Is It Possible To Always Be Kind To Yourself? [Insightful Discussions #1]

This is the first post of mine and Niraj’s Insightful Discussions blog series, where we will blog on interesting discussion questions! In this blog post we will talk about whether it is possible to always be kind to yourself, which is a common discussion topic when approaching mental health.

When describing the concept of kindness, there is no concrete definition – it will mean different things to different people. For some people, it means not judging themselves for not being perfect, for other people it means being their own cheerleader. For some, it could simply involve being kind to others. The most important thing is that you find your own way to be kind to yourself.

There are plenty of reasons why we should be kind to ourselves. These include boosting our wellbeing or helping us through stressful events, such as a breakup or rejection. However, sometimes we can be unkind to ourselves too, such as forgoing our relaxing time when facing busy schedules. Therefore, is it unrealistic to ALWAYS aim to be kind to ourselves? It’s in our human nature to question, to be curious as well as to doubt ourselves, because we all want to be the best we can be. However, we both believe that we can all take crucial steps everyday to make sure we are kind to both ourselves and others, because there is never an endpoint to finding new ways of improving upon the way we see/feel about ourselves.

Ultimately, whether we are kind or unkind to ourselves is dependent on our mindset and our thinking. Similar to external habits, our mind creates habits too. We can get stuck in rotational thinking processes (whether positive or negative) and this can determine the way we show up and experience the world. As a result, if we’re used to tearing ourselves down over small mistakes, questioning our self-worth, or any version of being unkind to ourselves, we are more likely to continue doing so because it’s ingrained in our system. But how much control do we have over this? Can we not adapt the way we react to these thoughts and try to reframe them?

The truth is that, like anything, learning to be kind to yourself is a journey. If it doesn’t come easily to you, or you’re stuck in a negative thinking cycle, then it will take work, but it’s entirely possible to improve upon the way you see and feel about yourself. Whether you start practicing positive affirmations, replacing bad thoughts with good ones, or setting aside time each day to focus on your wellbeing, it all makes a difference. 

We personally believe that being truly kind to ourselves is acknowledging those days when we don’t feel great and our mind seeps back to a negative space, and accepting it for what it is. Our mind isn’t a perfect place – it doesn’t always have positive thoughts – but it’s how we react that matters.


Do you think you are kind enough to yourself?

And if so, what strategies help you do so?

Let us know in the comments below.


How To Live More In The Present Moment [The Power Of Now by Eckhart Tolle]

Over the last couple years, as I’ve taken an interest in self-development, I’ve been drilling into the areas of my life where I can improve and grow. One of these is my instinct to live inside my head. As many writers likely do, I have an imaginative and overactive brain, so it’s constantly whirring with thoughts. Sometimes it’s hard for me to focus on what is happening in the here and now because of it. I’m physically walking or cooking or brushing my teeth but my thoughts are way off in another place, thinking about other things.

I think it’s a natural human instinct to be like this – we all do it. We all enter autopilot when we are doing something we can almost do off by heart. But that doesn’t make it healthy or good for us. Being mindful of the things we are doing helps us be mindful of our place in the world and how we act within it.

Since I know this is an area I need to improve, I’ve recently started reading The Power Of Now, which is a self-development book all about learning to live in the present moment. It has some really fascinating and enlightening insights into how paying attention to the wandering mind and the emotions inside of us help us reach a sense of peace and acceptance. When we are in conflict with what is going on in our minds and our bodies, this is when issues and illnesses begin to creep up on us.

But, most of all, this book talks about the leaving behind of the past and the future.

Eckhart Tolle says:

“All negativity is caused by an accumulation of psychological time and denial of the present.”

