Hi everyone, Ashley here :)
Hope you are having a smashing week?!
We are approaching the end of August and our positive affirmations focus will soon be finishing too. We will be announcing the final affirmation tomorrow on Instagram and Facebook, so look out for that!
I wanted to go in to a bit more detail about the post I put on to Instagram on Sunday regarding the milestone I reached of 500 consistent days of mindfulness meditation. This is a big achievement for me because I can honestly say that if it wasn't for discovering mindfulness then I doubt very much that Sam and I would have created SMASH!
This email is a bit longer than normal but shouldn't take more than a few minutes to read :)
4 years ago I was in a bit of strange and upsetting place in my personal life. There were major problems and upsets with people in my family, and I tend to be the person that gets called upon to 'fix' things. This really drained me emotionally and on top of that I had gone through a break up. I wasn't sure if I wanted to continue working in the fitness industry and I generally found that my moods were all over the place. I was getting frustrated and angry a lot more frequently than usual and I will be honest and admit that I felt terrible pretty much 80% of the time. Depression and anxiety is, unfortunately, common in my family and I had witnessed my amazing Mum suffer a bad breakdown about 10 years ago. I began to realise that I could see the same signs with the way I was acting as I had seen in my Mum in the years leading up to her breakdown. It was obvious to me that I had to take control and look after my mental health as much as I have looked after my physical health over the years.
This decision brought me to many different, amazing ideas and concepts that I will share over the next few months, but the best decision I have probably ever made was to listen to someone who advised I try mindfulness, despite my skeptical attitude. So I purchased a book that involved an 8 week mindfulness course you could do at home and the rest, so they say, is history!
It was certainly not easy to start, I am not very patient and I am not good at sitting still for too long, but I stuck with it and I found people who were also on this journey of creating a more peaceful and stable mind. 503 days ago I downloaded an app that I hoped would continue to motivate me and help me to build the habit of practising mindfulness daily. This app is called Calm and I really believe that it has helped me to become the person I am today, happy and healthy in both body and mind. Here I am, 4 years after feeling completely lost, getting married in December and loving my career. I have made incredible new friends but also have the stability of my family and friends who have been there for years. I have my own house, I am studying to add personal training to my career and I have my health, fitness and sanity!
This journey has not always been easy and I still sometimes have moments where I can feel myself losing control. On these days I remind myself of everything I have learnt as, after all, mindfulness doesn't eliminate stress, it trains you to manage it better. I think of the strong people I have around me and I always strive to remember that ultimately I am in control of my own present and future.
SMASH was born because Sam and I want to help as many people as we can to grow, to look after their mind and bodies and to embrace life with energy and passion and everything in between! We thank you for being part of our journey and can't begin to tell you how grateful we are that you allow us to help you each time you come to our classes, read our emails and like our social media posts.
Day 500 was a milestone. The next for me is Day 1000 but I won't think too much about that. Right now I am living in the present moment, enjoying this day and thanking the universe for the moment I decided to really take control of my own happiness.
Much love, as always!
Sam and Ashley
P.S. Download the Calm app and give it a try. It is free although you can pay around £40 for a years worth of extra content and, trust me, it will be the best £40 you have ever spent!
Also, there are now many books on Mindfulness but the one that started this journey for me is called 'Mindfulness: A practical guide to finding peace in a frantic world' by Mark Williams and I highly recommend it.
Another book that is great is called 'Reasons to stay alive' by Matt Haig where he shares his own personal journey with anxiety and depression and how mindfulness helped improve his happiness and wellbeing. Well worth reading, even if anxiety and/or depression is not part of your world.
Let us know if you decide to read either of these books (or listen to them, they are both available on audio) and what you think :)
For Body * For Mind * For Life