Tag Archives: mental health

Why It’s Never Too Late To Learn How To Play An Instrument

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Why It’s Never Too Late To Learn How To Play An Instrument

“I should have learned to play the guitar, should’ve learned to play them drums”, so sang Dire Straits in 1985. While a total lack of musical knowledge or awareness hasn’t been an impediment to many people working in the music industry today, many of us regret either not having learned or abandoning the learning of a musical instrument. Today, we’ll look at why it’s never too late to pick up an instrument, the pedagogic and psychological benefits, as well as looking over some great instruments for neophyte musicians. Learning a musical instrument is more than just a fun hobby, it’s a valuable skill that has numerous cerebral benefits as well as being a cool trick to bust out a parties!

It’s literally never too late:

Virtually everyone benefits from some sort of creative outlet and while we’re all just sort of expected to find the right one in our teens or early twenties, many of us don’t find the right mode of self-expression until they get into middle or even old age. There are few subsets of people for whom the dexterity and mental faculties to play an instrument are prohibitive. If, for example, your arthritic hands make playing the guitar or piano problematic you may benefit just as much from learning the harmonica or the panpipes.

Getting over the learning curve:

The landfills are littered with guitars that were discarded because their owners deemed it “too hard”. Most of them were impatient children or teenagers (We all knew someone at school who quit their guitar lessons because they didn’t become a virtuoso within a month.). As an adult, you may surprise yourself with how well you navigate the learning curve. While your older mind may be set in its ways, you will have learned the value in persistence elsewhere in life.

For most instruments, unlocking the fundamentals is a huge step in smoothing out the steep learning curve. In guitar playing, for example, much of your musical vocabulary is formed by mastering the ‘barre chords’ – moveable chords. When one has the measure of these, they can play any minor or major chord from a good root position. It takes time to master, but it unlocks so much of the instrument’s potential when you do. When this obstacle is hurdled, a player has the inside scoop in learning to cover their favorite music and even learning to write their own.

Cerebral and psychological benefits:

When playing (or even listening) to music, multiple areas of the brain become active. Musicians may look calm and composed but there are firework displays in their neurons. Processing music is actually an incredibly complex mental process, giving our brains a great workout that most of the time we’re not even aware of. It keeps our brains young and aids cognitive dexterity.

Finding the right instrument:

Hopefully, you’ve been moved to consider taking up a musical instrument, but you may wonder which are the best or most accessible ‘starter instruments’. String instruments such as guitar, violin, piano, cello, and bass are fairly accessible for new learners, as are the flute and clarinet. The saxophone presents a slightly steeper learning curve but it’s so ubiquitous in so many forms of music, that learning to master it opens up a lot of doors.

There’s no such thing as the wrong instrument. Even learning an instrument that you don’t stick with tends to be a gateway to learning more. And isn’t it always fun to try new things?!

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Feeling Blah

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Feeling Blah

Hi everyone and happy Sunday! Is it just me or are any of you guys feeling totally blah lately? I recently started going to therapy at the beginning of October and it has had me in quite a tizzy. That, on top of the changing weather, the darkness that falls in the early evening, and the stressers of daily life has left me feeling completely lackluster.

Now, I get it, life isn’t always sunshine, puppies, and rainbows (I wish!) – but that doesn’t mean that having the blues doesn’t freaking suck! Everything in Lil Red’s world at the moment has just been that step below average. So the not good but closer to bad doldrums have hit me like a ton of bricks. And once those feelings make camp in your head, it’s so hard to shake them.

I try not to be a complainer and god knows I try to just grin and bear it, but boy is it exhausting. I have found solace in Netflix and chilling with myself in between my work schedule but I think that I have become wayyy too comfortable just sinking into the couch and trying to forget my worries in a binge watching session.

So how does one peel themselves off of their futon and start taking life by the horns again? Shit, I don’t know! That’s why I’m asking you guys! Lol, but seriously I need to take a deep breath, get up, and just go. Yes, it’s easier to lose myself in a Saw movie marathon but it would be better to do things that are good for me to clear some of the fog in my head. But, man is it hard sometimes!

What do you do to ease some of the blahs in your brain? How do you get yourself going again after a stint with depression? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

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The Old College Try

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The Old College Try

Hi everyone and happy weekend! So this past Thursday I decided to give going to see a therapist a shot. Things in Lil Red’s world have been anything but perfect lately, so I thought I would try my hand at going to have a chat with a professional for the first time in years. Don’t get me wrong, I have friends that I can talk to when I’m feeling GLUM, but who wants to spend BFF time rehashing the most depressing stuff ever? Not me.

