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Living with A Dysmorphic Disorder – What’s Going On and How to Cope?

I want to discuss image dysmorphia.

I’m struggling with it.

My distorted image makes it hard for others to give me proper advice. No matter how many times someone tells me that I am not the way I see myself, I still see a different person in the mirror.

My “friend” in the mirror sees all of my flaws. She also hides my clear image. I literally can’t see my real self unless I give myself a side-eye. Then, my “friend” will quickly distort the picture before I can fully process what I just saw. It’s frustrating to know you can’t see yourself, but your own mind will not let you change your distortion.

Sometimes, I wonder if I can see any bit of the reality that others see. Sometimes, I wonder if they are wrong, and my truth is right. Sometimes, I just know I am right. Sometimes, I know I am wrong.

When I take photos of myself, I look at them in disgust. I see flaws in every part of my body and mind. This leads to thoughts of self-deprecation. When I question myself, my “friend” hisses to shut-up because I am the one that knows nothing. I am stupid. I sometimes ignore her, other times, I fight her, but most of the time, I cower away too afraid to lose another battle.

I can look in the mirror, and I can see many things that I hate about myself. My “friend” makes me believe that everyone can see what I see and hate me as much as I hate myself. I can unconsciously (thanks to my “friend”) seek out specific people who with 100% certainty will validate what she has been telling me. She can’t be wrong if other people believe it too. It is a cycle that is tricky to break.

No matter how much I protest or try to protect myself from her evil thoughts. She is there, waiting for me to be weak. She comes in like a savior but leaves me as a sinner. I hate her, but she is me, so I love her too. My self-image is split and shattered. I live with this for most of my life.

So, there are so many ways my story could have gone. My path is twisted and hilly. I still rely on her to tell me, “like it is” when I don’t know the answers. She always comforts me with her evil banter.

However, it has gotten better. I can stand my ground and have won a few battles. The war still rages, and my reality will forever be distorted, but I go on. With every battle won, I hope to be closer to my truth.

Here are some ways that help me win my battles.

Get Help / Seek Out Positive People

When you see yourself as an awful person, you attract people who think the same about you. Try to find a couple of good people in your life and be honest with them. Tell them that you are trying to conquer a demon and need a supportive friend. This can be difficult at the beginning because your judgment in others may be off. If you can afford it or have the resources, seek professional help. They will help you learn the tools and guide you into accurately finding the right type of people that you need to surround yourself to maintain a healthy environment.

Say at least 3 things you love about yourself.

Many people struggle with this and only focus on the negatives. Sometimes, you have to stand for 30 minutes before you can come up with something. However, this is what you need to do.

Look at yourself in a mirror.

I avoid mirrors as often as I can whenever I look in the mirror I just think negative thoughts. Now, I try to focus on other things apart from what my “friend” thinks. It helps me to stop thinking so negatively about myself.

Look at yourself as though you are someone else.

I’m the type of person who often sees the good in everyone. I can look at someone and instantly see good qualities about them. I realized that I had to see the good in me. I had to see the positives about myself even if that means looking at myself as though I am another person.

I can look at others and think how great they are as a person. It helps me to realize that people look and act differently. We are all beautiful and unique.

So, why can I be the same too?

Stop comparing yourself to others.

Comparing yourself to others, you first have to learn to love yourself. You have to see how you look genuinely. Sometimes, it is tough to do. Especially when I feel that person has everything, and I have nothing to show. I start to turn on the negative faucet and pour it all over myself.

When I catch myself doing this, I turn it off. I stop looking. I stop trying to understand why they are so “great.” I try to focus on myself and what makes me “great” or what “in” nature is beautiful at that moment. One of these two mental exercises does pull me out of my head.

So, these are some exercises to help me to learn to love myself. You will be able to say good things about yourself. That initial haze of feeling stupid and vain will start to fade out. This is just your “friend” trying to stop you from seeing your truth. You will begin to pick up the habit of counteracting some of your thoughts and distortions.

