The hacking went deeper than we thought. SmackSmog, my Internet ninjas, thought they had it and then, like a hydra, the hack came back. After much sweat and blood, (imagine a really intense episode of trauma surgery on ER) I am told it is time to test the system.
To test the system and have a little fun at the same time, I offer you these quotes about computers:
“Anyone who has lost track of time when using a computer knows the propensity to dream, the urge to make dreams come true and the tendency to miss lunch.” ~Tim Berners-Lee
“The computer is a moron” ~Peter F. Drucker
“Computers are incredibly fast, accurate and stupid. Humans are slow, inaccurate and brilliant. Together they are powerful beyond imagination.” ~Albert Einstein
“My favorite thing about the Internet is that you get to go into the private world of real creeps without having to smell them.” ~Penn Jillett
Dear subscribers and readers of the Explore What’s Next blog:
I am so sorry!
For weeks I’ve been trying to figure out why a rogue link to some lame online office services was appearing on EWN subscribers’ email notifications. Yesterday the hackers upgraded from an innocent (but still unwanted) link to full-on nasty-scam in the form of advertisements for pharmaceutical sexual enhancers. ARG!
It was as if they were saying, “Well, they didn’t chuck us out for the little hack so that must mean we can go all out now!”
1. Do not hesitate to kick anyone out of your life who is not treating you nicely. Don’t wait for them to go away on their own or for them to change just because they said they would (“I promise”). No. Kick the jerk out first, ask questions later. Firmly say, “Oh, no you don’t! Straighten up and treat me with respect or get out!”
2. Be grateful for your support system. When it comes to creating and maintaining a good website/blog it takes a village. The first notifications that something was way off came from three intrepid friends/readers. All reported a variation on “You’ve got a serious problem here!” Once alarmed, I immediately sent up the Bat Signal! Or in my case the SmackSmog Signal. The SmackSmog team jumped all over the interlopers and drove the bad guys out within hours! Thank you, thank you, thank all of you!!! I heart my Internet village. XO!
3. Take passwords seriously. Passwords are a pain in the ass but it may be the only thing standing between you and the spineless pig hacker in pjs, sitting in his mom’s basement sucking down Mountain Dews and chowing on Cheetos. Ew! In my case, one way the hackers may have gotten in was because I was lazy and didn’t assign a super strong password where I should have. Those days are over.
As God is my witness, I will never choose a cheesy password again!
It is my hope that you may learn from this little episode as I have. Please continue to enjoy the Explore What’s Next blog knowing we will do all in our power to keep it informative, helpful and classy.
With much affection,
Editor’s Note: Nicole reminds us that we often forget about basic human needs such as proper sleep, nutrition and exercise. Deficits in these areas can have significant repercussions on our mind and body.
Sometimes I feel like there is not enough time in a day. I will stretch my bed-time to accommodate all of the projects that I want to finish. At the end of the day I am exhausted and feel accomplished but may be only left with 4 or 5 hours of sleep.
With all of the demands of this fast-paced, driven society I feel compelled to produce. The consequence however is less productivity, more anxiety and more body aches. With only 5 hours of sleep and over-stretching my mind and body’s capabilities every day, I cannot possibly be as productive a person as I think I am.
The next day I am tired. As weeks go by I might have more sick days because my immune system is compromised and overall I have more anxiety due to frustration from my decreased stress tolerance. These can all be relieved by maintaining healthy sleep habits.
The most powerful sleep habit that I have adopted has been to fall asleep and wake at the same time every day, yes even on weekends! As a result, I have been clearer headed, focused and energized. For me that was well worth waking up at 8am on Saturday mornings! If your interested in reenergizing and healthy sleep tips click here!
That’s the message for today. I want to have a day that is guilt-free, agitation-free, restless-free and anger-free. If I have trouble with any of those I will stop whatever it is I’m doing and sit or lie down and focus on ONE THING like maybe how awesome I am just because I’m trying! And Goddamn it, trying does count! I don’t care what Yoda says.
Ok, that sounded sort of pathetic but I think a lot of you know what I’m talking about.
I am going to the barn to see my horse because she makes me happy. She recharges my battery. The smell of the barn, the hay, the tack, the horsey smells, the sound of their nickering and chewing, stomping and blowing. If I can allow myself this pleasure for just an hour instead of feeling like I really should be doing something else, like writing a more meaningful article here on the blog that will change your life, then maybe, just maybe, I can do a little of that tomorrow. But that’s fortune telling.
