Herbal Medicine Should Be Primary

I am not exactly sure why everybody does not choose to use herbal medicine over any other form of medicine. It confuses me because herbs have been around since the beginning of time; making herbs the first method of medicine and healing. If the ground we walk on provides us solutions to the problems that the ground itself creates, why don’t we use those solutions? Instead we use things the earth provided us, add chemicals and lab based ingredients to it, and call it medicine. Does it help? Sure, but there is also a very high chance you will develop negative symptoms the first day to the last, and don’t forget the lifetime effects it has on your body and mind; but your cold is gone, isn’t it?

Shennong Bencaojing (The Classic of Herbal Medicine) by Shen Nung’s Pen T, was written between about 200 and 250 AD. It is the oldest book ever recorded on herbal medicine; containing 365 entries on substances (herbs) used for medical treatment. Sadly, the original text does not exist anymore. I would have sure loved to hold that book in my hands. Herbalism was then preserved in monasteries in Britain and mainland Europe; they used monasteries as medical schools. Herbal Medicine eventually got to the monks, who used their “Physic gardens” to grow the herbs they needed. If you think about it, we survived for millions of years by just using herbal medicine; so why did we stop?

We all know that all you need to do to have access to these herbs, is to grow them or buy them right at your local grocery store. If you have a garden already, grab a few things to add to it next time you are out shopping. Buy things like Echinacea; which helps boost your immune system, so it is great for everyday use or to drink when you are sick. Lavender is always a great thing to have on hand; it provides calmness and stress relief. Chamomile helps put you to sleep, and Basil just taste delicious in almost every meal. There are simple and common herbs found for a dollar almost anywhere you can buy your usual groceries. Why go shopping when you can go to your back yard?

Your garden is ready and you go to grab some herbs to bring inside. They smell delicious, they look beautiful; what do you do? Do you go inside your house and add chemicals to it to make it more potent, or to make sure it really works? No, you make tea with the herbs, or you add it to your dinner. So why do we, as humans and scientists, add artificial anything to our already perfect medicine? The obvious answer, money! Doctors don’t make money if they tell you to drink more tea every day; why tell you to go home and begin a garden of medicinal herbs when they can suggest some form of prescribed drug that same day and make a fortune? I am not saying that prescriptions don’t help you and that other medicine does not work, so do not perceive it as so. All I’m saying, is that we can grow medicine for a dollar in our back yards. You don’t even need soil or fancy shovels; just use dirt, water, and a spoon from your kitchen!

If you are still reading this yet you know you have a dollar in your wallet or bag, then I suppose I have not done the best job at letting you know the positive reasoning on how herbal medicine could save you cash and save your life. That’s okay, I just hope you leave here today with more knowledge then you had before. Just remember, the ground gives us solutions to our problems, and has been since before 200 AD, with no negative or long lasting side effects. Herbal Medicine: Let’s make it primary!

Resources

http://exhibits.hsl.virginia.edu/herbs/brief-history/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shennong_Ben_Cao_Jing

Trippy camera effects – tips

Ever have a pair of kaleidoscope glasses? Or use a kaleidoscope ever before? Putting that over your camera lens (camera on your phone works too!) makes for some AWESOME photos. Simply putting it in front of your camera and photographing it on the ceiling is cool, or putting it over your lens and putting a subject (object or person) in front of it, could get some really creative photos. Keep in mind though, it is hard to see what the subject actually is, so if you are using a person, try parts modeling with them or focusing on one thing to get the best photos.

Trippy effects are fun when paired with parts modeling. By parts modeling I mean…only photographing the close up of the face, maybe the lips and nose only, the lips and the neck, the collar bone and upper breast (if a female, but male chest could work too), you could photograph a hand on the chest, something that is pretty, blank (all skin is blank unless tattooed), but anything that would be too much (like tattoos) I would stay away from when using the kaleidoscope. You never want too much noise in your photographs because people tend to get confused and not know what to look at.

Ceiling fan…my legs on a dresser….a cat.

Ever use a prism or something similar? That can create really cool effects in a camera, especially paired with a light of some kind. I like to set my camera up on a tripod, hold the prism, shine the light threw it, and find the perfect position for it. The tripod is necessary for me personally, because I move around a LOT trying to get the perfect picture…plus my camera is really heavy and I have small hands and arthritis. I try to move around my subject a bit, since prisms can be hard at first because you could get some really trippy effects in the camera, which some photographers don’t want, others may though, which is cool too! I will use the prism and show you both the trippy effect I got, and the plain cool one I got.

