Life

How to be 1% less depressed?

You feel the entire world is painted in blues and grays. Your playlist is comprised of gloomy songs. You feel sad but you don’t know the reason why you are feeling so. Sounds familiar? Well, I am also undergoing the same situation. There is no major issue in my life, still, I feel depressed.   Here are some techniques I am using to trick depression:

  • Wear red– Red is the color of activity. Depression is the exposure to prolonged sadness due to stagnation. Depression lowers the self-esteem whereas wearing red boosts confidence.

red1

 

  • Say NO to unproductive highs– While it is easy to binge watch your favorite TV show as an excuse to beat your depression, it is only a temporary escape. Being depressed is not an excuse for being unproductive. I know some days, it is very difficult to get out of bed and face the world. It is very difficult to do anything other than drowning in your own tears. But remember, you cannot escape from life. Don’t do anything which you’ll regret later.

 

  • Listen to instrumental music– While you may be tempted to listen to a popular song, the sad fact is that most songs lament on heart break or a loss of some kind which has a negative impact on our subconscious. I have switched to listening instrumental music and it is really very uplifting. Try listening to this amazing music: Beautiful music
  • Be competitive: While it is said that you should only compete with yourself, a healthy competition is the best kick on your ass that can keep you going.

competition.jpg

  • Read love stories: The idea that someone, somewhere is made only for you can instill hope into the most gloomy hearts. Reading love story fills us with an unknown joy. Whenever I am depressed, I read novels by writers like Nicholas Sparks and Cecelia Ahern.
  • Learn a new skill- Don’t let depression be a halting point in the journey of your life. Learn a new skill. This will prove that you are bigger than your depression and has the power to make it the most productive period of your life.
  • Watch animated movies- Remember the animated movies that you watched back in your childhood. They were as pristine as the purest of dreams. Relive the innocence and cuteness of your childhood through these movies.

 

What are your tips to be 1% less depressed? Please share in the comments.

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Career

Mindfulness at work

 

 

Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it- Buddha

Feeling overwhelmed by work? We spend three-fourth of our day at the office, but seldom do we think of being mindfully present at work. Mindfulness is not something limited to meditation, we can blend it with the most practical aspects of your life. Here are a few tips to bring little mindfulness into your work:

  • Assign accountability of each hour- First, divide your days into two halves. Assign the first half of your day to complete the tasks which require more concentration and energy. Then perform tasks like replying to Email, making calls to the second half of the day. Then divide the first half into two parts. Assign the tasks of the first half into these two parts. Do this exercise recursively until you have chunks of one hour each. This way you will manage your time effectively and mindfully.

 

  • Do one task at a time- You are working on a task. Suddenly your boss comes and gives you another task to complete. You try to simultaneously complete both tasks but instead of completing both tasks on time, the work gets delayed. Sounds familiar? Multitasking is a great quality but it does not give rewarding result always. Whenever you have more than one task to complete, perform this simple test: Priority= Importance x Urgency. By taking importance and urgency of the task into consideration, assign the priority of the task and then complete the higher priority of task first.

 

  • Utilize each break mindfully- Instead of checking social media at office break, inhale and exhale six times. Then if you have a habit of drinking tea/coffee, then observe the aroma of tea. Look at the richness of the colour and when you drink it, savour its each drop. This will make the break refreshing instead of tiring and frustrating.

 

  • Organize your working space mindfully- Start with your office table. Observe its organization. Keep the frequently used things on the right side of the table and less frequently used ones on the left side. Keep pens on the right side and notebook on left side. This way, you will find anything you need quickly and your time won’t be wasted.

 

  • Handle stress mindfully- Being stressed at work is not uncommon. Pinpoint the reason of your stress. If you can do something about it, do it immediately and if there is nothing you can do about it, then stop caring for it.

 

  • Be grateful- Appreciate little things that you enjoy be it listening to your favorite podcast on the way to work or the tea break where you can relax.

 

  • Be fully present at work- At work, don’t stress about what you are going to wear on your date or what you are ging to cook for dinner. Be 100% present at work.

 

  • Observe the final result of your work- Notice how your work is going to finally affect the society. For example, I am an Information Technology officer in a bank and I feel proud of my role to promote digital banking in the country.

