People’s Choice #8: Self-Help Critiques

For this week’s People’s Choice, you’ll be reading class blogs on your individual research of Self-Help Critiques and choosing your favorite post.

Comment here to register your vote, & don’t forget to include the name of your classmate, the link to their post, and your rationale for choosing it. Due Thursday, 4/22 by 9am. Happy reading/voting

Schizophrenia Lost in a World of Mindfulness

Case study

When it comes to schizophrenia the average person knows little to no knowledge other than the common insult muttered “They’re crazy”. Schizophrenia is a Greek term meaning split mind. I choose to look into three articles that critiqued intergrading meditation with this kind of mental disorder because of the grounds of obtaining such a disorder per say. It chooses you rather than you develop it through experiences like many other mental illnesses. 

My first article I choose was  NEGATIVE SIDE EFFECTS OF MEDITATION: By Sarah McLean. Sarah goes on to mention the hype we have heard before, but then highlights something rather interesting that I did not consider before. She states that some instructors aren’t trained to teach or have ever meditated themselves. I find this rather alarming as how will they know the feelings experienced. Even though everyone has a unique experience they should have a base line of knowledge. After going over the uses of meditation such as relaxing, stress , among others she makes a rather intriguing statement. “This is the yoga, the “union” of one’s awareness with all that is.”(McLean) Being the goal of meditation. She goes on in her article to list a variation of negative side affects which I found very transparent of her. The side effects she listed are but not limited to insomnia, mania, hallucinations, depression, and withdrawal from life.  Most of what I just listed are signs or symptoms of schizophrenia. One must think if these symptoms already have the potential to exist then one can only speculate meditation will increase those odds. I do however appreciate how she added tips and a list of questions at the end of her article to keep in mind. 

Negative Side Effects of Meditation & Questions Your Should Ask Your Teacher (

My second  article I choose was Warnings about Meditation (Precautions and Negative Side Effects) In Meditation by Chris A. Parker. This author broke down his article by medical and mental side effects one could possible experience due to meditation. Psychosis is one of the many the author listed that can be drawn back to schizophrenic individuals would probably experience the most. Among psychosis he talks about mental atrophy, using meditation as an escape , and hypersensitivity to light and sound. A close friend of mind with schizophrenia would fall in all of those named categories. He carefully explains each issue and the people it may possible target. I found this article to be straight forward and persist at establishing a platform anyone can understand.   

Warnings about Meditation (Precautions and Negative Side Effects) (  

My final article was Mindfulness Meditation for Schizophrenia Disorders by Paul Harrison. This research was conducted in Berlin. During fall 2017 to fall 2018 twenty-seven interviews took place.  He goes on to explain 13% of the psychiatric hospital in Germany is people with schizophrenia and breaks down the symptoms. ”  Schizophrenia is often treated with psychological support, psychopharmacology, and cognitive behavioral therapy exercises. However, due to financial constraints many people are unable to receive these treatments.”(Harrison) Thus explaining why some would turn to mindfulness as a treatment. I enjoyed how he broke down the definition of mindfulness and the history and origin. Although I found the results of the experiment very vague none of them had increased negative side effects that they reported. Some of them admitted to being more self-aware and better understanding. This was too small of a group for it to be indefinite, but I am glad it helped the individuals it did.  

Mindfulness Meditation for Schizophrenia Disorders (


Although I choose two negative and one positive critique I am not totally against trying alternative methods as I mentioned a good friend of mine that happens to be a Harvard University graduate has schizophrenia and I’ve seen first hand how opposing medication can be with trial and error. There may be positive options depending on the case with meditation. I think more trials or selective meditation could be used in another group to show further success.  Marcel Armstrong is the friend I spoke about and writes first hand about his struggle with meditation and schizophrenia in his book   “Living Thoughts: Glimpses into the Altered Reality of Schizophrenia”. He was it available for free in kindle format. Link provided below. Living Thoughts: Glimpses into the Altered Reality of Schizophrenia eBook: Armstrong, Marcel: Kindle Store


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People’s Choice #7: Mindfulness and Its Critiques

For this week’s People’s Choice, you’ll be reading class blogs on Mindfulness & Its Critiques and choosing your favorite post.

