Dear Evan Hansen [Theatre Review]

A week ago I went to see Dear Evan Hansen at the theatre and it was my favourite theatre show I’ve ever seen!

I first became interested in Dear Evan Hansen when I heard someone singing a song from it on Britain’s Got Talent last year. I really connected with the song and it’s lyrics, so wondered who it was by. When I found out it was from an upcoming theatre show I knew I had to see it!

Dear Evan Hansen tells the story of a high school boy with social anxiety. One of his peers at school commits suicide and Evan finds himself lying that they were best friends. The plot follows the fabrication of this lie and the consequences that follow.

The show surprisingly had a simple set, but it didn’t need to be elaborate to make a point. There were various screens dotted about the stage with projections of social media feeds and messages; it was very effective in the way that it made me feel part of the scrolling and the masses of information that come flooding at you when using a phone. I thought the acting was brilliant – it was very personal and intimate, in that most of the scenes were family and friends conversing, and I think they did a great job of making it feel real.

I thought the show was written with so much heart and understanding. I like that it touched on important topics: loneliness, anxiety, drugs, and suicide. It was difficult to watch at times, but it was nice to see something so eye-opening and honest. I think in a world of social media, where we should feel more connected, we actually feel more lonely than ever, and so Dear Evan Hansen has come at the perfect time – to remind us that people care even when we feel like they don’t, and that none of us are ever really alone, even when we feel like we are.

This show hit particularly deep for me because I used to really struggle with social anxiety. I used to feel like I was invisible and that every time I tried to speak up anxiety would cause my hands to sweat, voice to shake, just like Evan’s. I felt alone because I couldn’t share my voice in the way I wanted to. It felt like being stuck behind a window, tapping on the glass (exactly like in the song on the show). And that’s partly why I created this blog in the first place. I’m glad to say that I’ve worked hard to overcome this and I’m in a much better place now, but in my heart I still remember what it feels like to be that person. It amazes me how well they’ve put this feeling on stage, and I think if I’d watched it at my lowest, it would have reminded me that people really do care. I hope it helps a lot of people out there.

 

Have you seen Dear Evan Hansen? What did you think?

 

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You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

My Goals for 2020!

I decided to create a few goals for my 2020! I wanted to make ones that are realistic but also push me beyond my comfort zone, so I think this is a good mix.

 

Start (and Finish!) a Novel

This is my biggest goal for this year. I’ve been wanting to write a novel for a long time, but I’m such a procrastinator when it comes to writing. I always tell myself to “wait until you have more time”, when realistically I can schedule time and make it happen if I really want to. So that’s what I’m going to do! I’m hoping to start small and aim for 2,000 words a week, and then perhaps increase it from there. I hope that I can finish it by summer, but I’ll keep you all updated!

 

Read 12 Books (not including my university books)

One thing I’ve found really difficult during my English degree is finding time to read books for pleasure. It’s meant that, not only have I missed reading books that actually spark joy in me, but my bookcase is overflowing with new books that I just haven’t had a chance to read yet! However, I would like to change that this year. I’m aiming to read a book a month and go from there. I figured that even if university pushes this aside in the next few months, I’m graduating in July so I’ll have more time to read in the latter half of the year.

I’ve recently created a Goodreads account to keep track of my goal which I’m really excited about! If anyone would like to connect, you can add me here.

 

Get a Full Time Job

As I’ve just mentioned, I’m graduating this year, so my goal is to get a full-time job within the latter half of the year. I’m in the process of applying to grad schemes, figuring out what I want in a job, browsing opportunities. The world out there is so competitive, but I want to be optimistic about finding my place within it.

 

Create a Morning Routine

I’ve just finished reading the book “Feel Better in 5” by Dr Rangan Chatterjee and it’s inspired me to create a better and more fulfilling morning routine. Over Christmas, I’ve stopped using my phone as soon as I wake up. Instead I get up, shower, etc. and check my phone after half an hour or so instead, or sometimes even a few hours. It’s really helped improve my brain fog.

