Category Archives: emotional well being

How to take care of your internal world. When we do this, the external world automatically seems brighter.

The daily grind

 

chained to the rythmn

Photo by matsuyuki

The Daily Grind

 

Apologies to those of you who aren’t Katy Perry fans but this video is brilliant as it is a great example of “purposeful pop”. Katy Perry sings about a theme park called Oblivia and being “chained to the rythmn.” It’s all about the daily grind. Are we just like rates in a maze? Being chained to the rhythmn is a euphemism for being stuck in a system where politicians are dishonest and don’t deliver on promises. Where we are all so influenced by online technology and are glued to our smart phones and ipod screens. This means we are less in the present moment and ‘absent’ from our lives in many ways.

The guests are dressed in vibrant 1950s clothes, an era of great optimism for America. The song’s lyrics depict a world of repetition and ignorance, where technology renders us oblivious (hence the name “Oblivia”) to people’s real problems- mental health, poverty, inequality, corruption and so on.

The “greatest ride in the universe” turns out to be a treadmill. The guests aren’t there to have fun – they’re assets. Cogs in the machine. Literally hamsters on a wheel.

In the closing scene, Katy Perry turns to make eye contact with the camera, tacitly issuing a challenge to us, the viewer.

Are we comfortable with unquestioning conformity? Or will we join her big pop revolution?

I urge you to be a critical thinker, don’t believe everything you see in the media, it is always slightly slanted according to one’s interpretation. Learn to stand apart, be a non-conformist and stand up for what you believe in.

Mandy X

10 Amazing and wise insights for life

insightful photo

10 Amazing and wise insights for life

Here are 10 amazing and wise insights that contain important lessons for life. They remind me to watch my attitude and monitor my thinking.

When you believe it, you will see it.

Do it now – the future is promised to no one.

You can choose – be sad or be happy..you have more choice on this than you realise.

How other people treat you is their karma – how you respond is yours.

You can’t be lonely if you really like and accept the person you are alone with.

When you judge another, it says more about you than them.

Change how you see things and things automatically change.

Abundance isn’t something we acquire, it is something we tune into.

Loving and compassionate people live in a loving and compassionate world, hostile, selfish people live a hostile, selfish world. Same world.

Conflict cannot survive without your participation.

Mandy X

Earn money while dating

 

couple in love photo

Earn money while dating

Get ready for it – there’s a new dating app out where you can earn money while searching for your soulmate. I decided to give the new dating app Spritzr a try and found it an enjoyable experience. Spritzr’s founder and CEO, Manshu Agarwal, was searching for love. He found that his best dates came through friends. However, he could only go to so many friends’ parties, and email or facebook introductions were really awkward. So he thought, why isn’t there a fun, low pressure way for friends to play matchmaker? Now there is.

It’s easy to set up as you can use your Facebook profile and you’re on your way. You can play matchmaker and match up other singles. They see your suggestions and if any of them match and like each other, you could earn $10 cupid cash.

Users simply drag and drop photos of singles they think would make a good pair. The more couples they successfully match, the more Cupid Cash they earn, which can be exchanged for real money. You choose whether you want to be actively involved in finding a partner by choosing the “single” option or, if you are in a relationship but want to help others find love, you choose the “in a relationship” option – simple!

I spent a few hours playing around with this app – it’s free to download and I managed to match one couple. I found that rather rewarding. It’s a fun way to see how good you are as matchmaker and I haven’t come across another app like it.

“Channel your inner cupid” as the app suggests – it’s definitely worth a try!

Mandy X

Itunes link for Spritz: CLICK HERE

Give Depression the Bird

depression photo

Help break the stigma surrounding depression by taking this anonymous survey: CLICK HERE

For results of the survey: CLICK HERE

Give Depression the Bird

Let’s get one thing straight. Depression is real. It is not something to be trivialized, snapped out of, or sucked up. In fact, trying to do this often makes it worse. I know, because I’ve been there. I would have loved to have been able to give myself a shake and a rueful smile and reset my mind. Wouldn’t it be great if you could just instantly be happy? Like those heat packs you snap, shake and they heat up? Super cool. And totally ridiculous.