I saw a therapist all throughout high school and shortly after and it always seemed to help. And, I have to say, that it definitely felt good to be able to unload some major burdens onto someone who doesn’t know myself or my family a couple of days ago. I’ve been feeling incredibly overwhelmed and depressed as of late and I’m over it. I’m stressed out constantly and I need to just be able to vent to someone and then get up and walk away from it until next time.

I felt a little bit better after my first hour long session on Thursday, which is way better than feeling one hundred percent miserable. AND I have my appointments scheduled for the rest of September and all of October to work on getting these blues shaken away. I felt pretty proud of myself for actually attempting to do something instead of just wallowing in my own misery until things start to get better. I am definitely looking forward to next week’s session!

I’m giving therapy The Old College Try again and I’m excited to start making some improvements for myself. How do you deal with the major blahs? Has therapy helped you now or in the past? I want to hear from all of you, so leave me a comment and let’s chat! Much love. -Sarah

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Are You Ready To Start Expressing Yourself?

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Are You Ready To Start Expressing Yourself?

One thing that a lot of people struggle with is that they don’t feel as though they’re able to project much about who they are to the world as a whole. You might be the most interesting, creative, and exciting person on the planet and yet you still feel as though you blend into the background when you’re around other people. Sure, not everyone wants to be the center of attention, but it can be tough when it feels like people aren’t getting to see the real you.

However, that doesn’t mean that you’re stuck with that kind of situation for the rest of your life! Being able to express yourself isn’t all that difficult, you just need to know how to go about it, and feel comfortable enough to let the real you shine through no matter what. Here are a few simple things that you can do to get started on really showing the world what you’re made of:

Change Up Your Look: Not everyone is going to be obsessed with fashion, and that’s okay! But the way that you present yourself can have a huge impact on the way the world sees you and can be a wonderful opportunity for you to express yourself. Different styles say different things, and it’s cool to be able to share something about yourself with everyone that you walk past. And of course, no one feels the same every day so why not change up your look constantly?!

Many people will look completely different on a day to day basis, whether that’s through clothes, makeup, or even wigs. That might sound a bit drastic but it can be a lot of fun, and it’s worth trying at least a couple of times. When it comes to wigs, try CelebWigs for a bunch of different styles to see how you can express yourself. Of course, if you’re not looking to make that much of an entrance wherever you go, sticking to a style that you love and reflects who you are is just as good!

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Who doesn’t love a good makeover?!

Be Proud Of The Things You Love: We all have things that we’re passionate about, but a lot of the time we don’t want to express those things to other people because we’re worried about how they will judge them. This is where the idea of a “guilty pleasure” comes from. The truth, is that you should never have a guilty pleasure. If you love something, then that doesn’t impact anyone else’s life, so why shouldn’t you be proud of it? Whether it’s a type of music, TV, book, or anything else, wearing your passions on your sleeve can be a great way to express yourself to the world. And hey, you might even find that someone else feels the same way and you can strike up a new friendship.

Be Confident In Who You Are: One of the hardest things in the world is being confident in who you are. The media and the world around us work very hard to tell us that we’re not good enough. That we’re too fat, thin, short, tall, old, or young. All of these things mean that many of us are walking around on a day to day basis feeling as though we can’t be confident in who we are. But the world’s not going to change unless we change. So, no matter who you are, it’s important to be proud of it and never let the world tell you that there’s something wrong with that.

Change Your Environment: Of course, sometimes those kinds of feelings don’t come from inside yourself but from a toxic environment. Having friends who don’t appreciate who you are or people around you who try to make you feel bad for the way that you express yourself can make life very difficult and lonely for a lot of people. If that’s the case, then there’s nothing wrong with ending those friendships and changing your environment to something more loving and supportive. You would be amazed what a change of scenery can do for your self love and confidence.

Now, none of this is trying to tell you that you should try and be some kind of bold, brash person if that’s not who you are deep down. You should never try to be anyone else. The point is simply to be able to embrace what makes you a unique individual and to avoid hiding that from the world, because everyone deserves to see the real you shine.