Literally took this from my phone to practice and I am in love.

These are actually photos of unicorn stickers with stars on them, and the bottom right one is an orange and an apple next to each other…..I would need to purchase a larger prism in order to use it again with my camera, since this one was so small, I think it worked better for my phone.

Start a garden using your scraps!

I absolutely hate throwing away scraps. Every single time I go to throw away any part of a vegetable or fruit that I chop off, for some reason I just wish that there is another way to use them, whether it’s to start a compost pile or I had always wished that I could literally just re grow everything. My fiance then told me, that I can take those scallions and place them in a jar with water and put them on a window sill. I was absolutely mind blown and while some of you already knew that you could do this, which, good for you and your knowledge, but I was COMPLETELY blown away!!!!! I then wanted to try and re grow literally every vegetable that I started purchasing.

I now have a collection of celery, scallions, bok choy, and leeks. The scallions are constantly growing out and they grow too tall within 1 week, so I always have a good supply. I use those for maybe 3 weeks, because eventually they start to get kind of slimy. ALWAYS change the water every few days and don’t forget to refill it when it dissapears.

The roots of these scallions are growing like crazy!! And we just cut these babies yesterday for our eggs! Cut as you need too, change the water every few days, and you’ll have an unlimited supply of scallions.

I also grow celery, I use it so often in my soups 🍲 that I just got tired of rebuying it. It does take awhile to regrow, I started off with mine in water and when it got tall and leafy I decided to plant it in the same pot as my basil plant.

As for my leeks, they started out so small since you cut them right at the end white part, but they grow so tall I had to switch jars yesterday!

And I just have all of these chilling on my window sill!!!!

They also just add a bit of green to my apartment and it makes us feel really at home and with nature. My next step is to regrow my romaine lettuce, an onion, garlic, and replant bok choy. It got way too hot out and humid and it wilted, sadly. I would like to keep this one inside and not place it outdoors and see how that works out.

So, stop wasting your scraps!!! Cut at the end, where the seed is, because there are seeds in literally everything (almost), and plant them in some water 💧 and just watch them grow! While your at it, grab some pots and plant all the seeds from your fruits, tomatoes, apples ect, and just see what works depending on where you live and the space you have to garden. Who knows, maybe you’ll end up with an apple tree in your back yard.

Find cheap under 1 dollar pots on Amazon—>

Photography Tips – Using Fabric for Effects

When using my camera inside, the lighting is either too yellow, too dark, too bright, and very…fake looking. Also, do you want every photo to look the same? Do you enjoy cool effects and something that makes your photo POP? Here are some items I used to get these fun photos…

  • Flashlight, phone flashlight works too
  • Fabrics (Walmart, other craft store…Amazon —> https://amzn.to/33BeHQy )
  • Camera (Nikon D800 with 16-35mm lens, macro lens)
  • Tripod
  • Tin Foil (or reflector if you have one!)
  • The sun works for some of these, but a flashlight works for others. Sun is better for portrait photography though, unless you have professional lighting, florescent lighting can make subjects look yellow. (If it is dark, you can try in the morning too)

I could always use a reflector to reflect the sunlight from outside onto the object or person I am trying to capture, that always works fantastic. It also gives the object interesting shadows and highlights, depending on the objects outside the window as well. Trees will show branches on a face through the window, and blinds will show horizontal lines on your subject, which always looks cool!

If you don’t have a reflector…use tin foil! Does the same thing, and you can get a whole roll of it at Dollar Tree for just a dollar! Just place it under your near your subject (wherever you want the most light) and bam! You brought the sun to your home.

Now, that is an easy tip…if you want to get really creative, head to your local Walmart or any other store that sells fabrics (I use Walmart because there is a discount section of cut up, leftover fabric for under a dollar). Look for fabric like this…..

Fabric for cheap

Now, with the fabrics I found, pink, white, red…thought maybe it would be cool to place over a subject, or maybe put over the lens of my camera in a bright setting? Let me try it out…and I will show you my results.

Here are some examples of the work I did recently.

I used the blue fabric for this one. Placed it in front of the lens and it gave a really cool hint of blue throughout the whole photo.
This one you can see the white fabric on one side, and just lightly on the other side. Gave great lighting since the color was light and I only put over a thin piece of fabric on one side.
The same fabric but with some darker editing, it gives it a really cool effect of dark and light.

Just like that, you have some interesting photos. The ones above, creepy, but there is something about the blur and the lighting that really makes the photos pop, to me anyway. Well, good luck and check out my other blog posts for more photography tips!

