National Bullying Prevention Month: Bullies Need Hugs Too

“Bullying is not acceptable, is not exactly the statement I believe is going to prevent bullying.  In my opinion, the best prevention tool is teaching today’s youth, not only appropriate behavior but also appropriate coping skills to maintain appropriate behavior.

Screen Shot 2019-10-23 at 11.15.40 AM

In my opinion, (and, it’s really just an opinion) bullying behavior is often times nothing more than an individual struggling to cope with an unfortunate situation or struggling to express themselves. Sure, there are a few genuine bad kiddo’s in the world, no fault of their own,  who need serious mental help; but for the most part, bullying behavior is a natural (yet, inappropriate) response us humans do when we simply don’t know what to do with our crazy emotions.

There are a zillion reasons as to why an individual may express bullying behavior and below is just to name a few:

  • Struggling to appropriately express emotions (for example: the boy who picks on the girl he likes or vice versa)
  • Feeling neglected or unwanted at home due to lack of needed attention (busy parents, chaotic households, new baby, sick family member, etc)
  • Being physically or emotionally abused
  • Being forced to grow up too fast
  • General stress
  • Change
  • Difficulty coping with constantly feuding parents
  • Parental separation
  • Simply having a bad day
  • Low self-esteem issues or depression
  • Personality Disorder
  • Other undiagnosed mental-health disorder, including anxiety or anger-issues
  • Strict parenting styles that restrict freedom of self-expression or speech
  • Someone else is bullying them

Bullies are often victims themselves, taking their emotions out on others to make themselves feel better in effort to cope with their own problem(s).  In my opinion, provide bullies with better coping skills to help them tackle whatever situation is triggering their behavior and you might be able to prevent further bullying.  Teach these coping skills in school to both parents and students, and you might be able to prevent bullying altogether.

The Wrong Direction With Bullying

Sadly, it seems as if society’s solution to the bullying epidemic is to shame bullies, severely discipline their behavior, place hefty fines on their parents, or whatever other counter-productive measures society thinks is best to prevent bullying.  But, I say…that’s wrong.  Bullies are often victims that need hugs too.

According to the New York Times article, “Your Child Bullied Someone? That’ll Cost You $313” , a town in Wisconsin are ready to place hefty fines on parents whose child is a bully.  The idea is to get parents involved in changing their child’s bad behavior…but, sometimes, the discipline applied by parents may contribute to further bad behavior.  I mean, not every parent who is fined hundreds of dollars is going to have a calm reasonable discussion with their child about their behavior.  In fact, some parents (especially, those tight on money in the first place) are more likely to have unintentional terrible discussions about how such behavior has negatively impacted household finances; in which the child ends up feeling worse (triggering more bully behavior) for that they now feel it is their fault their family has money problems.  Sure, the bully behavior is addressed, but not resolved.  And, what if its the parents, themselves, who are the root cause of their child’s bullying behavior– how does a fine resolve that?

Disciplining the behavior without resolving the root cause of the behavior, often makes matters worse- for everyone.

A Better Direction With Bullying 

There is way more to bullying than just behavioral issues.  Many bullies are going through some pretty heavy stuff that they just don’t know how to handle themselves.  They don’t know how to talk about it, solve it, or make it better.  They bully others for attention and often times, negative attention is better than no attention at all.  They may bully to feel in control, because they lack control somewhere else.  I truly believe there is a reason behind every bullying behavior.

Talking, listening, and understanding is vital to stopping bully behaviors.  Once the situation becomes clear, you are able to provide an individual with the appropriate tools and/or resources to become a better person and stop bullying.

Victims and those of authority, have different responsibilities when it comes to dealing with bullies:

  • Bully victims must tell someone when they are being bullied and make an effort to walk away from that bully.
  • Someone of authority (parent, teacher, guardian, etc), must then address the inappropriate behavior as well as, take the time to make an effort to figure out what is causing the behavior in the first place and take the necessary steps to help the individual resolve it.

In my opinion, bullies need help and if everyone walks away, nothing is going to change.

Helping Bullies Stop Bullying

The internet is full of articles on how to cope with “being” bullied, but there is little to no information on how to help a bully.  So, from experience, well, some experience, as a parent who had to deal with a child who bullied others to cope with being bullied, this is what I suggest trying to do to help….

