Journaling

Today’s Manifestations: For Our Health…

With the Coronavirus causing people all around the world to panic, I think it’s time for some healing prayers and manifestations. There isn’t enough information on the virus, so no one really knows what its true impact could be. All I know is that we need to stay safe and serious about our health. Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds, carry hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes, distance yourself from people (especially if they are coughing or exhibiting any symptoms of the virus). People can appear asymptomatic, so steering clear of large crowds is a must. With all that being said, we want God to allow this outbreak to pass over us, as well as our friends and loved ones. Can this be a lesson? What can we learn from this? These prayers/manifestations are not just for this pandemic, but for anything that does not give us a healthy and happy body.

  • I pray that this virus or any virus, disease, or illness of any kind passes over me
  • Anything that is not meant to go into my body will not infect me or come near me
  • I manifest healthiness for me, my friends, and my family
  • I pray for the doctors and scientists studying this epidemic
  • I manifest that they find a vaccine, as well as a cure
  • I pray for the strength of those who have already been infected
  • I manifest a quick and speedy recovery for those who are infected
  • I pray for anyone who has been exposed to any illness and let them not be affected by it
  • I manifest common sense for myself and others
  • I pray for those with anxiety; I pray they are able to stay calm
  • I manifest that everything will be under control sooner than later
  • I pray that people who still have to go to work and/or school stay safe and sound
  • I pray that people are able to find the supplies that they need to stay clean
  • I manifest people having enough to eat and drink
  • I pray for the people that live in shelters, in their cars, and on the streets
  • I pray for the people that have to quarantine in toxic situations with toxic people
  • I pray for people who don’t know where their next paycheck is coming from due to businesses being shut down
  • I manifest that the people traveling at this time will not be infected or spread anything to others
  • I pray for the small business owners that are being affected at this time
  • I manifest the economy not taking as big of a hit as it looks like it will
  • I manifest that there will be more people who are able to be tested for the Coronavirus
  • I pray that the events that have been postponed due to the illness spreading around are even better than they originally would have been
  • I manifest mental sanity for all
  • I manifest nothing else disastrous happening to our earth
  • I manifest people living long, healthy, and happy lives
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Facts and Opinions

SAD…it isn’t just an emotion

We have now made it towards the end of the year. We watched the weather heat up during the month of May, letting us walk around through out the spring and summer season with our arms bare and our skin glowing with the sun’s rays. Then we transitioned into the fall. The leaves on the trees changed their mood; showcasing red, orange, yellow, and brown hues as they fell to the ground. We saw families put pumpkins in front of their windows, getting ready for the night when ghosts and goblins walk from house to house collecting their sugary loot. With the shift in seasons, the air shifts in tune as well; with the weather calling for jackets and gloves. At the moment, it is about fifteen or sixteen degrees; a stark contrast from the seventy degree weather us Chicagoans were still getting in the middle of September. We were practically begging for the weather to get colder. Well now it’s here, and while some of us are embracing the slightly bitter cold with our Ugg boots on our feet and plaid scarves wrapped around our necks, others are struggling to grasp Mother Nature’s changes. Sometimes, it can psychologically bring us down. There’s a reason for that, and it has a name.

Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD is a type of depression that occurs due to the changes in seasons. Typically, it begins to set in at around late fall to early winter, but by spring and summer it usually goes away. Now, that does not mean that episodes can not take place during seasons with warmer climates…it just isn’t as common. There are a few tell-tale signs that may indicate that you may be experiencing bouts of seasonal depression, some may include:

  • if your depression persists nearly every day for most of the day
  • there’s a loss in the activities that you once enjoyed
  • insomnia or difficulties sleeping
  • hypersomnia or irregular sleep pattern
  • increase or decrease in weight
  • a drastic change in appetite and abnormal cravings
  • feeling rather sluggish or fatigued
  • heightened agitation
  • restlessness
  • having a hard time focusing
  • violent outbursts

Remember, just because you exhibit one of the symptoms on this list, it doesn’t mean that you have Seasonal Affective Disorder. However, if the symptom you exhibit is disrupting your way of life and your mental health, you may want to seek some professional mental help. There may be some other factors that may increase your chances of having SAD. For instance, if you’re a woman, it is four times more likely that you will be diagnosed with it than men. If you live further from the equator, then there is a higher chance that you may get it, or if you have a family history of depression or bipolar disorder. Also, age plays a factor too. Younger adults are more affected by SAD. Children and adolescents shouldn’t be overlooked either, they too can experience Seasonal Affective Disorder as well.

