365 Days Of Gratitude.

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For 365 days, I have been writing down three things I am grateful for each day and it has had some surprising results.

We all know the power gratitude can have. In the darkest times, if you can find at least one thing to be grateful for, even if it is something as simple as having running water, a warm home to live in or food in your fridge, it can change your perspective entirely. This is what happened to me.

I embarked on a journey of gratitude in 2016. It turns out, it was the perfect year to do it. I have had a difficult year. I won’t go into detail but it’s been really hard to stay positive most days. I downloaded the app Gratitude Journal on my phone on the 31st of December 2015. I wanted to see if writing down three things every day I am grateful for would actually impact my wellbeing and change my perspective when experiencing bad days.

It actually worked. Each night, I would write down three things I was grateful for that day. Sometimes they were very similar – my partner’s name, home and food. However, some days I managed to write down five or even six things I am grateful for. I didn’t feel like it changed anything at first. However, after a couple of months. It started to rewire my thoughts. Reflecting on my day each night with a list of things that made me feel grateful, happy and loved made me realise that life was about the smaller things.

Whenever I got caught up in a negative spiral of I hate my job, why does this always happen to me? and why am I not going anywhere?, I adjusted my thoughts. I  remembered my list. I am grateful for my friends, my partner and my home. It instantly reminded me to be grateful for what I have and not to focus on what I don’t have.

It had such an impact on my life that I’ve decided to carry on my gratitude list into 2017. It may not work for everyone but if you feel like you need to remind yourself every day of all the amazing things you have that make your life great, then start a gratitude list.

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Reaching A Mental Health Milestone

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During the past few years, I have struggled with my mental health. I have General Anxiety Disorder (GAD), which means I constantly worry about everything and experience high amounts of anxiety for no reason at all. It took me a long time to accept that my anxiety was part of me, something that I couldn’t erase, something that couldn’t be ‘cured’ with a prescription of pills from the doctor.

A few months ago, when I reached a dark place with my anxiety and depression, I finally admitted to myself that I needed help. I would go days without leaving the house, I would sometimes sit and stare into space, pondering on the bad things that have happened in my life or bad things that ‘could’ happen in the future. I felt like I was trapped by my own mind, it’s a horrible feeling and I wouldn’t wish it upon anyone.

Having an anxiety disorder is unpredictable. You may go through periods of time without any anxiety at all and then all of a sudden, it’s back and suffocating your thoughts like a dark cloud. I thought I was strong enough to battle my mental health issue on my own and convinced myself that I was ‘in control’ and my anxiety would get better over time, but it didn’t.

I had tried all of the ‘self-help’ options and nothing worked. I was crippled by anxiety, always worrying about the future or feeling sad about the past. I reached a dark place, where I thought medication was the only option for me to proceed. Then, a shining light appeared and everything changed for me. I found the strength to ask for professional help. It was a waiting game but I finally got on the list for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

I have to be honest, I was sceptical at first. I had convinced myself that my natural way of thinking, the negative way I approach life and every situation couldn’t be reversed. After a few weeks of therapy sessions, I started to notice a change. I had unconsciously started to think more about my ‘unhelpful thinking style’ and started to rationalise with the voice in my head when negativity surfaced. The great thing about CBT is that it strips back to the bare bones of how you think, how this effects your behaviour and how you can change this in the future.

David, my therapist was amazing. He was honest, critical and helpful in our sessions. Always sending me home with ‘homework’ to do, such as thought diaries and weekly schedules, he discovered what my triggers were and how to remove them from my life. For me it was during my alone time that I experienced more anxiety and more depressive thoughts. The answer for me was to always keep myself busy and distract myself by colouring, reading, doing yoga or simply doing some meditation.

Ever since I started CBT, I managed to pull myself out of the depressive state that I found myself in for months, started to fight against my negative thoughts and made small changes in my life that were going to improve my overall wellbeing. I am going to do yoga as often as I can, learn how to meditate, practice mindfulness and make sure I find time to relax each day. I’m going to still have bad days and now I realise that it’s okay to feel sad sometimes and it’s normal to worry, as long as it doesn’t take over your life.

I feel like I am reaching a mental health milestone. I have learnt in the past few months that anxiety cannot be ‘cured’ it can only be ‘managed.’ I have discovered that if I give attention to my anxiety and say to myself that I am mentally ill or there is something wrong with me, it only fuels my negativity and it will probably erase any progress that I have made.

I feel like I have reached a pinnacle of understanding. I accepted my anxiety was a problem, I asked for help and now I no longer feel alone on this journey to achieve a positive mindset. I have a long way to go but I finally feel like I can see the light at the end of a dark tunnel of worry, insecurity, anxiety and doubt. Like a butterfly, I feel free to go anywhere I want to go and do anything I want to do. I want to believe in hope instead of fear. I want to see the glass as half full instead of half empty. My anxiety will never ‘go away’ but I’m confident that I’m now in control of how I think, how I feel and how I behave.

 

New Year, New Adventures

New-Year-2016

At the beginning of every year, I set myself new goals to achieve, list a few things I want to change about my life and reflect on the year that has passed. This year, I hope to change the direction of my career, spend more time doing the things I love and improve my health and wellbeing.

The first day of January set the tone for the new adventures I want to have this year. Me and my boyfriend took a trip to Vienna to celebrate New Year. We were only there for two days but we had such an amazing time, it has consumed me with wanderlust to visit as many places as possible this year. No plans are set in stone as of yet, but we hope to go back to Dublin to celebrate our six year anniversary in February. We also want to take a trip to London in the spring and Barcelona in the summer.

I’m focusing on improving my wellbeing this year, both physically and mentally. I can be lazy at times but I really need to start pushing myself to be more active and choose healthier food options. I finally realised at the end of 2015 that my mental health needed to be addressed. I’m starting therapy in the next couple of days and I hope to be one step closer to an anxiety-free life.

I’ve also been contemplating a new career choice for a while now. From the moment I enrolled on a Creative Writing course, I wanted to work in the industry. I pictured myself working in an office 9-5, writing all day and getting paid to do it, nothing seemed more wonderful, but now I have experienced it, even if it is only for two days a week, I have changed my mind.

I feel strongly that if I lived in London, I would be working for a big magazine or working in a publishing house, but there’s no point in talking about the what if’s. The fact is, I don’t live in London, I have exhausted the opportunities where I live, I’ve been on so many interviews and failed to get any further, I have spent the past few years building up a writing portfolio, I’ve done internships and worked for free. I finally found a part time job where I write and get paid for it and it hasn’t made me happy like I thought it would.

I no longer feel the burning passion inside of me to write for myself. All I seem to do at the moment is write articles and blog posts for other people. It’s been a long time since I wrote a short story or a poem, or even attempted to explore another novel idea. I thought by turning my passion into a career that it would be make me happy, but now I realise that this career choice is the root of my unhappiness. I feel unfulfilled, bored and insecure about where I am right now in my career, something needs to change.

For the past six months, ever since I taught at the local hostel, I have been thinking about a career in teaching. Something sparked in me that day and I haven’t been able to shake the feeling. Maybe that’s what I should be doing? I don’t know. All I know is that I don’t want to spend the rest of my life in an office, staring at a computer screen. I want to be challenged, do something new every day, inspire other people’s lives and feel like I have a purpose.

That’s what I’m struggling with right now, my purpose. I thought I knew what I wanted and who I wanted to be but now I’m starting to doubt myself. The choices that I make this year will effect the rest of my life, which is why I’m holding back on making a decision until I am certain of what I actually want. I know this year will be a challenging one but I want to enjoy every moment of it. I want to travel to places I have never been, I want to start writing stories again, I want to push my fears aside and start seeing every obstacle as a chance to start a new adventure.

 

 

 

 

 

A Change Of Heart

pastnowfuture

I will always be a writer. No matter what my job title is or what I do during the day, writing is my passion and I wouldn’t be ‘me’ without it. However, recently I’ve started to feel less like a writer. Maybe that’s because I haven’t really been doing much ‘writing.’ You see, a few months ago I was feeling lost, I had no job, I was on the dole, still missed being at university and had no idea what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Then, something good happened. I got a part-time job working for an online magazine and they were paying me, yes, finally, I thought!

Everything started to fall into place after that, or so I thought. I started to volunteer as a Creative Writing Workshop Mentor at a local hostel and I decided to start my own online feel good magazine called Zest For Life. I thought I was finally going down the right path, until I realised that something was missing. I was no longer writing. I was filling up my time with other projects and jobs that I no longer had the time nor the motivation to write fiction, which is a big part of who I am.

I love being the editor and founder of Zest For Life, it’s hard work and I’m not receiving the amount of help from my friends that I thought I would, but I created something from nothing, which is what I love to do. I decided to stop volunteering at the hostel because some weeks I would turn up and none of the residents wanted to take part, I was enthusiastic to inspire them but they didn’t want to be inspired.

I did however, have one really good session with them whilst I was volunteering there. I managed to inspire them to write, a member of staff told me that it was the first time she had seen some of them smile like that in weeks, I had a warm feeling in my chest as I left the hostel. I knew I had made a difference to someone’s day. That’s when it hit me. The epiphany, the impulse to help people, the day that I started to doubt my career choice.

I want to teach. I don’t know why I didn’t realise this before but it hit me and now the feeling won’t go away. Of course, my anxiety reminds me daily of everything that could go wrong if I decide to do it and I am still on the fence about what I really want. I thought I wanted the 9-5 office job, sitting at a computer all day, writing. Now, I’m not so sure. I get bored easily and I want a job that is different every single day. I also have this need to help and inspire people. I have always loved children (even though I am definitely not ready for my own). So why not take the plunge and train to be a primary school teacher?

I’m at a crossroads, I am so confused about what I really want and exactly who I want to be. One thing I know for definite is that I love to write, what ever that may be. I think my lack of writing fiction is due to having too much going on in my mind right now, once I sort through it, I’m sure the ideas will come and I will start writing again.

I was so sure that I wanted to go into publishing and magazines and a small part of me still wants to, but I would have to relocate to London and I’m not willing to do that. I have definitely had a change of heart, I just need to decide what to do with it. Do I ignore it and carry on knowing I’m not full happy with my career choice? Do I leave the world of publishing and magazines behind after all of my hard work and go into teaching?

What ever decision I make, it will change my life. I just have to picture the future version of myself in my mind and decide exactly what I want that picture to be.

Twenty Two

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Tomorrow is my 22nd birthday.

I was re-reading my post Twenty that I wrote two years ago today. I remember writing it like it was yesterday. I am still the same person that I was when I wrote that blog post, I still have the same dreams and I still believe that turning twenty was a defining moment in my life. Since then I have graduated from university, I have visited Dublin with my boyfriend, I have started an internship at VIVA magazine and I have started to make plans for my future.

Honestly, it has been a hard two years, there have been a lot of struggles but everything I go through is making me a stronger person. I’m trying to live my life day by day instead of year by year but my mind always wanders to the future. I’m a dreamer, I always have been and always will be.

Another birthday is passing by and I might not be where I want to be but I have to be patient, I have time. I have years to accomplish everything I want to do. I am enjoying my life right now. I might not have a job or enough money to buy the things I want to buy and go to places I really want to go to but I am surrounded by love. I have to believe that my future will be bright. I have to believe that things will get better and I have to believe in myself.

If there is one thing that changes every year on my birthday, it’s my perspective. Whenever my birthday approaches, I look at life in a different way. I look back on the year that has passed and what I have achieved in that time. Life is a journey and sometimes we don’t appreciate moments until they are memories. I’m going to start enjoying the present. I’m going to be patient and grateful, I am going to smile even when I feel like I can’t and I’m going to keep hoping and dreaming that I will make it to my next birthday and I will be one step closer to my dreams and one step closer to the person I want to be.

I’ve Been Nominated For The Sunshine Blogger Award!

I am so happy to accept the Sunshine Award Nomination from an amazing blogger – AimingForScorpion. Thank you so much! Check out her blog here.

So as for the award, here are the rules:

Thank the person who nominated you.
Answer the questions from the person who nominated you.
Nominate a few other bloggers.
Write the same amount of questions for the bloggers you nominated.
Notify the bloggers on their blog.
Put the award button on your blog.

Questions

WHAT IS YOUR DEFINITION OF HAPPINESS?

Happiness often feels like an unreachable goal to me, but being truly happy is quite simply, a choice. A choice that only you can make. You have to wake up every morning and choose to be happy, no matter what life throws at you. You have to fight the sad, angry, jealous and toxic feelings that overcome you and be happy with your life. Finding happiness is a journey that I am on right now. I have days when I am incredibly happy but others when I feel like I want the ground to swallow me up. I’m trying to find a balance. I’m trying hard to see past everything that is holding me back and see the light. That’s what happiness is to me, it’s light. We live in a cruel, negative and dark world at times and happiness is a ray of sunshine, a light that won’t burn out. One day I will choose to be happy and I will stop letting negativity overshadow my life but I’m not ready yet, I have many lessons to learn, not just about how to be happy and content with my life but about overcoming the obstacles that I face and learning to deal with my emotions.

IS IT WORSE TO FAIL AT SOMETHING OR NEVER ATTEMPT IT IN THE FIRST PLACE?

JK Rowling said that ‘It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all.’ I agree with every single word of this. Life is difficult and messy and sometimes you’re not going to achieve what you want to right away. The path to success is paved with disappointment. I am getting closer to my goals but I know that I will encounter more failure along the way. I think if you really want something, if you feel it deep down in your gut that it’s what you need to be doing then no amount of failure will be able to stop you.

IF YOU COULD CHOOSE JUST ONE THING TO CHANGE ABOUT THE WORLD, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

It’s hard to choose just one but if I could I would erase negativity from the world. It’s hard to stay positive and live a happy life when you live in a world that’s constantly trying to pull you down, telling you who you should love, what you should do with your life, how you should look and who you should be.

DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN THREE WORDS.

Different. Ambitious. Creative.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE QUOTE?

I have so many favourite quotes because I am in love with words, especially wise ones from people who have lived influential lives. One of my all time favourite quotes is ‘Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain.’ It’s a true phrase of how we should all live our lives. I want to follow this philosophy, I want to dance in the rain even when the sun doesn’t shine, it’s easy to just say it but actually doing it, well, that’s another thing entirely.

IF YOU COULD GIVE YOUR YOUNGER SELF ONE PIECE OF ADVICE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Embrace all of the things about yourself that make you different. Don’t worry too much about what path you will go down, who you will meet and what your purpose in life is because you already know, you have always known. You are a writer. You live and breathe words and no matter what the future holds, just know that words will get you through anything.

WHEN YOU DAYDREAM, WHERE DOES YOUR MIND WANDER?

I’m a future thinker. It’s not always a good thing because thinking too much about the future or the past can cause a lot of anxiety. It’s something I struggle with. My mind is constantly wandering, wondering and wishing.

I nominate: Kayla’s Only Heart, House of Heart, Send Sunshine & Forgotten Meadows.

Here are your questions.

What one thing in your life would you change?

Why do you blog?

What inspires you?

Describe your life in three words.

Liebster Award – I’ve Been Nominated!!


The first time I was nominated for the Liebster Award was June last year by Dare To Dream, Live To Write. She said some really nice things about my blog and since then my blog has taken on a different identity, attracted more readers and inspired many people so thank you to KatWilson04 for nominating me for the Libester Award 2015.

Here are KatWilson04‘s questions and my answers:

  1. What cartoon character would you be and why? I would say I’m Tinkerbell from Peter Pan. I’ve been called Tinkerbell quite a few times by different friends growing up. I’m small, fiesty and can be ill-tempered. Tinkerbell has two sides to her personality, she can be jealous and firey but also kind and loving. Minus the blonde hair, I’ve been told by a lot of people that I remind them of Tinkerbell.
  2. One item of clothing you couldn’t live without? Oooh, that’s a hard one. Probably my favourite pair of jeans that I wear most of the time. Although I really love my fashion scarves. I have quite a collection now and wear them with different outfits, my favourite is a pink butterfly one that I have just bought. It’s not the piece of clothing I couldn’t live without per say, but it is my favourite thing to wear right now.
  3. What made you start blogging? We were told in our first year at university on my Creative Writing course that we had to create one for class, so that we could review the books that we were reading but since then AnotherBeautifulRhyme has become so much more than that. It’s a place of expression, inspiration and motivation. I want to inspire people with words, talk about my journey as a writer and talk about my love for yoga and my journey to happiness. I’m really proud of how my blog has turned into something positive and I love seeing how many people like my posts, it makes my day.
  4. What’s the best question you’ve ever been asked and why and what was your response? The best question I’ve ever been asked is if you could live in another era, which one would it be? I love questions like that because I’ve always wondered what it would be like to live in the 50’s, I’m fascinated by that era and although being a woman in that time period was extremely hard, I really love the idea of living in that time, I love the style of music, the fashion and the simplicity of life. I sometimes think I was born at the wrong time.
  5. If you could be part of a band/music group, who would you choose and why? I would be Taylor Swift’s back up singer definitely. I’ve always been a huge fan of hers, I found a video of her playing on YouTube before she was even famous and before she even released her first CD. I’ve been a fan ever since and I feel a connection with her even though we have never met. If she lived next door to me and she wasn’t a famous singer, we would probably be best friends because we are very similar. I would be her back up singer because I feel like I have always been there for her as a fan, so it would be cool to be on stage with her every night and watch her shine.
  6. What’s your favourite recipe, and where did you get it from? I’m not really a cook and it isn’t my recipe but my mother in law makes the best Spaghetti Bolognese. She’s shown me how to make it a few times and I just love it!
  7. If you could move to live in another place or country, where would it be and why? That’s a hard question! I’m one of those people. I’m in love with countries I have never visited and in love with people I have never met. I can’t wait to travel the world, explore new cultures, meet new people and experience new things. I like the idea of Italy, Rome to be exact. There is a romantic notion associated with it and I believe that it would be a great place to live and it would be a great place for a writer to be inspired on a daily basis.
  8. What one thing would you change about the world permanently and why? I would change the way we treat each other, the way the world is divided. Without money, religion, race or class, the world would be a completely different place, a nicer place. I would get rid of these divisions somehow. I have never understood the way the world works and I often dream of a better way things could be.
  9. Favourite animal? I love animals, I have a Guinea Pig called Theo and I adore him, I love dogs, orangutans, elephants, tigers, bears and meerkats. I prefer animals to humans sometimes.
  10. Favourite perfume/fragrance? I love Taylor by Taylor Swift, it smells sweet yet sophisticated at the same time, I love it!
  11. If you could give one tip or one bit of advice to a person, what would it be? I give a lot of advice to other people but rarely follow it myself and I really should. My one bit of advice would simply be this, be happy. Find a way to be happy with your life. We all have problems, challenges to face and things we are waiting for but if you learn to be content with the way your life is right now you will be much happier. Don’t forget to appreciate and love the people around you and most importantly, love yourself.Thank you for the questions KatWilson04! 

    Here are eleven random facts about me.1. My eyes change colour, sometimes they are green and sometimes they are blue and sometimes they are both green and blue (magic!).

    2. I prefer the inbetween seasons, Spring and Autumn. Winter is too cold and Summer is too hot. I love Spring because of the pink blossom on the trees and I love daffodils. Autumn is a beautiful season because of the orange and red leaves falling to the ground.

    3. I started writing poetry at the age of five, yes really, I found one of my old poems and I was five, nearly six when I wrote it. I’ve always loved poetry and always been obsessed with rhyme, hence my blog title.

    4. I love pugs! I’ve always wanted a dog growing up and I really want a pug and hopefully, when me and my boyfriend get our own house in the future, we can have a pug or maybe even two!

    5.  I am the world’s biggest procrastinator. I want to write, I let ideas float around in my mind for weeks before I actually write them down. I start the day with hopes of writing my novel ideas down and writing poetry but I always end up watching Pretty Little Liars or searching for new music on YouTube.

    6. I always want to learn something new, I taught myself how to play the guitar and keyboard and I have recently reached level one in British Sign Language and I really love it. I’m not sure what the next thing will be, maybe I will learn Spanish or learn how to draw.

    7. My favourite colour is Green.

    8. I love old music, anything from the sixties, seventies, eighties or nineties. I prefer it to modern music.

    9. I wear glasses, I can’t see anything clearly without them.

    10. I started doing yoga over a year ago and it has changed my life. I practice Hatha Yoga and also love to meditate.

    11. I play acoustic guitar, keyboard and sing.

I nominate…

AHeartAFire
SendSunshine
LifeIsGolden
JennyInNeverland
InsaneOwl
LemonsAreSweet
CatLumb
SheWritesOfLife
LittleOnionWrites
BookBooster
TheBookKitten

Here are your questions:

1. What’s your favourite season of the year and why?
2. Where do you see yourself in ten years time?
3. What’s the meaning behind your blog name?
4. What’s your favourite thing about life?
5. If you could live anywhere else in the world, where would it be and why?
6. Which three novels would you recommend to your friends?
7. What is your biggest dream?
8. What is your biggest fear?
9. What’s your favourite thing about yourself?
10. If you could be any person for one day, who would you be and why?
11. Why do you love to blog?

Six Simple Rules Of The Liebster Award

Letters To Emily

I’m still amazed that I completed NaNoWriMo in 2014. I set myself the challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I completed it and now I feel like I am ready to write another novel. Writing 1:58 was an amazing experience, I finally finished a novel. It was a big achievement to actually finish something. 1:58 is technically a novella but it’s definitely given me the confidence boost that I need to move forward.

I learnt a lot from the NaNoWriMo experience, I found that discipline was extremely important and I learnt to turn off my editor voice in my head and just write. I really loved the characters in my story but once I wrote the finally word and ended it with a full stop, I knew that the plot definitely had to change. My original story fell flat and I knew I could do better. That’s when I started to plan Letters To Emily.

There were many different titles but I’ve decided to settle on Letters To Emily because it fits the idea I have in my mind perfectly. I’m still using the character’s Eleanor Hemming and Lacey Collins because I loved writing about their lives in 1:58. However, instead of the story being centred around two babies that were switched, I’ve decided to change it to a child that is taken.

Now, I know that the idea has been done many times before but there are a few twists and turns that I have planned to make sure that my novel stands out. There will be many different forms in the novel. Letters and messages will be embedded into the narrative and the story will not only focus on the lives of Lacey and Eleanor but their daughters Charlotte and Erin and let’s not forget Lacey’s husband Ben.

A big secret will change the lives of both families and I want to focus on how a tragedy can effect a family. I also want to write about the bond between mother and daughter and another layer to my story is how the internet has become an important part of our daily lives. Charlotte and Erin meet on an online chat room, they become friends and confide in each other about the daily problems that they both face. Erin feels disconnected from her mother Eleanor, they never stay in one town for long and she finds it difficult to meet new friends. Charlotte is tired of constantly being in Emily’s shadow, her mother is still obsessed with finding her daughter even though ten years have past. Ben doesn’t know if he can save his marriage and Lacey is either running her bookshop or posting in an online forum about missing children.

I am confident that this is the book that I want to write. I know that 50,000 words is achievable in 30 days so I shouldn’t have an issue with writing 80,000 to 100,000 words with no deadline. Of course I would love to finish the first draft of the novel by the summer, so I can edit it and make it better and hopefully get it ready for publishing by the end of this year.