Depression appears in many ways, shapes and forms, and no two people get it exactly the same. Not only does this make it hard to treat, it makes it hard for people to understand. It can’t be put in a box like other illnesses and diseases. There are symptoms, but responses to those symptoms vary. It isn’t a disease, so medication doesn’t work as well as we wished it would, although it does work well for a lot of people.

Not only is depression very real, but it is incredibly misunderstood, and surrounded by an almost palpable stigma. People who have depression are labelled. Crazy, lazy, not trying hard enough, weak. It doesn’t matter if the people wielding these words are trying to help or not, they are all labels, and they are stopping people reaching out for the help they need.

The very way we think about, and react to depression needs to change. And it needs to change fast!

When you think of depression what picture springs to mind? I see a girl curled into a foetal position in a darkened room, sobbing. And this picture is what I thought people with depression did all the time. I was so incredibly wrong.

Last year my husband gave me an ultimatum. Be happier or go and talk to someone. And by someone he meant one of those freaky head shrinking people…

I know that sounds harsh, but he was trying to make me see what he did. You see, up until that point I was convinced I was fine. Tired, but fine. I wasn’t crazy. And I couldn’t have depression! Everything I knew about depression said you had to be constantly sad, crying on the sofa, or suicidal, and I was none of those things. Oh I cried a lot, but more often I was irritable and cranky. (Did you know that was a sign of depression? Me neither)! So the couple of times ‘depression’ crossed my mind I quickly dismissed it.

Was I tired? Absolutely! Sad? Frequently. Did I feel like I wasn’t achieving much even when to others I was doing incredibly well? Only every day. But I wasn’t depressed! Heck no. Depression was for weak people. For people who had suffered massive loss or pain in their lives. For people with a rough childhood, or adulthood. I hadn’t had any of that. I grew up in a loving family. I have an amazing husband and a healthy, happy (albeit very stubborn) child, and I have had a relatively pain free life. And yet the more I looked at it, the more I realised the truth.

I was depressed. And I had been for quite a long time.

During a discussion (on why I couldn’t possibly have depression), my husband told me I seemed to be sad from the minute I woke up, till the minute I went to bed. It took me a while to process that. I couldn’t imagine what living with that must have been like. And that was the moment. Right there. That was the moment I decided I was going to be happy. Whatever it took.

I started researching depression, and working out what made me tick. I found ways to head my bouts of sadness off at the pass, to make sure I focused on my responses to different situations, and how I could react to them differently, and I used any hacks I could to make sure each day I was choosing happiness over sadness.

Scientists have proven that just like paths in a forest, the pathways of the mind can be worn in, the more traffic they get. And when sadness has been your companion for a long time, then those paths of sadness are the well-worn ones. They are straight and wide, and you are comfortable there in an odd way, because it’s familiar. The happiness pathways by contrast, are like little deer tracks. Narrow, precarious, and easy to fall off.

The biggest key to battling depression is to make sure the path that’s getting the most traffic, is happiness. Ever heard the expression ‘fake it till you make it’? Well, that’s how I started. When I woke up, and whenever I thought about it during the day, I smiled. It wasn’t a true smile. I wasn’t happy, and I didn’t want to smile, but smile I did.

Some days I even pushed my mouth upwards with my fingers, all the while wanting to cry. I must have looked as crazy as I felt. But you know what? It got easier. I got better at it. And I started feeling happier.

Your body is a pretty amazing thing. Did you know that every time you smile your brain releases feel good neurotransmitters – dopamine, endorphins and serotonin? Endorphins act as a natural pain reliever, serotonin release brought on by your smile serves as an anti-depressant, and smiling activates the release of neuropeptides that work toward fighting off stress.

Smiling literally makes us happier.

Smiling is one of the most well-known, and easiest to implement, of many ‘happiness hacks’ out there. My books ‘Finding Happy’, ‘Choosing Happy’, and ‘Keeping Happy’, due out mid-2017, will focus on discovering many other hacks, and implementing them in your life. Some are great for people with clinical depression, others are better for people who struggle with sadness, but all the books will be available for free on kindle when they are first published.

