The Start Of A New Week

Man pouring coffee in a white mug on Monday morning

Changing The Way You View Mondays

For most people, when Monday rolls in, a yucky feeling of “ugh” swarms over. There is something about starting a new week that displeasures the most of us. But the key to feeling more positive and optimistic is to change the way you view the start of a new week.

Rather than dreading Mondays, start to look at it differently by appreciating the start of a new week. Look at the positives: a new week brings more eduction, opportunities to learn at school or on your job, discipline and even surprises. Starting the week off with a positive mindset will allow you to enjoy the process much more than being negative before the week has even started.

Dreading Mondays also makes you more vulnerable to experiencing stress. Stress can impact your job performance or doing well on exams. You may not feel the stress right away, but over time, it will creep in on you and bite you harder than ever before. Beginning the week with a positive mindset helps keep your stress level down.

Lastly, don’t feel rushed or obliged to get through a Monday as quickly as possible. Rushing promotes errors and more stress. Rather, take it easy and enjoy every moment of the day, even if your job is intense. Taking one step at a time is a much better strategy than powering through a Monday.

It’s all about how you view your world. Mondays are no different. Change the way you think and your reality will adapt as well!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Conspiracy Theories 2019

Vintage black CRT TV displaying a conspiracy theory

Why Do People Believe In Conspiracy Theories?

A conspiracy theory is the belief that some covert but influential organization is responsible for a circumstance or event. Many people are attracted to conspiracy theories because they provide alternate explanations which sometimes seem more plausible.

Because our human nature is to question and search for answers and meaning, some people enjoy conspiracy theories because they provide us with an alternative vantage point; it provides us with excitement about an event whose truth is questionable from the beginning. Many conspiracy theories are also easily believable; the information presented often makes sense.

But you have to be careful when reading about or watching a video of a conspiracy theory. Always approach them with an open mind but do not allow yourself to be sucked in their vortex; it becomes very hard to step back out once your mind has been captured.

A side effect of too much conspiracy theories is the development of paranoia or even psychosis. Depending on the nature of the conspiracy theory, you may start to believe that “something or someone” is after you; the same “something or someone” who is responsible for the deaths of presidential figures and celebrities.

Connecting too many dots where they were never intended to be connected can also contribute to the development of brief psychotic disorder. You may start to lose touch with reality and believe bizarre scenarios or become disorganized in your thoughts and speech; it is no guarantee that your brief psychotic disorder will not progress to schizophreniform.

On the flip side, conspiracy theories may be a good thing for some:

  • They help you develop an open mind and prevent mental rigidity
  • They help you analyze information
  • They help you consider both sides to a story
  • They help you form your own opinion without always believing the main story
  • They help you to think outside of the box

Do not let others convince you that conspiracy theories are good or bad; you must try them out for yourself and form your own opinion. For some people, conspiracy theories promote the loss of their sanity, while for others, they provide a mild euphoric rush accompanied by useful tidbits of information.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Enjoy Your Own Company

Photo of blonde woman smiling and happy with herself

Crying From Time To Time

It is very important to learn to be comfortable spending a lot of time by yourself. Many people complain of loneliness or boredom when by themselves. These are normal reactions, but if you are always feeling lonely or bored by yourself, then you may have a bigger problem at hand.

Consistently feeling lonely or bored by yourself means that you are not finding pleasure in your own company. There are many reasons for this: insecurity, attention-seeking, impatience, ineffective time management or lack of self-control. If you do not learn to enjoy your own company, you will always rely on someone else to provide you with happiness.

One advantage to enjoying your own company is that it enhances your experience when you are with others. If you can have fun when you are alone, imagine how much fun you can have when you are around others! And after you are done spending time with others, you will go back to enjoying spending time with yourself!

But if you rely on others to have fun, then you will return back to loneliness and boredom when by yourself. The most important point is that you come first! You must be content with your presence. People can tell when you love yourself, but they can also tell when you are not comfortable by yourself; you reek of desperation and attention.