Christmas time and holiday cheer may be a positive point during the winter, as well as the whims fall brings, the growth spring attracts, and the warmth of summer, but people with SAD don’t get a chance to experience all of that, and it isn’t that they don’t want to, their brains have a hard time letting them. People with SAD may have difficulty regulating their serotonin. Serotonin is the key hormone that stabilizes a person’s mood. This is a pretty important hormone; it practically controls your entire body. Serotonin helps brain cells and other nervous system cells communicate with each other. It is found in your stomach as well as your intestines; aiding eating, sleeping, and digestion. It even helps heal your wounds, triggering tiny arteries to narrow, forming blood clots. Serotonin is great, but there can always be too much of a good thing. Too much serotonin can lead to depression and excessive nerve cell activity. It may also lower your arousal. Low levels of serotonin can be associated with emotional and behavioral disorders such as suicidal thoughts, anxiety, and OCD. Having high levels of serotonin can lead to osteoporosis; making your bones weaker. Some symptoms of increased serotonin are shivering, high blood pressure, diarrhea, twitching muscles, high fever unconsciousness, seizures, and irregular heartbeat.

Seasonal Affective Disorder may make you feel heavy during the holidays, but there are plenty of ways to manage it.

Medication-

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or SSRI’s can be given to people who are dealing with SAD. Some take certain antidepressants like bupropion, which can also be taken to help people stop smoking. It may take a while to find the right medicine for you; all of them do not affect each person the same. Some of these medications may cause some pretty severe side effects. This article by the National Institute of Mental Health helps you understand some of your medications just a little better (https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/mental-health-medications/index.shtml).

Light therapy-

I hadn’t heard of this one before, but apparently it has been used to treat SAD since the 1980’s. This is typically used during the months that contain shorter days and colder weather. The whole idea is to mimic and replace the diminished sunlight of the fall and winter months. This helps the patient get a higher dose of Vitamin D. Vitamin D helps regulate your immune system and nervous system, and of course the brain. It also helps combat some of the symptoms that come with having too much serotonin, like weak bones and teeth. Some people are told to sit in a well lit area to soak up the sun or a light box for about 20 to 60 minutes. A light box blocks out ultraviolet rays. Ultraviolet rays can damage your skin creating premature wrinkles and in more serious cases skin cancer. A light box exposes a person to at least 10,000 lux, an SI unit of illuminance that’s equal to one lumen per square meter. It is more than twenty times the amount of light you would get by being indoors. You would do this first thing in the morning between late fall and early spring.

Psychotherapy-

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or CBT is a widely used method; they even have a specific method for SAD called CBT-SAD. It identifies negative thoughts while trying to switch them with positive thoughts using a technique called behavioral action. Remembering and doing the things that make the person happy may be a positive way to let the person cope during their episodes.

Vitamin D-

It was talked about a little in the Light Therapy section, but Vitamin D is good for your body. The sun is the most natural source, but you can also buy supplements at your local grocery store.

It doesn’t matter what time of year it is or where you are, people show a wide array of emotions every single day. However, for some of us, some of those emotions aren’t so jovial, and it can be a lot harder to overcome, especially during certain times of the year. It may seem difficult, but there are many ways to combat seasonal depression and manage it, you just have to find the right method for you.

 

Sources:

https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/seasonal-affective-disorder/index.shtml

http://www.hormone.org/your-health-and-hormones/glands-and-hormones-a-to-z/hormones/serotonin

UV Radiation

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Facts and Opinions

How To Stay Young…According to Tracee Ellis Ross

I have been following Tracee Ellis Ross on Instagram for quite a while. In my head, she’s an old friend of mine. I grew up on Girlfriends; watching the reruns while my Mother was asleep laughing at the chaos and lessons that ensued with each episode. I am a Joan Clayton to the tee! With a little bit of Toni (I loved her character too). I admired Joan, a hard working attorney and entrepreneur who knew how to make things happen. I wanted (and still want) to be that…I wanted to be her! Tracee portrayed that character so well, probably because she encompasses a lot of those go-getter and slightly quirky traits (traits that I would like to say I possess as well).

She is the embodiment of the rich auntie that kind of does whatever she wants, and that is a major mood. I have come to the conclusion that this lifestyle will probably be my life; traveling around the world on my own dime, wearing designer clothes, and sending expensive gifts from Paris to my nieces and nephews…a girl can dream. Anyways, people have kind of looked to her for lifestyle advice, even if they didn’t ask her directly. Tracee seems to be living her best life. People (including myself) may ask, well how is she thriving so? What’s her secret? Tracee does exude this youthful energy, what makes her stay so young? Physically and mentally, at 46-years-young, she is as lively and as vibrant as ever! Well, Tracee decided to go into detail and bless us with the information on how she does it, and I think these actions can really improve ones way of life. Let’s dive in!

