem like meditation or mindfulness is a bad thing or just not for us. But could just be we have to meditate more often. Everyday we experience things and our emotional reactions no matter how serious or not, build up. We get cut off in traffic, we drop things, we spill coffee on our white shirt, we see someone almost get hit by a car running across a street, we hear a loud noise that startles us, our coworker says something that ticks us off, we may remember someone dying years ago and feel current distress or sadness about it…all of our emotional reactions to these things stay inside us even if we quickly forget them. Then meditation brings it all out later and we may feel the stress, anger, fear for a while after a meditation session but it’s actually a good thing as all those emotions need a release.

Shoulder blade squeeze

As I mention when promoting breathing exercises, I suggest people who are physically able to, as long as it’s safe for them, do the shoulder blade exercise at the beginning to open up the airways and make breathing easier and deeper.

⚠️ ⚠️ ⚠️ Content Warning ⚠️⚠️ ⚠️

Some years ago, I read a fiction legal thriller series of books by Stephen Penner, for fun and learned an invaluable life tip. In one of the books, the medical examiner, character, Dr. Kat Anderson, explained that putting our arms back like that opens the chest cavity and helps us breathe better. In the book a woman was accidentally killed by her man while they were engaging in BDSM, a kink where they tie each other up and stuff; it looks and sounds violent but is usually safe and is one hundred percent consensual.

The characters were hooking up and he tied her arms back with her consent and he accidentally killed her. The doctor explained how she would have died sooner if not for her arms being tied back like that. The reason she died is he choked her (with her consent) and since her arms were back, she was breathing better so lived longer. I realized I can do that before meditations to make me breathe more deeply and just randomly throughout the day and then a professional fitness trainer told me the same thing, to do that all day, everyday. It aids in our breathing.

⚠️ ⚠️ ⚠️END⚠️ ⚠️ ⚠️

So put your arms straight at your sides then lift them to your waist, bend the elbows and squeeze shoulder blades for five seconds then loosen for a few seconds then do the same again however many sessions you see fit. Don’t shrug your shoulders while squeezing the shoulder blades. That isn’t necessary and may not be safe or effective.

This is only for people who can safely do this, don’t have pain or physical limitations, have arms…I understand this isn’t for everyone. I think the average person can do this though. Remember for counting seconds, 1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi, 3 Mississippi….I learned this is elementary school just saying one two three is less than a second so put the Mississippi after and it’s closest to one second. 😁

This song in the YouTube video above, Mozart: Canzonetta Sull’aria, is one of my favorite ones to meditate to. It’s beautiful and peaceful and scientifically shown to be one of the most relaxing songs on Earth. Weightless – ten hour version or Weightless – eight minutes version is the actual most relaxing (scientifically proven) and I love that one too. But this one is a bit too relaxing and can make us sleepy or go to sleep. I’m not always trying to go to sleep after meditation. Sometimes I’m meditating in the morning or afternoon or out walking or before work and Weightless isn’t a good idea those occasions. But it’s great right before sleep or if it doesn’t matter if we are sleepy.

When breathing, only the abdomen should move, not the chest. And breathing should always be inhaling through the nose with the stomach expanding and exhaling through the mouth with stomach deflating. It’s called diaphragmatic breathing and does matter. It’s the proper way to breathe, the most healthy, but most of us don’t breathe that way and our breathing is shallow. Diaphragmatic breathing is best for coping with pain and anxiety and just the healthiest in all of life.

Remember to breathe as slowly and deeply as possible, especially breathing out. It takes practice. And remember to gently bring your wandering mind back to breath. That takes practice too. Everyone without exception will have a wandering mind, even those experienced with meditation. It’s just the nature of the human mind. It’s not a flaw or something worthy of self criticism. It’s just important to catch it as best as we can because before we know it our allotted meditation time is over and was taken up daydreaming of our lunch later, or some task at work tomorrow, or stores we have to visit. Again, not a flaw! And not an indication that we aren’t good at mediation. It happens to everyone who tries to meditate or do breathwork. It’s just important to get into the habit of catching it as much as possible for mediation to be most effective.

Anyone who tries meditation or breathwork is successful. Just taking that step to better our own self and be better for those around us is an accomplishment.

Hugs, love, inner peace, and light to all! 💗

Xoxo Kim

National Doctors’ Day❤💚

Happy National Doctors’ Day to all the Earth angels all around the globe!! Thank you, thank you, thank you!! Thank you for the health, hope, and healing. For the possibility and potential. Not an easy job to have and I’m thankful there are people who have what it takes! I have always been in awe of medicine and doctors and the things that can be done to help and save lives. I trust & love you! I’m wishing you all the love, health, safety, and strength today and everyday! Hugs & love, xoxo

~Kim

Look for the good {gratitude}❤

One way to practice gratitude that is different than an ordinary gratitude list is to write a list of things that seem wrong, difficult, challenging, bad….then put a positive spin on them or make a conscious decision to see the good or create the good in them.
Here’s mine.

1.) My hemoglobin/iron level has been dropping consistently for the last six months for a reason unknown (Scary!) but I’m thankful it’s still at a safe level even though it’s considered to be at an anemic level now. It only drops slightly and only just now became anemic but it shouldn’t be dropping at all, consistently. This is an opportunity for me to get even healthier now, healthier diet, work on less stress factors, more consistent meditation, self care…This should bring it back up as long as there’s no underlying issue/illness making it drop. Hopefully it’s just that I need some dietary/lifestyle changes. I work/walk/exercise excessively, to extreme levels, and under-eat(My body weight is healthy though). I don’t have an eating disorder. And it’s not a conscious decision; it happened over time and is not something I wanted to happen. It just did. But now my body is demanding I rest and make healthier decisions in other ways. And that’s a good thing!