Comment here to register your vote, & don’t forget to include the name of your classmate, the link to their post, and your rationale for choosing it. Due Thursday, 4/15 by 9am. Happy reading/voting

Mindfulness and the critiques

First off, I would like to start by saying that I believe anyone practicing mindfulness should read the critiques of it. I feel like the critiques are a very important component to properly using mindfulness. In the first article “The Mindful Revolution” author Katie Pickert discusses the benefits of Mindfulness from a scientific and evidentiary place. The author discusses her experience of practicing mindfulness in her MSBR class, she explains in the end, after doing the class she did not practice meditation much, but she did learn great lessons out of it that she applied to everyday life. I believe that is an important point of meditation and mindfulness, not to stress yourself out worrying about doing the practice, rather than appreciating the lessons you learn when you do it. She said through her MSBR class she learned to take in the moment more, instead of picking up her phone every time she had the slightest bit of free time. She also spoke about how different mindfulness programs, that show evidence in helping pain patients, Marines, and busy CEOs. Using Steve Jobs as an example the article states “(Apple co-founder Steve Jobs said his meditation practice was directly responsible for his ability to concentrate and ignore distractions.)”. The majority of people know who Steve Jobs was, and using his name I find was somewhat in a name-dropping way.

Honestly, the critique articles were my favorite because they match exactly how I been feeling as I do the class meditation assignment. In the first critique article “The mindfulness conspiracy”, Robert Purser discusses what I believe to be the main critique of new age meditation and mindfulness. Yes, there is evidence that mindfulness can decrease stress levels which leads to a more focused mind. But the problem is not that we are stressed, the problem is why we are stressed. The articles speak on how capitalism creates the problem of stress and answers this issue with the capitalism of mindfulness. There are tons of books, articles, programs, apps, retreats, etc, that focus on mindfulness, most gain a profit from their teaching. Purser states ” Instead of encouraging radical action, mindfulness says the causes of suffering are disproportionately inside us, not in the political and economic frameworks that shape how we live”.  In the article, Purser agrees mindfulness does help, but blaming ourselves as the individual for the reasoning behind high-stress levels, deflects from the truth of the matter. A quote I feel really sums up his point is “However, mindfulness programs do not ask executives to examine how their managerial decisions and corporate policies have institutionalized greed, ill will, and delusion. Instead, the practice is being sold to executives as a way to de-stress, improve productivity and focus, and bounce back from working 80-hour weeks. They may well be “meditating”, but it works like taking an aspirin for a headache. Once the pain goes away, it is business as usual. Even if individuals become nicer people, the corporate agenda of maximizing profits does not change.” Through our meditation assignment for the class I realize yes I feel calmer in the act of deep breathing and soft music, but realities of work and assignments set in as soon as I finish, so is it pointless?

The last article presents a critique that I haven’t really heard of, but am also experiencing with meditating. “The problem of mindfulness” by Sahanika Ratnayake discuss the point of how mindfulness, promotes not thinking at all and learning to just let your thoughts pass by without thinking too deep into them. But the problem with that is you never get to the root of the issue, why are you feeling that way, why is that thought constantly popping up? I would compare it similar to when you have a virus on your laptop and ads keep popping up. Yes, you can continue time and time again to click x so the ads temporarily go away, but your screen will never be fully clear until you get to the root of the issue and rid your computer of the virus. Ratnayake says the reason why new age mindfulness has this issue is due to its lack of morality behind it. Mindfulness and meditation stem from Buddhism practices but removes the religious aspect so the practice can be used by everyone. But the problem is there is no basis for helping you identify the issue. It only creates more questions, which leaves you feeling more lost, which leads to more stress. I definitely agree with this point also because meditating more lately, has me questioning my own emotions, which kind of just makes me feel crazier rather than relaxed.

Self Help Critiques (Mindfulness)

Mindfulness is a concept I have heard of several times as well as a common theme throughout our study of Self Help Literature. Mindfulness seems like a concept that can be usefully applied and used but also through the readings of self help texts and this weeks article reading, I can tell it can also be a loaded concept with many people goal is to profit off of it. I really like how all three articles addressed all the positive of the mindfulness concept but also addressed all the inflation and corruption within the concept of mindfulness and the self help industry. It is intriguing at first glance how each of the titles of the articles are controversial, “The Mindful Revolution”, “The Mindful Conspiracy”, and “The Problem of Mindfulness”.

