Hello, all! For today’s Motivation Monday post, I decided to share a list of simple ways to motivate yourself this week! A lot of the time, getting started on a task is the hardest part. Try implementing a few of these lifestyle tips this week and see what works for you! We can never stop improving ourselves. Wishing you all a happy, healthy, and productive week!
Teresa Gleason is a fitness instructor and mental health advocate based in New Jersey. She is known in her community for leaving encouraging and motivational signs in front of her house. Join Tangible Movement in discovering Gleason’s story.
1. What are your personal experiences with mental illness?
I always was an active, athletic, and relatively healthy kid. I started noticing something off back in middle school where I'd get bouts of sadness for "no reason." More than just the average blahs. Fast forward to the end of high school I fell into the poor body image trap and developed an eating disorder (bulimia) that lasted 7 years. Also, chronic fatigue would come and go more so in my 20s.
2. What are your coping mechanisms?
Back then I felt like I tried everything to cope! And although what I tried may not have worked every time it was worth it to give it a shot. I remember I made myself a jar with "things to do instead of bingeing." I wrote things on a piece of paper like "take a walk, call a friend, do a craft.." It sounds a little silly now but it came in handy once in a while. Also, a lot of therapy - I was lucky enough to have a fantastic therapist in my life during my struggle. I also attended group sessions in which it was super helpful to be with others with similar struggles. I even found an online support group. Other than that a lot of family support and self talk!!
3. Do you take medication and/or are you in therapy?
I LOVE this question! So I used to take medications prescribed by doctors who would just hear about 10 minutes of my symptoms and decided medication was the way to go. I complied thinking that was the best option. Fast forward to NOW, I've changed to a whole food plant based diet and I feel like I have pretty much cured a lot of things I used to be put on medication for.. depression, excessive fatigue, and anxiety around food. Learning that food is medicine and giving it a try has truly changed my life.
4. What advice would you give a person struggling with the same mental illness(es) that you have?
I would one thousand million billion percent recommend adopting a plant based diet. It may not "cure" everything and there's no shame being on medication when truly needed but I feel it's the least we can do to allow our body and minds to be the healthiest they can possibly be. We can't control external and environmental factors for the most part but we can control what's on the end of our fork. And those daily decisions can make a world of difference! Also, exercise! Aerobic exercise in particular. Food and movement is medicine!
It's important to mention I overcame my eating disorder about 5/6 years ago (before I transitioned to a plant based diet) and actually eating junk food in moderation was truly an accomplishment! I joined a sports league so I started exercising more for fun rather than to burn calories. Although my distorted eating behaviors finally stopped and I was exercising more something was still off - still feeling depressed and tired all the time. It wasn't until I truly adopted a plant based diet did I feel like a new person!
5. What do you hope to achieve by posting positive signs on your lawn?
I truly hope to just brighten someone’s day or give them the "sign" they were looking for! I'm a believer in "signs." I never know who's going to see what quote so I leave it up to the universe to have the right person see the right quote at the right time!
6. What do you believe is the correlation between mental health and physical activity?
Physical activity has a HUGE impact on mental health. And it's not only my belief. Studies show (links at the bottom) aerobic exercise interventions found comparable to antidepressant medication in the treatment of patients with major depressive disorder. I know exercising is the last thing I want to do when I'm feeling depressed but incorporating it on a regular basis can truly change your life! I always thought, how cool would it be if a patient walked on a treadmill or rode a stationary bike during a therapy session?? Not such a crazy idea! Also, it's the reason I am a group fitness instructor. Sometimes when we don't want to exercise getting a little positive peer pressure from others to show up can make a huge difference! https://nutritionfacts.org/video/exercise-vs-drugs-for-depression/
7. Can you give us an example of one of your favorite workouts?
Anything in a group! Groups always add a little extra motivation and fun! I love getting creative and using my own body while incorporating something like a set of stairs or a picnic table or a watermelon! (Check out my watermelon workout on my YouTube page! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHCpjNc9lMU&t=334s )
8. Do you have any favorite healthy meals or snacks that you would like to share with us?
Although I am MUCH better now I'm still a pretty lousy cook :) So I love easy recipes like smoothies, chilis, and soups packed with veggies! Here's one of my favorite smoothies: https://minimalistbaker.com/carrot-ginger-turmeric-smoothie/ Also, my favorite cookbook is "How Not To Die Cookbook" By Dr. Michael Greger.
9. Why did you chose to dedicate your professional life to physical health?
I've seen the negative impact of not getting enough exercise or enough physical activity had on my own mental health and I've then seen the positive impact incorporating it does! I've also experienced the negative impact of thinking exercise is just used to lose weight and be thin. When I finally switched my reasons why I move it was a whole new ballgame and I want to share that with everyone and anyone! I heard a quote somewhere that I absolutely love- "Exercise should be a celebration of what your body can do. NOT a punishment for what your ate."