For today: More simple relaxing things I can do…
Pet my dog because he is so soft.
Ride my new stationary bike while watching Tabitha Takes Over. Something about exercises I can do while sitting tickles the hell out of me.
Take a large garbage bag, go through the house and throw out stuff that so obviously needs to go there is no “can this be useful later?” argument. Yes, I find this relaxing!
Pretend I’m Nigella Lawson and experiment with a new recipe for dinner. I might have to speak with a British accent as I clean the leeks!
What will you do today just for fun or just to relax or just to recharge the YOU ARE AWESOME neon sign in your spirit today?
Photo courtesy of MarcelGermain via Flickr
Editor’s Note: This article was contributed by Dylan Broggio, LCSW, EWN therapist.
In revisiting a favorite book of mine, “The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living” , I am rediscovering a theme that is interwoven in so many aspects of our lives… the idea of pleasure versus happiness.
The Dalai Lama says our main purpose in life is to seek happiness. Though pleasure and happiness are clearly separate, it appears we can get these two confused from time to time. The idea of pleasure in our lives is fairly easy to conjure up; the embrace of a loved one, a sunny Saturday afternoon, a beach vacation, a bowl of ice cream, the thrill of buying a new car or house, sex, getting a promotion! The idea of happiness in our lives… a little more complicated… Love, affection, closeness, compassion, and gratitude.
Pleasure comes from external stimuli, things outside of us, that are short lived. The Dalai Lama states, “Happiness that depends mainly on physical pleasure is unstable, one day it’s there, the next day it may not be”. Whereas true happiness comes from an internal source, and it remains constant despite the ups and downs of daily life.
Most of us do not always choose what is “good” for us- that is, what leads us toward happiness. Instead we decide to indulge in those short lived pleasures of life, expecting long term happiness.
When couples come in to see me they are told from the onset that marriage therapy isn’t about replaying the greatest hits of arguments past and present. For them to go from yelling at each other behind closed doors to yelling at each other in my office is not therapeutic. It’s just another episode of Jersey Shore.
So there are a few simple rules for couples in my office. No yelling, no cursing (this one gets broken a lot, even by me, but it’s still a good rule), nothing abusive and no interrupting.
Except as the couples counselor I do get to interrupt and I will use my power! It’s kind of like being the basketball coach with the whistle or the director of a play. I can stop the action to point out when the couple is in a bad feedback loop going nowhere, redirect, provide motivation and give them a chance to try out their new skills. Or when things are going well I will stop them to be sure they take note of that too.
But usually, interrupting is not a good thing. When we break into another person’s speech WE ARE NOT LISTENING! Obvious, right? And yet we do it all the time.
Check this out! We can actually interrupt without saying anything out loud! We do it by not paying attention to what the person talking to us is saying. Worse, like Mr. Guinon said, we use the time we should be listening to compose how we are going to respond instead.Read More...
1. Knowledge is power. To tame anxiety the more you know about how your brain works the better. So here’s a little neuro-psychology lesson.
What you need to know is that the older part of our brains, the inner bit in the middle, is called the limbic system. Within that is the amygdala. For our purposes it’s enough to know that scientists believe that everything we need to keep ourselves, and our species, alive originates here. That means drives like the drive to eat, appetite, to have sex, procreate, and fear, to keep us vigilant of danger.
Our frontal lobes are in the newest part of the brain, the neo-cortex. Our ability to judge, to filter out right from wrong, to determine appropriate from inappropriate behavior, real vs. unreal, reasonable vs. unreasonable resides here. It’s the part that keeps us civilized and steady, among other things.
Behavioral scientists theorize that when we are threatened we respond on a primitive, non-thinking level first, because survival is more important than being right or wrong. The amygdala sends the signal that ‘there’s a nasty threat out there!’ to the adrenal glands. Adrenalin is released into the blood, kicking off the autonomic nervous system response, revving up the entire body to either run away, flight, or duke it out, fight, with whatever is about to kill us.
Anxiety occurs when this system goes into overdrive because there is no where for the body to run and nothing for it to fight. The threat is abstract. What’s firing off the system are scary ideas, not a saber-toothed tiger. All that adrenalin and no quick way to metabolize it causes anxiety.
Medical and non-medical treatments for anxiety are all about keeping the amygdala from running amuck and the frontal lobes engaged.