I was lucky. Thanks to my amazing husband I was forced to face my sadness before it became the crushing force that so many people have in their lives. I still had the energy (most days), to work on myself, and to focus on choosing better ways. Many people don’t. And this is where medication helps. Because when you can’t move off your bed, can’t shake the feeling of despair and overwhelming sadness, and you think about death far more often than you should, choosing to be happy is just not an option.

Medication provides your mind with enough space to see those fraudulent thoughts for what they are- thoughts not facts, and to look at options to help you heal. It’s not for everyone, and it’s not without its side effects, but it does provide relief from the worst symptoms of depression.

Medication is not the only thing you can try either. There are the talking therapies such as CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), which is a type of psychology that helps people change unhelpful or unhealthy habits of thinking, feeling and behaving. It is practical and involves self-help strategies. And research suggests that if you do 13 or more sessions it can work just as well as medication for some people. You can even do CBT at home.

Even things like routines and goal setting, eating healthily with lots of omega 3 fatty acids, getting enough sleep, walking in nature, and challenging negative thoughts can help with depression. Exercise (yes the dreaded E word), can even have similar effects on the brain as anti-depressants.

There are so many options out there for anyone suffering from depression or sadness, that sometimes I think just diagnosing depression is the hard part. It certainly took me long enough (5 years I suspect..) and even then it was only my husband intervening that really pushed me to see it- and fight it.

These are some of the main symptoms of depression. How many did you know? Some people get a few, some get them all. Everyone is different. But they are certainly not as cut and dried as I used to think.

• Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and/or helplessness
• Fatigue and decreased energy
• Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
• Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
• Irritability, restlessness
• Loss of interest in activities or hobbies once pleasurable, including sex
• Overeating or appetite loss
• Persistent aches or pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not ease even with treatment
• Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings
• Thoughts of suicide, suicide attempts, or self-harm
• Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions

Beyond Blue says ‘you may be depressed if, for more than two weeks, you’ve felt sad, down or miserable most of the time, or have lost interest or pleasure in usual activities, and have also experienced several of the signs and symptoms listed (on their page).

Depression symptoms can also be caused by conditions such as thyroid disease, vitamin D deficiency, and other medical problems. Make sure your doctor does full blood tests to rule these and many other things, out first.

Recognising I had depression was a turning point in my life. I’m smiling as I write this, and I can see the myriad ways in which I’ve changed over the past year. I choose to laugh when my daughter does something silly instead of scold. I’ve learnt ways to make myself happy on a daily basis-before the sadness and apathy take hold, and I’ve learnt how to block that annoying voice in my head that wishes me anything but the peace and happiness I so desire.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have bad days where I have to remind myself to smile. Where I chant my mantra like an actual crazy person to stop my mind turning over conversations that haven’t happened, and futures that will never be. I still have to think about my reactions, swallow my retorts, and examine my thoughts, to see if I can choose a happier path, but it is getting easier and I am getting better at it all the time.

Because I refuse to live my life in sadness. I refuse to let something as intangible as depression steal my laughter, my dreams and my love of life, and turn them into endless days of melancholy.

I choose to be happy!

And I desperately want you to choose happiness too.

I know life sucks sometimes. There are usually patches where it sucks a lot! But when you’ve had depression or even been ‘down’ for an extended period of time, I think we forget how to focus on, and choose those things that make us happy. We forget to try. Because being happy doesn’t necessarily come naturally, and as spontaneously as people make out. You have to strive for it, search for it, and grab it with both hands when you find it.

But you don’t have to do it alone. If 350 million people worldwide (almost 5% of the worlds population), suffer from depression, how many of those around you do you think may also be silently struggling?

Please, if you, or someone you know is struggling with depression, reach out and talk to someone. There is help out there. And for every person who says #ihavedepression another person will find the strength to seek help. And slowly but surely depression will become just another cold to be cured.

And that’s why I’m writing this post. Even though I’m scared of what people will think. Even though it’s taken me a month to hit publish. Even though I don’t want to be labelled. More than anything, I want to give people the courage to choose happiness for themselves. Someone did it for me, and I hope you can do it for someone you know.

