How To Forgive Someone & Why You Should Do It For Yourself

We’ve all heard the phrase “forgive, but never forget.” Well…forgiveness can be a lot easier said than done! We’re diving in on how to forgive someone who hurt you, forgiveness without an apology, and why forgiveness is important. 

 

 

How To Forgive Someone

There are two key ways people can hurt us — by what they do to us, or by what they DON’T do. Both have to be acknowledged and both have to be grieved! Unfortunately, forgiveness is not a light switch that we can just turn on and off whenever we need it. So, before we can fully forgive someone, we have to see just how deep their needles stung, and assess the situation from there. 

10 Factors Of Forgiveness

There are quite a few factors (10, in fact) that will dictate whether forgiveness will come easily, if it’ll be hard, or if it’ll be damn near impossible. 

1. Empathy: Can you see what historic trauma has led them to do that to you?

2. Rumination: How much are you thinking about what they did or how angry you are?

3. Personality: Are you a compassionate and kind person who tends to forgive easily?

4. Severity: How much did the experience hurt you and change how you view others?

5. Frequency: How many times were you hurt by this person? Is it a pattern?

6. History: How long has it been since you were directly impacted by this experience?

7. Relationship: Who hurt you and how much did you rely on them? A parent, a partner…?

8. Quality: What is the quality of the relationship you have with this person?

9. Hierarchy: Do you feel like you need to forgive them because they hold power over you?

10. Intention: Was the person intentionally trying to hurt you?

Now, intention can be perceived differently by you and the offender! You may feel like they were trying to hurt you on purpose, meanwhile they may say it was unintentional. It’s important to figure out the truth and focus on that, rather than hyper fixating on how it felt

An 11th, and very important, factor is whether or not the person even feels sorry. And that’s a whoooole other ball game. 

What Forgiveness Is, What Forgiveness Is Not

Forgiving someone isn’t acknowledging that you deserved whatever they did or said. It’s something you do to give yourself peace of mind or repair a damaged relationship. Not to mention, there are some pretty gnarly mental and physical symptoms that can pop when you keep pushing those feelings to the curb! So, let’s dive into what forgiveness entails and why it’s so important.

In 1992, psychologists Robert Enright, Elizabeth Gassin, and Ching-Ru Wu described forgiveness as “the overcoming of negative affect and judgement towards the offender — not by denying ourselves the right to have a negative affect and to judge others, but instead by endeavouring to view the offender with compassion, benevolence, and love.” 

How To Let Go Of The Past

Learning how to forgive someone who hurt you is less about saying what they did was okay, and more about treating them with compassion and understanding. They’re human too, and likely acted out of their own trauma, pain, or heartbreak.

Remember in Grey’s Anatomy when April neglected to tell Jackson she was pregnant until after their divorce was finalized? He was suuuper upset, because that info would have changed a lot of things in their relationship. But, eventually, Jackson was able to forgive April to form a healthy co-parenting relationship — and they were happy for each other when they each found love again elsewhere!

Choosing to see the good in a bad situation, like the one of April and Jackson, doesn’t make you weak, but actually quite the opposite! It doesn’t mean you’re denying the seriousness of the experience, it doesn’t mean that you’re forgetting, and it doesn’t mean that the offender is excused. Instead, you have been freed of your anger because you chose positivity over negativity — and that takes some guts!

Forgiveness Without An Apology

Figuring out how to forgive someone who isn’t sorry for hurting you can be a tricky feat. It is SO frustrating, because they show no remorse and meanwhile you’re still suffering! It’s even worse if they’re continually hurting you and proving that there will never be an apology. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel, because there’s a big difference between forgiveness and reconciliation!  

Reconciliation would imply that you both want to fix things between you — and they clearly don’t! So, you can instead keep adopting those positive attitudes we talked about earlier and (figuratively) kill your offender with kindness. Otherwise that resentment will keep living in your body and bring about mental and physical discomfort (which we will dig deeper into shortly).  

 

 

Why Forgiveness Is Important 

Now that we’ve covered HOW to forgive, let’s tackle the WHY. Learning how to let go of the past is never easy but, if you don’t, you will be stuck harbouring that anger and resentment for the rest of your life! Anger affects both our mental and physical health, but research shows that even just thinking about forgiving someone starts solving those problems (pretty cool, right?).   

“You don’t have to forgive the person that is asking for your forgiveness, or that you wish that you could forgive,” says psychotherapist Dr. Courtney Tracy in an episode of the Truth Doctor Podcast. “But to a degree, you’re in chronic fight or flight mode. So, you’re constantly upset…constantly triggered by this person…constantly wishing that things were different. Or, pushing them away because you just don’t want to deal with them at all.”

Forgiveness is a process and will vary depending on the severity of the situation you’re in. But for whatever pain you’re going through, practicing how to forgive someone will make you hurt less, make you emotionally stronger, and prepare you for similar situations in the future!

Forgiveness For Yourself

First things first, let’s establish the fact that you don’t HAVE to forgive. For example, when it comes to an abuser who is still potentially dangerous, you probably shouldn’t reconcile. But that doesn’t mean you can’t find a place of empathy and understanding within yourself — even if that means cutting someone you care about out of your life to get rid of toxic patterns. 

“This is an internal process that is for you. Even if the other person’s asking you to forgive them, the process is for you,” adds Dr. Tracy. “It’s very important that you don’t feel pressured to forgive them, because it has to be something that’s pure and genuine with good intention.”

To paraphrase, forgiveness should be something that happens inside of you — not to please someone else! YOU choose if someone deserves your forgiveness, and YOU are the one who will benefit from that decision. 

