As we leave last year behind us, I can admit that things still feel like nothing has changed. It is hard to not forget what last year has done to us mentally, emotionally, and physically. While we can't change what has happened, we can change how we move forward, regardless of what is to come for 2021. Offering an assist in helping us find our way back and improve our mental health is licensed professional counselor, Pamela Smith. When it comes to mental health and prioritizing it for yourself, she mentioned that it is easy for us to get so wrapped up in our everyday obligations that it hinders us from realizing what exactly we actually need for positive mental health.
"Being a black woman is very difficult. As much of an honor it is, it can be extremely difficult. So my self-care is knowing when. Not only will my body tell me it's time for me to have several seats, but mentally you can feel [yourself] becoming more and more drained." Pamela Smith was willing to share 5 mental health practices with xoNecole that we all can apply for the year 2021. If you apply these practices, it will help you differentiate if you are operating in survival mode vs actually living for yourself.
1.Maintain a Schedule
"The pandemic hit everyone off their balance. This sense of normalcy was hijacked and it caused a lot of fear in people. In my profession, what I have learned is that uncertainty is a true root of anxiety. You need to bring back something that can ground you and to keep you tethered to life," Pamela explained. "This year, one thing you can do is create a new schedule for yourself and maintain it. You can bring in some of the old things you used to do in your routine, while also opening up to adding something new. Part of creating a schedule, with or without limited resources, can help with that fear of uncertainty. You have something to look forward to and you feel less and less impacted by things you don't have control over."
It is something about setting intentions that helps with the flow of each day for people. We cannot predict what each day will hold, but putting in certain daily tasks for yourself can help you stay focused, feel more grounded and centered.
2.Be Kind to Yourself
"We are our own worst critics. We don't need somebody else to beat us up because we do a really good job doing that on our own. In this new realm that we're in, remember you are not by yourself. It may feel lonely right now, but I promise you are not alone in this. There are a lot of people feeling the exact same way," Pamela began. "To help with that aloneness, learn to quiet that voice in your head that is telling you those negative thoughts. Give yourself grace and know that you are just doing the best you can."
"If you are not doing the best that you can, then step your game up. When you are able to be kind to yourself, it can ease that feeling of something's missing. It will allow you to live with a mindset of positivity and gratitude."
What does being kind to yourself look like? Is it reading positive affirmations out loud to yourself, taking a nice bubble bath, or letting out a good cry? Whatever comes to mind that can pivot those negative mental stories when we are alone, apply and repeat. These kinds of moments will always come, so practicing your go-to act of kindness will go a long way.
3.Take That Nap, Sis!
"I will admit that this is the most difficult one. We give so much of ourselves to others, that it's hard to find time to pour back into ourselves. Every day we are the employee, the mother, the daughter, the friend, the soror, you know we are all of the things. So this certain self-care technique is beneficial to add to the daily hustle and bustle. I recommend getting a good sleep regimen to get some quality rest," Pamela shared. "Even if it's not a nap and you need to plan for times to eat or exercise, do that for yourself. It is those moments of pause that makes a huge difference for your body's energy. Think about your cell phone. When you see that 10 percent notification come on, we instantly put it on the charger. If we treated our bodies just like we treat our cell phones, we would be able to perform a lot better."
A moment of pause is exactly what we all need. It is easy to lose track of time and it is difficult to imagine where to fit in this moment of pause. But if you are determined to add 15-30 minutes of recharging, you will find a way to fit it in. You can create your own time during the day and there is no wrong answer. It is OK to give yourself permission to relax and it will not stop you from completing the rest of the world's demands of you.
"I don't think I have met anyone that hasn't experienced some sort of trauma. The severity differs, but I do believe that everyone has had some sort of trauma or traumatic event in their life. Oftentimes, we don't know how to deal with that trauma because we don't know who we are. Not knowing who we are doesn't afford us the ability to forgive ourselves for something we did in our past. Forgiving yourself will be beneficial for self-discovery and once you can do it for yourself, you can forgive others."
"Everything that you are now is a sum total of all your experiences. Accepting that you will not rely on your past experiences can help with you reimagining a new definition of how you are showing up for yourself."
Self-reflection and letting go of some of that baggage is important for this one. Just like we said goodbye to 2020, try and say goodbye to things that you have been holding on to that no longer serves you. You may have done something you regret or the way someone mistreated you is still in the back of yor mind. Right now, you owe it to yourself to not let the past have so much power over you. You cannot change what happened. So let us accept what was, acknowledge the heaviness it brings, and be brave enough to leave it exactly where it is in order to move forward.
