Emotional Fitness – Happiness

This post comprises my thoughts for several activities this week. First, Novel Heartbeat‘s topic for Life of a Blogger this week is Fitness. Because I’ve been focusing so much on my own mental health lately, I’m going to cheat a little bit and talk about emotional fitness. Don’t get me wrong. Physical fitness is really important. And usually I’m out there training for triathlons and zombie runs, etc. But this year I was whacked upside the head with mental illness which gave me pretty severe fatigue. So, I’ll have to focus on emotional fitness and hope that physical fitness will follow. I thought this post would also be nice for Create with Joy‘s Friendship Friday

So. Mental fitness. What is it? I think the first step to such fitness is happiness. I found this little book stashed in my mom’s sewing basket today. It was rather uplifting if you like thought-of-the-day sorts of books. 
In  Instant Happy, Karen Salmansohn tries to break negative thinking patterns by introducing positive thinking patterns – with the belief that every time we think a negative thought, it reinforces that negative thought in our minds; therefore, if we break that pattern, we can become happy. Although I’m skeptical of instant happiness being anywhere in my near future (that’s just too easy, isn’t it?), I did enjoy the book, and I appreciate the theory behind it. Obviously, I can’t tell you all of the thoughts that I found compelling – that would take the fun out of it for you. But one page asked: What’s your pet excuse? It listed a bunch of typical excuses. My pet excuse is: I can’t until. I can’t start working out again until I’m not fatigued by my mental health. I can’t find the perfect job for myself until my metal health is better. If I hadn’t planned for a couple of months for my Suicide and Mental Health Awareness theme, I probably would have postponed even that for “this year,” just as I’m thinking about postponing my Social Justice and Human Rights Awareness theme at the beginning of next year. Because I can’t until my mental health is better. I read a fantastic post about NOT waiting for the “perfect moment”  on Jeff Goins’ Blog.
Another activity that I’m combining into my happiness post is a pre-assignment for the upcoming MOOC from edX The Science of Happiness. (Yes, everyone, you can still sign up! It starts on September 9th and is free open enrollment!) Our pre-assignment is to introduce ourselves with a short video saying what makes us happy. 🙂 

Weekend Update – Blogging in the Twin Cities

This week’s Feature and Follow Friday asks its participants to tell our readers a little bit about our neighborhoods. I have lived in several states, mostly in the mid-west, and Minnesota is my favorite by far. It’s a fantastic combination of urban hipster, historic city, and wilderness. Above is a picture of Downtown Minneapolis, prominently featuring the stadium-formerly-known-as-the-Metrodome (home of the “president,” Richard Starkey, in The Postman). Below is a photo of our State Capitol building in Saint Paul. 

Minnesota can also be rather artsy, and one of the iconic Minnesotan sculptures is Spoonbridge & Cherry. That’s the Minneapolis skyline in the background.

Rochester, Minnesota was the home of the Mayo brothers, who founded the Mayo Clinic. Its skyline is below:

But, of course, my favorite part of Minnesota, by far, is the North Shore on Lake Superior. Hundreds of miles of breathtaking shoreline with campsites and hiking galore. 

Life of a Blogger – Favorite Outings

I’ve just discovered a new meme Life of a Blogger, which seems a great way to get to know other book bloggers in a more personal way. This week’s theme, favorite outings, fits in really well with my already-established MN theme. My fondest memory of going on a trip as a child is when dad took my sister and me on a canoe/backpacking trip to the Boundary Waters in MN. I remember how beautiful it was. And how adventuresome I felt! Having more experience with backpacking now than I did as a 10-year-old, I can only imagine how tired my poor dad was canoeing alone in the wilderness with two children. 

And now for an update on Rachel B and her blog!
(Yes, I just spoke about myself in the third person. Deal with it.)

This month (well, really, this past year) has been quite rough here in Rachel B. world. I’ve been on the long haul trying to battle depression without any medical aid. Finally, I broke down and tried out anti-depressants, and they made me feel GREAT! In fact, a little too great. And then I went “crazy.” Turns out, I’m bipolar. And bipolar people flip manic when they take anti-depressants. I’d just never experienced that before, so I didn’t know how to deal with it. But now that we know what it is, I think we’re finally getting it under control. I’d like to take this moment to give a hearty thanks to all of my supporters out there (both in the real-world and in the cyber-world) who stuck by me through my hard times. And for those of you who abandoned me…well, you’re not reading this, are you? YOUR LOSS. HA!

Ok, sorry, just had to stick my tongue out just a little. 

My main point is, mental illness is poorly understood and greatly stigmatized in American culture. (I assume in many other cultures, too, but I don’t want to generalize too much.) We need this stigma to stop. It’s the people who speak out about their illnesses that get the support that they need, and it’s the people who are abandoned and stigmatized that often end up losing their sense of who they are…We need to end the stigma!

I’ve been doing my part to end the stigma by organizing a Suicide and Mental Illness Awareness Theme in September and October. You can sign up on the post, or just jump in at the last minute. It’s all good. I’ll have some giveaways and some guest bloggers (still looking for people, so if you have something you’d like to share on the subject, just let me know!). In the following week, I’ll post a list of books / movies just to give you ideas. But this is very informal. If you think your book, essay, documentary, movie, etc. fits the theme, it counts! Write a review and send me the link. Reviews on Goodreads, blogs, or any sort of public post will work. I’ll post a list of the reviews as I collect them, so everyone can see what other people are doing. 

Other than that, my blog has been sadly inactive, other than occasional poetry posts – Facing My Demons

Recent Acquisitions

This week, I have acquired only one new book, and it was the Free Friday book on the Nook:

Text copyright 2014, by Rachel B. Images of Minnesota are stock photos purchased from depositphotos