 

 

Forgiveness For Your Health 

Believe it or not, not forgiving someone can be mentally and physically damaging. Dr. Tracy tells us that “unforgiveness” can actually be viewed as a disease because of the toll it takes on our bodies! And this can lead to an overall feeling of discomfort because our minds affect our bodies, just as much as our bodies affect our minds (basically a never ending cycle, ugh).

By suppressing the damage of how much that experience changed your life, you may start hurting others (and yourself) in the same way you were hurt! And feelings of anger and frustration will eventually build up and attack your cardiovascular and nervous systems…we defs don’t want that.  

“When you haven’t forgiven, what research has shown is that a lot of us have an increased heart rate, our blood pressure has changed, our immune system is down,” explains Dr. Tracy. “And when you forgive, it actually calms your stress levels. And that can allow you to have a reduction in chronic illness, in autoimmune diseases, in anxiety and depression, and suicidality. It plays a factor!”

 

For more info on all things forgiveness, listen to Dr. Courtney Tracy in the “No B.S. Break Down: Forgiveness” episode of the Truth Doctor Podcast!

 

 

Feeling Energetic: A Guide To Your Emotions

Look, we’re busy people. Whether with work, school, volunteer or social life commitments (maybe even all of the above), there’s a lot we have to juggle! And with the incredibly busy lives we have, finding enough energy to get it all done can be, well… a bit of a struggle. Sooo when we actually DO feel energetic, it’s hands-down the BEST feeling ever, right?! We feel a burst of motivation, ready to take on all of our tasks and crush our goals like it’s no problem-o. Who doesn’t wanna feel like they’re the Energizer Bunny, powering through life and accomplishing all the things! (This is a rhetorical question; it’s safe to say we all do!)

Like we said, feeling energetic is the bee’s knees (and will have you buzzing like one too)! Let’s dive thru feeling energetic and its impact on our mental wellbeing, ‘cause it’s highly, highlyyy underrated. We give it a 10/10 rating in our books!

A Deeper Look At Feeling Energetic

Feeling energetic? Pffft, what’s that like? *chugs coffee* Well, let’s look at a trusty definition, just ‘cause we can. Dictionary.com defines energetic as: “adj. possessing or exhibiting energy, especially in abundance; vigorous.” Wowza. Having an abundance of energy?! Sounds too good to be true.

Something we wanna mention is that feeling energetic is actually rooted in one key emotion: joy. You’re probably thinking: well, duh! But let’s look a bit deeper here. The link between these emotions is super important. Think about it: when we’re happier (and less stressed) we tend to have wayyy more energy. That excitement, motivation and positive outlook we have on life when we’re feeling energetic? Yep, it’s all connected to that joy we feel. Take the boost of energy you feel when you’re passionate about something, for instance. Maybe you love your job, like reallyyyyy love it. And whenever you have a new idea for a project, it’s like a fire is lit under your butt! You have so much energy and excitement, that it pushes you to do your best!

And on the opposite end, think of how it feels when you’re super low-energy. Like, can’t get outta bed. Dragging your feet. You might feel drained, sluggish or burnt out which can be caused by any stressors you’re experiencing right now. And stating the obvious here, but stress does NOT = happiness. Booooo, stress! You suck the energy right out of us.

There are so many ways to boost your energy levels boost your energy levels, like getting enough sleep, drinking water and making sure you’re nourishing your body. But it’s important to note that your mental health is just as important as your physical health! So be sure to take precious care of both, friend. You deserve all the happiness and energy in the world!

How Feeling Energetic Shows Up Mentally

Since feeling energetic is rooted in happiness, it’s no surprise that our mental wellbeing is off the charts when we have boosts of energy! The two are linked, remember?! When we’re happy, we’re more likely to feel energetic and vice versa. Sooo, how does feeling energetic impact our mental wellbeing specifically? Excellent question. Here are some positive symptoms you might notice:

  • Lifts your mood
  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Increases attentiveness and focus
  • Boosts productivity
  • Sparks creativity
  • Improves analytical skills
  • Promotes good thoughts
  • Increases motivation

When we’re happy, our brains release the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin throughout the body. And as a result, these positive hormones give you the energy you need to do alllll the things! Hell yeah, that’s what we’re talkin’ about.

How Feeling Energetic Shows Up Physically

When we’re feeling energetic and really happy, the physical benefits are also pretty amazing! It’s almost like the body reacts positively to a happy mind. What a concept, right?! Here are a few physical symptoms you might experience when you’re feeling energetic like you’re battery-powered:

  • Reduces cortisol levels
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Strengthens immune system
  • Provides better sleep
  • Improves digestion
  • Reduces pain
  • Lengthens lifespan

All of these physical symptoms sound great, if you ask us. Especially that last point! Who doesn’t wanna live longer?! So embrace that energetic feeling, friend. It’s worth it!

5 Ways To Embrace Feeling Energetic

Okay, so you’re feeling energetic. Now how do you channel all of that energy and use it to promote your mental wellbeing to the fullest?! You’ve come to the right place, friend! We’ve got some great methods for you. They can also help if you’re not feeling super energetic but could use a lil’ boost! Check ‘em out:

1. Move Your Body

We’ve got one word for you: endorphins. We know that exercise boosts endorphins, which make you happy! Even if physical activity isn’t your fave thing, there’s lots of fun ways to get active. Go for a walk, run, swim, bike, rock climbing, yoga, you name it. Dance around your room to a fun playlist like nobody’s watching, if that’s more your style! Whatever way you like, just get movin’ and groovin’. It’s worth it!

