Modern Day Girl

All About Mental Health Inspiration For Women

Month: June 2016

Fascinating Fancies #9

Mental health related links from across the web

Well we are nearly at the end of another month!

Can you actually believe it? I sent my monthly newsletter out yesterday and said the exact same thing. Time is just flying by!

How has your June been going? Hopefully not too much stress and anxiety?! Haha.

So you may or may not know that Fascinating Fancies is about sharing some of the best bits from across the web.

Today I’ve got a couple that you might find interesting!

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything about living frugally. I still try to, you know. There’s nothing better than saving a few pounds off.

This is the first time I’ve found this website, though! It’s called Living Frugally in the UK. There’s lots to discover about all things frugal living.

Daisies and Bruises is a personal blog all about depression, the ups and the downs. Go take a look.

Another fantastic website which has lots of fantastic stuff on depression is health.com. This post by them gives you 12 great blogs for people with depression.

The importance of having (and using!) a list – as you know, I love my lists. Here is another great post with lots of detail on lists.

Have you ever wondered why people rave about the benefits of meditation? Well, I found this useful post called, “What Meditation Does to Your Brain“.

It is actually a really useful post and gives you some of the benefits of meditation. Honestly, have a read. It’s really interesting.

For those of you looking to nab free stuff, why not check out this blog post? In a nutshell you can apply for free to receive items from Tesco! What could be better than that?!

You can read the post here.

Well that’s it for today!

I hope you’ve enjoyed some of these, do let me know what you think.

Do you have any links you want to share with me? I’m all ears.

Be Confident! How to Face Talking to People Positively

Do you feel like you can’t speak up when you want to? Do you struggle with meeting new people and don’t know what to say? Is it your anxiety or shyness that is getting in the way?

Today I’m going to talk about techniques you can use to allow you to be more confident in these types of situations.

I used to be so terribly shy at school. I’m not talking just a little bit of shyness, I’m talking a full-on sweaty, shaky mess would be stood in front of you if the moment ever arose.

Speaking in front of class caused a huge amount of anxiety for me and I never knew why.

I couldn’t speak to boys either. I went to an all-girls school until I was sixteen so any form of communication between me and boys never happened.

Honestly, it’s embarrassing now I look at it. Why did I act in such a way that I couldn’t speak to people? What made me so afraid? How did I overcome it?

Trust me, I’ve been there. But I’m also much more confident now and can happily chat to people at bus stops or in queues when paying for my shopping.

In fact, I actually like striking up a conversation now. Yes, I am now that person! Oh, how things change.

So I now sit before you, able to help you out. I know those with anxiety or depression might feel like there is nothing worse in this world than trying to speak to people.

After all, why would they be interested in us?

But you’re wrong on this. Everyone likes to have a bit of a natter, even if it is just about the weather! Let’s talk about this in a bit more detail.

How do you overcome shyness and anxiety when talking to people/ Whether you suffer from depression or another mental illness or not

Why is being social important?

Being social is often overlooked. We have such busy lives that we can neglect our relationships. We have our mobiles and tablets; these take us away from the outside world.

We spend only the necessary amount of time together, in an effort to keep our lives simple.

As you know, things are different now. We communicate over different channels. Gone are the days when kids play and run in the street.

When we would go on bike rides with friends around a local park.

I miss this.  It is only when face-to-face interactions are gone, that we miss them and we yearn for them.

“Okay Jess, what are you getting at?” You are probably thinking.

Are you surprised to know that in a recent study, social ties and increased contact with family and friends are associated with a lower risk of death in young women with breast cancer?

How crazy is that? Lowering your risk of cancer can be helped by staying in contact with people!

I can sit here now and help you out because I understand how hard it can be to speak to people, especially for those with social anxiety/depression/general anxiety.

Here are some useful pointers to think about and bear in mind the next time you’re feeling brave.

Anxiety when talking to people is not as bad as you might think, mental issue or not

They aren’t going to judge you as you imagine they will

A lot of us worry and care deeply about the perception of others. How might they view us? Do they think I’m weird? Did I say the wrong thing?

I’m not going to tell you the same old thing about not caring what others think because that has been said a million times. It’s much easier said than done.

What I’d like you to do is consider turn those negative thoughts into something positive.