2.) Because of this I cannot donate blood and I’m a regular blood donor. Very disappointing. The Red Cross wont let me because it’s not safe for me to lose even a small amount of blood even though it’s safe for any recipient to get my blood, but at least I have the desire to help and try to. Sometimes that just has to be enough! And another good thing…they still let me have the free snacks!😂

3.) I have these rainshoes that cut my skin and are very uncomfortable. But so is walking around with soaked shoes & socks all day. So it’s either severe blisters or soaked, yucky shoes & socks when it rains. Both are sucky. But at least my body has the ability to heal the cuts. It’s a reminder to be thankful that it functions the way it should. I choose the soaked shoes n socks. Wet feet can dry very quickly while cuts take longer to heal and can potentially get infected. Also, I probably shouldnt be losing blood with my low hemoglobin thing going on. I tried different kinds of rainshoes and none work out.
4.) I have been struggling with very severe, absolutely debilitating health anxiety (which I never had before) for the last two months and this was before I found out about my hemoglobin issue so imagine my horror when I found this out!! That’s all I need is to hear this now! I have been convinced for two months that I’m about to die (In just a month I was convinced I had over ten different kinds of rare cancer and Google had me dead in less than a year – it may be in your best interest to stay off google if you are struggling with health anxiety! For example, I had some little thing I cant even remember now and put it in google just to check. What’s the first thing that comes up? Pancreatic cancer. Thoroughly freaked me out until Im in a near panic. I was never like this!!) and now this(low hemoglobin can be a result of cancer)! But my terrible anxiety inspired me to do something and I found a beautiful meditation that is so inspiring and full of love. So soothing, calming, peaceful, serene, healing. Stunning. Kuan Yin – Om Mani Padme Hum

It’s a short meditation just over six minutes long. We can put it on replay to meditate longer or just play it as soothing background music while doing other things.

These are a few things that are not good but either because of them I found something good or I was able to see or create the good in them. Try it! We can never go wrong with that! No matter how seemingly serious or trivial, list it and look for the positive aspect. This gets our mind into the habit of being thankful or deepens our gratitude if we’re already frequently grateful. It can be uplifting to list good things but may be helpful in another way to list “bad” things then the good in those bad things.

I hope you are having a beautiful day or night wherever in the world you are! Hugs to you if you are struggling with health anxiety or any health issues. Meditation really helps me, even just a few minutes of conscious breathing in the morning and/or at night is powerful.❤

Much love, light, & inner peace,

Kim

Hey ’19!🎉

(This is me yesterday!❤)

Hey Nineteen – Steely Dan
It’s hard times befallen soul survivors
She thinks I’m crazy but I’m just growing old
Hey nineteen
(no we got nothing in common) We can’t dance together
(no we can’t talk at all)
Please take me along when you slide on down

Happy New Year!

This is a fun song I always loved to listen to! The people singing are like my age (30 something years old I think) and they feel old upon meeting a nineteen year old girl. Even though I’m their age, I feel more like the nineteen year old! Lol I look and feel, act, and just seem much younger than my actual age. What makes us “old” or “young” and happy or not is our attitude, not our chronological age. I frequently hear/see people saying and writing that when we get to be thirty years old, our body and other things start to go downhill. It’s only true if we let it be. I’m well over 30 years old and am anything but old or going downhill. My body is strong and healthy and extremely energetic. I never get tired, except a healthy/normal tired at night, and I work seven days a week, sometimes 24 hours or nearly 24 hours non-stop!

If we have a lighthearted attitude and don’t care about age along with keeping our body as healthy as possible (physical exercise, meditation, healthy food, sleep/rest when needed…), age does not matter. When we’re old/middle aged, can we still have fun with friends and family? Yes! Can we still taste food? Yes! Can we still breathe? Yes! Can we have fun watching movies, going out, reading, doing whatever activites we like to do? Yes! Can we still exercise? Yes! Can we still work? Yes! Does our thinking process still work? Yes! Can we go out on romantic dates? Yes! Dress in sexy clothes? Yes! Try new things? Yes! Go on vacation? Yes! Change jobs! Yes! Go to school? Yes! Hook up with random strangers? Yes! (Lol) Find true love or keep true love? Yes! Help those in need? Yes!

So why does age matter? We can do all the same things as when we were young even if it’s not socially acceptable (certain fashion choices are often considered to be for young people, for example, but so what?).

“Tired” is often the default response when asked how we are. Everywhere I go, I hear it. People who are much younger than I am are frequently complaining about being an adult and therefore so tired.

And I’m frequently seeing memes about it on social media, about how being an adult equals being tired.

(So accurate these days!! Not my photo!)

Frequently being tired or fatigued is a result of less than perfect health, being overworked, or being unhappy, stressed, distressed, imbalanced in some way…healthy, happy, balanced adults are not constantly fatigued or tired. This isn’t to say we are definitely tired if we’re stressed or something but that if we are frequently tired, something is draining us so fix it.

It’s not a good thing to just accept it as being part of adulthood.

I know a cute & sweet 87 year old lady, named Mary, who is very happy, healthy, and physically active. She frequently brags about her age and how healthy she is!😍

She’s an animal lover, very Liberal politically but loves those with opposing views.