Psychological time is essentially “made up time”. It’s when our minds start thinking back to past scenarios and future possibilities. It’s when we lose sight of what’s happening right in front of us, because we’re too busy dwelling on what has been or what could be. Of course, psychological time is necessary for many situations, from planning ahead for holidays or creating personal and work goals. The past is often helpful for us to learn from our mistakes. However, when we start living in this psychological time for no logical reason – perhaps we are overthinking or daydreaming – then we are denying the Now (the present moment). And if we are denying the Now, then it is as if we are telling our body that we don’t want to exist in this moment.

When I read this part of the book, it was such a fascinating insight for me, and it made a whole lot of sense. If we are living in the present moment, of course we will have no worries or stresses, because only this moment, right here and now, matters. Anything else going on in our brain doesn’t exist. We’ve conjured it up for no reason. And it’s harming us in the process.

When I think back to moments in my life that I’ve felt the most happy, they all involved me being fully present in the moment. I wasn’t scrolling through my phone, I wasn’t thinking about the future or what has been, I was really enjoying the here and now. And I noticed that these moments always occur when I’m around other people. Why? Probably because I’m not alone letting all my thoughts take over my brain. To replicate these moments in solitude doesn’t come as naturally, as I’m sure it doesn’t to most people, since our minds are always loudest when we are quiet, but it is something I am slowly progressing on.

The feeling I get when on holiday, of detaching myself from any everyday worries, is always such a calm feeling. That’s when the power of now has the most power within me. But what if we, as humans, could detach from this without changing our exterior surroundings?

I think there are everyday habits all of us can implement to help us get out of our own minds and focus on the present in order to overcome any unnecessary stress. For me, I’ve found that yoga has been the most beneficial. I’m focusing on my breathing and the poses so much that I’m tuned out from the world. The same occurs when I’m learning something new, like a new recipe or a new song on the piano. If we can enter a state of “Flow” in our lives, in whatever form that may be, we will find some sense of release, because we are in a continual stream of focus on a task, everything left behind as we conjure up something new and exciting and real and revelationary.

What do you do to help you live in the present moment?

Have you read The Power of Now too?

Let me know in the comments below!


‘The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A Fuck’ by Mark Manson [Mini Book Review + Quotes]

I don’t know where to start in explaining how much I loved this book and how much I resonated with the theories… but Mark Manson himself describes this book as “a guide to suffering and how to do it better, more meaningfully, with more compassion and more humility” and I think it’s spot on. I found this book quotable, meaningful, thought-provoking and it tells it exactly how it is – no sugar coating.

From discussing how to embrace pain, to taking responsibility for your life, to accepting our death in order to truly live our lives, there is so much valuable insight amongst these pages, and it really got me questioning my own thought process and the way I live my life – because we all have progress to make, much of which is hidden in our subconscious.


I’d like to share a few of my favourite quotes from the book that really got me thinking and that might provide some interesting thinking time or discussions for you too:

“The more you pursue feeling better all the time, the less satisfied you become, as pursuing something only reinforces the fact that you lack it in the first place.”

“We shouldn’t always trust our emotions… we should make a habit of questioning them.”

“As a rule, people who are terrified of what others think about them are actually terrified of all the shitty things they think about themselves being reflected back at them.”

“We don’t always control what happens to us. But we always control how we interpret what happens to us, as well as how we respond.”

“The only way to solve our problems is to first admit that our actions and beliefs up to this point have been wrong and are not working. This openness to being wrong must exist for any real change or growth to take place.”

“If it feels like it’s you versus the world, chances are it’s really just you versus yourself.”

“We can be truly successful only at something we’re willing to fail at. If we’re unwilling to fail, then we’re unwilling to succeed.”

“Our proudest achievements come in the face of the greatest adversity.”

“Life is about not knowing and then doing something anyway. All of life is like this.”

“Don’t just sit there. Do something. The answers will follow.”


I will definitely be re-reading this book whenever I feel stuck in life, whenever I feel I need a helping hand making a change, whenever I feel like I’m falling or losing my sense of direction. And I’d recommend it for anyone in this situation too.

