Category Archives: life

Life – it’s weird, wonderful, confusing, enfuriating…how to manage life and survive…

What are safety behaviours?

person looking at phone photo

Photo by UltraSlo1

What are safety behaviours?

We all engage in safety behaviours to differing degrees. A safety behaviour is something we do to provide us relief from anxiety. The problem with safety behaviours is that they only work temporarily and our attempts to self soothe end up becoming a repetitive pattern. The safety behaviour inadvertently ends up prolonging the anxiety.

For example: For someone who finds being in social situations anxiety provoking, they might avoid a social situation altogether. This helps them avoid the anxiety but doesn’t deal with the underlying fear. The threat of social situations stays unchallenged. So the avoidance is the safety behaviour but the anxiety will always be there when faced with a social situation. The anxiety of social situations will remain.

Another example of a safety behaviour: Someone who is insecure in a relationship might constantly check up on their partner by texting and phoning their partner. Initially, once they have checked on their partner, they might feel better…but only until the next thing triggers their anxiety and they need to check again. The need to check will not go away and in this way the anxiety is maintained.

The idea is to reduce safety behaviours, ‘sit’ with the anxiety and realise you can cope without the safety behaviour. This is the correct way to reduce non-productive safety behaviours.

Learning to challenge the threat with using a safety behaviours allows us to learn how to cope with the anxiety. Do what you fear – that’s the basic premise.

Be aware of what you do to reduce your anxiety…do you check your phone constantly? Do you avoid situations you fear? Work at approaching your fears and learning to deal with them. This will improve confidence and help you to be more resilient.

Mandy X

 

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

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

Pros and Cons of euthanasia

 

Pros and Cons of euthanasia

The story below was featured on BBC news today and it isn’t an isolated case. I believe everyone should have the choice about how they die if they suffer from a terminal illness that is progressive. I wonder when the law will catch up and make it legal.

Of course, the law could be abused and it could open up all sorts of problems but I still believe it would do more good than harm…what are your thoughts?

Mandy X

A terminally ill man has begun a legal fight for the right to die.

Noel Conway, who’s 67 and has motor neurone disease (MND), says he fears becoming “entombed” in his body as his muscles gradually weaken.

Mr Conway, from Shropshire, wants a doctor to be able to prescribe a lethal dose when his health deteriorates.

The case will be the first High Court challenge to the existing law since MPs rejected an attempt to introduce assisted dying in 2015.

It will also be the first such case since right-to-die campaigners lost their appeal before the Supreme Court in 2014.

The campaign group Dignity in Dying is supporting the legal bid.

Its chief executive, Sarah Wootton, told me: “Noel’s experience sadly echoes that of hundreds of other terminally ill people in this country – choice and control at the end of life is something that everyone should be able to have.”

But Baroness Campbell, a disability rights campaigner, said the current law – the 1961 Suicide Act – was already compassionate and changing it would be “highly dangerous”.

“Disabled people want to be valued by society and would see any legal change as a real threat.”

Incurable condition

Noel Conway, a retired college lecturer, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a form of MND, in November 2014.

It is an incurable neurological condition that causes weakness and wasting in the limbs.

He is dependent on a ventilator overnight, requires a wheelchair and needs help to dress, eat and with personal care.

Speaking exclusively to the BBC, Mr Conway said he had been given a life expectancy of less than 12 months although his death might come sooner or later.

He told me: “I fear I will reach a stage where I am entombed in my own body as my ability to move gradually reduces – that would be unimaginable.”

Mr Conway, who lives with his wife Carol and son Alex, used to be very physically active and enjoyed climbing, skiing, walking and cycling.

Noel Conway

ABOVE IMAGE: Noel Conway was very active before his diagnosis of ALS

 

He told me he was not in any pain at present, but feared what would happen in his final weeks and that he might die by suffocation or choking.

“I have a right to determine how and when I die and I want to do so when I have a degree of dignity remaining to me,” he said.