How to shop for vitamins: Standardized vs Non-Standardized Vitamins

PSA: In this article I talk about cloning animals, using citations from websites and books throughout the article. Please do not copy anything, for plagiarism is illegal and it is very easy to catch people. Please only use this for informational purposes, or for personal purposes. If you use anything in this article for educational reasons, please cite this as a reference using your personal schools citation formatting.

Supplement Comparison on whether to buy the standardized version of the vitamin, or the non-standardized vitamin.

All of this information about specific vitamins were being pulled off of Google shopping, the references are below. Also, the book, Mosby’s Handbook of Herbs and Natural Supplements (must read!) Which you can find right here!

Mosby’s Handbook of Herbs and Natural Supplements

When looking up different supplements I honestly had no idea what the difference between standardized and non-standardized was. The more I investigated it, I realized the non-standardized supplements seemed to always have way more than the recommended dose in Mosby’s Handbook. The prices were also completely different, as it seemed like the standardized medication did not cost as much. I am not totally sure why someone would need to take triple the amount of a supplement, I was thinking it was to get the most out of it. My partner and I used to take Saint John’s Wort for depression, and we were taking a total of 300mg, the bottle mentioned that we can take up to three capsules daily. That matches up to Mosby’s Handbook perfectly, whereas the non-standardized version of this same medication would have had me take over 1000mgs. Some other things I noticed were that the standardized supplements always had a better and clearer ingredient list on the bottle. It said every single ingredient that was in it, including what the capsule or tablet was made out of. It also mentioned that it was an herbal supplement and a dietary supplement, but that was mentioned on both bottles.

I think that the standardized supplements are used more than the non-standardized because it is easier to read, and very well labeled. Taking just one capsule from the bottle seemed to be a good daily dose when recommended by Mosby’s Handbook. Sometimes it would mention to take the supplement with a meal, but it never mentioned those things on the non-standardized bottles. Both bottles listed the correct number of milligrams and dosages in each bottle, as well as what herbs or minerals are in the product.  

When looking up the supplements, finding the standardized versions was always so much easier since it was labeled on the bottle as “standardized”. The non-standardized version would just be the same thing but not labeled, and I of course realized the difference very shortly after starting the research since the dosages was completely different. I did not get a chance to travel anywhere to look at supplements in a store since I do not have a car, so I ended up using google and going straight to the shopping section. You can buy both kinds of supplements at the same stores usually, like Vitamin Shoppe or even Walmart. The non-standardized supplements sometimes would not have photos of the ingredients listed, so I would have to scroll down to the bottom of the page and search for it. I would eventually find it, but if I could not find it, I just went ahead and switched up the supplement I chose to write about, so I can make sure I am giving the world valid information and facts, and not just assumptions. The ones I chose, I chose for a reason. I use all of these supplements, or I plan too someday.

The St. Johns Wort (standardized version) had a few other herbs in it, like rosemary and Spirulina, which I just found out was a fancy way to say seaweed! In the ingredients list, it mentions that they use the stem, the leaf, and the flower. The non-standardized version only used the flower buds and the tops. I’m pretty sure the standardized version of all these supplements use most or all of the herbs instead of the non-standardized supplement only using just parts of the herbs. The standardized version of Black Cohosh however seemed to use and extract whereas the non-standardized version simply used the herb itself.

(DO NOT TAKE ST. JOHNS WORT WITH ANY OTHER MEDICATION BEFORE TALKING TO YOUR DOCTOR DIRECTLY OR DOING A MASSIVE AMOUNT OF RESEARCH! THIS HERB INTERACTS WITH MORE THINGS THAN ANY OTHER HERB!)

In the end, I found that the non-standardized herbs and supplements always had a higher price than the standardized version, they had a much higher dosage, and the ingredients were sometimes not even on the bottle making it quite difficult to figure out what was in it. The standardized supplements seem like more of a safe choice, especially if you did not have Mosby’s Handbook to read. I think that if I did not know anything about herbs, then I could easily grab the wrong version for me, and it could end horribly wrong. Sometimes, even taking just herbal supplements, you need to talk to your doctor and make sure its won’t affect you negatively. Especially if you are taking other medications or vitamins with it. So, I think the standardized supplements are the way to go.             

You NEVER want to take too much of something, everything in moderation is the key with anything in life. You CAN overdose by taking too many vitamins, it is not good for you. If you do not know what you are about to buy, don’t buy it. If you do not know the dosage of what you should be taking, rent or purchase Mosby’s Handbook and it will tell you EXACTLY how much of everything you should be taking. I highly recommend it!         

