Show yourself love and respect…please!

Today’s post is going to be about my journey with mindfulness and intentional thinking. My last mindfulness post was really well received by you all so I wanted to do another one reflecting a bit more on my own mindfulness journey and why it is so important for the quality of your life!

If you haven’t seen my other mindfulness post yet check it out here.

I will first give a bit of background to my attitudes towards mindfulness, manifestation and the ideas of cultivating a positive mindset. I was never one to think it worked, in fact I used to think it was na├»ve to have a positive mindset because to me it just seemed unrealistic to be happy and positive 24/7. To be honest I do still believe this, the world can be unkind, positivity cannot constantly flow from you. You can’t feel positive all the time. The trials and tribulations of life show us all that. Someone telling you ‘look on the bright side of life’, is still something I think is patronising and way easier said than done. I think instead finding a balance between the two is important. It is okay if you are not being your best self everyday, people fall out of routine and that’s okay. However, developing a mindset where you can be intentional with your thoughts and emotionally agile in situations of distress or conflict, that’s what mindfulness is all about for me. It’s not necessarily about being happy but showing yourself the respect and love you deserve. Being mindful allows you to become resilient, strong, and aware of your emotions. You gain the ability to to deal with issues that arise and handle them calmly and appropriately.

I practice mindfulness in multiple ways as mentioned in my last post. I think meditation is extremely effective for achieving a calm and centred mindset. Each morning taking 10 minutes to deeply breathe and just focusing on that breathing can release tension and clear your mind so that you are ready for the day. As well as this, positive affirmations. They feel a little cheesy sometimes, but they don’t have to be. You decide what you tell yourself and how you want to speak to yourself. So, speaking positively about the day you’re going to have, the emotions you are going to feel, being intentional about where you focus your energy. This can be really helpful for steering your day and keeping you on track. Combined with this, being conscious of negative thoughts and doubts, acknowledging them but not feeding into them. Finally, for me journaling is so important. It helps you keep track of your emotions and also shows how far you’ve come in your journey. Sometimes we don’t notice our growth so having a journal that you can reflect on reinforces to you that you are growing. Emptying your thoughts onto paper can feel relieving, writing about what you are grateful for and how you want to improve in life, setting goals and saying you will achieve them. This is all part of intentional thinking. Being aware of what is going on inside your head and taking control.

Developing all these habits requires a lot of self-discipline. It’s an ongoing journey so don’t be hard on yourself if you skip a day or don’t stick to routine. Developing these activities to be habits is vital to noticing their impact but don’t be strict, show yourself compassion in your own personal journey.

The one I find the hardest is talking to myself positively, but intentionally showing myself love has allowed me to jump start my way of thinking and outlook on life. Developing this frame of mind is about saying no to the negative thoughts that come into your head, the doubts or lies you tell yourself. Sitting in negativity isn’t good for your mental wellbeing. Making it a habit of saying no to those thoughts is so important. Often if I am having a bad day and I continue to tell myself things like: ‘today sucks’, ‘I can’t do this’, ‘I’m too tired’, the more I will sink into the bad day and struggle to pull myself out of it. I won’t allow my brain to see any redeeming parts of the day, I just continue walking under my own rain cloud. Pulling yourself out of that frame of mind is what mindfulness is all about for me. Being intentional with your thoughts is all about controlling your mind.

Actively and intentionally choosing to love yourself, love your body, speak kindly to yourself, self-invest and just overall respecting yourself and what you as a person have to offer is key to a better quality of life. Self-hating and self-deprecation feel easier sometimes than self-love. It feels easier to see the negative parts of ourselves and often we give more energy to those parts of ourselves instead of all the great parts. Practicing mindfulness means that I have given myself time to appreciate myself and to mentally check in. A lot of the times if we aren’t mentally checking in we aren’t controlling our thoughts, they are just running free, because it feels habitual to dwell we don’t realise we are just constantly hating on ourselves. This kind of mindset leads to depression and anxiety and the more we stay inside of it the more we struggle to get back out again. We should instead be intentional with our thoughts, actively focusing on positives rather than letting ourselves sit in the negatives. I know that this is sooo easy to say, and hearing it when you are going through it is the literal most annoying thing ever, but once you are out of it, it ends up making so much sense. Of course speaking to yourself with love and respect will overall make you a stronger and healthier person. You just have to get to that point where you are willing to try it, it takes strength and commitment. But you owe it to yourself to at least try to speak to yourself with compassion.