She goes shopping, does not have much money, is single, goes to all different events, does volunteer work, decorates for holidays, cooks, hosts celebrations at her house for holidays, ballgames, her and her daughter welcome everyone, even strangers so no one has to be alone on “special” occasions…and she was even asked on a date recently by a younger man! (She said no because he is a bit younger and she doesnt know him well but at 87 years old she is still turning the heads of younger men! She also said the world is full of idiots so we should just stay single! 😂 )

Age is no excuse to be unhappy, to be always tired, to be unhealthy, to be trudging along through this life dragging and complaining!

Whatever we can do as a younger person, we can do now!

And this goes for anything we want but do not have. Without it, we can still have fun, still go out, still dress up, still love….

It can be painful to want what we do not have (to be younger, friends, kids, a romantic relationship, fulfilling job, our own house, a school degree, more money, better health….) but we do not need those things to be happy. It’s true, some of those things would bring us a kind of happiness we won’t have without them but it doesn’t mean we can’t be ultumately happy or just as happy in general without.

It’s all about the attitude. Stop thinking we’re old and we won’t be!

I’m 30 something years old, have a job I love but not a job that brings a lot of money, I’m in financial debt, do not live on my own, don’t have good in-person friends, am single, don’t have a family of my own….but am still generally happy and never tired or feeling old! It’s a good reminder for me also because sometimes I let myself get unhappy about not having lots of friends to do stuff with when most people do. I remind myself I can still have fun and be happy anyway and I can love myself even if no one else does. ❤ I do have a couple friends but not good ones and one I never see. But that’s ok!

Focus on the good, keep the body well nourished, be active, physically, do some mindfulness exercises even if for just five minutes a day, help others, don’t set unrealistic goals or have unrealistic expectations, lose the life timeline where certain things “should” be done by a certain age, stop the negative comparisons with others, say no to perfectionism, try new things, fun hobbies, get rid of the “I should be but I’m not” mentality, protect our energy….and we will be happy, energetic, and young no matter our actual age!

Much love,

Kim ❤

Living for the simple moments {beauty all around}

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“Underneath your blackest emotions,
far above your brightest wishes,
stands a world for you to hold” ~Samael

I was watching videos about children who suffer with severe mental illnesses like schizophrenia. It’s currently incurable and is a lifelong struggle for them. They suffer immensely and so do their families and those close to them who do the best they can to cope and help them cope.
They suffer hallucinations and delusions, some pleasant and some not pleasant.
They talk to things no one else can see.
Unlike some children, these aren’t imaginary friends playfully made up for fun, they are hallucinations the brain makes up as a result of an imbalance in its chemistry. It doesn’t function the way most people’s brains function. They literally see, hear, feel things that aren’t there for everyone else and often, they believe they’re real. And to them they are very real.

You can tell a hallucinating person that what that person is seeing, hearing, or feeling isn’t really there and it’s possible the person will know it’s not really there but that knowledge will not make the hallucinations any less real.

That can be an additional stress on someone. Knowing what the person is seeing, hearing, feeling isn’t really there but not being able to make it go away, even feeling the need to respond to certain hallucinations knowing they’re not really there. It can be so frustrating.

Sometimes their mental illnesses provoke some of them to act violently against other people not because they’re bad people but because their brains don’t function properly. Not everyone with a mental illness is violent as a result but some can be. Most aren’t.
In other ways they can be just like other little kids. They like to play, go outside, run around, swing, laugh….

People with mental illnesses, children and adults alike, are a whole person underneath, a person separate than the illness. But sometimes the sickness seems to take over.

It’s a heartbreaking struggle.

One of the most inspiring parts of one of the videos I watched is when a little girl’s dad said he has only two hopes for his little girl. One that she stays alive and two that moments of happiness will always find her throughout her days even when most parts of her days are an agonizing battle, he hopes she will always find something to be happy about in the midst of her pain and struggle.

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This can be viewed in a more negative light like that it’s too bad that all someone has is little moments throughout the day because everything else is just so bad.
Or it can be viewed in a positive light that there are always moments we can embrace to be inspired and joyful, single moments scattered throughout each day that we have, to seize and hold on for. No matter how much pain we’re in.

It’s a beautiful coping mechanism. Mental illness and physical illness is heartbreaking and devastating but as long as we stay alive and hold onto any little bit of happiness or joy or anything that can make us smile or giggle about, we can make it.

We can’t always hope to be cured or to be generally recovered or to go in remission right now. We can’t always hope that pain will end right now. Some things just won’t be cured and some people will have to struggle most days or everyday just to survive and do basic things. Some people will have severe flare ups every now and again, of an illness physical or emotional that will feel near impossible to cope with.
And even temporary pain or struggles that we know will end eventually, can just seem so overwhelming, so absolutely unbearable.

But as long as we live and can find those glimpses of magic hidden in the midst of the pain and darkness, we can have something to hold, something to hope for, something that encourages us to keep going, to get out of bed, to move.

The reflection of the sun on windows and signs and water, the blueness of the sky, white fluffy clouds, a steaming cup of hot tea, a funny movie, the depth of inspiration a beautiful song can bring us, a poem, friends, family, animals, photography, books, the vibrant colors all around, random acts of kindness, strangers, hot fudge sundaes, peanut butter, the gentle flapping of butterfly wings, helping someone, funny jokes….whatever touches you in a deep place.

