How to Get Stupidly Happy after Breaking Up

(license)
(license)

According to an article in Upworthy, 28-year-old Cheryln Chong went through a painful breakup with her fiancé and had a difficult time coping and explaining to her friends how she felt. So she made a comic book to illustrate it.

The result was “This is a STUPIDLY HAPPY COMIC BOOK about the Very Real Pain of HEARTBREAK (and how a turtle snapped me out of it).” Parts of the comic can be viewed at the Upworthy link above and more can be accessed through Chong’s email list.

Despite the cheery title, Chong’s comic book addresses the sorrow and despair a person can encounter after a relationship ends.

Teddy bear sitting alone at night on a bench with head bent low as if sad.
Comic books like Chong’s allow us to see ourselves in a different light. (license)

On her website, Chong says, “After a very painful breakup, I made a comic that touched thousands of hearts worldwide. I now want to deliver the essence of this comic to you, in the form of new comics, new healing techniques and tons of laughter.”

The happy comic about heartbreak was appreciated by posters to her website, and Huffington Post reports that Chong made a Christmas breaking up comic too, and now provides bundles with tips for 30 days of healing, social interaction with others in similar situations, and her comic books.

Dog sits with head on the floor. He is wearing reindeer antlers and red nose costume.
Holidays present extra challenges for the recently brokenhearted. (license)

According to the article, Chong said that holidays and the expected cheer can make break ups more difficult because others may not be as understanding as you wish.

“I wanted this illustrated guidebook to help with just that. If you’re brokenhearted, it really is time to take back your damn holiday!” she said.

Man hugs guitar tightly.
Doing something you enjoy is one way to love yourself. photo credit: my favorite girl 🙂 via photopin (license)

Taking a lesson from Chong’s books, the healing process begins with self love.

If you’re struggling with emotional challenges, Emotions Anonymous provides their twelve-step self-help program online (click on “EA’s Basic Pamphlet” at the bottom of the page).

According to Emotions Anonymous’ health care pamphlet for the Medical Community, “Our aim is to help anyone with any emotional problem get their emotions back under control so they can make healthy choices in life.”

Man hugs a poodle.
An example of kindness: giving a hug. Not only does it make both parties feel good, others feel good seeing it! photo credit: Day 56 – Puppy Love via photopin (license)

Integral to their program is committing random acts of kindness.

Ideas for random acts of kindness:

  • pay for the next person’s meal at a restaurant or drive thru,
  • put money in someone’s parking meter if they’re running out of time,
  • write a thank you note to someone for something they did,
  • give a gift package for someone who’s homeless, including socks, a bus pass, batteries, toiletries, a book, and some snacks in wrappers, or
  • deliver care packages for a group of children at an orphanage.
Heart circle that reads Pay It Forward.
Paying it forward is a way to encourage the spread of acts of kindness. photo credit: Pay it forward via photopin (license)

When someone catches you being good and wants to return the favor, tell them to pay it forward. Maybe they’ll show kindness to someone who is experiencing a breakup.

If you or anyone you know can’t find strategies for relief or feels suicidal, you or they can contact the National Suicide Hotline online or call 1 (800) 273-8255.

According to their website, “By calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) you’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7. . . You will be helped by a skilled, trained crisis worker who will listen to your problems and will tell you about mental health services in your area. ”

Source: The heartbreaking reality of heartbreak, beautifully told in a 16-part comic.

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San Antonio prepares for the world’s first accessible splash park

According to a recent press release, Morgan’s Wonderland officials have broken ground multi-million-dollar expansion to their theme park. The new addition, Morgan’s Inspiration Island, will be “the world’s first ultra-accessible splash park where guests of all ages and abilities can get wet and have fun together.”

Girl plays with water.
At Morgan’s Inspiration Island, some water features will be heated to accommodate guests with temperature sensitivities.

“In many ways, creating Morgan’s Inspiration Island feels a lot like it did when our team designed and built Morgan’s Wonderland with special-needs individuals in mind  – it’s never been done before,” said Gordon Hartman, CEO of The Gordon Hartman Family Foundation.

