Getting Sick Makes You Feel Down In The Dumps – Or Is It The Other Way Around?

Negativity and sickness is kind of like figuring out the story of the chicken and the egg, which one really comes first is a mystery. Well, I have some thoughts on the subject (Obviously the egg came first, duh! Just kidding, that’s not what this article is about!). We can’t deny that developing an illness or disease or just the common cold, can be a bummer (or a huge-ass bummer in many cases!). But there’s a difference between venting your feelings and every day coming home just to talk about the worst things that happened that day! Have you ever noticed that the most negative people in your life are also the people who get hurt or get sick most often? Growing up I had peers who would break their limbs easily or were catching every cold that came around, and they were so negative all the time! Some were or are some of my good friends, but it’s hard to be around that negativity for long periods of time. Well, I’m here to tell you that, recently, I’ve been that person. I don’t want to be that person any longer and here’s some thoughts about how negativity can make you sick, regardless of how much something just sucks.

  • Body-Mind Connection – We’ve seen people manifest mental and physical illnesses in their bodies by doing things like incorrectly self-diagnosing themselves, expecting the worst outcome with their health for one reason or another, or even just from chronic stress. In my case, chronic stress has been my vice of choice.I still struggle with how I have most likely worsened my symptoms or even created symptoms showing up in my body just from chronic stress. Stress seems just mental, but your body cannot tell the difference between the stress caused by the thought of the overwhelming pile of assignments on your desk, the stress caused by a hard workout, or the stress of sugar-filled cookies you ate the other day. All of those things cause an inflammatory response on your body, especially on your gut-biome. It’s shown in a study, that stress causes a release of dopamine even during adverse stress-inducing tasks (although there are criticisms to this study, like it was relatively small, maybe this is why it can feel like we’re addicted to stress?). Luckily with exercise, you’re also getting an endorphin rush that can help raise your mood. It’s all about moderation and what your body needs. Listening to your body can help you understand your emotions as well.
  • Spiritual Blocks – Once upon a time, I used to see a reiki healer, she was also my therapist at the time and I had only had one reiki session with a different healer before having a reiki session with her. We would switch off between reiki sessions and traditional talk therapy. After one reiki session, I was still in a reiki trance that almost inhibited me from being able to be in public. I tried to go to a local coffee shop nearby my therapists office and I couldn’t get out of this trance! I almost felt like I was on drugs! A couple of hours later, when I was in the comfort of my own home, I intuitively felt the need to mediate. I sat in the middle of my living room, which would’ve seemed strange any other time, and I put a hand over my heart and my other hand over my belly. Only a minute into meditating, I just started crying, I didn’t know exactly why I was crying, but I felt that it needed to happen. When I finally stopped crying, I felt amazing, and not in just a post-crying-endorphin-rush type of great, I felt a sense of freedom I’d never felt before. When I later talked to my reiki-therapist, she told me I had possibly opened an emotional and spiritual block! After that experience I now know to let my body feel whatever it needs to heal. To this day, I don’t know what I exactly unlocked, but I’m glad I did. Sometimes the emotions we push down, experiences we didn’t let ourselves experience in the past, or maybe even something from a past life can be stuck in our bodies and unconscious minds. We can’t remember everything that happens every day of our lives, so if emotions randomly come up, trust that your body and mind have a purpose for those emotions and just observe them. Sometimes it’s these blocks that get in the way of our healing, but overall what’s worse: letting yourself cry or scream or laugh in a seemingly odd time/place, or developing a disease or illness. I also acknowledge that those two things are not always mutually exclusive. It’s possible that the negativity and/or physical symptoms manifests from a spiritual block.
  • Evolutionary pull to be negative? – Some may say that we have an evolutionary pull to be negative, that negativity keeps us from dangerous situations, or situations that have hurt you in the past. I believe that if you trust your intuition, which sometimes doesn’t seem as obvious as your rational mind, you’ll be able to stay out of these negative situations. Your negativity and intuition are two different things all-together. There’s also a difference between chronic negativity and venting. If you vent to someone in your life or in a journal, you will feel a sense of release after expressing how you feel, but if that negative feeling doesn’t go away or even increases, then you’re most likely just fueling your negativity. In my experience, when I journal a situation, it gets it off my chest, but when I vent to someone else, it just fuels my negative fire. I need to be more conscious of the difference between my intuition, my negativity, and just a desire to vent. This negativity could be shielding yourself from having amazing experiences, or maybe it’s even a call to action in your life or in the world!

