From a people pleaser to a people pleaser.

You! Are you a people pleaser? Well stop right now. I’ve had enough of you putting yourself at risk and making everyone else happy, not realizing how you’re damaging yourself mentally and physically. I feel that a lot of it is somehow linked to low self esteem and confidence. You feel that you would be left alone if you didn’t go out and just be there for people. Anyway, its time to bring some changes!

  • Stop beating yourself up for your mistakes. Seriously, stop! Everyone makes mistakes. The difference is that, everyone else knows how to accept their mistakes and learn from them. Plus if God is ready to forgive us, who are we to NOT forgive ourselves?
  • Let go of the past and the future. They are NOT real. What is real is, NOW. This moment. You reading this blog. This is real! Make this moment count. So that you don’t have any regrets.
  • It’s completely fine to say no. It’s pretty easy. So next time someone asks you to do their assignment for them, and you don’t feel up to it. You’ll say no!
  • You can’t be everywhere. I mean seriously, there’s just one of you. You CAN’T be everywhere. Don’t give me the ‘oh but if I’m not there for her tomorrow no one will be there for me when I need help’ BS because you do stuff for people when its physically possible for you. You can’t always put yourself in difficult positions for everyone. Keep a limited circle of friends and family who you’ll cross oceans for! Those who love you will always be there for you no matter what.
  • Love yourself first. It’s the best thing you can do for yourself. Because when you love yourself, that’s when the rest will get the best version of you and feel loved in return.
  • Speak up for what you don’t like! No one should EVER feel sorry for how they feel. Now don’t say, “Oh but I cant lose him, he wouldn’t like it if I said this”. Well then honey, you’re with a jackass. Time to move on!
  • You’ve done your part. Stop getting anxious waiting for the results! Now put your complete faith in God. HE will give you the best because HE loves you the most.
  • Take a deep breath and accept yourself.

Why suppression was the worst thing I did to myself!

Growing up, I thought that it wasn’t important to tell anyone what and how you feel. Most of the time I suppressed my emotions because I didn’t want anyone to think that I’m emotionally weak. I was also afraid that if I express myself too much, I’d get to hear stuff like oh, that’s not something to be sad about or oh I can’t believe you’re crying over this. This is what made me block any kind of pain that I felt and I simply didn’t talk about anything that was going on in my mind. Only when all my suppressed thoughts and feelings came out with a vengeance is when I realized that not expressing myself at the time was the worst thing I did to myself. I think most of it came from the fact that I didn’t realize that there were people around me who would listen and not judge. We live in a society where we DO get judged for how we feel and not everyone has the time or patience to listen. We get afraid to express ourselves also because of what people might think of us. Either this or the fact that we think we don’t have time and that if we don’t feel the pain, we can continue getting on with our lives.

It’s important for your mental health that you surround yourself with a few family members and friends who you think won’t judge you for expressing yourself. Although I’ve learnt how important it is to express, I still find it a bit uncomfortable to talk to someone about it so I’ve started to write about how I feel. For me, 2016 was the year when I got rid of all the toxic people from my life and I limited my social circle, I’m still left with a few close friends who actually do listen to me when I’m having an emotional breakdown. When it happened to me, I started to study deeply about it and I came across one of Paulo Coelho’s quotes that has become one of my favorites.

“If pain must come, may it come quickly. Because I have a life to live, and I need to live it in the best way possible. If he has to make a choice, may he make it now. Then I will either wait for him or forget him.” – Paulo Coelho, By the River Piedra I sat Down and Wept.

This made me realize that you must always let pain enter so that it can teach you something and change you as it leaves. Suppressing it will make the emotion you’re feeling even stronger and when it comes back it probably won’t even be as bad as it was before.

So let pain come and go, because you have a life to live!

The Power of Patience (1 min read)

It’s normal to be extremely frustrated when something doesn’t go our way, when we’re in a conflict or when we’re not feeling well. However, when that feeling takes over you, that’s when we have a problem. Whenever an individual gets afflicted with a storm, the storm often makes them believe that they’re being punished and they often try to find answers to the question, why is this happening to me or why is God doing this to me? Why is it that we’re not able to stay calm in such situations? Patience is a virtue and those who are able to master the art of patience are the ones who find themselves calm during the storm and when the storm is over, they realize that they’ve learnt from it without falling apart. It’s not easy to master the art of patience and I won’t lie, I get pretty frustrated too at times but I try my best to remain calm. I feel that patience comes in more when you’re more considerate about others. When you just think about yourself, you’re more bound to get frustrated if things don’t go your way. I find myself getting extremely impatient when I’m unwell. But then I tell myself how the Prophet Ayoub (A.S) was tested by Allah through illness and he lived for many years with patience and faith in his Lord for which he was rewarded.

