Tag Archives: #MentalHealth

Mental Health Gamified. Why I Talk to a Finch

Meet Peter, my Wellness Finch friend!

Peter is my Finch friend. Don’t believe me?

See that.
UBER BESTIES!

This is an app called Finch. It’s a nearly complete wellness app in one adorable, fun, motivating package.

The premise is that you begin to set small goals and gain energy to hatch an egg. Then you name your new baby Finch and personalize them. You then continue working with your goals and the program to gain more energy for your Finch to grow. Rainbow Stones are earned by achievements and are your currency to personalize your little friend.

Shut up and take my Stones!
Perfect for his new sporty style!

While Peter’s on a sporty health kick at the moment. They have had many phases over our four plus months together.

Peter’s King of Love look.
When they got into thrifting.
Were into fluffy.
Went to Bali to celebrate Pride.
Obligatory hippie phase.

You can start Journeys (basically habit building) in different categories, such Mindfulness, fitness and health, work life balance, a cleaner home, etc. You then add goals/habits to hit on scheduled days over time. Earn rewards from the daily practice goals and leveling up on your Journeys!

Some of my Journeys with Peter.
Suggestions to get you started.
Tons of suggested content to explore and mine.

The app has nearly a full range of wellness content in one space. Breathwork, movement, Mindfulness, loving kindness, gratitude practices and journaling. Instead of twenty apps you ignore, you can keep one well. Bonus extra memory on your device.

Here is some of what lies inside each category.

Reflections are writing exercises to help you to see yourself and the world more clearly. Or just to Rant or remember something funny.
One of my favorites. The breathing exercises for any situation.
Ambient noise tracks with different themes that you can customize.
Ways to practice loving kindness in your life.
Do a quick mental health check in.
Ways to get your body stretched and moving. Even on the couch!
The Panic zone is useful. Especially the Rant feature. Helpline is a touch of the screen away. For tough days, you can choose goals like Get Out of Bed. “We’ve all been there,” the app assures.
Suggestions based on time of day, mood, interests.
Some of my goals with their Journey in a different color.

The more content you explore and use, the more energy and goals you hit towards each of your Journeys. And more goodies to spoil your Finch.

Leveling up my Journey towards not living in a pig sty.
Woo! New Tee and Rainbow Stones to spend!

Everyday you build up your Finch’s energy so they can go out exploring, learn and grow! Yes, grow. The farther you progress, the older your Finch grows. They go from a Infant, to Child, to *gasp* Teenager, to Adult. This is the most fraught process for me as a Finch parent.

Here’s a peek at Peter exploring.

He’s exploring the Sonoran Desert now.

When they come home, they have questions.

*Click to expand.

Yes, the personality of this little creature depends on you! Your actions, habits, and responses to them affect the growth of their character. (No pressure.)

From 9 o’clock, clockwise: Security, Curiosity, Tenacity, Logic, Compassion, and Extroversion. I’ve worked hard to give Peter the Security and Compassion they need to fill out their Personality.
After they become an adult, they leave Finchie Forest. I sent my spoiled bird to Bali!
Your answers also can control their likes and dislikes. What can I say? It’s hard to get kids to eat broccoli.

I’m noting here that your information is stored in your device, not uploaded to a server, in order to ensure your privacy is protected. You can download save files, to reload to another device. Because the app is looking at you too!

It judges your moods with check-ins and tags in your Reflections and Goals.
Note when I had Covid in June. Got disgusted into cleaning. And my Adventure of Mindful Walking and the Lost Cell Phone with Good Bluetooth.
You get updates on you and your Finch’s progress, mood changes, goals hit, and what’s lifting you up or weighing you down.

I know it seems like a lot to process, but the more you use it the more benefit you get. Especially as you start to explore the reports on yourself. You also learn how to manage your goals to better suit your needs, while handling triggers, anxiety, depression and even trauma.

