3 Benefits of Practising Gratitude

For the last year or so, I’ve been practising gratitude on a daily basis with the help of my 6 Minute Diary. And, more recently, my daily goal setter, which was sent to me from the lovely people at Mal Paper.

I’ve realising that being prompted to find 3 things to be grateful for in the morning, and something that I appreciated about my day just before bed, is one of the easiest ways of expressing gratitude.

Before I had a planner, gratitude, and practising it on a daily basis, seemed a little contrived and woo. Simply because forcing myself to find good things that happened in my day didn’t feel authentic. Especially when I was having a bad day.

Now that I’m feeling the compound effects of being consciously grateful each day, I’m understanding just how important having an attitude of gratitude is in life. Here’s the 3 benefits I’ve personally felt in by flexing my gratitude muscle every day:

It Helps You Attract More Things To Be Grateful For

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Bear with me, I know this sounds woo, but carry on reading.

One of the ideas that I’ve read about over the years that is resonating with me more and more, is that what you focus on grows. For example, have you ever woken up on the wrong side of bed, stubbed your toe, burnt your tongue on your morning cuppa, then the day just went down hill from there?

The opposite is true too. By starting the day thinking of a few things that you appreciate in life, whether that be as wide reaching as your family and friends being fit and well, or as specific as the way your hair feels after it’s been freshly washed, it gets our brains into the habit of looking for other great things in our life.

You’ll then find good things just seem to be happening more and more, and that opportunities pop up out of no where. I’ve been feeling this more and more recently, and I know it’s a result of me training my brain through gratitude to see the good in every situation.

It Boosts Your Self Esteem

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When you’re in a more grateful mindset, it makes sense that you then feel more satisfied with your life in general.

This then stops us having such an urge to compare ourselves to others, as we feel content with where we’re at on our own journey. It also means that we can cheer our peers on from a place that feels genuine, rather than secretly resenting their success, or not feeling good enough ourselves.

This has been a very welcome side affect of practising gratitude for me. I’ve struggled on and off for years with comparing myself to others because of my own limiting beliefs. I’m not going to lie, it’s not something that’s happened over night, but consistently being grateful has helped put in perspective what’s important to me in my life, and not to strive after the idea of success that is shown on my social media feed.

It Builds Resilience

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Recognising everything that you have to be grateful for, even during the most uncertain and challenging times helps to build our resilience.

Being grateful for the little things in life, is what’s got me through some tough days during lock down, and continues to put things in perspective for me when I feel hard done by. Such as the fact that I have enough money for food or caught a glimpse of a cute squirrel on my lunch time walk that made me smile.

There is always something to be thankful for, not matter how small, which is sometimes the glimmer of hope we need to keep on moving forwards one step and one day at a time.

What are you grateful for today?

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4 Tips For Building a Resilient Mindset

Building a resilient mindset is something that I’ve had to work on over the years. When my marriage fell apart a few years ago, I was at a complete loss as to how I should move forward. It felt like I had to draw upon every single ounce of energy I had just to remain positive.

Although I believe we all start with a level of resilience that’s cultivated through our childhood and teenage years, it’s taken practice and time for me to build my own resilience to a stage where I’m not that phased by big periods of change. I believe I can deal with it, just like I’ve dealt with change before.

So how do you go about building personal resilience?

Well the 4 tips that I’m about to share with you are things that I’ve had as part of my daily routine on and off over the last few years. I’m now in the position where I do all of them, and to say that they’ve helped me with all he uncertainty that 2020 has brought with it, would be an understatement.

I urge you to give a few of them a go (if you don’t do them already) so that you can build your own resilience; hopefully facing whatever life has in store for you next with a greater sense of inner strength.

Start Journaling

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This is something that I returned to earlier this year when lock down set in. I find that by noting down what’s on my mind, and how I’m feeling about it, helps me deal with it much better, and builds my resilience in the process.

By getting curious about why I react to situations in a certain way, or why I’m feeling particularly emotionally charged towards something, has been a great tool in me getting to know myself better too. And when I know myself better, I can trust that the decisions I’m making are the right ones.

It hasn’t always been that way though. When I first started journaling, I struggled with what to write. That’s where prompts can be really helpful. You can look on Pinterest or Google to find useful prompts to get to know yourself better, or reflect on how your feeling about the curve ball that life’s thrown you. I even made myself a jar full of prompts at the start of lock down.

