How Cleaning My Garage Changed My Life: A Marie Kondo Blog
When Marie Kondo published The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, her approach to de-cluttering and organization shook the world. Her small guide details her method of tidying, the ways in which she discovered it, and why all other ways of tidying are wrong. She refers to specific cleaning engagements or purges as the KonMari Method.
Kondo promises that “When you’ve finished tidying your home, your life will change dramatically. Your relationships will improve, your ambition will thrive, and your career path will clear.” She even adds that this kind of activity will improve your health not only mentally, but also physically, in the form of clearer skin and rejuvenated energy.
After reading such a profound book – one eons ahead of its time – I felt called to have my own KonMari session. Staring at my garage, which has needed a serious overhaul since before I can remember, I decided to test the practice out and see if Kondo really does know her stuff.
My Garage Purge
Tackling any kind of massive cleaning project can seem daunting and overwhelming, that’s why so many of us put it off. But I attacked my garage head-on, just as Kondo said to do, aiming to take no prisoners. That’s what I promised myself when I woke up that morning, suited up, grabbed the cleaners, and waded into the garage.
Cleaning out rooms, and in my case the garage, is actually incredibly therapeutic. As Kondo promises, less is more, and the more items you clear out and de-clutter, the happier you’ll actually be. I found the more I cleaned my garage, the happier I became. I felt like I was shedding negative feelings and memories, making way for a cleaner, more organized future.
As the garage became emptier and emptier, I felt more joy flood my heart. I didn’t want to stop. I cleaned and sorted and organized for hours, until a brand new room was looking back at me. It was a euphoric sensation that Kondo details numerous times in her guide.
The secret to the KonMari Method is that you are not deciding what to get rid of, you are only deciding what to keep. Instead of deciding if something is worth throwing out, you only focus on the items that bring you joy and happiness. Everything else must go.
Cleaning my garage changed my life. I’m writing this blog to share my story, and hopefully inspire others to give the KonMari Method a try.
One of the common threads throughout Social Work is how no one is an island, a stand-alone, nor an independent unit, but is co-existing and co-participating within society as a whole. Therefore, it is essential to look at all of the members of a community as valuable and to help the struggling to regain the strength within themselves, and not to forget that if they are not supported, the effect it can have on the individual and society as a whole. One of the most impactful topics is of how adverse childhood experiences (ACE) effect wellness. This is a brief look at defining the health continuum in adults and children, how adverse childhood experiences can occur anywhere along that continuum, which can lead to children getting involved with the courts and foster care.
Before one can understand what is abnormal, it is essential to define what is normal, both physically and mentally. The principles of the World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. The enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition. Healthy development of the child is of basic importance; the ability to live harmoniously in a changing total environment is essential to such development. The extension to all peoples of the benefits of medical, psychological and related knowledge is essential to the fullest attainment of health.” (who.int) Thus, one is said to be on a health continuum, where wellness is more than the absence of disease. This process is called the Illness-Wellness Continuum, which is meant to work in harmony with the treatment paradigm.
The Illness-Wellness Continuum was first developed in 1972 by Dr. John Travis from U.S. Public Health Service Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. The treatment paradigm involves being sick vs. absence of illness, which indicates wellness. The Illness-Wellness Continuum is more than being not sick but enjoying life. The treatment paradigm, which includes options like medications, surgery, psychotherapy, can alleviate symptoms of diseases. The wellness paradigm can move one toward higher levels of wellness and is not meant to replace the treatment paradigm, but to work in harmony with it. Treatment is still required for the sick, but it shouldn’t stop there, one should continue trying to achieve higher degrees of wellness: Wellness is not a static state. It is not so much where one is on the continuum, but the consistent actions toward improving, which does not mean never being sick again.
Defining good health can be complicated. Physical health is anything pertaining to the body. Mental health would refer to people’s cognitive and emotional well-being. Simply stated, good health would be a combination of both physical and mental health and would be exhibited in a person who does not have any physical or mental disorders.