If you’re wondering, is it social? Heck yeah. But it’s controlled by you and your prospective Finch Friend. Two users must share their codes to connect. Soon you have the beginnings of a Wellness support circle!

Peter’s friends right now.
Suggestions on supporting your Finch Friends!
Choose a Finch Friend.
I am a big fan of sending dance.
And more XP rewards!
You can even hang and explore with Friends.

I went to this length to cover a digital pet wellness app because it has helped me put in the work towards all of my goals and positive habit building. Finch app helps me integrate and track my goals, augments my therapy, and teaches me coping strategies. But above all, it’s fun!

A gamified approach to anything is a successful approach. Think of why you play games. Challenges. Quests. Rewards. Little celebrations with special achievements, awards, unlocks. Character/avatar creation and personalization. Exploration. Work, practice, time. It all comes from the mindset that drives you to play a game!

My absolute favorite goal. I go totally Saul Goodman/Jimmy McGill on this one. And it works!

Life is frustrating and difficult. But gamifying your outlook turns disappointing moments into learning and the drive to keep at the Boss Battle of life. Also, as the Finch app reminds you, you can try to climb Il Duomo, build that base, slay that dragon, renew your quest for global supremacy again tomorrow. The one thing about life, though, is you can’t simply rage quit. And that’s where your Finch comes in.

Remembering you have an adorable little friend who relies on you, nevermind your actual friends and loved ones, keeps you in the game. So, I hope you give the Finch app a try.

Premium is $6 month. But the resources and fun make it worth it. If you cannot afford a Premium subscription, you can get a Finch Guardian sponsor, or win a raffle for free months. Finch app is family friendly, allows you to customize or change names, pronouns, colors, skin tones, and emojis to suit you. But really, if you can’t love yourself, your Finch helps you learn to love yourself through a loving an adorable friend. Amazing concept for my new favorite app!

Peter’s tired now. But he’ll be there for me tomorrow to help me care for myself because I care about this little digital bird.

Use Finch app? Want to join me in normalizing wellness and help one another? Contact me here! Let’s be Finchie Friends!

– JL βœŒπŸΌπŸ’šπŸ––πŸΌπŸ£

Check out my Instagram!! And connect with me on Facebook here and here.

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I’m Not Perfect and So Can You!

Jack Lemmon comes clean.

Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon! Marilyn Monroe! Jazz! Gangsters! Billy Wilder directing! Cross dressing!? Oh yes, Some Like it Hot, 1959, has it all. Plus a heavy dose of humanity to spare. Lemmon and Curtis play jazz musicians who witness a mob hit, disguise themselves as women, and join a travelling girls only band. Only, Tony Curtis immediately falls for the band’s singer, Monroe. He sets Lemmon up with older millionaire Osgood, at a Florida resort, so he can sneak Monroe on board Osgood’s yacht. Only, Lemmon suddenly likes all the attention Osgood lavishes on him. Curtis falls in love with Monroe, and they all gotta get out of town when the mafia comes for a convention, and their cover is blown.

As Curtis, Monroe, Lemmon all pile into Osgood’s boat to escape to his yacht, the truth comes out. Curtis admits he’s just another lousy musician, and Monroe loves him anyway. While Osgood presses Lemmon for marriage. Exasperated, Lemmon eventually pulls off his wig, declaring, “I’m a man!” To which Osgood smilingly replies, “Well, nobody’s perfect.”

Through all the wacky, frenetic energy of the film, runs a deep vein of humanity. Nobody’s perfect.

I always say we all get at least one vice or major flaw. And if none are apparent, that’s the person with the thumb collection in their crawl space (definitely not thinking of Mike Pence, but Mike Pence!). Those are the dangerous types.

I’m here to announce I’m a nobody who is not perfect. My vice? Vanity. Shoes down in the heels? Emergency! Hair looking scrubby? Pull out the clippers! And yes I DO need a new eye shadow pallette! I’m getting exercise because it makes me feel good (I want to lose weight). Walking and hiking and swimming are great (I hate work out reps). Yoga is its own reward (it rarely makes me sweat).

I can motivate myself to do just about anything out of vanity. Even turn 29 for a decade straight. But let’s look at this “fault” from the other side, shall we?

You silly!

There is a certain part of me that is concerned for how I present myself to others. Which isn’t a bad impulse left alone. How many of the above behaviors just keep up my self-esteem, aside from the actual benefits?

But it’s more than that. This is an urge rooted deep inside me. So, aside from shoes, hair and skin, vanity, my sense of self worth and esteem, force me to reckon with my shortcomings all the time. Writers write. Get writing, Jess! Good people follow the Golden Rule, so hop to it, me! You ingrate! Luke Skywalker cared. Well, I care.

He saved the frickin Galaxy!

Luckily, I’m also lazy! Because I’d probably overdo the vanity thing. I love to have fun. Laugh. Smile. Eat. Drink. Be merry. But even that gets tiring sometimes, and I need to become a hermit for awhile.

When you know yourself, you know your faults and failings. But I am going to suggest that someone super smart, maybe Jung, possibly a Greek? OK. Let’s just say it’s me suggesting that learning to embrace our human failings is the only way to be a better writer, friend, jazz musician, and human being. Because our “faults” are simply our qualities gone wild.

Curtis and Lemmon as “Josephine” and “Daphne,” gone wild.

So when you can identify your faults, which most folks are really good at, you can also zone in on your strengths. Something that’s truly challenging to most people. And if someone denies they have faults, just stand well back and protect your thumbs!

Hey, I’m just a Jersey girl. I vacationed in Wildwood, “Down the Shore.” I went to crummy schools. I had one nightmare of a marriage, and done dumb, hurtful things. But somehow I’ve achieved some things I’m truly proud of during my time here. Leaning into that mixture of confused, flawed humanity, yet desire to be better and do better makes me who I am. And I’m OK with me. Nobody’s perfect.😁

– JL βœŒπŸΌπŸ’šπŸ––πŸΌπŸ˜‡πŸ˜ˆπŸ˜‡

Check out my Instagram!! And connect with me on Facebook here and here.

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Buy me a coffee, help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and fuel the good fight.

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One Year of Trauma Therapy 2. Learning to Look Forward

Here’s to shedding the weight of the past.

This is my new minimalist art. Last week it was “The White Album” and White whales, this week it is all about black because it is slimming, “I have that which passeth shew,” ” ’cause black is how I feel on the inside,” and all the reasons cited by Johnny Cash. Pick one.

Last week I took a trip through my first year of trauma informed therapy. This week is more challenging. Looking forward! I say challenging because of all I have gone through — particularly the reason I am still writing from a hotel room — getting run out of town by psychotic neckbeards. But also because I was stuck. Weighted down. Angry, listless, and depressed by turns. I had lost any sense of who I was or was becoming.

A perspicacious woman once told me I was very “intentional.” I am a fan of plans and planning. It is very much like only wearing black. What should I wear? Black. What should I do? Check the plan.

We plan and the gods laugh. I know. I am Greek.  And inevitably your black clothes will stop matching as they fade. Last January I had no reason to think I would be living in a hotel room.  But I did begin the work of thinking about where I was in life, and where I wanted to be. And, as an unexpected side effect, I added color to my closet.

I wanted to look and feel like myself again. The Pandemic weight upset my self-image. I was depressed. And that made me feel and look old. Even my posture had become hunched. And no amount of black tunic tops was hiding anything as they got scrubby looking and dull.

So I started a mens sana in corpore sano  (healthy mind in a healthy body) journey that helped push me to think more about where I was going, and aided me through the unending trauma that was nearly every day since July back at the former [ducking] house. And I got some clothes…with color!