I would love to hear your thoughts on depression (whether you have it or not), as part of research for my upcoming books. Please complete the anonymous survey, and then share it on your Facebook or Twitter page, to help raise awareness, give depression the bird, and #endstigma for good.

If you don’t feel you can talk to friends or family, there are some wonderful organisations who can help – even if you want to remain anonymous. The sites below will give you information on depression, hotlines to ring to speak to people who know what you’re going through, therapist directories, and self-help activities you can do at home.

Hold onto hope. You are not alone, and you can beat this!

This is a guest post written by Heidi Farrelly. You can find out more about her here: Heidi Farrelly

Don’t stay silent

 

open mouth photo

Don’t stay silent

“Don’t stay silent!”…yes, I know this goes against conventional advice but times they are a-changing. Being mindful means living in the moment and living less in your thoughts. All too often, I listen to my clients talk about what they wish they had said or how they let an opportunity slip by because they didn’t say what they felt. The less you keep bottled up, the less chaotic your mind will be.

Silence is overrated, chances will fade and you may regret not saying what was on your mind. I am referring more to talking about your inner feelings rather than expressing negativity or being mean. We all need to slightly filter what we say to others but when it comes to living an open honest life where you say what you feel, you should go for it.

Often, we suppress our feelings and stay silent out of fear.  However, the more you assert yourself and ask for what you want, the easier it gets. Start small and work your way up. I have been brave and told someone how I felt or let them in on a truth that I thought might freak them out in the past. Amazingly, people have reacted remarkably well.

So, don’t hold your tongue – express yourself, get it out and know that you haven’t let an opportunity slip through your fingers.

Mandy X

 

Photo by Dan Zen

5 Signs of a Good Dating Chat Room

 

 

chat room

5 Signs of a Good Dating Chat Room

Some people will hear the words ‘online,’ ‘chat room,’ and ‘dating’ and immediately run screaming in the other direction. There has been a stigma attached to online dating in the past, but over the last decade, that stigma has lifted and the online dating community is thriving. Finding a good dating chat room can seem daunting, given that there are hundreds of websites out there, and the thought of being cat-fished is a shadow lingering in the back of most people’s minds.

So, here are some signs of what to look for when searching for a good dating on chat room.

1. Is it for You?

There are good chat rooms, and there are good chat rooms for you. A good dating chat room is subjective to your own interests, and finding the niche that suits your tastes is important. There are chat rooms especially for LGBTQIA+ individuals, for women, for men, for naughty chat, for people looking for flings and those looking for longer relationships.

Figure out what you are looking for, and that will help narrow down the pool of possible chat rooms available to you.

Now, some chat rooms are general and don’t cater to specific interests. These aren’t necessarily bad, but finding one that, for example, is explicitly for young singles looking for long term commitments will make finding a potential partner an easier process. Keep this tip in mind for the rest of the article.

2. Profiling

Even if you can’t find a site that tailors to what you are looking for, a good chat site will have some sort of profile system. Fleshing out your own profile makes it easier for people to find you. This works both ways. Knowing a few key facts about someone can help you decide whether or not you are truly interested in starting a conversation with them.

3. No Creepers Please

You knew this one was coming. Yes, there are people out there who are catfishing, or are just creeps in general. Almost any website with a chat or comment forum will have a ‘report abuse’ or blocking function. Before signing up for any chat room, look for how to report or block creepers and, if possible, find out how admin deals with them. If it is not in the FAQ or About Us section, then maybe pick another chat room.

No one likes dealing with creepers, and a chat room that does not let you block them is one you want to avoid.

4. Free or Subscription-Based?

There are pros and cons for both free and subscription based chat rooms.

* Paid services

Pros:

Paid services will most often have professional staff behind the scenes, which is good for when you are having issues with the aforementioned creepers or something as simple as tech trouble. Constant staff also means that the website itself will be kept in good order. Further, a paid service will root out most of the people fishing around for a lark, and those that are not old enough for a credit card.

Cons:

You have to hand over some hard earned cash.

* Unpaid services

Pros:

It is free, which is always a glorious thing.

Cons:

Free online services usually also mean that there isn’t a thorough screening process for signing up. Anyone can join. And boy, do I mean anyone.

