Finding happiness and keeping hold of it

Finding happiness and keeping hold of it

Learning how to grab hold of happiness and be fulfilled in life is not something that comes naturally or easy to me, but like everything I am always up for the challenge and it’s something I am continuing to focus on so I can improve myself. I have written some points down which help me stay focused and thinking in a positive way.

  • For so long I believed that to have happiness I needed to know exactly where I was going in life and have complete clarity. When I turned everything on its head and started to live life with uncertainty I found my true direction in life. I love not having everything mapped out and the uncertainty of the future. As long as I continue to move then I am always going somewhere new, it’s when you stop and stay still that the problems set in and nothing can change.
  • The need of approval of others is something I have always relied on heavily, but when I decided to stop needing that and start living life for my own needs, is when things began to change for me. The more I craved being told I was doing the right thing, the unhappier I became in life. I was giving away any power of mine and not trusting my own instincts in life. If I want to have a fulfilled life then I need to trust myself and follow what I believe is right.
  • Living life in the future and always looking to the next step and achievement can be actually pretty disheartening. I have reached many milestones in life which I thought would complete me, but in fact they haven’t and I need to treat life as one big journey and enjoy the ride, as the only person who can bring me happiness is myself.
  • Understanding that not every day will go the way you intended, but picking yourself back up and carrying on. Some days negativity will creep in and motivation will slow down. This doesn’t mean it’s won it’s just a minor bump in the road and recovering from this quickly is what is important.
  • Letting the negative thoughts through, but remembering to question them and disprove them. Everyday I will have negative thoughts but everyday I have the ability to question them, they are not fact and I have power over them.
  • Always challenging myself and pushing myself out of my comfort zone. The last year I have worked so hard pushing myself out of comfort zone, and the progress I have made in a year still shocks me today. I used to get anxiety attacks doing the food shop, but am now able to turn up somewhere like Britmums where I knew no body and I was able to connect, make plans and navigate myself around London. It’s not easy and anxiety is always there, but knowing I can beat it and challenge it is such a powerful and rewarding feeling.
  • Stop focusing on what is lacking in life. As humans we have a habit of always looking at what life is lacking and not being satisfied with what we have. Sometimes you need to take a moment to be present in the moment and just enjoy what you have around you.
  • Neglecting what I love. When I first became a mother I stopped doing stuff for me and it was not good for my mental wellbeing. I now know to focus on my passions in life to make sure that I can always continue to grow and always have my purpose.

I would love to hear of anyone else’s tips for happiness.

 

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Britmums live and finding my voice again

Britmums live and finding my voice again

It’s been a tough few months to say the least, with breakdown of my marriage and figuring out life as single mother two. I’ve felt unable to have a voice and in truth I have noticed the effect it has been having on my mental wellbeing by bottling things up and not having an outlet. I am starting counselling again to try to work through my thought process and I am still completing my online course in a Cognitive Behaviour Therapy Diploma. I am re-focusing my energy, trying to stay away from negativity and focusing on being a better person for myself and my children. I know I am not perfect and I have made mistakes, but I am trying to move forward and learn from this experience.

Last week I attended Britmums Live for the first time and to be honest the thought of going did fill me full of anxiety. If I would have had a choice I probably would have pulled out, but some how I managed to put my anxiety aside and get on with it, with the support of someone special to me and a much-needed lift into London.

I was excited about the workshops where I could improve on my blog and it’s safe to say it didn’t disappoint and I got so much out of it. It helped me realise that I needed to find my voice again and also look at a new direction for my blog. Mental health has been a huge part of my blog in the last year, but it’s something I want to expand on and also branch out from in some way. It’s a work in progress and a plan of action is underway.

The best bit about Britmums for me was connecting with some of my favourite bloggers including meeting the lovely Vicki from Honest Mum for the second time this year. Vicki just has it, she has confidence, she’s engaging and she actually wants to communicate with everyone. I was also lucky enough to meet the amazing Susi from So Happy In Town (SHIT) and we instantly hit it off, this lady has done so much with her blog in such a short space of time is certainly one to watch out for. Kirsty from the amazing blog Winnettes was so sweet and as bubbly in person as you would expect from her lovely blog.

Britmums
Just some of the lovely ladies I met on the day.

Britmums was worth the visit and something I plan to go back to next year for the whole day and evening, to get as much as possible out of it. It’s helped me re-focus on my blog and find my voice again and connect with some lovely inspiring ladies. I even managed the underground and train home on my own, which for me with little to no sense of direction is a huge achievement in itself.

Here is to the future of The Muddled Mother.

 

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Be fearless in the pursuit of happiness

Being fearless in the pursuit of happiness should be something we all should be able to do, but like with many things saying it is much easier than doing it. For so long I have worried about other people’s opinions, have tried to live up to other people’s standards and punished myself if I haven’t lived up to these. This has done nothing for my happiness and has forever held me back in finding happiness.

As a child I was brought up as a Christian and honestly believed I needed to punish myself every time I made a mistake or I would go to hell. I now have learnt to respect all religions, whilst being able to formulate my own ideas about them and not take it all too literally. I do believe in something, but to be honest I really don’t know what exactly. I don’t know why we feel that we should punish ourselves for not living up to standards which are often unattainable, we are only human after all and why should be always be fearful. The perception of the world around you is left up to your own interpretation.

As I have got older I noticed happy people don’t seem to put as much focus on what others think, they tend to do just ‘do’. Life isn’t about material possessions to make you happy and won’t lead happiness and I’m a great believer it’s about the experiences of life instead. I’m always trying now to just enjoy the moment and not try to worry about pointless material goods which actually don’t feel any gaps in your life long-term. I won’t look back in ten years and have fond memories of a silly priced handbag I bought, but instead will think back to a holiday with my children or a trip away with friends.

Everything is the world is temporary, the good and the bad and to find happiness we need to take the good with the bad and remember we can’t fully appreciate happiness unless we have also felt sadness. It’s fine to go through a  tough time, it teaches you important life lessons we need to learn, from every difficult time we have gone through in our lives it has shaped, moulded us and taught us something new.

To find happiness you need to do what you love, and if you don’t I think it’s important to make small changes where you can. We need to invest in ourselves and make sure we are doing something for our souls that we gain something from. If you hate your job then please find something else to do, but if that isn’t a possibility make sure you have time to still do stuff you love. Find a creative outlet, study something you love or go places that will make you smile. Everyone can be creative with something, it’s not just about making or creating, but about writing, building, dancing, music, photography, baking, colouring etc. Everyone can find a creative outlet.

To be truly happy I believe you need to be present and it’s something I have written about many times before and it’s something I am forever trying to remind myself. To be depressed you are living in the past and not letting your life flourish and grow. The little moments of happiness in life are the memories that you want to look back on, nothing else. It’s not easy to find a good balance of how to reflect on your past and look to your future, but I think it’s valuable and productive.

I believe it’s more work to be unhappy than to be happy. If you are sad, looking back on all that is wrong in your past you are just using lots of energy in a negative way. Being happy takes time and involves lots of dedication in yourself, but you can change your life if you are willing to. Don’t com-pare your lives against others and their progress, set small goals, look at the overall picture and be patient. Be fearless in the pursuit of happiness, you have nothing to lose.

photography credit to Ricky Lee Photography 

 

Be fearless in the pursuit of happiness

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Healing life lessons you need to know

Life lessons are something we all learn and I feel I have learnt more in the past two years than I have in the last 29 years of my life. Postnatal depression has been horrible, but it has also opened my eyes to see the world through a whole new light. I have discovered mindfulness, have become a happier and calmer person (still a work in progress) and I have become a great mum. I thought I would list a few healing life lessons that I have discovered and that I think can be appreciated by anyone at any age.

  1. You need to feel pain before you are strong enough to grow to your full potential.
  2. At times you are left with the choice to walk away and you have to take it.
  3. Stop worrying about peoples opinions of you and as soon as you stop you will be free.
  4. Every experience will teach you important life lessons to help you grow.
  5. Look after yourself first and others second. If you forget to take care of yourself you will burn out an you are no good to anyone.
  6. Some people are just not good people, cut them out of your life, don’t try and change them.
  7. Try not to think about what you don’t have, but what you do have. Your life is far more fulfilled than you know.
  8. You are your own worst critic, you may have failed, but don’t let those negative thoughts in and stop you from fulfilling your dreams.
  9. You can survive the darkest of days. When you are at you lowest and feel like you can’t go on remember that tomorrow is a new day and a new start.
  10. Don’t live your life in the past. Remember and cherish memories but look forward to making new ones. You can’t go back so don’t spent too much time living in the past instead of enjoying the present.
  11. Judge people by their actions, not their words.
  12. Be adaptable. Life changes and sometimes plans have to change to work with it.
  13. Don’t avoid your feelings, address them, make sense of them and deal with them.
  14. Be present in the moment. Take a step back, breath in and feel it.
  15. Failure is important and something we need to go through so succeeding is more rewarding.
  16. Having your heart broken will show you the importance of true love in the future.
  17. Apologising is as important for you as the person you apologise to. To say sorry and mean it is healing.

Excepting my life and these lessons has helped me heal and become a more positive and happy person. I would love to hear some of your life lessons you have learnt?

 

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Getting out of the comfort zone

Getting out of the comfort zone

It’s so easy in life to stay in your own comfort zone and not rock the boat too much. I did it for years and stayed in my bubble and let my anxiety fester into every aspect of my life, until I became so limited on what I could actually do. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) has been a huge help to me and I am finally getting out, enjoying life again and having plenty of new experiences.

This time last year I was just going back to work from maternity leave and I was feeling especially vulnerable and overwhelmed at the prospect. I was still in the middle of a battle with postnatal depression and anxiety had creeped into every aspect of my life. It was exhausting to constantly being in a state of fight or flight (usually always the latter) and I was becoming increasingly limited on what I could do in my day to day life. I was becoming a recluse and my enjoyment in life was dwindling away and it was feeding my depression. It was vicious cycle and I felt like I was fighting a losing battle.

Something had to change and that change would only come about if I changed. I needed to change my though processes first and CBT was a great stepping stone. CBT taught me so much and helped me question my thought process. I started off small just at first doing the food shop and then gradually built up. I faced my fears, proved my thoughts wrong and exposed myself to a new way to see things. I made sure once my CBT sessions stopped that I continued to read my book and put what I was taught into action when I felt anxiety creeping back in. It’s not always easy, but I have now been able to witness the benefits and I now have proof in my own mind that it works.

CBT has taught me how important it is to get out my comfort zone, not just to do the normal everyday things in life, but also giving me the courage to then try new and often scary things. The scariest thing I’ve done has been blogging as I’ve always been very self-conscious and aware of other people’s opinions of me. Blogging has left me exposed and it has really put myself out there. I’m not the best at spelling, grammar and am forever worrying that what I am writing is rubbish, but with support I feel I’ve found something I love, it gives back to me, helps me grow and it also gets me to try new things. I have found a passion, something that gives me so much and I also feel I am able to give back and hopefully help others.

The last 3 months I have really built myself up and got out my comfort zone on many occasions. Once you start the feeling can become quite addictive and I am forever accepting invitations to new and scary things I couldn’t imagine myself doing a few months ago. I am no longer scared and constricted by what I can and can’t do and it’s opened up a new world for me. Since I have started getting myself out my comfort zone everything else in my life has improved, my confidence, my depression, my anxiety and my overall wellbeing. I am getting new opportunities everyday and I love the feeling of excitement my life now brings.

Except new challenges and remember that you are the only person coming between making them a reality.

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Keeping a positive mind-set is not easy and something I've always struggle with. I have learnt over the last few months skills through CBT on how to keep positive and not let the negative thoughts take over.

Shutting down the negative thoughts

Keeping a positive mind-set is not easy and something I’ve always struggle with. I have learnt over the last few months skills through CBT on how to keep positive and not let the negative thoughts take over. For some reason us humans especially women often hear a negative thought in our heads and never think to question it and we perceive it as fact. With CBT you learn to question these thought and recognise them, as sometimes they are so quick it’s hard to even pin point them until you become aware. When ever I have a negative thought like for example ‘I’m a rubbish mum’ What I do is question it, what is the evidence that I am a rubbish mum? How can I disprove it? It’s working wonders for my mind-set and it has shown me my life through a new set of eyes.

On Thursday I went to a workshop at The British Library in London ‘Turn your passion into pounds’ hosted by Vicki from the multi award-winning blog www.honestmum.com and Jessica Huie (MBE) a PR goddess. The evening was packed full of useful information and the panel of ladies giving advice was 5 star. It was so lovely to hear the passion in these ladies voices, whilst they told us their stories of how they started up on their own and became a success in their own right.

I left buzzing with excitement about the prospects of my website and blog, how I plan to grow it and how I can make it work for me. I have been thinking heavily on the workshop and why I have always had such a limited view of my abilities. I am forever questioning myself, when the only person who is holding me back is me. I am constantly held back by my own self-doubt, fear of failure and other people’s perceived opinions of me, but if I don’t try I have just failed anyway, so sod it, lets give it a go.

I will be continuing to push myself out of my comfort zone and not let the negative thoughts try to ruin my dreams. I’m passionate about what I do and want to help people, whilst I help myself to overcome mental illness obstacles, that limit me from achieving not only normal day to day things, but also my dreams. Any negative thought you have, shut it down, don’t believe it and do what you want to do. Life is too short and too difficult as it is without listening to these horrible little negative voices in our heads. We own our own happiness and we have the tools to succeed in life.

My aspiration is to have a website full of motivational posts, help and advice on postnatal depression and reviews from products I actually love and enjoy. I am ready to go and I am no longer scared of the prospects of my future.

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How to get my motivation back

How to get my motivation back

I am guilty of lacking motivation and at times I’m certain I am just lazy, but I know that isn’t true as once I do get inspiration to get motivated I don’t want to stop until that task is finished. Getting motivated isn’t something I have really been trying to tackle recently and also breakdown why it’s such an issues for me. The more job’s I have to be done the more anxious I get and the more I put them off. It’s a vicious cycle and I think the emotions from not completing task often making me feel even more unmotivated and I start to blame myself. I am trying to teach myself how to get motivated, organised and feeling the benefits of having a clearer, happier head.

Here are some of my tips I use to get motivated

  1. Envision the finished result and what emotion will go with it. I am guilty of sitting on my bum on the sofa, scrolling through Facebook thinking about doing a task that needs doing without actually doing it. Not only does this cause anxiety for me it also makes me feel down, depressed, upset, guilty and worthless. If I can complete a job that needs doing the emotions that go with it at much more encouraging and they keep you motivated for the next job.
  2. Tell yourself that you can do it and don’t be afraid of achieving your tasks and goals. We can change who we are to some extent and there is no reason why you can’t be a motivated, organised and positive.
  3. Rest is appreciated when you have completed a task that has been hanging over your head. Look forward to enjoying a cup of tea once you’ve completed your task.
  4. Try and figure out why you are lacking motivation. Sometimes it’s as easy as being over tired, hungry or even thirsty. Don’t feel guilty for taking a nap if you can, otherwise it’s just a wasted, unmotivated day.
  5. Sometimes you need to put the phone down, the tv off and limit the distractions around you (unfortunately you can’t turn the children off) to get a clearer understanding of the task that needs completing.
  6. Don’t get overwhelmed. Sometimes it can feel like you have too many things on a list to even contemplate starting it. Write a list and order it, by just writing a list can help by being able to visualise what needs doing and it’s so rewarding ticking them off.
  7. Turn off the negative voice. I know how hard it is, but don’t let it win and keep you in your place, unmotivated, lazy and sat on the sofa, anxiety rising as your head runs through the never ending list of tasks to complete is not helpful.
  8. Be mindful. The best thing I have learnt to do for myself recently is to practice mindfulness. Sometimes it’s helpful to stop thinking about what you haven’t done or what does need doing, but to focus on the present moment. Take a step back, notice the sounds, notice the feeling in your body and try to re-centre and refocus.
  9. Set achievable goals. Make it easy to start and gradually increase. If that means going to one gym class a week, not snoozing the alarm or getting one load of washing done everyday. There is nothing quiet like the feeling of completing a task or goal and if you didn’t manage to complete one of these goals, then look back and try to figure out what helped or hindered you.
  10. If you have a particularly difficult task or goal that may take some time to complete, then try to remind yourself throughout why it matters to you and the value of the goal at hand.
  11. Are my expectations unrealistic. Sometimes it doesn’t pay to be a perfectionist, whats the point of having a spotless bathroom and a dirty disgusting kitchen, sometimes just do as much as you need to do before moving on to something else.
  12. Talk yourself up. There is nothing wrong with giving yourself a bit of a pep talk or practicing some affirmations to help you achieve your tasks and goals.
  13. Don’t let a set back throw you off course. We all have days where everything is a bit more of a struggle, but remember you need to refocus and not dwell on it. Brush yourself off practice some affirmations and start again.
  14. For bigger goals try making a goals board with lots of lovely visual inspiration and then hang it somewhere you will see it all the time. Add pictures, affirmations and drawings and remember to keep looking at it and adding to it when you need to as it’s great for motivation.

Read my blog post on S.M.A.R.T goals by clicking here. Motivation is key.

 

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