The gift of empathy

 

We often say we would like to help other people, make a difference and change the world. We set these ambitious goals for ourselves and our work. It’s a common saying that we live troubling, challenging and complicated times. But I’ve been asking myself how much of my daily life is really difficult and what is the percentage that I’ve been making complicated myself.

What is it absolutely necessary and non-negotiable to start changing the world, I ask? I think the answer is, without a doubt, empathy. There is no way we can be aware of other’s people reality and suffering, if we don’t, in someway, understand in our hearts what they are going through, if put it more plainly, if we don’t walk in their shoes. Read more

For anyone being bullied

 

“When they go low, we go high” famously said former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama about the attacks she and Barack Obama were facing at the time. The phrase stuck because it not only embodies resistance to pain and frustration but also a hope in bettering what we are individually and as a community.

Bullying was always a problem in society, even when the term wasn’t coined yet and with the social networks it seems to escalate in ways no one has seen coming. We feel unsafe in the virtual world, in the same form or even more so, than we would in a dangerous street. Critical voices can cut like a sharp knife, criticizing our weight, haircut, our words, everything. The effects of bullying are being studied and it’s very difficult to unpack the discourses of discrimination and hurtful insults.Read more

How to overcome roadblocks in life

 

This year has been quite challenging for our mental health and well being and the problems, delays and canceled plans only seemed to add up. It’s easy to get frustrated and sad when things don’t go exactly our way and 2020 had a lot of these moments. How can we remain hopeful in the middle of a global pandemic, so much brutality and shattered dreams? It looks like an impossible task at first. But, as in everything in life, everything is impossible until you make it happen. So although we all have bad days good things happen when we decide to remain positive despite diring circumstances and make an effort to look at the silver lining of our days.

When we are facing roadblocks, obstacles that make us stop in our tracks and wonder when we’ll be able to continue to go our own way, there are a few helpful things that we can keep in mind to make the most of even an unfortunate situation.Read more

Five tips to live a happy life from Aisha Chaudhary

 

Aisha Chaudhary was an indian author and motivational speaker that amassed a lot of knowledge and insights in her short life period. Born with severe combine immune deficiency (SCID), she underwent a bone marrow transplant in London when she was only six months old, beating the odds that gave her only one year to live.

Over time, Aisha developped pulmonary fibrosis, a hardening of the lungs, a side effect from the aggresive treatments she had been through as a baby. This brought her a lot of challenges, difficulty to breathe and ups and downs.Read more

A must read: The yellow wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman

 

“The yellow wallpaper” is a short story that can be easily be read in one sitting. Despite having been written in the 19th century it’s striking to see how touching it is and for how long mental health stigmas have been prevailing in our society. In this case,  it’s the isolation of a woman who has a mental health crisis after giving birth.

Published in January 1892 by american writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman, it is seen as seminal work in feminism literature in the way it depicts the treatment of women at the time it was written. Narrated in the first person, thie story is a collection of journal entries written by her.

She is alone on her old colonial masion that her physician husband rented for the Summer, just having for ocasional company of her servant. After what her husband calls a temporary nervous depression with slight hysterical tendency, he imposes on her a rest cure, where she is confined to an upstairs nursery with barred windows and is forbidden from work and encouraged to just eat and sleep.

With little to none distractions besides her writing, the narrator becomes obsessed with the yellow wallpaper in the room, believing it changes in a very intriguing way. Soon, she sees what she believes to be a woman trapped in the wallpaper.

I widely recommend this piece of literature and I think it enhances our ability to understand others, our overall compassion and empathy.

 

Paula Gouveia

Being a woman

 

Yesterday was International Women’s Day, a date that arised from the necessity of implementing equal rights  such as the female vote. How much has changed and not changed during this time? Biogically we know men and women are wired differently and tend to be raised and treated also differently in social environments.

Should we expect to be able to correct salary gaps and blatant sexism ideology in the short or even medium term? It’s common place to say our world is still patriachal, that aggressive energy is male and passive energy is female. What can do we do about it?Read more

Hayley Williams Sanctuary of Self Love 2020

 

We know Hayley Williams from her musical career as the lead singer of the band Paramore and now as a solo artist, having recently released the EP “Petals for Armor I”.  In the last years, Hayley has been very vocal about her struggles with depression and traumas. “My dog is the reason I’m alive”, was one of the soundbytes of a radio interview interview earlier this year.

One of the things that helped Hayley overcome those dark periods was film and tv series like “Peppermint” and “Handmaid’s tale” and visualization theraphy, which is a tool that can be an important cognitive tool to access our imagination and analyze all prisms of a situation or outcomes.

Besides using this technique for herself,  Hayley also  envisioned a place that could benefit other people in their health jorney to have improve mental, emotional and spiritual well being. And that’s how her plaza Sanctuary of Self Love in the Bonaroo Music & Arts Festival, in Tennessee (USA) was born.Read more

Interview Maris Degener “You are enough”

Photo credit: Lisa Vortman

 

Like many people around the globe, I came to know about Maris Degener’s story through the documentary “I am Maris”, available in the subscription service Netflix. The film chronicles Maris’s battle with an eating disorder and her inspiring recovery with the practice of yoga.

I interviewed Maris Degener to talk about her healing process and how her life evolved since shooting this remarkable project.

 

1_ Maris, thank you so much for this interview. Can you tell us a little bit about how the idea for the documentary “I am Maris” occurred and the breakthroughs during the process of filming and putting it out into the world?

The filmmaker Laura Van Zee saw some of my artwork, and reached out about making a film centered around the stories behind it. I agreed to participate in the film only if it was a different kind of anorexia nervosa film: one that didn’t romanticize mental illness, one that portrayed hope, and one that didn’t center my body or weight in the narrative. Laura did a wonderful job capturing that mission and a time of great transition and growth in my life. Throughout the process, I was reminded of the importance of honest storytelling, but also compassion for the ways in which our perspectives and opinions change over time. Today there are things 16-year-old Maris did or said during the time of filming that don’t resonate with me anymore, but I’m able to honor that as growth: not failure.Read more

Understanding emotional triggers

 

 

 

It can be something as simple as a joke about you having gained a few pounds. It can be a commentary that meant well but just reminded of someone else that hurt you. It can be that you tried your best to be perfect and someone makes a remark that makes you think you just fell short. We all have triggers, that make us react and feel in a certain way. Some are good and pleasant, others are just incredibly painful. We all have a negativity bias, we can listen to a thousand compliments but if someone criticizes even the tiniest thing about us, it’s those harsh words that tend to stick out for us.Read more

Mental Awareness: #Bebodykind

 

The Mental Health Foundation in the United Kingdom launched last May a campaign for Mental Health Awareness Week, with the specific theme: of Body Image.

Therefore, from 13th to 19th May, the conversation was all about how we feel and think about our bodies.

According to last year’s research, 30% of adults were so stressed about their appearance and self-image that they felt overwhelmed and unable to cope. That represents one in every three people.

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