Pick Yourself Up and Start Again – Tips for a Healthy Mind <3

As you can see from my last post, March was a little tough. Not impossible and I’m happy to report negativity didn’t win, but it took me a few weeks to bounce out of it. Our mind is such a beautiful yet delicate thing. It has the potential to show us depths of strength beyond our imagined capacity but I find that if you take advantage of it, if you mindlessly carry on in a blur of day to day to do’s and don’t exercise it in the ways needed, the mind becomes stagnant, and a stagnant mind allows negativity to fester fast as a virus.

It took me a little while longer than I’ve become accustomed to and indeed than I’m comfortable with, to free myself from the grips of those negative thoughts last month and as you can only continue to move forward and learn from what has gone before, I decided to stop, recollect and assess, now that I feel better. I paid particular attention to the turning point or how I managed to get out of the negative frame of mind and in doing so discovered a few tools that will hopefully help me or someone else stay on track in the future.

I know so many people who suffer with different forms of anxiety and negative thinking and sometimes I think these are mistaken for depression. They can definitely take you over, as depression does, and certainly develop into depression if not addressed but I think there is an in between phase. The metal space I was in last month for example, was that place where everything begins to get harder. Everything seems to require more effort than you can muster, and every situation appears more negative. It is a spiral that rapidly progresses but as the molehills begin their transformation into mountains you can reverse the decline. It’s not easy, especially as your mind wants to do anything but make an effort in any respect whatsoever, but you CAN do it with a little push and a little self-love!

Taking the thoughts from my last post for example, it is amazing how you address these same thoughts when feeling positive as I do today and from this positive outlook stems little guidelines which may help to avoid derailing the happy train in future;

 

Thought One: All the things I haven’t done, the path’s I didn’t take.

Yes, it is sad that my life didn’t go exactly as I planned when I was a little girl singing into a hairbrush or writing my first fairytale about a good and a bad witch! but life isn’t over yet and maybe I won’t be the next superstar or Tolkien, but I can sing and record and book gigs and be heard on soundcloud as I can write and self-publish and pay more attention to this blog at the very least. The point is, the main thing I need from this venture I will gain if I just do something as oppose to doing nothing. The negativity stems from not doing it at all, not from not doing it in the specific way I had imagined. I am such a perfectionist, but I am the worst kind of perfectionist in that if I feel I may not achieve the absolute epitome of the thing I wish to do then I won’t even begin. It’s 100% or 0 from me! This is a terrible way to live life as very little is ever perfect and if you don’t try, you don’t budge from the place you started in. I am trying very hard to retrain myself and to acknowledge that the pure joy I seek from doing something I love will be achieved the instant I do it. Whether I sing in the shower or on a stage, read my poetry to a writers group in the local library or sell it in bookstores, my mind will feel the same happiness and consequently I will be altogether more positive. This goes for whatever you’re in to music, sport, writing, fashion, make up, do what you love on however small a scale you must. Just do something.

 

Thought Two: I’m looking older.

There is only one fountain of youth and that is fitness! It can seem completely impossible to motivate yourself to exercise when you feel negative. I know it has taken me 6 weeks to get myself back to the gym but once you start you will never look back! It doesn’t have to be a mad gym session, it can be a long walk every day or a jog or a swim or yoga, whatever form of exercise you fancy but I have realised that physical exercise is a vital cog in the healthy mind wheel. Physical strength and fitness beget mental strength and fitness and it is wholly necessary in order to maintain a happy head as well as a happy heart. It is so easy to fall into a rut, especially if you work in an office where you focus mentally all day and then feel too tired to exercise, you’re not! Your mind might be, but you don’t need it to work out! It can go on auto pilot and you can strengthen it while it chills 😊. Think of it this way, society / commercialism has used the heart as the emblematic station for our feelings to such a point that we feel an innate connection between the feelings we conjure in our brain and the beating muscle in our chest so in order to keep your feelings healthy, keep that heart exercised and strong!

On this same topic as a healthy body really does kick start a healthy mind, part of that process is also the things you eat. I know there are countless ways of saying this same thing but in attempt to keep it as simple as possible I have found that when I eat better and stay hydrated I feel happier. Everyone has different things that work for them, for me, I avoid all processed foods, always cook from scratch and try to drink at least 2 litres of water a day. I notice when my mind starts to become unhealthy, I start to eat less healthy and the downward spiral sets in. Feed your body well and you will feel great.

 

Thought Three: This reality is infinite and I will never experience enough.

