Strength in Solitude

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Who says being alone is a bad thing? In our society and modern way of life, we’re always obsessing over business connections and being social. But that pursuit is an  oftentimes stress inducing one that leaves are used physically, mentally, and spiritually  drained. Many claim that being alone is a bad thing, but why? Contrary to this commonplace belief, solitude is a great way to grow and fortify oneself in preparation for the world outside our doors.

Creativity

Most of productive creative thought happens when we’re alone. Being alone with one’s thoughts is a great way to sort through ideas and think outside the box.  Reflection is a key process for thinking creatively. Too often when we are surrounded by others we unknowingly get forced into groupthink habits. At work have you ever been forced into a group of 4 or 5 people and asked to brainstorm ideas for work? Many managers think this is a good idea because of the number of ideas presented, however the actual quality of the ideas and suggestions are relatively low. The pressure to think of something good but not too good or too simple overrides the creative thinking process. Solitude allows for one to relax and look at the topic from all angles in a stress free environment.

Recharge
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All day you’re calling, texting, signing, and speed walking–it’s important to take a break from that to recharge and re-evaluate. And no getting home late and collapsing on your bed in fatigue is not proper recharging.  It’s about taking the conscious effort to set time aside for yourself. The phone, internet, demanding job, or 5 page paper will still be there when you get back. Finding peace for a few minutes or a few hours provides a dramatic improvement in the way we see the world and those in it.

Personal Reflection

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This goes hand in hand with the last 2 points, but deserves to be discussed separately. By taking time to think and reflect on our personal lives, we open up an honest discourse with ourselves. Too often we allow ourselves to sit in denial or ignorance simply because there’s no time to worry about it all. But if you aren’t careful, this could lead to mental stresses and ultimately break downs. By taking time to think about your life, your family, your friends, and the environment you’re in you get a better handle on it all.

Spirituality and Meditation
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No matter your beliefs, it’s important to take yourself out of the worldly elements for a while and truly meditate and think about things. Too often we go through a routine and feel we have to believe certain things or act certain ways because that is what we were taught. But simply taking time to think independently can do wonders to both strengthen and reconstruct our spiritual views. It provides a way we can be honest with ourselves about what we believe to be true or false, right or wrong. No one’s experience of life is the same and likewise no one has the exact same views on spirituality. Don’t allow yourself to just be under a generic umbrella category without thinking about your own personal thoughts and beliefs in relation to it.

Self Esteem
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It may seem to be the opposite but it’s true. By being alone, we are able to focus on ourselves and build up or esteem. Too often when we go out there will be a poster of a model or a successful guy climbing out of his Aventador labrogini. By comparing with others we lose ourselves and belittle ourselves. By taking time to connect with your thoughts and feelings, you remove part of that insecurity and anxiety which many people suffer through daily.

Memory and Concentration
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Many can attest to the benefits of studying and working alone. It allows for you to be productive with minor white noise from those surrounding you. Concentration and memory are things many people struggle with (especially those in the ADD generation of today) but intended solitude helps create a productive mindset that promotes these important skills.

 

Experience of Life
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Remember, being alone is not a negative thing. It’s a way to grow comfortable in one’s own skin (something even adults struggle with).  It might seem daunting and intimidating to do something new or experience something in a new way, but that’s how people grow (and we never really stop growing in some aspects). Alone is very different from lonely. Solitude means coming to terms with oneself in an honest way that transfers into the rest of your life. Going to lunch alone, shopping alone, swimming alone, going to dinner alone, dancing alone: these don’t have to be bad things! The experience of life is not defined by those around us but by each individual for themselves. So take a breath and separate yourself for a while and I promise you won’t miss the noise.

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How You Accidentally Lose Friends

Keeping our old connections can be hard. The transition from high school to college, and college to the real world creates  a number of anxieties and stresses. Will I find a niche to suit me? Is this the right move? What will they think of me? ect. All piling into your mind at one, which leads to even more trouble for you. But eventually you find your place, have fun, and meet new people. It’s exciting, nerve-wracking, and time consuming so surely its understandable if you forget to text a friend or two right? Well, maybe not. It may not seem like it but by not texting or calling or IM-ing when already a long distance away you could be unintentionally removing this person from your life.

It’s so easy to get caught up in our own affairs and then suddenly you have break from school or you have a long weekend from work. Who do you call? And when you do get in contact with the old friend does conversation feel strained, almost like if you were making small talk with an acquaintance? I’ve experienced this before and it was the worst feeling.

I wasn’t even having fun in college really, since I don’t live on the campus! It made it hard to find friends and when it came to trying to talk to my old ones? I got half an hour of awkward small talk just to catch up with one another. And when I would send the random ‘hey what’s up’ text, I’d feel lucky to get a response. It’s off-putting and actually rather worrying to think that people you spent years talking to could leave you behind or that you might leave behind someone that was once important to you. But that’s just it–it’s someone you’re used to see almost everyday. The physical distance between you has led to a distance emotionally. Lucky for us, it’s easily overcome.

It may seem daunting or intimidating but sending out simple texts every once in a while (even if they don’t text back right away) is a good way to show that you are still thinking of that person and feel connected to them. Sending a small message every once in a while is good to keep a connection going (it isn’t like you’re dating, don’t assume that they think you’re clingy just because you want to catch up).

If an important day for that person comes up like their birthday, don’t just settle for the customary Facebook wall post, text or even call them. It’s amazing how great it is to hear a friend’s voice after a long time and phones are an easy way to reconnect.

Having Skype conversations and group hangouts are another great way to stay connected and make it effortless. But remember they’re not always going to be online when you are, work hours and other things are that person’s priority sometimes and it’s important to understand that.

And of course, seeing the person after a long hiatus of work and busyness is great to re-establish old friendships and catch up. What you could write in 20 texts, would be said in all of 2 minutes, leaving plenty of time to actually get to do things together like old times.

But above all, remember that simply because a person isn’t an immediate presence in your life doesn’t mean either of you should feel guilty about it. It’s just a part of life and growing that is understandable. If a person is a true friend, reconnecting is absolutely possible. It’s just that when neither of you try to rebuild or revisit that bridge of friendship you’re left in a situation in which neither of you can even relate anymore. Be careful your best friend doesn’t become another acquaintance you wouldn’t recognize on the street. 

Have any of you experienced this strain in your personal lives? Is there a friend you wish to reconnect with, but don’t know how?

Power of Colors on Emotions and Physicality

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Humans are very visually oriented. We look towards social ques and symbols around us to help dictate our own thoughts and feelings. The most basic form of visual relation starts at a young age upon the introduction of colors. Our brains sense and decipher color, but some may be unaware that the mind and body can be effected by color as well.

Here are the basic colors and the effects they have on our minds and bodies. 

Warm-Colors

Warm Colors: Generally perceived as happy and energetic

  • Red: We associate this color with a number of varying emotional states such as anger, sexuality, vitality, frustration, and ambition. This means that based on the situation or the person perceiving it, there is a chance for both negative and positive responses. Physiologically, it causes an  increase in blood pressure and stimulates circulation flow
  • Orange: This color is seen as relieving, basically meaning it associates with ideas such as forgiveness, relief of guilt, and dispelling thoughts of negative self-worth. Physiologically the color stimulates sexual organs (easy there, tiger) and is related to healthy immune systems.
  • Yellow: We associate this color with happy thoughts, intellect, clear decision-making, and being organized. However, a dull yellow relates to fear and and trepidation. Yellow makes us aware of things and serves to stimulate the brain. It’s also said to energize our muscles.

Cool-Colors

Cool Colors: Generally perceived as relaxing, mysterious, and sometimes sad

  • Green: This color is associated with relaxation, laziness, and comfort. Light shades automatically relate to nature in our minds while darker greens equate to decay and sickness. Physiologically, green causes muscle relaxation, slower breaths, and a healthy heart
  • Blue: This is a color of quiet, mental calmness, and creativity. However, dark blue can bring feelings of depression. The color is great for lowering blood pressure, soothing pain, regulating sleeping patterns, and is linked to the thyroid gland.
  • Purples: Psychologically, this color has been shown to help balance the mind and alleviate obsessions and fears. The shade indigo is associated with imagination while violet is emotionally cleansing. Physiologically violet is said to have antiseptic like effect while indigo is described as having narcotic like qualities (like anesthetics). Purple also relates to metabolism.

neutral-colors

Neutrals: Generally relate to feelings of stability and simplicity. These colors relate to use on a psychological level rather that physiological

  • Black: This color promotes both positive and negative perceptions. It can comforting and protective, mysterious, and commonly associated death (in western culture at least). Black is also seen as fairly passive in its nature.
  • Gray: This color relates to independence, loneliness, and non-commitment.
  • White: Perhaps because of theology, white is mostly associated with purity and openness while still conveying separation and isolation.
  • Brown: This is a color of stability and strength because of its relevance to nature. It also related to being stoic or socially removed.

Note that color views are subjective for every person, these are simply common associations in western society. Colors have varying significance according to cultural beliefs and views. Despite social differences, the way that colors have such power over emotions and physical states is fascinating and something worth taking note of. It also raises the questions: Do you hate/love certain colors or is it because of the associations created in your mind? Do you even agree with these listed effects? Lets discuss: What is your favorite color and how does it make you feel?

Positive Thinking: Should vs. Could

You are your worst critic. Cliche but true, too often we think to ourselves: i can’t do anything right. Why do I even bother? I thought it would be different this time. The main reasoning behind these thoughts is the way we see ourselves in relation to the world around us. Too often we tell ourselves what he should do, what we should look like, what we should be and it creates a mindset of “not enough”. We are enforcing the disabling belief that there is some mystical ideal that we just must be able to meet! And it hurts us. Creating stress and anguish where there was none before, essentially pulling our mood down along with our self perception. By being so harsh on ourselves, we subconsciously enforce the idea that we are not enough, thus creating a cycle of negativity that prevents us from growing and accomplishing what we want. This cycle is a dangerous one that usually stems from many areas of insecurity, worry, and plain old over-criticism.

Its a tough habit to break but one of the ways to start trying to introduce positive thought is be eliminating the word should and replace it with could. Instead of I should go to that party, everyone else is, think to yourself I could go out to that party, but maybe I want to do this instead. Doing this creates the notion of options that help you assess a situation and remove pressure from yourself. Rather than forcing yourself into a situation you’re unprepared for, you remove the urgency simply by saying to yourself you could do something else. You can say I can/could rather than I should/ have to when it comes to various things in life.

Button-warning-iconWarning: This is not an excuse to procrastinate! I know you’re thinking of how easily you can apply this to a situation of a deadline, telling yourself you could do the project or watch that repeat showing of Inception. By doing this you’re only creating a situation in which you’ll lose in the long run (and that will just ruin your positive thinking won’t it!)

Instead, tell yourself: If I could just finish this project I can go about my business. This keeps you on top of the work you need to accomplish while giving you a goal/reward for its completion!

Introvert or Extrovert: Who are you really?

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Are you a person of thought or action? Do you stand at the front of the stage or do you prefer to work behind the scenes? The answers to there questions are what separate introverts  and extroverts. Scientists and psychologists have been conducting research which supports that personality types are linked to structural and functional distinctions in the brain! Many people are unaware of just how important this distinction is in daily life.It can influence the type of friend you make, your personal values, and social dynamic! If you’re an introvert, meaning you feel more uncomfortable in new social situations, going to a new internship where small talk is most likely necessary the first few day is gonna be annoying. On the other hand. if you are an extrovert, you might have a tendency to talk first and think later, which could put you in some awkward rambling during interviews. Both traits have their good qualities that really help shape us into who we are. Many people feel there might be something wrong with them simply because they haven’t taken the time to figure themselves out, which can put them in compromising situations in the future. How can you know where you want to go in life if you don’t yet understand your own nature?

Naturally, everyone is a mix of both these personality types, it’s impossible to only be strictly introvert or strictly extrovert, but finding out the one you most identify with can help you in you personal and professional life. So what is the most important distinction between the two?

Introverts feel the need to recharge your metaphorical batteries after a long day of socializing by relaxing alone. Extroverts feel anxious after being alone or without social stimulation for a long time. And then there are “Ambiverts” who are mostly in the middle (although most people show favor towards one or the other).

There are a number of characteristics that can help you figure out which one you favor and a number (1,2,3) of ways to test yourself to find which you favor. By knowing your personality mindset, you can actively avoid putting yourself in situations of undue stress or irritation and focus more time and doing thing that make you happy, whether that be a quiet night or a rooftop party. Be proud to be who you are!