As a person who suffers from anxiety, I am always on the hunt for new ways to deal with unpleasant symptoms. Sure, the traditional routes of speaking with a therapist, contacting a friend, and using CBT workbooks have helped me make great improvements, but it never hurts to expand your toolkit.
This year, one of the goals I set for myself was finding ways to independently conquer my fears. Attempting to self-soothe when I'm alone and don't have the mental energy to complete exercises at home left me yearning for more options.
Naturally, as a writer and avid reader, I set my sights on the bookstore. I've always been wary of self-help books and found that the positive effects wane shortly after reading the last chapter. I had a list of my favorite quotes, affirmations, and inspiring speeches on hand in case of emergencies, but I was in search of something life-changing. I did a deep dive into books on religion, performing arts, spirituality, philosophy, and psychiatry.
A universal truth that was communicated throughout almost all of the works I read was that the person most equipped to guide you towards an anxiety-free future is yourself.
I'll admit that no matter how close I've gotten to my therapist, family, or friends, there are just some things I am taking to the grave! However, being brutally honest with myself has some perks that have allowed me to work towards a better version of myself in the comfort of my own home. I've learned these skills from a few non-traditional self-help books.
These 4 books have stuck with me throughout the years. Words from each chapter have sat in the back of my mind, silently working their magic and allowing me to become a more positive, open-minded individual.
I love a sturdy hardcover or paperback edition, but I love this book so much that I also have it in eBook form so I can access it anywhere. The author, Anthony De Mello, was a Jesuit priest with refreshingly progressive views. He believed that the cause of anxiety stemmed from rigid beliefs and the unwillingness to examine them.
"There is only one cause of unhappiness: the false beliefs you have in your head, beliefs so widespread, so commonly held, that it never occurs to you to question them."
Awareness is chock-full of funny anecdotes from De Mello's own life. One common theme throughout the book is that people's interpretations of a situation are a direct result of their conditioning and current disposition.
"If you find me charming, it means that right now you're in a good mood, nothing more."
"We see people and things not as they are, but as we are."
At less than 200 pages, Awareness is a quick and insightful read that can increase self-awareness while providing a few laughs along the way.
‘The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself’ by Michael A. Singer
I was sold on this book from the title of the first chapter alone ("The Voice Inside Your Head"). This lighthearted spirituality-based book is paced perfectly which ultimately leads to the shocking revelation that you have complete control of your annoying "inner roommate". Nope, I don't mean the person who you go half on rent and utilities, I'm talking about your constant internal dialogue.
"There is nothing more important to true growth than realizing that you are not the voice of the mind - you are the one who hears it"
It doesn't stop at acquiring self-awareness for Singer, he takes it a step further by showing you how to serve your annoying roommate an eviction notice.
"When a problem is disturbing you, don't ask, 'What should I do about it?' Ask, 'What part of me is being disturbed by this?'
Much like De Mello, Singer wants you to challenge your beliefs instead of suppressing negative feelings. You'll find that approaching problems that way helps resolve minor issues almost instantly. Now that you've shown negativity the door, you can choose which thoughts you want to engage with or let go of because:
"The truth is that most of life will unfold in accordance with forces far outside your control, regardless of what your mind says about it."
The Good Copy
Although Bird by Bird is partly a book geared toward improving writing skills, Lamott's advice can be used by anyone regardless of their chosen field. Especially because the author believes the best work comes from people who write for themselves. She gives practical advice that is often overlooked in a society that praises ambition at the risk of your mental health. There is absolutely nothing wrong with competing in a race to the top, but enjoying the journey would certainly make it more fulfilling spiritually and financially.
"We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so little. But we do. We have so much we want to say and figure out."
Whether you might be anxious to pick up a new hobby or change careers, Lamott's best advice is simply to get started without worrying about how others might perceive your actions.
"Don't look at your feet to see if you are doing it right. Just dance."
The most badass thing about Karen Horney's studies is that she challenged Sigmund Freud's views on feminine psychology which she criticized for being wide off the mark. She directly responded to some of his most popular theories in her book aptly titled Feminine Psychology.
