Have hope, chase joy, embrace life – recovery is possible.

Posts tagged ‘positivity’

A Little Bit Of Encouragement…

You are SO AMAZING!
Don’t slink into the background. Don’t hide yourself away.
You are BEAUTIFUL! FABULOUS! MAGNIFICENT!
Show the world your beauty. Glow. Sparkle. Shine.
Let your colours show. Even the darker ones. Even the ones you don’t like. Even the ones that others don’t like.
You are a rainbow. And everyone loves rainbows ๐Ÿ˜‰

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You Are Amazing! YOU are GREAT!


[Image via: SooBoo Designs]

Sometimes, all we need is a little validation to remind us how amazing we are ๐Ÿ™‚
And so, i have a challenge for you ๐Ÿ˜‰

I want you, to make someone smile.
I want you to give someone a genuine, heart-felt compliment.

It could be your partner. It could be your child.
It could be your co-worker, your friend, or your neighbour.
It could be the person who makes your morning coffee, or the person you sit next to on the bus.
Or it could even be the first person you pass in the street.

Whoever it is, i can guarantee that you will make their day ๐Ÿ™‚
And you never know, you might find yourself on the receiving end of some pretty great compliments too! ๐Ÿ™‚

Did you make someone smile today?
Leave me a comment & let me know – i’d love to hear how it went! ๐Ÿ™‚

If You Had Told Me Life Could Be This Overwhelming Beautiful, I Never Would Have Believed You.

To the -oh-so-lovely M.
[my mermaid โ€“ the dietitian who swam beside me during my first year of treatment],

You saw me through my first year of treatment, holding my hand as i took those first shaky steps towards recovery. You helped me to consider that my worth was greater than any number on a scale – that i deserved to recover. While it took me much longer to truly believe this, you helped to sow this seed of value in my soul – one which i would continue to nurture over the next two years, into the beautiful, flourishing blossom of self-worth that rests in my heart today ๐Ÿ™‚

[From the ‘thankyou’ gift i made for M., when we finished our work together.]

To the brilliant M.C.
[the psychologist who gave me the space to discover โ€˜meโ€™],

You were the first person to provide me with a space that was truly my own. At first I didnโ€™t know how to fill it โ€“ it took me quite a while before I learnt how to โ€œjust say whatever comes to mindโ€. When we first began our meetings together, I filled them with the expectations & offerings of others, but as time went on, I realised that this was not a space for the ideas of others โ€“ it was a space for me to discover my own. And it was in these meetings, that I began to discover myself โ€“ one beautiful, hidden piece at a time ๐Ÿ™‚

Thankyou for being consistent.
Thankyou for being reliable.
Thankyou for being here when I needed you to be, & thankyou for the times when you werenโ€™t.
Thankyou for your silence, even though it made me uncomfortable.
Thankyou for your words.
Thankyou for the pushes when I needed them, & for supporting me when I needed to stay still.
Thankyou for helping me to feel safe again.
Thankyou for teaching me that crying is actually okay.
Thankyou for your lack of criticism, but thankyou also, for not always agreeing with me.
Thankyou for your reassurance.
Thankyou for giving me this space, & the time to learn how best to use it.
Most of all, thankyou for helping me to feel worthy of filling it.

[A bag i sewed as a ‘thankyou’ gift for C.T.
Yep – those are my feet!]

To the beautiful C.T.
[the dietitian who helped me explore an exciting lifeinfullcolour during my 2nd & 3rd years in treatment],

You taught me about so much more than food & eating. In teaching me to trust my body, you taught me to trust in myself. In encouraging โ€˜experimentsโ€™, you helped me to replace my fear with curiosity โ€“ & that curiosity has led me to discover beauty & wonder in every place I look. You helped me discover the things I value โ€“ you helped me to discover MY value.

Thankyou for your encouragement.
Thankyou for your smile ๐Ÿ™‚
Thankyou for your patience โ€“ especially in the face of my many shoulder shrugs & โ€œI donโ€™t knowโ€s.
Thankyou for your flexibility โ€“ for allowing me to work with you, in a way that worked for me.
Thankyou for your humour.
Thankyou for sharing you enthusiasm for nutrition with me – & for helping me to uncover my own shared passion.
Thankyou for your metaphors, analogies, & crazy hand-waving.
Thankyou for recognising, that the smallest of steps can sometimes be the hardest to take.
Thankyou for celebrating those steps with me ๐Ÿ™‚

[Every cloud has a silver lining…]

M.C. & i had already said our goodbyes back in December after he moved on from his work at the ED service, but i had still been keeping appointments with C.T. C.T & i met again this past Tuesday, & although we had been working together for a couple of years now, there was something very different about this particular meeting…. This time our appointment was not for my ‘treatment’ – this time, we were celebrating ๐Ÿ™‚