Self development is more than just being positive; it’s taking responsibility and learning to handle adversity with acceptance and strength. And I believe we all have the potential to do that – this book is definitely a start in reminding us that we can, every single one of us, and it acts as a brutally honest but supportive helping hand.

Have you read this book? Or did a particular quote from above speak to you?

I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.


The Power Of Gratitude Journalling (And Why You Should Try It!)

It’s been 1 year since I started gratitude journalling and, no word of a lie, it is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

When we hear of the task gratitude journalling, many of us may think: but I’m already grateful for everything in my life, so I don’t need it.

However, gratitude journalling is for everyone, regardless of whether you’re grateful for your life or not. It is not just about being grateful; it is about forming a positive inner dialogue and focusing on the good moments of life, rather than succumbing to the struggles – something which we all like to think that we do, but most of the time is a lot more difficult to master than we think.

I’d like to share a few tips on how to start gratitude journalling and how gratitude journalling has positively affected my life. I hope it will be helpful for anyone who is looking to reduce stress/anxiety, or simply live a happier and more positive life.


How To Start A Gratitude Journal

  1. Choose a notebook to start your journey. I would recommend picking one that you really love as you’re more likely to gravitate towards using it!
  2. Place it beside your bed with a pen, so that it is in easy reach for you to fill in before you go to sleep.
  3. Every evening, carve out some quiet space for yourself, without phones or other distractions, to reflect on your day. What did you do? What conversations did you have? What went well? What didn’t?
  4. There are many ways you can go about writing in your gratitude journal, but I would recommend the following sequence, which is inspired by Dr Chatterjee’s book Feel Better In 5:

3 Things That Went Well Today

Write down 3 things that went well for you today, focusing on gratitude and embracing the feelings that arise. It can be something as small as someone saying good morning to you on your walk, or as big as receiving a promotion at work. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as you write down how it made you feel.

For example: When I went on my morning walk today, a man stopped to let me know that I could walk in the adjacent field rather than the path so that I’d avoid the mud. It was so lovely and thoughtful of him to stop specifically to help me out, and I really appreciated his kindness.

Reframe A Moment

It’s inevitable that there are moments in our day that don’t go as well as we’d hoped. Perhaps we snapped at someone, spent too much time on our phone, or didn’t do that exercise class we said we would do. Pick one moment in your day to write about and reframe it. Explain what didn’t go to plan and what you will do next time instead.

For example: I would like to reframe the moment I reached for my phone whilst chatting to my friend. I wasn’t listening properly to what they were saying. Next time, I will give them my undivided attention so we can really connect over mindful conversation.

TOP TIP: Always write in a positive tone of voice, even if you don’t feel positive. The more you practice it, the more you rewire your brain to think in this manner.


The Benefits Of Gratitude Journalling

Gratitude journalling is one of, if not the most, effective way of feeling genuinely appreciative for your life and everyone/everything in it. In our busy day-to-day lives, we often forget to take time out to think about what we like about our lives, what we don’t, and what we want to change.

Gratitude journalling decreases stress/anxiety because it helps put situations into perspective. Often, when we have a particularly stressful or anxiety-inducing day, we go to bed thinking about how bad we feel. However, if we are gratitude journalling, we are forced to recognise the good parts of the day, rather than wallow in our struggles. And if we’re focusing on the good, in true law of attraction fashion, we then attract more good and positivity in our lives.

For me, personally, gratitude journalling has really helped me rewire the voice in my head. Every time I’ve had a difficult situation, it’s encouraged me to flip it on its head and see it as a learning opportunity for growth. A month ago, I tried a different kind of journalling – writing out all my bad thoughts to get rid of my negative feelings – and found that, surprisingly, every negative thought I wrote down I was counteracting with something positive. I had officially trained my brain with gratitude journalling so much that I actually couldn’t write down a fully negative piece of writing. I was shocked, but I also felt proud of the progress I’d made.


