|Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on September 14, 2015 at 12:05 AM||comments (0)|
There were over 41,000 deaths from completed suicide in 2013 with males accounting for nearly 80 percent of fatalities. In addition to the individual loss of life, the emotional and psychological costs to family members, friends and entire communities are enormous. Despite the apparent need for mental health services aimed at men and boys, psychological services remain under-utilized by males.
One reason men and boys do not seek professional help for a psychological struggle is the stigma of mental illness among this population. Stigmas largely exist because mental illness remains misunderstood and at times sensationally stereotyped. Depression is often seen as the precursor to suicidal ideation and behavior so let's take a look at some dangerous myths about men and depression.
Myth #1 - Men do not become depressed:-
According to the National Institute of Mental Health depression strikes more than six million men a year in the United States. The number is thought to be much higher as this illness is underreported. Bottom line: No matter how isolated you feel, if you are struggling with depression, you are not alone.
Myth # 2 - Depression is the same for everyone:-
Males may not present with symptoms traditionally associated with depression. For example, males may be less likely to report frequent crying while more apt to reveal anger or irritability. Additionally, males are more likely to engage in high risk behaviors such as physical violence, substance abuse and hyper sexual behavior, all of which may mask depression.
Myth # 3 - Being depressed is a sign of weakness:-
Depression has nothing to do with being weak; it is an illness which can be fatal if left untreated. Individuals who acknowledge their struggles and seek mental health assistance are standing up for themselves and their loved ones. Reaching out for help when experiencing significant stress is courageous; especially considering societal stigmas towards mental health issues.
Myth # 4 - A Real Man would simply "solider on":-
Experiencing depression can happen to anyone and the origin of onset also varies from person to person. One of the worst things to do is ignore or avoid addressing mental health struggles. The symptoms often do not disappear as a result of avoidance, they can intensify. The best course of action is following up with a mental health practitioner for assessment and treatment.
Myth # 5 - You just have to manage your emotions:-
Emotions are absolutely part of depression, but this disorder has physical implications as well. Brain chemistry, body hormones, new and/or existing medical illnesses are all impacted by depression. Furthermore, social and occupational impairment can result from this illness.
Myth # 6 - I can't be depressed, my life is going great:-
Gainfully employed males in happy romantic relationships with robust social lives can experience depression. As psychologist John Grohol explained "Some people mistakenly believe that a person can only be justified in their depression if there's a cause or reason for them to be depressed. But for the vast majority of people who suffer depression, it is not something that's voluntary or something that one can just 'snap out of' or 'stop being depressed.'"
It cannot be stressed enough that anyone can experience depression and this illness can strike at anytime for seemingly no reason at all. More importantly, being diagnosed with this illness is not an indictment of you; there are genetic and physiological components to the disease which do not conform to your current life situation.
Myth # 7 - There is no treatment for depression:-
The good news is there is help. Counseling and psychiatric intervention has consistently been effective in treating depression. According to the website depression and bipolar support alliance up to 80 percent of individuals treated for depression with psychotherapy and medication show improvement in symptoms. Additional protective factors against depression include becoming more involved in a church or social organization, improving sleeping and eating patterns, increased physical activity and talking with a mentor, community leader, or loved one.
By : Bill Johnson II
*He is a Psychologist & Author of:
"Intimate Partner Violence: A Culturally Competent Model for Treatment and Training."
|Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on July 30, 2015 at 7:45 AM||comments (0)|
Not all of us are naturally strong. Some have anxiety or are insecure, which easily puts cracks in your armor. So, how do you toughen up to gain the utmost confidence? Here are seven ways to mentally toughen you up!
1. They take control:-
There are two types of people in the world: Those who believe in fate, and those who believe they have control over things. According to Inc, you should be the latter; stop worrying about things that happen to you and start making things happen for you.
2. They’re flexible:-
Life doesn’t always go as planned. So, it’s better to be able to pivot when you need to! According to Forbes, being flexible means you’re open to the unexpected and won’t crumble when something inevitably changes.
3. They learn from their mistakes:-
You can either choose to crumble from your mistakes, or make them tools for your future. Look at those slip ups as training and refrain from letting them define you. According to Inc, looking at these moments as training will toughen you up.
4. They create specific goals -- then conquer them:-
Sometimes, you’re mentally all over the places, because you have no direction. What are you doing? Why? When do you want to accomplish this? A Harvard study found that students who set goals tend to earn twice as much as those who had no goals. So, write down that goal, then reap the benefits.
5. They look for acceptance from themselves, not others:-
Most of us want other people to like us, but strength comes from within. Ironically, many people don’t like you until you stop caring whether or not others like you. According toInc, that kind of strength is admirable, and your relationships become happier once you adopt that mindset.
6. They keep their stress in check:-
Find out what helps you lower your stress level. Perhaps it’s tea, maybe it’s exercising, maybe it’s just setting aside alone time. But a study from New York University found that stress makes it harder for people to control their emotions. Want to lower your risk of bursting into tears at work? Get rid of that stress.
7. They let the little things roll off their back:-
Stop sweating the small stuff. According to Inc, your mental strength is a finite supply. So, don’t wear yourself down. Although you should accept that you have control over your life, don’t turn into a control freak.
By : Nicole Weaver
|Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on April 16, 2015 at 8:10 AM||comments (0)|
“Stop beating yourself up. You are a work in progress; which means you get there a little at a time, not all at once.” ~Unknown
I’ve been practicing yoga, on and off, for fifteen years.
