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MAY 2019 / ISSUE 1


























Woman practising yoga © Wikimedia Commons Front page image © Mind&Body



ind&Body is a brand new mental and physical well-being publication with a focus on mindfulness, inspirational stories and self-love. It aims to bring awareness to the struggles of mental health for both men and women of Generation Y and Z, offering local support, advice and events for like-minded people to attend. Mind&Body creates a hopeful atmosphere by sharing real life examples of how others within our generation have dealt with them. It does not aim to be like other wellness publications, we do not feel the need to gender-market the practice of self-love and mindfulness, we do not claim to have the answers, instead we offer only what we can, experience and suggestions. I, myself, can not tell you what you’ll find should you embark on your journey to self-love, because that journey is, well, yours! The decision to take the first step and each other step after that are yours, and we won’t be prescribing you ’10 steps to…’ anything, I mean, you’ll find a few foodie suggestions and personal recommendations when it comes to books, but we believe it is important for each individual to create their own journey, make their own path and live their own stories. I started this project as over the last couple of years I’ve learnt so many lessons from the lives of ‘ordinary’ people. It filled me with wonder and made me want to create a record of stories from a generation that is self-experimenting and has plenty to share. I’m interested in looking closely at life, not just through my eyes, but other people’s too. There are many ways in which I hope this magazine presents a parallel to life: I hope you meet strangers with whom you quickly identify, that you have chance encounters with ideas that are surprisingly close to your heart and that you find yourself questioning what goes on around you. I hope you enjoy your moments reading Mind&Body and if you do, it would mean a lot to me if you shared it with friends and give us your support in going forward!

A.Williams Annie Wi l liams


/ : AnnieWilliams_ /

: AnnieWilliams0


rom body image issues to seasonal depression, summer is not always fun and games. Mind&Body have put together some pointers to help you be kinder to yourself and cut yourself some slack if your summer does not look like others across social media. Summer is well and truly upon us. Easter bank holiday saw not only the hottest day of the year so far, but also many cities enjoyed their warmest Easter Sunday on record. For some of us this means booking beach holidays, burning to a crisp in the garden and BBQs-aplenty. For others though, summer brings its own set of challenges. These challenges can be heightened when we compare our summers to those of other’s across social media. We look longingly at photos of friends gallivanting on beaches, hopping from one foreign country to another, having ‘the best summer everrrr!’ wondering why ours looks so different. Here we take a few common challenges that can rear their ugly heads over the sunny season and offer advice on how to be kinder to yourself.




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Anxiety can come at any time of the year, but for some people there are certain situations in the summer that can trigger it. For instance, if travel makes you anxious, going on holiday could be difficult for you or if you find crowds challenging, the idea of a festival will feel daunting.

Again, depression can come at any time of the year, but many people who do not struggle with it, sadly, can forget about it over summer. They might encourage you to get some sun when the idea of leaving your bed feels impossible, or expect your depression to lift when the clouds do (if only it was this simple).

Fear of missing out (or FOMO) can be especially rife over summer. Maybe you’re seeing other people having incredible holidays, but you simply can’t afford to go away this year, or being taunted with images of people sipping cocktails on rooftop bars and are questioning why you’re sat at home with a luke-warm bottle of water.

Warmer weather generally means less clothing, especially if you plan to head to the beach. Having poor body image can hold us back from so much in the summer, forcing us to sit in layers of clothing, avoiding any situation that requires slipping into a swimming suit and generally feeling very uncomfortable.

How to be kinder to yourself: When you know your triggers, you can prepare for them better. Get to know what makes you feel anxious and try to figure out what tools help you feel calmer. For some people, identifying their signs may involve working with a professional, whereas others prefer to learn themselves alone. Take care of yourself if your anxiety does peak and treat yourself as if you would a friend. Instead of getting frustrated and angry, give yourself some care and attention. This may mean taking breaks from the crowds at festivals or learning techniques that will help you relax while travelling. Find what works for you and take it one-step at a time.

How to be kinder to yourself: If you experience a depressive episode over summer, it is important to try your best not to compare yourself to others who find it easier to be out and about. Take your self-care back to basics - if you’ve been prescribed antidepressants, are you taking them? If you’re having therapy, do you need to book a session? Can you challenge yourself to move from your bed to your sofa? Could you try a walk outside? Only you will know your limits. Encourage yourself and reach out to friends and family for support. Explain what is happening if you’re comfortable doing so and explain that you may not be able to attend every family BBQ this year.

How to be kinder to yourself: Remember, social media is a highlights reel. You are NOT seeing the nuances behind the pictures. Sure, those images may show people having what looks like an amazing time, but who is going to post an image displaying the dull, non-exciting moments? No picture ever truly shows the full story. Bear in mind that one person’s perception of ‘fun’ may be the worst thing in the world for someone else. Try embracing JOMO instead, (the joy of missing out). Enjoy some time to yourself, catch up with your reading, get round to doing the things you keep promising yourself you will eventually get round to and log off your social media accounts.

How to be kinder to yourself: While there are many campaigns and messages out there telling us how we should love ourselves, we know it is not that easy, so don’t beat yourself up if you find this concept difficult. Instead, why not work on simply accepting yourself and working towards self-love. Come up with a list of qualities you like about yourself. Get inspired by following body positive and inspirational accounts on Instagram and removing the likes of those that increase your negative feelings. Remember, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to. Body acceptance is a journey and there is nothing wrong with opting out of events that make you uncomfortable.


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Beach body noun. a body that is slim and toned and therefore ready to be uncovered on a beach


t’s approaching that time of year when the sun is shining, bees are buzzing, flowers are blooming, and everywhere we look, retail store windows, TV advertisements and social media, are reminding us it’s time to start getting into shape. Self-appointed social media celebrities begin pushing their skinny tea and ‘quick fix’ shakes while the big establishments will feed us with the information that their yoghurt has less than 100 calories. Tap the terms “beach/bikini/summer body” into any search engine and you will find yourself drowning among a sea of tips, tricks, and how-to’s — all promising weight loss, toned muscle, fast-track diets and a renewed sense of confidence you will feel in that tiny bikini or those tight swim trunks. A “beach body” — much like the post-holiday diets of winter — has firmly imbedded itself as the mustachieve fitness ideal of summer. We see it taking centre-stage on the covers of glossy magazines, on advertisements luring in potential customers into a new gym membership or detox package. There is even an entire fitness company, based on a pyramid sales structure, who uses this phrase as its moniker. Yet in recent years, many have


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started calling the beach body what it really is: Another way to shame people into meeting society’s unattainable expectations. After all, isn’t the whole point of going to the beach to allow yourself time to relax, without dragging the demands of everyday life along with you? That includes the stress of body confidence. Every year we are faced with this ideal of what we should aim to look like during those summer months, and despite the increase in protests regarding ‘fat-shaming’ over recent years, the ‘beach body’ is a concept that firmly remains within the media.


ut we wanted to know what the loaded phrase of ‘summer bodies’ and ‘beach bodies’ means to you and whether the idea of having to be trim, tanned and toned still lingers within today’s generation. We asked a group of people for their personal definition of the term. Ryan Warren, 21, a graduate from John Moores University, said: “I used to spend months dreading the summer, praying it wouldn’t get hot so I had an excuse to keep as many layers on as possible. I felt embarrassed that I didn’t have abs or big arms and a body which you see on the front of Men’s

Health magazine, which to me at that time was the ideal ‘beach body’. But over the last few years I’ve grown to be more comfortable in my skin and I’ve realised my body is a beach body, whether it’s in its slightly more toned form or natural soft appearance. I’m not going to let my physical appearance decide how comfortable I should feel in moments where I am enjoying myself.” Rebecca Andrews, 26, a professional CrossFit competitor from Wirral, said: “To me, a beach body means when you’re happy enough with your body in swimwear or clothing. You feel comfortable at the beach to take part in activities like beach volleyball, swimming and those crazy games in the pools between other people at the hotel! “A body you feel you don’t have to hide away on a sunbed because you’re scared of how your body will appear. One that makes you enjoy your holiday.” Courtney Donnelly, 24,

said: “Any body is a beach body, but fitness campaigns and advertisements are promoted in such a shallow way which forces people into feeling they are not ‘beach body’ ready because of those false and toxic adverts and poisonous social media posts.” Lauren Ellwood, 23, a mental health researcher said: “A beach body is simply this: Me, my body and I… at a beach, and it shouldn’t have any other meaning but that.” So let us approach summer 2019 with this attitude - you are already beach body ready. Being happy, free and confident in your own skin will leave you glowing all over, and looking after your physical health will only make you feel even better. Take care, have fun and enjoy a fantastic summer.