Morgan's Wonderland train
Morgan’s Wonderland’s train is accessible for wheelchairs.

Morgan’s Wonderland is a 25-acre fully accessible, non-profit theme park that opened in San Antonio, Texas in 2010. It’s completely wheelchair-accessible. In just six seasons, the park has welcomed more than 500,000 guests from 50 states, and visitors from 54 other countries.

Individuals of all ages with special needs receive free admission, as well as children under three. Prices for tickets range from $11 for children, seniors, and military personnel, to $17 for adults. Group rates are available.

According to the park’s website, it “features more than 25 elements and attractions including rides, playgrounds, gardens, an eight-acre catch-and-release fishing lake, 18,000-square-foot special-event center, 575-seat amphitheater, picnic area and rest areas throughout the park.”

The theme park was “inspired by their 21-year-old daughter, Morgan.  Her soaring spirit despite physical and cognitive challenges sparked within the Hartmans a deep desire to create Morgan’s Wonderland, a haven not only for those with special needs but also for their families, caregivers, friends and the general public,” according to the park’s website.

Morgan’s Wonderland has limited winter hours, but many events planned to celebrate the holidays, with rides open. Click here the park’s holiday schedule.

 

Virtual Reality Relieves Pain? This Company Says Yes, It Can

According to a company website, Virtual Reality, or VR, is a pain reliever. VR is the same process used to create realistic experiences while playing video games.

“Over a decade of research and clinical studies have shown that immersive virtual reality can significantly reduce pain, relieve stress, and build resilience,” according to the DeepStream VR website.

They even provide a bibliography of supporting research.

Man wearing glasses for virtual reality visual experience and gloves to monitor his heart.
The typical virtual reality display can be expanded to fight pain better, according to DeepStream VR CEO, Howard Rose. (license)

Their products include items needed for a VR experience, such as the wearable headset–called a VR Display, a partnership with a company that sells laptops that work well with the technology, and wearable biosensors that, according to the website, “let your heart control your experience.”

In an interview, DeepStream VR’s CEO, Howard Rose, said pain is more than what you feel. “The more stressed out we are and the more out-of-control we feel, the more amplified the pain. So pain is not just a matter of signals going to your brain. Your brain also has an active role in how you experience pain,” he said.

VR works as more than a distraction from thoughts and worries surrounding pain. “So, simply put, the mechanism for virtual reality pain relief is that our brain really only has a certain amount of cognitive power, and attention acts like a gate. The more we can direct your attention away from the pain, the less pain you experience,” Rose said.

Picture of sunset over the water at a beach.
If you could be here, would it reduce your pain? (license)

The elaborate VR experience occupies space that was formerly used to process pain and reduces pain, because, Rose said, it is “engaging and directing your mental focus. When you’re in [the virtual reality program] COOL!, you’re moving through a landscape and there are things to do; there are otters, and there’s stuff to play with; there’s a lot to engage your mind and engage your focus. That’s all working to absorb as much of your mental energy in the virtual experience as possible, so you have less brain power to focus on pain.”

Rose said that people with third-degree burns are an example of those that this technology can help, because “Safe doses of narcotics are not enough to relieve all that pain.” What happens when there isn’t enough medicine to relieve pain–or when the body can’t handle the side effects from narcotics?

Is it really as simple as mind over matter? Perhaps with a little mental help.

Acute and chronic pain have been studied with VR, and Rose said that VR studies are showing it offers the most help to the people who need it most. Since a person can’t have VR 24 hours for chronic pain, they developed a different process.

Woman wears virtual reality visual headset and holds hand controls to control what she does during the event.
For chronic pain, focus on activities can reduce pain, according to Rose. (license)

“So the idea is that we use VR as a way to enable people to get moving, to get up and active, to engage… so in the short term they get a benefit from pain relief akin to what happens with acute pain, but in the long run our goal is to help them be more resilient and pain-free long after they take the VR helmet off,” Rose said.

