Blog

Self-image – From a psychology students perspective.

If you’re frequent user of social media you’ll be no stranger to the negative comments and feelings of inadequacy that can come about through using it. A few people I follow have used the platform to expose some of the comments they receive on a daily basis, and the harmful effect it has had on their confidence and self-esteem. This made me think about self-image and just how fragile it really is.

According to Self-perception theory, as proposed by Bem (1972), self-image operates on both an intrinsic and extrinsic level. We learn about our own attitudes, beliefs and emotions through observing our own behaviour and thoughts (intrinsic). These beliefs are then reinforced or challenged by the feedback that we gain from others (extrinsic) – it’s here that the vulnerability arises. Depending upon certain factors such as resilience, confidence and self-esteem will determine the extent to which we allow the feedback of another to challenge the view we have of ourselves.

Self-perception is more like a process as opposed to a fixed state, and so naturally we will encounter individuals throughout our lives who can be detrimental or beneficial to our self-image. The view of ones self is particularly fragile amongst adolescents, as this age group is more vulnerable to the effect of poor self-image and regulating irrational thoughts (O’Keefe & Clark-Pearson, 2011). There is also research to highlight the negative effects of self-image, and they’re pretty serious! For example, a frequent negative self-image amongst adolescents has been linked to symptoms of depression, social anxiety and even suicidal behaviour (Savilahiti et al, 2018; Schreiber , F., & Steil, R. 2013; Sitnik-Warchulska 2016).

Furthermore, there is research that directly links social media to contributing to a negative self-image (Mclean et al., 2015). Social media provides the perfect environment for challenging a persons self-perception. You chose to put yourself out there and so you will inevitably be judged (or even scrutinised) by others, potentially challenging the current view of yourself, leading to mental discrepancy.

It’s obvious from the research that a negative self-image can have detrimental effect on mental health, so whats the solution? To me, I feel it comes down to resilience. It is easier let the views of another tamper with something as fragile as our self image, but first we should consider a few things. Start by questioning the intentions of the person who is giving you their opinion of you. How much do you value their opinion? Nine times out of 10, you won’t know the person nor their intentions, and so in this case ignore their viewpoint. Why should we even consider letting someones view on ourselves be tampered with when we don’t know why they have said this comment in the first place? I’m not saying to disregard everyone’s opinion and views on yourself, but instead give yourself the power to be selective about who’s opinion you let influence your self-image.

Be resilient, believe in yourself and If all else fails…there is no better feeling than cutting out the haters from your life :’)

I could write so much on this, but I wont give you an essay to read this time 😉 If you’d like me to write more posts in this style just let me know! Thank you for reading,

Jazzy B ❤

References:

Bem, Daryl J. “Self-Perception Theory.” In Advances in Experimental Social Psychology. Vol. 6, edited by Leonard Berkowitz. New York: Academic, 1972. Print.

O’Keeffe, G.S., & Clarke-Pearson, K. (2011). Clinical report: The impact of social media on children, adolescents, and families. Pediatrics, 127(4), 800-804. doi:10.1542/peds.2011-0054

Savilahti, E.M., Haravuori, H., Rytila-Manninen, M., Lindberg, N., Kettunen, K., & Marttunen, M. (2018). High beck depression inventory 21 scores in adolescents without depression are associated with negative self-image and immature defense style. Psychiatry research, 263, 61-68. Doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.psychres.2018.02.040Get rights and content

Schreiber, F., Steil, R. (2013). Haunting self-images? The role of negative self-images in adolescnet social anxiety disorder. Journal of Behaviour Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry. 44(2), 158-164. Doi:
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbtep.2012.10.003

Sitnik-Warchulska, K. (2016). Self-image and suicidal and violent behaviours of adolescent girls. Healthy Psychology Report, 4(4), 303-314. Doi:
https://doaj.org/article/367ae2de3ede4f55a0ad21a7e36c84e8

McLean, S.A., Paxton, S.J., Wertheim, E.H. & Masters, J. (2015). Photoshopping the selfie: self photo editing and photo investment are associated with body dissatisfaction in adolescent girls. The International Journal of Eating Disorders, 48(8), 1132–1140. Doi: 10.1002/eat.22449 h

Advertisements
Blog

Are We Wrongly Recognising?