As a psychoanalyst whose career began in the early 1900s, Horney is not for the faint of heart. However, Neurosis and Human Growth break the human psyche down in layman's terms. This classic self-help book will leave your jaw on the floor.
"The neurotic, as long as he must adhere to his illusions about himself, cannot recognize limitations, the search for glory goes into the unlimited. Because the main goal is the attainment of glory, he becomes uninterested in the process of learning, of doing, or of gaining step by step — indeed, tends to scorn it. He does not want to climb a mountain; he wants to be on the peak. Hence he loses the sense of what evolution or growth means, even though he may talk about it. Because, finally, the creation of the idealized self is possible only at the expense of truth about himself, its actualization requires further distortions of truth, imagination being a willing servant to this end."
At times, some passages hit too close to home but also reminded me that the anxieties we deal with today are far from unique.
"It is naturally a sign of inner liberation when a patient can squarely recognize his difficulties and take them with a grain of humor. But some patients at the beginning of analysis make incessant jokes about themselves or exaggerate their difficulties in so dramatic a way that they will appear funny, while they are at the same time absurdly sensitive to any criticism. In these instances, humor is used to take the sting out of otherwise unbearable shame."
Her scientific but simple approach to self-analysis differs only in delivery from De Mello, Singer, and Lamott's, but the lesson is the same. It's always great to maintain a variety of resources for mental wellness, and self-analysis shouldn't be used in lieu of professional help. But take pride in knowing that you are the most valuable resource when it comes to overcoming any obstacle.
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This post is in partnership with BET+.
Kingdom Business is back for its second season, with even more sermons, songs, and serpents. The series picks up where it left off, with actress Serayah as Rbel caught between the stripper pole and the pulpit. With the first lady of the church working desperately against her, Rbel must find a way to live her dreams and honor her friend while figuring out her faith in the process.
Season one served a collection plate of rivalry, deceit, and revenge –– among many other tribulations. Between the 28-year-old’s acting, conviction, and harmonious voice, here are a few reasons why season two of Kingdom Business is a must-watch.
If the Spirit Doesn’t Move You, Serayah’s Singing Voice Will
Rbel, formally known as Rebecca Belle, is a stripper whose life forcibly takes a turn after suffering a tragedy. Through her quest to find the truth, Rbel finds herself at odds with the head of a local church, First Kingdom’s Denita Jordan, played by the legendary Yolanda Adams. Rbel unknowingly emerges as what a faithful Christian embodies: a perfectly imperfect human who works every day to try their best while leaning on God. Although struggling with her faith, each ballad sung by Rbel can be felt, as the lyrics relate to personal struggles we all endure in different ways. Gospel songs hit differently when your life is in shambles, and chile, Serayah is singing new life into folks.
Serayah is a Formidable Opponent to The Yolanda Adams
As one of the best-selling gospel artists of all time, it’s no easy task to take on the role of a person on the opposing side of greatness. Serayah’s Rbel does an excellent job meeting Jordan at her level while shining through her solos. Throughout season one, Rbel emerges as a top streaming artist, an accomplishment that begets something of a holy war.
Serayah’s Acting Range is Engaging
As a former stripper trying to make a name for herself in the gospel industry, you can imagine the struggles that could come with it. Rbel goes through a range of emotions, all understandable and relatable. Despite several crises of faith, Serayah ensures Rbel delivers a humbling performance that makes the audience root for her redemption.
The Kingdom Business Soundtrack is Everything
Streaming now on Spotify, Tidal, and Apple Music, the Kingdom Business: Season 1 soundtrack is one you’d want to add to your playlist for high and low times. Aside from four soul-soothing songs from Serayah, the soundtrack also features singles from co-star/Hamilton’s Chaundre-Hall Broomfield, gospel artist Chandler Moore, and legend Yolanda Adams.
