Focus on You Not Your Problems : How to Remove Extra Stress

The Enemy of Perspective

If you are anything like me, stress is always right around the corner.  Waiting to creep in and make sure that I continue to act just a little left of center.  I hear people talk about how stressed out they are, and there is always a common thread.  People talk about stress as if it is a momentary thing that will pass if they wait long enough.  Waiting for stress to pass is equal to waiting for America to be "great again".  You know what I'm saying.

Grab the remote to the DVR that is your life and create a program you can manage.

Stop yourself
It’s important to stop yourself, when you are simply doing way too much. Think about how to look at your big picture.  If you have a look and you are in control of every aspect of that picture you have successfully done way too much, poorly.  No one can do everything in their life without the help of others.  If you have deluded yourself into believing that its possible, you may need to assess your commitment to reality.  Understand the role you play in your chaos, and remember what’s important in your life.

Wine Down
Grab a glass and have a seat.  A good show, good company, or an enjoyable book pair well with a glass of wine. A nice libation is always appropriate after a stressful day or week.  It does not solve whatever you have going on, so don't overdo it, but it can give you a moment of repose to collect your thoughts and start again refreshed.

Call that person that knows how to keep quiet:
Get in touch with that one fiend you can talk to without judgement, or the on who will not interject helpful advice.  When you are looking for advice you know where to find it, but occasionally you don't want help, you just want a friendly ear and someone to say "it's gonna be OK"

Reclaim Your Perspective

As you begin to create habits that build positivism in your life, it is easier to remember an abbreviated high-impact list that represents your larger systemic approach.

 I will pursue: Knowledge expansion, a satisfying job that supports my life, serving my community, and reinforcing my happiness

I will avoid: Working for a job title only, attention seeking, slacking, unadulterated materialism

Take the time to articulate your worries

The things that give us the most stress or anxiety, is sometimes faceless or immaterial.  Think about what is on your plate and what you will need to solve to maintain the continuity in your life. Consider the things that you have control over and not stressing about forcing uncontrollable things to match your vision. Never, no matter how tempting,  hold on to feelings of entitlement, resentment, hate, or doubt.

Here are some ways to get it done.

Bop to it:
Music is often my personal escape.  I think of music as an on-call therapist in my pocket. Good tunes can lift you up and out of your current state of mind and put you in a place of Zen.  Keep some of your favorite tunes on your phone, and leverage them when you feel like lashing out.

Burn the page:
Writing is the savior of all men.  If you do not fancy yourself a fantastic writer, who cares.   No one may ever see what you write, however writing gives your feelings and thoughts physicality.  Expressing yourself through text can lift you up and out of your funk.  I suggest going old school, there is something about pen to paper that holds the magic of catharsis.

Ignore something once a day:
Say no often.  Saying no is the best thing you can teach yourself.  Don't say no and stress, refuse to wonder how a person feels about your response.  Give yourself the option to shut the world off and do you. Brief periods of downtime is the only way to maintain your sanity, and protect yourself from over-stimulation.


Nothing happens all at once

Figure out how to have some patience.  This is a big one for me, since I am quite possibly the most impatient person I know.  When things are not going according to plan, reevaluate the plan rather than allowing the frustration to creep in. The way you perceive your situation has the potential to close all windows and doors to possibility.  Keep that shit open.

Do stuff you actually like:
Pick the productive thing that you enjoy most and do that.  Hobbies, hanging out, whatever it is that you’re really enjoy, and not those things that you tell people you enjoy to further your pretentiousness.

Don't feel like taking ownership of your situation means blaming yourself for 100 percent of the thing you don't like about your life.  You are really saying, this is my situation and this is what I can do about.  If you find yourself in a complex situation, set micro-goals, or things that you can accomplish easily and quickly.

Small goals allow you to begin progression quickly, while simultaneously giving you a sense of accomplishment.  All you must do is begin. Remember, never let go of hope, gratitude and curiosity!!



Nobody Believes That You Hate Social Media

Why do you need us to believe it?

Are the people who claim to hate social media really being honest? Some who vehemently denies their use or their enjoyment of social media normally has a hidden agenda. Honestly, there are days when I feel like social media represents the worst of humanity.

I find the implicit claim or objection to social media troublesome at best. Primarily the unspoken accusation leveled at those who participate fuels my abhorrence of the people who make these claims.

