How I Deal with Stress – An Honest Answer

Hey my loves,

a couple of weeks ago I talked about how I managed to write three papers simultaneously, as well about my personal development story, so I thought it was about time that I talk about how I deal with stress. This also comes at a time where a lot of things are happening and I am under a lot of stress.

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As I am writing this I am laying in my bed dealing with the last bits of my cold that knocked me out an entire week and has put me back with work for college a lot more than I would like. The past three, almost four, weeks haven been stressful on so many levels. About three and a half weeks ago I had a bad fall, which ended with me in a cast on my foot and pain in my arm. My doctor prescribed me rest and I took it, for three days instead of the two weeks he told me to. But I am almost healed now and do not have much pain anymore, so all is good. But that kinda just started a mountain of new stressful things. As college has started again in the beginning of October I found it hard to find a balance between eating right, taking time for myself, working out, as well as maintaining the oversight about the work I have to do for College. So instead of using my new learned tools I tumbled down a path of unhealthy choices and no-time spend for myself which ultimately led to me being irritable, in a bad mood and not taking care of myself enough. The stress level only got higher when I was not able to workout because of my fall.

Well, long story short, PMS kicked also in, harder than it had been the last six months and I was, and for most of the week, I still am a mess full of anxiety attacks and mood swings, but weirdly enough this week of being sick with the cold is turning everything around again. Last week I turned 27 and I had two of my best friends with me and we had the most fun I had in a while. We had a dance session for almost an hour and it just felt so good to feel my body and to exercise, quite frankly. But the day after, I got sick and hit with it hard. But instead of letting myself get dragged down by it even more I decided enough is enough, the moments I feel better I do something for myself. In the past two days, where I have been feeling a lot better, I even had mini dance session of ten minutes for myself. And, let me tell you, how good that felt, even though I was exhausted after it and fell straight asleep.

Now, this post is supposed to be about how I deal with stress, but the truth is: I do not know. Because every time I think I have an answer to it, something new comes up and throws me off-balance. But what I do know is that if you keep a positive attitude a lot of the things might not be as bad as they seem. And sometimes it is okay, not to be okay.

But one thing I want to make sure is that my PMS is not getting as bad next time as it was this time, and in order to do so I have to make sure to put my health, mentally and physically, first again. As soon as I am no longer sick, I will get back into a routine workout situation and as of this week I am trying to figure out a way to incorporate healthy lifestyle and food choices into my busy life again. Basically, I started WW again, just to keep myself motivated to eat healthy and to eat at all. Most of my days I simply forget or am too tired to cook or eat at all, and that’s not a lifestyle I want to live.

So I guess my tip for you would be to take it one step, one day at a time and just realize that you do not have to be on your A-game all the time that it is okay to put yourself, your health and your mental health first.

I hope you all have a wonderful day!

XoXo, Jasmin.

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10 Things That Make Me Happy

Hey my loves,

Finding positivity and happiness these days is really hard. It all seems, in a way, like a very bad dream. A nightmare we wouldn’t want to wish on anyone.

But a couple of days ago I found a video on my timeline on Facebook that made me genuinely happy and sparked the flame of hope for humanity once again. It was a video of a group of people singing ‘Oh Happy Day’ in a mall in Germany. It was set up like a flash mob and they were only using their voices, but that particular song and the genuine happiness you felt during their singing was inspiring. Even though it was just under three minutes it made me smile for the whole day. I believe the world should be filled with more spontaneous happy moments like that. Don’t you agree?

And because I was so inspired by this little moment of happiness I thought I would share the things that make me happy with you. So here they are:

My Friends

Friends are the family you choose. And let me tell you I’m so grateful to the friends I have and all the happy moments I share with them. But it’s more than just the happy times that make me happy. I’m grateful that no matter what is coming my way I know I have my friends who have my back, who make me smile in the saddest of times and who endure my stubbornness.

Rain at the End of a Sunny Day

Well, this might sound a bit crazy but just close your eyes for one second and imagine this: You have been out all day on a field picnicking with your friends. It’s super hot and the air lingers without any wind over the ground. But then you can start to smell something. You start to smell the rain coming. And then it starts to rain but instead of seeking cover you enjoy the cold rain on your heated skin. And it’s such a release that the air feels a little colder and fresher. I love that feeling. Don’t you?