Child health is even more specific. Concerning child health, it is a continuum which starts at conception continuing to the prenatal period and birth, then progressing to infant/toddler/school age developmental, physical, cognitive and social milestones, and ending at adulthood. If a child falls off of the health continuum at any point, the results can be called adverse childhood experiences (ACE). In 1998, the Kaiser Health Facility in Los Angeles did a study of ACE initially in 17,000 people. The study showed that early stress predicted chronic health problems in adults by compromising immune systems and speeding up disease processes causing premature aging.
The ACE Study measures ten types of childhood traumas. Five are personal, including physical abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse, physical neglect, and emotional neglect. Five are related to other family members, including one who is incarcerated, an alcoholic, experiencing domestic violence, or has a mental illness, and the disappearance of a parent through divorce, death or abandonment.
An evidence-based screening test was created to measure the number of these ACE traumas that an individual child has experienced. The test results in an overall ACE score that summarizes the number of ACE a child has suffered. Using the ACE score, one can identify likely effects on physical (various cancers, diabetes, heart and lung diseases) and emotional health (alcoholism, drug abuse, depression). A high ACE score can indicate the likely presence of these physical and mental effects that can culminate with the early death of twenty years younger than the average population.
Although some stress benefits and prepares children for future challenges, trauma and chronic, constant stress can affect developing brains. Trauma causes the amygdala, the brain’s alarm system, to engage, triggering the fight or flight mechanism, referred to as the autonomic nervous system. It is important to note that adults and children experience stress differently. Adults can regulate initial reactions to stress using coping mechanisms from previous experiences, but these coping mechanisms have not yet developed in children. Unresolved stores of stress-related hormones released by the brain’s activated amygdala during stress stimulate diseases.
Children do not always remember every adverse experience, but their bodies do, which can cause long-term harm to physical and mental health, and they do not just “get over it” when they become adults. There are four ways trauma can overload a child’s developing system. These four ways are stress hormones increases, immune system changes, neurological changes, and epigenetic changes.
According to Harvard University’s Center for the Developing Child, the first change is the hormones. These include the often referred to as the “stress hormones,” cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones that help one’s response to danger, and have the most significant impact during brain development, especially if they remain at high levels for long periods. The second change is a compromised immune system. The results are increased susceptibility to infections, allergies, and inflammatory reactions. The third change is possible neurological deficits, which can involve vision, hearing, language, and cognitive ability. The final change is regarding epigenetics since one’s environment, and stress levels affect which genes turn on and off. Although there are undoubtedly many negative aspects of adverse childhood experiences, prior to the ACE Study, people with high ACE scores often reported various physical and mental health issues, but they lacked a concise way to communicate the impact of these experiences. Knowing one’s ACE score has subsequently streamlined communications with their health care providers, resulting in Trauma-Informed Care. Another benefit is that besides a freeing feeling from recognizing that all of these seemingly unconnected physical and mental health issues occurred from adverse childhood experiences, knowing one’s ACE score can increase one’s self-understanding and can improve the effectiveness of treatment, including therapy, if necessary.
An exciting aspect of the brain’s self-healing is called neuroplasticity, which is the rewiring and development of new coping skills. One of the best ways to heal from trauma is from resilient thinking. Resiliency is learned, and people can be taught to bounce back from adversity, accept change, actively move towards goals, self-nurture using exercise, nutrition, getting adequate sleep. The good news is that through the knowledge that the body and brain had been harmed by the biological impact of early emotional trauma, one can move toward reducing early adversity. ACE scores do not have to be a life sentence. Even if one has been set on high reactive mode for decades or a lifetime, it can still be dialed down. Additionally, the knowledge of ACE scores can be incorporated into public policy to prevent childhood trauma, promote resiliency to improve physical and mental health. For children, having a resilient parent, or consistent caregiver, who understands good parenting and child development, can be protective.
