All posts by Chantel JVR

Understanding OCD: What is It & How Do You Cope With It?

Have you ever found yourself turning around at the next intersection to check that the iron was genuinely switched off? Have you found yourself rearranging your office desk simply because it “bothered you”? Obsessive Compulsive Disorder can excessively disrupt your life and no matter how hard you try to shake the impulsive urges, you find yourself falling back into a pattern of wiping down every counter and stopping to rearrange the flowers in your vase.

OCD is typically described as a form of anxiety which is commonly characterized by unwanted thoughts which seem uncontrollable, repetitive behaviors which seem to become ritualized. If you are an OCD sufferer, you may agree that your intentions are irrational at times. Quite often, OCD creates a mode we get stuck in, like a record on repeat, we find the need to check things over and over again and some even experience other side effects like the urge to scrub your hands until they are raw.

shutterstock_125191847Obsessions – In order for one to understand the root of these obsessions, one needs to realize that they are impulses which reoccur in your mind. The repetitive actions are our way of “attempting” to make the urges go away. very much like a heroine user needing his next fix to silence the voices.

Compulsions The action which makes the obsession go away. The fear of contamination would be a great example of how we deal with our obsessions. I have scrubbed my bathroom from head to toe, only for two little kids to come home from school and trash it.

To others, this may seem normal, but to an OCD sufferer, this is an immense struggle of willpower. This causes huge anxiety, effectively demanding all of my time when I really should just walk away and meditate. 

This sadly is the face of OCD. Continue reading

5 Deal Breaking Questions Everyone Should Ask When In A Relationship

Many of us have been stuck at a crossroad, wondering if things will ever work out. Susan McFadzean sums up her collection of questions which helped her determine what is acceptable, where things are going and whether to stick around. The following summary is a reference of her own life – spiritually, mentally and physically.

“I think that everyone should have their own set of deal-breaker questions that they at least consider from time to time, especially when they are in a new relationship. These are like the alarm bells of time wasting in relationships—a way to see whether you’re in it for the long haul or will you be unwilling to get past these things once the honeymoon phase is over.” – Susan McFadzean

The first and foremost deal breaker – Does the person want pets? Do they like pets?shutterstock_305964209

“Animals are quite literally one of the most important things in my existence so it’s safe to say they will always be around. If he doesn’t like animals and wouldn’t consider changing his mind, I’d say long-term that might be a deal breaker.” Continue reading

8 Interesting Facts About Kelp You’ve Never Heard Before

Kelp commonly flourishes off the Pacific Coast of North America, fast growing and forming forests beneath the ocean’s surface. It is one of the most important parts of the underwater ecosystem.

Kelp is not a plant.

Kelp is actually a species of algae, more specifically part of the Protista Kingdom.


There are no roots.

This organism actually anchors itself to the sea floor, drawing it’s nutrients from the water.

It uses photosynthesis.

Similarly, kelp uses sun to process the nutrients it consumes like plants.

It prefers nutrient rich areas closer to the shoreline 

Rarely growing in waters deeper than 131 feet, it prefers shallow waters with more sunlight.

They may reach lengths of more than 100 feet long.

Once kelp has reached the water’s surface, it keeps growing out, creating floating canopies which keep the environment cool and equally protected. Continue reading

6 Ways To Communicate Through Your Body Language

“It’s not just about what you say, but HOW you say it.”

Something an old sales manager once told me. You can possess all the knowledge on a product or service, but if you come across as a mindless drone, nobody will really listen to you. The trick is to influence people. This comes strongly across in your body language. You don’t just want someone to just listen to you like an educator standing in front of 30 odd bored students, you want to captivate them.

There are 7 easy ways to effectively captivate an audience by simply using the right body language:

Stand straight, not rigid

shutterstock_133459352Your posture is probably the first thing someone notices. You need to focus on standing tall, but not rigid. standing tall exudes confidence and strength.

When you stand rigid looking like you’re in the lineup for a military-grade inspection, people will feel uneasy around you, feeling arrogance as a reflection.

The same applies to standing slouched over – you look weak in appearance. Roll your shoulders back, stand upright and walk in with your head held high.

Handshake etiquette 

In some cultures, handshakes are a huge deal. Something I was taught from an early age was to always introduce yourself with a handshake. The trick here is to not crush your opponent’s hand though, just a firm approach does the trick.

The “firmer than normal” handshake only applies at times where you need to exert some dominance. The boy who picks up your daughter for the first date would be an opportunity to whip out this one! A simple clear handshake shows confidence and puts the message across quite clearly. Continue reading

Are Trees Able To Communicate With Each Other?

Have you watched The Lorax? Yes he may have spoken for the trees, but it turns out, trees can speak for themselves. At the very least, to other trees!

There’s nothing new about different non-human elements of the natural world being able to communicate, as the idea of mycelia (the main body of fungi, as opposed to the more well known bodies of fruiting spores – mushrooms.) having acted as a sort of “old-school” planetary internet system which is still fairly new, serving as a spore of a new type of breed of forestry, ecology and land management.


Most of us tend to ignore the obvious connection between these elements, favoring the micro in place of the macro. The sad reality is, as a society, we are falling prey to the lure of reductionist thinking, considering trees as a commodity instead of an interlinked species of communication.

We assume that we simply replace one tree with another, neglecting the connection. We consider reforestation successful, where large numbers of trees are planted, creating a once diverse interlinked system into a “monocropped farm” of trees. Continue reading

Why Hugging & Talking To Your Children Is Crucial For Their Development

“Remember to hug your kid today” – why have we always been told this?

King Frederick II of Germany performed a very interesting yet saddening trial. 50 infants were selected and he hired foster mothers to take care of them. They were strictly instructed to never cuddle, rock or talk to them. They were made to perform only the most rudimentary tasks. All 50 infants were reported to die – from the failure to thrive under these circumstances.


It was learned, shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall that the orphans within Soviet bloc countries were living under deplorable conditions. Mary Carlson, a researcher from Harvard Medical School studied under an overcrowded Romanian orphanage.

She observed the number of neglected babies lying in their cribs, staff so overworked they were spread thin. Sadly, this lead to the infants only being touched when they were being fed.

The nursery was eerily silent, no crying, no babbling, not even a whimper. She went back two years later and discovered alarmingly high levels of a brain damaging stress hormone. They all seemed to be stunted in growth and a bit backwards in development for their age.

More recently, a young boy named Artyom Savelyev was briefly adopted and then returned to Russia, alone. He was reported to have severe psychological issues, all stemming from his early childhood in the orphanage.

On can surely conclude from these two individual observations that babies who aren’t shown affection not only fail to thrive, but they have been observed to even perish in extreme circumstances. This teaches us something vital – All human beings need love, affection and communication. Continue reading