  • #1 Give them a hug, because if they are expressing bullying behavior, they got some  heavy stuff they are trying to figure out.
  • Set aside some one-on-one time with your child and LISTEN to them.  Sometimes, listening is all they need.
  • Be understanding,  respectful, and supportive to their situation.   Your child’s problems may sound like nothing to you, but they may feel monumental to your child.
  • It is important to help bullies learn how to effectively communicate and express their feelings.
  • Let them know that it is okay to feel sad, angry, or confused, and encourage them to talk about those feelings.
  • If your child will not talk to you, it’s okay.  They are human.  You can give them a little encouraging nudge, but don’t be pushy.
  • Trust is everything.
  • Whether or not your child is willing to talk about their problems, it is still important to address their bullying behavior.  Let them know that their behavior, regardless the reason behind it, is not acceptable and discuss reasonable consequences if such behavior continues.
  • Reassure them that they are not bad people, just people who are making bad decisions.
  • Teach them appropriate coping skills for dealing with anxiety and stress.
  • Teach them alternative behavior to bullying.
  • Try to resolve issues that are triggering the bullying behavior (it might be something that is out of their control and need your help with).
  • Leave the victim out of it.  Most of the time, the victim has nothing to do with the root cause of the issue.  If they are part of the root cause, resolve the issues separately- keeping bully and victim apart for awhile, until each of them learn to work together to resolve their differences.
  • If your child will not talk to you, observe their world- Are they stressed?  Are there significant changes?
  • If bullying behavior is getting worse, seek counseling.

I Am Not Choosing Sides, I Am Choosing BOTH Sides

Nobody deserves to be a victim of bullying and nobody (bully or victim) deserve to struggle with their own problems alone.  Bullying behavior is not acceptable and it is our duty, as adults, to help today’s youth learn how to better cope with things that may trigger bully behavior.  Bullying prevention starts with us (not the kiddo’s), for that it is the lessons, tools, and skills that we choose to provide to our children that are going to make the biggest impact against bullying behavior.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Our Wrinkled Brains

My step-son loves science!   During each visitation, he loves to share with me a new scientific fact that he learned in school or YouTube…most likely from YouTube.  Anyway, this past weekend, I learned that “our brain gets a wrinkle every time we learn something new.”

Wow, if that is true, can you imagine just how wrinkly Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein’s brains must have been??

brain

Wrinkles For Everyone

Well, it used to be thought that wrinkles formed in our brain every time we learned something new, but new research says that is not the case.  In fact, we are born with a wrinkled brain.  Ewwww!  Some people are born with more wrinkles than others, most likely due to genetics.  Crazy!

Interestingly, the wrinkles (or folds) in our brain are super important, because they provide a larger surface area to fit in more neuron pathways making more room to provide greater brain power.  That is pretty cool! 