10. Is there anything else about yourself, your story, or mental health that you would like to share with us?
Another big event in my life that pushed me to seek a healthier life was losing my father to cancer. It was pretty traumatic to see someone so strong and healthy get taken down by a disease so quickly. I truly wish I knew then that I know now about the power of food and movement as medicine. It might have made a difference, it might not have. The more I learn about what incorporating a plant based diet can do for the health of our minds and our bodies (and our earth) the more I'm making it my mission to spread this information.
I reference a plant based diet a few times in my answers. Basically meaning focusing on consuming whole plant foods - fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts and seeds while avoiding/limiting as much as possible meat, dairy, oil, and refined sugar.
Want more Gleason? Check out her YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTRBz1dsvymCmj-2mM8W7RQ), her Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/exerciseoutsidethebox/), or her website (http://www.exerciseoutsidethebox.com/).
By: Jessica Hutt
Giving Tuesday is a global movement for giving and volunteering that takes place each year after Black Friday. The “opening day of the giving season,” it is a time when charities, companies and individuals join together and rally for their favourite causes. Giving Tuesday harnesses the potential of social media and the generosity of people around the world to bring about real change in their communities. We hope that you will consider donating to Tangible Movement on Giving Tuesday and do your part in erasing the stigma surrounding mental illness. Please sponsor us at https://www.gofundme.com/tangiblemovement.
Happy Thanksgiving, and warmest wishes from Tangible Movement! I hope that you are all enjoying spending quality time with your families, indulging in delicious meals, and watching fall football! Today, I am swapping Therapy Thursday with Thankful Thursday in celebration of Turkey Day, and will be discussing the benefits of gratitude.
Everyone is familiar with the time-honored Thanksgiving tradition of sharing what one is grateful for with the group. No matter how many times the phrases “family”, “friends”, and “good health” are repeated, the process is comforting and affirming. However, expressing gratitude does more than create “warm and fuzzy” feelings - psychotherapist Amy Morin says gratitude improves physical and psychological health, enhances empathy, reduces aggression, improves self esteem, and increases quality of sleep. With such an extensive list of benefits, perhaps thankfulness should be a greater part of our lives. Here are some ways to incorporate gratitude into the daily routine:
1. Create a Gratitude Journal
Take a few minutes out of your day to reflect on your blessings before bed! Leave a notebook on your nightstand, and fill it up with a few thoughts each night. Research indicates that keeping gratitude journals makes people feel better about life and be more charitable toward others! Nothing is too small to include in this journal - record the little things that make you happy during your day!
2. Remember the Bad
Keeping things positive isn’t always the key to keeping ourselves happy. Robert Emmons, the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude, proposes the idea that “to be grateful in your current state, it is helpful to remember the hard times that you once experienced. When you remember how difficult life used to be and how far you have come, you set up an explicit contrast in your mind, and this contrast is fertile ground for gratefulness.”
3. Appreciate Everything
Don’t reserve your gratitude for grandiose gestures! Forbes Magazine suggests that “The habit of being grateful starts with appreciating every good thing in life and recognizing that there is nothing too small for you to be thankful for”. Identifying every single good thing that happens to you will make you a far more grateful person.
Thank you so much for reading, and I am wishing you all a very warm and joyful Thanksgiving. I am grateful for your readership and for the opportunity to work with an organization that is wholeheartedly dedicated to helping others. Tangible Movement sends their best regards!
Hello all, and happy Motivation Monday! Today is my seventeenth birthday, and this occasion has provoked me to reflect on the passage of time and what I hope to achieve in the next chapter of my life. To me, birthdays are a time to celebrate a year’s worth of lessons learned, goals achieved, and cherished memories made. They are also a time to prepare for the next 365 days of laughter, mistakes, experiences, and challenges to come. Today, I invite you to think back over your the past year with me. What were the highest points for you, and the most devastating lows? How did you overcome adversity and demonstrate resilience? What have you spent your time doing, and was it beneficial for you? What have you learned? Are you living life to the fullest? Are you excited or wearied by the prospect of a year to come? Are you the healthiest, most positive, and best version of yourself?
This week, I challenge you to identify a problem in your life and take the initiative to change it. Use this week as a fresh beginning and implement early New Year’s resolutions! The problem can be as big or small as you want it to be. For instance, I often struggle with procrastination, and have decided to implement the one-minute rule this week. This rule states that anything that takes sixty seconds or less should be done right away. I hope that this will increase my productivity and simplify my life! If you struggle with excessive stress, try to abide by the 5 by 5 rule this week! This rule states that if something will not matter in five years, one should not spend more than five minutes being stressed about it. I hope that you take this challenge to heart and are motivated to make small changes this week that will lead to a better lifestyle! This Motivation Monday, look forward to a week full of warmth, family, and love. I hope you are all having an excellent start to Thanksgiving week
By: Jessica Hutt
The Queer Kids Kickoff in collaboration with Tangible Movement will take place on Sunday, November 18 from 1-3 pm. The event, hosted by Tangible Movement, will serve as a casting call for LGBTQ+ youth who would like to be showcased in their local communities. Join us for drinks, snacks, and fun as we take photos for our LA series trading cards. The event is free (though donations are appreciated) and will take place at Onepiece Work (631 Wilshire Boulevard, Santa Monica, CA 90401). RSVP at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/queer-kids-kickoff-open-call-day-party-tickets-51902826752?utm-medium=discovery&utm-campaign=social&utm-content=attendeeshare&aff=escb&utm-source=cp&utm-term=listing#tickets! We look forward to seeing you there!
