diary · Inspiring People · Review

The Outer Worlds And Asexuality

Lately, I have noticed that representation of different cultures, orientations, etc have become more prominent in the media. In my opinion there is still much stereotyping going on, however; it’s good to see that wider representation is happening. This brings me to the topic of this post. Recently, I have been playing the video game, The Outer Worlds and I was taken aback by the asexual character that was presented. For those who don’t know, asexuality is an orientation in which an individual lacks sexual attraction to anyone. That’s the definition in its purest form and by no means excludes people who don’t have sexual attraction, yet still have romantic attraction or sleep with their partners. I have been asexual for as long as I can remember, all those natural instincts never clicked. The Outer Worlds portrayed my situation perfectly. First I want to explain a bit about what the game is about and then delve into the character which changed the game for me.

The Outer Worlds is a role playing game set in a colony in another star system. This colony is poorly run by a cooperation and you are tasked with saving the colony before its demise. Not only does this game have an asexual character, it also explores social hierarchy and the power of cooperations. The social commentary present in this game is incredibly in your face and it really allows you to reflect, drawing comparisons. In saying this, I shouldn’t have been surprised when I discovered the level of depth they gave Parvati (the asexual character). The writers never failed to show the anxiety that had arisen due to her sexuality.

During the game, Parvati meets someone she idolises and they start hitting it off. When I went to interact with her, I could feel her anxiety. She confided in me about how she has was never into ‘physical stuff’ and worried that her romantic interest wouldn’t accept her. And to personalise your gameplay and story even more, the writers added an option where you can admit that you weren’t into physical stuff either. Parvati looked completely surprised. For me, it captures the anxiety with meeting potential romantic partners and even the shock of finding someone like you to a tea. When you meet someone you like, anxiety takes hold, some might argue even more so if you’re asexual. Countless times I have worried, ‘what if they only want one thing?’ and it stop you from pursuing relationships. It’s also amazing that they didn’t make her an aromantic (someone who doesn’t experience romantic attraction) asexual. I’ve found when people find out someone is asexual there’s a lot of ‘so you don’t want to date anyone’, so it’s good to get a wide variety of asexual representation out there. Every asexual is different.

On quick side note, I also like how she wasn’t labelled as asexual within the game, which I know might sound a little strange. For me, it’s normal, it doesn’t need a label. Yes, a label can help us understand what we experiencing, though I’ve always let it create anxiety about how different I am. Labels help some and don’t help others, it’s a matter of preference.

Thanks for reading everyone! Let me know what you think about representation in the media today. Is it getting better? or is it full of stereotyping?

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Inspiring People

Developing Habits

Developing healthy habits can be difficult task that requires a lot of self-discipline. Throughout January, I set about fulfilling one of my New Years Resolutions, which was to read on a daily basis. I managed to succeed through determination, however; there were some things I did to ensure I was developing the habit successfully. Now, I am two months into the year and have read three books already, this is significantly higher than my previous one book a year.

The Importance Of Having A Habit

A habit is something you do that you enjoy, or something that will allow you to have a happier and more positive life. Incorporating them into your everyday life has numerous benefits for your mental health, as it leaves you feeling fulfilled. Some habits make life easier for you, whereas others allow you to escape the stress of life. Either way, its incredibly important for keeping our mental health stable.

Tips For Habit Forming:

  • Pick a habit you actually want to learn. I know at times I have wanted to develop a habit because I thought I needed to. If you don’t want to do it, you won’t be determined.
  • Create a time of day you always do the habit you want to form. Having a set time helps significantly as it incorporates the habit into your everyday routine, showing you it’s doable to do on a daily basis.
  • Track every time you do the habit. Creating a tracker can be incredibly satisfying and it allows you to see your progress, motivating you to continue.
  • Don’t beat yourself up if you skip a day. We all have days where we don’t follow our normal routine and its fine.
  • If you don’t enjoy it once you’ve started it, don’t force yourself to do it as you will be miserable doing it and it will become a chore.

Some Habit Ideas:

  • Reading books or magazines.
  • Drinking a cup of tea before bed.
  • Exercising in the morning before work.
  • Journaling.
  • Writing poems/stories/novel.
  • Go for a walk.

There are numerous habits to develop and it’s up to you to decide which one will have a positive influence on your mental health.