CARBS are not


Sandwich © Wikimedia Commons Carb Chart © JayFitUK Instagram

or as long as weight loss has been around, carbs (or carbohydrates) have been a hotly debated topic. Low/no carb diets have often been hailed the answer to fast track weight loss with popular diets such as Atkins, Ketogenic and South Beach encouraging the elimination of nearly this entire food group from your daily intake. The idea that “carbs are bad” and are what makes us put on weight has left many people confused about carbohydrates and their importance to our health, which includes maintaining a healthy weight. Talking to Mind&Body, Sonal Shah, a GP who specialises in lifestyle medicine and healthy eating, said: “Carbohydrates is a very general term that covers a large group of foods, everything from apples, broccoli to pizza and bread. “The role of carbohydrates is to provide the body with easy release energy (unlike protein and fats). Carbohydrates, such as legumes, vegetables and grains, are packed full of the essential vitamins and nutrients the body needs to function efficiently.” Our bodies need the nutrients provided by some carbohydrate-containing foods to function properly. After all, not only are carbs are an important source of energy, but they

The general rules when choosing carb whilst you’re actively watching your food intake: • If they are natural and fibre rich (complex carb) they are good for you. • If they are stripped of fibre (simple carbs) they aren’t really doing you any favours. help process fats and contribute to your body being able to build cartilage, bones, and nervous-system tissue. Not to mention, you need carbs for brain function, as well.


arbohydrates are also full of fibre, which is essential to support the good bacteria in our gut. These bacteria are involved in fighting infection, producing hormones, metabolism, mood and weight management. Without adequate fibre, there is evidence that these processes may suffer. Sonal added: “The problem is that people tend to eat more of the over

processed carbohydrates such as pasta, bread, pastries, cakes etc. These are energy dense, high in fats and sugar and have little nutritional benefit. “These are the carbs that can lead to a person becoming overweight and increase the risk of diabetes and heart disease amongst other things.” However, Sonal explains that these factors can be easily avoided. Simply by being carb-conscious and nutritionally aware, we can move

away from Carbophobia and learn to provide our bodies with the right sort of carbohydrates that are packed with a variety of nutrients. Whilst we should limit the amount of simple carbs we include in our diet, all foods can have a place in a healthy diet. No food has to be excluded to achieve ‘health’, it is all about moderation.

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5 Guilt-free treats for a sweet tooth


othing spoils a mouthful of milk chocolate more than the “Ugh, what did I just eat?” feeling. And no matter how much you tell yourself that it’s fine to indulge now and then, you still can’t shake that guilty feeling that follows every piece of cake...sigh. Here is some good news: you don’t have to deny your cravings for sweets to live a healthy lifestyle, just make some minor changes to the way you ‘do’ sweet. Whether you crave chocolate, a frozen treat or something fruity, here are four healthier and not-so guilty ways to indulge in your favourite desserts. (Click on the images and follow the links for a quick and easy tutorial on how to make these guilt-free treats.)

Reeces Cup Blondies Serves: 10 Nutrition: Cals - 179 Carbs - 24g Protein - 8g Fat - 9.5g Ingredients: • 1 can of chickpeas • 125g of peanut butter • 70g of maple syrup • 1 scoop of vanilla protein • 1/4 tsp of baking powder • 1/4 tsp of bicarbonate of soda • A tiny splash of milk • 9 Reese’s mini cups - cut into quarters


Preheat oven to 175c/ 350f.


Drain, rinse and blend your chickpeas.


Use a fork to mash out any lumps in the chickpeas before adding to a mixing bowl, then add to the bowl along with all other ingredients, except your mini cups.


Mix well until smooth and then add in chopped peanut butter cups.


Fold the cups into the mixture and transfer to a small, lined baking tray.

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Bake your blondies for 20 mins.

Remove and leave to cool for a couple of mins before slicing up into 10 pieces.

Birthday Cake Protein Ice Cream Serves: 1 tub Nutrition: Cals -318 Carbs - 14g Protein - 33g Fat - 13g Ingredients: • 300g of Greek yoghurt • 1 scoop of vanilla protein whey • 1 Tsp of vanilla extract • 1 Tsp of cinnamon • 1 @myproteinuk 6-layer bar


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Whisk together your Greek yoghurt, protein whey, vanilla extract, cinnamon and transfer to a small loaf tin.

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Now, blend your 6-layer bar up and add that to the ice cream mixture.

Mix the bar into the mixture and then place the loaf tin in a freezer.

Freeze for at least 2 hours and then leave your ice cream to melt and soften for a few minutes before eating.

High-Protein Brownie Cookies


In a large mixing bowl, mix together almond flour, protein whey and cocoa powder.

Nutrition: Cals - 144 Carbs - 18g Protein - 6.7g Fat - 5g


Ingredients: • 125g of almond flour • 2 scoops of protein vanilla impact whey • 4 tbsp of high quality cocoa powder • 1 Tsp of vanilla extract • 2-3 tbsp of maple syrup • 200g of dried pitted dates blended • Choc chips for decorating


Filming and editing and images © Annie Williams Baker: Toby Baeza

Serves: 15

Next, add vanilla, maple syrup, dates and a tiny splash of milk and mix together until you have a dough-like mixture (add more milk if necessary). You may want to use your hands for this part, as it can be tricky with a spatula. Now divide your dough into 15 evenly sized balls, flatten into cookies and transfer to a lined baking tray.


Add three choc chips to the surface of each brownie cookie and chill in the fridge for 2 hours, allowing your cookies to set.

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Low-Cal Chocolate Cheesecake Serves: 8 Nutrition: Cals - 187 Carbs - 13g Protein - 7.4g Fat - 11g Ingredients: • 8 plain digestive biscuits - broken into fine crumbs • 30g of low-fat butter - melted • 1 Tbsp of honey • 180g of low-fat creme cheese bring to room temp before using • 200g of Greek yoghurt • 4 egg whites • 2 tbsp of cocoa powder • 1 scoop of chocolate protein whey • Chopped strawberries for garnishing • 4 square of dark chocolate - melted, for garnishing • 2 squares of dark chocolate - to

1 2

Preheat your oven to 175°C/350°F.

First, break you biscuits up into fine crumbs. You can use a sealed bag and a rolling pin to bash them, or use a blender.

3 4 5

Then mix the crumbs in with your melted butter and honey. Next, transfer your biscuit mixture to a lined 8x8 cheesecake tin.

Gently flatten and press your biscuit base down with a spatula or your hands, then press the base down firmly with a flat object such as a glass or ramekin.

6 7 8 9 10

Then bake your biscuit base for 10 mins and remove.

Meanwhile, add your creme cheese to a large mixing bowl and beat with a spatula for 1 min. Next, add your egg whites and greek yoghurt and whisk together for 2-3 mins. After that, add your cocoa powder and protein whey in and mix well.

Next, add your cheesecake filling to your baked biscuit base, spread the filling so it sits evenly, flatten the top and place in the oven.


