Weekly W.R.A.P Up

Watching
Mark Manson – Screw Finding Your Passion

Reading

Make two lists

On one list identify the grievances, disrespects and bad breaks:

  • People who don’t like you.
  • Deals that went wrong.
  • Unfair expectations.
  • Bad situations.
  • Unfortunate outcomes.
  • Unfairness.

It’s all legitimate, it’s all real. Don’t hold back.
On the other list, write down the privileges, advantages and opportunities you have:

  • The places where you get the benefit of the doubt.
  • Your leverage and momentum.
  • The things you see that others don’t.
  • What’s working and what has worked.
  • The resources you can tap.
  • The things you know.
  • People who trust you.

Now, take one list and put it in a drawer. Take the other list and tape it up on your bathroom mirror. Read the list in the drawer once a month or once a year, just to remind you that it’s safe and sound. Read the other list every day.

The daily list will determine what you notice, how you interpret what you see and the story you tell yourself about what’s happening and what will happen.

You get to pick which list goes where.

Picking your list is possibly the most important thing you’ll do all day.

Appreciating
Overnight Oats… I eat these every morning for breakfast they are seriously the greatest most versatile just best breakfast ever. Even on the days I really don’t see the point of getting out of bed I will at least get out to make these. I go to sleep looking forward to these.

Overnight Oats for One
1/2 cup Oats (I just rolled or steel cut Bod Red Mill’s GF Oats)
1 scoop Protein powder
1 cup Blueberries frozen  + any other fruit your feeling
1tbsp Cashew Coconut butter (I make this myself at home it is life changing but any nut butter will do)
+ Other toppings: coconut chips, cacao nibs, or banana chips… basically anything that makes your mouth water just add it on the top to complete this drool worthy breakfast.

Note: this is just the what I make for my breakfast personally but it should be adjusted to suit your desires so if you want more oats add bloody more oats, the more nut butter the better in fact go crazy… give yourself something to look forward to each morning. My overnight oats are like my own personal bowl of heaven!

Podcasting
The James Altucher Show: Ep 234 Charlie Hoehn – Getting Past Anxiety and Learning How to Play Again

  • Working for free to build networks and get the experience you require to master a skill. Everyone initially starts something and is bad at it, it is through practice and experience that you develop the skill and prove your worth.
  • “The opposite of play isn’t work, it’s depression.”
  • Every human being plays and it’s a critical part of evolution as a way to practice and learn skills. It also allows humans to gain empathy, make connection and explore their environment.
  • Using  play to cure anxiety and depression:
    1. What were the activities when you were young that you did for fun without thinking of the outcome, but just doing it for the enjoyment.
    2. Try incorporating a few of these activities into daily life. Instead of meeting people for coffee or lunch, try meeting for a game of tennis, a hike or playing a board game. Remember it is PLAY it is not to be taken serious but rather as a bonding activity.
  • You ability to be productive and work actually relies on your ability to play or take time to do things you enjoy.
  • Majority of success people would do what they are doing regardless of what they are being paid. It is often through actually doing something you enjoy or for your own benefit that a compound of effect occurs and success comes through passion. Its approaching life from a place of playfulness.
  • Play It Away: A Workaholic’s Cure for Anxiety by Charlie Hoehn

I really needed this podcast this week. I’ve been struggled with my mental space and motivation. I often find myself wondering what the point is of anything, having no motivation to get out of bed, dreading each day and just lacking the ability to enjoy anything. Sometimes it feels as though I’m simply not capable of being happy or enjoying life and that thought terrifies me, I keep telling myself and trying to have hope that it will get better but I’m terrified it won’t. Unfortunately when you have spent so long being trapped in your mind I think feeling happy or enjoyment is harder work than feeling nothing at all, you have to fight your own mind and it’s a fight not easily won. I’m still fighting everyday and every day I question why I bother and wonder if it’s all even worth it but I keep fighting sometimes even if it’s just by making it through the day. This podcast came to me in a time of need, I needed to be reminded that we need to find things we enjoy in life to give us meaning, when you are sick for so long and when you identity has been stolen by an illness especially a mental illness it’s easy to forget that you did once enjoy things. I can’t even remember a time where I just enjoyed something and just did something for fun, so that’s what I want to get back to, I want to get back to being able to do something, anything and not waiting for it to be over. I want to find something that gives me a reason to get out of bed and not waste another day drowning in my own caused self misery, the hardest thing with a mental illness is that often you have to choose to save yourself because no one else can do it for you. And I honestly don’t know if I’m even worth saving but I just have to hold on to that small amount of hope that it is going to get better, but it’s only going to get better if I keep trying.  Even when I’m exhausted and don’t see the point, that’s when trying is the most important thing you can do, just do the motions, do what you know you should, it’s that concept of fake it till you make it. I hope that even I keep trying to recover if I keep doing the motions if I keep trying that eventually I won’t have to try at all. We may not be designed to be happy but we are definitely not designed to be miserable, we are designed to survive and we each just need to find are own unique ingredients of life that make our particular recipe of life liveable. xx

Dealing with Despair

The last week has been rough. I’ve found myself stuck in my all too familiar self destructive cycle of hopelessness and despair. Each day consists of crying in bed questioning the point, and every night I go to sleep hoping not to wake. The self perpetuating cycle of my depression is a dark one, always waiting in the corner of my mind waiting to pounce and take over. And sadly it’s so easy to stay there and let the depression control me, rather than trying to break free. This is why it’s so important to choose recovery everyday and to continue choosing it until it is no longer a choose but rather your reality. I also know however, how easy it is to fall down and to get trapped in depression feeling like there is no way out, sometimes it can happen even when you least expect it, when there is nothing wrong at all. That’s when it’s usually the worst when your not only depressed but also racked with the guilt of knowing you have no reason to be, knowing there are so many others worse off. Yet it never changes that constant familiar undercurrent of miserable in your life, that constant sense of dread each morning knowing you have to face another day. Usually at least for me personally the phases of deep despair will always pass sometimes lasting days or something even weeks. But eventually  it always passes just like a storm and my mind begins to clear and allows me to see a world full of possibilities. Then sadly  more often than not this periods of hope and positivity is gone as soon as it arrives, and the despair returns.

There are so many recommendations of how to feel better and to do this, think that but no matter how much you know about what you should do to get out of ‘depression’ it doesn’t make it any easier. That sense of dread and despair is not something that you can think yourself out of, it’s something you need to feel and work through. Dealing with despair, at least for me is something I’ve had to teach myself to work through. It came to a point where it felt like I had read all the books, done all the things I was meant such as meditating, exercising, socialising, getting a hobby, eating well, reading books, listening to positive podcasts, journaling, doing yoga, making goals and being mindful but none of it worked. No matter what I did nothing stopped the despair, it always came back slowly but surely it always came back and I would find myself deep down the dark hole. I knew what I was meant to do to ‘get better’ but nothing changed the fact I just couldn’t seem to do it. When you are in that place trapped in the dark despair of your mind it taints your entire world, it makes nothing worthwhile, nothing is easy and it all just feels like too much.

Over time though my continual struggles with these all too familiar cycles of despair and hopelessness I have now developed a few tools that have helped. These tools are not a guarantee but over the years and with many experiments I have found them to be some of the most useful methods to help me with my depression and often to just get me through the day.  These are things that are easy and don’t require much physical or mental effort because for me personally doing anything on dark days can be a struggle. xx

These are my 5 tools to Deal with Despair:

  1. Get out of bed.
    It’s simple and effective. It sounds obvious but I often find when I’m at my darkest and there just doesn’t seem to be a point to get out of bed, that it is difficult and almost impossible to do. Often the things that feel the most difficult are the things you must do, so get out of bed and even if it is just so you move to the couch that is achievement enough.
  2. Sky gazing.
    Take a moment to look up into the sky, ideally the night sky and simply gaze at the stars or the clouds. Take that moment to just ponder the vastness and beauty of the sky, let yourself feel how small and insignificance you are in the universe. I have always found that taking a moment to feel my total insignificance and temporary status in this world to be an incredible perspective shifter for me when I feel totally lost and deep in depression. There is something above gazing up at the sky that provides me with such a sense of peace just contemplating the sky, space and time.
  3. Move.
    Everyone knows exercise is good for treating depression. This however doesn’t change to fact that often when you are deep in despair sure we might know exercise will make us feel better but doing it is an entirely different thing. So because I know this happens, I pay a membership to a Pilates studio and committee myself to Pilates classes 2-3 times. Having this accountability factor and something to get out of bed for regardless of whether it’s a good or bad day has made a huge difference for me. It means even when I have had one of my darkest days, if I go to a Pilates class then at least I know I’ve gotten out of bed and achieved something even if I do just go straight back to bed after. And yes I do always feel better after exercising. So committing to a class and giving yourself that accountability factor is a great way to force you out of your despair and at least give you a rest from your head for moment. If you don’t want to committee to paying a membership that at least commit yourself to walking outside for 5 minutes a day, go outside an move just for 5 minutes and trust me it will make a difference.
  4. Watch Comedy TV Shows.
    My personal favourites – Brooklyn99, Parks&Recreations, Workaholics and Little Britain…
    The recommend TV shows is because they are short and often the story line isn’t as important to follow. I find comedy movies usually too long and easy to lose interest in, whereas TV Shows are usually more consistently funny throughout an entire short episode. And if you don’t want to watch a TV Show try at least a funny YouTube video! Laughing is truly an incredible medicine as cliché as it sounds, you can’t possibly be stuck in your head when you are laughing. There is something so therapeutic about being able to just get out of your head for that moment and laugh and just be.
  5. Hand Hobbies.
    Recommendations – cross stitching/knitting, playing an instrument, painting/drawing, making something or baking.
    There is something about using your hands that helps get you out of your head for that moment and gives you the feeling that you are achieving something. I’ve never found reading a book or watching a movie to ever be very useful to help with my depression, however during my multiple hospital stays I took up cross stitching and I immediately noticed an improvement. Using my hands while I was stitching and the need to focus on the stitch count and pattern helped me get a break free from the incessant thoughts in my mind. It also gave me a sense of achievement whenever I finished a cross stitch and there is a real satisfaction in being able to physical hold something you made in your hands. Even on my darkest days now I still use cross stitching as an almost meditative way to help get out of my head when it get too much. Plus even if I spend all day in bed feeling sorry for myself at the end of the day I still get the small satisfaction of getting to hold that little piece of art in my hand, and it’s the small things like that that really make all the difference.

07

Weekly W.R.A.P Up

Sorry this week’s WRAP up is a little late, but nevertheless here it is!! Hope you enjoy. xx

Watching
The Keeping on Netflix

This show is the perfect mix of drama, crime & mystery if your into that stuff, I seriously sat down and watched the whole season in one sitting it was that good.

Reading

An overlooked secret to effectiveness (and happiness)

Knowing where ‘enough’ is.
More might be better for awhile, but sooner or later, it can’t always be better. Diminishing returns are the law, not an exception.
If we look to advertisers, marketers, bosses, doctors, partners and suppliers to tell us when we’ve reached ‘enough’, we’re almost certainly going to get it wrong.
It’s okay to stop when you’re happy.
Is more always better? Sometimes, only better is better…

Found on Seth Godin’s Blog.

Appreciating
Buddhify meditation app.

I know everyone often recommends Headspace or Clam but this one is by far my favourite. There is only one up front cost for the app, none of that subscription stuff and then you have access to guided meditations for basically everyone moment in life. I look using it every morning and before I fall asleep at night or even just in the middle of the day when I just need to take a second to reconnect with the present moment and not let myself get too caught up in my head. It’s the perfect meditation act for any moment and for any lengthen of time. So try it out!!

Podcasting
Good Life Podcast : Time Ferriss The Story Beyond the Tools

You may be noting a theme with my podcasts I swear I do listen to more than just Tim Ferriss related episodes but he is also my major brain crush and just everything he says is genius and inspiring. His podcast and listening to any interviews he does are like gold mines of enthralling insight that I find fascinating and so relevant. His ability to excel and experiment in life I find inspiring and I also find his opinion to be refreshing and real. So basically listening to anything Tim has to say is well worth the time and usually noteworthy.

My Personal Podcast Summary:

  • Money:
    • Different types of people with money (old money, self made money, married into wealth, cant actually afford it but pretend like they can.
    • There are different ways to spend wealth. Money just makes you more of who you are and often exaggerates the negatives more than the positives.
    • Money can not buy you out of anything and should not be used to fix your problems.
  • The importance of having some form of meditation practice to help in maintaining deep focus and being present, while improving quality of life. Whether its guided meditation, mantras,  yoga or exercise some form of practice that allows you to observe your own thoughts and feelings so you can better respond to situations. It also allows you to maintain focus in any situation while also becoming less reactive, which helps not only in performance but also in gratitude.
  • Spending time with your parents and appreciating them, because once you leave home you have already spent approximately 90% of the in person time you will have with your parents.
  • Making a habit of taking time each day to stop and take note mentally of 3 things to be grateful for and just appreciate what already is.
  • Being a teacher and learning how to do anything. And then using your skills to help make people better than you.
  • Spending time aboard as a way to gain perspective, find yourself and grow.
  • Having a good life is having a deliberate life. And when having to say yes and no to opportunities and whether or not they align with the essences of who you are and want to be.
  • The need to improve yes/no filters in your life, when you reach a certain point of success. When your beginning it’s good to say yes to most opportunities but as you grow and define your life you need to begin to say yes to only the ‘hell yes’ in life and no to everything else.
  • “Every decision you make costs you something.”
  • Looking at opportunities and situation in what meta-skills you can learn and develop which can then be transferred to other areas in life.
  • Learning that if you don’t look after yourself first you are unable to look after the people around you.
  • The importance of seeing beauty in things that are meaningless. It is liberating it is to learn how to appreciate and do things that are beautiful but purposeless, rather than trying to always find the meaning in life.
  • Star gazing mediation to clam anxiety and gain perspective on life. (I do this whenever I get back from a night time run and it is honestly one of the most calming and beautiful practices that has always help no matter how impossible everything feels, star gazing has always helped given me perspective and just appreciation.
  • If you never learn how to appreciate the small things and wins in life you will never be able to enjoy the big wins.

That ‘Fat Feeling’

I feel fat. It’s a common feeling you have almost daily in recovery and it never gets easier. When you have an eating disorder your reality is often controlled by how you feel. If you feel fat that means you are fat, so fat becomes your reality. It becomes impossible to distinguish between logical thoughts with eating disorder feelings. There are plenty of recovery resources that give lists of self care and distraction methods to help deal with the dreaded fat days, or should I say almost everyday however I never found any of them to help. How could I care for myself when I was so full of disgust and self loathing that no amount of distraction could help quiet the chaotic thoughts. What I have found to personal help me through my recovery is to realise that you are NOT your thoughts or feelings. In fact being able to observe and accept your thoughts and feelings is a crucial step in the recovery journey.

Often eating disorders are used as a control mechanism to help cope with the uncertainties of life. Through restriction I found peace, or so I initially thought. Anorexia provides a focus, a set of rules to live by and remove anxieties. Anorexia becomes a religion. It feels like the right thing until it becomes so very wrong. You will never be enough for your eating disorder. So stop trying to be.

What I’ve realised during my recovery is that you do not have to accept your thoughts or feelings as the truth. Instead recognise them, accept them merely as thoughts and feelings, then decide to respond. You see anorexia is in fact taking away your control. Take control of your life back and realise you have the choice on how you will respond to these thoughts and feelings. I started at first by simply taking a moment just to notice the thoughts and feelings I was having daily.

“You’ve already eaten too much today. You still need to exercise. You don’t need to eat that. Don’t worry you can just purge it. Just get the binge and purge session over with. You’ve definitely gained weight. You shouldn’t have eaten that. You need to eat less tomorrow. Go for another run. Just have half of it. That was too much you better purge it. You look disgusting. You don’t deserve to eat. You should be stronger. Your pathetic. Why are you such a failure. You can’t even starve correctly. Your too fat to be sick.”

This was and sometimes still is my daily talk, the constant stream of thoughts of my mind that never seems to rest. It’s exhausting but it no longer wins. I started getting better the moment I stopped trying to change my thoughts. There is nothing wrong with my thoughts, they are simply my thoughts but what I can change is how I respond to them. I was so tried of being sick, of being in and out of hospital with feeding tubes and still never feeling thin enough. I no longer had any control of my eating or my life and would go from starving for days to endless binging/purging episodes that always ended in tears. No treatment method seemed to help and I had almost accepted that maybe I was just beyond saving, I just wasn’t ‘strong’ enough to get better, this was just me. I had tried all the treatment protocols and read all the books but there was no moment of enlightenment or mindset shift. Throughout my endless research for ‘the cure’ one commonality I found was this concept of noticing your thoughts or as some call it mindfulness. My use of mindfulness in recovery has been through learning how to recognise my thoughts and feelings then not respond to them.

Initially it was just recognising my urges to binge or restrict, even though I would still respond with my eating disorder behaviours it was just that introduction to noticing those feelings as separate thing from myself. Then it was being able to listen and observe the eating disorder monologue that so often ran through my head. With this practice of separating myself from these thoughts and feelings I was able to view them objectively. Soon recognising urges lead to prolonging the urge to binge or eating something small instead of nothing.  I become more comfortable with just sitting and listening to the monologue of my mind screaming at me, demanding me to respond. I’m not going to lie, being in hospital during some of this time helped in this practice of recognising these strong feelings and not responding, instead learning how to just sit with them. I learnt over time how to sit with the uncomfortable and listen to the screaming until it faded out to simply whispers. Then one day I felt that all to familiar urge to binge, to just take advantage of being home alone, enjoy your last binge, just one last time it coaxed but instead of responding I just sat. I don’t know how long I sat there tears streaming down my eyes, legs hugged close, rocking back and forth but I didn’t move. I just listen to the thoughts, I felt the feelings and I didn’t respond, I didn’t binge. Slowly but surely the urge eventually subsided into silence. And I got to the end of that day exhausted but realised I hadn’t binged, I hadn’t listen to my thoughts or followed my feelings, I’d beaten my eating disorder just this once. It wasn’t easy in fact it was torturous but each new day I endured the thoughts without responding, until days turned into weeks and weeks into months.

After time I began to realise that by getting to actually choose how I wanted to respond to my thoughts and feelings I was actually gaining more control of my life than my eating disorder ever provided. Although some days my eating disorder felt easy, it even felt right I knew that choosing to react in an eating disorder way will only lead to two outcomes, hospital or a grave. Those are outcomes I’m not willing to sacrifice my life for and the possibilities it may hold. Choosing to eat that meal, finish that bite not purge that burger all lead to giving me a chance at recovery and at a future. Everyday day is a decision to recognise those thoughts and react accordingly in the right way not the eating disorder way. And sometimes I don’t win, sometimes it all gets too much and I skip a snack or run an extra kilometre, but at least I recognise that, I accept that and try not to let it happen again. They say practice makes perfect, which is wrong because there is no such thing as perfect. But practice can certainly make you stronger! Practicing recovery consistently everyday is what keeps you in recovery. And being in recovery means being alive and having the chance of a better future.rose_pink3

Start taking control of your eating disorder and stop letting it control you. Try these stepsto begin your own mindful recovery journey:

  1. Take notice of any thoughts and feelings you have during the day.
  2. Try to notice or analyse how you respond to these specific thoughts and feelings your having. Are you responding with an eating disorder behaviour?
  3. Once you have begun to recognise these thoughts and how you respond, start to ask why. Why do I respond like this? Do I have to respond like this? What am I achieving by responding like this? By asking why you are taking control of your thoughts!
  4. Practice prolonging your response to thoughts and feelings especially eating disorder related. You feel like binging, ok why do you feel like binging? What are you going to achieve by binging? What if you put off binging for another 10mins? What if you put it off for another hour? Learn how to sit with the feelings instead of reacting to them.
  5. Choose the right response. Take control of your thoughts and feelings and choose reactions that will help your recovery! You feel like binging, ok you feel like that because your bored. Instead your going to go for a walk or watch a movie and wait until the urge to pass, because it may take time but it will always pass.

Eventually the recovery response becomes your initial response rather than the eating disorder. The more you practice being mindful of your thoughts and feelings the more control you are providing yourself. You and only you has the control in deciding how you respond to a situation. Allow yourself the chance of a future in which you are in control by choosing recovery!! xx

Ps. If anyone is looking for support or just a friend please feel free to connect with me at any time! Just click the CONNECT link on my page.

Pss. Also if there are any particular topics, books absolutely anything you would like me to look into or write about please let me know!! I’d love any feedback or recommendations you may have.

Weekly W.R.A.P Up

Watching
John Wick Movie

This was seriously one of the best bad ass action movies I’ve seen in a long time. I don’t understand how I have gone this long without seeing it, I feel like an action movie fraud because I was yet to appreciate this gem. It was like the perfect mix of everything in 90 minutes. To make this better there is a second one that’s just been released.. So I know what  I’m going to be seeing next week in the cinema…

Reading
The Tail End on waitbutwhy.com

This blog post Tim Ferriss has been recommended on several podcasts I’ve been listening to and I finally got round to reading it. And god I’m glad I did. It essentially puts a human life in visual perspective and give you some scary facts like by the time we have graduated high school you have already spent ~93% of your in-person time with your parents. Considering I’m currently in New Zealand visiting my grandparents this post really hit home about making the most of the short time we have on this Earth. It is so easy at times to get caught up in the stress of the world and lose perspective so I found the way this post illustrated time in visual images particularly useful for regaining perspective of time.

The 3 Main Points:

  1. Live in the same place as the people you love and maximise the time you spend with them.
  2. Make a list of the priorities in your life that matter.
  3. Time is precious so appreciate and make the most of it.

Appreciating
The little things in life, like getting to feel the wind on my face and feel the air soak into my chest as I run. I’m currently over in New Zealand enjoying a week with my grandparents so I’m taking a moment to step back and appreciate each moment with them while learning from their wisdom and laughing at the lessons they have learnt. It’s been nice to take this time to just stop and appreciate being, breathing and nothing more. No expectation but rather just enjoying the meaningless beauty that the world holds. I’ve been loving going for a nice long run each day in the cool winter air, getting to feel the crisp breeze and the burn and just being present. I’m naturally incline to feeling as though nothing is ever enough that there is always more or better. So I find it really therapeutic to occasionally just catch myself and bask in the moment of life rather than looking towards the future.

Take a moment to go outside and breathe, feel your chest expand with air and exhale with letting it rush out. Just be there in the second. Appreciate the fact that your breathing and your hearts still beating, because being alive means no matter how much pain your in you have the chance to change it, while your still alive anything is possible. It’s truly a beautiful thing to sometimes just take a second to just appreciate, appreciate it all.

Podcasting
Good Life Podcast : The Truth About Money and Happiness

This was a really engaging podcast which brought me some further enlightenment around the topic of money and happiness. I’ve always felt a lot of resentment towards money and that it always controlled me, I think mainly because I’ve grown up in a household where no matter how much money we made, we never had enough. Also currently not have a steady income tends to make me feel very insecure in my finical future and out of control. The fact is it’s true that money makes the world go round and to some degree it certainly can buy happiness, but this podcast brought to light some new arguments and research findings for me to consider. Money matters but it isn’t everything and it definitely does not guarantee happiness.

My Personal Podcast Points:

  • Old research showed that happiness does not increase once income meets ones basic needs and any money above that does not improve happiness levels
  • NEW research showed that there is no gap in the income and happiness/life satisfaction meaning that happiness is seen to increase exponentially with income (the more you earn the happier you are)
  • BUT this research doesn’t take into account how people are spending their money… can you buy happiness in the way you spend money?
  • Money doesn’t buy happiness is WRONG because money allows you to buy better health and time SO if money can technically buy happiness why doesn’t it?
  • The PROBLEM is people don’t understand what truly makes them happy. Rich people simply buy the same but more expensive things as poor people which don’t make them happy.
  • 5 Ways to Spend your Money that Increases your Happiness
    1. Buy experiences not stuff. Key to this also to do experiences or activities that fully engage your mind. Stuff will not make you happy but experiences you can enjoy and remember can make you money.
    2. Spend money on other people. Giving connects you to other people, and it doesn’t matter if they are a stranger.
    3. Choose many little things over one big thing. Try spreading small sources of happiness over time instead one big moment of happiness (this prevents your happiness scale from adapting so you are still able to appreciate and enjoy small sources of happiness.  (example break a small chocolate bar into 4 pieces and enjoy it over 4 days rather than eating the whole bar at once)
    4. Pay before you play, delay the gratitude. Instant gratification is a serious cause of unhappiness, because we no longer know how to wait. Waiting and anticipating something and getting the imagine it ‘perfectly’ makes you happier than the reality.
    5. Buy time. Time has become one of our most precious asset in a time poor world. So spend time on things that will ultimately give you more time to do things that makes you happy.
  • As income rises, life gets better. BUT it is more about how you spend your money rather than the fact you have more money.
  • Make more MONEY to make a more MEANINGFUL and therefore happy life.