Learning that my ancestors were slaves was a lot to grasp as a first grader. My classroom became silent as my black classmates and I daunted what new information our teacher would tell us about the capturing, beating, and force that black people experienced to make them abide by the rules of their white abductors . But to my happy surprise, we were taught that slavery was abolished and now everyone, no matter their race, were equal.
Too bad that was, and is still, a lie.
The recent death of Sandra Bland has taken a complete toll on my emotions. Not that the deaths of Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Kindra Chapman, Samuel Dubose, and many others haven’t. It’s just that I’m tired. Knowing that your very existence can have you killed is scary and it pains me to know that there are black people dying for being black every day. It’s like the American justice system wants to wipe us from a minority to basically nonexistent in this country.
But despite the violence against us, we must still persevere. We must still work, educate ourselves, organize, protest, and most of all smile. We can do none of these things without some inkling of joy as motivation to wake up and take the world by storm. In the midst of so many negative and undeniable realities, make sure you are taking some time to focus on things that you enjoy. Self-care is the only way that you can re-energize and be ready to combat the negatives in the first place. Here are some tips to help you find your happy place in this world of chaos:
I’ve been practicing mindfulness meditation for about five months now and it’s one of the best ways that I’ve learned to handle my emotions. Mindfulness meditation is a practice that helps you acknowledge your positive and negative thoughts in a way that helps you gain an understanding of those feelings without spending too much time harping on the negative.The main goal of mindfulness is to be present. We often spend so much time worrying about what’s to come that we neglect being happy right now.
In my experience, negative thoughts are unavoidable but I can better dismantle why I feel them and move on the positive thoughts in a heartbeat. I started off using an app called Headspace that you can download here. If you find yourself looking for a longer and more in-depth meditation (or if you’re free trial runs out) let me know in the comment section and I can link you to some detailed guides.
My forte is Black & Sexy TV, MTV Decoded hosted by Franchesca Ramsey, make-up tutorials, and Issa Rae’s online series but Youtube has a world of content to lift your mood. Below are some funny (and relevant) videos!
Leaving the internet, even for a little while, is definitely hard these days. It seems like everything is centered there. A lot of my grief this week came from Sandra Bland’s “mugshot” and clips of her being approached by Texan state trooper Brian Encinia. I knew I couldn’t handle watching the video so I decided not to. But being the active tweeter I am, it found it’s way to my timeline (not all people are aware of trigger warnings) so those few minutes furthered the damper of my mood. I had to put my phone down, and pick up a book instead.
Eat chocolate.. & Eat a lot of it
Along with being my favorite thing in the world, dark chocolate is proven to increase happiness. Chocolate stimulates the creation of endorphins in the body, which produce feelings of pleasure. It also has serotonin that acts as an anti-depressant. It is recommended to eat in moderation, so do that if you prefer to. I, on the other hand, will eat chocolate until my tummy can’t take it any more. But do you boo.
Cold Nutella with a spoon is my favorite treat by the way.
Talk it out
When worse comes to worst, talk to a friend. Most of us have a least one person we can always call about anything. Call, text, or tweet that person and let it all out (cries, confusion, screams, and all). I can’t guarantee that that will fix everything, but it sure does feel good to release and connect.