Bake your cheesecake for 20 mins at 175°C, then lower the temperature of the oven to 150°C and bake for another 25 mins.


Remove the cheesecake from the oven and leave to cool before placing it in the fridge for at least three hours.


Garnish your cheesecake with strawberries, melted dark chocolate and grated dark chocolate.

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ged just 13, Jessie Dhaliwal was fighting with doctors to put a diagnosis to her uncontrollable thoughts, fractious sadness and frequent waves of panic. However, like many teenagers in today’s society, Jessie was often told that these were nothing other than a sign of her adolescent age and an increase in hormones. It was not until Jessie was 15 years old when health professionals finally diagnosed her with anxiety disorder and depression. However, despite being prescribed antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication and undergoing three years of cognitive behavioural therapy, Jessie’s symptoms continued to worsen during this time and her level of medication was on a continuous upward climb. When she turned 18, Jessie returned to the doctors, no longer able to control her irrational thoughts and impulsive actions and was diagnosed with emotionally unstable and borderline personality disorder. Talking about how this diagnosis affected her life, Jessie said: “Borderline personality disorder (BPD) caused me to act very impulsively and I couldn’t regulate or manage my thoughts and actions. Within seconds, I would have self-harmed and I became addicted to using a razor blade to cut my inner thighs. “My impulsiveness would cause me to abuse alcohol every weekend, spending ridiculous amounts of money on alcohol for others in the hope for friendships. I would end up in dangerous situations and put my health at risk due to the amounts of alcohol I was taking in one night. “I would then become more depressed following the night out, I would stand on top of bridges and hope I would accidentally fall, and walk around streets for hours debating whether to walk into a busy road.”

exhausting to live with.” After completing her final course of CBT and being declined further therapy after three years, Jessie continued to deteriorate mentally, frequently

taking medication overdoses in what she called a ‘cry for help’. The 24 year old explained: “The healthcare service didn’t seem to recognise my cry for help and I was


hough symptoms of BPD can be grouped into four main categories: emotional instability, disturbed patterns of thinking or perception, impulsive behaviour and intense but unstable relationships with others, the specific symptoms and displays of the disorder can vary from one sufferer to another. Jessie said: “Everything was black and white, there was no grey. My effects were mainly to hurt myself, self-sabotage and act impulsively. I was overwhelmed by my feelings and emotions 24/7 and it was absolutely

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Jessie has committed to a healthy lifestyle and hit her target of losing 100lbs © DoitJessie Instagram

aware of being known as an “attention seeker”. This label really upset me at the time, but now I am recovered, I am happy to have been an attention seeker, because I was seeking attention - I was seeking the help I desperately needed.” As time went by and she was without therapy, Jessie’s developed further psychological symptoms including hearing the voices of her parents shouting and screaming her name inside her head, which soon led to the diagnosis of antipsychotics. Jessie explained: “I no longer wanted attention and it was no longer a cry for help. I had lost any faith in the healthcare service wanting to help me or support me, and I just wanted to die. “My suicide attempts became more impulsive and quicker, including attempting to hang myself in the garage, I ran in front of a car and I took a large overdose.” Healthcare professionals could no longer ignore the danger Jessie was putting herself in and admitted her to a hospital for medical care and then into a psychiatric unit.

Beating Borderline

One woman’s stor y of how she found life after years of looking for death [Trigger warning: contains sensitive and detailed information regarding self-harming and suicidal thoughts]


ollowing discharge, Jessie was offered dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT) and believes it was at the point, her life was transformed: “This is where the sun started to rise for me again; I owe my life to this therapy and my amazing family that have been there for me every step of the way. “The first session was tough, along with the first few months - but I kept going as it was a ‘three strikes and you’re out’ type of course. All of a sudden something clicked, I started to enjoy going to sessions and I started noticing real changes mentally and in my decision making, I felt happier.” Fast forward to today, three years on from her final session of DBT and Jessie’s life couldn’t be further from what it was back then. Jessie confirms she no longer experiences impulsive thoughts or urges to hurt herself. Now in her final year at University of Liverpool, Jessie is studying her dream career as a paediatric nurse so she can inspire and help others. Jessie added: “I’m very passionate in changing and improving mental health support for children and young people and hope to do so in the

future. I can relate to children with mental health problems and support them and give them the attention they need.” The once over-drinker and binge eater who had little interest in selfcare has since been replaced with a woman who enjoys meditation,

mindfulness and walks to clear her mind. She has recently reached her goal of a 100lb weight loss and gained a finalist place in the Women of the Year 2018 awards. But the change Jessie is most thankful for is her quality of life. She said: “I now spend time with

my family and make back the time I missed out - really enjoying life with them as a family because I was too sick. “I’m a completely different person today, people tell me that all the time. It’s unbelievable to myself; I never thought I’d recover to this extent.”

Jessie with other finalists at the Woman of The Year Awards 2018 © DoitJessie

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PROJECT ME Fitness change

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Molly during a training session Š Mind&Body

Eed my life



hether your idea of exercise is running a marathon or running for a bus, more and more of us are realising the benefits of getting sweaty for both our bodies and our minds. In 2019, fitness isn’t just about improving our physical health - it’s key to boosting our mental and emotional health too. In the last year, newly qualified personal trainer, Molly Bryson, 22, has gone from working in events management and partying regularly to quitting her job and starting up her own business. She credits her fitness routine with reshaping her whole life and constantly pushes herself to stay motivated for the benefit of her mental, emotional and physical health. Having always had issues with her self-esteem and body confidence, these factors have led Molly to struggle with disordered eating, body dysmorphia, depression and anxiety throughout her life. Talking to Mind&Body, Molly said: “Before I got into fitness, I used to feel really anxious about new things, or if I was going out, especially at university, I would always feel like I didn’t fit in. That I was the ugly fat friend. This led to me experiencing problems with eating disorders for many years.” Originally aiming to increase her confidence and drop a little bit of body fat, Molly made the decision to hire a personal trainer in a bid to tackle her insecurities. Little did she know that these would be the factors that would change her life. Molly explained: “Last January I decided enough was enough, after years of abusing my body and treating it badly I wanted to take care of it. When I hired my personal trainer, she changed my life. She helped me change my life. “I quit my job which was making

me really unhappy, started my own personal training course and my PT came with me to the doctors and helped me open up to them. I will be forever grateful and I want to help others do the same.”


rior to taking up fitness, Molly would turn to alcohol, junk food and damaging habits to provide comfort in her times of darkness. As well as improving her health and general happiness, the gym has also acted as a substitute coping mechanism for Molly to turn to when she is feeling low. The Southport resident said: “I still have bad days, but I can cope with them a lot better now. I either take some time to myself or I escape to the gym and lift some weights. “I have the capacity to say to myself that these feelings will pass, whereas before I would let them affect me so much.” Talking about her inspirations and what has motivated her to keep up such a structured routine for the last 16 months, besides her trainer, Molly says she owes the credit mainly to herself: “I am so proud of what I have overcome and how far I have come with my own fitness journey that it would be a shame to give up all that, so I keep going and take each day as it comes.” Hoping to inspire others as her trainer done for her, Molly has recently gained her personal training qualifications and launched the initial online step of her business, Molly Bryson Fitness. Molly said: “My goal is to have a successful PT business but not only help people change their bodies help them change their lives and tackle mental health issues as there is a big stigma around discussing it at the moment. “I would love to own my own gym but baby steps for now!”