Recourses

Linda Skidmore-Roth. (2001). Mosby’s Handbook of Herbs & Natural Supplements., 4th edition. Retrieved from https://purdueuniversityglobal.vitalsource.com/#/books/9780323057417/cfi/6/2!/4/2@0:0.00

Google Express. (n.d) retrieved at https://www.Express.google.com

Vitamin Shoppe. (2019). Retrieved at https://www.vitaminshoppe.com/

Vitamin D – The Super Vitamin Encyclopedia

PSA: In this article I talk about cloning animals, using citations from websites and books throughout the article. Please do not copy anything, for plagiarism is illegal and it is very easy to catch people. Please only use this for informational purposes, or for personal purposes. If you use anything in this article for educational reasons, please cite this as a reference using your personal schools citation formatting.

      Vitamin D is an essential vitamin you can get from the sun. It helps with things ranging from depression, to weak bone and teeth health. It helps with your immune system too, which is a vital part of life! With enough Vitamin D in your diet, you should have a very high chance of not getting sick when everybody else does. Vitamin D should be a part of everybody’s daily vitamin intake, I think it leads to a very happy and healthy lifestyle. If you can’t get ahold of a Vitamin D capsule, then you can eat things like Salmon, Canned Tuna, Egg Yolks, Shrimp, and Mushrooms! I also drink Orange Juice and Soy milk, because they have added Vitamin D too and their delicious.

    Depression has certainly turned to an epidemic over the last century, and more and more people are suffering. Ever since adding my daily intake of Vitamin D, my depression has gone down by a significant amount this past year. I personally take 20mcg (800 IU) which is 100% of my daily value intake. When you think about it, why are people always so happy when summertime comes around? The sun is out until late evening time, and you have so many more hours of the day to get that sun exposure. Even an hour of a sun every day, cloudy or not, is all you need to fight depression. Takes me back to those warm sunny days where I could cook salmon in a fire pit while camping, with the sun shining down on me. Those were my happiest days, and then winter comes, and a lot of people end up suffering from seasonal depression. The sun goes away and its cold and dark, so in order to get that Vitamin D now, you need to find a supplement to take.

       Diseases that affect bone health would be certain abnormalities like soft bones (osteomalacia) or fragile bones (osteoporosis). Vitamin D daily can help reduce the effects of both of those. It helps by strengthening your bones and joints and keeping your body healthy and strong. They also help with your immune system in general, they help you fight off things like the flu, and the common cold. No vitamin cures anything, and no vitamin is 100% guaranteed to prevent disease or illness, but Vitamin D does a pretty decent job at it if you keep up with it daily.

 There are so many foods and drinks you can consume in your daily diet that can give you the correct amount of Vitamin D. I listed a few in the introduction, like mushrooms for example, mushrooms treated in the wild, or in UV light are good sources of Vitamin D. Commercially grown mushrooms are usually grown in the dark, so they have much less Vitamin D2. Make sure you look at labels before you purchase anything, just because it says it has Vitamin D, make sure you are getting the correct amount. Too little vitamins and too much vitamins are never a good thing but having the perfect amount of them can be super healthy. Seafood has so much Vitamin D, but if you are a vegetarian you can get it from cow milk, soy milk, and egg yolks. If you are a vegan, try taking a Vitamin D supplement every day with your breakfast.

 Vitamin D fights depression as well as improves your immune system, and also helps with bone health. You can find it in most seafood or milk, or you can simply just take a supplement of it every morning with your breakfast, maybe take it with a glass of orange juice! Going outside for about an hour each day can help you get the right amount of Vitamin D in your diet, on top of that taking a supplement. Sometimes you need to eat the foods and take the supplements, even during the summer. Some people have a Vitamin D deficiency and it is pretty serious since it practically deteriorates your bones and makes them softer than a newborns bone. Vitamin D is an essential everyday vitamin, and taking it every day can and will lead to a happier, healthier lifestyle.

Recourses

Health Line. (2017). The Benefits of Vitamin D. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/benefits-vitamin-d#fights-disease

Biotechnology, My Personal Opinion.

PSA: In this article I talk about cloning animals, using citations from websites and books throughout the article. Please do not copy anything, for plagiarism is illegal and it is very easy to catch people. Please only use this for informational purposes, or for personal purposes. If you use anything in this article for educational reasons, please cite this as a reference using your personal schools citation formatting.