Recently, I’ve been preferring just writing for 10 minutes first thing in the morning about everything that’s on my mind. That way it’s out of my head and on paper. And once it’s out, that’s when I can start to deal with it.

Listen to Inspiring Podcasts

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It might sound a little strange, but my favourite way to listen to podcasts is in the shower. I used to listen to them on the bus on the way to work, and once I was put on lock down started, I had to figure out another way to get my fix.

The main reason why I listen to podcasts is because they inspire me to see things from a different perspective, or they affirm something that I’ve already been thinking. Both of which builds my resilience because I learn to trust my judgement more, whilst keeping my mindset in a more positive place. Things always seem easier to face when you can find the silver lining, no matter how small.

The podcasts I’m loving at the moment are:

Practical Positivity with Sophie Cliff – short bursts of weekly advice to help you find joy in your everyday.

Deliciously Ella – the podcast series covers all aspects of wellness and well-being. I particularly love the episodes about finding happiness and the importance of sleep.

How To Fail with Elizabeth Day – Elizabeth champions things not going right in life, and everything that we learn from them. Each episode she speaks to a well known person about their perceived failures.

Read Self Development Books

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Reading is the first thing that I turned to on my quest to build my resilience because I enjoy reading so much anyway.

I’ve written a blog post (you can read it here) about the 5 self-development books that have had the biggest effect on my life. Like I say in the post, I a big believer that the book you need the most at any given point in time will work its way into your hands.

Just like with podcasts, books encourage me to view my life from a different perspective, and they help with building my resilience because I’m learning that there is always a different way to view or approach a problem that will lead to solving it. This inspires me not to give up when things feel like too much, because I know there will always be another way.

At the moment I’m reading Super Attractor by Gabby Bernstein. It’s based around the idea of manifestation which is something that I’ve become more and more interested in. If you’re in need of some inspiration with what to read check out the ones I mention in my blog post that I’ve shared the link to just above.

Use Affirmations

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I’m admit, affirmations are something which I’ve only started to come back to recently. Mainly because I stopped them when they started working, not realising that for them to really work, you need to be saying them to yourself consistently.

Affirmations help to build a resilient mindset because they reframe negative thoughts you have either about yourself, or your situation into positive ones. When you say affirmations often enough you trick your brain into actually believing that they’re true.

I’ve been finding it tricky recently to really believe that I’ll make my freelance business plans work, but I’ve been surprised just how much affirmations have helped my mindset. I’m starting to believe in myself much more, and that makes it so much easier to face more challenging circumstances.

In case you were wondering, saying affirmations in your head works just as well as saying them out loud. (so no need to worry about the potential awkwardness of someone else overhearing you) And if you’re not sure where to start, I wrote a blog post featuring 5 affirmations to increase your positivity that you can read here.

Which of these tips for building resilience will you be trying first?

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4 Mental Health Benefits Of Spending Time In Nature

If there’s one thing that lock down has pushed me to do more of, it’s spending time in nature. What started off as being one of the only reasons I could go outside of our flat each day, has now turned into one of my favourite forms of self care. It’s become obvious too, that my previous office-based lifestyle wasn’t allowing me to get any where near enough of it.

Spending time in nature has become one of my daily self care rituals, simply because it has such a positive affect on my mental health. Being outside has become so important for me, because it’s 30 minutes of escapism. I can briefly get away from what’s buzzing around in my head that day, and momentarily stop worrying about what’s going on in the wider World.

I’ve been surprised just how much getting outside has improved my mental health. It’s definitely been something that I’ve leant on heavily through some big periods of change that we’re all feeling at the moment. (hello Covid and Covid-related redundancy) So why is getting outside so important? If you don’t already, here’s 4 reasons why you should think about getting out in nature more often:

It Lifts Our Mood

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Several studies have linked walking in nature to improved mental health.

I remember in the months before the break up, when I was feeling anxious and ridden with guilt as to whether I should end my marriage or not, I used to go on a walk almost daily. It’s been the same with my coping with other big changes in my life recently; mentally trying to get through Corona, and remain positive when faced with redundancy.

My walk of choice then, and now, is along a foot path close to a harbour that’s a few minutes away from my flat. The sound of the water always has a massive calming affect on me, and lifts the mental fog that going through such a lot of uncertainty brings. It’s the tonic I need to get some perspective.

