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confidence Archives | A Box of Happiness

May = Mental Health Awareness

By | Wellbeing | No Comments

Our mental health is the foundation on which the rest of our mind, body and soul functions. If you’re struggling with mental health the rest of you is surely going to suffer alongside it. Which is why our mental health is one of the most important things to look after. Its also the hardest thing to talk about for some reason, we feel ashamed if we suffer in this way. But the reality is that its something so many people have to battle with on a daily basis. 

From mild anxieties to depression and beyond. Neglecting to take care of these issues and seeking help when needed means they can spiral out of control very quickly.

Talking about it is a fundamental necessity. To get it into the open, to know that it is not shameful. To help each other and to remove the shroud of guilt surrounding mental health in this country. The last few weeks I have seen a small number of people telling their stories, encouraging others to do the same and that needs to continue. We need to stop the depression shaming that goes on, telling people to pull themselves together and get on with it is not helpful. Would you do that to somebody who was suffering with an injury? No, you would comfort and care for them until they are back to full health and that’s what needs to go on with mental health problems. But I also believe you need somebody who enables you to carry on functioning rather than sinking further in to that black hole that wants to consume you.

I don’t have a personal story to tell but I see what can happen in people that I love and care for, as somebody who hasn’t been in that position it is so difficult to understand what is going on in that persons head. So, it takes a gentle hand, a caring smile and a listening ear. To not push, just wait, just be there when they feel ready to speak and listen with no judgement.

I believe I am lucky to know when I am overwhelmed, when things are getting too much and I have learned to take time for myself in various ways. To know when to take a step back from the world and retreat in to my cocoon, my safe place. This weekend for example. In social situations I am a social person, but I enjoy my quiet sanctuary of home too. This weekend we had family to stay and spent a few days super busy, walking to the beach, running around and playing in that fresh sea air. There was no quiet sanctuary for me. By Monday evening, I felt the strain, the mental and physical exhaustion. Some people love to be surrounded by others, its how they function but for me I need to wind down in quiet solitude. So once the kids had crashed in their beds also exhausted, I ran myself a hot bubbly bath, grabbed my crystals and incense and had an hour floating in the tub. I felt the strain melting away, my breath easing to normal, the overwhelm shrinking back.

Life can be extremely stressful, especially when unexpected and uncontrollable events happen. It is human nature to want to be in control but that is not realistic. We all need to learn those coping mechanisms for when these things happen. Some people go in to action mode, trying to fix the problem, seeking solutions. While others may bury their heads in the sand. The important thing is learning your own coping mechanisms and what works for you. For me, I take a little time out, to clear my head and with that clear head allow a solution to form or realise that the situation isn’t as bad as it seems. And the way I do that varies, but it almost always involves being alone. Only then can I develop that self awareness needed. A little self care, a walk by the sea to allow the crashing waves to put my otherwise overactive mind in to a meditative state, a bubble bath with essential oils, a good book to take me to another world.

Meditation and mindfulness are wonderful ways to take care of that need to be calm when life gets a little crazy. Which is why May’s Box of Happiness is a mindfulness and meditation box. To help others learn more about and begin to practise these techniques that they may have otherwise never considered.

I would love to hear from others. How do you take care of your mental health? What do you think needs to be done to improve mental health awareness?

 

The Power of the Mind

By | Health, Wellbeing | No Comments

The mind has amazing power over our lives, our emotions and has the ability to do amazing things. Ever noticed how having a pessimistic outlook can change the course of the day? Think about this….You wake up, stub your toe on the door, spill the milk on the floor while making your breakfast – there are two ways it can go. You say angrily, ‘It’s going to be “One of those” days’ and so it is and you have a hell of a day. Or you tell yourself to snap out of it and take 5 minutes over a coffee to recharge, get some positivity and travel to work noticing all the beauty around you, the sun shining, the birds singing and spend the rest of the day upbeat.

As Buddha said ‘The mind is everything; what you think you become’ which as an article in breathe magazine (issue 8, page 16) shows, through research on the placebo effect – if we expect something to happen it will bring about that expected result be it positive or negative as ‘the brain is in control’ (Newlyn, E, 2017, Breathe Magazine, Issue 8, Page 17).
In the same article Emma Newlyn gives some great advice about creating your own placebo effect to give your life a little boost of positivity, if you’re a naturally pessimistic person this may take a bit of practise but will be well worth the effort for your mind, to alleviate low self-confidence and negative feelings. She recommends using the mind power you waste on worrying to turn it around into a positive response, focusing on something good and so occupying the mind in a more positive way to ‘take the body out of its cycle of stress’.
You can also use the power of the mind to visualise an image of what you want to achieve, this is something I do regularly when I struggle to sleep. Imagining how a situation will go, or at least how I would like it to go. Try it the next time you have a job interview or presentation. See yourself sat in your smart outfit, confident, smiling, answering the questions with ease. You will go in there with a little bit more positivity, a little more confidence and who knows you may even get the job.

Give these bits of advice a try and let me know how it works out for you.

In my next post I will be sticking with the theme of mind power but focusing more on positive affirmations and how words can shape your life, emotions, wellbeing and self- confidence.

This blog post was inspired by Issue 8 of Breathe Magazine – if you haven’t seen it I would highly recommend grabbing a copy, there’s so much wonderful advice surrounding a variety of topics that all lead to increased wellbeing.

 

New Start September

By | Lifestyle | No Comments

September sees the beginning of many things, the beginning of autumnal weather, the beginning of a new school year – in our house that is starting Year 2 for the 6-year-old, starting pre-school for the 3-year-old and starting my third and final year of my business and management degree at a brand-new university, with brand new people! New beginnings and big changes like this can be daunting and a little frightening for some but taking on new challenges, learning something new and making new friends opens our minds up to new and wonderful things as well as boosting self-confidence as you realise how adaptable you really are. Nothing amazing happens if everything always stays the same, does it?

The dark nights closing in on us and the weather turning a little more chill makes September a great time for setting some new goals and assessing where you’re at with the goals you set at the start of the year. How close are you to achieving them? Is there anything you can do now to make sure you achieve those goals before the end of the year?
Your goals can be anything that makes YOU happy, as big or small as you like. They can be short term e.g. get up a little earlier tomorrow morning or long term e.g. Run the London marathon in 2020. The important thing to bear in mind is not just the goal but how and when you will achieve it. So if you were to plan to run the London marathon in 2020 you would think about what you need to do to actually achieve that, you would most probably train regularly, improving your fitness and health in the time leading up to it.

Doing that one thing for you is a great way to practise some self-care and improve your general wellbeing.
I am somebody who regularly sets goals and reflects on how far I have got to achieving them. And today I set some new ones. I turn the big 3-0 in January and would love to be fit and healthy and rock an amazing dress to celebrate.

Goal ONE – Be fabulous at 30.
As I am starting my third year of uni I will graduate next year and with what I have achieved in my studies so far am on track to graduate with a first. I think about this often and so that’s another goal.
Goal TWO – Graduate with a first.
I have been trying to pass my driving test for 2 years now, I now have to start again with my theory test as I have sadly failed a few times and left it so long my theory expired! I don’t want to beat me, I need to pass my driving test.
Goal THREE – Pass driving test!
Now that I have decided my goals I need to decide what small steps I need to take to achieve them. Little steps on a regular basis will make it easier to achieve.

Why not share your goals for the next few months, next year or even your 5 year plan and the little steps you need to take to get there? Grab a notebook and make it your goal diary, set those goals, reflect on your progress and smash them!