Perhaps you’re reading this and love the idea of getting started on your gratitude journal. Perhaps you’re reading this and you’re a little bit sceptical about whether it could actually be effective…

Whoever you are, I would recommend starting with a month, or even just a week. Give it a go, and notice how you feel.

It only takes 5 minutes out of your day, but 5 minutes can make all the difference.

Have you tried gratitude journalling before?

Or are you willing to give it a go?

Let me know in the comments below!


6 Things I Learnt From 3 Years at University

Earlier this year, I graduated from university and, what with lockdown and no proper graduation, it’s been an odd end to 3 years, but an end nonetheless. Looking back, it’s hard to put 3 years worth of memories into a singular blog post, so instead I’ve decided to write about 6 key things I’ve learnt during my time at university – perhaps some of you can relate!


1. How To Be Responsible

This is an obvious one to start with, but it is what university teaches us all to do – how to become independent and live apart from our family. For some this is more difficult than others, but for all of us it’s new territory. I remember the first night staying at university and it felt like I was in a hotel, yet all of my stuff was there. It’s a scary moment for us all, but then the food shopping, utility bills and renting rooms becomes normality, and quicker than we know it, we become adults.

2. Who I Am As A Person

I think most people have some sort of idea about who they are as a person before university, but during university is when you truly experiment with hobbies, societies, meeting new people, and you learn how you react to all these fluctuating circumstances. I think we all try out at least one different version of ourselves at university, just to see what it’s like, whether that’s pushing ourselves out of our comfort zone or befriending someone we wouldn’t usually talk to. Eventually, you figure out how you actually want to spend your time, and I felt like I left knowing a lot more about who I am and who I want to be.

3. Self-Discipline

It’s no surprise that university teaches you how to take control of your life. Because no one’s going to do that for you. The teachers no longer spoon-feed you exam content, and no one is there to tell you to study. It really is down to yourself to manage your time effectively to get work done. I think this is something I was already fairly good at, but it did help me set up a schedule and be more proactive in seeking help and guidance when I needed it.

4. Who Your Genuine Friends Are

As cliché as it sounds, university makes you realise the kind of people you want to surround yourself with. It’s crazy the amount of people you meet when you first get there, and it’s so different to anything I had ever experienced, but it was so interesting seeing the similarities and differences between everyone. I often found myself in those stages of “friend acquaintances” and not knowing who was a proper friend and who wasn’t. But ultimately, it’s those that still make the effort to contact you and who are there when you need support. I’ve always preferred having a few really close friendships than lots of surface-level acquaintances, and I found that by the end of university, even after experimenting with both, I was back to my roots.

5. Confidence

This one plays a massive role in my time at university. I used to be a really shy person (and still can be, in some ways), but exposing myself to so many new people and new situations, which were way out of my comfort zone, really helped me become more confident. One of the things I learnt during university – mostly towards the end – is that it’s good to do things that scare you. That’s how you overcome those mental limitations you put on yourself. So now I am actively trying to do things that scare me, and letting myself lean into them with confidence.

6. The Importance of Self-Development

The university fresher in me would look at this one with utter confusion, but I think that’s a statement as to how far I’ve grown since beginning university to now. Particularly in my third year, I realised how important it was to work on my self-development. After struggles throughout university with my mental health, alongside falling ill in the middle of second year, I learnt that overcoming these difficult moments in life require self-care, self-acceptance and a desire to take action and make positive change. Self-development is called self-development for a reason – only us, the self, can do it. And when we put our mind to it, we can achieve a lot more than we think.

We take steps, not knowing where we’ll go or where we’ll end up, but knowing one day it’ll mean something.

Have you also been to (or currently go to) university? What have you learnt during your time there?

Let me know in the comments below!


What is a Fixed vs Growth Mindset?

The mind is super powerful – more powerful than we often give it credit for. Not only does it allow us to do everything we do in everyday life – speak, walk, make decisions – it also produces thoughts.

The act of thinking is something that comes naturally to all of us. None of us have to think about thinking. It just happens. Or does it?

Turns out, thinking about thinking is probably one of the greatest things you could ever do. Taking time to stop and think: what am I really thinking? And why am I thinking this? And is this productive to who I want to be as a person?

The truth is that thoughts can seem like the truth, but they’re not. They’re not really real. The trouble is that a lot of humans fall into the trap of believing their thoughts define who they are, whilst the others have learnt that thoughts can be changed and overcome.

This is where the fixed vs growth mindset begins.

 

Definition of Fixed Mindset = 

This person often believes that the way they are – their thought patterns and behaviours – cannot be changed. They may see things as “impossible” or use the phrase “I can’t do this”. People with this mindset are often stuck in their ways, won’t accept the idea that a better version of themselves, or a better version of their life, can exist. They might think they will be and feel the same forever, and they often have negative self-talk.

 

Definition of Growth Mindset =

This person acknowledges that whatever is in the mind is a construct. Beliefs can be changed and new thought patterns formed. People with this mindset are often willing to change and learn new things. They are welcome to criticism – it gives them a chance to work towards being a better person – and they see everything as a learning opportunity (even things that are negative/bad). They often have (or actively try to) have positive self-talk.

 

My Story

I think everyone experiences a fixed mindset at some point in their life. We all have times when we feel stuck, as if the world is out to get us, as if we really believe nothing better can happen. However, it is also these experiences that can drive us into growth.

For the first nineteen or twenty years of my life, I believe I had a fixed mindset (I’m currently twenty one), but especially in the last four of those years. I saw the struggles I had as this overwhelming thing that meant I could never do this and I could never do that. I saw this idealistic version of myself as an impossibility. And I was extremely negative all the time. But to myself, not to others. I would beat myself up for every mistake I made and talk to myself in ways I would never dare to speak to anyone else. And I accepted it as reality. I accepted it so much that it only drowned me further and further until the negativity produced more negativity, and I found myself in a lot of internal pain.

Skip ahead to the last year and I’ve begun to really understand the value of a growth mindset. During my journey to overcome the struggles I’ve had with anxiety, stress and fatigue, I’ve realised that there is no such thing as impossible – that is simply your mind creating limitations that are not present in reality. My thoughts have stopped becoming something that control me, but rather I try to control them, reigning in the bad thoughts and reframing them with positivity until they will slowly dissipate. The bad thoughts still creep in sometimes, but I’m learning to push them away with self-love and accepting a new positive reality.

 

Moving from Fixed to Growth Mindset

I think the problem with gaining a growth mindset is that a fixed mindset is so comfortable. It’s so comfortable – and moving into growth seems like so much effort – that it’s easy to just sit and take the easy option. I know I did this for a long time. I think we’re all guilty of doing this at some point in our lives. Why risk everything for growth when you can just sit and accept things as they are?

Because this is your chance at real happiness.

Real happiness.

In my own experience – and I know this may be different for everybody – I only really experienced real and full and overwhelming happiness when I started to move into a growth mindset. This doesn’t mean I never had happy moments before – I had lots of happy moments before! But I never felt wholly happy and accepting and fully myself until now, until after this journey of self-development, and I think that says a lot in itself. Your mindset really does affect your emotions and mental health.

As I’ve mentioned above, I’m twenty one. I don’t know all there is about the world and self-development and whether you can jump between the mindsets like the flick of a switch. I sure hope I never jump back into my fixed mindset! But I think everyone has some sort of value in what they experience, and I hope that perhaps this will inspire you to look a little differently at your own life. Do you let your thoughts limit you? Do you tell yourself you can’t do something, until your mind believes it is real?

 

img_6598
Be the candle of positivity in the dark 🙂 

 

I felt a little wary publishing this post, because I think talking about a fixed mindset and reframing negative thoughts can sometimes trigger people. No one can be forced to change their mindset – you have to do it off your own accord. So this post is simply here to give you a perspective, to perhaps enlighten you, but at the very least to make you think.

And if you relate, have something to say, or have a positive story of your own, please share your thoughts in the comments below – I would love to have a longer discussion about this!

You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

5 Ways to Focus More When Reading a Book

I’ve seen a lot of comments going around of people struggling to focus on reading, particularly at the moment, during lockdown. I remember, during the times of A levels and the beginning of university, I struggled with reading too. It actually induced a lot of anxiety for me and I felt so restless I couldn’t focus for the life of me!

I wish I had someone to give me some useful tips in those times, so now that I have a little more insight, and have overcome these struggles, I thought I would share some advice.

 

 

Practice sitting still

I think one of the main reasons why it may be difficult to read is because most of us are just not used to sitting still! Most of the times we are rushing about our daily lives, constantly on the go, that sitting still is completely foreign to us.

And now, we are perhaps sitting still more, due to lockdown, but at the same time we’re not. Reading a book actually requires all of your body to be completely still (apart from turning the page), whereas if you compare that to working or eating or using your phone, you are moving your hands or typing or doing something at the very least. Watching TV can also be a good way of sitting still, but often you fidget without really realising it. 

Take a few minutes out of your day to just sit, and be, and breathe. 

 

Start small and make gradual progress

Suddenly becoming a master at reading is not going to happen overnight. You can’t learn a musical instrument that quickly, or learn how to play a sport, so don’t put that kind of pressure on your reading skills!

If you’re struggling with reading (even if you used to always be fine), start at the very beginning again. There is no shame in going back and reading for a mere five minutes and working your way up from there. 

Start with 5 minutes, increase it to 10 minutes when you feel comfortable, and keep going.

 

Use your phone less

Phone? What does that have to do with reading?

Scrolling through your phone, flicking between apps and typing super fast is draining your attention span – a lot!! You are so used to picking up information at a fast speed, that when it comes to reading a seven hour book, where you can’t get to the end of the story in two minutes (like a news article), you easily lose concentrate. When you think about it, it makes a lot of sense.

To reign in your impatience, cut out a portion of your phone consumption and try reading instead. You will be irritable at first, but stick with it. And next time you read an article or watch a video, try not to skim ahead to the end (as hard as it is!) because it is teaching your brain to take shortcuts. And, as I firmly believe, skipping to the end of a book is never okay… 

 

Read before bed

From personal experience, this is the method I used to get back into reading. I think that, in the day, it’s easy to get consumed with other tasks and sometimes it’s hard to find time to set aside to read, and when you do, distractions easily fall into place. No wonder anxiety hits. 

At night, just before you go to bed, there is nowhere you have to be. It is your time. So you are less likely to feel the pressure of reading.

Turn off your phone or put it on silent mode and just sit down with a good book. If you’re tired, just read for 5 minutes. It doesn’t matter. It’s just a bit of quiet time, and I find it’s a great way to drown out nighttime overthinking and lull me to sleep, without the blue light of phone screens and TV. 

 

Reduce your overall anxiety/stress

I believe that the overall anxiety/stress in my life was what made reading particularly difficult for me in the past. And I’m sure, due to the current pandemic, that a lot of people are feeling more anxious than normal, which is having an effect on the ability to read.

A while ago, I shared my own goals for reducing stress/anxiety and I’ve found that they’ve helped hugely in my own journey of self-development. You can check out that post here. And maybe try one or two of them yourself!

 

 

I hope these tips will be useful for anyone who wants to get back into reading, but is struggling to find a routine or overcome restlessness. 

Everything takes practice, so go easy on yourself.

You will get there in the end.

 

 

You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

Goodreads: mymindspeaksaloud

 

 

 

‘Reboot your Brain’ by Sara Davenport [Book Review]

This was a very fascinating read, all about the ways you can go about increasing your brain function. It’s for those who may suffer with Alzheimer’s, brain fog, headaches, loss of concentration, exhaustion and more. But it’s also for anyone who wants to optimise their brain and age well. For someone who fell hard with extreme fatigue and brain fog last year, this was a really interesting and beneficial read for me.

It covers absolutely everything you can think of – brain detoxes, viruses, emotional release exercises, supplements, the gut-brain, daily practices, therapy, binaural beats, and more!

The kind of books I like are the books that make you stop and think and this one certainly did. It is full of scientific discoveries – more information than your brain can take in all at once (which is ironic, considering the focus of the book) – but, if read in chunks, you can definitely learn a lot. I found myself writing down a list of things I wanted to try as I went along – certain remedies and exercises that I liked the sound of and wanted to try incorporate in my life, or simply wanted to research more about.

 

Parts I found particularly interesting:

  • How mould can affect your health, as well as metal (be that in teeth fillings, root canal work, etc.)
  • Exercises for discarding unhelpful beliefs, through letting go of emotional and traumatic memories – I really want to try these!
  • The effect UV rays from phone screens, TV’s etc. affects health, and how you can prevent this with protective sunglasses or screen protecters
  • The sheer amount of supplements mentioned in this book – there is something for everyone!

 

Parts I knew about already but recommend:

  • Daily practices – meditation, gratitude journalling, learning something new, prioritising sleep. I actually incorporated some of these into my daily routine last year during my healing process and they really have helped!
  • Binaural Beats – This is something I tried earlier this year and it did wonders for my brain fog. This book reminded me to revisit theta waves in order to access deep relaxation more often.
  • Probiotics – since I’ve been taking these, my digestion has felt so much better. It’s also fascinating how much gut health affects the brain and mental health
  • This book got me to consider some practices I’ve heard of before, but never tried, such as acupuncture, tai chi, resetting TMJ (clicking joints in the jaw) – perhaps it might be worth giving these a try at some point!

 

Overall, this is the kind of book where not everything will be interesting or relevant to you, but when you come across something that is, it really can change the way you look at your life.

You can buy Sara’s book Reboot your Brain on her website here.

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ out of 5

 

img_5446

You can find me on social media here:

Instagram: @mymindspeaksaloud

Twitter: @mindspeaksaloud

Goodreads: mymindspeaksaloud

Join my Wellbeing Newsletter here.

 

Weekly Wellbeing Challenge: Week 4

The challenge for this week was… 5 minute meditation!

[ You can find out more details about my weekly newsletter here ]

I’ve been dipping in and out of meditation for a while. When I was first introduced to it a few years ago, I really didn’t like it. But now, I think I have a better insight into how it helps the body and mind.

I chose meditation for this week because I want to start meditating regularly. I find it difficult to get into a routine because often I keep it up for a certain length of time, and then I stop and forget about it (which I’m sure is relatable for a lot of things!)

At the moment, it’s harder to create that routine, now that we’re all at home. As the week went on, I kept forgetting to meditate after my shower, but often I would remember during the day and do it then instead.

What I’ve noticed from meditating:

  • It encourages me to breathe more deeply, which makes it easier for me to relax and not tense up my muscles
  • At times, it’s not easy, especially if I’m already feeling anxious, or I can hear my heartbeat
  • It’s worth sticking out the bad patches because, once I’ve finished meditating, I feel calmer and more present within myself

 

I found that the best times to meditate are:

  • As soon as I wake up (but after I’ve got dressed/showered so that I’m not so tired I will just fall back asleep again!)
  • When I need to take a break from work (meditating genuinely re-energises me so much! it’s like a little nap)

 

Overall, meditating is a good way of acknowledging my presence in the world, living in the moment and noticing when I’m feeling uncomfortable or anxious and making the changes to reduce it (rather than continuing to distract myself).

My aim is to continue to meditate as much as I can over the next week, month and year. Even if it’s only a 5 minute break between finishing my work and grabbing my lunch, it’s worth something.

What are your thoughts on meditation?

Let me know in the comments below!

[ + join my wellbeing newsletter here]

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.