Most of the times in life things will not go our way. The day we accept the fact that we can’t always get what we want, we have to do things for others for our own peace of mind and the fact that illness comes from God as a trial, we will be able to remain calm. If you want to know whether you’re patient or not, try monitoring your behavior in a traffic jam. It’s almost similar to when you want something so bad in your life that you just can’t wait for it. Everything happens whenever the time is right and the sooner we accept that, the happier we will be! Whenever I find myself being impatient, I meditate. Meditation not only helps me calm my nerves but also helps me live in the present moment. I automatically start to enjoy the journey rather than becoming impatient waiting for the outcome. I’m relatively new to meditation so I sit for straight ten minutes and I find it enough for me. It’s really important to practice patience because of this uncertain world. It’s really easy to fall apart and hard to stay strong and for that it’s important we tell ourselves that if something bad is happening, it’ll pass, if you’re anxiously waiting for a result ask yourself, ‘what’s the worst that’ll happen?’. Imagine how your relationships and work life can be affected because of the anger, outrage or restlessness that comes from impatience. Since balance is really important in life and patience is key to achieving it, we must make it a habit to try and practice patience in everyday life.

Happy Meditation, everyone!

 

It was meant to be.

Two weeks ago me, my sister and my brother in law went out for dinner and when we came back home, my sister ended up having a bad stomach and she said to her husband, “I shouldn’t have eaten such a heavy meal so late, it never suits me” and he replied, “Don’t worry about it, it was meant to be” and I thought to myself well, that was a heavy statement for just diarrhea. It’s one of my favorite statements anyway because it’s something I’ve been telling myself since the past few years and it helps me calm myself a lot. I always think about what to say to myself to calm my nerves. Since I find myself, most of the time, thinking about something I can’t go back and change, so “it was meant to be” helps me a lot. The most helpful ones for me are ‘It was meant to be’ and that ‘what’s the worst that would happen?’.  I’d leave the second phrase for another day but what does it was meant to be mean anyway? It means that whatever happened, happened because God had already decided for it to be that way. Thinking about why something bad happened won’t help because nothing can change now and also because it was simply, meant to be. Even when something small happens for example, eating something which you shouldn’t have and regretting later on, saying something unusual to someone, wearing something and thinking later on that you could’ve wore something else, we unnecessarily drain our minds into thinking why we couldn’t change a certain situation. But the truth is, we can’t. No matter how hard we try, when something doesn’t have to go our way, it doesn’t simply because that’s just how God wanted it to be. Can you imagine how much worrying could simply end just by realizing the fact that ‘it was meant to be’? We stress ourselves too much thinking about something we can’t go back and change.

When I wasn’t able to go to an engineering school and decided to pursue Government Studies instead, which was a plan B, it took me a whole year to accept that fact that I won’t be able to go to an engineering school now and that this is what my career will be based on in the future. It would really get to me a times but that’s just how I recovered, by telling myself that this is what God has decided for me, and its for the best. It actually did work out for the best because I did pretty well and graduated with a decent CGPA. The thought still comes to me sometimes. Especially now when I work part time with the Avionics and Engineering department at a university. But then I tell myself, it was meant to be and just simply get on with life.

So, sit back, relax and breathe! Whatever happened to you was simply just meant to be. Instead of dwelling over the past, think about how you can make the present better. If you find yourself worrying for no reason, don’t worry, you’re no different but you can be better.

Here are some steps to take when you’re regretting something that you couldn’t change.

  1. First of all. Take deep breaths!
  2. Accept what happened. Don’t be in denial. It’s the worst thing to do to yourself.
  3. Take it in with positivity.
  4. Think about how to make things better in the moment.
  5. Think about your relationship with God. He is listening and He gives you what is best for you!

Could a nice holiday with your best friend(s) be the best therapy ever?

