It’s OK to say the M Word

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I’ll be honest, this week my head has been all over the place, I’ve felt anxious, nervous and really unlike myself. On my laptop there is a list of ‘future blog post ideas’ that I have stored away which I’m really interested in and none of them were shouting out to me to be written this week. Then a post popped up in my Instagram reminding me that May is Mental Health Awareness month- it felt the most appropriate thing to write about given my current week.

Mental Health is becoming a topic we can more openly discuss with one another but it’s certainly one people still feel uncomfortable about when they’re surrounded by it. FULL DISCLAIMER: I used to really struggle to discuss mental health with people; I’m a hugely empathetic person and because I hadn’t gone through what a friend was going through, I couldn’t get my head around it – I didn’t understand how difficult their situation really was. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with depression that changed, and even then, the first couple of months I was so embarrassed I didn’t want anyone to know. I’m generally a loud, bubbly, friendly and outgoing person, how were people going to understand that inside I was a deeply sad person who didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning?

So firstly, I think this post should recognise that it is OK for someone to feel a little uncomfortable when discussing mental health. It does not mean your friend doesn’t care about you or doesn’t believe what you are saying. I’m sure they are trying to understand what you are experiencing through their own life perspective which can be difficult- try and be kind to them too. If you are someone who this resonates with and don’t know what to say or how to act around someone struggling with a mental health issue but you want to be there for them, my advice would be to simply sit and listen to them. This allows them to talk about the chatter which is circling around their brain and is usually all they are looking for in the first place.

We also need to remember that although no two people’s experiences are the same it’s great to open up with one another and share stories. Everyone suffers with poor mental health to some degree in their lifetime, so no doubt your story shares similarities with someone else’s and having an open and vulnerable conversation often makes you realise you’re not alone in this world and people understand to some degree what you are experiencing. This kind of conversation is what helps people recover and in some instances can save lives.

This final part i’ll discuss today touches on mental health recovery- something I am experiencing right now. I was on medication for depression for around six months and have come off them in the last two. Generally speaking everything has been fine since and I live a very normal and happy life. But, and there’s always a but, some weeks are much harder than others. This week in particular has been a real struggle, the nervousness, anxiety, and lack of self worth have all crept in and really got me down. However, this is to be expected and I need to remind myself that not every day will be plain sailing.

The best way I have found to describe my emotions is by using the image of the sea. Like the sea, my emotions are always drifting in and out and they’re usually very manageable and controlled, but sometimes something happens (and often I don’t even know what that something is) and it’s like a big rock has been dropped into the water creating a disruption in the waves. However, the sea will always return to normal once more – even stormy seas settle and become calm once more. You’ve just got to ride it out- and for me that involves some #boringselfcare but I’ll save that for another post.

This post feels all over the place but in all honestly I’ve just written from the heart. Mental Health doesn’t look perfect and much like this post it is very scattered and erratic. All I ask is this Mental Health Awareness month is that you are more open to discussing your own and others mental health issues with one another, learning something new, breaking the stigma, and promoting healthier communities and relationships with each other.

Until next time,

XO

Why Are Some People Happier Than Others?

20180329_111813110_iOSHey!

Now, everyone loves an Instagram poll, and I used one on @meganalexandra_yoga to find out what you most wanted to read about this week! Like I’ve said before, my main aim is to create content you’re interested in and that educates you in a wide variety of health and wellness topics. So, due to public demand, this week I am focusing on the topic of happiness, what it is, and how you can experience it.

One of the main goals as humans is to experience happiness, but there is much debate on how we can actually become more happy. Does having more money equal greater happiness? Does being in a relationship make you happier? Does being thin and athletic mean you’ll be more content in life? The short answer to all of these questions is no. The real reason some people are happier than others is actually much more simple than that.

Happier people have a happy mindset.

Let me repeat that, “happier people have a happy mindset”. It really is as plain and simple as that- happiness is a choice. Read on to find out some methods I’ve discovered throughout my own life which have allowed me to experience an abundance of happiness and joy.

Firstly, stop attaching happiness with external things. For example, I always used to associate happiness with being in a relationship. I believed that while I was still single I couldn’t be truly happy. But, then I would meet someone and once the initial new romance glow would wear off I would find myself deeply unhappy once more. “Why do I feel this way? I would ask myself, I have exactly what I thought would make me feel better and now I actually feel worse than before.” The reason I felt like this is because I had experienced that short term happiness that fades over time and I was chasing my next happiness hit. However, if you look inwards and focus on having a stronger relationship with yourself you’ll learn that happiness comes from within and that you shouldn’t rely on other people, places or things to give you that sense of satisfaction.

Secondly, I try and look at things that aggravate me as challenges rather than sit and dwell on them. I personally find that the longer I focus on something that I feel is an injustice, the worse the feelings of hurt or anger get. If you feed the feeling it gets bigger and bigger. One way of starving these feelings and making them feel more manageable is by treating them as either internal or external challenges. Often, if someone says something that hits a nerve it’s because you’ve got some internal work to do in order to clear those negative feelings. Or, if I’m having a bad day, rather than think the world is against me, I try to see it as an opportunity to develop myself as a person and accomplish tasks I didn’t think I was capable of.