The premise of the book is choosing 3 “health snacks” to do every day for five days, each one focusing on the mind, body and heart. These “snacks” could be journalling, exercising, or practising gratitude, but the book has so many exciting and fun ideas that I hadn’t thought of before!

I’m hoping to pick a few of these and incorporate them into my routine. I’d particularly like to try doing some breathing and yoga when I wake up, and planning out my goals for the day ahead.

 

Continue using my phone less

Over Christmas I didn’t use my phone as much since I was very busy, out and about doing things. However, I know that when I’m stuck at uni studying, my temptation to go on my phone definitely heightens. I’d like to prevent this though, so I’m really going to try not reaching for my phone every time I need a break. Instead of texting friends, I’m going to try calling them more – it’s more efficient and also more personal.

 


 

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What are your goals for 2020?

 


 

You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

 

 

All the Movies I Watched Last Year! (2019)

Key

5 – one of my favourite films!

4 – great film – would watch again!

3 – good film – would maybe watch again for fun/lightheartedness

2 – pretty bad

1 – awful

0 – should not even be a film

 


 

Before I started this, I predicted I’d watch 75 films in 2019, but I actually watched 70 – very close!

(I updated this post throughout the entire year, so it took a lot of dedication! I think it was worth it to look back and reflect, but not sure I’ll do it again!)

 


 

1. Source Code (5/5 stars) – I loved the concept of this. It’s so much more than just one-of-those-films-where-they-repeat-the-same-day.

2. Cam (2/5 stars) – I watched this with a friend and we both thought it was weird and disturbing, although it didn’t fail to give suspense.

3. What We Do In The Shadows (4/5 stars) – This one is a comedy about vampires and it’s so funny!

4. Gattaca (5/5 stars) – This was such an amazing and thought-provoking dystopian. I can’t even put into words how much I recommend it. I instantly want to rewatch it and it’s up there with my favourite movies of all time.

5. Sixteen Candles (3/5 stars) – I really did want to give this 4 stars because it’s a classic, however I think it remains as a good, light-hearted film.

6. True Story (5/5 stars) – This film is so underrated and the way it’s filmed is visually incredible. I couldn’t take my attention off of it. It’s such an interesting and intriguing story that I’ll be thinking about for days.

7. Silence of the Lambs (4/5 stars) – I can’t believe it took me this long to watch this. I love the symbolism of the title and how it fits into the story.

8. Every Day (3/5 stars) – I read the book for this quite a few years ago so I was hyped about there being a film. Okay it may not be the best film ever created, but it was light-hearted and enjoyable and my expectations for it were never that high anyway.

9. Glass (4/5 stars) – This is a sequel to the films Unbreakable and Split. I’ve only seen the latter of these films (which I love) but I still really enjoyed Glass. The cinematography and the acting was amazing (especially by James McAvoy). I may have been slightly confused/alarmed by the ending, but only more reason to watch it again.

10. Paddington (4/5 stars) – Despite the fact that I couldn’t take this film seriously at first (it just made me laugh so much), this was such a great film!

11. Paddington 2 (4/5 stars) – I watched the 2nd one straight after watching the 1st and it was also so good, with such a cute ending!

12. Nocturnal Animals (4/5 stars) – I love the idea of a plot within a plot and the ways they intertwine. Although slow at times, this film hits deep.

13. Untouchable / The Intouchables (5/5 stars) – I rewatched this film because I love everything about it. Despite being about a handicapped man, the dialogue is surprisingly funny but also heart-warming. And the music by the pianist Einaudi is beautiful.

14. The Grand Budapest Hotel (4/5 stars) – I loved the aesthetic of this film – it was so pretty and had such a unique feel about it. It was also really funny.

15. The Breaker Upperers (3/5 stars) – This film was so random but pretty funny. Good if you want something light-hearted to watch!

16. When Harry Met Sally (4/5 stars) – This is another classic I somehow hadn’t seen yet! The ending was very predictable, but it was a great film. I found the whole debate of can a boy and girl be friends really interesting as a plot line.