‘Slippery slope to hell’

Carol Conway told me: “Noel’s diagnosis was devastating. I do support him and think he should have the right to say enough is enough rather than fighting for breath and not being able to move.

“I can’t help him end his life – we need the help of medical professionals to ease his passing.”

ABOVE IMAGE: Noel Conway with his wife

Mr Conway has signed up with Swiss suicide group Dignitas but is concerned that when he is ready to die he might be too ill to travel.

He said: “I want to live and die in my own country. The current law here condemns people like me to unimaginable suffering – I’m heading on a slow, slippery slope to hell.”


What is the law?

Noel Conway is seeking a judicial review of the 1961 Suicide Act, which makes it a criminal offence punishable by up to 14 years in prison for anyone to assist in a suicide.

His legal firm Irwin Mitchell, will seek a declaration that this is not compatible with the Human Rights Act 1998, which confirms that individuals should have respect for a private and family life.

This is the latest in a series of challenges to the law on assisted dying.

In 2014 the Supreme Court rejected an appeal concerning three disabled men who wanted doctors to be allowed to assist patients to die.

They had used similar legal arguments. Five out of nine justices concluded that they did have the power to declare current law breached the right to a private life.

They did not make a “declaration of incompatibility” but two said they would have done so.

The Supreme Court made it clear that it was up to Parliament to deal with any decision on amending the law.

In September 2015 MPs rejected plans for a right to die in England and Wales, in their first vote on the issue in almost 20 years.

Noel Conway is the first terminally ill patient who is going to the High Court to argue for a right to an assisted death based on the failed vote in Parliament.


This case, which is expected to be heard at the High Court within a few months, will reopen a debate which has impassioned voices on both sides.

Those opposed to a change in the law argue that this issue has now been resolved for good by Parliament.

Baroness Campbell, who has spinal muscular atrophy, founded the organisation Not Dead Yet.

‘Frightening burden’

She uses a powered wheelchair, is fed through a tube and can now move only two of her fingers.

She told me: “If the law was changed it would feed into society’s fear that being very disabled like me is a state worse than death.

“We already have to fight to live; a right to die would be a huge and frightening burden.”

But Sarah Wootton from Dignity in Dying said the government had “ignored the pleas of terminally ill people” and said “Britain was being left behind”.

Canada, California and Colorado all introduced assisted dying in 2016 and later this year the government in Victoria, Australia, plans to introduce legislation to allow doctors to help the terminally ill to die.

Meanwhile, in Shropshire, Noel Conway says he may not be well enough to travel to London for his High Court case and he realises it may not be resolved until after his death.

But he said: “Other countries have shown that assisted dying can work – it’s been happening in Oregon for 20 years. I want to ensure that terminally ill people like me don’t have to suffer, and have a choice about their death.”

Original BBC article written by Fergus Walsh: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-38500873

 

A Championship Is Given To Those Who Gift The Most, Not Those With The Most Gifts

5456504770_ce948915fa_b

A Championship Is Given To Those Who Gift The Most, Not Those With The Most Gifts

I recently listened to a podcast by Tony Robbins in which he takes the listeners back to when he was 29 years old. During this time, Tony was on his meteoric rise to becoming the most renowned life coach in history and as a by-product of this he had the opportunity to interview some of the greatest minds on our planet.

In this particular interview he sat down with one of the best coaches in the history of sports. Admittedly, I didn’t know too much about this particular coach. What I did know however, is that a Tony Robbins interview takes the listener on an emotional ride that encompasses all aspects of life. With this knowledge in hand, I prepared myself for the next 2 hours.

Questions

As the interview began I wondered if it would be worthy of my time. I hoped that it would touch on all the things that I deem important: life, love, and happiness. Above that, I remained optimistic that the interview would answer some of my most burning questions.

* What makes a champion?

* What unit of measure determines a champion?

* Is it how many games they win?

* The legacy they leave behind?

* Is a champion even measureable or is it an abstract idea?

