Blog

 RSS Feed

Category: CONFIDENCE

  1. Watch Your Diet (And It's Nothing To Do With Food!)

    Posted on

    One of the most important factors in building - and keeping - a positive mindset is the influences that help mould it. To make sure we keep a healthy mind we need to make sure it is fed on a carefully controlled diet. In fact, a huge part of the entire journey towards becoming a happier and more confident person is keeping a very close eye on what we 'feed' ourselves every single day.

    And I am not talking about food.

    Every person we spend time with, the things we browse on social media, the things we read and the programmes we watch all form a continuous stream of nutrition for our mental appetite which, whether we are aware of it or not, helps form our opinions and beliefs about ourselves and the world around us.

    The voice in our head is the product of all our influences, often moulded more by the negative things we have seen and heard and often quick to remind us of our limitations and fill us with self-doubt. Our beliefs about our own abilities and strengths are often formed by things we have heard from others, rather than the absolute proof of what we see we can achieve and our version of the world is shaped by news bulletins, Facebook posts and newspaper headlines.

    The more we become aware of how our influences feed our mental map of everything, the more we can adjust the balance of it. The more positive the flow, the more positive the product. What we think, we become – so if we are fed with a constant stream of messages about what we can't do and how we are failing at life, we will continue on a downward path as this belief becomes truth. If we are surrounded by people who build us up, celebrate our victories (however tiny) and remind us that we can do great things, well, we really can do great things.

    So, from this moment, watch your diet. Feed yourself with things that build you up, grow your confidence and remind you of all the things to be grateful for and limit your access to negative influences as much as you can. And here are 5 ways you can start doing it right now:

    1) Pick your friends wisely!
    Just because we grow up, doesn't mean we suddenly have lots of confidence in who we are and what we do – in fact, the opposite is often true! And just as children often need reassurance, thrive with praise and sometimes need a little encouragement to take a big leap into something new – so do we! We need to be surrounded by people who are on our side, who can support us when we need it and remind us of all the wonderful things we can do when we lose faith in ourselves.

    HMQUOTE21

    Life is far too short to spend time with people who want to belittle us or bring us down. 'Friends' like this, who compete and behave with jealousy, can be really damaging to our own happiness. So, walk away from them and invest your energy in friends who are loyal, honest and on your side.

    The people we spend most of our time with have a huge impact on our own inner voice and our own opinion of ourselves, possibly more than anything else, so make sure it's a positive one!

    2) Remind yourself that social media isn't real life!
    A quick look through your many social media feeds will no doubt fill you with glamourous pictures of friends (and famous people and people you vaguely know!) working out at the gym, enjoying an exotic holiday, demonstrating some impressive parenting feat or polishing their new car in the drive of their new house. It can become a barage of things you haven't got or haven't done.

    I believe that we all spend far too much time on social media for our own good, and although I think there are a lot of positive things about it, I do think limiting our time on it in favour of more 'real life' influences is a massive step towards more positive mental health. We miss so many moments of 'ordinary joy' because we are looking at the world as presented on a phone screen – and it is these small moments that we keep missing that can remind us that the life we are in, at this very moment, has so much to be grateful for and shows us so many things we should be proud of. Yeah, we might want a bigger house, a nicer car, an exotic holiday somewhere – but rather than reminding ourselves constantly what we haven't got, let's spend a bit of time appreciating what we have got.

    So, enjoy social media and all the good stuff it brings whilst always reminding yourself that real life happens right in front of us, not on a timeline, or in an app, and that if we stop competing and comparing we often become instantly more happy and satisfied with our lot.

    PHONE

    3) Skip, block or turn off!
    Now this step is an important one – especially for my fellow overthinkers! Overthinkers are often very empathetic and can often tie themselves in knots working through how a given scenerio is going to make everyone else feel and then exhausting themselves trying to make it better for everyone! Empathy is wonderful gift to have, but it can be overwhelming when faced with a seemingly never-ending stream of sad, worrying or tragic stories and events.

    The amount of information we are bombarded with on a daily basis, an hourly basis even, is just huge – too huge. Between news reports, front page headlines and posts popping up on every form of social media we see war, abuse, child cruelty, animal cruelty, illness, trauma, homelessness, suicide, missing people and countless other negative stories every hour of every day. And each time we see one, we will feel the pain, feel the guilt or feel the responsibility to solve it.

    We really can end up with the weight of the world on our shoulders.

    So edit that stream. I hate seeing nasty pictures on Facebook, especially if they involve animals or children, so I scroll on by. I don't look, I don't read. I haven't read a newspaper for a very long time and I rarely watch the news. I stick to lists on Twitter that focus on friends and people I am particularly interested in rather than being swamped by the full feed.

    And does this mean that I don't care? No, maybe the opposite. Sometimes I care too much and it is too much to cope with. When I see these stories, I feel the panic a mum might feel, I feel the loss that a wife might feel and I feel an almighty sadness when I think what some people are going through. To live like that every hour of every day would be suffocating, and I fear for some, is suffocating.

    So we need to stop carrying the world around with us. We need to care, be kind and do what we can within our own world, our own life and within our own limits. That is where our responsibility lies and where we can have the biggest impact.

    HMQUOTE22

    4) Read some good stuff!
    One of the great things about the internet is that we now have at our fingertips an abundance of helpful and inspiring stuff to read. In between the funny cat pictures, amusing memes and the google answer for everything there is a huge resource of inspiring blogs, informative articles and downloadable books – many of them free. You can find new skills, learn about starting a small business or be motivated to feel more confident.

    Use a bit of your social media time to browse some of this more inspiring content instead. Even if it is just for a few minutes a day it can have a massive impact on the positive diet we are trying to create – especially if that blog post replaces ten minutes you would have spent feeling inadequate browsing mansions over on pinterest!

    Building and retaining this positive diet is about finding a stream of influences which all carry a positive message, and introducing a small amount of reading (of the right stuff!) into your daily feed is an incredibly effective way of doing it.

    5) Tell yourself that you're doing ok!
    We are often experts at telling ourselves we have done something wrong, or beating ourselves up for saying something daft or talking ourselves out of doing something because we're not good enough. Well, we need to build up the habit of reminding ourselves that we're doing ok. Every day.

    You got through the day at work without punching anyone – you're doing ok! You fed the kids today – you're doing ok! You got out of bed today – you're doing ok!

    Sometimes, just getting through the day is a massive achievement. Other days we can take on the world. But every day, you must remind yourself – you really are doing ok.

     

    During June 2019, I am challenging you to 'change your diet' - to take control of every influence which feeds into your mental appetite and to take steps to make it as positive and fulfilling as you can. Join us over in the Beyond The Crumpled Paper Facebook group where, during the month, I will be sharing more exercises, prompts and tips to help you do this...

  2. The ONLY resolution I am making for 2019!

    Posted on

    *warning: this post does include the 'sh word'. Quite a lot. So please do not read on if this would offend you*

    It's that time of year when everyone is making resolutions to drink less, eat more healthy food, go to the gym and so on and so on. All good and worthy resolutions and all which show that New Year is a time when we all feel fired up to make a fresh start, to up our game and to be 'better' in everything that we do.

    sporty legs

    But, in 2019, I am taking a different route towards resolutions and it involves making just one decision - the decision to let one question help me make the year as sucessful as I possibly can - and that question is 'what would Shit Hot Helen do?'

    I hit a bit of a slump in the latter half of 2018. My eating and drinking habits got progressively unhealthy and I piled on weight, I was getting frustrated that life kept getting in the way of my work and I had a general feeling of apathy that I just couldn't shake. 

    But then, I got fed-up of being fed-up.

    This wasn't the me that I wanted to be – I wanted to be shit hot Helen, not sad, lazy Helen.

     sad

    I once went to a talk by the son of the first victim of the Yorkshire Ripper. He is now a motivational speaker who travels the world, and this talk I listened to was one of the best I have ever heard. It had a real impact on me and several messages within it hit home – one being about how we should all do the very best we can, no matter what it is that we're doing. He spoke about how we can all step up our game – like turning up a thermostat, we can all dial ourselves up a notch or 2 to be an even better version of ourselves. And this is what I needed to do. I needed to turn up my thermostat.

    And this is what I vow to do in 2019. And I am doing it by asking myself the constant question 'what would Shit Hot Helen do?' Now, Shit Hot Helen is the version of myself that I aspire to be – she is successful in her business, is losing weight and getting healthy and she cares about herself and how she looks. Quite frankly, she's on it! And the exciting truth about Shit Hot Helen is that I have everything within me already to be her – if I want to be and am willing to put in the work.

    So now, if I feel a bit tired and don't feel like doing that extra work that I know would make a big difference I ask 'What would Shit Hot Helen do?' (she'd dig deep and do the work!)

    When I feel a bit fed-up and feel like reaching for the wine and chocolate, I ask 'what would Shit Hot Helen do?' (She would have the willpower to avoid the wine and the chocolate and would make herself prepare a healthy snack or maybe go for a walk and get some fresh air)

    When I'm tempted to just throw my scruffy jeans on to nip to the shops I ask 'what would Shit Hot Helen do?' (she would make the effort to choose a nice outfit and leave the house feeling much better about herself)

    And so it continues. And the more I take the course of action that Shit Hot Helen would take, the more I can become her – a better model of myself. And by doing this I will begin to make better decisions in all aspects of my life - in health, in work and in relationships. It is one resolution that serves all areas of life. And one which sets me up to succeed and not to fail by giving me the space for habits to change and behaviour to shift. I may not always take the course of action that SHH would, but the more I ask the question the more my thermostat has the chance to turn in the right direction. 

    shithotquote

    We all have within us the potential to be that shit hot version of ourselves – and if we start behaving like they do, then we can all turn up that thermostat and become them.

    So for me, the route to a successful 2019 isn't in making resolutions that may not last, it's about asking one question that reminds me that everything I need for success is already there, it just needs the energy and the determination to use it. 

    So, start asking yourself the same question about your own shit hot self and we can all strive together to reach our fullest potential in 2019.

    Let's turn those thermostats up!

    Helen x