Positive Quotations

In this week’s post, I would to share with you some of my favourite quotes which help me in everyday life. If you put ‘positive quotes’ into Google, all sorts of results come at you and it can be quite overwhelming. Sometimes they can be so idealistic that you think it will be totally impossible to achieve that. I am hoping that by sharing a few quotes with you, it will make them seem more accessible and hopefully speak out to you. Please note, the way I have interpreted these quotes is my opinion only and not related to the accreditation of the quote. Things can be interpreted differently and this is only my opinion!

 

Keep facing the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow...

Keep facing the sunshine and you cannot see a shadow – Helen Keller.

I see this quote as a reminder that we always have a choice. If you choose to face the sun, the warmth, the bright and peachy side of life, then you won’t see the darkness that can cloud our judgement. It is a reminder than what you focus on occupies your thoughts. If you choose to look at the light and the positive, then you won’t be thinking about the negative. Your brain can only think about one thing at once, so make it a positive thought.

 

Be mindful

Be Mindful, Be Grateful, Be Positive, Be True, Be Kind. – Roy T Bennett.

Each of these statements are all things that we know. Each one seems obvious. But in the hectic lifestyles we live today, sometimes it is nice to just stop and think about the things that are really important to you. In this world that we live in today, with all the anger and the hate that flies around us, it is nice to think about how we should live our lives. Be mindful of others, be kind to all, be true to yourself and what you believe in. The real core of what being alive really means.

 

be the reason someone smiles,be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness of people

Be the reason someone smiles. Be the reason someone feels loved and believes in the goodness of people. – Roy T Bennett

It’s Mr Bennett again! I love this quote because it is such a reminder that sometimes we can be so obsessed with what is happening to ourselves that we forget to take a look around and see what is happening to those around us. There may be someone closer than you think who is having a rough time and would really appreciate a hug or for you to stop and say hello. I am not saying get talking to strangers on the bus, but have a think about a friend you haven’t heard from for a while and just check they are OK. There are so many people in the world who have mental health issues and a lot of people often say: ‘It didn’t look like there was anything wrong.’ when that person feels like they cannot go on. Checking up on that friend who is a bit quiet might just be what they needed to hear.

 

Henry Ford

Whether you believe you can or you can’t, you will always be right. – Henry Ford.

This quote for me totally sums up the mind/body connection. If you believe you can do something, you will do it. If you convince yourself you cannot do it, you won’t. Simple as. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you are from or what you are doing, if you tell yourself you can’t, then you won’t! I have had this quote of my bedroom wall throughout all of my exam periods, GCSEs, A-Levels and University to remind me that when the going gets tough, I will do it. It may be hard, it may take time but I will get there.

 

Thank you for reading my four favourite quotes and I hope my explanations and thoughts on each one will have given those reading this some food for thought and hopefully made each quote a little more accessible. Hopefully you can see the applications they would have to your own life and I hope they spread a little positive and love!

Sarah x

Are you being cyber bullied?

Cyber bullying post

The last 20 years has seen the rise in the wonderful world that is social media, without which I wouldn’t be writing this blog post. But what happens when this amazing tool designed to connect people together is misused? Unfortunately, being concealed behind a screen seems to give people the confidence to say hurtful and direct things that would not be said in real life.

I touched on this subject a few weeks ago about being more mindful about what we say over the Internet and how written words are different from spoken ones. Leading on from this, this blog post is a practical guide for those of you out there experiencing cyber-bullying.

Cyber-bullying is when messages of threat, intimidation or upset are sent to another individual or group with the intent of causing hurt or harm. Unfortunately, wherever you go in life, there is always going to be someone who gets a little bit of pleasure from upsetting others, for whatever reason. But when this upset is coming at you through your phone or laptop, when you cannot even see the person, it can be so intimidating.

Here are a few advice points that I have written to help someone experiencing cyber bullying:

1.You do not deserve to be treated like that.

Firstly, remind yourself that you don’t deserve to be treated badly by ANYONE. That’s a general rule of life. No one has the right to make you feel bad about yourself. EVER. Tell yourself that it is not your fault that you are in this situation. If someone else chooses to say nasty things to you, that is their choice, but how you deal with the situation is totally your decision and in your control.

 

2.Don’t respond or retaliate.

This is an important one. However tempting it might be to let rip and put this bully in their place, don’t! Because A) throwing shade back makes you just as bad as them, but also B) it is not going to help the situation, it is 100% going to make it worse and more often than not, it is going to make the situation escalate. More often than not, bullies are looking for a reaction from you so they know they have upset you. Retaliating to hurtful texts is just playing into their hands.

 

3.Don’t take matters into your own hands.

In the world of social media, things very easily go viral. So don’t be tempted, instead of messaging back, to share the posts/text messages with as many people as possible to ‘make an example of the bullies.’ This is cyber bullying too. Plain and simple. Don’t sink to their level. You are better than that.

 

4.Save the evidence.

The best thing about cyber bullying is that everything is written down, meaning you can save, screenshot or print what has been said. It eliminates the ‘well, she said…’ ‘No I didn’t…’ argument because it is written down for all to see. Save the evidence of abusive messages with the date and time stamp on them if possible. If things escalate, then you have proof to support what you are saying.

 

5.Tell an trusted adult and think about your next move together.

Whatever is being sent to you, you must tell an adult. A parent, a teacher, a neighbour, anyone you trust. Not so they can sort the problem out for you but so you can talk through what you want to do together. Two heads are always better than one. It also gives you a good opportunity to calm down and talk through what has happened before you decide what to do next. Anything done in the heat of the moment is often regretted. Take some time and get someone else’s opinion.

A trusted adult on your side will also be able to give some support if you want to make your school aware of what is going on on social media or if it is a matter for the police to deal with. This obviously depends on your individual situation but it is something to consider with someone you can openly talk to.

 

6.Use the social media tools available.

As standard and as a tool to protect their users, all social media platforms have a ‘Report User’ function for you to make them aware of unwanted happenings. They can then decide if the bully needs a time out or if they have violated the platform rules and need their account disabling all together.

If this feels a bit drastic to you, you might feel like blocking the person from contacting you is a more appropriate action for your situation. You should probably do that anyway so they cannot make contact with you.

 

7.Resilience is learnt.

One positive outcome of cyber bullying is a built up resilience, which is a skill that will be super helpful later in life. If someone is sending you horrible messages, the best thing to do would really be to ignore it. As hard as that sounds, they will soon stop it if they get no reaction.

When a new message pops up from that dreaded account, don’t open it. Just delete it. Whatever it contains, it won’t be helpful or add joy to your life so you don’t need to see it. If it carries on, use a different social media platform to connect with your friends. Remove yourself from the situation. The bullies will soon get bored and move on. It can be so hard to think like this when you are in the middle of a horrible situation but I promise you, it will end at some point. Each time you ignore a message, it will strengthen you. It will get easier. It will make you laugh at how ridiculous they are. Cue funny picture about how silly online bullies are:

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You are in control because you can walk away. Or turn off your phone in this case.

 

If you know someone who is being cyber bullied, be there for them. They would really appreciate someone to talk to about it. Quite often people don’t want someone to swoop in and save the day, just knowing there is someone there so they are not going through it alone is often just the support they need.

My final piece of advice, and it is an important one, is this:

Please, please, PLEASE think about the things you are sending to other people electronically, whether it is over social media or texts or emails. Even when you are sending things to people who are your friends. How often do we see in the news that a celebrity’s sex tape has been leaked, or naked pictures that were sent to a boyfriend have ended up on the Internet for the world to see? Once it is on the Internet, it will always be on the Internet, you loose control over who sees it or shares it. Please think before sending anything so that you don’t end up in a difficult situation in the future. Please protect yourself. As sad as it sounds, people who are your friends currently may not always be your friends. If you aren’t prepared to put it on a bulletin board for the world to see then don’t send it to anyone!

Sarah x

What did you say?

I wouldn’t like to count how many times in a day I use the Internet. Between Facebook, Instagram, blogging, Twitter, I must be on the Internet for the majority of the time I am awake. And when I should be asleep! It is a wonder I have time to do anything else. Even when out and about, if I can’t find where I am going, I will whip out my phone and use the Map app, or check train times, or google a shop location.

But what happens when it goes sour? With the wonders and marvels of the Internet comes the other side: the trolling, the cyberbullying, the hiding behind your keyboard to tell people home truths you would not dare say to someone’s face. I write this post as a friendly reminder about social media. I will be writing another post about copying with cyberbullying at a later date.

I run different Instagram accounts, covering an array of different topics and areas of my life. 99% of the time, the interactions I have with people are positive. However, an incident happened last month that shocked me a little bit. Scrolling through the comments on one post, I noticed a couple of things being said that I found quite offensive. I am not here to name and shame, or even to tell you what was said, but for the first time since starting my accounts, I felt threatened. I am a big girl and knew what was being said were empty threats but still, I knew I didn’t deserve to be spoken to like that.

This got me thinking. I am strong enough to ignore these comments but I know that some people would have been really upset by them. That is the problem with the Internet. Written words have none of the qualities that speech has. There is no intonation, no facial expressions, no body language, which we take in without realising it to understand things that are said to us. The non-verbal cues that we take for granted because we don’t actively think about them.

A phrase like ‘shut up’ can be taken in a number of ways. The cast of TOWIE use it instead of ‘You’re kidding me.’ People say it in a playful way, in defence to being teased, or even in a ‘please carry on complimenting me’ way, but written down, the phrase is: Shut. Up. Sounds a bit aggressive doesn’t it? Just this week, a family member was teasing his mum that her texts are always in capital letters, making him think she is shouting at him. She replied that she had turned on her Caps Lock months ago and couldn’t get it off again! But he wasn’t to know that because all he could see were words that were being emphasised. No facial expressions, no loudness of voice to give him clues as to whether his mum was angry or not.

Back to Instagram, I wrote back a polite retaliation to my horrible comments saying that this language was inappropriate and I would prefer them to unfollow me if they thought it was an acceptable way to speak to someone, and all of a sudden I was inundated with messages from each guilty party saying how they hadn’t meant it, and I had interpreted it wrong, or they were only joking etc etc. I thanked them for their apology and there are no hard feelings between me and them, it is sorted now and all good. But I felt like this was a good example of what can happen while on the Internet. Things can be misinterpreted. While using the Internet, it is our responsibility to use it with care and keep in mind that words typed are just that: Words on a page. No intonation, no smiling while you say it, no playful slaps of arms to show you are speaking in jest.

People seem to find a new found sense of confidence when they are typing on a keyboard. I don’t believe for a second they would be brave enough to say those horrible things to someone’s face, but seem to find it easy when tweeting or commenting. Like the screen acts as a barrier to shield them from identity or the stress and drama of a face to face conversation.

I guess what I am trying to say is, please take a moment to think about the things you type to people on social media. Things can be misunderstood, misread, misinterpreted and someone will get hurt. Most probably both parties involved. Read the actual words you have written, removing the emotions from it, and see the words for what they are. And what they mean. It will bring us back to the intention of social media, to introduce us to people we wouldn’t ordinarily meet, to develop friendships with people of all walks of life. To connect us all.

Sarah x

Be Crayjust

This weekend I had the pleasure of exploring the Mind, Body and Soul exhibition at Event City, Manchester. I had never been before so I had no idea what to expect. The event was coupled with the Yoga show and Vegan Life Live so it was guaranteed to have something to interest everyone.

mind body soul programme

There was so much to see, I didn’t know where to start! So, obviously, I went methodically up and down the rows so no stall was missed! What can I say? I like order!

There was lots of different products and stall holders there but one lady was particularly interesting.

Sharon Corbett has set up a project called Picture This. She goes into schools and colleges using her love of photography and creative writing to get children to think about their life goals and things they want to achieve, while promoting self confidence and self identity. Sharon was so moved by the work being produced by these young individuals, she decided to make their affirmations and powerful messages into a book for all to read, named: BE CRAYJUST: REAL LIFE MOTIVATION BY REAL LIFE PEOPLE. It was amazing to read, especially when Sharon said that the children who contributed to the book were between 8 and 15 years old. The thoughts and positive messages these young people were wanting to share with the world were humorous, thought provoking, emotional but most of all, they were inspiring.

Sharon had some postcards made up for the Exhibition and I bought the selection below.

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The wording on these postcards really spoke to me and I think they have such important messages. There is a lot in the media about ‘loving yourself’ and retaliating against ‘body-shaming’ but it is quite often forgotten that you should be loving the life you are living too. In amongst the struggle of exams and homework, it is hard to feel like you have control over what your life looks like, but it is so true. You have the power to create a life that you love. Strive for a job you want to do. Work towards a qualification that enables you to have the best experiences and meet the best people. As said above, ‘Follow the path that makes you, YOU!’

‘When in darkness, seek out the light.’ resonates heavily with me. I know from experience that when life is getting you down, it is very hard to see the positive in any situation. But it is when you are at your weakest that you need to make the decision to change how you think. You have to ‘see the light’. You have to be brave enough to get yourself out of the darkness. And it is so possible. You can do it. To have a young person write such a powerful message was very moving to me.

This project is a non-profit organisation. Sharon said the money she makes from selling the books and postcards gets put back into the project, which will enable more books to be published in the future. What an honour it was to meet her.

Give the project a follow on Facebook at: @BeCrayjust

Thank you Sharon, for putting such time and effort and affection into teaching young people about self identity and positive thinking. Our school system is so focused on statistics and grades, they are not teaching young people to find themselves and work towards creating a positive life for themselves, even though currently, suicide is the biggest killer of teenagers, having overtaken road accidents, making projects like these so important.

Sarah x

 

Hypnotherapy and Panic Attacks

 

hypnotherapy post header

In my last post, I discussed my experiences with panic attacks, which was very well received. Thank you very much for your positive feedback about it.

I have not posted a blog post for a while because I have been on holiday. 18 months ago, me and my two friends had a crazy idea to save up for an amazing tourist trip to California. We planned for the whole 18 months, deciding what we were going to do, where we were going to eat, everything.

As it got closer to us going, I was plagued by this niggle I usually get before a holiday. My fear of flying. Just thinking about stepping in the airport filled me with dread. Hot flushes, stomach back flips, wobbly legs, the works.

Going to America was also going to be the first time I had flown without my Mum to help me through it. Holding her hand during take off and landing, and her rubbing my arm when I started to hyperventilate helped me through the stress of a flight. I wasn’t going to have that this time, and I really didn’t want to make a fool of myself in front of my friends or the other passengers. So I needed a plan.

And into my life stepped Julie! I met Julie at a business networking session over a year ago and she talked so passionately about how hypnotherapy could help a variety of problems, I thought I would give it a go. I gave her a call and asked if she could help with my fear of flying and she reassured me that it was a common stress and she was sure she could help me.

I did not really know anything about hypnotherapy, other than what you see in films: someone swinging a pendulum and getting the recipient to do silly things when a certain word was mentioned.

Within a few minutes of talking to Julie, I realised that this was not what hypnotherapy was about at all. We talked for a long time about how I was feeling, both with flying and other things, including the panic attacks. I talked a lot about my low self esteem and how I felt it was holding me back in life. Julie not only listened to me (and passed the tissues), but assured me that how I was feeling was normal and common amongst others, and that I had the power within myself to change the way I think. Julie was very particular in making sure I understood that I had the power within me to change the way I thought. She would just be helping me through it. This feeling of empowerment I think has contributed to me getting so much out of the experience.

I was a little nervous when Julie told me to close my eyes and imagine myself in a beautiful place. But I found the visualisations and the journey I was undertaking very calming. I found myself relaxing into the chair I was sitting in and releasing the hypnotic sigh as I allowed myself to fully participate in the visualisations.

We talked about what had happened in my life that had influenced the way I felt in the present. School bullies, work pressures, health issues etc. Julie helped me work through them and release them from my thought process. It was so enlightening. I could literally feel the weight lift from my shoulders. I could feel my excitement for life returning after being squashed and shushed by my anxieties.

Julie also taught me some techniques to use when I am in a stressful situation, both physical things to do when I can feel a panic attack happening, and psychological things to do when I need a good talking to!

I am trying very hard to put into words how amazing I feel having had such an empowering experience. It is like someone has turned the light back on, lit the fire in my belly again. I have so many things I want to achieve in my life, so many things I want to see, or try, or do, but like most people, when the rejections and stresses knock you back, it is hard to keep your morale up. Hypnotherapy has boosted my mental state and more importantly, taught me techniques to keep myself up there.

And for that I will be eternally grateful to Julie and her teachings. Julie’s details will be at the bottom of the page and on my social media profiles.

Last week I returned from America having spent 27 hours on an aeroplane over two weeks and not a single panicky moment! I had never thought about hypnotherapy as an option for helping with life’s stresses but it has been life changing.

Sarah x

 

Julie Widdowson

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/juliewiddowsonhypnotherapy/

Website: http://www.juliewiddowson.co.uk

 

 

Happy Singles Day!!

Oh excellent. It is that time of year again. The 14th of February. Valentine’s Day.

I, like some of you reading this, am single. Nowadays, I am happily single but during my teenage years, I used to get really down about it. Especially when all my friends had boyfriends and I didn’t (This may have been my own fault, I talked to boys about football which always seemed to lead to being friend zoned!). So I often wanted to spend Valentine’s Day with a duvet pulled over my head, being comforted by Mr Ben and Mr Jerry. However, fear not my single friends because this year I have put together the ultimate kit for celebrating Singles day!

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I guess a lot of these items are to pamper and spoil myself. Valentine’s Day is a day to be shown how loved you are so why can’t you show yourself how much you love you? Treating and looking after yourself is so important and people don’t do it enough.

In past years, I have got together with my other single friends to celebrate Singles Day and we have had such a laugh together, but this is fun on your own too. This plan also means you can spend the day indoors, meaning you don’t have to walk around seeing couples holding hands and being lovey dovey, and you can stay in your comfy jogging pants without being judged so win win!!

I think I will start the celebrations by doing a face pack. I love face packs, especially ones that smell good enough to eat! The ones you peel off when they are dry are the most fun, mostly because it makes me feel like I am starring in my very own episode of Doctor Who 🙂 My favourite ones are by Montagne Jeunesse. They do all sorts of flavours and cover a range of different skin types, meaning you can pick one that is just right for you. They smell amazing but more importantly, leave your skin feeling smooth and clear. Word of warning: Face packs are difficult to do in groups. Especially when your friends are as funny as mine!

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I am not a girlie girl at all but I do love painting my nails so that is what I will do next. My favourite brands are Barry M and Avon, and if I am treating myself to something a little more expensive, I always choose OPI or Ciate. In my opinion, brighter is always better! My favourite style at the moment is hot pink with a black mosaic effect over the top (Mine is from Avon).

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Once my nails are dry, I will then start to make my way through my DVD collection. On a day celebrating being single, I will probably start with laugh out loud comedies such as the Miranda series (such fun!) or John Tucker Must Die, where girls get their own back on their school Romeo. Perfect for Singles Day. Last but not least I will watch Pitch Perfect because the moral of the story is that friendship conquers all. And who doesn’t love a sing-a-long?!

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The eagle eyed amongst you will have spotted the pizza takeaway menu on the table. That is because I intend to order in pizza. A big one. With a stuffed crust and multiple toppings. A pizza that I can choose exactly what toppings I want without having to share it with anyone. I would honestly rather be singe than have to share my pizza without a fussy eater (Yes I like pineapple on my pizza, get over it!). Whoever invented the half and half pizza must have saved a million relationships. Obviously there are many different companies available but for me, Pizza Hut is the King of Pizzas. And their cookie dough pudding is amazing!

And last but not least, no pampering session would be complete without some sort of chocolatey treat! I bought the little love heart chocolates from Marks and Spencer because they are super cute and easy to share. I also thought they would be the ideal size to dip in my one true love,  Nutella. If I could, I would put Nutella on everything…ice cream, scones, digestive biscuits…weird, I know!

So there you have it. My guide to celebrating Singles Day and surviving Valentine’s Day as a singleton. I hope you enjoy whatever your plans have. Send me a picture of your Singles Day celebrations to my Twitter page: @notfallingover or to my Facebook page: Positive Thinking and Not Falling Over. Can’t wait to see them!

There is a saying that states: How can anyone be expected to love you when you do not love yourself. And it is true, learning to love yourself is one the hardest, but the best thing you will ever do, especially if you are over critical of yourself as I am. It is really worth doing things like this to make you take the time to look after yourself. Remind yourself that you are beautiful and worth unconditional love.

 

Sarah x

Please note: I am not endorsed by any of the companies or brands mentions. Those mentioned above are just my humble opinion, other brands are available.

 

Your life, Your vision

January is well known for being the month of setting resolutions, turning your life around, creating the ‘new you’.

From being little I knew how your life was supposed to be. You were expected to go to school, then to college, then to University, then get a job, then… what? I left University and was very lucky to walk into a full time job pretty much the next day. But then two years later, I woke up one morning and thought…’What am I supposed to do now?’ Like, is this it? Is this what my life is going to be like until I am ready for the grave?

It is said by pretty much every adult that the aim of school is to prepare you for life. My teachers made it very clear to me that only good exam results would do and my life would be over if I did not achieve them. I know now that teachers say this to scare the students who don’t work hard enough into action, but it had the opposite effect. It scared all of us hard working students into blind panic.

School had done very well preparing me for getting into college, how to pick my A Levels, how to handle interviews but they never prepared me for what happens after you have done all that. Do you get a job and then just wait until you are old enough to retire?  When do you get to do the fun stuff? Like travelling or go to a festival or learn how to make the perfect chocolate cupcakes?

There is a very famous story about John Lennon, the Beatles legend. John was at school one day and his teacher asked him what he wanted to be when he was older. John replied: ‘I want to be happy.’ The teacher laughed and said he had misunderstood the question. John told him that he misunderstood life.

John Lennon was right. What is the point of doing a job you hate, spending time with people who bring you down or wasting the days you have until you die?

I have never liked the idea of having a Bucket List. I thought about writing one but whenever I tried, it made me feel like I was trying to beat the clock. I always felt more focused on trying to get through the list before I kicked said ‘bucket’, rather than actually enjoying each once-in-a-lifetime activity, which kind of defeated the point of doing it!

But one day I came across something that I wish I had seen when I was about 14, when I was making my GCSE choices. I needed someone to tell me that if I made a wrong decision, my life would not be over! That something was a Vision Board. A picture plan, if you like, for what I want my life to look like. The idea is simple, you make a college of things you want to do in your life, things you want to achieve, skills you want to have, places you want to see. Anything and everything that would make your life complete. This is mine, it lives on my wall, right by my desk where I can see it every day:

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I want to be a children’s author, I want to own a house that is big enough for my relatives to stay in (I have a lot of family overseas), I want to be in a loving marriage, I want to have clear spot-less skin (that drama will be a whole other blog post!), I want to be involved with my favourite sports team, I want to be involved with my favourite charity.

How I am going to achieve all this is not clear at the moment, but that is not a problem. A vision board is a plan, not the finished product. Once you have made a board, it does not mean it is set in stone. I am always changing things on mine as more ideas come to me or I think to myself: ‘Actually, that is not important to me anymore.’ Making the vision board makes you focus on all the positive things you want to experience in your life, rather than worrying about the things that in the end, won’t actually matter.

The only golden rule for making the vision board is you must write the labels on it in the present tense: I am a successful author, I have clear skin, I have a nice car. Talking in the present tense will bring the experience to you. Saying statements like ‘I would like…’ or ‘In the future…’ keeps pushing it further and further away from you, meaning you never catch it. Sometimes I look at my vision board and say some of the notes I have written on there, to remind myself of where I am heading in my life, especially when I am having a rough day. As long as I have my plan, my vision, then I know which direction I am heading in.

I know a lot of the time during your teenage years, you can’t see past school, or past those girls who are making your life hell, or that feeling that you don’t fit in and you would rather be invisible, but this is the perfect time to start a vision board. Those days will end. You can turn those bad feelings into something positive and start deciding how you would like your life to be. You are in control of what you want your life to be like and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

I am not for one minute saying do not try and get the best exam results you can. Obviously, getting good exam results does open doors for you. By law, you have to go to school so you may as well put your all into getting the best exam results you can to make the time spent there worthwhile. And yes you have to get a job so you can earn money to live off, money is not just going to fall out of the sky and land in your hand. Unless a real money tree has been discovered since I started writing this post… But what about all the things that give you a warm fuzzy feeling inside? Start planning those extra things that will make you happy. Because at the end of the day, that is the most important thing. That you are happy. 

So get planning!

Start making your vision.

And don’t forget to send me a picture when it is finished, either through the Facebook page: Positive Thinking and Not Falling Over or via Twitter: @notfallingover.

Sarah x