What is the value of your intellectual property?

I’ve always been of the opinion that intellectual property is what makes someone valuable. That crazy map of creativity and thought inside of their heads is what they bring to the table, and if you want to find the right niche within your workplace, you need to give employees a place where they feel safe to let their intellectual property flow freely throughout the company.

When it comes to me, intellectual property is my everything. This mess inside of my brain is what comes up with the genius. And I don’t say that to imply that I am a genius by any means. I say that as an implication that what I do requires creativity and forethought. It requires one to have vision and insight. It requires one to make use of a certain skill set that there are a lot of jobs in this world that’s not necessary for.

To me, the prospect of signing away my intellectual property to ‘the man’ is a scary one.

It could mean signing away rights to this blog, or anything I create on it hereafter. It could mean signing away rights to my work, to my creations, to my brainchild of development.

I’m not sure that I’m ready to do that. Or willing.

I know that different people have different opinions on the subject matter. I guess, it just scares me because I feel as though my intellectual property and my value very much go hand-in-hand. Signing that over to someone seems like giving up a piece of myself.

Common Thinking Errors – A lesson in thought from a Psychiatrist

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned from therapy is that the situations we find ourselves in don’t cause our depressed/anxious feelings – our ways of thinking about them do. Everyone goes through struggles and everyone suffers hardship in their lives. How a person responds to those struggles and hardships determines the outcome from them.

If you’re anything like me, it can be incredibly easy to jump to conclusions and imagine the worst case scenario, always. Some of us have brains that are just hard-wired to do so. That may, or may not be any fault of our own. But, if we’re ever going to tackle those feelings, we need to be aware of the errors in thinking in order to make conscious change.

The following are some common, distorted ways of thinking that often increase depression and make it harder to overcome, see past struggles and hardship.

FILTERING – Everyone’s life has some negative things. If you focus on the negative and filter out all positive or neutral things, your life will indeed seem depressing.

EMOTIONAL REASONING – Emotions are based on what we think and often not based on facts. Don’t always believe what you feel. Feelings are not facts.

OVER-INCLUSIVE – You think of one problem, then another and another, until you feel completely overwhelmed. Or you may take on the problems of family members as your own.

BLACK OR WHITE THINKING – You think only in extremes or absolutes, forgetting that most things fall in the middle and are shades of grey.

JUMPING TO CONCLUSIONS – You predict a negative outcome without adequate supporting evidence.

MIND READING – You believe that others are thinking and feeling badly about you and you react as if that’s true.

PREDICTING THE FUTURE – You think that things may turn out badly and only focus on the bad things that might happen. You convince yourself that a bad outcome is sure to happen.

CATASTROPHIZING – You imagine the worst and make things seem like a bigger deal than they are. This increases your fear and makes it harder to deal with what is really going on.

SHOULD – You make rules for yourself and others about things ‘should be’. You become angry or upset when these rules are not followed.

Thoughts go unnoticed as we automatically go through our day. This often leads to the belief that an event causes a feeling or behaviour. In fact, it is how we think about the event that causes feelings and behaviours.

In order to change your errors in thought, you first must notice these thoughts when they’re happening.

  • Slow down your thinking.
  • Consciously pay attention to your negative thoughts.
  • Don’t judge your thoughts, just observe them.

Once you’re aware of your negative thoughts, the next important step is to begin trying to change them.

  • Collect the negative thoughts in a capsule within your brain. When you’re ready to deal with them, acknowledge them for what they are and tell yourself that you’re ready to move past them.
  • Ask yourself ‘are these helpful’?
  • Replace them with more realistic and helpful thoughts.

It’s not going to be easy. But, instead of looking at something with a negative lens, try to be self-aware and put a new spin on the cycle navigating within your brain.

Personal Example:

One of the things that I struggle immensely with is rejection, it’s something I’ve spoken about in great lengths in therapy. One of the things that was brought to my attention was that, instead of believing that I’m a loser when I get rejected from an employer, instead of believing I’m unqualified, instead of believing that I’m not good enough, something I should consider is that I really have no idea why they didn’t hire me. And since I have no idea, I should stop treating it as a negative reflection of myself.

How do I spin it? Perhaps it was the wrong timing. Perhaps they had equal candidates and they flipped a coin. Perhaps they just didn’t like the tone of my voice. Whatever it is, I cannot change it. What I can do is, instead of thinking that I’m a loser, I can use the jobs I did not get as lessons learned of how to act next time, and how to know when the right opportunity has come along. I can think if it as though I’m gaining experience, not earning rejection.

