Carrying on with trolls

With many people stuck at home and many of those unable to
work there is a high risk of boredom setting in, unfortunately some individuals
find the best way to meet their emotional needs it to take to “cyber trolling”
people and companies, but can trolling be a benefit to the people that it is
aiming to upset?  

Over a very short time period small business owner Jodie had
her business and personal social media targeted by “trolling”, this is the
first time she had experienced “trolls” in this kind of way and she faced the challenge
of not taking it personally.  Jodie is
the founder of Jenni Bean Consultancy CIC which has grown rapidly, providing information
and support as well as nappy and sling hire for families of South Buckinghamshire.


Rather than reacting or internalising the cyberattacks she
took time to think about what the trolls were trying to achieve as well as what
her own goals and aims are and how she could benefit from them. This is what
she found;


 A “troll” is described
as someone who uses internet platforms to post inflammatory content/ messages
with the aim to provoke an emotional response, for their own amusement or gain.
As a small business owner, Jodie’s aim is to promote what her company does and
to reach a wide demographic of people, in her case families.


As many businesses do, Jodie took to looking at how other
companies and individuals decide to tackle “trolling”, what was really
interesting is that other business, big and small, were also seeing in increase
of this kind of negative attacks during this time of lock down. The high
emotions during this unprecedented time coupled with individuals being isolated
and so unable to meet their basic human need for emotional connection, is a
recipe for this kind of behaviour to flourish.


The other interesting thing that she discovered was that
many small businesses saw it as a badge of honour! The thinking behind this is
that, in their very nature “trolls” are trying to get as much emotional feedback
as possible, companies that are unsuccessful will have less reach and so their
comments will have a very insignificant affect, companies that are current have
a much bigger audience and thus will allow them to piggy back off your success.
The other angle to look at this is if the “troll” is targeting your company it
could equally be that they are jealous of the accomplishment’s that have been
made by that company, this is where you may encounter posts being “reported” or
removed when they have not been in breach of “rules”, again this is something to
be proud of, your company is so accomplished  that someone has taken a great deal of effort
to attempt to hinder you.


So how can it benefit business? Social media algorithms are
written so that posts, images and video that have higher activity, such as comment,
reactions and shares, appear on timelines more than ones with low interaction. This
in turn allows us all to appreciate more interesting content, but when we look
at this from a trolling point, these antagonistic comments will boost how many
people you are able to reach, especially as they are more likely to encourage a
response. The other thing to keep in mind is, when you are using social media,
do you read all the comments before you look at the post itself? Not many
people do and so the post will still have a positive reach, with or without those
comments there.


So, should we seek to remove the comments and messages? This
really comes down to where you are in your own emotional needs. If you are not
in the place to respond without emotion and they are causing you upset then yes
remove them and block them if that is possible. However, when it comes to replying
it also gives an opportunity for a business to demonstrate how amazing they are
with their customer care and attention. It is always an option to remove these
comments and some may argue that the best thing to do is not to engage at all,
which may be true if you reply from your own emotional side. It is so important
to take emotion out of a response and reply with your “this is an opportunity
to shine” hat on, as the troll is trying to meet their own emotional need for
connection, replying with your emotions will not have the desired outcome. Never
reply with anger! As the band Oasis say “don’t look back in anger”.


If you are facing an increase of “troll” activity, first step
back, take time to take your own emotions into account, they are seeing you as someone
who can meet their emotional needs or who can benefit their own outcomes, it is
not really about you. Next you need to decide if you can approach this without
any emotion, if not do not reply, remove the comment, message. If you are ready
to reply then write out what your aims are and what you would like to achieve from
the exchange, do you want to have a conversation that will increase your posts
reach? Do you want to help this person meet their needs?  Do you want to show off how amazing you customers
care is? Do you want to promote more services and products that you have available?
Take your time to write your response and if you can get others to look at it
from different points of view too.


Finally wear your “I’ve been trolled” badge with pride! Congratulations
you’re officially a success!


Wrap me in Smiles

Mental
illness comes in all shapes and sizes for me it is complete isolation. I
would describe it as being detached from everything around you,
watching as life happens to you rather than living it. Some days are
better than others, I can be happy maybe even get joyful at times. Then
there are the bad days where opening my eyes in the morning is an uphill
struggle, the only thing I can focus on is how long it will be until I
am back in bed again.


When I found out I was pregnant I was at a
very low point. My relationship broke down, I was made redundant, I lost
my home and of course had morning sickness, nose bleeds and low blood
pressure that comes with pregnancy to deal with on top! To say it was
not the best period of my life is an understatement. My world was cold,
dark and extremely lonely. I was under the care of the mental health
team throughout my pregnancy having regular visits and therapy to help
as much as possible.


When I gave birth to my daughter I was amazed
by her, she was so untainted by the world, I just wanted to have her on
my skin and to feel her gentle breaths. Holding her, my little empty
world suddenly occupied two of us, it was so wonderful to feel a part of
her and her apart of me. I hated it when my mum insisted I dress her, I
felt like I was tainting her and felt I was almost losing the first
moments.


When I was moved up to the ward I had her in my night
shirt against my skin as it just felt like the right thing to do. Every
bit of me just wanted to have that close contact that feeling of being.
When she was in her little plastic crib in the hospital I missed her,
even though she was right there. All I wanted was more skin to skin
contact with my perfect child.


With the Buggy I felt I was not
able to offer her enough comfort, she looked so small and helpless like I
had abandoned her. I also found it next to impossible to get around any
shops (especially at Christmas with all the additional stands) I was
constantly apologising to people for knocking over things and when she
cried I ended up carrying her and trying to push the pram and carry my
baby. It really made me anxious if I had to go anywhere. I started to
avoid going out if I could.