By: Jessica Hutt
On Saturday, November 17, from 8:30pm-12:30am, Stage + Table will host a Wine & Cheese Pairing Competition. All proceeds from this event will go toward Tangible Movement. The contest will feature wine and cheese pairings from over 12 teams for attendees to sample and judge. After the conclusion of the competition, guests are welcome to stay and mix, mingle, and enjoy gourmet late night treats! REGISTER NOW at https://stageandtable.com/event/18-11-17-fr!
Tazeen Shaikh is a twenty-one year old author who suffers from depression, anxiety, and panic attack disorder. Shaikh has always loved writing, and when nothing helped her issues, she decided to get help through her own words. She recently published her debut novel “The Fire You Don’t See”. The story revolves around two young women who suffer from complications that are close to Shaikh’s heart - mental illness and bullying. The two main characters are Indian and Korean. Shaikh says that the reason she incorporated a multicultural dimension into her work is that she wanted “to show that no matter what race we are and what geographic location we belong to, we all share the same common need to love and to be loved. We all feel pain. Both the lead characters support each other through the storm and find friendship in the chaos.” Shaikh wants to inspire others and heal alongside them. Although the story is fictitious, it is inspired by Shaikh’s ongoing fight with mental illness and the scars that remain from being bullied in the past. A synopsis of the book and purchase link can be found below:
A twenty-one year old Indian girl, Eira, is trying her best to get through life in Dubai as a regular college student. But her deteriorating mental health, along with the loss of her roommate and best-friend, has ignited a ceaseless fire within her. However, her life suddenly begins to change by the entry of Aehyun, a transfer student from South Korea who has a struggle of her own. These young women of two different countries yet similar spirits, brought together by fate, find friendship in the midst of chaos. Will this friendship sweep the ashes from their past? Or will it bury the two under them forever?
Support Tazeen Shaikh on social media:
By: Jessica Hutt
1. Donate to or apply to volunteer with Caring Choices (http://www.caring-choices.org/home.html) to provide medical care to the victims of the fires and/or provide a home for displaced animals.
2. Donate to the Humane Society of Ventura County (https://www.hsvc.org/donate) to help provide shelter to domestic animals and livestock that have been displaced by the fires.
3. Donate to Enloe Medical Center (https://www.enloe.org/enloe-foundation/enloe-foundation) or text “CampFireRelief” to 91999 to help provide shelter to families who have been displaced due to the Camp Fire.
4. Donate to the North Valley Community Foundation’s Camp Fire Evacuation Relief Fund to support the operations of organizations that are sheltering evacuees of the Camp Fire.
5. Donate to the California Community Foundation’s Wildfire Relief Fund (https://www.calfund.org/wildfire-relief-fund/) to sponsor medical treatment for victims, rebuild homes, and more.
6. Donate to the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s Music for Relief Fund (https://secure.eifoundation.org/site/Donation2;jsessionid=00000000.app367a?df_id=4520&mfc_pref=T&4520.donation=form1&NONCE_TOKEN=BD586CAC59FBAE663577626DA737EA87.) to help firefighters and first responders. Specific projects include providing hydration backpacks and night vision goggles for helicopter pilots and providing meals for workers and displaced families in shelters.
7. Crowdfund through Google (https://www.google.com/search?ei=8v7lW635Aofc8AOTqbfYBA&q=donate+southern+california+wildfires&oq=donate+southern+california+wildfires) and GoFundMe (https://www.gofundme.com/cause/californiafires).
Thank you for your generosity and support during these difficult times!
By: Jessica Hutt
Hello all! For this Fun Friday, I wanted to reccomend a movie that I recently enjoyed. I wrote up a review of this film and strongly suggest that you see it this weekend! Movies are a great way to have fun sober, and “The Hate U Give” is an interesting and culturally important choice!
The cultural relevance of “The Hate U Give” betrays the superficial nature of its genre and allows the film to serve as a catalyst for important conversations about race and systematic injustice across the globe. The film adaptation of Angie Thomas’ avant-garde novel, which remained on The New York Times Young Adult Bestseller List for fifty weeks after its release in 2017, has lived up to the book’s legendary fiscal success. However, the triumph of the film extends further than its ticket sales and rave reviews - “The Hate U Give” provides a national platform for the experience of blackness in America to be projected on a level that cannot be ignored.