Anyway, that is just a little brain fact I learned this week that I thought I would share.  Too bad none of the wrinkles on my face have anything to do with greater brain power!

~~~In Memory Of Great Minds~~~

“Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.” – Stephen Hawking

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.” -Albert Einstein

 

 

 

 

Insomnia From An Insomniac

Given the chance to go to bed early, I would, because I am a natural early bird; however, something is wrong with my body clock. IMG-1002It isn’t broken, but “set back,” due to the insomniacs in the family.  My husband and our preschooler are natural night owls; whereas, our youngest and I, are far from nocturnal- we enjoy sleeping.  Sadly, each of our sleep schedules clashes with the other; making it extremely difficult, for anybody to enjoy a good nights rest.

Bad Habits Winning Over Good Habits

“If you live with a slob, you become a slob….”

In the beginning, my husband had a lot of bad habits (of course, I did too…we’re both human) and it was a constant tug-a-war between his bad habits (being a slob) and my good habits (being organized).  It took a couple of years, but we eventually found a balance.  Although my husband has better habits today, his old ways still kick in every once in awhile when I am not around; for example, his own personal space in the house is a mess (drives me crazy, but its his space).  But, I must admit, his messy lazy habits are extremely stress-free and there was a time when I took up on his bad habits (letting the house go).  I realized what had happened…subconsciously I had gone down the path of least resistance.  It was easier to be lazy and messy, but again, it was also unsanitary, gross, and stinky.  Fortunately, that phase didn’t last very long and “good” habits triumphed over the “bad” habits.   My point is, that it is so easy to pick up on bad habits without even thinking about it.  

Not True Insomnia

I do not have Insomnia; however, I cannot seem to fall asleep any earlier than 1am.

I developed poor sleeping habits by staying up with my insomniac husband. Totally not his fault that I cannot fall asleep at a decent hour anymore.

My husband has true insomnia and cannot go to bed until early in the morning (2am-3am) forcing his body to function on 5 hours of sleep during the work week.  I, however, require 7-8 hours of sleep or I get physically sick.  I have no tolerance for lack of sleep.  So, even though I am not able to fall asleep until 1am, I do manage to get in my 7-8 hours.  The problem with this, is that I sleep in late; something that must change when the kids begin school. Fortunately for me, I can readjust my sleep schedule back to normal; it just takes time. 

Without The Right Conditions, I’m Wide Awake

Falling asleep, when the rest of the family is wide awake, can be challenging; especially, if your own body requires more Z’s.  I have tried, many times, to coax my husband and our preschooler onto a healthier, earlier sleep schedule, but it doesn’t last for very long.

If the conditions are right, (with a dark, quiet, cold room), I have no problem going to sleep, but I cannot go to sleep with two insomniacs roaming around the house.  Our house is tiny, so tiny that if one person is up, we’re all up.

My husband is a late night video gamer; in which, I personally believe doesn’t help with insomnia.  However, without video games to occupy his time stuck wake, he’d just pace back and forth until dawn.  So, I say, game on!

I don’t mind that my husband plays video games, so long as it doesn’t interfere with family life.  Unfortunately, he is a loud video gamer.  Listening from the other room, he sounds like a soldier, loudly barking orders into his headset, as if he were on a noisy turbulent helicopter flying through a massive war attack.  Apparently, video games can be extremely exciting.

I have difficultly sleeping through the excitement; despite him being in another room.

The Defiant Little Night Owl

Our preschooler is a natural night owl (supposedly genetic).  Unlike her father though, she still requires about 10 hours of sleep; otherwise she makes Oscar the Grouch seem quite pleasant.  Anyways, as a parent, I have to get her on an earlier sleep schedule for school and her defiance (as a strong-willed child) is going to require that I start now rather than just a few months before school begins.  May the challenge begin!

Although we’ve always had a consistent bedtime routine (starting at 8pm), the sleep portion of this routine often varies.  So, even though the so-called experts say a consistent bedtime routine is the best way to get kids to go to bed early, doesn’t work for everyone.  It works for our youngest, but not our preschooler as I have discovered there are two things that affect our preschooler’s sleep schedule:

  • Strong-Willed Child
  • Premature Birth

Our preschooler was born 3 months early with a fiery strong-willed defiant personality.  She will not go to bed unless everyone is going to bed.  At first, I thought she was afraid of missing out of something, but later I realized, she just doesn’t think it is “fair” that she has to go to bed while others are still awake (even parents).

Also, being born as early as she was, she has some sensory issues.  At night, even though she is tired, her body is quite restless.  Also, she doesn’t like the feel of sheets or certain types of pajamas.  Even the temperature in the room makes her restless.  Finding solutions has been challenging.

Falling Asleep To Sleep Stories With Calm 

no affiliated links

With a few changes made and a bit of dedication, the kids and I, are generally asleep by 11pm now.  Not the ideal bedtime I want for my kids, but it is much better than going to sleep at 1am.  The biggest change was creating a better sleep environment for everyone.