Serayah’s Rbel Makes You Root For Her
With First Kingdom beginning to crumble under the pressure of lies, infidelity, and deception, Rbel’s window to take that top spot seems wide open; however, the end of season one showed us the Spirit had other plans. Whether you believe or not, Serayah’s Rbel makes you want to see her win. Who doesn’t love a good underdog with a laid 22” bust down? Whether she seeks Him or not, God is proving to be on Rbel’s side. But is it enough to turn everything around for her? Will Rbel lean on faith or fear?
With secrets coming to light, success within reach, and the devastating conclusion of season one, you don’t want to miss season two––especially with more guest collaborations. Kingdom Business returns to BET+ on Nov 2.
BET+ Original | Kingdom Business | S2 Official Traileryoutu.be
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While I was in a session with a married couple semi-recently, I asked them to share one of the best things about being in a long-term, committed relationship. Believe it or not, it was the wife who quickly provided the answer that serves as inspiration for this article: “You have a locked-in-for-life quickie partner. People don’t realize how wonderful that is!”
Ah, yes, the quickie. It’s one of those things that pretty much all sexually active people have experienced before, and yet, I’m not so sure that quickies actually get all of the props and respect that they truly deserve. I mean, I get why because, since reportedly, a little under three minutes technically counts as one, some people think that they are automatically getting slighted whenever a quickie goes down.
Yet, if you give me a little bit of your time today, my plan is to show you that quickies are, by no means, a consolation prize or something to roll your eyes about. If you choose to take in all of what I’m about to say, you could up and realize that one of the best things about your day could be making sure that you either don’t start or end one without checking a quickie off of your to-do list.
I’m dead serious, too. Check out 12 reasons why the wife was right — quickies are indeed the ultimate short-yet-potent activity.
1. Quickies Can Help You to Get Out of the RIGHT Side of the Bed
I recently read an article that said sleep deprivation can take a real toll on romantic relationships. The method behind the madness is, when you’re not getting enough rest, it can put you in a bad mood, and that can alter how you engage with your significant other (hey, makes perfect sense to me). So, it would seem that being intentional about getting 6-8 hours of sleep would help to alleviate this problem. Okay, but what do you do on the days when you were tossing and turning all night, you had some bad dreams, and/or you’re just not in the best of moods when your alarm clock goes off (even if you don’t know why)? Have a quickie.
Dopamine, endorphins (which are neurotransmitters), oxytocin, and vasopressin (a hormone that helps with your emotional stability and with your circadian rhythms) are all natural chemicals that are released during sex, especially when you climax. Since all of these can help to put you in a better mood, that’s just one reason why a brief romp before rolling out of bed could get your day off to a great start (no matter how you initially felt when you first woke up).
2. Quickies Can Make Waking Up (and Falling Asleep) a Quicker Process
It’s kind of wild that the same act that can wake you up is the same one that can totally knock you out. Sex does have that super innate ability, though. If you want something better than your alarm, a quickie can get you up and going pretty fast; that’s because, when sex gets your heart racing and your blood pumping, it can get your adrenaline going to — especially if you’re say, riding cowgirl instead of just lying in the missionary position (yes, the more active, the better!).
As far as sleep goes, whenever you have an orgasm from sex, your body releases the hormones oxytocin and prolactin — both of these will help you to feel happy and satisfied. If you add to that the fact that cortisol (your stress hormone) level drops after having an orgasm too…yeah, there’s no cup of warm milk that will put you to sleep faster than a quickie will, chile.
3. Quickie Sex Is More Energizing (and Enjoyable) than a Cup of Coffee
If you always assumed that coffee gives you extra energy, the reality is…it doesn’t. What it does do is stimulate what is known as your adenosine (a system that regulates sleepiness and alertness); that’s the good news. The bad news is, just as quickly as the caffeine in coffee can give you a charge, it can also tank, leaving you to feel exhausted (which is a part of the reason why some people endlessly drink coffee throughout the day).
What’s more reliable than that? Yep — you guessed it. Since sex does everything from de-stressing you, stretching out your muscles and tendons, and increasing your heart rate — it’s an all-natural way to get your body going…without all of the side effects that can sometimes come with coffee consumption.