So please, especially in times like these, speak to yourself with respect and love. Be aware of your thoughts and focus energy onto the ones that allow you to grow and feel good. Take time to yourself to reflect and feel gratitude. Most importantly, don’t doubt yourself, remind yourself of your worth everyday!

The Wonders of Self-care

In honour of world mental health day being today, I wanted to share a post all about self-care and the positive benefits it can have towards our outlook on life, as well as the way we view ourselves. I encourage everyone, every now and then, to take a mental health day, recharge your batteries, and incorporate your own form of self-care and self-reflection into your lives on a regular basis. It can realign your perspective and allow you to start fresh and get back to whatever keeps you busy each day with better focus and a clearer mind. Self-care is about slowing down and enjoying the silence for a moment. We are all constantly focused on everything in our lives rushing by and occupying us. Instead we should take some time to reflect and have a mental check in with ourselves about how we are really feeling.

Enjoying quality time alone is unbelievably important. Finding the perfect balance between socialisation and quality alone time is key to a healthy and happy life. It’s hugely important to take time to yourself to recharge your batteries and reflect on your life. We all need to feel comfortable and calm in our own company, focused on ourselves, not preoccupied a million miles away thinking about everything stressing us out this week. Self care is about investing in yourself, it is no way selfish because it lets you excel better in your relationships and life. You have to invest in yourself before you can invest in others.

Finding the right balance of self-care is very important. You should in no way isolate yourself from your loved ones or use ‘self-care’ as a means of distraction or procrastination in getting something done that needs to be done. However, if you’re feeling burnt out and lacking in energy to fulfil a task, if you’re overthinking or anxious about small things that wouldn’t normally irritate you, then taking some time to yourself is an important remedy.

Self-reflection

Whilst self-reflection isn’t technically part of self-care, I think the two come hand in hand. Taking time to look back on the week, the highs and lows and how they made you feel, can allow you to better understand yourself. This can simply be done by just sitting with yourself and thinking about it, or a more popular version, journaling. Having this form of self-reflection can allow you to keep track of your thoughts.

I think these moments alone are so important because it allows you to understand yourself, what you like and what you don’t like. If you’re reflecting on your week you can ask yourself why a certain scenario that played out frustrated you, or why something made you stressed or anxious. Moments of reflection really let us look inside ourselves to understand our behaviours and emotions.

Feeling comfortable in your own skin and in your own company is a form of self-love and self-acceptance. When you slow down and just sit with yourself you learn things about yourself that you potentially hadn’t noticed before, sometimes comforting or uncomforting things, but you do learn. During the pandemic I realised how much of a workaholic and perfectionist I really am. Although I already knew I was this way, having so much time alone allowed me to understand why I behaved the way I did and how to control those emotions. As a person I have to fit in time for my own forms of self-care for my mental sanity and to prevent burn out. Sometimes self-reflection can feel like a reality check and a wake up call to who you really are. It can shake you out of a rut you are in and wake you up.

I’m not really someone that knows a lot about the law of attraction and manifestations, but self-care or self-reflection is similar because of it’s consistency. Self-reflection is very important for your mental health and outlook on life, it can give you a lot of clarity and help to change up your mindset when you’re feeling low or overwhelmed for whatever reason. It’s like a reset period. I like to use self-care time for affirming behaviour and readjusting my sense of direction, such as setting out monthly goals or focusing on what I achieved in the past week and how that outweighs whatever may have gone wrong. It is similar to manifesting and changing up your mindset because you are taking time to reflect and push yourself in the right direction towards what you want to improve in your life and achieve. Taking time for yourself is one of the most important steps in that process.

Another reason why taking the time to sit with yourself and self-reflect is so important is because a lot of the thoughts we have are sub-conscious, we don’t always realise we are having them and they become part of our nature. Overtime, if we continue to have sub-conscious thoughts revolving around stress, anxiety or lowness, it can build into something much worse. Our minds are powerful; our thoughts have the ability to affect our emotional lives. When we have an irrational or low thought, that has a huge impact on our emotions, even when that thought is falsely interpreted from our reality, it will still have a huge impact on our self-worth and emotions. When we self-reflect, we take the time to actively question these thoughts and stop our mind from taking control.