“Some say you’re not allowed to have a pity-party for yourself, but I say, have your pity-party and make it a raging pity-party! But acknowledge when that party is over and that it’s time to go the fuck home!”

Regardless, negativity and illness can commonly go hand-in-hand. We must overcome learned helplessness, a learned behavior of giving up before you’ve even tried because you’ve had so many bad experiences or aversive stimuli in the past that you assume that the future and present will hold the same negative outcome, to take the actions to heal our body, mind, and spaces. Just like my belief that if you don’t ask, the answer will always be no, if you don’t put yourself out there to experience things in life, you’ll be stuck with the negative experience of never experiencing anything.


Signs you might be dealing with negativity in your life:

  • Every day, the moment you walk in the door, all you do is talk about the frustrating/annoying/boring things that happened to you that day to your roommate, boyfriend, or family.
  • You say things to yourself that you would never say to a friend or you hear someone in your life constantly say things to their self that they would never say to you.
  • Conversely, someone says mean things to you that you know aren’t true just because they feel those things themselves and want you to join them in their negativity.
  • You do things to your body or you see someone do things to their body that you or they know will hurt their body. (For example, eating things you know you’re allergic or intolerance to, not going to bed when you know you need rest, getting in relationships with someone you know is toxic)
  • Instead of intentionally looking at the bright side of situations, you or another person actively search for the bad or imperfect parts of those situations, projects, or adventures. (For example, only looking at the negative possibilities of going on a vacation, like that it will be expensive or you won’t have enough time, and barely looking at how fun and all the things you could learn about yourself and the world during your vacation)
  • You or someone you know catches every cold that comes around.

If you will indulge me with this one exercise, I’d like to invite you to take these small steps to ending hidden negativity and stop attracting negativity into your life. Feel free to practice this exercise when you’re feeling down on yourself or when you’re in a space with someone you feel is being negative. Sometimes we don’t have the privilege to leave a space that’s filled with negativity or we don’t know how to relinquish the negativity in ourselves, doing an exercise like this can support you to getting to a non-negative place and sometimes even create loving, empowered feelings in the space instead.

  1. Plant both of your feet softly on the floor in front of you.
  2. Comfortably sit up straight without hyperextending your back.
  3. Lower your shoulders, so they are no longer up by your ears.
  4. Relax all the muscles in your face.
  5. Close your eyes if you feel inclined to and are in a space that would allow you to close your eyes (aka don’t do this while you’re driving or in a meeting).
  6. We’re going to take a few deep breaths and when you inhale imagine love, compassion, and forgiveness, in form of pink light (or whichever color most resonates with you) filling your lungs and lower abdomen.
  7. Hold the light in you for a second, filling your heart, grounding you wherever you are located.
  8. When you exhale, breathe out all the negativity and thoughts that no longer serve you. Make sure to exhale completely, almost making your belly concave, to breathe out all the negativity you’re holding.
  9. Repeat these previous steps a few more times
  10. To protect our energy and selves after these empowering breaths, imagine a white light growing inside you. Start small, like in your heart or from the point between your eyes, then slowly grow this light as big as you’d like and feel comfortable to.
  11. Open your eyes and bring yourself back the space with a new vigor and energy, with love and compassion for your self and the others around you.
  12. [Optional: Ask yourself if this negativity is a call to action. For example, a call to action could be to remember how great it feels to relinquish negativity and make more steps to ending the effect of negativity in your life]

Illness and disease suck, but don’t let it suck the life out of you. You are in control, even when it feels like you aren’t. Sometimes life isn’t the best, where we want it to be, or aligned with our values and goals in the moment, but that doesn’t mean we should dwell on it. If you’re the cause of the negativity in your life, that’s okay, but acknowledge it and take responsibility for what it’s doing to your body and those around you in your community. Negativity is contagious so be mindful of the negative people in your life or how your negativity affects others. Feel what you’re feeling, acknowledge if what you’re feeling is your own or if you’re just absorbing the feelings of those around you, and take the time to process these emotions. Some say you’re not allowed to have a pity-party for yourself, but I say, have your pity-party and make it a raging pity-party! But acknowledge when that party is over and when it’s time to go the fuck home! Now I’m not giving you an excuse to be hard on your self about being hard on yourself, I’m giving you a reason to stop that cycle altogether.