Please share in the comments how you bring mindfulness to work. 

When it comes to mindfulness, The Blissful Mind is my favorite website. Each post is full of wisdom. If you want to make mindfulness an integral part of your life, you may consider visiting: the blissful mind.  

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THE HOBBIT

Guest Review by Jen Hughes

“A sudden understanding, a pity mixed with horror, welled up in Bilbo’s heart: a glimpse of endless unmarked days without light or hope of betterment, hard stone, cold fish, sneaking and whispering. All these thoughts passed in a flash of a second. He trembled. And then quite suddenly in another flash, as if lifted by a new strength and resolve, he leaped.”

 

The hobbit;like the dwarf but smaller, with hairier feet and much, much more chilled out. They were featured in J.R.R Tolkien’s classic fantasy novel which was also called “The Hobbit”, after its unlikely hero Bilbo Baggins. The book is the first in the Lord of the Rings book series.

In the novel, Bilbo Baggins is roped into a quest in Middle Earth to help some dwarves with silly names claim back treasure stolen from their people by the merciless dragon, Smaug. It tells the tale of the entire journey from Bilbo’s home to the Misty Mountain Dwarven Kingdom where this treasure is hoarded, detailing every foe they must face along the way. The quest is led by the dwarven nobleman, Thorin, who has a real complex from losing his palace and his inheritance, and is guided by the wise wizard Gandalf.

At the start, Bilbo hates every minute of the quest. You can’t blame him considering he’s cold, hungry all the time and misses home. But he becomes more and more in his element as he faces more foes and challenges. This personal growth makes you identify more with him, and come to like him even more. Dare I say that he becomes a better leader than Thorin by the end? While almost everyone else is squabbling over money and power, all he wants is to be back in his hobbit-hole in time for his second breakfast.

The plot moves a little slowly for my taste, but really heats up in the second half when they finally arrive to the Misty Mountains. Tolkien makes sure he mentions every tiny thing that happens on the quest- every little conflict, every pitstop and pretty much every exchange between the characters (or at least it feels that way), even including what they had for dinner at one point or another!

He’s barely left the Hobbit Hills before they have to fight and loot a couple of greedy trolls. Then they must hide in goblin caverns, trek through giant-spider-infested forests, escape from an elfin dungeon an elaborate plan involving barrels and a river. Not to mention, Bilbo also takes the ring from from Gollum, LOTR culture reference, and lives to tell the tale.

You, the reader are geared up to quite like Bilbo from the start. Like most hobbits, Bilbo wants nothing more than to be comfortable and to spend time with his people. He is kindly, even when at the start of the book, Thorin and his merry men gatecrash and raid his cupboards.

He has no real desire for wealth or power, but what does drive him to go is a small desire for adventure, like his ancestors once adventured.

“Then something Tookish woke up inside him, and he wished to go and see the great mountains, and hear the pine-trees and the waterfalls, and explore the caves, and wear a sword instead of a walking-stick.”

 

Although it is arguably glacial, the pacing is amazing for letting you imagine and explore Middle Earth. From Bilbo’s warm, cosy hobbit home to the dark caverns where Gollum lurks, from the humans’ settlements to the Mountain Palace itself, illuminated by the vast horde of shiny gold- you can see it all in technicolour.

Tolkien places lyrics from dwarven& elfin folk songs and poems throughout the prose. This serves as a way of informing you of some of the detailed history of the book series without you having to read The Simallarion and it breaks up the prose to make it a lighter read.

The Misty Mountains song in the first chapter, The Unexpected Party is a prime example of this:

The pines were roaring on the height

The winds were moaning in the night

The fire was red, it flaming spread

Their trees like torches blazed with light

 

 

Far over the misty mountains grim

To dungeons deep and caverns dim

We must ere break of day

To win our harps and gold from him!

 

 

There is also a prominent theme of the corruption of money. Pretty much everything in the book points to it. The quest- and therefore the whole story- is driven by Thorin’s thirst for power and money. Smaug is the embodiment of what can happen if you are to driven by money.  Any conflict that happens happens because of either money or the treasure. You will find this especially apparent in Chapter 15: Gathering the Clouds, after Smaug is finally vanquished, trust me!