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allum can recall every detail of his first panic attack. Aged 11 walking through the playground of his secondary school, Callum was hit with an unfamiliar sensation that the world around his was moving 100x faster than he was. Unable to focus on anything. His legs stiff and his breath shortening until it was no longer present. Callum Tait has recently become a familiar name to those across social media platforms for his inspirational messages regarding mental health, especially amongst the male gender. Opening up about his struggles, Callum has quickly become an advocate for mental illness and a point of call for those needing advice. When asked how his mental health has affected his life, Callum responded: “If I was to keep this short I’d say, in every way.” He told Mind&Body: “At the moment, [mental health] affects my day to day ability to do, even the most simple things, such as getting up and showering sometimes can literally drain me. I can’t work at the moment because I feel too anxious to drive (which was my job) and I can’t even think about University, to the point where I’m very close to dropping out.”


the biggest killer for men under 35 in the UK, it is more important now than ever to normalise talks about bad mental health and emotions amongst men. Like many men, Callum refrained from talking about his mental health struggles for many years due to a fear of being labelled ‘weak’ and ‘less of a man’. As a person who had always projected a natural confidence and was deemed the life and soul of a party, Callum’s ability to mask his low

moods and lack of effort for day-today life became increasingly difficult. Callum said: “Sometimes I felt unstoppable, a natural high. Now and for the past 6 months or so I’ve truly been at my lowest so like I’ve said, it’s hard, it’s real hard and I’m a shell of what and who I used to be. “I believe so many men feel weak and that no one truly cares about how a man feels. That it’s surely not possible for a man to battle with his own mind when men are strong.”



t a time where it is estimated around 1 in 8 men have a mental health problem in England, and suicide remains the be

All images © Callum Tait

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In December last year, Callum took to Twitter with a moving video disclosing how he had been experiencing the darkest months of his life. After months of being MIA, undergoing therapy and learning to understand himself and his diagnoses, Callum decided he wanted to break the stigma and get people, with specific focus on men, talking about their feelings. Talking about the response he received after opening up publicly in December, Callum said: “I realised that all of the stigma I feared, this web of judgement and discrimination I was expecting to fall into didn’t actually exist and in fact, quite the opposite of what I expected to happen, happened. “I’ve never felt so loved and cared about as I did after talking.” Since his social media video took off, Callum has recently set up his own YouTube account where he talks in depth about his experiences with mental health and what he has found to work for him in his journey in hopes that by telling his story, he can encourage other men to do the same. He said: “The messages I have received over social media, a lot from complete strangers who say that can relate puts a smile on my face and a gives me such a boost of pride. Although I may not feel great now, I’ll be good again in time.” “I think about my family, my friends and those around me and realise that I am an asset, I’m here for a reason. We’re all here for a reason! “

MIND MATTER All drawings © Joel Jones (mindovermattxr)


oving your appearance is hard. It often seems like everywhere we look; we’re being told we’re not good enough. Not thin enough, not pretty enough, not muscly enough. We’re hounded with images of people we compare ourselves to and wish we looked like on a daily basis. Noticing the toxic environment that Instagram has become, Wirral artist Joel Jones wanted to create a safe space online where people of all shapes, sizes, genders and race could go to feel appreciated. A community dedicated to promoting self-love and body confidence through the use of art. Speaking to Mind&Body, Joel said: “Art has always been a passion of mine from an early age and has always been an escape for me. I had always enjoyed drawing people I was following on Instagram, the simple act of creating a small sketch each day helped me feel like I was achieving something, re- gardless of whether I was

doing anything with the drawings themselves.” In May last year, with the encouragement of a friend, Joel created the Instagram page ‘Mind Over Matter’ (@mindovermattxr). The page came off the back of years of struggling with his personal self-worth and confidence and during a time where his mental health had taken a hit and he was searching for an escape from his own mind. Joel explained: “[The drawings] developed into an idea, I wondered what may be going through someone’s mind when taking the pictures. Whether it related to the tone of the picture itself, possibly feelings of selflove and appreciation, or whether it was simply something like “Sh*t I’ve left the bath running”. “I wanted to portray these thoughts in my drawings, to draw focus to the mind as well as the body.” After discussing the idea with his friend, Joel began by mustering up a few sketches which later formed the first few posts on the page. Voilà,

Mind Over Matter was born. The page’s popularity grew in days, with hundreds of people across the globe requesting to have their bodies drawn and featured on the safe space. Joel said: “The page started with an idea based on the photos I was drawing, however I think over time it has developed into a much simpler concept, that the content of our character is most important and we are all beautiful no matter how we look or perceive ourselves compared to the standards we feel we need to reach.”


s well as providing comfort for those following the page, Joel admits that the project has helped him find peace in his own body, a journey and development that was non-existent prior to Mind Over Matter. Joel said: “Although I’m still not entirely self-confident in some social situations, I’ve certainly become surer of myself than I used be. I can say over the past year or so though, I’ve become 100% body confident. “I’ve struggled with body image

and body confidence issues for a long time, mostly based around feeling like I’m underweight or should be bigger and more muscular to fit that “manly” stereotype. I’m happy to say I no longer want to change anything about myself and love what I see in the mirror!” Going forward, Joel hopes to gain more engagement from men and eradicate the idea that men can’t struggle with self-love in the same way that women can. He said: “I’d like to incorporate more men that don’t identify with that Greek-god physique stereotype, or if they do, they’re happy in themselves and not striving for that because society tells them to. “I don’t think men or people who identify/present as male support or talk to each other enough about the matter of self-love, or arguably more importantly mental health as a whole. We’re taught from an early age that we don’t cry or show any other signs of weakness, I want to put an end to that!” You can find Joel’s art at @mindovermattxr on Instagram.

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ITS A GREAT DAY FOR SPRAGGAN In conjunction with the release of her newest album, Today Was A Good Day, Mind&Body caught up with Lucy Spraggan to chat mental health and music.

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Images of Lucy © Andrew Viitalahde-Pountain of Grizzly Management


inger/Songwriter Lucy Spraggan provided a breath of fresh air when she appeared on The X Factor back in 2012, challenging the format with her unique brand of pop-infused folk. Her song writing helped her stand out amongst the years contestants, with songs ‘Last Night’ and ‘Tea and Toast’ finding humour and candid emotion in everyday scenarios. Since the launch of her career, Lucy has always been very honest about her struggles with mental health and used her experiences to inspire her music, with many singles concentrating on depression, suicidal thoughts and encouraging people to speak up and reach out for help. The X Factor star said: “I think at my darkest time in life I really struggled with my own thoughts. I got myself into a pretty terrible place and really had to pull myself out of it. The first part of that was letting my friends and family know how I was feeling – that was a pretty hard moment, but I was so much better for it.” Last year Lucy teamed up with The Campaign Against Living Miserably charity (CALM) in her single ‘Stick The Kettle On’ which continued vital conversations about male suicide. Talking about the pressure young men face today, Lucy said: “There are too many pressures to list. Guys are expected to be this macho, indestructible superhero from pretty much late childhood ‘til the rest of time. “Men are seen as providers, which isn’t always the case. They are pressured to look a certain way, to feel certain things, to be a certain sexuality, to not talk about their feelings in case they seem ‘weak’.”