“The Hate U Give” opens with a powerful scene that demonstrates the simultaneous honor and burden of being black. Maverick (played by Russell Hornsby) presents his family with the Black Panther Party’s Ten Point Program and instills in them the understanding that their black identities merit great pride. He tells his children that it is imperative that they never “forget that being black is an honor, because we come from greatness." In a voice-over, Starr (played by Amandla Stenberg) refers to this conversation as “The Talk”, a discussion that takes a dark turn as Maverick advises his family on how to navigate a biased and unjust world with their minority identities. In a lesson that will soon become painfully relevant, he teaches his children exactly how to act if approached by law enforcement, emphasizing the importance of their complete compliance with officer commands.
Starr is an ever-shifting character who adapts her persona to her surroundings, never fully fitting into either. In Garden Heights, the lower-income neighborhood in which her family resides, Starr is uncomfortable and out-of-place at parties. In Williamson Prep, the wealthy private school she attends in pursuit of a higher quality education, Starr holds her tongue. The dichotomy between her and her classmates, Starr notes, is that while AAVE (African-American Vernacular English) makes them cool, “slang makes me ‘hood’”. Starr hides her relationship with her white boyfriend (played by K.J. Apa) from her father, and hides her home life from her peers at Williamson.
The driving force of the film is the shooting death of Starr’s friend Khalil (played by Algee Smith) in an act of racially charged police violence. This tragedy suddenly plunges Starr into the intimidating world of activism. As members of her community try to silence her, Starr comes to speak on behalf of Khalil, and in so doing, finds her own voice. The movie hyper-realistically depicts the experience of police brutality in America not only in the physical shooting of Khalil, but in the aftermath of the incident. The film showcases the privileged and ignorant commentary of Hailey (played by Sabrina Carpenter), a Williamson friend of Starr. It also portrays the media response, in which Khalil is scrutinized rather than his killer.
In the era of the Black Lives Matter movement, a film like “The Hate U Give” is more vital than ever. Conversations about ingrained prejudice and a society that lacks empathy and understanding are arising all across the nation. This film serves as a platform for the black community to collectively raise their voice. The whole world is listening.
For today’s Therapy Thursday post, I would like to showcase the work of Emily Rabinowitz. A valued member of the Tangible Movement team, Emily serves as the nurse practitioner for Tangible Movement. She recently wrote an incredible article on how to initiate positive conversations about difficult topics such as depression and suicide. This is an extremely important topic and a well thought-out piece! Check it out here:
Hello, all! For today’s Tip Tuesday post, I have decided to compile a list of smartphone applications that may be helpful for victims of domestic violence and for those who are struggling with mental illness. Please keep in mind that these virtual tools are not substitutes for real-life help. If you are struggling with mental illness or are being abused, please reach out to a therapist or find a safe space immediately. The national domestic violence hotline can be reached at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).
The name “R3” refers to the 3 R’s of domestic abuse: Recognize, Respond, and Refer. This app, which is free for both Apple and Android users, helps to identify whether or not a person is being abused by asking a 4-question questionnaire. This assessment is based on the HITS logarithm, which stands for Hurt, Insult, Threaten, and Scream. The app is well-received by physicians, particularly because there are resources available for professionals. Another feature of R3 is that it provides tips for safe and discreet usage. Overall, this application is extremely thorough and can be a helpful tool in determining whether an individual is a victim of partner violence.
SafeNight is a great resource for donors to support victims of abuse. The app will notify users when local shelters are full and allow them to sponsor a survivor’s stay in a hotel. SafeNight will request donations from a verified domestic violence organization of the user’s choosing. SafeNight is free on Apple, Android, and Windows.
Calm is the perfect introduction to meditation! This tool, which was named Apple’s “App of the Year” in 2017, is intended to help users reduce anxiety, improve length and quality of sleep, and feel happier and more satisfied overall. Calm has four sections - meditation, sleep, breath, and relaxation. A great feature of the app is that meditation sessions are customizable in length, and are available from 3 to 25 minutes. It can be fit into the most strict of schedules!
Moodpath is a technological support system for smartphone users with depression and/or anxiety. The app, which is free on the Android and iPhone, screens for symptoms of mental illness. After two weeks, it provides users with a technical document that can be shared with a mental health professional. Moodpath also features an extensive collection of videos and resources intended to understand and improve mental wellbeing.
SuperBetter is a game designed to promote strength, optimism, and motivation amongst users with depression, anxiety, chronic illness, and/or PTSD. A study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania concluded that “when people played SuperBetter for 30 days, their mood improved, symptoms of anxiety and depression decreased, and self-belief to achieve goals increased”. SuperBetter is available for free on both Android and iPhone.