If you spend most of your time, your thoughts and your energy on your body shape and flawed mind, you won’t indeed be happy. It takes so much energy and time out of your life. You need to let go of the obsessive thoughts and learn to love yourself and to live life.

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Weighted Blanket vs. Night Time Anxiety

My anxiety causes a lot of sleeping issues. I have rituals and a need to do many things before I can actually fall asleep. I am a deep sleeper, except when my anxiety takes hold. If there is a nagging thought, it will not let me sleep. I physically can’t sleep. I wanted a weighted blanket because I envisioned it helping me get me to a more peaceful night’s sleep.

My difficulty in sleeping stems from having a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) & obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Anxiety and sleep are intimately entwined. I often sleep better on days when my anxiety is low. When I’m contemplating several things, I tend to have a hard time falling asleep, or it takes longer to get back to sleep.

Sleep problems can also cause anxiety, too. For me, a bad night’s sleep heightens my anxiety. The next day my mind is like a quiet storm raging under the surface. To control my thoughts, I do way too many OCD habits to calm and control my nerves.

I’ve tried everything to get more restful sleep: a white noise machine, pills, earplugs, and therapy. All are helpful but not enough to help me ultimately. Therapy has helped me manage my anxiety, but it serves as more of a long-term strategy than a daily implementation.

Last winter, I realized there was one thing I hadn’t tried yet: a weighted blanket. I read about their ability to calm nighttime anxious people.

Would this finally be the cure to my sleep problems?

Weighted blankets create deep pressure touch, which is thought to help calm the nervous system of people in states of heightening sensory arousal. This is the theory behind why some children with autism may respond to the use of weighted blankets or vests during moments of sensory overload.

These blankets are quite expensive. The price increases with the weight of the blanket. Most 15-pound blankets I saw online were around $120.

Though the blanket was only 15 pounds, it felt insanely heavy the first time I took it out of the bag. I could barely lift it. The dead weight makes the blanket very difficult to hold unless it’s rolled into a ball. The weighted blanket initially did feel bulky and constrictive. I also had trouble adjusting it and worried I had invested in another failed sleep solution.

I was also initially worried that I would get overheated under the weight of the blanket, but I didn’t at all. Despite its weight, the blanket I purchased was surprisingly cool and breathable.

On the first night of using it, I laid down in bed and struggled to arrange the blanket on top of me because it was so heavy. The first few nights, I used the weighted blanket, I woke up to find it on the ground next to me.

Then, I had a very anxious day. A million deadlines were looming. Worried thoughts seamlessly entered my mind, and I had trouble finding my breath, much less closing my eyes. I knew a horrible night of sleep was ahead of me, and the rituals always seemed to calm my nerves. I consciously decided to lessen the grip on my routine and use the blanket.

I cozied up under my weighted blanket and was surprised when, eight hours later, I woke up still beneath it. I had tossed and turned a handful of times throughout the night, but never kicked the blanket completely off of me.

I woke up feeling well-rested and calm. My neck wasn’t as tight as usual. The thoughts were looming in my mind before bed had vanished and seemed insignificant in the light of day.

Over the next two weeks, I slept with the weighted blanket each night and woke up beneath it each morning. I began to feel a wonderful sense of calm when I’d cozy up underneath it before bed.

I enjoyed the feeling so much I even began using the blanket when reading before bed or surfing the internet. Merely having it rested against me from the waist down was soothing in a way I hadn’t ever experienced.

I’ve used the weighted blanket on and off for the past month and can confidently say it’s a routine I’ll maintain.

It’s not a magical cure for my problems. However, it’s surprisingly effective at helping me achieve better sleep and decreased my need to complete my rituals before bed.

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Blacken Matcha Detox Tea

I decided to share an impromptu recipe for a delicious detox tea.

I had an upset stomach this week. It was like everything I ate had no taste. I also couldn’t stomach most things. Desperate to find something to help my sour tummy, I concocted a recipe for a matcha detox tea. It may or may not have helped, but I did feel better a couple of hours after drinking it.

