Thought of the Day: Self Compassion

Self Compassion

Happy Sunday everyone and welcome back to another long read on the Pineapple Chicken Blog. Last week, we discussed confidence and it was a chance to embark on a long but hopefully positive journey. However, this week I seemed to have taken a step back. It was a particularly difficult week and I could feel that I was not myself.

I have been trying to lose weight for my own personal health and to feel more comfortable in my own skin. But let’s be honest, there are social pressures to look a certain way especially when I spend so much time on Instagram looking at other inspirational women. However, this week I managed to put on weight which was extremely frustrating. I tried to “fail forward” by telling myself that it was a poor result but I need to push myself for the next coming week and lose what I put on and more.

Though this is not the main reason for my poor mental health this week, it certainly was a catalyst and impacted my relationships with others. I was taking a lot of issues back home; though my boyfriend tried his hardest to get me out of this “funk”; it proved to be futile. I am very grateful for my supportive network, but messaging my sister and communicating it with my boyfriend made it worse. My feelings of inadequacy grew because I had to reach out for help and inconveniencing others. Frustratingly, I was unable to effectively communicate how I was feeling and I just “couldn’t just get over it”; which then furthered spiralled into negative thoughts on how I could not get anything right. Worst still important people in my life think that a lack of confidence is “unattractive” which went back to the topic of not looking attractive and I put on weight this week, and this was an obvious fact to prove my inadequacies…the spiral goes on. 

This is why I wanted to focus on self-compassion this week. I know that I am very self-critical, however, I believe I need this to push myself forward and be “successful”, “effective” and “high achieving”. I have days where I believe that things are going right and feel awesome but these are plagued by many more days when I look and the mirror all that is staring back at me are my faults and flaws.

Self Esteem

Through my research on this topic, it seemed to be important to distinguish the difference between self-esteem and self-compassion, they are very different and I have been too focused on the wrong thing.

Self-esteem is defined as your feelings about yourself (positive or negative), as well as how you think other people value you and feel towards you.

When we become concerned about our self-esteem, it is necessary to compare yourselves to others. This is how you judge whether you are “better” or have “progressed” further than your peers. My constant comparisons are: Am I earning enough? Am I as successful as them in my career? Do I have the same comforts/lifestyle as them? They have already bought their dream home, when will I ever afford mine? They are getting married, will I ever be married? Do I look as beautiful as her? How do I get myself as slim as her?   You are probably thinking, girl, get a grip! Why are you comparing yourself to others? Though it is clear that I am overly concerned with my self-esteem and what I think of others and what others think of me.

It is clear that my thoughts are negative and for someone who stresses out really easily, it is a double whammy of emotions (Something else to work on…). In such instances, the body’s primitive response kicks in – the fight or flight response. In order to motivate yourself, do you judge yourself harshly and yourself a mental kick to push harder (fight)? Or do you run away and avoid the situation altogether and just “shut down” (flight)? I certainly can recall situations where I have selected the fight or flight response, or flip-flopped between the two.  High achievers consider themselves with more at stake because it is necessary to maintain an image of competence or success. The faster you are sprinting any little bump along the road will trip you up and the harder you will fall and any trip is seen as a failure. 

Being over concerned about your self-esteem does not help to build resilience. Self-esteem is fragile and forces us to becomes dependent on the acceptance and praise of others. In the era of Instagram and a constant online presence; the search for instant gratification and recognition by others through “likes” or “followers” has had a negative impact on our mental health, particularly mine. I recognise the irony that I write a blog and have a presence on Instagram as well. I could just turn away from it all but social connectivity is also fundamentally a human trait. For me, I wanted to tackle the issue more head-on than to remove my online presence but noting that this is not for everyone. There are more and more books coming out on digital detoxes etc.

If self-esteem shouldn’t be the focus, then what is self-compassion and why is this a better model?

Self Compassion

Self-compassion involves applying a sense of warm, positive regard towards yourself. It does not differ from the compassion you give to others. It is when you can empathise and appreciate that things don’t always go according to plan and it is okay to make mistakes. Self-compassion is just when you do it to yourself.

Without it, you are faced with feelings of negative self-esteem. The feeling you are unworthy and in its extreme form could develop into addictions, unhealthy relationships, hollow success, or material possessions. I am sure my boyfriend would say I have fallen into the material possessions category! This can potentially go on to negatively impact your mental wellbeing and develop into mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. 

From my readings, I understand that it is necessary to work on my inner struggles and learn to love myself. Do not be mistaken that self-compassion is not self-pity. It is not an “excuse” card nor a lazy way out. It is not a sign of weakness. Self-compassion requires vulnerability and the courage to face our insecurities as this is the way to learn self-compassion and acceptance.

“The first step we need to take on the path toward self-compassion is to embrace the most simple and basic fact that when our emotional immune systems are weak we should do everything in our power to strengthen them, not devastate them even further,” – psychologist Guy Winch.

When talking about self-compassion, it is nearly impossible to ignore the research by Dr Kirsten Neff who has also published a book on this topic. I have not yet had a chance to read it, but if I ever get a chance I will give a review when I do! She defines that self-compassion has three components

  1. Self-kindness vs. self-judgment – it is being understanding towards ourselves and recognising that it is okay to be imperfect and that life will throw things at us, but that is okay. If we accept this as inevitable then we can be kinder and sympathetic to ourselves
  2. Common humanity vs. isolation – it is to understand that you are not the only one suffering and that all humans suffer. You are not alone.
  3. Mindfulness vs. over-identification – self-compassion requires taking a balanced approach to negative feelings. You have to be mindful of those who are suffering around you and putting your own situation into a larger perspective and try not to get caught up in your own negativity. It means you have to be open to your own emotions and not be judgemental.

If you are interested in learning more, there is a test to check how self-compassionate you areI got a score of 2.23, which unsurprisingly is considered low in self-compassion. A score of 2.5-3.5 indicates you are moderate, and 3.5-5.0 means you are high. It is all well and good knowing a score but the key question is how do we develop more self-compassion? 

Cultivating Self Compassion

  • Practice Mindfulness/Meditation: This is linked to the three elements of self-compassion above; if you find yourself listening to your inner critic and telling yourself stories about your own inadequacies, this is known as over-identification. Be mindful and aware of these thoughts. Acknowledge them and just push them away. The below video is a little exercise you can try for yourself and for those who would like to learn more about standing up to your inner critic, please see this article here
  • Give yourself permission to be imperfect: Stop punishing yourself for your mistakes. It is totally acceptable to fail. You need to accept this feeling, giving yourself the permission might make it easier to accept how you are feeling
  • Express gratitude: I think this is also a topic that is big enough on its own, but feeling a sense of gratitude is very powerful. There is a lot of strength in appreciating what we have right now and who we are right now. Embrace that and you may notice you will develop a gentler voice and move the focus away from our shortcomings.
  • Work with a supportive therapist or coach: Remember my tips are from my own research if you feel that you need extra help, always go to a professional! They are trained to see through all the negative beliefs and can help you find your way back to the amazing person you are and always have been.

I hope you enjoyed this week’s post. As always I would love to hear from you, so leave a message below or on other social media channels. Remember you are awesome and worthy, so be kind to yourself and others.

With Sweet and Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken x

Thoughts of the Day: Confidence

Confidence
Welcome back to another Sunday Read on the Pineapple Chicken Blog, this week’s key theme will be on confidence. This is a topic that is close to my heart because it is something I struggle with which meant that this post was particularly difficult to write. Given that I am no expert on the topic, clearly, it is necessary to research and delve deeper into the subject. I believe it is something I have to tackle head-on and make the effort to understand. The internet seriously has an abundance of information. Today, we will just scratch the surface but I hope to keep on discussing it in future posts. Ultimately, the question I want to answer is: will increasing my self-confidence bring positivity to my life?

Firstly, I wanted to thank all my readers for commenting on my blog post “Finding Your Passion”. This completely made my day! I love interacting with you so please do keep sending your feedback/comments through all the various channels. The reason I mention this was because some readers commented on how it can be extremely difficult to find support for their passion or they raised concerns about whether they will succeed; whilst others were extremely positive and believed that “you can do anything when you put your mind to it”. To me, what differs between the two, was the level of confidence in themselves.

What is confidence?

Confidence is about the faith you have in your abilities, the person you are, and how you view your most important relationship — the one with yourself.

Confidence is attained when we’re prepared and self-aware enough to appreciate who we are, faults and all. Being able to appreciate yourself means that confidence can only develop with true belief i.e. you got to believe yourself with conviction. You are not fooling anyone when you are not being true to yourself as we all know that this is not sustainable. Self-belief or confidence has to be authentic, you just can’t fake it.
Confidence is the belief in your own capabilities to succeed, by being confident in your own abilities today, it will reflect the level of performance and mastery you can develop in the future. Basically, it is the key ingredient to drive you forward.

Self Doubt

Confidence touches your past, present and future. It is key to success and requires inner reflection and appreciation of your own self. Honestly, it is no wonder that I do not have much it! Just thinking about my own capabilities and how it will shape my future just makes me hyperventilate. The little voice in my head reminds me that I am not good enough.

Self-doubt is a feeling that is more familiar to me. I understand it stems from fear and negative thinking because I feel it. I have realised that I have consistently stopped myself from trying harder or pursuing things I am passionate about because of the fear of the unknown.

Fear and self-doubt lead us to believe the risk associated with trying something new is greater than the risk of remaining in our current situation.

I have an overactive imagination where I would think of worse case scenarios rather than focus on positive and constructive thoughts. These thoughts are constant spectres in my mind: What if I tried and did not succeed? What if that person doesn’t think I am intelligent enough? What if what I do is just a waste of money and time wasted that I would never get back? What if I am not a good enough girlfriend? What if they don’t think I am good looking/cool/funny enough? The list can go on…

Lack of self-confidence stems from the negative stories we tell ourselves. It is our own imagination and often this is disjointed and distorted from reality. It is unlikely that the people around you are scrutinising your every move and looking out for your mistakes. We need to spend more time listening to our strong inner voice – the voice that says you got this!

Why is confidence important?

Understanding that self-doubt is negative to my mental wellbeing, it would be logical to assume that confidence is important and positive for my wellbeing. Confidence makes all the difference to your hustle, according to this article confidence is how successful people overcome daily obstacles. Confidence is a self-administered magical cure!

Without self-assurance, we are more likely to move towards having negative “perfectionist” traits, such as extreme procrastination or avoidance. You can imagine that without confidence, we would avoid trying something new, we wouldn’t want to push ourselves and, we would become stagnant by avoiding any situation which might cause stress or embarrassment. When we hold ourselves back; it takes away our freedom to be ourselves.

Confidence is critical. It’s an essential ingredient of happiness, an unequivocal component of success and the one thing that stands between us and the person we wish to become.

Cast your mind back, can you recall the last time you felt confident? When you looked in the mirror and thought – looking good? Or after giving that presentation and you couldn’t stop smiling because you knew you kicked ass? Confidence is a positive emotion; it makes you feel good; it makes you glow. It’s an emotion that yields greater self-worth, more happiness and enjoyment, greater strength and capabilities, freedom from social anxiety, and of course — more beneficial and enjoyable interactions with others. Like I said – this magical cure!

Though in all seriousness, confidence seems vital for my path to positivity; so the key question is, how do I build more confidence?

How to build confidence?

Note that the list below is not exhaustive. From my recent searches, everyone has tips and tricks to build more confidence. My list below is just a selection of tips I have read and think are important. If you would like to see more, just let me know in the comment box below!

  • Self Compassion – This is probably the most important thing you can do for yourself. This is why I have put this on the top of the list. I have said this many times before but the message never gets old because I find this difficult myself. You need to have a good relationship with yourself; stop giving yourself a hard time because you don’t deserve it. Stop letting the self-doubt overpower you. You are great and strong; totally embrace it and believe it.
  • Self Reflection – Complimentary to self-compassion is to also be honest with yourself. Self Reflection is necessary, we are not perfect and there is room for improvement. If you want to take that step forward then you have to self reflect. This is not your opportunity to be negative. Start noticing when you’re telling yourself stories. It’s those stories that dictate the way you act, and when they’re negative, your ability to be true to yourself is compromised. Self-reflection is a constructive and positive process. With self-compassion, liberate yourself from your negative thoughts and with self-reflection embrace the courage to improve.
  • Take ActionIt seems obvious that confidence is part of success but one cannot be successful if we don’t turn our thoughts into action. Sometimes it is necessary to think less and take action. As discussed in the topic of passion, you just need to do something. Confidence is the same process. You can keep listening to the negative thoughts in your head – that little voice that beats you down. If you just become deaf to it (even only partially) and just take that first step forward, you are already on your journey to building confidence.
  • Avoid Perfectionism – I have discussed this topic in depth before, but it is really interesting how it is tied to confidence. As mentioned above, we have to notice “perfectionist” traits because it really stop us from having the freedom to be ourselves. Allow yourself to fail because you learn from mistakes, not successes.
  • Comparison to others – not much to say about this as it is self-explanatory. Don’t get me wrong, it is necessary to calibrate where you are from time to time. Comparison to others should be used to check whether you are heading in the right direction. It is not a destination. If you are using it to build on your negative thoughts about yourself. Stop it – it is a waste of time and energy. Nobody has time for that!

I would like to be a person of my word, thus, I will be trying these techniques for myself and will let you know if any of them help me more than others to build my own confidence. I recognise that this is a long and difficult journey, so will keep you posted.

As always, I really would love to hear your stories. Are you a confident individual?

  • If yes, AWESOME, do you have any other tips for me?
  • If no, you are amongst friends and I encourage you to take a step forward and join me on this journey. Be brave – you got this!

With Sweet & Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken x

Thought of the Day: Change

Hi Everyone!

How has your weekend been so far? I am taking a chilled Sunday today, originally I had planned to go to the Science Museum, but I had recognised that I have done a lot of socialising this week and it was starting to take a toll on me. For those who have followed me for a while are aware that I am an introvert (it is also in my tag line!). I love seeing my friends and I live for genuine and deep meaningful conversations. However, eventually, I crash and need time to recover and recharge my batteries.

As mentioned in my previous post, I have moved in with my boyfriend, and I have started to find alternative ways to get “alone time” as I no longer have my own room. Today, I wanted to write about change and how that can impact one’s mental health. The below is purely my experience, but I wanted to share how I didn’t manage the big change of moving with a significant other, and how I think I would have done it better (if there was a next time). Today’s post will be a long piece, so sit back and relax 🙂

Change (2)

Change Management – why is it all business?

I recently completed a people manager course for the company I work for. It was very interesting because we spent half a day on just the topic of managing change. If you google “managing change” there are 6.13 billion search results but if scan the first page – it is all in relation to organisations. I can understand why organisations/psychologists have spent so much time and effort in developing theories in this area. However, if you try to google “managing personal change”, you will find that it is all about how to change behaviours or skills.

This is disappointing/frustrating because I strongly believe that big changes in my personal life have a larger impact on my personal wellbeing and mental health than compared to work; such as moving away from family, a heartbreak, a loss of someone close to you. Do you feel the same?

Therefore, I want to explore whether these “change theories” are applicable to my scenario: moving in with my boyfriend and whether this can be helpful for you for any future changes in your life.

Change Curve

Copyright Moss Warner
Copyright Moss Warner https://newsfeed.mosswarner.com/change-management-communications/

This might be quite familiar to most people;  the change curve was originally developed by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross for grief, but this has been applied to change management in organisations. I believe that this can also be applied to other forms of change in our personal life:

  • Shock – when we first discussed the topic of moving in, I definitely went through a stage of shock. I was extremely excited by the thought, but it is so different to how I was living, and there was a shift towards panic  – what if it doesn’t work out? what if we break up from this because we actually can’t stand each other? Do I want to give up what I have now? Am I prepared to commute? 
  • Denial – There was a period of time where I dragged my feet. Given we had talked about it for so long, my boyfriend was wondering why I had not moved in 2018, he kept asking when are you moving in? Give me a date. I was in a state of denial.
  • Acceptance –  Despite loving the idea of moving with my other half, I recognised that it was the right choice and also inevitable if we want to positively move forward in our relationship (marriage, building a family together, buying a home etc.). When I set the date – 1st Feb – it was clear the change was real. Looking back, I did not realise that I was very frustrated by the whole process of moving. I didn’t even know how to begin packing. The constant dread whilst going through my stuff and wondering whether it will fit in the flat. During this time my boyfriend was completely supportive and just said pack everything and we will worry about where to put it later. This added to the frustration because I was not wired that way – I want a place for everything. I didn’t want clutter. I had accumulated a lot of stuff in my lifetime and I knew that I had to #konmari my belongings and truly ask myself what I loved and should bring. There was A LOT of tears and worry.
  • Experimental/Decision – There was no experimental part to the move given that I had set a date and everything just got moved in. There really wasn’t an opportunity to put my “toe in the water”. I think this added to the shock, however, I think I am comfortable in the Decision stage where I have accepted the reality of living without my sister and with my boyfriend and we are slowly finding the right rhythm between us.
  • Engagement – onward and upwards! (Hopefully!)

The change curve is important because I think it is necessary to recognise the various stages of change and the emotions that come with it. Before, completing this exercise, I did not appreciate the significant impact of the change on my emotional/mental health.

If I had an opportunity for a “do over” I should have taken time to understand my feelings and not try to power through it all. Understanding that I did not need to feel guilty when I had become “frustrated” or “angry”.

Communication is key with change and I should have worked with my boyfriend to manage this change properly.

If you are interested to learn more, here are a few more links on the Change Curve:

Implementing Change

John P Kotter is a name you will hear often on the topic of understanding and managing change. He developed an eight-stage change model and written books – ‘Leading Change’ (1995) and the follow-up ‘The Heart Of Change’ (2002). Let’s see if it is useful for my situation and whether I could have managed it better.

  1. Create Urgency – the idea is to develop a sense of urgency around the need for change. In my example, I believe that this was created and this was through communication with my boyfriend and him giving me pressure that this is something that has to be done quickly for the good of our relationship. What is important about this stage is the need for communication – you need to get all parties involved to start thinking and talking.
  2. Building a guiding team – get the right people in place with the right emotional commitment, and the right mix of skills and levels. For my example, I believe that my boyfriend and I did have the right emotional commitment, but not necessarily the right mix of skills.  I should have considered hiring a “professional” man in a van and moved everything at once, rather than driving and doing it all in bits and pieces, which added to my frustration with the change.
  3. Create a vision for change – When you first create change, everyone will have an opinion or idea. It is important to create an overall vision and strategy. Everyone needs to understand why they are doing something and their role in the change process. This was a particularly easy stage for my boyfriend and I given that we know the ultimate goal was to move in with each other.  However, I don’t think I communicated that I required emotional support from my boyfriend. Unfortunately, during this time there was a lot going on his personal life as well and I did not want to add to his list of things to do. However, it is important that I need to also recognise my needs. I think it would have been useful to involve him in the process of integrating (i.e. my stuff in his space and him knowing what I have done to change in his home) so he was part of the “vision”.
  4. Communicate the vision – Talk about the vision and address peoples’ concerns and anxieties, openly and honestly. This ties very closely with Stage 1 of the process, people need to understand the change and it is communicated where the end goal in. As you can see, communication continues to be important throughout.
  5. Empower Actions – remove obstacles and enable constructive feedback. Again, communication is key. Having those open conversations on what you think is working and not working was extremely important for my boyfriend and I. By actively asking him how he felt about me moving in, what he has liked so far, what has annoyed him and what could we compromise on, has made this process a lot easier to navigate. He did the same with me, so we can try and reach a point of equilibrium asap!
  6. Create short term wins – set aims that are easy to achieve. I think this is very dependent on the situation, but measurable targets are important and tracking against those targets gives a sense of satisfaction that progress has been made. I definitely need to think this through a bit more: potentially making a meal together at home together and spending a day together at home could be my next targets.
  7. Build on the change – real change runs deep. Quick wins are only the beginning of what needs to be done to achieve long-term change. I am currently in only week 1 of living together. The long term change is ultimately living together in harmony before we move again to an eventual family home (fingers crossed).
  8. Anchor the changes – Last, but not least, make continuous efforts to ensure that the change is seen in every aspect of your life. I have not yet told all my family about the move in (do they really need to know?). Though this is daunting, I think it is important as this will embed the change and people around me understand the change. As communication is key, it is important to talk about the change and process to others.

For more information, here are some handy links:

Personal Change Management

Thank you for reaching the end of this long read. I hope you have enjoyed the post but please note that what I have written is no substitution for professional help if you are dealing with a significant change in your life. I just wanted to discuss and consciously understand the change that is happening in my life.

Do you think you can apply the change curve and change management models to your personal life? As always, I would love to hear from you.

With Sweet & Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken x

For those are looking for another deep read, my boyfriend has posted a deep and meaningful post here.

 

Thought of the Day: Reading and Wellness

reading and wellness

Hey everyone!

Happy weekend 🙂 what did you all get up to? I am currently in a cafe and blogging from Rotterdam (very cool and chic) which I can’t wait to share with you all later, once I have processed my thoughts!

Following on from Art & Wellness blog post last week, I wanted to touch upon Reading & Wellness. This is something that is very close to my heart as well. There is a lot of research and articles in this space; so I am not going to try and reinvent the wheel but thought it would be useful to share a few articles which I have found to be helpful.

Reading has personally been very positive to my wellbeing. This is also why it is one of the more important new year resolutions I want to complete and would like to encourage others to make it one of theirs.

Reading & Wellbeing

  • Reading is relaxing – I constantly struggle to find time to do everything; as for many of you, do you feel like there is always a conflict of what one wants to do and the time available to us? I have been trying to actively make time for myself (working progress), often I use it to read or visit a gallery/museum. Reading is one of the most relaxing past times and I can easily get lost in a good book and not move for hours. For those looking for a comfortable cushion, I really recommend the L shaped IKEA cushion for only £7 (not an ad, just really love this cushion!).
  • Reading is a work out for your brain/mental stimulation – keeping the brain mentally stimulated has been proven in studies to slow down the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s. I believe that keeping your brain active and stimulated would help later in life. I think it is comparable to as being physically fit would keep you better equipped for bumps and pains when one gets older. With personal experience of dementia in my family, I would wish everyone to keep their brain active so that it stays healthy and happy! My aunties always tell me that mahjong does the same thing, so whatever works for you!
  • Reading can help with depression – following nicely from the previous point, studies have found that reading can help with depression. A wonderful personal account by Raifa and I think she delivers a very important message that reading only complements professional help; it is not the magical solution for those who have a mental illness.

The sense of community that one finds in books, a companionship with the narrative voice or the characters, can help provide a friend when in need and tackle one symptom and possible cause of depression – loneliness. – Rafia Rafiq

  • Reading improves your memory – it has been found that making new memories can also help consolidate existing ones. I think this is similar to the idea of giving your brain a workout and helps you concentrate.

There are a lot of other reasons why one should read, such as more interesting conversations and better vocabulary. I hope I have persuaded that reading is amazing :)! For those who would like to read more, I found a great article on 14 ways to cultivate a lifetime reading habit! Or if you aren’t ready to read another article, there is a great TED talk on trying something new for 30 days!

Thank you for reading my blog post today and may you continue to have happy readings!

With Sweet & Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken

Culture: I am Ashurbanipal

Hi everyone!

How has your week been so far? I am not going to lie – I feel like January is starting to drag, however, I can’t believe that it is already near the end of the month and I have Chinese New Year to look forward to!  To keep my spirits high and trying not to let the cold winter days bring me down I have been keeping my eye out for exhibitions in London to share with you all.

Last Sunday, I went to the British Museum to visit “I am Ashurbanipal, king of the world, king of Assyria” exhibition. Though I have been fascinated by the history of Babylon and the Middle Eastern region during this time, I do not know very much about that period apart from the beautiful statues that I had previously seen in the British Museum and the Louvre. As you can imagine, I was super excited to learn a little bit more about the Assyrian empire. The current exhibition will be available until 24th February, so if you are in town and want to keep out the winter cold, I would highly recommend the exhibition.

King Ashurbanipal of Assyria (r. 669–c. 631 BC) was the most powerful man on earth. He described himself in inscriptions as ‘king of the world’, and his reign from the city of Nineveh (now in northern Iraq) marked the high point of the Assyrian empire, which stretched from the shores of the eastern Mediterranean to the mountains of western Iran. – British Museum

The Lions and the Library

When you first enter the exhibition, there is a wonderful ambience. I personally, think it is one of the most tastefully displayed exhibitions that I have been to in a long time. The room was relatively dark but key pieces were highlighted with spotlights. From the start, the impression I got about King Ashurbanipal was that he completely understood the concept of “personal brand”. The beautiful artwork carved in gypsum clearly advertises his bravery through the killing of lions – the greatest beast in the Assyrian empire. Not only did he consistently boast how brave he was but also liked to tell everyone how smart he was. During his reign, he made it a mission to learn from the scholars at the time.  There were great examples of their clay tablets and writings at the exhibition, including extracts of the Epic of Gilgamesh

Lights & Action

Assyrian artists seemed to have enjoyed depicting their success of wars through cruelty and brutality in extremely graphic detail! The museum made wonderful use of projectors, which I had never seen before. By projecting an outline on a different part of the panel, you were able to follow the intricate story; it really gave an insight into how stories were told to the masses during that time. With sound and lighting effects – it was just like a movie. I found it truly jaw-dropping; even if you might not be interested in the history, it is worth just to see the use of projectors!

I spent roughly two hours at the exhibition, and this was also not at my usual pace of reading every single thing possible. There was so much in the exhibition, unfortunately,  I did get fatigued with all the information and intricate objects that I found myself skipping certain items or sections because I just couldn’t absorb any more facts.

If I was to give feedback to the British Museum, they should have provided an option of an audio guide, so that it was easier to step back and observe an object and listen to commentary rather than rely on the information written on display. There was exclusive curators’ commentary available through Apple Music and Google Play. However, by the time I found out about it, I was already inside the exhibition with no reception so I couldn’t download the audio guide and I also didn’t have my headphones either…

Nonetheless, it was a great exhibition; so it gets a 4 out of 5 pineapples. Have any of you been? What were your thoughts? As always, I would love to read your comments and thoughts. Do share any interesting facts about the Assyrian empire with me; or if you have any questions on the exhibition, please comment below!

With Sweet & Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken x

P.S The Guardian does a great review of this exhibition as well if you want to learn more!.

 

 

Thought of the Day: Art & Wellness

Hi everyone,

How is everyone doing? I hope you have had a wonderful weekend. Today’s post is going to be a long one, so sit back and relax with a nice warm drink. I have subscribed to the Art Pass for about two years now and because I am able to get discounts to exhibitions, it has meant that I have ended up visiting many more museums and galleries than ever before. The Art Fund has conducted a wellbeing report, which I want t share with you today 🙂

Stress and Anxiety

From the research, it has been found that people in the UK are anxious about their workload, financial situations, health issues, and social isolation etc. To be fair this is not a surprise and something I think about more often than I would like. It is also not surprising that many people struggle to find time for themselves and/or pursue activities that positively contribute to their own wellbeing, such as visiting museums and galleries.

Wellbeing

This is a topic I care passionately about, but I realised that if someone asked me – what exactly wellbeing is? I would not be able to give them a concise answer. This is probably something I should delve into more in the future. However, for the purposes of this post, I will use the definition from the report.

Wellbeing covers our happiness and our satisfaction with our lives, but stresses and anxieties are also central to our overall wellbeing.

It is too simplistic to believe that wellbeing is just absence of anxiety. It also encompasses how we feel about our lives in general. This would change depending on whether we are focusing on the present or the future.

Anxious society?

I think we can agree that we need a bit of stress in our lives. This just keeps us moving and helps us get things done, however, if is long lasting and persistent then this can have a negative effect on our wellbeing. I have certainly experienced this myself when my personal needs conflicted with my career. From the survey, it turns out that 45% of adults in Greater London say they feel anxious at least some of the time.

How do you de-stress?

I am really going to try and work out what my best ways are to de-stress this year. I have touched upon recovery, previously. During the early stage of my career my wellbeing was what I neglected the most and did not realise the impact it had on my mental health. For someone who likes to say yes to everything and do things that stretch me, it is an easy trap to fall into.

While it is not easy to do, the report recognises that making time for ourselves or taking time out with others can help build resilience against stresses and anxiety. Having my best friend return to London has done wonders to my wellbeing as I have someone to engage in deep meaningful conversations. I am grateful that I have a wonderfully supportive boyfriend who has helped me cope with whatever life throws at me/us. Having time for myself is very important and I really appreciate it. My favourite things are visiting museums and galleries; as well as reading and travelling – basically, anything covered in this blog!

Do we use our time wisely?

The survey found that when we do have time to ourselves participants use over 3 hours watching TV and nearly 2 hours a day on social media. Personally, I think there is nothing wrong with that, as long as it works for you. However, in the survey, these were not activities chosen by respondents to relax or deal with anxiety. In fact, 39% said staying away from social media was a way to de-stress!

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Art and Wellness

We all understand the benefits of our wellbeing comes from doing the things we love. This really isn’t rocket science! The survey found that most of us (59%) understand the power of our leisure activities and we consider them as an important part of our lives as well as helping us feel more positive about life in general.

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What I found fascinating was that over half (53%) of adults say their leisure activities help them deal with life’s up and downs, rising to 74% among those who specifically make time for these activities. Though especially for art, the survey responses found that 63% of participants have at some point used a visit to a museum or gallery to ‘de-stress’. However, only 6% of them had visited a museum or gallery at least once a month.

This is one of the reasons for my blog. I have seen the benefits of seeing art for my wellbeing and it seems like others feel the same way! (It’s nice to know I am not the only one.)

screenshot_20190120-083159Per the report, they described museums and galleries as places which can offer an oasis of peace and tranquillity or an array of stimulating new ideas. I really agree with this, I find them such conducive environments – you learn so much and it is something we can share with others. I have definitely had more interesting conversations and the report said that it could potentially give one a sense of purpose (I have yet to experience this).

What do you think though, do you agree with the findings of the report? I have personally experienced the benefits of visiting museums and galleries and would love to encourage you to try the same and see whether you felt a bit better after 😊 Regardless, of whether you like art or not, be kind to yourself and make time for yourself to do something you love – you know you deserve it!

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead.

With Sweet & Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken x

 

 

 

Thought of the Day: Happy New Year!

Hey Everyone!

I want to wish all a fabulous 2019, may it be filled with positivity & wellness so you can tackle anything you want to achieve this year! This will be a short post as I set out the focus of the Pineapple Chicken Blog for 2019 and hopefully, for many years to come.

As I previously mentioned, the blog has grown into something I truly love and I want to make sure that I am taking it in a direction that would bring about longevity by keeping it relevant and interesting to read!

Positivity & Wellness

The focus will be on positivity and wellness by following my journey to find understand what it means, as well as what works for me. I am no expert in this field but I hope my story will spark you to find your positivity and encourage you to focus on your wellness/wellbeing too. Unfortunately, this is not going to be a blog about healthy eating and yoga (though I probably will try to do it this year) because these are not things that invigorate me, but there are plenty of others who have done a much better job than me on this topic! I might reference them along the way but my focus will be more on mental wellbeing.

Travel & Art

Thank you for all my readers who have stuck with me so far and welcome all new readers! The blog will continue its chilled vibes as I navigate and travel to different places in London, UK, and around the world. Travel will be a big part of the blog, as well as the usual art and cultural pieces. As I try to develop my knowledge on the topic of positivity and wellness, I think a bit of science will also come up as I try to read more about this topic. Not sure where my research and reading will take me, but I am super excited to share it with you all!

Blogging Schedule

I will be posting on the blog every Thursdays and Sundays. For more daily updates, please do check me out on Twitter (@pineapplechkn_) & Instagram (@pineapplechicken_). I love to hear from my readers and followers, so any suggestions or topics you wish to discuss on this forum, do let me know!

With Sweet & Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken

PS. For those looking for a different kind of read, check out my boyfriend’s latest post.