Not sure why I chose this photo for this blog post, but I always like to have photos in a post and I didn't have anything to specifically go with this one as it's a bit different. I guess I liked that this post is about thinking positive and I look really happy in this picture :)
I actually wrote and posted this blog about a year ago, but even now I still get people emailing/tweeting me to tell me that it has helped them in some way. It makes me so happy to think that I could be helping you guys in any small way, so I thought I would re-post this for all my new followers who hadn't seen it yet. I haven't edited it at all, so here it is...
The reason I'm writing this post is because so many of you ask me to speak about my experience with anxiety and I've been putting it off (as it's not something I like to talk about) until I last visited my PO Box and found letters from some of you who suffer with anxiety and panic attacks. I actually felt quite emotional reading them, a few of you said that even knowing that I have suffered with anxiety has helped you, as you can see how I stay positive and that it comforts you in some way knowing that you're not alone.
This is such a different side to me that you guys don't see, you see me on camera, usually for 10 mins once a week being very happy and smiley. Of course I'm not really anxious for the whole rest of my week, on the whole I am a really positive, bubbly, happy person, but I have my ups and downs just like everyone else in the world, and my downs are usually related to the fact that I sometimes struggle with anxiety. The only reason this came up in a video recently is because I was daily vlogging in LA at Vidcon and had a panic attack that day. 1 in 4 people suffer with some kind of mental illness like anxiety and depression. So even if someone seems perfectly happy on the outside, you never know what's going on in their head. Each persons' struggle is totally unique to them, for example, although my friend Zoe and I can relate to each other a lot as she also experiences anxiety, the things that make us panic are totally different. I've actually found it easier to open up and speak about my experiences with anxiety as I've got older and realised that so many people suffer with it in some shape or form. Turns out a handful of people I work with do, and even members of my close friends and family. It's just not something people like to talk about and I think that needs to change! Not in the way that I think people should dwell on their down times, but in the way that people should not be afraid to talk about it.
For those of you who don't know, anxiety is a feeling of worry, for me I find it easiest to describe as feeling unsettled. Sometimes the unsettled feeling can lead to panic. Everyone in the world feels anxiety, it's a normal emotional state, just some people have an abnormal amount of anxiety and feel anxious when there's nothing to be anxious about. A panic attack is a sudden rush of adrenaline caused by an uncontrollable level of anxiety. The scariest part for me was when I was younger as I didn't speak to anyone about it properly and I felt totally isolated and thought it was crazy. It totally ruined my self-esteem. When I was about 14 I couldn't sleep or eat properly for months as that was when my anxiety was at it's worst.
I'm not going to go into the depths of my personal issues today, I want to write this blog post purely to help those of you who have similar issues and maybe help you to think positively. What I will say though, to give you a bit of background, is that I have had anxiety for as long as I can remember. I mentioned in my 'Draw My Life' video that I thought it started at the age of 13. Last year I was suffering with anxiety quite badly and it was making my everyday life very difficult. On May 20th, I couldn't take it any more and reached out to a hypnotherapist I was recommended. It has honestly been life-changing. Not only is she working on my fears and worries, but she's also making me become aware and mindful of the influence that my thoughts day to day have on my life and teaching me to work with my thoughts rather than resist them. I know some people hear the word 'hypnosis' and think about someone dangling something in front of you and saying 'you are feeling verrrrrryyyyy sleeeeeeppppyyy' - well just thought I should let you know it's not like that at all! It's just a lot of talking really, not traditional hypnosis. I wanted to briefly talk about my story to give some of you who may be at your lowest point some hope. In early 2013 I was really struggling with my anxiety on a daily basis and it was stopping me doing things I would usually enjoy doing. I was making every decision based around my anxiety. A few months later, after working with a hypnotherapist (but also working with myself) I am feeling much better. It is October 2013 now (I am now adding to this post that was initially written in late August 2013) and I really believe I have kicked the main part of the anxiety and I want to let those of you know who are in a low place that you can get to a good place again. Something the lady I see says to me is "be kinder to yourself, it starts with you." It would take me all day to explain the way my therapist works, but it's about creating new neural pathways in your brain. I had learnt to be anxious from a very young age (subconsciously of course) and she has taught me (through hypnosis so reaching my subconscious and just general therapy) a different way of thinking and new neural pathways. I obviously still have my ups and downs, but I'm so much more balanced and can handle so many situations I wouldn't have been able to earlier in the year, I'm also feeling anxious a lot less, which is so great. I have seen therapists on and off since I was about 13, but had never stuck with one before, I would just do the odd session and expect it to work first time. All I can say is, stick with it guys! I am so so happy that I did and I wish you the best of luck.
Obviously my hypnotherapist has helped me massively so if you are struggling with anxiety please tell someone whether it be a doctor, friend or parent, just please don't feel alone. I just want to tell you guys a few little things that I use to give me a bit of "space" when I'm feeling anxious.
1. I ask myself "what if?" so whatever I'm worrying about, I ask myself "what if?" and then answer it and if I'm still anxious I ask myself "and….what if?" and keep going until it feels better in my head. It's kind of going down the "what's the worst that can happen?" route and reasoning with yourself.
2. I remind myself that this is an emotional state I'm in and that nobody ever has been stuck in the exact same emotional state forever, so no matter how anxious I'm feeling, I know I won't feel like this in a few hours, or the next day.
3. I do simple things like relax in a warm bubble bath and read a book. Never underestimate how valuable time to yourself can be.
4. Music is amazing too, it can totally uplift your mood and help you think positively. It doesn't necessarily have to be a song about how great life is, just a song that you enjoy. My favourite at the moment is Sonnentanz by Will Heard.
5. Meditation: I use calm.com and find this really helps to calm me and put things in perspective.
6. I use positive affirmations and quotes to help me feel stronger and remind me to think positively. I have lots written down, some I've found in books and online and some I've made up, (a little tip is to only make up your positive affirmations when you are in a positive mindset, don't try and do it when you're already feeling anxious or down as you'll find it much harder). Here are two things I say to myself a lot, it's incredible how much of a difference a few words can make if you really listen to them...
"Be Bright. Be Happy, Be You"
"You're Stronger Than You Think"
7. I use a calming technique my therapist talk me called "The 5 Stages Of The Sea". Close your eyes and imagine a really stormy, wild sea at night. Then imagine it starting to calm down, and calm down more and more, until it's dawn and the sea is perfectly still, the only noise you hear is a seagull passing by.
8. Try and stay in the moment. Don't fret too much about things that are happening in the future. Take each day as it comes.
I feel like I've been typing for ages even though I said I wouldn't go into too much detail with this post. This has been really tough for me to write and I am extremely nervous about clicking the publish button so please be nice in the comments. If this post helps even just one person, I will be happy. Although I'm not sure how my ramblings will possibly help!
I love you guys so much and want to thank you for always supporting me and being the best friends a girl could have :)
I just got home from LA last night and I'm feeling thoroughly jet-lagged! So, I am writing this blog post in an attempt to stay awake. Tea is helping also, lots of tea.
On Monday, Ingrid and Chris took Jim and I to one of Malibu's most gorgeous beaches, El Matador. It's famous for it's beauty, seclusion and rocks! Jim could have climbed the giant rocks all day...I much preferred exploring the beach with my feet firmly on the sand. When our bellies began to rumble, Ingrid said we should go to eat at a restaurant called Geoffrey's. I can honestly say it was one of the best restaurants I have ever eaten in. The view of the sea is beyond amazing and we were sat outside surrounded by pretty flowers and greenery. The standard of the food and the cocktails was so high, I would happily eat here everyday for the rest of my life! I had a Cocotini cocktail (a bit like a Pina Colada, but not blended) and I ate the scallops on lobster risotto. Jim went for Paella, we all tried each others food and cocktails and ooed and ahhhed and the yumminess of it all. Sadly, we were to full for pudding, but that just means I have to go back there one day! I wish I'd have taken more photos, but I think I was just too caught up in the moment! Malibu really is a special place.
After the madness of Vidcon, Jim and I have come to stay with our friend Ingrid in LA! We are just going to catch up and chill out for a few days before heading back to the UK. Yesterday we headed to Manhattan beach for the day and it was so beautiful. After relaxing on the sand for a few hours we went to a really cute cafe called North End for lunch - they do the most incredible salads! Then we ended up going back to the beach at sunset to watch the surfers and take pretty photos. I wrapped up in Jim's giant hoody as it can get a bit chilly here in the evenings. I think we are going to try out surfing today!! Wish us luck!
I hope you guys liked my photos and seeing what I got up to yesterday! Leave me a comment letting me know if you'd like me to blog more whilst I'm here.
On Saturday, Jim, my sister Tash, her little boy Isaac and I made the most of the sunshine and strolled into town. Even though it was sunny, it was still quite chilly, so I wore my knitted jumper from Whistles (I'm afraid this is no longer available as I've had it years), my River Island leggings and my favourite black converse! I also wore my nail polish in 'Little Duck' which I am currently obsessed with. The flower crown is not mine, I just couldn't resist taking a selfie with it when I found it in Topshop! After the walk in we went straight to Starbucks for iced lattes followed by shopping at Topshop (I may have bought a few things so expect a haul video on my YouTube channel soon!) I bumped into so many of my viewers in town, big love to all of you I met! It was so lovely! I will post some photos below of us as a few of you tweeted me the photos of us together. Side note: if you ever meet me and we take a photo together - please tweet me the photo as I love to save them :) Once we were done with Topshop (more like the boys got fed up of sitting in the shoe department waiting for us), we went to Wagamamas for lunch. I got Ginger Chicken Udon! I had such a lovely, chilled Saturday with my favourite people. Hope you enjoy the snaps!
The North Norfolk Coast is one of the most beautiful places in the world. Jim and I decided to go to Holkham on Friday with our friends Marcus and Niomi for a day of fresh air, sunshine, yummy food, beach-walking and tree-climbing! We started with lunch at The Hoste Arms which is one of my favourite restaurants in Norfolk. Holkham is just a short drive from the restaurant so we went there to walk off our lunch - I had the most delicious crab linguini! Here are some photos from what was one of my favourite days ever...
Just incase some of you want to know: my boots are from Ash, skirt is from Reiss, top is from Topshop and hat is from H&M!