A podcst hosted by Shane fame Alexander

Christmas tunes aren’t so jolly – they can be bad for your mental health

Christmas music may contribute to a decline in mental health

Not so jolly news coming out of Britain this week. A British psychologist,  Linda Blair says Christmas music causes stress triggers. Listening to music on a loop in the car  reminds listeners of their daily stresses and what they need to get done before December 25th.

Now with retail and radio both starting their all-Christmas tune parade days after Halloween, the stress period is getting longer. “You’re simply spending all of your energy trying not to hear what you’re hearing,” she says. Blair says workers in retail stores are most at-risk for being mentally drained by Christmas music. Hearing the same songs over and over makes it hard for employees to focus on tasks at hand.

In an impromptu poll, the Tampa Bay Times asked when is  the most appropriate time to start the holiday carols.  More than 54% of respondents said the music is only fitting after Thanksgiving. More surprising is that 11% of respondents said any time after Halloween is just fine. They’re tied with the people who love Christmas music any time of the year.

The solution is stop playing Christmas music so early

Blair says the solution is to stop playing Christmas music so early. More prolonged exposure to the cheery tunes causes a mental drain for employees and irritates shoppers. Unfortunately, Christmas music is now arriving before Halloween: Best Buy, for example, started playing holiday music on October 22 this year. Other stores such as Sears, Ulta, and Michaels followed suit just a few days later.

Mariah Caery’s Christmas tune voted most annoying by Brits

The British public have spoken. They have confirmed that all they want for Christmas is not to hear the song All I Want for Christmas is You.

In a recent poll, the Mariah Carey festive smash – which is the 12th best selling single of all time – was voted the most annoying Christmas song. Ever.

Others that made the list include Band Aid’s Do They Know It’s Christmas and Fairytale of New York by The Pogues .

E004S001 – The one about friendships

Friendship: How to spot a toxic one

Like how it’s a tough to come by a good friend, it’s tough to spot a toxic one. They start off really nice and they often convince you that they are not the problem. This is where they danger lays. They have a way of making their friend feel inferior, invisible, anxious, and that they are a bad person, thus, eroding a person’s sense of self and compromising their mental health.

However, the non-toxic individual should not change their good nature or the tendency to be self-reflective and accountable. These are admirable qualities. By implementing six techniques, they can neutralize the toxicity without having to change who they are or sever the friendship. I’s necessary to decipher whether a friend is in the toxic zone.

Your friendship is in the toxic zone if:

  • Make comments that are confusing and that sting. These comments swim in a person’s head, causing self-doubt and anxiety.
  • He or she ignores their friend’s feelings and promotes their own.
  • If the non-toxic friend asserts themselves in the friendship, the toxic friend frames them as dramatic or over sensitive.
  • Occasionally the toxic friend is nice in order to deter their friend from suspecting they are toxic. The toxic friend is especially nice when other people are watching.
  • Toxic characters project like crazy. Chances are they have already accused their friend or others of being toxic.
  • Frequently they play the victim, asserting they have a more difficult plight than anyone else.
  • They triangulate – meaning if there is a mutual friend they begin to align that friend with themselves and exclude the non-toxic friend.
  • Rarely do they comment on their friend’s successes or achievements, but they readily highlight their own.
  • Often they ignore or exclude their friend when they are with mutual friends.
  • They indirectly sabotage their friend by drawing them into drama that deters them from pursuing their goals.

How to neutralize a toxic friendship

  • Get space, emotionally. Refrain from telling the toxic friend anything personal. Avoid talking about feelings, issues, hopes, and dreams. The toxic person cannot sabotage without this information. Also, do not go to the toxic person in need of help with something. Finally, steer clear of their drama with other people. Simply empathize with their feelings and politely excuse yourself from the conversation.
  • Be diplomatic. Do not make it evident that emotional space is the goal. Say things like, “I’d love to talk, but I’m knee deep in a work project. I’ll call you next week.” It’s okay to be slightly disingenuous in order to protect yourself and salvage the friendship.
  • Pursue activities and friendships independent of the toxic friend. Hitch your wagon to a friend with healthier interpersonal capacities. Make friends with an empath. Find a passion or hobby independent of the toxic friend.
  • It’s alright to have fun with the toxic friend. Have some laughs and talk about impersonal things like the Cubs, HGTV, or the weather. Go out and dance or see a movie.
  • Do mind and body work. A toxic individual can impact your sense-of-self. One way to recover is to do mind and body work, such as yoga, tai chi, and martial arts.
  • Laughter is good medicine. A toxic friend can zap your ability to laugh. Find it again. Be silly. Go to a comedy club. Watch funny movies.
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Handling a toxic friendship is an essential skill in today’s world. Identifying one is the first step. Grabbing enough emotional space to be safe from a toxic person’s manipulations is key. Have fun, but don’t get too chummy.


