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Simple steps to improve mental wellness

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2017 has so much in store for us, with the sudden and surprising flow of good movies (moonlight, lion, Logan *ahem ahem* go watch them NOW), and the simultaneous memes piling over one another, that new year resolution list(even though its march already) keeps expanding and of course, university/school. A whole another year of it! Yay!! (Definitely sarcasm.) So that just means life is busy, and it only get busier. However, one thing to ask yourself in the midst of this amazing chaos called life is whether or not you have put any thought on how to manage your mental health? Have you? No? Well you can start today!! It’s never too late to add some habits of self-care and self-love into your life. Sometimes the smallest changes make the biggest difference. I’m sure you’ve heard that almost everywhere. That only means that it’s true! I have saved you some trouble and gathered some ways to mentally help yourself. These are things that are easy to conduct and can simply be trained into being a habit.

  • Don’t force or feign happiness.

While it’s okay to maintain a bubbly exterior if you like bringing joy to others or lifting the spirits, it is not your duty to do so. Life isn’t that easy on anyone. Things happen from time to time. Disruptions occur and they give you this roller coaster ride of feels. A.K.A emotions. Emotions are a natural reaction to our circumstances. Feeling sad, angry and vulnerable, are perfectly normal and in no way are they anything to be ashamed of. Supressing them with positive thinking or pretending that there is no problem at hand can create a disconnection form our emotions, which is what makes us human.

You don't owe the world your happiness

You don’t owe the world your happiness

 

Danish psychologist Svend Brinkmann says that the constant implementation of happiness has made it an obligation, therefore turning it into an insistence rather than a simple pleasure of life. You can read more about that here.

Instead of covering up every other emotion with happiness, learn to be manage them and be mindful of them, which brings us to the next point.

  • Managing emotions and mindfulness

When managing emotions, first you should figure out what you’re feeling. Is it sadness, anger, or something else? Identify the emotion. And then break down the reasons as to why you would be feeling this way. Sometimes even the smallest of incidents can subconsciously affect us. After working that out, simply allow yourself to feel it. Don’t pass judgement on yourself, don’t blame yourself, simply accept it as normal, let it course through your veins. Don’t act like they don’t exist. Meditate, rant, box a punching bag, scream into your pillow, do what you must to vent it out.

Another thing that is similar to managing emotions is mindfulness. Basically, mindfulness can be described as the practice of directing attention to the present, identity what they are feeling in the present moment and accepting this feeling, and their surroundings without judgement.

  • If fights and conflicts happen, resolve them.

Be it small or large, when anger boils our blood we may say things we don’t mean or someone could hurt us even if they don’t mean to. Unresolved conflicts constantly haunting us never lead to anything pleasant. If problems occur, speak to the other party, try to reach a common ground, apologise if you did something wrong, but don’t leave it to pile up. That will cause pent up frustration, resentment and even relationship problems. Such factors disrupt mental wellness. By finding solutions you promote positive change, stronger relationships and a pace of mind. So kill that pride, fester up the courage and go do it. It’s for the best.

  • Keep track of your mental health.

Squeeze out at least 20 minutes or so from your day to meditate or have some quite time to yourself. If not meditation then just self-reflection. Break down what made your day good or bad and how you reacted to it. Write it down in a journal. This way you can find patterns between events and behaviour to it, therefore increasing your self-awareness. Self-awareness is very helpful in managing mental health.  Additionally, if you wish to get more creative than a journal, then check out this buzz feed article with creative ways to do it!

No matter how busy life gets or what changes, both your physical and mental health are a priority. So slay every day, live your life and look after yourself!

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1 Queen, 12 Presidents, 29 Prime Ministers

Written by Entertainment, Uncategorized

April 21 was Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday.

She is the longest-reigning monarch in British history. She celebrated 60 years on the throne in June 2012 with the Diamond Jubilee. Since then, there have been 12 U.S. Presidents and 29 Australian Prime Ministers. WOW! To commemorate the Queen’s 90th, here are some fun facts about the beloved sovereign.

1. She speaks fluent French and often uses it for audiences and state visits. She doesn’t require a translator because of this. [VIDEO]

2. Her Majesty is Britain’s 40th monarch since William the Conqueror.

3. In 2002, at 76 years of age, Elizabeth II became the oldest monarch to celebrate a Golden Jubilee.

The youngest was James I (James VI of Scotland), who was 51 years old.

4. The Queen and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, introduced small, informal luncheon parties at the Palace to meet unique people from all professions, trades, and vocations.