4. Quickies Give You the Same Health Benefits As Longer Sessions Do
Earlier this year, Men’s Health published an article entitled, “How Long Should Sex Last, Really? Experts Say Longer Isn't Always Better.” It actually said that when it comes to penetrative sex between heterosexual couples, the average was (you ready?) 5.4 minutes — yep, basically a quickie. And here’s the thing: whether you go that short or much longer, you’re gonna basically get the same health benefits either way.
Sex is gonna lower your blood pressure. Sex is gonna boost your immunity. Sex is gonna reduce any anxiety you may be feeling. Sex is gonna make you feel better about yourself (yep, it literally helps to boost your self-esteem). Sex is gonna reduce your pain levels. Sex is gonna improve your quality of sleep. The list goes on and on.
In fact, the only health benefit that longer sex probably provides is how many calories you can potentially burn. The reason why I say that is because you need to “engage” for about 30 minutes in order for you to lose 69 calories (“69” — the irony) and your partner (if he’s a man) to lose 101 of ‘em. In every other way? Even quickie sex can do your body a whole lot of good.
5. A Quickie Can Actually Make Sex More Adventurous
Especially as we age, it’s easier to automatically retreat to the bed when we plan on having longer sexual sessions; that’s because the bed is a comfortable place to have it. Okay, but what if you’ve been with your partner for a while, things kind of seem boring and routine, and you’re not really sure what to do about it? In walks the power of a quickie. ‘Cause let’s be real: there is some stuff that you’d probably never do for an hour that you’d be willing to try for 10 minutes.
For instance, if the thought of public sex has always intrigued you while also freaking you out, you might be down if it’s only gonna take five minutes — and the more spontaneous and creative sex is, the more it can breathe new life into any two people’s sex life!
6. Quickie Sex Significantly Reduces Stress Levels
Stress can kill you — yes, quite literally. I make sure to say that as often as I can because it’s the truth. Heart disease. Asthma. Obesity. Depression. Accelerated aging — these are just a few things that are oftentimes directly related to stress. Since it’s been scientifically proven that sex will trigger the neurotransmitters (dopamine) that help to make you feel good as it also decreases your cortisol (your stress hormone) levels — you are helping your mind, body, and spirit out by having sex…even if they are quickies.
7. Quickies Make Prioritizing Sex Way Easier
I’m gonna be honest — since more and more articles are coming out that sex doesn’t really “need” to be more than 7-13 minutes, I’m not sure the whole “we have no time for sex” thing flies (anymore). If you’ve got time to be on Instagram or TikTok for two hours a day, you’ve got a fraction of that time to get busy with your partner. At the end of the day, it’s all about prioritizing what’s important to you (now, if sex isn’t important, we’ll have to tackle that at another time).
However, if the issue is that one of you likes to “make love all night long” like 90s R&B songs talk about (chile) and the other is cool with sex that is less than half of a 30-minute sitcom, try to schedule “the 90s” in for once a week (or once every other week) while mutually committing to getting some quickies in a couple of times a week. If you haven’t already, I think that by the time this article is over, you’ll see all of the reasons why this can be the greatest — and most fulfilling — compromise that you and your partner have made in a really long time.
8. Having Quickies Can Take the Pressure of Sexual Performance Off
A platform that I used to write for, once upon a time, is Marriage. I kind of chuckled when I read an article that they published earlier this year entitled, “15 Signs You’re Bad in Bed and What to Do About It” because boy…I used to deal with a couple who both believed they were the absolute bomb in bed, even though neither of them agreed. Listen, just because someone from your past may have thought you were “the ultimate” — when it comes to great sex, truly one size DOES NOT fit all. Anyway, some of the reasons that the article listed was poor communication regarding needs and expectations, not having a good emotional connection, and (basically) sucking at foreplay.
That last one? If you and your partner are currently trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t, please don’t forego sex altogether until you figure it out. HAVE. QUICKIES. It can help you both to get the physical release that you need as you work towards achieving the type of sex that you both desire. It’s a practical solution to a layered situation.