Back in January, two of my best friends decided to go to Dubai and they asked me to come along. It took me a whole month to decide whether I was up for it or not because I had never been out of the country with my friends before. I decided that I’ll go for it just a week before our flights were booked. I have never been a nervous flyer so I wasn’t really worried about the transit flight. The only thing I was worried about was whether I’ll be able to survive with a family I’ve never met before or not(My best friend’s Aunt and Uncle offered to let us stay with them). We decided to stay in Dubai for a week and we had prepared a list with all the places we wanted to visit and everything we wanted to do while we’re there, keeping in mind our budgets.

When I reached, meeting my friends just made the anxiety go away. I reached at midnight and we spent the night planning how we want to make the most of out of this trip. We only had a week so there was obviously no time to waste. I decided that I’ll spend this week disconnected from my phone which meant less of WhatsApp(Just to tell my family where I am and what I’m up to) and less of Snapchat. I’m not a fan of posting stories of where I’m going and what I’m doing anyway.

Getting up and having breakfast together, Dressing up together and literally exploring the whole city in a week all by ourselves definitely made me think that going to Dubai was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made because of the confidence it gave me. I felt confident because firstly I flew all the way through a transit flight and then I was in another country with just my friends and I felt a sense of responsibility as well. Last but not the least, I was there to enjoy myself and I knew that I might not get a chance like this again so I didn’t want to waste time at all. I felt uplifted because all we did was laugh and explore. It was like the three of us had left our troubles back in our own countries and came all the way just to relax. We hardly talked about anything negative going on in our lives because the whole trip was just about relaxing and having fun. We also didn’t have the time. It makes me realize that when we have nothing to do, that’s when our minds come up with all sorts of negativity, making us anxious or depressed.

My favourite part of the whole trip was Parasailing. I didn’t want to do it because the height scared me. But I’m so glad that my friends forced me because it was the best thing ever. It was less thrilling and more relaxing. You’ll have to experience it to know what I’m talking about but it’s like when you’re at a height and you’re sailing through the air you just want to close your eyes and relax. But I still kept my eyes open because the view was absolutely breathtaking.FullSizeRender (1)

This is why I think that going on a trip with your best friends is the best form of therapy ever:

  • Best friends understand you. Even if you’re having a moment during a holiday, they know exactly what to do to lift you up and get you back on track.
  • I’d be worried if I was accompanied on a holiday with someone I don’t really want to go on a holiday with. But you can be yourself with your best friends and do whatever you want!
  • Because you connect with your best friends, there’ll be less conflicts related to what you want to do on your holiday. Mostly, you would share the same opinion.
  • Making memories with your best friends is something that will stay with you forever.
  • Best friend photoshoots?

When I got back, it took me a day to recover from jet lag but I felt great! I needed that holiday and I needed to have some fun and do stuff out of my normal routine. I brought some amazing memories back and I’d totally do it again if I ever get the chance.

Plan ahead or live in the moment?

You must have heard about planning ahead especially if you went to a business school. We were always taught how to plan at a very early age. Growing up, it turned into planning at what age you’ll get a degree, at what age you’ll get a job and at what age you’ll get married and have kids. Too much planning can make you anxious. It is when you’ve set too many benchmarks for yourself that you end up becoming a perfectionist which is a personality trait that comes with a lot of anxiety. I’m not saying planning is bad and that we shouldn’t plan at all but I believe that going with the flow can make you a happier person. Today, we’re surrounded by so much uncertainty that we can’t even imagine what could happen next. Is it good to plan in a world filled with so much uncertainty? I speak from experience when I say it isn’t. I used to be a perfectionist. I had planned that by the age of 22, I will start my Masters at one of the Universities in the UK that I always wanted to get into. I did get admitted into that same university and I was extremely excited to go and study what I always wanted to, Innovation and Technology Management. But I fell sick like I never did before. I was devastated because my biggest dream was shattered. When I asked to defer it for a year it couldn’t be managed and hence I had to let it go. I also had to choose a university that was more reasonable in terms of its tuition fee and living costs which is why I never reapplied to the same university again. I chose to live with my family so that I’m not alone and that there are people around me to look after me.