When it is time for bed, the bedroom is dark, quiet, and cool; not frozen Arctic cold or anything, just comfortably cool.  As for our little night owl, strong-willed children (well, most children) have to feel in control.  She picks out her own pajama’s, chooses her own bedtime books, and turns off her own light.  There are power struggles every so often, but for the most part, it is fine.  The ultimate game changer to getting us to fall asleep earlier, has been ambient noises to drown out my husband’s video-game adventures from the living room.

I discovered an App called Calm.  

Personally, I like free-apps and rarely buy anything more than $1.99; but this one has proven to be worth the pricey subscription; plus, I like listening to Matthew Mcconaughey’s voice.  🙂

The Calm app is a mix of ambient noises, guided meditations, music, and more interestingly,  “Sleep Stories.”  What the heck is a sleep story?

A sleep story is a 15-45 minute audio-book that is narrated by soothing voices like Stephen Fry and Bob Ross (and other voices too).  The stories are quiet, slow paced, and relaxing.  Most stories sound like guided mediations for sleep as you embark on a sleep-story journey.

The best stories are those for kids.  We have yet been able to listen all the way through the Little Mermaid Sleep Story, for that we all fall asleep just before she rescues the prince from the sea.  This is certainly an App to have if you have trouble falling asleep.  My husband, when he is finally ready for sleep, enjoys the sounds of the ocean and he says, it helps him get to sleep faster.

Image result for Calm app
Available online, IOS, and Android

 

Wishing Everyone A Good Night’s Rest

I can’t imagine what it is like living with insomnia, but I do hope the little sleep those with Insomnia do get is at least pleasant and peaceful.

 

Do you use IOS / Android apps to sleep?  Which are your favorite?  Which do you least recommend?  

 

 

 

 

 

Brain Games: Netflix

I am a huge Netflix fan!  Seriously, I am a person who will spend an entire weekend binge watching a tv series until the very last episode of the very last season. Image result for netflix It is such an unhealthy addiction for me, especially, since it makes me feel like a zombie; shuffling in and out of the darkness every once in awhile for food and responding to family members with short zombie-like grunts.

Fortunately, it is only a seasonal addiction, as I only seem to binge watch tv when the weather outside is super cold.  With Spring just around the corner, I find myself being a little more active enjoying the warm weather, defrosting from a long Winter.

However, every month, my parents call me with a list of  “good” tv series they recommend watching on Netflix.  One of those series is,“Brain Games,” with Jason Silva.  To be honest, the way my parents explained it, I thought it was a game show.  Totally pass!  My entire childhood was spent watching Nickelodeon game shows like “Double Dare,” “Legends of the Hidden Temple,” and “Figure It Out.”  So, yeah, I didn’t even bother; but my parents kept asking me if I had watched “Brain Games” yet.  So, this week, I decided to check it out…

Not A Game Show

Okay, “Brain Games” is pretty interesting!  It is not a game show. Image result for Brain Games Netflix There are no contestants, prizes, nor is the host standing behind a podium with a handful of clueless cards.  Nope, “Brain Games” is seriously all about the brain!

This show talks about the fascinating and mysterious inner-workings of the mind.  It is an entertaining and educational series that is both fascinating and interesting with experiments, experts, and fun.  The best part of this show are the interesting games you can play that demonstrate how the mind works!

Ideomotor Effect Episode (No Spoil Alerts)

My favorite episode, so far, is about the Ideomotor Effect, a psychological phenomenon where our body moves unconsciously.  They demonstrated this phenomenon with the Ouija Board.  Basically, a group of volunteers call upon the dead, in which answer through the Ouija Board.  It was clear as day, until the volunteers were asked to call upon the dead again, but this time all the volunteers were blind folded.  The result, a fuzzy connection between the living and the dead.  Communication was not as clear as it was without the blind folds.

Of course, when they were not blind folded, this could easily mean that someone in the group lied and was actually controlling the wood-piece, called a planchette, across the Ouija board to connect with the dead.  However, when everyone in the group is convinced that they did not push the planchette; how do you explain that?

Interestingly, I’ve actually heard of the the Ideomotor Effect from one of my biology classes.  I am pretty sure it was one of my late night classes and I was half asleep, but I do recall such a term.  But, that is just it.  It is simply a term that rings a bell, but with no distinct sound to remind me what in the heck it means.  Well, the way “Brain Games” explains it, is extremely fascinating.  No spoil alerts here, but simply, the Ouija board is just the mind tricking the brain!  In case, you find their explanation a little too hard to believe, they show you how you can see the Ideomotor Effect with your own hands.  CRAZY! 

Like I said, I am not going to spoil it for you!

Personally, I thought the episode was really fascinating; however, I am still not going anywhere near a Ouija Board!

Don’t Have Netflix!

If you don’t have Netflix, no worries!  This tv-series is quite popular; you can find a bunch of their episodes online with YouTube.

Have you seen Brain Games?  What do you think of the series?  What is your favorite episode?

 

Thought Tuesday’s: A Personal Opinion To Last Month’s Thoughts