Biotechnology
Science is a series of tests and experiments based on the scientific method, it is all about facts and the study of life. Whereas, technology is more of a physical object that is created with scientific knowledge. There are certainly similarities, but science is the mind behind the technology. Without science, technology would not exist. With science, there are experiments and volunteers for testing, this is the research we need to find cures for diseases and create the new technology to advance that research.
The biotechnology I chose is cloning, specifically reproductive cloning. “Reproductive cloning is a technology used to generate an animal that has the same nuclear DNA as another currently or previously existing animal” (Future For All, 2019). There was a sheep named Dolly that was successfully cloned by using this technology in 1997. There was a few reasoning as to why they wanted to clone animals, but mainly they wanted more livestock, so they started by cloning animals that are used for food and/or other resources. Cloning is done by removing the nucleus which carries DNA from the egg of an adult female (Trefil, Hazen, 2015). Then, a cell from another adult sheep is fused with the egg with an electric shock. That cell then began to divide and then when the time was right, the embryo was implanted into the uterus of another sheep, impregnating that sheep with the cloned DNA of the two sheep (Trefil, Hazen, 2015). Now, if they tried this on a human, there is a high chance of problems and malfunctions. There is not enough research to make it safe to clone a human, it is said to be very dangerous at this time.
Scientists have tried cloning many things before sheep and monkeys could be cloned correctly, like the sea urchin in 1885. With that experiment, they discovered that each cell in the early embryo had its own set of genetic instructions that could grow into a full organism (Learn Genetics, 2019). In 1902, a salamander was cloned but not as successfully as the sea urchin. they tried again with the salamander in 1928, attempting almost the same experiment. This was a success, and they discovered that nucleus from an early embryonic cell can grow into an adult salamander, which is a perfect substitute for the nucleus in a fertilized egg. The first successful nuclear transfer was in 1952, and they cloned a frog. From amphibians to mammals, they started to clone more and more animals.
When cloning in a lab, scientists use Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer or (SCNT). It is what makes an exact genetic copy of an individual. SCNT only started getting used around the 1950s, “Nuclear transfer of this type only became technically feasible in amphibians around 1950 and in mammals some 30 years later” (Wilmut, Bai, Taylor, 2015). Before SCNT, they could not manage to successfully clone anything, even the sea urchin. The first cloning experiment was of a scientist in 1885, named Hans Adolf Eduard Driesch, who thought that it was possible to separate the two-celled sea urchin embryos by literally shaking them. They did indeed separate, then they both grew into sea urchins!
With more complicated animals, like the salamander in 1902, it got a bit harder than just shaking the cells. Hans Spemann was the scientist who was trying to figure out how to clone a salamander, but the embryo was a lot stickier than the sea urchins. He used a tiny noose made from baby hair and tightened it between the two cells and slowly pulled apart, creating two different cells. Each of those cells, then, developed into salamanders. Trying to do that with more advanced cells, did not work. So, using simplicity by shaking cells apart and pulling them apart with baby hair, were the two main technologies they used before SCNT started getting used in 1928.
Some positive things about biotechnological advances would be the intensity and depth of the research we can get with more advance technology. As we advance, we take the things that we have known that have worked in the past, and we change them and update them by using our new scientific knowledge. We can learn about the type of rock that is in the core of the earth with today’s advanced technology, or we could go inside a preserved human from 5,000 years ago and find out exactly what organs they had and what condition they were in. Biotechnological advances help us learn more information faster and easier. With the intensity and depth of biotechnology, we can create vaccines and antibiotics in medicine, and in agriculture there are genetic modification of crops, which has good and bad effects. They now have new-generation GM (genetically modified) crops and those are being developed into medicines and industrial products such as monoclonal antibodies, vaccines, plastics and biofuels (Key, Ma, Drake, 2008). Without these advances, we would not have the cures or medicine to most illnesses.
Some negative things about biotechnological advances would be things like genetically modified plants and animals. When adding GMOs or GMs to our plants, we are diminishing the health of the humans or animals who consume these plants, and to the environment around the plants. Genetic engineering speeds up the growth rate of the plant and can even make it bigger in size. All GM plants do undergo safety testing and have been used for over 15 years and have been consumed by hundreds of millions of people from around the world. These crops may be allergenic and have potential toxicity of protein (which does get tested in the safety tests). Another negative effect of biotechnology is their impact on production and the global market. With GM crops, everything grows bigger and faster, and sometimes ends up in overproduction. It ends up wasting the crops and costing a lot of money in the long run because they are not selling the crops fast enough.
I honestly think that genetically modifying our crops is not going to benefit us in the long run. We have so many farms that grow organic food and have cage free, grass fed animals. And genetically modified crops are not the only things we have to worry about, there are genetically modified organisms too, like mosquitoes. When people use genetic modification, they may be trying to do good, but there are always negative side effects to everything. Scientists wanted to genetically modify mosquitoes in hopes to get rid of some species of mosquitoes, but are not considering that by injecting these insects, that these insects are going to obey and only spread the modifications to other mosquitoes and not to humans. They are their own organisms, and if they bit a human, that human would then pass it on, and it would cause an epidemic. I think that without anything getting genetically modified, we could and will find other ways to take care of problems, that have less side effects.