A Tedtalk on the 8 signs of a toxic friendship

E004S001 – The one about friendships

This week Shane takes a look at friendships. The bad, toxic ones and the ones that we all should hold close to our hearts. Shane discuss how to spot a toxic person in our lives and how to cut the friendship cord.

Episode length: 14:44

Emma Watson isn’t single – she’s `self-partnered’

Emma Watson is dating herself

British actress Emma Watson is not single.  In an interview with British Vogue published Tuesday (see full interview below), the actress said she had anxiety as her 30th birthday sneaked up to her minus a stable career, baby or partner.

“I never believed the whole ‘I’m happy single’ spiel,” the 29-year-old actress said. “I was like, ‘This is totally [a] spiel.’ It took me a long time, but I’m very happy [being single].

She calls  it being self-partnered, “I was like, ‘Why does everyone make such a big fuss about turning 30? This is not a big deal.’” Watson laughed. “If you have not built a home, if you do not have a husband, if you do not have a baby and you are turning 30 and you’re not in some incredibly secure, stable place in your career … There’s just this incredible amount of anxiety,” Watson said.

Twitter responded to Emma Watson and her relationship status

Many went to Twitter  to express their approval and wonderment on Watson’s new relationship status.




Here’s the full interview Emma Watson did with Vogue


E003S001 – That INKredible Tattoo

That INKredible Tattoo

Shane shares the story of his two tattoos and how they have become an important part of his mental health recovery. He also tackles how tattoos have become a popular way to remind yourself that you’ve survived the battle. Tattoos have become a very important part of the healing process. Shane tells us why.

As promised, here are my tattoos

I said I’ll post my tattoos for you. Here they are. The headphone with microphone is my first born. I got it on February 1st 2014. The second, I received in 2018. As I shared with you on the show, they both have their own rightful spot in my heart and soul.



…And here’s the track that inspired my tree tatt.


Meet Keisha and the tattoo that helped in her recovery


E003S001 – That INKredible Tattoo – listen below

Episode length – 15:26

E002S001 – Believing your Swag


Believing your Swag

This week Shane covers the long road he took to finally find his self-worth. It’s a bumpy ride for most people as we all have this preset in our mind that we’re not as good as we should be. This bouncy train of thought causes accidents. Shane shares how he was able to find the safe road, which ultimately got him to his destination of making this very podcast.

Episode length: 16.57

E002S001 – Believing your Swag – listen below

EP001S001 – An Angst-y introduction: We cover Angst, a film about anxiety

An introduction and we chat about anxiety

On this trailer episode of Shower for the Soul, Shane fills us in on what exactly this podcast is about. He also speaks with Karin Gornick, one of the producers of the film, Angst. The film is doing its tour of duty at schools around North America. It focuses on anxiety in young people. Karin and Shane discuss anxiety in the young and old, the medical mumbo-jumbo of what exactly causes anxiety and safe ways of battling it.

Michael Phelps and his battle with anxiety and depression


Michael Phelps tweeted in May about his past struggles with anxiety and depression. He tweeted, “questioned whether or not [he] wanted to be alive anymore” before going on to say that therapy “helped save [his] life.”

Another tweet read that the Olympian will be teaming up with Talkspace for Mental Health Awareness Month.  “To let you know that getting help is a sign of strength, not weakness.”

“I can tell you I’ve probably had at least half a dozen depression spells that I’ve gone through,” he said in a 2017 interview with Today’s Jordan Muto. “And the one in 2014, I didn’t want to be alive.”

Ways Phelps fights anxiety and depression

Lion breaths. That’s what Phelps calls his way to combat his anxiety and depression. He and his wife, Nicole Johnson, teach their son, Boomer Phelps. Whenever Boomer gets upset, his parents tell him to take a lion breath. At that point, Boomer inhales as deeply as if he were trying to suck all the oxygen out of the universe, then lets out the breath in one extravagant exhale.