These things, the simple beauty all around, are always beautiful no matter what our situation is but for some people with certain illnesses or disabilities or in certain situations, they are all we have at the moment. Just moments of simple beauty and joys. Sometimes it’s really all we can hope for, to have solitary moments of joy or happiness or some small sense of pleasure in the midst of our darkness.

And it can be enough.

I know this because when my depression would be flaring up for hours, days, weeks, months, whether it’s a full blown episode or just some symptoms, here and there, sometimes all I could do to stay alive, to find the motivation, the inspiration, the courage, and strength to carry on, was grasp onto all the single happy or joyous moments throughout every day of my darkness & despair. Focus on the goodness that still does exist until it would end and I would be happy again. I had this since 13 years old.

Having depression or any mental illness or pain can feel like a different world than where everyone else is. It’s like another place, another time, another world. To know we have this dark place we can slip into.
To have random suicidal thoughts and urges and depression that can appear suddenly for seemingly no reason.

People say there’s no such thing as “normal.”
And that it’s good to be different and “crazy” and unique.
But in some cases there really is such a thing as “normal.” People who always want to live, those who don’t have to battle random or frequent suicidal urges, ones who don’t have unpleasant images and thoughts flashing across their brains, people who don’t have their whole body crushed in an invisible heaviness where they can’t even stand up straight, ones without panic attacks and flashbacks and frequent anxiety, food obsessions, seriously disordered eating habits ….(i don’t have anxiety or panic attacks or body image issues/eating disorders and never have but many, many people do and it’s a serious problem that is very painful for them)
This is normal to not have all this.
And for people who have any of it, it can be a difficult struggle to try to be regular.
I know people without health conditions like this may not be “normal” in other ways but in this context they are.
And it’s not good to try to force ourselves to be society’s or someone else’s idea of normal while not being true to ourselves.
But that’s not what I’m talking about here.
Yes it’s good to be “unique” but not when unique means battling violent urges to take myself out for days/weeks/months.
And “crazy” is good when it’s all fun and games and playing, acting funny and silly but it’s not good when “crazy” is a true illness.
It’s not always easy to handle and it provokes pain in me, even when I’m not depressed sometimes. Just thinking about it.
Not always. For the most part I feel and am normal. But it can be a struggle sometimes when depression flares up.

The psychological consequences of having these condition, and for some, even when they are not currently acting up, are profound and may have to find ways to cope with the pain and struggles and the very fact of having them when they are someone with a mental disorder. I don’t mind and can handle it.

I know I’m not a victim. That’s why I’m posting this, because I have found a way to be empowered and I hope it helps someone else. This life is still a sweet blessing. Just because we have bad things and painful things happen to us, doesn’t mean we are victims.

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures that we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” ~Jawaharlal Nehru

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I’m alive. And as long as that remains true, there is hope. Even when I can’t feel it.

Sometimes the simple things are lifesavers, crucial parts of my coping mechanisms.
They are all there is.

I honor all the brave families and other people for sharing their stories, for sharing their pain and struggles with the world. Mental illness, medication, mental illness in children, specific ways of coping, treatment…are all very controversial. People disagree on the nature of some illnesses, whether or not they really exist, if certain treatments are ethical, the way people handle these illnesses and so much more. Anyone who shares a story like this that reaches a large audience, on blogs, YouTube, tv…, is bound to receive criticism of all kinds, some intended to be constructive, other critics intending to be malicious and inflict pain or anger upon those sharing their story.
There will always be loving supporters and those who just want to hurt.
Anyone who shares their story is brave and strong and deserves love and compassion whether or not we agree with everything they do or say or believe.
The people who share their pain with the world do the best they can the best they know how.
No one chooses to be mentally ill. We have to take the life we were gifted with, healthy or not, and do the best we can with it, bloom where we’re planted, create a firm, strong foundation with everything we know, everything we experience, everything that is thrown at us.

“Today a new sun rises for me; everything lives, everything is animated, everything seems to speak to me of my passion, everything invites me to cherish it.” ~Anne De Lenclos

Mental illness, pain, being suicidal…none of these are choices but acting on them is often a choice. Acting negatively or acting positively. Giving in and giving up or finding it in us to keep going with everything we have. We have the choice to do something to better ourselves, to hold on, to inspire, bring hope, consolation, encouragement, and understanding to others.

When I am depressed, I choose to hold on, to keep going, to inspire myself and anyone else I can along the way.

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And I hope you will always do the same whatever your situation is. And if you need reminders every now and again, look for them. Take photos of happy things, write positive quotes and affirmations in a book so you can always look at them when you need inspiration, always remember words, books, things that have helped you and let them continue to help you. Remember an occasion when you were happy and filled with joy and hope and full of life and know you have it in you to feel that way again. If you can’t remember when you last felt that way, then know there’s always hope as long as you’re alive. The world is full of pain but it’s also full of hope, healing, happiness, love, and possibility. Endless possibilities.

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“I choose to FIGHT BACK! I choose to RISE, not fall! I choose to LIVE, not die! And I know, I know that what’s within me is also WITHIN YOU.” (Mayor Pappas, “City Hall” movie quote)

Xoxo Kim

Social Media – Developing Healthy Skills and Balance

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I received a lifehack e-mail with a link to a list of reasons why social media can be detrimental to our health.

