3 Ways I Will Be Fostering Sunny Thoughts

3 Ways I Will Be Fostering Sunny Thoughts

Encountering a rut is inevitable. Here I share my arsenal of solutions to creating the happiest life imaginable.

Summer is the favorite season of many people. The majority of people I encounter absolutely love warm weather and the sunshine, but I am not one of these people.

I love a nice crisp day, I love a freezing cold day when your hair literally freezes the second you step outside, I love a super dark and gloomy rainy day. A lot of people enjoy a rainy day here and there, but if it were up to me it would rain at least half the week in Georgia, or Kentucky, where I go to school.

I feel the most alive when it is dark and cool outside. I feel the most in tune with myself and my emotions when it is raining. I think more creatively, I perform better in school, and in general, I seem to thrive much better when it is not hot and bright outside.

That being said, Summer is not my prime time. To be honest I am ready for it to fly by so the cooler months are here and I can fully thrive. I am not proud of wanting time to fly by because I preach living in the moment and making the most of the situation you are in, but I will share how I plan to get through the next three super sunny, humid, scolding hot months in Georgia. Kentucky and fall, where ya at?

3 Words. Foster sunny thoughts. Here is my 3 step plan to foster sunny thoughts.

1. Do a social media cleanse.

Social media is so cluttered with people putting on their best face. Almost all of us share the good. We share the highlights of our lives. After all, why would we WANT people to see just how messy and f'd up our lives truly are? Honestly I have come to adore the mess and dysfunction.

People do not have to be perfect by any means, but I only want to keep up with people who care about themselves and living a happy life. To solve this problem, I did a social media cleanse.

I did not give up Instagram or delete Twitter off my phone for a few days, but what I did do was unfollow a bunch of people who add zero value to my life. If there was a person I was following in high school that I simply do not care about any more, I hit unfollow. I unfollowed toxic people from my past.

Letting the toxic people go includes giving up the need to keep up with their lives. Who cares what they are doing. They are in the past, let's leave them where they belong. Really there is no point to invest in irrelevant peoples' lives.

2. Find role models.

Find a role model or find a handful of them. It does not matter, but it is important to keep up with somebody you look up to. The most encouraging thing is finding somebody you admire whether it be a celebrity or even a friend, and dive deep to discover their hardships and all the terrible things they went through before getting to the point they are at.

Seeing others succeed after going through hell and back is what keeps pushing me forward when I am stuck in a rut. That is the beauty of a role model. Some of my role models are sorority sisters. They are my everything and send me encouraging messages, offer advice and a safe place to speak my mind, and when they come across a quote or video that would inspire me, they send it my way.

They are very real girls who have seen hardship. Even currently going through a rough time, but this does not make her less of a role model to me. We help each other through the rough patches and ruts.

3. Keep it sunny.

Reading positive quotes and little uplifting sayings is the easiest and most effective way to get my mind back on track and keep it sunny.

My favorite quotes are ones that empower women and motivate people to let go of the past and create the greatest version of themselves. I find my quotes primarily on Instagram. I follow a bunch of uplifting, intelligent, inspirational men and women who have amazing things to say. I keep so many quotes and encouraging words on my phone, and when I need them most they are there to save the day!

Cover Image Credit: Unslash

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.

Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Public Health May Be The Most Important Area To Focus On As A Society

I saw with my own eyes the importance of public health initiatives in villages throughout Honduras and Nicaragua.


Medical exploration and healthcare management has thrived throughout the 21st century, with major developments in epidemiology allowing organizations such as the World Health Organization of the United Nations to track the spread of preventable diseases such as malaria and influenza across impoverished countries worldwide. I saw with my own eyes the importance of public health initiatives in villages throughout Honduras and Nicaragua when I traveled there as a Brigadier with Stony Brook's Public Health Brigade, a coalition organized by Global Brigades during the Summers of 2016 and 2017.

Working alongside other university collaborations such as Boston University, I was mesmerized by the impact that improvements such as clean water through mountain pipelines and sustainable housing could do in reducing the severity of Zika virus outbreaks in the region, as accentuated by the near 8,400 villagers with access to clean water as a result of our efforts.

These experiences demonstrated to me the value of preventative measures highlighted by the public health approach — by attacking the origin of a disease and the medium through which it spreads instead of merely treating the manifestation of its symptoms, a holistic approach would allow for the eradication of a malady throughout an entire region whilst educating the local populations about the importance of proper hygiene practices and fortified infrastructure to prevent its re-eminence. It is for this reason that I feel inspired to pursue a graduate degree in Public Health as a professional, so that I can help contribute to the eradication of preventable illnesses across the globe.

A specific area of interest that I wish to target as a field of study would be the impact of sustainable housing in the eradication of illnesses such as lead poisoning through contaminated water sources. My own experience in this particular aspect of Public Health Administration as a Brigadier with Stony Brook Public Health Brigade showed me the importance of secure infrastructure in the reduction of preventable diseases as an especially pertinent area of community health in the United States, highlighted by the water toxicity crisis in Flint, Michigan.

A recent study released by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha at Hurley Medical Center noted an uptick in the blood-lead concentration of Flint Children from 2.4% to 4.9% after changing their water source, with spikes as high as 10.6% in correlation with elevated levels of lead in Flint water. These elevated blood-lead concentrations put these children at higher risk for lead poisoning, characterized by reduced growth rate and learning difficulties. Purification of the available water sources throughout the region would be a comprehensive long-term solution to reducing elevated blood-lead levels amongst Flint residents.

My goals after my master's degree in public health would be to pursue a medical education and become a doctor, or go into Healthcare Administration and eventually work with the WHO of the UN to establish a more easily accessible Healthcare system across various countries to increase the number of people in impoverished areas that can be reached by doctors, nurses and other primary care practitioners. I feel that a proper understanding of public health would, therefore, be essential to establishing my career in service to humanity.

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