Future of All. (2019). Cloning. Retrieved from https://www.futureforall.org/bioengineering/cloning.htm
Wilmut, I., Bai, Y., & Taylor, J. (2015). Somatic cell nuclear transfer: origins, the present position and future opportunities. Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 370(1680), 20140366. doi:10.1098/rstb.2014.0366
Key, S., Ma, J. K., & Drake, P. M. (2008). Genetically modified plants and human health. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 101(6), 290–298. doi:10.1258/jrsm.2008.070372
Sciencing. Suico, Joshua. (2018) The Disadvantages of Biotechnology. Retrieved from https://sciencing.com/disadvantages-biotechnology-8590679.html
Resnik, D. B. (2018). Ethics of community engagement in field trials of genetically modified mosquitoes. Developing World Bioethics, 18(2), 135–143. https://doi.org/10.1111/dewb.12147

  Learn Genetics. Genetic Science Learning Center. (n.d). The History of Cloning. Retrieved at https://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/cloning/clonezone/

How to be Self-Aware, According to the Professionals.

Emotional Responses and Self-Awareness.

Referring to the book, Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ- By Daniel Goleman. Find it here on Amazon https://amzn.to/2vf2bJh (Available for Kindle, Audiobook, and Hardcover). Also…if you use Amazon Smile, rather than Amazon, a percentage of what you pay for your product, goes to a charity of your choice, at no cost to you. Just saying.

PSA: In this article I talk about cloning animals, using citations from websites and books throughout the article. Please do not copy anything, for plagiarism is illegal and it is very easy to catch people. Please only use this for informational purposes, or for personal purposes. If you use anything in this article for educational reasons, please cite this as a reference using your personal schools citation formatting.