It’s titled, 
You Should Be Aware Of These 10 Effects Of Social Media On You

By Amanda Rife 

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/technology/you-should-aware-these-10-effects-social-media-you.html

Amanda Rife writes:

“Technology is a useful tool, but many people don’t know how to use it properly which can easily become damaging. As much as you may love your Twitter page is it really worth the toll it takes on your health? That’s for you to decide after you read the following 10 ways social media negatively effects your life:”

She brings up some interesting and important issues and great points with some basis of truth to them and I am elaborating and adding my own views about each one, here.

After each number is her reason why social media may be damaging to us. Under each reason is her view and under each of her views is my own opinion.

1.) Reduces person to person interaction.

Amanda Rife writes:
“Not only do you spend less quality time with is people who are physically present in your life, but they will quickly get annoyed by you when you’re paying more attention to an electronic device than them. Eventually the people around you will even stop wanting to hang out with you.”

My view: We have complete control over how frequently and in which ways we use our social media accounts and our phones, computers, laptops, ipads…and whatever else we use to connect to a social media resource. Connecting with people online and seeing people in person are both great and both have advantages that the other does not. One doesn’t have to take the place of the other one. Social media allows us to share photos, statuses, posts..and comment, tag each other in ways we can’t do in person and allows us to meet people and reconnect with people we would have never met or encountered again if not for social media. Seeing each other in person is different than seeing each other through a screen, we can hang out, look into each other’s eyes(if we can see), hear each other’s voices(if you’re a hearing person), have coffee, tea, food together, laugh together… They’re both great and we don’t have to give up one for the other. It’s all about balance. You can put your phone away when you’re out with someone in person and just because you “see” that person online everyday doesn’t mean you don’t have/want to see the person in person when you can. Social media doesn’t control you if you don’t allow it to.

2.)  Increases your cravings for attention drastically.

Amanda Rife writes:

“Posting vague statuses on Facebook to grab others attention could easily become a nasty habit for people who use social media frequently. The never ending competition for likes and notifications can consume you.”

My view: What can be said about this (and other points brought up here) goes beyond the scope of this post. Many of these are deep psychological issues/aspects that are issues that can have posts of their own. Example: What Amanda Rife states here is true for some people. They need “likes” and comments and shares to feel validated and they want competition, to get more love than others. But that’s not Social media’s fault. That’s an inner issue of the individual self. Social media just provides us with the opportunity to get that kind of attention, to get “likes,” comments, shares…and while it’s great to have that kind of attention, it’s an honor to know that people like us and our content and there’s nothing wrong with desiring it, it’s an indication of a problem to feel that we need it to make us feel worthy or important. It’s a sign of a psychological problem that needs awareness and tending to if we become literally depressed or anxious or feeling excessively low to the point it seriously affects our lives if we don’t get attention on social media. I think the inner problem is what needs to be addressed, not just push it under the rug by criticizing or getting rid of social media for it. It may be helpful to lay off the social media accounts if we are the kind of person to need attention to validate us. It may be very helpful to stay off twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blogs…but that psychological problem of ours will still be there and may manifest in other ways if we get rid of our social media accounts. It’s not social media, it’s us. Social media can be our wake-up call, to help us realize we have a problem, not caused by social media, but being triggered by the opportunities it allows. We can then use this realization to our advantage, working on and exploring problems we would have not known we have if not for social media bringing our attention to it.

3.) Distracts from life goals.

Amanda Rife writes:

“It’s so easy to get wrapped up in what’s going on in social media that people will neglect their real life goals. Instead of aiming for the dream job by obtaining useful skills people, especially younger people, tend to strive for internet stardom.”

My view: Again, this is something we have complete control over. We can use the Internet and social media for just the opposite, to inspire us and motivate us to fulfill our goals and even come up with new ones. We can meet people, discover new ideas, and have our creativity sparked by the people and things we encounter through social media. Anything can distract us so we don’t work on our goals, TV, work, laziness, and more, we can get wrapped up into anything and become a slacker, not just social media. It’s great and very effective to manage our amount of time spent on each thing that takes up part of each day, not let one take over everyday.

4.) It can lead to a higher risk of depression.

Amanda Rife writes:

“According to recent studies the more people used social media the more negative feelings they experience, including depression. This could partiulalrly harmful to people who have been previously diagnosed with depression. If you beginning to notice you’re feeling down on a regular basis it’s probably time to take a break from your many social media.”

My view: This is probably for different reasons for different people. I suspect one of the the main culprits is negative comparison. We know how our lives really are, every aspect, every event, every thought, every problem…but with everyone else, we only see what they choose to reveal. Some people only reveal the positive aspects of their lives and keep the pain and problems hidden. For some, this is because they want everyone to truly believe they have The Perfect Life, for others it’s not that they want, necessarily, to be judged as having a perfect life, but they fear being judged negatively if they complain on social media outlets, for others still, it’s not at all about coming off as being perfect but they want to use their social media accounts just for uplifting quotes and happy thoughts, as opposed to using them to vent or disclose unpleasant situations or thoughts. They just aren’t drawn to sharing their whole lives, pleasant and unpleasant. When we are struggling and we see photos, posts, and all kinds of happy updates by people who seem to have it all, this can contribute to us feeling low about our own lives. And if we are prone to true depression, it can trigger an episode or the onset of a full blown disorder. A couple of other culprits of social media contributing to depression are cyber- bullying and friend rejection, people blocking and unfriending others, not responding to requests or comments and messages. If you’re prone to depression, this can be a serious trigger. 

Giving up all of social media may be a solution for some but I think the underlying depression and/or insecurity is what mostly needs to be addressed.

