New Year, New You – Focusing on myself one breath at a time in 2016

As part of my ‘New Year, New You’ series this month I’m asking bloggers to share their plans, tips and resolutions for 2016! 
So we’re approaching the end of January, and it’s gone so fast! With that, how are you getting on with your resolutions? I’m keeping on top of mine quite well, although healthy eating went out the window one morning when I decided to indulge in a packet of Mini Eggs for breakfast with the only valid reasoning of their limited supply on the supermarket shelves… 
Today Pouria is sharing his resolutions with us which I hope will provide some more inspiration on how to be more aware of our mind and social awareness in 2016! Let me know about your inspiration in the comments!
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Spending less time on social media and more on myself
I spend most of my day browsing Facebook status updates, posts, tweets and images. I follow friends, celebrities, influencers and every now and again random people on social media. I research them every day; I know them better than I know myself. That is not ok!
Fear of judgment and stigma prevented me from expressing myself and reaching out
I had a lot of ups and downs this year: personal, family and work. One pattern became obvious to me: I was scared of people judging me so I kept everything to myself. I never express things fully to my parents for obvious reasons! and I didn’t feel that close to my friends to share what was bothering me because they had judged me in the past. I opened up to my girl friend once and later on she used it against me! don’t see myself doing that again. 
In 2016, I would like to get closer to my friends and to also make new friends. I also like to share without the fear, even if they end up judging me. 

I now use Paralign to journal my thoughts, express myself, feel supported and support others.

I will meditate more

2015 I was pretty mindful but I could definitely be more. There were times where what happened on the outside, influenced my inner peace and clarity. I often dwelled on the past and things that were outside of my control made me anxious and sad. in 2016, I would like to learn more from this and let it happen less and less. in 2016, I will spend more time on my inner peace and harmony. I will try to listen more to my body and I will try to practice how to be more present. I will set aside 30 minute meditation time before going to bed and after waking up. Before going to bed to observe my day and assess what I learned. After waking up so I can start my day with a clear mind.
I tend to think just focusing on the breath can give us so much power; It is a simple phenomena yet it is so significant.
I will give back more
In 2015 I did a few volunteer work, donated money here and there and stood up for different causes. But I think I did that to mostly show off. I wasn’t authentic and I didn’t try hard to change some else’s life for the better.
In 2016, I would really like to dedicate good amount of my time to help others. Help high school students wanting to go to college. Helping lower income families make better decisions and helping unprivileged people live happier.
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Pouria has spent 8 years in health care, starting his career at UCSF and VA medical center helping advance predictions of Alzheimer’s, parkinson and epilepsy diseases through MRI and imaging technologies.  He built Paralign (http://paralign.me) based on his own journey and how he started to improve his life one thought at a time. He usually writes about powers of the mind and holistic approaches towards health.

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#LoveMe Challenge – Day 20

Prompts

Something you love to wear

I love to experiment with different styles and colours. I absolutely love patterns whether that be a simple floral pattern or a unique printed pattern. I love to dress up in different items and definitely have a bit of a shopping addiction with the amount of clothes I own in my wardrobe!!!

My favourite international clothing brand has to be Black Milk clothing. Based in Australia, they offer an amazing range of unique printed items. Over the years I have collected Disney princess leggings, snowflake leggings, a Christmas ribbon printed dress, a pumpkin printed dress and a spiderweb skirt. I absolutely love how each item is handmade and is made with such care. I always feel like every item I receive from them is of the highest quality.

My favourite type of clothing has to be the A-line skirt which I often wear with bardot tops for a cute, girly outfit. I often wear a black striped skirt with a black bardot top which has a particularly Parisian feel!

My favourite A-Line skirts..

Warehouse Metallic Paisley Print Skirt - £38

Warehouse Metallic Paisley Print Skirt – £38

Monki A-line 70'S Suede Skirt - £60

Monki A-line 70’S Suede Skirt – £60

River Island 70'S Geo Zip Front Mini Skirt - £30

River Island 70’S Geo Zip Front Mini Skirt – £30

Embroidered Jacquard A Line Mini Skirt in Black - £25

Embroidered Jacquard A Line Mini Skirt in Black – £25

Red Abstract Jacquard Woven A-Line Skirt - £10

Red Abstract Jacquard Woven A-Line Skirt – £10

Do you have any particular favourite items of clothing?

Becky at Pretty & Petit

#LoveMe Challenge – Day 19

Prompts

Something You feel strongly about

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I seriously dislike the word ‘hate’. I don’t feel like I ‘hate’ anything. There are things that make me feel uncomfortable and there are things that I dislike – certain tastes or smells for example, but I would never say that I ‘hate’ them. I also feel extremely uncomfortable when people talk about their hatred for other people. How can anyone justify their hatred of someone? Usually a feeling of ‘hatred’ stems historically or through a feeling of peer pressure, through isolated groups attacking one other. When asking someone why they feel the anger that they do I would bet 9 times out of 10 at least that they would not be able to reasonably justify their answer.

Hate is such a negative word. How can anyone be happy when they use it? How can anyone think positively and work towards a brighter future and better relationships when using it? I found an interesting definition of the word which interpreted the word as stemming from fear, anger or sense of injury. At least two of those words are associated with the person using the word feeling threatened by those they are targeting. I wonder if the same can be said for current situations in the world, whether action is being taken through fear or the sense of being threatened with injury or even death. It’s a thought worth considering. It could also be interpreted as a sign of weakness, and therefore that hatred can be stemmed through a feeling of weakness. The third word, anger, is often incorrectly associated with hatred but in fact these are two very different feelings and emotions. It can be argued however, that extreme anger is a form of hatred as severe action is carried out at this point.

In psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud defined hate as an ego state that wishes to destroy the source of its unhappiness. Although many psychologists believe hatred to be a form of attitude rather than a temporary emotional state.

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How do you feel about the word ‘hate’? Is there anything you feel strongly about?

Becky at Pretty & Petit

#LoveMe Challenge – Day 18

Prompts

Something that feeds your brain

So I’ve managed to miss a few days as I have been manically revising for my driving theory test but I’m back on it now!

I absolutely love to be creative. I love to write, to draw, to paint, to design new garments, to visit new events to get ideas for stand layouts – all sorts of things! This creativity certainly feeds my brain. Whilst I was off work with my poorly foot I spent most of my time colouring an epic paint by numbers – believe me, they’re not just for children. I was mixing paint to get precise colours and almost using a magnifying glass to paint the tiniest of spots! I haven’t quite finished the painting yet but will definitely share it all with you when I’m done! I’ve also recently bought some adult colouring books including a Tropical World book by Millie Marotta.71Hq3HWcpoLThey’re meant to help relax and de-stress so I’m looking forward to taking some time out of my busy lifestyle to start colouring!

Have you used any adult colouring books? What did you think of them? Are there any you can recommend?

Becky at Pretty & Petit

#LoveMe Challenge – Day 15

Prompts

Something You have done right

I have always wanted to work in events. I am quite a creative person and so to have the ability to develop ideas through events and to create something others can enjoy is such a passion of mine. I have recently been promoted into an events role which I feel is something I have done right!

I feel that throughout my career path I have developed a whole range of skills. Studying a degree in media, I enjoyed the different topics but I felt unsure as to what role I could go into upon graduation. On leaving university I wanted to develop my administrative skills and so started off by working in an estate agent, developing my digital skills and customer service skills. From this, I found that I particularly enjoyed the marketing aspect of my role and so, developing my knowledge through a qualification in marketing I moved into the role of Marketing Assistant at a busy college in central London. Over the past few years I have developed this role, managing internal events and attending careers fairs nationwide. I recently received a promotion which means I can now take more responsibility in my role which is really exciting. I look forward to producing lots of creative events going forward and really developing my role further.

Becky at Pretty & Petit

#LoveMe Challenge – Day 14

Prompts

Share a fear You overcame

The biggest fear I am learning to overcome is my fear of open space. This is a fear that occurred literally overnight and at some points I couldn’t even walk to work I felt so anxious. It has been difficult to face my fear. The most difficult aspect being that I could not understand my fear. How going to the park for example, a once normal thing to do, can be the equivalent of going on the most terrifying rollercoaster or seeing the biggest spider (for those who have a fear of those things!) I found it really difficult and daunting and when faced with a situation like that now if it is a large, open expanse of space I think I would still prefer to go round it rather than through it. I am however, slowly but surely overcoming this fear and feel like I take a little step further each day. With my new position at work I have to visit new places on an almost daily basis and many of these times I do not know what scenario I may be faced with; large school halls for example are one thing that I have found challenging. I also have a fear of escalators and especially dislike going up high escalators on the underground which can make travelling extremely frustrating! I feel like I have to plan every journey in advance to avoid particular stations which can be annoying sometimes, especially as it was a fear that I literally developed overnight. I am slowly but surely learning to overcome it by travelling on the tube with friends when I can and using escalators in other environments. I do feel however, with each challenge comes another step onto conquering my fears and I am exceptionally proud of myself for that.

Top Tips for overcoming your fear

  • Face your fear – It sounds like the complete opposite of what you want to do and it will feel a little uncomfortable. After a while though you will get used to the environment and find your anxiety easing.
  • Get some support – Take a friend or family along with you. They can help to distract you from your fear or discuss it with you to try and ease your anxiety.
  • Remember to breathe – Take deep breaths – in through your nose and out through your mouth. Concentrate on regulating your breathing.
  • Concentrate on something else – If I feel anxious in an open space I usually concentrate on something like a work task or upcoming blog post. I also try and think of something calming such as a recent holiday. I also try and tell myself that the anxiety won’t last and it will be over soon.
  • Speak to your doctor – Do not be afraid to ask for help, whatever your fear may be or however silly you may think your fear is (Anyone can fear the most normal of things – take my example of escalators!) CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) is particularly effective. Ask for further information from your GP.

Have you overcome any fears? I would love to hear your top tips!

Becky at Pretty & Petit

#LoveMe Challenge – Day 13

Prompts

Share a quote

Pinterest is my absolute favourite for finding inspirational quotes – I literally have a whole board full of them! I don’t have one particular favourite so I have included a few below, as well as a link to my full Quotes board on Pinterest!

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Follow Becky’s board Quotes on Pinterest.

Becky at Pretty & Petit

#LoveMe Challenge – Day 11

Prompts

Share a smile

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I love to smile. I think a smile can brighten anybody’s day. A smile can comfort, start a conversation, make a new friend, even cheer someone up. It’s a pretty rare thing to see someone smile through the rush hour or when the clouds are grey and brollies tackle the drizzle in central London on a Monday morning but when it does happen, it can truly make someones day. I remember meeting a homeless man and giving him a coffee near Tottenham Court Road, central London, he smiled and said ‘God Bless you’ and that smile absolutely made my day.

So if you feel down, smile at someone, you may feel like a total fool if someone walks straight past – accept it, some people are that way and maybe are just having a rubbish day, if not however, and you find someone smiles back it will make your day!

Becky at Pretty & Petit

#LoveMe Challenge – Day 5

Prompts

A note to your past you

Dear past me,

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First of all, stay happy. You will be truly blessed with lots of caring people around you. You’ll have to get through some hard and painful times but you will always have someone there.

Your confidence will grow but you will always be shy – and that’s ok. It’s ok to lack in confidence sometimes and to be unsure. People will help you to grow. Get involved in every opportunity you can. Meet people and experience new things.

Dance and sing every moment you can – enjoy it. Live in the moment and take advantage of those wonderful opportunities you are given.

There will be times when you feel hurt or scared or anxious. Those times will pass – keep telling yourself that and you will get stronger everyday.

Finally, you can be anything you want to be – don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You will live your dreams one day and all the hard work you’re about to go through is going to pay off in the end.

Becky at Pretty & Petit

Guest Blog by Becky Prowse – Fight or Flight (My Battle with Agoraphobia)

A few weeks ago I guest posted on a mental health blog, By Lauren Hayley. I’ve had a busy few weeks so have been off the blogosphere for a while but when I visited the page this weekend I was overwhelmed by all the positive comments that had been left on my post. Thank you so much Lauren for letting me share my story. Make sure you check out her blog: bylaurenhayley.wordpress.com

BY LAUREN HAYLEY

I’ve decided recently to feature some guests here on my blog to showcase some other people’s troubles with mental health. Here we have Becky Prowse who talks about her journey with Agoraphobia. Rebecca also has a fantastic blog where she features and reviews small business across the UK, Pretty & Petit

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Agoraphobia is an anxiety disorder, which means when the sufferer is in an environment or situation that they feel could become difficult or embarrassing to escape, they have a feeling of fear and ultimately this ends up as a anxiety attack. For myself, I usually feel extremely hot, dizzy or ‘spaced out’ and feel I need to get out of the situation as quickly as possible. I also feel like I need to be holding on to something or someone so I won’t fall. Falling is my main fear or being sick, which in turn has caused me to…

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