It also tasted amazing.

I had all the ingredients in my pantry, so for something so good. I didn’t have to pay a ton of money.

I hope you enjoy this tea too!

Dry Ingredients:
1/4 tsp of activated charcoal
One packet or 1 teaspoon of matcha
1/3 tsp of turmeric

Wet Ingredients:
1 cup (8 oz) of hot water
A dash of ginger
1 tsp of agave nectar
Ice cubes

First, I mixed the dry ingredients into the hot water. It doesn’t matter the sequence, but I added the matcha, then the charcoal, finally the turmeric. I stir until the dry ingredients are dissolved.

Secondly, I had the agave and ginger to the mix. I blend until it is well combined.

I let it sit for about two minutes and stir the tea again.

Finally, I mix in the ice cube and stick the glass in the refrigerator until it is cold or I am ready to drink it.

That’s it!

It is a yummy treat for my ailing tummy.

Please let me know if you have an ice tea drink that you love to have during times when you a sick or just relaxing. Please leave a link in the comments below.

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My Spiritual Self Care Routine

A new month is nearing, and I thought I would share some ways that I was practicing self-care and healing last month.

I enjoy connecting with the natural world by acknowledging this valuable Earth and its resources. I do not attempt for perfection in my journey, even now.

I know that some people are ready to jump into self-care and self-development but might feel overwhelmed with where to start. I hope that I can share more acumen with all of you.

Go Barefoot:
Earthing is the practice of shoeless walking. It feels good to go barefooted and do this with confidence, without craving the acceptance of others. I feel grounded on this Earth and get the sensation that I do belong on this planet and this Universe.

Breathe Mindfully:
I often hold my breath and looked tense when things get a little rough. I have experienced more emotional security and calm after following different breathing techniques. Mindful breathing allows me to be more in the present moment. It helps me better cope with my anxious feelings.

Healthy Nourishment:
I drink celery juice and smoothies every day, and I also take supplements. When I support myself entirely through nourishment, I can extend the same to those around me. I try to promote joy not only for myself but for all living beings.

Try Yoga:
I practice yoga. I don’t focus too much on the perfection of my form, but more so on my breathing and the awareness that I feel in my body and mind. I try to stay mindful even through the discomfort.

Connection through Meditation:
I started meditating about ten years ago. I was not able to focus in the beginning. It took me a few years to be aware of my breath and posture. I try to keep up with my morning prayers. I also express affirmations daily when I meditate. I do this to unite with the divine being and my spiritual self.

I’m grateful that you stuck around to read what I have shared.

Please let me know if you have practice any self-care routines in May, and how did you feel about it? Do you intend to continue self-care or start in June?

I hope so!

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Here is a Question: Why minimalism?

A question that seems to have become repetitive to me since I’ve turned to a minimalist lifestyle has been, why minimalism?

Such a question is only natural when others recognize the fact that you’re straying from the physical development of society and stepping away from conventional views in buying and owning objects.

Before I answer the question, why minimalism. Let’s first determine what specifically minimalism is really about. It’s a reassessment of your priorities so that you can strip away the excess material. Contrary to what many people may believe minimalism is, it is not solely about getting rid of your possessions. It’s also about reassessing your life and the things in it such as ideas, relationships, activities, and possessions. It’s looking at reducing those things that do not hold any priority. I believe minimalism is about becoming more intentional with both my belongings and all the different aspects of my life.

Here are a few of the reasons why I chose to embrace a minimalist lifestyle.

  • I’ve decided I want to be more selective about the things that I bring into my life.
  • My mind was scattered all over the place, and I can never seem to focus on one thing at a time.
  • My apartment was getting filled up with clutter. I was getting sick and tired of having to look at it and deal with the disorder every day.

It just made sense for me at the time to look into minimalist living. I’m living in a studio apartment, so I already didn’t have many things. The things that I did have was just an accumulation of miscellany in clutter that I’ve just accumulated over the years.

