Monday, 27 April 2015

Mental Health Monday #3|| Confidence & Self-Esteem


An issue that many people struggle with in today's society is confidence. It has become such a common thing that hardly anyone in this world loves themselves, or is able to say they are comfortable with their life, or their appearance. We are always focused on the negative aspects of things, never the positives. Why don't we change that? Together, why don't we all love ourselves?
We are always going to look the way we look and it is most likely going to stay that way for the rest of our lives. Therefore, we are always going to have the same features, so we can either drone on and moan about the things that we really can not change, or we can learn to gradually accept them over time & be okay with them. Learning to accept yourself as you are is very important. You are who you are. That's just the way it is. It is a known fact. You can not change every single aspect of your appearance. You can not automatically click your finger and change into an airbrushed model. It does not work that way and you should not want it to either. You should be able to accept who you are and take it as a positive thing, You are unique. You are original. You are beautiful. You are YOU. Why wish to be someone else? That is only a waste of the person you are. It doesn't affect other people.
Looks genuinely do not define you. When you pass away, people are not going to remember you for the amount of cake you ate or what dress size you were. They will remember you for who you were as a character and the influence that you had on other people and their lives. Chances are, they will not even pay much attention to your physical features. They will think of the kindness you portray, the effort you put into everything that you do, the way your eyes light up when talking about something that you are passionate about. Those are the things that are beautiful and precious. This is why it is so important to pay more attention to the characteristics you demonstrate and the way you are as a person. Personal compliments are so much more special and meaningful in comparison to physical ones. For example, if you have got a successful job as a business person, and someone was to compliment you on your hair cut, would you really feel happy or as if you have achieved something? You worked so hard on making your business the best it could possibly be and then someone only notices the physical attributes, which didn't even take as much time & determination.
Accept compliments that you receive. Don't argue with the compliment-giver and deny what they are saying, as that may be somewhat insulting and as if to say their thoughts are irrelevant or stupid. So just accept it & say thank you! It is not arrogant or big headed, it's lovely because someone has openly initiated and given you that compliment willingly and through their own choice. Think of that.

The quote above speaks for itself. If you talked to your friends the way you talk to your body, you'd have no friends left. What this means is that the amount of times that you insult & put yourself down, it is enough to push all of your friends away if you were to say the same rude remarks to them. You really are your own best friend. If you don't learn to accept who you are and make the most of it before it is too late, then you really will not have much of a fun, worthy life at all. Bringing yourself down is not going to solve anything or make you feel better. In reality, it will probably make you feel a whole lot worse. Why don't you compliment yourself at least once a day? Wake up, look in the mirror, smile & tell yourself that you are beautiful. Just do it. What harm can it actually do? If you don't at least attempt it, then you will never know what it feels like. You might as well just give it a go if you have nothing left to loose. You should think about the way you speak to yourself though. Passing insults & pulling at your skin is only going to make you feel even worse about yourself. It is all about changing your negative thinking into a more positive one, which I said in my last blog post.

Society & The Impact Of Media:
One of the main reasons as to why so many people struggle with their confidence nowadays is due to social media and the way that society is. There is this idea of 'perfection' and if you don't fit that label, you are supposedly not good enough, which is totally wrong. You see so many models & well known celebrities who have been heavily airbrushed and edited in order to make them look 'perfect'. When scrolling through magazines or the Internet or using any form of social media, our confidence is crushed and we often find ourselves aspiring to want to be like these people and have their lives. Photoshopping can change people's appearance dramatically and that's what so many of us fail to realise and accept. If you saw these celebrities with no makeup on and they were in their pyjamas, you would be shocked at how different they look that you may not even recognise them. There's always talk of boob jobs, Botox, liposuction, fillers and other types of surgery and treatments in the news that it's actually quite disturbing and unnatural for young people to be surrounded by these type of 'role models'. The media depicts idealised images of men and woman, which means that our perceptions of beauty have changed over time due to the influence of society and the power of advertising. The media also influences the way that we think and act. If we see a certain famous person wearing a certain clothing item, then we will automatically want to buy it too in the hope that we will end up looking more like them. What happened to individuality and expressing originality? If we all look the same, how boring is that going to be? It's a trap that too many of us are prone to falling into and I want you guys to see just how much the media really affects our confidence. 

What the media portrays to us is not always the truth. Young people will often imitate their role models badly. What is being highlighted to the audience can be the mistakes that celebrities make and then these people who idolize them will want to aspire to be like that as well. Seeing as we look up to them so much, we will still celebrate and love them, even for the mistakes that they make and the bad things that they do. The highlighting of the media genuinely is giving a negative affect to society. Many of us are tricked into thinking that everything being displayed and advertised to us is true and the right way of life. This alters our judgements on situations and the way that we act within today's society. Instead of socialising and creating real life memories, all of us are falling into a fantasy world of rumours, headlines and celebrity culture. Some people even go as far as to get extreme surgery and facial reconstruction in order to look like their idol which I think is very worrying & also dangerous.  

Our Appearance & The Way We Come Across:
Quite often, we are misjudged and misinterpreted within society. As far as the way we look goes, the media can play a huge part in the way that we see ourselves. The power of beauty & fashion adverts has a powerful effect on the way we view who we are and what we should come across as. There is an awful amount of pressure and judgement nowadays and it seems that unless you look a certain way, you are not classed as beautiful or as important, which is completely false. During our teenage years, we are all changing. Puberty is making us develop and grow at different stages and we often find ourselves looking very different to how we did previously or to the people around us. At this particular time in our lives, we are beginning to develop our own individual identities and we are trying to work out who we are and what we want to do with our future. We are also at risk of social pressure and the fake images being displayed by the media and advertising companies. Women's magazines in particular can shape how you view your body image and a lot of teenage girls rely on these articles to find out how they should be appearing in terms of beauty and fashion. This constant, unavoidable pressure has created an image that thin and perfect is the only thing acceptable within society. Supposedly, if you are anything other than a size 0 with no flaws whatsoever, then you are ugly. Isn't it scary how the media can affect us and our thoughts so much that we let it dictate the person that we are? With this unrealistic perception being created, it leads to feelings of inadequacy, depression, anxiety, confidence issues, eating disorders and many other things. Due to the nearly impossible expectations of beauty placed within our current society, these feelings of worthlessness and unrealistic hope to look the same as advertised, airbrushed models can lead to the development of long-time mental health sufferings that these people may have to face for the rest of their lives.  
Nobody should be able to tell us who we are supposed to be or what we are supposed to look like. It's all about expressing individuality and not being afraid to be different and to stand out of the crowd. I understand that the media is like a trap that we can not help but get sucked into, yet we just have to try to enjoy it and not be so consumed by it that it takes over all our thoughts and brings us down. I may be doing a separate post on the media, so I'm going to leave this section here.

