Why is Walking So Important? [Dr Chatterjee Podcast Review]

Last week, I decided to go on a walk. I do this every so often, strolling around the lake on my university campus, taking some nature photos and admiring the scenery. But this time, instead of listening to music, I put on a podcast. This was actually the first time I’d properly listened to a podcast, let alone walk to one, and it felt really amazing!

The podcast I listened to was Feel Better Live More by Dr Chatterjee and the episode was titled: Why Walking Is The Superpower You Didn’t Know You Had. I’ve been following Dr Chatterjee for a few months now since I read his book The Stress Solution back in September, which helped me so much with creating my goals for tackling stress/anxiety. I was aware he had a podcast but, knowing nothing about podcasts whatsoever, I assumed it was something you had to purchase. It was only last week that I searched it up and realised that you can actually listen to it for free, either on YouTube or on the apple podcasts app! That’s when I decided to take a walk whilst listening to a podcast about walks, and it was super insightful!

In the podcast, Dr Chatterjee discusses with neuroscientist Shane O’Mara how life today is often not built for walking, due to things such as narrow pavements or the use of lifts. As humans we naturally opt for the easiest option, because companies constantly manufacture things that attract our attention in their efficiency, but we should be encouraged to walk instead of using these manufactured alternatives. For example, instead of taking the lift or an escalator, take the stairs. Instead of driving the car 5 minutes away, walk. Most of the time it’s a lot simpler than we think.

The benefits of walking more not only creates a healthy body in the physical sense, but it improves mental health, sleep and productivity. Shane O’Mara mentions that if we go for a walk prior to taking part in an intellectual activity, such as writing, we perform it more creatively and generate more ideas. He even said that if you get older people that are in their 70’s to walk, prior to stimulating ideas, they will generate twice as many ideas as 20 year old’s who haven’t walked! So if I ever get stuck on an essay, I’ll definitely be putting on my boots and heading out…

I won’t spoil all the wonderful discussions in the podcast, but I hope by sharing a few of my thoughts that this is enough to encourage some of you to have a listen! I think walking is definitely underrated in that it isn’t really considered a sport, yet it’s so beneficial, and this podcast does a great job of explaining why it is important, whilst also motivating you to get yourself out there and try it!

Dr Chatterjee’s podcast Feel Better Live More doesn’t just talk about walking, but so many other topics that encourage you to live the healthiest and happiest life you can. So if you’re unsure about diving into the world of walking yet, you could listen to one about reducing alcohol, getting enough daylight, improving sleep, or developing confidence. There is absolutely something for everyone, since there are 85 episodes so far, with a new one each week!

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Have you listened to Dr Chatterjee’s podcast before? Or read one of his books?

Let me know in the comments!

You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

5 Things I’m Grateful For This November (2019)

It seems like only a few days ago I started this blog series, but both September’s gratitude and October’s gratitude have gone by, so here I am again for November!

 

Time to breathe

This month, I decided to start up meditation as a consistent routine. I’ve done meditation on and off before, but I never really set my mind to do it for a long period of time. My friend decided she’d like to do the same so we now message each other every day and try to do meditation at the same time. I feel so grateful to have apps like Insight Timer, Calm and Headspace where there are so many free meditations available for use, but also to have a friend that shares the same interest as me and who motivates me to better myself.

 

Dream-like moments

There are some moments in life where everything seems kind of surreal. Often it’s when you’re in a change of environment or you’re doing something new. It’s a dream-like moment where you feel as though you’re in a bubble of happiness away from your everyday life. I’ve had quite a few of these this month – going for a long walk, days out with friends – and it reminds me how nice it is to break the routine. I felt as though I existed in myself on those days, away from all the external and materialistic things I associate with myself, and I feel so grateful for that.

 

Spirit

With the build up to Christmas, it’s really made me appreciate how wonderful the spirit is around this time of year. I’ve always loved Christmas, but I feel like I notice it so much more now – the warmth of people, the excitement and the singing. I went to the switch on of the Christmas lights in Norwich a few weeks ago and it was so lovely to see everyone gathered together for the event. I understand why some people might find Christmas overwhelming, but to me it is the time of year where everyone seems so free and genuine and kind.