Path in the woods. Light shines on the path ahead.
During a meditative walk for chronic pain, participants need to focus to keep in the experience, according to Rose. (license)

One experience used with those who have chronic pain is the Virtual Meditative Walk through a forest with audio guided meditation. “The person walks on a treadmill and sees a virtual environment projected on a big screen. A biosensor measures the person’s level of stress and anxiety, and that data feeds into the virtual world to do biofeedback. So when the biosensor says the stress level goes up, the virtual world begins to fog over, reminding the person to calm their mind and relax through the pain,” Rose said.

The DeepStream VR administrative team brings two VR veterans who have been working with the technology for the 20 years–Howard Rose and Ari Hollander, and a Chief Scientist, Dan Shapiro, with 30 years’ experience with artificial intelligence applications and games.

For now, the company can set up health care providers and researchers with their software and VR system. They can’t provide hardware advising and support for individuals who don’t already have VR systems, but can provide COOL! to individuals who already have VR systems.

You can follow the DeepStream VR blog here.

 

 

 

Houston Commission on Disabilities Meeting will Swear in New Commissioners

Picture of Houston skyline showing highway and tiered and glass skyscrapers.
Like Houston, most mayors have a committee for people with disabilities. The committee can usually be accessed at the mayor’s website. (license)

The Houston Commission on Disabilities will meet from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 10.

According to the mayor’s website, “The Commission is responsible for advising and making recommendations to the mayor, City Council, department directors and the individual designated by the mayor to head the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities.”

The month’s agenda includes the swearing in of seven new commissioners. Michael Mcculloch will discuss the possibility of a Disability Pride Parade. There will be time for public comment  after the presentation. The commission meets every second Thursday of the month from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., unless otherwise noted.

ASL interpreters and CART services will be available for the meeting.

The meeting will be held at the Multi-Service Center, 1475 West Gray, and Houston, TX 77019.

Review the meeting agenda here.

Source: Houston Commission on Disabilities

Premiere Tonight, Dec. 8: “Born this Way,” a Series about People with Developmental Disabilities

“The doctors asked her if she wanted to have a abortion of me. I could be out there dead,” a young man tells a group of people. That he has Down Syndrome is the detail that makes the doctors’ suggestion especially chilling.

Father holds daughter who has Down Syndrome.
Parents and children with Down Syndrome are often discouraged by limitations created by stereotypes. (license)

He is just one of the cast members of a new TV show premieres tonight, Tuesday Dec. 8 on A&E® Network at 9 p.m. CT. The docu-series will cover the lives of seven individuals with Down Syndrome.

Born This Way is an A&E® Network and Bunim/Murry Productions series. There are six, hour-long episodes.

You can preview the series with captions here.

According to the series’ YouTube channel, the show will explore the lives of seven adults with Down Syndrome “as they pursue their passions and lifelong dreams, explore friendships, romantic relationships and work, all while defying society’s expectations.”

One of the show’s stars, entrepreneur and public speaker Megan Bomgaars, has started her own business, Megology. Her website sells hand-dyed scarves and tote bags.

Also on Bomgaars’ website is her video, “Don’t Limit Me,” which is a message to teachers about the need to set high expectations for students with disabilities. The video has more than 338,000 views.

Room with people in meeting. Floor reads Disability is NOT inability.
Bomgaar’s video implores teachers to set high (not impossible) expectations for all students. (license)

The show also portrays their parents and explores difficult topics, such as having children, getting married, and what happens when their parents are no longer living.

Bomgaars’ mother asks, “She needs to be independent, but what happens when I die?” Can Bomgaar find a way to have it all?

Viewers will discover the show challenges their thinking.

Hey, Beautiful! Yes, You!

Note reads, "Little love is all it takes."Dear Reader,

You’re beautiful. Don’t ever think any less. Thank you for being here. Without you, our words would have no meaning. Without you, our blog would have no reason for being and would cease to exist. We’re better for knowing you.–Staff at the Sign Shares’ blog

Our love note to you was inspired by not one, but two, people who are sharing random love notes and letters–with strangers.