6. 7 Cups
7 Cups is a smartphone app dedicated to providing emotional support and online therapy to smartphone users with anxiety and/or depression. The app, which is free on both the Android and the iPhone, features a lineup of over 160,000 trained listeners and/or licensed therapists. The service is completely anonymous and available at any time. 7 Cups is a discrete, affordable, and accessible alternative to traditional therapy.
By: Jessica Hutt
How will your story be told? Will it be a tale of persistence through the darkest of times, or a tragedy that warns of what happens when a person loses hope? For this Motivation Monday, I would like to talk about faith, and why it is imperative that you hold it close during the most difficult points of your life.
Faith can be simply defined as a strong belief. It is not necessarily a religious word, though it can be. Faith comes in different forms to different people, but the outcome remains the same - a rejuvenated sense of self through adverse times. When things are going well, it is easy to hold faith close. You have no reason to doubt that there is a better future ahead when there is nothing to strip you of your hope and strength. However, keeping faith becomes far more challenging in the periods of our lives when it seems there is nothing to keep us going. It is then that faith becomes our greatest power, a shining light in the darkness.
We can have faith in different things that keep us going. I, for instance, have faith that there is a brighter future in front of me, and I just have to get there. Keeping this sentiment in mind helps me keep pushing forward in times when my life seems bleak and hopeless. It’s not easy to hold faith, but it is unquestionably worth it. As long as your faith is with you, you can never be alone.
This week, I challenge each of you to reexamine the role of faith in your life. If you choose not to engage in religion and dismissed faith as a religious quality, redefine it within the context of your life. I’m sure many of you have kept faith without even knowing it! If life throws you for a loop this week, a rekindled sense of faith will help guide you through the sorrow. You are strong, you are brave, and you are going to be okay. Have a great week!
by: Jessica Hutt
Hello all, and welcome to Fun Friday! I hope you’re as excited for the weekend as I am. For this week’s Fun Friday, I have decided to share an article that I recently came across. Written by Holly Glenn Whitaker, a sobriety coach, writer, and yoga instructor, this blog post perfectly encapsulates sober living and debunks the myth that sobriety is boring and that substances are needed to have a good time. Whitaker is a humorous and relatable narrator who is raw and real about her experiences - she is not one to romanticize. I hope that you enjoy this piece and keep it in mind going into the weekend! Hope you have a great one.
by: Jessica Hutt
The correlation between physical activity and mental health is unquestionable. It has been proven that exercise releases endorphins (a natural mood booster), improves sleep, increases confidence, and promotes a positive body image. The food you eat becomes the energy that fuels your workout, so the choices that you make are important. For this Wellness Wednesday, I am going to share my five favorite healthy pre-workout breakfasts, that provide nutrition without sacrificing great taste.
1. Peanut Butter, Granola, & Banana Roll-Up
This is not your traditional peanut butter sandwich! This wrap combines fresh bananas with sweet honey, crunchy granola, and creamy peanut butter for a delicious protein-filled meal. This recipe is for two servings. Each serving has about 262 calories and 6.5 grams of protein.
2 whole wheat flour tortillas
2 tablespoons honey
¼ cup creamy peanut butter
¼ cup low-fat granola
Spread peanut butter evenly over each tortilla. Drizzle honey on top of peanut butter; sprinkle with granola.
Place a banana in center of each tortilla. Fold in opposite sides; roll up burrito-style. Cut in half to serve.
Recipe courtesy of Ready Set Eat!
2. High-Protein Oatmeal with Berries
This recipe from Men’s Journal includes almond butter and chia seeds to fuel longer gym sessions. Amino acids found in the protein powder and Greek yogurt support muscles. Each serving has 495 calories and 45 grams of protein. Reduce the portion size if desired.
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1 Tbsp chia seeds
1 Tbsp all-natural almond butter
1/2 cup blueberries
1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
1 scoop protein powder
2 packets sugar-free sweetener
Dash of cinnamon
Add all ingredients to a bowl. Mix well. Refrigerate overnight, or at least 3 to 4 hours.
Recipe courtesy of Men’s Journal
3. Toasted Wheat Bread with Almond Butter
This recipe from Self elevates the classic pre-workout meal of almond butter on toast by adding chia seeds and cinnamon. Comforting, delicious, and filling - this snack has it all! Each serving has 215 calories and 8 grams of protein.
1 tablespoon almond butter
1 slice whole wheat bread, lightly toasted
1 teaspoon chia seeds
1 pinch cinnamon
Spread almond butter over bread. Sprinkle with chia seeds and cinnamon.
Recipe courtesy of Self
4. Green Smoothie
Green smoothies are a great pre-workout choice because they are rich in nutrients. This recipe is high in protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats. These help keep you full for an extended period of time and provide energy for your workout. This recipe provides two servings.
2 cups fresh spinach
2 cups almond milk (unsweetened)
1/3 cup rolled oats
1 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Blend spinach and almond milk until smooth.