 

The Little Surprises

I think when a lot of us hear the word “surprise” we think of something big, like a surprise party, but sometimes even the small, unexpected things are overwhelmingly exciting. A week ago my Mum sent me a little box in the post full of surprise goodies and it was so lovely! In it was a little pine cone lady decoration, a pot of travel facts, a cute magnet, an advent calendar and a lot of chocolate! I’m so grateful to have these goodies to get me through my essays over my final weeks at university this term, so if you’re reading this Mum, thank you so so much!

 

Yoga

If you’ve been following my blog over the last few months, you’re probably aware that I decided to join yoga club this year at uni. It was one of my goals for tackling stress/anxiety and I’m so happy that I’ve managed to keep it up! I’m so grateful that the club has so many sessions on offer. There is a mix of fast-paced, calm, and core-based sessions and I always look forward to bringing on the new challenges. Before yoga I was super inflexible (I couldn’t even touch my toes) and I’m hardly the opposite now, but I have noticed a lot of improvement. I always feel so refreshed afterwards as if I can breathe so much easier and freely, and it helps reverse the sitting positions I resort to throughout most of the day. I think it’s easy to have a stereotypical perception of yoga or the kinds of people who do yoga, but it consistently surprises me. It has helped me so much, and I think everyone can benefit from a little yoga every now and again.

 

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A photo I took on a walk around the lake!

 

You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

Empty Voice [Microfiction Competition Entry Round 2!]

A couple months ago I posted my story from the first round of the NYC Microfiction Competition. I made it to Round 2 so thought I’d share my entry with you again.

Good luck to anyone else who is taking part!

The prompts for Group 15 were:

Genre: Horror

Action: Washing the dishes

Word: Talent

 

I’m home, but I don’t feel at home. I sit on the sofa in the front room, the streetlamps outside casting a subtle light in the darkness. It feels real – being alone with the tears that stain my face from the memory.

Get off me.

It’s just as dark as it was that night, but this darkness calms me. I don’t see a talent to sadness, but I think he did.

The gentle rumble of cars lulls me to a sleep-like state. They sound like his voice in my ear, but I know with every increase they’ll slink away into the night. I can’t make out what they’re saying. I could always make out what he was saying.

Get off –

A car siren wails. My eyes shoot open. A figure stands by the window. I know he isn’t really there.

I wash the dishes for a while. The bubbles pop each of my nerves until I remain an empty body in an empty house. I think we do anything we can to distract ourselves.

Get –

Turns out when something wants to get in, it will.

The wind thrusts open the window and he stands before me, fingers curling around my neck.

I dangle there a while – in his strangled grip, in a dream-like state of craving and hurt. All I can do is smile and hope to wake up to the pain.

Those three words tickle the edge of my tongue.

 

You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

walking. [flash fiction]

sometimes I walk and I feel immersed in nature, picking up leaves in my mind and admiring the breeze as it carries people on their separate journeys. Other times, I can’t seem to get out of my head. Everytime I focus on the outside world my mind internalises my thoughts until I forget where I am, what I’m doing, where I’m going. I guess the brain is clever in that way; it does what it wants to do. And all we can do is try our best to control it in the right direction.

How to Find Time to Blog Whilst at Uni (or Working)

I’ve seen a lot of posts on twitter recently from students that are struggling to keep up with blogging whilst at uni. I thought it would be helpful to put together some useful tips! These may also be beneficial to those of you who work as well.

1. Create a blogging ideas list!

This is definitely one of the most important things to do if you’re a blogger. There are so many things in the world that can trigger great ideas, but there’s no point ignoring them when you could write about them! Whenever something pops into your mind, jot it down in a notebook or on a piece of paper. Your brain will thank you later when you’re lost for what to write about.

2. Write posts in advance!

The first step to get your blog in a flow is to write posts in advance. I never used to do this, but since I have, I’ve felt so much more productive. It may be difficult to start doing this at first, since writing 5 posts at once may seem a little draining, but perhaps take a week off blogging to put together some posts and start the following week! Whenever you feel the urge to write or have a great blogging idea, write it in the moment – you don’t have to post it straight away! I currently have 7 drafted blog posts, some of which I wrote months ago, but it means I always have something to post, even if I don’t write for a couple weeks.

