I hope to write a 4-part piece on mindfulness, minimalism, slow life, and menopause, but combining them with the topic of anxiety. This will be quite a personal post, but I am writing it, though, as I believe strongly through telling your story you may inspire somebody who is struggling and maybe even give hope for the future.
I need to say I am not a psychiatrist, or a psychologist or a specialist in any medical field. I am writing from my own experience.
I always encourage people who suffer from anxiety or depression to seek medical, professional help. Please, remember there is no shame in doing so. I also believe current medicine and pharmacology can help, especially if we understand that suffering of this kind is connected, among the others, with chemical substances in our brain. I am writing from the perspective of my own experience and I think it can give you some hope, inspiration and/or knowledge.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder ( GAD) hit me some years ago and since that time it hasn't been the easiest ride in my life. When I look at what I have been through I may admit I've had most of the typical symptoms of GAD, like
- constant worry, very often about unrealistic problems, also hypochondria, when your thoughts are running like crazy influencing your emotions and even your senses
- anxiety in different life situations.
- panic attacks, happening during any situation, also during the holidays.
- irritability and outbursts of anger.
- fast puls and sweating.
- tension in muscles.
So, if you notice some of the symptoms mentioned occurring for a longer time in your life, welcome to the club. With time I started searching for some, not only medical, relief and I came across mindfulness. Again, I am not saying ( and will never say) practicing mindfulness alone will help you, especially if you are diagnosed with GAD, but the good news is, it can help reduce some symptoms or help fight them when they occur.
Of course, you will find a lot of posts and websites dedicated to mindfulness, but here I want to say how I understand it. So, for me, mindfulness is
- being here and now, focusing on what we are doing at a particular moment. While walking, e.g., focusing on the movement or our surroundings. Let it be just noticing changing nature, falling leaves. Or let it be feeling the steps while walking. Such an approach may reduce the constant flow of thoughts because you will focus on things around you, your mind will not have the opportunity to add anything to it.
- observing your thoughts, including those nasty ones. When you start being anxious or worried, but if you observe this moment of being anxious, you can change your focus on something else. It can break the chain of negative thoughts. When it happens to me, I usually say to myself: Really! OK!", it usually helps to bring some rationality in the process of thinking because I am able to notice that some other patterns of thinking are possible.
- knowing that everything is impermanent. That's a good one, as it is both good and bad news. On the one hand, you may stress out everything comes to the end, but on the other hand, you know your anxiety or panic attack has its limits as well. Somebody has said a typical panic attack lasts 15 minutes. Well, I don't know the exact time, I haven't counted, but indeed, it doesn't last forever. The notion itself is a huge relief.
- letting go. It is also some good principle of mindfulness. I am not saying here of letting go of your negative thoughts, just by wanting to do so. It would be unrealistic because if the anxiety hits, you won't feel better just by just saying ' let it go". I think of letting go in a sense of allowing yourself to have a bad time, being imperfect, asking for help.
- accepting the moment as it is, without judging it. You simply can't change the moment that is already happening, so why not just say " OK, here we go again", instead of saying " Oh, why me, not again! Why, why?" The latter may add more stress, which will lead to more anxiety, so on, so forth.
So, to sum up. Anxiety is not the nicest thing, when it happens over and over again, find yourself a specialist, but mindfulness can help you lower the level of GAD. In the next post, I will try to write about how anxiety and mindfulness led me to minimalism.
Those who know me know I love gadgets. I am also a minimalist and sometimes both features stand in opposition to each other.
So, some days ago I saw this magnificent leather messenger bag which I simply loved. I could afford it and, oh my, I just wanted it so very much. I guess you know this feeling, sudden craving of something, heart bits faster and you can't find any reasons not to buy the item of your desire.
I decided to pop the question on my Twitter account if I should buy this particular bag. 3 magnificent Twitter friends of mine took their time to answer my question and they encouraged me to buy the bag. If you like it, if you can afford it and if you really want to use it, just do it, Girl!
Well, I went to the website where I was supposed to order the bag, I even filled in the form and was going to use my credit card when my minimalism kicked in.
It said, hey, let's sleep with this idea, you'll see if you still want this bag the next day. Reluctantly I did so.
The following day I opened the website again, looked at the bag, looked at my current bag and thought the latter is not so bad, it's more convenient, I don't need to carry additional tote bag for small things I buy. The desire disappeared. I closed the website and, believe me, or not, I again love my present bag!
Why am I writing about it? I just want to share my experience of minimalism with you and show you how much money we spend on things we buy out of sudden craving and later we don't use the things we bought because in reality we just don't need them. I bet you all also have been in such situations.
I believe the " sleeping with a decision about new stuff" works and can teach us a lot about ourselves, and that by itself is precious. We also don't clutter our homes or can spend this damn money on something that in reality makes our hearts sing. For those $45 I can have some really great dinners/ coffee with my friends and create memories.
Hello to All, I really DO hope your moment in life is full of positive vibrations.
Today's post's title has the word "trading" in it, some of you know I have been trading Forex for some time now and also I have invested at the stock exchange, but I believe, as the post also speaks about feelings, you can relate to any situation in life.
I have this opinion we mostly do things in life out of fear of any kind. Even though you may not agree with me on this one, you will agree we have a mix of different feelings during each day, feelings we are not always aware of or those we may not know how to call in the particular moment. The fact of not being aware of our feelings is connected, again in my opinion, with the level of mindfulness we are at. And that is fine, I'm not saying we all have to be at the same level, as we have various experience.
Anyway, for example, today I have found my anxiety level is a bit higher than usual and I am extremely sleepy due to low blood pressure. With this notion, I opened my transaction platform at my broker's and looked at the charts. Imidietally I got attracted to EURUSD strong movement! Wow, just wow! What a mix of additional feelings occurred! Excitement, fear of missing out ( FOMO), belief that I simply need to jump in the trade as all the others did so. So many times before I would just do it, the feelings were simply too strong and so often I was driven by them, without any further thinking.
Yet, this time, being also more experienced, I have recalled the above statement.
I am certain we all have been in situations when we just jumped into a decision or replied out of some strong feelings and later we regretted it. The above statement is also strictly connected with trading, professionals know how to, maybe not keep their feelings at bay, but stick to their trading plan. If they do not see some elements they have chosen to trade, they just do not enter the trade.
You will say, hey Brygida, it's easier said than done and I will say " Amen to that, dear Humans. I have been there and I have done that, 5 years to be precise. We are just humans and, even if we like thinking we are special, we are just very similar, especially in reacting to feelings.
So, what have I done in this particular moment? Besides recalling the statement mentioned, I took a few moments to just pause and do nothing.
There is this idea certain chemical reactions in our brain last 90 seconds, the rest of the time we decide to hold particular feelings depends on us.
Later, I looked at the chart again, the movement of the price was strong, but (!) I haven't noticed the price patterns I usually trade and also the volume, which I look at, was not right in my opinion.
I reminded myself the affirmation I once read on the Internet, reading: I only trade opportunities that present themselves to me.
I closed the broker site and walked away. I was not thinking clearly because of being more anxious, sleepy and having all that chemical rush connected with the excitement of the moment. Some may say I could have earned a lot of money. Probably. Oddly enough, though, I want to stick to my plan, with time I know this is the key to constant earnings while trading.
Can we also use these simple ways in different occurrences in life? Of course, we can. In a moment of taking a decision, we can always take a minute to pause, there is nothing wrong in asking the second party to wait a minute. If we have some certain rules in life and somebody or something require us to break them, let's pause and decide how we feel about it? Just a minute can let us see things more clearly, can break the pattern of e.g. negative feelings, and that can allow us to take a more suitable decision.
In the end, I repeat again, I know it isn't easy, but it IS manageable, just try, why don't we?
In the world where we are constantly told we need things because without them we mean nothing, for many, it is hard to create some savings. We need some extra money, though, not only to have some sense of security in life but also to make our future life easier.
In this post, I want to encourage you to have some savings and to show you really simple steps to do so.
The first obvious way to create some savings is spending less than we earn. I know it can be hard for people who have a minimum salary and every month struggle to make ends meet, but also in such situations, we can look at our spendings and decided if maybe there is at least one thing we do not need to spend money on.
Create a budget
I am not saying you need to do it to cut your spendings dramatically, but I know the majority of people do not know what they spend their money on. If you are not patient with such things, maybe decided to look at your budget just for 3 months, even such a short period of time should give you a general view how much you spend and what do you spend money on. There are numerous apps that help you create a budget, but you can just use good old pen and paper.
The key is to write down any single spending, again not because you want to terrorize yourself, just to know yourself. When you know more about your spending manners, you can create some saving- friendlier budget for the future. One thing in a new budget is crucial and it is called ' pay yourself first'.
Pay yourself first
I am sure you have heard this term before. It is simple and elegant. Moreover, it works! The idea behind this is also simple, you treat your savings as spendings, you do not save what is left at the end of a month, but you save a particular amount of money at the beginning of each month. There are different opinions on how much you should save, I will say, save as much as YOU feel comfortable with. In my opinion, even 1% of your income saved is fine, it is much better than not saving at all, right? With time, you can increase the amount of money you can and want to save.
So, for example, what I do every month is transferring some % of my income to my savings bank account. So far it has been about 10% of my monthly income, this year, though, I am going to work less, so probably I will save 5%, but I will stick to my plan. As you can see in my example, it is good to have not only checking account but also savings account. I think all banks all over the world offer 1 or even more of saving accounts, so there should be no problem for you to have one.
The interest rate in such accounts is rather limited, probably some 0.5%, but you can look for an account that adds this interest rate every single day or month. Why? Because of the compound interest. With time you will receive an interest rate on the interest rate. I hear you say it may be just a small amount of money, but hey! You will get nothing if you do not do it. Remember, money makes money, honey!
Save and invest
With time, when your saving grows to the amount you wish, you can save the money in a bit different and/or more profitable way. You can leave some certain amount of money on your savings account, just to have some emergency fund. How much, again, it depends on you and the place you live in. The rest of the money you can locate in some fix deposits in your bank, or for those who are not afraid, you can invest this sum in mutual funds. I know that people who never have invested are a bit worried to do so, especially in our current times, but in a long term, say over 5 years, your money always create an income. If you want to invest, though, always remember to invest only the money you know you will not need and only the sum you feel comfortable to invest. Banks and financial organizations have a vast offer of fix deposits and mutual funds, with different risk, so as a beginner you may want to choose the funds with lower risk. Each mutual fund has a number, form 1 - 6 ( or higher), where 1 is low risk, whilst 6 is high risk.
Two things I want to point out very clearly:
-always check the mutual funds and the financial organizations that sell them,
-never believe any organization that says you will earn unnatural % of the money! Simply, it is impossible, especially when interest rates all over the world are rather low.