It Boosts Our Energy

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It’s been said that a 20 minute walk can have the same energetic impact on our brains as a cup of coffee.

I definitely believe this one. Before Covid was a part of our lives, I had got into the habit of going for a 5 minute walk with one of my work mates every lunch time. My office didn’t have any windows, so it was great to get out and actually see daylight. It also meant we wouldn’t hit the dreaded afternoon ‘wall’ until past 4pm, which was much longer than we could last without having a walk.

Now, as a freelancer, I’ve made getting outside a non-negotiable part of my lunchtime routine. I always find that I get back to my desk feeling a bit more perky and with fresh ideas for the projects I’m working on that day.

It Encourages Us To Be Present

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Getting outside in nature gives your brain a much needed break from the overstimulation it has to deal with from our busy lifestyles. There’s always an email to look at, or a social media notification screaming for our attention.

Side note: if you’ve watched the Social Dilemma on Netflix, you’ll know just what this is doing to us as individuals, and as a society.

Leaving your phone at home, or firmly in your pocket, means there’s nothing dragging your attention away from the present moment and what’s around you. This is the number one reason why I think getting outside is so good for our mental health. Being present with what’s happening around you, even if it’s just for a few minutes, is a game changer.

When I went out for a walk earlier today, I was fascinated by just watching the clouds move and the changing light. It was beautiful. Taking a moment to really breathe in the intricacies that mother nature provides us with is the rest that our brain needs.

It Enhances Our Creativity

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For similar reasons to the ones I’ve already mentioned, getting outside gets our creative juices flowing.

I always find that I come up with some of my best ideas after I’ve been for a walk. That’s because it feels like when I’m in nature, my thoughts are given space to breathe.

If I leave my phone at home, there’s nothing else demanding my attention, so solutions and project ideas seem to pop up out of the blue. A lot of my ideas for blog posts have come about from being outside.

I’ve also come home from walks in nature equipped with a strong realisation as to what the next best step will be in helping me navigate out of a period of change.

Final Thoughts

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Now obviously not everyone has access to the woods or a beach on their doorstep. I’m lucky enough that I’m close to water, because, as I’ve already mentioned, I really do find the sound of waves calming. However, even getting out to your nearest green space, or a tree-lined street could help.

My advice to make sure you get the sustained benefits of spending time in nature, is to find a way to realistically factor it into your day so that it can gradually become a habit.

For me, this looks like a 30 minute walk as part of my lunch break. For you, it might be grabbing 15 minutes outside before your day begins, or using time in nature as a marker for the end of your work day.

What’s the biggest benefit that you’ve felt from spending time in nature?

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3 Things To Remember When You Feel Overwhelmed By Change

To say that 2020 has been a year of overwhelming change would be an understatement. It’s affected so many of us on so many levels.

In fact, for me, the last 3 years or so have be a roller coaster ride of various changes and my trying to cope with them. It started with my marriage ending, then getting out onto the dating scene, starting a new job, (and then another) and moving house. This year then brought a pandemic that forced me into redundancy and now into a freelance career. I bet that reading this, you’ve been through a similar amount of change in the last few years or so yourself as well.

Often, it can feel like big periods of change happen back to back to one another without giving you the chance to pause and regroup. That’s certainly how it’s felt for me anyway, and I’ve found myself feeling overwhelmed all the time.

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Having spoken with some of my followers on Instagram, I’m understanding that I’m not alone when it comes to not knowing where to start in the midst of an overwhelming amount of change.

When you’re overwhelmed, it can feel like your frozen; so much is different that you don’t dare take another step in any direction for fear of toppling an already unsteady ship.

So how do you deal with feeling overwhelmed? In my experience it all comes down to mindset. If you can get yourself into a positive and productive mindset as much as possible, the rest will feel so much easier.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have bad days. Feeling down and not wanting to face everything that’s happening is natural. We’re not robots. It’s especially on those days that I remind myself of these 3 things to help me feel less overwhelmed:

It Won’t Last Forever

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I know this is a difficult one, because when you’re in the middle of it, it can feel like the fog of change and the uncertainty that it brings with it won’t ever lift. That’s all part of the overwhelm.

It might sound like a bit of an obvious or cheesy analogy, but just like the seasons change, so do our circumstances. If we embrace everything that those seasons have to offer us, it can be that much easier to make the transition into the next one.