3. Plan!

I may be biased because I absolutely love organising and planning things, but it really is useful when trying to get your life blog together. Every Sunday, I sit down and plan two blog posts I’m going to publish the following week, normally three or four days apart (if you’ve written posts in advance, all you have to do is simply pick two from your drafts folder!). I normally have a little blogging weekly planner that I stick on my wall [see below] so I know the exact days to publish things, and how I will market each post on social media too (e.g. what photo on instagram I’m going to use). I also find this extra helpful since my part time job is running the social media for a bookshop (until December), so I use the planner to organise this as well.

Example of my weekly planning 🙂

If you’re not an organised person, this may sound completely overwhelming, but I’ve found that it actually works a lot better for me! If you don’t want to publish two posts a week, you can aim for one and build it up from there.

4. Write whenever you have a moment!

You may have decided which posts in your drafts folder you’re going to publish this week, but it’s a good idea to continue writing so you have more choice for next week! When it comes to writing itself, I actually have no schedule whatsoever, because I feel like you can’t plan writing. Whenever I feel like doing something productive, but I’m fed up of studying/working, I result to blogging because it makes me feel like I’m doing something worthwhile! It’s also a great break between writing essays (I’m currently writing this post now because I’ve reached a standstill on my essay, so I’m taking a break to blog and then going back to the essay later!).

You can also try blogging instead of scrolling through social media. For example, if you’re waiting for your food to come out of the oven, why not blog? If you’re sitting on a train or at the station and you’re bored out of your mind, why not blog? There are lots of moments where you can easily whip out your phone and type a blog post out on the “notes” app. Even if it’s just a sentence or two. Those will eventually add up and you’ll have an entire post!

5. You’re allowed to take a break

This is one I have to constantly remind myself – it’s okay to take some time away from blogging! We’re all human, and there’s only so much our bodies can put up with before we start to crumble. If you need to take a break because life has been super busy and you can’t keep up, no one is going to hate you for it! A couple months ago I went on a week long holiday and completely disappeared off my blog and social media with no warning, but I needed that time to reset my body and look after myself. It would be weird if you didn’t take a break. So enjoy blogging, but also get some much-needed rest.

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You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

rain walks. [flash fiction]

It’s like being in a whole other world – in the rain. The darkness sliding down my throat and radiating the slow warmth of each streetlight through my skin… I feel it. I feel it in the water that cleanses me of the dirt – the night that exists only in the day. ironically now, in the darkness, it all dissipates. I feel low like the puddle below my feet but just as alive as the sky as it pours out everything it has been hiding. It is a moment of honesty. that’s why we all hide from it, shoving our hoods over our eyes or screaming for cover. but sometimes we’ve got to accept it. sometimes it’s necessary to bask in the real world. and this is real… allowing ourselves to become the rain as we drop to sleep, falling into the next day…

Creating a Good/Positive Aura in your Life

I think it’s safe to say that we’ve all heard of the phrase “positive vibes”; it’s used so much across social media and in everyday life (inauthentically at times). It’s easy to say that being positive attracts positive things and sometimes it does seem too cliche to be true, but I’ve found that being positive actually makes a huge difference.

The other day in my yoga class, we were told a story about two dogs in a room full of mirrors. The happy dog saw happy dogs looking back at him, and the angry dog saw angry dogs looking back at him. Life is the same; what we give out is what we get in return. If we’re angry, other people will feel that energy and retract from us. That’s why it’s so important to work on your own wellbeing before you can expect anything from anyone else.

This year, I’ve really felt the force of a positive aura. I’ve worked so hard on overcoming a tough 6 + months of being unwell, where I honestly did feel really low, but coming out the other side has motivated me more than ever to self-develop and to combat stress and anxiety (as you might have seen in my goals for tackling stress/anxiety post). It is true that difficult moments in your life make you into a better and stronger person, as I’ve felt this for sure, but it also makes positivity a necessity – sometimes being positive is the only way out.