5.) Relationships are more likely to fail.

Amanda Rife writes:

“No good comes out of online displays of jealousy and snooping. It may seem like an easy option when it comes to dealing with relationships, but in reality it does more damage than good. In fact, studies show that the more a person uses Facebook the more likely they will be to monitor their partner, which leads to arguments and crumbling relationships.”

My view: Again, this is not social media’s fault but the fault of the persons involved. It’s how we go about handling our circumstances while also using social media. Relationships and the use of social media are compatible. We have to use our common sense about what is wise to do and not do in terms of social media. Or learn what to do and not to do if it’s not common sense to us. It’s all about our underlying insecurities and issues, not the social media. Social media just provides us with the opportunity to see and reveal all kinds of stuff that can bring out our insanity if we allow it to. We don’t need social media to spy on or stalk people, it just makes it easier to engage in those unhealthy things. If we feel a strong desire or need to obsessively monitor our lover every second of every day , the problem is either us or the lover. Maybe I’m very insecure and my lover is trustworthy. Or maybe I’m not overly insecure but he is being really suspicious and there is some reasonable explanation for my monitoring.

But the true underlying problems would likely be there with or without social media because they lie within us. They are what need to be addressed.

6.) Excessive use of social media stunts creativity.

Amanda Rife writes:

“I can speak from personal experience that social media is the easiest way to stunt, or kill, the creative process. Surfing social media sites, especially Tumblr. in this scenario, has a numbing effect on the mind that’s similar to mindlessly watching television. If you plan on being productive today shut off those apps!”

My view: This definitely has some truth to it and the word “excessive” is the key word here. Nothing is good in excessive amounts, that’s why it’s excessive! It’s also about being mindful and active in all that we do. Mindlessly scrolling through a bunch of mindless drivel thrown about by others is bound to numb anyone’s creativity and decrease our IQ a few points! But when we are mindful of what we’re reading or looking at and fully engaged, our creativity can deepen and we can come up with new ideas. While looking at pics on Tumblr, reading blog posts, Facebook statuses, or anything else, it will benefit you to pay close attention to what you are doing, thinking, feeling, reading. Is it serving you well? Is it inspiring you, motivating you, challenging you? Do you feel peaceful, calm, happy? Or is it just mind numbing stuff you’re surfing through because you feel you have nothing better to do? If so, you definitely have better things you can be doing! Finding something else to read or look at, meditate, tune into your surroundings, the scents, the feelings, the sounds, the colors and textures…your possibilities are endless.

7.) Cyber bullying is alive and well.

Amanda Rife writes:

“People feel too comfortable on the web and say things they wouldn’t normally say in real life. If you’re not the one say horrible things, you’re still inevitably going to be exposed to it. And if you are one of the people talking trash? Cut it out! You’re not as anonymous as you think. With the rampant cyber bullying on the web, people are also becoming more rude off the web as well.” 

My view: This is so true. Cyber-bullying is something we have little control over for the most part. For those of us who aren’t cyber-bullies, we still have to witness it or just really negative, uncalled for comments everywhere. Have you seen the YouTube comments on even the most inspiring, positive, beautiful, uplifting videos?! Good grief, they’re horrible. I rarely even read the comments because they’re so dumb and uncalled for. Internet trolls are everywhere and unfortunately here to stay. I suggest you don’t feed them. It’s what they want. So let’s let them starve. They are people who feel so low about themselves and their own lives so they insist on attempting to drag others down with them.

And it can crush our spirit to see even when it’s not happening to us, personally. Being a witness to uncalled for negativity can be so life-draining. But we can develop habits and skills to not let it get to us to the point it’s overwhelming and leads us to depression or anxiety. We can stand un-buffeted against the negative attention seekers who get off on inflicting pain upon others just for thrills. Focus on your own positive qualities and all the love and positivity you receive and remember as much as it sucks being bullied or being the target of cruelty, it has to suck way more being a bully. To sink to that level, there has to be something seriously wrong. Pay the callous comments no mind, I suggest you don’t respond to bullies directly but when you see it happening to someone, you can write positive things to the person to uplift her/him.

8.) Constantly comparing yourself to others online will make you miserable.

Amanda Rife writes:

“The digital persona people display on Facebook is often much different that what actually goes on in their lives. After awhile you may feel like you know your online aquainences better than you do, creating a social gap. Try to remember that everyone is just as human as you are.”

My view: Like I said in response to #4 about depression, negative comparisons aren’t good. It’s not healthy for us. When we’re comparing ourselves negatively to others we’re either making ourselves out to not be as good or making ourselves out to somehow be above the other person/people. It’s uncalled for. We all have good things and bad things and it’s all about our attitude. We can’t control what other people put on social media but we can control our own attitudes and reactions. Like Amanda Rife says, we are all equally human. Focus on the goodness of yourself. Bask in your own beauty while truly, relishing the beauty of others. 

Let other people’s happiness, accomplishments, success, and beauty inspire you and motivate you, not depress you or trigger jealousy.

If you really feel utterly miserable because of someone else on social media accounts, analyze yourself, think about why this is. Do you feel like you are lacking in some respects? Missing out? Then do something to fulfill yourself. It doesn’t matter what others think. Do what you have to to bring joy to yourself as long as you are not hurting or directly interfering with others. And if someone is trying to intentionally make others jealous, unhappy, miserable, you can unfriend, block, ignore that person and get on with your own life.

9.) Loss of sleep.

Amanda Rife writes:

“The light emitted from your various electronic screens tricks your mind into thinking it’s not time for you to sleep. Getting enough sleep each night is already difficult enough without extra complications. Perhaps it’s best if your phone doesn’t stay with you though the night.”

My view: This is true but has nothing to do with social media itself, really. If we have our phones by our side in bed, we may see the little flashing lights, hear beeping or other sounds, or just be so tempted to check Facebook and other things. Over and over and over. But this has to do with discipline. Self control. Get into the habit of sleeping at night, not playing with phones. If it’s really too difficult, the phone can be put in a different room while going to sleep to make the temptation less irresistible.

After a while it becomes a habit. Then it will be easier and easier to resist until eventually your brain is trained to not think of that phone and Facebook or Twitter at night. 

10.) Lack of privacy.

Amanda Rife writes:

“Between social media websites saving (and selling) your personal data and the whole NSA mess involving unsolicited government access of personal data including email, Skype calls, and so much more it’s very clear that privacy and the internet don’t mix at this point in time. If you post every last thought that pops into your head it could just as easily come back to haunt you in the future.”

My view: This is really very simple. Don’t ever put on social media, anywhere including what you think are personal e-mails or inbox messages, what you don’t want everyone to see. Even if your account is blocked so only people on your list can see, someone, somewhere, can get access to it if those people really want to. Once you put something out there, it’s out there for good, somewhere, even if you delete it and it looks like it’s gone. It can be retrieved. People can get into your e-mail box and any other thing you have on the Internet. Whatever you would never want others to see, keep it to yourself or tell someone in person if you can. Any other way is not safe. But this is a choice. When we put something stupid out there, it’s on us. It’s not Social media’s wrongdoing, it’s ours. Many people don’t realize that when we put something out there into cyber-world, it’s here to stay. They think it can be easily removed because there are “delete” buttons so it’s important to educate people.

Social media itself isn’t the problem. It’s how we use it and perceive it. Social media is limited in its power over us. It mostly only has the power we allow it to have. We can empower ourselves to have a healthy, balanced, positive relationship to social media and those people we connect with online.

We can greatly benefit by developing healthy skills and habits and cultivate a positive attitude about ourselves, each other, and social media. Social media provides us with amazing opportunities and has much potential for great things. We don’t have to give it up to avoid all our problems that arise while using it. It’s ourselves we need to work on.

It’s not the use of social media that is the problem, it’s misuse.

I’m very thankful Amanda Rife brought up these important issues. It is crucial to address them in this age of social media where so many feel that it has a power and mind of its own, where people feel like victims in the face of struggles made possible by social media. Social media is a blessing, certainly not without its negative consequences and distress in some cases, but it’s definitely a positive thing if we allow it to be and use it wisely.
,
Xoxo Kim 

30 Days of Lists – Day #2 Personal Medicines

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Again, I wrote a whole blog post and lost it, last night/Friday. It’s now early Saturday afternoon. 
I have off work today which is unusual for a Saturday and I’m going out with my good friend, Mike, tonight!
 My phone has been acting up and every app/icon I use randomly and automatically just clicks off without warning. So here I am writing it over! And like always when I lose my writings, it will be better than the original! That’s my policy. When I tragically lose something long that I write, I rewrite it better!

Yup! Let the pain make you BETTER, not bitter!

;-D

Last night/Thursday night I was having difficulty sleeping because of my chronic facial pain disorder.   My face wasn’t throbbing too badly but it was exhausted and tired. Lol It sounds funny that just my face can be exhausted! But it’s a very unpleasant feeling!   My disorder has more symptoms than just pain. And facial exhaustion and tiredness is one of them. And it doesn’t always let me sleep.

And one occasion when I woke up during the night, I thought of the 30 day list challenge and realized it really is quite a challenge!   I can come up with so many lists but I want interesting ones!   

I was trying to think of a list and couldn’t think of a really good one other than a list of books. But I want to list my favorite books on a “Page” at the top, not as a blog post.

Then Friday at my psychiatric appointment I was asked to compose a list! A list of “Personal Medicines.”  In this context, “medicines” is not drugs or anything we put into our bodies but, coping mechanisms and things that help us heal our mental illnesses and maintain a good mood and wellbeing.

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The mental health professionals at this clinic believe strongly that our healing, recovery, and maintaining general wellbeing is much more than just talk & drug therapy.   It’s about attitude, lifestyle, and healthy activities along with professional treatment like drug/talk therapy.

So every visit to this clinic now we are asked to list our “Personal Medicines.” It’s the new policy.  Some patients view this as a hassle but I like it a lot!   I agree that maintaining good mental health when we struggle with a disorder really is more than just professional treatment.

Personal Development/Self Help techniques are important as well.

Here’s my list.

1.) quotes – reading, writing, sharing positive or thought provoking quotes 

2.) reading – self-help, novels, and philosophy books/writings 

3.) walking 

4.) photography – taking pics and being creative

5.) meditation

6.) talking to people/petting animals

7.) helping people

8.) writing 

9.) gratitude practices – lists, meditations, photos…

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http://365grateful.com/

Check out Amy Gill’s story on this website. The video is on the front page. It’s heartwrenching and beautiful and deeply inspiring.