I think this thought is an existential conundrum for all deep thinkers. It’s not something I can solve. I will always yearn for more but the best way to achieve as much as I can for myself is to begin with what I have right now and work my way outwards like ripples in a pond. Let each experience encourage you to do something more. Try something new once a month or quarterly or however suits. Keep it interesting and always keep life moving in the direction of further knowledge and understanding. We will never know everything but we can know a lot 🙂

 

Thought Four: There will always be a storm

This is my new thought to add. It’s something I have learnt from dogged experience and it is not negative believe it or not! If you wait for the time when everything is going great, you will never be happy. There is always something wrong either with you or with someone you love or, well, don’t get me started on the world as a whole! The fact is you cannot control the wrongs that come and therefore you are helpless to them and the longer you wait for them to rectify themselves the more disillusioned you will become. The solution is to learn how to be positive in your body and mind despite what’s going wrong around you. Always see the good, however small it seems in the moment and be thankful. You have already achieved the greatest scientific feat there is, you are alive, and you are conscious… now live.

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“Change is the end result of all true learning.” (Leo Buscaglia)

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I cannot believe it’s been three years since my last post!!!

Time has swallowed me up and spit me out. It has transitioned me from the things I used to dread to the things I worship the most. Scrolling through some of my old posts to refresh my memory, the undertone of sadness reveals just how much I have grown, learnt and, dare I say, awakened over this period. I am balanced and positive and a new mum! Becoming a mum was certainly the climax to my happiness over the last few years but my transformation began long before the pitter-patter of tiny adorable feet…. 🙂

In my post “True Love Waits” I touched upon the fact that my partner and I were separated for two years in 2013. We had known each other in passing for a number of years but only had the bliss of ten months as a couple before he had to leave. This was when time became my enemy. I counted each and every day and marked them off a calendar as did he. For the first year I existed in an empty shell. Work, TV, Sleep, Repeat. but as time progressed my mood slowly lifted as the imminence of his homecoming increased and I saw enough light at the end of the proverbial tunnel to enjoy myself again, little by little. Whatever small happiness I found in those cruel years my life truly restarted in April 2015 when my love came home.

It is astounding how we are forced to be thankful for the little things when they are all we have. Being separated for such a long time, my partner and I learnt to cherish our love in a different, in fact in hindsight, a more profound way. We wrote hundreds of letters to each other expressing our deepest thoughts and fears. Getting to know the levels of each soul unabated by any distraction. Our phone calls were deeply focused on the important happenings of the moment and the positives (no matter how few they seemed) so as not to upset the other, so far away and when we visited each other, every second was acutely precious in the awareness that soon it would end and we would be apart again.

When we finally came back together every tiny blessing was instantly apparent and blissful. Waking up together, falling asleep together, sitting together watching a show, cooking for each other, brushing our teeth together at the sink in the morning, just being able to walk hand in hand to the local shop and buy milk, felt like we were incredibly lucky! I couldn’t halt my snowballing mental transformation from negative to positive. Every tiny thing made me smile. Even the things that used to annoy me (like how loudly he potters around the bedroom when I’m trying to sleep!) made me grin with delight. This gratefulness transferred in to all areas of my life, I was thankful for a sunny morning walking to work, thankful for a kind client, thankful for the challenge of a difficult day in the office and the feeling of achievement I gained from pushing through it. Suddenly everywhere I had once seen problems and felt overwhelmed , I saw challenges with real solutions and felt full of love and thanks. Somehow in my desperation and loss, I had stumbled across the secret to happiness and it was so simple;

be loving and be thankful in everything you do.

 

 

 

 

The Year of Resolve not Resolutions!

Another year has come and gone. January 12th 2015 is upon us and I, I am still unfulfilled. Not completely, not irrevocably but unfulfilled nonetheless. I want this to be the year. The year I start my PHD and in turn my career in Literature. The year I take the chance and find the balance between a creative mind and a creative bank balance! The year I refuse to give in to the hum drum drone of in-between and forge on upon the unknown path of discovering who I am and who I am destined to be. The year I love my body as well as my mind. The year of nature, of poetry, of family, of recognising what is truly important in this transient life.

The year my love comes home..

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True Love Waits

I don’t really know where to start. How to begin…

My life has been a fairy tale for the past ten months. I have finally found that elusive “true love.” The love I had always believed existed, even when experience after experience tried to tell me otherwise. It is true, that when you find your Mr/ Ms “Right” everything falls into place with ease. There is no stress, no hurt, no hot and cold, no other girls or other guys or blurred lines, just you and your other half in a peaceful bliss that lasts from the moment you wake, to the minute you fall asleep in each others arms. It feels almost as if you’re living in a special bubble, saved for the extra lucky ones. As if you finally know the secret that so many are still trying to figure out, but just when you think you’ve got it all figured out, life finds a way to paralyze you..

My love and I were separated on Monday for two years. Not by choice or for any positive reason, but rather purely down to injustice. It is day three of my two year stint without him and I feel lost, somewhere between devastation and survival instinct. How do you keep going when your happy normal life is snatched away? How do you persist when everything has changed so rapidly, so completely without your control, without hope.

I have so many fears.. what if the separation somehow undoes our bond? Is that possible, even if we love each other so completely? I feel as if I am standing on the edge of a black hole, facing into two years of loneliness and faded memories. I have heard and read about endless long distance relationships, contemplated the times when men went to war, or to work abroad, leaving their loved ones behind and some of those made it through. Some of them.

We both believe that we are meant for each other, and since I was a child I’ve heard the cliche that “love can conquer anything” is it really true? Please let it be true. I’ll never stop trying, not even if he comes back a changed man, because time does change us right? Or can love keep us the same?

My faith is dwindling with this newly awful experience… if there is a God, we need him now.

Funny, just as I finished the above last lines I searched for images to use in this post, with the term “true love.” The first one that appeared out of millions was this…

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When strangers become friends, and lovers become strangers again…

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Last night, by chance, I had to fleetingly reconnect with someone who once held my heart. It was strange to speak to each other as strangers would, as if he had never known my secrets or fears, and I his. It got me thinking about all the people who have passed through my life thus far. All the strangers that I have shared an integral part of my life and soul with, only for them to fall back in to the abyss of this large Earth and become strangers once more.

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As a species that supposedly need connection, how do we go from the above, to the below?

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I know there’s pain involved in many instances, yes, I remember that all too well, but others simply drift. Like the school friends we haven’t seen or heard of since we finished our exams, or the work colleague we had an incredible bond with, whose wonder we forgot when we moved to another job.

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..and what about THOSE friends. The crazy, sociable, bad for your future but great for right now friends, that somewhere a midst the madness showed glimpses of beauty and friendship that you will never forget..but you had to leave behind, for your sanity, and your personal progression.

I think the hardest part is “re-becoming” strangers. To look into the eyes of someone you once loved, or a person you once bared your heart to as your closest friend, and see a cold detachment that time and distance has created.

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If I could round up all the people from my past, those who taught me valuable lessons, those who supported me, and I them, in times of need, and those who simply brought pure joy to quiet days. I would thank them, and love them just as I did before. The funny thing is, even those partings that were less than amicable suddenly seem irrelevant in comparison to cherished memories, when enough time has passed.

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I saw the above quote online and understood its sadness, but I say, hold on to the good. Yes its true, “friends become strangers” but instead of focusing on their leaving, why not remember the unadulterated happiness those same people brought, when as strangers, if but for a moment in this transient life, they became friends.

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Keep my Creativity!!!!!

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I can’t remember the last time I wrote a poem… wrote anything for that matter. Why oh why as soon as I rejoin the rat race due to financial demands do I lose that which makes life magical MY CREATIVITY!!! I am on a mission this year to fight the mundane forces that drive me to a slow death of work, eat, sleep, work, eat, sleep… and steal my will to express and exude all those colours I hold within.

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I’ve realised creativity really does take courage, courage to hold on to what makes your world brighter, and like all else worthwhile, courage to fight for its consistency in your life. Yes I’ll be tired tonight after the hour-long drive home from the busy office, I’ll cook, change in to comfy clothes, and probably slump into the nearest armchair with a hot, sweet cup of tea…but I’m bringing a pen and paper to that armchair too, if it kills me! Even if I fall asleep mid composition at least I’ll be creating, focusing for but a moment on more than heavy eyelids!

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In order to transcend traditional ideas as stated in the above, it seems one must first overcome tradition itself. The working man’s/woman’s tradition, the evening slump tradition, the “I’m too wrecked I’ll do it tomorrow” tradition. I have already lost years to the woe’s of tradition, routine ruts we fall into gladly and perish in without notice, until so much time has passed that we have missed our dreams. NO! Not this year!

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 I used to excuse myself with the well known phrase “I can only create when I’m miserable.” Ah, I’m happy, that must be why I’m not writing, ugh! waste! waste of precious time! What about those moments when a view takes your breath away, or a happening that brings a song or a poem or a painting to your mind instantaneously. I agree, creativity certainly does lie in chaos, but it also lies in peace, because it lies, with us.

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If you’re an artist and you’re struggling with the everyday, remember one vital quote that rings in my ears every time I fall off the creative grid… “Life is not about finding yourself, it’s about creating yourself!!!” (George Bernard Shaw)