How you think about something affects E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G in your life. Whether your brain is hard-wired one way or not, what are the steps that you can take to correct, or improve errors in thinking?

Be a good person.

You can be vulnerable and still be powerful. You can have a gentle heart and still be rock-solid to your core. You can be as calm as a cool breeze, but as fierce as a tiger. The measure of true strength is to embody the characteristics of the full spectrum.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, life is the messy bits. Speak your truth, love your family, care for your friends and be yourself. Your social media platforms, your blogs, your conversations with people, they don’t need to be a perfectly curated collection of beautiful and noteworthy. Be real. Be truthful. Be you. If someone’s not willing to listen to the truth, find someone else to talk to.

Being real about how the world actually works, about how life really is, that’s what I appreciate in people.

Don’t internalize the bad. Nobody needs to be walking around with that weight on their shoulders. Always speak your truth. You’ll feel sooooooo much better about life when you do.

Also, be a good person. It doesn’t take a lot. Just be a good fucking person.

Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution.

The time, 11:49 pm. The mood, content. The setting: perched at the edge of the couch, watching the sun dip behind the trees, saying goodnight to another peaceful day.

I’m reaching the end of the week that I dubbed my week of positivity. It was my goal to, for the week, all week, stay positive. And let me tell you, it wasn’t easy. It definitely wasn’t. I consider myself a realist by nature, so staring down the barrel of some particularly crappy situations and choosing to not let it get the better of you, it’s tough. But, I’m here to say that it is do-able.

As mentioned in a post earlier on this week, my mom’s healthy. Which that, that is reason enough to be eternally thankful.

Other positive things that happened this week? I’ve been babysitting my brother’s dog for the past couple of days. He’s actually done a lot for brightening my mood. I was trying to pin point why this dog was making me so happy and it was really my brother that hit the nail on the head with why Jaxon (the dog) is so nice to have around.

“Jaxon is really growing on me!” I texted him.

“Yeah, he’s a pretty great dog to have around. He listens well and he just always seems to be in a good mood.” He texted back.

That’s it. That’s it right there. This dog is always in a good mood. He’s always got a ‘dog smile’ on his face. He wags his tail like he’s excited to be everywhere and involved in anything. He loves attention but he also loves when we leave him alone. He prances around like he doesn’t weigh 100 pounds and he’s totally unaware that there’s anything bad in this world. I realize that I sound crazy as I’m talking about a dog in this way, but it’s just… so heartwarming to be around him. I truly believe that pets make us better. And this dog, he definitely has made me better this week.

One thing that has been an extremely important mood booster to me this week was all of the introductions that I got to read on my blog. Making a post asking for introductions, I wasn’t really sure what I was going to get. Honestly, I was expecting maybe five-to-ten people to respond, tops. The responses that I got were really overwhelming. It was so special to me to be able to read about so many of you, and to learn more. Thank you, thank you, thank you. This space, this wordpress world, has been such a safe space for me over the past six months. My mind is truly blown with how many wonderful people I’ve crossed paths with on wordpress. Honestly, if I could go back in time, I would tell myself to make a wordpress account a lot sooner than I did.

Another moment that was extremely important during my week was taking my niece and nephew out for slurpees. B and V (she’s V too as she’s named after me) went to get slurpees/screamers, and as we were walking to the till with their cups full of sugar, B patted me on the arm and said ‘Auntie, thank you so much!’ Naturally, I asked him why he was thanking me. His response: ‘Because you just make things so much better. You make me feel better and you make everything better. It’s so nice to have you around. And I’m not just saying that because you’re buying me ice cream’. I nearly teared up there in the store. I didn’t, because he’s 10 and would totally make fun of me for that. But I wanted to. Such a nice compliment from a ten year old kid. If he get understand that now, at 10, imagine what he’s going to be like when he grows up!

There’s definitely been some negative things happening. There’s definitely been some things that made me anxious and scared. But, overall, I would say that I made some serious headway in being able to deal with those things, cope with those things or completely see past those things.

The power of positivity is real.

I’ve decided that I’m going to start leaving notes about things that I like about myself on the end of my blog posts. Why? I’m trying to boos my own self-esteem, so I want to think of more positives. I also think that it’ll be nice, when I look back on these posts one day in the future, to be able to see that I ended each post with a positive note. So, here goes:

I really like my eyes. They’re a really nice ocean-blue colour and I get complimented on them a lot. I don’t mean that in a cocky way, I just mean that of all the things people can be complimented on, I’m frequently complimented as having beautiful eyes. They definitely are attention grabbing when you see me.