View this post on Instagram

5 “grown woman” ways to stay young. by me.

A post shared by Tracee Ellis Ross (@traceeellisross) on

Number 1: Giggle As Much As Possible

Laughter is the best medicine, I can attest to that one. Laughter is a complex response and reaction. It is our physiological reaction to humor according to the popular website How Stuff Works. It all contains a set of gestures and the production of sound. Laughter is created through many regions of the brain like the sensory processing area of the occipital lobe (the back of the brain). If any of these parts are damaged, this can actually disrupt laughter and what one person may deem humorous. The higher function in the left brain hemisphere decode words and syntactical structures in a very analytical way, the right brain hemisphere understands the humor. The center of our brain creates an image of the funny idea or statement in our heads, while our limbic system releases the chemicals that promote a better mood. Laughter releases a substance called endorphins into your blood stream. Endorphins are a group of hormones secreted within the brain and nervous system and having a number of physiological functions. They are peptides which activate the body’s opiate receptors, causing an analgesic effect. The endorphins go through your veins, traveling through your body and eventually ending up in your brain. This gives you a more relaxed, positive, and happy feeling. Laughing gives your diaphragm a pretty good work out! Not only the diaphragm, but your legs, faces, abdominal muscles and back. According to Organic Facts, stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline can be brought down significantly through laughing. Laughing also increases blood flow and the respiratory system. It also boosts your immune system. Laughing improves your health over all!

Number 2: Get Your Sleep

On average, I think I get about six hours of sleep. I’m trying to get another hour or two in there. Eight hours I think would be a pretty good amount of time to catch some z’s. Human beings are diurnal creatures, meaning we like to function through the day and take the load off at night. Owls, for example, are the opposite. They are nocturnal, they love the night time, but you probably won’t see them out and about during the day. A study by the Boston University School of Medicine states that sleeping less that six hours and more than nine hours increased diabetes risk. They say between seven and eight hours is great! And what about naps? According to the National Association of Sleep (that sounds pretty credible, right?), a twenty to thirty minute nap is recommended. Sleeping and napping helps improve focus and alertness. It can also help enhance performance and reduce mistakes and accidents. Now for some people, naps might be a no go. Some (me….I’m one of them) are left to feel groggy or even more tired after a nap. Sometimes it may also affect later sleep patterns. But if you are tired…GO TO SLEEP…if you can. That’s your body’s way of indicating that you need a rest.

Number 3: Drink Plenty of Water

Please! For the love of God…drink some H2O. I literally drink water 80% of the time. I just bought a twenty six ounce Manna water bottle from Meijer a few days ago, and I carry it all the time and keep it near my bedside. Water keeps your body at a normal temperature. Do you want strong knees like Megan thee Stallion? Well you better start drinking up! Water cushions your joints and lubricates them. Water helps your body protect your spinal cord and other sensitive tissues. Through perspiration, bowel movements, and urination, waste is removed from your body.

Number 4: Have As Much Sex As Possible

Okay Tracee! I see you girl! Besides the obvious reason why sex is good (or should be), sexual activity does have some health benefits as well. Having sex once or twice a week helps boost the immune system by producing higher levels of immune fighting antibodies. No more illness for you! Sex may protect people from heart disease; balancing estrogen and testosterone hormones. It helps lower blood pressure too. Remember to practice safe sex and consensual sex (not sure what’s considered consensual, check out my blog post on what consent is and what it isn’t. Here’s the link: https://underneaththefro.com/2019/08/18/what-consent-is-and-what-it-isnt/). And let’s not forget about masturbation (is it getting hot in here, or is it just me?). There are a load (I have a dirty mind) of health benefits when it comes to masturbation. The following include:

  • reducing sexual tension
  • reduce stress
  • helps you sleep better
  • improve self esteem and body image
  • relieve menstrual cramps and muscle tension
  • strengthen muscle tone in your pelvic region and anal areas

If you aren’t having sex, you can get the same result from a low cardio workout or a brisk jog. Meditation helps too, as well as taking the proper steps towards boosting self confidence.