The Hobbit is also the first time we see the Ring, which becomes more central in later books. In this book, it becomes more a plot device. It allows Bilbo to do things he couldn’t do otherwise, like escape from a goblin hoard and Gollum or spy on Smaug without being burned alive.

However, there are some problems with the characters of the dwarves.T horin is not a likeable character even from the start, and becomes more unlikeable as the story goes on.This is probably deliberate, as he, too, is driven by wealth and treasure. If it weren’t for his obsession for his title, he would have been thoroughly forgettable. Not only that, there are something like eight dwarves. There are far too many to allow for character development. They are just names and disposable foot soldiers in the quest, and it is so easy to lose track of them.This is a real shame, because they could add something to the plot if a bit more time was taken on them.

Overall, The Hobbit is a good story. It is a tale of an unlikely hero on a journey of self-discovery. Characters like Thorin feel victorious winning wars and wealth, securing alliances that provide more wealth. But in reality, Bilbo has gained the most. He has discovered courage he didn’t think he had and has become wise in his experience.

If you love fantasy or science fiction literature or films- or even just a good game old Dungeons and Dragons or Munchkin- this is definitely one to put on your reading list. If I’ve intrigued you a little, I highly recommend you follow that instinct. You won’t regret it.

I hope this review inspires you to read the book, or indeed read anything! What did you think of The Hobbit? Was my review fair? Please tell me your opinions in the comments, especially if you have anything to add. I’m looking forward to some lively discussion.

 

 

About the Reviewer: Jen Hughes is a young fiction writer from Ayrshire, Scotland. She has always absorbed other media like books, film and TV which have inspired her to write her own fiction.

She has been furiously scribbling ideas and writing elaborate stories from as early as age 7 but hasn’t started putting her work out there until very recently. These stories have beenpublished on various online journals such as Oletangy Review, Minus Paper and Pulp Metal Magazine. She also has her own website which has an up-to-date portfolio of short works: dearoctopuswriting.wordpress.com.

This is her first try at writing a review, and hopefully won’t be her last.

 

 

 

 

 

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Helping yourself when nobody else can

By Danielle Carter

Sometimes in life we need to reach out for help and for support we may go to our best friend or our family members and sometimes we need more so we go to our GP or therapy, we are looking for someone to tell us how we can feel better and what we need to do in order to get through dark days. I have been here so many times needing someone to make me feel better to help me the truth is you have the tolls yourself you can help you. In bad times this can seem impossible but you’re in charge at all times and this is a very important thing to remember you’re in charge of how you feel never make any other individual in charge of your happiness.

The top 10 self help ideas i think you should do everyday

  1. Chose to wake up happy – you can control how you start each day
  2. Be kind to everyone- not many people can be negative to someone who is being so nice
  3. Remember who you are – never forget what makes you ..you
  4. Take some time to relax – a bath , your favourite television programme, a walk
  5. Get out in the air- fresh air makes the world of difference no matter the weather
  6. Walk away from stress and negative people- this is very important
  7. Talk to yourself it doesn’t make you mad – sometimes talking to yourself makes things become clearer
  8. Love yourself no matter what- you are allowed to fall down its getting back up that’s important.
  9. Work out your own personal triggers- what sends you down? Stay away from these things as much as you can
  10. End your day on a good note- never go to sleep on bad feelings.

 

You must always believe in your inner strength it is a powerful thing. You are strong.

This is not saying don’t reach out for help sometimes we need to this is about realising you can also help yourself more than you realise and it’s about staying mentally well so as you don’t need to reach out for help at braking point.  As I mentioned in point number 9 working out your triggers is very important and its completely personal to you if a certain place triggers bad emotion don’t go their if magazines make you feel not good enough do not buy them.

Your life is your own story you have a beginning you have a middle where there is traumas and problems and cross roads but you can chose your ending. You can make good choices on how you deal with things and overcome situations you must invest a lot of your time and energy into your mental wellbeing it is very important you need to love and respect yourself at all times.

It can be a lonely feeling a lot of the time when no one understands you and their seems to be no one to listen or maybe you don’t want to talk to anyone this is where you become your own best friend it can be so up lifting to realise your never alone because you have you Ready to listen and cry with and talk with and to love and pick back up and move forward together.  You should never give up on you.

I would recommend you try this exercise – take a walk on a nice early evening just you walk somewhere quite and breath in the fresh air and breath out deep breaths, let go of any stress and talk to yourself this can of course be in your head list all the things you love about yourself and tell yourself how you are important you are beautiful and you are worthy of respect.  Take in all the noises around you and embrace the breeze.   Clear your head and walk back home feeling lighter and more positive and decide on how you are going to look after you.

 

Self help is journey it will not happen overnight you will need to put effort in and do not get disheartened if you slip up and things don’t seem to be working straight away, everything takes time and hard work but it is a well worth journey for the rest of your life.

 

 

 

 

 

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Three Theories of Body and Soul

All the widespread theories of body and soul
can be combined into the following three
theories:
1. Theory of Faith
This theory maintains that nothing but the soul
(or spirit) exists. Adherents of this theory opine
that there exist spiritual entities separated
from one another by the quality that are called
human souls. They exist independently before
they descend and incarnate in human bodies.
Afterward, when the body dies, its death does
not extend to these entities, because they
are spiritual and not composite. In their view,
death is a mere separation between the
elements of which an entity consists. It,
therefore, refers to the material body that
constitutes a conglomerate of elements
separated by death. But being a spiritual
entity, the soul is simple and cannot
disintegrate, so that its structure would be
affected. Hence, the soul is immortal and
exists eternally.

According to advocates of this theory, the
body is the soul’s attire. The soul dresses into
the body and manifests its powers, qualities,
and various faculties through it.
This way the soul provides the body with life
and movement and protects it from injuries.
The body turns into lifeless and motionless
matter when the soul leaves it. All the signs of
life we observe in a human being are nothing
but the manifestations of the soul’s powers.
2. Theory of Dualism
Those who believe in duality, contrive this
theory. According to their opinion, the body is
a perfect creation that can live, eat, protect
itself from all harm and does not need help of
any spiritual entity.
However, this body is not considered the
person’s essence. This role is taken by the
intelligent soul, a spiritual entity (this
coincides with the first theory).
The difference between the two theories only
concerns the body. Rapid development of
science reveals that nature has installed in the
body all the vitally important needs. Therefore
the soul’s function in the body is only
confined to passing good spiritual qualities and
skills to it. The adherents of dualism believe in
the two theories at the same time, but they
assert that the soul originates the body.
3. Theory of Negation
Researchers, who deny the existence of any
spiritual reality and only believe in corporeality
of the body, share this theory. Followers of
this theory completely negate the presence of
any abstract spiritual entity in the structure of
the human body. With an indisputable
certainty they believe that the human mind is
nothing but a derivative of the body. They
imagine the body as a kind of an electrical
machine with cables that connect the limbs
and organs with the brain. The entire
mechanism is activated by external irritants
and is transmitted as pain or pleasure to the
brain, which commands a certain organ to act.
Everything is controlled through nerves
(cables) and tendons attached to the organs
programmed to avoid sources of pain and
aspire to sources of pleasure. This is how
supporters of this theory see the process of
human comprehension and reactions to every
life situation.
Our perception of intelligence and logic, inside
the brain is much like a photographic imprint
of what is going on inside the body. In
comparing man with any representative of the
animal world, man’s advantage consists in the
fact that everything that takes place in his
body, is reflected in his brain as a picture
perceived as the mind and logic. So, the
adherents of this theory consider the mind a
result of all the processes that occur in the
body.
Similarly, some of the followers of the theory
of dualism completely agree with the theory of
negation. However, they add to it the eternal
spiritual essence called “soul”, which in their
opinion dresses in the body. They assert that
the soul is the person’s essence, while the
body serves as its shell. By and large this is
how the humanities have described the notions
of “soul and body” until now.