Lock down has been a Winter for us all; filled with darkness and storms of uncertainty for us to weather. Winter is a time for self-care and to rest, to prepare ourselves for the fresh start that moving into Spring inevitably brings. Lock down definitely felt like the rest I so desperately needed after being busy, almost to the point of burn out, in my last job.

Navigating a new normal, and what it means for our work and social life, is us moving into Spring. If we look hard enough, there will be opportunities to be had and silver linings to be found.

You Have People To Support You

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I’ve said it before in a blog post that I wrote about feeling lost, but I think it’s definitely important enough to mention again.

You are not alone in this. You do not need to suffer in your overwhelm by yourself. You have friends and family who want the best for you, and who will be there for you. Given the hand that 2020 has dealt us so far, they are likely to be feeling a similar way to you themselves, and you’ll both feel better for getting things off your chest.

I’ve found so much solace in connecting with like minded people on social media too. Being able to consume content from people who are going through, or have been through similar things to me has been a huge boost. Find your online tribe by searching for and following hashtags that interest and inspire you.

Control What You Can Control

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I think that a lot of the overwhelm that comes from change is that it can feel like there is so little that we can control; so why bother trying to do anything?

In the initial weeks of lock down I felt frozen and overwhelmed in this way of thinking for sure. I soon realised this was making me miserable though. Feeling helpless isn’t a good starting point for being able to move forward.

What began to be, and still is, my mantra is; ‘just control what you can control’.

From a practical point of view with Covid, this has meant washing (with gel or water) my hands as often as I feel comfortable when visiting new places and wearing my face mask according to government guidelines. The rest I can’t control, so I try my best not to worry about it.

When facing redundancy, I knew that in seeking out a new working opportunity, the one main thing I could control was my mindset. So to reduce the overwhelm I doubled down on the amount of self development (you can read about my top self development books here) that I was doing, and actively sort out opportunities to be positively inspired.

Which of these things could you do with remembering the most at the moment?

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3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Be Scared Of Change

If there’s one thing that’s pretty much guaranteed in life, it’s that we’ll experience change on some level. Some change is expected, and some really isn’t. (erm, hello Corona) Getting nervous about change is definitely a feeling that I’m familiar with.

In the final year or so of being married, I spent what felt like thousands of hours agonising over the reasons why, even though I was desperately unhappy, I should stay in my relationship. Taking a big step into the unknown just seemed like too much change to deal with. I was anxious, and let the fear of everything that change represented keep me frozen where I was for too long. I was scared to walk away from the comfort of what I’d known for so long.

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When I did eventually get divorced, (you can read everything I learnt from getting divorced here) rather than feeling overwhelmed, it felt like a weight had been lifted. Now, I’m going to be honest and say that overcoming my fear of change didn’t happen overnight, in fact, at times it was it was emotionally draining, and it took some real inner work. Was it worth it though? For sure.

I was originally inspired to write this post after reading a blog on a similar subject by Jodie Melissa. She wrote about how our anxious reaction to change is natural because we crave safety, and I would agree with this for sure.

However, as with pretty much everything that I’ve learnt, seeing things from a new perspective really does help when faced with change. I wanted to share with you the reasons why I’ve found that stepping away from safety and into the unknown isn’t something to be scared of, but instead, is something we all have the strength to embrace.

It’s A Learning Experience

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Change knocks us off course, and as you try to navigate through it and out the other side, things probably won’t happen exactly as you want them to along the way.

But that’s okay, because it’s through that experience that you’ll learn. Some lessons will be harder than others, but ultimately they will help you grow.

When my marriage was ending, I made, in hindsight, some questionable choices with my finances. This included putting a long weekend in Ibiza, (my way of escaping everything that was going on) all on my credit card.

Whilst this didn’t put me in the greatest position financially, as I was saddled with a substantial amount of debt to pay off, it did teach me the importance of budgeting effectively. Meaning that I can now experience the events and parts of the World that will leave me with the best memories, not a massive hole in my pocket.

You’ll Grow Stronger & Wiser

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It’s through things not going right, that not only will you learn, but you’ll also become stronger. As Kelly Clarkson famously sings “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, and by getting back up again, you gain the resilience to be able to face the next change that comes your way without feeling quite so scared.