But I also must mention on being careful about pointing out others negativity. The only thing you have control over is yourself and your own thoughts, you have no business attempting to control someone else! Most of the time your positivity will have an effect on others in a more profound way than saying something like “Hey you’re being really negative right now!”. Maybe that person was just venting or really needed to talk aloud about something that’s been troubling them. It’s up to you, and no one else, to protect yourself from others negative energy and your own negative energy! How you see the world is just a projection of how you see your own life!

This article is 110% me projecting, but I needed to write something to myself to end the negative energy in my life. It’s not helping me get better and it’s definitely not enhancing the lives of the people I love in my community. So we can work on this together! How have you stopped the negativity in your life from manifesting into an illness? How have you had negativity affect your life? Have you ever had positivity heal you from an illness or a cold faster than being negative? I’d love to hear about others experience with this.

My Social Media Detox

Do you find yourself constantly refreshing your social media pages waiting for people to like, favorite, retweet your posts? Can’t sit for 30 minutes without checking your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.? Do you feel anxious if people don’t like, favorite, or tweet your posts? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then you might be addicted to social media. I, for example, answered ‘yes’ to all of these questions and that’s why I am going on a Social Media Detox.


How do i do a social media detox?

What constitutes a Social Media Detox? Well, let me list what I’m doing for my detox:

  • writing a post on all my social media pages, letting each one know that I will be taking a break and that if you need to contact me you can reach me by text or phone call
  • deleting all social media apps from my smart phone (Snapchat, Facebook, Facebook messenger, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Yik Yak)
  • deactivating my Facebook until further notice
  • deactivating my Twitter (can be brought back if you login within 30 days)
  • keeping my SelfControl computer application on 24/7 so that I don’t go on the social media websites that I can’t temporarily deactivate

Why I Chose To Take A Social Media Detox

Frankly, I created a toxic relationship with social media. It was an ego boost for me to see someone like/favorite/retweet my posts. I would obsessively look at the people who watched my Snapchat snapstory, refresh Facebook or Twitter to see if anyone new liked my posts, delete Instagram pictures if they didn’t get enough favorites. None of these behaviors were healthy for my mental health or self-esteem in general. All of these behaviors distracted me from my life. Sure, I needed to live my life to have things to post about, but it’s not the same as enjoying an activity just for the sake of enjoying it. I realized that maybe it’s funny every once and a while to say “do it for the Insta”, but if you’re only doing an activity just to post it on social media, then the activity loses its true integrity.

I found that I no longer studied, worked out, or did anything I enjoyed anymore. I was too busy scrolling through Facebook, looking at everyone’s Halloweekend pictures, or mindlessly scrolling through Pinterest. I thought these things were a relaxing way to take my mind off school and personal struggles in my life, but I found that I just neglected my schooling and mental health with these distractions instead. When my unhappiness peaked, I knew I needed to do something about it.

I came to the conclusion to take a break from social media when my mother made a comment about it during our weekly phone call (Yes, I do call my mother weekly, just like you should too. She pushed a watermelon-sized-you out of her vagina. Appreciate her, at least, for that). She pointed out how unhealthy it must be to always know what everyone else is doing and have everyone always knows what you’re doing, that it must be stressful. And, you know what? She was right. I lost my sense of privacy, I wasn’t taking time for myself, and I spent all my time vicariously living life through other people’s lives, pictures, and thoughts. So, taking a break from social media gives me the time to take care of myself, live life mindfully, focus on my own passions, and finally finish that essay that was due three days ago (oops).