Add remaining ingredients, and blend until smooth. Enjoy!
Recipe courtesy of Simple Green Smoothies
5. Apple Almond-Butter Bites
These apple slivers are easy to prepare and delicious to eat! The sliced shape provides a perfect surface to be slathered with almond butter and sprinkled with the toppings of your choice. Top the apple wedges with granola, dark chocolate chips, chopped nuts, or any other garnishes to add crunch. This recipe serves 1-2 people and has about 274 calories and 8 grams of protein.
1 apple, cored and thinly sliced
Pecans, chopped (optional)
Almonds, sliced (optional)
Roasted coconut shreds (optional)
Dark chocolate chips (optional)
Dried cranberries (optional)
Spread the almond butter over one side of each apple slice.
Top each apple slice with your choice and amount of toppings.
Recipe courtesy of Paleo Leap
Last week, for the first Tip Tuesday, I compiled a list of ways to combat stress. This post was intended to educate readers on how to relieve the symptoms of a short-term, flight-or-fight reaction caused by day-to-day complications. This Tuesday, I would like to create a list of mantras that help to calm anxiety. The difference between stress and anxiety is that stress is a short term reaction to a trigger, while anxiety is a sustained mental health disorder. Both of these conditions affect mental and physical well-being, and it is essential to begin the trial-and-error process of building your stress-reduction skills as soon as possible. It is vital to understand your stress, because letting it go unmanaged can lead to long-term problems, such as depression or anxiety. It should go without saying that these mantras are not intended to cure anxiety, and that those who are struggling should immediately reach out for help. If you are in need of support, please text “HOME” to 741-741 to talk to a crisis counselor, or find a therapist near you through the American Association of Anxiety and Depression’s website (https://members.adaa.org/page/FATMain).
One of the best ways to calm an oncoming anxiety attack is to think of a phrase that rings true to you. Doing so will help keep you in a calm state of mind, and keep you focused on the values that are important to you. For some, repeating this mantra over and over again out loud is beneficial. Some helpful mantras are:
“If I can get through this 10 seconds, I can get through the next 10 seconds.” (FUN FACT: this mantra comes from Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt!)
“Do not go in your mind where your body is not.” (This mantra calms anxiety by reminding chronic worriers that they are not yet in the situation that is distressing them, and that the only thing that worrying will do is make them miserable.)
“Look at how far I have come.” (This phrase helps encourage one to keep moving forth on their journey by reminding them of their accomplishments rather than their minor setbacks.)
“I am breathing in, I am breathing out.” (This mantra helps focus one on their breathing, which has a calming effect. It also helps keep one grounded by reminding them that they are constantly keeping themselves alive.)
“I am enough.” (Many people with anxiety are constantly plagued by a fear of beings unworthy. This mantra helps one remember that they do not need to achieve great things to be “enough”, rather, they are sufficient just as they are.)
I hope that these mantras will help keep you calm in stressful situations. If none of these work for you, find your own! Having mantras on-hand might prove valuable one day. Thank you for reading!
By: Jessica Hutt
Hello all, and happy Motivation Monday! Today, I was feeling particularly introspective, and asked of myself “do you think you are brave?”. Often when I imagine “bravery”, I envision the extreme, like fearless soldiers marching into battle or dauntless skydivers soaring through the clouds. It is rare, however, that the word “brave” enters my mind when I witness the mundane, like a person going about their daily life. It is for this reason that I would like to use this Motivation Monday to remind you of the ways that you embody bravery everyday.
I believe that we are all brave in our own unique ways. What is easy for one person can be a real struggle for another, and it is because of this that bravery can go unnoticed. It is impossible to predict what demons our peers face behind closed doors, and we often fail to realize that an act as small as getting out of the house may be an instance of bravery in another person’s life. Bravery is a concept that is hard to define, but I believe it is a quality that applies to each and every one of us. Today, I encourage you all to reflect on the ways that you have been brave this week. Instead of diminishing your accomplishments to “doing what you are supposed to do”, take time and commend yourself - you’re doing a great job! Being clean is brave. Having a job is brave. Going to a therapist is brave. I am so proud of all of you, and know that you are going to have an amazing week! Appreciate all you have done for yourself, and keep on being brave!
by: Jessica Hutt
October 11 is National Coming Out Day! This year marks the 30th anniversary of the first National Coming Out Day, which was set on October 11 in honor of the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights. Today (and everyday!) is a time to celebrate those who have come out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer!
In honor of this special day, I have decided to write two support guides. For LGBT+ readers, I have compiled a brief resource guide to coming out. However, I also wanted to include resources for straight allies like myself. Stay tuned to the end to read about how allies can aid and support the LGBT+ community!
Please keep in mind that coming out is a lifelong process, and that there is no right or wrong way to do it. The most important thing is to come at in a way and at a time that is right for you.