“There are times when I struggle with identity because for so many people, all they see me as is a swimmer,” Michael  says of the passing judgments he receives. “Honestly, that’s when a lion breath does come into play.”

But how can something so simple — say, simple enough to work on a two-year-old — have such an effect on an Olympic medal–winning adult?

It’s partially the push-to-the-limit environment Phelps grew up in, similar to that of Generation Z. “Because my life was always go, go, go, go, on to the next thing,” he says, “I never had a chance to take a breath. So I don’t really know how to do it, I guess.”

In fact, Phelps had learned a practice called “diaphragmatic breathing” — a type of exercise involving deep inhalation and exhalation. This breathing method was found to be successful not just in stress-relief, but also in commanding sustained focus in adults, according to a study published in June 2017 in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.




Helpful links that were mentioned during this episode:

a-plan Coaching
Headspace app
Rachel Melvin (How Bitches are Made podcast)
Camp Grounded


EP001S001 – An Angst-y introduction: We cover Angst, a film about anxiety – listen below.

General Hospital’s Maurice Benard launches State of Mind website

Maurice Benard has been dealing with anxiety

The soap actor, Maurice Benard, has launched his own website called State of Mind. It’s all about dealing with anxiety. This past weekend, the two-time Daytime Emmy award winner launched his new website.

“State of Mind to me means being 100% present, feeling completely at peace inside of you, not letting your thoughts control your life and always looking for ways to be the best that you can be.”  The new site features merchandise in `State of Mind’ t-shirts as well a link to pre-order Maurice’s upcoming memoir, “Nothing General About it.”

Maurice Benard has been been a huge mental health advocate, having been open about his own struggles with mental illness over the years. He wants to use this website to help dispel the stigma of those who battle with it.

Along with a regular vlog that will be posted every Sunday, he offers links to organizations he works with. NAMI (National Alliance of Mental Health),  Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services, and the International Bipolar Foundation. are a few of them.

Maurice Benard explains why he started the site

How you can take care of yourself and others on World Mental Health Day

It’s World Mental Health Day, here’s what you need to know

This year the main aim for World Mental Health Day is suicide prevention. According to World Health Organization, more than 800,000 die by suicide a year, making it the top cause of death among people fifteen to twenty-years old. While that stat only looks at younger people, mental illness doesn’t discriminate, touching the  lives of people in every corner of the society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, realty stars and athletes.

Signs your mental health is at risk

According to mental health charity Mind, here ar esome of the common warning signs to look out for:

1. Difficulty speaking
You may struggle to speak, think clearly or make decisions and feel down, upset or tearful.

It may also become difficult to remember certain things or to concentrate on simple tasks or jobs at work.

2. Bad relationship with food
You may have no appetite and be losing weight, or eating too much and gaining weight.

3. Avoiding social events
You might avoid social events and activities you usually enjoy and have no self-confidence or self-esteem.

You might find it difficult to talk about your depression and instead you might cut yourself off from other people.

The more overwhelming your symptoms, the more isolated and lonely you might become.

4. Poor sleeping patterns
You may be finding it difficult to sleep at night and are constantly plagued by anxious thoughts.

On the other hand, you may also be sleeping too much and never want to leave your bed.

This in turn may make you feel tired all the time.

5. Physical aches
You may have physical aches and pains with no obvious cause whatsoever.

Friends and family may notice you’re beginning to move very slowly, or becoming restless and agitated.

6. Addictive behaviour
You may start using more tobacco, alcohol or other drugs than usual.

7. Losing interest in sex
You may feel empty and numb and no longer feel as though you have a sex drive.

8. Self-harming or suicidal behaviour
If you are feeling low, you might use self-harming behaviours to cope with difficult feelings.

Although this might make you feel better in the short term, self-harm can be very dangerous and can make you feel a lot worse in the long term.

When you’re feeling really low and hopeless, you might find yourself thinking about suicide.

Whether you’re only thinking about the idea, or actually considering a plan to end your life, these thoughts can feel difficult to control and very frightening.

If you feel as though some of these warning signs apply to you, you should speak to a doctor immediately.

People tend to wait a long time to report their symptoms but they sooner the issue is reported the sooner people can begin to recover.