“The Mindful Revolution” by Kate Pickert had a more positive learning approach to mindfulness. Kate Pickert takes us through a timeline of progress and realization of the concept of mindfulness. On her journey Pickert mentions how adapting to mindfulness is fully grasping the concept and allowing yourself to almost rewire your brain. This is such a revolution because so many in our day and age are not comfortable with internal change which is ironic because our world is changing with technology and advancements every single day. It seems as the world gets more and more advanced our internal selves retract and we almost have become like robots that aren’t in tune with what is around us.  Through Pickert’s learning of mindfulness she came out with new additions to her daily life. She is now more aware of digital time and has taken approaches to limit her time digitally and embrace what is around her. This article was definitely the least controversial of the three articles.

“The Mindful Conspiracy” by Ronald Purser was definitely my favorite out of the three articles. I likes how Purser addressed the controversy within the Self help community as well as with the mindfulness concept. He addresses that mindfulness within itself isn’t a bad concept it the people who have taken this concept and inflated it to fulfill their pockets. He mentions many famous figures who have partake in the self help industry. Purser gives a more realistic approach to mindfulness and address the concept without all the “fluff” that many self help texts and individuals use. I really liked how he concluded his article he says “Mindfulness isn’t cruel in and of itself. It’s only cruel when fetishised and attached to inflated promises. It is then, as Berlant points out, that “the object that draws your attachment actively impedes the aim that brought you to it initially”. The cruelty lies in supporting the status quo while using the language of transformation. This is how neoliberal mindfulness promotes an individualistic vision of human flourishing, enticing us to accept things as they are, mindfully enduring the ravages of capitalism.”

“The Problem of Mindfulness” by Sahanika Ratnayake gives us and insight from an insider almost. Sahanika Ratnayake was raised as a Buddhist, many self help concepts stem form Buddhism and mindfulness also has roots that come from Buddhism. Ratnayake take us through her studies of Western beliefs compared to Buddhism. Buddhist takes on self care and mindfulness and the western adaptation dont always match up. Ratnayake takes a depper look. into the concept of mindfulness are interrogates its true usefulness. She comes to find that to her mindfulness has limits and can not be used in every single situation. “The contrasting tendency in mindfulness to bracket context not only cramps self-understanding. It also renders our mental challenges dangerously apolitical. In spite of a growing literature probing the root causes of mental-health issues, policymakers tend to rely on low-cost, supposedly all-encompassing solutions for a broad base of clients. The focus tends to be solely on the contents of an individual’s mind and the alleviation of their distress, rather than on interrogating the deeper socioeconomic and political conditions that give rise to the distress in the first place.” I really like this part of the article because she really dives deeps within the flaws of mindfulness and concludes that it isn’t the solution for everything and it puts people within a bracket where as many people come from different backgrounds.

Ratanyake concludes in a gracious way while still being real. She says “I still dabble in mindfulness, but these days I tend to draw on it sparingly. I might do a mindfulness meditation when I’ve had a difficult day at work, or if I’m having trouble sleeping, rather than keeping up a regular practice. With its promises of assisting everyone with anything and everything, the mistake of the mindfulness movement is to present its impersonal mode of awareness as a superior or universally useful one. Its roots in the Buddhist doctrine of anattā mean that it sidelines a certain kind of deep, deliberative reflection that’s required for unpicking which of our thoughts and emotions are reflective of ourselves, which are responses to the environment, and – the most difficult question of all – what we should be doing about it.”

I totally agree with her, mindfulness should be used in situations where it help aid in a solution but it can be prescribed as the only solution. Many people have different backgrounds, health issues, and lives that one concept cant be a solution for the masses.

All in all I enjoyed reading a different side to Self Help texts. When reading different self help texts many thoughts and criticisms so its nice seeing responses to the Self Help Industry.

People’s Choice #6: The Power of Now

For this week’s People’s Choice, you’ll be reading one another’s blogs on the The Power of Now and choosing your favorite post. Comment here to register your vote, & don’t forget to include the name of your classmate, the link to their post, and your rationale for choosing it. Due Thursday, 3/25 by 9am. Happy reading/voting 🙂

People’s Choice Post #5: Pandemic Processing

For this week’s People’s Choice, you’re exploring the Pandemic Processing blogs and choosing your favorite post.

Comment here to register your vote, & don’t forget to include the name of your classmate, the link to their post, and your rationale for choosing it. Due Saturday, 3/20. Happy reading/voting 🙂

Thanks again for sharing your reflections about the ongoing pandemic, and the somber anniversary of it. It has been a very difficult year for all, in so many ways, and I appreciate your honesty and vulnerability in sharing your reality of that with us all. Sending strength and healing your way, as we all continue to navigate this collective trauma.