2. Lucky Stars online help but just couldn’t bring myself to go there. “Looking back, I’m not sure why

steps forward, I still get anxious and paranoid. This is how I came up with the idea for the video - when I feel anxious, I feel like people are staring at me as if I’m from outer space. So I donned an astronaut suit for the entire video.” Lucy married her wife Georgina Gordon in 2016 and the pair have taken to fostering children for the last two years. Lucy added: “We’ve had 14 kids stay with us so far, which has been both amazing and challenging, it also underlines the common theme throughout the album “We are also trying for our own child, so we will see what happens. All this has played a huge part in my writing. It’s an album about growing up.” Lucy’s fifth studio album, Today Was A Good Day is available via Cooking Vinyl today.




ucy admits that during her dark times she has always struggled with accepting help from others. The Yorkshire singer said: “There is help down many different avenues, but I know first-hand that reaching out to take that help is incredibly hard. At my lowest time, I saw text services, phone numbers, email and

I felt like that. There are so many important helplines and charities that are doing amazing things, I just feel like we need to normalise using them a bit more.” Her talent for story-telling continues in her new album, with tracks like ‘Connie’s Bar’, inspired by a woman she met in Florida, ‘Lucky Stars’, which was her first release of the album, and the poignant goodbye song ‘The Waiting Room’. Explaining the story behind “Lucky Stars”, Lucy said: “I thank my lucky stars for my family. I’ve made many

3. End Of The World 4. Don’t Play This On The Radio 5. Dinner’s Ready 6. Lightning 7. Home Wasn’t Built In A Day 8. Stick The Kettle On (Ft. Scouting For Girls) 9. Today Was A Good Day 10. Connie’s Bar 11. Love Is The Best Revenge 12. The Waiting Room 13. As The Saying Goes 14. Thanks For Choosing Me

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Is Instagram damaging JDGym Liverpool © Mind&Body

With tens of thousands of fitness accounts and gym workouts disposable to u phenomenon actually causing more harm to our health than


t was once easy to ignore the need to live a healthy lifestyle. You could go about your daily life without constant reminders that you could probably do with changing your lifestyle habits. With the growth of social media apps, especially within the younger generations, has brought a trend of an all-new type of ‘fame’, one that couldn’t have existed just 10 years ago. The trend of being ‘insta-famous’, people who are famous through social media app, Instagram. In the health and fitness industry, qualified personal trainers have turned to the power of Instagram to sell their brands. They offer workout routines, diet plans or fitness subscription straight from their profile. Fitness influencers have been able to build a following through advertising their own lifestyle, often through body image or exotic work locations. In some cases, building a following of over 1 million followers. Log on to Instagram and chances are the first thing you are greeted with on the ‘explore page’ is the new work-

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out routine or healthy meal uploaded by that fitness model you regret ever following as it is a constant reminder that you don’t look like that, but continue to follow them anyway. However, some question that with this surge of online healthy lifestyle promoters, seven-day gym classes and unregulated instructors on Instagram, is our appetite for exercise getting dangerous? Using Instagram, YouTube and other forms of social media to get fit is fast becoming the regular and despite statistics showing that British people are getting generally larger and increasingly sedentary, as a nation, they spend record amounts of money on exercise. Figures from the 2017 UK State of the Fitness Industry report show that the fitness sector is worth more than £4.7 billion annually, which is up more than 6% on 2016.

A quick search for #fitspo on Instagram brings up over 55 million images; people in luxury workout brands lifting weights, defined abs and bodies that look like they can only be photoshopped alongside transformation photos taken before and after fat loss – each image promoting a programme more intense than the last. Hardcore fitness sells. From the persuasive slogans, such as JD Gym’s “Fitness Just Got Serious”, to ‘go hard’ fitness packages that encourage gym-goers to take up unlimited classes for short periods of time, the kind of training that has got itself the name ‘binge workouts’. However, no messages are more powerful than those on social media are, where motivational quotes such as “Pain is Weakness Leaving The Body” and “Don’t Stop Until you Drop” are post-

Nowadays, a strong Instagram following, knowledge of their ‘good angles’ and an even better spray tan can make you a fitness celebrity.

ed and shared millions of times a day. Fitness developments are in no way new concept, but the way in which we work out has become a lot more intensified since the days of aerobics, says Sam Hughes, a sports nutritionist. He added: “There seems to be this increasing shared mind-set of ‘The only way I am going to change my body is by pushing it to complete a punishing high-intensity set. “High-intensity training gets mixed reviews from health and fitness professionals some back the fast-acting results, whereas others believe that carrying out exercise of this kind unsupervised can result in health problems.” Sam has worked in the fitness and nutrition industry for over a decade and stands by the idea that Instagram has changed the world of working out. He said: “I see so many young people who are completely obsessed with Instagram fitness accounts, following their workouts, buying their supplements, looking to these trainers, not understanding that this information may not be right for their body.”

the world of #FITNESS?

us in the space of a click, working out has never been so easy. But is this new n we realise? Mind&Body look into the world of ‘Fitspo’.


factor that is regularly ignored and forgotten online is the importance of fitness qualifications. The National Careers Service states that training to become a fitness instructor can be done part time whilst on shift at a gym, as an apprentice, or gained from a college course. However, becoming a personal trainer is slightly more advanced. PTs are often self-employed and require first-aid training, knowledge of anatomy and physiology, insurance and a qualification, which can take anything from six weeks to three months to achieve. Many famous Insta-fitness influencers do not possess either one of these qualifications, however without them announcing this, there is no way of telling apart those who are professionally trained to those who are not. Generally, anyone with over 100,000 followers, regardless of their qualifications – or lack of, is considered an “influencer”. This is a fact that angers many personal trainers who do not live their life online. Ellie O’Neill has worked as a qualified PT in Liverpool for 6 years. She

believes unqualified online personalities are devaluing her profession. Ellie said: “Nowadays, a strong Instagram following, knowledge of their ‘good angles’ and an even better spray tan can make you a fitness celebrity, regardless of what qualifications you have. “Not only do many of these fitness influencers have little knowledge of what safe exercise consists of, but they are also creating a false sense of what fit and healthy looks like. Many set an unrealistic standard of ‘inspo’ and ‘fitness goals’ which is becoming increasingly dangerous as many people will strive to achieve what they are seeing on social media, despite their bodies being incapable of achieving that specific build.” No one can deny that people becoming more active is anything other than a good thing. Gyms have become stylish, social spaces where people spend their Friday nights and Saturday mornings. Spinning, HIIT and circuit workouts now often have waiting lists for evening and weekend sessions, which reflects in statistics from the Office of National Statistics,

Fitness Blogger Anna Victora went viral for her ‘relaxed vs posed’ images on social media © AnnaVictoria which shows fewer people aged between 16 and 24 drink than ever before. Gyms are even being designed with sleek interiors and high-impact feature walls – all the better for the Instagram post. So, yes, Instagram can be an excellent marketing tool and a way of establishing a business. Look no further

than names such as Kayla Itsines, of the Bikini Body Guides and Sweat with Kayla app, who has built up a following of over 9.4 million followers and fitness mentor Tammy Hembrow, an Australian figure with 8.1 million followers, but it can also be leading people to a unhealthy extents to achieve an unachievable body.

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o me, I was never big enough, I would look in the mirror and I couldn’t see the version of myself other people apparently could, so I kept going and going, lifting heavier and pushing my body until it ruined my life.” After experiencing severe bullying throughout the entirety of his childhood, Toby Beaza took to the fitness world aged 16 in hopes of finding a self-worth he believed he was never given a chance to develop. Toby told Mind&Body: “Growing up I was always quite a big kid, I was taunted for my weight for as long as I can remember and it has really affected the memories I have from my childhood.” Most would assume that more women suffer with body image issues than men do. With society and the media putting serious pressure on the female body and many women undergoing cosmetic surgery, men are often forgotten about. The truth is that many men also suffer with their own body image issues.


fter downloading social media app Instagram in 2010, Toby believes that was where his already low self-esteem began to spiral: “I’d never had confidence, but before social media and no pictures to compare myself to, I found it easier to put aside my unhappiness in my image and ignore it. “When I downloaded Instagram, I immediately started following body building and power-lifting pages and I thought to myself ‘I want to look like that, I don’t want to look like my chubby self anymore, so I joined a gym and I strived to look like them.” Around 9 million people have gym memberships in the UK, many might never step foot inside, but for others

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it is a second home. At first glance some of the men that can be found in gyms might look like giants, their bodies chiselled out of stone, but although they may appear fit and healthy, around one in 10 are thought to be living with a condition that can destroy their lives. It is a kind of reverse anorexia, an obsession with getting bigger, that is where the name bigorexia comes from, officially titled muscle dysmorphia. Sam Warren, a representative of UK mental health charity, Mind, defines the disorder as a subtype of body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). Sam said: “Muscle dysmoprhia is a preoccupation with the idea that the sufferer is not big enough or muscular enough. These thoughts cause a person to experience great levels of anxiety, depression which can become so severe that it can lead sufferers to take their own lives.”