For example, rather than thinking about how weird you think they might perceive you, turn it around. Their positive body language will speak louder to you than their words.

Consider that you made an impression, that’s a good thing. Maybe they were smiling along with you which will mean they were enjoying that little chat.

Those are much more positive, and healthy, thoughts, aren’t they?

I focus on positivity a lot on this blog, only because I know how powerful your thoughts are.

Practice these thoughts on a regular basis and it will help you to overcome your fears with speaking to others.

Overcome your fear of talking to people by asking questions, anxiety, depression or mental illness

Ask questions

Part of the conversation cycle is to ask questions. Asking questions help to build up a rapport with your fellow humans and allows you to get to know each other.

Having a one-sided conversation is awkward and clunky. Why not try asking someone how their day went?

It’s such a simple question but it can really allow someone to open up.

You could probably think of better things to do, but you may end up making someone’s day. Plus, the more you do it, the easier it’ll become.

Smiling will help you overcome your fear of talking to people. anxiety, depression or mental health issue

Smile

A smile is something so simple, yet so meaningful! I was told once that I smile too much. I was working in a local shop and an old lady told me that.

It made me question myself, if only for a few minutes, but it made me think.

Why did this matter? Then I realised that it didn’t matter. I would never get bored of seeing people smile, nor would I stop smiling.

Smiling actually has a lot of positive benefits for you and those around you. Endorphins are released when you smile, reducing stress and making you happier.

Not only this, but it has the same effect on others.

In addition to this, someone who smiles a lot is perceived as being more approachable and more attractive, and, is contagious!

If you are ever feeling nervous about talking to people, remember to smile, honestly. It’ll make the world of difference to you, and those around you.

Think about how you are going to talk to people to overcome your fear. anxiety, depression, or mental illness

Consider where and who you want to speak to more

In your mission to overcome your shyness/anxiety/social anxiety, consider how and where you want to start to overcome your fear.

It is large public spaces that bother you? How about on the bus maybe, or at your local shops? Thinking about this will help you feel more prepared when the time comes.

By the way – I really don’t want you to be in a position where you’re having a full-blown panic attack at the thought of talking to someone.

Know your limits and if you feel like it might be too difficult, don’t.

All I would suggest is work your way into it. Little steps are much more manageable than huge-jump-off-the-cliff-type moments.

A quick smile here and there will suffice, then maybe a hello or hi.

Isn’t it funny? These tiny little gestures carry so much feeling and emotion! But they can make a good day a good day, and a bad day a bad day.

But honestly, this is how I started doing it. Eventually (now) I was able to have a quick chat with someone, knowing full well I could leave at any moment if I felt awkward.

Overcoming your fear of talking to people can't just be overcome by getting over it, anxiety, depression, mental illness

You can’t just ‘get over it’

This is a big one. Don’t let anyone tell you that you should just ‘get over it’. That’s like saying the same thing to someone with anxiety.

Like, someone with a broken leg being told to just get up. It’s NOT possible and it’s not that simple.

For those with social anxiety, this is a major step to be taking. You should be proud of yourself for even considering your plan in hand.

After all, social anxiety is the need to be alone, but getting lonely at the same time.

You crave a bit of company, but only on your terms.

Being pushed out into the wide world will not help you in any way. If anything it might make the task at hand even harder.

Don’t put yourself down if you don’t manage to talk to a stranger. The last thing I want you to feel is bad about not doing it.

There’s no pressure, promise!

Keep a diary

I’ve just had this fantastic idea that I wanted to share with you!

Why not keep a diary of all of your achievements? This would be a great way to record your progress and allows you to see how far you’ve come.

When I was younger, I always kept a journal. Even if I had nothing to say, I would still write in it. I would always flick back through the pages and read it.

Sometimes I’d wonder how I actually got through life!

My point is that without a record of my achievements, I wouldn’t have anything to be proud of.

Why not do the same for this? Overcoming your anxiety around talking to people requires courage and a lot of it.

Use a pen and paper (or computer if you wish) and write every little step, down.

You’ll be able to look back over this later on in life and marvel at your progress

Heck, you could even stick your notes as a nice reminder for later on. It’ll keep that flame going when you might need it most.