If you think about all of the people you’ve met in your life, there are probably some people who you instantly felt warmth and happiness from when you first met them – those are the positive people. And because of this, you probably felt more inclined to speak to them or become friends. The same goes with yourself – the better you feel about yourself, the better others feel around you. People are attracted to good and positive auras.

I’ve really felt this to be true lately. A few years ago I was a very negative person – I found it so hard to focus on the good things that were going on in my life and I think because of this I wasn’t attracting anything particularly good in my life either. Since I’ve worked on my happiness, I’ve noticed a change in the way I interact with people – I feel like people want to talk to me more and I feel connected to people more. It’s as if they feel the positive energy I’ve worked so hard to create and it makes all of it worthwhile.

I think it’s easy to dismiss this sort of thing until you’ve experienced it for yourself. I know for a fact that the version of me that existed a few years ago would have read this blog post and sarcastically said “yeah right“. Because when you’re feeling negative, you don’t want to admit that your attitude is the reason life isn’t working out for you, because then you have too much responsibility and that’s scary. But it’s also the truth.

Creating a good and positive aura is not something you can instantly make present in your life. You have to start by dealing with your emotions and your wellbeing and this always takes time, but it also always will take time. There’s never an ending point or result – it’s a constant progression. I’m still progressing now and I always expect to be.

So next time you go to a new place and meet new people, think about the energy each person in the room is giving off. Who are you drawn to? Why are you drawn to them? And focus on your own aura too. How can you share the best version of yourself with the world?

Give out a metaphorical thumbs up to everyone you meet 🙂

You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

Two INFJ’s Compare Answers About Their Lives

Hey! Welcome to a collab post all about INFJ’s! We thought we’d create this to share more about this specific personality type (find out your type by taking the quiz here) and also to prove how the same personality type can cause morals and hobbies to overlap, since we have a lot of similar answers here! Hope you find this interesting, and let us know your thoughts (and your personality type!) in the comments.

A = Alice (me)

M = Milly (fellow INFJ)

Check out Milly’s blog here.

What’s your ideal day?

A: my ideal day would be spending time with a few close friends – going out and exploring new places and cafes/restaurants to eat. Maybe playing a few board games later and then having a chill evening watching a movie with popcorn.

M: I love being by myself so probably reading or watching a good TV Series or Movie and writing.

What’s the most introverted thing about you?

A: Probably the fact that I can sit at home for hours on end by myself and never be bored. Like I just have so many thoughts and things I love doing that require time alone – writing, blogging, reading, cooking, tv/films, etc.

M: The fact that I’m better off being alone than with other people. Pretty much the same as Alice’s answer.

When was your last birthday and how did you celebrate?

A: My birthday was on the 13th October. I had a pre-birthday get together with some close friends over summer (before everyone went their separate ways to uni/work). We had a board game day, went out for a Chinese meal, watched a film and then they stayed over. On my actual birthday I went shopping with my Mum, bought too much, and ate more chinese food.

M: My birthday was on the 13th of October as well. I spend my day with my mom and grandma. We ordered Chinese food for dinner and before that I cut a cake and it was actually the 3rd time in 20 years I had a cake for my birthday. I had a post-birthday get together with my two friends and we watched a movie and spent the rest of the day at a park.

If you could describe a scenario that sums up the entire infj personality, what would you say?

A: A girl/boy having a conversation with another person. They are simultaneously excited that they’re actually successfully speaking to a stranger, whilst also wishing it was more than small talk, whilst also overthinking everything they’re saying, whilst also reacting with the exact right emotion because they feel everything the other person is feeling, whilst also thinking about some other thing that happened at some random time in the past that’s irrelevant, whilst also planning how they are going to do certain future things in advance, whilst also figuring out who the person they’re speaking to is really like (deep down), whilst also attentively listening. and taking it all in. somehow.

M: Same as Alice 😂

What is your ultimate goal/motivation in life?

A: To be happy and to make others happy 🙂

M: To inspire others to embrace themselves the way they are.

What is your favourite trait about yourself? 