Three years after entering treatment for an eating disorder, i was ready to move on. And so, on Tuesday, the 8th March, 2011, after a beautiful celebration, i walked out of C.T.’s office, & through the door of the big cream building that was now so familiar. I walked out of that building for the last time as a client of the Eating Disorders Service & into the sunlight, ready to embrace the next exciting chapter of this beautiful lifeinfullcolour ๐Ÿ™‚


[C.T. & i celebrated my recovery with my favourite raw, vegan chocolate cake ๐Ÿ™‚
We even wore party hats ;)]

To those who have not experienced the devastation of an eating disorder (whether directly, or indirectly), there is little i can say to convey just how heart-wrenchingly painful, & overwhelmingly exhausting the journey to recovery can be. So many times i feared that i would never recover, or in moments of relative stability, found myself thinking that ‘this is as good as it gets’. But as overwhelmingly challenging as this journey has been, it has been equally beautiful. And you know what? My life becomes richer & more beautiful every day ๐Ÿ™‚

I often refer to my recovery as a journey of self-discovery. I have learnt so much about myself โ€“ my likes, my dislikes, my strengths, my passions, my dreamsโ€ฆ Iโ€™ve just begun to uncover my potential, & it is far greater than I could ever have imagined. I am vulnerable, yet strong, & more resilient than I know. I am beautiful, passionate, intelligent, creative, magnificent! And I have a courage that roars like an open fire in my heart.

For so many years of my life, I truly & deeply hated who I was, & I didnโ€™t think that could ever change. But you know what? I really do love the person I see now – a magnificent, complex being, full of surprising beauty – & I canโ€™t wait to spend the rest of my life getting to know her better ๐Ÿ™‚

I feel such immense gratitude to be here now at this point in my life, & for every beautiful, scary, & painful moment that has led me to it. Sometimes I feel as though my heart might burst with all of the hope & joy & love it holds nowadays. I am grateful to have had these 3 years to heal, & to begin this incredible journey of self discovery, & I am especially grateful for having had access to the treatment I needed to save my life. I feel truly blessed to have been able to work with such an incredible team of people, & i am deeply grateful to everyone who has helped support me on this journey – i would not be here without you.


We made it through the darkness to the light
Oh how we fought, but still we won the fight
Oh, yes, we stand together
Sia, ‘The Fight’

With much love, & gratitude,

Happiness Is A Habit

The “power of positivity” – the idea that we can change our lives through positive thinking has been around forever, & has been promoted by spiritual leaders, life-coaches, self-help books, & hippies for years, but these ideas are now also being backed by research into an ability known as neuroplasticity – the ability of our brains to change themselves, based on our experience.

It goes a little something like this:

  • Each time you think a thought, it is communicated between the neurons in your brain via tiny electro-chemical messages.
  • The first time you have an experience or learn something new, a new pathway is created between those neurons.
  • Then the next time you have that experience, your brain will search to see if your have experienced it before, & if you have, it will follow that same pathway again.
  • The more often your have that experience or think that thought, the stronger that neural pathway will become.

Neuroplasticity describes our brain’s ability to create these neural pathways based on our repeated exposure to a thought or experience.

My dietitian once explained it to me with a metaphor – “Imagine a skier,” she said, “the first time he skies down a snowy alp, he makes a trail in the snow. It is shallow but visible. The next time he skies down the slope, he sees that shallow trail & follows it again. With every trip down the slope the trail becomes deeper – easier to find, & easier to follow.”

Neuroplasticity helps to explain habitual behaviour, & the idea that “practice makes perfect.”

Just over a year ago, i decided i would practice positivity, & i started by turning my home into a haven – a sanctuary of self-love & positivity. My walls became a canvas, wallpapered with affirmation cards, drawings, quotes, & letters of love from friends. Everywhere i turn, in every room, i am now greeted with the message that “you are beautiful, you are worthy, & you are safe here – this is a house of love.”

birdcage

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cards

worthy & magnificent

loved right now

People are always telling me now, what a bright & cheerful person i am. How i can take a “bad” day, & turn it into something wonderful. How i can find gratitude for almost anything. And they are right. Of course i still feel the full range of human emotion – of course i still have days where i feel utterly miserable, or enraged, or simply despondent, but through practising positivity, it is now easier for me to disengage from those emotions (& i do not mean avoid or neglect them) & reconnect with more joyful thoughts & emotions.

And so, my challenge for you this week, is to find a way in which you can practice positivity. If you don’t know where to start, why not give one of these ideas a go:

  • Practice positive affirmations
    An affirmation is a “can do” message, & can relate to any aspect of your life. It can be anything from “i am worth loving”, to “i am open to making new friends”, or perhaps “i am constantly finding new ways to express my creativity.” Pick an area of your life that you would like feel more positive about, & create an affirmation based on that. If you get really stuck, you can always buy some beautiful affirmation cards like the ones i have in my home.