Overcoming your fear of talking to people is about pushing boundaries. anxiety, mental health and depression

It’s about pushing your boundaries

My last point on overcoming your anxiety and fear about talking to people is accepting that you’ll be pushing your boundaries.

It’s not going to be fun, nor is it going to be easy.

You will be challenging yourself in an area where you know full well you will struggle with.

The great thing is that you’ve recognised you want to take it further. Your next steps are to go and do it.

Every time you reach one of your milestones, push it a little further. Keep pushing (at a comfortable rate) until you are happy with your progress.

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I really mean this when I say it, but you will get there. Honestly! Believe in yourself.

How do you get over your fear of speaking to people? What advice would you give someone in this position?

How Body Language Shapes Who You Are

How body language affects you. Mental illness or not

This is a guest post by the lovely Marcus. You can find his blog over here – go check it out!

Body language is fascinating for us all, whether we realise it or not.

In fact, 55% of all our communication is carried out through body language, while only 38% through our voice quality and a mere 7% through the content of our words.

We generally pay much more attention to other people’s body language than to our own.

Anything that is not normal – a peculiar look, a louder laughter, a strange interaction, immediately catches our attention.

Not only this, but we make a lot of judgments about other people depending on their nonverbal behavior and interactions, which can later lead to different decisions. This includes can include to befriend, date, hire or even vote for someone.

Even emoticons used in online chats can have an influence on the value we give the subject of a talk or to the person we’re talking to.

If we take the bodily expression of power or dominance, everyone – including people with visual impairments will expand their body, stretching their arms, and opening up.

Conversely, when we feel powerless, threatened or vulnerable, we close up in a shell, cross arms and legs, hunch, and make ourselves smaller.

The interesting part is that we usually do the opposite of someone who is manifesting either powerful or powerless body language, so as to compliment them.

Interestingly, women tend to express powerlessness, or lack of dominance, much more than men.

But can body language be faked and why would you want to fake it?

And if so, can our ‘fake’ body language influence the way we feel and think about ourselves, and thus the way others perceive us?

Scientific studies have shown that the “power/dominance” hormone, testosterone, is elevated in successful, powerful, ”alpha” leaders, while the stress hormone, cortisol, is low.

Different experiments tested whether we can get the same hormones by changing our body language into a “powerful pose” for just two minutes. 

The results showed that the dominance hormone increased significantly in the blood while the stress hormone decreased, after just two minutes of adopting a power pose.

This means that the body language we use actually has an effect on our body chemistry and on how we feel about ourselves, making both ourselves and others have more trust in ourselves.

Can my body language change my life in a significant way?

Well, just think about difficult situations in which we usually get judged by others.

We are judged by other constantly, in meetings, with friends, while giving a speech at work, during a job interview, the list is endless.

Improving just some of those interactions in a small way may have a confounding effect on our lives.

Experiments showed that in a job interview, people who practiced the power pose for just two minutes before a stressful interview got a much higher proportion of job offers compared with people who practiced the low-power pose.

This is a great demonstration of how consciously changing your body language can have a significant impact on your life.

Our bodies can change our minds, which then changes our behaviors. This can change the results we get in important life situations.

All of this sounds superficial in a way, or maybe too easy. It almost sounds like you would be cheating, applying an artificial trick, and showing a different person than you really are.

But the truth is that a little confidence can give you the chance to show the real you in any situation, and you can get this confidence by adopting a power pose.

A small change in your posture can lead to big changes.

When you have practiced power posing repeatedly until it becomes a daily habit, it will become a part of who you are, and it will require less effort every time.

Is it really that simple?

Actually no, it’s not that simple.

In a difficult situation that you were going to face anyway, a 2-minute power pose beforehand is likely to give you a little boost that you may need in order to give yourself an edge.

But a 2-minute power pose won’t help you if you are unprepared for a situation.

If you don’t have the necessary experience or education for a job or are simply not prepared for a presentation then all the confidence in the world won’t help you to make up for your lack of skill or experience.
It’s more about giving yourself a better chance when you’re already in with a shout, rather than boosting you beyond your normal capabilities.

Today’s post has been brought to you by Marcus, who blogs at Psysci.co.