About PrincessCandyEmpire aka @llvvzz / llvvzz / LLVVZZ
#NOFILTER: Why We’re Obsessed With Editing Our Social Media Photos
If you’ve never edited, photo-shopped, or applied a filter to a photo before posting it to social media, then you’re in the minority. Studies all over the world, like one from beautyheaven.com.au, have confirmed that more than 50% of women on social media admit to doctoring their photos before posting them to sites. With photography editing and photo-shopping apps available for free today, it’s easier than ever before for anyone to brighten up lighting, and remove any blemishes on their skin.
Not everyone perceives visuals the same way as others. From a scientific standpoint, the eye filters light, colors, and shadows uniquely. What you see when you look at an object outside may not appear exactly the same to the person next to you. We take in sights through our respective optic tracts, which bend and distort lighting to process what we view around us. We then deliver that information to the brain, and the brain gets the “final say” in what we actually see every day.
Essentially, your brain has its own “filter” that’s applied to photos before any doctoring even happens. It’s this visual variation that contributes to aggressive photo editing tendencies today.
It’s inevitable having everyone edit his or her photos today. Why? The media has been distorting reality for decades now. Back in the 1920s, a photo was a still shot of a person, existing in real-time, with a flash. Today, we have difference lenses, time frames, make-up, photo shopping, fans, professional lighting, and the list goes on. What we see as real isn’t really real at all. It’s an illusion.
The fashion and media industries have been concocting this narrative for some time, as we see time and time again celebrities photo shopped to look 20 pounds lighter. Naturally, we’re going to start to do it, too.
Does It Really Matter?
This brings us to the final point of the article: so what if people want to edit their photos? Personally, whatever makes people feel better about themselves with more body confidence at the end of the day is fine with me. If celebrities, heads of state, and media personnel get to project this perfect image at their discretion, then everyday people deserve the same kind of freedom.
“Realness” ended with the advent of social media. Nothing is in real-time (except Live Video), filters are applied, video editing is cut, sounds are muted, fake news is created, and the list goes on. We can’t demand that photos remain “real” while the rest of the content on social media is anything but real.
The best thing people, especially young girls, can do today is educate themselves on photo-editing practices so they are aware when they are viewing a doctored photo. Distorted image reality can contribute to weight dysmorphia and eating disorders; so instead of ignoring this widespread trend, it’s time we embrace it and learn more about identifying edits from a mile away.
It’s perfectly fine to embrace the #NOFILTER trend on social media right now. But if you want to edit your photos, that’s ok, too. Just take everything with a grain of salt.
We’ve heard of cyber stalking and cyber bullying today. We know that people make fake accounts and target individuals so intently, it can lead to psychological, mental, and even physical damage. Not to mention, on the flip side of the coin, we’ve heard of people stalking users through social media and aggregating their data, information, and pictures to a psychologically disturbing level. Both are natural side effects of a world lived through the technological screen today.
But, are you aware of the term cyber mobbing?
Cyber mobbing takes cyber stalking and cyber bullying one step farther. It’s a detrimental combination of the two that can have even more dangerous side effects for victims. It’s one thing to think a singular person is after you; it’s another to think an entire mob is after you. It results in even more isolated and depression-induced feelings that can sadly lead down paths of debilitating depression, mental disorders, and even suicide.
Cyber mobbing is cyber cruelty that involves a group sharing the same “mob mentality” against a specific individual.
It can be rooted in anything from misinformation and gossip, to completely fake stories that have been concocted by one person and spread throughout the group as “true.”
So how do cyber mobs form, and why should you care about their increasing prevalence?
Step 1: Forming the Cyber Mob
Chat rooms are incredibly popular today. No longer do people need to leave their homes and force themselves to talk to strangers for social interaction. Millions of people every single day enter public forums like Yelp Talk, KIK, and other types of cyber chats like Facebook Messenger. Inside these chatrooms, mob mentality starts to build as one person asserts their alpha dominance over the others. As a united group, other mob members start to go along with the alpha assertions, regardless of their personal stance.
Next thing you know, they’re partaking in the creation of fake accounts to attack and slander the targeted individual.
Step 2: The Cyber Mob Effects
There are cyber-mobbing effects for both the victims and the bullies. The victims end up emotionally, mentally, and sometimes physically affected by this psychological bullying. They end up isolated, fatigued, depressed, and suicidal.
The mobbers end up committing a legal offense that has yet to gain ground with law firms, the media, and politicians today. Though the public does not have a proper understanding it, cyber mobbing is rooted in slandering, stalking, threatening, and psychological coaxing legal offenses that can put the offenders behind bars for years.
Step 3: Why You Should Care
Let’s say you’re just a regular 25-year-old girl working an office job in New York City. One of your coworkers asks you on a date and you decline. That coworker, hurt by your rejection, goes home to their chatroom and tells the group that you’re a manipulative, spiteful whore who spreads rumors about people. Next thing you know, 10-people are posting your picture, information, and personal details to social media, labeling you as a #whore for all to see. You did nothing wrong. You don’t deserve this. Yet it is happening.
The Lack of Legal Justice
Unfortunately, since cyber mobbing is such a new phenomenon, there are few legal avenues for acting on the act of mobbing before it results in physical harm and suicide. Right now, police warrants and restraining orders can only be issued if there is evidence of physical harm. Cyber mobbing influence builds in the form of mental and emotional decay, which is not protected under the law.
New cyber laws need to be written so legal authority has the power to remove websites, chatrooms, messages, etc. that are contributing to the mental degradation of the targeted individual. Permanent self-harm is the result of no legal action at this time, and we need to do something about it.
We need to be vigilant of cyber mobbing. It is a real threat today. We need to spread awareness, contact our representatives, and work towards illuminating this hidden psychological danger that is claiming lives every single day.
The internet and social media make it easy to share your opinion, and that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s really great to hear everyone’s ideas and thoughts on various subjects, but where’s the line? Is there a line?
Spoiler alert… Yes, there is a line, and unfortunately it seems like a lot of people are crossing it because it’s easy to without any repercussions.
Comment on a girl’s YouTube video and tell her you HATED her cover of your favorite song. It doesn’t matter. You don’t know her, and nobody knows who you are, right?!
Leave a terrible comment on Yelp because your food didn’t come in 30 seconds and you were in a hurry. No big deal, right?
You see, even though we live in a digital age where everyone can make anonymous comments and hide behind their computer, that doesn’t mean that’s the right thing to do. When you call that girl on YouTube a “wanna be” and a “fake”, is that something you’d say to her face? I sure hope not. I think what people seem to forget is that even though words are typed and anonymously posted instead of delivered face to face… it doesn’t mean they don’t still hurt and they don’t still cut.
And on top of that, isn’t it ironic that the person that puts themselves out there and shares their creativity is being criticized by someone sitting in their basement, doing nothing with their life? It’s the epitome of hypocrisy, don’t you think? If anyone is fake and deserving of harsh feedback, it’s the self-proclaimed critic still living at his parent’s house, not the creative artist with the courage to put herself out there for the world to see.
And let’s talk about that Yelp review for a minute…
Sometimes you have a bad experience with a business or restaurant, I get it. But should it really be your personal mission to destroy a business because one of their minimum wage employees made a mistake or because they got your order wrong? Maybe we’re so used to everything being perfect and instant that we’ve forgotten people are still human. And everything doesn’t have to be so black and white. A restaurant isn’t ALWAYS terrible because they messed up your order once, or the local food truck isn’t ALWAYS gross because you didn’t like the way they make their salsa.
But too often, people decide they will anonymously tell the world a business is terrible, thinking nothing of it. BUT, it’s not nothing to those on the receiving end… Owners have invested their life savings to start this restaurant and employees depend on the wages to pay their rent, and unwarranted negative comments can literally destroy that overnight! It’s not right, and it’s not cool.
So, here’s the bottom line. Let’s all remember what our moms taught us when we were young: If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.
And I’ll add to that… Even if you are just posting it on a computer and nobody knows who you are.
Let’s be honest… ripping into people online and calling them fake, untalented, terrible, and so on… is seldom, if ever warranted. Instead, let’s applaud people for being creative. Let’s try to help people that are putting themselves out there. Let’s work to build up our local businesses.
No more hiding behind your computer screens, spewing bitterness, hate, and negativity. We’re all better than that!
About PrincessCandyEmpire aka @llvvzz / llvvzz / LLVVZZ
How one doctor with a passion for social media built a 5-business brand empire
Close to 13-years ago, students from Harvard launched Facebook, an interactive take on MySpace for college students to exchange photos, information, and videos. Since then, it has revolutionized how we live our lives, communicate, and brand both our businesses and ourselves. With 1.4 billion daily users and counting, Facebook’s influence has spilled into a variety of social media platforms, swallowing up the picture-sharing app of Instagram in 2012.
With the popularization and spread of social media, spanning YouTube, Snapchat, Twitter, Pinterest, Yelp, and other cherished sites, we are witnessing an entirely new class of marketers, people with purchasing power and influencing capabilities that set trends, usher in norms, and curate how we interact with social media content.
@llvvzz or llvvzz
Founded in 2010, PrincessCandyEmpire, social media handle llvvzz or @lvvzz, was the creation of Dr. Allegra Alexandra Powell MD. Capitalizing from the growing interaction on Twitter at the time, Dr. Powell created an entertaining Twitter account that has since blown up into a massive social media business and corporation. One of the account’s very first projects was the PrincessCandyEmpire Tweetmates Calendar for The American Cancer Society in 2012 and 2014.
PrincessCandyEmpire’s funny tweets gained traction, and her content started scoring features on eCards, humor sites, and other social media platforms popular at the time. Naturally creative, Dr. Powell elected to expand her Twitter presence onto all social media platforms, including Instagram, the fastest growing social media platform of today, with the founding of a new sub-brand: Candy Rehab.
Candy Rehab is where Dr. Powell really started having fun turning a hobby into laying the foundation for a social media empire. She launched a business Facebook page, a Twitter, and four different Instagram accounts that creatively display her unique says, phrases, and zingers for followers.
The momentum continued, and with each new social media account, the PrincessCandyEmpire was growing bigger and bigger.
How did Dr. Powell do it?
Running a social media empire, especially today with the increasing competition, is no easy feat. Dr. Powell early on discovered that in order to grow a social media empire, you have to be dedicated, aggressive, and passionate about your work. She opened dozens of social media accounts, all under sub-brand names to solidify her brand and her work with viewers. From there, she dedicated herself to consistent posting and constant creative social media content turnover to keep her audience engaged.
PrincessCandyEmpire has a massive audience on all social media platforms. Now a corporation, the brand is a leading social media influencer, social media building, and content branding entity for individuals and companies alike. Not to mention, it also works with social media content generation and lifestyle blogging clients.
Sway Elite International
Obviously never satisfied with the status quo, Dr. Powell has partnered with other social media influencers to establish Sway Elite International, a company that builds brands for individuals and businesses using social media influencing power.
Influencing The Future
Today, Dr. Powell is an undisputed social media influencer with 5 businesses, 35 million viewers and followers, and Google verification across all sites. Over the past 10-years, she has opened accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, Periscope, BuzzFeed, Mobli, Yelp and more and has Google Analytics to prove her astronomical performance numbers.
In the meantime, Dr. Powell will continue to launch individual social media branding and influencing businesses as someone who sits at the forefront of the influencer revolution.