This article certainly isn’t an answer or a theory. It’s a weighted question. And in a world that is so consumed with hatred and negativity and destruction, it is a journey. How does one practice mindfulness? Recently, in lieu of finals week, the volunteers at my campus’s wellness center hosted a party in which they gave away tea and pamphlets on being calm. One of the pamphlets had instructions on how to be mindful when eating and showering. When showering, pay attention to how your skin feels in the air before the shower and then how each warm drop feels on your skin. Hear the water hit the floor, and listen for each individual drop. Close your eyes and breathe deeply. Though helpful in some of these small aspects of life, bringing peace to my mind before class each morning, I now seek a pamphlet that teaches me how to lead a more mindful lifestyle. Constantly I find myself getting angry at the smallest things and my anger sends me spiraling towards anxiety and depression. I get tenser as time passes and I struggle to make my body function as it would if it were healthy and happy. My heart tightens and my breathing feels weighted and I hate the world and the people in it. If I catch a happy moment, or even a series of happy moments that stretch into a week or a month, my body never fails to repeat the cycle of hatred. I want to know how to me more mindful. I want to not only feel mindful and appreciative when I am happy, but all of the time. When my vision blurs and I gasp for air, I want to know how to resurface. Meditation only works for so long and comfort fails to present itself in times of need. Netflix recently released a documentary called Minimalism. It was really good and provided a different perspective on happiness and what lengths people go to in this capitalist world to achieve it. The philosophy of the featured men was to only own products that added meaning or purpose to your life. Now, picture your own happy future through rose colored sunglasses. Lots of money? A cute house and a nice car? Love? Now picture a sad future. It probably looks desolate and lacks material goods. This is because the American Dream has been modeled around money and STUFF. Working hard and finding happiness at the end of the road. You either have it or you don’t, apparently. But if this goal is so unachievable for so many people, why is it still practiced? Happiness isn’t supposed to come from goods, it’s supposed to come from within. Mindfulness helps you find happiness from within and helps you appreciate what you already have, and shows you what gives you real happiness in your life and separates it from what brings you negativity. So now the revised American Dream is mindfulness. Is it just as unachievable as the first or is it something that can be taught? I’d like to find out.
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It is about February every year when I realize that bikini season is approaching. I know a lot of people who feel this way, too. In pursuit of the perfect "summer body," more meals are prepped and more time is spent in the gym. Obviously, making healthier choices is a good thing! But here is a reminder that you do not have to have a flat stomach and abs to rock a bikini.
Since my first semester of college, I've weighed over 200 pounds. Sometimes way more, sometimes only a few pounds more, but I have not seen a weight starting with the number "1" since the beginning of my freshman year of college.
My weight has fluctuated, my health has fluctuated, and unfortunately, my confidence has fluctuated. But no matter what, I haven't allowed myself to give up wearing the things I want to wear to please the eyes of society. And you shouldn't, either.
I weigh over 200lbs in both of these photos. To me, (and probably to you), one photo looks better than the other one. But what remains the same is, regardless, I still chose to wear the bathing suit that made me feel beautiful, and I'm still smiling in both photos. Nobody has the right to tell you what you can and can't wear because of the way you look.
There is no magic number that equates to health. In the second photo (and the cover photo), I still weigh over 200 lbs. But I hit the gym daily, ate all around healthier and noticed differences not only on the scale but in my mood, my heart health, my skin and so many other areas. You are not unhealthy because you weigh over 200 lbs and you are not healthy because you weigh 125. And, you are not confined to certain clothing items because of it, either.
This summer, after gaining quite a bit of weight back during the second semester of my senior year, I look somewhere between those two photos. I am disappointed in myself, but ultimately still love my body and I'm proud of the motivation I have to get to where I want to be while having the confidence to still love myself where I am.
And if you think just because I look a little chubby that I won't be rocking a bikini this summer, you're out of your mind.
If YOU feel confident, and if YOU feel beautiful, don't mind what anybody else says. Rock that bikini and feel amazing doing it.
There aren’t a lot of shows out there that show the “ugly,” raw, real side of things like sexual assault, depression, suicide, drug use and violence.
This may be because these things are hard to talk about, so not talking about them is a solution, which isn’t ideal.
Both seasons of "13 Reasons Why" on Netflix cover these topics, and despite the backlash, it has gotten, I fully believe it is a show that needs to be seen and talked about more often.
Because of season one, there are trigger warnings in some of the episodes in season two. These warnings advise of depictions of drug use, sexual assault and more. There are even excerpts of the cast talking at the end of each one with a website to go to if you or someone you know needs help.
Sexual assault is one of the bigger pictures that is touched upon in this series, from both female and male perspectives without giving anything away. This is SO important, especially including an incident involving a male because it shows that sexual assault can affect everyone, regardless of who you are.
Even though none of the characters came right out and said they were struggling with mental illnesses, many of the signs and symptoms are there.
I see it way too often on social media and in some movies and television shows; depression and other mental illnesses are romanticized and make it seem as if these issues are not a big deal, but the truth is, they are.
This show explores the side of mental illnesses that aren’t often seen, and even though it can be hard to watch, it needs to be shown in order for us to start a conversation about it. By talking about it, it can help end the stigma that surrounds mental health and hopefully encourages people to get the help they need.
By showing Hannah’s suicide scene at the end of season one, it’s understandable that it may be triggering to those who have survived suicide attempts, but again, it’s important and serves as a conversation starter for those who may not know how to talk about it or their feelings.
It also touches base on not only how Hannah herself feels, but how others are affected by her suicide. We see how Clay, Jessica, Alex and so many other characters deal with the loss, mostly in season two, but we also see how her parents are handling it.
I think diving deeper into the feelings of others after a loved one has committed suicide is important and can show that one’s decision to end their life may end their pain, but passes it onto their loved ones. It’s hopefully an eye-opener to those who are struggling and shows that their loved ones will be left with pain and questions that may never get answered, just like some of the characters in the show.
Again, without giving anything away to anyone who’s yet to see the second season, there are some instances of drug use which can also be a trigger for anyone who may be recovering or comes from a family that uses drugs.
"13 Reasons Why" shows a side of drug use that is frightening, nauseating and heartbreaking all at once with the intention to show what can happen if you fall into a life of drugs. It also shows that no matter how long you are clean, you relapse sometimes, which is all apart of recovery.
It’s no secret that violence plays a big part in this show - and a lot of stems from anger, nervousness and many other emotions and events throughout the show. A lot of times there are consequences that follow these instances of violence and can show that your actions can come back to bite you.
If you are sensitive to the subjects mentioned above, then "13 Reasons Why" may not be ideal for you to view alone, but if you want to see how these subjects are portrayed, I highly recommend watching it with a trusted friend, parent or adult.
I’ve seen way too many times where these subjects were not talked about because it’s hard to, because people don’t know what to say or people can’t find the words to say, and that’s not okay anymore.
There is a negative stigma surrounding all of these issues that need to be broken, and it starts with "13 Reasons Why."
It’s ok not to be ok. It’s ok to be hurt, sad and angry. There are people out there who love you, care about you and want you to get the help you need.
If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, please reach out to someone you trust or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The Lifeline is available 24 hours a day. Your call will remain confidential.