How do you try and keep your body language in check? Are you aware of your body language? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

20 of the Best Resources for You, Your Well-Being and Mental Health

What are the best places and resources I’ve found to help you with your well-being and mental health?

What techniques and tips have I got for you my lovely readers? Have a read below.

Resources for you, your well being and your mental health. The best tips around.

A quick intro is in order I think before we get stuck in!

SO. Today is a much lighter post. On Friday I wrote a post where I discussed the Orlando shootings and how this reminds me of the stigma attached to mental health.

Although I didn’t want to use this horrible occurrence as a way of bringing up mental health, I felt it a necessary one.

I talk about why such atrocities have deeply affected me, and how we can learn from it. I look at the facts, the thoughts and the conclusions. You can read that post here.

I’d like to now share with you some of the best resources I’ve discovered along the way over the past few months.

It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these but I’ve found some truly great stuff I want to share!
How could I not, after all?!The point of my blog is to help guide, support and motivate you. I hope you like them!

So here are the best bits for you (please note that all pictures are obtained from the link directly. None of these are my own):

1. 24 Books That Are Straightforward About Mental Illness

I’ve been searching for some time for books which are helpful for those with a mental illness. Low and behold I find this useful post by Buzzfeed. Each book has a short synopsis which is even better. I’ll be picking some of these up no doubt.

2. How to Take a Self Care (“Mental Health”) Day

how to take a mental health day (self care day)

Self care is so important whether you suffer from a mental illness or not. So have a read of this  over at plumdeluxe.com. They give you some really great ways to have a self-care day to yourself, with or without children!

3. Start Practicing Self-Love Now! Here’s How…

This is a great post for those needing a bit of self love. There’s nothing wrong with this, and it doesn’t make you selfish. Have a read of the tips now, the’re useful!

4. 10 Things You Need To Do To “Find Yourself”

how to get to know yourself better #health:

So this one again isn’t just for those with mental health issues. You might be noticing a theme coming up around these!

This is another great post to learn to do more for yourself and figure out what might be putting you off things. Have a read.

Oh and you can download a FREE prontable now! Just pop in your details below:

5. 7 Simple Ways to Improve Your Mental Health

Mental Health Pin

Here are some more really effective ways to improve your mental health. Mashable covers both short term and long term tactics to help you out.

6. Anxiety-Panic information

Kelty, this pin is to help you understand anxiety. It talks about what anxiety is, what the symptoms are, different types of anxiety disorders, and comfort in knowing that anxiety disorders can be maintained through medication, therapy, and life changes.:

I found this website on Pinterest. For those in the US, this is for you. It contains a huge amount of information on anxiety and lots of resources to check out. If you have a query, this should be the place you go!

7. 30+ Ways to Relax and Keep Calm When You’re Feeling Stressed Or Anxious

30+ Ways to Relax and Keep Calm When You're Feeling Stressed Or Anxious

Some more useful tips to help you stay calm and keep calm when you need it most. Would highly

8.Learn about Social Anxiety and skills to cope with it

Okay so this website is really great. Moodjuice was recommended by my doctor as a way of self medicated Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).

Oh did I mention I wrote a blog post on social anxiety too?

Although it didn’t really help me, this might help you. It helps you understand what social anxiety is and how to deal with it. Great.

9. Top 9 Yoga Poses To Deal With Anxiety

The physical asanas (postures) of yoga, mixed with breathing techniques and meditation, can calm the mind, bring perspective and help you deal with anxietal issues for mental clarity and inner peace.:

There’s a lot written on the benefits of yoga on anxiety. If you’re interested, have a read of this post. It gives you some nice positions to help ease anxiety.

10. Depression: 14 Important Insights

A must-read for anybody who has depression, might have depression, or knows somebody with depression. http://www.heysigmund.com/depression-8-fascinating-facts-many-dont-know/:

Hey Sigmund gives you some interesting facts about depression which you might not have known. I certainly didn’t! You might want to share this with other people too. It might help them understand depression better.

11. Treatments For Different Types Of Depression

How to deal with different types of depression and understanding the healing process can help to accept depression and learn more about a mental illness.

For those suffering with depression, or think they may suffer from depression, this is for you. The post contains lots of useful information on the different types of depression and why it’s important to recognise the different types. Have a read!

