5 Things I’m Grateful For This October (2020)

Here’s my monthly gratitude reflection – a little late, but here nonetheless!


Autumn Leaves

One thing I really love about Autumn: the beautiful colours of the Autumn leaves. I’ve done a fair amount of walking this month (mostly on the weekends) and it’s super nice walking through crunchy leaves, which sounds almost childlike, but it’s nature coming alive in its own sort of way.

I’ve been wanting to stop and collect Autumn leaves for some book photography too, but haven’t had a chance yet! Will hopefully take this task into November.

Resilience

This is something I’ve really been working at lately and I think this October, more than any month, I’ve surprised myself in the way I’ve dealt with things that haven’t gone to plan. It makes me grateful for opportunities of self-development where I’ve really pushed myself to be more and do more than I ever could have thought. This is something I hope to take into the following month of lockdown, despite any difficulties.

Celebrations

This month I turned 22 and I was super lucky to be able to take a day off to go to The Ritz for the first time with my Mum! I feel like it’s been so long since we’ve had a chance to dress up for something nice, and I don’t often go to fancy places so it was amazing just admiring the building! The afternoon tea was delicious, and there was unexpectedly a live pianist too, which was very atmospheric. I feel like this will be an experience I’ll be grateful for for a while!

“Spa Day”

Earlier this month, my Mum and I re-created a spa day in our home to have a day full of relaxation! We did yoga, meditation, listened to a podcast with tea, cake and a candle, and even did back massages with hot stones and aromatherapy oils! It was such a peaceful day, and it was a really lovely way to unwind after a busy week. I’m very grateful for these simple yet happy moments.

Music

This month I’ve been flicking back to old music on my iPod and re-visiting all these songs I used to listen to all the time! I forgot how much I love them and it’s so nice to reignite that feeling you get when you hear a song for the first time. It’s a weird sort of way to travel back in time.

I’m hoping to do more of this over the next month, as I’ve missed my daily walks at university when I would listen to music all the time. It’s nice to turn on the speaker and blast something whilst doing the cooking, or even putting the washing up. Makes anything that bit more exciting!

What are you grateful for this month?

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 January (2020)

Here’s my monthly post on my gratitude for January!

 

Journalling

For the new year, I decided that I wanted to take up a consistent journalling habit. I was inspired by Dr Chatterjee’s book Feel Better 5 where he gave examples of good ways to journal at the end of the day. So now, as I’m winding down for bed, I get out my journal and write down 3 things that went well that day (something I enjoyed, something I’m grateful for, anything), as well as reframing a moment that I didn’t particularly like, explaining how it made me feel, how I can approach it next time and ultimately forgiving myself for it. For example, using my phone too much throughout the day, or not speaking up for myself. Not only will this help me actually put my stack of notebooks to good use (I’m a bit of a hoarder), but a lot of the time it drowns out the overthinking noise in my head and reminds me of the good parts of the day, so I can go to sleep in peace.

 

Books

One of my goals for this year is to read more books for pleasure, not just those for my degree. I’ve already read 2 books so far which is really good going for me, and it’s made me realise how much I appreciate the books that I have, the writers who write them, and my ability to read. I know for a fact that education has thrown my love of books all over the place, but this month I’ve reunited with that feeling. I’ve started a new bedtime routine where, after I have journalled, I read a book of my choice before I go to sleep, and I think it’s really helped to spark my enjoyment again, as well as improving my sleep.

 

Embracing Stillness and Rest

I’ve always been a bit of a typical introvert in that I love spending time alone to pursue my hobbies, such as reading, writing, blogging, etc. but I equally love being busy and doing things. I feel like this month I’ve just had a lot more space to breathe and I think that’s because I’ve taken more of a chilled out approach to things. I’ve taken the time I need to just sit and contemplate things and not feel guilty for resting. I find it so much easier now to say “no” to things I don’t want to go to, embracing the fact that sometimes I just want to stay home and chill and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. It means that I have more energy for the things I do want to go to.

 

Playing Music

Since it’s nearing the last four months of my time at university, it got me thinking a lot about the societies and clubs I do here and how I will actually miss them a lot when I leave. One of these is playing the clarinet in Big Band. Although I don’t practice much on my own, I really enjoy playing as a group and creating music that others can listen to and enjoy. This month Big Band released a CD that we recorded last year and we had an album launch at the uni bar where we played some of the pieces and sold the CD’s. I listened to the CD when I got home and it just made me really happy and proud that I could be a part of something so great. It makes me really grateful that my parents encouraged me to start music lessons, particularly my Dad since he is musical too. I think it’s pretty cool that I can play instruments and I don’t remind myself of that enough.

 

Binaural Beats

This is something that I only started experimenting with during the latter half of this month, but wow has it changed a lot in my life. For those of you who don’t know, binaural beats, in summary, is relaxing music that is considered sound-wave therapy – you can find music that is based on different frequencies and waves, such as alpha, beta, theta, etc. Each type of wave has different benefits, but most of them promote relaxation, decrease stress/anxiety and in some cases pain. I found a theta wave video on YouTube for brain fog, since that is something I have struggled with for a year now, and I was absolutely amazed when, even after the first couple listens, my brain fog had just disappeared. I feel like the music is so relaxing, and makes my body feel so heavy and at peace, that it dissipates any underlying stress that is in my body, which a lot of the time I don’t even realise is there. I haven’t felt so present and aware of my surroundings in a long time, and for that I am incredibly grateful to binaural beats. I’m not sure if this is something that will work long-term, but I’m going to continue using it and see what happens. For now, it is a very reassuring sign of hope.

[If anyone wants me to send the video or share any more details about this, drop me a message in the comments or through social media – links below]

 

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What are you grateful for this month?

Let me know in the comments!

You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

Do You Let the World Make an Impression on You?

Today, I was reading an interview with the author Claire-Louise Bennett about her book Pond and this line really stood out to me: ‘In solitude you don’t need to make an impression on the world, so the world has some opportunity to make an impression on you.’ 

I’ve thought a lot about solitude before and how it helps me face my raw emotions and the way I feel about things, as well as tackling them face on rather than distracting myself. I’ve never thought if it in terms of the world itself though.

As natural people-pleasers, humans have a tendency to make impressions on the world all the time because we are constantly trying to please or fit in with others. You can be the most confident person in your own skin and yet there’s still times when you conform to society or hold back your opinion for whatever reason. In solitude, it is true that the world can now make an impression on you because you’ve finally given it space. You’ve finally stopped trying to impress everyone else and you’ve finally become aware of yourself, your surroundings and what’s going on around you. This is the moment when you start noticing the way the bird chirps in a kind of excited but monotonous way, or the low buzzing of the laptop as it lies on standby. This is when you suddenly notice everything you’ve always seen but in an unfamiliar way – perhaps a more rational way.

Here’s a list of things that I think are great ways to let the world make an impression on you:

  1. Meditation – it gives you space to breathe in your environment and release your emotions and thoughts.
  2. Going for a walk (alone) – Although this causes my mind to run wild with thoughts, it also helps me notice how beautiful nature is.
  3. Listening to music – It diverts your attention away from everything else, into a new world with new sounds and new voices and new words.
  4. Sleep – Although you’re unaware of your surroundings whilst you sleep, when you wake up you feel refreshed and the world has a new chance at making an impression on you, almost like a blank slate of a day.

 

What do you think? How do you let the world make an impression on you?

piano. [poem]

eighteenth prompt: a happy place. today I played the piano again after a very long time and I realised that it’s a happy place I don’t go to enough.

a tiny heart

jumping upon the keys

black and white and

all the colours of the music

this is what it is like

to play

i think i think too much. [poem]

third prompt: incorporate music. this one is inspired by the song ‘breaking down’ by I prevail (check it out – it’s such an amazing and important song)

the sound of static tv

I can hear it

sizzling

cooking up a storm

in the depths of my head

it’s said

no remote can pause this kind of pain.

it’s said

no electricity can blow the fuse again.

I have hope that one day the tv will leave

no more hair in the static

with no direction to lead.

I think I listen too much to what cannot be changed.

I think I think too much

I think I think

‘Why Am I Like This?’ by Orla Gartland [Music Review]

“Maybe I’m an old soul trapped in a young body
Maybe you don’t really want me there at your birthday party
I’ll be there in the corner, thinking right over
Every single word of the conversation we just had

So why am I like this?”

As I’ve mentioned before in my post here, I am a huge fan of the singer Orla Gartland. I’ve been into her music for at least 5 years now, but I’ve never loved her music as much as I do right now. Similar to her song ‘Overthinking’, ‘Why Am I Like This?’ also tackles the subject of anxiety and I think that’s part of the reason why I feel so connected to it; the lyrics really speak to me.

Whilst it’s nice to have upbeat songs, I really admire artists who write, produce and perform music in such a raw state – with just them and an instrument. All the power and emotion remains in the voice and it’s often when you can tell how much music really means to someone – you can hear it in their tone and see it in their expression. Orla is someone who has such a great vibe when singing live – I haven’t actually seen her in concert (one day I will!) but her YouTube videos alone prove that she doesn’t need a mass of production and auto tune to be a great singer. She has an honest and humble talent that’s rare to see and that’s why I will forever give her shout outs on this blog because I really think she deserves it.

You can listen to either the stripped back acoustic version below, the produced version underneath it, or the original YouTube video underneath that!

 

 

State Champs Concert!

It’s actually been ages since the last time I went to a concert (last October when I went to see Neck Deep!) so I was really hyped to be going to see State Champs yesterday! I think, overall, Neck Deep and State Champs are probably my favourite bands so I feel really lucky that I’ve now been able to see them both in concert!

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Stand Atlantic!

Supporting State Champs were Woes, Stand Atlantic and Seaway. I’d seen Woes previously supporting Neck Deep and they seem really cool, though I feel like I need to give their music more of a listen. Stand Atlantic I started listening to a few weeks before the concert and I love them! Most of the bands I follow are male-fronted so it’s nice to have a female singer take the stage for a change, especially since there is a particular stereotype in pop-punk genre that it’s predominately men. They performed all the songs I particularly liked of theirs which I was pleased about, including Chemicals, Coffee at Midnight, Lost my Cool, etc. Afterwards, Seaway performed, and I hadn’t really listened to their music properly so it was slightly harder to get into. By this point I was also saving my energy for State Champs, considering I’d already been there for 3 hours.

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State Champs!

And of course, State Champs eventually came on stage and it was so damn amazing! They started off with Criminals which was such a great start because it’s one of my favourite songs from their album Living Proof, as well as Crystal Ball (which they played later on). As much as I love their recent album, I thought it was cool that they performed a variety of songs across all three of their albums. They also picked all of my favourites so I was really happy about that!

At the end of the show, they did an encore of course. Everyone was waiting for them to play Elevated, including me, so when they came back on stage to play that everyone was hyped! They also performed Secrets after this too! The venue was pretty small and there weren’t too many people which in a way was quite nice because I managed to get a great view near the front! There was actually space to jump about and also avoid the mosh pit (although there was a guy on someone’s shoulders who almost fell on me, but I survived).

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State Champs again!

Overall, it was such a good night and State Champs were honestly so amazing live! It’s hard to describe the feeling of finally seeing a band perform in person because I’m jumping about and singing the lyrics and it just means so much to me I feel like crying, but in the best way possible. It’s just such a great feeling sharing your love of music with a whole crowd of people, and I would definitely go and see State Champs again for these reasons! In the mean time, I’ll be watching back the videos and pretending I’m still there.

Have you seen your favourite band live? What did it feel like?

Is any music actually happy?

A while ago I was having a conversation about music (which isn’t all that surprising) when I suddenly thought about the difference between happy and sad music. Happy music we naturally associate with upbeat pop-like songs that put us in a good mood and make us feel like we can power through the day. Sad songs are thought of as having slow and acoustic melodies with deep and meaningful lyrics. However, it suddenly occurred to me that couldn’t this all just be false? Couldn’t all music be melancholic since that’s what causes people to write and sing in the first place?

I strongly believe that a lot of people write, sing or go into this kind of industry because they’ve dealt with a lot of powerful emotions and experiences. It’s actually the case with a lot of writers and singers – that they’ve dealt with either mental health issues or a tough past or some sort of struggle where they’ve had to be like, hey, I need somewhere to channel this energy in a way that isn’t me just taking it out on everyone. And I think it’s admirable because it’s hard to share these sorts of things through something as vulnerable as music.

I admit that sometimes I dismiss certain types/genres of music because it seemingly has no meaning to it. I listen to it on a base level, to just have fun, but I don’t really connect to it (and hence stick to my main taste in music). However, just because a song’s lyrics aren’t advanced, doesn’t mean the song itself doesn’t come from a hard place. It can be the happiest song in existence but perhaps it was channeled through a destructive mind. And this is so much like us as humans. Some humans act happy, like happy songs, when they’re actually struggling, and some humans embrace that struggling and acknowledge themselves, similar to sad songs. And when you think of it like that, all songs are worth something. They all have some origin to them that none of us could even try to understand. Just because a song is happy doesn’t mean it is happy.

So when we get joy out of ‘happy’ songs, is it even real? Is it just us embracing that music exists because we all feel and hurt too much? Maybe. But is there even anything wrong with this? If all music is sad, then does it make us bad people? Or are we just better at accepting ourselves?

New Albums 2018!

Over the last few months, 3 of my favourite bands have released new music and so of course, I want to talk about it!Image result for state champs living proof

The first is by a band called State Champs who I’m actually going to see in concert in October at my university! I’m so so hyped about it and glad that their album reached and exceeded my expectations because it means I’m even more excited to see it all live! Their album is called ‘Living Proof’ and I have to say I love every song on it. I heard ‘Crystal Ball’ and ‘Dead and Gone’ before the release and these songs are seriously catchy. I think even if you’re not a massive fan of pop punk, this album may take you by surprise as I know a couple of people who like ‘Crystal Ball’ even though they don’t like the genre itself.

My favourite songs are: Criminal, Crystal Ball and Something About You (click the song to hear it!)

Image result for real friends composure

The second band I want to share with you is Real Friends! I was lucky enough to see this band when I went to see Neck Deep in concert last year as they were supporting. I really admire the lyrics this band produces, especially since I’m into writing myself, and I loved their previous album for the way they portrayed ‘the home inside your head’ as a metaphor for the inner workings of your brain and your emotions. Their new album ‘Composure’ definitely exceeded my expectations! At first, I wasn’t so convinced, however the more and more I listened the more I realised that they’ve really come so far. The chorus’s stand out a lot more powerfully than those from before and again, the lyrics come to no faults.

My favourite songs are: Me First, From the Outside, Get By and Ripcord (again, click the song to hear it!)

Image result for as it is albums

As It Is are the third band I want to talk about and their new album only came out just under a week ago. It’s called ‘The Great Depression’ and tackles the struggles of depression, especially in boys, but also mental health in general. One of the reasons I am so drawn to music of the pop punk genre is the depth to the lyrics and that a lot of the time they do relate to mental health or to my own struggles, however not so explicitly as As It Is did with this album. However, I think it is much needed. I love that they’re standing up as a voice for those who find it hard to speak up and I honestly think they’ve presented it in such a raw and honest light. It was pretty emotional listening through the tracks, especially when tuned into the message of the lyrics, but I think it’s so important to help others understand the battles that go on inside people’s heads since it is not always obvious. It is also somewhat comforting to know that it is not only you who feels a certain way. I highly encourage anyone to listen to this album, and that even if you’re not a fan of the music please do read the lyrics, because they are crucial and unbelievably powerful.

My favourite songs are: all of them?? can I even say that?? but The Hurt, the Hope really caught me off guard in terms of emotion and lyrics (if you’re prepared to cry, click it to listen)