I was terrified about getting back on to the dating scene after my marriage ended, but threw myself into the dating apps anyway. Through A LOT of trial and error, disappointments, and frankly weird experiences, I became wise to the behaviour of certain men on the apps, and the red flags to avoid.

I don’t view it as wasted energy though, because I became more resilient to rejection, and despite the ups and downs, I actually met my current boyfriend on a dating app.

What’s Meant For You Will Not Pass

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Although you may feel lost in the midst of all the change initially, I’m a strong believer that what’s meant for you will not pass. This can offer the much needed comfort that we crave as a knee-jerk reaction to change.

Forgive me for sounding a little woo, but, if you’ve set the intention for what you want from your life moving forwards out of the change you’re experiencing, and you’re doing the things that will get you there, then the Universe will step in and support you.

Even though I was stepping away from everything I had known in my marriage, I had a gut feeling that the pieces would eventually come back together again. I never imagined that those parts of my life would be gone, but I had faith that the new pieces would create a happier and more fulfilled picture for me.

What’s the biggest change that you’ve learnt from?

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3 Unexpected Benefits of Being Made Redundant

The aftermath of lock down has unfortunately brought with it just as much uncertainty for businesses as there was going in to it. Many companies have had to drastically restructure to make up for the short fall in income. The harsh reality of this for many, has been that they’ve been made redundant whilst on furlough.

I’m one of the people living that reality. Going in to lock down I worked for a global hospitality brand. Although I knew that the pandemic would of course have a negative effect on business where I worked, I, perhaps naively, thought that working for such a large company would offer some job security.

My Experience

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My redundancy journey started with a very sudden (and unexpected) request that all employees at my work attend a Zoom call with the big boss. What followed was the announcement, that in no uncertain terms, there would be job losses in the coming months.

As is standard with redundancy in the UK, there then followed a consultation process, where each team that had job roles at risk could discuss possible solutions to help lessen the need for people to actually lose there job.

It was during this period of time that anxiety really hit me hard. After the initial announcement, I had a brief period of sadness. I was sad because I knew that the place I worked at wouldn’t be the same again for a long time.

It was a grief for the loss of my work life as I had known it pre Covid too, and to be honest, it shook me more than I thought it would. However, it was the uncertainty of everything that was to come afterwards that sent me into an anxious spiral.

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I definitely think anxiety is a perfectly natural reaction to have when faced with so much uncertainty. I soon realised that I needed to do some serious work on myself so that I didn’t wallow in anxious and fear laden thoughts constantly. I started to properly meditate, (read my beginners guide to meditation here) journal, and basically get more curious about the emotions I was feeling.

It was through this work on myself that I felt strong enough to make the decision to take voluntary redundancy. For me this was my way of taking control of the situation. As I had already grieved the loss of my pre Covid work life, it made sense to me that my period of furlough would end with starting a brand new chapter elsewhere. Was it a scary decision to make? For sure, but I felt in my gut that it was right for me.

It’s with this idea of a new chapter in mind, that I’ve been able to approach my search for a new job with a more positive mindset. Here are the 3 unexpected benefits of being made redundant that I’ve uncovered along the way so far….

An Opportunity to Evaluate What You Really Want Out Of Your Work Life

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Being made redundant is the perfect time for you to think about what you want out of your work life moving forwards, as you head into the next chapter of your career.

As I’ve already discussed before, spending so much time at home during lock down has brought a lot of things into perspective for me, and allowed a lot of time for self reflection. After being thrown into yet another period of uncertainty, it felt natural to start reflecting again.

I got initially upset at the prospect of losing my job because I really did enjoy it. However, there were certain aspects of it that I didn’t enjoy. They were seemingly little things that I put up with, but in hindsight I can actually see were having a negative impact on my mental well-being. (read my guide to mental well-being here)

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Things like only having 30 minutes for lunch, working in an office with no windows, and having a relatively long commute. When searching for new jobs I’m bearing in mind that I don’t want to have to put up with these things next time.

After spending time reflecting on what I wanted moving forwards, I also realised that I’m at a point in my life where other things are more important to me than my work. I want a job that yes, I enjoy, but also allows me the balance to live life how I want to, rather than just being stuck in a monotonous work routine where there’s little time or energy for anything else.

Identifying Your Skills

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One of the good things about sitting down to freshen up you CV is that you actually realise just how skilled you are.

Listing your employment history and your career achievements needn’t be a dull process. I found that putting down everything that I’ve done made me see just how much I had learnt over the years, and how I had applied what I’d learnt in each role change I made. It felt good to see just how far I had come.

It’s with this perspective that I could also see all the transferable skills I had gained, like excellent interpersonal skills, and working well in busy, hectic environments. It’s with these kind of insights that you can see how you can really add value for prospective employers and sell yourself on that all important cover letter.

Knowing your transferable skills can also be useful in the current job market. Although I have initially started to look at jobs related to my more recent experience, having transferable skills in my back pocket means that if need be, I can look at other options further down the line that still play to my strengths.

Getting Out Of Your Comfort Zone

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I’ll admit that this one doesn’t sound like it would be a benefit, but bear with me.

Opening ourselves up to new opportunities can feel uncomfortable for sure. Stepping away from what we’ve known for so long and putting ourselves in situations that make us feel vulnerable (hello awkward Zoom interviews) is scary, and frankly, triggering.

If we’ve got limiting beliefs about ourselves this is when they’ll crop up. For me, my initial barrier with job hunting was actually believing I would be a valuable asset to the organisations I was applying for. Yes, I had written down everything that I was skilled at, but I still needed to make the connection with my inner self to actually believe it was true. That’s why I’ve been doing so much work on myself recently.

What I’m saying is that all the new experiences you’ll be having as part of your redundancy journey, although probably won’t feel great, will definitely help you grow. We don’t learn anything if we keep doing the same things day in, day out. Being thrust into a new environment forces us to adapt, develop, and ultimately grow into a better version of ourselves than we were before.

Have you been made redundant during the pandemic? What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them in the comments.

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5 Self-Development Books That Changed My Life For The Better

Thankfully, I think that the stigma that there was around reading self-development books is fading. More so because of the wealth of different kinds of people, from all kinds of backgrounds, and with a variety of experiences, sharing what they’ve learnt, being so prevalent right now. This has lead to thousands of self-development books on so many different topics.

I also think that, even if it isn’t necessarily a strictly conscious feeling, we all want to feel better on some level. Reading about other people who’ve made their lives better inspires us. We know that better is out there, we just have to be willing to see situations, and ourselves, from a different perspective.

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So what are the best self-development books and where do you start I hear you ask?

I’m a strong believer that the book that you ‘need’ most will present itself at the right time for you. There’s some books (a couple of them are on this list) that I started reading and couldn’t get in to simply because in hindsight I can see they weren’t right for me at the time. I kept them knowing that I would be able to benefit from their wisdom in future.

Basically, the message I want to get across is that don’t give up on self-development if a book isn’t right for you. Try a different one instead and come back to it when the time feels more fitting.

1. The Universe Has Your Back – Gabrielle Bernstein

Read it if you’re struggling with feeling abundant.

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‘The more joyful we are, the more light we shine on the world, the more power we have to express our presence, and the more positive energy we put out’

I’ll be honest, I’ve probably started this book about 3 times, but never finished it any of those times, simply because I couldn’t get into it. As I’ve already said, I definitely think that the book you need to learn from the most will fall into your hands when the time is right.

I’m reading this book at the moment for that very reason; it just feels right. Gabrielle is an author and international speaker, and is all about transforming fear into faith. Faith in the Universe to be exact.

A word of warning; due to the spiritual nature of this book, you’ll probably only take something from it if you’re open to that kind of thing. Through the universal lessons that she shares, it can help us relinquish our need for control and relax into a sense of certainty and freedom. This is definitely something I’ve needed recently.

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Covid-19 has brought with in so much uncertainty on so many levels, and given that I’m currently facing redundancy, I knew that I needed to loosen my grip if I wanted to feel less anxious.

At the moment I’m getting so much benefit from the meditation and affirmation based exercises in the book. When I come away from the meditations I feel like I’m tingling all over and so much lighter; most likely because I’ve raised my positive energy. It’s the tonic I’ve needed to maintain a positive mindset as I move forward into a different chapter post lock down.

2. Rising Strong – Brene Brown

Read it if you’re finding it hard to overcome past struggles.

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‘If we’re brave enough often enough, we will fall; this is the physics of vulnerability’

I finished this book earlier this year, and it’s another one that when I tried reading it before, I could never get into it. The reason why I gave it another go was because I knew that I still had some resentful feelings lingering towards my my ex-husband.