Last month I pondered on a question… I pondered on this question for awhile.  I read a wide range of articles and blogs, even glanced at a few scientific-journals.  None of which provided a clear precise answer to my question posted last month: Why does mental health seem so secondary to physical health?  

53576329_2048912325215828_7036070975414206464_n
Social-media

So, today, you get an opinion….my opinion.

In my opinion, I think mental health is secondary to physical health for three reasons:

  1. Crappy History
  2. Psychology is Fairly New
  3. Mental Health Stigma

A Little Healthcare History

During the 1800’s, the United States had a poor healthcare system.  Practicing physicians were not licensed, very few were actually formally educated, hospitals were filthy, and medications were nothing more than a dangerous concoction of narcotics and bathroom cleaner.  In fact, dentistry at that time was a little more evolved than the general medical practice.  If you think about it, you gotta have teeth to eat, right?  Anyways, it wasn’t until the early 1900’s, surgeons realized the crazy notion that sterile surgical equipment and better hygiene practices, resulted in better health outcomes for their patients; basically, their patients lived longer.  That was the spark that ignited modern healthcare practices today.  Amazing what washing your hands can do!  Unfortunately, mental healthcare was moving along on its own path…an extremely rough slow path.

What To Do With The Mentally Ill

A little less than 200 years ago, the mentally ill were sent to cruel, immoral asylums where they were locked away and forgotten.  Living conditions were extremely unsanitary and patients were often abused and chained to the wall.  These immoral conditions didn’t begin to improve until the 1830’s and even then, nobody knew what to do with the mentally ill.

When the general-care hospitals were evolving into cleaner facilities and better practices, the immoral asylum practices of isolation and mistreatment of mentally ill patients was eventually deemed unacceptable by society, forcing asylums to improve living conditions and attempt to actually treat the mentally ill; unfortunately, the treatments provided were not scientific.  The behaviors expressed by the mentally ill were largely misunderstood and often considered something evil and unnatural; instead of sick or different.  People often fear what they do not understand. 

Although mental health was a growing concern, there was still very little known about the human mind.  Wilhelm Wundt, the father of psychology, was the first to crack open the mental barrier of the human brain; however, it wouldn’t be for another 50 years before Sigmund Freud developed actual scientific-based treatments for mental health conditions.

Medications to effectively manage mental-health conditions were developed in the mid-1900’s; however, many of them were pretty much bad for ones overall physical health despite their effectiveness on mental health.  During this time, many long-term mental health patients were being deinstitutionalized and forced back into the communities as a moral way to deal with the mentally-ill.  Unfortunately, many still required long-term treatment and care.  It was as if society had good intentions, but still no official game plan to treat the mentally-ill.

Slowly, but surely, mental health clinics, rehabilitation centers, and mental health hospitals were eventually established to effectively treat and morally care for the mentally-ill; however, mental health is still not recognized as importantly as a ticking heart, breathing lungs, and pumping liver.

Recognizing The Connection Between Mind, Body, & Soul

Many different cultures around the world largely accept the important connection between the mind, body, and soul; however, interestingly, such an important concept is not widely practiced in modern day medicine.

When I go for my annual health physical, the only assessment done on my mental health is a 10 question survey asking if I “think” I am depressed.  General physicians do not seem concerned about how depression may affect mood, personal choices (addictions), or that a slight chemical imbalance causing depression might be part of an underlying health disease or illness; instead, their 10 question survey focuses more on suicide prevention.

I found an interesting article last night about mental health history that mentioned the mentally-ill often suffered from underlying diseases rather than true mental health disorders.  A common example is neurosyphilis, in which is a psychotic disorder developed from untreated syphilis.

Today, it is recognized that both mental health practitioners and general health practitioners have to work together to provide quality care to patients with certain mental-health disorders; but I can only imagine this to be a lengthy and expensive process to uncover and treat underlying diseases affecting mental health.  But, before any amount of diagnosing can begin, patients have to feel comfortable enough to seek help in the first place without the fear of being locked up in a padded cell.

Mental Health Stigma

Looking at history, I feel as if the study of psychology is a fairly new science.  From what I gather, society, has just recently (say, last 60 years) begun to really recognize mental-illnesses as health related issues instead of mystifying evil.   Thinking about it, 60 years is not a long time, nor is 200 years since society used to cruelly isolate and mistreat the mentally-ill.  For me, that was only 3 family generations ago, meaning, my grandparents view mental health much differently than I do.

Society probably has mixed views regarding mental health, but those views are nothing compared to the personal views one holds of themself who is struggling to cope with a mental-health disorder.  Nobody wants to be labeled as “abnormal,” “different,” “odd,” or even “broken.”  Nor does anyone, including a general physican, that does not have a psychology degree want to simply imply one may be slightly “broken,“unless a physical bone is protruding out from under the skin.  Personally, I do not even think psychologists and psychiatrists enjoy that part either, despite their fancy degree hanging on their office wall.