It’s helped me through and out the other side of infertility, kept me company on the long and winding road of adoption, and helped walk me out of the shadows of depression.
It’s a big part of my life, part of who I am—a faithful friend, the kind that welcomes you back with open arms even after you’ve been inattentive.
In fact, I’d say yoga always gives me what I call an “Alaskan welcome”—the kind my dearly departed dog used to give me whenever I walked into the house, as though I’d been all the way to Alaska instead of around the corner to the shops.
Yoga is always willing to give, but it’s a slow-burning love, and while it has rewarded me richly, I’ve had to wait for its gifts.
I have just completed yoga teacher training, at forty-six, proving the truth that you are never too old to teach (or learn).
While I’m pleased with my pace of learning, ironically, despite my age and experience, there is still so much yoga has to teach me.
And that’s okay, because I am realizing more and more that some of the best things, in yoga and in life, come to us slowly.
Here’s why I think slow is the way to go and why staying power is the most powerful kind.
1. Slow teaches us patience:-
And patience is its own gift, especially during times when things are out of our control and we have no choice but to wait it out. When we bring patience to gently moving toward a goal, we have it in reserve for when roadblocks get in the way (as they inevitably will).
2. Slow hones acceptance and gratitude:-
When we rush headlong into what we want to achieve, we can get easily frustrated with any hurdle or slight delay. (And frustration is unlikely to get us to our goal more quickly).
We also miss the opportunity to accept and be grateful for the small steps we take, those incremental achievements, and for where we are right now—for the good and the bad of everyday life.
3. Slow allows for small mistakes:-
Rush at something and we run the risk of messing up big-time. Take it slow and we get the chance to experiment with small mistakes, helping us to grow so we can hopefully avoid bigger mistakes in the future. We have to earn our lessons, and we don’t learn until we allow things to sink in.
4. Slow makes room for other stuff:-
When we want something fast we can become obsessed with that thing, as though the goal has taken on a life of its own.
While it’s great to prioritize what we really want, it doesn’t make sense to create imbalance in our lives with one overwhelming obsession. Who knows what (and who) you might miss out on if you do.
5. Slow builds resilience:-
The lyrics “It’s better to die on your feet than live on your knees” might ring true, but I’m betting you’d still like to be around for a long life.
Slow is about building legacy, and along the way, resilience. That can only be won through endurance.
Fast is great for igniting passion and showing courage, but who do you think is braver and more passionate—the person who sprints out of the starting block or the one who keeps going over the long distance?
6. Slow is seasonal:-
Taking things slowly recognizes that sometime we need to sit and deliberate (by a fire or by the beach). We need to wait in faith for the universe rather than selfishly expecting our own desires to take precedence.
We need to look to nature to realize that the seasons cycle at their own pace, and we should always be willing to take things slower (and faster) as required.
Slow doesn’t have to be timid, or lazy, or less-than-smart. Slow isn’t a marker for fear and procrastination, nor apathy and indecision.
There’s a yoga asana (posture) that many people find difficult at first. The Sanskrit name is Supta Vijrasana, also known as Reclining Hero pose.
Unlike the standing Warrior postures, which are strong and forceful, the Hero pose calls for quiet strength as you kneel down and then surrender backward.
When I first got seriously back into yoga two years ago, after a sporadic year of practice prior, my knees would groan and my ankle joints scream when I tried to just kneel down and sit my bottom back between my heels.
I certainly couldn’t recline backward onto my back, while keeping my knees bent and touching each other and my feet close by my hips. But now, having taken it slowly, I can feel a little like a yoga hero.
I can realize the benefits of slow that have snuck up on me in their own sweet time. And I am most grateful.
Slow isn’t dull and boring, but contemplative and considered. Slow is the yin in a very yang world.
Slow is the strength of surrender, and surrender can be the most powerful kind of victory.
By : Kathy Kruger
Visit her at : www.yinyangmother.com
|Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on March 18, 2015 at 6:20 AM||comments (0)|
“I vow to let go of all worries and anxiety in order to be light and free.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh
My mother was what you might call a “professional worrier.” She worried with skill, power, and acumen.
She could incisively hone in on the most seemingly benign situation and find within it some kernel of trouble to worry about. Money. Health. Household. Children. Travel. Work. You name it, she worried about it. A lot.
That is until my father was diagnosed with cancer.
When my father became ill, my mother changed radically, and apparently overnight. Faced with the potential of the greatest loss of her life, she found that she was suddenly free of the many worries that had plagued her for all those many years.
In the wake of the most terrible news imaginable, the many troubles that had been burdening her suddenly fell away, like a heavy winter coat on an unexpectedly warm day. So, strangely and without warning, in the midst of a terrifying life-threatening crisis, my mother became a more light-hearted person.
She dismissed things that had bothered her before my father’s illness with a smile and a wave of her hand. If you came to her with a knit brow and a bee in your bonnet, she would simply say, “If no one is dying, then it’s not a problem.”
There is an old Yiddish blessing that ironically wishes, “May you have many worries.”
At first glance, it seems more like a curse than a blessing. Why would you wish someone you care about many worries?
The answer lies in the heart of my mother’s experience: If we have many troubles swirling about us—and we choose to entertain those worries—that means that we do not have a single, overriding worry to consume us.
And the absence of that single, oppressive worry is a blessing in itself.
