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How to Recognise a Toxic Friend

long after the mind

1. Is this a person who always puts you down? A friend is someone who accepts you as you are – and allows you to be different, and to think for yourself, and to make your own decisions – without an explanation. However, if a person is demeaning or always puts you down, criticises your opinions, or the way you dress or look, then that’s someone to avoid as they’re a toxic friend.

2. Do they gossip about you? A friend is someone you can totally trust. You can share your deepest secrets, and say what’s on your mind – and they won’t tell a person or betray your trust. However, if you always have to watch what you say around a friend as they’re likely to gossip or let something slip then it’s likely that this person is a toxic friend.

3. Do they constantly mock and make fun of you? A bit of gentle ribbing shows affection between friends. But if they’re always making fun of you, or highlighting your faults, or attacking you in public, then they’re not a genuine friend.

4. How do you feel after being with your friend? Think about your answers to the following:

– Do you feel defensive when you spend time with them?

– Do you feel hurt or upset after spending time with them?

– Do you feel as if you always have to justify yourself instead of being “natural” around your friend?

– Do you enjoy their company or do you feel ambivalent?

– Do they undermine your confidence and self-esteem?

– Do you feel attacked and used after spending time with them?

– Does the friendship feel unbalanced and require a lot of work?

– Is it more a competition than a genuine friendship?

Note: If you recognize the signs of a toxic friend, then it’s time to move on and find a different friend. Being with this individual will wreak your happiness.

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Coping Statements for Anxiety

take it day by day

It is often possible to manage anxiety by actively replacing irrational thoughts with more balanced and reasonable thoughts like the following:

1. I’m going to be OK. Sometimes my feelings are irrational and false. I’m just going to relax and take things easy. Everything is going to be fine.

2. Anxiety may feel bad but it isn’t dangerous. There’s nothing wrong with me. Everything is going to be OK.

3. Feelings come and feelings go. Right now I feel bad but I know this is only temporary. I’ve done it before so I can do it again.

4. This image in my head isn’t reasonable or rational. I need to change my thinking and focus my attention on something that’s healthier, and generally helps me to feel good about myself. For example _____________.

5. I’ve managed to interrupt and change these thoughts before – so I know I can do it again. The more I practise this, the easier it will become. Anxiety is a habit – and it’s a habit that I can break!

6. So what if I anxious. It’s not the end of the world. It’s not going to kill me. I just need to take a few deep breaths and keep going.

7. Just take the next step. Just do the next thing.

8. Even if I have to put up with a period of anxiety, I’ll be glad that I did, and persevered, and succeeded.

9. I can feel anxious and still do a good job. The more I focus on the task at hand, the more my anxiety will ease, then disappear.

10. Anxiety doesn’t have a hold on me. It’s something I’m working on, and changing over time.

I’ve Learned …

mount fifji.jpg

I’ve learned-
That you cannot make someone love you, all you can do is be someone who can be loved. The rest is up to them that no matter how much I care, some people just don’t care back.
I’ve learned-
That it takes years to build up trust, and only seconds to destroy it. That it’s not what you have in your life but who you have in your life that counts.
I’ve learned-
That you can get by on charm for about fifteen minutes. After that, you better know something. That you shouldn’t compare yourself to the best others can do. That you can do something in an instant that will give you heartache for life.
I’ve learned-
That it’s taking me a long time to become the person that I want to be. That you should always leave loved ones with loving words. It may be the last time you see them.
I’ve learned-
That you can keep going long after you can’t. That we are responsible for what we do, no matter how we feel.
I’ve learned-
That either you control your attitude or it controls you. That regardless of how hot and steamy a relationship is a first, the passion fades and there had better be something else to take its place.
I’ve learned-
That heroes are the people who do what has to be done when it needs to be done, regardless of the consequences. That money is a lousy way of keeping score.
I’ve learned-
That my best friend and I can do anything or nothing and have the best time. That sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you are down will be the ones to help you get back up.
I’ve learned-
That sometimes when I get angry I have the right to be angry, but it doesn’t give me the right to be cruel. That true friendship continues to grow over the longest distance, and the same goes for true love.
I’ve learned-
That just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to doesn’t mean they don’t love you with all they have. That maturity has more to do with what types of experiences you’ve had and what you’ve learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you’ve celebrated.
I’ve learned-
That you should never tell a child their dreams are unlikely or outlandish. Few things are more humiliating, and what tragedy it would be if they believed it. That no matter how good your friend is, they’re going to hurt you every once in a while, and you must forgive them for that.
I’ve learned-
That it isn’t always good enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes you must learn to forgive yourself. That no matter how bad a heart is broken; the world doesn’t stop for your grief.
I’ve learned-
That our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for whom we become. That just because two people argue, it doesn’t mean that they don’t love each other, and just because they don’t argue, it doesn’t mean they do.
I’ve learned-
That we don’t have to change friends, if we understand that friends change. That two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.
I’ve learned-
That your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don’t even know you. That even when you think you have no more to give, when a friend cries out to you, you will find the strength to help.
I’ve learned-
That credentials on the wall do not make you a decent human being.
That the people you care about the most in life are taken from you too soon

Avoid Some of the Main Brain Damaging Habits

  1. No Breakfast – People who don’t eat breakfast have lower blood sugar levels. This can lead to an insufficient supply of nutrients to the brain (and to underperformance in terms of thinking, processing, retrieval and memory skills).
    2. Overreacting – This can flood the brain with chemical which interferes with clear thinking, logical analysis and memory.
    3. Smoking – This can cause a shrinkage in the brain, and possibly lead to Alzheimer’s disease.
    4. High Sugar Consumption – Consuming too much sugar interferes with the absorption of proteins and nutrients. These are essential for healthy brain development.
    5. Air Pollution – The brain is the largest oxygen consumer in our body. Inhaling polluted air decreases the supply of oxygen to the brain. Again, this can reduce and interfere with the brain’s healthy functioning.
    6. Sleep Deprivation – Sleep allows our brain to rest and rejuvenate itself. Long term sleep deprivation accelerates the death of brain cells. It interferes with putting down new memory traces, effective problem solving and memory retention.
    7. Exercising your Brain in Times of Illness – Working or studying during times of sickness can lead to a ineffective thinking, poor processing, and to poor memory and retention.
    8. Lack of Stimulation – Thinking is the best way to train our brain. Lack of stimulation can prevent new neural pathways from forming. It can also prevent us from reaching our potential in terms of creative thinking and analytical thinking.

Source: The World Health Organisation

How to Forgive Yourself

Sea Sassi Balance Macro Colors Stone Stones

1. Recognise the importance of forgiving yourself. Not forgiving yourself will deplete your energy, and leave you feeling all chewed up inside. It keeps you living in the past instead of living in the present – so it’s hard to make the most of what’s happening today.

2. Recognise the effects of not forgiving yourself. Those negative emotions like shame and regret are also bad for our long term health – as they undermine and damage a healthy immune system.

3. Name the emotions you are struggling with. Simply naming your emotions can help reduce their power. It brings some order and control into our lives again when we’re hit by overwhelming and negative emotions.

4. Reflect on the fact that we all make mistakes, make foolish decisions and act badly at times. It’s part of being human – you’re an imperfect person. We all do stupid things, and say some things that we regret.

5. Try to let go of other people’s expectations. We can’t please everyone – it’s not going to happen. Decide on your own standards, then try to live by them. Also, if you’re looking for approval you’ll never measure up as you’ll always meet someone who will criticise and judge.

6. Practise self-forgiveness. It’s healthy to acknowledge the regrets that you have – but then you need to be willing to let go of the past – and decide to move forwards – and live life differently.

7 Simple Steps to Greater Happiness

take time to do what.jpg

  1. Live fully in the moment and appreciate the now. There’s always something good to be thankful for.
  2. Notice the little things that make life easier, bring a smile to you face, or relieve your sense of stress.
  3. Seek to simply your life – try cut down what you do, reduce your time commitments, and demands being made of you.
  4. Instead of focusing on stuff, see the beauty in the world. Nature helps us to relax – and can restore a sense of peace.
  5. Focus on the positives. Try and be the kind of person who looks for what is good, is hopeful, optimistic and sees the glass “half full”.
  6. Accept what can’t be changed, and relinquish your desire to always have control – so that things turn out the way you’d planned.
  7. Appreciate and value all the people in your life. Treasure and invest time in your key relationships.

What is Emotional Abuse?

once you fall in love

An emotionally abusive person may “dismiss your feelings and needs, expect you to perform humiliating or unpleasant tasks, manipulate you into feeling guilty for trivial things, belittle your outside support system or blame you for unfortunate circumstances in his or her life. Jealousy, possessiveness and mistrust characterize an emotionally abusive person”[1]. In summary, emotional abuse includes the following:

1. Acting as if a person has no value and worth; acting in ways that communicate that the person’s thoughts feelings and beliefs are stupid, don’t matter or should be ignored.

2. Calling the person names; putting them down; mocking, ridiculing, insulting or humiliating them, especially in public.

3. Controlling through fear and intimidation; coercing and terrorizing them; forcing them to witness violence or callousness; threatening to physically harm them, others they love, their animals or possessions; stalking them; threatening abandonment.

4. Isolating them from others, especially their friends and family; physically confining them; telling them how they should think, act, dress, what decisions they can make, who they can see and what they can do (limiting their freedom); controlling their financial affairs.

5. Using that person for your own advantage or gain; exploiting their rights; enticing or forcing another to behave in illegal ways (for example, selling drugs).

6. Stonewalling and ignoring another’s attempt to relate to and interact with them; deliberately emotionally detaching from a person in order to hurt them or “teach them a lesson”; refusing to communicate affection and warmth, or to meet their emotional and psychological needs.

How to Cope with Flashbacks

i don't care how long.jpg

Flashbacks are memories of past traumas. They can occur in a number of different forms – as sounds, images, smells, body sensations, numbness (or a lack of sensations). Often they’re accompanied by a feeling panic, where the individual feels trapped and completely powerless. Flashbacks can also occur in dreams. Because the sensations are so frightening and intense – and are unrelated to what’s happening in the present – the person often feels as if they’re going crazy. What to do to cope with flashback:

1. Tell yourself that you are having a flashback – that it will pass in time – and soon everything will return to normal.

2. Remind yourself that the worst is over – as these terrifying feelings are re-experienced memories. The event that took place is now lodged in the past, and you managed to survive it, and will survive it now.

3. Allow yourself to express the powerful feelings of terror, panic, hurt and/or rage. It is right that you honour your experience.

4. Ground yourself firmly in the here-and-now. Breathe deeply. Notice the sounds and sensations around you in the room. Allow the feelings of panic and terror to slowly dissipate. Keep breathing deeply, and exhaling deliberately. Allow a sense of calm to gradually replace the faintness, shakiness, dizziness and tightness.

5. Reorient yourself. Keep focusing on what you can see, hear, feel, smell, touch and feel in the present. Feel the chair supporting you. Use your five senses to bring you back to this point in time.

6. Speak to your terrified inner child. Reassure them that they are going to be OK. Tell them they are safe in the present. They are not trapped. They can escape at any time.

7. Seek professional support to deal with your flashbacks. Find an experienced therapist who is trained to guide you to a place of healing. You do not have to do cope with this alone. There is help available for you.

How to Recognize a Toxic Friend

life's too short

1. Is this a person who always puts you down? A friend is someone who accepts you as you are – and allows you to be different, and to think for yourself, and to make your own decisions – without an explanation. However, if a person is demeaning or always puts you down, criticises your opinions, or the way you dress or look, then that’s someone to avoid as they’re a toxic friend.

2. Do they gossip about you? A friend is someone you can totally trust. You can share your deepest secrets, and say what’s on your mind – and they won’t tell a person or betray your trust. However, if you always have to watch what you say around a friend, as they’re likely to gossip or let a secret slip, then it’s likely that this person is a toxic friend.

3. Do they constantly mock and make fun of you? A bit of gentle ribbing shows affection between friends. But if they’re always making fun of you, or highlighting your faults, or attacking you in public, then they’re not a genuine friend.

4. How do you feel after being with your friend? Think about your answers to the following:

– Do you feel defensive when you spend time with them?

– Do you feel hurt or upset after spending time with them?

– Do you feel as if you always have to justify yourself instead of being “natural” around your friend?

– Do you enjoy their company or do you feel ambivalent?

– Do they undermine your confidence and self-esteem?

– Do you feel attacked and used after spending time with them?

– Does the friendship feel unbalanced and require a lot of work?

– Is it more a competition than a genuine friendship?

Note: If you recognize the signs of a toxic friend, then it’s time to move on and find a different friend. Being with this person will wreak your happiness.