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If you’ve been talking to me in the past couple of weeks, you would’ve heard me say the word perspective about 8 million times. I’ve been using it a lot whilst talking to my friends. Some may think that I’m turning into one of those loopy spiritual people who are irritatingly positive and whose optimism and life views are impossible to replicate because they seem so Utopian. Others will probably ask  “what does she know?” or “she’s way stronger than me, I’m not like that”. I’ve come across both of these statements and they both leave me feeling…I don’t know…upset? Frustrated? Silly?

See, one of my biggest fears is people seeing me as someone who tries to act superior, inconsiderate, arrogant or as someone who lacks empathy and ‘just doesn’t get it’. They see me as someone who is confident, has her life together and who doesn’t have it that bad. It’s sad that these days mental health and life problems have become a competition. Leave the competing to the athletes, not to our internal (or external) struggles. I don’t write these things or give people advice because I’m trying to be a show off know it all being all ‘look at me’, I’m writing this to show you that you are not alone. I’m writing this to share my story and show you that there is hope and that things do change.

So yeah, this thing called perspective. More often than not, it’s something you gain when you’re supposed, or more or less, it’s when you make the choice to want to live a better, happier life. That being said, yes, it takes time. People need to realise this sort of thing on their own and everyone’s journey is different and unique. For me, it started three years ago in year 12 when it occurred to me I had been living with anxiety and hadn’t realised it. For some, they’ve spent years and years with their problems. Some have been wanting to change, others have made excuses.

Personally, what has helped me is that I’ve had goals that I have been determined to achieve. I’m driven and motivated and I owe a lot of my strength to not giving up on what I want to achieve in my life. I very well could have easily just slipped into a state of not caring, of sitting on my laptop all day and not getting out of the house, but I pushed myself. Yes, sometimes I just couldn’t and thought it better not to. But more often than not, I found a way, I found a reason. Find your reasons and you’ll start to see your perspective change.

As I’m writing this, I’ve realised for me it’s all about three words.

Reasons. Choices. Perspectives.

You have your reasons.

You make your choices.

You gain your perspective.

You can either choose to stay where you and continue living unhappily. Or, you could get up, give life a shot and keep going, working towards becoming happier. Saying you want to change isn’t good enough, you have to act on it. Saying you want to become happier isn’t going to work if you don’t actually do something about it. Say how much you want to change all you want, you won’t change until you do something. I think the thing that stops a lot of people from acting on it is the fear of taking two steps forward and then one step back. It’s the fear that things aren’t going to become better straight away and it is demoralising.

But I’ve got something for you- it happens to absolutely everyone. Do you really think I don’t have my setbacks? Do you really think I’ve got it all together and because I’ve changed my perspective, I have my reasons and I make my choices, that everything’s all sunshine and rainbows? No way. I might not be struggling as much as I used to, but I still have days or weeks where I feel like absolute rubbish. Take this week for example. On Sunday night, I almost had a panic attack because I was overthinking the symptoms my body was having. This morning- it was a similar story, as was last night. I’ve had multiple days in a row where I feel like I couldn’t breathe properly and I was concentrating far too much on my breathing- which didn’t help. It happens to everyone and that is exactly where choice comes in. You have the power to decide how you react to it. This is where I’ve seen the most progress within myself. Even though I still have some of the same problems, I now know how to cope with it and it’s all to do with the way I react to it.

Are you going to fall back into old ways for good and not even bother? Or are you going to be resilient, admit that it’s a process and keep on trying? Are you going to sit there and look at Tumblr quotes about anxiety and depression or watching sad TV shows where you know you’ll end up feeling worse, or are you going to make an effort to avoid those and focus on the good?

Oddly enough, I used to be one of those people who would search up quotes about anxiety on Pinterest in order to feel like I wasn’t alone or to mope about in my feelings. It’s something a lot of people with anxiety and depression do and we find/found solace in. Little did I know, that focusing on those particular feelings only made it worse.

Before anyone says anything against that, I just wanted to make clear that everyone is on their own journey and ultimately I believe it’ll all happen when you’re ready. For me, it was a three year turnaround. It only took me three years to get to where I am now and it took a lot of hard work, consistency, listening to the right people’s advice and being determined to get better. When I said I’d do something, I’d do it. I stayed in sync with my intuition when it came to people, distancing myself from the negative nancies who impeded on my vibes and have started becoming closer to those who I see are good influences on me and help me grow, not tear me down to suit them.

What really sealed the deal for me was when I was in Thailand and this elusive perspective hit me. No, you do not need a trip away for this to happen to you. It can happen at any time, anywhere. I had my reasons, I had my choices and after Thailand, I had my perspective and honestly, it’s a beautiful thing.

So what is this perspective? Perspective to me is the way you see and react to things. It’s your attitude to life and the good and the bad that comes with it.

Perspective has been my ultimate game-changer. It’s been the icing on the cake and the equivalent of Darren Jolly and Luke Ball being recruited to Collingwood for the 2010 season. It’s most definitely an aid to helping you overcome your worries and fears and when you realise you have it, you feel like you’re on top of the world.

Yeah cool story, Mon. Now are you gonna tell us how we attain this almighty perspective?

Well yes. Yes, I will. And unfortunately, it’s not easy (as you’ve realised) and it’s not the same for everyone. There’s no guaranteed time frame for when you’ll get it- it could be days, months or years. There’s no set formula that will work for every single person, but there are things you can do to help.

-be open-minded
-want it, and I mean really want it
-get out and about
-mix with the right people, mix with different people, talk to people who help you grow
-distance yourself/pay less attention/give less attention to those who you can sense are not good for you, whose vibes don’t match with yours, who don’t offer anything to you except drama, anxiety and doubts

-read
-have a desire to learn, be open to learning new things, want to learn new things
-observe: observe your surroundings, observe others, observe the world from an objective standpoint
-be grateful
-be patient

Apply these things and you’ll see a change in your perspective. When you’re open to more new things and realise how good life is, you’ll start to realise how important your attitude really is. I always thought it was necessary, but not as much as I do now having learnt the things I have learnt.

Have your reasons.
Make your choices.
Attain your perspective.

You got dis.

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Self love:// def. Regard for one’s own wellbeing and happiness.

I reckon Google’s definition is pretty spot on.

Self love…Ha! What a concept. It’s one that I thought I had ahold of. It’s one that I thought I was one of the few people who didn’t have to worry about working on that aspect of myself because it just came naturally to me. Boy oh boy, was I wrong about that. After having a chat to someone who has been an immense help in helping me manage and overcome my anxiety, I realised that self-love was really a concept I only had the barest of ideas about. I mean sure, I knew what it was. I knew the concept. It was just my practice of it was a little, let’s just say, rusty and misguided.

This revelation came at a good time for me. I was having one of those moments where I felt like my self-worth was non-existent. My anxiety was at its highest in months. Part of me was kicking myself for letting the trigger event that sparked it (that’s a story for another time), to actually allow it to make me take a step back in the progress I had made. However, after these conversations, I realised a major issue that I had.

Even though to others it seemed like I was confident-it was really actually a facade. It just wasn’t as obvious to people because I didn’t dwell on it consciously. Subconsciously though, my anxiety would be annoyingly high and it would transpire into anxieties regarding other things- most notably, my health. Yes,  I joke to people that I am a hypochondriac, but it’s something that has legitimately affected me. Again, that is a story for another time. My inability to properly love myself without any inhibitions made it more difficult to cope with my anxiety.

Since these conversations, I have noticed the drastic change that has taken place in my mindset and it’s one that will stick with me for the rest of my life. I realised that with self love, I had been preaching something I didn’t correctly practice and now that I have been working on this art for almost two months, I have a whole new understanding of how effective and important it is for you to love yourself.

Feeling grateful, confident and realising all the brilliant qualities you have is the most unreal feeling. You feel invincible, unstoppable. Well at the very least, that’s how I feel. I feel like I can handle anything, no matter what life throws at me. I know my strengths and nothing can tear me down. However on that point, it’s totally fine to not feel as up to scratch as you hope to be. Everyone has their ups and downs. It’s about how you let the downs affect you and whether you let them. It’s all about the way you react to things.