A: My favourite trait about myself is my empathy – my ability to feel how someone else is feeling, regardless of whether I’ve experienced the same situation as them or not. It can make life a bit exhausting and draining, but it’s what connects me to others so well. It means I give great advice and support.

M: I have a very few close friends but there are a lot of people I know and one common thing they say about me is that I’m a good therapist so I guess that’s my favorite trait – being a good listener and giving good advices.

What other personality types do you get on well with? Why do you think that is?

A: The people I am closest with are ENFP, INFJ, ENFJ, ENTJ, INFP, ISTJ, INTJ and ESFJ. There is mostly an intuitive (“N”) theme going on – I get along better with people who think in this way for sure! I like a mix of extrovert & introvert – extroverts bring me out of my shell but introverts embrace the side of me that just wants to chill out.

M: INFPs, ISFPs, INFJs, ISTJs. Through the traits vary from person to person, these are the types that I like hanging out with or talking to because their interests and mine are somewhat similar.

What genre of TV Shows or Movies do you like watching?

A: I will watch most genres, but my favourites are comedy, thriller (especially psychological ones), animated/cartoons and dystopian.

M: I love thrillers/mystery, rom-com and period drama. I also enjoy Sci-Fi.

What are some of the movements that are close to your heart? (Example: Climate Change, Feminism)

A: I’m very passionate about equality. One of my pet peeves is when people make stereotypical and sexist statements such as females being the cleaner of the family, or men bringing in all the money. We’re all equal and should have the power to be whoever we want to be. I’m also super passionate about supporting mental health – I write a lot about positivity and self care on my blog. Recently, I’ve also been trying harder to reduce plastic usage and recycling everything I can.

M: Besides being a Feminist, I’m also a Mental Health and Body Positivity advocate. I believe that these are the three things that we need to change in order to live in peace and be actually happy in life. Climate Change is a cause that I feel like everyone nowadays should be devoting their time too or the end of world might be near. As much as I love the movie 2012 or the TV Show The 100, I would want them to stay fiction and not turn into reality.

What is the first thing you notice in a person?

A: The first thing I notice about someone is their eyes – I think you can tell a lot from someone’s eyes. But also the person’s aura/vibe.

M: Physically, their eyes. While in a conversation, I see if someone’s an open book or Mysterious.

What are your thoughts on Small Talk?

A: I would much prefer to have deep/meaningful conversations than small talk! But I can tolerate it in moments where it’s necessary.

M: Absolutely hate it. It’s exhausting. I like meaningful conversations.

If you could spend an entire day with anyone, who would it be?

A: This is a difficult one to answer because I’ve never really been the kind of person to idolise celebrities much. I think I would pick someone like Matt Haig – he’s my favourite author and I’d love to know more about how he wrote his books, his battle with mental health, and just more about him as a person. He may not be a huge celebrity, but I think his story is really inspiring and his books have had a huge impact in my life.

M: This is actually a difficult one to answer because there are so many famous personalities that I’d like to meet and talk to but if I had to choose just one I’d say Taylor Swift. I’ve been listening to her music since I was 9 and it’s been a decade now that she’s my favorite. She is very generous, inspiring and a beautiful human being and I really hope that I meet her someday and tell her exactly how grateful I am in person.

I hope you all found this collab post interesting! It was really fun writing it alongside fellow INFJ Milly. I’m planning on publishing another INFJ post soon that I wrote before I started on this one, so look out for that! If anyone has suggestions for personality posts they’d like to see, let me know in the comments. And don’t forget to let us know your personality type too!

You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

Joker [Film Review]

A few days ago, I went to the cinema for the first time in ages to see the film Joker. I’d heard so much about it so I was very excited to see if it lived up to the hype.

I feel like I came out of the cinema in a complete daze not even knowing what to say. It was dark yet realistic, overwhelming yet amazing, and I can’t really put any of it into comprehensible words that will give it justice, but I’ll try my best.

Joaquin Phoenix’s acting of the Joker was insane! He managed to inhabit the character so well that I inhabited the character too by effect. He managed to produce this evil yet heart-breaking laugh and, together with the cinematography and music, really did live up to the eerie yet intriguing atmosphere. You want to wince away but you also want to inch closer, asking why.

