App Review: Serenity for Android

I talked extensively about Insight Timer for learning how to meditate and to try different types of meditations. Now the only way to have a subscription is if you pay once a year. I wanted to pay for an app, in order to have more motivation to meditate. As I can’t pay Insight Timer’s yearly subscription, I found Serenity. It’s a simple looking app, with a course to learn how to meditate, daily mini-meditations and a daily practice. You can do the ones you missed, in your own time. It also has meditations for different purposes, like sleeping or relaxing. There at achievements and new content is being developed. Right now, it has enough content for on to be entertained for hours.

I pay about 7 euros a month. When I pay, I feel more obligated to do things. I rarely miss a day because of it.

After a week, I can say that I’m pleased with this app and will continue to pay for the subscription. It’s an excellent way to maintain a regular practice and that is enough for you to see results. I can already see results after a week, I feel better and more focused. It’s been a 15 minutes a day practice. That’s all you need. It helps me my creativity immensely.

It has challenges which is also a cool way to get motivated

Of course, it’s not Insight Timer, with their 20000 meditations. I still use it because of their guided meditation library. It’s truly diverse. Serenity is for the user that likes simplicity and just needs the right amount of guidance to keep a regular practice.

If you use the free version you have limited features and only 2 hours of free content. In that sense, Insight Timer wins because it has much more free content. It’s ultimately about you and your budget.

This app is for android only.

8/10

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What Is Self-Care And Why Is It Important?

In these stressful times, our fast-paced lives make us forget that we should take care of ourselves properly. Life is complicated and you never know what it may throw your way but you can be in control of how you take care of yourself. It’s a way to build resilience toward those stressful situations in life. When you’re eating poorly, too tired or in poor condition, you will probably be more reactive to what happens to you. These reactions may cause you problems and we all know that everyone has enough problems as is.

I remember when I worked in a nearby big city. My life was very intense: a high-pressure job, living alone, commuting, cooking and all the activities you’d expect a single woman in her 20’s, living alone, would have. I was miserable so I became a workaholic. I would work 12 to 14 hours a day, except on weekends. That was my definition of self-care: not working weekends. It turns out that I was wrong. I wasn’t in the best physical or mental condition. Had to quit my job and return to my parents’ house because I was so burned out. It’s better to dedicate the short amount of time we have with activities that are beneficial to us.

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What is self-care?

Self-care is a daily activity and takes effort. It’s like a sport that improves your life and promotes discipline and resilience. Self-care includes activities like eating well, sleeping well, not giving into temptation, practicing and developing skills, having outside hobbies or interests.

” Medical and mental health professionals pioneered the concept of self-care by prescribing healthy lifestyle changes and stress management behaviors. Unfortunately, these prescriptions are often ignored because they require hard work and perseverance.”

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/everybody-marries-the-wrong-person/201006/self-care-in-toxic-world

Self-care is a commitment you make to your health and well-being, it’s building a solid foundation for a better future. By putting yourself first, you will be able to help others more effectively. Neglecting your needs may have

What self-care is not

Self-care is not self-indulgence or self-pampering.

Self-indulgence is characterized by avoidance of the effortful and substitution of quick and easy antidotes. We tell ourselves that the stresses of the day have drained our energy and that vegging on the sofa with a quart of ice cream or a six-pack of beer is all we can expect of ourselves. Rather than shouldering the hard work of self-care, we settle for temporary and largely symbolic fixes – some of which actually stress our systems further.”

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/everybody-marries-the-wrong-person/201006/self-care-in-toxic-world

It’s also not a one time deal or something you should do when you’re burning out. It’s a concerted effort that you do daily to nurture yourself and respond to your needs.

Adding more tasks to your to-do list is not necessarily self-care. It’s about prioritizing what is essential.

It’s not about being selfish. You shouldn’t feel bad for taking care of yourself. We need to rake care of ourselves if we want to take care of others. You won’t be able to help anyone if you burn out.