My point is, recent negative views on mental health is still lingering and it provides very little encouragement for those in need to seek professional help for mental health disorders.  Furthermore, people trust their general-health practitioners, because doctors have been around much longer than psychologists; and if mental health is not part of “general” health concerns, why worry about it?

The Future of Mental Health

I am optimistic, in that I believe after a few generations, mental health will be considered just as important as physical health.  Through public awareness, further advancement in neuroscience and general pyschology, as well as, positive encouragement, mental health will no longer be second to the heart, lungs, and liver.

Just An Opinion

As I mentioned earlier, this post is a just my personal opinion.  Although I try to formulate opinions based on researched facts, that doesn’t make my opinions right or wrong.  In fact, my opinions are nothing more than random thoughts open for polite discussion.  Please do not take my opinions personal.  You are welcome to disagree, but if you wish to express your disagreement, please do so in a kindly manner for that I personally value and respect different perspectives.  Lastly, please keep in mind that my opinions and the opinions of others have feelings too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Cope With Having A Bad Day

unnamed-2
Marshall to the rescue!

Today, I woke up with the feeling that today is going to be a bad day.  I knew something bad was going to happen, but like most of my so-called morning premonitions, I didn’t know what.

My gut feeling is usually right about something, but it is generally clouded by emotion that makes it difficult to trust.  When my gut feeling and emotions collide with my OCD brain, that catastrophic thinking begins to take full affect and I just want to bunker down in my bed and hide from what “might” be a bad day.

Response is EVERYTHING!

What makes a bad day?  Usually a series of unfortunate events or one single unpleasant event that just puts a person in a bad / negative mood all day.  It may be other things, but personally, that is how I define my bad days.

Bad things unfortuantely happen.  I like to think of it as the Universe’s way of balancing itself.  The good news though, is that we don’t have to let ourselves be affected by it.  It is all in how we respond to things that affect our overall day.

This morning, I woke up expecting something bad was going to happen.  Could it be something catastrophic or just something as little as stepping in gum?   There is no way of telling; so I just have to go with the flow and cope with whatever might happen.

Response is everything!  How we choose to respond to situations, determines how that situation is going to affect our mood for the rest of the day.  One little thing can be the catalyst for bigger things that can just make the day suck.

Creating A Bad Day

I strongly believe that we create our own bad days.  I say this, because I rarely experience a bad day.  I do have bad days, lots of them, but I respond differently to them.

It is so easy to create a bad day.  Generally, it starts with something stressful we are going through in life, something we might not even know is stressing us out.  Maybe being exhausted from working two jobs, family problems, a sucky job with a horrible boss, finances are tight, or maybe, heck, all the above.  Stress can trigger bad days.  Often times, I don’t realize just how stressed out I am until I take it out of someone or something; and that is the starting catalyst to a bad day.

Have you ever woke up feeling good and looking forward to a great day, but later, you come home exhausted after having the worst day of your life?   Yeah, me too.  My bad work days used to begin with something simple.

Like having to wear something ridiculous, because I ran out of clothes before laundry day.  An embarrassing run in my pantyhose that I don’t realize until I get to work.  Coffee machine is not working.  A dork cuts me off in the parking lot.  My boss leaves me a mysterious angry-sounding message on my voicemail.  All these little things can trigger a bad day; however, if you respond to them in a positive way, your day will likely get better.

Tackling A Bad Day

I start with acceptance.  (If you haven’t noticed, I am all about the art of acceptance.)  That is because acceptance is a powerful tool, as long as you don’t think of it as being defeated.  Instead, think of acceptance as being the bigger person and moving on.

When my day starts out crappy, I accept it.  I often say to myself, “So, this is how it is going to be..  Well, okay then!   I guess 1 bad day out 364 good days is just inevitable.” Because it’s true!  Looking at my life, I rarely experience a bad day, but I know balance requires me to experience a couple bad days here and there.

However, I can tell you that streaks of bad days mean something is absolutely wrong and  something in life must be immediately addressed and resolved.  Or wear black socks, my family believes wearing black socks is the key to ending all bad days.  Does it work?  I don’t know, I haven’t tried it yet.  But, I do know it never hurts to try, especially, if you are already having a bad day.

For the little things, we can leave the black socks in the sock drawer.  The important thing is to react positive to bad things.  For example, let’s talk about those bad things that used to trigger a bad work day for me and how to look on the bright side.