In life, you’re going to meet a range of people. The good, the bad and the ugly. The good are the ones who will only help you flourish, they’ll love you for you and just their presence and their vibes allows you to just naturally love yourself. Then there are the bad, the negative nancies who, even when they don’t mean to, bring your vibe down. It could be a friend, a relative or just someone you encounter. Sometimes you can avoid them, sometimes you can’t- but the main thing is to be able to have the confidence within yourself to recognise that their problems are their personal problems, not yours. Self love allows you to focus on yourself without any worries that you’re being selfish. And then of course, there is the ugly. The ones who go out of their way to make your life miserable and try and bring you down. They’re the ones who try and suck the energy out of you, drain you, take your confidence away from you. They use your weaknesses to their advantage and try and twist your words around to suit them. It’s usually their way, or the highway and think they’re God’s gift to you and everyone who comes into contact with them. As soon as you’re doing better than they are, they do whatever they can to try and bring you down back to their level. Another thing they do is compete with you, trying to make themselves superior when you stand their, somewhat puzzled and thinking “U ok m8?”. These are the people who will ultimately test your ability to love yourself and have the confidence to see passed whatever issues these people might have that would make them miserable enough to try and bring you down.

I’m the type of person who is pretty switched on to my perspectives and the way I feel, but sometimes I need a good kick up the backside and a face to face conversation that makes me realise something that I knew wasn’t right, but couldn’t exactly put my finger on what it was. Since these conversations, I’ve been able to change my perspective on life. It’s not like I wasn’t positive and optimistic in the past, it’s just now, I can be even more positive and optimistic. I’ve become more at peace, feel like I can cope with different stresses better, and most of all, I can do so with more confidence.

So this is what I want you all to do: buy yourself a really pretty notebook with bright colours and cute pictures (corny, I know, but trust me, it’ll work) and in this notebook, write down every single thing you love about yourself and why. Write down these traits, maybe 3-5 a day for a week or two and at the end of that time, read over that and take in everything that you’ve written. These are the individual, unique, amazing things that make people lucky to have you in their lives and that make people need you in your life. Another thing I want you to do is start a gratitude journal. Write down 3-5 things that you were thankful for that day and write down why. Within no time, you’ll see your perspective change. You’ll take your focus from the bad and place it onto the good- both about yourself and your life.

Realise that you’re worth it. Because you are.

Watch as the importance of dramas seem to just fade away and hardly faze you, if they do at all. You’ll realise what’s important and what’s not. Who’s important and who isn’t. It’s a somewhat small step to making the biggest change of your life and living the life you really want to live.

Love yourself,
and you’ll be unstoppable.
You are invincible.

times up

#TimesUp- the new ‘it’ slogan for sexual harassment in not only Hollywood, but for the sexual harassment and mistreatment of women in the workplace and in general. Dozens of celebrities- both men and women- donned stunning black designer attire as they hit the red carpet at the Golden Globes. They voiced their opinions, saying enough is enough in Hollywood with the mistreatment and disrespect of women in the industry. It has sparked a new movement in women’s rights, and not going to lie, it’s about flippin’ time and I’m just praying, hoping, doing my best to ensure, that it is one that sticks and isn’t just a tokenistic occurrence that’s currently trending.

With the plethora of revelations coming out last year against the likes of Harvey Weinstein, Kevin Spacey and co- by both men and women- there’s no wonder that Time’s Up has been formed. Some may argue why people care the second celebrities are involved? As much as this does irritate me as it can be interpreted that celebrities are more important than the average person, these people who have been affected are still human. These are people that have been idolised for years and they’re using their platform to allow others to come out and voice their truths. There’s something reassuring and comforting in being able to relate to someone who seems to have the perfect life, and then realising they have experienced similar things to you. Personally, thank God, I have not suffered anything remotely similar to what these men and women have, but I know people who have. Even if I didn’t know anyone who had been affected, as a decent human being, I’d be just as passionate.

