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The Dangers Of Living Inside Your Head – And How To Get Out

The Dangers Of Living Inside Your Head – And How To Get Out

How often do you listen to that little voice inside your head?

You know the one – that little narrator that talks to you all day long?

You can probably actually hear it right now if you stop and listen for a second…

It tells you that you’re being too ridiculous, or dramatic, or picky, or too sensitive, or not sensitive enough… the voice that has an opinion on absolutely everything?

That voice can be great at times, it can even be a life saver!

But it can also be toxic.

When you live inside your head too much, you start to believe your own bullsh*t. 

You really are your own worst critic. And the danger is, sometimes you can start to honestly believe what you are thinking is true.

Sometimes you don’t realise just how much you are living inside your head.

I know this because I’ve been there…

Many years ago I convinced myself at a young age that because my Dad left my Mum that meant that any partner I would ever have would end up leaving me… Seriously…

Sounds silly right? But somehow my mind made it real.

I would actually end up jeopardising my relationships because I didn’t want them to leave me – so I left them first.

How stupid is that?!

But in my mind it was the truth.

It wasn’t until I ventured outside of my head and spoke to someone about it, actually opened up and sought another opinion, that I realised what I had been doing to myself for so many years.

I realised just how powerful my thoughts were.

So now I must ask you a question – “how positive is your relationship with the voice inside your head?”

Because we all have one – good or bad.

But what you need to pay attention to is how influential your inner voice is to you.

How does it influence your decisions?

Are you able to tell the difference between what’s real and what’s simply your inner-critic’s opinion?

When life gets you down, are you able to turn that negative voice inside your head into something positive?

Having lived with breathing problems and panic attacks over the last few years, if there’s one thing I’ve learnt – it’s that I have to deal with any frustration, anxiety, or bad feelings as they come, so they don’t start to fester and eat away at me slowly from the inside.

The longer I worry or dwell on any bad thoughts, the worse they seem to get.

So for a long time I wasn’t able to control the tone of the voice inside my head and I let it knock me around a lot.

“You can’t do this… they don’t like you… why would you even try you’re just going to fail…?”

Thoughts like this would constantly drift around inside my head until I truly started to believe them.

That’s the dangerous part… you start to believe your thoughts are real and not just mere thoughts, they become something they’re not – facts.

And once I started believing these negative ‘facts’ I would often go quiet (on the outside).

I wouldn’t share what was going on inside my mind with anyone because I genuinely thought that no one would want to hear it.

But please don’t let your mind do this to you.

I promise you, you can take back control of your thoughts and turn that voice inside your head into a positive influence.

It just takes a bit of practice, patience and self-control.

Any time I notice that the voice in my head is playing tricks on me again… I do the following:

Get it out
One of the reasons I write these blogs is to help others, but it turns out it also helps me by writing things down and getting thoughts out of my head.
Writing really is therapeutic.
If I’m really angry with someone but don’t know if I want to confront them about it, I’ll write them a letter with everything I want to say and then later decide if I still want to say it. At least then it is outside of my head. I’m the kind of person who lives in my head a lot, and often find that once I write down how I’m feeling, or what I’m thinking, it is never as bad as I thought.

Find something that makes you happy
I absolutely love music and you can often tell what kind of mood I’m in by what I’m listening to.
I’ve created a ‘happy’ playlist, and an ‘inspiring’ playlist to help pick me up when I’m not feeling the best.
I also love animals, so just being around them can instantly make me smile.

Replace any bad thoughts in your head with positive ones
I have to actually boss my brain sometimes – tell myself that I am in control of what goes on inside my head.
Don’t even approach bad thoughts.
Don’t try to rationalise them.
Don’t even think about them.
And definitely don’t dwell on them.
Any of the above is a passive reaction to the negative thought, hence making you feel the negative feelings that follow, which doesn’t help at all. So replace the bad thought on the spot.

Surround yourself with good people
Spending time with good friends or family who cheer me up is one of my favourite things to do when I’m upset.
I’m the kind of person that will always be there whenever someone needs to vent, and having people that will do the same for me in my life is truly one of the things I am most thankful for.

Focus on what you want in your life
What do you really want to achieve in your life?

I want to be successful.
I want the world to be better because I was here.
I want to make a difference in people’s lives.
When I think about what really drives me and what I’ve been put on this earth to do, I get really motivated and all the other stuff seems to become irrelevant.

At the end of the day, everyone has stuff to deal with.

We all have times when life gets difficult and we don’t understand why.

But when this happens, just breathe and remember it’s not the end of the world.

Your thoughts are not in control of you – you control them.

‘You are not your thoughts – you are the awareness behind them.’

Just remember that everything in this life is temporary (both the good and the bad) so the bad times won’t last forever and who knows what amazing opportunities lie ahead for you in your life.

If you liked this article, please share it with others.

If you would like to learn more about the online workshops we offer for reducing stress, improving relationships and learning to communicate with others in a way that people respond positively to, then click here.


The 7 Signs of Narcissism & How to Spot Them

The 7 Signs of Narcissism & How to Spot Them


Narcissism has become a mainstream news topic – but reading about it online does little to educate you on how to spot the signs. In this episode, Dr. Ramani provides actionable insight on what narcissistic personality disorder looks like – the 7 signs of narcissism – and what to do when you recognize them. She answers… What are the 7 signs of narcissism? What are some real-life examples of each symptom of narcissistic personality disorder…

In my significant other?

In a co-worker or boss?

In my friend?

What does life look like for a narcissist?

What steps should I take if I think my friend or loved one is showing signs of narcissism?

If you haven’t watched the beginning of this series yet, watch episodes 1-3 HERE: “This is Why Narcissism is the “Secondhand Smoke” of Mental Health: “Narcissistic Personality Disorder vs. Self-Confidence: What You Need to Know”: Are Narcissists Born or Made? Causes of the Disorder & More:

Why Men Oppress Women

Why Men Oppress Women

The psychology of male domination

Steve Taylor Ph.D.

Out of the Darkness

Even if they belonged to higher social classes, most women throughout history have been enslaved by men. Until recent times, women throughout Europe, Middle East and Asia were unable to have any influence over the political, r eligiousor cultural lives of their societies. They couldn’t own property or inherit land and wealth, and were frequently treated as mere property themselves. In some countries they could be confiscated by money lenders or tax collectors to help settle debts; in ancient Assyria, the punishment for rape was the handing over of the rapist’s wife to the husband of his victim, to use as he desired. Most gruesomely of all, some cultures practised what anthropologists have called ritual widow murder (or ritual widow suicide), when women would be killed (or kill themselves) shortly after the deaths of their husbands. This was common throughout India and China until the twentieth century, and there are still occasional cases nowadays.

Even in the so-called ‘enlightened’ society of ancient Greece — where the concept of democracy supposedly originated — women had no property or political rights, and were forbidden to leave their homes after dark. Similarly, in ancient Rome women unable to take part in social events (except as employed ‘escort girls’) and were only allowed to leave their homes with their husband or a male relative.

In Europe and America (and some other countries) the status of women has risen significantly over the last few decades, but in many parts of the world male domination and oppression continues. In some Middle Eastern countries, for example, women effectively live as prisoners, unable to leave the house except under the guardianship of a male guardian. They have no role at all in determining their own lives; they are seen as nothing more than a commodity, property of the males of the family, and as owners, the men have the right to make decisions for them. Their male owners have the right to have sex with them on demand too. In Egypt, surveys have shown that the vast majority of men and women believe it is acceptable for a man to beat his wife if she refuses sex.

There have been attempts to explain the oppression of women in biological terms. For example, the sociologist Stephen Goldberg suggested that men are naturally more competitive than women because of their high level of testosterone. This makes them aggressive and power-hungry, so that they inevitably take over the high status positions in a society, leaving women to the more subordinate roles.

However, in my view the maltreatment of women has more deep-rooted psychological causes. In my book The Fall(link is external), I suggest that most human beings suffer from an underlying psychological disorder, which I call ‘humania.’ The oppression of women is a symptom of this disorder. It’s one thing to take over the positions of power in a society, but another to seemingly despise women, and inflict so much brutality and degradation on them. What sane species would treat half of its members — and the very half which gives birth to the whole species — with such contempt and injustice? Despite their high level of testosterone, the men of many ancient and indigenous cultures revered women for their life-giving and nurturing role, so why don’t we?

The oppression of women stems largely from men’s desire for power and control. The same need which, throughout history, has driven men to try to conquer and subjugate other groups or nations, and to oppress other classes or groups in their own society, drives them to dominate and oppress women. Since men feel the need to gain as much power and control as they can, they steal away power and control from women. They deny women the right to make decisions so that they can make them for them, leave women unable to direct their own lives so that they can direct their lives for them. Ultimately, they’re trying to increase their sense of significance and status, in an effort to offset the discontent and sense of lack created by humania.

But even this isn’t enough to explain the full terrible saga of man’s inhumanity to woman. Many cultures have had a strong antagonism towards women, viewing them as impure and innately sinful creatures who have been sent by the devil to lead men astray. This view was at the heart of the European witch-killing mania of the 15th to 18th centuries, and has featured strongly in all three Abrahamic religions. As the Jewish Testament of Reuben states:

Women are evil, my children…they use wiles and try to ensnare [man] by their charms…They lay plots in their hearts against men: by the way they adorn themselves they first lead their minds astray, and by a look they instil the poison, and then in the act itself they take them captive…So shun fornication, my children and command your wives and daughters not to adorn their heads and faces.

This is linked to the view — encouraged by religions — that instincts and sensual desires are base and sinful. Men associated themselves with the “purity” of the mind, and women with the “corruption” of the body. Since biological processes like sex, menstruation, breast-feeding and even pregnancy were disgusting, women themselves disgusted them too.

In connection with this, perhaps men have resented the sexual power that women have over them too. Feeling that sex was sinful, they were bound to feel animosity to the women who produced their sexual desires. In addition, women’s sexual power must have affronted their need for control. This meant that they couldn’t have the complete domination over women — and over their own bodies — that they craved. They might be able to force women to cover their bodies and faces and make them live like slaves, but any woman was capable of arousing powerful and uncontrollable sexual impulses inside them at any moment. The last 6000 years of man’s inhumanity to woman can partly be seen as a revenge for this.

We can only be thankful that, in some parts of the world at least, this antagonism — and the oppression that it leads to — has begun to fade away.

Steve Taylor is a lecturer in psychology at Leeds Metropolitan University, UK. He is the author of The Fall(link is external) (from which these piece was extracted) and Back to Sanity: Healing the Madness of the Human Mind(link is external)www.(link is external) is external)m

Mental Health Treatment Is A Privilege Many People Can’t Afford

Mental Health Treatment Is A Privilege Many People Can’t Afford

 Minaa B LMSW, Founder of Respect Your Struggle


I previously shared my truth about my battle with depression and self-injury in a piece I wrote titled “An Open Letter to Black Women About Mental Health.” Not only did I openly share my experiences with depression, but I urged other black women to break away from the cultural stigma surrounding mental illness, to rid themselves of the weight that comes with carrying the “strong black woman” title and to seek professional treatment for their struggles.

I took some time out to re-read my letter, and I realized that there is a fundamental piece that was missing. When I wrote it, I felt as if I were hitting the nail on the head, but I wasn’t focused on the foundation that nail was going into. If I am going to address a community to seek professional help, I need to address those who drive the mental health care system to understand how to tend to — as well as make themselves available to — this particular community.

There are so many folks living behind the looking glass who fail to recognize or comprehend the contemporary social problems that people from minority backgrounds encounter just for being human — racism, prejudice, discrimination, criminalization and deep-seated cultural stereotypes, to name a few. These collective societal issues are just as detrimental to our well-being as the “strong black woman” supposition, and such matters are linked to the prevalence of mental illness, particularly trauma, within minority and African-American communities.

As a woman who identifies as African-American and was once diagnosed with severe depression, I experienced several personal barriers to treatment not solely due to shame and stigma, but also due to my lack of knowledge around mental health, the lack of African-American treatment providers within the mental health scope, and most importantly, the cost of mental health services. Studies show that African-American patients are more likely to pursue African-American providers, as their commonality in regards to race helps to create a therapeutic relationship where the client feels accepted and understood, and the provider is more attune to culturally sensitive issues. This cultural match between patient and provider also leads towards a greater outcome for the development and successful completion of treatment goals and greater interactive sessions.

With regards to how race may enhance the therapeutic relationship between African-American patients and providers, there is still a dichotomy between the number of available African-American providers and those who seek treatment. Reported studies found that “black professionals make up only 2.6% of mental health clinicians in the United States, which is low considering that approximately 20% of black Americans seek mental health specialty treatment within a 12-month period.” While access to culturally diverse providers is low, the cost of mental health treatment remains high, which serves as an additional impediment to bridging the gap between the onset of symptoms and accessing professional care.

Studies show that nearly one-fourth of African Americans are uninsured, a percentage 1.5 times greater than the white rate. The average private provider (clinical social workers, psychiatrist, and psychologist) charges between $60-$300 per 45-minute session and works primarily out-of-network. Furthermore, providers typically recommend or mandate weekly sessions to ensure a rapport is continuously being built and so that they can better examine whether the services are proving to be effective for the client. On a monthly basis, mental health treatment alone can accrue an out-of-pocket cost between $120-$1,200.

Within the U.S, of the 34 million people who identify themselves as African-American, 22% live in poverty. African-Americans living below poverty are two to three times more likely to report serious psychological distress than those living above poverty. These individuals face a higher risk for developing mental disorders not solely because of their overrepresentation within the homeless population, but also due to other factors such as higher incarceration rates — African-Americans account for 60 percent of the prison population — and other systems in which they are represented in greater numbers than whites, such as foster care, welfare and an increased exposure to violent crimes.

When a private practitioner sets a rate for $200 for a therapy session, it is easily discernible who his or her target clientele will be. Yes, therapy can serve as a healthy outlet to processing emotions and thus, requires extreme care and attention to the needs of others, but it also takes extreme vulnerability, and when it costs someone that much to be vulnerable, it is simply a privilege that most people in need of mental health services cannot afford.

Providing culturally responsive treatment requires not just being aware of one’s biases and judgments or negative attitudes towards race and cultural stereotypes, but also knowing and understanding the individuals who need access to treatment and choosing to make yourself available to address the needs of those who may come from oppressed or marginalized groups by providing affordable care.

There is also a greater need to increase diversity among mental health providers. Training more African-American mental health workers may decrease the mental health gap correlated to stigma and lack of educational awareness, but this would also require getting to the core of the inadequate educational opportunities available for African-Americans along with the low college acceptance rates and the cost of tuition, which serves as barriers to gaining professional opportunities.

As a social worker myself, I got into this field knowing that this is not a lucrative venture, and I believe there should not be a monetary value placed on the quality of care that an individual receives based on their socio-economical and racial background. The health care system was built to serve the underserved and examine social injustice, yet there are still barriers set in place for those this system was designed for.

As much as I strongly encourage black women (and also black men) to seek professional care and to not be ashamed to be in need of help, I equally strongly ask and encourage the systems at play to provide greater access to the professional care that we need. If we are going to hit the nail on the head, lets make sure it’s not going directly into the coffin.




If you — or someone you know — need help, please call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. If you are outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of international resources.


How to Create a Sacred Space

How to Create a Sacred Space

“Your sacred space is where you can find yourself over and over again. ~ Joseph Campbell

There’s a lot of talk online and in the spiritual community about “sacred space”. But if you’re new to this world, or just haven’t ever explored this concept, it can feel unattainable and maybe even a bit scary. So I’m gonna break it down for you.

A sacred space is your sanctuary. A place where you can meditate or pray, work alchemy, relax, practice yoga, dance, or even just check-in with yourself and your dreams. It’s a space where you prepare yourself for the day. And a place for you to come home to, to recharge your body, mind and spirit. Knowing that when we care for our space in this way, we are more clear, open, grounded, magical – creating sacred space facilitates this and restores us to our best selves.

How and where you decide to create your sacred space is really up to you. It’s very much a personal thing. It does not have to be grand or “Pinterest ready”. It just has to feel good. And while I’m fascinated by Feng Shui and other methods of spiritually designing our spaces, for some (myself included) our homes are not “Feng Shui” friendly, nor do we have the time, space or money to create a mini temple at home. What to do? Keep reading on and I’ll show you.

It may be that I am a spring baby or the fact that my rising sign is in Virgo, but the act of spring cleaning and creating sacred space lights me up. This ritual is almost like an active meditation for me, and very cathartic. Just the act of making sacred space can make me feel like Beyonce before a performance. Bring it!

Having a sacred space of our very own gives us permission to just be. We don’t have to meet anyone else’s needs but ours. And for that single moment, we feel more deeply present. To hear nothing but the sound of your breath or a song that will break your heart open is everything. Our sacred space is a place for our intuition to sit and converse with us without the chaos of everyday life.

Designating a space and declaring it sacred – there is power in that my darlings.

Personally, I have several different spaces. I chose to create them in places I spend most of my time on a daily basis. It’s where I create, hustle, practice self-love and care, organize thoughts & feelings, exhale, make magic and center myself.
Here are examples of my sacred spaces:

I love my nook at home. When everyone is asleep, I swear it’s the most magical place in the world. It is my workspace / boudoir / altar. When I am home, that is where you will find me. My walls have pictures, art, words and images that inspire and express who I am. I have textures, fabrics, crystals, decks of cards, oils and candles. Everything in there is intentional. I romance myself and my space with incense and fresh flowers. I created it next to a balcony, where I am bathed by the light that radiates through my sheer white curtains hanging. It is heaven.

As a creative / designer, I make sure my workspace is infused with visuals, the perfect playlist, the right pens, planner and my headphones. It’s all part of my weaponry at work, my metaphorical “do not disturb” sign. In a workplace environment, you have to protect your space and set your boundaries. I have Palo Santo and rosewater to clear and bless. Crystals for creativity, hustle and energy protection (black tourmaline protects my computer, gadgets and myself, especially when Mercury goes retro). I’m grateful to be next to a window where the sun hangs out with me in the afternoon. My work space thus becomes a perfect place to recharge whenever I need it.

I have a long commute to and from work. I could easily let the crazy of rush hour take over, but I choose not to. My car is my space to prepare for work. And to release everything from my day and recharge before I come home to my family. I light Palo Santo to clear space, talk to my guides, angels, ancestors, and my intuitive voice when it wants to be heard. I have playlists, classes or audiobooks ready to accompany me on my drive home. And then there are also times that I just drive in silence. Silence is truly golden. On the really heavy work days, I always take a 20 min nap right in the car before I walk into my home. This mama loves a nap!

I decorate my body with patterns, jewelry, metallics and textures. I cleanse & heal it with coconut milk or salt baths. I wear talismans (my turquoise pendulum, my Frida pin, my “Tribe” pendant) to remind me of my purpose and who I am. My arms and hands are adorned with ink of Goddesses & deities who I connect with (Erzuli & Kali Ma), my daughters’ names (my loves), personal symbols, etc. I wear oils on my skin, honey on my lips and crystals in my bra to heal, expand, protect & awaken all of me. I am my very own altar.

Now that you’ve seen how I do sacred space, let’s talk yours. Remember, this is your space and personal expression. Drop any over-thinking or judgment. There is no right or wrong way to do this. Here are a few starting points to help…

If you’re wondering what space to choose, I suggest starting at home first. Choose a space in your home, preferably one where you can have some privacy. It will probably be a place that you already tend to spend most of your time in. You’re bringing energy and intention here so choose what connects to your Soul. Know that your space will always be changing – it evolves as you do.

The goal is to reclaim some sacred space for yourself, so you want to make sure it’s fresh and clean. Ditch (or donate) anything that no longer serves you. And be very selective about what you bring into the space once it’s clean. Try clearing and blessing your space with sage or palo santo (they even make spraysif you’re sensitive to smoke). Cleansing brings clarity. And clarity, both physical and mental, is a beautiful gift to give yourself. So do this on a regular basis.

This is my favorite part. What are your desires? How do you want to feel? It’s time to awaken your inner child and get creative. Explore colors & textures. Collages, books & art pieces. Pillows, tapestries, lighting, fresh flowers, music, incense, oils, dark chocolate, whiskey. Collaborate with your senses here!You can create an altar that hold objects of deep meaning, candles, statues of deities, tarot cards, love letters or crystals, that are fully charged, to help you handle some spiritual gangster business. Whatever you decide, this space needs to make you feel good and raise your energy. This is where you start and end your day. This is your space, so run wild with it.

What is your intention for this space? We can sit in an empty room with nothing but you and that intention – and that right there is sacred power. Pray, connect, ask, open up to receive, be grateful. Bless your space with this intention whenever you step foot into it.

And there it is. A sacred space to call your own. Now, just be. Close your eyes and soak in the beauty and magic of this magical place you just created all of yourself. Enjoy it!

How to Create a Sacred Space

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