Accepting your Identity
Being open and honest with yourself about your identity is the first step to coming out. Accepting the fact that you may be lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer, opposes society’s heterosexual mold, and shows that you are able to forge your own path. Coming to terms with your sexual orientation or gender identity can be scary or confusing, especially if you are uneducated on such matters. It is completely normal to feel vulnerable, unsure, and afraid throughout the coming out process. However, this is what makes coming out such an empowering, liberating, and affirming experience!
Making the Choice
There are both risks and benefits to coming out. Hiding an integral part of who you are is exhausting, and coming out reduces the stress of keeping your identity a secret. Living openly allows you to enjoy a more fulfilling life and form more genuine relationships. Making the choice to come out helps to eradicate stigma that has kept LGBT+ youth in the closet before and dispel myths about LGBT+ life. It is affirming to be respected and admired for who you truly are, which improves self-esteem.
However, the reactions of friends and family are impossible to predict. Some people may not be accepting, and may turn hostile. LGBT+ youth are at-risk for being kicked out of their homes or losing financial support from their parents. Coming out may be a safety concern, as members of the LGBT+ community are more likely to face discrimination and harassment.
When weighing the pros and cons of coming out, it is essential to remember that you are in charge. You can decide who to confide in, when, and how. Although your sexual orientation and gender identity are important pieces of yourself, they do not define you. You have the power to refrain from coming out under circumstances when doing so would make you uncomfortable.
Forming a Plan
Once you have made the decision to come out, you will be tasked with preparing for the occasion. Try to predict the reactions that you will receive by considering the things you have previously heard your peers say about the LGBT+ community. Make sure that you are well-versed on LGBT+ issues and are able to answer any questions with ease. If you are faced with a negative reaction, knowing your facts will help disprove misinformation and accurately portray the LGBT+ experience.
Then, prepare what you are going to say. There is no right or wrong way to go about this. It is best to find a quiet place to talk, and make sure that you have sufficient time to have an in-depth conversation. Sometimes, light humor will help diffuse tension. The most important thing is to be honest and make it clear that you are open to questions. Offering resources on how to learn more is a great way to educate friends and family!
The responses that you receive may be varied and surprising. However, once you have come out, the journey is far from over. There is still a transition to be made from “coming out” to “living openly”. This change should operate on your own terms and timeline. Coming out will get easier over time with each person you tell. It is essential to remember that being openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer, does not mean that you are defined by your sexuality. Rather, your orientation is a piece of the puzzle that makes up you!
I hope that this guide is a helpful tool! I wish all of you the best of luck on your coming out journeys, and commend you for your bravery. Coming out can be a frightening, and at times, risky, experience but it is also incredibly rewarding.
Finally, I would like to share some resources for straight allies like myself. As an ally, there are a number of ways you can support and benefit the LGBT+ community. High school students can let their LGBT+ friends know that they are not alone by starting a gay-straight group in their school. To learn more, check out the Gay-Straight Alliance Network: https://gsanetwork.org/. College students can show support by creating a safe space on campus. Campus Pride is a great resource for “building future leaders and safer, more lgbtq-friendly colleges and universities”: https://www.campuspride.org/. Allies can also make a huge impact by sharing necessary resources with struggling LGBT+ peers. The Trevor Project (https://www.thetrevorproject.org/#sm.00008thsielxnfojpqt2fqupcnj71) offers a 24-hour helpline for LGBT+ teens struggling with depression and suicidal ideation. They can be called toll-free at any time at 866-488-7386. Finally, the most important thing an ally can be is a friend. Written by The Human Rights Campaign and PFLAG National, this guide “outlines the right and wrong things to do when a person comes out to them, dispels some common myths about LGBTQ people held by the general public, and outlines some simply ways to show support.” : https://assets2.hrc.org/files/assets/resources/Supporter_Guide_April_2014.pdf?_ga=2.118644044.495952894.1539221697-1606349853.1539221697.
Thank you all so much for reading. I hope that National Coming Out Day was meaningful for you, no matter how you identify.
By: Jessica Hutt
Everyone has a story. Don’t be afraid to share yours. E-Mail us your story to be featured on our blog and help spread awareness! Info@tangiblemovement.org #MentalHealthAwareness #worldmentalhealthday
Good morning everyone, and welcome to Tangible Movement’s first ever Wellness Wednesday! Wellness is one of the topics I am most excited to write about, as it is rich both in content and in universal importance. According to the World Health Organization, the term ‘wellness’ refers to “...a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. In other words, wellness is an ongoing journey that affects all areas of an individual. Because today marks the premiere of Wellness Wednesday, I thought it would be beneficial to provide an introduction to the wellness - specifically, its eight different dimensions. Each of these categories are related and of equal importance. By gaining an understanding of each of the eight dimensions, one can achieve peak wellness.