or the four years following taking his first step into a gym, Toby went about his gym sessions as many people who work out do; training three to four times a week, cutting down on sugary foods and making subtle changes to encourage a healthier lifestyle, however when he hit 20, Toby’s vision of training changed and his purpose in the gym took a dramatic turn. Toby explained: “It became less about wanting to live healthier and more about getting bigger. To me it was what a man should look like, big, muscular, powerful and strong. That is what I would tell myself – that if I wasn’t those things it made me less of a man.” Individuals with muscle dysmorphia will often lift weights, perform regular resistance training, and exercise excessively. Some may also take steroids or other muscle-boosting drugs. In fact, studies have shown that


side the warped world of Bigorexia TO ME IT WAS WHAT A MAN SHOULD LOOK LIKE - BIG, MUSCULAR, POWERFUL AND STRONG between 50 to 100 percent of men who suffer with muscle dysmorphia also abuse steroids and other muscle-building drugs. These severe cases of excessive exercise coupled with drugs can lead to death. Talking of his steroid experience, Toby said: “I started taking steroids shortly after my 20th birthday. I felt insecure in myself and all the images I was seeing was making me feel I would never be big enough. I was always striving to get there and the only way to do that in the body building and power lifting industry was steroids. So that is the route I took.”


oby’s fight to gain more muscle by excessively training twice a day, six days a week and abusing muscle-enhancing drugs continued for over two years before he was faced with the reality of what he was doing; not only his body, but his life outside of the gym. “I remember looking in the mirror one morning and as I usually would, I started critiquing myself thinking ‘that could be bigger, that could be better, that could be leaner’ etc, comparing myself to the big blokes and shredded girls on social media. “Everyone in my family, especially my mum and my girlfriend would tell me of this big, muscly version of myself, but I would never ever see it. “I realised I was in competition with these people I didn’t know on social media, wanting to be bigger than them and it was at that moment I thought this isn’t right. It hit me that I had lost close relationships because of my commitment to the gym, lost interest in things I used to love doing

and truthfully, I was miserable. “It was the first time in over two years of this routine where I acknowledged what I was doing wasn’t healthy.” Now 24, Toby moved to Liverpool from the South Coast two years ago in a bid to start a new life post-diagnosis. No longer taking steroids and reducing his training session back to his original four sessions a week, he is now in the process of overcoming his disorder and says that since coming to terms with his unhealthy and damaging lifestyle, his relationships with his family and friends has improved. However, Toby says his journey of recovery has not been made any easier through the help of profession-

als and that more should be done in providing help and support for those suffering from muscle dysmorphia. Toby said: “I personally don’t believe doctors really think it is a medical condition, or at least they definitely don’t view it to the level they do anorexia or body dysmorphia. Sadly, it is a journey most of us will have to battle alone, but that shouldn’t prevent anyone from trying.”

Training images of Toby © Mind&Body Image top right © Toby Baeza

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Image on left hand page and top right © Matt Marsh Middle and bottom images on right hand page © Mind&Body

From an overeating party boy to one of the biggest names in Liverpool’s fitness scene, RyzAbove Fitness speaks to Mind&Body about how he will not stop until he reaches the top.

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ith summer right around the corner, it will not be long until we are sitting beside the pool with a mojito in our hand whilst thinking about what restaurant we will be hitting later that evening. But before any of that comes, many of us throw ourselves into a frenzy of ‘Summer diets’ and panic gym sessions, before realising we don’t actually know the first thing about nutrition and what even is a dumbbell? In comes the last minute personal trainer. Personal trainers are in no way a new concept, dating back to the ancient Greeks. Originally, trainers throughout history were usually religious or military leaders, an authoritative figure in society, however today the UK now has a higher demand for personal trainers than ever before. A study from IbisWorld shows that personal training as a profession continues to grow each year, with an increase of 2.8 per cent over the past 5 years. Tattooed northerner, Ryan Morris has been a part of the growing industry for over a decade now and with several awards under his belt and an ever-growing list of achievements, including racing as part of Team GB as an International Triathlete, competing in two World


competition, Ironman 70.3 in Rugen, Germany. The Half Ironman saw Ryan put his body to the test, competing in a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride and a 13.1-mile run, all whilst developing his independent training business and working in the commercial gym, Pure Gym. Ryan said: “I like to see myself as someone who wants to push themselves beyond their own boundaries, and the Ironman 70.3 definitely did that. I blame it on me being quite a restless person that always has to have an almost an unachievable goal in sight, but surly that’s not a bad thing? “ Assisted with support from Manchester based retailer Jacamo, Ryan raised over £2,500 during his fundraising for Ironman, which he donated to the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital to help fund sensory equipment on the children’s ward. Ryan said: “After such tragic events that unfolded in Manchester at the MEN Arena, I felt compelled to do my bit to raise money for children effected by the attacks, and the doctors and nurses that work within the hospital.” Terri-Ann Waldock, a ciient of RyzAbove Fitness. says that without Ryan, it is possible she wouldn’t be here today: “I started with Ryan in 2010 after being diagnosed with clinical depression following



Championships, he certainly knows a thing or two about keeping fit. His highly effective and bespoke training methods have brought him into the limelight in Liverpool’s fitness scene, with his brand, RyzAbove Fitness, being shortlisted for the Best Male Personal Trainer in Liverpool’s famous fitness awards the previous two years. “Each time I’m asked why I got into personal training, my answer varies from week to week as there wasn’t just one reason that inspired me to get into training.” Ryan told Mind&Body. He explained: “Initially I got into training others as I found a love for fitness from training myself. I wanted to make others feel the buzz that I got from exercising and find a love in the gym. “Throughout my 10 years training others, I have met a variety of people and helped change their lives, develop confidence they never knew they had and find a love for fitness and health. “The transformations my clients have achieved is absolutely mind-blowing and makes me incredibly proud, and I’d say that is what keeps me motivated and keeps me loving my job.” Last year saw Ryan push himself to his limits when he took part in the global

a suicide attempt. Ryan has helped me develop not only a love for myself but a love for life and staying alive. He really has saved my life.” With the fitness sector rapidly growing in Liverpool, there is competition left, right and centre to make it as an established brand. Ryan’s assorted involvement in the health and fitness industry, from his roles as a professional athlete to his work as a fitness model, mean he is not limited in terms of his knowledge and adjusting plans for a variety of client desires: “As a Physique competitor, I regularly prepare for competitions which requires me to reach sub 10% body fat. As you can imagine, as well as understanding my body from a training point of view, it also involves me having an advanced understanding of all nutrients that enter the body. This requires strict food analysis, all of which I offer for my clients.” His journey has only just begun, with a clothing line, an independent studio and the potential of the Liverpool’s Best Male Personal Trainer title all on the horizon, RyzAbove Fitness is a force to be reckoned with. Watch this space.

Mind& Body




Q: Hi Lizzie, so how did you first get into fitness and sport? A: I’ve been involved in sport for as long as I could remember! As a child, people weren’t sure if I could participate in physical activity, but part of my therapy as a young child was hydrotherapy which is exercise in water. I was able to move in a way I couldn’t out of the water, and with time I got stronger for it. So much so that I started swimming training, so this started off as probably my first sport at the early age of around 5 I think. Q: Since beginning sports and fitness, has it changed your life? A: Sport has changed my life in every way possible. Being the “different” child at school, it wasn’t always easy to make friends, but through sport I was able to socialise with those within it. Physically, all the sport I have done has made me as strong as I am today. Q: To what level do you compete in your sport? A: I’ve been competing for the last 4 years as a track athlete wheelchair racer, and I’m competing internation-

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Mind&Body caught up with British athlete and inspirational speaker, Lizzie Williams about life as a disabled athlete, the challenges that she has faced and striving for a Team GB vest. ally as one of the fastest in the UK within my category T54.

Q: Have you always received a positive response to your training and competing?

A: Not at all. It’s been a real variety of comments. A lot of people are too anxious to think much about someone like myself with brittle bones, involved in so many sports! But then there are others who think it’s great and show me lots of support which I appreciate.

Q: What have your challenges been along the way? A: Living life as a visibly disabled individual has served its problems. There are many people out there that do not have the consideration for disabled people yet and that is always a challenge. Whether it be non-blue badge holders taking up important disabled parking spaces, to being overlooked when I’m out with friends because people don’t know if I can answer for myself etc. One day I would like to imagine a world where disabled people don’t have to fight for every bit of support, and that people are able to look past the disability and see the individual. Q: What motivates you to

Lizzie before a race © Lizzie Williams compete and keep pushing yourself?

A: Sport has been the most consistent thing in my life, it really is my life! The ultimate honour and achievement would be to put on the GB vest and be selected for a Paralympic Games, which I’ve not achieved yet. So until I get there, I will keep going!

Q: What’s your take on disabled athletes being identified as ‘inspirations’? There’s a lot of inspirational messaging relating to athletes with physical disabilities, which is great, but also begs the question: is it always appropriate? A: I feel disabled people are considered inspirations because people simply think less of us. We are inspiring because they didn’t think they would see someone in a wheelchair at a bar on a Saturday night with friends, or they didn’t think we would use public transport to go about our day, because they didn’t think we could achieve. People often approach me and tell me I’m an inspiration when I’m just going about my day like every other person.

If I’m inspiring then it is through my successes and achievements through sport etc., that I can accept because I know it too hard work. Q: What are your goals for the future? A: My ultimate goal is to represent my country at a Paralympic Games and to continue my involvement in sport and with public speaking. I love to meet new people and I love to show them that disabled people don’t have to be defined by their disability.

A Q: Do you have any messages for those diagnosed with a physical disability who are hesitant about living out their dreams?

A: Each individual is on a different journey, a different path. Whatever your dream is, get obsessed with it! Let the world know what you want to achieve and graft hard for it! Just don’t give up till you get there. Your disability does not have to stop you, just get creative and if you need to, adapt! But I believe YOU can do it!

Lianne Young, a counsellor in lifestyle, sex and relationships, Southport


“Mindfulness for me is a gateway to the present moment, the only moment we will ever have. Mindfulness helps me to get off automatic pilot and be less reactive.”

For me, it is a way of strengthening my mind to focus on my breath and the now. It makes me aware of when my mind wonders and helps me bring it back.”

Will Aylward, a rapid transformational therapy (RTT) practitioner, Merseyside

Tia Maria Diaries, a mental health and relationships blogger, Manchester

All images © of the person stated

“I am currently under the pain clinic at the hospital due t bone disease. Mindfulness is the best thing for gaining strength over your pain.”

“Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally.” Barry Ray Carruthers, a Psychotherapist, Wirral


t is easy to rush through life, being so caught up in our thoughts that we are unable to be fully present in the current moment. This is where mindfulness comes in. It is the practice of creating more awareness by tuning into the present moment, your immediate surroundings, thoughts and feelings. Using our body is a fantastic way to

connect us to the present. Our bodies, unlike our thoughts, can only be in the present. Using our body, utilising our senses can help to bring our thoughts back from the past or future to the present moment. The practice of mindfulness has become progressively popular over the last few years. In the past, mindfulness meditation was often associated with spirituality; however,

more recently its practise has become increasingly prevalent as a way of managing the stresses of our modern lives.

“Mindfulness to me is more about being mindful of my situation. So I know when to stop and breathe or when to actually take in my environment. It’s not quite meditating, but it’s listening to my thoughts and feelings above everything else and looking after them.”

“My personality type is INTJ (known as The Mastermind). Naturally, I have always been two steps ahead, so mindfulness for me is plotting and planning and working out every detail. Then when it comes to following said path, I create another plan because I am only happy when planning.”

“It’s very individual what mindful to one is not to another. I feel for me it is about being fully in the moment, which can involve anything and everything. We can mindfully eat and mindfully just breathe. We can mindfully play, laugh, chat and live.”

Charlotte Underwood, a life experience blogger, Mental Health campaigner and suicide survivor, Merseyside

Mickey O’Reilly, Freelance Journalist, Bristol


ow, it is used not only to reduce stress though also has been used in mental health settings to help people manage chronic depression and anxiety. However, mindfulness is not just for those with problems, the practise has also

Carrie Eddins, a dyslexic PR and soft skills expert and owner of, Merseyside

been found to enhance the overall quality of life. What does mindfulness actually mean? Mind&Body asked a range of experts and those who participate in mindfulness techniques for their take on its definition and present the ways in which mindfulness can be adopted into each individual’s everyday life no matter your situation.

“For me, mindfulness is about taking the time to pause and reflect on what is happening so I can make better decisions and enjoy the present.” Benjamin Houy, a minimalist blogger and French Language teacher, London

Mind& Body


mindfulness events for your

calendar MAY 12 1pm - 3pm

Inner Peace with mindfulness and meditation Liverpool Wellbeing Centre, 39 Rodney Street, Liverpool, L1 9EN Ticket prices: £8.06 – £11.25

EVERY Free Sunday Meditation class; Prayers for World Peace SUNDAY Kadampa Meditation Centre Liverpool, 25 Aigburth 10AM - 11AM Drive, Liverpool, L17 4JH Entry: FREE

Why not try one of these free Sunday morning meditation classes, led by experienced coaches who teach at venues across Merseyside. Each week includes a guided breathing meditation, followed by a short talk based on The New Eight Steps to Happiness by Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. Phone: 0151 726 8900 Website: No need to book, just drop in!

In this informal fortnightly group you will share guided meditation, learn tips for living more mindfully, enjoy relaxed discussion and listen to readings from helpful works. There is a break halfway through with free hot drinks available. The session is held by Tom George, an experienced wellbeing practitioner with a special interest in mental health. The venue is not wheelchair accessible unfortunately. Any queries to

MAY 5 Mindful writing workshop in Liverpool 1PM - 4PM

Liverpool Central Library, William Brown St, Liverpool, L3 8EW Ticket prices £12.50 – £17.50

Mindfulness and creativity are combined in this unique workshop. Incorporating guided meditation, creative writing exercises, reading from the works of ‘mindful’ authors, connecting with the senses and interacting with natural objects (rock, shells, driftwood etc.), you will learn to free your inner voice and create without self-judgement. This workshop has been organised by Mindful Arts and facilitated by Tom George.

MAY 23 From 2pm

Mindfulness in the Museum Victoria Building, 150 Brownlow Hill, Liverpool L3 5RF Entry: FREE Take some time out in the stunning surroundings of the Victoria Gallery and Museum. You’ll be introduced to the principles of mindfulness and take part in a mindful viewing exercise using the collection and current exhibitions. During this session you’ll be guided into slowing down and observing. This event is part of Dementia Action Week 2019, with morning and afternoon sessions taking place each day.

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MAY 20 10AM - 3pm

Ways to Wellbeing - Motivate Your Mind The Women’s Organisation, 54 St James Street, L1 0AB Entry: FREE Motivate Your Mind is a one-day monthly course designed to help the women of Liverpool become more resilient and develop a positive outlook, This course is designed to help women: learn how to reduce stress by building positive thinking strategies, improve your ability to deal with difficult situations, become a calmer more resilient person, understand how we think, identify and changing our behaviour and remove limited beliefs. Motivate Your Mind is open to women in Liverpool who are dealing with stress or living with a health condition or disability. To book a place, email or phone 0151 706 8111.