2. Engage In Compassionate Self Talk

If you’re feeling sluggish or could use a boost of energy, one of the best things you can do is show yourself kindness. Before you roll your eyes, hear us out! You deserve compassion, always. Even on your worst days! Try saying these phrases to yourself out loud: I don’t feel happy, motivated or energetic at this moment but that’s okay. I can get through this rut. I can accomplish my goals.

3. Connect With A Friend

When you’re feeling energetic and on top of the world, here’s an idea: why not connect with a friend?! Put that energy to good use by doing a fun activity together, whether it’s a hike in the great outdoors or a fun paint night at home. If you can’t meet in person, play a game over Zoom or just have a gab sesh! We get by with a little help from our friends, as the Beatles say.

4. Get Creative

Another great way to channel your energy? Let us spell it out for you: c-r-e-a-t-i-v-i-t-y! Get artsy by drawing, sketching, doing calligraphy or painting. Write poems or try your hand at blog writing. Practice an instrument, sing, dance! Feeling energetic can really put you in the right headspace to get creative, and the possibilities are truly endless. ENDLESS, we tell you!

5. Practice Gratitude

Showing gratitude for the things that bring us happiness and provide us with tons of energy?! Yeppp, that’s the best! Gratitude can look like simply taking notice of the good things in life and showing them appreciation. That might involve writing a list of things that bring you joy, volunteering in your community, or showing acts of kindness to the people who make your life better. Whatever it may be, gratitude feels great for everyone!

That’s it that’s all thanks for stopping by friend we really appreciate you and think you deserve all the good things in life no matter what and— *gasping for air* Phew, sorry. Got carried away there for a sec! We were just sooo energized after diving thru this emotion with you. Hopefully you learned something new about your emotions with us! Thanks for stopping by, friend.

 

Feeling Faithful: A Guide To Your Emotions

We can feel faithful in so many different areas of our lives. Most people might think of feeling faithful as something that’s religious, which is true. It can be, if you’re super devoted to a set of beliefs or your spirituality. But there’s other ways we can feel faithful, too! Maybe you have a routine that you like to stick to everyday because it helps you stay on track. Or you might be in a committed relationship that you go above and beyond to keep it strong and healthy. You might be faithful to a team sport, a hobby, a club or any other part of your life that takes up a lot of your time and hard work. Whatever it is, you’ve shown a lot of loyalty and commitment to this part of your life. And that’s something you should defs feel proud of!

This might not be an emotion that’s talked about a lot, but that’s why we’re here. Let’s dive thru feeling faithful and how it can impact your mental wellbeing!

A Deeper Look At Feeling Faithful

So, what does it really mean to feel faithful? Actually, Dictionary.com has a few definitions for faithful: “adj. true to one’s word, promises, vows, etc.; steady in allegiance or affection; loyal; constant.” On its own, faith means: “noun. Confidence or trust in a person or thing.” Basically, someone who feels faithful towards someone or something is gonna remain loyal and consistent, no matter what.

When we think of the word ‘faithful,’ it’s probably most common to think of relationships. You can have faithful friends who will always have your back and be there for you when you need them the most. They don’t talk behind your back or make you feel like a second choice to spend time with. They’re loyal AF!

In romantic relationships, we think of faithful as being committed to respecting the other person’s boundaries, trust and staying loyal to them. Of course, this can look super different depending on the couple! But at the root of the meaning, being faithful in a relationship means standing by the promises you’ve made to someone and staying consistent.

How Feeling Faithful Shows Up Mentally

Feeling faithful is actually connected to the core feeling: powerful. And the benefits that feeling powerful provides for your mental health are ones you don’t wanna miss! Here’s how feeling faithful can impact your mental wellbeing:

  • High self-esteem
  • Increased confidence
  • Reduces anxiety
  • Lowers stress
  • Higher energy levels
  • Improves relationships

When we feel faithful to something, it can also give us a lot of motivation. We might strive to be our best and do our best, because we’re so committed to a positive outcome. And hey, that sounds pretty great, don’t ya think?!

How Feeling Faithful Shows Up Physically

You’ve probably heard us say this 873139 times, but our mental health and physical health are closely linked. So when your mental health is so thriving, that means you are gonna have some positive physical symptoms to show for it! Here are some physical symptoms you might experience when you’re feeling faithful:

  • Increased energy
  • Better cardiac health
  • Improved sleep
  • Less muscle tension/better posture
  • Developing healthy habits like staying hydrated, eating balanced meals, physical activity, etc.

Like we said before, feeling faithful can give us a lot of motivation. If your mental wellbeing is doing great, chances are you are taking better care of yourself! You keep up a healthy routine, make sure you’re getting enough rest, and treat yourself with love. It’s almost as if… you’re being faithful to your own wellbeing. We love to see it!

5 Ways To Embrace Feeling Faithful

Wait! Before you go, we have some fun practices for you to try out. They’re great for working through emotions and gaining a better understanding of how you feel! Trust us, you’re gonna love ‘em. Here they are:

1. Practice Meditation

Mediation is a super popular practice for many good reasons! This practice allows us to slowww down and shift our mindset, which is great when you’re stressed and need to calm down. If you’re not sure how to meditate, follow a guided practice to get you started. It’s a game changer, trust us!

2. Journal

We’re big fans of journaling here at DiveThru. It’s a great practice for exploring your feelings and reframing any negative thoughts you might be experiencing. You get to put pen to paper and let the words just flow! Does it get any better than that?! We think not.

3. Practice Gratitude

Practicing gratitude allows us to show appreciation for all of the good things in life. That might include writing a list of things that bring you joy, volunteering in your community, or showing acts of kindness to the people who make your life better. It honestly feels great for everyone involved, so why not try it out for yourself!