On a get together with some friends
they were discussing ‘babywearing’. At first I thought it was very odd
but as the conversation progressed I realised this was everything that I
had been looking for! I could have that close contact with my baby all
the time! We watched a few clips we found on youtube and I fell in love
with the idea of wrapping. I found that these wrap thingies are harder
to buy than I thought, department stores didn’t sell them! In the end I
bought a stretchy hybrid as it looked similar to what I had seen with my
friends. I loved it, my daughter with was back as part of my world, she
gave me back my life and I was free from the restrictions of the buggy.
Getting out and about really helps to lift my mood, carrying made that
possible.


Together we learnt to breast feed in the carrier,
feeding her made me so proud and bought that wonderful feeling of
bonding with her. My isolated world was opening up as I carried her with
me, tucking her little body inside my jacket, feeling the warmth of her
against me. When my anxiety was building I found that I was able to
calm myself easier, so that I was able to avoid a full panic attack. My
daughter’s soft calm gentle breathing, helped to regulate my own. It is
very hard to hyperventilate when you have someone asleep against your
chest.


A few months into my Baby wearing journey, a friend asked
me if I would like to go to a ‘sling Library’, I was so excited to go
and try more options that may be open to me. To my delight they had a
wrap, It was a size 6 brown woven wrap and it was love at first pass, I
had to get my hands on one! It was at this point I was introduced to the
wonders (and dangers) of Selling groups on Face Book.

The first
wrap I bought was a size 5 woven wrap, it bought me so much confidence,
I loved interacting with my daughter as she grew, sharing our
adventures together. I even enjoyed talking to people more as I had
people ask about my wrap, 10 wraps later my passion and love for
carrying only grows stronger!


My Daughter has grown into a very
confident and independent toddler, we still enjoy cuddles and wraps
regularly and she had her favourite one that she hands to me when she
wants ‘up’. She even owns a woven wrap and a stretchy wrap of her own
and she loves nothing more than carrying the toy of the day about with
pride.

On days when I am struggling with my mental health and my
darling girl is pushing me to my limits, I find that I can back carry
her giving me space and time to calm myself while giving her the comfort
she needs. I do have bad days and unfortunately it is more than likely
to be something I will have to face for the years ahead but I can know
for sure I can provide the emotional support my child needs.

I
have now learnt that having your child close to you in arms or in a
carrier, triggers the release of a number of hormones, one of which is a
called Oxytocin that helps with bonding, milk production and in short
makes you feel great. It has been termed “the Love Hormone” and affects
both men and women. The calming cuddle of carrying will benefit you
both, sharing an extended cuddle.

“We
have shown that touch not only raises oxytocin, but it reduces
cardiovascular stress and can improve the immune system, too. Try
telling people that you hug rather than shake hands and see what happens
when you give others the gift of oxytocin. Studies show that the more
one releases oxytocin, the easier it becomes to do so. That has
certainly been my experience in practicing these oxytocin-releasing
activities” -
Paul J. Zak, The Moral Molecule


As
well as the release of oxytocin, knowing you have the ability to
comfort your child brings confidence and will intern release Dopamine, a
neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure
centres. The feeling of accomplishment and pride is a good feeling and
one we naturally hunt for as Humans (we also have a much higher amount
of it than any other species). It is believed that it is down to
Dopamine, that we as a species have been as successful, as it is our
inner drive as such. Low dopamine can lead to low mood, low motivation,
loss of voluntary movements, less sleep, poor memory and much more.


“Dopamine
is the chemical that mediates pleasure in the brain. It is released
during pleasurable situations and stimulates one to seek out the
pleasurable activity or occupation. “-
Dr Ananya Mandal, MD


Exercise
has been seen as a great treatment for depression as this also releases
a group of hormones called endorphins. Endorphins alone help with
weight loss but by carrying your child you are giving your body a gentle
and natural workout. Carrying your child is believed to not only aid
your muscles, to strengthen and return to their pre pregnancy position,
but this also helps baby to develop their own muscles too. Endorphins
help to give a boost to your mood and can reduce or even eliminate pain.
The word Endorphin means body made opiate due to its effects on mood
and pain reduction.


“Endorphins
are linked to your body’s reward circuits as well and are associated
with other feel-good activities like maternal behaviour, eating and
drinking or having sex.
“– Dr Mercola, Exercise and Endorphins Make You Happy


Oestrogen
is a group of steroid hormones, that can be released when we are
relaxed and calm, breathing with your baby is an amazing way to
encourage more Oestrogen. Oestrogen helps from serotonin which is a mood
boosting neurotransmitter. Most anti-depressants use SSRI this is an
uptake inhibitor slowing the body’s disposal of serotonin, women’s
oestrogen levels fluctuate through their menstrual cycle and post birth.
Some studies are looking into the similarities between PMS and Baby
Blues. Relaxing into a meditation like state will help with the
regulation of oestrogen for both men and women, having your child
against you will regulate your breathing as well as theirs.


“The
key happiness hormone, serotonin, has a huge impact on your mood, but
this brain chemical is also known to affect memory, appetite, sleep,
cravings, pain tolerance and digestion. Low serotonin levels have been
linked to development of various mental issues, primarily depression.” -
Know Your Happiness Hormones & How to Increase Them by Stephlina D’cunha


‘Baby
wearing’ has given us so much more than simply a way to get around, I
was at extremely high risk of developing post-natal depression and
having issues bonding with my baby, but fortunately I didn’t. I truly
believe that carrying her and having the increased skin to skin is the
only reason I have not had severe post-natal issues. Post-natal
depression is thought to affect around 15% of new mothers, I am one of
many people who are facing the feeling of depression and anxiety, no
matter what happens you are not alone.




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