Care to introduce yourselves?

Hi Hi Hi!

I’ll be honest, I’ve made a terrible time of actually getting to know people who come to my blog and read my blog and I want to change that. I want to be better! I was wondering, if you’re a reader of my blog, if you’d be willing to introduce yourself?

If you’re up for it, can you please tell me:

  1. Your name
  2. The country in which you live
  3. What you like to blog about?

I would love to start a thread of this, to have a place on my blog to share who people are and what they blog about… a place people can come to find new blogs… so to speak. I selfishly would love to read all of your responses to see the diversity among all of the bloggers who respond.

I also think that, if enough people responded, perhaps I could stick a link to the top of my page so that people could use it as a means to find new blogs they’re interested in following when they’re looking.

And me, I’m always interested in finding new blogs to follow.

So please, if you’re willing, say hello! Share your name, the country you live in and what you like to blog about most.

Thank you for reading (and for any response you decide to provide)!

*Update: If your blog is set to private please remember that people won’t be able to see it, and I won’t be able to follow it.

xox, Vee

How to tackle a shit day.

We all have days when we wake up sad, mad or filled with angst. It’s part of the human condition. And, when you get upset or are having a bad day, it can be really easy to crawl into bed with a bunch of junk food and hide from the world.

The thing is, when you’re having a bad day, that’s probably one of the worst things that you can do for yourself. If anything, crawling into bed is only going to prolong that bad mood. Feeding into negativity promotes more negativity and that, well that is a vicious cycle that no one wants to stay in for too long.

I’ve been writing this post over the past few weeks because I’ve been feeling as though when people make lists like these, they always say the same things, and those lists just aren’t doing it for me. Not everyone can find peace from meditation or trying to think positively.

Here are some suggestions of things you can do to help tackle shitty days.

Get up, get dressed and eat a healthy breakfast. Why? Getting dressed is going to (hopefully) keep you from crawling back into bed. Eating breakfast will jump start your metabolism for the day. If you’re dressed and have eaten, you’re telling your body that this day will not be spent in bed.

Go and buy your coffee, or smoothie or whatever your morning drink is. Whether it’s $1.50 at Tim Hortons, $7.00 at Starbucks, or a cup of joe or smoothie from your local cafe, go and get it. One, you owe it to yourself to treat yourself and two, going out will force you to get out of the house. Getting out of the house on a day when you’re not in a good mood will help give you motivation for the day. Not to mention, coffee houses are notoriously chill places and chill environments can help keep you calm when you’re in a shitty mood.

Exercise. Exercise is so integral to defeating a terrible mood. I was recently informed by a Psychiatrist that just a half hour of minimal exercise is the equivalent to a low-dose of Prozac to the brain. Thus, exercising can literally make you happier. And no, this doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym. Go for a walk! Climb some stairs. Turn on the Tone-It-Up Girls videos on youtube and follow along. All exercise is good exercise.

Do something good in your neighbourhood. Good deeds bring good moods. A friend of mine said that every time he is having a shitty day he goes to the park by his house and picks up trash. It’s a small thing but it means a lot to him and it means a lot to the kids who play in the park. You don’t need to pick up trash, but doing something nice in the area that you live will definitely help you feel better, both about yourself and the place that you live.

Make self care a priority. “With every act of self-care your authentic self gets stronger, and the critical, fearful mind gets weaker. Every act of self-care is a powerful declaration: I am on my side, I am on my side, each day I am more and more on my own side.” – Susan Weiss Berry . What does this look like? Well that depends on what your style is. For me, I love to put an expensive sheet mask on my face and do some foam rolling over my muscles. For other people, self care can mean getting a manicure, or a massage, playing an instrument or reading a book. Whatever self care looks like to you, take some time for self-care.

Listen to some upbeat music. And when I say upbeat, I mean upbeat. Don’t put sad songs on. Sad songs will mimic your mood and keep your mindset in the same shitty place. Put some upbeat songs on. Songs that make you want to sing along. Songs that have the potential to brighten your mood just by hearing them. Songs that motivate you. Suggestions include: Walking on Sunshine, Girls just wanna have Fun, Uptown Funk, Moves Like Jagger, Good Life, Wake me up before you Go Go… there are so many. Check upbeat playlists on Spotify and youtube if you need help finding any.