The Eight Areas Of Self-Care

  1. Physical self-care: as the name implies, physical self-care is about health, nutrition, sleep, movement of the body, physical touch and sexual needs. Getting enough sleep, going hiking and eating a healthy meal are examples of this type of self-care.
  2. Psychological self-care: maintaining a healthy brain by learning new things, practicing a relaxation technique or cultivating creativity. Our mind should be active and stimulated in order to be healthy. Journalling, learning a new skill and practicing mindfulness are some examples of psychological self-care.
  3. Emotional self-care: it’s about dealing with emotions, working on emotional literacy, cultivating empathy, developing compassion for yourself and others and managing stress in an effective way. Examples of this type of self-care are being aware of your own boundaries, saying no when necessary, spending time observing your feelings and develop emotional literacy, having a gratitude journal, among other things.
  4. Social self-care: this type of self-care is about having a good support network of friends, family, and acquaintances. People that you trust and that you can rely on. It’s very important for having a sense of belonging, which is crucial for mental health and well-being. Some examples of this are: asking for help when you need it (you’re not superman, asking for help is nothing to be ashamed of), doing activities with your friends and family, meeting new people, etc.
  5. Spiritual self-care: this is about your values and beliefs, what guides you in this life. It includes actions and practices that will help you in your spiritual journey. If you’re an atheist, you may not have this dimension in your life and that’s okay. This doesn’t resonate with everyone. Journalling, going on a retreat, meditating and other activities are a few examples of spiritual self-care.
  6. Professional self-care: it relates to having strong personal boundaries, sharing your skills and strengths, finding a sense of purpose in your work, among other aspects. Examples of it are: meditating on a break, even if it’s only for a couple of minutes, having strong and clear boundaries, eating well at work (bring something healthy from home, don’t buy anything from a vending machine), not being afraid of negotiating when needed, etc.
  7. Financial self-care: this sort of self-care refers to taking care of your finances, by doing good financial practices and controlling your spending. It includes makes conscious financial decisions like saving money and not spend it on frivolous things, doing your taxes on time, being careful with loans and leasing, etc.
  8. Environmental self-care: being mindful of our consumption, in order to create less waste. Save water and other practices that focus on protecting the environment.

Conclusion

As you can see, self-care should play an important part in our lives. Maintaining that discipline lays the foundation for what you want to achieve. You are in control. Put yourself as a priority as much as you can. That’s the only way to properly take care of others.

By approaching these important areas of self-care in your life, it’s possible to live a more balanced life. We don’t need to do it all, just the essential. Self-care is an essential part of feeling good and being healthy. Never forget that.

Can BPD make you a better person in the future?

As someone who is recovering from BPD and has come a long way, I have to tell you that not everything about BPD is negative.

I believe that going through it, enduring the symptoms and the consequences of your actions, can make you a better person.

It definitely feels like it for several reasons that I will explain in the coming section.

This isn’t a generalization of all people with BPD, it’s just my experience and some people relate to it, while others don’t.

Romantic relationships

Relationships are hard for everyone: being vulnerable, sharing everything, disagreements, etc. Before I started recovering it was a complete and utter chaos. Toxic relationships, sudden breakups for petty reasons, conflict, etc. I had almost no sense of commitment and I would get into relationships too quick, without analyzing the person first. Impulsivity was something that interfered with my relationships. Little thing you told me that I didn’t like? Might break up with you tomorrow. Terrible thing you did to me but you’re my FP? I’ll stick around and add fire to the flame.

As I started healing, I noticed that I had a sense of commitment. I communicated better and didn’t get angry. There was so much abuse and drama in my past that I did my best not to live through the same thing. Started fighting more for relationships, even a little too much but I believe that I will attain balance. I had very little arguments and lots of harmony. Never cheated on him, as I know how it hurts (not by experience because I never found out that a boyfriend was cheating on me), how disrespectful it is and how bad I feel after cheating. It’s one of the worst feelings I’ve ever experienced. There are many steps before you cheat. Ultimately, going down that road is up to you and you only. You can stop at any time.

The “I hate you/ Don’t leave me” relationships started disappearing from my life. I don’t go back and forth with someone, with arguments and animosity, drama. I cut or dramatically reduce contact. Can’t stand it. It feels good in a twisted way but it also feels like a prison where I’ve been before. I just don’t want to stay in toxic relationships, because of how traumatic they were in the past. Even after 15 years of dating a narcissist and especially because I recently dated another briefly, it was like my heart was burned. It is burnt flesh that hurts like hell when people do and say certain things. Which in turn made me more mindful of what I say to people, I don’t want to hurt anyone.

Friendship

The “I hate you/Don’t leave me” model of relationship also refers to friendship. It was frequent for me to have toxic friendships. It could happen that someone was my FP and I would take turns in loving and hating them. One day, they were my whole life, the other day they were terrible and would abandon me, so I better abandon them first. It hurts less that way, not that it doesn’t hurt a lot because it does. An FP is like a drug to us. It’s a kind of passion.

Sometimes, I wasn’t the most loyal because I was a people pleaser. As I started growing older and healing, I learned how to say no and say things people might not like to hear (without being rude, of course). Learning to say no is a fundamental skill for someone with BPD, as our boundaries are so poorly defined in the beginning of our struggle. We learn by reading, DBT and watching others.

Friendships are also less tense and dramatic when you are recovering. I would have fits and do huge scenes, in my worst times. I must’ve embarrassed quite a few people with my anger and impulsivity. It was probably one of the factors that contributed to being abandoned by several people. Today, I get it. On one hand, I was severely sick. On the other, people were entitled not to feel embarrassed by friends, not to want to deal with certain situations. There were a few serious situations that could’ve ended badly but luckily nothing happened. I think I scared people with my instability.