4. Engage In Compassionate Self Talk

Speaking to ourselves compassionately has been shown to improve our mental wellness. Does it feel silly and weird at first? Maybeee a bit. But it’s a great habit to start, so why not give it a shot? Tell yourself what you like about yourself, what you’re proud of and what makes you feel content. You might surprise yourself!

5. Practice Deep Breathing

This practice right here is the best. Whenever you need to take a moment to collect your thoughts and manage your emotions: take deep breaths in, followed by deep breaths out. Taking a moment to focus on your breathing has actually been proven to lower anxiety and reduce stress. Plus, deep breathing slows your heart rate and provides your brain with enough oxygen to stay calm and refocus.

Well, that’s all for now! We hope this has helped you as you navigate your feelings. Remember: we’re rooting for you, friend!

 

Learning How To Be Vulnerable & 5 Steps To Get There

It can be ridiculously hard to let your guard down with new people. Like, heart-racing, shit-your-pants hard. Sharing all of the trauma you’ve been through, your triggers, and the chaos that goes on inside your brain can make you feel like you’re going through it all over again. But, believe it or not, being vulnerable has a lot of benefits.

Now, when we say “vulnerable,” we don’t mean high-risk-for-COVID-cause-underlying-health-conditions vulnerable (although still VERY important). We mean being vulnerable about emotions, experiences, and mental health. So, let’s figure out what exactly that means and how to be vulnerable!

What Does Being Vulnerable Mean? 

The literal definition of vulnerability is being “susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm.” But we don’t really like that definition, because it doesn’t take into account ALL of the ways we can be vulnerable with those around us! 

Brené Brown is an American researcher who has studied vulnerability for OVER 20 YEARS, and has a better understanding of what it really means. She defines vulnerability as “the feeling we get during times of uncertainty, risk, or emotional exposure. This includes times when we’re showing our feelings and we’re not sure what people will think and times when we really care about something and people will know that we’re sad or disappointed when it doesn’t work out.” Now THAT’S more like it. 

We are the most vulnerable as children, sharing every small aspect of our lives without the fear or shame of embarrassment. But as we get older, this weird black cloud takes over our brains, telling us that being vulnerable is something we should avoid because it makes us seem “weak.” But that couldn’t be further from the truth! Avoiding vulnerability is avoiding feeling, and numbing everything is defs NOT the way to go. We have to peeeeel back that protective skin we’ve grown for ourselves and let it alllll out, or else we’re never gonna be fully happy! 

“Let’s talk about the shit…the pain…the mistakes that we think that we made. Let’s get real, let’s get honest, let’s risk putting ourselves out there,” says psychotherapist Dr. Courtney Tracy in a recent episode of the Truth Doctor Podcast

How To Be Vulnerable In 5 Steps

Alright, now that we know what vulnerability is, let’s put it into action! There are many different ways to actively put ourselves out there and bare our souls to the important people in our lives. Unfortunately, it’s not quite as easy as just shouting: “Hey! I’m being vulnerable right now!” But here are some tips on how to be vulnerable that def come close! 

1. Get To Know Yourself

First things first, you need to decipher what’s going on in your head. You can’t be vulnerable about something if you’re not 100% sure what that something is! Take some time to recognize what you are feeling and where that feeling stems from. Look in a mirror, say it out loud, or write it down if you have to! Once you’re more in tune with yourself, you can help others see what you’re going through, too. 

2. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help 

When you’re feeling down in the dumps, it can be SO easy to just shut everyone out and pretend that you don’t need anything (trust us, we know). Admitting that you need help can feel like the hardest thing in the world, but it’s such an important first step! Whatever it is you’re going through, you don’t need to go through it alone. 

3. Share Your Feelings

Once you’ve recognized your feelings and come to terms with them, sharing them with someone else can lift a huuuuge weight off your shoulders! It’s not so much that you’re expecting them to have the perfect solution to your problem (because they probably won’t)…most of the time, a simple “I’m here for you” will do the trick!

4. Be In The Moment

If you’ve taken the next step to being vulnerable, chances are you’ve already spent a LOT of time in your head! The best thing to do after a solid vulnerability sesh is to allow yourself to soak in the feelings with whoever you just shared them with. You know that half-cry, half-laugh thing we do sometimes when we’re relieved? Yeah, that. It can feel so good to let it all go and bond with someone in that moment. So enjoy it, rather than crawling back into your brain! 

5. Set Boundaries 

Vulnerability is a sensitive emotion that, unfortunately, can’t be shared with just anyone. So, you’ll also want to take some time to think about who you can be comfortable with! Whether it’s with a therapist, a parent, a friend, or a partner, that person should be someone who you know will understand where you’re coming from and won’t take advantage of it! Because the last thing you want in that moment is to feel even more alone than you did in the beginning.

5 Reasons To Be Vulnerable

Being vulnerable can be scary af because we risk getting hurt, getting rejected, or being criticized! It takes a lot of courage, but if you find the right people to be vulnerable with, you can become more self-aware and be the best possible version of yourself. And if you ever forget how liberating being vulnerable can be, just remember these points! 

1. Vulnerability Strengthens Relationships

Whether with an intimate partner or a close friend, being vulnerable can result in a much deeper connection! Like, Grand Canyon deep! Sharing your love language, being the first to say “I love you,” or even just sharing your feelings and being empathetic to theirs, all foster a more meaningful relationship. Vulnerability helps us better understand and forgive each other when things get heated, so that everyone knows that their emotions are valid and that they are worthy of love. And not only that, but being vulnerable can also help us RELATE to each other! 