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How To Create An Aromatic Atmosphere In Your Home

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How To Create An Aromatic Atmosphere In Your Home

There’s a lot that can be determined about a home based solely on the smell of it. You can tell if kids are present or not, if the owner likes to bake in their spare time, how often they clean, and what products they are partial to to get it smelling the way that they want. Our sense of smell is a powerful tool. It lets us know if something is bad or good, but also helps to take us back in time to a nostalgic point that we associate with certain scents, bringing back memories that we want to indulge ourselves in or would otherwise wish to forget. So, in essence, it’s quite an important thing to get right in your home; to help us feel safe, to feel comfortable, and happy with where we live.

Eliminate The Bad Odors: It can be particularly hard to pinpoint a scent if you don’t know where it’s coming from. A lot of offensive odors aren’t immediately obvious to us because they’ve had to take time to develop to get to what you’re smelling – so they often aren’t within our sight or a place that we can easily reach. One prime example is a toilet; a lot of odors are stopped within a plumbing trap, but if it’s defective or there is something else wrong in the system, then it can be hard to get to the source of the problem; there is more information about different types of plumbing traps at http://theplumbinginfo.com/plumbing-traps/ to give you more of an idea as to what can be done to solve the problem.

Just fixing this one issue could completely get rid of the smell that was causing the disruption to your home. This is just one example, so try and think outside of the box when it comes to narrowing down where a smell is coming from, especially when there are pipes involved. Always hire a professional to come and deal with the problem at hand so as not to create more work for yourself.

Focus On Your Favorites: Think of your favorite scent; the one that makes you happy but would also appeal to others who are visiting your home. It’s this that you need to aim for and spread around your house. It’s available to do in a lot of different forms; candles, wax melts, air fresheners, and so much more, so there really is no excuse not to have some on hand to give you that extra boost. There are a good selection of different smells for you to peruse at https://yankeecandle.com that aren’t just limited to candles, so you don’t have to worry about the safety aspects of ensuring that a flame is correctly put out in order to get your home smelling amazing.

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Candles are a must!

Consider Your Hygiene: Unpleasant smells are more likely to jump out at you than nice ones, but often our noses are trained to accept them if we don’t deal with it straight away. It may take a good time away from our home to realize that that’s what our abode actually smells like to other people, so it’s always important to keep on top of a good cleaning routine in order to ensure that you are keeping the space that you live in not just smelling good, but hygienic for you. There are certain things around the house which trap odors within the fibers, such as carpets, rugs, and curtains, so it’s imperative that you are keeping on top of the cleaning of these items. That way, you are ensuring that you are removing any staleness that may be clinging on as well as caring for your fabrics.

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Lather up!

Mental Health: There are certain scents that have been proven to relieve stress and anxiety that you may be feeling. It’s been long said that lavender helps you to relax and drift off to sleep more easily, so why aren’t we using this knowledge in other rooms of our home? Vanilla candles are the most common scented ones that you can buy, and these have been cited to help put us in a better mood and even combat some pain signals that are being sent around our body. There’s never been a more important reason to get your home smelling nice and fresh, if it’s impacting your health directly!

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Beach scents are also very popular!

Focusing on the scent of your home will make for breathing easy for your family and guests!

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Identifying When Your Friend Might Need Your Support

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Identifying When Your Friend Might Need Your Support

Despite the immense potential and beauty that life can offer, and does offer all of the time, sometimes we all must enter periods of sadness, sorrow, and doubt. This can trigger from a range of different problems, and we all experience it now and then. Not everyone can be functioning at 100% all of the time, and periods of depression or isolation can actually serve for the greater good in the long-term. If you’re going through a period of depression, that previous statement must be apologized for in terms of its bluntness, but not it terms of its message.

Trivializing depression is always wrong, but robbing it of all complete perceptive value would be wrong, too. Overcoming a depressive episode can make you a stronger, more down-to-earth person. Remember, a tree’s branches can only reach as high as its roots go. A person who has successfully made it through a depressive episode is likely to come through the other side better off in some ways. It can be a purifying fire, that forces you to prioritize what is important to you, who is important to you, and how you can best live your life with wisdom and foresight.