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Inspiring People

Getting Through A Panic Attack

Your heart is beating out of its chest and you gasp for air, failing every time – this is a panic attack and it’s a terrifying experience. They are often incredibly difficult to overcome, especially if you don’t have the right techniques. In this post, I want to shine light on some of the reasons why we have panic attacks and methods to get one out of an attack.

Why Do Panic Attacks Occur?

Sometimes it’s during an experience, thinking about a traumatising situation or encountering something that makes you relive the trauma that causes us to panic. There are numerous different triggers for panic attacks and it can be quite difficult to pinpoint the exact situation that has triggered you. None the less, the current situation causes us to have immense fear which results in panic.

This panic we experience is as a result of the fight or flight response. Like when we would encounter a dangerous situation in the past, say a dangerous animal trying to eat us, we would either prepare to fight or flight. Most of the time we would instinctively flight, which involved involuntary responses, such as; fast heart rate and heavy breathing. It prepares us for a life threatening situation.

More often than not, with anxiety and stress, our brain can take these situations as being detrimental to our wellbeing. This in turn, triggers the flight response and we panic.

How to Overcome the Panic?

In order to conquer a panic attack, the key is distraction. Find anything you can do that will keep your mind actively involved. Much of the panic stems from thinking and if you distract your mind, these thoughts are able to leave for long enough to stop an attack. In saying this, different things work for everyone. I personally, list 5 things I can see, hear and touch in order to prevent one when I feel it coming on. If one does come I tend to play a game or scroll reddit to have some sort of active involvement in an activity by my brain. It’s very important to try different things and find out what works best for you, especially if panic attacks are a recurring thing. Some things to try to in order to get out of an attack include:

  • Listing 5 things you can see, hear and touch.
  • Read something informative, this often distracts us as we are focusing. Especially if it’s something that is explaining how to do a task.
  • Say encouraging phrases, such as; ‘you are okay’ or ‘you will get through this’. It is also thought that using ‘you’ instead of ‘I’ helps.
  • Watch something you know will distract you.
  • Bake or cook by following a recipe. I often do this to distract myself at times. It has a calming effect.

Thanks for reading everyone! Panic attacks can be incredibly scary and hard to break out of so I wanted to share how I was able control them. In the end, I found it was understanding the cause of them, along with distracting my mind when negative thoughts appeared.

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diary · Inspiring People

Creativity And Mental health

Life can be quite stressful at times, and often we bottle up our feelings. As we keep in our feelings more and more, it becomes even more unhealthy and can give rise to outbursts of emotion. A way to combat this is through having a creative outlet.

What is a Creative Outlet?

A creative outlet is basically something creative that you do to portray your emotions. It can range from drawing to writing a blog. It also doesn’t have to be singled down to one hobby. I personally enjoy writing stories, blogs and poetry, as well as digital art. It just has to be something that allows you to express yourself.

Why Is It Important?

Having a means to express your creativity is extremely beneficial for your mental health. It enables you to focus all your creativity and emotions on a specific task. The importance of aiming your emotions at one activity allows one to have an effective outlet, as opposed to keeping them in and doing nothing with them. If we don’t allow them to flow, our emotions tend to come out eventually in an unhealthy way. Drawing, writing or other hobbies allow us to reflect and explore the reasons we are feeling a certain way without discussing our issues with others. Opening up to friends isn’t a bad thing to do, however; sometimes we really need to listen to ourselves.

Taking the time to think and analyse your emotions allows one to understand themselves to a higher degree. It’s essential to reflect without the influence of others. Often we go to other people to understand our own emotions and give us advice. If we constantly let opinions and judgements bombard us, we start to lose sight of ourselves, therefore; it is up to us to obtain that understanding of our own emotions.

Creative Outlet Ideas

  • Journaling – this helps us think clearer, although it is quite hard to do because directly writing our emotions can be daunting.
  • Writing poetry or short stories – I see this as a way to mask ones emotions. Say you’re experiencing extreme heart ache because of a situation, you have the power to put creativity into that emotion and express it in fictional way. This is my personal preference over journaling.
  • Drawing – sometimes scribbling helps, sometimes delving deep into a picture does. As long as you get those emotions out.
  • Creating YouTube videos – some people like to use their experiences to create media. I haven’t personally done this, however it’s an outlet.
  • Making a game – games are just writing and drawing combined which seems amazing. Of course, there is coding and the hard computer aspects, none the less it is a great way to channel emotions and creativity.
  • Cooking or baking – make up your own recipes, decorate a cake, it helps to just do something fun and creative.