2. Others Relate To Your Vulnerability

Just think of the celebrities who have been the most open about themselves — like Lizzo! They cut through the bullshit and tell it how it is and, because of that, you can relate to them on a deeper level. The same goes for us when we open up about what we’re going through! It’s almost guaranteed that whoever is listening has gone through something very similar, and they can feed off of our vulnerability to OWN their shit and feel empowered!

3. Being Vulnerable Empowers Yourself And Others

Let’s take another look at Lizzo, shall we? That woman OOZES self-love! But how did she get here? She’s been through the same rejection, the sadness, and the fighting that we all have, because we’re taught from a young age to be strong and nothing else! 

But Lizzo recognizes that strength has to be met with an equal amount of vulnerability — that we need the space to embrace every ounce of human emotion so that we can turn around and lead our lives how we want to. That confidence is CONTAGIOUS, and we can definitely spread our own version of Lizzo-love to those around us! 

 4. Being Vulnerable Helps You Grow 

Taking charge of your emotions plays a big part in embracing imperfection and realizing who we truly are. Because without emotions, we may as well be the speck of dust floating through the wind in Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! Once you can actively recognize how an emotion is affecting you and be kinder to yourself for it, you will be able to see the beauty in being alive. Listening to your body is the first step in personal growth and acting on it is the second, so you can push aside that fear of criticism and show up anyway! 

5. Vulnerability Makes You Stronger

Fear, insecurity, and doubt will never go away — they’re just a part of life! But what we CAN change is how we deal with them. Every single time we take a minute to be vulnerable, we practice dealing with that emotion or obstacle so that we can be even more resilient the next time it pops up! So, when you feel like you can’t take any more pain and start shutting down you have to take a moment to remember who you are, think about who you want to confide in, and be VULNERABLE! 

“Let us be vulnerable, let us deal with the possibility of being attacked or harmed for sharing our mental health struggles so that, hopefully, one day it doesn’t have to be ‘vulnerable’ when you share about your mental health issues,” adds Dr. Tracy.

To dive into everything there is to know about vulnerability, tune into the “No B.S. Break Down: Vulnerability” episode of the Truth Doctor Podcast!

 

Feeling Sleepy: A Guide To Your Emotions

Some days, we’re full of energy! We feel motivated, productive and can get shit done on our to-do list, no problemo. Other days, though… we just wanna sleep. Hit the hay. Count sheep. Get some shut-eye. Catch some ZZZs. And ya know what? It’s important to pay attention to what our bodies are telling us! If you’re feeling sleepy, there’s a reason for it.

It’s no secret that getting enough sleep is super important for our mental wellbeing. Buuut it can be easier said than done. Even though we feel sleepy, maybe it’s not at “the best time.” We might feel sleepy during class or at work, making it hard to get through our tasks for the day. Or maybe we have a hard time actually falling asleep, even though we’re tired as hell. Hey, there can be a lot on our minds! (Like, do aliens exist? And if so, do they wanna be our friends?!) But when feeling sleepy 24/7 starts to impact on our lives, that can be a big problem. So let’s dive thru feeling sleepy and its relationship to mental wellness!

A Deeper Look At Feeling Sleepy

First of all, let’s define what it means to feel sleepy. Dictionary.com defines sleepy as “adj. ready or inclined to sleep; drowsy.” Yawwwnnn… Sorry, did we put you to sleep just now?

Everyone feels sleepy from time to time. Whether it’s because we didn’t get enough rest the night before, our brains aren’t being stimulated, we’re not being active, or our daily tasks are just draining all of our energy, there’s lots of potential causes for feeling like you could use a snooze! Sometimes, a good nap or making some changes in your schedule can be the solution. Maybe you delegate some of your work tasks so that your day becomes less busy and overwhelming. Or you start a new sleep routine to help you unwind, including a bubble bath, lighting some candles, stretching or drinking a cup of decaf tea before bed. Finding the cause of your sleepiness is a great first step to getting back on track! ‘Cause who likes to feel sluggish all day everyday? NOBODY.

While feeling sleepy at times is a normal part of being a human being, being excessively tired all of the time can be a sign of a larger issue. Here are a few conditions that can cause excessive sleepiness:

1. Sleep Apnea

This condition causes you to abruptly stop breathing during the night, making you feel sleepy during the day. It can also cause snoring (pretty loud!), gasping for air, sore throat, headache, irritability and difficulty focusing.

2. Restless Legs Syndrome

Ever get that feeling when you’re about to fall asleep, but suddenly your legs start twitching and it wakes you up? Well, when this happens every night and each time you start to drift into sleep, it can be a sign of RLS. Basically, it causes a throbbing or itching sensation that makes you wanna move your legs or feel the need to get up and walk around.

3. Depression

One of the most common symptoms of this mental illness is a change in your sleep patterns. You might sleep wayyy more than you usually do, but still feel sleepy and not well rested when you wake up. Or you might toss and turn all night struggling to fall asleep, which obviously makes you super tired. You don’t feel like yourself, and it can really affect your mood and overall wellbeing.

Like we said, everyone feels tired sometimes. But if you feel excessively sleepy too often, it can impact your life in negative ways. Take notice of what your mind and body are telling you! Let’s look at some more ways sleepiness impacts your health, both mentally and physically. 

How Feeling Sleepy Shows Up Mentally

Lack of sleep is a common symptom for many mental conditions, including depression, anxiety, bipolar and ADHD. A few other mental indicators of sleepiness includes:

– Drowsiness

– Lack of focus

– Brain fog

– Difficulty making decisions

– Apathy

Irritability

– Poor memory

Try to remove some of the stressors in your life, or set a nighttime routine to help regulate your sleep. If your sleepiness persists and affects your ability to go through your normal daily routine, it’s best to speak with a doctor to help with this problem.

