Creatively blocked? Let your inner artist out to play

Creative-at-heart type? Creatively-blocked type? “Not-a-creative-bone-in-my-body” type? According to Julia Cameron (author of ‘The Artist’s Way’), there is no such thing as a non-creative person. But for many of us, it can seem impossible to find the time, confidence or outlet for creative pursuits. But are we neglecting that part of ourselves to our own detriment? Studies show that expressing ourselves creatively can calm anxiety, lift a low mood and even strengthen us physically. Not to mention that when we take time on a regular basis to create art we often begin to feel more energised and alive. Some would even go so far to say, creativity is an essential element of our lifeblood.

 

  1. Why we might suppress our creativity

 

Children are highly creative and see opportunities to express themselves everywhere. Why then do we often lose touch with that part of ourselves when we grow up?

 

Adult life is full of responsibilities, and many of us can end up feeling that we simply don’t have the time anymore for something as frivolous as painting or writing a poem. Maybe we tell ourselves that making art is what professional artists are for, and that we wouldn’t be able to produce anything ‘good enough’ anyway. Or we worry about making a mess, or feeling foolish, or wasting money. Maybe we’ve even dreamed of being an artist once, but abandoned that dream fearing the bad rep that artists get (who’d want to end up a lonely eccentric with a drinking problem anyway?).

 

But give your inner artist another chance. Because they’re there, waiting in the wings… Creativity is a natural part of us all, and finding enjoyable ways to express ourselves may be as beneficial for our wellbeing as regular exercise.

 

2.Start somewhere, anywhere

 

If we haven’t really done anything creative in a long while, starting again can feel awkward. So let it feel awkward, and just start. Try anything that appeals to you. Sing, dance, draw, write, take photos, knit a hat, decorate a cake, or arrange leaves and pebbles into a nature mandala. Sprinkle a little creativity on your daily activities – think twice about how you prepare your food or wrap a gift, experiment with makeup and clothes, doodle when inbetween taking notes.

We don’t need to produce something exceptional when we create. Or wait for inspiration to strike. Just produce something. Elizabeth Gilbert (author of ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ and ‘Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear’) suggests that we stop thinking of creativity as a ‘talent’ or a ‘gift’ but instead view it as a source that everyone can channel.

And if you feel really blocked because you loathe the idea of making a mess or a mistake during your creative process, pick up a copy of Keri Smith’s ‘Wreck This Journal’. As the title suggests, the journal is [Read more…]

Crystal spotlight: Get to know the amethyst

Amethyst is a beautiful quartz with a pinkish violet to deep purple hue with a soothing and balancing energy – it’s easy to see why it’s been a highly prized gemstone throughout the centuries and is still just as popular today.

 

  1. Amethyst history and lore

 

Amethyst is associated with numerous myths and legends – think Ancient Egyptians and Catholic bishops who wore amethyst amulets and ornaments for their powerful protective properties. At one time amethyst was so rare that is was considered as valuable as diamond and became associated with English royalty.

 

The name amethyst is derived from the Greek word amethustos, which means ‘not intoxicated’, and ancient Greeks and Romans believed that the gemstone could stop them from getting drunk. The myth about the origin of amethyst is also linked to wine: in the legend Amethyst is the name of a young maiden whom the goddess Diana turns into a clear crystal to save the girl from Bacchus, the Roman god of wine. The remorseful Bacchus ends up pouring wine over the crystal, which turns the gem purple.

 

  1. Beneficial effects of amethyst

 

Historically, amethyst has been used for purification and protection, and today one of its key uses as a healing stone is to promote rest and sleep. Check out more of its healing wonders below:

 

For the body

 

Amethyst is thought to have a strengthening effect on the immune system and to be helpful in relieving migraines.

 

Amethyst’s soothing energy and moisturising properties also make it a valuable addition to skincare formulations – its calming qualities are particularly suited to nourishing irritated and inflamed skin. We use the crystal essence of amethyst in several of our formulations, including Refreshing Hydrating Mist, Realive Serum and Enriching Moisturiser.