It was first held on May 11, 1956 and the tradition continues to this day.

5. The Queen, technically, still owns the sturgeons, whales, and dolphins in the waters around the U.K.

A statute from 1324, during the reign of King Edward II is still valid to this day. Sturgeons, porpoises, whales, and dolphins are recognized as “fishes royal.” When they are captured within 3 miles of U.K. shores, they can be claimed on behalf of the Crown.

She also retains the right to ownership of all unmarked, mute swans in open water (Credit: Alamy)

6. Who says older people cannot join Facebook? The Queen herself joined Facebook in November 2010, albeit with a page called The Royal Family, which features royal news, photos, videos, and speeches.

You cannot poke the royal family, though.

7. She also joined Twitter in July 2009, with teams at Buckingham Palace tweeting daily updates. None of the royals actually tweet.

8. To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Queen’s first televised address, a YouTube channel was launched for the royal family, called the Royal Channel.

The Palace had hoped it would make her annual speech much more accessible to the younger crowd and those in other countries. [VIDEO]

9. Her real birthday is in April but each Commonwealth country traditionally celebrates her birthday on a designated day in May or June.

In the United Kingdom, for instance, it falls on the first, second or third Saturday in June. Britain had officially marked its sovereign’s birthday since 1748 when the event was merged with the annual “Trooping the Colour” ceremony and parade. Elizabeth spends her real birthday enjoying private festivities with her family.

Baby Elizabeth (Credit: Speaight/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

10. During her time on the throne, she is no stranger to strange gifts, including a variety of wild animals.

The more unusual ones have been placed in the care of the London Zoo. Some of it include jaguars and sloths from Brazil and two black beavers from Canada.

11. There have been 6 Roman Catholic Popes during Her Majesty’s reign (Pius XII, John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul I, John Paul II and Benedict XVI).

12. It is pretty rewarding to be a palace staff: the Queen gives her entire staff gifts at Christmastime.

Continuing the custom of King George V and King George VI, the Queen and her husband also give our Christmas puddings to their employees.

13. She joined the women’s branch of the British army and learned to drive in 1945.

She and Winston Churchill’s daughter were members of the group, known as the Auxiliary Territory Service. The queen remains the only female member of the royal family to have entered the armed forces and is the only living head of state who served in World War II.

Elizabeth dons a uniform and stands beside an ATS first aid truck in WWII (Credit: Keystone/Getty Images)

14. She was a Girl Guide (1937), a Scouting movement for girls and a Sea Ranger (1943), a section of the Girl Guides focused on sailing.

15. The Queen is a keen photographer and enjoys taking pictures of her family.

The Duke of York is also a photography buff and has taken some photographs of Elizabeth, including an official photograph for Her Majesty’s Golden Jubilee in 2002.

The Queen “photobombing” Australian hockey player Jayde Taylor’s selfie (center) at the Commonwealth Games in 2014 (Credit: Rex Features/Madame Tussauds)

16. In 2003, she sat for her first and only hologram portrait, which is made up of more than 10,000 images of the Queen layered over one another, giving it a 3-D effect.

17. She has 30 godchildren.

18. The Queen has met at Buckingham Palace, the most prominent astronauts of the day.

First man in space, Russian commander Yuri Gagarin (top left); first woman in space, cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova (bottom left); and the first men on the moon Neil Armstrong (far left), Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin (right), and Michael Collins (left) (Credit: Alamy/AP)

19. She visited a mosque in the U.K. for the first time in July 2002, in Scunthorpe, Lincolnshire.

20. Elizabeth has owned more than 30 corgis during her reign, starting with Susan, who was a present for her 18th birthday in 1944.

A good proportion of these has been direct descendants from Susan. Elizabeth currently has five corgis: Emma, Linnet, Monty, Holly, and Willow..

You can never have too many corgis in your life (Credit: Rex Features)

21. In June 2002, to celebrate her Golden Jubilee, the Queen hosted the first public concerts in the garden of Buckingham Palace.

She attended both the classical and pop concerts. The Party at the Palace show was one of the most-watched pop concerts in history, attracting about 200 million viewers from all over the world.

22. She was the first member of the royal family to be awarded a gold disc by the recording industry.

The live CD recording of the concert as mentioned earlier went on to sell 100,000 copies.

23. She hosted Buckingham Palace’s first women-only event, “Women of Achievement,” in March 2004.

24. Only three other world heads of state have celebrated a Diamond Jubilee during Elizabeth’s reign: King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand celebrated 60 years on the throne in 2006; the former Sultan of Johor (now part of Malaysia) celebrated his in 1955; and Emperor Hirohito of Japan celebrated his in 1986

25. The last and only other British monarch to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee was Queen Victoria in 1897, at the age of 77.

At 86, Queen Elizabeth will be the oldest monarch to celebrate this occasion.

Queen Victoria arriving at her Diamond Jubilee at St. Paul’s Cathedral. (Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

26. She is the first head of state to open two Olympic Games in two different countries.

27.Queen Elizabeth II is supposedly the only British monarch properly trained on how to change a spark plug.

She received driving and mechanic training as a member of the Auxiliary Territory Service. [VIDEO]

28.She does not have a passport, despite being history’s most widely traveled head of state, having visited roughly 116 countries during her reign.

Since all British passports are issued in the queen’s name, she does not need one. She also doesn’t require a driver’s license, though she has been known to take joyrides around her various estates in her Range Rover.

29. She paid for her wedding dress in ration coupons.

Held during the postwar recovery years, their wedding was relatively understated. Elizabeth had to save up ration cards to purchase the material for her wedding dress, an ivory satin gown designed by Norman Hartnell and encrusted with 10,000 white pearls.

(Credit: PA/Alamy)

30. The Queen was shot at by a teenager during her birthday celebration on June 13, 1981.

Marcus Sarjeant, a 17-year-old who idolized the assassins of John F. Kennedy and John Lennon, had fired six blank shots in the queen’s direction. Elizabeth merely calmed her startled horse and resumed her procession.

The Queen rides her horse on the official celebration of her birthday shortly before a would-be assassin fired at her. (Credit: Tim Graham/Getty Images)

31. Elizabeth II has a way to go before she becomes the world’s longest serving monarch.

King Sobhuza II of Swaziland ruled for an incredible 82 years from 10/12/1899 to 21/08/1982.

(Credit: Courtesy National Record Office)

32. Madame Tussauds have showcased 23 different waxworks of Her Majesty to date.

(Credit: Rex Features/Madame Tussauds)

33. The Imperial State Crown that Queen Elizabeth II wears at the State Opening of Parliament is set with 2,868 diamonds.

Diamonds are a girl’s best friend (Credit: Getty Images)

34. There have been 12 U.S. Presidents during her reign, starting with Harry S. Truman and all the way to Barack Obama.

(Credit: Getty Images)

35. The Queen has sat for 130 official portraits. Her first was in 1933 when she was only 7 years old.

(Credit: Rex Features)

36. In Maori, the Queen is known as Kotaku, which means “the white heron.”

(Credit: Rex Features)

37. The Queen attended her first football match in 1953.

She is seen here handing a medal to Blackpool’s victorious Stanley Matthews (Credit: Getty Images)

 

BONUS: Here’s a lovely, family tribute video celebrating Queen Elizabeth at 90.

For more information about the Queen, visit the official Royal Family website here.

Sources:

TIME

ABC7

History.com

The Telegraph UK

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Happy Australia Day

Written by Student Life, Uncategorized

What is Australia Day?

Today is a national public holiday which celebrates the founding of the first European settlement in 1788 by Governor Arthur Phillip. His fleet, the First Fleet of British Ships landed at Port Jackson and claimed Australia as Great Britain’s own by raising the flag. The action of landing began the history-long battle between Australians and native Australians that is still present and continuing (even if it’s not visible).

 

Why do we celebrate?

A columnist for brisbanetimes.com proposes that we change the date of Australia Day. Why not because, if we were being honest, not many Australians who were born here remember why we even celebrate it anyway (sometimes they even forget the date). Or maybe if we do remember the brief reason, there’s still a disconnect. Nowadays we associate today with lazing about, celebrating all things Australian (drinks and barbecues, anyone?) And “the only people who really care about the arrival of the First Fleet are the poor bastards who lost their country because of it”. So why should the rest of us care? There’s the beach, fireworks, good food and family time. What’s not to like?

However, it’s the ‘newly-made’ Australians, those who’ve come from overseas and especially Indigenous Australians who find more meaning in this day. It was a day of successful settlement by one country, a day of invasion for another. And if we looked a little closer, we question why our present generation should feel guilt if we’re three centuries removed from what happened.

It’s an idea that we would rather not think about – it’s ‘irrelevant’, ‘ unimportant’…but only to us, the non-indigenous Australians. The proposal, made by an Anglo-Saxon person, to move the date to just some other day so that we can “get another piss-up at the dry end of the year” diminishes the importance of the date. We’ve already physically moved native Australians out of their homes, so why not move their day of commemoration as well.

It’s like if your birthday was on Christmas, and your family are big celebrators of the holiday. Why not move it to the beginning of the year so that you can get one celebration at the beginning of the year, and another at the end of the year. Plus, if you’re into presents, you would get two gifts instead of one. More convenient? Probably. Would you want to though? Maybe, maybe not.

Even if a public holiday isn’t as individually important to someone as their personal holiday, it uses a similar principle. In moving a date, we are only thinking of moving the culture of food and drink for our own convenience. In time, we may forget the reason why we moved the day, and maybe even why the day existed in the first place.

 

People are a-historical

There’s a concern with people, and more commonly youths of today, being known as “a-historical”. That is, without knowledge of where they came from or what their heritage is. It’s the idea of ‘irrelevance’ again – we just don’t care enough to know. And why would we when it doesn’t affect us directly or have any visible importance in our daily lives?

Although I can see where the columnist is coming from, there’s a reason why we celebrate and remember something on one particular day every year. For quite a number of people, there’s a sense of tradition and a sense of connection to history. When we remember history, we remember that our parents, grandparents and great grandparents celebrated a certain day or movement or language. We move back in time and, in doing so, we connect to our culture. We can establish our identity.

 

If we think a little more closer, what does it mean to be Australian? Is it the Australians who go through the motions and have big lunches and dinners, is it the Asian family who waves around the Australian flag, is it the Australian who has no idea what Australia Day is about, is it the Aboriginal family that stands off to the side?

It’s all of these things.

So, on Australia Day, every year, there’s the smell of coals and sunscreen, but also celebration and acknowledgement.

 

photo: http://www.australian-flag.org/australia-flag-648.jpg

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Local Foreigner in Vietnam

Written by Entertainment, Uncategorized

When you’re an Australian local who’s never been to their home country before, you’re going to find a few things different. Here are six of them:
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Restaurants

Smaller places only specialise in one thing whether it is pho or noodles, and can be an actual establishment with tiled floors, or out on the street with food served from enormous pots. In the mornings, peak hour is usually 9 am and there’s little to select from after that. At all the restaurants that I’ve been to, iced tea is served like Australia’s standard table water – the servers nod as soon they know what you’re asking for: “Can I please get iced te-” “Yes”.

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Coffee

Viet people seem to really like their coffee. It’s everywhere – found at home, sold in cafes, stalls parked on the side of the street, even at the beach (when you don’t need the extra heat). As I was looking out of the taxi window I’m sure  there were at least five on one street. The names were original though, like “Startup Coffee Shop” and “No Name”. In the late afternoons or evenings, people can be seen sitting around the low wooden tables in their sandals and shorts, a cigarette in hand and their coffee beside them.

IMG_5472

Beaches

It was really strange to see the beach being shared by swimmers and fishermen – relaxed families and hard-workers side-by-side. You can rent large, thatched, mushroom-shaped shelters for the day, complete with beach chairs and banana lounges. It’s also not uncommon to see people cooking sea creatures caught straight from the ocean on a small grill over coals (the smell was amazing).

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Markets

You can find large places, such as warehouses or churches, that have been re-purposed to fit hundreds of stores selling clothing, food, jewellery or souvenirs. But, when I say “stores”, I actually mean piles of food or clothes neatly stacked inside each tiny rectangular area which are crammed beside each other. The shop keepers themselves sit in what space they can find and try to keep cool. Speaking of shop keepers, you need to know how to negotiate with them.

IMG_5628

Waterfalls

You can walk right underneath the waterfall or as close as you possibly dare, which is a refreshing (and slightly frightening) change from the places that I’ve been to in Australia. In Vietnam, there are no handrails or people there to warn you that you will get drenched (even if you think you’re standing more than far away enough – it’s surprising how far spray can travel). 

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Hustlers

Vietnamese people can hustle. When the sun doesn’t even touch building tops, people are selling goods from wicker baskets attached to the back of their bicycles or wagons. It became normal for me to wake up to a loud, pre-recorded voice of “Bread! Hot bread here!” blaring from a speaker as a hustler cycled around the apartments.

Photo: Nguyen Huu Trong

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Test Slide Post Demo

Written by Uncategorized

Blue banded bee

Macro photograph of a blue banded bee

Leafcutter ants in Boca Tapada, Costa Rica

Leafcutter ants in Boca Tapada, Costa Rica

Long-exposure

Long-exposure photograph of fireflies in a forested area near Nagoya City, Japan

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