5.Accepting Life Adjustments Aren't Always BadGiphy
"We got very creative during this pandemic. Us as a people, if we can't do anything else, we are going to make things happen. This pandemic allowed us to be on a time out. To sit and think for a moment on what is important to us. Because of this time out, we have readjusted our priorities a bit. We went back to the basics to try and maintain our relationships and build new ones," she began.
"While the pandemic has been hard for us, our values have shifted and who is to say that is not what we needed? Who is to say that by adjusting our values and accepting what we have zero control over, this doesn't help us in the long run? We started to appreciate things we already have instead of looking for the next thing to gain."
Featured image by Shutterstock
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This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
An author by the name of Alexandra Katehakis once said this about orgasms: “Great spiritual teachers throughout the ages have stated that orgasm is the closest some people come to a spiritual experience because of the momentary loss of self. Why is this true? Because with spiritual sex, you move beyond orgasm into a connection with yourself, your partner, and the divine — recognizing them all as one.”
If it’s counterintuitive to what you’ve ever thought about orgasms, believe it or not, there are even pastors who have said that climaxing is the closest comprehension of heaven on this side of it: it is an extreme kind of bliss that is indescribable and is best experienced between two people who share a sacrificial kind of love for one another.
Although this might seem like a heavy way to intro this particular topic, because the O Method is an orgasm-achieving technique that centers around housing energy, embracing the mental practice of manifestation, and the attempt to achieve the best climaxes ever — it all works together pretty well if you ask me. If you want to take your orgasms to the next level, it’s important that you get out of yourself (to a certain extent), that you see the spiritual role that manifestation plays, and that you are open to trying new things. No doubt about it.
So, let’s learn more about what the O Method is all about and how it very well could be just what you’ve been looking for…even if you didn’t know it.
What Is the “O Method” All About?Giphy
Question: When’s the last time you’ve had an orgasm? Not just any orgasm — I mean a really mind-blowing one (I’ll give you a second to think about it). Now, what if you could manifest that experience to the point where it wasn’t a rare occurrence but something that happened almost every time that you and your partner had sex with each other? How absolutely awesome would that be?
That is pretty much what the O Method is all about — helping you achieve the kind of orgasms (and sexual pleasure, in general) that you desire through the practice of manifestation. And since your biggest sex organ is your brain, it would make perfect sense that even with all of the tips and techniques that you might learn to do as far as your body is concerned, honing in on what you think about is super imperative to sexual fulfillment, too. And that’s just where manifestation comes in.
What If You’ve Never “Manifested” Anything Before?Giphy
Before we get into a quick lesson on manifestation, I think it’s important to mention two things. One, for the cynics, there is a lot of truth in the fact that it’s got some solid spiritual basis to it because even the Good Book says that as a man thinketh in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7). At the same time, that same Good Book tells us that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26). So, while it is always a good idea to focus on good, positive, and productive thoughts, just thinking about them isn’t enough — at some point, you’ve also gotta get out here and DO something (bookmark that).
Okay, with that mini-sermon out of the way, whether it’s in the bedroom or not, manifestation is basically about focusing on something tangible that you desire, harnessing your energy in such a way that your words and actions are directed towards that longing until what you want, well, manifests. For the record, aside from this having a spiritual backing to it, in many ways, science cosigns on manifesting, too. There is actually a scientific process known as neuroplasticity that consists of reframing your mind so that your actions ultimately end up aligning with your goals — and that is another way to look at manifestation.
So, what if you’re someone who has never set out to do a manifestation practice before? No worries. Something that’s awesome about it is there are several different approaches that you can take.
Some people manifest what they want in their lives via:
- Visualization/Creating vision boards
- Writing down their desires before going to bed (so that they can “download” them into their dream state)
- Creating mantras and affirmations
- Applying the 369 Manifestation Method (you can learn more about that here)
- Learning more about what you want to manifest (which brings forth clarity)
This is important to keep in mind because, when it comes to manifesting the types of orgasms that you want to have, as you can see, you can try different manifestation methods until you find one (or ones) that you are truly comfortable with. One that can ease you into the entire process rather smoothly is something known as sex journaling.