Help and support Struggling with your mental health or just need somebody to chat to? That’s okay, a lot of people do. Some people talk about it, some keep it to themselves. Everyone has different ways of coping, but it is always good to talk and express yourself. Many people can struggle when it comes to opening up to those closest to them, so we have put together a list of just some of the many services available to you across Merseyside: Samaritans You can call Samaritans if you need to talk or even if you feel you have nothing to say. There is always someone on the end of the line that is there for you. Give the Liverpool team a call on 0151 708 8888

Open Door Centre Wirral

Merseycare Merseycare offer incredible mental health services across the region. There is also a team working 24 hours a day at the Royal Liverpool hospital, so if you’re near the city and just need to be with someone, visit the hospital and a member of the team will be with you as soon as they can.

The Open Door Centre aims to make the treatment of mild depression and anxiety accessible and approachable to young people. Based in Liscard, Wallasey, the service is free of charge and includes a drop-in centre, meditation, exercise programmes and counselling. For more information go to

Chasing the Stigma Chasing the stigma is an amazing service set up by scouse comedian and writer Jake Mills after his own battle with depression in 2013. The service includes their Hub of Hope, a first of its kind, national mental health database that brings together organisations and charities, large and small, from across the country who offer mental health advice and support, together in one place. The Hub of Hope app helps you to find local mental health services that you can use anytime, anywhere.

Talk Liverpool Talk is a free NHS service offering quick and easy access to talking therapies, practical support, and employment advice. The service aims to help people if you are feeling stressed, feeling low in mood (depressed) or very nervous (anxiety). Talk is available through GPs in Liverpool, a range of voluntary sector organisations and by self-referral either online (www. or by phone (0151 228 2300).

The Hub of Hope app is available to download for both iOS and Android devices.

Mind& Body





2. Happiness - The Inside Job Happiness – The Inside Job by Matt Pepper – Amazon, £9.99 Not only did 15 people recommend me this read, but I came across an image posted by UK band Coldplay on social media that featured the paperback alongside a personal shining review from lead singer Chris Martin. The one thing that every person on the planet desires is to live a fulfilled and happy life. So why does happiness seem to elude so many of us? How can we simply ‘get happy’ when the pressures of life, jobs, bills and relationships are upon us all? Give this book a read for the answers and seven ways you can change your life, starting today.

3. Meditation For Fidgety Skeptics

1. The Nature Fix The Nature Fix by Florence Williams - W. W. Norton & Company, £12.99 From forest bathing to ecotherapy, The Nature Fix sets out to uncover the science behind nature’s positive effects on the brain. In this informative and entertaining book, Florence investigates cutting-edge research, focusing on how nature can improve our creativity and enhance our mood, while showing us all how nature is an essential port of our health, humanity and wellbeing.

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Meditation For Fidgety Skeptics by Dan Harris and Jeff Warren, with Carlye Adler - Yellow Kite, £14.99 If you are even a little sceptical about meditation, this is the book for you. When ABC News anchor Dan Harris had a panic attack live on air, he started his journey towards making mindfulness and meditation more accessible for everyone. Tackling the myths, misconceptions, and self-deceptions that stop us from meditating, Dan and Jeff speak with parents, police officers, and celebrities about why they don’t meditate. Meditation For Fidgety Skeptics offers science-based life hacks to help you overcome your obstacles, and increase your sense of wellbeing.

5. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

4. The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a F**k The Life-Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck by Sarah Knight - Quercus, £14.99 A personal favourite, this best-seller advocates the benefits of caring less to get more out of life. Many of us feel stressed out, overbooked, and underwhelmed by life. We put pleasing everyone else above doing what’s right for us. According to author Sarah Knight, it is time to put ourselves first, ditch the unwanted obligations, shame and guilt – and save our f**ks for the people and things that make us happy. Sharing her simple ‘Not Sorry Method’, start mentally decluttering, free up your time, energy, and save your money for the things that really matter.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff by Richard Carlson Hodder Paperbacks, £10.99 Another book highly recommended for the reading community, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff is a must-read for those wanting to keep the little things form taking over your life, as the subtitle highlights. It’s the little things that take over our lives, steal our moments of calm, and make us feel like stress is taking over. Dr. Richard Carlson shares simple strategies for living a more fulfilled, peaceful life. With the help of small daily changes, start putting things into perspective, and see the bigger picture.

6. Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers by Robert M Sapolsky - St Martin’s Press, £10.99 A highly recommended book amongst experts, online forums and avid readers, Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers has received 4 and 5* ratings across the board. Combining cutting-edge scientific research with humour and practical advice, this book explains how prolonged stress can affect or cause a wide range of issues, from depression to heart disease. When we experience stress, our bodies react in the same way an animal’s does physiologically, putting us at risk of becoming ill as time goes on. In the latest edition of renowned primatologist Sapolsky’s book, he reveals new insights into how stress can affect sleep and addiction, as well as the impact of anxiety and spirituality on managing stress.

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30 Mind Body&



o you think yoga is only for the privileged few, those perfect, beautiful people with loads of money to spare? It’s time to think again. One social media search of #yoga and you’ll be met with a sea of thin, flexible women, bending themselves into positions that look nothing short of unnatural. You’’ll also likely be presented with more images of kale smoothies and avocado on toasts’ than you have ever witnessed in your life, not to mention a stunning beach backdrop or two - sort of like the background of this page... Of course, for some, this is what the yoga lifestyle looks like. However, we must be reminded that this, once again, is social media reflecting an unrealistic idea, and these perfectly crafted images can actually do a disservice to yoga. They give it a taint of inaccessibility – making yoga look like a practice only the privileged can enjoy. Here we have captured just five benefits that yoga provides anyone, from the advanced, to those who have just began practicing yoga.

become familiar with your strengths and weaknesses and identify the changes that you want to make. When you combine yoga with meditation, the benefits are invaluable. Meditation can involve self-reflection. It’s all about looking inwards to understand yourself and your emotions. Through regular practice, you will discover how you, as an individual, respond to different situations, whether this be emotional or physical triggers. By doing this, you will be able to make more informed decisions about your body and your emotional wellbeing and set goals for self-improvement.



Yoga teaches you what your body is and is not capable of. It teaches you to

FLEXIBILITY For many people, developing their flexibility is one of the most popular goals when practising yoga. The combination of stretches and regular practice will eventually increase your flexibility, allowing you to attempt more complicated poses. Increased flexibility can also be helpful for those who want more mobility, especially for those who are older.

Whilst building strength may not be something many of us associate

with yoga, don’t make the mistake of thinking that yoga is a passive exercise. Each pose and position is aimed at targeting a specific group of muscles and even the simplest poses, such as upward facing dog, can help tone muscles in the upper and lower body. MENTAL HEALTH The meditative aspect of yoga promotes relaxation, which decreases stress and promotes emotional and mental well-being. Yoga increases the body’s awareness, relieves stress, reduces muscle tension, strain, and inflammation, sharpens attention and concentration, and calms and centres the nervous system. Yoga’s positive benefits on mental health have made it an important practice tool of psychotherapy. COMMUNITY When you first begin a new hobby, it can often seem daunting, and no one likes to be the ‘new one’ in a group. But whether you join a class or simply find online communities online, there is nothing more inspiring than watching different people, of all ages, shapes, and sizes, giving it a go and achieving their goals, and it won’t take long to feel a part of this community.

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/ : AnnieWilliams_ /

: AnnieWilliams0

Profile for

Mind&Body Magazine  

Mind&Body is a brand new mental and physical well-being publication with a focus on mindfulness, inspirational stories and self-love. It aim...

Mind&Body Magazine  

Mind&Body is a brand new mental and physical well-being publication with a focus on mindfulness, inspirational stories and self-love. It aim...