How Feeling Sleepy Shows Up Physically

Sleepiness can be a result of stress and other physical health problems. Here are a few medical conditions that can cause you to feel sleepy:

– Dehydration

– Poor nutrition

– Thyroid problems

– Fibromyalgia

– Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

– Anemia and iron deficiency

– Autoimmune disorders such as lupus, celiac disease, and rheumatoid arthritis

We repeat: listen. to. your. body. Yes, it’s normal to feel tired sometimes. But if you’re constantly sleepy and have a hard time keeping up with life as normal, there could be a serious reason! It’s important to seek medical attention if your sleepiness continues, despite your best efforts to improve it. There might be a medical reason that needs attention. Don’t ride it out!

5 Ways to Cope With Feeling Sleepy

Okay, so you’re sleepy. But you’re trying to snap out of it so you can get through the day, focus on your tasks and crush your goals. You’ve come to the right place! We have some coping strategies for you whenever you’re feeling sleepy and could use a pick-me-up. Try ‘em out!

1. Practice The 5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Exercise

This practice is great for keeping you alert and improving focus! Engage all five senses and mindfully notice five things you can see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell, and one thing you can taste. Go in any order that makes sense for you and your current situation – no pressure!

2. Run Your Hands Under Water, Splash Your Face With Water, Hold An Ice Cube

This method might sound weird, but we swear it works. Try to mindfully note the temperature of the water and the sensation of the water on your skin. The sensation helps by slowing your heart rate, lowering your cortisol levels (stress hormone), and releasing endorphins (happy hormone). Plus, it’s refreshing AF.

3. Move Your Body

Exercise is probably the last thing on your mind when you feel sleepy. But trust us, it’ll wake you up! Go for a walk, stretch, ride a bike, dance, you name it. Exercise releases endorphins, improves your mood, boosts your energy and improves focus. What can’t it do, really?!

4. Give Yourself A Pep Talk

If getting through the day when you feel sleepy is a struggle, don’t be hard on yourself. Try giving yourself a little pep talk! Even though I’m sleepy, I’m gonna give it my all today. I can get through this. Soon, I can go home to relax and unwind.

5. Find A Positive Distraction

When you’re feeling sleepy, crawling into your warm bed is probably all you can think about. Instead, find a positive activity that takes your mind elsewhere! Listen to a podcast, pick up a book, do a crossword puzzle, watch a funny show or take a shower. Do something that perks you up and makes you feel a lil’ more alert!

That’s all for now, sleepyhead. We hope these tips help get you through the day when you’re feeling tired. Remember: getting enough rest is self care!

 

Feeling Bored: A Guide To Your Emotions

Boredom. is. the. worst. It feels like the hours, minutes, and seconds are dragging on and on… and on and on. You feel kinda frustrated and restless, like you’re itching so badly to do something that will pull you out of this rut. But also like your mind is kinda empty and numb, so you can’t focus. Maybe you’re trying really hard to study, but the reading material is sooo dry it makes your eyes glaze over. Or you might feel so uninterested in the work tasks that you’ve been assigned, you just stare blankly at the computer monitor hoping you’ll suddenly feel motivated. Ever been dragged to an adult function when you were a little kid, with no one else to play with and nothing to do? Yeahhh, feeling bored is almost like that some days. Like you’re trapped in a situation that you have no say in, and you just gotta ride out the complete and utter boredom until it’s FINALLY over.

We all experience boredom now and then. It could be a temporary fix, or a sign that we could use a lil’ change of scenery. Whatever the reason, we’re here for you! So let’s talk about boredom, how it impacts our mental wellness, and ways to overcome this feeling.

A Deeper Look At Feeling Bored

What does it mean to feel bored, exactly? Well, APA Dictionary defines boredom as: “n. a state of weariness or ennui resulting from a lack of engagement with stimuli in the environment.” So yeah, that restless feeling and lack of satisfaction you get now and then? Could be boredom. It happens to the best of us.

We might feel bored for lots of reasons. Boredom can arise when you feel mentally drained or you’re dealing with too many stressors at once. Having too much going on around you can put your brain on autopilot, and then you just feel bored to death. Maybe you’ve taken on too many responsibilities at work, and your personal life has started to suffer. Or your studies have taken up so much of your time that it feels like you never have time for your hobbies, or hanging out with friends (student burnout is a thing!). Your time is consumed by work, but you’re not getting enough opportunities to unwind and have fun. When life feels repetitive and you get too comfortable doing the same thing most days, it can make you feel restless and bored with your schedule. We all deserve some “me” time away from all of the responsibilities we’re juggling!

How Feeling Bored Shows Up Mentally

When you feel bored, there’s nothing you want more than to find something that will stimulate your mind and cure this feeling. Buuut it’s not always easy! Here are a few other mental signs of boredom you might experience:

– Fatigue

– Irritability

– Feeling sadness or hopelessness

– Inability to stay interested

– Lack of motivation

Clearly, boredom can have a major effect on your mental wellbeing. Some of these signs can also be symptoms of depression, especially feelings of hopelessness, sadness and avoiding opportunities to make you feel more engaged. If you continue to struggle with boredom despite making an effort to combat this feeling, speak with a mental health professional. They’re equipped to help you work through difficult emotions and find positive solutions, and you don’t have to do this alone.