I’m not the same person anymore. I stopped planning ahead altogether. Although I still plan daily chores because even if they don’t go as planned for some reason, they’re not really a cause of anxiety or stress. But I find myself enjoying sudden plans more than pre planned hangouts. I have learned to embrace change and not just that, I have learned to look beyond imperfections. I am happier and calmer. I have let go of all that I had planned, related to my job, my higher education and my marriage. I’ve learned the meaning of ‘It was meant to happen’ and that ‘It’s all written by the Greatest of Writers’.

I read this quote a few days ago and it is one of my favourites. It completely summarizes the uselessness of the regrets from the past and the anxieties related to the future and also how living in the moment is the best way to become calmer and happier. This is a quote by Karen Maezen Miller, “Your life is your practice. Your spiritual practice does not occur someplace other than in your life right now, and your life is nowhere other than where you are. You are looking for answers, insight, and wisdom that you already possess. Live the life in front of you, be the life you are, and see what you find out for yourself.” What I gathered from this quote was that your past and your future are abstracts and the present is the reality that we should completely indulge ourselves into.

Although I’m not really a pro at it yet, but I always try to live in the moment. I still need a lot of practice but I’m getting there. Some of the benefits of living in the moment that I know are:

  • You get to enjoy everyday to the fullest which means you’ll have no regrets about not being able to enjoy every little moment in your life because of anxieties related to the future or past regrets.
  • It’s good for your mental health. Studies show that when you involve yourself fully into a task, your brain activity increases, hence improving it’s health.
  • It makes you happier. The biggest cause of sadness isn’t the incident itself that takes place, but our minds that shows us the negative side and hence making us depressed or anxious. When you’re fully in the present moment, your mind is too occupied to let negative thoughts come in.
  • The quality of relationships improve. Imagine yourself talking to someone and they’re not paying attention because they’re in another world. It becomes hard to communicate that way. When you’re living in the moment, you find it easier to connect to people.

Things don’t always go as they are planned. If you’re planning, make yourself emotionally strong enough to accept something that didn’t go your way and learn to go with the flow. Learn that it’s okay to fail sometimes and that your life doesn’t have to be perfect.

Someone’s abusive relationship inspired me!

She ran, ran as fast as she could. But what she didn’t know was that no amount of running could help her get away from what she had been through all these years. She was wrong to run so she finally decided to stop, look back and reflect on what had happened. Thoughts came to her one by one. She remembered when once she was late to answer his phone call and he didn’t get back to her for three days until he needed someone to dominate and when he gets back to her, she was the one to say she’s sorry because apparently it was ‘her fault’. She remembered when once she went out with his friends and she laughed too loud and how he made her feel horrible about it all night that she couldn’t sleep. It was ‘her fault’ again because she should’ve controlled herself. She remembered the sacrifice she gave when she received an offer letter from one of the most prestigious universities in Europe, but she couldn’t go because if she left, ‘it was over’. She remembered all those times when she was constantly told that she was not beautiful and that if he left, she would be all alone. She remembered when she was told that she could not do well in studies and in her career, so that she could tell herself that her real place was in his home, to serve him. She remembered how he would shamelessly say horrible stuff about her family and friends, apologize the next day but say the same old abusive statements about them again. She remembered how he would harm himself if she didn’t listen to him. She remembered all those suicidal threats she was given if she would not follow his rules, eat the way he wanted her to, dress the way he wanted her to, talk the way he wanted her to or simply just breathe the way he wanted her to. She remembered how cleverly he would make everything seem like it was her fault, and his aggressive nature would make her believe him. She was so educated, she loved to read and write, play sports and dance, how could she not understand what he was doing to her? Once, she went to another country for her sisters wedding and when she came back home after a week, she finds him missing. He was mad at her because she didn’t give him ‘enough time’ and that her family was ‘more important’ to her. She was the one to apologize again because it was ‘her fault’. Constantly telling her that she needs to cut ties from her family completely, she gave into whatever he was telling her to do, without realizing that she was in an abusive relationship.
She remembered when he would be happy one moment and extremely mad at her the next along with the emotional and physical abuse that would come with it. She still kept going back to him. Was she in love or was she so used to the torture? It was so hard to answer this question because she found herself in both situations. When you give so much of yourself to a person, you find it hard to leave them, she thought. But it was okay, because when she stopped and looked back, that’s when she decided that she will put an end to this torturous relationship. She cried at first, how could I give three years of my life to the human being who never actually loved me but only loved the idea of dominating me, emotionally and physically torturing me? But then she stopped because she realized, that she wasn’t the same person that got into the relationship in the first place. She was stronger than before, wiser than before. She felt beautiful by herself. She felt that she could finally breathe fresh air. She decided to send voice notes to all her loved ones, and tell them that she loves them and that she’s sorry for being away from them for so long. She feels great! The phone rings and it’s him, she declines.

