Mental Health & Wellness

LXVI: 8 Steps to Happy!

I don’t know who needs this post more than I do, so excuse this selfish moment, but this post is for ME.

Life is a constant stream of ups and downs. Some leave you feeling good and others, not so much. I have found that, when my heart is happy, it is easier to deal with those moments that aren’t so great. So, this post is all about keeping my huge heart happy, and, in true Brianna J. style, I am taking it in steps:

STEP ONE: BREATHE.

Honestly, when I am overwhelmed with work, or emotion, or anything, I kind of forget to breathe! I hold my breath over and over again, and somehow avoid dying. It’s not on purpose, it’s just a tensing up thing that my body does when stressed.

This has been happening a lot lately and it keeps me up at night! So, I am working on breathing my way through situations. I take deep breaths in and out and just try to refocus myself.

This is something like meditating because all of your attention zeros in on your breathe. It is a beautiful mind-clearing technique, and it also keeps me from giving myself heart problems later down the line.

STEP TWO: RESET.

Each person’s reset will look differently, but is equally important.

Again, for me, my reset is me simply getting back into a routine that works for me. Anytime that my routine is offset for one reason or another, I suffer.

Fixing my routine is not always as easy as it sounds and sometimes takes me months to do, but a month to fix my routine is much better than a year of being in and out of a depressive state.

STEP THREE: LET IT ALL GO. 

We can’t waste our lives trying to figure out where one situation went wrong.  We simply have to move forward.

Let go of all that is gone. You won’t get it back, so move forward. 

I am a strong believer in ‘What Is For Me Will Not Pass Me’, so if someone wants to leave my life, then so be it.  Let them leave. Let it go! They no longer deserve to benefit from your energy. Your energy is a blessing that not everyone deserves to enjoy.

If you didn’t pass that test, then let it go! That test is gone. It’s already been failed and you won’t get those moments back. Instead, focus your energy on studying to take it again, or studying for the next test. But, the focus here is letting it go!

STEP FOUR: WATCH YOUR ENERGY. 

Your energy is different than anyone else’s. Protect it!  

You get what you put out into this world, so, if your energy is off, you’ll continue to meet people who will make you wish you’d never met them. If your energy is good, then you’ll surely meet more keepers.

You know that saying, ‘how you get em is how you lose em’? Well, I’m 99% sure that that has everything to do with energy. You meet someone while your you’re in the trenches and you’ll get complete crap people, they’ll put you right back into the trenches because that’s what they know! 

If you reset after that situation and fix your energy, you’ll meet people who match that good energy, and better relationships will form. 

STEP FIVE: BE WILLING.

I’ve been to that place before where I wasn’t willing  to work my way up to a happier state. I figured that I was placed in that sad spot for a reason and  that I had picked myself up one too many times already, so I just wanted to dwell in the down for a little while. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you do  just need to feel it!

But, once you’re done with that, you then have to be willing to accept the happiness to come. Again, it’s about energy. Once you exude happiness, happiness finds you. Once you need for nothing, everything will become yours. But, above all, be willing when it comes... 

STEP SIX: CHANGE IT UP.

Something about what you’re doing is obviously not working. Maybe the foods that you are eating are weighing you down. Maybe your circle of friends is too toxic. Maybe your relationship has run it’s course…

CHANGE IT UP! You owe it to yourself to be happy, but happiness won’t come with complacency or with playing it safe. If studying indoors makes you feel gloomy and sad, study outdoors for a change! If the people in your circle bring you down with their ways, then let them go! Be alone for awhile.

You can keep your routine and change things up, so you basically have no excuse not to give a change a try.

STEP SEVEN: RELEASE THOSE ENDORPHINS!

This means getting rid of more toxins within yourself.

Work out.

Eat chocolate.

Get physical by doing yoga, riding a bicycle, longboarding, snowboarding, or whatever you do that gets you moving!

There are so many ways to get that release, so all you have to do is go for it!

STEP EIGHT: WATCH THAT CIRCLE.

You will always be a reflection of those who you decide to surround yourself with.  

Sometimes it hurts to have to get rid of people because, maybe you had a fun relationship, but that part of the person that brings toxic energy is not worth sacrificing your mental well-being to keep them.

Also, keep a close eye on those who are only around you when things are good. It is so easy to be there for someone when they have nothing for you to be there for them about. Pay close attention to those who are there for you while you’re in the trenches — those are the people who deserve to be in your circle.