This link takes you to a really useful infographic I found at Upworthy. Do stop by their website and have a look. I didn’t want to share this here as it’s worthy of a click!

It gives you some interesting facts on PTSD and that it’s more common than you might think.

13. 10 Nutritional Deficiencies That May Cause Depression

Nutritional Deficiencies That May Cause Depression:

Everyday Health discusses whether lack of vitamins could be the cause of depression. I can certainly agree with this. Have a read as they go into lots of detail for you to make up your own mind.

14. How To Lazy-Proof Your Day

How to Be More Productive

Okay so this isn’t necessarily a resource, more of a really nice blog post to read. For those struggling a bit, have a read of this.

Andie gives you some simple tips to try when you’re feeling the slump. He too suffers from depression so it’s nice hearing someone else’s realistic tips.

15. 10 Ways to Show Love to Someone With Depression

10 Ways to Show Love to Someone With Depression | The Darling Bakers:

This is another really great post. Its for those who may have a loved one who suffers from depression. The Darling Bakers discusses depression and what you can do to help someone suffering with it. Fantastic.

16. 13 Lies Your Depression Is Telling You

13 Lies Your Depression Is Telling You:

A humourous post by the Buzzfeed staff. Have a read, as many of these make so much sense! Our mind is a powerful thing and can lead us to thinking the worst sometimes.

17. 30 Ways to De-Stress Quickly

This is another one where I suggest you visit. It’s another infrographic, with some useful quick tips to remember when you feel stressed.

18. 8 Tried and Tested Ways of Overcoming Social Anxiety

Social anxiety. --> http://lonerwolf.com/overcoming-social-anxiety/:

This is a really great post. I can actually see myself in some of these point on social anxiety.

It just goes to show that you can suffer from all different types of anxiety or depression and it can be hard to differentiate sometimes. Have a read!

19. Why It’s Hard to Calm Yourself Down

The last one where I want you to check it out and no picture! This is another really useful infrographic to save somewhere when you feel panicky.

These are simple steps to keep yourself calm whenever you need it most. Go check it out.

20. 31 Actually Helpful Tips For Dealing With Panic Attacks

31 Ways To Help Calm And Steady Yourself During An Anxiety or Panic Attack Or just to calm and center yourself when needed:

**Bonus** Get access to my FREE 7-day eCourse right now! Pop your details in below:

Buzzfeed is just the best isn’t it! Haha. Anyway here are some great tips that actually work. These are simple and easy ways to distract and ease the symptoms of panic. Save these somewhere too, they might come in handy!

Save these somewhere too, they might come in handy!

I’ve really enjoyed browsing the web and finding these little gems. If you ever need a quick reminder when panic is about to ensue, save this. You might need them one day!

What would you suggest to someone in need of some tips and advice? Share them here!

The Upsetting Truth about the World Today and The Orlando Shooting

Unless you’ve been living under a rock recently you’ve probably heard all about the Orlando shootings, the alligator attack on that young boy, and the ever amassing backing behind the LBGT community.

It was late on Wednesday night where I found myself lying in bed trying to get to sleep. A sudden wave of sadness came over me as I remembered the events of the last few days.

As I usually do, I spent time, when I should be sleeping, worrying about the world I live in. More importantly, what the world is going to be like for our children and future generations.

We’re polluting our environment, killing each other and mocking those who are different to us.

How in the world did we get here? Why do I feel like things are getting worse? The feeling of impending doom stretches further ahead of me.

It actually horrifies me. I cannot fathom how and why these things happen. So I thought I’d write about this today considering how relevant it is and how important it is to ‘love thy neighbour’.

It reminds me of the stigma attached to mental health and rings so very close to home. I am bringing it up for a good reason; please don’t shout at me until you’ve read the whole thing!

What can we learn about mental health and the Orlando shootings?

Some of the facts

I thought it would be good to give you some facts about the Orlando shootings just to give you a bit of background:

The shooting occurred on the 11 June 2016 at Pulse Nightclub, Orlando, Florida.

It is the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman, and the deadliest incident of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LBGT) community.

50 people have been confirmed as dead, and at least 53 were injured by gunman Omar Mateen, who was also shot on site by Orlando police. His wife has now been arrested as being an accessory to murder.