Here’s a list of international suicide hotlines. Please call if you feel the need to talk to someone. Don’t forget, you’re not alone.

“Gingers” Prince Harry and Ed Sheeran unite for World Mental Health Day

The dynamic pairing posted a video on Instagram on Thursday to call attention to World Mental Health Day. The clip has the singer visiting the royal at his abode.

“I’m really excited today. I’m going to go and film a thing with Prince Harry,” the Grammy winner said while getting a shave. “He contacted me about doing a charity video with him, which, you know, is going to be good. I’ve long admired him from afar.”

Once Ed arrived, the two got down to business. Ed then told the Duke of Sussex he was “quite passionate” about this cause.

They weren’t fighting the same cause. Funny but yet a very important PSA from Ed and Harry.



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Both Prince Harry and Ed Sheeran want to ensure that not just today but every day, you look after yourself, your friends and those around you. There’s no need to suffer in silence – share how you’re feeling, ask how someone is doing and listen for the answer. Be willing to ask for help when you need it and know that we are all in this together. #WMHD Check out the accounts below for more resources and support: @Heads_Together @Calmzone @MentalHealthFoundation @CharityNoPanic @SamaritansCharity @YoungMindsUK @GiveUsAShoutInsta @Childline_official @LetsTalkAboutMentalHealth @Jedfoundation @Pandas_UK @Charitysane @MindCharity @TimeToChangeCampaign @RethinkMentalIllness @MentalHealthMates @ActionHappiness @MHFAEngland @DitchTheLabel @TheBlurtFoundation

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Here are my publicity pictures – It was an afternoon of (fake) laughing and drinking

An afternoon of pictures, stout and laughing

Before I get into more of a background to these pictures, let me take this time to thank all that were in involved in such a meaningful, fun day. Biggest shouts to Nikki at HRM Photography, the gents at Gentlemen’s Barber Massonville, and to Fionn MacCool’s for the huge space to create in.


Community, conversation and fun

I had been to the venue a few days before I concocted this wacky idea of not only creating a podcast but creating a whole new brand. If I were to do it, I would need to go all in. I would need to get my voice (and face) out there. First step was to do all the obligatory internet stuff to solidify that I’m here, and I’m doing something. Next, was to get professional shots done – ’cause I just love getting my picture taken. I wanted the shots to not only capture me but capture what Shower for the Soul stands for. What it means. I wanted the shots to reflect community, fun, and conversation.

That’s when I thought of doing the shoot at MacCool’s. I stalked the joint again. I knew it’d be perfect. If done well, it’d capture what Shower for the Soul is – and Nikki captured it strikingly! The early afternoon shoot was much easier than I thought it’d be. Beer and fake laughing. My sorta Thursday funday.

I’ll be using these pictures going forward for Shower for the Soul promotional material and episode posters. I’ll try not to over do it, though.



View this post on Instagram

And here they are, folks. My podcast publicity shots. Before I get into more of a background to this shoot, let me take this time to thank all that were in involved in such a meaningful, fun day. Biggest shouts to  Nikki at HRM Photography, the gents at Gentlemen's Barber Massonville, and to Fionn MacCool's for the huge space to create in. I had been to the venue a few days before I concocted this wacky idea of not only creating a podcast but creating a whole new brand. I knew if I were to do it, I  would need to go all in. I would need to get my voice (and face) out there. First step was to do all the obligatory internet stuff to solidify that I'm here, and I'm doing something. Next, was to get professional shots done – 'cause I just love getting my picture taken. I wanted the shots to not only capture me but capture what Shower for the Soul stands for. What it means. I wanted the shots to reflect community, fun, and conversation. That's when I thought of doing the shoot at  MacCool's.  I stalked the joint again.  I knew it'd be perfect.  If done well, it'd capture what Shower for the Soul is – and Nikki captured it strikingly! The early afternoon shoot was much easier than I thought it'd be. Beer and fake laughing. My sorta Thursday funday. You will be seeing my mug going forward on a lot of Shower for the Soul promotional material and episode posters. I'll try not to over do it, though. 📸: @hrmphotography.ca ✂️: @Gentlemensbarber 🍻: @fionnmaccoolsnorthlondon #fionnmaccoolsnorthlondon #Gentlemensbarber #hrmphotography #showerforthesoul #podcasts #shanefamealexander

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