Sunday, 19 July 2015

Learning a language

Last year I went on holiday to Tenerife and funnily enough it was travelling here that inspired me to learn a language. We did the stereotypical tourist thing of going on a coach trip. It was to the volcano on the island called Mount Teide, and was a very interesting day.
I was particularly impressed by the tour guide. He could speak english, french, german and italian which is incredible really, I do admire a polyglot. He was rattling off the facts about the mountain in all of these languages like nobodies business; and it made me think if he can speak four languages then surely I can manage to learn one.

I decided I'd like to learn french, as I find the language and culture interesting - it just took my fancy really. Funny that a trip to a spanish island inspired me to speak french but there you go, sorry Spain! I've been learning for a year, and it has been a really fun hobby that I enjoy. I'm nowhere near fluent yet but I'm not giving up.

I do amuse myself though, there's a certain amount of irony to learning a language when you are afraid of talking to people (hello social anxiety) but that just adds to the challenge. If nothing else I have really enjoyed absorbing a bit of the culture, watching french films and tv and listening to french music. I would love to be able to get to the point of being able to read a novel.
I can always start with Le Petit Prince!

Something that surprised me when I started learning was that I know nothing about grammar! It's not something you might immediately think of, but learning a new language helps you to understand your own better. It's also good for the old brain box, with studies showing that it helps to improve memory, multi-tasking and decision making skills.

I would definitely encourage other people to learn a language, it's such a useful skill to have. I recommend checking out https://www.duolingo.com/ it's an amazing free resource with a selection of different languages to learn, you can access it online or as an app. 

I'm thinking a trip to Paris is on the cards, I'll try and be brave and speak to a few locals!

A bientot!

Friday, 17 July 2015

Mental Ilness, where are we going wrong?

Modern life can be stressful. We are living in a time where 1 in 4 british adults suffer from mental illness, and emotional mental disorders are a leading cause of disability worldwide. So where are we going wrong?

Human beings have evolved to be social animals, with these social bonds proving to be highly important and essential to our survival. Much of the world's population now live in over populated cities, but yet more and more people are living alone. Unsurprisingly these conditions are harmful to us and our mental health. After all, many prisoners have said the solitary confinement is akin to torture.

Society also adds to this, with research stating that mental health problems are more prevalent in unequal societies. With problems such as low income, poverty, unemployment, poor housing and low levels of education and the vast gulf between this and the rich getting richer, it certainly gives you pause for thought.

People at the margins of society are finding themselves increasingly isolated.

I think there is a stigma attached to lonliness which is why I think it's important to talk about it, the people affected by these issues are often hidden and don't have a voice.

However there are things we can all do to do help. It is such a vast issue, but even small things such as supporting mental health charities, taking the time out of your day to talk to a vulnerable friend or neighbour, or campaigning towards creating a more fair society are a step in the right direction.
Here are a few charities that may be of some interest:

http://www.mind.org.uk/
http://www.rethink.org/
https://home.38degrees.org.uk/
http://www.sane.org.uk/




Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Benefits of Mindfulness


For the past few months I've been doing a lot of reading into mindfulness, which is typical me really, do a lot of reading and resarch, but then not so much putting things into practice.
I've bought this very handy little book called Mindfulness on the go, by Padraig Moran, and so far it's been very eye opening. There are so many little moments each day, where you can just stop a moment and focus on what you are doing, or even just take a few breaths. I would reccommend it to any minfulness beginners, as it gives you easy tasks that you can incorporate into your life - no sitting in the lotus position for an hour at a time!



So, what are the main benefits of mindfulness?

It allows you to take a step back from yourself and observe what is going on around you and in your mind, without judgement. Ever been in a bad mood and not really know why? Mindfulness can help you understand yourself better and increase self awareness.

It will probably come as no surprise to you that it can also improve mental wellbeing. Taken from the NHS UK website, "Studies have found that mindfulness programmes, where participants are taught mindfulness practices across a series of weeks, can bring about reductions in stress and improvements in mood." This reduction of stress is also very beneficial to physical health.

It can also reduce pain in chronic pain sufferers, improve memory, creativity and attention span.

All in all it's well worth doing, something that I need to gently remind myself of, without judgement of course! So for this week, I'm going to take a few exercises from my book, and do them each day, easy.



Friday, 3 April 2015

Lack of motivation


It's time for my weekly post, and I'm having a bit of an unmotivated day. Sometimes everything just feels like a lot of effort.

It's something a lot of people struggle with when doing something new - how many people are still keeping up with their new year's resolutions for example?
I think to myself, shall I put in the effort into practicing x, or shall I just go online, it's easy to give up and get that hit of instant gratification.

I think it's about finding what's important to you. It's something so simple, that really makes sense. It might not always be something that you inherently enjoy either. I've been practicing meditation lately, sometimes it can feel like a bit of a chore, but I know it will be really beneficial to me in the long run. I am finding motivation in the will to better myself, and to not just accept this anxiety that has blighted my life for such a long time.

Setbacks can be very useful too. The desire to not repeat past mistakes - use that, and if at the end of it all you don't quite manage it, be kind to yourself. Tomorrow is a new day and a fresh start, you don't need a new year to make changes!

I'm about to toddle off and do some meditation now, because that's what's important to me.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Stuff they make you do in therapy for Social Anxiety Disorder


Beating a mental health problem aint easy.

If you've ever had exposure therapy for social anxiety then you know how excruciating it can be to do some of these tasks. I'm sure some of it would be enough to make any "normal" person cringe.


Going up to strangers and asking for the time 
It's no big deal they tell you. People do it all of the time, they say. To me I feel like I've been transported back to the 90s, when nobody had phones, it's weird now surely? On balance I'm sure people just think "meh" tell you the time and move on with their day. But still, ugh.
If on the off chance someone asks me the dreaded question, I always have half an eye open for a therapist lurking somewhere in the background..


Going up to someone, asking a question, jumbling your words, on purpose
Hi, know you do, do you know where the lights is?
Is about as cringe inducing as it sounds.


Being filmed whilst having a conversation
Hmm this feels so normal having a camera in my face, so relaxing! If you're anything like me then seeing/hearing yourself on camera is a fairly uncomfortable experience.


Fumbling/ dropping your change when paying for something, on purpose
I guess it can be mildly amusing to turn into some madcap woman, who likes to throw her change about, still, can be awkward. Does anyone actually care all that much? Not really.

Walkies?

Taking a banana for a walk
Pretty self explanatory this one. It's also one I haven't done personally, and don't know if I could! The laughter, the funny looks... shudder. The ultimate shame-attack exercise, props to you if you could do it.





The point of all this being, that it isn't all that bad really, and most of the time people don't give a crap if you do something mildly silly. I think the fear of embarrasment is ingrained into all of us, it's really tough to not care what people think!

So, this week I will challenge myself to do something out of my comfort zone. I also challenge YOU. Just think, what's the worst that could happen?


Friday, 20 March 2015

Trip to London

This week I went on a little trip to London with my boyfried to celebrate our ten-years-since-we-met-iversary.

I always enjoy London, it's a bit of a culture shock, everything is so busy and bustling, but the vibe is great and there's just so much to do. It's fun to whizz around on the tube, even though I always seem to forget what I'm doing each time I go.

First stop was the Natural History Museum.


Dippy
We had a great time exploring, and all for free too. I think my favourite exhibit has to be the Dinosaurs, though there were some pretty interesting, if not a little creepy, specimens in jars too.

Oh hi!

After that we hightailed it down to Camden to check out the market. I even did a bit of bartering, much to my boyfriend's amusement!




All in all we had a great day!

Thursday, 12 March 2015

The things people say.

Today I thought I'd have a good old moan about the stuff that gets on my nerves. Sometimes, however nice a person you try and be, other humans just do your head in. I compiled a list!

Top of the list has to be..

People that are just being honest.

You know, those people that will flat out insult you and be offensive, but wait! That's OK because they are being honest, and “telling it how it is.” Just no. Honesty does not give you the propensity to say whatever the hell you like to people.


People that ask, why are you so quiet?

The five little words that every introvert will come to loathe. It's a question that there's no real answer to. Erm, it's just my personality, sorry. Accept me dammit!


People that say, just be yourself!

I know, I know, they're probably just trying to be nice and stuff. It's one of those old chestnuts that people roll out that doesn't really mean anything. I'm always myself. I don't really think about it. Huh?? - Pretty much sums up how I feel about that one.


People that talk excessively in metaphor.

It's either blindly obvious from the start about what they are trying to say – yet you have to sit and listen to the whole elaborate story, or it's just plain confusing and bizarre! Just say what you mean!


People that are always bigging themselves up.

I might be alone on this one, but I feel like we live in a society where people are always bragging. Social media plays a big part in it. If there's something so brilliant about you, then it will shine through, no need to go on about it!


People that don't like cats.

What more can I say? You don't like petting them, and seeing their furry little faces? Eh? Doesn't make sense to me.


Well there you have it, I actually quite enjoyed writing that. Let me know if you feel the same, or if you have any to add to the list!

I'm thinking of setting up a blogging schedule, will try twice a week to start with. That's all for now, tararabit!