My final piece of advice which has allowed me to be happier is to look at every situation with love. It actually takes more energy to be bitter towards someone who treated you wrongly or to hold onto negative feelings towards particular life events. Being bitter doesn’t stop these things from having happened- they’re now in the past. You’re letting them interrupt and interfere with the present moment, when they could have been left behind. Life is full of trials and tribulations and no two people will have the exact same experience, but if we change how we view them we’ll stop letting these experiences define us as individuals and live more presently.

So, there are three ways I try use to allow me to view life in a happier way. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not always easy and I don’t always keep my cool in situations. We’re always learning, evolving and developing but I promise if you want to be happier it is entirely possible, and it is entirely down to you. If you have any of your own ways of cultivating happiness I would love to know! Please leave a comment below and start a conversation!

Until next time,

Megan xo

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@Meganalexandra_yoga on Instagram 

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What is self care? Or more importantly, what isn’t it?

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As I write this post there are 5.1 Million #selfcare Instagram posts online. Posts full of inspirational quotes; bubble baths with pretty lush bath bombs; healthy dinner plates and yoga poses galore. Self care has become a buzzword and is expected to become the wellness word of the year. The question is, what is self care and why have we become so obsessed with it? Are we genuinely learning how to look after our mental health in order to better serve ourselves and others, or are we just following another online media trend?

The mental health awareness charity Mind, describe ‘Self Care’ as techniques or general lifestyle changes that allow individuals to create steps enabling them to manage their own mental health in a positive way.  These techniques differ from person to person, when I was suffering with depression I turned to my yoga practice to give me the opportunity to learn more about my thoughts and feelings and develop strategies when coping with the illness.

However, for others, self care may involve taking the time to cook a meal from scratch and enjoying it with a close friend or pouring a bath and giving themselves half an hour to read something that they enjoy or listen to an interesting podcast. What I’m getting at here is when practicing self care you have to do something which evokes feelings of love, care and joy within yourself. If  you are copying #selflove acts that someone posts online, but it isn’t bring you any form of happiness or contentment then you have fallen into the trap of following a trend and not developing healthy strategies to cope with the stresses that come up in daily life.

There has also been discussion in the media lately about whether self care is making Millennials more narcissistic and too involved in themselves. The term selfish gets a bit of a bad rep in British culture. If you’re ‘selfish’ people associate you to be someone who only thinks about themselves rather than do things to benefit others. However, I believe if you are consciously carving time out of your day for yourself, in order to recharge the batteries and calm the mind you will be able to serve others in a more productive way which not only benefits you it benefits those around you too.  In short, you’re probably not a narcissistic individual- well done for looking after yourself!

Self care isn’t a negative act, it’s an act of love and compassion towards yourself. I hope to teach people this in my future yoga classes and give them the opportunity to zone out from the world and channel their energy inwards to better themselves. This week I challenge you to take half an hour out of your day to do something that you love. Let me know in the comments below how it made you feel afterwards and if it allowed you to support your friends and family in a better way.

Until next time,

Megan xo

Lets be social!

@Meganalexandra_yoga on Instagram 

Megan Alexandra Yoga on Facebook

Let’s Get To Know One Another

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Hey,

I’m Megan, a Scottish yoga teacher in training and a self – love activist who wants to show you how yoga can change your mental, physical and spiritual being. This is a short, introductory post where I have narrowed down a few of my main key values so you know what to expect of me and this blog.

Self Love and Female Empowerment

As the saying goes, “behind every successful woman there is a tribe of successful women who have her back.” In a world where perfection seems to be the ultimate goal, it is unsurprising that we as women have become disempowered and have lost our feeling of self worth along the way. Not anymore I say! I want women to learn that yoga can be used as a powerful exercise tool – because moving our bodies feels good – not because we want to lose four pounds to achieve the ‘perfect’ body. I want you to learn how to love the skin you’re in and enjoy how you look now. If you’ve got a body and can breathe (which I hope you can if you’re reading this) then you can do yoga!

Progress Not Perfection

Yoga is known as a practice because you’ll never stop learning. Before I decided to do my yoga teacher training I was nervous about signing up because I didn’t think I was ready. “There are people doing waay more advanced poses than me on Instagram so therefore I’m not ready to become a teacher” was what I would say to myself when I was umming and ahhing about my decision. Thank goodness I was told otherwise and I did take the leap to beginning my training, I haven’t looked back yet! This blog and my practice will grow and mature, improving along the way, so I hope you’ll join me and we can improve together and create a community of yogis trying to better themselves and develop our practice together!

Passion is Everything

The beauty of having this online space to blog is that I have the opportunity to write what I believe are important topics and issues that need to be addressed. I want to create a blog with substance over style and create an educated yogi community of empowered women moving their bodies in a way that makes them feel good both inside and out. I plan on posting midweek twice a month to begin with, giving me time to write genuinely interesting content that I can share with you.

I want this platform to educate women on the benefits of yoga and allow them to develop a better relationship with themselves and boost their physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing allowing them to be the best version of themselves. If you’re interested keep up with me here and over on Instagram @meganalexandra_yoga. What are your core values? I would love to know, leave a comment below!

Until next time,

Megan xo

Let’s be social!

@Meganalexandra_yoga on Instagram

Megan Alexandra Yoga on Facebook