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It’s 5 am on a Saturday and I’m up getting ready for work. Forty-five minutes before my alarm goes off but the urge to write this is overwhelming.

I haven’t been sleeping much recently and I’ve put it down to anxiety. I have been feeling anxious about the changes that are happening/going to happen in my life in the coming months. Starting a new job (taking my business elsewhere) is daunting.

Change is scary and the thought of it makes us all uncomfortable at times. Life is so short which is why it’s understandable for people to remain in their comfort zone. Whether that’s in regards to work, living situation, a relationship - it doesn’t matter. It takes a lot of mental preparation to get yourself away from that. I’ve been a victim of my comfort at times. Staying in a relationship even though things aren’t quite right, not pushing myself enough at work, etc.

I do this because the feeling of a different routine or situation gives me feelings of anxiety. It shouldn’t take a toxic situation for us to want to take a leap of faith and ask the question “what else is out there?”. We are hardwired as humans to want the best for ourselves and the people we love, so why are we so fearful of the unknown?

Realising the worst someone can say to you is “no” will make you realise that nothing changes in your life. Rejection is not a step backward it’s just not the big step forwards you hoped it would be. Own your rejections, allow them to shape you. It will help you analyse what you could do differently on your next venture. Failure and rejection are the same things essentially. It hurts temporarily but you learn from it and you move on. We like the idea of certainty, it comforts us, gives us peace of mind. But it’s the uncertainty that helps us grow and progress in life.

We probably gain more from failure than we do from success. The failures that we experience usually teaches us about the flaws in our approach. We can use those failures to better prepare for the next leap of faith. We shouldn’t fear failure, failure is part of the process. The more we struggle and continue to push on to realise our dreams the greater the rewards.

Through the times where I felt my lowest, I would always ask the universe why I felt this way and why I don’t have any goodness in my life. I’d beg for a reason to keep going. I knew life wasn’t going to suddenly become easier but I needed a helping hand to guide me but it never reached out.

I wanted to be happy but I never really knew what that meant. Happiness, blissfulness how do I achieve it? Will the world ever give back to this insignificant being? I’m not special, unique or lucky. The answer to the questions above is simply: If you want to be happy then be happy.

I noticed the biggest change recently in my life. The writing of my blogs allowed me to expend negative feelings and turn them into positive thoughts and energy. I began focusing on making myself feel good, doing things for me, enjoying my own company as well as the company of my friends who’s friendships I have neglected.

All the tools were there for me from the beginning but I didn’t know how to use them or if I even could. My friends felt like they didn’t even know me after reading my previous blogs. They didn’t realise the suffering I went through but they do recall me not being very social for a while.

Going back to asking the universe for help - it was always there. I had to open my eyes and swallow my pride - what did I even have to be prideful about? I had to step up and be the main character in my own life.

Positive thinking and exuding positive energy has changed my life. It sounds ridiculous and you may cringe at the thought of smiling more (baby steps) but it works. If you start pumping positive energy into the world you will be more open to receiving and harnessing more positivity.

Everyone needs a place to escape from the stresses of life. Whatever it is, it has to be a place where you feel safe, comfortable and confident. Many people go to the gym/play sports in search of endorphins. However, there are many other options to choose from - you may not be particularly comfortable in those environments right now but I’m confident there is something for everyone.

The idea of stepping into the gym can be quite daunting. Thoughts of making a fool of yourself or everyone being better than you are all in your head. All those “fit” people had that first day feeling just like you. It takes time to become comfortable in this environment but there are things you can do to make it more enjoyable. I believe there are two easy routes into making the gym a habit - going to classes or hiring a personal trainer.

With classes you get a sense of community, other people battling through it with you - this will very quickly ease any nerves you may have. You quickly realise that you don’t need to be an expert or even know what any of the exercises are called. Listen to the instructions, ask questions and give everything you have. You will make friends, get fit and not have a single worry on your mind apart from the next set of those shitty burpees.

Having a good personal trainer can be life-changing. As a PT I not only try to help my clients physically but mentally and emotionally too. My main aim as a PT is to help people overcome their fears and realise their potential. I want all my clients to be able to train by themselves eventually and feel confident doing so. I have had clients who are so anxious about training during peak times that they do everything to avoid booking sessions at those times. Every once in a while I don’t give them a choice but to train at 7 pm on a Tuesday. They may hate the idea of it initially but soon realise that no one gives a fuck what you’re doing. During a PT session, you should feel at ease that the only person watching you and examining what you do is your PT. His/her opinion and views are the only things that matter as they will have your best interests at heart.

Whatever activity you decide to do you have to enjoy it. You should never stop trying new things, aiming to improve your understanding of things that interest you. The learning doesn’t stop once you graduate and learning new skills certainly isn't just for children. We may be “grown-ups” but that shouldn’t stop us from continuing to grow up.

I could never have imagined spending this much time reading or writing. I’ve surprised myself with how much time I have dedicated to this. The feeling of accomplishment I get when I finish writing a blog is similar to the feeling I get after a workout (except for the lack of sweat and sore muscles). This goes for everyone trying something new. You see how these new activities/projects make you feel and it becomes addictive. There will be days where you just don’t want to do these activities but you won’t forget how they made you feel the last time you did them, this will motivate you time and time again. Too often we look for holidays to wind down and destress but we should all be able to wind down and destress wherever we are.

You should never feel forced. It has to be something you actually enjoy and look forward to doing. Going to the gym isn’t for everyone but exercise is. Contrary to “bro-science” and “cardio bunnies”, exercise is much more than Bench Pressing and 5K runs. I really can’t express how much setting new physical goals can take away the mental stresses of life. Knowing you have a PT session booked in after work gives you accountability. It makes you feel organised amongst the chaos of life.

I always hope my clients, after a long day at work, enjoy coming to the gym for a session. I can always tell whether they actually want to be there or not but hopefully by the end if they leave with smiles on their faces and a sense of achievement. Adopting this responsibility is something that I’ve always thrived on. Clients confide in me with their personal lives. They need a safe place to voice their thoughts and vent about life and I feel like I can help.

Try to make time for the things that bring you happiness. Focus on improving yourself, enjoy the process of learning and practice. I'm not saying this will fix you but improving your mental health through physical activity or even just sitting in a Pret blogging (me right now) can be the escape you didn't know you needed.

Blogging is a place where my thoughts can escape. Where my mental health can wander without seeking attention and approval from other people. I started writing just to get my thoughts on paper. This is where I feel most comfortable expressing any kind of real emotion. Bringing up struggles and depressive feelings in any conversation with any person makes me very anxious and I probably don’t express myself as well as I would writing it down.

I don’t want people to try and fix me, I just want you all to read and understand what goes through my mind on a day to day basis. I want to share what I understand about mental health as well as what I am learning about mental health through other blogs and self-help books.

Mental health is difficult to speak about for most people. It’s human nature to avoid things that make us most uncomfortable. The reason people struggle to get the help and support they need is that life is so fast-paced. You wake up, go to work/school and entertain the small talk without anyone ever really noticing what you’re going through. Being depressed is more than being upset or sad. People throw around the word without ever really understanding what it feels like to be in that dark place.

Getting my thoughts down into this blog feels easy, however posting it takes a lot of courage. The idea that others will know what I’m going through is sickening. I have friends who have read my previous posts and they don’t know how to react or what to say to me once they have read it.

I’ve never really been someone who shows any real emotion - my stone-cold demeanour translates to me being chilled and laid back. I don’t seem to let anything overwhelm me, I don’t take anything too seriously. In reality, I’m probably the complete opposite of that.

I am quiet, I am reserved, I am shy, I am insecure, I am sensitive, I am introverted.

This is how I am, it’s how I’ve always been. My ability to make others feel good when I'm not is something that I love about myself.

When I was at my lowest a few years ago I was paralysed by my emotions and thoughts. Getting out of bed every morning was tough. the feeling of not having a purpose or meaning in life was crippling. I used to lay in bed, looking up at the ceiling, completely blank. I didn’t have any sense of direction, where I wanted to go, what I wanted to be. I just felt very sorry for myself.

I began feeling extremely pressured to get myself going as much as I didn’t want to. My parents couldn’t understand the lethargy and lack of motivation. I once told my mum, full of negative emotions at the time that I didn’t want to live anymore. I had reached a breaking point.

I never thought of taking my own life or anything like that but I felt like I just didn’t want to do it anymore. I hated waking up every day to nothingness. I wasn’t very social, so I could never surround myself with positive energy. I continued crawling deeper into this shell.

Eventually, I had a breakthrough. I was offered a job somewhere I wanted to work and knew it could be the first step to happiness. Surrounded by positivity and people who only want to better themselves.

For me, the biggest coping mechanism has been to train. Bodybuilding, powerlifting and personal training. This physical growth and development have helped with confidence and the feeling of content. However, the painful truth is that these endorphins are only temporary. I train for roughly two hours a day, six days a week.

This was only the beginning of my recovery.

I've only been 26 for about a week and I already feel like I’ve matured so much. I have started to embrace my own company and look forward to being alone listening to my thoughts.

I've started making positive changes in my life. This has all started with reading and writing.

Reading Vex Kings Good Vibes Good Life has been life-changing to me. Self-help books get a bad rep because those reading it doesn’t put into action the advice given to them.

Taking time out of my day to sit alone is one of the most satisfying things in my day. It’s calming, peaceful. Every couple of days I’ll take my laptop, a book, and headphones to a coffee shop and just allow my mind to do what it wants to do.

I can find myself deep into my book for 15mins and suddenly something clicks and I type away for the next 5 minutes only to then find myself singing along to a song in my head. I don’t put any pressure on myself to read a certain number of pages or to finish a blog post. I just let it flow.

I am currently on a train to work as I write this, the same song playing over and over again (Unconditional - Sinead Harnett) just allowing my fingers to tap away at the screen. The most beautiful things in the world happen naturally and organically.

It's easy to forget what’s real because people are so obsessed with trying to impress others or be the same as everyone else. These “social standards” are taking away from what makes us unique. It shapes us into something we think we want to be to gain approval from people we don’t even know.

You have to be honest about who you want to be and it has to be because it’s what you want. If changing who you remove toxicity from your life and allows for progression then it has to be done. However, changing who you are because of how you “should” be will only cause you more unhappiness.

Saying you should do something sets an unrealistic expectation on the process of life. It doesn’t take into account the mountains you have to climb. It puts you under immense pressure to meet these expectations. It's even more unfair to place that expectation on others, not only for them but to you too. We can’t expect others to do anything. They are currently running their race and will put their wants and needs ahead of everything including yourself. We may see this as selfishness and title those people as someone who doesn’t care for others. In reality, they just care about themselves more - exactly how it should be.

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