 

STUGGLES OF A SOCIAL MEDIA DETOX

You don’t realize how hard going on a Social Media Detox is until you try, or at least how hard it was for me. Here are some things I’ve experienced just after 2 days:

  • Unsure of where to put my thoughts because I can’t tweet them
  • Getting irritated that I can’t post articles I find online on my Facebook page
  • Not knowing what to do when I sit at the bus stop because I can’t scroll through Instagram
  • Realizing that the only way I can vent my feelings is through journaling or talking to a friend because I can’t post them on Twitter or Tumblr
  • When I’m with my friend who’s also addicted to social media and they’re on their phone, I’m forced to just stare at the wall while they scroll through social media
  • It took more effort to actually call or text my friends instead of just instantly messaging them
  • Having an excess amount of time to be in my head with my thoughts because I’m not scrolling through social media
  • Overall anxiety about not being able to check my social media, basically FOMO
  • Forced to actually deal with the things I’ve been pushing aside

Honestly, this hasn’t been easy for me and that’s how I know this is good for me. Detoxes are never easy. If you’ve ever done a nutritional detox, you’ll know how hard it is to give up that nightly glass of wine or the constant snacking. But in the end, you know that detox made you a healthier, happier person. Well, that’s what I need to keep in mind while on my Social Media Detox. In the end, I’m going to have a healthier, happier relationship with myself and social media.


I’m currently having a hard time with a few things in my life right now, but I’m working on them, so no need to worry. Taking a Social Media Detox was something that I needed to support me in my journey. But you don’t need to be struggling with anything in your life to take a Social Media Detox! Anyone can benefit from taking a little R&R from the digital world and technology. Maybe you want to focus on reading a book that’s been on your shelf for months or you want to spend more time with the people you love. Whatever your motive may be, just do it. Take that time you would spend scrolling through Facebook on yourself!

Have a lovely rest of your day!

Peace and love,

Amanda

 

College Stress Sucks Eggs

GRUMPYou’re a college kid, so you’re bound to get stressed every once in a while or basically all the time. Maybe you have two midterms this week, you’ve got a huge paper due tomorrow, there’s a Mt. Everest of dishes in your sink, and you can’t seem to find a pair of matching socks to save your life because you haven’t done laundry in weeks. Or maybe it’s just Monday tomorrow and Mondays suck. Well, you’re not alone. All college students go through these motions. The great thing about stress is that there are ways to manage it!

The first step in stress management, in my opinion, is to acknowledge your feelings. Sometimes stress can be an accumulation of feelings. Are you overwhelmed with the amount of things you have to do, are you frustrated that your exam got moved to an earlier date, are you sad because of a breakup? There’s this assumption that in college you will be happy and healthy the entire time you’re in classes, but in reality, life happens, and not everything is rainbows and unicorns. Sometimes you just need to take it one day at a time, and that’s completely okay. Here are some things you can do to improve your day and reduce stress:

  1. Meditate – The best way you can start your day is by sitting down and meditating. Some people think of it as a very hippy-dippy thing to do, but trust me when I say it’s worth a try. You don’t need to have dreadlocks, wear a tie-dye t-shirt, and go barefoot to get the full experience of meditation. If you’re new to meditation, start by meditating for 10 minutes and gradually move up to 20 minutes. Meditation has been proven to lower blood pressure, wake you up, make you be a better driver, and last longer in bed (hehe). I’ve listed some great references to support you in your journey into the zen life:
  2. Make yourself a nice breakfast to treat yo’ self – But I don’t just mean eat a nice breakfast, I want you to experience your breakfast. Put your gluten free 2-ingredient pancake on the nicest plate you have (even if it’s just stolen from your dorm’s dinning hall oops), take slow mindful bites of your breakfast to really taste your food, and sit down while you’re eating. You start your day on a high note when you’re fully nourished.
  3. Journal – Sometimes writing everything down is all you need to clear your head. You physically take everything fogging up that big brain of yours and put it down on paper. I don’t know if there’s any science behind this, but there should be because it’s a miracle medicine for figuring out your shit. I like to start with writing down all the things I’ve done that day and usually my mind progresses to other things like how fucking annoying Becky was that day (just kidding, I don’t know anyone named Becky. If I did, not to be prejudice against all the Beckys out there, but I bet she’d be really annoying). If you can’t think of anything you did that day, or you just laid in bed all day and ate cereal out of the box because life, write a nice list of all the things you are grateful for in this big, disastrously beautiful world of ours or write about the last time you laughed really hard. Trust me, it will put a smile on your face. 
    IMG_2504
    [fresh mint tea]
  4. Make a HUGE cup of tea (emphasis on the huge) – Tea is my life. Sometimes I think it would be more efficient for my body to flow tea through my veins instead of blood, but then I realize that would probably kill me because science blah blah. Anyways, tea stands to be my biggest go-to for when I’m stressed. There are studies that show that holding a cup of tea gives you the same oxytocin release that you get from receiving a hug. Oxytocin is the lovey-dovey hormone that combats the stress hormone cortisol. So if you’re stressed, just hold a warm cup of tea in your hands and let the coziness effect set in. Here are a few teas I’ve tried that directly address stress:
    • St. Johns Wort – The first time I ever had this tea, my mother gave it to me. I was PMSing like there was an apocalypse occurring on Earth and I had stubbed my toe all at once, so she handed a tea bag to me of St. Johns Wort. She stated, “Drink this, it’s what menopausal women drink”. So I may not be going through menopause, but it sure did calm me down. [disclaimer – not recommended to anyone taking birth control or any other form of hormonal medication. This tea is meant for balancing hormones and that’s the opposite of what you want when you’re taking birth control or hormonal medication. Please don’t risk getting pregnant just to de-stress]
    • Holy Basil – This natural antidepressant is great when you have long term stress or depression. It may take a few cups over a couple weeks for the effect to set in, but drinking a cup is extremely worth it. If you’re feeling fancy, you can get it in a tincture from your local health store to add to your smoothie bowls.
    • Chamomile or Mint – These teas are your classic teas for de-stressing. They can be found at any grocery store in the tea isle. These teas are perfect for right before bed, when you want something to soothe you to sleep.
  5. Lovely Sunshine and Endorphins – Even if the only energy you can muster up is to just walk around the block, do it. We underestimate how important it is to get your daily vitamin D. According to a Scientific American article, three-quarters of United States is deficient in vitamin D. Just a week after I started taking a vitamin D supplement, I started to feel happier and healthier. So, getting your vitamin D, while getting in some light exercise can significantly lower your stress-levels. I swear if I didn’t get my daily dose of endorphins, I would be a mess. Getting in exercise in the morning is great if you want a little extra energy for that day. I know, I know, you’re thinking, “How can feeling like death will working out energize you?!”. Well, if your body is working properly, it does.
    IMG_3157
    [Dear Mother, it’s actually grape juice I swear]
  6. Bubble Bath time – Okay, if all was right in the world there wouldn’t be a severe drought in California and we would all own claw-footed bath tubs, but sadly this dream of mine has yet to become a reality. If you live in an area where water scarcity is not an issue and you luckily own a bathtub, then I recommend you take a long, warm bath filled with chamomile, epsom salts (very inexpensive at most grocery stores), and any essential oil of your choosing (mine is eucalyptus, because lavender can be a skin irritant). Make sure to stay hydrated while taking an a bath with epsom salts because epsom salts will detox and dehydrate your body. We don’t want any of y’all passing out from dehydration mid-bathtime. Now, if you don’t own a bathtub and you live in an area concerned with water scarcity in the United States, taking a short, hot shower will work almost as well. And if you’re a college student in the midst of midterms or finals and you maybe haven’t showered in a couple days, a warm shower will do you well. Hang some eucalyptus on your shower head or put a couple drops of your favorite essential oil on your shower floor to give you some calming, steamy aromatherapy.
  7. Therapists are AWESOME – On a serious note, sometimes de-stressing takes a little more than drinking a cup of tea and meditating. Sometimes you need a little extra help, and there is nothing wrong with that. Let me repeat myself: There. Is. Nothing. Wrong. With. Needing. Help. There is a stigma in our society that says that seeing a therapist means you’re “broken”, “crazy”, or “weak”, but those things are completely untrue. Going to see a therapist is one of the most put-together, mature, strong things you can do for yourself. In my humble opinion, I think everyone should see a therapist at least once in their life. When you get to know anyone below surface level, you’ll learn that nobody’s perfect. Unless you have an awesome friend that will listen to you with their complete, undivided attention, for a whole hour, unbiased about anything you say, it helps to see a therapist. Luckily, most college campus’ health centers have someone you can talk to for free for a certain number of sessions. If this sounds appealing to you, then I recommend you stop by your campus’ health center soon. Trust me when I say it’s worth it.

I hope these tips helped a little bit so this tweet doesn’t have to describe you anymore!

TWEET COLLEGE STUDENT STRESS

Remember to treat yourself right because you are a strong human being full of so much potential and don’t let anything, anyone, including yourself tell you otherwise!

Peace,

Amanda