I went back to yoga. I first got into yoga and meditation as a teen when I was reading a lot about The Beatles. I was a good gymnast as a kid. Yoga seemed to come naturally. And I took two semesters of yoga in college with a great teacher. And it worked hand in glove with my anatomy classes (yay art school).

But I really committed last year, and I have done about 669 yoga classes since then. Maybe half were Sun Salutations, but still!

Yoga means “practice.” So you could think of all life as yoga, as practice. And like life, it is not static. Neither is it all “aaaaah.” I curse plenty at the lovely Australian woman on my favorite yoga app. Yoga requires focus. You work with your mind, breath, and body. Even in stillness, your breath moves you, as you hold your mind and body in gentle intention.

That gentle intention is called your “sankalpa,” and it took time me to find. Simply, a sankalpa is a short sentence in the first person, present tense that signifies your reason for any practice, it can be “I keep my floors clean,” “I do not drink alcohol,” or “I bring peace to the world.”

It is both a heartfelt desire and a promise, and it is gentle. I spent a lot of time in meditation and yoga nidra searching for my sankalpa. And it turned out to be very simple. It was as strong and flexible as my body and mind were becoming. And it was always there. But life, past experiences, traumas, hang ups, difficulties of all sorts crusted it over, and I became hardened to even myself.

Through my work in therapy, and the work we did to find the softening of the the body that allows us to truly listen to ourselves, I came to see what I had forgotten. And my journey now consists in continuously bringing my mind back to my sankalpa, what I give myself as a purpose, my heart’s desire, my promise to myself.

Of course, a promise is nothing. Air, pixels, ink in a certain form and order. Unless you honor yourself and the one you make the promise to. In this case, both parties are you. But having a practice, a promise, and are committed, gently, to honoring yourself helps.

You respect and honor yourself. And you honor your promises. Practice that for a while. Sit with it. Move with it. Breathe into and through it. And suddenly old Polonius’ advice to his son Laertes — that if one is true and honest with oneself, you will be honest and true to others — will change your way of seeing and being.

Your sankalpa is your own. It is not shared. Please do not ask your yoga class crush, “So, what is your sankalpa?” Protect what is precious, gently.

And you thought the whale post was esoteric! I did go through a change, a shedding of mental, emotional, physical weight. Of crusty old thoughts and feels. And of pilled up black tunic tops with bleach stains.

I have bright pink, purple, and blue yoga tops! Pink walking shoes?! And you cannot go around in yoga pants (now with pockets!) without tennis socks in fun colors. And you know what else? I can still just order five packs of everything from Amazon, and switch out dirty yoga top to clean yoga top of different color! Fancy.

So, after a lot of softening, strengthening, shedding, and clarity seeking: I decided on my sankalpa. And here I am, still in my hotel room, living it now. Practice can only lead to exploring where this will lead me, but I have a general idea, gods willing and the crick don’t rise.

So, that is where I am, and where I am looking to go. The woman who helped lead me here, my therapist of the last year, with whom I have to part ways. In her shining smile and laugh dwelt hundreds of happy fairies. Her gentleness, boundless joy and compassion, and halo of light around her blond hair, made me think of Galadriel in The Lord of the Rings. And she did possess a light, like the bottled starlight the Elven Lady of Lorien gave to Frodo to light his way when all other lights went out. It is as awake as a plunge into ice water; a diamond reflecting warmth, strength, kindness, and love, gently.

Thank you for everything Haley. Including the homework! I love professional students. I am looking forward to this new stage of my life. I went through an enforced crisis. I know what I can do. And I have every confidence that something is bound to turn up!

– JL βœŒπŸΌπŸ’šπŸ––πŸΌπŸ’πŸŽΈβ„οΈ

Check out my Instagram!! And connect with me on Facebook here and here.

Got a COMMENT? Click below! I love the feedback. If you like what you’ve read, TAP the Star LIKE button below. LIKE and SHARE on Facebook. Follow and share on Twitter


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