- Open all the windows in your house and let fresh air in.
- Clean out a drawer; any drawer. Throw away the clutter!
- Purchase a plant or flowers. Put them around your home. The Peace Lily is a great plant, as they are hardy and remove toxins from the room.
- Take three long, deep breaths; breathe from your stomach.
- Fill a tall glass with water, and drink!
- Put on some upbeat music.
- Change the sheets on your bed. Put a few drops of eucalyptus oil in the final rinse.There is nothing better than climbing into a freshly-made bed!
- Ring a friend and arrange to meet up.
- Go for a thirty minute walk.
- Tap on your collarbone whilst thinking good thoughts. It resets your mindset!
I have been unprepared most of my life, if I am honest. I was ill-prepared to have a baby, start my own business, take the chances I have, and accept certain positions career-wise. I am familar with abject terror. Two things have helped me, or rather, two people. The first asked me to define when I thought I would be ready to commit to my dreams. What would have to be in place? There is never a perfect time to start IVF to try and have a baby, nor move toward a dream. There will always be doubts in both yourself and what you are aiming for. Just begin!
The second bit of advice I was gifted was a gem. If you are anxious, and feel as though your nerves will get the best of you, pretend you are Cate Blanchett! This reasonated with me, because I adore this actress. She has poise, style and confidence. She interviews easily and makes eye contact. I imagined I was Cate Blanchett whilst giving speeches, in job interviews, and throughout social occasions with strangers. How would Cate be? What would she say and do? Fake it ’til you make it works! It may be George Clooney or Wonder Woman in your case.
So there you have it. Life doesn’t need to be perfect in order to chip away at your goals. There will never be a supreme moment to begin, so you may as well start now, right here with what you have today. Summon up the qualities you admire in Cate Blanchett or another wondrous soul, and wow this world!
I have always had a healthy cynicism regarding the positive thinking movement. I think most survivors do, having repeatedly heard such chestnuts as “forget the past, look to the future.” I once took a call at a luncheon from the IVF scientist in charge of taking care of my two precious embryos. They informed me that one of the two had perished. Heartbroken, and left with one chance of successful implantation, I went back to the table. “What’s the matter?” a companion asked. I told them the news, and they smiled. “Chin up!” they said, and went back to their conversation. I felt dismissed, and certainly my grief was unheard. I felt almost embarrassed, as though I shouldn’t have had a reaction at all. Platitudes don’t help, and are almost certainly entirely damaging when one is fragile, whether it be through grief or other trauma. Positive thinking can sadly be an escape for those who aren’t comfortable supporting and hearing another’s pain. Throw a person a platitude and then walk away. Being happy and planning for the future is altogether different.
It was in this spirit that I tried out this particular app. I was cautious, not expecting much at all. I punched in my desire to travel, and was pleasantly surprised at the result. The game took me through my desire, and then looked at how I may be sabotaging the realization of this goal. I realized that I have a fear of flying, and also am hesitant about travelling due to my health. Even the hassle of obtaining a passport has put me off! Once I looked at all the obstacles, the game allowed me to break down the steps into workable pieces. It is going to send me reminders on the dates I set! I see this game as a useful tool to get me to where I want to be. When you look at your dreams, they can seem too big and overwhelming. It is only when you break them down that you can see a way to achieving them.
The Wishing Game App is available here.
I have just read Anastasia Amour’s 14 Day Guide. I well remember how it felt to torture my body as a teenager. My eating disorder was created by a combination of insensitive words, feeling out of control of my young life and a desperate need to be perfect. Alternating between bingeing and throwing up, and not eating at all. Exercising to the point of fainting. Feeling that death was less intimidating than shedding the demons destroying me. It’s time for us to loosen the shackles, to stop destroying ourselves in the name of some ideal that we can’t really define. Self-love has to start here and now! For our kid’s sake as well as our own. My weight has fluctuated throughout the following years, due to surgery, recovery, IVF and endometriosis treatments. I have had my weight commented on when I have gained pounds, and again when I have lost those pounds. When my face became rounder after several months in a spinal bed, it was remarked on. There was little I could do about my situation and it left me feeling awful. I look back at those pictures and guess what? I see a girl who is a healthy weight! How about we stop the commentary? Let’s put it into the basket of subjects one doesn’t bring up, alongside enquiring about someone’s fertility. Inside Out is a divine little book, consisting of a 14-day guide, which aims to change how you see yourself and your body. It contains many practical tools and exercises. Let’s redefine what it is to be you, and shake off the shackles of the dieting industry. You can’t improve on perfection! Anastasia’s book contains 14 exercises that will offer practical support whilst you kick-start your body-confidence.
Questions for Anastasia.