  • The ridiculous wardrobe:  Look, I am not alone in the world procrastinating laundry day.  I am also not much of a fashionista, so my wardrobe is kind of limited.  But I do own a few things in my closet that I hate to wear and only wear if necessary.  BUT, I have to remember, at one time I must have liked it; otherwise, I wouldn’t have bought it.  Also, its just one day I have to wear it and I will do laundry as soon as I get home after work (Lesson learned!).  I can always cover it up by wearing a jacket or sweater (luckily every office I ever worked in feels like the Arctic).  Furthermore, this may be a little over optimistic, but maybe I will set a new trend in the fashion world.   It’s just for 8 hours.  I will be fine.
  • Embarrassing run in pantyhose:  A former boss of mine once told me not to sweat the small stuff while tossing a small bottle of clear nail polish at me.  Clear nail polish stops pantyhose runs from getting worse.  She advised me that if pantyhose were part of my wardrobe, it would be wise to keep a bottle of clear nail polish in my purse.  I obviously did one better and never wore dresses to the office again, but it’s still solid advice to pass on to others.  Anyways, the point is, women get it.  If you have a run in her pantyhose, don’t worry.  If you address it to your boss, they will most likely allow you to make a quick run to the store or just let you bend the dress code for a day and ditch the panty hose for a couple of hours (especially, if it happens towards the end of the day).  There is no need to get upset over the things you cannot control and others will often understand.
  • Coffee Machine isn’t working:  Nothing more ruins my day than a day without coffee!  These are the days I focus more on the clock rather than my work; counting down to lunch time when I can get coffee.  But, this distraction can cause me to make mistakes in my work or fall behind, creating a bad day for myself.  So, best to let it go.  Get a soda from the vending machine or grab something on break (if allowed).  It isn’t the end of the world and you may find, you are just as strong without it.
  • Road Rage:  I do not understand drivers who cut people off and then flip them off, as if the person they cut off were in the wrong.  Blows my mind.  I can let it go, because I can quickly recognize that person is obviously having a worse day than me.  But, I know some people who would take that personally.  They wouldn’t be upset that a 1 ton vehicle cut them off, but more so that the driver of that vehicle flipped them off.  This is how one creates a bad day, because I know some people who would just dwell on this incident all day, causing them to make mistakes and experience an overall bad day for themselves.  It’s best to just let it go.  Of course, drivers shouldn’t cut off other drivers or flip off people they truly do not know, but this is how bad days spread.  By reacting to another’s person’s bad day, can cause you to have a bad day too.
  • Angry Voicemails:  It’s one thing to receive a voicemail from an angry client who is upset at the world, but one from your boss is the worst!  But don’t sweat the small stuff, remember?  I learned along time ago, bosses are stressed.  Every single one of them, no exceptions.  Some might lead you to think they are not stressed, but I guarantee they are just handling stress in a different way.  I have worked with a few bosses/supervisors who were just quiet when they were experiencing a stressful day, but I have also had the pleasure (sarcasm) of working with bosses/supervisors who just tore the heads off of anyone who were within several feet of them.  I cannot tell you how many times I have received an angry vauge voicemail from a boss.  I walk into their office wondering if I am going to get fired or something, but turns out my boss was just upset over something that had nothing to do with me.  If I had taken their rude voicemail personally, it would have ruined my entire day.  Instead, its just another person having a bad day and if I react negatively to their bad day, I will end up having a bad day too.

Quick Recap

  1. Bad days are contagious.   Some people with bad days want other people to have bad days too.  They want others to feel the way they feel to make themselves feel better.  But, there are those who don’t know their bad day is affecting others.
  2. Don’t take it personal:  Do not take it personal when you walk into a person’s bad day.  Be kind, understanding, and let it go as soon as you move on.
  3. Accept bad days:  Sometimes bad days are inevitable and bad things happen.  It is like a natural balance of things, so it is best to not respond to things we cannot control.
  4. It is okay to feel:  It’s okay to feel sad, angry, or frustrated; just don’t let it ruin an entire day.  Learn to let go of the little things and try not to dwell too much on the big things.
  5. Look on the bright side:  I am a strong believer that there is a bright side to everything; it just requires a bit of creative thinking.

Bad Things Can Teach Good Lessons

unnamed-3We can’t prevent all bad things from happening, but we can certainly prevent ourselves from having a bad day by better responding to bad things that do happen.

This morning, my youngest got onto the counter, grabbed her sister’s morning drink and poured it out onto the counter.  No big deal, right?

Well, unfortunately, it is very upsetting for several different reasons:

  1. It is wasteful.  Even if Marshall, the Paw Patrol toy had a good time, it is still wasteful.   
  2. It was a Pedisure Gain and Grow milk-drink for my oldest who needs the extra calories and nutrients.
  3. Pedisure is not cheap, a 6 pack costs nearly $12.  That is $2 per 8oz bottle.  Totally not cheap at all. 
  4. A septic tank smells better than dried Pedisure milk.  So gross!