I listened intently to the entire interview clinging on to every word as if it was the last words I would ever hear. The two of them discussed success, happiness, love, purpose, and so much more. The way they interacted with one another was similar to the way that a father and son would interact. It was apparent that Tony had a deep seeded respect for the coach and as he talked, the two of us received an education not found in books.

At the conclusion of the interview a flurry of feelings took over my mind and body. I became happy, sad, excited, surprised and humbled by what I had learned.

New success

By the end it was apparent that the reason this coach was so successful in life and his career wasn’t because he was better at the sports he taught or that he had the best players in the world coming to play for him. This coach was so successful because his players respected him on a very deep level. They valued his wisdom, beliefs and most importantly, the way in which he treated them.

If I were to be honest, at first I had a hard time understanding all that I had learned. How could a team become a champion based on wisdom, beliefs, and how they are treated? I was always taught that a team wins because of the physical and mental gifts they are given.

It took me the better part of a week to come to an understanding of how this was so. As I learned, it first begins with how you define your version of winning. For most people, not all but most, it begins and ends with the aforementioned “gifts” and then naturally progresses into the things that they can purchase as a result of the gifts.

The coach believed this to be untrue. I tend to agree.

The success of a person’s is not calculated by the possessions they own. The success of a person is calculated by the amount of people they help and the legacy that they leave.

Formula

Listening to the coach made it very obvious that what a person is capable of or what they do with their lives is a direct result of what they are taught. It is these teachings that create the formula for a championship calibre life.

Don’t be mistaken this formula is not enough by itself. In order for a life to be of championship calibre, the offered teachings must be accepted and implemented by the student. The coach knew and understood this. He affirms this by telling Tony that his own personal success is not measured by the multiple championships he has won but rather by the players who grew up to become difference makers in the world. When asked if someone would go on to be successful after they left his program, he would always respond the same way, “I won’t know for at least 20 years”.

Throughout his life, he carried around seven ideologies that his father passed down to him. These seven things became the foundation that he built his life around.

1. Be true to yourself

2. Make each day your masterpiece

3. Help others

4. Drink deeply from good books

5. Make friendship a fine art

6. Build a shelter against rainy days

7. Pray for guidance, and give thanks for your blessings every day.

I hope after reading each of these seven things you have come to the understanding that each one is no more or less difficult to comprehend, accept, and implement in your life than any of the others. In truth, none of them are an unreasonable standard to live your life by.

Your future

Imagine for a moment your life one, two, or three years into the future. If you implemented just one, what would your life look like? Would it be the exact same as it is now or dramatically different? While I am not a soothsayer, I can venture a guess that it would differ from the way it looks right now.

Now imagine how the lives around you would look? I ask you to do this because it is in this realm of imagination that your life truly has a chance to change. To create profound, lasting change means to affect those around you more than you affect yourself. If it sounds selfless, it’s because it is. Understand that by no means does affecting change in others prevent change in your own life. It is actually the opposite. As you will invariably find out, your personal change will be organically affected as a by-product of the change you affect in others.

It is my hope that in 20 years from now, you are able to look back on the things you are doing right now in you life and attribute your championship to them.

I will leave you with the same way the coach left Tony.

“Not what we give, but what we share, for the gift without the giver is bare.”

James Russell Lowell

This is a guest post by Joel A.Scott. For more info: joelascott

 

 

Life sucks sometimes

sad woman photo

 

Life sucks sometimes

It’s a fact, life sucks sometimes. People come into your life and steal your heart and then leave just as quickly as they entered.It’s hard to open up again and take the risk of letting someone else in. Should you trust them with your fragile feelings? I guess life is a risk and you can protect yourself forever or you can be brave and try to let love back in again. Life sucks for various reasons not just due to fading relationships.

I am writing this as it is close to my heart and I like to use this blog to write about all sorts of things. My own life serves as inspiration for blog posts, especially when I know there are many others experiencing similar things. I try to use hard times to learn and apply my professional experience to heal. I use this to help others if I can and to support my clients going through similar things. No one is immune to life, no matter how much ‘wisdom’ and/or knowledge you have.