How Feeling Bored Shows Up Physically

Just like it impacts your mental health, boredom has its ways of affecting your physical health. Feelings of restlessness, discomfort and lack of interest from boredom can look something like this:

– Yawning

– Fidgeting

– Jiggling legs and feet

– Staring off in the distance

– Moving in your seat restlessly

Again, everyone gets bored sometimes. It’s when we feel constantly bored and unstimulated that it starts to affect our health in negative ways. It’s important to work through these feelings with a professional if boredom is affecting your quality of life.

Getting Rid Of Boredom

Feeling bored could be a sign that you need to make some changes and find ways to relieve stressors in your life. Try some new hobbies, join a fun class with a friend, and find ways to switch up your daily routine. Maybe on your lunch break, you start going for walks. Or you try studying in a different location like a coffee shop instead of the library. You could initiate a new strategy at work with your team, like having a fun brainstorming sesh in the middle of the week to get some fresh ideas. A lot of the time, we just need to try things that are out of the ordinary for us to help stimulate our mind and spark our interest again.

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut. It sucks, we know. But you’re not alone! Boredom doesn’t have to be a default emotion. It takes some trial and error, but it’s so worth it once you find something that works for you and makes you feel excited!

5 Ways To Cope With Feeling Bored

Sooo, you’re bored out of your mind. Now what?! Don’t worry, we’ve got a few coping strategies for your boredom. Try ‘em out for yourself!

1. Engage in something creative

One of the best cures for boredom? Flexing your imagination, channeling your creativity and having a lotta fun doing it! Draw, paint, sculpt or do calligraphy. Write poems, blog posts or stories. Practice an instrument, sing, dance! The possibilities are endless.

2. Reach out for support

When you’re bored, it can help to get a little social interaction. So try reaching out to a friend or family member! Shoot them a text, chat on the phone, or meet up for coffee. It makes you feel less alone when you can open up to someone about how you feel.

3. Find a positive distraction

Pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read. Watch an episode of a show that never fails to make you laugh. Clean out your closet. Listen to a podcast. Do whatever takes your mind off things and sparks a lil’ joy! You deserve it.

4. Move your body

Let’s get physical! Go for a walk, stretch, ride a bike, dance, you name it. Exercise releases endorphins and improves your mood. Plus, it actually boosts your energy and improves focus. It does alllll the things.

5. Visualize your happy place

It could be a cozy bookstore on the snowy mountainside with a crackling fireplace. Or maybe it’s the beaches you sun-bathed on during your last family vacay. Whatever your happy place in your mind is, go there. Picturing something that makes you feel warm and at peace can help lift your mood.

Well, that’s it. No way you’ll be bored after all of the strategies we’ve given you! Go shake things up. Your mental wellness will thank you for it!

 

Traumatic Shock: Why You ‘Froze’ And Couldn’t Say Or Do Anything

Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault

When we experience trauma, our brains can respond in super unpredictable ways. We probably think that in the face of danger, we’d take charge and find all the best ways to protect ourselves. We’d run away, or channel our inner Karate Kid to fight back. There’s absolutely no way we would just “let it happen” to us. But that’s not how traumatic shock works.

You know that moment when you’re watching a scary movie and yelling at the character NOT to do something because it seems stupid? Are you kidding me right now, you’re gonna run and hide upstairs where there’s zero chance of escaping?? That makes no sense. I DEFINITELY wouldn’t make those decisions if that were me! It’s not that simple in real life.

Responses To Trauma

Chances are, you’ve heard of fight or flight before. But there are actually 2 other common types of trauma responses that we gotta give some recognition: the freeze response and fawn response.

Let’s talk a bit about the fawn response first. This one happens when we immediately go along with what’s happening in order to avoid conflict with another person. It can be seen as a “people-pleasing” response, where you want to prevent any further abuse by pleasing the other person. Even if it means ignoring your own feelings of discomfort. The fawn response is common during childhood, where the abuser is usually someone older who has more power over you. As you grow up, you might notice this pattern showing up in other areas of life too: pleasing your friends, romantic partners or your boss to avoid upsetting them.

Then there’s the freeze response, also known as traumatic shock. Basically, the freeze response happens when we freeze up in a scary or uncomfortable situation where we can’t move or speak. And it’s way, wayyy more common than you think. Sooo…why isn’t this response talked about more?

Great question. Let’s dive thru traumatic shock, why it happens and how it impacts our mental health.

Why Freezing During Trauma Happens

In the face of trauma, we might react in ways that make zero sense to us. At all. Anytime we feel really uncomfortable or unsafe, our brain shuffles through the fight-flight-freeze responses and decides subconsciously which one is best for us at that exact moment. So as it turns out, we don’t have as much control in these situations as we think we do.

During a trauma like sexual assault, it’s common to be in traumatic shock, to freeze up and be unable to move or speak. It’s like you’re suddenly under some sort of spell that turns you into a statue, and it’s a real defense mechanism our brains might use to protect us. But the thing you’re probably wondering is, why?? If our brains truly gave a crap about our safety, why keep us frozen instead of, ya know…telling us to get away from a scary, traumatic situation?

Ok, quick biology lesson. Stick with us here! It’s super important to understand how our brain works when we experience this type of freezing reaction. That way, we can hopefully alleviate the blame we might put on ourselves for not doing or saying anything in the moment. ‘Cause 1) your trauma is not your fault, and 2) how you respond is with survival. There is no “right” way to respond and it is often out of your control.

Our nervous system has two modes: the everything-is-totally-fine mode, and the holy-crap-what’s-happening-am-I-about-to-die mode. When we’re in safe mode, our brains are like, Yep, all good. Nothing to see here! But when we sense a threat to our safety, our brain is like, Hold up. We’re gonna focus on survival right now, that’s it, nothing else! The prefrontal cortex, where we have rational thoughts, clear thinking and control over our bodies? It goes on pause. Our brains have one goal and one goal only: keeping us safe.