Another important point to mention is to never be ashamed to cry when you are by yourself! Crying from time to time can actually be very beneficial for your mental health:

  • It helps relieve stress
  • It helps dissolve emotions that you have been holding on too
  • It helps relieve pressure tied to worries and concerns
  • It helps you become more in tune with yourself
  • It humbles you by helping dissolve your ego when it inflates too much

For women, crying may not be an issue. But for men, society has trained us to believe that crying is a sign of weakness. It is quite the opposite. Weakness is when you do not have the courage to become in tune with yourself and dissolve emotions which are impacting your relationships and mental health.

You are not weak by enjoying your own company and crying from time to time! But you are weak when you constantly need to be around others and are ashamed or too proud to cry from time to time.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Everyday Suffering

Old man sitting on outside steps crying with hand over face

You Cannot Suffer The Past Or The Future

Whether you are successful or not, suffering is part of life. As soon as you accept the pain that comes with suffering, the easier it will become to get through the process. One mistake many people make is that they try to battle through the pain rather than just allowing it to be.

Just allowing it to be means experiencing pain or unpleasant feelings without raising your expectation for their disappearance. Do not look for the suffering to end; this will just add more emphasis to the situation. Rather, learn to experience suffering without allowing it to get to you.

The way you do this is by moving on with your life and staying positive as often as you can. With persistent repetition, positivity will slowly overcome your suffering on a more consistent basis. But you have to adopt this mindset and apply it every day for this to work.

You have to come to the realization and acceptance that suffering will always present itself into your life; there is no way of avoiding it. You may not even be doing anything wrong and it still somehow will present itself at your doorstep; it’s just the way life works. So rather than pulling your hair out and crying over why “I’m always out of luck and my life sucks”, expect suffering when it arrives and go on with your life as if nothing new is happening; a “been there, done that” mentality.

The reality is that you cannot suffer the past or the future; you are living in the present and that is all that you can suffer. You may dwell on your past and relive the pain previously experienced, but that pain is only in the form of memories; the past no longer exists. You may dwell on your future and experience pain and worry about what lies ahead, but those are just imaginative scenarios created by your mind; the future does not yet exist.

All you can do is suffer in the present; everyday suffering. No matter how painful suffering is, try to look at the positives that it brings:

  • It builds character
  • It gives you strength and stamina
  • It provides you with experience and wisdom
  • It sets you up for future happiness
  • It makes you more appreciative of life
  • It humbles you
  • It helps break down your ego and build you back up
  • It makes life bitter sweet when it is all over

The biggest mistake that you can make is to give in to suffering and allow it to rock you into the ground (no pun intended). Do not allow suffering to take over your life. You have to learn how to live a happy and successful life while still suffering from time to time.

After all, what is joy without a little pain?

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Kill Em With Success

Two women standing near field celebrating success

The Secret To My Success

Belief. Hard work. Sacrifice. And more belief. To be successful, you have to be willing to give up your old mindset of mediocracy and come up with a realistic plan that you can accomplish. Success is step-wise; you climb the staircase and build off your previous accomplishments.

It starts with vision and belief. You have to envision yourself in the future: where you want to be, what kind of person you want to be, your financial situation, your social situation, where you want to live, how much you want to work, etc. The next step is to believe your vision.

Believing your vision may be one of the most difficult steps because it requires constant repetition during times of adversity. With ups and downs, your vision and beliefs take many blows to the side of the head; you start to lose your confidence. But this is when you must stand up harder than before and fight! Persistence and determination get you to the finish line and beyond.

Sacrificing your old mindset, habits and lifestyle is also very important. For some, this may be giving up alcohol, drugs, laziness, a passive lifestyle, friends who are not supportive and not going far in life, etc. Whatever you think is holding you back, you must sacrifice. You cannot expect success and lead a lifestyle of failure. A similar saying stands in the bible,”you cannot serve both God and Satan.”

If you pick your old mindset, then your life will remain at that. If you clear your mind and adopt a new way of living and viewing life, you will be rewarded with your dreams and goals. At first, you may feel uncomfortable leaving your old life behind. This is normal. But as every day passes, you gain strength and stamina and your mind becomes accustomed to your new way of being.

You must have a realistic plan at first. You cannot go from working at Midas to being a wall street CEO making seven figures in two years. You have to come up with a realistic plan and work your way up. Oftentimes, this is through education and hard work. Some people get by in life through connections, but this is not required. If you become blessed with meaningful connections, then by no means utilize their assistance and guidance.