Usually, there’s the argument that these ‘it’ issues seen in Hollywood only affect a certain number of women, or the focus is on a said group of women. The thing with this particular issue is that it’s a global one, that women around the world experience, in all sorts of occupations. I could sit here and write thousands of facts and examples of sexual harassment in the workplace, but I won’t because I’d be here for about 10 years. Let’s just say that in 2009-2010, 21% of complaints made to the Australian Human Rights Commission were for sexual harassment and 88% of these cases occurred in the workplace. It’s evident that positions of power have constantly been abused and people, in particular women, have suffered for it. On top of that, women in male-dominated workplaces are more likely to experience sexual harassment and sexism than those in female dominated or equal workplaces. Yabba-dabba-doo! Although the legal defense fund is only in the US at the moment, it’s essential that we need to do something to set up similar legal support organisations around the world.

A concern that I have with this movement is that it’s just a trend and the media and its followers will just get swept up in the hysteria and forget about it as soon as it dies down. This sort of thing just doesn’t go away as soon as celebrities see fit, it stays with the millions of women around the world. Sure, it provides closure for some. The key word being ‘some’. It will still be an issue for so many and despite having a bit of coverage at the moment, chances are that it’ll eventually die down and minimal changes will be made. And movements like these have died down in the past, leaving only the original activists and a loyal band of supporters to continue to fight for what is right. Take Kony 2012 for example- honestly, I heard it was a bit of a scam, but still, there are hundreds of thousands of children that are child soldiers. Where’s the media coverage of that? Where’s our will to help these kids have a childhood? Then there’s Make Poverty History, which is obviously so 2005. Yes, there are countless people working behind the scenes and continuing the extraordinary work to help these causes, but how many more could be helping if it was broadcasted and maintained in the media. It could be argued that I’m naive in saying this as we all know that news cycles only last a remarkably short amount of time, and yes, I do agree. However, I’m just making the point regarding trends and the media’s ability to control them. I’m hoping more than anything that this movement doesn’t fall down the same abyss that past movements have and I believe it’s our job as people and decent human beings to keep it going. Ultimately, it’s our responsibility to keep these issues circling around and ensuring that people are made aware of them.

Another concern I have is that the interpretation of the message by some could lead to further tensions between men and women and the wrong message being sent across to people. The generalisation of men in particular as being sleazy, disrespectful and just straight out don’t genuinely care for women is ridiculous. The response to when males say “but not all men” is partially warranted (as quite a few guys who do say this, do actually fit that generalisation), but it’s also partially not warranted. There are so many respectful and kind men out there who genuinely care about women’s rights that are being thrown into this generalisation and it’s disgustingly disrespectful. I know a lot of people are going to disagree with that, but honestly, if we want change, we need to respect everybody. Nothing is going to happen if we disrespect and downgrade groups of people. In fact, it’s hypocritical. We complain about the way we are being treated, yet treat others the same? Two wrongs do not make a right in this instance and if we want a change, we truly need to treat everyone as an equal.

That being said, my concerns should not override the point of #TimesUp. It’s a spectacular cause that I am so grateful is finally gaining momentum and attention. Bringing up the startling facts and demanding change is necessary in making people around the world realise the ordeals so many have to go through on a daily basis. As long as we ensure that all people are accounted for, no matter who or what they identify as or what they do, it’s a positive and essential step in the right direction.

Dapper

As 2017 draws to a close, many of us are looking back at the year that was, reflecting on the highs and lows whilst getting ready for the night ahead to ring in 2018. Well, most people are. Unless, you’re someone like me who has decided to keep it a quiet one this year (thank you work). Nevertheless, whether you’re catching up with mates, hitting the biggest NYE parties in the city, or just taking it easy and preferring to wake up on the 1st of January sober, refreshed and not hungover, it’s no big deal. You do what you want and what you think is right for you personally- which is a concept I’ve really grasped onto this year. In the past two weeks, I’ve been thinking of what the year 2017 has brought me and just from the feelings I get about that alone, I’ve realised how far I’ve really come as a person. I’ve learnt a plethora of lessons this year and I’ve built the foundations that will make my 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021…etc etc….constantly better and better.

1. I’ve really got the travel bug

I went to Thailand- twice- this year and with 2018 just around the corner, one of my number one goals is to travel more. I probably won’t go back to Thailand, but I’d love to travel elsewhere and explore the world. I love the feeling of going to a new place, being away from my day to day grind, becoming rejuvenated and meeting new people from countries around the world. Most likely once I finish writing this post, I’ll write down a list of where I want to go next year and in the years following it. I’ve always somewhat been aware of the importance of travelling, but this year has opened my eyes to what it’s really, actually, seriously about. Until now, travelling was never a priority. Well, it was- but it was more so ranked about 5th or 6th rather than being in my top 3 (honestly, it’s equal 1st).  I looked up travel quotes on Pinterest to include here but there are far too many that resonate with me. For me, travelling is about discovering. Discovering new things about myself that I didn’t know, discovering new places, discovering new cultures, discovering new perspectives.  I believe some of the best lessons you learn in life are when you travel and explore the world, and it’s something I am aching to make a reality for myself.

2. I finally started loving myself- properly

For a lot of people, I come across as a happy, go with the flow, outgoing, confident person. In reality however, I was quite self-conscious. Not in the body image way, but more so about whether I was good enough. I questioned whether I was worthy enough or talented enough. I often asked myself “lol, as if you’d be able to do that” and all those sort of self-sabotaging comments. Although I’d brush them off and not let them affect me seriously, I still didn’t know how to tackle them properly. 2017 was the year I finally tackled my mental health problems and learnt techniques to cope with anxiety. The changes have been immense and I’ve become so much happier. The last two months of 2017 have been when I’ve seen the most change, and it has been since I’ve become more grounded and focused on truly loving myself. I’ve realised that I am worth it, I am good enough, I am a unique person that has the ability to do whatever I set my mind to. I’ve learnt to put myself first and as a result, the anxiety has dwindled. I always thought I practiced self-love, but I didn’t. Not until these past two months and ever since I have, I just feel so much better for it. 2018 will only see me more grounded, calm, grateful and happy and most certainly not letting the thoughts and actions of others impact my wellbeing.


3. Am I officially a gym junkie?

One thing that came out of nowhere (well, more or less) for me was my passion for fitness. Sure, I’ve always loved sport but fitness? Myself and fitness did not go hand in hand. Within a space of a few months, I decided to sign up to study for a certificate 4 in fitness and also seeing a potential future in the fitness and wellbeing business. 2017 saw me go to the gym far more consistently, and not just for rugby purposes. I’ve realised that the gym is my sanctuary. It’s my go to place for when I need to relieve stress and anxiety. It’s where I am most at ease. Another thing is the progress I’ve seen. I said to myself a few times how I didn’t want to get that bulky or muscly, but upon noticing the way my muscles are building, I love it. I feel healthier, happier and successful. There’s something rewarding about seeing how your muscles are slowly building up when you’re lifting a weight and it motivates you to keep going. I have set numerous fitness goals in 2018- both rugby and personal related- one of the most important being to remain consistent in my training and to aim to be fitter, faster and stronger than ever before.

4. Live in the moment

If there has been one thing I’ve decided to aim to do more of, it’s to live in the moment. Much of my teen years were spent dwelling on the future- partially no fault of my own considering the messages that had been drilled into my brain for so long. I always thought about my eventual career, my eventual love life, my eventual everything- but hardly focused on the present. 2017 taught me to just go with the flow. Sure, have your plans set out, know where you aim to go- but also leave plenty of room for other things that might show up or changes that could take place. Since I’ve taken on this perspective, I’ve found that there was less pressure on me and more so, things started falling into place more.

5. Sport is still my life

At some point, I thought that I might have lost my love of sport by the age of 20 or so. Excuse me, I just need to take a breath because I can’t stop laughing at that thought. If anything, my love of sport has only grown and become more prominent in my life. From changing footy teams to starting rugby to seeing my beloved Melbourne Storm win the premiership, both watching and playing sports have only made me happier (stressed out on occasion too, I have to admit- I think I’m still recovering from the Sydney v Bulldogs round 3 match and the Bulldogs v Essendon game in July of this year). Rugby has given me a whole new purpose and I’ve absolutely fallen in love with the sport. It’s also helped me meet so many new amazing, inspiring people who I’ve lucky to call my teammates and sisters. I think it’s safe to say that 2018 is going to be sportier than ever before- from my own rugby, to Melbourne Storm to the Bulldogs to every other team I support to the FIFA World Cup, I’m pumped to say the very least.

6. The people around you determine your mood

Most likely one of the biggest and most important things I have learnt from 2017 is just how important the people you surround yourself with are. This year, I’ve become far more aware of the importance of good vibes and how this can affect my life. I’m slowly cutting off ties with people who, as cliche and tacky as it may sound, ‘kill’ my vibe whilst try and spend more time with people who make me feel grounded, confident and are all round, just great company. There’s a reason why I came back grounded and confident when I came back from Thailand 2.0- it’s because I was surrounded by people who have nothing but good vibes and who have a positive influence on me. In 2018, the goal is to finally cut off ties with those producing negative vibes, hang out with the good vibe tribe (sorry, that was tacky) and meet more people who help me grow and make me laugh.

7. Life’s too short to worry

2017 saw me truly try and put the whole ‘life’s too short’ quote to good use. I’d often find myself worrying about things that were non-existent or things I could hardly control or things that really weren’t much of a big deal in the long run. I don’t want to be 80 years old, looking back at my life and regretting worrying about the pettiest of the petty. I want to just be able to live in the moment, enjoy where I’m at, look forward to the future and just be happy and have fun. I’ve found applying this mindset has helped my mental health incredibly and in 2018, it will only make me a happier person.


8. The importance of gratitude

I had seen a heap of people and articles discuss gratitude journals. I always brushed this idea off, thinking it wouldn’t help me nor was it something I would ever consider doing. If anything, I immaturely thought it was for the la di da, zen people who would spend their days at the beach and be irritatingly positive. More or less, that’s me now. Funny how life works. A few weeks after getting back from Thailand, something happened that led me to become less grounded and basically go backwards from all the hard work I had put in to feel as good as I had. When I started a gratitude journal (upon suggestion by my stillness meditation advisor), I felt as though my sanity had been restored. Within one night, my mindset had shifted and it led me to getting back on track to feeling grounded and happy. Every single night, I write down three things I am grateful for and then I write a heap of affirmations about myself. In 2018, I will continue this practice and enjoy the process of allowing it to help me become more confident, calm and happy.


There’s a common pattern in what 2017 has taught me and brought me- and that’s knowledge of how to become, remain and be happy, grounded and calm. When I am these three things, I feel unstoppable. I feel as though I can achieve anything I put my mind to and it makes me know that I will.

When reflecting at the end of the year, many people count the material things they have gotten. Whether it may be a new car, a certain item of clothing, a new house. What I think is more important, however, is realising how much you have grown as a person and aiming to continue to do so in the new year. The same can be said about resolutions. Just because you didn’t fulfil a resolution, doesn’t mean you had a bad year. I had a look at some of the resolutions I wrote down this time last year and I can safely say I didn’t fulfil a few, or at the very least, not to the extent I had hoped for and that’s ok. It’s about becoming aware of what you need to work on and having the willpower to work on it. I think it’s important that as much as we say “this is my year” and have expectations, that we just go with the flow and just take things day by day.

Seize the day, take opportunities, have fun, go outside your comfort zone, just live your life to the best of your ability.

thai 20

Yeah, you read that right. I went to Thailand, again. For the second time this year- the second time in 6 months. Last time around, it was all about being touristy, going on adventures and opening my eyes up to a new culture. This time around, it was a little different- unintentionally different. It turned out I was on an unintentional path to self-discovery. Having finished exams 4 days earlier, I was in a state of desperately needing to just get away. The end of the trimester had resulted in me questioning a number of things, and I needed somewhere to just get away from all the things that were constantly whirring in my mind.

Yeah sure, lucky me. I get the chance to properly be able to go away and travel overseas. I have the money to be able to do that. I have the luxury. Lucky me. I know a lot of people will probably read this and say well, she must be well off to be able to do that. I’m not being ungrateful for where I am in my life because I know I’m flipping lucky to have the opportunity to travel whilst many people don’t, but to say I have it easy or anything like that, is a tad annoying. Anyway, not the point. People are going to be bitter regardless of what you do so there’s no point dwelling on it.