Pandemic Processing

1 dreadful year has gone by and drastic changes have occurred. This past year has hit me and so many near and dear to me hard. It feels as though I am in one long nightmare and haven’t woken up yet. With all the bad that has come with Covid-19 there are some positives. Covid-19 has been huge eye opener it has awakened my gratitude. I have taken “normal life” for granted till now, the normal days of outings with no restrictions and masks was just a normal Saturday but now it almost seems like a fairytale. I cant believe there was a time were people flooded Times Square or Central Park and were literally neck to neck.

A once reality is now a dream.

I give my condolences to those who have lost a loved one during this dreadful time. I myself have dealt with a lot of heartache during this time but through all the ache I have grown to appreciate time with loved ones so much more now. The pandemic has allowed me and my family to spend so much more time together, not in the way we would expect but I am grateful. Grateful that this new normal can be shared with my loved ones, who I wouldn’t usually see till I was home from school or they were home form work. Being home for so long, has allowed me to reflect within myself and prioritize what it good for me and what isn’t. Having so much time to myself I have selected on what truly makes me happy and what hobbies or things makes me happy. At the start of the pandemic I started sketching on a painter app on my phone to pass time, slowly my drawing skills got better and better. I started posting some of my random drawing to social media where I got a lot of attention. I then made an art page and started getting requests from other people. Art has always came naturally to me, I loved being assigned projects in school because drawing was so easy to me. Through that art page I found that I really enjoy graphic design and art design. I am now trying to pursue Graphic Design as a career. I always wanted a career that didn’t feel like work to me, something that I was happy each and everyday doing and I think I found the one and its all thanks to the pandemic… how ironic.

These are some of the early pieces I’ve done.

The pandemic has brought a lot of misery but I think at least for me I have to look at the good side and continue to push positive within myself and my surroundings. It is so easy to get down and an everyday  goal for me is to think and do positive things that will have a lasting impact on myself and the people around me. I am thankful that we are now in a place of moving forward and hopefully putting this behind us. I think we should all move forward but never forget what the pandemic has taught us. In a blink of and eye all that is normal to us and all that we take for granted can be gone. I truly believe that everyday should be lived as if its your last. Don’t put things on hold thinking you will do it tomorrow, do it today because tomorrow isn’t guaranteed. The pandemic has made me realize petty little fights that last for days are really not worth it. It is so easy to get mad about things and just stay in that mode for a long period of time, but when you’re put in a place that things are constantly changing and in thIS case not always for the better you really start to see how many things we dwell over are just little things that aren’t worth it.


Overall the pandemic has been a dreadful rollercoaster, it has brought on some highs but I am hopeful that this ride will end soon and we can start a new chapter. I am thankful for all the pandemic has taught me and my heart is with all who were taken and effected by it. I hope for brighter days soon.

People’s Choice Post #4: Self-Care

This week, YOU were the the texts, so your reading response were a reflection on yourselves and your well-being 🙂

Read through the Self-Care posts and choose your favorite post. Comment here to register your vote, & don’t forget to include the name of your classmate, the link to their post, and your rationale for choosing it. Due Thursday, 3/11 by 9am. Happy reading/voting

Thoughts on Self-Care

Self-care means (to me) dedicating time to do things that go beyond making one feel good to actually benefit one.  Because just feeling good is not necessarily benefitting you. Example addictive substancesOne’s self care may also benefit others through time. Because only when one is emotionally happy and physically healthy, one could properly take care of others ♡.

I used to think that self-care was selfish and yes at that time my self-esteem was low. My former partner made me believe that taking care of myself was selfish E.g., eating healthy, reading, doing my hair, taking naps, going to the gym, writing in my diary, having goals & dreams, etc. Moreover, I thought this was “normal” because many women in the city where I used to live; accept and promote male supremacy. So being surrounded by these short-minded women, made me believe that bowing to the “man of the house” was the “right” way to live with your spouse.   I was able to escape this toxic reality because I did not have children with that man. So, I did not have to think twice when running away.  Many women stay in abusive relationships because they do not have anywhere to take their children to.  And many other women die in the attempt to end these toxic relationships (feminicide).


Self-care is a must and a priority in everyone’s life but if an individual is stuck only in their own self-care and does not move beyond it, one is perhaps just a selfish in disguise. Self-care is first, yes! But I find it important to also move towards caring for others as a second step.

Moreover, self-care is not a one-time fix, nor happens overnight, and there is not a one size fits all formula. It is a habit that one builds according to one’s needs and it requires constant application.