If you’ve not heard of Brene before, her TED talk on the power of vulnerability is one of the most watched TED talks of all time. She’s spent years researching vulnerability and being brave, and shares what she’s learnt, as well as her personal stories in her books, including this one.

Rising Strong presents a powerful process to rise from falls, overcome mistakes and face hurt in a way that brings more wisdom and meaning into your life.

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I found the most useful part of this process what she’s called ‘the rumble’. This is the part where you do the work; facing up to all the uncomfortable and difficult emotions you feel as a result of falling, as well as the mindset that got you there in the first place.

If would perhaps be hypocritical when writing about vulnerability Brene isn’t vulnerable herself, and I enjoyed the fact that she shared so much of her personal experiences in the book; it made it that much more relatable. I especially like the lake swim story that she circles back to.

I gained a much kinder perspective towards myself from reading this book, and it’s for that reason that I’ve recommended it several times, and even bought it for my friends.

3. The Goddess Revolution – Mel Wells

Read it if you want to repair your relationship with your body and food.

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‘The scales will tell you the numerical value of your effect on gravity. They will not tell you how beautiful you are, how loved you are, or how amazing you are’

As I’ve already gone into more detail of in an earlier post there was a point a few years ago when my marriage was breaking down that my eating became disordered. It’s taken quite a long time to heal my relationship with food and how I view my body, and it’s something that I do still have to check in with from time to time.

This book, as well as her second book, Hungry for More, has really helped me. If you’ve ever struggled with diets, food, body image or your weight, then The Goddess Revolution is for you too.

Mel’s face is on the back cover, and you might recognise her, as she used to be in Hollyoaks in the early 2000s. She used to be a model too, and had an unhealthy relationship with food and her body image for years. In the book she shares techniques that she’s used herself to transform our relationship with food, and have healthy, satisfying, guilt-free relationship with our bodies.

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I think this book is a breath of fresh air in a society that is still very much focused on fitness and reaching that ‘goal weight’. A society that basically shames women into feeling inadequate. Mel is so honest with the way she writes; sharing her own experiences with openness, kindness and passion. You can tell it’s something she really cares about.

Since reading her books, I can 100% say that I am so much more comfortable around food. I’ve stepped out of the guilt/shame cycle and now trust my instincts with what I put in my body, knowing that I’m nourishing it in a way that feels right for me, and maintains the natural weight that I’m meant to be at, rather than what society deems to be acceptable.

4. The Miracle Morning – Hal Elrod

Read it if you’re wanting to create a set of habits that will benefit your mental well-being.

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‘In order for you to stop settling for what you deserve….you must first dedicate time each day to becoming the person you need to be’

I’m not usually a fan of the direct, ‘get your act together’ type of self-development books as in the past they’ve tended to trigger limiting belief that I still have that I’m not good enough.

I managed to see past the writing style with this book though, as I could really see the benefits of the method that Hal shares. He calls them 6 life S.A.V.E.R.S, and by doing them each and every morning, it will take you that bit closer each day to what you want to achieve.

S = silence (or meditation)

A = affirmations

V = visualisation

E = exercise

R = reading

S = scribing (or writing)

Although over the years the time I’ve spent on each of these activities have varied, having them in my morning routine every day has really helped me to face the day with a more positive mindset, no matter what’s been going on in my life.

5. What I Know For Sure – Oprah Winfrey

Read it if you’re a fan of self-reflection.

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‘And when you get the choice to sit it out or dance, I hope you dance’

This book is just so beautifully written; it’s one of the ones that I keep on going back to, especially if I’ve going through a period of feeling a little bit lost.

The book is a collection of all the best bits from the column that Oprah has in O magazine. It’s a delightful mix of personal anecdotes and life lessons that make you feel warm and fuzzy, and for me have often sparked bigger light bulb moments.

The sections in the book cover the big self reflective topics of joy, resilience, connection, gratitude, possibility, awe, clarity, and power. I flicked back through the book before I wrote this post, and literally every other page is turned over because I’ve taken something from the words written on it.

Every bit of wisdom that Oprah shares encourages you to lean into the messiness of life and embrace the lessons that it teaches you. It’s for that reason that I dip back in and out of it at least a couple of times a year; through her words I’m reminded that things will only change if I change the way I look at them.

Have you read any of these books? What self-development book has had the most impact on you?

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You may also like: 5 Powerful Affirmations To Increase Your Positivity

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