I understand that for the majority of people, this is not a sensible thing to consider. You may not be able to pack up everything and get rid of it all at once. I suggest for you is to really analyzing what you do need and what you can probably live without and go from there. Little by little, just getting rid of things until you finally feel like you’re in a point that you are content.

Although minimalism may not be for everybody. I’m glad that I’ve chosen to implement it into my life because the benefits it brings me never seemed to cease. My mind is clearer. I spend less money. I use my time on only the
things that bring me value. It just makes sense to me to live this lifestyle.

I know that it’s easy to say “do it,” but even small actions can add up. I hope you found this helpful. I would love to know what you do or how you feel about your practice into minimalism.

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The Five Minute Gratitude Exercise

Gratitude turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity…it makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” ~Melody Beattie

Gratitude is directly related to optimism, which makes people content with their lives. When we are grateful for what we have, we can feel the gratitude in our hearts and be aware of our feelings. This practice is an excellent tool for our mindfulness exercise accessories. When we feel intense emotions such as anger or frustration, we can get caught up in those emotions. Gratitude helps us handle those emotions by shifting our thoughts from anger to thankful.

Learning gratitude is such a valuable tool that can be used at any moment throughout your life. This super simple daily gratitude habit will help you be grateful every day (and it only takes 5 minutes).

I take a moment throughout my day to figure out what gratitude means and why it is essential. Then I visualize what I am grateful for the moment; I start to have a dialogue to why I find it necessary. I find that my five-minute gratitude journal can help me express what I am thinking and help to understand why I appreciate it. It is also a beautiful keepsake to have when I am having a rough day, and I can’t think of anything to be grateful for in my current moment. Lastly, in my gratitude exercise, I beath. I find that a breathing exercise at the end of a session will help to emphasize what I thought wrote or thought in my heart. I generally feel more at peace after my practice.

Gratitude makes us feel more appreciated. Thinking of acceptance is why a five-minute a week gratitude journal can make us so much more content. The sincere appreciation produced by during those five minutes is small, but the emotions of gratitude felt during those five-minutes are enough to trigger a grateful spirit.

I hope you enjoy this little piece if you have any suggestions on how to practice gratitude. I would love to read it. Please let a comment below.

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“Stop being a Jerk!”

No one has ever really said to me, “ Hey, I believe the emotion is self-serving. You jerk. ” yet, it could not strike me at all to see that some of my friends and family believe my emotions are self-serving. Furthermore to be clear, getting emotional does cause me to do some pretty self-centered things at the name of self-care. Then to those people who believe my emotion is selfish, I get it.

Really, I do.

The situation is, my emotions are uncertain, so sometimes I’m somewhat unpredictable. There’s not more I can do about this. I can’t just plan my anxiety attacks ahead of time. Oh, sometimes managing my emotions means canceling plans last minute so I will stay home and concentrate on my breathing. Sometimes it means dropping out with my friends. I would rather instead virtually observe and like photos. I totally can’t speak to them when I am way too anxious.

While I ultimately see how someone might believe my emotion is merely an excuse to be a flaky jerk, it’s really not. I’ve realized that I can be sort of flaky sometimes. Yes, I don’t attend functions and would rather avoid your text on an invitation than confront the fact that I will disappoint you. I mean I am literally worried about everything at that point. I am too worried to understand that not saying anything is worse than a saying, “no.”

This is rude as hell, but on these times that my emotions are out of power, it’s not at all unusual for me to withdraw any and all plans to interact with other humans. There are moments when my mind is trying very hard to defend me by getting me to accept the worst possible consequences for my actions, which sometimes only leads me to get more emotional than I had been in the first place.

Let me be clear: No one has ever really said to me, “ Hey, I believe the emotion is self-serving. You jerk. ” However, every day, I feel like this, and it doesn’t go away. I have learned to accept it and clear out some of the mental clutter, but when an attack happens I want to scream to my anxiety, “Why are you taking this away from my loved ones and me? I want to feel and experience!”

“Stop being a Jerk!”