Certain relatives had a go at me saying how they thought I was wasting my money by going to the same place again and that the money would have been better spent elsewhere, like on a car or maybe even a housing deposit. Firstly, who knows when on earth I’ll actually get around to driving and secondly, this isn’t 1977 where the houses weren’t that expensive and basically everyone’s goal was to buy their own house, have a car and live a stable, happy life with their little family. A number of things in 2017 comes before putting a deposit on a house. Yes, I do aim to buy my own house eventually. Yes, I do work and save money to be able to do that eventually, but until then, I still have a number of things I want to do before I get to that stage.

Truth is, and something that I’ve learnt, is that life is all about choices and priorities. For me, travelling is a priority. Rugby is a priority. My education is a priority. My health and wellness is a priority. If you really want something, you prioritise it. Sure, sometimes the current place you are at may not allow for you to achieve or get what you want, but the majority of time, it will eventually through a process. It’s a process to get fit. It’s a process to improve your mental health. It’s a process to complete a degree. It’s a process to earn the money you need to travel. It’s a process starting up your own business. When you start coming up with excuses and neglecting your needs, then you have to ask whether you want it or not. You have to bluntly ask yourself: “How important is this to me?” and most importantly, you have to be honest with yourself. The more you lie to yourself, the worse off you’ll be. Make your choices. Set your priorities. Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do. Listen to the people who have been there done that, because a lot of the time they drop the truth bombs you don’t want to hear, but really need to.

Another thing I learnt whilst in Thailand was the importance of surrounding yourself with different people. Don’t stick to the same old crew, day in, day out. Don’t stick to the same demographic. Meet new people. Older people. Younger people. People who you never really would think you would get along with or learn from. People from all walks of life who have experienced a range of different hurdles and events that you are yet to, or even may never experience. Every single person you meet teaches you something different. It may be the smallest little thing, but eventually it’ll turn out to be one of the important lessons of your life and something you carry with you every single day. This time around, I was the youngest by 7 years in comparison to everyone else that was there. Firstly, I had more fun with them than I do with the majority of people who are much closer to my age (no offence guys) and secondly, they helped either change or reiterate a heap of perspectives I had on life.

Both times I’ve been to Thailand have taught me things about my anxiety. This time around, it had be brutally asking myself constantly: “honestly, what do I have to be anxious about?”. I would then grown to myself, shake it off and carry on with another day in paradise. I’d have moments where my health anxiety would be peaking, but months of training myself how to cut off an anxious thought before it would impact my experience would usually be able to shut down these menacing notions and allow me to continue enjoying myself and just be able to relax. Yes, I had moments where it got the better of me, but eventually, I won every other time. Another question I have come to ask myself is: “When I’m 80 years old and look back on my life, do I really want to have spend so many days not living my life to the fullest, anxious about things that were either untrue or not applicable to me? Do I really want to look back and be scared that I have something wrong with me when in fact I’m perfectly healthy?”. The answer, every single time, was a resounding no. When you question yourself enough times in moments of anxiety, your mindset starts to change and your list of coping mechanisms begins to increase.

Another major thing I learnt…well it was more so reiterated, was that my happy place was swimming in the ocean. Being out in the water, amidst the waves and allowing your skin and muscles to feel the benefits of the salt water allowed for me to have a place where I felt literally no anxiety. When I’m in the water, I felt like I was in my happy place, that I had no worry in the world. It’s an unexplainable feeling only known to those who have experienced the same with their own happy places, whether it be in the ocean like me or elsewhere. All we know is that you’re happy and relaxed and if it was up to us, we would live there if we could.

Since coming back from Thailand with my altered outlook on life, I’ve found myself to be more grounded. I can deal with stress and anxiety better. I’ve become more motivated and driven, more so than ever before. I was able to recharge and clear my mind. You don’t always need a trip to Thailand to do that, just getting away from your phone, going somewhere you love, spending time with different people and having an open mind when it comes to learning things is all you really need.