 

For the mind

 

Amethyst promotes relaxation and calm through its harmonising effect on the nervous system. It’s also thought to increase mental clarity, boost our creative and intuitive abilities and enhance our connection to the divine.

 

To harness the powers of amethyst at home, try keeping a piece of quartz next to your bed (or even under your pillow) at night for more peaceful sleep, or hold one during meditation to help clear the mind and access the stillness within. Or simply wear amethyst jewellery to enjoy the gem’s exceptional beauty and day-long zen boost.

 

When green isn’t really green – how not to fall for ‘greenwashing’

Ever picked up a beauty product thinking it was 100% organic and natural, only to notice that it contains a long list of suspiciously chemical-sounding ingredients? If your answer’s ‘yes’ then chances are you’ve been ‘greenwashed’.

More and more of us want high quality products that are good for us and the planet alike. And many companies are stepping up to meet the growing demand by investing in green technology, adopting sustainable farming practices and sourcing high quality natural ingredients. Unfortunately, some others are merely investing in marketing ploys that make their products sound greener than they are.

1. What is greenwashing?

‘Greenwashing’ is when a company makes intentionally false or misleading claims about the green credentials of their products. And when it comes to beauty products it’s shockingly easy to get away with it. Unlike organic food (for which very strict regulations are usually in place) a shampoo bottle or a cleanser can say ‘organic’ on the label even if it contains only 1% of organic ingredients.

Similarly, there are no legal standards or rules that determine at what point a moisturiser or a bar of soap can be called ‘natural’, ‘botanical’, ‘eco-friendly’, ‘pure’ and so on. We’re also sometimes mislead by statements such as ‘paraben free’, which is on the label to distract us from spotting the other potentially toxic ingredients in the formula.

2. Navigate the label jungle

So how can we avoid the cheap and synthetic masquerading as sustainable and natural and get the real deal?

Spot the logo

Companies have the option of going through a certification process to prove that their formulations are genuinely sustainable (and those serious about their green credentials, like AEOS, are likely to have done so). The quickest way to suss out if a product is truly green or not is to look out for the logo of a recognised and independent certification body on the packaging.

What’s really in the bottle?

Many of us are already in the habit of perusing the ingredients list when we shop for food, so it’s fairly easy to extend that habit to our beauty buys too. While a label may contain soothing claims about the purity of the ingredients, a quick glance through the list at the back can clarify if that’s really the case.

Speak up

What if you spot a ‘green’ product that is in fact anything but? Or are wondering why a company that seems genuine hasn’t been independently certified yet? Pick up the phone, or get in touch with the company in question via email or social media. One person speaking up may seem like a drop in the ocean, but the more of us that make it clear we want genuinely sustainable products with clear labelling, the more likely we are to get it!

  1. The AEOS way

The desire to be a genuine force for good in the world has always been at the heart of our operations from the very beginning of AEOS. Creating our skincare and beauty formulations in harmony with [Read more…]

Want to feel more zen? Try ditching the dogmas

“I need to quit alcohol/caffeine/dairy/[fill in accordingly]”. “I must get up earlier / train every morning / get a new job / declutter my house / only eat ‘clean’…” How many times a day do you reprimand yourself for not doing the things you “should”, or bully yourself into doing the things you “must”? Be it the new diet that will keep that weight off for good, or the exercise regime that will make you feel and look ten years younger – whatever the promise it is we make to ourselves, why do we still slip and fall back into our old ways after a while? And then the guilt creeps in… So what on earth is going on, and why can’t we just do it?

There’s no need to beat ourselves up over our ‘failure’ to replicate someone else’s formula for wellness. If something is starting with a “must” or “should” or “need to”, our heart’s probably not in it. Maybe what our failure is really saying is to care less about what anyone else tells us we ‘should’ be doing and more about what our own intuition is guiding us towards?

  1. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ path to health and happiness

Who wouldn’t want to be their healthiest, most vibrant and joyful self? On our quest to make that happen, we often look to others for advice. And while we can learn a lot from wellness experts and healthy living gurus, we must stay tuned into our own intuition too to get the best (and happiest) results.

It’s easy to be swept up by someone’s enthusiasm when they’ve discovered something that works well for them. And oh how we love to believe that if we can just manage to follow steps A, B and C in the exact same way, we’ll get the same results – that ‘all or nothing’ is the way forward. But we’re not all the same. And trying to stick to a strict set of rules is, more often than not, a recipe for disappointment and frustration.

  1. What’s right for you?

Have you ever tried to stick to a new diet or fitness plan but felt miserable in the process, or quit just after you thought “this is the one!”? Try tuning into what’s going on within. Make a list of anything in your life that you think you ‘should’ do or ‘have to’ achieve. Then take each sentence and say it out loud.

How did each statement feel? Good, or not so good? If you cross out the ‘I should’ and replace it with ‘I want to’ does the statement still ring true? Follow up each statement with ‘because’ and see what else comes up. Try applying this mindful attention while eating and excercising too, “does this feel good for me?”

Everything in moderation… including moderation!

Hopefully, by asking our true selves a few questions, we can see more clearly what we truly want (and what’s external mental clutter). And maybe we’ll choose to carry on but at the same time start to let go of the pressure to be perfect and the associated guilt. We don’t need to do something 100% all day every day for it to have a positive effect in our lives.

  1. Go ‘flexi’ on everything

What if we looked at any recommended plan just as a starting point? What if we believed that it was ok to experiment, adjust and shift things along the way to find out what works for us in each moment? What’s right for us one day, may not be the next day.

If you start to feel deprived or resentful …stop. We’re not just physical bodies (and certainly not robots). We’re holistic beings, and sometimes ‘breaking the rules’ may be what we need in that moment to nourish a different part of ourselves. (And thankfully, indulging in an occasional treat or sleeping in one morning isn’t going to erase everything we’ve done up to that point.) When we remain flexible and open-minded and let ourselves be both imperfect and continuously evolving human-beings, we’re more likely to be kind to ourselves and to remember to keep joy at the heart of it all. (And isn’t feeling better what we’ve been aiming for all along anyway?)

Spotlight on Calendula: The delicate herb that’s a skin-healing powerhouse

Youthful glow, hello! Calendula, an extract from the Marigold Family, has been used as a natural cure for wounds for centuries, but it has a little secret… this delicate flower has tremendous healing powers for your skin. Yes, this impressive anti-inflammatory and restorative powerhouse is your skin-loving go-to for quenching skin with deep hydration, leaving you with a gorgeously-smooth complexion.

 

 

So what’s its secret?

 

Calendula’s nourishing and uplifting properties are thanks to its high levels of carotenoids (vitamin A-like compounds) – the skin superheroes that help protect our skin from premature aging – yet it’s gentle and safe enough to use on the most delicate complexions and around the eyes. A regular boost of this flower’s power will help leave your skin feeling stronger and more supple and radiating with health.

 

Medicinal magic

 

Thanks to its strong anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, calendula is a natural healer, making it great for skin problems and irritations like eczema or acne. It can also be used to help promote the healing of wounds, minor burns and any other inflammatory skin conditions.

 

Give your skin a calendula-boost with three of our award-winning products:

 

AEOS Gentle Exfoliant

Reveal a fresh, radiant and polished complexion the calendula way with our Gentle Exfoliant Pink or Blue. With its calendula-rich award-winning formula, your skin will enjoy an immediate boost.

 

AEOS Skin Replenisher Cream Rich

Quench thirsty skin with our Skin Replenisher Cream. Brimming with calendula extract for an intense burst of [Read more…]

Healing journeys – where will yours take you?

We all intuitively know that nature has far more to offer us than food, raw materials and even pretty pictures to download onto our desktop computers. But, as we sometimes struggle to keep all the balls of our complicated lives in the air, boxed within four walls, it’s way too easy to feel removed from the natural world. Yet, reconnecting with nature may just be the thing we’re needing if we’ve begun to feel disconnected and restless in our lives.

Nature is there for us – particularly when life deals us a particularly rotten hand and we end up feeling broken and lost or worse. Numerous people have dealt with their grief and troubles by heading to the great outdoors for a very long walk, coming back transformed.

  1. What we seek on the trail

 

What makes someone want to walk on their own for days, weeks or even months on end on dirt tracks and forest paths? While many people hit the trail simply because of their love for the outdoors or because they fancy a challenge, many others seek the solace of the desert or the mountains because they’re dealing with something difficult in their lives and they’re in search of guidance.

For Cheryl Strayed – who at 22 was grieving her mother’s death and the end of her marriage – hiking over 1,000 miles along the Pacific Crest Trail was a transformational experience that became a turning point in her life (her memoir Wild was later made into a film, starring Reese Witherspoon, by the same name). Robyn Davidson, whose 1,700 trek across the Australian Outback in the company of four camels and a dog was also described as a memoir and later made into the film Tracks, explained that at age 25, she felt directionless and was desperate to do something that would give her life meaning. For others, it’s because of their struggles with self love or accepting their body, addictions or just a nagging feeling that something in their life is not quite right – that gets them hitting that trail. Sometimes people don’t even know why they feel the pull to go before they get there.

But rest assured, whatever people seek out there, they often end up finding inside themselves.

  1. What I found on my own walk

By Nita, writer for AEOS

 

As a writer for AEOS, I was asked to share my own healing journey that took me to the Scottish Highlands in July 2017, alone, for a week. I felt vulnerable and broken-hearted at the time and had a strong urge to do something to regain my faith in myself. I also wanted to ‘get away from it all’ and a week of solo hiking and wild camping fitted the bill nicely (while making me nervous too)…

In the end, I found that the most magical thing about walking in nature for me was that on some fundamental level it always made sense, even when it felt that nothing else in my life did. During the hike, I’d wake up in the morning, lace up my boots and walk. That’s it. One step after another. While physically demanding, the simplicity of life on the trail seemed to create this wide open space in which to process my feelings and untangle my thoughts. What I brought back with me was a renewed sense of strength and clarity.

 

  1. Choose your own journey

 

Long hikes have changed many lives for the better and come highly recommended (as long as they are thoroughly planned and prepared for). But what if you could do with a dose of ‘walking therapy’ but don’t really fancy trekking in the wilderness for months or even days? Thankfully, healing isn’t a competitive sport, and walks in nature can be undertaken on any scale that suits us. In the end, after even a few hours spent in solitude (or good company) out in the woods, on the beach or on the hills you’re sure to come back more energised and [Read more…]

The perks of going label free

When asked ‘Who are you?‘, what springs to mind first? Is it your name and age, job title and nationality, your role as a spouse or a parent? Listing these things is second nature to many and no wonder – we’ve all grown up in a world where labelling ourselves and others in a myriad of ways is so entrenched that we don’t bat an eyelid anymore when asked to tick boxes on yet another form. Add to that any medical diagnoses and traumatic life experiences that we may have gone through and we get what author and spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle calls ‘a story’ about who we are. And a story, of course, can’t possibly capture all of our complexity and uniqueness.

While labels may not be ‘evil’ in themselves, the more we identify with them, and the more power we give them, the more we are at risk of limiting who we can be.

  1. How labels may be holding us back

They can limit our growth

The risk of accepting and identifying with a label is that we can get unnecessarily stuck in one way of being, where we may naturally have kept evolving and changing.

The more we see ourselves through a particular label (be it ‘depressed’, ‘shy’, ‘old’ etc.) the less we focus on everything else that we are – and have the potential to be. We are not only multifaceted beings but also constantly learning, evolving and becoming… And being attached to a label limits that growth like a flower pot that’s too small to allow the roots of a plant to expand.

They can lock us into the past

Sometimes labels are born out of traumatic experiences we have endured in our lives. While it’s undeniable that such things shape and change us, we don’t need to hold on to them forever as our identity. Continuously identifying with a past experience and defining ourselves through it keeps us from living in the present moment and reaching for new territory.

They can distort how we see others

Labels also get in the way of seeing others in their full complexity – we make assumptions based on that one aspect. Often we see groups of people talked about as if they were a homogenous mass, when any label (be it ethnicity, religion, age, sexuality – you name it!) is only one facet of each individual in a vastly diverse aggregation of individuals… Labels used in this way pave way for stereotypes, discrimination – and missing out on the true beauty of diversity.

  1. Diffusing the power of labels

A life completely without labels may not seem completely possible, but with some mindful attention to our own thoughts and words we can at least loosen their grip on us. Tolle recommends focusing on the question ‘Who am I?‘ by feeling rather than thinking about it.

The power of ‘I am’

Pay particular attention whenever you utter the words ‘I am’. Once we’ve accepted a label, we are often the ones who also keep reinforcing it. Using the words ‘I am [label]’ can have a powerful effect on us – for better or for worse – especially if we repeat them constantly. But what would we be without those thoughts? One way to weaken a label is to think in terms of experiencing something in that moment rather than being it. Saying ‘I haven’t been at my most organised today’ instead of ‘I am so disorganised‘, or ‘I’m aware that I’m having thoughts that give me feelings of stress’ rather than ‘I am stressed’ may not sound radically different, but already there’s a small doorway open to [Read more…]

Fall in love with yourself this Valentine’s Day – glow inside and out

We all know Valentine’s Day is about celebrating with the people we love… but this year, how about adding the most important person to your list – You! Of course, you want to look good for that hot date, but what’s the point in looking good if you don’t feel good?

 

Ready to get glowing inside and out this Valentine’s Day? Here’s how:

 

Glowing Skin

 

  1. Drink more water: we know you’ve heard it a gazillion times, but water truly is radiance straight out of the tap and your first go-to when it comes to revealing your most kissable complexion. Hydrate your skin, improve elasticity and boost your skin’s appearance by drinking at least eight glasses of the good stuff a day.

 

  1. Curb sugar: no one said anything about giving up chocolate on Valentine’s Day (can you imagine?). But sugary foods take their toll on your skin, damaging cells and affecting collagen production. So, choose skin-loving dark chocolate with a high cocoa content (at least 70%); packed with vitamins, iron and calcium, it can replace lost moisture in your skin, nourishing it from the inside out.

 

 

  1. Eat the rainbow: brighten up lacklustre skin by eating plenty of antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetables. The more colourful they are – think carrots, tomatoes, pumpkin, sweet potatoes, kale, spinach, orange, mango – the more potent the nutrients, giving you a gorgeous glow and a kiss-me-quick complexion.

 

  1. Get moving: exercise isn’t just great for our health, it’s great for our skin too. Treat a tired and puffy complexion to at least 20-minutes of exercise each day. Whether it’s running, dancing, yoga or whatever exercise you enjoy, you’ll be boosting blood flow and promoting circulation, keeping your complexion healthy and vibrant. Your skin (and your body) will thank you.

 

  1. Get more sleep: improve skin tone and banish those dark circles and puffy eyes by making sure you get your beauty sleep. Experts suggest eight hours a day, but you know what’s right for you. So, up that shut-eye for bright, petal-soft skin just in time for Valentine’s Day.

 

  1. Exfoliate: give your skin a Valentine’s Day makeover with our multi-award-winning Gentle Exfoliant Pink, for a radiant, perfectly kissable complexion. Full of skin-nurturing oils- jojoba seed, grape seed, argan and avocado- plus our very own biodynamic spelt oil, you’ll reveal strokeably-soft and glowy skin, faster than Cupid’s bow.

Skin needing an extra boost? Well who doesn’t love date-night with skin that’s plump, moisturised and hydrated? Quench thirsty skin fast as you help diminish fine lines and wrinkles, with AEOS Skin Replenisher Cream Rich.

 

 

Glowing Heart

 

Caring for others and living with compassion is scientifically proven to make us feel good. And what better way to celebrate and honour the love in our lives than by opening our hearts with a simple loving-kindness meditation?

 

Practicing loving-kindness can do wondrous things for our hearts… like helping us to let go of old bugbears, and strengthening relationships – with others and with ourselves. So, whether you want to be in your most loving frame of mind for that date, or just want to show yourself some love, take the time in the run-up to Valentine’s Day (and beyond) to follow this simple technique.

 

  • Find a quiet place and close your eyes, relax your muscles and take a few deep breaths.
  • Imagine yourself experiencing complete physical and emotional wellness, and inner peace. Focus on this feeling and visualise yourself breathing out tension and breathing in love.
  • In your mind, repeat the following loving-kindness phrases to yourself:
    • May I be happy
    • May I be safe
    • May I be healthy
  • Let yourself enjoy these feelings for a while. If your attention drifts away, gently bring yourself back.
  • Begin to shift your focus to the loved ones in your life. Begin with someone you’re close to and start to feel your gratitude and love for them. In your mind, picture yourself saying the mantra to them:
    • May you be happy
    • May you be safe
    • May you be healthy
  • Hold onto these feelings for a while. When you’re ready, bring other important people from your life into your awareness, one-by-one and repeat the meditation. Then branch out to other friends and family, then neighbours and acquaintances, even people you see but don’t know.
  • Next, extend the feelings of loving-kindness to people you may be in conflict with. Let go of any anger and resentment towards them, and picture them with perfect wellness and happiness. Repeat the mantra to them.
  • When your meditation is complete, open your eyes and remember that you can revisit that wonderful feeling of loving-kindness throughout the day, with just a few deep breaths.

Source: Fredrickson BL, Cohn MA, Coffey KA, Pek J, Finkel SM. Open hearts build lives: positive emotions, induced through loving-kindness meditation, build consequential personal resources.

 

Fatigue… you’re so last year, hello Vitality!

Out of steam by early afternoon? Can’t stop yawning? Dreaming of bedtime before 9am? Many things from intense workouts to a bout of a flu can leave us feeling temporarily drained, and in such cases we’d best give our body the rest it needs. But sometimes we lack energy without any obvious cause. If fatigue becomes a regular occurrence, we may need to take a closer look at our lifestyle, while occasional energy slumps can often be remedied with a few simple and fun energy boosters.

 

  1. First, the basics

 

No quick fix will restore our energy levels if we aren’t meeting our body’s essential requirements for efficient energy production. Check you’ve got the basics covered:

 

Nutrition

We need proper fuel to keep us going: eat regularly and check that your meals include complex carbs (veggies and whole grains) that release energy slowly, protein and healthy fats (think nuts, seeds and “good” oils) as well as B-vitamins (try beans and lentils). If you’re constantly tired and get out of breath easily, you might be low on iron – speak to your GP.

 

Water

Even mild dehydration can cause a noticeable dip in our energy levels. So down a glass if you’re starting to feel fatigued – and set reminders if you keep forgetting to drink enough water.

 

Oxygen

We need a steady supply of oxygen to stay mentally alert and physically energised. If stress and tension is causing you to take shallow breaths, take regular mini breaks to breathe deeply. Check your posture too: sitting up straight allows more air into our lungs than hunching over the desk.

 

Sleep

Adequate sleep is vital if we want to feel energised during our waking hours. Erratic sleeping patterns as well as lack of sleep can really tire us out, so try to stick to a regular bedtime and make sure you’re getting at least seven or eight hours of shut-eye every night.

 

Exercise

While an intense workout session can leave us exhausted for the rest of the day, engaging in low-intensity physical activity on a regular basis can help banish fatigue and elevate our energy levels significantly. Try morning yoga or go for a lunchtime walk – and stretch and move a little at work too to boost your circulation.

  1. Quick tips and tricks

 

Get outside

Sometimes re-invigorating ourselves is as easy as leaving the stuffy indoors and stepping outside to breathe some fresh air. Sunlight helps us stay more alert too by regulating sleep hormones, so the second best thing is to work by a window.

 

 

Put on upbeat music

Music has been shown to have a number of beneficial effects on us. Upbeat music in particular can improve productivity and boost motivation, so put on your favourite high tempo tunes when you need a quick pick-me-up.

 

 

Energising scents

Certain scents have a refreshing, stimulating effect on the brain – try adding a few drops of essential oils like lemon, rosemary or peppermint into a vaporiser (or a small dish of hot water) when you want to shake off fatigue.

 

 

Cold water

Just as a nice warm bath can help us relax and wind down, a cold shower in the morning can jolt us into action mode (from less sick days at work, to help combatting depression and anxiety and an [Read more…]

“Shy”? “Too sensitive”? Or time to embrace who we are?

“Why so quiet?” “You’re too sensitive.” “Come on, lighten up!”, “Smile! It might never happen!” Through phrases like these, many of us learn before we’ve even toddled our way out of nappies that being chatty and outgoing is our golden ticket to a successful, happy life – whether it comes naturally to us or not. Western culture in particular seems to heap praise on the gregarious, outspoken, ‘life-of-the-party’ types, while often overlooking the contributions of those more keen on observation, deep thinking and quieter pursuits. Susan Cain (author of ‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking’) calls this preference for talkativeness and assertiveness the ‘Extrovert Ideal’.

But what should we do if we’re among the people who don’t fit this ‘ideal’? Buckle up, ignore our own preferences and push ourselves to enjoy attention and talk more? If that age-old thought sends a jolt of nerves up your spine then listen up… because it’s time we valued  the quieter more thoughtful people and celebrated the many strengths that come with them. The world needs gentle thinkers as much as it needs fearless leaders – so let’s celebrate the gifts the sensitive and the introspective among us have to offer.

  1. Five positives of not being the loudest person in the room…

While we’re all complex and evolving beings, research shows that many qualities often go together. And if you’ve more of an observer than a talker and enjoy your peace and quiet, you’ve probably got the following strengths:

  1. Ability to focus

Quieter types often enjoy being completely absorbed in a mentally stimulating project and can maintain their focus for long periods of time without getting restless.

  1. Keen observational skills

They’re also good at noticing small details and subtleties and processing a lot of information, which makes them great at in-depth learning and coming up with novel solutions to problems.

  1. Awareness of risks

The more cautious style of people who like to observe before they ‘jump in’ means they’re less prone to accidents and mistakes.

  1. Creativity

Those of us who enjoy our times of solitude tend to spend a lot of time looking inwardly and are often blessed with a vivid imagination and a rich inner life.

  1. Connecting deeply

Those who prefer to nurture a few close friendships over making numerous casual connections,  often demonstrate great empathy and listening skills, which  leads to very meaningful and long-lasting relationships.

  1. Create a life more suited to your needs

While gregarious individuals are energised by a busy social schedule, more introspective types require quiet downtime to recharge. But even in a world enamoured with networking and team building and dinner parties, those of us who thrive in calmer conditions can take steps to carve out restorative pockets of peace and calm in their day.

At the workplace

Many of our colleagues and our boss may well be the kind of people who love constant interaction – and they may not have considered that some of us  feel more productive and do their best work in different conditions. It’s worth proposing adjustments, whether it’s moving our work station to a more quiet corner in the office, focusing on tasks that are best suited to our talents, or even working from home once in a while.

Socialising on our terms

If we’ve internalised the message that socialising is better than solitary activities, our inner monologue may involve a lot of ‘shoulds’ when it comes to deciding how we spend our time and energy. But acknowledging that our needs are different to that of a social butterfly but no less valid can help us make decisions better suited to our preferences – like arranging to meet a friend over a coffee instead of agreeing to a big night out.

  1. Raising confident children

Kids, just like adults, are more confident when they feel accepted the way they are. And as parents we can help our thoughtful and gentle children to feel as valued as their more outgoing and energetic peers.

Diverse role models

At first glance, history books and popular culture seem to be populated with dynamic movers and shakers not afraid to speak their mind. But if we look closer, we see many introverted influencers from Rosa Parks (whose quiet tenacity made her a civil rights legend) to the actress Emma Watson (whose passion for empowering women and girls lead to her appointment as the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador). We can help our kids value their unique strengths by exposing them to varied role models and showing them that there are many ways to live, succeed and change the world.

Gentle encouragement

It can be tempting to keep coaxing a child who hasn’t joined in a game or arrange frequent play dates to help them make more friends. Encouragement can be helpful, especially in a new situation – but we also want to [Read more…]