There is a great source of empowerment in this understanding: If large troubles displace small worries and with a single powerful stroke, suddenly wiping our slate of worries clean, then we ourselves can choose to wipe that slate clean at any moment.
This little bit of folksy wisdom is, in fact, a very deep instruction:
Don’t wait for a big trouble to come along and make you realize that your small troubles don’t matter.
Novelist and essayist Anne Lamott tells the story of a time she was out shopping for clothing with a friend who was terminally ill:
She was in a wheelchair, wearing a wig to cover her baldness, weighing almost no pounds, but very serene, very alive. We were at Macy’s. I was modeling a short dress for her that I thought my boyfriend would like.
But then I asked whether it made me look big in the hips, and Pammy said, as clear and kind as a woman can be, “Annie? You really don’t have that kind of time.” I just got it. I got it deep in my being . . . You don’t have that kind of time.
And she is right. We don’t have that kind of time. We live under the illusion that we have plenty of time to worry.
We have the feeling that we have hours and days and weeks and months and years to concern ourselves about whether our hips look big or the house is drafty or the bills are piling up or there is dust under the furniture or the car needs vacuuming or the kitchen is outdated. But we don’t.
My mother realized that those kinds of worries added up to nothing on the day my father became ill.
She found that she no longer had time to worry about meeting agendas and traffic tie-ups and household clutter and gas prices and rainy days and rusted gutters—all the things that consume so much of our time and energy.
She found she only had time to love the man she had committed her life to over three decades before. And that is just what she did.
We don’t have to wait for a crisis to realize that we only have time to love what is real. We only have time to care for what is right in front of us. To vow to let go our worries is a vow to love what’s most sacred.
And once we realize this, we’ll be free.
By : Lauren Rosenfeld
Visit her at : http://yourtobelist.com/
|Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on March 9, 2015 at 6:25 PM||comments (0)|
"The hope of a secure and livable world lies with the disciplined non-conformists who are dedicated to Justice, Peace and Brotherhood"
~ Martin Luther King Jr.
1. With Yourself
Patience with yourself is personal loyalty. It's respect - the foundation of every worthwhile relationship.
Being impatient with yourself is always self-defeating.
Worse, when you are not patient with yourself, social relationships don’t last.
People who are impatient with themselves make narrow-minded choices in social situations that appear to be selfish or arrogant, and alienate others. That's why 'things' don't work out.
Find patience for your heart and mind. If you don't give it to yourself, nobody will.
2. With Timing
Patience with timing is a sign of confidence in choices and faith in goals. Sure, it’s a disappointment and a drag to not have an answer, a meeting or a trip when you want it. Reality is: we all march to our own beat and we're not always in step with others. Sometimes this means waiting.
The surprise of extra time gives you space to prepare the response for an unwanted answer. Time always catches up with us.
Extra time means you can have unexpected insights to fine-tune content for the meeting.
Postponing a trip puts you somewhere else you need to be.
If you are perfect, LOL, then the time of ‘waiting’ will reveal an opportunity or responsibility you need to address or reposition before your answer, meeting or trip.
Whenever you are patient with delays, you will find something new that helps you succeed. Time brings opportunity.
3. With others
Patience with others has its priorities. These include dignity, self-respect and compassion. People who do this well are our heroes, like Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi. These patient fighters used patience as personal power. So can you.
This is not about what you do; it's about how you do it.
Patience with other means acknowledging differences. No and yes are equally important for staying in tune with patience and your goals.
It is not ‘turning the other cheek” while someone hits you. You can be angry and be dignified.
If someone pushes your buttons and is disrespectful, sometimes it's best to just say, good-bye. The only person you can change is yourself. Stand tall, talk softly and use eye contact to make your point.
By : Jane Bernard
|Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on February 28, 2015 at 7:05 AM||comments (0)|
“Social media should improve your life, not become your life.”
The summer after college, my best friend and I had many a girls’-night-in, largely to accommodate her new life as a single mother.
These nights consisted of drinking wine and Facebook stalking anyone and everyone who went to our high school.
One night we went as far as creating a false page representing a popular local bar so that we could peer into the lives of anyone our hearts desired without revealing ourselves as grade-A cyber stalkers.
We spent a lot of our downtime that summer focusing on what other people were doing, and none of that focus prompted any kind of personal growth or increased self-worth on our ends.
I know there are people out there who are masters of self-discipline when it comes to their devices and social media pages.
These people put their phones down during dinner, turn them off to go to bed, and only check their social media pages during specified times during the day; they may go days or weeks without accessing their online profiles. I, however, am not one of them.
I often find myself torn between the practical benefits of engaging with social media and the detrimental toll these same tools can take on my inner self.
On the one hand, I rely on being able to access certain private pages for work, and I enjoy keeping in touch with long distance friends. On the other hand, compulsively checking my profiles on various devices often prevents me from living in the now.
Over the years, I have deactivated and reactivated my social media accounts time and time again in an effort to break myself of my bad social media habits.
For me, deleting my accounts helps me focus on the present moment and the goings on in my own life. However, I missed connecting with my friends and risked alienating myself from an ever-more-technological professional sphere.
When I began a position with a company that all but requires the use of social media, I realized deleting and reactivating my accounts was no longer a solution to my social media problem.
I found myself faced with the question: how do I use social media in a way that helps me grow, both professionally and personally, while minimizing the negative effects of overuse?
Over the past year, I developed some strategies for increasing positive content presented to me through my social media accounts, while decreasing the material that leaves me feeling bad or distracted and creating greater awareness around my usage habits.
1. “Follow” the blogs and websites you like to read:-
Your favorite blogs and websites often have social media counterparts to which you can subscribe. If you don’t have a running list of blogs and websites (I didn’t until about a year ago), spend an afternoon searching for content that interests or inspires you and then continue to add to it over time.
I created a folder on my favorites bar containing links to literary journals, professional and personal development blogs, online learning websites, recipe guides, fitness videos, etc.
As you scroll through your newsfeed, you’ll pause to read articles related to your interests that may help you grow, cause you to pause and reflect, or inspire you to begin a new project.
Instead of spending an hour cyber stalking your ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend, who you saw in a picture with a mutual acquaintance, you may end up writing an article (like this one), bookmarking an interesting recipe, or sharing a funny video with a friend.
2. Unfollow or block people who distract you:-
Do you find you criticize yourself after viewing your beautiful friend’s daily selfies? Do your brother’s travel photos make you lament your office job? Does your aunt’s constant complaining clog your newsfeed with negativity?
Unfollow people whose posts—for whatever reason at all—typically make your mood take a turn for the worst or cause you to lose focus on your own goals. You can still access these people’s content by intentionally navigating to their profiles, but you remove the spontaneous mood killers throughout your social media usage.
If the person isn’t someone you care to maintain any kind of connection with, you might want to think about blocking him or her. My Facebook block list is a mile long, and here’s an example as to why that is:
I recently blocked my boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend on Facebook.
Blocking her was not something I needed to do to prevent her from contacting me; I have never interacted with this person firsthand. However, we share many mutual friends (both on Facebook and in life), and I realized that her comments and Facebook activity became distracting for me in a negative way.
Blocking her prevented me from seeing comments she makes to mutual friends, prevented me from stalking her profile during insecure moments, and removed from my vision any pictures that she previously tagged my boyfriend in while they were dating.
This was not an attempt to erase my boyfriend’s past, just a measure prevent me from returning to it in the present.
The unfollow and blocking features are not indications that you do not like someone; they are tools you can use to filter content that you don’t need to see on a routine basis. Remember, you can always unblock a person or decide to follow him or her again later.
3. Delete the mobile app from your phone:-
(Or at least put mobile apps in a folder)
Use the web app instead of the mobile app. This requires you to open a web page and intentionally login to a social media account versus mindlessly checking the same profile you’ve viewed twenty times today already.
If you cannot (or will not) forgo the features offered by the mobile app, group all your social media apps into a folder, and move that folder to the last page on your phone or tablet.
Increasing the time and effort it takes for you to access for your social media accounts helps to create awareness around your actions.
4. Create separate pages for different purposes:-
I have three different kinds of social media profiles. One I reserve for personal use; this is private profile I use to keep up with friends, follow celebrities just for fun, and access my favorite blogs on any topic under the sun. The other two profiles are public: one I use for business purposes, and the other is dedicated to art.
Having different focuses for each of your profiles gives you a direction for your social media use. Instead of using three different profiles to keep tabs on your friends and share photos of yourself, dedicate one or two profiles to your professional or personal growth.
If you’re like me, you may spend a considerable amount of time perusing social media pages each week. Turn this time into an opportunity for personal growth by practicing social media habits that nurture your interests and promote positive connectivity.
By : Jessica Vick
*(She teaches Art History at Full Sail University)*
|Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on January 24, 2015 at 7:10 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on January 19, 2015 at 7:05 AM||comments (0)|
“People have a hard time letting go of their suffering. Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh
I’ve called it my “Epiphany Bubble,” and it might be hard to believe, but it’s my true experience.
I stood on the lawn of our city’s hospital. The sun was shining down on our group of grieving parents. My belly was big with my third child, but my heart was still heavy with grief from my second.
Jonathan. I’ve never personally known anyone whose entire life was surrounded by compassion and love, like every minute of his twelve-and-a-half hours in my arms.
Although the summer of 2000 was a long, painful journey through terminal pregnancy, Jonathan had blessed my life in countless ways. I just hadn’t yet understood that.
Our hospital had this gathering a couple times a year. Parents who grieved babies would come, enjoy some cookies and punch, and chat with other moms and dads who were coping with loss.
At the end, we always did the same thing—write our baby’s name along with dates of birth and death on a white balloon.
As I wrote “Jonathan 9-21-2000 – 9-22-2000” on my balloon, I smiled a little just at the joy of writing his name. I gave my belly a gentle touch and said a little prayer for my next little boy.
Then I looked to my left. There were three women standing together, quite distraught in tears, comforting one another. I, of course, knew why they were crying, but I was curious.
I was curious about the dates. When I looked at their balloons, I saw dates reflecting years prior. Six, seven, eight years earlier. My heart sank. I wondered, “Do I have to be in that much pain years from now? Does this heartbreak never end?”
And that’s when it happened—my epiphany bubble. I suddenly felt as though I was in my own space, and that the world had ceased to spin. Everything outside of my bubble was blurry, and everyone seemed frozen, when I realized…
I have choice.
I stood for a few moments more, and the bubble vanished. But its effect on me did not. Something now stirred within me—a determination to really heal, let go, and be genuinely happy again.
