Categories
Forward Thinking Mental Health Real Life Stuff Self Care

A Gateway to Greatness

Do you want to know an easy way to increase your confidence and boost your mood? It requires very little effort and no money whatsoever. Interested? Of course you are!

In my quest, moving towards a more positive frame of mind, I have stumbled upon something marvelous. You can do it it in as little as five minutes a day, but within this time a new skill will become a part of you and shine from you with radiance and confidence.

So what is this awesome thing that’s going to change your mood, your energy and your life? Well it’s you, more specifically your body language.

You see, your body is a mirror of your emotions and while most people are aware of this, they don’t perhaps realised that the same can be true in reverse.

If you see someone hunched over, closed off, with the head down and their hands clasped, odds are they aren’t in a good place. Likewise someone that has their head Held High the body language is open and relax with a big broad smile, there probably doing much better right?

Well here’s the magic part. Our body and our brain are connected and create feedback loops.

Try this…adopt the body language of a person in a sad or withdrawn state. Lower your head, draw your body in a small as you can, cross your arms or ring your hands. How do you feel? I’m guessing you started to feel a bit sad, or anxious, or both.

Now try this… widen your stance, smile broadly, place your hands on your hips and hold your head high. Own your space and smile. Keep that smile going, get it to reach your eyes. This a power pose.

Do you feel better? Even just a tiny bit? I thought so.

This isn’t mystic hippie stuff. This is science, real actual science, and it works. If you need proof have a look at the pictures I’ve included in this blog. There was a time I would never want to share a full length picture of myself, but since looking at these new techniques I’ve really started to feel the confidence my body is portraying.

Body language confidence example

Practice power posing in the bathroom in private for a few minutes each morning and whenever you get the opportunity. Embrace the new confident you and in no time at all this will become natural and require little thought or effort.

There are loads of amazing free resources online where you can learn about body language, positivity, power posing, and lots more.

The bottom line here? You are amazing, you are worthy and you deserve your place in the world, so hold your head high and own your space!

Here’s a great starting place, check out this amazing video from Vanessa van Edwards all about the art of body language for confidence.

Categories
Forward Thinking Mental Health Real Life Stuff Self Care Uncategorised

Stop!

Blue Sky over a path

It might seem strange to be starting with a post about stopping but bear with me…

I have been working on shifting my mindset in so many different ways and the plan was to see what worked what didn’t, and to write about the things that did. To write, not as an expert, but a veteran. To show tried and tested ways to feel better.

I have lots of things I’m going to write about in the coming weeks on my mission to change my thought process and shift my mindset to one that serves me, rather than enslaves me. I have decided however, that rather than writing as a veteran who’s been through it I’m going to write these pages and let them serve as a journal. I will chart my progress and put it out there for all to see. I hope it will be interesting and I hope it will be helpful. The reason I want to do it this way is because what works for me might not work for others and likewise, what works for others might not work for me so if I try something that I don’t find useful it may help someone else.

Before I get to any of the ‘how’ I want to say this… Changing the Habit of a lifetime it’s hard work! It can feel exhausting and it is ok to rest when you need it. Stamina builds over time. Nobody does a marathon in their first attempt at running, they train they build endurance and they keep going on their journey – but when they are tired they rest. The more they train the longer they are able to go between rests.

I’ve always been a very all or nothing sort of person. I would stop at the first set back because what’s the point? I wanted to go from zero to expert in one giant leap and obviously that isn’t the way of the world. What I’m learning now is slow and steady wins the race. You’re allowed an off day and it’s ok to stop, just as long as you remember to start again.

And this brings me to last night. Last night after a lot of good days I hit a wall. My mind was crammed with all the things I’ve been learning, body language, facial expressions, feedback loops, REBT, breathing, tone of voice, the list goes on. I was knackered and quite frankly I couldn’t be bothered. I wanted to put it all down and let my head just do what it wanted. I didn’t have the energy to be positive. Do you know I did? I had a glass of wine and I gave myself permission to exhale. I watched some telly with my husband and I cuddled my dog and just relaxed.

Today I feel ready to go again, ready to pick up the tools that I’ve been learning to use and keep going. Life is a marathon not a sprint, so let’s dust off our running shoes and get to it.

