How To Tackle A Bad Day (or Days)

We all have them. We wake up feeling groggier than normal. We trip over a rogue pencil that we forgot about. The weatherman’s prediction yesterday was wrong and somehow our wardrobe has swallowed every weather-appropriate thing we’re looking for. Things aren’t starting out so good.

Before we know it, we’re more than a little annoyed.

For whatever reason, a bad day is a bad day. Today, I thought I’d share some little ideas which could help turn the day around or at least help you cope as well as can:

1. Breathe slowly

Yeah, okay. It doesn’t sound very exciting. But it really helps. Especially when you can’t escape from wherever you happen to be just yet (e.g. school, work). When you’re whole self is focused on something as simple as breathing, your mind has a chance to clear and you forget about any stresses. We all know the drill. Inhaaaaale. Aaaaaand. Exhaaaaale. Repeat. Do this for a minute or so. Feel that negative mood leaving you.

2. Focus on the task at hand

Again, if you’re not able to leave the environment, then maybe focus on what it is you’re meant to be doing. Like the above, focusing your mind on one single thing can help you forget about the external sources of stress. Unless of course, the task itself is the source of your bad day then perhaps think about skipping this one…

3. Listen to music

A classic solution. Music is a mysterious phenomenon that can whisk us away and make us connect with our feelings. So pick out some songs which best suit your mood right now. Relax with some slow piano, get happy with something upbeat, or vent your anger with something shouty and loud. There is no one-song-fits-all so go ahead and choose away!

4. Take a walk

When you eventually get the chance to escape, even if only for a little while, a little walk outdoors can do the trick. Fresh air and sunshine make for a clearer head. If you don’t mind a little rain, then don’t be afraid to take an umbrella and walk. Personally, I find a little light rain quite relaxing to walk in. :)

5. Distract yourself some other way

This means anything to stop yourself thinking about your bad day. Distract yourself with a funny film, a book or your favourite hobby. If you’re short on time, a quick youtube video could be just what you need. Something like Barack Obama “singing” Uptown Funk or Problem… or the Pokémon theme??

6. Talk to people

When having a not-so-good day, it’s tempting to just hide away. But talking to people can make you feel better. You don’t need to talk about your stresses (but you can if you want), people can be pretty surprising. There was an instance where the first person I spoke to had no idea of the bad morning I’d just had. And yet after speaking with them, I felt so much better. Their bright attitude alone was enough to brighten me up. These are the people I aspire to be like.

6. Tomorrow is a new day

If all else fails, remember tomorrow brings a fresh new start. New day, new beginnings. Yes, we’ve all heard it before but it’s most definitely true – well of course it is, who wouldn’t feel at least a tiny bit better after a nice sleep? :)

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Here’s To Truly Enjoying The Moment!

I’m a person who lives in their head a lot. Always thinking about something or another. I’ve also always been a huge daydreamer. There are numerous different worlds living in my head that I often visit everyday. The combination of all that is the reason why it’s hard for me to ever truly feel bored.

However, I have a confession. I’ve probably been doing that a little too much lately.

I think many of us can relate. Even if you don’t have an imaginary land in your head, everyone has thoughts.

Picture this. We’re walking to the shops. We start thinking about all the nice things we want to buy, like those shoes we saw online, they’d be perfect for work, oh work, I still have a mess of papers to organise, the desk is so messy, messy like my room, I have too many things I don’t use anymore, maybe I should give them to charity, yes I’ll sort through it all and put them in a box, I’ll do that right after dinner, dinner? what should I have for dinner, I think we’re almost out of milk, I should pick some up before I finish shopping…

Needless to say, the mind can be quite flighty. I know I’m guilty of that much.

This way of thinking is probably pretty normal. It isn’t as if we can really control where our thoughts go, they’re just kind of there and we don’t give them any… thought. :P

But wait a minute. That walk to the shops we just went on. We had so many thoughts during that time – do we remember what the path actually looked like? Wasn’t there a blossom tree somewhere along the way? I wonder if they’ve come full bloom yet. I used to see bird nests in that tree. I wonder if there are still some now. I’ll have to look on the way back. I should take a picture too!

Oh look, I’ve done it again. At this point, I’m probably at the shops and should really be focusing on what I’m buying.

While I’m busy doing on thing, my mind is elsewhere doing something else. And though it’s a completely natural thing for us to do,  if our minds are constantly thinking of something/somewhere else, ignoring what’s happening in front of us… it sort of closes us off from the world. We end up in our own bubble and it doesn’t look like we’re coming back out.