Being rejected for something you have no control over is tough. He loved me until I told him I had health issues and that was that. He hung in but not for too long. Heart break central! His loss…

You have to believe that things happen for a reason. Being philosophical can be a blessing in life. Some things are beyond our control – like the feelings and thoughts of other people.

What needs to happen – focus on yourself, the only thing you can control. Make the most of yourself, never put yourself down and know that you are special whether someone else recognises it or not. Don’t allow your value and self worth to be wrapped up in the validation from others. Easier said than done but work on loving who you are. Someone who doesn’t want to be with you doesn’t deserve you in the first place. A broken relationship leaves you free to find the person who will love you, warts and all.

Well, that’s what I tell myself and it seems to work most of the time! Life sucks but always remember it won’t (thankfully) stay that way. Visualise yourself in the future, happy and carefree again. Each day, every second – you are closer to that happier place!

Mandy X

Reject rigid rules

 

rules photo

Reject rigid rules

Let’s get one thing straight. I’m not talking about breaking the law. I do however think it is important to reject rigid rules when it comes to your subjective world. In Cognitive Behavioural therapy, we talk about unhelpful thinking styles (also known as cognitive distortions) and one of these is black and white thinking – also known as rigid rules.

Rigid thinking styles limit you in life – they narrow your focus and make you judgemental. The more rigid your thinking is, the more rules you tend to live by. The inevitable result is that the more rules you have for life, the more often they will be broken.

Some common rigid rules:

People must always like me

I am only worthy if I am in a relationship

I am only good enough if I have lots of money

People must see me as successful

Life should always go smoothly

I should not have to experience any set backs

It’s my parent’s fault

I should cope all the time

Showing emotion is a sign of weakness

The above examples lead to anxiety and stress as we try to live according to them and find they are constantly being challenged. The key to contentment is psychological flexibility. Learn to go with the flow more. Open up your thinking and look for other ways to look at your life and your attitudes. The easier you find it to adapt your thinking and reject rigid rules, the happier you will be for it.

Life won’t always go as planned (in fact it rarely does). You will find that acceptance rather than resistance works much better. Rigidly trying to make the outside world conform to your rules is a waste of energy and won’t ultimately work. Know your values of course but live with an open mind. Be curious…you may learn far more than if you stick doggedly to your rigid rules.

Mandy X

Is your view on life distorted?

 

distorted

Is your view on life distorted?

As a cognitive behavioural therapist (in training currently) and as a counsellor, I am trained to spot distorted versions of reality in my clients. Often, these distorted views create immense anxiety and depression and once these distortions are identified, questioned and altered into more objective and realistic interpretations, clients mood tend to improve.

We all have some distortions, may that we have picked up in childhood. These distortions become so ingrained in how we see ourselves and the world around us that we believe they are valid and accurate.

For example, I had a client who had very low self esteem and this had stemmed from highly critical parents.She had received continuous messages as a child that she was ugly and useless. She had taken these repeated negative messages and internalised them – she began to believe them as see these labels as part of who she was.

In the end, that was all she could see – that she was ugly and worthless. Her view on life was distorted and she had never had a relationship as she believed no one would ever love her as she was. Only once we started to look at the source – how her parents had told her things that weren’t true and that they were merely her parent’s opinions, she began to make progress and build up her self esteem.

Always be aware of your thoughts and remember that some thoughts are completely inaccurate. If some thoughts make you especially unhappy – look at them in more detail. Where do these thoughts come from? Is there any obvious evidence for them? Are they helpful? Probably not. Learn to look at things in a different way, always ask if there is another way to look at something. If you are self critical, ask yourself how this is helpful to you. Basically – it isn’t. Parents can mess up their kids with their thoughtless remarks and create years of misery.

As long as you remember to question your thoughts regularly – especially the negative ones and remember that thoughts aren’t facts, you are on the right path. Our thoughts can create heaven or hell for us – use them carefully.

Mandy X