So if we freeze during sexual assault, it’s because our brains decided in those milliseconds that was the best and safest option. Fight or flight could have had worse potential outcomes, so our brains told us we need to ‘play dead’ instead. Make no sudden movements and nobody gets hurt…this will be over soon…. Our minds might feel blank because we’re mentally ‘checking out’ from the situation. It’s another way of keeping us safe, by not letting us fully process what the heck is happening. It’s like the whole thing doesn’t even feel real to us.

Here are some other common symptoms we might experience during traumatic shock, on top of being unable to move or speak (it’s a hefty list):

  • Mind going blank
  • Clouded thoughts
  • Panic or dread
  • Hopelessness
  • Muscle tension
  • Feeling numb or detached
  • Dissociation
  • Feeling trapped or stuck
  • Fearing that you won’t be believed
  • Fearing that others will think you’re making it up
  • Heaviness or stiffness
  • Holding breath
  • Heart rate increasing or decreasing

Freezing Does NOT Equal Consent

This is a hard, fast rule that we want to make sure is explicit when it comes to consent: if it’s not an enthusiastic YES, it’s a NO. So if you’re in a state of traumatic shock or freeze response and someone commits sexual acts towards you without your YES, they did not have your consent. It’s as simple as that!

There are sooo many toxic and harmful misconceptions out there about the freeze response during sexual assault:

They should’ve just walked away.

Why didn’t they fight back?

They should have screamed.

If they didn’t say no, that’s their fault.

They just changed their minds after the fact…If they didn’t want it to happen, they would’ve said something while it was actually happening.

It really sucks, but we’ve probably all heard some variation of these phrases before. Society has done so much harm to survivors of sexual assault by pushing these false narratives, and it’s not fair. But we can change the narrative around sexual assault. Instead, let’s challenge those victim-blaming phrases, shall we?

It was not my fault.

I did what I had to do to survive.

My brain was working to protect me.

My feelings about my trauma are valid.

I did not deserve what happened to me.

The sad reality is that sexual assault is a common offense. According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men will experience sexual violence in their lifetime. *jaw drop*

It could be committed by a random stranger on public transit who gropes us as they walk by. It could be someone that’s considered a friend who forces a kiss on us without asking permission. And it could even happen with someone we’re actually dating, who takes it further than we’re ready to go without our consent. Stats show that most sexual offenders are people we actually KNOW, and that’s obviously a super dark, terrifying thing to realize. Often we don’t even understand what has happened to us until wayyy after the fact. But that doesn’t make what happened to us, or how we feel about it, any less real.

To understand more about what sexual assault is and what consent is, check out our article that dives thru a more detailed explanation.

How Traumatic Shock Impacts Mental Health

Someone who freezes or goes into traumatic shock typically experiences a lot of confusion and self-loathing afterwards. They might go over what happened repeatedly in their minds, wondering if they could have stopped it if only they had done something differently. Maybe if I hadn’t gone to that party…Or maybe if I didn’t drink…Maybe I gave them the wrong idea…If only I actually did or said something, I could have stopped it. Reflecting on how they froze during sexual assault, survivors might also feel:

  • Anger
  • Shame
  • Guilt
  • Blame
  • Embarrassed
  • Powerless
  • Weak
  • Cowardly
  • Foolish
  • Dirty or used

If this is something you’ve gone through, you could also be dealing with flashbacks, panic attacks and major anxiety. These symptoms might make you feel like you’re not YOU anymore. Maybe life suddenly doesn’t seem worth living. You’re going through the motions everyday, but something just isn’t right. You haven’t come to terms with what happened, or healed from it.

We can’t say this enough: your trauma is not your fault. And the way you responded when it happened? It was to survive. This is such a painful experience to work through. Coming to terms with what happened to you won’t be easy, but please know that you are not alone! There are resources and ways to cope with trauma that we wanna share with you.

Where To Find Support

The first step in finding support can look different for everyone. For some people, it is a trusted friend, family member, or significant other. For others, the thought of saying it out loud or telling someone is too scary. No matter where you are in your process, you can always receive help. 

Even if we have an amazing support system, trauma impacts the way our brain functions and there are times when we need professional help. It doesn’t mean you are weak. If your foot was broken, would it be weak of you to go to the ER for a cast? Nope, it would help you heal! Don’t underestimate the power of therapy.

It’s also SUPER important to note that going to therapy does not mean you have to talk about what happened until you are ready. Finding a therapist who can help you work through the trauma, process your experience and validate your rollercoaster of emotions will be helpful — but rest easy knowing that it will happen on your terms. 

Search for therapists in your area who deal specifically with trauma or sexual assault either online, or get a referral from your doctor or a helpline. Therapy will not only help you feel less alone, but it also provides you with necessary coping mechanisms to actually deal with your trauma head-on. The healing process can take some time, so remember to be kind to yourself!

Helplines

Here are some helplines you can reach out to for support who deal specifically with sexual assault. You might not know what to do after something so traumatic, but there are trained professionals who want to support you so you don’t feel lost and alone. They’ll tell you what your next steps are:

US: RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or chat online. Both are available 24/7.

Canada: Canadian Association of Sexual Assault Centres (CASAC) or call 411 for your nearest crisis centre. There’s also a list of resources for every province here.

 

*If you need immediate help, dial 911 or your local emergency number. 

*To report a crime against a child, or other vulnerable persons, contact your local police.