1. EMOTIONAL WELLNESS
Emotional wellness is concerned with gaining an understanding of one’s feelings. A person with a high level of emotional wellness will be able to successfully handle change, disappointment, and hard times. Some topics within the realm of emotional wellness are self-care, setting priorities, getting quality sleep, building relationships, and coping with grief. According to the National Institutes of Health, people who are emotionally well “have fewer negative emotions and are able to bounce back from difficulties faster.” They are also “able to hold onto positive emotions longer and appreciate the good times”.
2. ENVIRONMENTAL WELLNESS
Environmental wellness considers living a life in harmony with nature. It encourages us to be respectful of our surroundings and to take actions to protect them. The best way to improve environmental wellness is simply to become more aware! Some steps to take to increase your environmental wellness are to volunteer, compost, conserve water and energy, recycle, and research! Environmental wellness is important because it leads to a more balanced lifestyle and makes real change in the world. A great way to get started on this journey is to calculate your current impact on the environment, and try to reduce it!
This site will tell you how many Earths we would need if everyone had the same lifestyle as you, and what your personal “overshoot day” (the point at which resource consumption exceeds resource regeneration) is: http://www.footprintcalculator.org/.
3. FINANCIAL WELLNESS
Financial wellness is the ability to successfully manage expenses and avoid excessive money-related anxiety. According to the 2017 Stress in America Survey, 62% of Americans have reported that money is a significant source of stress in their lives. Having strong financial wellness helps decrease this economic stress, which improves health. Financial wellness initiatives include debt management, retirement preparedness, budgeting, and more! Financial Finesse describes financial wellness as “a state of well-being where an individual has achieved minimal financial stress, established a strong financial foundation, and created an ongoing plan to help reach future financial goals”. The goal of a financially well America is to create a generation of stable individuals who have the capacity to withstand any economic changes in the country.
4. INTELLECTUAL WELLNESS
The term “intellectual wellness” refers to being constantly challenged and stimulated mentally. Having a high level of intellectual wellness is important because it motivates and inspires an individual to develop an understanding of themself and the relationship they have to their surroundings. Ways to improve intellectual wellness include becoming academically and culturally involved, finding and partaking in hobbies, being active in one’s community, traveling, and exploring the arts! People who are very intellectually well are more likely to have stronger problem solving, critical thinking, logical, and creative skills!
5. OCCUPATIONAL WELLNESS
Occupational wellness delves into the relationship that one has with their work. Having a higher level of occupational wellness increases personal satisfaction by improving the attitude that one has towards their career. In 2013, Forbes magazine reported that “work is more often a source of frustration than fulfillment for nearly 90% of the world’s workers.” Finding a career that suits you is vital because working takes up the majority of your time during the week, so the way that you feel about it will contribute to your overall well-being. Some suggestions to begin the journey towards occupational wellness are to reflect on your skillset and what you enjoy, set realistic career goals, and use volunteering and interning as an opportunity to explore different career choices in the professional world.
6. PHYSICAL WELLNESS
Physical wellness is focused on keeping the body in top condition so that it can function as effectively as possible. Elements of physical wellness include nutrition, activity, and overall healthy lifestyle. Steps to take on the path towards physical wellness include engaging in daily exercise, practicing portion control, consuming healthy meals, and getting 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Someone who has a high level of physical wellness will have a decreased risk of illness, a nutrient-rich diet, an active lifestyle, and a nurtured body. The benefits of physical wellness include enhanced self-esteem and self-control in addition to sharpened thinking and learning abilities. It is important to note that there is a direct relationship between physical and mental health.
7. SOCIAL WELLNESS
Social wellness deals with the relationships and connections that exist in our personal lives. Having a strong sense of social wellness is essential because it improves emotional resilience, provides a strong support system, encourages boundaries and communication, and develops trust and conflict management skills. In order to increase social wellness, one can make an effort to keep in touch with close friends and family, become more active in clubs and community, and learn to balance the demands of a social life with other parts of life. A person with higher social wellness will be well-adjusted, comfortable in social situations, assertive, and able to form meaningful connections.
8. SPIRITUAL WELLNESS
The eighth and final dimension of wellness is spiritual wellness. Spiritual wellness is the journey of finding meaning in one’s life and purpose in one’s existence. This is the most complex layer, as there are many ways to achieve spiritual wellness - religion is not the only way to get in touch with the spiritual self. Because spiritual wellness can only come from within and differs greatly between individuals, there is not a singular right way to achieve it. However, to start on the journey towards spiritual wellness, one can practice meditation and acceptance, reflect on life-changing events, seek a religious faith if desired, and consider who they are and why. A person with heightened spiritual wellness will appreciate their lives, find meaning in their experiences, and strike a balance between the inner self and the outer world.
I hope that this introduction was helpful, and wish you all the best of luck in your individual wellness journeys! By enforcing small changes in lifestyle, you can make a huge impact!
By: Jessica Hutt