However, this doesn’t mean that being depressed isn’t real. If you’ve been through feelings of despair yourself, you’ll know about the support that you hope for but usually can’t articulate your desire to retrieve. As a friend, it’s important that you keep an eye on your other friends or roommates to make sure they are okay and doing well. Here’s what to look for if you notice a change for the negative in your loved ones:

Change In Physical Appearance: Depression can rob you of many things, not the least your physical vitality. If you’ve noticed that your friend lacks their usual vitality, they could be deeply depressed, or even worse, they might be turning to substances to overcome their issues. This never works in the short or long term, but is a tempting process for someone who feels that they have no escape.

Communicating your concerns can be difficult to approach in these circumstances without seeming hostile. Living with a prescription addict can be even worse, because they can often get a sanctified, legal way to obtain their habitual maladies. To overcome these issues, try and help them get help through any means necessary. Inform their GP and family. Be there for them. If you have to, organize some form of stay-in recovery. Depression culminates in many ways, and people take it differently depending on their personality. Another sign to look out for is:

Withdrawing From Social Life: Withdrawing from standard social discourse is a good sign that tells you that someone isn’t functioning at 100%. Another sign is keeping an odd schedule, such as replying to your messages on social media at the early hours of the morning. A symptom of depression is late sleeping and late rising, so be sure to look out for this. Even introverted people need social contact, so complete withdrawal, especially if said person used to be social, can be taken in a number of ways.

Communicate clearly to the person that you harbor no ill-will for them limiting themselves or withdrawing, but let them know that you are worried about them. Never stop inviting them to places. Consider doing activities inside with just the two of you. Try and open up conversation as much as possible without being annoying. See what you can do to be present. Even if they don’t show it, they’ll likely need you far more than you think.

Sometimes, the best remedy as a friend is your simple presence. However, sometimes it requires more than that. Be sure to identify which one will be more helpful and take further action when needed. What matters is your observation and your willingness to help your friend through thick and thin.

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Improving Your Emotional Well-Being, Starting With You

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Improving Your Emotional Well-Being, Starting With You

While the world is still full of many wrongs – many things we would alter, tweak, and change – we are moving in the right direction on so many critical topics, not least of all mental health. Funding, awareness, openness, and the battle against its stigma. These are all ways in which we are improving as a society that realizes the debilitating outcomes for those unlucky enough to be preyed on by their own mind.

But the one thing that can have the biggest influence above all is you. Sure, that may sound cliched, but what’s wrong with that? Cliches are just truisms. Of course, the only way that you can help yourself on an emotional level is knowing how you can take better care of yourself. Get that right and your well-being will follow.

The Word ‘No’: We are taught to say ‘yes’ from an early age. Taught that the word ‘yes’ brings with it opportunity and adventure, and this is true. However, it is important to respect the word ‘no’, too. By learning when and how to say no with grace and understanding, you will find it much easier to fit in the things that you want and need to. There is never enough time or energy to do everything. So in order to enjoy saying ‘yes’ you need to know how to say ‘no’, as well.

Go Outside Every Day: When you are trapped in the vice-like grip of depression or anything of that ilk, the idea of crawling out from under the duvet and leaving your bed can be unfathomable, let alone leaving the house. However, research has proved that spending time outdoors can boost your energy and emotional strength, while also giving you a heightened sense of well-being.

Make Big Waves: Mental health issues can manifest in so many different forms, including severe dependencies. Escaping this crux can be as tough as it gets, so don’t be afraid to make big waves and take big steps. Seek help. Speak to therapists. Look at that extended stay treatment at Beachway. Approach councilors. Your mental health and emotional well-being is the most important thing that you have, which is why you shouldn’t accept any compromises. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Get Lots Of Sleep: Studies have shown that you should get at least seven and a half hours of sleep each night. This is because sleep deprivation, whether it be broken sleep or chronic insomnia, can lead to weight gain, a loss of focus, feeling unstable, and a general lack of productivity. If you manage to get into a good sleep pattern, not only will you feel better, but you will be better too.

Respect Yourself: We neglect ourselves without even realizing it. That is why you should start making a conscious effort to treat yourself in the same way that you treat your family and closest friends. Imagine how you would help a friend that was suffering in the same way that you are. We’re talking about offering yourself compassion, respect, kindness, and advice. Pushing yourself to be a better you is important, we can’t deny that. But being hard on yourself is different. Being hard on yourself only encourages guilt and can harm your emotional well-being to no end.

Every new aspect of your life starts with you, including improving upon your mental health. Make goals, challenge yourself, and take the steps necessary to start a lifestyle in which you are kinder to yourself.

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