The first source of inspiration was Hyong Li, the author of 100 Love Notes. To honor the memory of his wife, Catherine, who passed away last year from ovarian cancer, Li wrote 100 love notes and handed them out to strangers. The letters chronicle the couple’s romance, their fight against cancer, and events after her death.

Each note encouraged strangers to share love notes with others, according to an article from Upworthy.

Examples of Yi’s love notes from his website:

  • #68 Beloved, so that you will never forget your love and the mother of your children, I got you socks for life.–Dearest
  • #71 Dearest, I see the beautiful scars you carry in your warrior’s crusade to win your life.–Beloved
  • #96 Beloved, the sky is full of stars invisible by day. Look up when you think of me. I am somewhere up there. Find me.–Dearest

On his Facebook page, Yi encourages people to write love notes to others, who we assume will always be around, but may not be.Post It note reads: "Honey, I always forget to tell you that I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I heart you."

“Today, I invite you to take a moment to honor the loves in your life… Please join me in writing a love note or an expression of love with someone you love and share it on social media with the hashtag #100LoveNotes.”

You can also share stories, photos, and videos on the Facebook page here.

On Facebook, Hyong Li says that 100 Love Notes has now been on every continent–even Antarctica.

Li also posted about another person doing something similar.

Woman holds cardboard sign that reads, "Smile! Smiley face. Trying to start over. Pls help! Bless you!"
There is more that we can give besides money. We can give of ourselves.

According to a Reader’s Digest article, author Hannah Brencher  decided to write love letters to strangers when she saw a woman who likely had financial need on the train. By the time Brencher had written the letter, the woman was gone, so she determined to give letters to random strangers.

“I left the letters everywhere I could. I was playing Juliet to the city,” Brencher said in the article.

To let strangers know the note was for them, Brencher came up with a simple beginning: “If you find this letter … then it’s for you.

Recipients of her love letters are now sharing with others.

On Brencher’s website, More Love Letters, one love letter recipient posted: “This winter has really been taking a toll on my mental health, but this morning I came across this note. I read it on my way home from dropping my daughter off at school, and I maaaay have unexpectedly burst into tears in the elevator. ” Love letters tied with red ribbon and one letter with pen.

“I started More Love Letters three years ago and we’ve become the only global organization out there that blesses individuals–young and old– with bundles of love letters during a time in need,” Brencher says.

Right now, the More Love Letters website offers three ways to get involved:

If you find this post…then it’s for you, Dear Reader:

Thank you for reading this post. You had other things to do today, but you chose this. It warms our heart to know there are people in the world like you. Please share your wonderfulness with others and write and give your love notes or letters with those you love or random strangers to spread the love.–Staff at the Sign Shares’ blog

Note that reads: "All I ever wanted was to see you smiling."

Source: 100 Love Notes

Deaf Mom Learns Strategy to Talk to Teen with Super Nanny

When a mother who is Deaf has difficulty communicating with her daughter, Super Nanny Jo Frost teaches her a strategy that gets communication rolling–validation.

When at first her daughter yells at her and storms out, Frost tells the mother that her daughter needs to communicate freely and be responded to so that she feels validated.

What is validation?

Psychology Today addressed this topic in a parenting article, “Reflect, Validate, Repeat as Necessary.” The title presents the steps of effective listening, which validates the other person’s needs: reflect (after receiving their communication), validate, repeat.

According to the article, “Validating someone’s thoughts or emotions involves accepting that what they have said is valid for them, even if we do not agree with them. So, it involves focusing on the emotional content of a statement or conversation and reflecting that, rather than the details.”

Whether the parent is Deaf or hearing, sometimes paying attention to incorrect, shocking, or accusatory statements from a teen can be a challenge, but Super Nanny US hits upon a key validation point. Agreement isn’t necessary, but allowing the other person to communicate their needs and letting them know you understand their what they’re saying is.

On the Super Nanny US segment, while watching the validation process, an unexpected side effect occurs–the daughter signs more to her mother when she realizes her mother isn’t interrupting her communication.

Since communication is a two-way process, giving more often results in receiving more willingness from others to sign with parents.

Daughter Storms Out Of Emotional Talk With Deaf Parents – Supernanny US – YouTube