General musings

Summer 2017

I've been away for quite some time. I had thought that the summer would mean that I would have more time than ever to write but as it turned out, the summer had other plans. It was the busiest summer I've had to date and there are only three weeks left until I return to work.

The summer holidays haven't always been the easiest for me. I'm not the kind of person that likes to be alone for too long, or sitting around and doing nothing. I get restless and impatient. This year however I've not had the chance to sit still and chill out too often! I've travelled to America and Canada for a few weeks and between weddings, engagements, christenings, and minding smallies, it's been a busy one.

With all of this time off comes a lot of time to think, and my brain has been on overload. I found my mental health was a bit of an issue for me at times. There were days when I couldn't stop crying, days when I didn't want to leave the house, and days when I worried about why my anxiety was acting up so much. I got very confused and was a little bit unsure as to what to do. However, in the last few days I've really picked myself back up and have done my absolute best to reframe my thinking and to feel more like me.

I've restarted my Miracle Morning practice but haven't been extremely strict on myself for timings or getting it all done within the first hour of the day. I've also started reading The Tapping Solution by Nick Ortner and have been listening to Operation Self Reset on iTunes. On top of all this I've been doing journaling each night and going to Yoga every day and, even though I know that some people find it very boring, it totally centres my mind. Doing yoga each day in a yoga centre makes me take it more seriously and I have noticed huge benefits. I feel like my whole energy has been readjusted and that I am looking at the world with a more positive outlook as a result. If it's something that you've been thinking of trying I urge you to give it a go.

Obviously I've still been reading. I've read a good few books over the summer and hope that I will be able to post some reviews in the coming weeks. However I have a shocking memory and so I might have completely forgotten what the books were about! I need to get my ass in gear and return to the blog properly so that I can continue doing what I love; writing. Even if people never read this I don't think it would bother me. I write for me and it is one of my main passions in life, so much so that I am hoping to start putting my thoughts down on paper soon and starting to write more fiction. It is something that terrifies me, writing. Funny how something you love can bring so much fear. I think that writing and allowing people to read what you've created exposes you to a certain amount of vulnerability. There's a lot of fear there for me with regards to criticism, and also with putting myself out there, but I need to get over that and start doing it because if I continue to think like that then I'll never go for it!

So that's my mini game plan; get back to my blog, live my best life, start following my passion and writing fiction. Sounds simple doesn't it?!

So when I'm getting this back up and running I'd love to hear what you guys would like to see more of? It may involve a bit of redecorating in order to get my head in the game! Leave a comment below and I'll take everything into consideration when I'm writing!

Much love,
Cx

Advertisements
Lists, Positivity

10 Ways I Deal With Anxiety

10 ways i deal with

Meditation
I believe in meditation over medication. I know that makes me sound like a bit of a hippy but I think that anxiety is something that we can actually control. It’s kind of a case of mind over matter. I have been on medication for anxiety, and while it helped me at the time, it is not something that I would like to go back to. Now, when I’m feeling anxious, I try to focus on my breathing and do a guided meditation. It helps me gain control of my breathing and steady my thoughts. I would highly recommend Jason Stephenson and Dr Aine Tubridy‘s meditations on YouTube as a starting point.

Meditation is something that should be practiced to strengthen the mind too. It’s not just something that I go to in my time of need. A short morning meditation or an night time meditation are enough to keep my focused and feeling in control on a day to day basis. There are many good meditation podcasts on iTunes, as well as some really good apps available. If meditation is something that you’ve never tried before then I urge you to connect with your inner Buddha and give it a go – I swear by it!

Exercise
It doesn’t matter what kind of exercise you do, once it’s something that gets your heart pumping and leaves you feeling amazing afterwards. Personally, I love to go for walks, run, and do classes such as Yoga and Boxercise. I don’t exercise for fitness reasons whatsoever; it is something I do primarily for the mental health benefits that come with it. When I’m feeling anxious, or a bit down, it is so hard to motivate myself to get up off my ass and go for a walk. But when I do, I always feel better afterwards. Getting my heart pumping and the happy hormones flowing really makes me feel good. It has often allowed me to gain some perspective on what it is that is causing me to be anxious and I then am able to deal with the situation in a much calmer way.

Again, like meditation, exercise is something that should be done regularly. By getting out and getting my body moving and heart pumping, I feel that I am releasing any adrenaline that has been building up in my system. It allows me to feel in control, and feel pro-active, giving me a sense of pride in my efforts to take care of my mental health. A brisk walk alone in the mornings before I tackle the day ahead usually works wonders for me, and then, if I still feel like my body needs that little bit extra, I’ll go for a walk or do some Yoga in the evenings. Yoga with Adriene is by far the best yoga channel on YouTube and I would recommend the Couch to 5K app for anyone interested in getting themselves running!

Routine
I find that a routine is really important for me. On days when I’m neither here nor there, you know those days where you find yourself sitting and staring aimlessly at something, or else wondering why you’re always on autopilot, those are the days that I start to get very anxious. By having a morning and night time routine I feel very much in control of myself and my day. I took inspiration for my Morning Routine from Hal Elrod’s book The Miracle Morning  and I also talk about the importance of routine in My Guide to Feeling Good.

Having a good morning routine allows me to feel totally in control of how I face the day ahead, and my night time routine allows me to destress and unwind and get set for a night of good, deep sleep. I listened to an episode of Operation Self Reset podcast recently that also discussed the importance of routine, click here to access that episode and hear what Jake Nawrocki has to say about the importance of routine in our daily lives.

Talk It Out
This can be one of the easiest, but often one of the hardest things to do. When you feel your stomach drop, your palms starting to sweat, and your heart starting to race, we often have no idea what to do next. Something that has really helped me is to be very open and honest with those I love about what I am experiencing. It isn’t very easy to put that fear into words, and there is often the added fear of ‘will they think I’m insane?’, but realistically, the people that love you will want to do anything that they can to support you.

Reach out and ask your friend to meet up to talk about whatever it is that’s making you feel overwhelmed. Tell them that you’re not expecting them to solve your problem, or even understand why it is causing you so much upset, but that you just need a listening ear. Having friends that are willing to go for that walk with you, or meet you for a coffee while you talk it out, those people are irreplaceable. If you have these people in your life make sure you hang onto them!

Something else that I’ve started doing recently is being very direct with my friends/family/boyfriend when I’m worried that I have done something wrong; I will send a message stating that I am feeling really anxious over X, Y, Z, and can they just let me know if I need to be concerned over it or not. My people are amazing and completely understand where I’m at anxiety wise, so when I’m starting to become panicky, and when they receive that text, they always reply and let me know what the story is. And, as you can probably guess, I’ve never even needed to be worried. It just makes me feel good to know that I can be straight with them and say that I’m worried about something, instead of trying to figure it all out myself and becoming even more distressed in the process.

Tapping
This is something that is very new to me. I remember years ago, my mother came home and started talking to me about how she had heard about controlling your feelings/emotions by tapping on your face. I remember looking at her and thinking she might have lost the plot, but she was right. Even though at the time I don’t think she knew the exact points where you need to tap to achieve this, she was onto something that I wouldn’t really learn more about for another 10 years or so.

I came across The Tapping Solution  when I discovered the podcast called Adventures in Happiness – which is amazing by the way! Tapping is a form of Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) that focuses on accupressure points on the face and upper body. I don’t know enough about Tapping to explain how it works, but all I know is that every time I tap I feel at least 10 times calmer at the end of it. I’ve yet to read the book written by Nick Ortner, The Tapping Solution, but even without an understanding of the principles behind the technique, it is still very effective.

Schedule Happy Things
This is a big thing for me. I try to make sure that each and every day I do something that I enjoy. To do this you need to firstly sit down and write a list of all of the things that make you happy, the things that make you feel good. By doing this you come up with your own inventory to work from. You don’t have to actively plan including things. For example this does not always require for you to sit down and decide that Monday will be the day where you go for a walk, Tuesday will be the day that you treat yourself to your favourite meal, Wednesday the day where you meet your friend for coffee etc., just that at some point during your day that you ensure that you have done something that you know will make you feel good. Today you might feel like reading, tomorrow you might not! So just go with the flow and do whatever makes you feel good!

Herbal Remedies
This is not something that I reach for often, apart from herbal tea, but when I’m feeling like I need that little bit of reassurance I often find that herbal remedies are the way to go. Sometimes that might be something like Natracalm, or it might be my most recent discovery of Valerian Relax Blend. Again, these are things that I would use as an alternative to prescription medication and they manage to take the edge off for me. Chamomile tea is also great at the end of the day or after a stressful time to help to unwind and de-stress. Never underestimate the power of a cup of Chamomile tea!

Positive Mental Attitude
This is, without a doubt, something that I would have rolled my eyes at before. But hear me out. You need to understand that anxiety is a fear based mindset. By practicing positive thinking, and by teaching yourself how to develop and maintain a positive mindset, you will be able to control your anxiety. I do this by keeping a gratitude journal, using the Happier App, making vision boards, reading personal development books, and listening to podcasts about personal development.

I’m going to assume you’ve heard the quote “Happiness is not a destination, its away of life.” This is so true and so fundamental to this practice. You can’t expect to be happy and in control when you’ve not learned how to overcome the fear mindset. I’ve been practicing this for almost eight years, and although I feel that I am pretty competent with the PMA thing, I always continue to work on it. I like to think of myself as a car. Without fuel a petrol cannot run. These tools that I mentioned above are my fuel; I require top-ups every now and then, I need my engine cleaned and my spirit reignited. I cannot do one gratitude list and expect to be happy forever because of it! Regular practices and consistency is key here! Mind you mind!

Breathing Techniques
While this is something that can be done as part of meditation and yoga, breathing exercises can also be done separately too. There are many different types of breathing techniques that you can try out but these are the three that work best for me:

A) Mantra Breathing
This is when I breathe in and say to myself “I am breathing in calm”, and on the exhale I say to myself “I am breathing out fear.” I repeat this over and over and over again until I start to calm down.

B) Box Breathing
This is fairly simple to remember. Inhale through your nose for the count of four, hold for the count of four, exhale through your mouth for the count of four, pause for the count of four. As your breathing starts to slow down and as you feel more in control, you can up your count to 5, then to 6, then to 7 and so on.

C) Alternate Nostril Breathing
This is by far the most complicated to explain, but it is unbelievably effective!
Extend your thumb, ring and pinky finger (as though you are miming a phone) and place your thumb over your right nostril. Exhale fully through your left nostril, then inhale deeply. Pause. Release your thumb whilst placing your pinky or ring finger on your left nostril. Exhale fully. Inhale deeply. Pause and swap. Repeat for a few rounds.

I’ll leave a video here for you to try out for yourself – I think its easier to follow on a video than a written description so check out the link below! Trust me on this one! It is amazingly beneficial!

Accept It
How is this a way of dealing with Anxiety I hear you ask? I can understand your confusion, but let me explain! You might have anxiety but anxiety does not define who you are. You might suffer from Panic Attacks, but they do not make up everything that you are. You need to sit back, take a lot of time, and just consider what anxiety even is. It is an adrenaline overload. It is not a disease, it is not a label that you wear for all to see, it is only a small element of your personality.

You might be sitting there and reading this and thinking that I’m talking a load of crap, and I can appreciate that, but it’s taken me a long time to get to this point. I used to be really paranoid and embarrassed because of my anxiety. And yes, it still can have that effect on me, but I now try to to look at it in a more positive light. I am a caring person. I try to do everything to the best of my ability. I would never intentionally say or do anything to upset somebody. I am very aware of the emotions of others. Are any of those statements negative things to say about yourself? Not in the slightest. Instead they depict how you are a sensitive and caring person who is often overly worried about these things. Your anxiety does not have to define you, nor should you let it. Accept that you are a worrier, accept that you are your own worst critic, and accept that this is only one part of the beautiful person that you are! When you accept that, you can deal with your anxiety in a much more positive and productive light. It may never go away, but you can control it.

Award

The Valiant Blogger Award (and a Letter to 15 Year Old Me)

Last Thursday I got a notification on my phone from WordPress. I checked it and was stunned to find that I had been nominated for the Valiant Blogger Award by the wonderful Anika over at ihaveabadsenseofhumor! I must say I was pretty shocked to be chosen for an award so early, if at all to be honest! Nonetheless I am extremely grateful and will be glad to accept it!

valiant-blogger-award

These are the rules:

  1. Post the award on your blog.
  2. Provide a link to the Hall of Valor.
  3. In 200 words or less, share about the greatest challenge in your life and how you got though it
  4. Give one piece of advice to people who are struggling with something in their life.
  5. Then nominate a new blogger for the award.

I hereby provide thee with a link to the  Hall of Valor!! Go check out some of these amazing blogs!!

Ok, 200 words or less will be a serious task for me… I will change this up a little bit following a journal prompt I used last night where I had to write a letter to my 15 year old self and hopefully there will be enough in this to discuss one of my greatest challenges, as well as advice to others who may also be struggling with anxiety.

 

Dear 15 Year Old Me,

You are about to enter a very turbulent time in life. No class you have ever had has taught you how to prepare for or deal with this, but don’t worry; no matter how bleak your days become, no matter how numb you feel, and no matter how all consuming things can get, you will survive it!

There will be times when others won’t be able to see your suffering, and therefore won’t believe it. You’ll be made a fool of by people you think are your friends. There will be times when you feel completely alone, even when you’re surrounded by people, but you need to keep moving forward no matter what. 

What’s worst of all is that you are going to lose all sense of self-worth. You’re going to experience suicidal ideation but, don’t worry, you’ll always be too scared to do anything about it. 

 You were not born to live a life of suffering, so do not let what you have just read terrify you. Instead, let it be a catalyst for you to discover how to self-soothe, and for learning about how worthy you are.

 You are going to fall in love with the most amazing man of your dreams. He is going to be the person who makes you believe you are worth everything you thought you were not. He will treat you like a queen and will inject your days with fun, childishness, and laughter. His joy, his energy, and his unwavering faith in you will continue to make you strive to be the best version of you that you can possibly be. Love him with all your heart and, when the time is right, don’t ever let him go. 

Your friends are your rock. Your soul sisters are irreplaceable. Don’t ever worry about the friends you lose because the ones that are coming are even better for you. Right now, at 28, your friendships are pretty solid. You will never have to explain yourself, you will never be belittled, and you will never ever feel unwanted or unloved. Your friends will accept you, flaws and all, and will love you all the more for them. Don’t ever take them for granted. They are amazing people and you need to remind them of this regularly because they deserve to know how much you love and worship them.

 Don’t take your family for granted either. They’re the only one you’ve got. Your brothers are going to grow up to become two of the most amazing men you’ll know. Their sense of humor will shine through each and every day and you are going to be so proud of them. Love and cherish mom and dad. Let go of any resentment over stupid things like TY and realise that, just like you, they are doing their best. Love them with all your heart because you only have a limited time with everyone on this earth and your relationship with them is one of the most important ones of all. Become friends with them too. They are the only people in the world who will always have your back.

Finally, I have some advice to give you. Read carefully and do exactly as I say if you want to live a panic-attack free life: 1) Meditate, 2) Do Yoga, 3) Practice Gratitude, 4) Run your ass off regularly, and 5) Never Ever stop writing.

Love, 28 Year Old Me xxx

 

This is definitely over 200 words but given the fact that it is a letter I think you might forgive me! Now, my turn to nominate!!

I would like to nominate the following three blogs for The Valiant Blogger Award:

damppebbles 

Thirty on Tap

Thrice Read

These are blogs I love to catch up with and hopefully  you will enjoy them just as much as I do!

Cx