Self-care is a habit

Turning self-care into a consistent habit is very important in seeing it’s benefits. We have to make it a regular occurrence to take time to ourselves, to self-reflect and to recharge our batteries. It doesn’t always have to be the same activity, but making self-care a part of your routine is revitalising. Keeping up with it means you are always looking out for yourself and showing yourself love and respect.

Self-care really can be anything, it’s completely subjective, but it should be slotted into your week, even your days. For some people self-care is their skincare routine, others it’s watching TV or playing a game, even tidying your room. Something where it’s just you and you are giving undivided attention to yourself.

My own personal self-care really does fluctuate. I find the gym very therapeutic and destressing. Endorphins and moving your body is unbelievably good for your mental health and makes you feel like you’ve accomplished something. However, I also cherish unwinding at the end of the day slowly, either reading or slowly going through my skincare routine, throwing in a face mask. Whatever allows you to relax and focus on yourself…do that.

Finding happiness in the simple moments

I think that taking time alone to breathe and relax, maybe on a walk or just sitting in a spot you find comfortable, can allow you, even for a second, to really feel content and grateful. It’s a difficult feeling to explain, but it is feels almost like a glow. You could get this feeling maybe looking out at a view after a walk, the fresh air in the morning, the comfort of your own home, looking at old pictures. Anything that sparks gratitude and peace.

Holding onto those moments is important because they can keep you going and motivated. I think it’s encouraging to know that there is a potential for peace in your life. No matter what you’re going through, those split seconds can show you that it’s there. It doesn’t mean that things are great right now, or that things will be better in a week. But those simple moments where you feel at peace and grateful for something, potentially during your self-care, is something to hold onto and to cherish. They ground you and they keep you sane.

Moments like these are so important because it allows us to take control of our thoughts. When you are sat alone in silence and that feeling of happiness comes rushing in, even for a second, it shows that happiness or peace is out there for you still, no matter what you are going through. Negative feelings often have the ability to take a strong hold in our mind, removing and displacing them can become a hefty task. A lot of the time repetitive thought patterns keep us feeling low or anxious. Replacing the negative repetitive thoughts can be done in moments of silence. It gives us the time and space we need to turn away from those thoughts, breathe and refocus ourselves and our mindset. Constantly and actively choosing to change your mindset and not let the thoughts consume you. Reminding yourself of something to be grateful for, like those simple moments, can keep you going.

A disclaimer regarding mental illness

Although self-care and self-help techniques are helpful in keeping your mind clear and taking time to relax. It is not a complete remedy to mental illness, it may help you in your bad days, but if your bad days consistently continue you should seek mental health support. It doesn’t have to be taboo and there really is nothing wrong with asking for support when you need it. Reaching out to a loved one or looking for therapies and counselling is normal and should be done more. Don’t undervalue your feelings or disregard them just because they don’t feel as big as other peoples problems because that’s how problems worsen.

It can be frustrating when a family member or friend tells you to just take some time to relax, meditate or write everything down when you are in the midst of feeling low. The same techniques don’t work for everyone and you have to find what works for you. It can be particularly hard to self-reflect productively when you have allowed your anxious, irrational, or negative thoughts to consume you because in moments of self-reflection you can find yourself spiralling. Sometimes you can’t help your self and you need more support, which is why therapy or counselling is a great option, especially cognitive behaviour therapies (CBT), which focuses on displacing those irrational or negative feelings. So, if you are feeling low or anxious and taking time to reflect and focus on yourself is not helping to relieve any burdens, then do reach out for more support. Also remember that your bad days do not equal to a bad life. This is a feeling that you will get through.

Mental health support links

  1. https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/helplines/
  2. https://www.samaritans.org/
  3. https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/?WT.tsrc=Search&WT.mc_id=Brand&gclid=Cj0KCQjwt4X8BRCPARIsABmcnOr94uOrYxgOCHVkR4eYhAB0A0i08VNKgL_xqb4JIh5odFRGdpBHbUIaAtCqEALw_wcB
  4. https://www.nhs.uk/using-the-nhs/nhs-services/mental-health-services/
  5. https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/guides-to-support-and-services/seeking-help-for-a-mental-health-problem/where-to-start/