Number 5: Love With An Open Heart

You lost me there Tracee. No, I’m kidding, but sometimes when you’ve been hurt so many times, it can be difficult to love with an open heart. I took it more so as loving yourself with an open heart. Truly loving yourself is such a beautiful thing, but it is a journey; a journey that I am still on. There are people that have lived their whole lives hating who they were, and I don’t want to be that way, and you shouldn’t want that either. It is easy to love openly and freely when things are just peachy. But what about when things aren’t looking so good? It’s a lot harder isn’t it? The mind is a terrible thing to waste, but it can also cause a lot of paranoia and create more doubt and fear. Our mind and our heart seem to be on a different page from time to time (or all the time). Keeping an open heart can help heal past pain and transgressions. The heart is so powerful. The heart has the ability to heal hurting wounds. This one might be a little tricky, but it can be done.

Well, that seems simple enough, right? It’s the little things that can help us get through our days just a little easier. Thanks Tracee for the advice!

 

Sources:

10 Impressive Benefits of Laughter

https://stason.org/articles/wellbeing/sleep/how_many_hours_do_you_need_to_sleep.html

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/napping

https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/drinking/nutrition/index.html

https://familydoctor.org/health-benefits-good-sex-life/

https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/sex-and-relationships/masturbation

 

 

 

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Journaling

And I’m Holy…By My Own

Give me today my daily bread

Help to walk alone ahead

Though I walk through the darkest valley

I will fear no love 

Oh my smile, my mind reassure me

I don’t need no one

I’m not lonely…. I’m alone

And I’m holy, by my own 

Those are some of the lyrics to one of my favorite songs, Holy by Jamila Woods. I was thinking about this song recently after scrolling through my social media. Social media can be an escape from boredom, but it has plagued my life all too much, and I really need to cut back from it.  It’s great to get a good sense of reality. I glimpsed and spotted a Snapchat story from a man….excuse me…. boy I used to talk to. At the time, I had feelings for this person, and I guess after this little incident, some still linger. I saw his video; him angling his phone as if it was the prequel to the Blair Witch Project, making hand gestures to some G Herbo song, with a slim thick, pretty girl perched on his lap. He was kissing her neck; she was grinning from ear to ear, deepening the dimples in her cheeks. First off, I’m wondering why I am still following this person’s Snapchat. Why do I have his number? Why does this person have a way of accessing my life again? Anyways, I couldn’t help but ponder how he went about approaching this young lady. Was he a gentleman? Did he take her out on dates? Did he open her car door for her? Did he respect her from the beginning? I internally asked this because when I conversing with this guy, he didn’t do any of these actions. Every conversation that spurred resulted in a sexual conclusion. Initially, it was him practically begging me give him the goods like I was some X-rated grocery store (that was a lot more clever in my head). At this time, being the insecure and self-conscious sister that I was, I thought that this is how I deserved to be treated by a person. There was no respect in anything that he did for me. He saw me as this sex toy; an object of his personal desire. I was thankful at this time that he wanted to pay attention to me. I couldn’t fathom that someone would want to be with me in any type of way. Before I began my third year of college, I had a brief fling with him again (stupid….so stupid). I was holding on to a fantasy of him; what he could have been. If it isn’t a reality, you need to be moving on with your life. Don’t dream someone up a certain way when they’re doing the exact opposite….WAKE UP! Welcome to the real world. I should have paid more attention to his actions, but like I said, the fact that he wanted to be around me was enough at the time. He used me as his potential cheap thrill, meanwhile getting into a serious and meaningful relationship with someone else. It hurt my feelings, and when I expressed them to this person, he flat-out did not care. He didn’t even have the decency to really listen to me, and he sure as hell did not apologize. I wanted to blame him for everything; all the pain that he caused me, the lies he told me, and so on and so forth. However, at some point, I did have to take accountability. I let him do me that way. I didn’t think that I deserved to be respected and treated like the QUEEN that I am.

I feel that men have been walking all over me. I put up with too much and I settle for less. In my first and only relationship, I did everything for that kid. I paid for his movie tickets, his bus fare, his food, and catered to his needs (well, whatever needs a seventeen year old thought they required). Not to sound braggadocious, but I was the best girlfriend that he has had thus far. I’m going to be the better person and wish him the best of luck. This person was not faithful to me, he demanded quite a bit of me, and he was way too focused on having a sexual relationship with me instead of an emotional and spiritual one. This began the countless unfortunate events that I have had with the opposite sex. I’ve gotten lewd text messages from guys that had an interest in me and vice versa, starting off the conversation with sweet nothings until it melts down to the real thing that they are in it for. I had a friend that I have known ever since I was 11 (he was 19 when we first met) admit to me that he wanted to do some pretty provocative things with me…before I was of legal age to do it. Because this person had been in my life for so long, I didn’t really know how to go about the conversation. To be honest, I wanted to call Chris Hansen and ask if he could make a pit stop to his location. The messages became awkward, and I was hurt. I knew him for years. He was a mentor and a confidant, and he still saw me as this sexual opportunity.