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Infamy and Fame

By Sarr Brie Narr

The sociology of celebrity compromises of the idea that if you buy into a celebrity’s talent and image you literally buy them. They become a product to be consumed. Like prostitution, fame could be read as the consumption of the body, the soul and the self. As a thirteen year old girl I assumed that the Manic Street Preacher’s song ‘Yes’, which opens up their bleak third album, was an extended metaphor for fame, rather than a literal comment on the sex industry. Lines like ‘but nothing turns out like you want it to’ had more resonance and impact than the crude anecdotes and swearing in the song. The bits that my friends and I would giggle at about male genital mutilation and rewarded the album with a ‘Parental Advisory: Explicit Lyrics’ sticker weren’t the bits that made you question this consumption of celebrity. The literal consumption of a fake guitarist and his fake band. As Thom Yorke suggested, Edwards was literally martyred by the weekly music press of 1994. His public breakdowns and confessions plastered all over the NME, causing speculation as to if he’d be the next one to go the way of Kurt Cobain. To make that startling career move, best categorised by the likes of Ian Curtis. Being consumed is a relatively strange concept. Being eaten or used up. Christina Rossetti’s ‘Goblin Market’ gives us a tale of two girls, one you could read as dying of consumption. Laura and Lizzie’s temptation by the Goblin fruit (and illusions to the Goblin men) serve as a severe warning. If you face this temptation of being shown, you will succumb to be consumed, like the Goblin fruit itself. Giving yourself over so wholeheartedly that there is nothing left is something that was celebrated on Hole’s 1994 album ‘Live Through This’. Again one that I hungrily devoured as a thirteen year old girl. An album with lyrics that unpick and show a glimmer of toxic love and poisoned milk. Courtney Love’s primal howl of ‘Go on take everything, take everything I want you to,’ on Violet became a 1990s mantra for her image as the grunge witch. The untamed, chaotic, bratty image she’d spent so many hours perfecting. It mirrored the overriding theme of consumed celebrity that was pervasive on The Holy Bible. A line like ‘I’ve been too honest with myself I should have lied like everybody else,” (Faster) is obviously a direct address about the consumption of identity the personal relationship with the press and the toxicity of fame. Dying at the age of 27 was just one of those things. It’s like the celebrity curse. It befell Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain and (perhaps) Richey Edwards. It’s like they were consumed so much, that nothing was left. How dangerous is celebrity for an individual? As it turns out, very. It can kill you, if you’re not careful, or at least make you disappear. But we must also examine how famous some of these figures truly were? Arguably Edwards was more of the middle track of fame. He wasn’t instantly recognisable to the average person on the street. You could imagine that he could nip out to the shops and people might not identify him. However he was familiar within his own sphere of fame. Was it more infamy than real celebrity? Again this becomes dangerous. The concept of a guitarist that could barely play, who had to be unplugged for most of his gigs because he was just so terrible, who couldn’t sing, and judging from old interview footage was both painfully shy and sporting thick Welsh accent Combine this with the concepts of self mutilation, borderline anorexia, depressive psychosis and alcoholism and you get something that’s only consumed by a particular type of person. Something acidic and not quite palatable for most. An acquired taste and the Cult of Richey is born. Kanye West sported a jacket in 2016 designed by Raf Simmons and perhaps part of his early 2000s Manic Street Preacher’s themed fashion collection. This jacket was cammo patterned and had a reproduced photograph of Richey Edwards and the words ‘4 Real’ precisely cut into his forearm. Kanye West is less interesting in comparison to his wife. Kim Kardashian is literally the epitome of consumable celebrity. No middle track of fame for Ms Kardashian, she’s full on celebrity. However, like Edwards her talent is somewhat… limited. Is she an actress? A singer? A writer? A model? Nope. She’s literally famous for being famous. At least Edwards had the audacity to craft words, even though he felt that the limitations of language were pervasive to him, as highlighted in songs like PCP. So what is the difference between fame and infamy? Where does this middle track of fame fall into it? If it is not the talent that’s consumed it’s the person, so in the case of Kardashian we’re looking at her literal self being eaten. Or are we? The Kardashian image is so expertly crafted there is no person in it. She can give herself up to be consumed because it’s not her. It’s a shell of a person. Junk food. In the case of Edwards it’s more complex, a bit of both. In the case of Cobain it’s also a complex mixture of talent and personality. Nirvana were as famous for some of their outlandish behaviour as much as for their music. But how does this leave those who know the real person, rather than the invented image that’s consumed? Ian Curtis’s wife and child and girlfriend? “Yeah, they really want you, but I do too” has to be one of the most painfully observant lyrics on Doll Parts, a song that highlights how much it can hurt to share. Even if what you have to share is “so real it is beyond fake”.

