The True Sea

Slow Living, Inner Peace and Self Love


How to get back on track

I’m very well aware of my tendencies to stress myself out and push myself too hard. When I do this I also forget to have fun and to do things just for myself. Here are the things that I recommend you to do when you need to get back on track.chiaki creates dots○ Organise and decorate your workspace.

○ Express gratitude and savour the good things.

○ Grab a book, light some tea lights and take a bubble bath.

○ Take vitamins every morning.

○ Eat whole foods.

○ Go for a long walk every day.

○ Ask for help when you’re struggling.

○ Take some quality alone time.

○ Go out for dinner or tea and cake.

○ Reward yourself when you’ve done something demanding.

○ Bring a book to a café and treat yourself to a big cup of hot chocolate.

○ Keep in touch with friends and make time to see them.

○ Have a good laugh every day.

○ Go see some art, comedy or a film at the pictures.

○ Keep track of your achievements.

○ Take the weekends off and don’t do anything that’s boring or difficult.

○ Write things down so you don’t have to worry about forgetting them.

○ Make sure that you get enough sleep.

○ Frequently have unplugged days when you don’t have to be productive.

○ Listen to music every day.

○ Take a break from whatever you’re doing when it’s making you feel frustrated.

○ Make popcorn and watch your favourite films in bed.

○ Only do what’s absolutely essential and plan your daily to-do lists better.


The art of getting what you want

the art of getting what you wantAs much as I’m a firm believer in action plans and goal setting there are other tools that you can use to get the most possible out of life. Take for example, your mind. The mind is an incredibly powerful thing. You can think yourself ill and you can think yourself well. We have around 60,000 thoughts each day and you create your life through these thoughts. You literally are what you think. This is not magic or wishful thinking. This is science. The mind is capable of so much more than we think.

Debunking the law of attraction
You don’t get what you deserve. The world just doesn’t work like that. Sending out positive energy to the universe won’t guarantee that you get positive energy back. Of course being nice to people increases the likelihood of people being nice to you, but you can’t change things with your mind. What you can do though is change how you perceive them. A side effect of positive thinking is that you don’t dwell on negative things which in itself makes you happier. Positive thoughts feed on themselves, as do negative thoughts. However, the truth is that if you want something you have to work hard to get it. Be prepared and look for opportunities. If you want something, hang out with people who have it. Observe them and learn how to become the person you want to be.

The power of visualisation
You have to already be there mentally, seeing yourself clearly in the future. By doing this you’re training your brain for action and preparing yourself emotionally for what is to come. The mental instructions in your brain are no different when you’re doing something to when you’re simply thinking about doing that thing. This is why daydreaming every now and then is good for our mental health. The more you do this motivational exercise, the more you impress a subconscious idea of yourself on your mind and you’re more likely to move towards becoming that person. Before I moved to London, I had already moved inside my head. I was already living my new life, the life I’m now living. Visualisation also improves your perception and attention span.

No one is fearless
The definition of courage is to do something despite being scared. Start viewing hesitation and worrying as a waste of time. It stops us from doing so many things that we want to do. It stops people from living the life they want to live or even going after their dreams. We lose out on so much fun that could have been had. We only live once so go out there and do that thing that you really, really want to do but have been too scared to even try. There’s nothing quite like the adrenaline kick you get when you successfully do something that you were terrified of doing. It’s amazing. Read: How I stopped worrying (and learnt to love uncertainty).

Dealing with getting what you don’t want
The philosopher Seneca (ca. 4 BC–AD 65) said that anger isn’t an irrational emotion. Things going wrong is a naturally predictable feature of life. He believed that our ideas of the world are sometimes too optimistic and we get angry when people and things don’t live up to our high expectations. Seneca further claimed that if we adjust our view of the world to a more realistic one we won’t be as surprised when things don’t go our way and we will therefore be calmer. We also need to accept that often there’s nothing we can do about our frustrations.

Lastly, remember to be sad 10 percent of the time. It’s good for your all-over happiness. It’s scientifically proven.


50 things to do when you need cheering up

Camera 3601. Make a floral crown.

2. Cuddle with a cat.

3. Talk to a loved one who you haven’t spoken to in a while.

4. Read a good book in the park on a sunny day or in bed on an overcast day.

5. Take a flask of tea and a camera for a long stroll.

6. Bake something yummy while spinning records.

7. Put on your prettiest frock and blow soap bubbles.

8. Go vintage shopping.

9. Express yourself in an art journal.

10. Have a good laugh. Watch a comedy or read a funny book.

11. Write a list of things you want to change in your life and start taking small steps to do so.

12. Cut your hair in a different style or dye it in a different colour.

13. Drink jasmine tea or cherry blossom tea.

14. Lose a few hours in a second-hand bookshop.

15. Go to the pictures with a loved one or on your own.

16. Learn a new skill like origami, knitting or a language.brighton pier17. Take a day trip to the seaside.

18. Help someone out. Volunteer. Do a random act of kindness.

19. De-clutter your house. Sort through your wardrobe. Donate books you will never read again.

20. Take a long bubble bath.

21. Have a big cup of hot chocolate.

22. Create colourful street art.

23. Watch a couple of brilliant films like the best feel-good film in the world, Amélie.

24. Host a board game night or a wine and cheese evening.

25. Spend the afternoon in an art gallery.

26. Buy a kazoo.

27. Do something you’ve never done before. Better yet, spend a whole afternoon doing things you haven’t done before.

28. Plant some vegetables or herbs and watch them grow.

29. Make a pure fruit smoothie.

30. Watch The Rocky Horror Picture Show and do the Time Warp.

31. Go record hunting.

32. Write a thank you note to someone.

33. Dress up and go to the theatre.handmade skirt34. Make something with your hands.

35. Go trampolining. Trust me.

36. Write a personal mission statement.

37. Have a picnic. Bring quiche, salad, bread, fruit, dessert and lemonade.

38. Create flows. Focus hard on one thing and fully emerge yourself in it.

39. Host an un-birthday tea party, a themed dinner party or a brunch.

40. Go art and craft supply shopping.

41. Treat yourself at a pâtisserie or buy a box of expensive chocolates at a chocolatier.

42. Spend an afternoon in good company in the park.

43. Take a creative course or join a craft group.

44. De-clutter your mind. Let go of the past and move on.

45. Make pancakes for breakfast.

46. Take silly photos with a friend in a photo booth. Extra points if you wear silly hats or glasses.

47. Start working on that creative project you just can’t seem to get round to.

48. Buy yourself a bouquet of flowers.

49. Leave inspirational scribblings for strangers. Leave books in random places for people to pick up.

50. Have a photo book made out of your favourite photos.


Constructive coping techniques

vintage fabricOver the years I have adopted a set of learned behaviours to help me deal with life’s stressful episodes in a constructive way. I use the word behaviours although a coping technique can be an attitude or an activity as well. I have a history of falling back on destructive coping mechanisms when times get tough so I do really have to consciously practise not to. These are the constructive coping techniques that I’ve found to work for me excluding the very obvious things like eating healthily, sleeping well, not smoking or doing drugs, and not drinking excessively.

Time management
I’m the sort of person who will stay up half the night to finish something just because I feel that I should have managed to do it in the day. I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself and hence stress myself out. Therefore I restrict how much I’m allowed to do each day. I never put more than three major tasks on my daily to-do lists and after 9pm I’m not allowed to work on anything.

Creative projects
I find inspiration everywhere. Since I’m usually bubbling over with ideas, I keep a creative project notebook where I sketch and write all of them down. Creating gives so much satisfaction and joy. Allowing your creative flow to run through you is the best feeling in the world.

Set monthly goals
Doing this is such a good motivator and it does in fact make them more attainable. Make sure you break bigger goals up into smaller more achievable goals. As well as sharing my monthly goals here on my blog each month I also set very personal goals that are for my eyes only.

I’m not shy of sharing my feelings and thoughts. Emotional pain is a signal that something is wrong and you often need to talk about it to be able to sort it out. All feelings are valid, even the ones you feel when someone else didn’t mean to cause you any harm. People don’t know what you’re thinking or feeling. Tell them. Most people are really bad at interpreting body language and facial expressions.

Leave negative situations and people
If I’m able to, I will walk away. There are so many things in life that are simply not worth your energy or attention. Don’t waste your time on things that only hurt you. Mind you, this is not the same thing as giving up. It’s about focusing on the things that truly matter.

It’s absolutely vital to express yourself when you’re struggling. Writing or creating art for yourself only can feel just as lovely as having an engaging conversation with someone. I habitually keep an art journal, a weekly gratitude journal, and a one line a day journal.

Nurture important relationships
The older I get the more I realise how important it is to appreciate my loved ones. To learn things from each other and help one another. This is even more important when you have friends and family who live in different countries. Seeing a friend for a film at the pictures, a trip to a second-hand bookshop, or a cup of tea and a chat really does make all the difference when you’re having a rubbish day.

Seek out new activities
I love doing things I haven’t done before. The adrenaline kick you can get from doing something slightly terrifying is amazing. Especially if you do something new on your own. It’s even in my personal mission statement to experience as many different things as possible.

Life planning and problem-solving
I’m a massive fan of discipline. Which is exactly what you need to be able to find your life purpose and make your dreams reality. You also need to be able to clarify your goals. Where do I want to be in a year? Five years? I write action plans and use them to get there. There’s nothing wrong with refining the destination over time. It will change all throughout your life. It’s also a very good thing to redefine success.

Value myself
It’s all too easy to forget how important you are. The last few years I’ve spent so much time caring for others that I completely forgot about myself. Sometimes it’s surprisingly difficult to be kind to yourself. Self love is essential to live a healthy, happy life. Start treating yourself with compassion and respect, like you treat your best friend. That means no negative self-talk and no beating yourself up about things!

Ask for help when I need it
This is something that I’m still working on. I’m very independent and also very stubborn. There is something in the back of my head that tells me that I should be able to manage. It’s not always obvious that you need help and sometimes in hindsight you realise that you should have reached out to someone. I’m still learning how to know when to ask for help. There’s nothing shameful about doing it.

When I’m having a difficult time I make extra sure that I have a good laugh every day. It’s oh so important and a fairly easy thing to do. It relives stress and helps you shift your focus away from your worries. It makes you healthier and happier. Read: An incomplete, unordered list of brilliant comedy telly series.

A change of scenery inevitably changes your perspective. Being somewhere different opens up your mind to new ideas and can make you realise which things really do make sense. I highly recommend taking a day trip somewhere or going for a weekend getaway. Taking a short break when you don’t have a traditional job is even more important and I really need to do it more often.

Aim for balance between work, play, and relaxation
The ratio between these vary massively from person to person so you need to find out what works for you. You need to develop your own rules and stick to them. Striking this balance is yet another thing that’s even more difficult when you don’t have a traditional job. I find that associating certain places and times with work, play, or relaxation works for me.

Challenge myself
If I believe that I can’t do something, I’ll do it just to prove myself wrong. I always try to push myself out of my comfort zone. Doing so helps us learn and see things from other people’s perspectives. I didn’t believe that I could move to London and create a new life for myself, so I did. I didn’t believe that I could work as an au-pair, so I did. And if it turns out that I can’t learn to do something, not even with practise, than that’s fine as well.

My favourite person to spend time with is me. It’s something I need to do to recharge my batteries and to not go completely loopy. Solitude makes you use your brain more effectively and helps you relax. My favourite activities to do when I’m on my own are writing and creating while listening to music. I also love going for long strolls on my own. Bringing a camera, a flask of tea, and a book perhaps.

Learning and self improvement
Sometimes I feel like I want to know everything. I crave knowledge and I always strive to become a better version of me. I firmly believe that you should only compare yourself to yourself, not to others. Never stop learning, growing, and being curious. One thing that has helped me tremendously is learning how to change my attitude regarding negative things that I can’t change nor walk away from. It’s sometimes unbelievably difficult to view things from a positive angle but it’s not impossible.

How about you? What constructive coping techniques do you use?

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How to improve your life; or Essential life skills

The other day I started writing a plan. I do this every time I feel stuck in my life. It includes my goals and what I need to do or find out to get there. It got me thinking about how I got to where I am today and I decided to write this little list.

Change the way you think, feel and behave
Learn how to not use negative language when talking to yourself. Talk to yourself like you talk to your best friend. Love yourself, your flaws and weaknesses included. We have tens of thousands of thoughts everyday and if a big part of them are negative then you’re simply enabling yourself to stay negative. You are what you think. Literally. In order to do something you need to fully believe that you can or you’ll be setting yourself up to fail. If you want to achieve something you first need to visualise it. You need to be there in your mind. I highly recommend learning cognitive behavioural therapy. Read: Words I live by.

Choose the people you surround yourself with wisely
You are the sum of the people you spend the most time with. Make sure that they’re loving and lovable people. Invest in love. Get rid of negative people who are holding or pulling you down. Positivity and negativity is equally contagious. People will treat you how you let them treat you. Be an honest person and demand being treated with respect. Be grateful for the wonderful people you have in your life. Help others whenever you can, strangers as well. Pay it forward. Remember that we are all fighting our own personal battles and demons.

Find a way to do what you’re passionate about for a living
You should pursue your dreams as oppose to going to a job you hate everyday. Your passions are what you should spend your time doing. Prioritise what you want to do. Don’t waste your time on something that’s completely meaningless to you. I’m currently working this one out as I can’t stand doing a job that I hate, not even when I desperately need the money.

Never stop learning
For me, the most important thing in life is knowledge. There’s always something to learn from every situation in life, especially in tough times. Make sure you learn so you don’t make the same mistake again. Find new ways to do things, learn new skills, be open-minded, read books, and listen to people’s stories. They might be able to teach you something valuable.

Live in the present
Don’t dwell on things you can’t change and don’t worry about the future until you’re there. Don’t be afraid of change, embrace it. Change is beautiful because it makes us grow. Appreciate what you have now, in this very moment. Appreciate simple pleasures. Let go of the past, it is what it is. If you want to do something, do it now. There’s never going to be a perfect time and we don’t know how much time we have.

Learn how to stop worrying
Because it’s a complete waste of time. Read: How I stopped worrying (and learnt to love uncertainty).

Get in touch with your emotions
Check in with yourself and ask how you are a few times a day. ‘How are you? Is anything bothering you?’ Spend one minute to feel how you are feeling, one minute to focus on a specific prominent emotion, and a final minute just to be present with yourself.

Consciously choose happiness
Having struggled with depression my whole life, I would never say that being happy is easy. It’s not, it’s really hard work. You have to constantly work on it, especially when you’re in a difficult situation. But it’s well worth it for that piece of glorious euphoria. Being high on life is addictive. So keep in mind that happiness is a choice you have to make over and over.


How I stopped worrying (and learnt to love uncertainty)

I used to be a pathological worrier. I worried about everything as a child, adolescent, and a few years into my adulthood until one day I decided that enough was enough. Worry feeds on worry and therefore maintains itself. A lot of difficult feelings do this, such as resentment and fear. Depression also maintains itself. In other words; the more you worry, the more you worry. The following is how I stopped worrying. Feel free to apply any of these methods or all to yourself.

Keep a worry-list and assign a time for worrying
Every worry you have goes on the list which you then whip out when you have your worry-time. You are not allowed to worry about anything during any other time than this. Your worry-time shouldn’t be more than 20 minutes and it should be at the same time and place everyday. You will notice that the longer you do this, the less you will need it. I don’t have to assign worry-time for myself anymore. Instead I make a mental note and sort the worry out as soon as I have time.

Don’t let yourself worry about future events until you’re actually there
This works really well for me. I have reduced worrying by not letting myself worry until I’m actually on my way to the event. The event could be anything, such as a doctor’s visit, an outing where you don’t know most of the people attending, or a job interview. After doing this for a few years I now find myself surprised when I do feel worried, even though I know that I would have worried about it earlier in my life. Being prepared can be done without worrying but you have to actively choose to omit it.

If a specific task worries you, get it over with straight away
Your worry might make the task seem very difficult or even impossible but this is rarely true. Get it done. Now. Do not feed the worry by procrastinating. It’s not going to be easier to do later on, quite the opposite. This is for me the most difficult one. Your worry is telling you lots of reasons why you should leave it for later, but you can learn how to not listen to any of it. By listening to these reasons you’re feeding the worry and you will decrease your solution seeking ability. Remember that it takes 21 days of daily practice to break a habit or form a new one. Persevere.

Be aware of how others affect you
While you’re preoccupied worrying about what others think of you, they are most likely preoccupied worrying about what you think of them. It’s quite silly, really. Does it really matter what people think of you? What is more important is what you think of you. Are you proud of your achievements in life so far? Are you happy? If not, do something about it right this second. You are losing valuable time being stuck in old ways. Acquire the skills and knowledge that you need to fix whatever you’re not happy with. You are the only one who can truly make yourself happy and make sure that you enjoy your life.

Distinguish between solvable and unsolvable worries
This is simple. If a worry is solvable then brainstorm it for a suitable solution and then apply it. If it’s not solvable then accept the fact that worrying is the brain’s way of making you avoid unpleasant emotions. You should embrace the emotions. Don’t let yourself worry about things that might possibly happen and don’t let your imagination run wild. Why worry about things you can’t control? And by worrying about something that might happen, you are in fact subconsciously making it more likely to happen. Our core beliefs tend to want to validate themselves over and over by for example making you subconsciously fail at something to reinforce your core belief that you can’t do anything right.
If you find this especially difficult you can use the rubber band technique. Put a rubber band around your wrist and every time you start thinking about an unsolvable worry, snap it. This technique uses the same principle as Pavlov’s dog and bell experiment.

Accept and embrace uncertainty
Isn’t it absolutely wonderful that we very rarely know anything for certain? I believe that you create your life. If you fill it with worry, you fill it with completely unnecessary and often imagined problems. Uncertainty is brilliant. It means that anything can happen at any time which might sound scary but, it also means that you never know where life is going to take you or who you’re going to meet next. Embrace uncertainty and take chances. Your life will be better from it.