What concerns you the most about the media? Is it the images they use, the words, or a combination of both that is so harmful?
The current state of the media is so problematic, and you’ve nailed it. We’re a visual culture and there’s no questioning our saturation of digitally-altered images and ‘flawlessness,’ and when you combine these with language that’s absolutely littered with ideas of fear, guilt and shame- appropriated as marketing tactics…well, you’ve got a very dangerous cocktail. In many ways, I strongly doubt that we’ll move away from the current media format anytime soon-but that’s not what concerns me. What concerns me most is the wide reach that the media has now, particularly to young people. Somewhere along the way, we’ve started to blur the lines between advertising and soft porn and we’ve widely accepted the notion that “sex sells,” to the extent where ad exececutives feel it compulsory to use female sexuality as a commondity to sell everything from cars to boxes of cereal. This is concerning on multiple levels but the biggest issue I have is the age at which the exposure starts. If grown women struggle to not internalize these toxic media messages about worth, sexuality and body image, what hope do young girls have? Girls and teenagers blossoming into women are confronted with more than ever before, and the implications of this are truly terrifying.
The diet industry is more powerful now than ever before. Why do you think this is?
Its simple-because the diet industry have so craftily set themselves up to grow bigger, better and stronger with age. When you set up your consumers to not only feel a perceived demand of their own accord but to experience that demand from your actions, you’ll always have the benefit of being a supplier. That’s well and good, except its not-not at all. This isn’t just selling pens or printer toner…this is screwing with people’s mental health. This is creating insecurities, blaming and punishing people for experiencing those insecurities and then offering them a magic solution to fix the very insecurities that the diet industry itself contributed to. It’s immoral, it’s unethical and it’s damaging so many lives. What the diet industry doesn’t want us to know is that those who are overweight and need to lose weight to keep their bodies healthy don’t actually need the diet industry at all to do this. Diets and fads don’t work. They might help you shed a few kilos initially, but they do nothing to keep you healthy in the long term. Ultimately, we’re building a culture that searches for shortcuts and hacks. When we take a quick-fix approach to our mental and physical health, we’re treating the symptoms of our conditions and not the root cause. This is a huge part of why diets fail to create sustainable, positive lifestyle change-they help you to minimize the symptoms of your condition (excess fatty tissue), but do nothing psychologically to tap into the emotional issues around your relationship with food and your body. That works out just fine for the diet industry because they get the illusion of helping you whilst simultaneously ensuring that you remain a lifetime customer.
Why did you write Inside Out?
Having experienced anorexia and bulimia, I know what it’s like to loathe yourself in every way. Whilst counselling can be helpful, I also know that therapy isn’t for everyone and that many individuals prefer to educate and empower themselves on their own terms-I’m one of those people. Through my personal experiences, studies in psychology and mental health and via my own research, it’s my goal to provide sound and practical advice to women who prefer to do their own introspective work, or who don’t have access to a counsellor. ‘Inside Out’ is a resource that I wish I’d had access to at the lowest points of my self-esteem and body image. There are a lot of self-help books out there that fill your mind with “fluffy” advice on one end of the spectrum, and then highly scientific, psychological textbooks that are delivered in an inaccessible manner on the other end of the spectrum. Inside Out isn’t just for those diagnosed with eating disorders and body image issues. The techniques that it breaks down are applicable to all women who’ve ever had moments of body-loathing. Inside Out is my love letter to the reader. It preaches empowerment, validation from within and fearless body confidence-things all women deserve to experience!
Finally, how can we affirm young girls and help them to seek self-love, rather than praise from outside themselves?
The way that we affirm young girls is symptomatic of our cultural values and often, we end up forcing these ideals onto children through conditioning and selectively complimenting only the “acceptable” traits. How often do we see little girls encouraged to pursue maths, science or sports? How often do we see little boys encouraged to explore the full spectrum of their emotions? Instead, we encourage notions of femininity and masculinity as mutually-exclusive concepts-we compliment little girls for being pretty and packing up their tea sets, and we compliment little boys for being smart and rough and strong. We can make a great start by complimenting young people based on all sorts of positive traits, regardless of their gender. I believe we can go further by encouraging young people to set their own compliments and praise themselves, rather than relying on those around them to tell them that they’re pretty, smart and capable. This starts with setting an open and encouraging dialogue within the family where each member is celebrated for discussing their positive attributes. We’re all happier and more productive when we’re enabled to choose we want to be, rather than being pigeonholed into someone else’s idea of what we should like about ourselves.
Anastasia is offering my readers a very special deal! When the book launches on November 14th, this link will go live. On that date, go to the shop and enter the code below to get 15% off! This is a book that will help redefine what it is to be you, far away from societal pressures.
For more info, go to Anastasia’s website.