We learn that lots of people can’t deal with us but some can. I learned to cherish those people. Help them in any way I can. Now, I can love them to death and that is a somewhat stable feeling. Minor things don’t influence my opinion of the person. With time, DBT, medication and observation, we learn about nuance: how someone can be simultaneously flawed and lovable. We are the first ones to recognize that people are flawed, as we are, but we can deal with certain flaws and character defects.

To grow, we need to surround ourselves mostly with people who are kind and validating but are not enablers. We live in a world of our own, like everyone else, but in our case it can be a quite distorted world, due to our poor coping mechanisms. It’s important to have friends that remind us of what’s right or wrong and help us make better decisions.

Boundaries

Oh, boundaries. How we need them. Boundaries fail us when we are experiencing more symptoms. We let people walk over us, we let people do things to us that we don’t want, we do what we can to keep certain relationships, be it romantic or friendships. We also tend to not respect other people’s boundaries, as we don’t have strong ones. We need to have boundaries in order to understand and respect other people’s boundaries. We have our own reality tunnels, shaped by our experience, personality and BPD. If our “walls” are weak and too flexible, we will think that others are like us. At least, that’s what happens in the beginning. If we grow and change, every time we cross the line is a lesson learned.

Family

I can only speak about my parents and other relatives. I’m not a mother,so that won’t be included in my story.

My relationship with my family changed a lot over time and became stronger.

My psychiatrist once told me that it was easier for me to change than my parents. That I should adapt and tanke charge of my choices. At the time, I was already taking a good combo of medication so it was easier to have self-control. That gradually changed the dynamics of the relationship. We had reached a breaking point many years before that and they didn’t know how to act around me. They have strong personalities so they simultaneously walked on eggshells and went off on me. To be honest, I wouldn’t wish this on any parent and neither do I wish that they suffer from BPD. Because I felt miserable. I needed my parents’ love and attention. But I also pushed them away. There were reasons for me to react the way I did but there was a lot of overreacting going on.

I still briefly bicker with my father on a regular basis but it never escalates. Retreat is a good option for me. Return to headquarters haha. My relationship with my mother is much better and we rarely fight. I think she’s happier now that I’m better. She just wished that I could have a better life, while she helps me get there.

Never forget, if your parents raised you with love, they probably still love you now and are on your side. A psychologist can help you immensely (and maybe medication but that is your call) to help you see from your parents’ point of view. It’s easy to get caught up in feelings and overanalyzing and not see obvious things, though we pay attention to everything. It can also help you learn how to communicate better with the people in your life. I’ve learned so much about myself and others with my psychologists. It’s really eye-opening and helpful. If you are curious about yourself and want to evolve in a healthy way, it’s one of the bets things to do. However, not everyone can do it and I respect that. Trauma is a like a thorn in your soul. It’s not palpable but it stings and sometimes therapy is the only way to deal with it. Doing trauma work is very hard but it’s worth it. Understanding how we can find new and better coping mechanisms, that are constructive and healthy. Find ways to soothe ourselves that won’t hurt us in the long run.

There are other aspects but these were the ones who stood out to me. Everyone grows in a different way and maybe your experience wasn’t quite like mine. There isn’t a fixed road for someone with BPD, nor is there for anyone. If you would like to add something that you think BPD helped you with, feel free to comment below.

Conclusion

Can you imagine what it’s like to have a somewhat normal childhood and troubled teens but your mental health was okay. You start to have these symptoms when you’re a young adult (at least that’s what happened to me). Everything changes. You are overwhelmed and hurting. Things are going downhill and you don’t even know how to explain to your doctor how you feel. Most people never go through this. They have their own aches but such a shift in your personality is not very common. Your personality is a mask that you wear and your identity. Everyone has an idea of who they are (an idea only because no one knows that for sure, if you go to the root of it) but you don’t. And you have this chronic feeling of emptiness that you desperately want to fill. People seem to know what they’re doing and you are just trying to survive. Trying to feel okay, try to not feel so much, trying not to see so much, not to catch all those details that you later overanalyze.

With age, you also learn that things aren’t always what they seem. The face that your friend made, what he said. It can be a misunderstanding. Overreacting is only going to blow things out of proportion and create problems. But it’s a fairly normal response for someone with BPD. We are scared, confused, we need some control over things, since we lost control.

If you have BPD, believe me, wanting to change is the first step in an incredible journey of growth. A journey that only you can make. You’ll be wiser, stronger. DBT or therapy will help you cope better and re-learn how to live in a healthy way.

Maybe today you had a terrible day, full of emotions and anger and whatever else you’re dealing with but a better tomorrow is possible.

Much love to you all.

Image courtesy of Pixabay.

10 Benefits Of Gratitude and 6 Ways To Cultivate It

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This is a friendly reminder that it would be great if you were grateful for what you have. Maybe you had a bad day and things don’t look so good. Everybody has problems, that’s a known fact. In spite of that, we should be grateful for what we have, even if we want more (which most people do). If you have food, shelter, enough money, internet, family, or other things/people, be grateful. We always want more and more; that’s what keeps us moving. That’s how we’re wired but we can keep in mind what we have. It’s an excellent way to put things in perspective.

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I know many people are struggling right now, you should know that it’s temporary. I believe that things can get better and opportunities may appear. Be grateful for the little things you have or experience. Experiences enrich our lives and we should be grateful for them. Some are good, others are bad but nevertheless, we grow. It’s incredibly helpful for people with mental health conditions. It can be hard to cope and thankfulness can contribute to a more positive outlook of life.

Once we master a skill, we may be grateful for the time we chose to spend learning it, grateful for the fact that we persevered and grew as a person. That we now have the ability to do something very well.

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We can be grateful for our pets. They offer unconditional love. Pets are precious and we definitely don’t deserve them. At least, some of us don’t. If you adopted your pet, be grateful that you found such a wonderful animal. Be grateful for the time you spend with your pet and all the good feelings he/she elicits.

Never forget to be grateful for your abilities, like walking, talking, writing, reading, etc. You are someone who is able to do great things. Limitations brought on by mental health conditions, sometimes make our lives hell. Only each one of us knows what he goes through, how we push through.

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Be grateful for your strength and resilience. For having things/people that keep you here, even when things get rough. I know what it feels like to be suicidal and how many times I have had to tell myself that I want to live and think about all the people I love. I’ve thought about ending it a million times, I truly did. All these years, every year, sometimes every day, I thought about it. I like living. There are too many people that I love and things I like to do. I still have a chance in life. Being grateful is also a way to keep me grounded and see things in a more realistic way.

Benefits of Gratitude

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Source: https://www.happierhuman.com/benefits-of-gratitude/

1- Being grateful makes us feel good. When we count our blessings and see how fortunate we are, we experience a good feeling. It’s a kind of happiness or it can be happiness itself. It’s easy to forget the good things we have and take them for granted. Taking time to be grateful is a great way to improve your mood and feel more grounded, as you put things in perspective. Yet, only 20% of Americans think gratitude is positive and constructive emotion (as opposed to 50% of Europeans).

2- Gratitude has been proven to improve your mental health. There are so many negative feelings and negative experiences, so being grateful is a way to counter or fight that. It is a way to be happier and combat depression. When we are depressed, our thoughts are so dark and negative, especially towards ourselves. When you think about a defect or flaw that you have, think about 2 things you have that are good. Be grateful for those qualities, for those gifts that you have.

3- Gratitude helps you to sleep better. Take your time before sleep to be thankful for what you have. It will help you unwind before bed. Gratitude increases sleep quality, reduces the time you need to fall asleep, and increases how much you sleep.

“The key is what’s on our minds as we’re trying to fall asleep. If it’s worries about the kids, or anxiety about work, the level of stress in our body will increase, reducing sleep quality, keeping us awake, and cutting our sleep short.

If it’s thinking about a few things we have to be grateful for today, it will induce the relaxation response, knock us out, and keep us that way.

Yes – gratitude is a (safe and free) sleep aid.”

Source:https://www.happierhuman.com/benefits-of-gratitude/#c11

4- It’s also good for physical health. According to reports, grateful people feel healthier and have fewer aches. According to a 2012 study published in Personality and Individual Differences, people who are grateful tend to go to the doctor and work out more often, hence being healthier.

5- Aggression is reduced and empathy is increased when people practice gratitude. According to a 2012 study by the University of Kentucky, grateful people tend to be less aggressive and more aware of others feelings, acting in a kind way even when people are unkind to them. They also tend to not seek revenge.

6- Studies have shown that gratitude also promotes good self-esteem. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Applied Sports Psychology concluded that the gratitude of athletes contributed to their good self-esteem; which in turn was beneficial to their performance.

  1. Gratitude has been shown in multiple studies to make people kinder and more friendly, and that because of that, grateful people have more social capital. This means that grateful people are actually more likely to receive help from others for no reason other than that they are liked and appreciated.
  2. Gratitude increases your recognition of benevolence. For example, a person with low self-esteem may view an act of kindness with a skeptical eye, thinking that the benefactor is trying to get something from them. A grateful person would take the kindness at face value, believing themselves to be a person worthy of receiving no-strings-attached kindness.

Source:https://www.happierhuman.com/benefits-of-gratitude/#c11

8- It helps heal trauma and increases mental strength. After all, we are grateful for everything that keeps us going and sustains us. Life doesn’t seem so dark and existential dread is diminished. A 2006 study published in Behavior Research and Therapy found that Vietnam War Veterans who were more grateful had lower rates of PTSD. Life doesn’t seem so bad when you’re thankful for what you’ve got. According to a 2003 study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, gratitude contributed to the resilience shown by people after the 9/11 attacks. When we are thankful for things, even at the worst time of our lives, that creates resilience. Gratitude greatly reduces feelings of envy, makes us see our memories in a more positive light, elicits good feelings, and helps us de-stress.

8- Gratitude is also beneficial to your social and love life. It makes you nicer, more social, more trusting, and more appreciative. So it helps us make more friends, create closer bonds and improve our relationships. This creates new opportunities for friendship and love. Other people will normally be more inclined to pursue a relationship with others that show those qualities.

9- We are less materialistic and less self-centered when we’re grateful. By acknowledging and being thankful for what you have, it’s easier to put things in perspective; understand that most material things are not essential and that we can be perfectly happy with what we already have. We are less self-centered because we acknowledge who is important to us. We feel more connected. Gratitude is about focusing on others (on their good deeds) and not on yourself. To focus on what and who you have.

10- It reduces feelings of envy. In this day in age, with all the social media sites and the vanity fair that it is, it’s easy to feel envious of others. If you reduce social media use and focus on gratitude, even if it’s 5 minutes a day, you’ll feel better. We are more envious when we are not content with what we have. When we focus on what we don’t have instead of focusing on what we have.

In conclusion, it’s not only good for our mental health but also for our physical health. It affects several aspects of our life. A shift in perspective is sometimes what we need to move forward with a better quality of life.

Gratitude is something that you should cultivate and I will show you how.

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How to cultivate gratitude

There’s no happier person than a truly thankful, content person.”
-Joyce Meyer

1- Start a gratitude journal

Take 5-10 minutes out of your day or do it weekly; write down what you are grateful for. Try to remember little things as well as big things. Everything matters, even sensory experiences like seeing, eating, smelling, etc.

“According to psychologists such as Sonja Lyubomirsky at the University of California-Riverside, keeping a gratitude journal —where you record once a week all the things you have to be grateful for — and other gratitude exercises can increase your energy, and relieve pain and fatigue.”

Source:https://psychcentral.com/blog/6-ways-to-cultivate-gratitude/

This trains your brain to be aware of all the good things in life, things that you may be taking for granted and not noticing how good they are. You can also use an app, instead of a notebook or a Word document. I just downloaded several apps and I’ll be choosing one to review soon. I like to use apps because they have reminders, I’m a very forgetful person and this is really helpful.

2- Give back and pay it forward

Doing volunteer work, helping a stranger, aiding someone you know. There are many ways to give back. If someone is nice to you, be nice to someone else. Someone must have helped you in the past or helps you right now. Pay it forward and help someone else. Maybe the person in front of you on the supermarket line is missing a few dollars, offer to pay for it. Ask a homeless person if they would like to eat something and buy them something to eat. There are many things you can do, just be mindful of others needs.

3- Use your memory

Take some time to think about everyone that went through your life and helped/influenced you in a positive way. Keep them in mind often. Think about all that those people did for you, how you learned from them and evolved. Never forget where you came from and who helped you along the way.

4- Do a gratitude visit

“Try to think of someone who had a significant positive impact on you whom you haven’t properly thanked. It should be someone who lives nearby, so it’s feasible for you to see them in person (hence the “Visit” part).

Sit down and write them a thank-you letter, about 300 words describing how they helped you, how it made you feel, what you’re up to now, and what it means to you. Then, set up a meeting but don’t tell them why. We have stronger emotional reactions to surprises, particularly such a kind and moving surprise as this.

When you visit them, read the whole letter. Don’t rush, and take time to savor their reactions to it. You’ll both find yourselves reliving the positive emotions of the past and strengthening your relationship in the present.”

Source:https://positivepsychlopedia.com/year-of-happy/how-to-cultivate-gratitude/

If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, consider telling your friends and family how much you love and appreciate them more often. This is a good way to strengthen bonds and deepen relationships and you will also be making someone feel good and appreciated. Remember that not everyone is appreciated properly in their lives and a compliment or good memory can go a long way.

5- Write thank you letters.

Even if you never mail them or read it out loud to someone in a gratitude visit. It’s a way to keep in mind what people did to aid you. It’s something that you are adding to your conscious and perspective. You are shifting your reality to one of thankfulness and love. It’s also very humbling and a way to keep our egos in check.

6- Meditate or listen to affirmations for gratitude

Meditating or listening to affirmations are good ways to cultivate gratitude. You can do Metta meditation (loving-kindness meditation), guided meditations for gratitude, affirmations for gratitude (sometimes it’s affirmations for gratitude and something else, like self-love, which is even better). Even if you don’t have much time, you can do them before bed, or take 5 minutes to meditate on the good things that happened that day. I can assure you that it’s a great way to fall asleep.

I use Insight Timer to do this. It has many guided meditations, binaural beats tracks, affirmations, etc. It’s a free app. You can also use YouTube or other apps.

In conclusion, there are many things you can do to cultivate gratitude. Don’t take what you have in your life for granted. There are always good events, things and people in our lives and we should focus on those (while working on fixing our issues). Shift your perspective and enjoy a better quality of life.

What do you think about gratitude? What are you grateful for today?

Images are courtesy of Pixabay.

Social media, mental health, and strategies to avoid overusing it

This is probably one of the most talked about issues right now. Most people love social media. Sharing pictures, liking, commenting. It feels like socializing. You get in touch with people that are far away or close by. It’s fun and a time waster. It’s addictive. Every notification is a dopamine spike. We get hooked and spend more and more time on it. Too tired to do something productive, it’s easy to just scroll through Facebook or Instagram.

It’s an artificial world, where everyone is happy and on their best behavior. Or not but we are always in PR mode. “Look at this beautiful place”, “Look at this wonderful food”. If you’re not in the best place right now, it’s better not to be on Facebook or other toxic social media sites.

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At least here on WordPress, people get vulnerable. They talk about their victories, their defeats and everything in between. You are not bombarded by selfies or animal abuse videos or all that other crap you see on Facebook. This is a social platform for readers, writers, and curious people.

I definitely feel much better since I stopped using Facebook so much but let’s see what science says about it:

According to a recent study by UK disability charity Scope, of 1500 Facebook and Twitter users surveyed, 62 percent reported feeling inadequate and 60 percent reported feelings of jealousy from comparing themselves to other users.

Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/nurturing-self-compassion/201703/mental-health-and-the-effects-social-media

Social media can cause depression, according to this recent study.  If you feel jealous or envious of your Facebook friends, it’s better not to have an account. As I’ve said before, it’s addictive, so it’s easy to keep going despite the fact that it’s making you miserable. It causes more sadness and less joy. It’s only natural for us to compare ourselves to others and on Facebook that is inevitable.

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Human beings are always looking for satisfaction. Most people aren’t satisfied with their lives and virtual socializing seems safer. But it’s not. It can be in a sense but we need to feel a real connection. To be with people in real life, create bonds, etc. We weren’t made to be alone all the time. Humans are social species.

In fact, another study found that social media use is linked to greater feelings of social isolation. The team looked at how much people used 11 social media sites, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, Vine, Snapchat and Reddit, and correlated this with their “perceived social isolation.” Not surprisingly, it turned out that the more time people spent on these sites, the more socially isolated they perceivedthemselves to be. And perceived social isolation is one of the worst things for us, mentally and physically.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2017/06/30/a-run-down-of-social-medias-effects-on-our-mental-health/#721f75612e5a

You’re shaping your reality and isolating yourself, under the false pretense of effortless socializing. You will perceive yourself to be more alone and that also contributes to depression or sadness.

Meanwhile another survey of 1,000 British women by Forza Supplements found that 82% of respondents “edit” their holiday photographs before posting them online in order to ensure that they are shown to the greatest advantage; 34% use filters on Instagram to finesse their appearance. Additionally 76% of respondents said they have felt embarrassed by photos posted by friends or family members that included them, and 57% have actually asked these friends or family members to take a photo down because they considered it so unflattering.

Source: https://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/230900/social-media-makes-users-feel-ugly-inadequate.html

So, people are altering themselves to fit in, to have more likes and receive compliments. We have to be flawless at all times. This isn’t healthy, it’s shaping our perception and putting pressure on us. It’s unrealistic and harmful. Artificial is the new natural. I fear the impact of this on society.

Everything that exists, in this life, is connected to something else. We are all connected and the internet connected us even more (even if in an illusory way). A comparison is inevitable in this environment. We see other people’s lives and automatically compare it to ours. This is very toxic and can lead to depression. It also leads to jealousy.

 (…) it can become a vicious cycle: feeling jealous can make a person want to make his or her own life look better, and post jealousy-inducing posts of their own, in an endless circle of one-upping and feeling jealous.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2017/06/30/a-run-down-of-social-medias-effects-on-our-mental-health/#720d85352e5a

We should always look at things this way: this person looks like she has a perfect life but everyone has trials and tribulations. They don’t show you when they cry, when they scream, when they are angry and frustrated. No one is perfect or has a perfect life. If you feel like you’re in this infinite loop of jealousy, avoid Facebook or unfollow your most successful Facebook friends or the ones that like to brag about their lives.

Part of the unhealthy cycle is that we keep coming back to social media, even though it doesn’t make us feel very good. This is probably because of what’s known as a forecasting error: Like a drug, we think getting a fix will help, but it actually makes us feel worse, which comes down to an error in our ability to predict our own response. One study looked at how people feel after using Facebook and how they think they’ll feel going in. Like other studies suggested, the participants in this one almost always felt worse after using it, compared to people engaging in other activities. But a follow-up experiment showed that people generally believed that they’d feel better after using, not worse. Which of course turns out not to be the case at all, and sounds a lot like the pattern in other types of addiction.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2017/06/30/a-run-down-of-social-medias-effects-on-our-mental-health/#720d85352e5a

I remember one day, I was particularly sensitive and I came across a video of animal abuse. Distressed and uneasy, I logged off and swore I would never log in again. One hour later, I was back. Just like an addict who is caught by the police, while buying drugs and buys drugs the day after that, most of us return to Facebook after seeing something distressing or disturbing. It’s important to break this cycle.

man thinking forest

Strategies to avoid Facebook and other social media sites

Evaluate your relationship with Facebook, how it affects you and make a conscious choice. There are strategies to avoid Facebook or other social media sites. If you have a pc and a cellphone, try to make it a habit not to use Facebook on your computer, just on your phone. Spend time doing other things on your computer, like watching movies, series, doing a course, watching interesting YouTube videos or documentaries. Even better is to see your friends in real life, take a walk, enjoy nature, read a book, meditate. There is a number of great things you can do in real life.

Set a time to check Facebook or just go with the flow and you may forget it exists for a few hours. Then, check your notifications and scroll for a few minutes, ideally less than five. Don’t get sucked into the rabbit hole, there’s a world outside. A palpable, more real world.

As you detox from it, you’ll start to notice that you spend less and less time there. You will start to value your other activities and understand that Facebook and other social media sites are a trap.

Conclusion

Facebook and other sites were created and designed to keep us hooked, in order to sell things to us. Gather our information and sell it to God-knows-who. It knows almost everything about us, based on our likes. It’s also an echo-chamber, somewhere where we just see what the algorithm thinks we want to see. This is also harmful, as we should be informed about various points of view., in order to not have a very biased opinion.

It’s also important to think that our time is finite and that wasting it on toxic platforms is not the best way to live. There are other activities that are more constructive and positive.

 

 

 

BPD and FP (Favorite Person)

What is a Favorite Person(FP)?

When you think about who your favorite person is, you might think of your significant other, best friend or someone else. It just means that you love that person. It has a different meaning for people with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).

When someone with BPD uses the term “favorite person” to describe someone else, they are typically insinuating that this is a person they cannot survive without. For BPD sufferers, the favorite person is the person who is a source of emotional support and dependence. This individual has the ability to truly impact the BPD sufferer’s day in either a positive or negative manner. The favorite person to someone with BPD holds a critical role in their lives by holding the power to ‘make or break’ the successful navigation of daily tasks and struggles.

Source: https://mindcology.com/borderline/guide-bpd-favorite-person-relationship-dynamic/

One can have one or many FPs. People with BPD need constant reassurance, advice and help to make decisions, among other things. We need to know we have someone we can turn to when things get rough. Someone who won’t abandon us. We will shower that person with attention but will have problematic behaviors.

What to do if you’re someone’s FP

There are a few things you should know if you love and care for the person with BPD:

– Being someone’s FP is not a conscious decision. Basically, is like love. It just happens as a relationship develops (platonic or not).

– You won’t be told you’re someone’s FP. It will be recognized by their actions. It’s something you will learn in due time

– You will be a source of validation, approval, and advice. Someone with BPD has trouble with regulating emotions and having healthy relationships so they will turn to you for help. There will be many calls and messages, that person will ask for help in many different situations.

– Be aware of jealousy. People with BPD feel in a different way. They feel completely and utterly. So if an FP spends some time with other people or ignores messages, the other person might start devaluating the FP. Some people can become aggressive. In that case, it would be in your best interest of you would stay away from that person. There’s no other way to say it. That type of behavior is unacceptable and you should think of yourself first.

Other people will have a softer approach, sending messages when you fail to respond, asking for compliments or reassurance. If you are mad at them, etc. To be honest, it can get annoying and you’ll have to be patient. I find that when people love and support individuals with BPD, it gets easier. What you can do to manage this is to tell the person when you will be unavailable or will be having time by yourself. Communication is key in every relationship and it is crucial in this one.

– Lastly, don’t forget to put yourself first. You also have needs and, if they aren’t met, you might need help too; so take care of yourself. Define boundaries and be honest about what you want and don’t want to do. Again, communication is key.

My current experience with FPs

To be quite honest, I don’t think I have a favorite person now but I believe I did in the past. There’s really no one who can “make or break” my day. I live in a world of my own and it’s not hard to get away from problems the people I love the most cause me. I’ve been able to distance myself, almost detach from people. I only miss two people in my life. They are my sources of support and love. The thing is, something someone does can affect my day in the sense that they hurt me. It doesn’t have to be a person who is close to me. Acquaintances can hurt me. I don’t like to feel mocked. Thoughts about those occasions can affect my day but not entirely. I have this habit of pointing out that I have new clothes or new jewelry so I can be validated for my look. I do that to the people I love and are closest to me.

I cut so many people off over the years, that I ended up with some loyal people. Cutting people off doesn’t come as easy now, as I don’t have black and white thinking anymore. I don’t idolize and devaluate people anymore. They are flawed and complex, there are many sides to every person.

My past experiences with FPs

In the past, I had favorite people. It was usually a boyfriend or a close friend. Some people could ruin my day or make me feel over the moon. I had love-hate relationships, that could be tempestuous and unstable.

I remember going out every day with friends or a boyfriend. Then, all of a sudden, it would change. The person gaslighted me or started to ignore me. I would cut ties with that person and turn to someone else. There would abandonment feelings but I devaluated that person so much that I couldn’t have them in my life anymore. No idea of how many people I’ve known and loved. But I have loved intensely.

I could be aggressive, but only verbally. Hitting people is not a thing that I do but I could make a scene. Which wasn’t something I was particularly fond of doing but sometimes it wasn’t possible to contain it. All those feelings and emotions can take a toll on your judgment. They can be overwhelming.

In the end, having an FP and being an FP is complex and intense but it can be a wonderful experience. Your love or friendship with someone, how strongly you feel about them and how you see the potential of growth in them. If you feel you can be progressively better for someone or if you can be a source of healing.

Remember, growth is your goal. It is possible to heal and overcome the obstacles you face now. Just keep going and make the best decisions you can for yourself.

Do you have a favorite person? How do you deal with it?

Images are courtesy of Pixabay.

Memories and the benefits of dancing

I remember when I was 16. I would go out every Friday night. I felt this urge to go out into the night and have fun with my friends. We would go to bars and clubs. We loved to go to a sort of hybrid bar/club that played nu-metal (it was all the rage at the time), hardcore, punk and rock. The dancing moves were weird, it was like we were in physical pain and suffering for the music. I wish I had videotaped it, it was really funny. That was the first type of dancing I did in public. Then came regular clubs, as I developed a love for electronic and dance music. I would go to a big club, a really fashionable one. The people were beautiful, the music was diverse. It had three different floors and a balcony. The upper floor was a terrace where we could look at the beautiful view. The city looked stunning with all the lights.

Then I started going to Drum&Bass parties. The ambience was amazing. People were smiling while they were dancing, I met amazing people and danced all night long. I haven’t listened to much d&b in the last few years but I’ve been rekindling my romance with it lately. It feels great to listen to it again and it feels awesome to dance to it. It’s also great music for motivation and to walk on the street. It has this movement and rapid pace that is appealing to me.

I haven’t danced in a few months. The last time was on my birthday. I went to a small club in a nearby city. I danced a lot but after a few hours, my knees were hurting. I had to sit down and rest. I should do it more often as it is beneficial.

It’s a good way to stay fit as it improves muscular strenght, endurance and motor fitness. It also improves the condition of the heart and lungs. Bones get stronger and it helps prevent ostheoporisis. It’s good for agility, coordination and flexibility. Physical confidence is increased. I didn’t know this but it improves the mental function. As it is a type of workout, it improves general and physical well-being. It helps with self-confidence and self-esteem, as well as social skills.

I’ve always seen dancing as a very social activity. People dance with each other, they interact with one another and talk. It’s a great way to socialize and it’s very fun.

You don’t need to be the best dancer in the world to have fun. I’m pretty basic when it comes to my dance moves but it’s enough to enjoy myself. I understand that not everyone feels confident enough to dance but it’s worth a try.

Do you like dancing? What are your favorite genres to dance to?

Good reasons to go outside

As you all know by now because I’ve written extensively about this, I struggle to go outside. I can’t be the only one dealing with this, so this post is for those of us who want to go out more but lack the motivation to do it.

First of all, it improves mental health. If coupled with exercise, as walking for 30 minutes, it’s even better. Walks in nature are even more beneficial, as it decreases anxiety and improves your mood. It also increases self-esteem.

Going outside diminishes the risk of an early death, as it is a way to combat sedentary life. Again, if it is to take place in nature, it’s even better. The quality of the air you’re breathing is better, you feel more connected and calm. It helps you recover to concentration and stress fatigue, as well as encouraging physical activity.

I found that indoor air pollution is bigger that outdoor air pollution. It seems strange but it’s true. We are exposed to more carbon dioxide and chemicals from cooking and fireplaces, as well as chemicals from building materials, furnishings, household product and more emit matter into the air. Also dust, mold, pet dander, etc. Increasing ventilation can help but it’s best to spend more time outside.

Being outdoors also helps one sleep. Sleep has a lot to do with hormones like melatonin and your circadian rhythm. Both of these are affected by exposure to light. By spending too much time indoors, we are away from the source of our body’s natural rhythms and that affects our sleep.

Going outside is also the best way to get vitamin D. Most people have a vitamin D deficiency and that is not beneficial at all, as that particular vitamin is a way to prevent diseases like cancer, for example. For your daily healthy dose of vitamin D, we should be exposed to sunlight for 15 minutes, preferably in the morning.

It increases energy levels because of sunlight exposure and physical exercise. 90% of people who go out daily and walk, have increased energy levels. (So that’s why I am always depleted of energy).

Going outside also raises our serotonin levels, so it contributes to our happiness and well-being.

These are the main reasons to go outside. Social interaction is also a good reason to go out.

We are all more or less afraid to get sick, so going outside is a good preventive measure. Keep these reasons in mind, as I will, too.

Let’s get healthy!

Do you struggle with going outside? How often do you go?

Image courtesy of Pixabay.