So, how does that saying go?  “Don’t cry over spilled milk.”  Exactly!  Sure, it’s an expensive waste.  Sure, I probably could have done something to prevent it.  But, it happened and it is now done and over with.  I refuse to let this small thing ruin my entire day by putting me in a bad mood.

This means that I have to let it go by calmly recognizing that such an incident sucks.  I will not get upset, otherwise my girls will get upset and that might put them in a bad mood all day too, creating a bad day for everyone!

Instead, I explain to them that it is a waste and have them both clean it up.  This way, if they spill anything again, they will continue to tell me about it, because they will not be afraid of getting into trouble.  If I yell at them and clean it up myself, it might teach my kids to lie about messes and expect me to clean up their own messes.  If I blame them, they will think it is okay to blame others.  Remaining calm teaches them to remain calm, admit when they are wrong, and take self-responsibility.  In short, there are good lessons that can come out of bad things that happen.

Take Control Of Your Bad Day

Remember that you can prevent a bad day from happening by better responding to the bad things that happen during the day.  It isn’t always going to be easy.  Bad days are inevitable, but it’s up to you on how that bad day affects you.  Also, you can always wear a pair of black socks to help fight against a bad day or two.  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Let Your Mental Health Disorder Stop You From Achieving Greatness: U.S. President’s

Behind every historical event, I am pretty sure there was that one man (or woman) who expressed an irrational idea and had at least one close acquaintance ask, “Have you gone absolutely mad?

In my opinion, I cannot imagine our country, or any country for that matter, having been formed from sound, rational, minds.  Mental health not only impacts the lives of an individual, but can also impact the lives of those around them.  Thus, it is understandable to expect our world leaders to have a sound, clear, state of mind when in the position of running an entire country; but do they?  I mean, running an entire country is stressful work and after all, they are just as human as us.  Turns out, an interesting study conducted in 2006 by Jonathan Davidson from Duke University Medical Center and his team of researchers discovered that nearly half of our U.S. Presidents had a mental health disorder.

president-free-clipart-1-2Today, the United States celebrates President’s Day, in honor of all the U.S. President’s and of course the 287th birthday of the first U. S. President, George Washington.  I came across this article from Psychology Today called, Study: Half of All Presidents Suffered from Mental Illness, by Guy Winch Ph.D. in 2016, talking about Jonathan Davidson’s 2006 study.  I found it very interesting, but more importantly, absolutely motivating to those suffering from mental health disorders today!

According to Guy Winch Ph. D., Davidson and his team studied the first 37 Presidents and discovered that nearly half of them displayed some sort of mental health disorder.  Interestingly, the study concluded that 27% of these U.S. Presidents were suffering a mental health disorder while in office.  Nearly a quarter of those with a mental health disorder, suffered depression.  Other disorders included a variety of different anxiety disorders, bi-polar disorder, and even alcohol abuse (Winch Ph. D.).

Positive Motivation

Living with Pure “O” Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, I have had my doubts about achieving greatness with a mental health disorder.  There have been many times I was convinced that my OCD was going to keep me from doing the things that I love!  Today, I learned that the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln, suffered from Depression!  A great man who played a key role in abolishing slavery in the United States had to deal with the stress of the Civil War and Depression!  Now, that is inspirational!

According to Winch Ph. D., Davidson’s study revealed that 8% of the Presidents with mental health disorders suffered from a variety of different anxiety disorders.  Having an anxiety disorder myself (OCD), I now feel like skies the limit!  If past U.S. Presidents can take on the stressful work of running a country while coping with their own mental health problems, then the only thing holding me back from doing amazing things is me, not my OCD.

To me, this study reveals that not all mental health disorders are as debilitating as they are often made out to be.  Yes, mental health disorders can have debilitating effects, but I believe this study on U.S. Presidents with mental health disorders proves that an individual has more power than they think over their mental health disorder.  I am confident these great men had struggles, but perhaps those struggles with mental health contributed to their road to greatness.

Anyone with a mental health disorder has the potential to achieve greatness!  Whether it is conquering the world or just getting up in the morning to go to work.  Mental health disorders are everywhere and it isn’t a bad thing.  Having a brain slightly wired differently, may be challenging, but I believe it can lead to some amazing things.

Happy President’s Day! 

 

Citations

Davidson, J. R., Connor, K. M., & Swartz, M. (2019, February 18). Mental illness in U.S. Presidents between 1776 and 1974: A review of biographical sources. Retrieved February 18, 2019, from https://www.pubfacts.com/detail/16462555/Mental-illness-in-US-Presidents-between-1776-and-1974-a-review-of-biographical-sources

Winch Ph. D., G. (2016, February 2). Study: Half of All Presidents Suffered from Mental    Illness. Retrieved February 18, 2019, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-squeaky-wheel/201602/study-half-all-presidents-suffered-mental-illness