Thanks for reading! I wish happiness onto you all. 💕

L: ... Too Fly To Be Depressed?

Depression is the result of a chemical imbalance which, in me, manifested itself in the form of: staring at blank walls for hours; filling my hot showers with tears; struggling to get out of bed; dreading human interaction (more so than usual); and an overall disconnect from everything and everyone.

My depression was a culmination of everything that I let build up over the years, and it hit me at the worst time (because when is the right time for it to hit?)

Let’s Address The Perception:

When I initially decided to reveal to a select few how I was feeling, the reactions were either very supportive or very expected.

The way that people would receive this information is one of the reasons that I kept this information quiet for so long. The supportive reactions were just that: very soft spoken words of encouragement. The very expected reactions were those of selfishness: the ‘but you’re still alive, why are you complaining’; the ‘let me send you links to streamed church sessions’; and the ‘well, we all got problems [insert their problems]’.

I know that the movies and the extreme cases on the news have hardened our hearts to the idea that those surrounding you may be capable of suffering such an ailment, but please remember that it is very possible. And, whether or not you believe in it, if someone else is going through it and chooses to open up to you about it (1) feel honored that they thought that you were human enough to understand that they are not feeling “okay”, (2) try to tear yourself away from YOU for at least 20 minutes and hear that person out, and (3) do not assume that you know what is going on or what it is like. Everyone’s experiences are different and someone else’s depression is not yours.

The Feels:

Let’s talk about what a depression felt like for me:

The Loneliness:

Even though I wasn’t always alone, I always felt alone. I felt like I did not have anyone and could not go to anyone. This is the fault of no one, it’s just an effect that I suffered.

The Sadness:

There was a build-up that lead to my depressed state and it had to do with: my level of activity, the amount of people who rely on me financially, the way that I treat those that I am close to and the fact that I expect similar treatment in return (a bad habit that I am trying to break), the uncertainty about my future, and the negative feelings associated with opening yourself up to others.

This resulted in a bunch of me blaming myself for this continuing pattern in my life where I give my best (and worst) self to people only for them to take it, give nothing in return, and reap the benefit with one foot out the door. These types of things happened to me with past boyfriends, friends, family, and then when it happened again on top of everything else that I was feeling, it was just too much…

This sadness doesn’t easily go away. Mix this with the loneliness that you’re already experiencing and you’ve got one sad drink!

I still haven’t figured out how to deal with or get past this sadness just yet, but I am working on it.

The Denial:

Let’s not forget the fact that we don’t want to be going through this in the first place, so my initial thought was to just deny it.

I did not want to believe that I could experience something like this. But, once I got to the point where I really did not want to have to experience this anymore and that I wanted to get out of it, I was more willing to accept that this was happening. Once I accept it, I can start working towards getting better, was my mindset and it worked. I am now working through this ugly battle.

The Fatigue:

When you are depressed, you literally wake up feeling tired (if you get sleep at all). You often need a nap or a break in your day.

Little things tire you out, your days seem impossibly long (but also not long enough), and your feet weigh a ton anytime you have to get up and move.

So much weighs you down when you are “down”, and the fatigue is just another thing that you have to combat on the road to recovery.  

The Sleepless Nights:

Now, I experienced a complete lack of sleep when I was experiencing my “down time”. I just couldn’t fall asleep. I would lay awake and think, or stare at the walls, or watch “It’s Complicated” or “Living Single” over and over and over. As if those things would “heal” me.

The part that I dreaded the most was that, when the sun would start to set, I would just get sad because I’d know that I would spend another night laying awake and wishing that I could just go to some other subconscious world. I never have dreams but you have no idea how much I prayed for any type of dream to take my mind off of whatever else it was on.

Add to that the fact that I literally could not sleep in my own bed! I would begin my night in my cozy king bed but lay awake for hours. Once I finally got tired of tossing and turning, I would finally give in and move to the couch — the only place that I even have a chance at falling asleep. Hence, the sleeplessness. 

The Loss of Appetite:

As hungry of a state that I constantly live in, it shocked me that I could not eat!

I would find it being 1p.m. or 2p.m. before realizing that I hadn’t eaten a thing. Not because I didn’t have things to eat, but because I literally could not eat. Food would make me sick, but, I guess, to add to the drama of it all, my stomach would growl. 

No clue what the loss of appetite was about, but I didn’t like it when I experienced it. 

The Healing:

I don’t know what other people’s healing is like, but I know that mine is a long process that involves me getting back to my very routine lifestyle.

It is the fact that I decided to leave my very routine bubble that led me to this depressed state, so I am literally backtracking in order to get back on track (which means going back to a completely closed off state, as bad as that sounds). Unfortunately, this is harder to do than it seems like it should be, so I find myself constantly straddling the line between “okay” and “back in”.

My circle is not big, at all, there are probably 3 people that genuinely care about me and my wellbeing apart from family, but there are also people around my campus that make it a point to check on me.

I have so much love for those of you who saw me around campus, noticed I was down and talked to me (Josh and Ron); and those of you who randomly check on me (Corina, Em, Jason and Alicia); and NATHAN thanks for just being there to hug me. You guys have no idea how much those things have meant. You have no idea how far those simple acts go.

In short, the healing is harder than actually going through the depression itself. It’s a process that requires patience. And, it’s not easy, but believe me when I say, IT HAPPENS TO THE BEST OF US. So, if this is happening to you, embrace it, because this too shall pass, and I promise you ain’t too fly to feel it (because I surely thought I was).

XLIX: Self-Love in Steps... ? Yes!

Self-love is so important, as we all know! A big part of it that I forget, however, is the fact that:

SELF-LOVE IS AN ONGOING THING!

I often engage in activities and practices in self-love and then, for some reason, end up taking a break which results in me feeling down. Lately this feeling has come up at least once a week which is just TOO MUCH for me. So, this post is all about the Steps to keeping the Self-Love flowing!

STEP ONE: Take Time To Self Check!

When I initially started blogging, I published what I think is my best post yet on maintaining a mentally-healthy and a mentally-happy lifestyle.

This was an important post for me because I do believe that my thoughts and [maybe] my feelings keep me from being as happy as I could be. However, my Self Check post (click the link to read) laid out four steps to keep you in check if you begin to fall victim to the negative thoughts and feelings:

Step One: Acknowledgment

Step Two: Quick Disengagement

Step Three: Inward Reflection

Step Four: Application

Step One was all about acknowledging that your feelings are a bit out of whack. Sometimes, we get to wrapped up in all that we have going on that we forget to check on ourselves and our emotions. So, this was all about taking a tiny look inward so that we can fix what’s going on.

Step Two was about taking ourselves to a new space. This space will allow us to clear our minds and free our hearts so that we don’t continue to be bogged down by the same things.

Step Three was all about using our time away (from the Quick Disengage) to reflect on how we got to that negative space, talk ourselves through feelings that we don’t quite understand, and just be! This step is usually done alone.

Step Four was about applying this exercise to our daily lives. Once we get in the habit of the Self Check, it becomes more like second nature and THAT’S the goal.

We, essentially, want to master our emotions, reactions, feelings and thoughts.

STEP TWO: Stop & Do Things That Make YOU Happy.

I oftentimes forget that my school work and my job search will be waiting for me when I am done taking care of ME.

I act like I cannot leave my desk until I know all that there is to know (so, basically I’ll just die here), or like I have to find my Forever Career today or I’ll be a loser for life. But these thoughts are just that! They are concocted by our subconscious and do nothing but bring us down.

That’s why it is so important to do things that bring you joy! I, for instance, really enjoy eating, going to the movies, and photography. I am not one who finds it troubling to do things alone, so I actually enjoy solo trips to the movie theaters and to restaurants/bars to eat!

The only problem is, I don’t do these things often enough. So with this post, I’m going to make it a point to do things that make ME happy, more times per week.

Do not put a cap on your own happiness.

STEP THREE: Positive Affirmations.

Now, this is a new one for me!

This came about because it’s actually very much needed in my life right now. I’ve put myself in situations that haven’t left me feeling my best, so I have to bring myself out of this slump and into a happier place again.

Doing this is usually not as easy as we’d like for it to be, but it is so necessary. So, because it’s a bit harder this time around, for me, I’ve added a little positive affirmation mantra to my daily routine.

Now, the writer in me doesn’t allow me to stand in front of my reflection in a mirror and chant these things over and over. I get my positive affirmations out by taking a pen to some paper. So far, it’s been working!

You have to love you before expecting someone else to.

SteP Four: Take Life One Day, One Step, & One Problem At A Time.

So, I like Costco because you can buy in bulk, and I’ve found that this is the way that I usually want to solve my problems, IN BULK. But, life just doesn’t allow you to do that type of thing! It’s made so that you learn that you must address life issue by issue, day by day.

There will always be things going on, you will always feel like you’re running out of time, but this is usually when you’re trying to take life in chunks.

I am making it a point to approach issues in a much calmer manner, and definitely one at a time. In this I’m also taking the days as they come… One day, one step, & one problem at a time.

You will not master life, but you can master your Here & Now if you just take it slow.

XLV: Why I Am Not Afraid To Say That I Am Not Enough... ?

in·ad·e·quate

inˈadikwət/

adjective

  1. lacking the quality or quantity required; insufficient for a purpose.

  2. (of a person) unable to deal with a situation or with life.

I am not afraid to admit that I struggle in many areas. I am not afraid to admit that I have issues: with trusting people, with communicating, with eye contact, with disloyal people, with accepting when I am not right, with failure, with confidence (some days), with trying to please others, and the list could go on for miles.

I am not afraid to admit that I sat in the shower and cried last night because of all that I fall short in. Every loss is a lesson to me, but some losses are so big that they seem to rock the world that I was comfortably living in before their quake. 

Some losses take a toll on my insides, my outsides, and everything in-between, and I am currently living in the wake of loss.

I cannot change the parts of me that have been fashioned by my past. I have come across many people, done and seen many things, and gone many places. All of these things have shaped me, whether it be negatively or positively, regardless, they’ve changed me.

In being sheltered, I couldn’t understand that people weren’t like me, that they didn’t grow up in the church, that they weren’t selfless but instead were selfish, and that they weren’t compassionate and understanding. I couldn’t understand that they weren’t remorseful, that they weren’t forgiving, that they weren’t humble. I can’t understand that I am not worth a change to these people, at least.

I put a lot into people. I give a lot to people… As scary as that is, I always find one person who is “worth it”, that is, until they aren’t and even then, I still want them to be. I have faith in people that they will treat me and cherish me the way that I treat and cherish them; that they will work with me when I am willing to work with them; that they will appreciate me the way that I hoped they’ve seen that I appreciate them. The reality is, however, that sometimes you just aren’t worth their effort, you aren’t worth their forgiveness, you aren’t worth them choosing you…and YES there is a choice to be made.

It sounds bad, I know, but look at the world that we live in…

Finding out that you aren’t worth a change to someone that you considered special hurts. But there is always a bright side… (I’ll let you know when I find it).

This post is mainly about reminding myself that it’s okay to feel this way as long as it’s temporary. It’s okay to be hurt, as long as it doesn’t control my life. It’s okay to not be okay, regardless of what social media says.

In this post, I’m not asking for a response, I’m not asking for love, I’m not asking for answers… I just wanted to vent.

Thank you to all of my faithful readers. Y’all make my blogging experience all the more wonderful!

All that glitters isn’t gold, & all that hurts is fleeting.
— Brianna J.

XXIV: All About Energy?

en•er•gy

/ˈenərjē/

1. The strength and vitality required for sustained physical or mental activity.


Energy, something we could all use more of and something we could benefit from lessons in. I, for one, could benefit from lessons on the energy that I put out into the world and from lessons on how I receive the energy that others put out into the world.

I took a short trip this weekend and, leading up to the trip, I was surrounded by nothing but bad and negative energy. I was angered by it and saddened by it. I let that ruin my outlook on how the remainder of my trip would go and I let it ruin my outlook on myself, as I often do. I wondered why the people in my life act the way that they do towards me when I do everything in my power to be there for them whenever they need. These are things that I often internalize, but I am just now realizing the dark cloud that tucking these things away can place over my day-to-day actions and feelings. 

Although I cannot be conscious about this energy and the negativity for others, I can control my reaction to it. People tell me over and over to just accept the fact that the world is not full of helpful people, or honest people, or good friends, or loving family members. It's just not. People aren't being raised with those values anymore, so it is time to shift my expectations to reduce my disappointments. But really, it's just time for me to change the ways that I receive their negative energy. 

Now, regarding the energy that I put out into the world: I love to eat and I love to laugh. If I can do those two things, then I am as happy as can be. In-between those things, I am working or at school/stressing about school. This means that I am not walking around smiling and joking, but this does not mean that I am not happy. 

Because this is such a confusing area for some to understand, I have step back and consider whether or not I am putting out negative energy by having others question my happiness when I am not waltzing around with a smile plastered on my face. 

At this point, I feel as though it is important that I do not put out the same energy that I receive from many others in the hopes that it will influence or inspire one other person to do the same. To start a trend of caring for others, being there for others, and actual good vibes would be epic at this point. So, let's consider this an energy check and a call for action!