    • Repeat your affirmation (this is very powerful when done whilst looking into a mirror) at least 5 times before starting your day.
    • Write your affirmation down (or use a card if you have them), & keep it with you during the day, where you can continue to be reminded of it – try sticking it to your computer screen, your work diary, or your wall. Every time you see it, repeat the affirmation again.

    Affirmations can be really hard at firstย  – in fact it can be quite confronting, especially when your affirmation challenges a long-held belief. In that case, i say “fake it ’til you make it” -which is exactly what i did when i started out.

  • Create your own haven of self-love & positivity
    Surround yourself with things that bring you comfort & joy – create a space in your home where only positivity is allowed to enter. Hang photos of yourself & your loved ones, decorate with bright colours, post affirmation cards on your walls, invest in a painting that you love & hang it upย  – or get creative & paint your own! Cover your lounge or your bed (or both!) in lots of comfy cushions, burn incense, light candles, whatever helps to create a positive & loving atmosphere for YOU.
  • Create a “Positivity Playlist” (not unlike my “Recovery Playlist”)
    Create a playlist on your iPod, or burn your own CD filled with with music that makes you want to sing at the top of your lungs, & dance around your living room (or bedroom, or kitchen, or even down the street). Play it loud & play it often, especially when you find yourself caught up in negativity – crank up your tunes & drown it out with awesomeness. An essential for any positivity playlist? ‘Walking On Sunshine’ ๐Ÿ˜‰ And if you feel like singing, or you want to dance – go ahead & do it! ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Engage in random acts of kindness
    In order to increase your own positive experiences, try encouraging some positive experiences for others. Numerous studies have shown that volunteering not only increases the psychological wellbeing of the volunteer, but also has positive effects on physical health – bonus! ๐Ÿ™‚ Whatever your interests are, there is a relevant organisation looking for volunteers to help them out. Of course, you don’t have to take part in organised volunteering – opening the door for someone who has their hands full, helping someone carry a heavy or awkward item (don’t hurt yourself!), or a simple smile or “hello” can make all the difference to a person’s day – & knowing you have brought some joy to someone else, might just help to make a difference to yours ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Watch this video ๐Ÿ™‚
    And watch it often ๐Ÿ˜‰

What will you do this week to practice positivity?
Let me know how it goes ๐Ÿ™‚

And remember “practice makes perfect”! (Or at least will form & then reinforce new neural pathways in your brain – which actually sounds much cooler than perfection anyway ;)).

Scars? Cellulite? A “Pooch”? Guess What – You’re Still Freaking Awesome

This beautiful, fabulous, funky, & all-together awesome woman has, in the one of the most incredible videos i have seen, conveyed everything i believe to be true about our bodies & our worth. Check out the awesomeness below ๐Ÿ™‚

Crank Up The Positivity

Around the time of my eating disorder diagnosis, when i was deeply entrenched in my illness, my days (& nights) were filled with a constant torment from my eating disorder voice. This “voice” (which i later came to refer to as “neg”) is something that i would love to discuss more in the future, but for now, check out the video below from the lovely ladies at BodyMatters Australasia, for a fabulous introduction to the “eating disorder voice”.

Sometimes i still hear neg.
Most of the time it’s just negative chatter – nothing like the screaming torment i endured when i was still so entrenched in my disorder – but his negativity is still unwanted, & often frustrating.
Frustrating, because while i now very rarely buy into them, neg’s criticisms still, on occasion, play quietly in the back of my mind – a record of negativity, stuck on repeat.

One of the simplest ways that i have found to deal with this, is to drown out neg’s record of negativity, with one of positivity…
Enter lifeinfullcolour’s ‘Recovery’ playlist! ๐Ÿ™‚

My ‘Recovery’ playlist, is a collection of songs that counter neg’s criticism. Some of the songs are “fighting” songs – songs that help me to feel empowered – some remind me of my beauty & my strength, & others simply make me happy ๐Ÿ™‚
When i am sick of listening to neg’s record, i pull out my iPod, put my earphones in, & crank up the volume on my ‘Recovery’ record instead. Sometimes you might catch me singing or dancing along, but everytime you will see me smiling ๐Ÿ™‚

This is not a complete list of songs from my playlist, but i hope you will find a small taste of positivity in their lyrics & tunes ๐Ÿ™‚

Other artists on my list, range from Alanis Morissette to the Travelling Wilburys!

Do you have a ‘Recovery’ playlist? Are there any songs that help you to feel more empowered, recognise your beauty, or feel more positive?