Maybe we’re not fully appreciating life if all we’re thinking about is what we want to do next.

So from now on: when we’re on that walk, let us truly enjoy this moment of walking. Let’s give it our full attention. Let the mind be fully aware that we are walking now and everything about it is wonderful.

That must be some walk, huh? :mrgreen:

To put our whole self into the moment, we give our minds a chance to relax. We give ourselves the time to appreciate our surroundings and the people around us. It’s a peaceful feeling… and one I hope to practice from now on!

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Be Yourself – Because It’s Much More Interesting

“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.” – Bruce Lee

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One year in high school, my friends and I somehow wound up performing backing vocals for the Christmas Showcase. Part of the showcase included extracts of the musical Blood Brothers. I remember the leading girl being quite talented. Her portrayal of the main character, Mrs Johnstone, led me to think the character was a vulnerable type. She seemed gentle and delicate, like someone who would never look for trouble.

Towards the end of last year, I went to see a professional production of Blood Brothers. The lead, again, was very talented. But I was pleasantly surprised at how different her take on Mrs Johnstone was compared to the one I watched at high school. She seemed much tougher with a more hardened edge – a no-nonsense personality. This Mrs Johnstone was feisty and wasn’t afraid of a fight.

These two people played the same character but both were distinctly different. The story was the same but their interpretations of the lead role were different. Essentially, they weren’t being copies of what the character ‘should’ have been like. They had their own ideas and put them into their performance – and it was much more interesting that way.

And I believe it’s the same for life too. We all have traits we admire about other people and it’s natural that we aspire to be more them. It’s one way we grow in life. But we should never strive to be a complete copy. We shouldn’t be discouraged by our differences. Our differences are not always so bad – and you never know, it might be a trait that someone else admires about us.

We are our own person. We shouldn’t deny our unique qualities; they’re things which make us that little bit special. And that makes us infinitely more interesting.

Sure, it’s okay to say “I want to be more like that person”…

But let’s also remember to say “I want to be the best version of myself” :)

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10 Lessons of 2014

Time is never a waste if you take something away from those moments you spent.

As we soon bid farewell to 2014 and welcome a fresh new year, I compiled a little list of things I learned this year.

1. Only we can define ourselves. In January, I shared this post. If other people’s expectations weren’t there, would we be worrying over them?

2. Asking yourself “which is more important to me?” is a great way to combat procastination. Doesn’t work 100% and still requires your own willpower, but it’s a start. Which is more important – spending time writing my book or browsing Twitter for a few hours?

3. When it comes to telling jokes, it’s all in the delivery.

4. TV is not always a waste of time. Any form of media can be great in moderation. TV programmes are there to entertain, to inspire, to spark off your creative juices. Sometimes when I’m out of ideas, I find an inspirational TV show I like and feed off some inspiration.

5. Of course I love a hero, but I realised why I can be so captivated by a villain.

6. And it’s hard for me to not love the Doctor.

7. It’s okay to give up on something that isn’t truly for you. We all like the phrase “never give up” but if it’s not what really want, then there’s no shame in putting it aside. At the very least, you can say you tried it once – instead of you’ve always wanted to try it but never did.

8. There are good examples out there for why we should all keep our faith in humanity.

9. It’s a lovely atmosphere to sit in a coffee shop by yourself.

10. I thought I would perhaps outgrow this phase but apparently not. I will always have more fictional role models than real life ones.

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Happy New Year, dear readers! Let’s welcome 2015 with open arms!

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Smile. It’s Almost Christmas :)

Thank you Tofu Cute stand at MCM Comic Con for this adorable carrier bag

Thank you Tofu Cute stand at MCM Comic Con for this adorable carrier bag

Christmas is nearly here! A time of joy and feel-good happiness!

My favourite things about Christmas are: 1) Spending precious quality time with loved ones and 2) buying gifts for them!

Christmas is not about the presents, but I love shopping around for them. The thought of finding a gift that will make someone smile… it’s what makes present-shopping so fun for me! Isn’t that another value of Christmas? To make everyone around us smile.

Let us not forget that while Christmas brings with it festive cheer, we all have the ability to continue that cheer all year round!

Merry Christmas :)

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Carry A Piece of Inspiration

Have another drink of Green Elixir...?

Have another drink of Green Elixir…?

