Model, writer, mental health advocate. Instagram @eva_smite
Gratitude is something I return to time and time again - both in my writing and in daily life. It is also something I need to keep reminding myself about, as it does not come as naturally as fear, worry, and other self-preservation instincts. Instincts that served our species well when our ancestors had to survive in the wilderness of the ancient world. The world has changed, but our physiology in many ways stayed the same, and we are still wired to remember the negative experiences more easily and with a much greater intensity than the positive ones. The evolutionary reasons for this are clear, we do so in order not to repeat them and survive. The irony with this, is that while animals have a way to discharge stress and negative energy (so it does not linger in their system for years after the traumatic event,) humans due to a more complex neurological make up, tend to hold onto it. This in turn, weakens the very defence they need in order to live a healthy life - the immune system. On the other hand, scientific research indicates that a daily gratitude practice strengthens immune system, as well as improving sleep and decreasing the risk of disease. While it might seem like an impossible task to feel thankful this year, due to the amount of overwhelming information we are exposed to on a daily basis, it is achievable with a little discipline. It might not be easy to feel it at first, and to begin with it could be a purely cognitive experience, but with time and practice it will become more heart felt.
Creativity as an antidote for challenging times.
“When nothing is certain, everything is possible.” Mandy Hale The year of 2020 is an eventful one to say the least. The intensity, the chaos, the bizarre changes in the society, which at times feels surreal, resembling an apocalyptic movie more than the reality. According to many ancient texts, however, there is a bigger picture at play, something that has been gaining its momentum since 2012, namely the end of one age and the beginning of another. Everyone remembers the “end of the world” prediction connected to Mayan calendar, apparently it was not supposed to be taken literally, and meant the end of the world as we know it.
Staying sane during the global turbulence part 2.
There is no doubt that this year has been a wild ride for the collective. The themes of fear, division and uncertainty have dominated headlines and headspaces all over the globe, and for many it continues, hence why I decided to write the second part of my article “Staying sane during the global turbulence” published in March. Since then it increasingly feels like many issues that were for a long time swept under the carpet , both individually and collectively, are coming to the surface to be dealt with. We are being triggered left and right, and are forced to acknowledge, to heal, to integrate, to let go of that which no longer serves us. To shed the old and welcome the new. Those who are into self-development and healing are well aware of this process, and having done certain amount of inner work, are somehow better prepared to handle current climate. For others, it is a whole new territory and things can be terrifying. While I believe there to be a bigger picture and this chaos, albeit challenging being part of the transformational process for the planet and its inhabitants , I acknowledge the current need for extra support when it comes to mental and physical health. So let’s explore couple of additional tools to help us ride these waves.
The shape of a healing journey.
“The path isn't a straight line; it's a spiral. You continually come back to things you thought you understood and see deeper truths.” Barry H Gillespie
Staying sane during the global turbulence.
I was planning to write this article for some time now, since anxiety is a worldwide problem that affects a lot of people. My initial idea was to just share some tools aka coping mechanisms, that helped me in the past. This was my plan until recently, and while I will still execute it , in the light of recent events I feel it’s my duty to add something equally important.
Hello inner critic.
Another day I witnessed something in myself , something that went unnoticed countless times before. A process that is as damaging as it is elusive. But since I learned about its existence, my radar was up. And as I caught this phenomenon in action - I was able to stop it in its tracks, not allowing it to gain any substantial air time and preventing the damage from being done. Ladies and gentlemen, please meet the inner critic - part of our psyche that is always up for not so constructive criticism. Unfortunately, it usually appears when we need it the least - namely when we feel somehow weakened already, and could do with some support and compassion instead. This aspect of ourselves is the inner voice that will say something like "what were you thinking?” , "it’s your own fault", "you’re so useless “ and so on and so forth. While it’s certainly counterproductive that it would get activated while we are in some sort of a crisis , it also makes perfect sense given the fact that most of us grew up being punished for multiple "errors" on our part. Self - punishment then becomes a program that we switch on when things don’t go as planned.
3 Small Things that Make a Big Difference
If someone asked me my beauty secrets, which is something people often want to know–I honestly wouldn’t know what to say. Not because I am not looking after my physical body, but because beauty to me goes so much deeper than that, and I doubt it can be enhanced via so called “secrets;” not in any meaningful way anyway. While I am fully aware that this opinion of mine is unpopular–I wholeheartedly believe that true beauty comes from within, and is the result of inner harmony and balance. Yes, of course there are physical/aesthetic attributes to it that indeed can be improved, or even changed dramatically, but to me if something is artificial–it’s not beautiful. Everything is energy, and we cannot fake it, not with makeup, not with filters, not with the latest Kardashian trick of the trade.
People Don’t Change
There is one sentence that both amuses and confuses me every time I hear it. The amusement part is because I know very well that it is simply not true, and the confusion because it is believed by too many to be dismissed as harmless. You've probably heard it numerous times too: "People don't change." Hmmmm, says who? Sometimes I do wonder who comes up with those cliche statements that go on living for decades in people's heads. But it doesn't matter. What matters is that we blindly accept them as the truth that is influencing our lives for years to come. Isn't it ironic that the main reasons of our existence—growth, learning, transformation, evolution—are pretty much contradicted in one short sentence? Boom! Just like that, seven billion people are given a diagnosis. And the greatest excuse of all time. To stay small and powerless over their own nature. Because inability to change equals losing in this game of life. Not in the eyes of ego who has all kinds of goals that feel good short-term, I'm talking about the bigger picture here.