Snow

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Yes, I know it’s summer but I’m listing everything that makes me happy and snow is one of them. And I mean real snow, the kind you build snowmen with and slide downhill or have snowball fights with your friends. The kind where it’s crispy cold outside but yet sunny enough for you not to be freezing. The kind where you just want to be outside and enjoy the day by strolling through the woods. There’s something about this that makes me really happy and even happier when it’s around Christmas time.

Listening, Singing and Dancing to Music

For obvious reasons. Here are some of the songs I love to hear when I’m happy. And sing along like my life depends on it even though I sing horribly. Check out my Spotify Playlist: The Happiness Playlist

Stupid Jokes

I’m the kind of person who laughs pretty much about everything. But some jokes just get me so much that I start to cry whilst laughing and gasping for air. At if that isn’t happiness I don’t know what is.

A Good Book or Movie

Now this might seems to be odd. How can a book or a movie make me happy, right? But it’s not so much the form or genre it is but rather the endless creativity, inspiration or motivation you can get from them. Would you like me to do an entry about books and movies that inspired me a lot? Let me know in the comments.

The Ocean

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There is just something so calming about sitting by a sea or at the ocean especially alone with your thoughts that give me personally so much realization that I can feel whatever I want to feel but mostly just happiness.

The Endless Journey of Finding Myself

When I was younger I thought a main goal in life should be to know who you are. As I’ve grown older I’ve realized something. Just because you are something doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t be the other thing as well. I will never wake up one day and will be able to say I know who I am because I will never know. And I kind of like the idea of that it leaves a door open to the world of the unknown. Not knowing who you are doesn’t mean you don’t know what you want or where you want your life to lead it means you will be able to adjust to anything because you aren’t attaching yourself to any labels or restrictions. And to be able to see it like that makes me happy. Change is good and change is part of your life. And over your lifetime you will change to and that’s completely okay.

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Even though I haven’t done much traveling I do know that it makes me happy. I love adventuring into a new city and explore everything. And getting lost in a city you’ve never been to is somewhat freeing because you never know what you will experience. I love to travel the world one day and see everything and feel everything that there possibly is.

Dreams

To be able to dream is something that makes me very happy. Sometimes you need to escape your reality to create a new one and sometimes they just show you the right way. Dreams make me happy because a dream is not only something you have at night but a goal you can achieve if you work hard for it in the daytime. And achieving your dreams is something very magical and anything magical makes me happy.

And remember you can always choose to be happy. Darkness has no power over you unless you let it have it. Being happy is a choice. I hope you enjoyed today’s entry and if you did make sure to give it a thumbs up. I would really appreciate it!

I wish you all wonderful day!

XoXo, Jasmin.

Feminism and Gender Equality – HeForShe Week

True equality means holding everyone accountable in the same way, regardless of race, gender, faith, ethnicity – or political ideology.

~ Monica Crowley

Hey my loves,

this week is a very special week on The Dawn of Inspiration. Every single day a new blog entry will come online concerning Feminism and Gender Equality in honor of the campaign HeForShe! I am a feminist and I believe in gender equality and I believe that every single one of us has to do something to reach our goal. No matter how small or big our contribution is, it matters that we all pull on the same string: Gender Equality!

Feminism is not only for women. It’s something everyone can participate in, and evolve together, as the first step in the right direction. I see feminism as a tool to achieve that balance and peace.

~ Ani DiFranco

To be a feminist means believing that we can achieve a better and stronger base for our nation today through gender equality. It means building a unity which will present the foundation of a better and stronger society – despite our skin color, ethic, race or gender.

A society in which it does not matter where you come from but how hard you have worked for what you believe in. A society in which you won’t be discriminated because of your skin color or gender but for your individual characteristics and your will. A society which does not discriminates a man as a “wimp” just because he shows emotions. A society which can accept the strength of a woman without having to feel intimidated. A society which is build on acceptance. An acceptance which allows every person to be whatever he or she likes to be.

Feminism does not mean hating men, it does not mean „woman are the stronger sex”! Feminism means unity and equality. Feminism means to be free in the unity. Gender equality is a controversial “must” for the stability of a strong society. A society can only exists with men and women. A „without“ cannot exist, because a society could not exists with just one gender.

We need gender equality! We need feminism! We need HeForShe!

Society as a whole benefits immeasurably from a climate in which all persons, regardless of race or gender, may have the opportunity to earn respect, responsibility, advancement and remuneration based on ability. ~ Sandra Day O’Connor

Please let me now, what you think! Tweet me: The Dawn of Inspiration!

Xoxo, Jasmin.

Guide to University Success – 10 Tips

For students at universities or colleges all across the world, a new academic year has either already begun or will begin soon. Summer is over, and we need to get used to using our brain again, to getting up early in the morning.

For those who are only enrolling in university now, it is far more than that: you are facing new challenges, a new world with new people in it. I remember my very first day in university, when I was only 19 years old, very shy and pretty much overwhelmed with everything. I will say, it’s scary, but worth it.

What I would have wished for back then are a few helpful pieces of advice on how to be successful at university. I didn’t have that, though, so I had to make my experiences on my own, and some of them I learned the hard way. So when Jasmin asked me to do a Motivational Monday about the start of the semester, I decided to give you ten tips on how to survive life and studying at university and graduate in the end.

1. In every building, find the cleanest and most quiet bathrooms.

Because usually, people like to pee in peace. From experience I can assure you, the best toilets are never on the first floor (or ground floor, if you’re a Brit). They’re used by far too many people.

2. Don’t get lost on campus.

Make sure you know where the rooms are your lectures take place. If you want to make extra sure, be there a week before lectures start and look for ways to get there, you might even find shortcuts.

3. Make acquaintances in every course.

They don’t need to be your best friends, but you need someone you can ask for help should you ever not be able to show up (be it because you’re sick or because you’re skipping) or should you have serious issues with the subject. If you think you can manage university without help from others, you’re only kidding yourself. And there is a saying that friends you make in college are friends for life.

4. Bring your own food.

At least whenever possible. Trust me when I say that relying on the cafeteria can be fatal when they either have only shitty food or too many people were faster than you and there’s nothing left. Besides, paying for lunch every day will make you indigent faster than you know.

5. Be there early.

In big universities with 20,000 students or more, it is vital you be there early enough to get a seat if you don’t want to end up standing, or sitting on some stairs, or the floor, even. If you’re there half an hour before the lecture starts, you get a seat, I guarantee it. If you’re there even earlier, you still have time to go to the bathroom and get a coffee without being in a hurry, a great thing if the lecture is in the morning hours.

6. Don’t do homework at the last minute.

For homework that you need to hand in to pass the course, don’t do it. Just don’t. It puts you through an unnecessary amount of stress, and since you don’t have enough time to properly proof-read what you wrote, you could fail because of too many minor mistakes.

7. Divide your revising wisely.

Do less work for the courses you know you’re good in, and in return do more work for the courses you are having trouble with. Every lecturer will treat their course as the absolute priority, but you need to figure out in which course you need to invest the most time. In the end it comes out even.

8. Find a studying method that works for you.

For some people it is enough to just memorize the contents, but others also need to practice applying their memorized knowledge to exam-format questions to be able to succeed. You need to find out what applies to you.

9. Don’t panic.

Some lecturers like to make you nervous by rattling off statistics about their exams, like e.g. the failure rate is seventy-five percent, for every lecture you need to do two hours of revising or you will not make it, yadda yadda. My advice is: don’t listen to them too much. If you make yourself crazy before an exam, that doesn’t help anybody, least of all you. You should go into an exam with the appropriate amount of respect, but don’t be scared. If you’re really nervous, you can always find higher semester students and ask them about their experiences.

10. Decide whether you actually want it.

This is the most important advice I can give you. If you only enrolled in university because

a) your parents wanted you to do it, or

b) you didn’t know what else to do, or

c) both of the above,

there is a high chance of it leading you nowhere. Sure, the experiences you make at university are great ones you will not want to miss, but if you know you don’t actually belong there, you should reconsider. When you are studying something you don’t really want to study, going through with it is incredibly hard, and I admit that I could not go through with it when I first enrolled. If you think you are strong enough, go for it. But think about what it is that you want, and pursue that.

“Never give up on what you really want to do. The person with big dreams is more powerful than the one with all the facts.” ~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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Diverge

What I want to talk about this Motivational Monday is something that has been on my mind for a while now, rooted in the behavior of a friend of mine who is unfortunately loaded with preconceptions about a lot of the modern media. A few months ago, another friend (for privacy’s sake, let’s call her Daisy) and I struck a deal: She would go and see “Godzilla” with me, a movie I really, really badly wanted to see in 3D, under the condition that I go and see “Divergent” with her. I had read and heard reviews about “Divergent” from news outlets that I completely trusted in their opinions on movies because they had never called a movie good that I detested, and those reviews were unfortunately mostly negative, so I did not particularly feel like watching “Divergent”. But like I said, I really wanted to see “Godzilla” and since this was Daisy’s one condition, I said, “Okay then, let’s do it”.
I had low expectations, and a lot of them were fulfilled. This is not a movie review of “Divergent”, but in a nutshell, it was a mix of recycled ideas from “The Hunger Games” and a dash of “Twilight”, with a few minor plot holes. But you know what? I let myself enjoy it. I know this is not the best movie I’ll ever see, and emotionally it did not quite reach me, but I was entertained. I had fun. The actors were good, the story had a few original ideas that were really good, the images were beautiful and the heroine’s love interest was a seriously hot guy. What can you want more in a movie from which you expected nothing?


Now, here’s what I am trying to say. If I had said no to Daisy’s condition, I would have missed this movie. I would have lost not only two really fun movie nights with a dear old friend of mine, but also the opportunity to be well entertained by something I did not expect to entertain me. I would be missing this experience now, and in retrospect I can say with certainty it’s an experience I would not want to miss, under no circumstances. And that is why I decided to forget preconceptions when it comes to media now. I decided that I would not let myself be led by preconceptions in deciding what movie I would watch next, or what TV show, or what book I was going to read next, because I could be missing out. I watched “Escape Plan” with Stallone and Schwarzenegger, another movie towards which I had next to no expectations, and I had a lot of fun watching it. I watched one of the “Universal Soldier” flicks with Van Damme, and well, it was as bad as I thought, but at least now I know with certainty. What this gave to me was the realization that whatever you think a story might be, it might be the complete opposite, and you’ll never know if you don’t try it yourself. So what if I detest Mel Gibson? I’m still going to watch “The Expendables 3”. So what if Uwe Boll’s movies were 90 percent garbage? His next one might be better. So what if Charlie Sheen is unappealing and a bad actor? “Anger Management” might still be funny, and I sure as hell will give it a try.


The point I am trying to make to you is this: you can not know whether you like something if you have not tried it yourself. This friend of mine who is loaded with preconceptions is missing out on a world of fun because she thinks she knows what’s good based on… well, I really don’t know what she thinks her opinion is based on. As far as I can tell, it’s based on nothing. Don’t do that. Don’t be this person who thinks they know it all when it’s clear they don’t. You will be making a huge mistake. That’s why, for this Motivational Monday, I am daring you to watch a movie that you never wanted to watch, for whatever reason, and go through with it until the bitter end. Diverge from your usual patterns. You might be surprised. In any case, then you’ll know for sure. Because in my book, there are few things more unappealing than not being open to change.

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“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less travelled by, And that has made all the difference.” ~ Robert Frost

Motivational Monday – Blue Eyed

Hey my loves,
it is time for another Motivational Monday from my dear friend Miri. I hope you enjoy her entry as much as I did and maybe think about it what she wrote. I wish you all an amazing week and stay tuned for more to come!
Xoxo, Jasmin.

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word. ~ Martin Luther King Jr.

I want to use this Motivational Monday to make you aware of the works of a great woman that has done many things to help erase racism and prejudice. This woman goes by the name of Jane Elliott. A former school teacher, you might have heard of her through her blue-eyed/brown-eyed experiment, which was documented in the feature film “The Eye of the Storm” from 1970, and its follow-up “A Class Divided” from 1985. What Jane Elliott did was, the day Martin Luther King was murdered, she wondered how she was going to explain this murder to her third-graders in primary school, and she decided to do an experiment with them. The next day, she divided the class into blue-eyed kids and brown-eyed kids, and on the first day she explained to the kids that the blue-eyed people were the better persons, that the brown-eyed people are dumber, dirtier, more unpleasant to be around. The brown-eyed children had to wear collars, and they were not allowed to use the water fountain and could not have seconds at lunch time. The second day, roles were reversed, and the brown-eyed kids were the “superior” group.

Jane Elliott did this experiment because she did not know how to explain the death of King to her students except for allowing them to walk in the shoes of a child of color for a day. Soon after, she was invited to the Johnny Carson show, where she talked about what she did; that was when the community of Riceville, Iowa, she lived in found out, and that was when the terror began. “I received vicious calls in the night,” she reports, and obscene letters, and 20 % of the parents in the community explicitly asked for their children to not be put in Elliott’s class. Once in a while, someone would call the principle to tell him: “I don’t want my kid in that nigger lover’s class.” Her children were beaten, spit on, abused by their peers, their teachers, their peers’ parents. Elliott’s parents lost their business. “I learned a whole lot about racism,” Jane Elliott drily states. “Good deeds won’t go long unpunished.”

In 1996, Elliott does another experiment, this time simply called “Blue-Eyed”, where she invites adults of all races to a workshop, and the white, blue-eyed people have collars put on them and then are sent to a room that is sweltering hot, in which there are three chairs for seventeen people. The tone she uses when speaking to the blue-eyeds is rude, clipped. “You either follow the rules or you’re out of here,” she snaps. “The purpose of this exercise,” she explains to the brown-eyeds, who comfortably sit in a conference room, “is to give these nice, blue-eyed white folks the opportunity to find out how it feels to be something other than white in the United States of America.”

“What I’m going to do is to assign to these people, on the basis of their eye color alone, all the negative traits that we have assigned to {…} those who are obviously physically different.”

Eye color, as Elliott proceeds to explain, is caused by the same chemical that skin color is caused by: Melanin. The more melanin one has in his or her skin and eyes, the darker the skin and eyes are; and it is obvious that judging someone by their eye color makes as much sense as judging them by their skin color does. To assign to the blue-eyeds the negative traits of being dumb and ignorant, she has them do a test they know virtually nothing about, to make them aware of how it is to take a test that you can’t pass, and how high your IQ can be if it is based on that test. This has been done to immigrants in the US on a regular basis. Elliott gives out the same test to the brown-eyeds, before the blue-eyeds are allowed to enter the room. “You brown-eyed people are going to know at least half of these answers because you are smart, you are caring {…}, and I’m going to give you the even-numbered responses. This is not cheating, people; this is called ‘reinforcing our position of power in this room’.”

Elliott explains the rules of this experiment: They will make the blue-eyeds look and feel inferior; they will treat them like children. What starts out as seemingly nothing but an elderly lady aimlessly bullying the blue-eyeds, soon morphs into a mirror of society, where all the contestants have valuable lessons to learn, like e.g. that submitting to tyranny is NOT a valuable lesson to learn. To go along to get along is not something people should think of as a valuable lesson, even though it is the easy way out.
“To sit back and do nothing is to cooperate with the oppressor.”

Jane Elliott reinforces this idea, in the hopes of making a change.

“At the end of the second World War, when they cleaned out the concentration camps in Germany,” she quotes, “a Lutheran minister said: ‘When they came for the Jews, I wasn’t Jewish, so I did nothing. When they came for the homo-sexuals, I wasn’t homo-sexual, so I did nothing. When they came for the gypsies, I wasn’t a gypsy, so I did nothing. When they came for me, there was no-one left to do anything.’”

This text really only scratches at the surface of Jane Elliott’s groundbreaking work. There are many videos on youtube that deal with her experiments. You can buy the written documentation of “A Class Divided” on Amazon.

For this Motivational Monday, you should give it a try. Explore Jane Elliott and the things she has done. It has the potential to shift your views forever.

Miri (Twitter: @OriginalGreenD)

Blue – Eyed:

A Class Divided:

The Eye of the Storm: