Am I Good Enough For University?

Around this time a year ago, I was not considering applying for physical university. (For those of you who don’t know, I was studying with the Open University, a distance learning institution, at the time). I didn’t see it like this in the moment, but looking back I think I had almost written the whole idea of attending university off. It seemed so inconceivable to me, for many reasons, and that led to a total dismissal of it all.

Now, heading into my second term at uni, I thought it might be a good moment to reflect on that experience, and those feelings, in the hope that it might reach someone else going through something similar… So what was the main issue then?

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Meditation or Distraction? Personalising How You Manage Anxiety

When I was first contacted by Thrive, a company that develops therapeutic software, my curiosity was spiked by the sheer breadth and depth their app Feel Stress Free seems to promise. Allow me to explain: having used various tools for managing stress and anxiety before, I’ve often headed down a path of declining interest, as I get stuck in a rut of  repetitive activity. However, Feel Stress Free’s unique characteristic seems to be the huge variety of ways it offers for managing stress and anxiety – which have actually been created by psychologists/psychiatrists and are clinically proven to be helpful. I thought this could be a remedy for my tendency to lose that spark of interest.

The other main advantage I can see from the layout of the app is the possibility for personalising the ways of dealing with stress and anxiety, which is something I feel passionate about. I don’t think all methods work effectively for everyone, but that’s not a problem here; I picked up on five key areas of managing negative emotions that Thrive are striving to help with. I thought I’d outline these below and talk about how you can implement these things in your own life – both with and without the help of your phone.

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WTF is ASMR? Can It Help With Anxiety?

Just like lots of people with anxiety, I have often turned to the internet in search of ways to help sooth a jumpy mind. A mind that can sometimes feel like it’s wired up to an electric current on maximum voltage… So less than ideal. Amongst the advice handed out by fellow bloggers, meditation guides and yoga videos, there’s a unique corner of the internet, specifically on YouTube, that’s home to what is known as ASMR. I really don’t know how many of you lovely readers will have heard of this before – so I will assume it is uncharted territory and start from the logical beginning – what in the world is ASMR?!

What is ASMR?

ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) is, simply put, a relaxing sensation often felt in the head, neck and sometimes limbs caused by visual and/or auditory stimulus. Not everyone feels it but those that do, including me, normally describe it as a tingling feeling that can make you feel incredibly relaxed and sleepy. It’s kind of like having a static balloon held to the back of your neck making all the little hairs stand on end.

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July Reflections: Holidays and Undoing Stress

I’m writing this post on the first day of proper rain in a long time: not like a light drizzle, or a sea fret, but a downpour. A deluge from the heavens. And I’m welcoming it with open, now soaking wet, arms. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’ve missed the rain. I have enjoyed the sun over the last few weeks too, though.

July kicked off a little unusually – I was in New York, 3474 miles from home and having a wonderful time. I was feeling so much better than at the start of June, that’s for sure. I was coming to the end of a nearly-month-long adventure with my friend that took us across 5 (and a half) countries from two continents. I had a great time and really loved New York. I’ve started sharing the photos from there, as well as the rest of my travels, over on Instagram if street photography is your thing.

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May Reflections – Finishing Uni and Going Backwards

Considering everything that has happened in my life over May, I’d like to be able to think about the past month as having taken a step back in order to spring forwards. I’m holding onto the hope that this is just the chaos before the clarity. Although good things have happened this month, it really has not been great overall. Kind of like buying a tube of fruit pastilles before realising you only like the green sweets and you’re now stuck with the whole packet.

You see, April was possibly the best month of the year for me so far – I had come to terms with my future university decision and I said enough is enough to the gloominess hanging over me. I upped my exercise, got out of bed early everyday, and focussed on self-care and organisation. I was fighting to be able to look back and know that I did everything I could to make April a great month – and it worked. My general wellbeing improved and everything felt tinged in a shimmer of possibility.

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Why and How to Wake Up Early

Throughout April I set myself a challenge: to get up before 8am every single day. I know, I live a crazy life. I have accomplished this on all but one day, the morning after I got home late from a concert. That’s a pretty high success rate I think! But what is the point of all of this? And more importantly, should you sacrifice your lie-ins?

I’ve been quite an early riser for much of my life really; I’ve only been on the other side of the school system for a couple of years, so early starts are all I’ve really known for the majority of my own lived experience. Even on the weekends though I was never too late up, and I never had that typical ‘teen’ phase of sleeping in past 12 on a Sunday.

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However, even though I never really stayed in bed for too long each day, I was starting to feel like the morning itself was controlling me and dictating my mood for the rest of the day, rather than me taking charge of the time in a way that suits me. This was the moment I realised: getting up early every day isn’t important in isolation, the positive impacts of this action are found in the detail, or rather, inserted into the phrase. It is important to get up early at a similar time each day.

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Feeling Worthless – Conversations With Anxiety #08

Snapshots of the conversations that are had between anxiety and I: the things we fight over, the discussions and debates we take part in and the struggle to reason with irrationality. Some of these are based on past events or reoccurring battles, some on more recent occasions, and some are simply extrapolations of experiences I’ve had.

Depression: We are so worthless.

Me: Huh?

Depression: I mean, look at us, literally what is the point.

Me: That’s a little negative, don’t you think?

Depression: Well what is there to be positive about?

Me: A lot of things! Such as–

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