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Dazzling Disney

By Sarr Brie Narr

Disneyland, Big Macs and live action reboots. Today I want to a baby friendly showing of Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast. I know, like you might think, it’s nauseating that such a thing would exist. It’s predominantly white, middle class female audience were subjected to adverts for Paco Rabanne, Pantene and Ferrero Rocher. Luxury items that only women would desire. Women with a disposable income that can afford to take their children to a ‘baby friendly’ showing of a Disney movie. The type of women who sow no remorse for their privilege because they do not see it as such. Of course it’s not for the babies. It’s for the grownups. It’s for the mums. I asked my husband if he would want to come. Apart from being at work, his reply was “No. Too much Hermione,” which loosely translates as: a. He would rather burn his own eyes out with Lumiere’s candle wax than sit though, yet another, awful Disney movie. b. Emma Watson has been cast as Belle for several reasons. Mostly her affiliation with gender equality campaigns therefore make her a too-obvious choice to be cast as Belle, the Disney heroine with a love of literature, education and a distaste for hunters who ‘use antlers in all of their decorating’. Richey Edwards once said “Hollywood and Disneyland are the legacy of Europe’s cultural imperialism. We gave them nursery rhymes and they gave back film. Televised riots are as American as Barbie/ Big Macs. Tomorrow the riots will be forgotten but Mickey Mouse will still be there. Welcome to Disneyland.” Apart from being an almost conservative quote from a staunchly cultural Left winger, he’s making a point about the Americanisation of Folk and Fairy Tales. The language and ability for culture to be assimilated from one empire to another is abhorrent however the ability for Folktales to be cascaded from generation to generation is normalised and valued in every culture. What is the difference with cross pollination or intergenerational transcendence of stories? The Brothers Grimm are often accredited with being the forefathers of Fairy Stories. Some of their most famous include Ashputtle (Cinderella), Hansel and Gretel and Rapunzel however they collected together European tales, copy edited, rewrote and scribed tales that had belonged to the oral tradition. The most the Grimm brothers did was reinvented parts to make them more palatable for their audience. They bricollaged an anthology of folklore, packaged it nicely and neatly to be consumed. Made it perfect for Disney to come along and transform it again. Reinforced its adaptability and accessibility of knowledge. Created an almost Postmodern concept in 1817. Disney are remaking all of their most famous movies into live action tales. Is this a way to bleed a franchise now there are no more stories left to tell? Or is this another way to make the tales accessible to another, younger generation? Over half of the audience of today’s session were under a year old. As I sat with breastfeeding mothers and snoring babies, it dawned on me that these mothers, women in their thirties with tattoos, nasal piercings and double espressos (forgive me, I live in a very Hipster part of the UK) had grown up with this second golden age of Disney. Any film from the early 1990s (I’m looking at you Aladdin, The Lion King and Mulan) would have attracted such a crowd, got a viewing average age of thirty five accompanied by six months. These are the tales that women of my generation grew up with. These are the tales that Edwards infers are worse or the invention of film, but are they? They bring their own dark magic, spawn their own cultural legacy, rewrite their own past and invent their own Grand Narrative. Stories are as part as folklore as language is as part as culture. As much as I hate people who feel smug about correcting the colloquial use of language, I hate conservatism over stories. I love a good rewrite, a good retelling, even the dreaded ‘reimagination’ of a classic could do no wrong in my book. With every subsequent production of a play comes newer readings and interpretations. Why is this different in any other medium? People are wary of a multibillion dollar industry that seems to have our culture in their hands and, subsequently, our children’s childhood’s in those money stained paws. Stories are that important. Did you see how big Frozen was? If they’re remaking every Disney film as a live action (and I guess the disowned Black Cauldron won’t get a reboot) what will happen in ten years when Frozen gets the live action treatment? It will be massive. Huge for another generation and we’ll have to listen to that song again! Are Disney to be trusted? Are they, as Edwards suggests, as wholesome as a Big Mac?