Categories
Forward Thinking Mental Health Self Care

How To Hack Your Brain By Smiling Like You Mean It

Firstly, to clarify, I’m not suggesting in any way that if you are suffering from a mental health condition that smiling is going to make it all go away. Nor am I suggesting you should just slap on a smile and struggle through your pain. That’s totally not what this post is about. I’m suggesting you try the exercises, much like physio, to try and give your brain a bit of “happy” each day.
Let’s continue…
I’m sure you’ve heard the song.
“Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it’s breaking
When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by, If you just smile…”
It popped into my head just now while I was supposed to be sleeping and it got me thinking. At first glance it seems like an instruction to just slap on a mask and forget your troubles. Gloss over your problems until they go away is not the greatest idea). Actually though, smiling is pretty good advice.
Have you ever tried smiling and feeling sad at the same time?  It’s hard, and I mean really hard. I actually think it’s impossible.  I’m not talking a half hearted, doesn’t reach the eyes, token smile – they don’t count.  I mean a full on, eye-reaching, cheek-inflating, heart-swelling smile.
3smiles
Smiling
The reason? Science and stuff of course…when we smile properly, we trick our brain into believing we are feeling all kinds of joy, why else would we be smiling right?  All the happy hormones, chemicals and unicorns get released and start charging around us and oooh, would you look at that?  We are feeling happy! It’s amazing, but it does work.
Let’s do some physio for our brains, each day, in the morning and before bed (and any time you need a boost) grin like a maniac. You don’t need to think of a happy thought (though by all means do), you don’t need to actually feel happy (you soon will, I promise), you just need to smile.
Start it in your heart and let it spread upwards, turn up the corners of your mouth, feel your cheeks swelling and spreading up towards your scrunched up eyes, let your nose crinkle.  You’re smiling! Now notice how much happier you feel?
Trust me, it works.
It might not be a cure for anxiety, but it’s definitely a soothing balm and the more you practice, the more happy hormones you’re going to get and the more happy you will feel.
So, smile before you get out of bed in the morning, smile in the shower, smile when you’re on the toilet, smile before you go to sleep, smile like you mean it.
Much love,
Claire.
Categories
Forward Thinking Real Life Stuff

Dream a Little Dream

Things are set to get a little odd around here as I try to find new ways to heal from my previous mental state and try move forward in a happier frame of mind so bear with me.

I am a great believer in dreams holding the answers to a lot of our every day problems and so I’m going to make a point of trying to remember mine each night and see if they are trying to tell me anything.  I think we take on so much in life, and take in so much information each day that it’s hard to process and our dreams are definitely an outlet for our tired minds.  Things we can’t make sense of by day can be worked out while we sleep and when we wake up, things don’t feel so bad again.

Last night I was talking in my sleep.  I didn’t know this until JJ told me this morning I’d bellowed the words FUCK OFF at him in the early hours.  I do remember I’d had some dreams about certain things from my past that trouble me, guilt I feel that I just couldn’t let go of, friendships that had gone by the wayside, missed oportunities to do the right thing, nothing incredibly serious and yet, it was serious to me.

I think last night I let it all go.  I think I was shouting at my subconcious, and at all the ghosts from my past that it was time for them to leave me alone and let me move forward.

I will try each day to do the right thing, try to help where I can, try not to upset anyone, and try to love the world and myself a little more than I have in the past.  That’s really all I can do.

It’s time to let go.

It’s time to move forward.

Categories
Forward Thinking Mental Health Real Life Stuff

Another Day In Paradise

It’s a beautiful day and something in my soul that has been dormant for far too long is waking up.  The magic of the mundane is begining to glisten like the sunlight on morning dew and I am feeling renewed. For too long I have been sleepwalking through each day, ignoring the ordinary beauty and the wonder that makes up the patchwork quilt we call life. I don’t know if I became depressed because I stopped noticing the beauty, or if I stopped noticing the beauty because I became depressed, but somewhere along the road, I put my head down and  my blinkers on and just kept looking forward trying to find my way out of the fog. But today, I felt as if the fog was lifting.  I could see colour again, and feel, really feel…joy once more.

Never the sort of person that can just enjoy the moment for what it is, I started reflecting on this and why I was again able to tap into my happiness and what feels like a soul level. What was it?  Well, I think the catalyst that started this all off is I started to care about myself again.  My lovely friend Nicola started selling Bodyshop Products and I wanted to support her in her venture so I started buying bits here and there.  And because I’d bought them, it seemed logical that I should use them. And each time I used them, I was subconciously affirming to myself I mattered, I was important, I deserved love. So it took it a step further and intentionally directed loving thoughts towards myself when using my Bodyshop products and wonderful things followed.

As I started feeling better about myself I started taking better care of myself too.  I started eating better, cut out the junk food (not deliberately, I just stopped desiring it) and I’ve rediscovered my love for aromatherapy and all things hippy-dippy.  I’ve started wearing funky eyeshadow again and feeling like I like the person I am.  I’m reading books and going for walks and enjoying the colourful world that envelops me.

For the first time in a long time I feel as if I am recovering from this depression as opposed to just adapting to it and it feels wonderful. For the first time in a long time I feel like I could possibly get better, and thrive, not just survive. I feel like I could have a life filled with confident happiness, not fear. With our without the tablets (we’ll see) I feel like I have a chance of a great future and it all started with a bit of pampering and TLC.

Love yourself, because when you do, amazing things can happen.