Tag Archives: Mental Health

How meditation is helping me overcome my anxiety.

If you’ve been a long time reader/viewer of mine, you know of my struggles with anxiety. To be honest, I can’t remember when my issues with anxiety arose. It may have developed in my teen years or maybe, it was always there? Lingering in the background like Pennywise the clown, waiting to scare the shit out of me at any given moment! As funny as it may sound, that’s actually quite an accurate description of what anxiety has felt like for me over the past few years. A scary, threatening entity that is always waiting to pounce.

I have read countless self-help books in order to learn the magical cure to ridding myself of this looming feeling. Nothing has worked for me, no matter how practical the advice. Not because the advice wasn’t helpful, but because I wasn’t open to receiving the information. That’s what anxiety does to us, it doesn’t let us see past our own fear.

Recently, I have discovered minimalism. Minimalism is a lifestyle that allows us to focus on the important aspects of our lives by ridding ourselves of the excess and zoning in on what is important to us. By using minimalism as a tool to de-clutter both my outer and inner space, I have been able to prioritise what my needs are. In doing this, I realised that I never gave my thinking mind a rest. It was constantly running like an engine getting ready to finally burn out. Instead of listening to my inner thoughts, I hid from them. I kept pushing them down further and further until they were muffled cries beneath the surface. But you know what happens to suppressed emotions? They take physical form, they infiltrate our bodies and kick us when we’re down, making us sick and run-down.

I noticed that by not dealing with my stress, I was making myself physically unwell. My immune system was shot,  I caught every bug and flu going, not to mention the fact that I was constantly tired and irritable. I was always snapping at my loved ones for no reason at all. The most ironic thing of all, was that I was completely blind to the fact that I was the one causing this anguish within myself. I blamed it on the bad weather, a shift in temperature or not using hand sanitizer at ever opportunity. I had became so used to feeling anxious, I had made it apart of my physical make up.

I decided to begin a journey to self discovery a long time ago, but only this year have I really taken it seriously. A part of that journey was to give meditation a try. I have used guided meditations in the past to help me sleep, but I had never used them purely to calm my mind during the day-time. It might not sound like there is much of a difference between those two instances but I can assure you, there is.

Since January of this year, I’ve been using the Calm meditation app (not sponsored, just FYI!) and it has allowed me to stay accountable and consistent with my practice. It tracks each meditation on a calendar and helps you to focus on specific areas of your life that need healing. There are guided meditations for all sorts of things, such as stress, anxiety, gratitude and self-love, to name but a few. I have discovered that sitting with my thoughts isn’t this big scary thing I’ve made it out to be, it’s actually very interesting. Meditation is teaching me to hear what my thinking-mind has to say and what it worries about. However, the most important part of my meditation practice comes in the form of what is known as, noting. In layman’s terms, noting is essentially the practice of simply acknowledging a thought and letting it pass by without judgement.

The simple act of recognising our thoughts and not getting wrapped up in them, is quite transformative. In fact, it’s the opposite of anxious thought! Anxiety makes us over-think and over-analyse our thoughts to the point of exhaustion. Taking in to consideration that humans think up to 50,000 – 70,000 thoughts per day, that’s a heck of a lot of worrying to get through on a daily basis. By implementing mindfulness into our lives, we are giving ourselves a break from this chaotic way of thinking. Believe me, it isn’t always easy to do this but as the famous saying goes, practice makes perfect.

Meditation is something I would recommend to everyone. It is not something that only the most enlightened individuals can do, it is something everyone can practice and benefit from. Living in the modern world is not always easy, it can be overwhelming to say the least. Meditation gives us space to de-clutter our minds from what is going on in the physical world and helps us to regenerate feelings of calm, compassion and stillness. If we can begin to use meditation as a tool, it can be life-changing. If you think meditation is just some wishy-washey bull-crap, you’re not alone. However, science is on meditation’s side!

According to studies, research shows that after eight-weeks, it is possible to shrink the brain’s “flight or fight” response. If you would like more information on the benefits of mediation, Forbes recently posted a great article about 7 Ways Meditation Can Actually Change the Brain.

In order to avail of the benefits of mediation, you don’t need to do anything fancy. Just start off small, even five minutes of meditation a day can do wonders for a person. I would suggest using an app to track your progress and help you ease yourself into a regular practice. Alternatively, there are thousands of wonderful guided and un-guided meditations on YouTube. My favourite meditation channel is The Honest Guys youtube channel, it’s full of beautiful, free meditations. There is something for everyone on their channel, I highly recommend it.

Meditation is helping me to understand my myself, listen to by body and not judge every single though that goes through my mind. Meditation is a rest period and a time heal. Honestly, I feel like I have discovered something that is so helpful, in some many ways, that I want to shout it from the rooftops so everyone else can know about it. Meditation is a practice, it takes time and time is our most precious gift. I think it is important to make time for ourselves no matter how busy our lives may be. Meditation is a way to give back to ourselves and to get to know ourselves as human beings. Like any new venture, the hardest part is getting started.

Once you open your mind to the prospect of mediation, it can be truly wonderful.

I’m Worried About Eugenia Cooney.

Overcoming my anxiety.

What I Learned From A One Year Facebook Detox

In recent months I have seen so many articles posted online about ‘facebook depression’ and the negative effects social media can have on our mental health. I have spoken to many different people who agree that social media plays a huge role in how they feel on a day to day basis.

As an active blogger, social media is a huge part of my everyday life and I use it to share my content with my followers and connect with the world around me. As much as I love social media and all of the wonderful opportunities it has given me over the years, sometimes I just have to step away from it for a bit and take a breather.

I really do believe that social media can be detrimental to our mental health but I think it’s how we choose to use it that affects us the most. I suffer with anxiety and I found that how I use social media can have a profound effect on anxiety on any given day.

Over the past few years I have done some experimenting with this theory. I deleted my personal Facebook page for the better part of a year about two years ago and quite honestly, it really helped with my anxiety. The reason I deleted my Facebook in the first place was down to a conversation I had with a friend of mine who swore that deleting her own account made her feel emotionally and mentally healthier. I decided to give it a go and see how things went.

If I am being honest, I seriously didn’t think I’d last a week but a week turned into two weeks and before I knew it I was Facebook free for over a year. Which is pretty much blasphemous in this day and age! Especially since over 1 billion people worldwide are signed up to Facebook alone, never mind all the other social media accounts we feel pressure to join.

A few days before deleting my account I posted a status letting my friends know I was leaving for a while and I posted my email address for anyone who wanted to stay in touch with me. Posting status turned out to be one of the most interesting aspects of my social media cleanse. People who I didn’t expect to email me did and I soon began forming stronger friendships with these people. It was such a positive experience and I loved getting to know these people away from social media.

On the flip-side I noticed that some of the people I thought would keep in contact with me just fell off the radar and that was quite disappointing but overall, I was happy about my decision to leave Facebook for a while. It did wonders for my mental health and I felt much better overall.

Don’t get me wrong, I love social media but it can be dangerous to our wellbeing if we focus on it too much. In a study done by Dr. Margaret Duffy, a University of Missouri journalism professor she concluded “We found that if Facebook users experience envy of the activities and lifestyles of their friends on Facebook, they are much more likely to report feelings of depression. Facebook can be a very positive resource for many people, but if it is used as a way to size up one’s own accomplishments against others, it can have a negative effect.”

Let’s be honest, viewing other people’s statuses can make us feel inferior and can make us envious of other peoples lives, even thought those happy-go-lucky statuses might be fictitious or sugar coated. It has been documented that the longer we spend on social media, the worse we feel. We begin to compare ourselves with others and measure our lives against that of our peers or online friends.

If social media is effecting your mental health, known that it is okay to remove yourself from it for a while. Take some time for yourself and do things for you, rather than for the sake of telling people on the internet what a great time you are having. Be mindful and enjoy each moment for what it is. Playing the comparison game can be addictive and the only way to break free from it is to live as authentically as possible.

Social media may connect us to the world but it most certainly isn’t the only way to connect with people. If you feel like stepping back from using social media as often, why not call up an old friend to arrange a coffee date, skype a friend who lives abroad and catch up with them, heck how about writing them a good old fashioned letter? I for one think that receiving a handwritten letter is one of the most beautiful things in the world! In fact, during my social media break a few friends and I decide to start sending postcards to each other to say hello and let our friends know we are thinking about them. I think people appreciate the effort that goes into writing a letter by hand and posting it off. It’s the simple things in life that count!

Just to clarify, I re-joined Facebook eventually but this time I no longer felt the need to constantly log in and see what was going on. I still send postcards to brighten peoples days, I choose voice mailing over texting whenever I can and my fear of missing out (FOMO) was gone and to this day I only log in a few times a week at best. I am really happy I decided to delete my account when I did, it was a very interesting experiment and I think everyone should try it out and see what they learn from it themselves.

Anyways, I am starting to sound like an old fart right now! Haha. What I’m trying to say is don’t let the arbitrary numbers and braggy posts get you down. Social media creates a fantasy world, so just remember, Facebook isn’t real life. Live your life for you and not for social media.

Those are my thoughts on this topic. What are yours? I’d love to hear them!

Tweet me your thoughts and opinions @EllieJayden or comment on Facebook (oh, the irony!)

HARLEY QUINN IS A BAD ROLE MODEL & DO I IDOLIZE HER!?

Taking Charge of Your Mental Health By Getting Help

#‎WorldSuicidePreventionDay‬

C-C-CHANGES!

Hey baby dolls!

So, it’s a brand new year and the month of my birthday (13th of January FYI) and I have been having quite an “Eat,Pray Love” inspired train of thought lately. Which basically means I have been deep in thought about the big questions that like often slaps us in the face with like, “Who am I?! Where am I going!? And WHY am I here?!!!!”  Those types of things have been weighing heaving on my mind lately. I am not getting any younger you know!

*tick tock tick tock*

I am going to admit that in 2013 I felt quite low about everything I was doing with my youtube channel, my blog and life in general. I just wasn’t really feeling it. I felt that no matter how hard I tried, I just wasn’t getting anywhere. I felt like people had lost interest in me and that most of my other friends on youtube where surpassing me and I was being left behind. And i’ll be honest, I felt sorry for myself. My inner voice was being over critical of everything I did, I over analysed everything and picked myself apart. It made hobbies of mine that should be fun into chores that made me doubt myself and lose my confidence.

And then it hit me, I wasn’t making videos for fun anymore. I literally allowed myself to be dictated by what other “beauty gurus” or “fashion gurus” where doing online. And you know what! That is SO boring. It really is. If you are apart of the youtube community, especially the beauty community, you will understand what I mean. It all ends up becoming repetitive, the same types of videos, tags and ideas seem to show up all the time and it just gets tiring to try and keep up with. I have read blogs from other youtubers who say the same thing, it s a fast paced world on youtube and it’s hard to keep up sometimes.

 “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

– Albert Einstein

CAN I GET AN AMEN!!!?

I realised that I was no longer making videos that where fun to me, I was making what was expected of me. Just to clarify, this was my own fault. I allowed that to happen and this is why I am writing this blog. I am going to now only make videos when I am really inspired. When I am excited about an idea and want to share it with everyone. I absolutely love interacting with people who watch my videos and I want to continue to do that. I would also love to hear more video suggestions from everyone and get ideas for future videos. What topics would you like me to talk about? Let me know! Tweet me or mail me on facebook. I’d love to hear any suggestions you have and take them into consideration in the future.

Of course, I will still make beauty and fashion related videos but my channel will change slightly this year I hope. I want to make more vlogs about topics that matter to me and interest me. Mainly about body confidence, being yourself, mental health and loads of other topics thrown in for good measure. I think i’d like to do more personal videos and share more of my life with you all. I’d like my channel to be something different, to inspire people and start conversations. To be a place where I can express myself more openly. Which is the real reason I began making videos in the first place. It is time to get back to basics and just DO ME.

I know this is probably all news to you guys, but I did lose my self a little last year on my channel. I want to mojo back dammit!

I am excited to start making videos this year and really having some fun with it again.

Happy New Year btw! ^^ Let’s make 2014 a good one!

EllieJayden. xoxo