Nose turned up and eyes cast down, as if their objections solidify their individuality and their ascension beyond the entertainments of us regular folks. Consider what you hate about social media must a greater connection to your own inadequacies than the faceless platform that you so egregiously cast out like yesterday's garbage.

Assuming we believe, you believe you

Let's leverage our imaginations, we can assume that you dislike it for more authentic reasons. You decided that virtual communication has created barriers that have disconnected us from one another, or decreased our individual abilities to connect during face to face experiences.

I recently read an article, accusing people of apathy towards the latest social tragedies, and that their protests were ineffective simply because they were not being actioned in a physical space. The accusation was, at its core, attacks the ease of virtual protests.

Simply because we can continue to scroll or make our united electronic stand without getting dressed, does not negate the veracity of its assertion. When social media protesting organized virtually during it’s infancy, it does not imply that there will be no subsequent physical action. Action does not always equal sincerity nor relevance.

We are not advocating for the endless connectivity that is social media, since I recognize its destructive powers as well.  We have witnessed the distress caused by cyber bullying and the insidious things that people are willing to say from the safety of their home, but never in person.

The behavior tolerated in the public-school system can often carry the same or greater stress than young people experience online or by watching reality TV.  Behavior is learned through mimesis; young children often have difficulty distinguishing between reality and virtual experiences.

Nevertheless, kids have been fighting, bullying, and tormenting one another for years.  This is not an excuse for injurious behavior, it is just factual. The governing force known as parents, must exert a greater control of their children's environment.  Who is doing the raising?

I will say what everyone is thinking

Bye !

Just because you access Facebook through a browser, and are too ashamed to have the app on your phone, does not mean that we don't know you are still accessing your dilapidated profile.  I saw that accidental tweet that you hurriedly deleted, which is why my I see you comment didn't go through. You are still lurking, following, and keeping up with folks’ business.

People get off on proclaiming their disconnection from digital communities because in their minds it means they are mature. " I don't need that kind of drama in my life" they say.  Does being social instantly equate with drama or is that just in your case? They believe that it means they don't need the inclusion all while they really desire it.  They reveal a thinly veiled attempt to act is if they do not desire the connections and conversation they crave.

It's ok castaways, come back we promise to be nice this time. We are not all cyber bullies, just cut the crap.  Don't feel like you don't have a place in the digital ecosystem. Claim the virtual existence you deserve, use it at your leisure and turn your devices off when you have had enough. There is not right and wrong answer but the all or nothing approach serves no one. Some use it for fun, and some for evil, just remember the block button is your safe word.

Artist Spotlight: Niia

Niia is ready to grab her moment

Watch out! Niia is coming for the neo-r&b princesses and she wants to give them a run for their money this year. Yuna started out strong, but Niia insists there is room at the top for them both. Either way, she has kicked the door in and made her presence known.

Niia Bertin started as a student of jazz, while working as voice talent for an advertising agency. Everyone has to start somewhere, and in her interview with Highsnobiety, she discussed her beginnings without the slightest bit of shame or remorse. If you haven't seen this interview, check it out and you will see the same laid back vibe that you get when you listen to her music.

For the classically trained pianist and jazz vocalist, meeting Wyclef Jean – who soon became her mentor – was just the kind of auspicious career start she’d dreamed of. Yet the clear-cut path soon gave way to twists, turns and road blocks as Niia struggled to find her signature sound and figure out who she wanted to be as an artist.


If you want to get the "low-down" on Niia's biographical facts, then you can click (here) to read more details about her humble beginnings.

The skinny

I'm here to give you quick details about what you really want to know.

Niia’s voice is impressive here, but without stronger narratives to reinforce it, the instrumentals emerge as the record’s most enthralling element. To that end, I sets a refreshing vibe that brings to mind groups like Quadron and Zero 7, evoking a grown-up ethos tailor-made for yacht parties or chill Sundays at home. Yet without distinct standouts, *I *fades into the backdrop, resulting in a decent album that’s a bit too comfortable.

The sound

Niia is pure silk. Her voice is comparable to Paula Cole on anti-depressants, or Corinne Bailey-Rae with good production and a decent song writer. As a special treat, her production team recruited Jazmine Sullivan for one of the stand out tracks, "Sideline".

  1. The album is 87% fantastic
  2. You can find it on iTunes and Spotify
  3. Yes it is worth the listen

Listen to these tracks first

  1. Hurt You First 3:35
  2. Sideline 4:21
  3. Nobody 4:09
  4. Girl Like Me 3:30