Goleman says that emotional intelligence is about being self-aware, mature and understanding. Although those are only a few things he mentions, those things relate to my life the most. It took me 25 years to learn self-awareness in a healthy way. It all started by getting diagnosed with anxiety and depression, after that, my entire life was revolved around the excuse of “Oh I’m depressed” and” No, that would give me anxiety”. I was using my diagnosis as an explanation for all of my behavior, which was wrong. My emotions were all over the place, my primary emotions no longer existed, and I had no grey area. Anger, sadness and fear were only present once in a while, and happiness was rare for me. Depressed, jealous, stressed, panicked, startled, irritable, confused, despair and frustration; those were my new primary emotions.
I had thought, since I could identify each emotion I was feeling, that that made me self-aware. Identifying your emotions is only half of it, you need to know why you are feeling those emotions, and how to handle them properly. By using the diagnosis as my reason for why I did everything I did, I was letting my diagnosis overwhelm my reason. “Without intelligent self-direction and monitoring, emotions naturally lead to a habit of reactivity” (Nelson, 2003). If we sit down and evaluate our emotions before acting on them, that shows emotional intelligence. If we do nothing but act upon our thoughts without thinking, then we end up making those negative actions a habit. My anxiety gave me anxiety, and every situation that ever gave me anxiety, gave me anxiety. Until one day, I told myself I was okay, and I no longer was letting my anxiety control me. Positive reinforcement actually works, I guess. My health and wellness depend on my emotional intelligence because mental disorders take much more concentration and training to work with and gain control with. Anxiety is also in the gut, so when my mental health is off, so is my entire body.
Dan Gilbert says that there are two kinds of psychological happiness; synthesize happiness and natural happiness. There are, however, issues with happiness due to psychological problems in the mind. We have expectations of what our future happiness should look like, allowing us to get let down much easier than if we just “went with it”. Gilbert says that “We suffer, more specifically, from three shortcomings in our imagination”. There is realism, which is the acceptance of a situation as is and knowing how to deal with it properly. Presentism, which is the imagined future and how it looks like the present because we are unable to predict many things, so we use our present situation to help us see into our future (Gilbert, 2007). Rationalization, “things will look different once they happen, in particular bad things will look better because we will always find some positive interpretation” (Gilbert, 2007).
When using realism, you could get stuck with your second option for a house but talk about how much better off you are than if you got your first choice. You will find positivity in the final outcome, because there is no changing it and so you have no choice but to be realistic about it and tell yourself you are happy. That would be synthetic happiness. When using Presentism, you are also realistically thinking about the future. You are not picturing yourself in a castle with maids and fancy dinners if you are living in a one-bedroom apartment with your fiancé. You are going to think about that promotion you hope to get, or that new house you are almost saved up for. Your future will be with you and your fiancé, and it will be much more realistic than if you used your imagination for your future.
These concepts influence my own health and wellness because I too try and think as realistically as possible when it comes to my decisions and my future. My imagination is so huge, and I lose touch with reality quite a lot. The only way I get anything done in life, is if I think realistically. My head gets caught in the clouds, so if I thought about my future and what I wished it would be, it would indeed be a castle on my own my island that I would make into a kingdom of my own. That is very unlikely, since I’ve researched islands, and I would need billions of dollars to get it all. Realistically, I should be looking for houses in the state of my choice that are big enough for me to have a greenhouse and a family. Thinking about my present, and using that to think about my future, brings my very unrealistic goals down to goals I can complete. “Our imagination is too conservative, we are trapped in a place, a time, and a circumstance; and our attempts to use our minds to transcend those boundaries are ineffective (Gilbert, 2007). The imagination is very strong, and could take over, I must be careful. My happiness when I get my house and my family will be natural and wonderful, and the sadness I would get if I were to have an unrealistic future, would be overwhelming.
Based on the readings, the things I am already doing in my life that I think these authors would support and agree with are meditation and yoga that I try to do daily. Being self-aware is something I work on every day, having healthy social skills has also been something that I really had to work towards due to the social anxiety I had to combat. Effective conflict resolution is something I need to change, because I tend to get defensive and yell before calmly trying to communicate. Same thing goes with impulse control, there is actually a disorder called Impulse-control disorder (ICD) that consists of a failure to resist temptation and the inability to not speak on a thought. I’ll always wonder if I should add that to my list of disorders, because impulse control makes my level of emotional intelligence sink down really far. Keeping promises are hard when you act before you think, impulse control has a lot to do with urges and temptations, and if something brings you pleasure, it is really hard to have self-control and say no. Self-control is a big thing that Gilbert mentions in his book, Emotional Intelligence. Self-regulation is another big one, not just self-control but controlling my behavior long-term to complete goals and resist bad habits.
My plan for change is to find a stable place to live, then start therapy again. If I can keep consistency and stability in my life, I should be able to gain control and keep a sane and mature level of emotional intelligence. Having to gain emotional intelligence when battling anxiety is tough, and I need to learn how to control and handle it. “Social anxiety is characterized by constant fear of one or more social or performance situations in which the person is exposed to unknown persons or to the possible scrutiny of others” (Cejudo, J., Rodrigo-Ruiz, D., López-Delgado, M. L., & Losada, L. 2018). This article, called “Emotional Intelligence and Its Relationship with Levels of Social Anxiety and Stress in Adolescents” talks about the relationship between emotional intelligence and stress and social anxiety. It is relating this all to adolescence, but I think it still qualifies for me. It mentions that in order to reach emotional intelligence, you need a positive psychological well-being. That is a huge issue with people with anxiety and depression, my fight, flight, or freeze is either on freeze or flight. “Some anxiety serves a beneficial purpose when it warns of impending danger—too much anxiety, however, can hinder your performance and lower your achievement” (Nelson, 2003). I rarely stay to see the end result of anything that I fear. Nor do I put myself in a situation where I might even possibly fear something, it is a safe space or no space for me. Once I conquer how to control my fear and anxiety, then I can conquer emotional intelligence.
In the second article, it was all about following your gut. “Recent research suggests that anxiety and excitement are similar because both emotions are characterized by the anticipation of an outcome and by uncertainty, but they differ by valence and the behavioral consequences are distinct” (Brooks, 2014). We have been talking about a reward system, and how when we do something that gives our mind or body pleasure, we end up craving that, whether good or bad. “The ability model of emotional intelligence (EI) conceptualizes EI as four distinct abilities: (1) perceiving emotions, (2) using emotions to facilitate performance, (3) understanding emotions, and (4) managing emotions” (Mayer & Salovey, 1997; Mayer, Salovey, Caruso, & Sitarenios, 2003; Salovey & Mayer, 1990; Yip & Martin, 2006). Taking a walk for example, and hitting my step count, makes me want to walk more and increase my step count for each day. The reward of just getting healthier is not enough for some people, including myself. Simply being able to handle your emotions, is critical to achieving emotional intelligence, no matter what author is talking about it.