Note: I’ve met and listened to so many people who have been through abusive relationships, obviously at different levels and I’ve noticed that most of them think that there was something wrong with them which is why they had to go through it. If you’re reading this and you’re in an abusive relationship or you’re a survivor, don’t believe anything you were told about yourself by your partner, believe the opposite!

Comparing yourself to your Facebook friends? (1 min read)

We’ve heard it so many times that life isn’t a bed of roses. There are ups and downs and the successful ones are those who are strong enough to deal with the challenges and smile through the pain. Do you often find yourself looking at someone’s Instagram post thinking, oh my God, look at her, what a life man! She’s got everything and look at me and everything I have to deal with. It’s pretty normal to feel that way especially when you’re going through a phase of depression, anxiety or both. But stop yourself right there. Don’t compare lives because that girl who’s smiling in her Instagram posts is probably fighting a silent battle that no body knows about. The only thing you need to learn from the social media whilst you’re fighting a battle is to try and gather all the positivity and try to fill all those cracks in your life with it. I mean, instead of thinking how much better someone else’s life is from yours, maybe you could think, wow, look at her, she’s dealing with life’s challenges with so much positivity that you wouldn’t even know if there’s something wrong with her. Be that girl. Wake up with a smile on your face, with a positive mind and a clean heart, with the motivation to fight. Forget about how you cried yourself to sleep last night. It’s a new day and a new beginning, seize it!

We often make this mistake and it’s completely normal to be that way but we often don’t realize that when we are so involved in someone’s Instagram or Facebook posts, we are comparing our lives to theirs. We’re unintentionally feeding our minds with the thought that someone has a better life than our own. This usually happens when you yourself are going through a hard time, you log in to probably distract yourself but then all of a sudden this post comes up and hey, your friend is on holiday and she or he  is having a great time and you’re just sat there like, oh great. Why me? The thing is, this could probably make your hard time worse because the last thing you want is to start feeling like you haven’t been blessed at all. This is where you have to stop your thoughts, fight for your mind to think positively and let it change your situation. Make yourself strong enough to realize that it’s okay for someone else to enjoy their life when you’re going through a hard time because that hard time will end soon, and you’ve also had your good days! If it doesn’t help, log out! Logging out doesn’t mean you’ve fallen weak, it just means you need time by yourself, to fix yourself, to deal with issues and you don’t need to see what other people are doing in their life right now!

Here are some simple steps to take when you feel that you’re comparing your life to your Instagram or Facebook friends:

  • Gather all the good memories in your mind. Think about all those times in your life when you were blessed. (and trust me, you still are)
  • Look at the bright side! You might not believe it when it’s happening but every hardship has a blessing that isn’t quite evident till the hardship is over.
  • Log out. It’s not a bad thing. I think it’s the best way to get away from an anxious feeling.
  • Find something else to do, like walking outside, reading a book or just simply watching a movie.

Come on, you can do it! You have it in you and you can control your mind. Turn everything into positivity, every approach into a positive approach and watch your situation change, watch the world become beautiful around you. The moment every negative thought is fought and defeated, every hardship starts to feel like a blessing.

It was my birthday yesterday!

Hello, world!

So, it was my birthday yesterday. This by far has been one of the best birthdays I’ve had and not because I had a lot of people sending me nice long birthday texts or because I was being showered by birthday presents, but because it’s the only birthday I’ve actually reflected back and realized how far I’ve come. So I spent my day with my immediate family who made me feel special and my best friends did the same by ringing me up, texting me and telling me how valuable our friendship is. Being surrounded by just the right people can be so soothing. I believe that if you’re letting people go, creating a boundary and investing your time in people who care for you, you’re doing yourself a huge favour. You’re actually giving your mind, body and soul some peace which it clearly deserves.

How is peace attained anyway? Why are we always trying to find peace around us when really, it’s meant to be created by ourselves, for ourselves? Ask yourself right now, what am I doing for myself, my happiness, my peace of mind, basically my mental health?  Mental health is a blessing and taking care of it has become less of a priority, which is why most of us struggle with it. It really surprises me sometimes how powerful the mind is and how capable it is of controlling the way your body reacts physically to stress. Being in this marathon called life has made it difficult and in some cases, not a priority to take care of your mental health, to make an effort to keep your mind at peace. It surprises me how common the cases of anxiety, depression and other mental disorders are these days. Many of us face a mental health issue that could have been avoided if it was made a priority at an earlier stage in life.

There’s a scale of every mental health issue. If we talk about anxiety, some people face anxiety at such a lower level that it doesn’t interfere with their daily life. Basically they can “get over it”. But unfortunately, for some people, it’s a challenge because it can affect their daily life for example, not being able to communicate, eat, sleep or simply relax. If you’re reading this and you’re one of those people, I’m here for you and let me tell you one thing, just look at how far you’ve come, trust me it’ll be over soon and its only going to make you stronger.

Some simple steps you can take to put your mind at peace are:

  • Concentrate on your breathing. Take long, deep breaths and notice your stress level decrease.
  • Stretch your arms, try the hamstring stretch, try all the possible stretches you know and it will for sure, relax your nerves.
  • Drink water. Drink lots of water. It washes the toxins out!
  • Talk to someone. Just call a loved one, or a friend. But only someone who will understand you and won’t judge you for it. Being judged will only make it worse.
  • Eat something sweet after every meal. It is said that eating sweet after every meal is a mood booster.
  • Have some fun. Make a plan, go out, plan something that’s adventurous!
  • Exercise, pump the adrenaline. It’s really very helpful!

Following these simple steps in life can make it easier and less stressful! Carrying all that burden on those little shoulders can simply be let off by these tricks. I often hear my friends, who suffer from anxiety say that they can’t do anything about it, or seek help for it because the people they are surrounded by don’t think that it’s an issue to deal with. They were simply told to ‘get over it’. Let me tell you, if you have parents, guardians, or other loved ones who understand what you’re going through and are willing to help you fight this, you are way more blessed than you think you are. Whenever you think you can’t handle this anymore just think about the people who have stood by you for so long, just because they love you.

Mastering self talk can really help to calm your nerves. Sometimes it’s more important to calm your own self down through self talk rather than depending upon your therapist to do it. Your body and your mind should be controlled by only you. Whenever you’re feeling anxious, try some positive self talk to yourself. Tell yourself that it’s okay or it’s going to be okay and whatever you’re worrying about right now is probably not even going to happen. Think about it, what are you telling yourself everyday? Your self talk techniques should include nothing to feed your anxiety, it should always include statements that will help you get through the day!

Promise yourself right now that you will not let any person or situation mess up your peace of mind. Start working now towards a healthy mind because you’re in control of it.

#imnodifferent

Hello, World.

Welcome to my blog. Happy Women’s Day and a Very Happy Wednesday. Wednesdays. I like Wednesdays. Okay so, a little about me. I’m Zoha, a 22 year old, unemployed fresh graduate. Don’t judge me, I do plan on starting work soon. I’ve been on a break. It’s going to sound like something lazy people say but yes I’ve been trying to find the answer to what am I supposed to do now with this degree?

Yes I do like to read, write, play sports, try different foods, yeah try.. Cooking? Haven’t started to work on that part much. But lets come to something that interests me the most. First of all, I absolutely love makeup. Now I don’t want to push away male readers so second of all, I like to talk about mental health. I feel that mental health is something that is causing a lot of discrimination and to be honest, I’m not okay with that. I’ve always been reading about it, writing about and discussing it with my friends and family. But I wanted to be there for people who are discriminated on a daily basis because of suffering from a mental illness that other people don’t understand. There are youngsters who suffer but unfortunately, they belong to a family that doesn’t understand the struggles of everyday life for their child. I believe it’s very important to provide help as soon as something like this is diagnosed because living with a mental illness can be terrible.

I hope me and my readers can use this space to talk about it and I promise I’ll never ask you to just ‘get over it’. I just want to tell you if you’re reading this and you’re suffering from anxiety, depression or any other mental illness, I’m here for you! People with mental illnesses are just people like you, who just need to be showed how to live a life full of positivity!

#imnodifferent