17. Velvet Buzzsaw (3/5 stars) – This was a very strange but intriguing film. It felt like something was missing and that’s why I can’t give it 4 stars, but it has some unique shots and Jake Gyllenhaal’s acting is worth watching.

18. Legally Blonde (4/5 stars) – This is one of those films that is so bad and cringey that it’s actually good. I have to give it 4 because it surprisingly made me laugh (a lot).

19. Get Out (5/5 stars) – This film was absolutely insane. The characters were creepy as hell and it had such a dark but compelling vibe. Honestly one of the best films I’ve ever seen.

20. The Bucket List (4/5 stars) – I can’t believe I hadn’t seen this film before. It really got me thinking about how important life is and that we should take the chances to do the things we want to do, before it’s too late.

21. Adventureland (3/5 stars) – This film had a lot of familiar faces (Ryan Reynolds, Kristen Stewart, Jesse Eisenberg) and I liked it but I probably wouldn’t watch it again as it was kind of slow at parts.

22. Flipped (4/5 stars) – This was such a cute and heart-warming film following the connection between two kids who are neighbours. It had such a lovely nostalgic feel to it, the acting was surprisingly brilliant, and it also had a beautiful storyline.

23. I Am Not an Easy Man (5/5 stars) – This movie was insanely good. It’s about a man who walks into a lamppost and enters an alternate universe where, instead of the patriarchy, women are in charge. It was brilliantly executed and I’ll honestly be thinking about it for days.

24. Bee Movie (3/5 stars) – I knew this film was going to be odd and it was definitely very odd and I have a lot of questions. But it made me laugh though, so it deserves a 3.

25. Social Animals (4/5 stars) – This was a documentary film following the stories of 3 kids who became “famous” through Instagram and the struggles they faced. It was super interesting but also insane how social media can have such a huge effect on you as a person.

26. The Perfect Date (3/5 stars) – This was a fun light-hearted film to watch with friends but not really anything more than that.

27. Stranger than Fiction (4/5 stars) – I absolutely loved the plot of this – a writer pondering how to kill the character in her novel. Viewing the character as a real life person was a unique perspective and I was totally invested from the beginning.

28. Miseducation of Cameron Post (3/5 stars) – This film was about a girl who is sent to a Christian conversion camp because she doesn’t love who she’s “supposed” to. It’s so messed up and sad that people are treated this way. The film was really interesting though, despite the slowness at times.

29. Kung Fu Panda 2 (4/5 stars) – I didn’t think this film could be as good as the first one, but wow did it surpass my expectations! It was so sad and yet so happy and had such a beautiful storyline. I also loved the moral message to take away from it (which I won’t ruin).

30. Drive (4/5 stars) – This film was slow but immersive. There was a certain calmness to it and yet it was very intense. The tranquil music reminded me of the soundtrack in the film Equals.

31. Friends with Benefits (3/5 stars) – for what comes across as a really trashy film, this was actually so much better than I expected. It was surprisingly funny and had some deep moments.

32. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (3/5 stars) – From the same director as The Breakfast Club, this film had a lot of high expectations. Whilst it wasn’t as good, it was super funny and a laugh to watch.

33. Ex Machina (5/5 stars) – This film was actually insane!! Just when you think you know what’s going on, you realise you don’t. If you’re intrigued by a.i. you’ll be amazed by this film!

34. The Inbetweeners movie (3/5 stars) – how it’s taken me this long to watch this, I have no idea, but finally I have!

35. The Inbetweeners 2 (3/5 stars) – was just as good as the first! very funny

36. Eddie the Eagle (4/5 stars) – This film was so inspiring and proves that if you put your mind to anything, the impossible is possible.

37. Departures / Then Came You (3/5 stars) – This almost deserved 4 stars because it was actually a lot better than I thought. Predictable at times, but beautiful at heart.

