Tan Walker | UAB Community Health & Human Services
You may know the artist, Al B. Sure from his hits “Nite & Day”, “Off On Your Own Girl”, or as one of the collaborators in the song “U Will Know” by Black Men United. Today, Al B. is a 54-year-old award winning R&B singer who recently awoke from a 2-month coma. He explained to his fans that he lost feeling in the left side of his body while sitting in front of a computer screen and then fell over. However, he was able to call for help since his phone was in reach at the time of the incident. He then expressed that he encountered multiple surgeries, blood transfusions, and an organ transplant during his hospital stay. He also had pneumonia, became septic, and had his lymph nodes removed (Daniels, 2022). Despite all of the health challenges that he went through, he is extremely thankful to be “alive, alert, and gradually healing.” He also says that is “maintaining a positive mindset throughout this healing process” (Daniels, 2022).
Al B. has overcome many obstacles in his life in such a short time, yet he still remains positive through the storm. It can sometimes be hard for people to become bigger than their circumstances and exercise the strength, courage, and faith to make it through the challenging times. This is what is meant by being resilient.
Resilience is the process and outcome of successfully adapting to difficult or challenging life experiences, especially through mental, emotional, and behavioral flexibility and adjustment to external and internal demands (APA, 2022). Part of being resilient is remaining positive and optimistic when experiencing challenges.
Here are a few tips to stay positive during hard times:
- Acknowledge all of the good things in your life
- Look at your situation from a different perspective
- Focus on the things you can control
- Spend time with positive people
- Ask for help when you need it
No matter how hard a situation may be, it is important to stay positive and not let your circumstances define you!
American Psychological Association. (2022). APA Dictionary of Psychology (2nd ed.). Retrieved November 18, 2022, https://dictionary.apa.org/?_ga=2.261668622.261180337.1668820604-1749021350.1667872057.
Daniels, K. F. (2022, November 5). R&B singer Al B. sure! shares health update after 2-month coma and organ transplant. Al B. Sure! shares health update about 2-month coma ordeal. Retrieved November 18, 2022, from https://www.nydailynews.com/snyde/ny-al-b-sure-health-update-two-month-coma-20221105-t3tayky6bnhrbb557go5cdmisq-story.html
Kirsten Parker, M. F. A. (2021, November 16). 10 ways to keep positive during Hard Times. wikiHow. Retrieved November 18, 2022, from https://www.wikihow.com/Keep-Positive-During-Hard-Times#:~:text=How%20to%20Keep%20Positive%20During%20Hard%20Times%201,…%208%20Practice%20breathing%20meditation.%20…%20More%20items
By Reginia Dodson | UAB Community Health and Human Services Intern
I planted a vegetable garden. At the time, I had no idea that it would prove to be therapeutic for me. It is only a small, raised bed garden that I somehow have planted to an overflowing capacity. This makes for a battle to keep my squash, zucchini, and eggplant from taking over the entire little box. Along with these aggressive space invaders, I planted tomatoes, okra, and cabbage as well. I even think that it is quite possible that I created an entirely new vegetable due to the overcrowding and plants mixing together. OK, I am joking, but still…there is joy in planting this garden.
When I began gardening, I did not realize that it would become my place and time to disengage from all the stressors in my life. Each day as I tackle the invaders growing and the natural intruders, I find myself relaxing and calming my anxieties. It is something to feel the cool soil as I dig around with my bare hands. I feel a connection with nature each day that I am in my garden.
I am not the only one who feels this way. Rooftop gardening, yes…on the roof, has been associated with better personal development and suggested enhanced physical and emotional well-being, sense of purpose, social inclusion, interpersonal relations, and quality of life (Triguero-Mas et al, 2020). What happens on the roof, happens on ground as well. I am always in my garden early in the morning before the world around me awakens. It is so serene and peaceful. I find even my breathing is more relaxed and the time helps to prepare me for the stressors I will encounter during the day. Furthermore, there are times that my family and friends get to enjoy the garden as we come together, supporting my happy pursuits with some good work and fun. Not to mention, good food afterwards.
It is also delightful to find what has grown seemingly overnight. I see it as a life metaphor, patiently waiting to see the work of my hands and nature come together to bring life into the world. I laugh at times because I never saw myself gardening. Especially, using my bare hands while doing so…oh the dirt and grime. So what about you? Do you have a garden? Are you good with plants? Do you find peace and delight working with nature? Leave your comments below.
Suggested citation for this article: Triguero-Mas M, Anguelovski I, Cirac-Claveras J, Connolly J, Vazquez A, Urgell-Plaza F, et al. Quality of Life Benefits of Urban Rooftop Gardening for People With Intellectual Disabilities or Mental Health Disorders. Prev Chronic Dis 2020;17:200087. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5888/pcd17.200087external icon
By Tan Walker | UAB Community Health & Human Services Intern
Sometimes being with friends is all the therapy we need! Making connections is a primary human impulse. Researchers have found that people that have healthy friendships are deemed healthier and happier than those who are friendless (CDC, 2022).
Friends are essential to our well-being and are some of the most powerful bonds people have. They can also keep us grounded and help us manage the craziness that life throws at us, and provide an abundance of social support which is vital for our mental health. Having healthy friendships is powerful and has many benefits. It can help reduce stress, loneliness, and anxiety (Serene Health, 2022).
True friends will listen to our problems and support us through hard times, but it is important that we do the same for them. Here are four tips that will help us maintain healthy friendships:
1. Make time for friends – making an effort to see friends regularly is extremely important for maintaining a friendship
2. Communicate openly and honestly – try to share any thoughts and feelings with friends, and be open to hearing theirs.
3. Respect each other’s differences – It is important to value each other’s opinions and perspectives, even if we don’t always agree with each other.
