Hey lovelies!

I am back with a Psychology/mental health related post after so long! Many of you may have heard the term ‘mindfulness’. But what does it mean? Mindfulness is consciously/deliberately being aware of something, but not thinking about it. It is being aware of what is happening and attending to whatever is happening. It involves paying attention to our own mind and body, being in equilibrium with the outside world. 

Mindfulness is developing this capacity of attention and awareness, as generally, we always focus on thoughts rather than awareness. An example: when you eat something, let’s use a raisin as an example, are you aware of the various sensations you experience? Or do you taste, chew and swallow without much thought? Being mindful when eating a raisin would involve being aware of the texture of the raisin, how it feels against your tongue, what bursts of flavour you experience, how heavy it is in your mouth.. etc. Often we work in ‘automatic pilot’, having our attention somewhere else and not attending to 'here and now'. For example, you could be doing the ironing but not have your full attention to the task as you are concentrating on what you might cook for dinner.

This is some delicious hot cookie dough. This photo was appropriate for this post because I was naturally very mindful while eating this because it tasted so good :P

Mindfulness can help you to skilfully let go of your worries and negative thoughts, but it requires practice and being done regularly. Mindfulness based therapeutic interventions are also used by Psychologists to help patients. It is a good technique to reduce stress. You can try some simple mindfulness techniques yourself to become more aware of yourself and of what you are currently doing.

1)      Breathing:
-           Pay attention to your breathing. Just focus on your breath. Allow the pressure from inside to leave and feel your breathing become calmer and relaxed. Be aware as you inhale, what happens inside your body (the air filling your lungs)/the physical sensation, how it feels, and as you exhale try to fully experience that sensation too.

2)      Activities – e.g. walking outside:
-           Focus your full attention on the experience of walking. Feel the ground in contact with your feet, feel the bend of your knee as you walk. What do you feel on the ground as you walk? Is the path smooth, is it uneven, and are there leaves you walk over? Feel the pressure of each foot as you change from left to right when you walk.

It may sound a bit exaggerated giving so much attention to daily tasks, but try it. You don’t have to share it with anyone. You don’t have to focus too much on it either. You just need to be more aware your experiences and sensations in the current moment.

That’s it for now! This was different post to usual, hope you enjoyed it.

Take lots of care!
Ayesha xxx

Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution lipstick in Bond Girl

Hello lovelies!

So it’s spring. Sort of. I have a new lipstick colour that I am obsessed with. Of course it’s Charlotte Tilbury. I’m allergic to everything else (that I’ve tried)! This lipstick has the best name ever.. Bond Girl! Love it. I’ve never worn this type of a colour before. I never gravitate towards natural shades. As they say on the website “Bond Girl is a chic natural berry for sultry & alluring beauties”. It’s a gorgeous colour. I wouldn’t have even tried it to be honest; it was by coincidence that I came across it. I used to associate such shades and browner tones with ‘mum’ colours (shades you would see your mum wearing), but they actually look really nice and are also on trend. It’s a perfect colour not just for the season, but also daytime. You can wear in the evening too with prominent eye makeup if you wish. It's like a red-toned light brown colour in my opinion. It's not super dark either.

It is priced at £23, like all the other lipsticks in this collection. I got mine from Selfridges. The colour goes on seamlessly, it has good staying power, it is matte but doesn't dry out my lips, and the formula is lovely to wear! Let me know if you've tried this colour or any other lipsticks you think I should try!

Lots of love,
Ayesha xxx

The loss of a loved one and moving on from it

Hello lovelies!

I hope you're all good. I've been absent for a while. I've been a bit busy and also a bit demotivated. Then things got ahead of me and I didn't priorities blogging. Sorry! Last month my grandmother passed away and that was a big event in my life. 

The loss of my grandmother affected me deeper than I thought. I was not ready to deal with it and so removed myself from any situation that would lead me to be reminded of her and the fact that she was gone. We regularly had family friends come visit to see us and my mum to share their messages of condolence. Most of the time during this I would stay in my room and pretend like this wasn't happening. I wanted everyone to just stay away and let us mourn alone. That is obviously not the best thought I should have had. I refused to speak to any of my friends about my grandmother, and for a good few weeks I didn't speak to any of my friends at all. This was something that was under my control, because they were MY friends, and not my family's. I repressed all my feelings, refusing to deal with them. It was too painful to face at the time. 

Slowly as the days past, I realised that I was somewhat becoming depressed. This scared me. I had depressive thoughts and a constant sad mood. This was normal though, after what I had been going through. To a certain extent I also felt angry and hostile towards the world. It was my subconscious repressed feelings that were making me feel so negative. Being negative is not something I do often, so it's a big change. I also noticed that my diet had changed drastically and I was constantly indulging in 'comfort' foods such as chocolate and cakes. I have a sweet tooth but I am good at managing my diet. I wasn't improving at all really and I wasn't doing much to help myself. 

Then, thankfully, I went on a short break to Amsterdam which was pre planned a few months in advance. If it wasn't already booked I may have not even wanted to go. I only started feeling excited in the few days before I left rather than feel ecstatic for a longer time beforehand. Then when we got there, I had fun. I actually really enjoyed myself. I slowly started to let go of all the negativity and started loving myself and my life again. I really made sure I had fun and did things that would make me happy. The change of space was helping me a lot and diverted my attention and negative thoughts. By the end of the short break I felt very refreshed and ready to face life again. 

When I got back to England on Friday evening, I started thinking. I realised that I was in a positive state (after so long) and decided I wasn't going to let that go. I decided that I was going to get back up on my feet and sort my life out. I started by making a list of things that I need to do, then getting in touch with my friends and enjoying our conversations and having a laugh with them like a always did. Today, it's Monday, and I feel good. I woke up early, worked out and went on a run outside in the (almost) lovely weather. I ate a good breakfast and feel prepared to face the week. I'm going to focus on eating healthier again and limit my chocolate and cheese (and other unhealthy foods) intake. I'm not cutting them out, but instead eat them in moderation. When I eat healthy and keep fit I feel amazing. It works wonder for my mood (and everything else about me too!) I also need to start drinking more water.

I realised that, even though my life situations may be out of my control, how I handle them, how I respond to them, how I feel about them and what I think about them, can affect my life greatly. They can affect me as a whole person. So going back to my usual self, I am just going to say that being positive is the best thing you can do for yourself. Focus on you, what you want, and how you're going to help make yourself be happy. 

Lots of love, keep smiling,
Ayesha xxx

Are you doing what makes you happy?

Hi lovelies!

One of my main motto's in life is to 'do what makes you happy' (of course within limits, providing it is not negatively affecting others and isn't illegal haha). I am a big believer that we need to try be as happy as we can to live a good healthy life. Everyone's circumstances and situations are different, so often we have to make adjustments and compromises to fit with our situation. It is not always easy to be happy. I try to have a positive outlook on life and try and look on the brighter side to whatever I am not entirely satisfied with. If we are happier people, going through difficult times becomes more bearable (in my opinion). Also, happier people radiate positive energy which can be good for others too. 

Recently I have noticed that I have not been very happy. I haven't been sad, per say, but I haven't been happy either. I thought about why I am not happy and I realised it's because I am not doing what makes me happy. My life has drastically changed since I moved back from Manchester and graduated. A major contribution is being far away from my friends. Majority of my close friends live in different cities so it is not very easy to meet up often. So I miss them all. :( I have been feeling quite lazy and unmotivated, which is completely the opposite of the type of person I am. I like being constantly busy, being productive and socialising. 

Another part of it is realising how tough it is to find a job that I want. I haven't been job hunting for long, nor very extensively, but I am finding it tough. I have been offered jobs that I am not interested in. I don't want to waste my time on doing a job that I won't enjoy as much and that won't let me progress within my career path. I am quite focused on what I want but those jobs are not easily available and of course, are competitive. You would think that having two degrees would make me the perfect candidate.. But that is completely wrong. Getting into a good mental health related job is not easy. I want to be using my skills to help people with mental health issues, or be doing research to advance our knowledge of Psychology. Something voluntary in my field that'll give me experience and develop my skills is good enough too - but they are difficult to get into too! 

I decided that I want change and I want to be feeling happier again. I made a list of the things that make me happy. I then ticked off the things that I am not doing. I then made a list of how I can incorporate them back into my life and the changes I can make. So now I have this list of things to do that would normally make me happy. :) I realise (even though I know this already) that we can't just wait for things to happen to us.. We have to make an effort and implement the change ourselves. :) 

I have started off by making little changes. For example, I love having fresh flowers in my room and I hadn't had any for a while.. So I changed that which instantly brightened up my day. I also like to stay fit and be active, which I had cut down doing, so I have started to get back into that! I'll work on the little things and then go for the bigger and tougher things. Things take time to change and I will just have to have some patience. But at least now I have a plan to work on.. adjusting my routine to get it back to me doing what I enjoyed. 

I hope you all can make changes too if you're not feeling too good. Life is too short to look at the negatives. Understand what lets you enjoy your life, and make an effort to incorporate that into your schedule. Please do what makes you happy and stay smiling!

Lots of love,
Ayesha xxx