Recently, I was talking to a “friend” that I had met on the social media platform Twitter. A few nights prior, I had Facetimed him and had a conversation with him. I was wearing a robe; a fuzzy, pink robe. Out of all the things to rev up a person’s engine, I wouldn’t think that a robe would do that, but hey, I do not know everything. He had let me know that I looked “delicious” on video, and that looking at me ensured that he would masturbate to the thought of me later on. I didn’t even know what to say. My mouth was agape. Did he really just say that? I had to read the message over and over again. That was the last straw. I couldn’t believe that a person thought that they could say that to me. I thought it was extraordinarily disrespectful. I was tired with putting up with this.

Since so many men were comfortable with treating me like a little play thing, obviously there’s something that I’m doing wrong. It’s apparent that I am doing something to attract this toxicity into my life. While evaluating the guys that I talked to, I also had to evaluate myself. When I’m with a person that I have feelings for, I will do anything for them. I remember walking across campus in twenty degree weather, late at night, in the snow, to go and visit someone in their dorm room. I bought a guy chicken noodle soup and orange juice when he was sick. I gave a guy medication when he had the sniffles. That same guy owes me a hundred dollars….why? Because I lent it to him like a dumbass. I was so afraid of this person leaving me, that I did whatever I could to make them stay. Sometimes they would ask me for these favors, but a lot of the time I would do it for them because I wanted to. Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free? They used me because they could. The saying is as old as Jesus Christ, but will always be the truth. They saw my niceness and they took this for granted. If I would confront them on how they were acting, they would gaslight me and tell me that I was out of my mind! That it was further from the truth. Oh really? Why are you trying to get into a serious relationship with someone else, but texting me to come over at one in the morning? Something just doesn’t seem right.

One thing that I learned about myself is that my self-esteem needed a total 360. A man would be happy to be with me. I have a big heart, I’m adventurous, loyal, and I’ll treat my partner with the utmost respect….but only if they reciprocate it. I’m tired of being “wifey” to men who only see me as the homie, or even worse, the girl that they can sleep with. I have had pieces of my heart stolen away from me, and I will never get them back, but I can fill them with the parts of my personality that I need to build on:

  • love for myself
  • respect for myself

I need to start putting my foot down more and set stricter boundaries. I need to stop being afraid of people leaving my life that don’t need to be there. At the time, I might want them to be present, but God is removing them for a reason. I need to stop being afraid of being….lonely.

Loneliness is crippling, but what I am is not lonely. I’m alone. Those last two lines of those lyrics to Jamila’s song are words of wisdom that I had to learn the hard way. I’m not lonely, I’m alone. I might not be in a room full of people, but I know whose got me, and I’ve got them. Loneliness and being alone I use to think was the same thing. Loneliness is a feeling; being alone is a state of being. I might be the only one here now, but I know that I have my friends, I have my family, and I have God. During the darker times in my life, I wrote off and forgot about them being there. Depression and sadness can plague a person and make them forget who’s in their corner. Even when there is no one in your corner, you’ve got yourself, and until you build that relationship between you and your soul, that’s all you’ll ever need.

Sometimes being alone can bring a lot of things to the forefront. When I was by myself, I was able to self reflect and cleanse myself of past pain that I have experienced. What did they do? How did it make me feel? Why did it hurt me? What did I deserve in that moment in time? How can I prevent myself from going through this again? Is having that companionship worth being disrespected? I had to ask myself those things. There was anger. There were tears, but this is all apart of the process when it comes to moving on. I’ve got to move on. A man is not going to guarantee my happiness, especially one that doesn’t do anything to benefit me. I am not going to be that person that is content with the fact that I have a man, and let him treat me like shit. A relationship would be nice, but it isn’t worth it if it’s going to be giving me heartache.

Help yourself first. Treat yourself first, take yourself out on dates! Learn to be respectful towards yourself. You know what you want for yourself, and if you don’t, take some one on one time to figure it out. It may take a while, so don’t grow impatient. It’s like a courtship. How can you have a wonderful relationship with someone else, but have a faulty one with yourself? You can’t.

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