This is a necklace I bought recently. I call it my “green elixir” necklace because it reminds me of the elixir in Wicked the musical. In fact, the very reason I bought it was to have a reference to my favourite musical that I could wear with me.

Wicked is one of my favourite musicals because of its interesting storyline underlined with strong, thought-provoking themes. It has fantastic musical numbers, ranging from fun to emotional. It has great character development for many characters – Elphaba being my favourite to watch change, grow and realise who she is throughout the story.

My necklace represents my love for Wicked. But it’s also more than that.

My “green elixir” necklace reminds me of everything I saw in Wicked that I want to achieve myself. The unbelievable creativity behind an enjoyable, show-stopping musical that I admired. The boundless energy in its performance that felt like it was fuelling me. And of course, the great depth in its writing, the story that I fell in love with.

In less eloquent wording: I loved it. I really loved it.

So yes, it represents my love for Wicked. But it also represents all the things I learned from it; the feelings I want to create, the energies I want to have and the stories I want to tell. Because I don’t just love something. I love it because it taught me something. I love it because it made me realise things.. and that’s how it captivated my heart.

Perhaps I’m coming off as a little obsessed… but it’s really no different to having something that simply makes you happy. This makes me happy and inspired :)

While I can’t say that everything I own has some inspiring meaning behind it, I do try my best. Anyone can do it. I chose an accessory I could wear because it feels more like a part of me, but it doesn’t have to be. A little poster. The wallpaper on your desktop. A song that plays on the morning alarm. It’s easy to surround yourself with little bits of inspiration.

Modern day life is so full of rush and hurry, sometimes our inner spark gets buried away deep inside us. That’s why it’s nice to have something you can look at and it all comes back out.

Not bad for a just little green bottle, eh? :)

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Thoughts From Sitting in a Coffee Shop Alone

A few weeks ago, I ventured into the city next door. I had plans to meet a friend there but because of train times, I would end up arriving much earlier than expected. I needed something to pass the time.

Short of standing still for 20-25 minutes or walking round the shops (which I planned to do later once my friend had arrived), I could only think of one other place. Sit around in a coffee shop.

I’d never sat solo in a coffee shop before but there was one place in particular I’d been wanting to visit. I decided to make that my pit stop. Many cafés do a good job with their interior design, don’t they? Cute decor, cosy seat layout, many even have comfy-looking sofas in the corner… it’s no wonder they look so inviting!

The queue was long. I noticed four, maybe five, other people apparently on their own and waiting in line. This was strangely comforting, knowing I wouldn’t look odd in a crowd full of groups.

I ordered. Sat down. Looked around and absorbed the atmosphere. And I wondered. Why hadn’t I done this before?

Of course, I know why. Reason 1: There’s never been any need for me to ever do it. Reason 2: I never knew sitting alone in a coffee shop was so socially acceptable. I mean, sit alone at a party or a bar and you’d look like the odd one out.

As I sipped my hot chocolate (it was a sweet tooth day :mrgreen: ), I took out my phone to type little notes. In between that, I looked up every so often to see what was happening around me. People staring out the window. Reading a newspaper. Chatting with friends. Working on a laptop. Or purely just enjoying their drink and relaxing.

It was interesting. Interesting to be surrounded by lots of other people yet still able to be in your own bubble. Alone but with people. Kind of like a library but with more background noise.

Speaking of which, the chatter of people’s conversations was kind of pleasant. It’s equivalent to putting on background noise while you work. Like a jumbled up buzz, without any distinct sounds, that somehow helps you concentrate or be more in tune with your thoughts.

Add to that the soothing smell of freshly brewed coffee/tea/hot chocolate/etc – it gives you the perfect environment to just be with your thoughts and think freely.

All of my previous coffee shop visits have been with friends, occasionally for serious studying, but mostly for a leisurely chat. Coffee and good conversation go hand in hand, it seems! But sitting by yourself is a whole new experience.

To be amongst the crowd but still be separate from it. A social setting where you can be on your own, looking at life from the outside whilst simultaneously being part of it. Being able to soak up the energy without getting exhausted by it.  I think this is what make coffee shops a magical place to sit and take a break. It’s kind of amazing.

As an exercise, it was probably pointless. As a small slice of life, I think it’s one to be relished :)

No wonder coffee shops are such popular places to retreat to. Now if I ever need to pass some time alone and there’s a cosy coffee shop nearby… you know where I’ll be! :)

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