The film as a whole was extremely dark – I’m surprised it’s not an 18 because it deals with some heavy stuff – but it also represents a part of society that is easily overlooked. It reminds people that different backgrounds create different stories and what is easy for one person is not as easy for someone else. It also represents how the systems of society often let people down – people that are mentally ill aren’t treated well enough and perhaps this is one of the reasons why crime surfaces. We can’t judge from the outside; dive into the film Joker and you’ll sure as hell be understanding from the inside.

I think what I took from the ending is that life just goes on. We walk round and round and back and forth just like the Joker did on that final scene in the corridor. Life moves on and it doesn’t stop for one person. The Joker left bloodied footprints along the hall, which I think was a cool way to compose the final scene, but no one will know who left them. We all leave footprints that no one will ever fully know or understand. What happened to the Joker happens all the time and we don’t even know about it because we’re too busy strolling our own separate corridors. And occasionally, just maybe, we might bump into the truth. And watching Joker is that truth.

You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

5 Things I’m Grateful For This October (2019)

Following on from my previous ‘5 Things I’m Grateful For This September (2019)’, I’m back with the second blog post of the series! I think the first post went down quite well, and I think it also helped me reflect on the good parts of the month more than anything else. So here we go again!

Small Interactions/Connections

I often find that the smallest of things can make me really happy. This month I’ve had various moments where I just felt really connected to people – people I didn’t know, people I had only just met. I was sitting next to someone on the train the other week and, just before he left to get off at his station, he turned to me, smiled, and said ‘hope you have a great trip’. It was such a simple remark but it really made my day – and he probably didn’t even realise it at the time. I guess what I’m saying is that this month I really felt the good side of humanity – the kind, the emotional, the honest side. And I noticed that, when I was travelling, I felt the urge to reach out and speak to people too, to also make that connection. It’s almost like a mutual wave of kindness was just flowing around and recruiting people along the way, and that makes me happy.

 

Unexpected Writing Opportunity

I wrote a post about this a week or so ago, which you can view here, but I had to mention this within the list because I’m so hugely grateful to have the chance to put my writing out into the world through an app! Writing has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember, but writing for a cause is so important to me too. I don’t just write for myself, I write to help others too, and so it felt great to take part in an opportunity that involved reaching out and helping people through my words. The whole experience was an unexpected occurrence, but I think sometimes unexpected things end up being the greatest opportunities! I had a wonderful day watching the recording of my writing and I’m sure it’s something I will be grateful for for my whole life.

 

My Progress

This is a bit of a weird one, but I’m really grateful for the amount of progress I’ve made. There’s a lot of things I have struggled with over the years, due to mental health, and speaking my mind and in front of others is one major one in particular. This month, I’ve really been trying to push myself and disengage the associations my brain has with school/university classes. Speaking up in class has always given me a lot of anxiety – red face, shaking, sweating, losing breath, you name it. It’s really difficult to hide this when everyone is staring right at your face. However, after all my hard work over the past year to increase my confidence and decrease social anxiety, I’ve finally managed to speak up more in class than I have in my entire three years of my degree! The anxiety isn’t completely gone, but I’m able to get through it and still feel good about myself by the end. And that really is a huge step in my progress. I really am grateful to everything and everyone that has brought me to this point.

 

Clothes

This may seem trivial compared to the previous three things, but sometimes it’s good to take a new perspective on something that has become so habitual. I don’t go shopping that often, but when I do I sometimes end up buying quite a few things to make up for it! I’m grateful that there’s so much choice out there in terms of fashion. It’s amazing really that someone designed every single piece of clothing and that we use them to express our personality. A lot of the time it is not just a piece of clothing, it’s more than that. The fact that fashion gives people confidence and happiness is pretty wonderful.

Flowers

Again, this is a very simple thing, but for my birthday earlier this month I got sent a bunch of flowers and I just thought that they were really beautiful. I mean, they’re kind of starting to die now, but it’s interesting watching the slow transformation each day. They have also inspired me to take photographs for my Instagram which I’m grateful for, so watch out for some flower pictures!

What are you grateful for this month? Let me know in the comments below!

You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud