This is quite a personal post for me, but I wanted to share it with you in case anyone reading has also felt this way. I truly believe that this year I have improved in terms of my mental health, and I want to share a snippet of my experience with you. I remember I used to cry every week, every few days. The only way to express this is that it drained my soul. I used to feel a certain level of fear when I knew I would be going out. It felt as if I was inside a giant birdcage, unable to set myself free. I’d have a panic attack several times a month and it was debilitating.
I have far less panic attacks than ever before, and I wanted to share some changes I made in my life in order to take control. What made me want to write about this, was because I recently had a panic attack after a long period of not having one, and I was experiencing suicidal thoughts again. In the past, this would happen too often. I can’t express how important it is to speak out about it even when it feels incredibly hard. This time I realised how much more I love and care for myself, and knew I needed to go to the counselor again since my last time going four years ago. It’s never wrong to seek help or speak out about how you’re feeling with someone you trust.
If you ever feel you are having mental health problems, please see a doctor. It’s very easy for someone to throw the term anxiety, depression and having a panic attack around and self diagnose. It’s easy for someone to say “I’m feeling depressed” but they may or may not be just feeling sad. What I’ve found helpful is to write an anxiety diary for one week, to see what makes me feel anxious during the day and to decide what I can do about it. The best thing to do is to see a healthcare professional. They would have a talk with me, let me take a mental health test and ask me questions on my experience. This will clarify many things.
The advice I received from the counselor was very helpful, and the counselor told me that at the core of anxiety, there is always a reason. I found this extremely important, because there are times where I forget that. One of the ways I’ve improved my anxiety these past two months have been going out for long walks for 2-3 hours. I finally bought new trainers recently, after walking in my boots and wearing their poor soles out. This has really helped with my breathing, appreciation for being alive in this world and just learning to face my fears and go outside of my comfort zone. It also releases stress and allows me to think properly.
It’s so important to love yourself and be kinder to myself. We can sometimes be the hardest on ourselves. We can be kind and loving to other people, but forget to be kind and loving to ourselves. This is so true for myself, because I found that negative self talk is the same as talking to someone unkindly. No one deserves to be hurt. The more love and kindness we pour into ourselves, the more we pour out into the world. Our thoughts create our life. Creating a habit of gratitude has truly helped more than I can express, and realising the power of our thoughts and how our thoughts create the life we want to live, makes me realise that we all deserve to live a good life.
Remember to eat healthy and good foods and drink enough water. I can’t emphasise enough how much food and keeping hydrated affects our mood, mind and body. A few years ago I would resist going outdoors even when the ones I love were constantly giving me advice to go outside for a short walk. The more I resisted, the more fear it built. Now, when I go for a walk, it’s natural and I don’t feel any fear anymore. I remember being invited to networking events in Sydney, and I’d always turn them down. I’d miss the opportunity to meet amazing people. We create opportunities for ourselves, when we face our fears. It makes life more exciting to go outside of your comfort zone.
If you ever feel depressed, anxious or you have a panic attack, don’t be ashamed or embarrassed to seek help. A few years ago, I was feeling negative and attracting negative people and situations into my life. Remember, your thoughts have so much power. The more good thoughts we have, the more we attract good things into our lives. It reflects the law of attraction and the radiating power of positivity, love and kindness. Surround yourself with good people and be at present in this world with the feeling that makes you feel good. If someone is being unkind, don’t resist or react, just let them be. The way we react to things comes down to ourselves.
I’ve recently been reading a book with these wise words and I want to share some with you. We have so much love to give, and the more that we give, the more we receive. Life is mirroring back to you what you are holding inside you. Take a moment to think about all that nature gives to you every single day so that you can live. And yet nature never asks for anything in return. That is true giving. “A feeling that greater possessions, no matter what kind they may be, will of themselves bring contentment or happiness, is a misunderstanding. No person, place, or thing can give you happiness. They may give you a cause for happiness and a feeling of contentment, but the Joy of Living comes from within.” – Genevieve Behrend (1881-1960).
You deserve all the love, happiness and joy in the world.
Photography from Mary Salas
There is such simplicity in saying be kind, and at the same time, deep down in my heart, there are days where I feel as if I wasn’t as kind as I could be, or that I could have done something this or that way. Perhaps that’s just the empathetic side of me that feels this way. Last year I wrote a post about speaking from the heart because I find that it doesn’t happen the way it used to. There is an effect that technology has where we have the ability to talk online, which may cause us to be less emotional. When we talk in person, being raw is sometimes perceived as a weakness when it shouldn’t be.
Kindness is not those who do it to gain something, those who do it for attention or those who want to be perceived a certain way. True kindness is one that could be completely invisible to the eye but felt by others. It’s important to note that true kindness is ultimately loving yourself. It’s funny how sometimes we’re much kinder and far less judgmental towards others, but when it comes to ourselves, we can sometimes be harsh critics. It makes me think to when I had depression quite badly, there were thoughts that were so terrible and awful, that I’d never say to anyone else, but I said it to myself.
Being kind from your heart means seeing a person for their character and actions, rather than appearances. It means seeing a person on the street with a sad face, and picturing giving them a big warm hug (does anyone else do this as well). Taking the time to listen to a friend and be there for them. Sometimes kindness is being very honest, which can make us feel unkind. However, it’s far better to be honest to a close one if you think they’re doing something wrong. It means you care for them and want the best for them. Kindness from your heart could be spending the time to cook a meal for a loved one.
It’s the ability to be tolerant and understanding, without judgment towards someone. It’s the time taken to help someone, not for any rewards, but simply because it gives a sense of connection. Helping and having compassion is something that encourages others and ourselves to do more of. It’s the ability to truly understand that every person is different and that we can’t change people. Sometimes it means knowing when to say yes and no. This one is important. Honesty has a strong tie with kindness because the truth will always reveal itself.
Actions speak louder than words. Think of Pride & Prejudice, and the way Elizabeth felt Darcy was incredibly arrogant and full of pride when really he was simply shy and reserved with his words. However, his actions showed that he was loving, caring and kind. We are all capable of spreading a light in our lives. You know that feeling of catching a smile from the distance, and feeling positive energy run through your body. No one can be happy all the time, but when we’re kind to other’s, we can spread that light and form a silent connection. Kindness is an invisible way of healing and gives a feeling of warmth and love.
Photography by Milton H. Greene
The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart. -Helen Keller. A beautiful reminder that reminds us to place more value on how we can become a better person through our mind and heart. Everything that is important to us in our lives are never materials or appearances. They tend to be our loved ones, the world we live in and the relationships and memories we have in our lives. “I have always loved the desert. One sits down on a desert sand dune, sees nothing, hears nothing. Yet through the silence something throbs, and gleams…” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince.
“There is more to sex appeal than just measurements. I don’t need a bedroom to prove my womanliness. I can convey just as much sex appeal, picking apples off a tree or standing in the rain.” ― Audrey Hepburn. Women in the media are constantly seen only by their physicality. They’re judged by their appearances which can cause many people to put more self worth in the way they look. Women should be seen through their wisdom, intelligence, abilities and strength. A women is more than a pretty face. There is no amount of makeup or amount of clothes that can hide an ugly heart.
I have to express that, because it seems strange to me when people are more often celebrated for their body and appearances than what is inside. I read an article titled The Beauty In Real Sex Appeal, which unfolds the quote in more detail: “Audrey Hepburn. The woman of her time. She was the face of classiness in Hollywood during the Sixties but she did not succumb to allowing herself to be viewed as a mere sex-object. Rather she was esteemed as a legend in the realm of wholesome beauty and class…What does this mean? She is so eloquently saying that just by being created a woman that she is sexy.”
This explains how much our society needs to really grasp the message of true beauty. In the article, Leonhardt also writes: “Audrey Hepburn celebrated her womanliness, her sex appeal, not in some minuscule attempt by unveiling the mystery of who she is in the bedroom to the entire world but instead by showing her grace, class and wholesome beauty through the way she conducted herself. She showed the extraordinaire of her body through ordinary things like simply standing in the rain. That inner confidence of beauty is real sex appeal.” Social Media is now a common example of millions of people who receive attention for showing their body and face.
“You can tell more about a person by what he says about others than you can by what others say about him.” ― Audrey Hepburn. You can tell a lot about someones heart, from what they say to other people. This is extremely true, as this often shows our true nature. You can also tell a lot from how someone treats other people. A person that only speaks about other people by gossiping, is likely to be untrustworthy and focused on others lives. A person that doesn’t go into others business, but speaks words of kindness and truth, reflects a lot about themselves.
When we look with the heart, we remember what is important in life. “What is essential is invisible to the eye.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince. It’s those moments we laugh that give us the greatest joy in life. It’s the feeling of helping others and bringing a smile to their face. The most simple things like being surrounded by nature, can give us the feeling of great peace and appreciation. Think of the feeling when you wake up to look at a sunrise, listen to a song that moves you or that feeling of embracing someone you haven’t seen in a long time. That kind of beauty touches our heart.
Audrey Hepburn photographed by Sam Shaw in Paris,1957
“People where you live,” the little prince said, “grow five thousand roses in one garden… yet they don’t find what they’re looking for…”
“They don’t find it,” I answered.
“And yet what they’re looking for could be found in a single rose, or a little water…”
“Of course,” I answered.
And the little prince added, “But eyes are blind. You have to look with the heart.”
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
The title is an excerpt from the book, The Little Prince: “It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
I highly recommend reading the book if you haven’t. There are many lessons in The Little Prince. One of the lessons that stand out to me, is the topic of love. What is truly important can only be felt and seen with the heart. This world needs love. We can do many things and never be joyful, but perhaps our happiness could be found in one simple thing (“in a single rose”). Our eyes may indulge in temporary beauty and what lies on the surface. But money and materials are unimportant. The true beauty of a person comes from their heart. Whatever you do today, remember to look with the heart.