It is the deadliest terror attack in the US since the September 11 attacks in 2001

As you can see, these are some pretty horrific statistics.

This event is a major event. It will go down in history because there are still people who judge the LGBT community negatively, who condone violence and who accuse without fact.

But there has also been unity. There has been a great backing for those who are part of the LGBT community. I want to use my voice now to show my support and to encourage everyone to fight for the right to a normal life.

Why is this significant to the LGBT community?

Some might disagree with this. That is fine, but there are some things to consider. This attack was directed at the LGBT community. It was an attack on human beings, yes.

But why specifically Pulse nightclub? What hate did this man have towards the people that visit this club?

The club is a gay nightclub. It has been reported that Omar was also struggling with his own demons. Those demons are his sexuality. By struggling with his own issues, he took it out on the very symbol that they represent. Tell me if I’m wrong but this was an attack on that community.

I was made aware of a recent interview conducted by Sky News by a friend of mine. They were interviewing a gay journalist (Owen something?) who was trying to give his opinion on the shootings.

It eventually led to him walking off after being interrupted throughout the interview and not being listened to. They almost heckled him during the interview. His point was that this was a hate crime towards the LGBT community.

They were convinced it was a terrorist attack on human beings, and not on the LBGT community. If you’d

Why in this day and age should a journalist be talked down to in this way?! I find it absolutely incredulous that a ‘legitimate’ TV station behaves in such a way.

If you’d like to watch said video, you can view some of the bits here. This gets me riled up by the way. Julia Hartley-Brewer (the co-host for the show) suggests that everyone is upset by the atrocity and he was ‘being silly’.

You don’t choose to be gay

I am not gay, nor am I part of the LGBT community. But I know what I know. I have friends who are gay and friends who are lesbians. I’ve watched shows about people who consider themselves transgender.

Some of the best people I know are the above.

Time and time again they tell me/I hear that they don’t choose to be gay. No one wants to be stared at if they are holding hands with someone of the same sex. No one wants things left on their wall which suggests disgust. No one wants to be hated for the way they are.

No one wants things left on their wall which suggests disgust. No one wants to be hated for the way they are.

I feel bad because of this. I feel bad because I am not on the receiving end. Why don’t I get this discrimination? Probably because I am white and have a boyfriend. Why is this so different to someone?

Why can’t people accept the way others are? Are we so primitive that we have to act like animals and fight each other over irrelevant things?

No, we aren’t, but it happens. It angers me.

How this is linked to mental health

Now, I’m not trying to hijack this horrible incident to allow me to bring up mental health. This moment in our lives should be remembered. Not because of the statistics, but because of the community spirit being shown across the globe.

It has happened now and the support is flooding in.

But ignorance can no longer be something to hide behind because facts are readily available. All you have to do is want to know. Want to know about the world, and how it works.

The want to be able to form your own unbiased opinion based on these facts.

It should be a moment where we can now start challenging them and fight for what we believe in. Those with mental illnesses also suffer at the hands of these people and we should unite now, together.

Let’s get together and build a collective.

The modern age we live in allows us to communicate with people from the other side of the world with ease. We get to share information with not just our family, but friends across the borders and waters.

We can use technology to fight for our rights to be a human being, and not a victim, or a lesbian, or someone with depression. How dare we be judged by these superficial aspects?

How dare others decide how we should be looked at and treated like.

Finally, how dare we be accused of being dramatic when something so sensitive causes outrage for the people being affected?

We aren’t defined by out race, colour, heritage, mental state, etc.

Some people just don’t understand that. Yes, this event was against human beings, but it was a specific incident towards a specific group of people.

The positive

I thought now would be a good time to consider all of the good things that have come from this situation. Although a disgusting situation, the unity that’s been shown has been mindblowing.

I thought it necessary to share some of the nice pictures, some from my home town Nottingham!

(All photos have come from the BBC website – you can see them here)

People in Nottingham gather around a statue of Brian Clough

People light candles at the Nottingham vigil

Martin Wilson

A woman kneels amongst graffiti during a vigil in memory of the victims of the gay nightclub mass shooting

An aerial view of crowds in London's West End

A tribute is staged in Manchester's gay village

If you’re reading this and are also passionate about this subject, do share. I want as many people as possible to read this and understand. Thank you!