You are what you eat, so eat food that’s good for you. And I don’t know about you, but when I’m in a bad mood, I crave junk food. The thing about that is, junk food can most often make you feel lethargic and bloated, worsening the bad mood. Try and aim for healthy foods that will give you energy and fuel for the day. Leafy greens, complex carbs, foods rich in proteins that your body can literally turn into energy, that’s what will hep you. Just remember to boil or steam your cruciferous vegetables prior to consumption.

Make a ‘to do’ list for your day, and, make the top two items things you’ve already completed. When lacking in motivation, it can be difficult to feel as though you’ll accomplish anything with your day. Writing a ‘to do’ will help you to acknowledge realistic goals for the day, even with a shitty mood. Writing two items at the top that you’ve already completed is a trick that I’ve picked up over the years. See, a ‘to do’ list feels more do-able when it’s already been started. But purposefully putting something on your ‘to do’ list that you’ve already done, you’re tricking your brain into believing that your list is already started, and thus, more easy to conquer.

Write a blog post about it. This suggestion has been placed last because it may not be the same for everyone, but I know for many people, blogging about a bad mood or a shit day can provide some catharsis. If you’re looking for an outlet, pouring your heart out to strangers on the internet is a pretty good one. I’ve found people on wordpress to be a lot kinder about life’s struggles then most people I know. Don’t be afraid to show the real, messy bits of life on your blog. It could definitely help.

Turn on some episodes of Friends, or Seinfeld, or Frasier, or something from the late 90’s early 2000’s. Something that’s full of sarcasm with plenty of humour can be kept on in the background to make you laugh or bring a smile to your face. They just don’t make TV like they used to.

Distract yourself with someone else’s life. This sounds a little silly, but if you’re in a shit mood and nothing else has worked, sometimes distracting yourself with someone else’s life can be helpful. I have one person that I like to call when this happens. Hearing all about his life helps me to stop thinking about mine. If you have someone who can do that for you, give them a call, talk to them for a half hour, or an hour, or however long they’ll talk to you for. Lending an ear can provide catharsis.

Treat yourself. Don’t just purchase your coffee, remember to treat yourself in general. This doesn’t mean go and max-out your credit card. This just means… be nice to yourself. Buy yourself some dinner, or head to that Yoga class you’ve been thinking of. Do something that treats yourself. Why? You’re worth it.

If you’re having a bad day I hope that you’re able to find some peace. Stay calm, surround yourself with things that can make you happy, pick up your mood or, at the very least, limit your misery. And please don’t stay in bed all day. Staying in bed all day will only make you feel worse.

Sending some positive vibes to the universe, because as with all things in life, this too shall pass (the bad days).

I have a job interview today.

To clarify, when I speak of my anxiety, it’s because the coping mechanisms that I usually use to work through my anxiety aren’t working.

I have a job interview today. It was 95% of the reason why I was anxious last night and is 100% of the reason why I am anxious today.

On the one hand, I’m thinking ‘hey, potential job prospect, this is great!’ And ‘I really hope this isn’t like the scam I walked into, and wasted my time at, in May’.

On the other hand, I’m thinking ‘hey, this is nowhere near Calgary and I have goals and plans for my life. If I accepted a job like this, would it stray me from my goals?’

And then there’s a nagging insecurity in my brain saying ‘Don’t just think you’re going to get this job, no one else wants to hire you so why would they?’

Realistically, the only thing that I can do is go into this job interview with an open mind. If I hope for the best then I can figure the rest out after. It’s just dealing with these nagging feelings of anxiety inside that I struggle with. I haven’t quiet yet figured out how to tackle all of my triggers, so there are times when I let my fears see light.

Speaking of good news (smooth transitions only, right), my mom went to the cancer clinic today for her follow up appointment. She’s required to do follow ups ‘x’ amount of days after finishing treatment and then every six months for two years and then once a year for five years following that (just to make sure that the cancer doesn’t return). Anyways, in her follow up appointment today they told her that she’s healing remarkably well, there’s no sign of recurring cells and they’re very impressed with her health at this point.

So that’s great!

It’s a rainy, gloomy day here. I’m trying to stay positive though.

There’s a lot to be thankful for. Mainly my mom’s health. I know not everyone gets so lucky when it comes to cancer, and our family is eternally grateful.