Thanks for reading everyone! I only this year learned how to channel my emotions into creativity and its working thus far.

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diary · Inspiring People

The Importance of Self-Care

Hi Everyone! In this post I am going to discuss self-care and why it’s a necessary for one’s mental well-being. At times when I have felt quite down and lacked confidence, I found that had to do a lot with the fact that I had stopped making time for myself.

What is Self-care?

Self-care is an activity that we do to take care of our mental or emotional state. It can range from partaking in your skin care routine to taking a long bath, or even playing video games. Basically something you do to make yourself feel better.

Why is it Necessary?

Often our day to day lives are filled with stress and anxiety because of work or other factors. Practising self-care helps to combat the toll that our daily lives takes on our mental health. Some benefits that self-care has shown, include; greater capacity to manage stress, increased resilience and reduced mental health problem symptoms.

As someone who was incredibly burnt out last year, I always delayed doing activities to take care of myself. I would often find myself saying, ‘I’ll do it when my semester is finished’. At the end of the day, I got even more burnt out and my performance dropped. Self-care should be implemented on a daily basis as we all need a break.

Some Self-Care Ideas:

  • Light some candles, even the smallest tasks can be therapeutic. Create a calm atmosphere to enjoy especially if the environment you live in is quite stressful.
  • Put a face mask on. I always joke that face masks wash away all my insecurities and they do in a therapeutic sense. If I feel like I am having a bad skin day, I put on a mask and my skin feels better.
  • Eat some chocolate. Don’t eat your feelings away, just indulge in some comfort food sometimes, its like a reward for your work.
  • Play some video games or read a book. I do this for escapism and well there’s nothing wrong with wanting to escape at times. Take yourself to another world and have an adventure.

There’s so much you can do to feel good and, more often than not, its the simple things that help the most. I challenge you all to try an implement some self care at least once a day. Just do something that genuinely feels good because it’s incredibly easy to absent mindedly watch television while scrolling on your phone.

Thanks for reading everyone!

diary · Inspiring People

Organising My Life

Hi everyone,

It’s 3am and I have realised I have been in rut for the past two weeks. All I do lately is play video games and I don’t think that’s healthy. Now at 3am, for some reason I have decided it would be the best time to organise everything so I can be as mentally prepared for productiveness tomorrow. So, how am I going to organise everything? How am I going to get into a productive mindset?

Writing Down A To Do List For Tomorrow

I created a bullet journal and it is being used very poorly at the moment. I am basically going to plan out all my tasks the day before and leave the bullet journal open in plain view so I do not ignore it. I find if things are directly in front of me I will just ignore them, therefore; it is going on my desk where I first sit in the morning.

Developing A Morning Routine

My morning routines are non-existent and I wake up at like 1pm these days, since I haven’t started uni again. So, my morning routine or should I say wake up routine is poor. Basically I am going to put the tasks I want to get out of the way in the morning such as, workouts and reading. From there I will march over to my desk and not play videogames.

‘How are you going to maintain this morning routine?’ I hear the voice inside my head asking me. Well, I tried downloading the app Fabulous but it wanted me to pay and I like motivational messages as much as the next person but I’m not paying $64 a year. I could use my bullet journal, though I need something to bombard me with notifications so I actually do my morning routine. After searching for that perfect app, I found ShineDay which is half in Chinese but it looks really cute and that’s what matters. One of the pre selected habits was ‘take an egg’ and I have no idea what that means but I love it. Eggs are now part of my morning routine.

I am not sure how effective habit tracking will be as I tend to give up on it. I am however, optimistic because the tasks I set don’t stray too far from activities I do during the day.

Timing My Tasks

Instead of writing what I need to do, I am going to spend say an hour on a certain task. That way I don’t feel like I am taking on too much work. I do have quite a lot of tasks I want to complete which makes me feel overwhelmed and then I just procrastinate. So, if you’re like me and easily procrastinate, I recommend doing this. After completing all my tasks, then allow yourself leisure time. The app I use to time my tasks is called Tree and it allows you to plant a virtual tree for every hour you focus, its great.

Thanks for reading everyone! I hope some of you can resonate with my experience of being in a rut. I personally find these methods work for me, hopefully they can work for you too!