References:
Cejudo, J., Rodrigo-Ruiz, D., López-Delgado, M. L., & Losada, L. (2018). Emotional Intelligence and Its Relationship with Levels of Social Anxiety and Stress in Adolescents. International Journal Of Environmental Research And Public Health, 15(6). https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15061073


Yip, J. A., Stein, D. H., Côté, S., & Carney, D. R. (2019). Follow your gut? Emotional intelligence moderates the association between physiologically measured somatic markers and risk-taking. Emotion. https://doi.org/10.1037/emo0000561.supp (Supplemental)


Ott, J. (2009). Our Imagination of Future Happiness and Its Shortcomings Daniel Gilbert, Stumbling on Happiness. Journal of Happiness Studies, 10(2), 253–255. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10902-007-9073-2


Schueller, S. M., & Parks, A. C. (2014). The science of self-help: Translating positive psychology research into increased individual happiness. European Psychologist, 19(2), 145–155. https://doi.org/10.1027/1016-9040/a000181


Gilbert, Dan. (2004). Ted Talk. The surprising science of happiness. Retrieved at https://www.ted.com/talks/dan_gilbert_asks_why_are_we_happy#t-653406

I enjoy reading books, but I have a busy lifestyle…what is my best option?

I love going to the library and picking out a nice book, the smell and the feel of a book gives me such a sophisticated feeling. When I am out of the house though, whether I am in a waiting room waiting for an appointment, sipping a coffee in a cafe, or just going to the park to bask in the sun on a nice day, I don’t always remember my book. This gets very upsetting, since I like books with cliffhangers and I am always curious about what is happening next, sometimes I even leave in the middle of a page because I am in a hurry to get where I am going. My solution? Kindle Unlimited…I’ve searched so many other ways to read books on the go when I forget my books at home, and Kindle Unlimited has saved me. Its cheap, it’s literally the same price as my Pandora subscription, which has also saved me, because when I am in a groove, commercials really get on my last nerve.

I know what you are thinking…here is another blog to sell something to somebody. That is not why I am writing this though, I am writing this because this has been a savior in my life and I know so many people who say “I wish I could read, but I am too busy to sit down with a book”. You don’t have too! Go to the bathroom, take a 5 minute break at work, read on your lunch break, it is so easy. Take out your phone, load the app (which loads in like 10 seconds or less, and it takes you straight to the page you left off at) and read a few pages. Keep your brain stimulated and active, and keep your creativity flowing no matter where you are. I know some of you, or most of you already know about Kindle Unlimited, I mean, who doesn’t know all of what Amazon has to offer right?

I however, crave reviews. I do not buy anything without looking at the reviews, because those 5 people who got a scam product are the ones that only show up when you click on the “show me the 1 star reviews” tab. People like to hide the negativity in their products and memberships, but so far, I have nothing bad to say about Kindle Unlimited.

Pros about Kindle Unlimited

  • You get first picks of FREE books every few days to a week.
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  • You return books when you are done, and choose another one same day. No hassle of leaving your home, no return fees, and thousands of free books to choose from.
  • There are thousands of FREE books to choose from!!!
  • The app only takes up a total of 329MB on my phone.
  • You can choose the size that the book is in, the color of the background, the font, the margins, the line spacing, and the alignment…also the system brightness.
  • You can take notes during the book, in case you were reading something educational or using a book for ideas.
  • You can bookmark your page, so even if you go to other books or your phone dies in the middle of something, you can make sure you get to your same page.
  • You can highlight a word you do not know, and it will tell you the definition.
  • You can get free trials, and some Kindle memberships come free when you have amazon prime, in case you didn’t know. Get the trial here —-> https://amzn.to/30RZOYA
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Cons about Kindle Unlimited

I mean, yeah you have to pay for it. But it really is worth it. To me anyway, nobody is forcing you to read on the go, it is just convenient.

Also, I sell my own books (kids books and poems at the moment) if you wanted to take a look. I am still new in the Amazon book department, but I hope to get better! https://amzn.to/2O2ppJm

It is, in the end, up to you to decide. I have not regretted it once, sometimes I forget I have it, but then I remember and I’m like “Hey, I could be reading a book right now.” Plus, I always have many options to choose from…you never have to pay for a book again if you know where to look.