Side note for both paid and free sites: There is also the fact that paid services will usually have smaller pools of active members and unpaid services will have more. Depending on your point of view, these can be pros or cons. If someone has paid to use a dating chat room, they are likely more invested in finding a partner – though someone equally eager for a relationship may simply not want to pay for such a service.

5. Chat options

Finally, a good dating chat room will have options for private conversations. It might seem self-explanatory for a chat room to have such things, but you would be surprised at how diverse peoples’ tastes can be. Some like throwing their profile into a crowd, others like browsing through listings and searching for someone who strikes their fancy.

Really, it is all about finding the right chat room for you. There are plenty of options out there, and there are just as many fish in the virtual sea. Don’t rush, take your time, and you’ll find the right fit.

Mandy X

Dealing with dread

stress photo

Image: Courtesy of: https://pixabay.com/en/users/MasimbaTinasheMadondo-1388843/

Dealing with dread

There are many times when I feel dread. Often, it emerges prior to the expectation of something unfamiliar. When there is a fear of the unknown, dealing with dread effectively can be a huge asset in life. The feeling of dread often arrives unannounced, feeling like a knot in my stomach or a feeling of fear and anxiety. Dealing with dread can help you to feel braver and approach life more than avoiding situations that you fear. ‘Approach behaviour’ leads to greater resilience and confidence.

Identify the thoughts

Invariably, a feeling of dread comes from the thoughts we have. These thoughts will be negative in nature. Thoughts such as, “I am not going to cope” or “I won’t enjoy myself” will lead to feelings of dread.

Change the story

Once you have identified the thoughts, get in the habit of challenging them. Thoughts aren’t facts – you can choose to tell yourself a different story. Instead of thinking, “I am not going to cope”, you could choose to think, “I will find a way to manage whatever comes my way. I have managed something similar to this in the past”. This will automatically life the feeling of dread.

What we think determines our quality of life. Choose your thoughts wisely.

Cultivate optimism

It serves no purpose to worry unnecessarily about the future. Wherever possible, assume a position of positive expectancy and you find this difficult to do, at least try to be as neutral and objective as possible about the future. People often assume that worrying about the future will keep them safe but this is a fallacy. All worry does is keep your ‘mental torture’ going.

Create goals

Instead of unnecessary worrying, create SMART goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time-bound. Goals create a structure to work towards and inject purpose into our lives. Goals can help to alleviate dread as they help us maintain direction in life. A clear sense of where we are going and what we would like to achieve can effectively limit dread in our daily lives.

Believe in yourself

Self belief can neutralise dread. When we have faith in our ability to cope, we feel more capable. Believe that you can overcome difficulties in life. You will surely have had to deal with challenges in the past. Use these past triumphs to strengthen your belief in yourself. Talk to yourself positively and remind yourself of your strengths regularly.

Life is more about perception than about the actual events we experience. We can reframe things and change the story in our minds and make anything in life seem less scary. It takes practise but it’s well worth it.

Mandy X

 

Money on the side

savings photo

Money on the side

Having money on the side no matter what your circumstances, is vital for freedom and independence. Many clients come to me, unhappy in their relationships/marriages yet fear leaving due to lack of financial means to support themselves. I have come to realise that wherever possible, it is important to have a separate saving account with spare money in it. To some, this may seem cynical but I just see it as being practical. Savings never go to waste anyhow and I have seen how beneficial money on the side can be when someone has had enough of a miserable relationship.

The amount of people I know who are stuck in unhappy circumstances purely due to financial constraints is startling and worrying at the same time. Having money on the side allows you stay with someone because you want to be with them, not because you need to stay out of lack of other options. What a sad place to be!

Plan for the future, care about your freedom of choice and independence.You may never need to money but it is prudent to have spare savings just in case. It will give you a sense of choice and confidence. Start saving now.

Mandy X

If you want to know more about being financially astute, have a look at Tony Robbin’s products. I have recommended his advice to many clients and it has helped quite a few avert a crisis! I am also currently reading the book below and finding it very informative. X

Tony Robbins’ Unshakeable: Your Financial Freedom Playbook

unshakeable