Inspiring People

Taking Youself on a Date

In this post I wanted to explore the idea of dating yourself. It’s often an idea that a lot of people don’t experience due to fear and anxiety of going out and doing things alone.

So, What is it Exactly?

Dating yourself is as basic as it sounds, you take yourself out for a good time. Alone. Which I personally find is a difficult task because eating and seeing a movie by yourself can induce quite a lot of anxiety. Some might think it’s just for single people who are lonely. Though even those in a relationship can do it. Sometimes people in relationships find it hard to do things alone because they’re so comfortable with their other half. Taking yourself out is just something everyone should do at some point, be it going to the cinemas or going shopping. It really allows you to reflect and discover your own interests as opposed to adopting another’s.

Why Do We Get Anxiety When We Are Alone?

Just imagine you’re having a meal alone or even taking a walk alone and this anxiety overwhelms you that everyone is judging. But why are humans like this? Because we crave social attention and need to have a sense of value. Being alone makes people feel less valuable. We as human beings desire value because it’s instinct. Our value means we are doing our part in society and thus enabling the survival of our species. It doesn’t really matter anymore, there are billions of people so live your life.

What’s the Point Though?

Have you ever wanted to go do something but we’re afraid too because no one wanted to go with you? It’s incredibly freeing to work up the courage to do something by yourself and it’s also beneficial for your mental state. At times we often rely on others and it can cause us to lose sight of ourselves. Taking some time alone helps to combat our reliance on others to feel good. Solitude isn’t a bad thing and it really helps you to discover who you are when you’re lost. It’s only when you’re completely alone that you can find yourself because you don’t have opinions and judgments on things bombarding you.

Tips For Reducing That Fear

  • Take baby steps and do the small things alone.
  • Slowly work your way up to bigger things, such as; seeing a movie. It’s dark so no one will notice and if they do then it’s none of their business.
  • Only when you feel ready, dine alone or anything similar. You need to make sure you feel comfortable enough.

I personally have trouble doing things alone and this year I’m learning to do more self care. Because self care really does help with my mental health. So, I hope to take myself out for food or to the city, to have fun and enjoy myself.

Thanks for reading everyone!

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diary · Inspiring People

4 Lessons Learned at University

University can be a fantastic experience that enables you to meet new friends, explore your character and open you up to a number of opportunities. However, University has downsides as well that you need to experience to allow yourself to grow an develop. Here is a list of the some of the lessons that I’ve learned throughout my years studying, I hope others can draw parallels with their own experiences.

Grades Aren’t Everything

Everyone gets a grade they aren’t satisfied with. An idea that took me a while to realise is that people tend to not fulfil their potential at times because it’s hard to manage study, a job, hobbies and mental health. It’s incredibly difficult to get your desired grades on top of all those responsibilities and obtaining less doesn’t make you a failure. You were able achieve your best at that moment in time, you still worked hard regardless and you should be proud of that.

Even if you fail, or barely pass there are always alternative paths to your career options. Sometimes you just need to take the longer path and that’s okay because if you really want to get somewhere you will.

There’s Opportunities Everywhere

One door closes and another will open. Sometimes you won’t get that internship and that’s okay because another opportunity will come along. It may take time but most of the time, something better will come along.

You’re Not Going to Automatically Find Your Calling

I went into University thinking I’m going to love my course and find my calling. That didn’t happen. The work load at University was intense and then I had practicals as well, I didn’t enjoy studying science (which I love). What really keeps you going though is the end goal. As long as you remember what made you choose that career path you will be motivated to keep going. Although in saying that, do work experience in your field and find out if its truely a career you think you’ll enjoy on a daily basis. Explore other options as well because you never know where you passions entirely lie.

Making Friends May Be Difficult

Sometimes you make a friend in a class, then you don’t see them for a month. University works in strange ways. One of the things I was really excited about before starting University was making really good friends. That didn’t happen until the middle of second year. I’m not saying that you won’t, but it may take time. Add people on facebook, make friends with your project group because you never know where it will lead.

Thanks for reading everyone! I hope these lessons can resonate with others, as well as help new University students.

diary · Inspiring People

On Revenge

It can be incredibly easy to desire revenge and even act it out in a fit of anger. It can also be fulfilling to see someone get what they deserve. However, is it worth it in the end?