How Sex Journaling Can Actually Help You to Have an OrgasmGiphy
As a writer, I’m a big fan of journaling. Mostly because it’s a way to get out some of your deepest thoughts and feelings so that you’re able to really process what is happening inside of you in a private setting. And when it comes to sex journaling, specifically, it’s all about centering yourself on the things sexually that you want to “unpack,” get clarity on or come to some revelations about. For instance, if there’s only been one partner from your past who’s been able to help you achieve the type of orgasms that you wish to manifest, journaling about what makes him different from the other guys can provide you with some solid ah-ha moments.
Or if you need help getting as specific as possible about the sexual experiences that you’re after, journaling can help to make that happen for you — because one thing that manifesting reminds us all to do is be as specific as possible.
Yeah, simply saying, “I want to have better sex” isn’t detailed enough when you want to get your energy to match with your desires — instead, describe how all of your senses should feel in the experience, along with why, that can get you so much closer to achieving your goal. Once those things are documented, you can segue into creating mantras and/or meditation that are based on them. Yeah, sex journaling really is an underrated superpower on a lot of levels (check out “The Art Of Sex Journaling (And Why You Should Do It)”).
5 Tips for Making the O Method Work for YouGiphy
Now that you know more about what the O Method is and how manifestation plays a direct role in its process, let’s talk about five ways to make the O Method truly effective in your own (sex) life.
1. Focus, FULLY, on your feminine energy. What do rose quartz, amethyst, moonstone (which is a Gemini birthstone as well; yes, I’m a Gemini), selenite, and rhodonite all have in common? They’re crystals that help you to go deeper into your divine feminine energy. Traits that are associated with this include compassion, creativity, kindness, gentleness, and sensuality (feminine energy is also accepting and forgiving). If you were to study energy from a biological standpoint, it’s about producing change, responding to stimuli, and having the ability to do what needs to be done (work). So, when it comes to manifesting the kind of orgasms or sexual experiences that you want, using things like your creativity and gentleness in your thoughts and actions can play a role in bringing balance to your partner’s masculinity, which can create a profound sense of pleasure — after all, opposites do attract.
2. Don’t hold back on what it is that you desire. Whenever I interview sex therapists, something that they all say is, a huge mistake that people make as far as sexual satisfaction is concerned is, they have walls up — not just with their partners but even within themselves. Sometimes, there is intimidation, fear, or even shame around what they really want to happen during sex to the point where they aren’t able to channel their energy fully in those directions in order to manifest what they want. For the O Method to work, you can’t let those types of negative emotions hinder you; the more you are able to articulate what you want and how you want it, the better chance you have of making it happen. So yes, get graphic. As graphic as possible.
3. Make manifestation a daily practice. Repetition is important when it comes to manifestation. That’s because the more you declare what you desire (a mantra), get still and think on it (meditation), or look at the “art” that you’ve created surrounding it (visualization), the quicker it becomes a part of you. So yes, make manifestation a daily practice. For instance, if one of your mantras is, “I am going to have intensely passionate orgasms, one right after the other,” don’t just state that 15 minutes before sex is going to happen. Wake up and declare it. Then say it on your lunch break. And again before turning in. The more your thoughts are “streamlined” in this way, the easier it will be for your body to follow suit.
4. Share this practice with your partner. If you were to do even more research on the O Method, one thing that most of the articles will mention is it’s a practice that you can do alone or with your partner. Indeed. However, I just want to make sure that you get into your psyche that great sex is, in part, about good communication. And so, the more comfortable you are sharing with your partner what you are doing as far as the O Method is concerned and what you ultimately want to happen as a result of the practice, the easier it will be for him to “match your energy” — both in and out of the bedroom. And when your partner is on the same page as you? That definitely increases the chances of attaining your sexual desires — exponentially so.
5. Stay in the moment. While I was reading one article on manifestation, I really appreciated something that the author said: manifestation isn’t some supernatural power. In other words, while it can be beneficial, it’s not like you can just think of something, and it instantly appears out of nowhere. Manifesting is a discipline, and it must be accompanied by action, consistency, and patience — this means that you must also practice mindfulness. Meaning, now that you know better what you’re looking to achieve as far as sex is concerned, every time that it transpires, maintain a level of positive energy, remember what your end goal is, and then determine in your mind to enjoy the moments as they come. Remember, manifestation isn’t to add stress…it’s to cultivate clarity.
At the end of the day, the O Method is simply a way of reminding you that your mind plays a huge role in your sexual pleasure, and when you channel it and your energy exactly where you want them both to go, you’ll be amazed what your body is capable of doing…and accomplishing.
So, what kind of orgasm are you wanting to achieve? You’ve got a tool to get you there. USE IT.
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Featured image by Giphy