9. Quickies Bond You to Your Partner
Every time I see a TikTok post or read someone on Twitter (it’s always gonna be Twitter to me, chile) talk about sex is nothing more than a physical release, the first two things that come to mind are one, we are not animals; we have sex for more reasons than “being in heat” or even to procreate and two, how many people actually never learned about oxytocin in high school-level science class (like really…what in the world?). To be honest, there’s one more thought: don’t you want to see yourself as more than just “casual”? I say it often: casual means things like careless, apathetic, and unintentional. Regardless of what your personal feelings about sex (and who you should have sex with) are, I hope that we all can at least get on the same page that we should see ourselves as more than just…casual.
Back to the oxytocin thing, though — science is never gonna change. There is a hormone (that I’ve already mentioned) that is released during sexual activity (shoot, even just affectionate activities) that literally makes you feel closer to your partner. Oxytocin is its name, and that’s why it has “the love hormone” moniker.
Am I saying that quickies will prevent cheating? There are layers to why people are unfaithful, so to give a blanket “yes” or “no” would be irresponsible. What I will say is something that a husband of over 30 years once said to me, “When I’m having consistent sex at home, it’s the difference between seeing an attractive woman and saying, ‘She’s pretty’ vs. not having much sex at home and thinking, ‘I wonder what she’s like.’ Full people typically aren’t hungry…unless they’re just greedy.” All of that will preach. On a billion different levels too.
10. A Quickie Is a Great Sex Compromise (for When You’re Not in the Mood)
Relationships are all about compromise. And when you’re in a long-term committed relationship, it can’t be said enough that sex isn’t just a “perk”; it’s a responsibility (when it comes to marriage, even the Good Book cosigns on that in I Corinthians 7:5). Unfortunately because not enough people give quickies any type of real consideration, they don’t realize that it can be the ultimate “meet in the middle” move when their partner may be in the mood and they’re not totally…there (or vice versa). Yes, quickies are a solid way to “scratch the itch” without there being a need for an all-out performance.
Listen, I tell my married clients often that when it comes to being faithful to your vows, it’s pretty ridiculous to expect your partner to only be with you if you are rarely with them. After all, no one signs up for a sexless marriage. Bottom line, quickies can be a happy medium when you want to make sure that your partner is good without you having to…do the most (so to speak).
11. Quickies Can Make Sex…Later…Better
If you want to intensify your orgasms (or your sexual experiences overall), one way to do that is by edging. The best way to explain edging is you and your partner sexually stimulate each other to the brink of climaxing, stop for 30-45 seconds, and then start all over again. Why would anyone want to send themselves through that kind of sexually-induced torture? One reason I already mentioned (it makes the quality of your orgasm better); another is it can actually help your partner to last longer (if that’s something you’re ultimately after).
To me, quickies are a next-level form of edging. The way I see it is, it’s like having an appetizer or snack to hold you over until you can enjoy the meal that you’ve been waiting for all day long. For instance, if your quickie consists of morning sex or an afternoon delight during your lunch break, just think of how much that will consume your mind and build anticipation until you and your partner can get together again (especially if you throw some sexting into the mix!). Five-minute previews now can lead to a full-on main attraction later. Amen?
12. Quickies Can Teach Both of You How to “Push the Right Buttons”
Almost every couple, who’ve been together for over a decade, that I know personally, tells me that sex has only gotten better with time. There are a myriad of reasons why. One of them is because they have really learned each other’s bodies, which means they know what works and…what doesn’t. And when it comes to mastering a quickie, that’s the ultimate cheat code because there are going to be times when your mind wants to, your energy levels or your schedules are on the fence, and so you’ll want to “get what you need” without it taking forever.
And listen, if you let quickies teach you how to know just what to do in record time, this point alone can be a solid reason for why you’ll want to engage in one or more quickies a day — a guaranteed orgasm. DAILY? C’mon now.
Welp. On behalf of quickies, I’ve pleaded my case. If I’ve convinced even a handful of you to at least try to have one a day, I’ve done my part. Again, under seven minutes (give or take a couple of minutes) of pleasure that will give you all of what I just said? WHY NOT HAVE A QUICKIE? Damn.
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