38. Murder Mystery (3/5 stars) – It was weird seeing Adam Sandler and Jennifer Aniston in a somewhat thriller of a film, whilst also embracing the comedy they’re known for, but it was a decent and fun movie.

39. The Departed (4/5 stars) – With a strong cast and such a powerful opening line, this film couldn’t go far wrong. You probably couldn’t predict all the intricacies of the ending if you tried. Only fault: kind of slow at times.

40. Get Out (5/5 stars) – I rewatched this with a friend and it only made me love it more! and I noticed more details the second time around.

41. The Package (3/5 stars) – I rewatched this film with a friend and it’s just so crazy and weird but funny.

42. Baby Driver (4/5 stars) – This was such an interesting and also unique action film about how bad things happen to good guys. Definitely worth a watch!

43. Someone Great (2/5 stars) – This wasn’t that great, despite the title. It was a nice friendship film but didn’t have much depth.

44. Swiped (3/5 stars) – It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be as some parts were surprisingly funny, but this was definitely one of those easy-to-watch-fun-to-watch-with-friends film

45. Toy Story 4 (4/5 stars) – I don’t even know if I’ve seen Toy Story 3 but regardless, this was such a cute and funny and heart-warming film. I loved that there were more adults than children in the cinema!

46. A Simple Favour (4/5 stars) – This was such a unique thriller that had comedy but also a really dark undertone. I’m a sucker for twists and this film had a LOT. The ending was slightly confusing but overall I thought it was great!

47. Beautiful Boy (5/5 stars) – I thought it would be weird watching Steve Carell in a serious role after seeing The Office but he was amazing in this, and so was the other lead. It was based on a true story about drug addiction and it was such a powerful and heart-breaking film.

48. In Bruges (4/5 stars) – This film was ridiculous and funny but also had a really brilliant storyline with great acting.

49. Safety not Guaranteed (3/5 stars) – This has a really unique and original storyline that had me hooked. There isn’t much point in watching it again but it’s good for a one time watch.

50. Happy Death Day (3/5 stars) – This horror flick had some surprising twists & turns! inspired by Groundhog Day, the main character relived a day in her life over and over.

51. Nanny McPhee (4/5 stars) – I was obsessed with this film as a child, so my housemates and I decided to rewatch it and relive our childhood – and it was just as good as we remembered!

52. The Theory of Everything (5/5 stars) – Such a beautifully crafted but equally heartbreaking film. unbelievable acting and I loved the music. it was an interesting insight into the life of Stephen Hawking – he really is such an admirable and influential human being.

53. Joker (5/5 stars) – I saw this one at the cinema and I can’t even put into words how amazing it was. Acting, cinematography, music, overall message – it was flawless.

54. Psycho (4/5 stars) – I watched this on Halloween thinking oh no this might be too scary but it actually wasn’t at all! was a great film though, with some interesting quotes.

55. Despicable Me 3 (4/5 stars) – Despicable Me never disappoints. Agnes is the cutest kid and the minions always make me laugh!

56. Dirty Dancing (3/5 stars) – First time I’ve actually seen it! It had a lovely feel-good vibe to it & it was great to finally have context to the dance lift.

57. The Upside (2/5 stars) – This is actually an American remake of the film Untouchable/The Intouchables. It wasn’t too bad but I absolutely love the original & this one just couldn’t live up to it!

58. I Origins (5/5 stars) – This was such an interesting film that set up a debate around the scientific vs spiritual view of life through a man’s fascination with eyes. I think this film will stay with me for a long time.

59. Taxi Driver (4/5 stars) – This was a slow but intense film about the alienation of a taxi driver in New York City. I feel like it’s one of those films that you either get or you don’t.

60. Midnight in Paris (4/5) – about a man who accidentally travels back in time to Paris in the 20’s and meets famous authors. It had such a lovely and inspiring vibe to it.

61. Megamind (4/5 stars) – This is actually such a good animated film with a surprisingly deep storyline, commenting on the mutual reliance of heroes and villains.

62. Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (3/5 stars) – I almost wanted to give this 4 stars just because of nostalgia but damn this film is kind of dark for a kids film! Still good though.

63. Last Christmas (4/5 stars) – This was actually better than expected! It was funny and had such an unexpected and heart-warming plot twist that genuinely left me in shock.

64. The Knight before Christmas (1/5 stars) – This film was honestly soo bad. I wasn’t invested at all and didn’t care for the characters. The only reason I didn’t give it 0 was because it was mildly entertaining to laugh at it’s awful-ness with a friend.

65. Let It Snow (2/5 stars) – This film was so cringe and predictable. It was nice to watch as a one-off movie when I didn’t feel like thinking too much, but I wouldn’t watch it again.

66. I Lost My Body (5/5 stars) – This animated film about a hand, detached from its body, wandering the streets of Paris, was absolutely mesmerising. There was just something so deep and calm and thoughtful about it, whilst also plucking at the nervousness and grief and struggles of life simultaneously.

67. Love Actually (4/5 stars) – One of the best Christmas films! It’s both happy and sad and a lot of emotions at once, but it’s also real and is a genuine portrayal of a lot of different relationships and families.

68. Marriage Story (4/5 stars) – Real, raw, genuine, and amazing acting. It felt like watching in on someone’s life.

69. Jumanji 2 (3/5 stars) – It was very similar to the first film, but not sure I liked it as much. Was a lot of fun though!

70. Elf (4/5 stars) – Christmas classic. I normally watch this every year and it’s still just as funny!

 


 

What was the best film you watched in 2019?

 

You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

Reflecting on 2019!

2019 has been a wild one – a busy one, a hard one, but more importantly, an influential one. 

I feel like, for the first time, I’ve actually started and ended the year with a completely different mindset. The year has been a wave of so many different opportunities, and experiences, and emotions. It’s kind of weird to look back on all the fluctuations and the way I reacted and dealt with everything each step of the way.

As I keep going on and on about on this blog, I had a bit of a mindset transformation this year, which I think I know was because I fell unwell in February and dealt with a whole load of fatigue-related problems for 6+ months. I look back on it and it was hard. It’s honestly one of the most difficult things I’ve had to deal with, but I think it was also kind of necessary. I like to think everything happens for a reason, and this is exactly what happened. If it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t have taken up yoga, I wouldn’t have tackled my problem with over-working, I wouldn’t have started walking more. The main thing it taught me was to look after myself. Not in the simplest sense, but properly. It almost ended up being some sort of enlightenment where I realised that I am actually so incredibly grateful for my life and everyone in it.

I remember at the beginning of the year thinking “2019 has been awful so far”, but it makes me so proud that I’m ending the year with “okay not everything is perfect, but I accept it and I’m genuinely so happy with myself and how far I’ve come”. And I think for the first time in my life I actually mean that. I actually see all these obstacles and anxieties not as something that stops me, but as something that drives me forward to do what I want anyway. And it makes me kind of emotional to realise I’ve brought out this positivity in myself that I honestly did not know was there, and didn’t think ever could be there.

So I just want to thank everyone really – my family, my friends, all of you out there reading my posts. I opened my blog up to the world this year by removing its anonymity and it was scary, but it reminded me that I don’t need to hide who I am.

Here’s to a 2020 of more positivity, of graduating uni, of meeting new people, of self-developing even more.

Here’s to a 2020 of smiling, despite anything. 

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

The final month of this year! Absolutely crazy how I’m halfway through my final year of university! So, time to reflect on my gratitude for this month…

[Check out my other gratitude posts here: September, October, November]

Spending time with family

Now that I’m on a break from university, I’ve been spending a lot more time with family. My second cousin from South Africa, whom I’ve never met before, is staying with us for three weeks and it’s been so fun to show her around London, Windsor, and our favourite places! She’s very similar to me and it’s honestly felt like finding a long lost sister. It was so lovely to have a Christmas Day full of family and board games and homemade crackers my cousin made (with funky socks and made up jokes that made me laugh so much). I feel so lucky to have a family that, although is small and broken up, I get along with super well.

 

Food

It’s safe to say Christmas is definitely a time of lots of nice food! I am a huge fan of roast dinner – it’s one of my favourite meals – and I enjoy tucking into feasts with family and friends. I’ve also done a bit of baking this month which has been nice! I made a chocolate and banana cake which was really delicious. I’m grateful that I have the ability to create meals and desserts and also have access to such a variety of quality food in the first place.

 

Lifelong friends

I feel very lucky to have a circle of friends who I can always count on to have a laugh, but equally count on to be supportive and encouraging.  I love that I have friendships that involve a lot of investment from both sides – we’re in it for the long haul – and sometimes I forget how rare this is and how lucky I am to have found such amazing friends. It makes me really happy, because I know for sure that I will not only take these friends into 2020 but, as cliche as it sounds, into the rest of my life. So I’m super grateful I have all of you – you know who you are 😊

 

Living in the Present

Over the Christmas holiday I’ve tried particularly hard to use my phone less. My social media usage has dropped down to under an hour, and sometimes even half an hour, each day and I’ve been messaging people less, which has been difficult, but it’s often nicer to call or meet up in person instead. As a result, I’ve felt my brain fog decrease and this has really given me a lot of hope. I feel grateful that I’m alive so I should make the most of living it.

 

Acceptance

I feel like this month more than any other I’ve tried really hard to accept situations as they are, without reacting to them. There’s been a few occurrences where people I consider friends have ghosted my messages and in the past I would have felt anxious, but instead I now just accept it. Whenever my mind tries to beat me up, I calmly speak back to it like I’m reassuring a friend. Even as I’m writing this now, I’m stuck at a train station waiting for a friend who got delayed by more than an hour. I could have got annoyed, but what would be the point? Instead I’m accepting it as it is and enjoying a sausage roll and hot chocolate. With acceptance comes gratitude for what is right in front of you, not anger and anxiety for what isn’t.

What are you grateful for this month?

Let me know in the comments!

 

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Christmas Day Socks with the family!

 

You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

‘I Lost My Body’ [Film Review]

This animated film about a hand, detached from its body, wandering the streets of Paris, is absolutely mesmerising. It has such a seemingly weird and questionable concept – why is a hand the main character? how would that be an interesting story to follow? – but it is filled with intriguing symbolism. I found myself bizarrely attached to the story of this hand, as it did it’s very best to survive, whilst the flashbacks of the past revealed the life of the boy who once held that hand as his own.

There was just something so deep, calm and thoughtful about this film, whilst also plucking at the nervousness and grief and struggles of life simultaneously. The music was beautiful and the animation was simple yet touching. It seemed to express the world from all sorts of angles – birds eye, through mirrors, beneath the ground. It was one of those films you feel completely immersed in, and when you come out the other side you don’t really know how to live in the world anymore.

There was a particularly interesting use of symbolism in the role of a fly, who the boy as a child tried and attempted to catch on multiple occasions. But he never could get a grasp on it. He realised it was “impossible” – this far fetched ideal that couldn’t be obtained, and so he started to live his life passive to whatever life threw at him. He let the fly pass him with not so much as a flicker.

[spoilers ahead]

It isn’t until the end that we see that it isn’t impossible. The hand does it’s best to survive because it believes it’s owner needs it back, but he doesn’t. He does not need what he once had, what the past once gave him, to be complete. And jumping off that ledge, laughing into the night sky, he realises that anything is possible. We define our own fate. 

Have you watched a film recently that affected you deeply?

Let me know in the comments below!

You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

Are you on a Journey to Happiness?

A few weeks ago I discovered a new You Tuber – Rowena Tsai. I instantly felt connected to what she was sharing and I could relate a lot, particularly at this moment in my life. So here is a piece inspired by her discussions, but also by my own journey with happiness, where I am trying to maintain the happiest version of myself. I hope this might help in creating and maintaining your own happiest version of yourself too.

I think it’s interesting how we’re all on our own journey of happiness. We all exist on our separate scales – some people are right at the bottom, some people are right at the top, and then there’s a range of people dotted about the middle. Every now and again it’s beneficial to take a mini time out and contemplate where you are on this scale. Why are you at this mark on the scale? Why are you not higher or lower on this scale? What are you doing that consciously makes you a happier person? Sometimes life is so busy we don’t stop to contemplate what we are actually doing with our lives.

I think contemplating happiness and being aware of your own happiness is the first step in actually creating a journey to increase it, but even at this stage it is hardly enough to motivate you to change anything. When I was feeling low, it wasn’t that I didn’t want to change, it was that I didn’t know how to change, and even when I did, I was fearful of it. When your mind says to you ‘you can’t change’ or ‘there’s nothing you can do’ it is putting up a barrier because it’s afraid of what’s out there. The mind’s habits have become so comforting that it doesn’t want to lose them. Sometimes I feel myself wanting to drift back to lower mood for no reason and I think it’s because that’s what my mind has been used to for so long – the mind does not eradicate negativity overnight.

It’s weird because, when I look back on how I used to be (before I decided to make positive changes to my life),  I didn’t feel like I was that depressed at the time. The saying of “losing interest in things you used to enjoy” I believed didn’t apply to me, since I was still doing all my hobbies and I was still going about my everyday life. What I didn’t realise was that the happiness that used to come from these activities was like a numbed version of happiness – an exterior happiness that I believed was there but inside was empty. I was just existing in a cycle I was doing only because I thought it was what I wanted – and partially it was what I wanted, but the problem wasn’t with the activities, it was with my mindset.

It’s only now, in the present, that I can feel and understand the difference in my mood. Now, when I do those same hobbies it’s like a completely different experience. I take part in them not because they are part of my routine, but because I genuinely want to take part in them – I feel excited by the prospect of them. If you are partaking in a hobby and your body isn’t genuinely thrilled to be doing it, then ask yourself why are you even doing it? Does it make you feel good? Are you doing it for yourself not other people? This can be used in all areas of life too – why do you do any of the habits that you do? If you don’t have a sufficient answer, then maybe that’s a habit to adapt or eliminate from your life.

Sometimes, it’s hard to know what happiness is. If you’ve felt the same way for a long time you know no different. But from my experience, I can tell I’m happier because the world and the future excites me. I can tell I’m happier simply because I’m motivated to get up and do things and explore the world, rather than sit in a monotonous pattern. And wow, is it so freeing. It is so freeing to just sit and think about my life, smile and not have anything bad to say about it. It’s a state of peace and acceptance. Accepting the bad for what it is and allowing it to change myself as a person, because that is the reason why it is there.

I feel like the last few years has been a journey of turning my mindset upside down. I used to wonder how people could be so positive – it seemed unrealistic and impractical – but now I realise that those people are positive because that’s the only way they can live happy lives. They’ve been let in on the secret that the only way to move past difficult patches in your life is to train your mind out of the negativity in order to overcome it. And it’s not a secret at all – it just takes a while for some of us to really understand it. Certain events in life happen and you can let them tear you down, but why choose to be unhappy when you can make changes to improve your life?

I think the journey of happiness is hardly a straight forward path. There are ups and downs and I guarantee you I will fall back down at some point in my life. But I’m no longer scared of it. I trust that the world will run its course and I trust that I will be able to get myself out of it just like I’ve done before.

Where are you on your journey of happiness?

And what did you change to get there?

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You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

Contradictions of the INFJ Personality Type!

I thought I would write a post today about something I find super interesting – the Myers Briggs personality test! It involves answering a number of questions to determine what kind of personality type you are.

There’s been a lot of research on this so it’s more than just your average Buzzfeed quiz (although I do really love Buzzfeed quizzes). Ever since I came across it, I’ve found it to be so accurate, for both my own personality and in terms of people I know. It is easy to be mistyped and end up with a personality that is not true for you, but once you’ve got the correct one, it feels like you’re reading a diary entry from inside your brain that’s been broadcasted all over the internet for everyone to see. It really did blow my mind.

The main reason why I love this personality test is because it’s a great way to accept and understand yourself, but also learn to tolerate and understand other people too. Not everyone is the same as you and sometimes knowing the intentions behind someone’s actions can be reassuring and enlightening.

As the title suggests, I am an INFJ. I thought it would be interesting to share the paradox that is this personality type because I often feel like I’m the most confusing person – even to myself. If you’re an INFJ, it’s likely you’ll relate. If you’re not, maybe it’ll help you understand an INFJ friend.

You can check out my other blog post, where two INFJ’s compare their lives, here.

 

I’m social yet antisocial at the same time

This is definitely the most confusing aspect of me. I’m the kind of person you can find in bed at home watching a movie with a hot chocolate and refusing to leave the house, but I’m also the kind of person who will join lots of clubs to meet new people and make friends. I seem to jump from one end straight to the other, socialising when I feel energetic and motivated and then “recovering” by removing myself from people for a day.

 

I’m an extroverted introvert

There’s no denying that I’m an introvert – I can easily go hours without talking to anyone and socialising tires me out – but it seems that with some people I do mould into an extrovert. When I’m around people I’m close with, they see a more outgoing side of me because I don’t need to be fearful of holding anything back – I trust them. I also have moments of being an extrovert when it comes to meeting new people – initiating conversations, asking questions – but it all depends on my mood. If I’m speaking to an extrovert I automatically take backseat, especially when I’m drowned out by a group of extroverts, but if I’m speaking to a quiet introvert I somehow evolve into an extrovert to make up for the role. Sometimes I even confuse myself with how I can be outgoing one minute and quiet the next. I think it confuses people because those who see me as quiet are surprised when I’m chatty, and those who see me as chatty are surprised when I’m quiet. I guess I’m just very selective with who I am social with – some people I could socialise with for hours or days and not get drained, whereas others I have to take a time out.

 

I hate attention yet I want to be seen

I absolutely hate attention. At school, my friends used to try and convince me to wear a badge on my birthday so everyone would know, but I refused to. If you start to sing happy birthday to me in a restaurant, I would probably run out the room. The idea of someone staring at me too long just freaks me out. And yet at the same time, I want for people to see and understand me. I try and explain myself a lot (for fear of being misunderstood as someone that I’m not), but sometimes I just want people to pay attention and understand/appreciate my perspective.

 

I’m happy but I’m sad

I feel like my whole life has been me trying to make sense of the happiness and sadness in my brain. I can honestly say that right now in my life is the happiest I’ve ever been, but despite this, I still always feel this inner nudging of sadness that seems to spill over the edges at any given time. And sometimes it even seems like I want it to, as if I want to feel it to know it’s still there. And I don’t understand it. I can be happy all the time and yet as soon as I go for a walk in the dark I’m whipping out the sad music and living in my own little world for a while. It’s a weird comfort. I’ve always been drawn to sadness, even when I’m happy – in music, in films, in TV shows – and I can never really explain why, except that it’s just real.

 

I help others but I don’t help myself

This has honestly been such a huge downfall in my life. I’ve always put other people first – going out of my way to give advice, to be a shoulder to cry on, to do anything I can to make people feel just a slightly bit better – and my own mind and body was neglected a lot during this process. It is only now that I’m beginning to change this. Why should someone listen to my advice if I don’t even follow my own advice? This may be an INFJ contradiction but it is one of the few contradictions that I can actually change.

 

I seem calm but inside I’m a storm

When you imagine an anxious person you may think of someone tapping their foot or pacing the room or sweating profusely. Sometimes, the times I am most anxious I am completely still – you wouldn’t even know. I think this is what makes it so hard for me to open up sometimes, because it may seem like I’m pretending since I seem so “together”, but I just have an inner world that is so much more alive than what is perceived from the outside.

 

So that’s a bit of insight into the life of an INFJ!

I’d love to know what personality type you are – comment below!

And you can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

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