And lastly, do not give up! The road to success has many pitfalls that will attempt to knock you off your path; don’t fall for these traps. Oftentimes, these bumps in the road are there to direct your course and build up your character by enduring pain. Pain is what fuels you with energy and keeps you going. Look at pain as checkpoints that provide you with wake up calls; sometimes we head off course and need something to discipline us more.

What is your success story? Feel free to share as we all can learn from each other.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

It Feels Good To Be Yourself

Eyeglasses with black frames on the ground by swimming pool

Being Honest With Yourself

One of the best feelings to experience is making the transition from an insecure and false persona to being yourself; it feels as if your old self has dissolved, followed by the birth of your true self. A great deal of pressure is lifted and you now feel like you have room to breath and express your true nature.

The days following the birth of your true self is like learning to live again; everything seems new and vibrant but somewhat unfamiliar. You have been viewing the world with your old lenses for such a long time, that you have to readjust your perspective of reality. The readjustment phase is swift and bitter sweet!

But do not be fooled by the self-transformation which you have experienced. You have to work at consistently being yourself! This can become a challenge at times with changing circumstances: meeting new people, experiencing new situations, feeling pain, going through stress, etc.

Your personality can become easily influenceable by various people and situations; a lot of times, for the worse. You may become a victim of manipulation without your knowing; others may attempt to win you over for their selfish purposes. Always keep an eye out on new people and situations and make sure to keep yourself in check!

The most important factor is to remain honest with yourself. If you cannot do that, then how do you expect others to be honest with you? Believe it or not, being honest with yourself takes practice: you need to be able to express your values and morals during difficult situations, maintain your characteristics in various situations and be able to treat yourself with respect while experiencing pain and losses.

And do not discount the influence of alcohol and drugs; they have a very smooth and easy way of altering your personality without your knowing or caring. This is because substances alter your consciousness and perception of your surroundings; they get an A+ grade for performance when you are most vulnerable, such as when experiencing stress or a mental illness.

As you can see, being yourself is a wonderful feeling that can easily be taken away from you by external influences. Keeping yourself in check on a daily basis is a very important step to maintaining your true self and promoting further growth of your personality. One tool that you may find very helpful is called mindfulness; this technique will help you with self-reflection!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Tired From Working Too Much

Tired man holding his face and wearing sunglasses and a white dress shirt

Work Fatigue

The alarm rings. The bowl of cereal is made. You jump into your work clothes. You head towards your choice of transportation. Another day of work has arrived and you tell yourself, “damn, I am so tired and I don’t know why.” The repetitiveness of work can drain your energy level if you do not introduce other forms of stimulation into your life.

Some people work too many hours. If you are one of them, then you may need to rethink your career choice and ask yourself if it is worth it. Working too much takes away time that can be utilized for fun activities such as socializing, dating or playing sports.

Then there are people who work acceptable hours but do not have any other form of stimulation in their lives. They either come home and watch television, play video games or surf the web. The problem with these activities is that they are not as good for you as working out or socializing.

Watching television, playing video games and surfing the web are fun activities but can become repetitive and contribute to your fatigue. In addition, these activities do not require any other participants; they can be done by yourself.

On the other hand, socializing, whether through sports or going out helps to more effectively take your mind off work. This helps you relax, unwind and curb your work fatigue to the side. It is more effective to communicate your concerns than to isolate yourself at home in front of an entertainment system.

And then there are people who work the right amount of hours and have a stimulating and diverse life, but still feel fatigued. In this case, the solution is to take life day by day and become accepting of your fatigue. Do not try to fight it. All you can do is assure yourself that you are getting a good night’s sleep, staying positive, finding enjoyment in your work and having as much fun as possible!

With everything in life, moderation is key to avoiding burnout and living a happy and prosperous life!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Violent Entertainment And Community Effects

Adolescents playing violent video games on laptops

Do Violent Video Games Make People More Likely To Be Violent In Real Life?

Violent entertainment will never go away just as porn never has and never will; the amount of dopamine released in the brain’s reward center is keeping these industries alive. The demand is too great and the profits too enormous for the entertainment industry to drop violence altogether. But this is exactly what needs to be considered if we want to help decrease gun violence in the United States and around the world.

The reality is that violent video games, movies and songs contribute to mass shootings. A child’s brain is like a sponge, soaking up every piece of information that comes along its way; especially entertainment. When you introduce a child to a violent video game, he or she unconsciously registers the sequence of events that occur in that video game; memories become consolidated faster than any exam that child will ever study for.

Even if a child who plays violent video games has no intention of ever picking up a gun, things happen in life which stir up a child or adolescent’s feelings, emotions and thought processes. Adolescence is the period of a person’s life where they identify more with their peers and less with their parents.

During adolescence, image and popularity are very important objectives. Some adolescents struggle with being accepted by their peers and start to experience anger, frustration, hateful thoughts, depression and even mental breakdowns.

And guess what comes back lurking into their lives when they start feeling anger towards their peers? Their unconscious mind suddenly floods their conscious mind with acts of violence it had previously registered from video games, movies and violent hip hop lyrics. An adolescent may actually retreat back to these forms of entertainment to get their dose or “fix” of bullets and armor.

What was once intended as being entertainment can sometimes turn into a reality. With so much anger and hatred boiling in vulnerable and fragile adolescents, they no longer are able to think clearly because their emotions are flooding their mind. In addition, their undeveloped and immature frontal lobes lack the judgement and reasoning required to prevent them from doing something catastrophic.

To believe that the only main solution is tighter gun regulations or the banning of guns is naive and a disservice to the people of the United States. So many factors play a role in gun violence in the United States:

  • Under-treated mental illness and mental health stigma
  • A culture fueled by the love for guns
  • Violent entertainment
  • An international black market which will never go away
  • Hatred for other races, ethnicities and cultures

To remove violent entertainment from our society would almost be a shock for a large portion of the population who has engaged with these forms of entertainment for a long time. But in the long run, it would help developing minds focus on positive things such as education, sports and socializing rather than wasting countless hours glued to violent screens.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Woke Up Thankful

Woman sitting on bench near flowers smiling and being thankful

Living Thankfully

Starting off your day in the right direction depends a lot on your mindset upon awakening. The thoughts that you experience when you wake up have an influence on the rest of your day; they guide the direction in which your mind will navigate.

One of the best ways to start your day off right is to practice being thankful. It is so easy to focus on the things that are bothering you in life and lose sight of your blessings. If being thankful is a difficult objective for you, then you might want to consider mindfulness.

Even if you are battling many difficulties, being thankful reminds you of the nice and good things that are in your life; it helps you come back to a centered state of mind when you are too far down in a negative direction. It is important to remain emotionally stable in life because it helps you stay clearheaded and perform at your best.

Waking up thankful is one of the nicest feelings that you can experience: it is warmth, comfort and bliss. You love yourself when you are thankful. You feel that life is worth living every second of it. It puts you in a good mood which you radiate onto the rest of the world.

Being thankful is to live again.

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Driven By Caffeine

Mild physical dependence to brown coffee beans beside white ceramic mug

Is Caffeine Addicting?

You pour a cup of warm joe as the sun rises. 2:16 pm strikes. You head towards your coffee maker, local Dunkin’ Donuts or fancy Starbucks to gobble down another dose of stimulating caffeine. The large hand lands on 6:21 pm. You start scratching your head wondering if it has been a long day. Some people say no, while others say yes and head for their third cup of fix.

Your pattern of caffeine consumption persists seven days a week. You rationalize that this can’t be a drug, “I don’t get high on it!” But you feel as if you are driven by a motor; like a small annoying boy with a diagnosis of ADHD. The difference being that you are able to control yourself.

You start inquiring on how many cups of joe other people are having. Some say six while others say nil. You’re smack in the middle: three big juicy hot cups of columbian grade coffee. But you feel guilty. You know deep inside that on some days that number has increased to five, maybe six. You don’t know what to do.

Caffeine is a stimulant to the central nervous system; this is why you feel your concentration spike while on it. Regular use of caffeine can cause a mild physical dependence. If you stop consuming it abruptly, you may develop symptoms of withdrawal which can last for a day or two:

Because you will never experience harmful drug-seeking behavior or withdrawal, and it will never affect your physical, social or economic health, most experts don’t consider caffeine dependence a serious addiction to be concerned about. It is helpful to remind yourself that almost everything is best enjoyed in moderation!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)