4. Be supportive – Good friends are there through the good, the bad, and the ugly. If our friends are going through something, be there to listen and to provide the support that they need.
Whenever we are down, or battling with our mental health, it is comforting to know we have people in our lives that will be there to support us always.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2022). Talking to Your Love Ones. Cancer Survivors. https://www.cdc.gov/cancer/survivors/healthy-living-guides/emotional-health/talking-to-loved-ones.htm
Serene Health. (2022, August 16). Friendships are essential for mental health and Wellbeing. https://serenehealth.com/mental-health-and-friendships/
By Tan Walker | UAB Community Health & Human Services Intern
When you think of “journaling”, it is easy to picture a young girl locked away in her room writing about her high-school crush in a diary with a lock on it. Although this is an easy perception to have, it likely matches with the overall consensus for adults: journaling is for young people still trying to figure out their purpose in life and gossiping about the latest high school drama.
Believe it or not, many adults own a journal of some sort. Whether it’s a diary, a 3 subject notebook, notes taken on a smartphone, or just a plain sheet of paper and a pen: journaling has no required format. Journaling only requires that you share your thoughts openly. Effective journaling can help you meet your goals or improve your quality of life (Ackerman, 2022; Purcell, 2006). Although personal goals vary from person to person, they are almost always positive and journaling can be a process that support goal accomplishment.
Effective journaling can help you clear your head, reduce anxiety, and it can also help you connect your thoughts, feelings, emotions, and behaviors. But how exactly does dumping words on a page have an impact on your mental health?
Well, journaling has been proven to help people struggling with a mental illness or people who want to improve their mental health (Ackerman, 2022; Purcell, 2006). More specifically, effective journaling has been found to:
Boost your mood
Enhance your sense of well-being
Reduce symptoms of depression
Reduce symptoms of trauma and PTSD
Improve your work memory
Here are some following tips to ensure your journaling is effective:
Write in a space free of distractions
Journal at least once a day
Keep your journal private -“my eyes only”
Be in control of the topic and structure of your writing
Try journaling today! The process may take some time, but the benefits can support your health and quality of life. It can be fun! Whether you choose to write about how your day went or your current thoughts and emotions, the fun part is that you get to choose what your narrative will be!
Courtney E. Ackerman, M. A. (2022, September 8). 83 benefits of journaling for depression, anxiety, and stress. PositivePsychology.com. Retrieved September 8, 2022, from https://positivepsychology.com/benefits-of-journaling/
Purcell, M. (2006). The Health Benefits of Journaling. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 10, 2022, from http://psychcentral.com/lib/the-health-benefits-of-journaling/000721
By Larrell L. Wilkinson
Many have heard the Bible verse, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well” (Matthew 6:33, NIV). So being real for a moment, many of us do become distracted and/or challenged in the action of first seeking His kingdom and righteousness. We are challenged in making Him the priority over things of the world. So often our troubles in and of the world take precedent in our daily lives. Whether personal or social, a person may wake up thinking about their troubles or literally “yell angry expressions through typing” on Twitter to express their opinion about a particular topic that irks them. Let’s not forget our instinctive reaction to people who cut us off on the freeway! These first thoughts, instinctive reactions and/or expressions on social media may occur before we have once prayed to God about the problem or meditated on the “trouble” given God’s instruction to us from His Word.
Let me be clear, there are many serious trials and tribulations that we may encounter in life. For James wrote, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4, NIV). Consider it “pure joy…”, REALLY? It tough dealing with challenges like hate through racism. Lord, I really rather not have to deal with the stresses of racism or concern myself with how racism may impact my children. And what about other hardships? What if a couple is going through a rough patch in their marriage; a person is battling with serious illness; and/or coping with other inequities within society…I mean who really desires to be faced with these other difficult life circumstances.
Still, I want to encourage us to press into God (& His kingdom) more! Practicing patience, finding joy in hope, and being consistent in prayer (Romans 12:12) may help us to resolve our personal troubles. The book of Isaiah suggest that we do right; seek (require or demand) justice; defend the oppressed; take up the cause of the fatherless; and plead the case of the widow (Isaiah 1:17) within society. This is how we can work to address some major issues impacting our local communities. For the last part of Matthew 6:33 says, “…and all these things will be given to you as well.” Thus, God is telling us that racial reconciliation, health and recovery, a flourishing society, a better marriage, overcoming our personal challenges…can occur when we seek His kingdom and His righteousness.
No one is saying it will be easy, at least I’m not. As a matter of fact, or my opinion, I believe it may be extremely difficult to address challenging areas in our personal lives and socially. Plus, we must consider God’s timing and that His ideas may be different than our expectations. Still, working to seek God and His kingdom FIRST, is our FIRST step to addressing problems in our lives. Second, I believe it is important to change our own attitudes positively about the challenges that we experience. This is why James says, “consider it pure joy” and I am sharing with you that I am a “work in progress.” To help me, I am intentional about keeping positive and healthy family/friends/mentors around me from whom I can seek good advice and social-emotional-mental-physical-financial support. A church can be helpful in this endeavor as well. Finally, I also work to accomplish small tasks around me, challenging myself to take on bigger issues as I build momentum (confidence) with smaller successes.
So what about you? How do you address challenges in your life? What concerns can PHAME-US Life help to encourage you through from the “test” to the “testimony” for others to see? Feel free to share in the comments section or join us on social media. May God Bless You and Yours.