Insecurities & Our Flaws:
We all have things that we don't particularly like about ourselves. We also all have things that we would change in a second if we had the chance. I think it's so much better if we accept and embrace our insecurities! Our quirks are a part of who we are and they will most likely always be there, so we might as well start to embrace them and be proud of the person that we are, because the body that we have right now will stick through so many years and it's better to love it than constantly loathe it, right? If you don't like your eye colour, wear eye makeup that will bring it out or draw away attention from your eyes. If you don't like your hair, find a style that makes it look nicer or even change the colour if it really makes you feel better. But just remember not to change for anyone else, only yourself if it's what will make you happier. There are always ways that you can feel more confident. Write a list of all the positive things about yourself. Go out and buy some clothes that will flatter your figure. Try out new makeup looks to bring out your favourite features or to make what you dislike a little less obvious. It's not all about appearance, remember. Here are some ideas to raise your self-esteem:
  • Listen to your own feelings. If your mind is worried about something, then sort it out. Don't bottle your feelings up. I know how hard it is to ignore yourself if you are so wrapped up in other people and the world around you, but you are the most important thing to yourself and your thoughts should be valid, so listen. Take notice. Don't just hide and push them away.
  • Choose to be around loving people. I genuinely can not stress this enough. If you are surrounded by people who constantly judge you or mock you or bring you down, how do you expect to feel confident? Friends & family should be encouraging you and bringing you up and if they don't do that, you should be seriously questioning the place that they currently have in your life and why you aren't quickly removing their negativity and disheartenment.
  • Stick up for yourself and what you believe in. I know how hard this one is, as I often struggle to do it myself. One of the main things I've learnt over the past 2 years is that you can not let people walk all over you. I've let this happen so many times and it never gets me anywhere. Even when I do not want to do something, I still sometimes do it, as I don't like to let anyone down or upset them. However, if you don't stick up for yourself, then you won't get very far at all, believe me. If you do NOT feel comfortable doing something, then why do it? Just say no, be firm & be honest. You need to put yourself and your thoughts first. If that person can not accept your discomfort, then they are not truly worth the hassle either. If you are the only person in your family who wants to become a vegan or start a healthy diet, then do it. Let everyone else do what they want and you do what you want. As long as they aren't stopping you from continuing and vice versa, then no harm can be done! Assertiveness is such an important skill that can help in so many situations throughout your life. You will be more likely to succeed if you are more confident and if you don't care what others think. Of course, there will always be people who are so desperately eager to bring you down, but you just need to be determined and show that their thoughts and words don't stop you from pursuing your wishes. If you really do want something, then you will do what it takes to get there, regardless of how many obstacles are in the way. If you are assertive, you will gain respect too. People may ask you to do something and if you display assertiveness, then they will see that you are not afraid to say no and speak up about things you dislike. Be direct and honest. State things how they are. Don't sugar-coat it or hide certain details. The more you practise this skill, the more you will be able to demonstrate it in your day to day life.
  •  Develop a good attitude about yourself and life in general. It impacts how other people perceive you, as well as having an effect on how you feel about yourself. Your attitude is infectious. If you're bubbly, optimistic and positive about things, it will encourage others to act the same. If you're pessimistic, unhappy and negative all the time, then that will also show through your body language, facial expressions and the way you act, which will bring other people down and cause a cloud to form over you, so you're hidden from the happiness and light. I don't have the best attitude in the world at all, but I'm trying my hardest to change my thoughts and so I want you to try too. We are all in this together, to support and help each other grow. My blog is a little community where we can all become more positive people!
  • Defend yourself in a calm and reasonable manner. Take care of yourself and your rights when someone is trying to put you down. This ties into my 2nd point, but I just wanted to reiterate it again. Don't just stand there, allowing yourself to be overwhelmed by anger. Speak your mind, talk the truth. Even if nothing changes and you don't exactly get anywhere, at least you have demonstrated to yourself and others that you will not stand for disrespect in any way.
  • Don't be aggressive in any way. If you act in this way and you immediately resort to violence, you will not be gaining anything or anyone. You need to approach situations in a calm and collective way in order to sort things out properly.
  • Try to turn the negatives into positives when possible. If someone tries to insult you by saying that you are bossy, turn that negativity around. Assume that it means you are a natural leader, someone who tries to take control and help other people to improve things.
  • Don't ever, ever give up. This is something I have to remind myself on a pretty regular basis. I've come so far in the past 2 years, as I'm sure you have too. There will be times when it seems like everything's going wrong and it's too hard, which may result in you relapsing or going back to round one. So make sure that doesn't happen! Have a cry, allow yourself to think about the situation for a moment, then get up and brave it. After all the effort you have made, it really is not worth it to go back on it all and just end up how you were in the first place. We all have bad days and cry sometimes, but we can not let these slip-ups affect our recovery process!
  • Fake it till you make it! If you don't always feel confident, then just pretend to be until you actually are. If you do that, you will eventually convince yourself that you are capable of acting this way and it should raise your self-esteem even more.
  • Grow from conflict instead of hiding from it. Arguments are natural. Some people's personalities are just made to clash. This is not your fault and it isn't necessarily their fault either, so be careful before you make accusations or point the finger. Don't be afraid though. Hiding away will not sort anything. Learn from these conflict's and grow from them. Allow them to make you a better person. Do not be ashamed over your mistakes.

If you wish to be someone else, then that is a waste of who you are. You should express yourself in whichever way you want and appreciate that you are unique. If we were all the same, it would be incredibly boring and actually quite sad, as we would all be copies of each other and we wouldn't feel special. What would make us worthy of love and attention if there was millions of other people identical to us? This is why you should embrace the person that you are! You may not like everything and you may feel that you are the ugliest person on the planet, but that is not true in the slightest. As cliché as it sounds, every single human being is beautiful in their own unique and individual way.
Dye your hair bright blue, start your own rock band, create a charity that will change lives - do anything! If people laugh at you because you have a few lip piercings or if they think you are stupid because you always wear ripped jeans and printed t-shirts, then screw them, honestly. They are basing an opinion on you due to either a stereotype or pure judgement and those people are not worth any of your time, ever. Those who do not even make an attempt to get to know your character should not be in your life in the first place, so remember that. Not everyone is going to like you for the way you are, but you should be okay with that. As long as you have a select number who do love, care for and accept you, then that's cool! Just pay attention to your own life and them. Forget the other people.

The Importance Of Confidence:

Confidence is the foundation for everything that we do throughout our lives and it is our confidence (or lack of it) that directly affects HOW we do everything and the outcomes of these actions. When we know and appreciate who we are, we will make better choices, judgements and have a generally better outlook on everything. When we make better decisions, it will have a more positive affect on our life. Everything is literally based around our confidence. It's a world-wide problem that so many people struggle with, including me and so this means that it is perfectly normal to be unconfident, but you need to try and change it. Confidence can involve the emotions surrounding anything from body image, self-worth, relationships with others, public situations, not believing in yourself and more. People who are confident and love themselves radiate positivity, strength, passion and courage. A confident person is someone who knows their strengths, weaknesses, values and purpose. They know who they are and they do not allow anyone to tell them any different. Being confident must be something that you want or you will not be prepared to work for it or put in any effort to get there. Many people just settle with their current life and the way things are in the moment, even if they are not happy with them and they will not be able to see how rewarding and satisfying it is to have a life filled with confidence, purpose, passion, strength and enthusiasm as they lack the confidence and inner knowledge to do so. Sometimes, it may not be easy to where you want to get to, but you have to keep going, no matter how far away the end result seems or how hard it may be to reach it either. Your confidence is NOT controlled by anyone else. This means that you have ultimate control over it and even if you have suffered a lot with various things in the past, you can still get there and become confident. With dedication and determination, you will become more confident, which means you will be happier and more successful, both now and in the future. It may take some time, but you have to persevere. Do not let anyone knock you back down. It's a learning curve, but you will get to the end.


So many people suffer with this problem. We compare ourselves to others all the time. The perfect image of a person is constantly pushed at us in more ways than one. You have to catch yourself when you are comparing and then switch that thinking around and stop these thoughts. It is unhealthy as well as pointless. You can wish to be other people all your life if you really want to, but it will only make you miserable and it won't get you anywhere either, so do you really want that? You will always be the way you are, just like I said earlier on in this post. Sure, you can change things and improve if you honestly want to, but isn't it better to try and make the most of the person that you are and the things that you do have?
My point goes very well with the quote above saying that people should fall in love with their eyes closed. It goes to show that looks do not define you and it is the inside that counts. People will love you and respect/admire you for your inner beauty, not your appearance or for the way you dress. You should not care about what people think of you. As hard as it is, you should not look the way you do in hope that it will make the person you like feel the same way or in hope that it will draw unbelievable attention to you. You should just be you and do not try to impress others. When you are carefree and chilled out, that is when you are in your most beautiful state. No makeup, baggy clothes, your hair all messy. When you do not care at all, in the slightest about what you look like. If people truly did fall in love with their eyes closed, it would be so much more real and meaningful. People care too much about the outside, rather than what is on the inside. That is what matters the most. When you fall in love with someone, all of their imperfections begin to blur. You do not care what they look like. You do not see the things they may be insecure about. You look beyond that and you see through to their heart, their soul. You began to fall in love with their characteristics, their quirks. You see the way their dimples form whenever they smile, the way their eyes light up when they are talking about a true passion, the way they will do anything to help others in whatever way possible. Whatever they look like, whether they have a disability, have braces, have a wonky smile, have wrinkles,  have larger thighs - you will still have unconditional love for the way that they are inside.
This is why you should not care what other people think. Regardless of your physical attributes, when someone is in love with you they will not care. They will only care about your personality. Please remember that.

I've always been incredibly shy, ever since a young age. I've never liked talking in social situations or going to events/parties or contribute in school or even talk to new people, on the phone or in person. It's gained control over me and it has always held me back for as long as I can remember. I often find myself feeling very uncomfortable and anxious around certain types of people and in specific situations. I'm awful at speaking in public situations whether it be speeches, presentations, answering questions in class or even speaking on the phone. I'm going to attempt to share some tips with you.

Tips, Tricks & Advice:
  • Remember that you are not the only one. Many people will struggle with the same things that you do and deal with emotions that you feel too, so you are never by yourself or the only one with that particular problem. Often, when we are in the moment, we feel that it will drag on forever and we will always be this anxious or we will fail and we won't be able to do it, but the feelings of anxiety do disappear once you have got the situation over and done with. People will know what it feels like, so try not to get yourself too het up or stressed out over anything.
  • There's nothing wrong with being quiet. The way you are feeling is natural. Not all of us want to be loud and speak our mind all over the time and that's perfectly okay. We are all unique. So what if you don't talk much in social situations? You are you and you should not be doing things that make you feel uncomfortable. You will probably become more confident in time, but don't rush.
  • Start off small. If you are particularly worried about speaking in front of the whole school, then begin with a couple of people that you know well and practise with them. Get them to give you feedback or constructive criticism and then work on that. Maybe think about your body language, posture or eye contact. Take small steps and it will pay off. You may slip up from time to time, especially in the beginning, but don't beat yourself up over it. Understand that you are learning and nerves are natural. Even if you stutter or stumble, keep practising and get used to gradually talking to a few more people. Baby steps are key. Progress is progress, no matter how small it may be. It all adds up in the end.
  • Your opinion is valued, no matter what. People are not always going to agree with you. That's a given. We all have different thoughts & views on certain things and that is okay. Don't be afraid to express those opinions though. Express them if you wish to do so. If you are not happy with something in a shop, ask someone or tell them nicely/politely. It could help to improve the quality next time or it could give a new idea for the future. People will be interested in what you say, even if they don't agree, because it means that they can get to know you and your personality better and they can also see things from a different point of view, which will help them.
  • Don't try to be something your not. You should not feel the need to be more assertive just to impress people or to get others to listen to you. If you do not feel comfortable with being a louder person, the don't do it! Don't put yourself in an uncomfortable position just because you want to get attention or get your voice there. We all have a right to express our opinions and we all have a right to speak out, but we should make sure we do it the way we want to do it.
  • What's the worse that could happen? Think about the worst outcome that you could face. If you put your hand up in class when you think you know the answer and you get it wrong, that doesn't matter! People may laugh at you and you may feel a little disheartened, but it will be forgotten about by the next day. At least you had the courage to try, which was probably not the case for the people who laughed at you. Everyone makes mistakes sometimes.
  • Just do it. Push the doubts aside and face your fears. If you are going to a party or a particular event with either popular people or people who you have never met, that doesn't matter! You may become overwhelmed by fear in the hours or even minutes leading up to it, but you just have to take deep breaths and deal with it as best as you can. Don't turn back around, don't convince yourself that you can't do it. Do the opposite! Prove to yourself that you are stronger than you think and you can have a good time. You are gaining an experience, that will probably be fun and you will feel so much better and more proud afterwards! So, try it! JUST DO IT! These experiences will also help to raise your confidence, boost your self-esteem and help you to enjoy things more and be more willing to take up opportunities in the future.
  • Speak up. I touched on this briefly earlier, but it's very important, as is everything I'm saying. If someone is always rude to you, just find the courage to let them know that it's not okay and you are not alright with that. Don't allow yourself to get constantly trampled on. You are worth so much more than that. Even if other people may not understand you, it does not mean your problems are any less important or valid.
Self-respect is another very important point. You have to love & respect yourself before anyone else can fully love & accept you. If you do not respect yourself, that can lead to unhappiness and feelings of worthlessness and let's face it, none of us want to feel that way. You will end up harming yourself and you may be at risk or in danger. You could get into an abusive relationship, become addicted to certain substances and you may gradually spiral out of control and end up with no hope left. You have to realise your own worth and be consistently good to yourself and your own body. Then you will be happy & those in your life who surround you on a daily basis will always be happy. Self-respect breeds confidence! They really do go hand-in-hand with each other. Without self-respect, many people would fail to care for themselves and think about what they really need, because they don't think that life is worth that much or they will feel as if nobody cares about them or what happens to them. Self-respect is extremely necessary for having a happy and satisfying life so everyone must have respect for themselves.
Another important reason as to why people should have self-respect is that as I believe I've said before, you need to respect yourself before others can respect you. If someone has so little self-respect and self-esteem that they can not stand up for themselves or display strength, they will probably not have as much respect from others. One very accurate example is peer pressure. If someone always gives into pressure and will always do anything, however risky and dangerous, they simply will not be respected by anyone. People who care about themselves will care enough about their body & the way they live that they will not give in and do things that cause them discomfort or harm. This will also mean that they will not only get respect from others, but they will live a happier, healthier lifestyle where they do not just live in order to please or impress other people.
You have to remember to respect others as well as yourself though. It's important that you follow the quote 'treat others as you wish to be treated' because it really does apply in many, if not all, situations. Ultimately, respect is a two way street. You can't earn it if you don't display it and you can't display it back if you don't receive it, if that makes sense. If we all respected each other and everyone's thoughts a little more, the world would be a more peaceful & happier place.

You will find me repeating this quote a lot on my blog. 'This too shall pass' speaks for itself. Whatever you are going through, whether it be shyness, confidence struggles, self-esteem issues or anything to do with self-respect or the way you see yourself, just remember that it will not be like that forever. You will not be anxious or shy every single day for the rest of your life. You will have good days & bad. Live your life to the best of your ability and do not allow anything or anyone in this world hold you back. Know that your feelings are temporary. There is always a solution and ways that you can feel better and remember that once that social situation or whatever is over, that and those feelings will be in the past. Keep repeating that this too shall pass. Your pain will not last you forever, I promise you that now. There is a light at the end of every tunnel. Keep telling yourself that you are stronger than this, you will get through it, the feelings will not last long. Even if you are standing up in front of a large amount of people and you want the ground to swallow you up or you have to read in class or do anything that enables fear to take over your mind, please do not give up. Just try your best to keep going, stay calm and just focus on what your saying. Once it's done, it's done. It's over, it's in the past. You are stronger than you think, I promise you! Take small steps and with time, you will gradually gain more confidence with practise, perseverance, baby steps & experience. I will always be here for each & everyone of you, I promise. No matter what your issues, you can always come to me :) I believe that I have grown so much in the past 2 years since joining secondary school (I will share my story in a future post) and if I can do it, then anyone can. <3

Monday, 20 April 2015

Mental Health Monday #2|| Positivity & How To Be Happy


I think today's topic is one of the most important things to address to people. If you don't have happiness, things generally won't be as pleasant for you and it may seem like you are stuck in a negative bubble that you are unable to escape. So I'm going to do my best, as always, to help you as much as I can with this post. I really do hope you can pick some tips up from this, and that it helps :)

I believe the quote above is an extremely accurate one. If you think about it logically, you only have one life and you genuinely do only live once. You don't get a dress rehearsal in life. You don't get to practise things over and over again to perfect them. You literally get one chance at making it the very best and as fulfilling it can possibly be. Therefore, you should be prepared to give it everything that you have got. Put your everything into all that you do, try your hardest, smile as much as you can and say yes to every opportunity that you are given. One small opportunity could lead to years, or even a lifetime of success and indescribable happiness. Never turn that down!

Another thing is materialistic things versus essentials. If someone took away all of your materialistic possessions and you only had the basics and your loved ones to be able to continue survival, would you still be happy? If the answer is no, then you need to think about that and re-evaluate it. The answer should be yes! Of course, we all want things to make us look/feel nice and things that will boost our confidence, but these things are only items and we shouldn't allow ourselves to become so addicted to them that they dictate our happiness. They are allowed to add to our happiness, but they shouldn't control it. We should be happy & grateful with our loved ones that surround us and the basic items such as food, water, shelter etc. That's also why it's so crucial that we have supportive and positive people surrounding us who have caring, warm hearts. If we have kind, happy people around us, they will have an incredibly good influence on us and our mood as we are going to be with them so often that eventually we will learn to be more like them, which is excellent, of course. Let other people lift you up and empower you, not drag you down and make you feel like you are worthless.

Count your rainbows, not your thunderstorms. This literally means that although problems seem to occur often in our lives, we should be grateful for the good things that come our way. You should always focus on the things that you do have, instead of dwelling on things that you don't. Some people in less developed countries that have more poverty than the UK don't even have a safe, sturdy home that they know they can go to and some of them don't even have families as they may have been killed in wars or conflicts. We don't appreciate how lucky we are and we honestly aren't grateful enough. We are entitled to food, clean water, comfortable shelter, an education, expensive designer clothes and accessories and so much more. Yet, we hardly ever show our appreciation for it and we just allow ourselves to be so wrapped up in negativity and thinking of the things we can't afford. We should be thankful for the things that we do have and understand that it may be a lot more in comparison to what other people have elsewhere. In life, you can't always get what you want. Unfortunately, that's just the way it is. We aren't all rich & famous, but would you honestly want it to be that way? I know I certainly would rather live the way I am & be happy, rather than be rich, famous and possibly unhappy. I wouldn't want everyone to see what goes on in my life, as I do want some level of respect & privacy. Money can't buy you happiness anyway. It can buy you designer clothes and fancy handbags, but they don't really give you true happiness. Someone's character is much more likely to give off positivity and love rather than the size of their heel or the shade of their lipstick. It all makes sense, right?
In life, I believe you have two choices. You can either choose to be optimistic, which is where you're hopeful and confident about the future, therefore generally happier, or you can be pessimistic and you can choose to see the negative side to everything, which will make you a lot unhappier. Agreed?
Ultimately, optimistic people get a lot further than pessimistic people. They believe that there is always hope and this means that they never give up, which surely everyone should want to be like. They will analyse things in detail and try to make the bad things right again. This will lead them to future success and overall happiness. Whereas if you're pessimistic, you won't be able to take part in any opportunities as you will always say no, you will always blame yourself for everything and you will give up before you have even attempted. If you are positive and you always have hope, then you are more likely to live longer AND have a happier, more successful life too. How great is that?

The next thing I'm going to be discussing is courage. Every single person should have courage. It's one of the traits that keeps you strong and determined to carry on trying. There's another quote which is "A ship is safe in the harbour, but that is not the purpose of a ship" and that is so true too. We all have our comfort zone. More often than not, we are too afraid to venture outside of that in fear of the unknown territory. But if we don't even try, then how will we know what it's like? We could really enjoy it and benefit from trying out that experience and saying yes when you first got offered. If you try, but you don't succeed, it's still not failing, because you have tried. As long as you have given it a go, that's all that matters. You haven't failed at all because you have still found the strength to try it out, despite not really wanting to. If you have courage, it would mean that you find the brave part of you that encourages you to try again the next day. It's where you persevere and you don't give up until you succeed! That's what courage means. You stick at something and keep on trying until you get it right. You should never give up on your hopes, or your dreams. If owning your own business will make you happy, but you have barely any qualifications and you don't even know where to begin, so what? Do your research, find a place to study so maybe university or college and sort out a plan so that you can create your own business and you can achieve your dreams. You will be much more likely to be happy if you're doing something that you actually genuinely want to be doing. Even if you do make a mistake, or you get knocked down, you just have to pick yourself right back up again. Don't let things, or people defeat you so that you give up on your dreams, or what you want to achieve. You should put your happiness before every other one of the lowlife's who is hating on you.
If things were to go wrong, you need to appreciate what you have. You may be seriously ill, or you may get incredibly devastating news, but at least you have a stable home, or a loving family. Be appreciative of the people and the things around you and pay them all the attention and love that they truly deserve. In this life, we should learn to live everyday as if it was our last and take note of the little things that make us feel a positive emotion in our day. If you aren't happy today, then plan or prepare something and look out for those small things to make sure that you are happy tomorrow! Buy your favourite sweet treat, visit an old friend, go to the library and read the book you've been longing to read for months, but never got round to it. Just do it before you lose your chance!

Sometimes we have to change things in order to be happy. If your ex boyfriend/girlfriend is filling you with so much hate and negativity that you are finding yourself extremely unhappy, then remove them. Tell them where to go & get them right out of your life, for good! Don't keep on giving them chances just because you think they'll change. I know it may sound harsh, but the reality is, they won't change & they won't listen either. You don't deserve that kind of negativity in your life. You should stop giving chance after chance to those who simply don't deserve it. It will only hurt you more in the long run and you could be in a loving relationship that actually lasts long. You just need to get rid of the bad first to make way for the good and then I can guarantee you will see an improvement in your mood and how you feel towards other people which will be for the better.

The quote above speaks for itself. You really do need to enjoy the little things in life. Buying a fresh bunch of flowers, eating your favourite ice cream in the summer, going on holidays with your loved ones, going about in the warm weather with your friends, seeing someone special to you smile. Things like that are the things that are the most precious and in reality, they should actually mean the most to you. I don't care about everyone knowing me and having all the money in the world, because I'm genuinely not interested in that and I never was interested in fame, or being a millionaire. Why do you need bucketful's of money and for everyone to know you when the people most important in your life already know who you are and you have the money that you need for the essentials and an occasional treat? It just doesn't make any sense to me. You don't need everyone to love you and to be screaming and fangirling over a picture of you! Family and friends are the most important ones and the ones that will always support you and love you, no matter what. They will have your back during the tough times and they will help you to get through that darkness. Fans won't be there throughout these personal struggles, remember! However, those tough times can turn into happiness and hope eventually! Always remember that. If you're being bullied and you're wanting your life to end, but you get through it, then that is one of the most amazing achievements ever. Although that's such a dreadful thing to experience, think of all the things you can learn from it & pass on to other people. You can help guide and support others so they can get through it, just like you do. Helping other people is such a rewarding and amazing feeling, so why would you not want to feel it?
Imagine your life as if you are typing up a story. You can edit it if there's something you want to change, or improve upon, you can delete the bad parts that you don't want to be reminded of and you can leave them firmly in the past and you can add new, positive things in for the future! It's all about being optimistic and open-minded. Through time, you will learn how to be more of both of them. Think about those who are no longer with us. Take into consideration the fact that they don't have the chance to make the most of their life and enjoy the time that they have, so make sure that you do, because none of us know when our time is up in this world, so you should want to do as much as you possibly can in the meanwhile with the time that you do have. When you're lying on your death bed (quite a morbid thought, I know!), do you honestly want to be worrying about when you ate that extra slice of chocolate cake when you were 16 years old, or how you always hated your figure and you could never go swimming in a bikini on all the numerous holidays, because you were so self-conscious? No, you don't want to remember those times! You should want to look back and think about how you spontaneously ran into the sea at 12am one summers night with your best friends, because you just simply wanted to live a little more wildly. Or you should want to think about the time that you bought a pair of short-shorts even though you didn't particularly like your figure at the time, because you had stopped caring about what people thought anymore and you wanted to do things for you! Those are the sorts of things you want to be remembering when you are older. You should want to make the most of every single second that you have on this planet. Whether you've had a bad day, a bad week, or even a bad month, make sure the next day is as good as it can be. Live in the moment and love everyone around you. Spread positivity, not negativity! There's already enough hate in this world without you adding to it. 2 more points made in this post are that you should love yourself & learn from your mistakes. Both of those points are absolutely true. If you don't love yourself, there's not much point in you loving other people. You only get one body in your whole life. You can't get any other and you can't become a different person, no matter what. So, why don't you just gradually try to start accepting it & loving yourself and your body for who YOU are?
It's also so important that you learn from your mistakes. If you can do this, you will be less likely to make these mistakes again and that could reduce the amount of trouble you find yourself in considerably and it may also improve your mood for the future. There's no point denying things that you have done. For example, if you trusted someone too easily and it lead your relationship to break down & for you to get hurt. You can then learn from that and warn yourself not to be too trusting in the future which, in the long run, will avoid you getting hurt badly again. This also leads onto my next point which is to understand that no one is perfect. Don't compare your behind the scenes to someone's movie. I saw this on a YouTube video and it really did make me think. Everybody has problems, off days and things that they don't like. So, just because you see someone smiling and giggling around, it doesn't mean that they are always like that! Same with if someone was crying their eyes out and is feeling distraught one day, it doesn't mean things are always going to stay that way. Life is constantly changing before our eyes and nothing ever stays the same for long. Feelings and emotions are usually only temporary. Just deal with everything life throws at you the best you can.
Embrace the feelings of ambition, but don't allow envy to take control. If you see someone on a social media platform, or someone that you know and they seem really successful, like they have their own business, their own clothing line, the 'perfect relationship', their always going on holidays and their  very well known, you can aim to be similar to them in some aspects, but don't allow your feelings of jealousy and lust to take over. You can aim to have your own clothing line and you can try your very best to do what it takes and put in the effort to get there, but don't get upset/envious if you don't have everything she's got. You should appreciate that everyone is different and we all have unique lives.
Destroy what destroys you and get rid of it before it gets rid of you. This is SO important, I can't even stress this enough. It's a reminder that you can fight whatever hurts you and you have the strength to overcome the struggles. If you are battling with a particular emotion such as sadness, anger, fear, or general negativity, then you should fight back! Don't give up & don't let that emotion win. Same with whatever or whoever you are struggling with. Fight back and show it what you're made of. It shows that you can overpower things if you really put your strength and all into it. I think it's so accurate.
If you don't get rid of the negativity that consumes your mind, then it will eventually kill you.
Aim to be a survivor, not a sufferer. Being a survivor means that you can find the strength or willpower to overcome those negative experiences that have impacted your life. If you continue to be a sufferer, you are allowing yourself to be so overwhelmed by the sadness and the horrible things in life that you aren't even attempting to change them. You are making a choice to let yourself become possibly depressed, or unable to go out the house and enjoy your life. If you want things to change, you have to be willing to put in effort. It will be hard at first. That's a given, but if you try your hardest and you get support from your loved ones or therapists/counsellors if you need it, then you are on the right road to a successful, happy outlook on life. You can't just allow things to get to you and allow yourself to be upset constantly. You should at least try to do something about it, or how can you expect your life to become any better or any more enjoyable? If you're a regularly negative person, then you need to re-evaluate your life! You won't get anywhere, because you will be so consumed by darkness, which is unhealthy as well. Don't let other people affect you. You need to be the better person. It's so incredibly easy to get influenced by other people and to let their thoughts and their own choices affect you, but it's always important that you stay true to yourself and you don't let others or their actions define or influence you negatively in anyway. You must stay true to yourself and be able to resist when it comes to copying or following the crowd. If everyone's doing something that you genuinely don't feel comfortable doing, or you really don't want to do, then don't do it. It's that simple. Don't allow yourself to be wrongly pressurised into doing things that you don't like.
Think about yourself and your inner thoughts often. If you bottle everything up and you don't even attempt to sort it out or think about it, then how do you expect to get anywhere or get rid of your problems? If you think through what's bothering you and making you feel so negative or what's influencing you then you can sort it out properly once you have addressed it first. You can't expect all your worries to magically get better, or disappear if you don't even try to sort them out yourself. Don't suffer in silence. Things are always better if they are out in the open, or if you tell at least one person you can trust. You don't deserve to let the little things bother you and control your emotions anymore.

Leave the past in the past. Don't let your tough times, or your struggles define you. Let them make you a stronger and better person. If things are holding you back, then let go of them. Don't allow the past to get in the way of your hopeful future. You should learn from your past, as it's always going to be a huge part of you, but why should we remember the things that may cause us most pain? If something is unpleasant, or causing you to think badly, then just get rid of them. There's no more room for the past anymore, as that's been and it's gone. There's no going back. As the quote says, if you want to move onto the next chapter of your life, then you can't keep re-reading the last one. So, if you want to have a happy future where you can have many successes, then let go of the old times that bother you. Hold onto the good times or the times that you have learned from, but allow no room for the nasty. You are doing so much better without it and that's exactly the way that it should be too.

If you treat others how you wish to be treated, then you will find that will benefit you in the long run, without a doubt. If you treat others in the right way and you're always kind and helpful then they will learn from you, may be inspired and share it to their friends and then this means that they will most likely return the favour, as you will have deserved it in their opinion. If you're nasty all the time and you are always saying mean things behind people's backs, or you don't think before you say things and you just don't care about others, then you won't have any respect at all and your karma will come back to ensure that something bad happens to you. You don't just get away with being evil! It will help you to be positive and happy if you're doing good deeds and making others feel the same.

As weird as this may sound, the weather genuinely doesn't pay any attention to criticism. If it's absolutely pouring it down with rain and people are constantly moaning that they hate it and it makes their hair go frizzy and they want it to stop, does it care? No! It will still carry on raining, regardless of what other people say or what their opinions are. Same with the sun. If it's too hot, people will moan that they are swearing and they are getting oily/greasy skin. But the sun doesn't just magically disappear due to other people's opinions and thoughts. That's why we should all take a lesson from the weather. So what if someone says they don't like your bright blue dyed hair? That shouldn't convince you to change it. You should embrace it even more. At least you have the guts to try something new and it's even better if you keep it and embrace it regardless of what they think. If it makes you happy, then who gives a stuff about what anyone else thinks? You should be proud that you're unique! They are only judging you through jealousy, or because they wish that they had the guts to pull off something as cool as you, so don't worry about what their saying. Let them talk behind your back and laugh at you. It shows how pathetic they are that they can't even come up to you and say their rude remarks to your face, because they have no guts whatsoever, clearly. :)

You can't experience true happiness without knowing what true pain feels like. Without pain and heartbreak, the happy times wouldn't seem so great. You have to go through the difficult days to be able to see the positive ones to be as amazing as they are. For example, if you have just had an excruciating breakup with the person you had loved for 5 years, and you found someone else the next day, that new relationship will soon fizzle out. You need time to get over your ex lover and to be able to heal yourself gradually. You can't just rush and expect to be in a new, happy relationship the next minute. It doesn't work like that. After a few months of being single, then you may find someone and you may have that click, or that spark and then you will know how happy you truly can be. I 'went out' with this boy for a few months, but the whole time he was going out with other girls behind my back, so he was just stringing all of us along. I found that really hard to get over, but in time, I managed to gradually understand what had happened and I'd learnt from that mistake of trusting too easily before actually knowing the person inside & out. Now I have found someone that I'm so super happy with and that I know I'm going to last a long time with, so now I can experience that joy after the destruction of the last relationship (that wasn't even a proper one!). Do you see my point?

Strength - the emotional or mental qualities necessary in dealing with difficult or distressing situations. When recovering, or overcoming a difficult, distressing situation, strength is one of the most important things that you will need. It's one of the qualities that will be able to help you to get through whatever your going through and it will enable you to gain resilience and come out on the other side of your problems.
 The quote above is one I would like you to remember. If you don't have strength, you really won't get very far and things will be a lot harder than they would be if you were to have it. Being able to display mental strength is incredible and ideally, everyone should have it, because of the importance that it holds. For example, if you were going through a situation where everyone around you was throwing so much negativity and hate at you and you had no strength at all to display, you would just give up. You would most likely let them win & then you wouldn't be doing yourself any favours. If you don't ever fight back through the difficult times and you don't even try to be strong, then how do you expect to get to success & happiness? As much as you may think that other people influence your happiness (to an extent they do), you need to fight for yourself and for your own sake, because if you don't stay strong, you will end up no-where. How can you expect other people to make you happy all the time? As horrible as it may sound, the truth is that not everyone that you meet throughout your life is going to be lovely and caring. There will be people that will knock you down and try to crush every last trace of happiness, or hope that you may have left. However, if you can find the strength within you to stand back up and fight back at them, then they won't be able to knock you down anymore, as you will be stronger & higher up than them! So really, you have to focus on yourself when it comes to strength. Of course, you can inspire/influence and help others to find strength, but when it comes down to it, the only person that can really make a difference on your life is YOU. We all have our struggles in life and we all have bad days, as that's completely natural & a perfectly normal thing to experience. It's how you deal with those tough times that makes you strong though. If you just cry constantly and you push away all those people that care about you and genuinely want to help, but you don't want to involve them, even if you're too unstable to help yourself, then things won't get any better my lovely. You have to accept help and understand that you need comforting. It doesn't make you weak, it just makes you normal. We all struggle & we all need someone who will be there for us when we need it the most. As much as you may find it embarrassing, or you may think you seem weak by asking for help, it will make things better & you will only find it harder if you don't accept, or ask for that help or comfort you need. If you need someone, don't hesitate to ask!
People will come and go throughout your life - it's just something we all should know. It's normal and it does happen, so you can't rely too much on anyone else, as if they go, then you would be stuck. Be sure to always make sure you're strong first and able to pick yourself up if nobody else is around at that specific time. If you need a friend, I'm sure someone will be there, but you need to be individually strong first, as I really do strongly believe that is the first step to success & happiness.
People and things in life are often usually temporary. They can walk out at any second, so you can't depend or rely on them so much, as if and when they do go, your world and confidence will come crashing down. If you want to be happy, you have to work for it yourself. Don't look for it in other things and other people, because your body and your mind are the only 100% permanent things. You have to keep going for yourself, as nobody else is going to do it for you, as nothing is guaranteed.

When thinking/talking about strength, I think that the quote above is a very accurate one and can be incredibly helpful too. If you think about it logically, giving up is the easy way out. Literally anyone could give up, at any time and any place. It doesn't require much, if any thinking and you certainly aren't putting your future into consideration. As the quote says, it really is the easiest thing in the world to do. People who have no strength would most likely do it, because they feel as if they can't fight anymore, or as if they have no strength left in them, but really, they probably haven't tried as hard as they could of. Often we feel as if we should give up, or as if we're not strong enough, when actually, we don't know how capable we really are deep down. When it seems like things are impossible and you feel like you shouldn't/can't go on anymore, then re-think that for a second. You are so much stronger than you truly think. Life will throw so many challenges at you, but you need to prove that you can overcome those obstacles and you can find happiness, even in the darkest of times. That is what true strength is. Showing people that even when they would understand if you gave up, or fell apart, that you aren't going to do that and giving up isn't an option. You just need to find a way to keep going, regardless of what your issues are and regardless of what is making you so unhappy. Even if your only reason to live is for yourself and your future, then that's absolutely fine. Just don't give up, ever. Don't cause yourself harm, or cause a permanent solution over a temporary problem. If you are mentally strong, it means that you can see through the darkness and the pain to the light that is awaiting you at the end if the tunnel. If you're resilient and you try hard enough, without giving up, no matter what happens and no matter what life throws at you, I promise you that you will get there.
noun: persistence
  1. the fact of continuing in an opinion or course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition.
    "Cardiff's persistence was rewarded with a try"

Being persistent literally means that you carry on and you keep on at what you are doing until you get there despite the difficulties, or things that may be standing in your way. It's all about staying strong (once again) and how you shouldn't let things get in the way of your dreams, or what you want. There will always be things, or people that are trying to stop you, or certain people who would love to see you fall, or fail, so you should aim to succeed and show them that you are carrying on no matter what. You can't let hateful, negative people drag you down to their low level. You just need to focus on your dreams and aspirations and stop thinking about what other people think about you. :)

Being persistent is a skill that you can gain, which will help you to reach a goal, or get what you desire. A lack of persistence can mean that you're giving up too soon and you won't succeed in what you want as well. I'm going to be sharing some ways that I've found out will help you to be persistent.

Ways To Be Persistent:

- Follow through with your goals
For example, if you have set a personal goal to yourself that you want to loose a certain amount of weight within a certain amount of time, then let's face it, you aren't going to reach your goal weight, or tone up if you don't do anything about it, or put any effort in, are you? So, if you really are determined to succeed, then you have to be willing to put in time, energy and a lot of hard work! Say you started working out properly on January 1st, but you only did that routine for that one day. What difference is that going to make? It's hardly going to have any impact at all, which would be upsetting for you, as you won't be able to reach that target and you probably won't have any motivation to carry on. You have to be specific about what you're trying to achieve. Make sure it's something reasonable, so that you aren't pushing yourself too far and then feeling disappointed when you are unable to reach it. Write down that goal and what you're going to do somewhere you will see it regularly such as a notepad, journal, diary, post it notes, or on a specific app that you go on every day! Anywhere really.

Break your goal down into smaller sections
Don't say that you're going to work out for 5 hours straight every day for a month. That's unrealistic and you will end up seriously harming yourself and you will have no time for other essential activities. You have to start off with baby steps and gradually work your way up. Try working out for 30 minutes twice a week and then gradually build up to 1 hour twice a week, then an 2 hour workouts for 3 days a week and so on. It depends on your capability and your fitness level to start with. Don't set yourself tasks that you know you are physically unable to do as it will only lead to feelings of guilt. Smaller sections are easier to manage and you will feel a sense of accomplishment sooner too.

Learn what motivates you and what you enjoy
Not everybody wants to do 3 hours of football every week and equally, not everyone wants do dance every week either. Everyone has different styles and opinions, so find something that works for you, but is effective when it comes to reaching your goal. Do what makes you happy! Just because you may think running is the most popular or effective exercise, it doesn't mean you can't dance instead.

Put a reminder somewhere or images that relate to your goal
Print off pictures of your ideal summer body, or workout gear you like and put them around where you can easily see them as inspiration, even if it's saved images on social media, it could work!

Make it a habit
Do whatever it is consistently and keep up with it on a regular basis. Don't give up after 1 day! Keep on going and eventually you will begin to see those results and you will feel a sense of achievement and that will make you so proud of yourself, so make sure you find something that motivates you to carry on, or inspires you to want to reach your end result/goal that little bit more. :)

Reward yourself for persisting
If you have done particularly well in an exam, or you have reached/exceeded your target grade, then go out and buy yourself a bunch of flowers, or some new heels! It will make you feel special and as if you have done a good job, so then you can repay yourself for that effort and be even happier too.

Persisting Beyond Failure:

Accept that failure happens
The most successful people in life have failed. Everyone makes mistakes and we all fail sometimes. If you get knocked down, or set back, you just have to come back twice as amazing and determined. You have to face failure and understand that it will happen, then you can move on from it.

Avoid quitting at the first sign of difficulty
Anything worth doing, or achieving is going to encounter hurdles, or difficulties at some point. Treat the challenges as something that will test you and therefore make you stronger as a person. If you don't get what you want the first time you try, when you try again then you can put in double the effort and maybe do something a little differently that you may not have done the previous time. We all fall down, but it's continuing to get back up that's the most important thing. If you're auditioning on the x factor for example and you don't get through, then practise every day and get feedback or try different styles of music and then go back a year later and try again, even harder!

Examine the reasons that may lead to failure
Accept constructive criticism and understand where you may be going wrong so that you can then attempt again at a later date and try something different. Don't be afraid of constructive criticism as it may help you in the long run, even if you don't realise it at the time, you would be surprised!

If you keep your head up during the hard times, then you will succeed and therefore, you will get far in the future. In life, you will get tested and you will sometimes find yourself getting tested to your absolute limits, but you will be able to get through them and come out on the other side. Sometimes you have to get pushed and tested so that you can see through to your strengths and future success. You really do need to keep your head up, no matter what you're going through. Those specific words 'keep your head up' can be seen as words of encouragement, so use them to encourage you, or to make you feel more determined to become successful, or happy. To keep your head up means that you won't let yourself slip into the darkness aka unhappiness or a depressive state of mind. Keep your head up out of the water, so that you don't drown yourself in the sadness, or dark stages in life. If you keep your head up and you keep looking forward, you're more likely to be positive and this means that you will be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel (the good that will come out of the bad) Be proud of who you are! Don't let yourself sink to the low level of other people and prove that you are a more positive, persistent and generally better person than they are. Don't let your situation get you down, as you have so much more happiness to face, so you can't become overwhelmed with sadness. Always look straight, never turn around, or look back at your past, or previous mistakes. Ignore what other people think of you, as their opinion on what you do shouldn't matter anyway.
Fear & How To Face It
Fear has 2 meanings. 'Forget Everything And Run' or 'Face Everything And Rise'. In my opinion, I think that you should always go for the second one. In any situation, you should always face your fears so that you can then overcome & learn from them, which will turn that negative into a positive. You don't have to go all drastic straight away - start small with little fears & work your way up! It's important to face your fears so that you can overcome them, challenge yourself and therefore grow as a person. If you take risks and you go out of your comfort zone, that really will have a massive impact on your happiness as you will be taking on more opportunities and trying new things which will help you to grow and that will also improve your confidence, so everything really does tie together, you see? You have to be able to say yes to more things and not let anxiety, or that little niggling voice of fear eat away and stop you from trying new experiences that you may actually enjoy a lot more than you initially thought. Even if you don't feel 100% comfortable, you should just go for it and see what it's like! You gain an experience anyway. What harm can trying really do?!
10 Ways To Fight Your Fears
 Take time out
 If you're feeling particularly anxious, then you should aim to try and find time for yourself to clear your mind and rethink whatever the situation may be. Distract yourself by either reading a book, taking a bath, going on a walk, trying some breathing exercises, or even having a drink, then when you feel like you have calmed down a little bit, then you can think of how to cope.
Put your thoughts into perspective
Think of what the end result can be. Chances are, no matter how bad the result is, the world isn't going to end and you will get through it. If you have to do a speech, or a presentation for school/work, then just try your best and give it your all. Try to bat the fears away and just focus on the words you need to speak. Even if you're nervous and you aren't a confident person in the slightest, you just need to try to be confident and try your best not to worry about anything. Just think that it's only a short amount of time and it will all be over quicker than you know it. If it did go horribly wrong and you got extremely panicky, then it doesn't matter. You still did it and you should be proud of that, as some people wouldn't even attempt to face their fears, so at least you tried it out, right?
Face up to your fears
If you're avoiding your fears and not doing anything about them, then it will only make them seem scarier. For example, if you have a fear of tube trains and you panic every time that you get on one, then you need to keep going on them, possibly with someone you trust or whom you feel safe with, and take deep breaths, listen to music, talk to the person, or just simply close your eyes and relax. The more you face up to your fears, the easier it will get in the long run, as you will be more used to them. It doesn't mean you're going to love that fear within 1 week, but it will make them seem less scary. Whatever your fear may be, even if it's something quite small, facing it will help it to fade a little.
Welcome the worst
Each time fears are embraced, it makes them easier to cope with the next time they strike. Try to imagine the worst thing that could happen. If you're on a tube, the worst thing that could happen is that it could break down, or stop working, so you may get delayed for a little while, but it will always get fixed in the end and you're not going to die just because the underground has got delays. The fear will begin to run away the more you chase it and you will find that things get easier once faced.
Be realistic
Fears tend to be much worse than reality. For example, if you got laughed at the first time you did a presentation in front of people, then it probably won't happen again, as the chances are pretty low. You will have learnt new things from the first time you did it, so you should feel a little more confident. If you blush, or get anxious, just remember that's normal, but those feelings will pass.
Don't expect perfection
Bad days and setbacks will always happen. That's just a natural part of life that we all experience. If you're going to think your life is ruined just because you didn't get the tops marks in your end of year test, then you're wrong. That's only one small test out of the whole of your life. You don't need to expect 100% all the time. You have to understand sometimes you will do really great and other times, you may do a little less great, but it doesn't matter! Accept that things won't always be perfect.
Take a moment to close your eyes & imagine a place of safety e.g. a beach, on the mountains, snuggled up in bed watching films, or a favourite childhood memory. Let those positive feelings soothe you until you feel more relaxed and at ease with yourself.
Talk about it
Sharing your fears with someone else can help you put them into perspective and feel less worried about them. Just talk to anyone you can think of that may understand. It's always worth a try.
Go back to basics
If you're on edge, or you need something that is guaranteed to calm you down, then try some meditation, yoga, taking a warm bath with some candles lit, a long sleep, or even read your favourite book. Many people turn to drugs, or alcohol, which only makes things worse, so don't do that. :)
Reward yourself
Finally, give yourself a treat to make yourself feel better, or as if you have achieved something. Reinforce that success by doing something you enjoying, or buying yourself something you've wanted for ages. It will give you that feel-good factor and then you will want to face more fears! 
Appreciation & Being Grateful For What You Have

There is so much hatred in this world. Too often, people are insulting and judging others, or getting into arguments and fights for absolutely no reason. Think about it logically. What good is it going to do if you call someone fat, or ugly, or tell them that they are worthless and they should die? By saying all these things and not thinking about what you say, you could be ruining someone's life in more ways than you are aware of. It's not going to get you anywhere, it's not going to benefit anyone, or make anyone feel better and honestly, it's only going to make the world a worse place. We usually don't appreciate the things, or people that we should be grateful for and quite often, we take everything for granted. It shouldn't be this way. In life, we are never guaranteed tomorrow. You could lose everything, or even your whole life in just a split second. Let people know just how much they mean to you before you lose them. Appreciate the things that are around you before they are gone.
In today's society, it's so easy to become overwhelmed by all the tasks going on in everyday life. It's easy to forget to appreciate the little things that keep us happy, inspired and positive. Sometimes, all you need is a reminder to take a small amount of time out of your day to dedicate to yourself. I've listed a few ideas that I think may be useful to some of you and I think we should all try to do them:
Appreciate your surroundings
Go outside. Go on a walk, either by yourself, or with a loved one. Watch others. Observe what's around you and pay attention to it. Make an effort to become inspired by nature. Breathe in the fresh air. Watch out for birds, or woodland creatures. Take pictures of pretty blossom, or flowers. Wherever you are, just enjoy it and make the most of nature and the beauty within the world we live in. Even if you just sit on a park bench and you watch the ducks in the lake, then honestly, do it. :)
Enjoy 'me' time regularly
Having time alone and being able to fully appreciate that time is so important. You need to be able to find time to focus on you and only you. You may think it sounds selfish, or you may feel guilty about it to begin with, but it really will have a difference on your health, both mentally and physically. Taking a bit of time for yourself will help you to relax and it will also make you feel refreshed. It is equally as important to have a good relationship with yourself as it is to have one with others.
Some examples of things that you can do during 'me' time include:
- Taking a nap, or fitting in some time to rest your eyes
- Have a pamper evening. Get a nice face mask, run yourself a warm bath with some relaxing, softening oils, or some of your favourite products, get yourself a magazine and chill out!
- Read a book. Reading will distract your mind and help you escape into another world altogether.
- Listen to some music. Put your headphones in, turn the volume up and forget about the world.
- Document the things that make you happy. Write down thoughts e.g. song lyrics or quotes. Record videos of moments that fill you with happiness and look back on them when you need inspiration.
- Find your creative outlet - whether it be painting, writing, photography, music, acting, swimming or dancing etc., find something that brings out your creativity and fills you with joy when doing it. It's rewarding to create something that is your own and something that you can be proud of. There are so many uplifting outlets in life, so explore them and find a way to embrace those inspirations.
Keep a gratitude journal
Reminding yourself what you have to be happy for each day is a great way to be grateful for what you do have in your life. Regardless of how difficult your life is at the moment, you should always be able to find one thing that brings even the tiniest bit of happiness to you. Finding that will help you deal with other things in your life and overcome them issues. I'm going to start, so why don't you?
  • Record 3-5 things that have made you happy throughout that day. These can be things as simple as 'I saw the sun shining today' to 'my parents are engaged'.
  • Spend a little time reflecting on those things you're grateful for each day.
  • When you're going through a particularly tough time, it may be good to look back at previous notes. Find the smallest things to be grateful for. For example, if you have an illness and you're housebound, then that's obviously not enjoyable, so appreciate someone making you tea!
Turn your thinking around
People who are positive or are thankful for the things that they have in your life aren't any luckier than you and they don't have an easier life than you. In reality, many of the people who are practising the most gratitude have had to go through the most difficult of situations, because they understand that it's not the situation that's the problem, it's how you think about the situation that makes it either easier or more difficult to handle.
  • Use the right words. Using negative language won't make you feel any better about the situation, so instead of saying 'my awful illness', just simply say 'the illness I have got'
  • Bashing yourself and others won't get you anywhere either. When you find your thinking negatively, stop and turn that thinking around.
  • Practise mindfulness. By being in the moment, you are making it impossible for your mind to race ahead, and think of the future, or get brought down by the past. This is one way of practising thankfulness, because you are thinking of the present and what's going on right now.
  • Practise meditation. This can help with your breathing and overall wellbeing. Focus on your breath and timing. This will help to calm you down and it will also help you think of the present.
  • Create a healthy lifestyle. Make sure you get enough sleep, you eat a healthy diet and you stay hydrated, you are regularly active (walk, run, swim etc.) and you take breaks regularly too.
Being thankful in the moment
You have to be able to be grateful and appreciate things in the moment too, as they are happening.
  • Take a break. Appreciate time out from your everyday activities and take that time to think about the things in your life that you appreciate and that you are grateful for.
  • Tell someone you appreciate them. Sometimes we can get so caught up in the busyness of life that we forget to tell those who are special to us that we love and care about them. Send a thank you card, or write someone a message just to let them know that you're grateful to them.
  • Give back to others. You can do this in many ways such as volunteering, doing charity work, helping out with the chores, giving your siblings a hand with their homework...anything!
Tips For A Generally Happier Life:
Spend time with your loved ones often
This is such an important thing to do and it can make such a huge difference in regards to your mood. It's really good for your wellbeing and it can make you feel so much better and less alone too. You have to appreciate the people you have in your life and spending time with them is the best thing.
Destress yourself 
Have a nice warm bubble bath and pamper yourself every so often. We all need to put ourselves first sometimes and having a pamper evening is a great way to do so.
Make plans
If you have things to look forward to, it can make you feel a lot more optimistic and positive. Try and arrange to see your best friend for some lunch, or go and babysit for your older sister. Even if you just go to the pet shop and look at all the baby animals, then if it's something to make you happy, do it! It will help you to stay organised and it will just give you something to be excited about.
Exercise often
Staying active and moving about helps to release endorphins which are known as the feel good hormone that will improve your mood as well as obviously having physical benefits too.
Do a good day every day
Even if you only do a small thing, it may make someone else's day that little bit better and surely you would want to make someone else happy? You can make your boyfriend/girlfriend a cup of tea, help out with the housework, babysit, take a friend out for the day, or even just give a loved one a call. Surely it's worth it if you know that you're making someone else feel better. It makes you smile too!
Eat well and drink plenty of water
What you eat can have more of an effect on your mood than you thought. It's important to focus on what's going in to your body to ensure that everything works properly and then you won't feel as sluggish. If you're dehydrated, you may get poorly or feel very weak, so it's important to drink water.
Learn something new
Whether you're finding a new hobby that sparks your interest or talking to someone that you've never met before, learning is a really great part of life and it will help you to develop as a person too. Even if you set a task to learn a new language, or get to grips with a new instrument, it will give you something to do and then it will make you feel happier as you're doing something you enjoy a lot.
Choose to be happy
Remember that happiness is a choice. You can't just expect to be happy without even trying. It's not an emotion that just randomly comes to you. You have to choose to be happy and work for it. Stop thinking negatively all the time and start thinking more positively and being more open-minded. Don't moan about things. If something or someone isn't making you happy, change it! You just need to change your attitude into a better one and start to be more grateful and appreciative of what you have. Always have a smile on your face, even if your sad, as it will make everyone feel better, including yourself. Put on a happy mask rather than a sad mask. It will have benefits, trust me!
Surround yourself with positive people
Eliminate people from your life that are not worth it. If someone isn't there for you all the time, or they don't make you smile, then get them out of your life. It's better to be alone rather than to have all your happiness and all your energy removed by someone that you don't need. If people uplift you and inspire you, or make you happy and do things to show they love you and care for you, that's the sort of people that you should want to have in your life, not those who try to ruin things every time.
Express your love for other people
Following on from what I just said about surrounding yourself with positive people, you have to ensure that you're a positive person too! If you have love and you don't practise giving it, you can never fully experience the joys of receiving it to the extent that you deserve. Let people know that you're thinking of them. Smile at strangers, ask people how they are, help out those who look as if they are struggling, donate, give to charities, surprise those closest to you. It's so easy and so much better to be nice to people and to spread love and positivity. Compliment people, offer to lend favours, give advice if someone needs it. Just do whatever you can to make the world a better place. That's why I created this blog. I want to help and inspire other people. If you feel like you have nobody to talk to, regardless of who you are and what you look like, I want to be here for you. I want to change lives and make other people happy in whatever way I can and this is one way that I can achieve what I want right now. I'm doing my bit, so why don't you attempt to do yours too?
I want you to know this - whatever we put into the universe, we get back. It's what some people call karma. If we're nice to others, I believe it will come back to us and the same as if we're horrible. When someone needs a word of advice, encouragement, someone to listen or comfort them, then why don't you be that person for them? I always put 100% into the way I treat other people. Everyone can practise kindness. It has the power to change lives, improve happiness, it makes the world a better place and it's contagious. A smile can change someone's day and spread so much joy around in that moment. If someone does something to help you out or if they are kind to you, don't take it for granted. Be grateful and thank them properly. Take that happiness and spread it to everyone you know. We should all have positive people around us and there's always reasons to be happy. No matter what you may be going through, there will always be something that can change your mood. There will always be bad things in our lives, but we just have to learn to look past them and appreciate and welcome the good things. Don't eat yourself up over the hard days, but embrace and make the most of the good ones. Reflect at the end of each day. Think about the emotions you have felt and what has led you to feel that way. It will help you to change for the next day and improve. Don't sweat the small stuff. Respect that tough times will occur, deal with them and then let go. There's no need to dwell on silly little things that won't matter in the long run or the future. Try and learn from your mistakes. If you've failed a test or you haven't done as well as you wanted, focus on your problem areas and study harder for next time so that you will do better, but don't be too harsh. Accept that not everything is perfect. Just realise how lucky you are in comparison to others. Some people are less fortunate than you and they would love to be in your shoes, so just because you don't have the latest designer heels or that Louis Vuitton handbag you want, don't be ungrateful about what you do have. Be part of the community around you. Chat to other people, make new friends, give honestly genuine compliments. Do whatever you can to spread that extra little bit of joy to the world.
I'm now going to share a final quote. 'Keep Believing & Never Give Up'. It's so important that you keep believing in your dreams. No matter what is trying to bring you down, you cannot sink to that level. You need to let it encourage you to be even more determined and work harder than you did before. Anything is possible in my opinion. If you give everything your all and you put in 100% effort, then you will eventually get there with perseverance. Don't let anything stand in the way of you and your dreams.
Never give up. This is also so, so important. If you give up, you will never know what the future has to hold and you will never be able to succeed to your full potential. No matter how hard things are and no matter what you are experiencing, I promise you that it will get better. Things won't be this way forever. I know you may be depressed, self-harming, angry, hurt, lonely, suicidal or anything negative, but you know what? Place your hand over your chest. Feel that? That's called purpose. You are alive, you are breathing, you have a reason to live. Do not ever give up. No matter what.
Finally, I'm going to share a poem that I absolutely adore.
'Human' by Ridley Mcnabb
Today, I will be brave
I will admit to the fact that I still haven't found that happiness I've been searching for.
It could be the fact that I haven't looked hard enough, or maybe I've just been looking too hard.
It could be the fact that there's a hormone in our bodies called serotonin, but my therapist says that I don't produce enough and that's why I have this thing that she calls depression.

So I take pills to make me feel better and that might be weird, you can think that if you want because the truth is that I think I'm weird too. Sometimes I think my weirdness is good, I can make people laugh if I really want to and I think that's pretty cool but there's also a bad weirdness to me that makes me feel really sad even though my life truly isn't all that bad but I can't help it. I can't just tell myself that everything's going to be okay because sometimes I don't even think I believe that anymore.

But today, I will be brave.
I will admit to the fact that yes, I have scars. But you know what? I have a birth mark on my right leg. I have freckles on my arms, I have ten fingers and a heart that pumps blood into my lungs and my lungs help me breathe. I have brown eyes and approximately one hundred and fifty hairs growing out of my eyelids that protect them from dust.

Yes, maybe I have purposely tried to hurt myself but so what? People say that whatever doesn't kill you only makes you stronger. Well I must be pretty damn powerful because every day is a war between life and death and I may not think that I'm beautiful, or smart, or worthy, but I have a broken heart that's still beating and a terrifying mind that is still able to think about the children in Africa and the people suffering from cancer and the lonely girl in my class that I wish I had the courage to talk to and tell her that we are all human. We may not feel that we deserve to be alive but we have blood coursing through our veins and purity in our souls and mouths that are capable of speaking every single language in the world and brains that hold an infinite amount of knowledge and bones that allow us to move and hearts that can love.

So please, be brave.
Put the gun down. Step away from the bridge, throw the pills away, untie the knot and stay with us. Use your bones to lift your hand and place it to the left of your chest and feel the vibration of the most important organ in your body pulsing, keeping you alive. And that, my friend, is called purpose. You are still here despite everything that's ever happened to you. You survived the day when your best friend stopped calling and the day you waited two hours for that person who never showed up and the day you got picked up early from school to have your parents watch you get beat up on the playground and that's the day when they realized that their daughter is a loser but it's okay because you survived. You ignored the monster in your mind that is constantly knocking on doors but never being let in because you had the courage to say "stop. I deserve to be happy. I deserve to feel good about myself."

You are not a freak. You are not a loser. You are not fat, you are not ugly, you are not stupid. You are sixty percent water, sixty-five percent oxygen, eighteen percent carbon and one hundred percent human. Do not hate your body, you're beautiful. Do not hate your scars. Love them. Learn from them. Be the person who can say "yes, life was a battle and I didn’t come out untouched. I was beaten down and torn apart and bleeding from the skin and the heart. But I won." You conquered the bloodiest war, and you are so brave.

Yes, life is full of grief, and tragedy, and so much pain. Life is full of evil people and sickness and days where all you want to do is just get out of this place with so much hatred and cruelty and unfairness. But I have seen someone helping a stranger on the sidewalk, children holding doors open for the elderly, and love. So much love. And that's gotta be enough. We have to find a reason. We have to discover that one thing that will save us; that one good thing in this world that will give us hope. Hope that some day, things will be better.

But today, we will be brave.
Braver than yesterday, yet not as brave as we will be tomorrow. We will wake up with a smile on our face, and we will look in the mirror and say to ourselves:

"We are not our parents, we are not our siblings, or our teachers, or our friends, or our enemies. We are only ourselves. But one day, we will become doctors, we will become writers and lawyers and activists and dancers and rock stars. We will be mothers and fathers and lovers. We will not be perfect. But one day, our bruises will heal and our scars will fade and our pain will lessen and our smiles will become genuine. We will admit to the fact that bad days happen, but we will have so many good days and those are the ones that matter. We will not be our past, we will not be our mistakes, we will not be our fallen tears or our heart aches. We will be human, and one day, we will change the world."
I understand that this post has been incredibly long and rambly, but I've spent so much time and effort on perfecting it and putting in as much detail as I can to make it as informative and helpful as possible, so I really do hope you appreciate it and enjoy reading it. Even if I've only helped one person, I would be absolutely over the moon. Please let me know your thoughts and feedback regarding this post. You can also share your tips and tricks in the comments if you would like! I've put in so much work in regards to writing and producing this post, so it would be lovely if you could let me know what you think about it. I know it's not always easy being happy, but accept that we all have down days and try to make the most out of your life and make everyday the best it possibly can be. One day you will look back on your life. Make sure there is plenty of happiness and many successes to remember and smile about in years to come! Treat every single second as if it counts.
I'm so proud of you all and I love you so, so much. Live each day as if it's your last, and smile. <3
Jade x


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