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Take That, Anxiety: An Open Letter from the First Term of University

Dear Alys,

Hey, you made it through the first term of university! Can we have a pause for applause, please?

Yes, you’ve cried. Yes, you’ve had days when leaving your room took more than a couple of thoughts and deep breaths to achieve. Yes, anxiety hasn’t decided to fully retire to The Bahamas, never to be seen by you again (yet). But you have persisted through these feelings and honestly, they’ve been rather fleeting for the most part. More like occasional-dandruff-to-brush-off-the-shoulders level, a minor inconvenience, rather than taking-a-few-days-out-because-of-flu level.

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November Reflections – Where Have I Been?! What’s Next?

Yep, it’s a generic ‘I’m sorry I took a break from blogging’ post. Well, it should be at least. I haven’t written any content for over a month, and that’s too long for my liking. I feel like I owe everyone an explanation; this is the part of the post where I apologise profusely for my sudden hiatus, offer up a bunch of excuses and attempt to justify myself. But I’m sure you’ve all read plenty of those before, so instead this is just going to be a short and casual reflections post – like the ones I write every month.

What’s held me back from creating content over November then? The simple explanation is, of course, ‘university’. So let’s start with a rundown of how that’s all going…

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October Reflections – University Begins…

October was an intense month; I think anyone who has just started university will agree with that. It’s had a lot of ups and downs and has generally felt very confusing – it’s like the rug is constantly being pulled out from underneath me and I’m not sure if my feet will ever actually be touching solid ground. Bearing this context in mind, I thought the best way to approach October’s roundup post would be to focus on the positive things that have happened, rather than trying to condense all the emotions of the month into one chaotic assortment…

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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 ofΒ  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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How To Be Flawless

I think a lot of people aim to be flawless. Or at least, they’re on a mission to become ‘perfect’ (whatever that means). It’s no surprise really, it’s an ideal pushed on us at every opportunity: the copious amounts of photoshop on magazine covers, the endless adverts for whitening toothpastes/mascara/weight loss products, the ‘top 30 under 30’ and ‘youngest billionaire’ lists designed to make us feel inferior… the list goes on and on and on.

It is pretty crazy, when you stop to think about it. There are so many things out there encouraging us to carve ourselves into smooth, marble statues of perfect proportions, beauty and purposefulness. And if you’re not everything, you’re nothing.

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Learning to Run – Conversations with Anxiety #11

Conversations With Anxiety is a series which aims to convey what it’s like to live with anxiety. These dialogues are snapshots of the debates I have or have had with anxiety: the things we fight over, the discussions we take part in and the struggle to reason with irrationality.


Me: Let’s go for a run!

Anxiety: Huh?

Me: It will be good for us.

Anxiety: Us? No no no, you know I hate physical activity – especially physical activity which other people can observe!

Me: Fine, you won’t like it but it will be good for me.

Anxiety: You’re trying to get rid of me aren’t you. You’re doing all of this to push me out.

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5 Creative Hobbies To Reduce Anxiety

Recently, I’ve started creating art (if you can call it that) to try to combat feelings of stress and anxiety. You hear a lot about the therapeutic impact of creativity, but I think many of us feel a little too overwhelmed to give it a go. After all, the art we consume on Pinterest and Instagram is often amazing, and that in itself can be daunting.

But we can try to take that flood of other people’s creativity and turn it a positive way: we can see it as inspiration. So I thought I’d talk about some of the things I’ve tried to get involved in creatively, that aren’t too hard to pick up and could be used as a good distraction for negative feelings.

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