2. Know the Bad News: The bad news is if you have been dealing with anxiety for a long time and you have a family history of people who have anxiety [or depression], chances are you will be dealing with anxiety in some way for the rest of your life.
3. Know the Good News: Anxiety is very treatable. Once you have good treatment that empowers you and you learn skills to manage the anxiety, (and keep your frontal lobes engaged) it can never hurt you so much, ever again. Really!
4. Immediate relief may be as easy as learning to breathe deeply, getting enough good quality sleep, cutting out alcohol and caffeine for a while, and starting an exercise regime. Many patients have reported that just making these healthy changes reduced their anxiety significantly.Read More...
My senior year of college my Dad suggested I go to a therapist. He thought it might help me find some direction. During a hard college career that was interrupted by chronic illness, I changed majors three times, and still wasn’t sure what I wanted to be when I grew up. So I thought what the heck, I’d give therapy a go.
After a few sessions, Dr. Greenbaum said I was depressed. Well blow me down! I wasn’t sad or crying all the time. How did he figure I was depressed?
He explained that you don’t have to feel sad to be depressed. Sometimes being depressed meant the stark, cold absence of happiness, feeling ‘flat’ or ’empty’. There is a condition called dysthymia that is a sneaky form of depression. Not as imminently dangerous as major depression, dysthymia lasts longer, two years or more, is as serious and sometimes even more debilitating than major depression.
Eight potential signs (lasting longer than two weeks) of any kind of depression are:
- Feeling helpless, hopeless, stuck, “What’s the point?”
- Loss of interest in activities that were once pleasurable
- Appetite or weight changes
- Sleep changes. Insomnia or sleeping all the time
- Agitation or feeling slowed down
- Loss of energy, fatigue, easily exhausted
- Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Concentration problems, indecisiveness, lack of focus
Dr. Greenbaum taught me that being diagnosed with a chronic illness hit me harder than I wanted to admit, even to myself. He helped me get my head out of the sand and start living again. You might consider finding a good therapist for yourself.
Editor’s note: This article was contributed by Kate Maleski, LCSW and EWN psychotherapist. Here, in her first EWN blog post, she announces the formation of a much needed support group for adolescent girls.
Do you ever find yourself thinking… I’m not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, talented enough? Sometimes the biggest challenge in life is just being you. It’s hard to know who “I am” with everything and everyone constantly getting in the way.
I know that I often think to myself “I am the only one who feels this way.” Trust me, you are not the only one. It’s nice to see that others feel the same way you do. That’s why I am so thrilled to announce that in October I am introducing in Buffalo a group that I loved to lead in Cleveland . This group is designed to help adolescent girls feel empowered and learn to feel good about “ME”!
Ok…let’s talk about what you’ll get out of group.
1. “Who am I”? It may sound like an easy question but if you really think about it I bet it’s taking longer to answer than you thought. Maybe you are still asking yourself “Well, what do you mean?” It’s important to think about who you are and not focus on how others view you.
2. Really tough stuff. Gossip, friends, boys, bullying, clicks, fitting in, peer pressure, clothes, body image, school, imperfections, family. This is all a part of life and can be EXTREMELY overwhelming. Let’s talk about it and break it down so we can cope with this tough stuff together!
3. Overcoming negative thinking. Have you ever found yourself thinking “Nobody understands me! I always get picked last! I know she doesn’t like me! I will never feel better!” Those are some pretty tough thoughts that would make ANYONE feel bad. Changing your thinking can change your mood.
4. “Where do I go from here?” That’s easy….UP! Group allows you to be yourself in a safe environment where you will learn that you are not alone! You will learn ways to COPE with stressful events and thoughts and you will make some pretty great friends!
And remember most of all…
“It’s not your job to like me… It’s MINE!” –Byron Katie
I’m Kate Maleski, LCSW. Questions? Give me a call at 716.880.5689 or email me at email@example.com and we’ll set up time to chat about group and other stuff that could help you feel less alone.
Photo courtesy The Hamster Factor via Flickr
There was a moment during the interview when one of the King children was talking about a book, and Stephen turned toward his wife and took her hand. He grasped it, tightly, and they both closed their eyes and leaned in toward each other, as if in prayer. Later, when asked about that moment, Stephen could not remember what inspired that moment — maybe nothing at all. “Sometimes I just take her hand,” he said. “We’ve always been close, Tab and me. I love her.”
via The New York Times Magazine Stephen King’s Family Business