At home I began to wonder about choosing how to feel about life and how to perceive all that I experience on my journey. I started to seek within.
Through journaling, praying, and meditating, I felt a shift. I sensed guidance. I glimpsed a bit of inner peace.
Some of my wonderings were a bit surprising, but I gave space to let them unfold. Rather than judge, I allowed them to come to me without logic. I also resisted the teachings from my childhood, which would have stopped them from showing me a new way to perceive Jonathan’s life.
I wondered, maybe Jonathan is a guardian angel. Perhaps he will protect and look after his big sister, Sydra, and his little brother who has yet to take his first breath.
I smiled a bit at imagining my sweet Jonathan, from some other place of being, guiding and loving his siblings.
I wondered, perhaps Jonathan was meant to leave this life at a very young age, and perhaps this could have happened in a variety of ways.
Would I choose for his life to be very short, spent in my arms, and surrounded by love and compassion? Or, would I choose to have more time with him, but risk something worse—have him be a child who I’ve heard horrifying stories about, children who are abducted and hurt?
I felt a bit of trust at realizing that I don’t know how it all works. Life, death, and all the days between and following are a mystery, really. Maybe his life was exactly how it was meant to be, or perhaps it might have been more tragic.
I wondered, could it be that Jonathan was my son for this short time to teach me?
I reflected on the months we spent together—when I learned he was terminal, my decision to carry him, the long nights, the quiet moments, the countless tears and prayers, the painful delivery, and the hours I had him in my arms looking into his beautiful eyes three times.
I relaxed a bit realizing all I had learned. I was a strong woman, someone who was willing to give all I had to another, a woman who remained hopeful and optimistic amidst a very difficult time. I was a woman who sent prayers and love to other pregnant women, asking that they not suffer as I was.
I wondered, could Jonathan’s life have served purpose beyond me, our family, and my understanding?
I thought about all the people who had surrounded Jonathan with love and compassion before and during his life. I recalled the many people who came to his memorial service, each saying how deeply he had touched their heart.
My trust deepened. I knew Jonathan’s life, however brief, served purpose. He was a blessing, a sweet, little blessing, to many people, and I was the lucky woman who was honored to be his mom.
Grief is nothing to be rushed. Throughout this time, I was gentle and patient with myself, honoring all my emotions, not pushing through them or stuffing them in the secret places of my heart. By doing so, I was better able to deeply heal.
Grief is also nothing to cling to simply because it’s familiar. Although the journey had many twists and turns, and I needed to allow it to show its way, it is worth the inner work to let go and find peace.
It is not just grief where we have choice. With all our life experiences—every emotion from anger to joy, from love to fear—we can choose.
Allowing our heart and mind to wonder, taking time to feel it all without judgment, and seeking within for the path of letting go, this is the way to embrace all of life and peacefully enjoy the now.
Visit her at : http://greenheartmindfulness.com/
|Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on December 31, 2014 at 7:15 AM||comments (0)|
“Do not judge by appearances; a rich heart may be under a poor coat.”
I grew up believing I was never enough. Ever. Not when I got all A’s in school. Not when I was in the talented and gifted program. Not when my father made more than enough money for me to buy whatever I wanted.
I became an adult who compared herself to others too, always wondering why I didn’t have what they had or why I wasn’t as pretty or as cool.
I brought this behavior into my relationships and my business. I would get super jealous to the point of stalking when it came to my romantic partners. I was controlling and pushy because I thought they would leave me for someone better.
In my business, I would obsess over other entrepreneurs and wonder how they “had it all,” convincing myself that no one cared what little ole me had to say. I played the victim all too well. And it kept me stuck, alone, and broke.
After a series of dramatic events, including a baby, a layoff, and a divorce—in one year—I hit rock bottom. It sucked, but that’s what it took for me to realize how terribly I was treating myself.
I committed to making changes in my life, my behavior, and my attitude. I had to embrace who I was and who I was going to become. I had to risk becoming nothing to become something.
If you catch yourself playing the comparison game often, it’s important to remember one thing: you don’t know anyone else’s story. You can only base your assumptions on what you see, and that’s a pretty shaky foundation to put all your bets on.
A complete shift in focus and mindset around these behaviors needs to happen. Here are some things I learned to do instead of comparing myself to others.
1. Compliment them:-
Most of the time, when you are jealous or comparing yourself to others, it’s because you think they have something you don’t. The natural instinct for most of us is to criticize them. We try to pump ourselves up in by putting them down.
It’s a terrible practice and it puts you at a low vibration, feeling even worse. Instead, find something you really admire about them and compliment them.
If it’s someone you know personally, send them a message or a note. If it’s someone you don’t know or someone with celebrity status, send a tweet or leave a nice comment on the blog. I guarantee you will brighten up their day and feel good about it.
2. Believe in yourself:-
You are a beautiful, amazing human being. You were put on this Earth to do something unique. We all are. Unfortunately for some, they never embrace it and end up living unhappily.
Believe you have a purpose and a mission in this life, whether it’s big or small. If you don’t believe it, then no one else will either. There are few people who will love you unconditionally. You should strive to be one of them.
3. Embrace your journey:-
The comparison game is a sneaky trick. It makes you think you are on the same path as everyone else. Though some paths may be similar, every person has a different journey. Embrace yours.
Stop comparing your beginning to someone else’s middle. You have no idea how much this person struggled or how hard they worked to get where they are. Stay focused on your own path and forge ahead.
4. Find your awesome:-
Along with comparison comes a whole lot of negativity. We start beating ourselves up and talking badly about ourselves for not being as pretty, as smart, or as successful.
Remember, you are unique and awesome. You have talents, traits, and accomplishments that make you who you are. Write a list of amazing things about yourself and put it somewhere you can see it daily. Make it the background of your phone or computer and read it to yourself all the time.
5. Feel the fear:-
Most negativity comes from a place of fear. Fear of failure, success, looking silly, or being judged.
Fear is something that never goes away entirely. The difference between successful people and unsuccessful people is their ability to see the fear and continue anyway.
What are you afraid of? Identify it. Then ask yourself what’s the worse that could happen. Chances are, it’s not as bad as you think.
6. Live in alignment:-
When I was going through my personal struggles, most of it came because I wasn’t in tune with who I was. I didn’t know what I wanted. I was frazzled. Something felt off.
I had an insane work ethic, but I didn’t work on my relationships. I was preaching self-care, but I was overweight. When your life is not in alignment, it will always feel like something is missing.
Take a look at how you’re living. Are you in tune across the board? If not, examine the areas you need to focus on.
Comparison comes from a place of lack. If you find yourself doing this often, figure out what’s missing and where you can improve.
Chances are, the person you’re comparing yourself to is reflecting something back that needs expansion. Pay attention and trust yourself. There’s always a deeper meaning. Figure out what it is, so you can move forward.
By : Jenn Scalia
Visit her at : http://jennscalia.com/
|Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on December 11, 2014 at 6:25 AM||comments (0)|
“Wherever you go, there you are.”
On June 24th I got in a cab at the corner of 72nd and Broadway headed to JFK, hauling two huge suitcases full of medications, bug spray, sunscreen, gluten free foods, a bug tent (really), and cheap cotton clothing.
I checked in, made my way to the gate, and embarked on a 24-hour flight to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Months of confusion and identity crisis brought me here.
Almost a full year ago, after returning from performing with a national tour that ended up being a lot less fun than I had dreamed, and having a foot surgery right after thanks to a doctor who made just a little mistake, I decided I wanted to try going off of Zoloft, which I had been on for the better part of six years to help with anxiety and depression.
This marked the beginning of what I am now referring to as my “Quarter Life Crisis.”
I started working with a life coach, began a dedicated daily meditation practice, joined a yoga studio, broke up with my boyfriend of three years, and read Brené Brown and Mark Nepo and Tara Brach and Byron Katie.
I went to a million and one auditions, suffered some major loneliness and isolation living in a studio apartment in a Manhattan winter, began letting my ex-boyfriend back into my life, and after several months of this, working so hard to keep myself afloat, I felt 100 percent lost.
I began asking hard questions, like “Why are you in showbiz? Are you just trying to prove something? Was this ever what you really wanted to do? Do you even like New York anymore?”
I sat in my apartment and ruminated; oscillating between feeling God profoundly (life is beautiful! Look—God is in that steam coming out of your humidifier!) and feeling painfully hopeless.
On one of my few gigs last spring, I was chatting with the make-up artist about her travels to Southeast Asia the previous summer.
She told me about the nonprofit organization she taught English with. Before she went to Vietnam, she felt uninspired and “over it”; after, she felt a new person. A light went off inside—maybe this is what I need to do!
In May I applied, and within weeks I had been interviewed and invited to join the trip to Duc Linh, a rural region about 100 miles northeast of Ho Chi Minh City. I had five weeks to make up my mind, get my act together, and either board the plane or not.
I was terrified, but I said yes. I hoped that this trip would bring me some answers and force me to grow in the ways I needed to in order to make it through this no-mans-land of confusion, and into the next chapter of my life.
Duc Linh was nothing like I imagined and nothing like described. I taught English to a group of teenagers and some adults, and spent afternoons playing with little kids of all ages. They absolutely embraced me; it was unconditional love at first sight.
I felt simultaneously alone and isolated there, as well as overwhelmed by human interaction. The kids would yell “LOW-RAH!” as I walked by, run up to me, adorn me with flowers, touch my clothes, touch my hair, touch my armpits, and hold my hand, all while chattering away in Vietnamese.
I kept a blog and drafted posts that I assumed I would fully write and publish in a week or two, once I had learned some amazing, life-changing, clarifying lessons.
I couldn’t wait for several Oprah-worthy “aha!” moments. Those drafts remain drafts, and the “aha” moments came in smaller, less expected ways.
There was no “Aha! I want to be a (insert amazing profession that totally makes sense and clearly was my calling all this time)!”
It was more like “Aha! I can ride on the back of a bike with a fifteen-year-old kid who doesn’t speak my language, have no idea where we are going, and have an amazing adventure in a rambutan garden!”
Or, “Aha! I can become ‘big sister’ to a little girl and boy (Chi and Bao) without having a single conversation.”
And, probably the biggest one, “Aha! You are enough just as you are. They don’t care that the National Anthem you sang for them on the Fourth of July was totally off-key and had some improvised lyrics, they don’t care that you are a sweaty frizzy mess, they don’t even care that you can’t speak their language: they love you just for being here.”
For the first time in my privileged life, I was exposed to an impoverished world, to kids who had no idea what the heck I was talking about when I said “Broadway!?” and who looked at photos of Central Park and said “Wow! It’s like a resort!”
They wore the same clothes every day and played outside barefoot in the dirt. They slept in houses with tin or straw roofs and anywhere from one to four walls.
But they were happy. They were beautiful, and giving, and constantly smiling. I realized that the things I thought were important and necessary were not. I realized that the first world doesn’t hold the key to happiness anymore than the third world does.
My concerns in Vietnam were much more immediate than my American QLC (Quarter Life Crisis) concerns.
I recalled my QLC problems and thought man, what a luxury to be able to think about that nonsense! If I had a working shower and a bed and a quiet space, I would be perfectly happy!
After spending a month in Vietnam, I became completely amazed at the life I live.
In Man’s Search for Meaning Viktor Frankl writes, “A man’s suffering is similar to the behavior of gas. If a certain quantity of gas is pumped into an empty chamber, it will fill the chamber completely and evenly, no matter how big the chamber. Thus suffering completely fills the human soul and conscious mind, no matter whether the suffering is great or little. Therefore the ‘size’ of human suffering is absolutely relative.”
When I first returned from Vietnam I was overwhelmed with gratitude for my life, but over time the normal anxieties crept back in.
The confusion I experienced before I left Vietnam was still there, waiting for me in my apartment on 72nd and Broadway, saying, “What, you think you can just leave me here all summer and I would move out?”
Before I left for Vietnam, I had a great plan of how the following months would play out. I would learn a lot, grow heaps, and hopefully figure out my life purpose over the course of the month spent there (so reasonable).
Afterward, I would return to the city a new woman with new dreams and plans and a clear sense of purpose and direction. I would write a captivating article all about my transformation and it would be inspiring, motivational, and amazing.
Everything in my life up to that point would make sense, and I would look back on the last few years and say, “Ahhh, I see why all that happened. It was all to bring me here to this amazing place of self-actualization and peace.”
Alas, there is no amazing conclusion, no way to tie this piece with a clarifying bow.
Of all the lessons learned this summer, the greatest one may be “Wherever you go, there you are.”
I’m still here, confused and lost and scared—but maybe that’s okay.
Maybe all we can do is be where we are, do our best, and go out on a few limbs, not for the sake of finding answers, but for the sake of fully living.
By : Laura Volpacchio
Visit her at : http://duclinhdiaries.blogspot.com/
|Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on December 10, 2014 at 7:00 AM||comments (0)|
“Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny.”
This week I had the pleasure of waiting in a queue. Now, that is not normally something that I would be able to say, as I’m not the most patient woman.
The queue was for the immigration department in Chiang Mai, Thailand—a busy place full of people who were stressed because they were unsure about where to get a number for their place in the queue, unsure if they had the right paperwork, unsure how long the process would take, and unsure if their right to stay in the country would be extended.
Friends had warned me that I might be sitting in that crowded room for hours, so I had come prepared with postcards to write and a notepad to write my next newsletter. I did neither of those things.
Instead, I sat on the uncomfortable blue plastic chairs, observed the people around me, and observed myself. I watched people get grumpy and impatient. I watched the staff trying to do their job well while dealing with grumpy and impatient people.
I watched myself getting nervous about whether I had all of the documents that I would need to get my extension.
I watched myself getting impatient as the staff didn’t call the first number in the queue so that processing of applications could begin, right on the dot at 8.30AM. I was number fifteen.
I watched myself itching to ask the first person processed how long they would now have to wait for their passport to be stamped and returned to them.
Then I made a decision. None of this really mattered. Perhaps I would have to come back again if I had the wrong documents. Perhaps the queue would move at a crawl. Perhaps I would have to wait a long time to actually get my passport back. Perhaps I wouldn’t get an extension at all.
None of these things were inside my control, so I made the decision to let it all go. To sit quietly. To enjoy the time not doing anything “constructive.” To let my mind wander. To have a brief conversation with the family next to me, the kind you have when you don’t speak much Thai and they don’t speak much English but you understand each other perfectly.
My decision turned a stressful experience into a relaxing and, dare I say, enjoyable one. I even played a game with myself to guess the time that I would be able to leave. I guessed 10:00AM. I left at 9.55. Not bad at all!
This experience showed me that there is a massive difference in how I feel when I deliberately choose to view a situation in a different way.
I know that in the past in situations like this I wasn’t even aware that I had a choice as to how I felt. It’s taken some hard lessons and a growth in awareness to realize just how much influence I can have over my own feelings.
It turned out that the Universe had a reason for keeping me in that queue for as long as it did. As I was cycling back to the countryside, where I volunteer at a dog shelter, I came across a puppy in the middle of the road.
Five minutes either side of that moment and I might have missed the puppy or, worse still, have come across a tragedy on that busy country road.
I was able to get close enough to pick him up. I then had a dilemma; how would I get him back to the shelter, which was an hour’s walk away on a sweltering hot day?
Using my well-rested and relaxed brain, I came up with a solution. I emptied the contents of my bike’s basket into a bag I fashioned out of what I had, and then tied the puppy up in a spare shirt so he couldn’t wiggle about. Into the basket he went.
He sat in that basket the whole bumpy ride back to the shelter with the calmness of one who knew that this situation was outside of his control. He is now taken care of and was adopted after only nine days in the shelter.
The lesson I learned is that we always have a choice about how we feel about a situation. Even if we initially react poorly, we still have the power to change what we think and do next. It’s simply a matter of changing what is going on internally and making a conscious decision.
This week I’m grateful that I had the pleasure of waiting in a queue.
By : Andrea Jordan
Visit her at : http://learndiscoverbefree.com/
|Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on December 9, 2014 at 6:35 AM||comments (0)|
“If we do not feel grateful for what we already have, what makes us think we’d be happy with more?”
From time to time during my schooling years I’d be asked to identify my role models. I always chose someone who’d changed the world in a big way—Martin Luther King Jnr, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi.
I never looked within my own life for role models. I had lovely parents and great teachers, and still, I was always looking well beyond what was right in front of me. I was always striving for something more, out there, beyond my own life.
As I reflect back, I see the dissatisfaction that this bred. I see how little I valued myself and by extension, my immediate surroundings. Somehow it all seemed… not good enough.
People and experiences that were far away from my hometown seemed so much more important and exciting.
It wasn’t until I started keeping a gratitude journal that this really began to change. I started the journal because I was depressed. Not sad—can’t-get-out-of-bed-or-even-talk-to-anyone depressed.
It would hit me on and off over the years, and the only coping mechanism I had at the time was to hide in my bedroom and breathe through the long and agonizing hours, waiting for it to pass.
A gratitude journal was the first tool I had to help me shift the fog. I would start very simply with the breath. I’d express gratitude that there was breath in my body (although at times I wasn’t even grateful for that).
Then I’d be grateful that I had a home and a bed to rest in while I recovered. I would then build from there in an attempt to find at least five things I was grateful for that day.
I wrote in that gratitude journal for a good couple of years before I started to see significant shifts in my perception of life. It was a slow and gradual process, but with each list I subtly turned my focus away from the world outside and toward my own life. Eventually, I turned my focus within.
As I began to value myself and my life more deeply, I also valued those around me more. I stopped judging them or dismissing them as unimportant.
I stopped thinking that there might be better people to be spending mytime with or emulating, and I started appreciating the people who were right in front of me.
Eventually, that brought me to appreciate my favorite role models of all time; a small handful of yoga students that I used to teach in an outdoor space by the ocean each Friday morning.
The students were all women and they were all over the age of fifty.
Although I’m sure they had very full lives and many reasons not to get out of their comfortable beds each Friday morning to do yoga, they would show up week after week, no matter the weather.
Some had injuries, some were recovering from illness and some were simply not as strong as they once were. It was this fact that most impressed me.
When you’re young and ably bodied, it’s not overly challenging to do something like yoga. Your body is reasonably supple and your muscle tone hasn’t atrophied with the passing of time. As you age, it’s easier to find excuses—arthritis or a bad hip, the onset of an illness, or injuries in your back or knees.
There’s a saying in yoga that the most difficult part of the practice is doing the practice. I’ve often found this to be true in my own life. It’s even more challenging when it’s dark outside and rainy and cold, and the alternative of staying in bed is right there in front of you.
But here were these women—perfectly ordinary, everyday women—making choices that made them extraordinary.
Every week they were the embodiment of the wisdom I’d learned through my gratitude journal; that with persistence and in small gentle steps, lives are transformed.
Those beautiful students came every week on faith and on trust. They worked hard to build upper body strength and flexibility.
I saw each of them giving it their all, and although I didn’t know them outside of the classroom, I knew that they understood the value of commitment, the value of continuing even when things are tough, and most of all, I knew that they were brave.
After class I would watch them swim in the ocean (no matter the season). They would swim and then they’d have breakfast together. Over breakfast they’d share stories about their lives.
Watching them, I realized something else about these women. They were women who knew how to build community around them. They weren’t isolated and lonely; they were a part of something.
They’d found a place to come together, to connect with themselves, to connect with nature, and to connect with each other.
In witnessing the simplicity and authenticity of this weekly ritual, I felt a deep gratitude that I’d been privileged enough to be both participant and witness.
I realized too that my gratitude journaling days had come full circle. That gratitude was no longer something I needed to draw from the depths of my being as a means of abating depression, but was instead a living, breathing everyday experience.
And in that moment there stopped being somewhere to go and someone to admire who was better, more accomplished, more intelligent, or more influential than me. There was, quite simply, the world and every living being within it.
All teaching through their actions and all learning through their interactions. All role models to one another and for one another. In that moment there was no separation and no isolation. There was only oneness, and it was all home.
Taking steps toward change can be so much simpler than we realize. We can start by noticing what’s around us and finding something to be grateful for in that.
We can stop looking far away for role models in the recognition that we’re surrounded by teachers everyday, and they’re showing up as our friends, family members, colleagues, and neighbours.
We can stop trying to force change to occur immediately and relax into the realization that change occurs through repetition and commitment—by continuing a practice (such as a gratitude journal) even when we’re not sure if it’s making a difference.
And we can remind ourselves that we always have a choice. We can choose to be a victim of our life circumstances or we can choose to build on what we have right in front of us.
My students could easily have stayed home, focusing on what their bodies could no longer do and what they felt they’d lost.
Instead, they chose what they could do. They could show up. They could build community. And in so doing they declared in actions rather than words, “We are enough. This life is enough and we are grateful.”
I couldn’t think of a more appropriate prayer to guide us each and every day.
By : Samantha Nolan-Smith
Visit her at : http://www.freedommembers.com/the-freedom-collective/
|Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on November 22, 2014 at 9:10 AM||comments (0)|
|Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on November 4, 2014 at 7:45 PM||comments (0)|