10.) Art journaling

11.) sharing quotes and my own stories

12.) working on a life handbook – a book of goals, uplifting ideas, values, dreams, quotes, whatever ways you want to live your life.

http://personalexcellence.co/blog/create-your-life-handbook/

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13.) posting here on the blog

I wouldn’t expect a seriously depressed person to do one or all of these things and always automatically be uplifted or cured. Depression is not just a low mood; it’s a serious illness, a terrible sickness and nothing can just pull someone out of it usually. But with practice we can learn to cope with and sometimes prevent severe flare ups and with practice we can sometimes be somewhat uplifted even when we’re truly depressed. These things help me immensely because I practice them every day and take them seriously, every day, not just lightly every now and then. And not only when I’m depressed.

Since May 2010 I have been working on maintaining a positive life philosophy and practicing personal development/self-help techniques to help me cope with pain, both physical and emotional. And just to have happiness & joy in general.   It has to be learned, practiced, and applied.   Depression has biochemical underpinnings but it’s also psychological and self help techniques can help to a certain extent.   But throwing an uplifting quote at a very depressed person, expecting it to lift the person out of the illness,  can likely just make it worse for the person, seeming like no one understands. But when a person with depression seeks professional help and works on the inner self, reads positive quotes/ideas often, meditates upon them, develops and seriously maintains a life philosophy and positive attitude, making serious attempts to get better and view life in a positive way, it is very helpful and an incredible experience. 

Succumbing to depression, giving into negative thinking, unnecessary self criticism, viewing life and the whole world as vicious and cold and cruel, contemplating suicide are all very detrimental and it takes so much to avoid them. It takes energy, strength, courage that often seems impossible to muster, to avoid giving in, but it is possible and worth it. I know. I used to live in a cold, dark place. It felt so cruel. So hopeless and wrong. Life felt wrong and worthless and useless. But I found my way. I still slip back there once and a while but I found ways to cope until I am genuinely happy again.

Just because I’m depressed doesn’t mean I have to act depressed.

My life philosophy that I can handle anything and that I must stay alive, that life IS great even when it hurts, that just being alive is my purpose and just being alive is a grand thing has become so ingrained in me that even when I get just as severely depressed as I used to, I can cope much better, breeze right through it and no longer become dangerously suicidal. Often, positive quotes and songs do help me now because of the practice of self-help techniques and controlling my thinking.   They confirm and remind me of what I already know. It still hurts when I am hit hard with depression, I still have suicidal thoughts, I still feel hopeless sometimes and worthless for what, often, seems like no reason at all. But these feelings often, no longer overwhelm me or consume me like they used to.  

Something inside has shifted. It’s a strange feeling to become just as severely depressed as I have been for many years but now have hope and still a desire for life.

It feels strange to see a way to die and not want to take advantage of the opportunity like I always, ALWAYS wanted to do for many years.   It’s a strange thing to want to live. Strange, nearly fourteen years, nearly every day I wanted to die.  And the two years before that I did not care if I lived or died.   It feels weird not to have to struggle against overwhelming urges to take myself when I see a “perfect” way out.  It’s so bizarre that the thought of killing myself now seems so so wrong when for years and years and years and more years it felt so right. I still have these thoughts but usually now they are just out of habit and not driven by real suicidal feelings. But even when they are still driven by genuine suicidal feelings and true depression, I can endure it.

I now have a desire and a will to live.

I will never get used to this feeling. Not ever. And as I have previously said, I don’t want to.  One year and five months of actually wanting to live. Every single day.  Living voluntarily and not merely out of fear that it won’t work if I try to end my life.  

Sometimes I have to just stop. I’ll be doing some mundane thing. Brushing my teeth maybe, applying my makeup, walking to work, shopping, showering, falling asleep, waking up…and I just stop.   And feel the shock. The awe. The strangeness of not wanting to die. I bask in the beauty of wanting to live.

I’m reeling. 

It’s incomprehensible, hard to fathom and explain.  

I think of all I have learned, read, survived, believe in, and how I have come a long way. And hope fills me. Hope that the episode of depression, when it hits, will end. Love guides me. Inspires me. And so even though the depression does sometimes get as bad as it used to be, I can cope much better. 

People get angry when people share uplifting quotes or tips for coping with depression and anxiety.   They think it’s cruel and cold and not understanding, thoughtless.   And it can be, depending upon the attitudes and intentions of those posting /saying them. But they CAN also be very helpful when shared appropriately, compassionately.

Let’s not assume every depressed and anxious person can engage in some little self-help technique and be magically cured.   It’s not like that.   And what works for one may not work for another. Let us encourage people to seek help and healing, to seek what is right for them.

Let’s bring hope & warmth to those in the cold, darkness.

I encourage you to make your own list of things to help you with low moods whether they are just normal low moods we may all experience now and then or severe depressive episodes. Practice. Practice. Practice. Sometimes they’ll uplift you. And sometimes they’ll just help you cope. But they are very important to consciously, intentionally maintain.  

I believe that no matter how happy you are, taking part of your days to do fun, healing activities just for you will make you even happier and healthier.

Much love to you all.

Xoxo Kim

P.S.

Have you tried the Molten Hot Lava chocolate cake at Arby’s?!?! It’s Heaven on Earth!

I had it before now and loved it but each day I get it it seems to get better and better!   Yum! And the jalapeño poppers & onion rings! Goodness! Mmnnmm!

My family got food in the drive through Friday night and it cost over $30.00 and my dad said to the man “that’s expensive!!” and the man said “you’re hungry tonight.” Lol! Then as we were driving away the man said “If you can’t be good, be great.” I love it and will always remember that.

If you can’t be good, be great.