To understand revenge we need to step back and look at evolution. Evolutionary psychologists theorise that revenge developed through natural selection in order to retaliate against an exploiter when injustice has occurred. In my personal opinion, this makes a lot of sense as humanity often relies on social bonds for survival. Basically, if an individual survives it benefits the species as that individual is able to produce viable offspring. A social behaviour that comes to mind when exploring the idea of revenge and survival is reciprocal altruism. This terms refers to an individual temporarily reduces its fitness (ability to survive in an environment) to increase another organisms, with the expectation that the other organism will do the same. Forming these social groups can aid a persons survival until they can reproduce. So, where does revenge come into this? Revenge paves way for justice in people who go against reciprocal altruism.

As humans we would band together in social groups for survival. Taking advantage of others opposes altruism because it’s for ones own gain and doesn’t benefit the group. Revenge in a sense can be viewed as an example of altruism. It’s taking a person who would rather further their own fitness and reducing them down to someone who can no longer be socially accepted (sometimes). Someone who cannot be part of the group becomes someone whose fitness is reduced in the long run. Now, we have an understanding of why revenge behaviours take place and why it was sometimes necessary in the past, what about the present?

Humans no longer need to survive as a species in a sense, of course there are people who are still trying to drastically survive even today, however; what about a situation where you’ve come up with an idea and it gets stolen? Yes, that would completely suck, though what do you do then? Is it ethical in today’s society? Is beneficial and healthy to do?

Ethics would say no. Desire for revenge is often motivated by spite, anger and ego which can be quite toxic for a person. In the end it can create even more suffering at times. Personally, I want to enact revenge at times but I know I’ll feel worse about it than the situation that caused my desire. I guess it’s really up to where a persons morals stand, if they are at the capacity to then it’s their decision. Sometimes though, the best revenge can be showing how much you grew and were able to achieve your goal regardless. Either way, it’s 2020 and as my sister said ‘we’re over taking people’s shit’.

Thanks for reading everyone! I really wanted to explore a normal human emotion that everyone experiences because it’s really hard to overcome that desire at times.

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diary · Inspiring People

Mental Health Progress Isn’t Linear

A lot of people suffer from mental health issues. I for one, have dealt with anxiety and depression. While I’m in a much better place than I was, there are times where I recollect and have intense anxiety due to recent events. One idea that needs to mentally rehearsed is that mental health progress isn’t linear. We will go through periods of happiness and self-confidence and then we will plummet into old thoughts. Even though we fall we always get back up.

Why Do We Return to Negatvitiy?

Bad things will happen and sometimes they bring back the negativity and the feelings we had only just escaped. What we don’t do though is give in to these thoughts and I know that’s difficult. If we give in, the pessimism will return and we could possibly fall back into old ways.

How Do We Escape the Returning Thoughts?

Have a half an hour or an hour feeling like complete shit, then get back up, feel yourself again and remember it’s 2020 and it’s time to transform into a better you. If you want to cry, scream or whatever, do what you need to in order to get back on track. Take the time to stop what you were doing and do what you enjoy. Watch YouTube, Netflix or listen to music. Do whatever you have to in order to take your mind off the negativity. Eventually you will feel better and can go about your day. It’s okay to take time for your mental health.

Thoughts on Linear Progress

You don’t wake up one day and suddenly feel confident and comfortable with yourself. It takes time and a lot of set backs to reach that point. Though at the end of the day, preventing yourself from spiraling into bad thoughts and feelings, you can really open yourself up to a better you. So, don’t think that a step back is a bad thing. Slowly it takes less effort to feel better and eventually, you feel like yourself.

Some Media that Comment Well on Mental Health

Music:

Kesha – Kesha has recently gone through a lot of mental trauma and her more recently music really demonstrates that battle with mental health. Some notable songs include; Learn To Let Go, My Own Dance, Raising Hell, Rainbow and Praying.

The Anxiety Anthem – This song by Mabel expressed how it’s okay not to be okay, explaining how we have moments where we feel like shit, however; we get back up. I used to listen to this song a lot when I was suffering from panic attacks on a daily basis.

Shows/Movies:

Disney movies – They are aimed at children and have fantastic messages at times. Especially Frozen 2 and Moana comment really well on mental health. I recommend watching them as it really helped me in dark times.

Black Mirror – This show comments very well on society and can be quite helpful in letting you understand the issues that aren’t your fault. I don’t have any specific ones because I find the messages in most episodes are amazing.

Thanks for reading everyone!

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