First of all, a big sorry for the lack of posts on here! I think the festive period and the start of my dissertation got the better of me, but I’ve managed to organise my time…and now I’m back 😉

I was thinking about recognition and what gets others recognised, and it occurred to me that recognition tends to favour the elite. You only have to scroll through Instagram, flick through a magazine or turn on the TV to see those who are the best in their niche, getting recognised – and rightly so. They have worked hard and no doubt have sacrificed a lot to be where they are today. This is why I love the iceberg metaphor of success; it reminds us not just to focus on the current success of a person, but to admire the consistent hard work that got them to where they are today.

However, what I do find strange is that as a society we appear to mostly recognise those who are the best in their game. This isn’t just on social media, I’ve noticed it throughout uni and school too, with only those scoring the highest on an assignment or those who do the most volunteering for the uni, getting recognised. This baffles me as to how we fail to recognise those who work hard day in day out. It’s almost as if we value the outcome of hard work more than the process that got us there.

Recognition to me means praising the hard work and good intentions of those of all abilities and skills, not just the crème de la crème. We should be praising dedication and hard work irrelevant of the outcome. We are not just a product of our success!

So this post is dedicated to those of you who work long hours, yet still make time to go to the gym, and smash your fitness and personal goals. It’s for the grafters who work hard with no complaints – you’re doing great ❤

Jazzy B xx

Blog

Live In the Now.

Recently I’ve been thinking about my motivation towards university, as admittedly it’s been a lot lower than what it usually is. Although this doesn’t worry me, because I know my determination will see me through, it made me question why I feel the way I do.

The other day on my Instagram I read a quote which made a lot of sense to me;

If you are depressed you are living in the past. 
If you are anxious you are living in the future. 
If you are at peace you are living in the present.”


― Lao Tzu

I think there is a lot of truth in this, especially as I have been feeling anxious recently due to deadlines, dissertation uncertainty etc (all things which concern the near future). When relating this back to my own motivation levels, I think it can be said that I’m living in the future, instead of appreciating where I’m currently at. I’m so excited and ready for what the next chapter holds after uni, that sometimes it negatively affects how I’m viewing the present moment.

Living in the future is something I think we all do at times, especially if you’ve been in full-time education for what feels like a lifetime! As much as I have enjoyed my degree, I do believe that our education system encourages anxiety due to the silent pressure and expectation placed upon students to know what they want to do with the rest of their lives upon graduating. I’m very much somebody that when I have a goal in mind, it’s all I think about. Although this can have its benefits, it can also cause anxiety and a lack of appreciation for where I’m at now.

Of course, living in the future doesn’t just relate to education, it’s far broader than this. Every year most of set new years resolutions (goals which we believe will better ourselves or another in the future), we work hard and save for something we want in the future, we do so much to benefit our future selves.

But what about now? 

It’s so important to stop, take time out, and reflect where you’re at now. Having goals and a future incentive to work hard in the present is great for motivation but we have to know when to stop living in the future. A little appreciation for where you’re at now will go a long way! This is exactly what I’m trying to do – I have a clear plan for what I would like to do when I graduate, and I’m so excited to get to work on making this a reality, that I feel it’s becoming a distraction to what I’m currently trying to achieve.

Just live in the now – you never know what will happen tomorrow or next week and that’s the beauty of it. The future might not be all that it cracks up to be, and then you’ve set yourself up for a lot of disappointment, whereas right now we have the power to make each day exactly what we want it to be. Look forward to the future, cherish the past, but most importantly live in the now…

Thank you for reading,

Jazzy B ❤

Blog

Comparison – the thief of joy

I think this is something we are all guilty of…

It’s so easy to open up Instagram and compare yourself to the first person that comes up on your feed. You may not even notice you’re doing it, I think half the time this is something we do subconsciously, and then wonder why we don’t feel any happier after spending half an hour scrolling endlessly through our feeds.

For me, I believe social media is great depending on how you use it. Of course, you will feel like you’re not working hard enough on your goals if you’re comparing yourself to a model on Instagram who does this for a living. It’s no wonder social media will make you feel inadequate, in turn lowering your self-esteem and self-confidence. It begs the question, why do we continue to use it in this way?

I am all for social media, apart from its tendency to encourage self-scrutinizing comparisons. I think it’s a great way to connect with others and open yourself up to many opportunities, however, I do feel strongly about the way in which we use social media. By becoming more optimistic users I feel we could reduce some of the issues and feelings that Instagram and other social media can cause. For example, optimistic use could be using it to provide yourself with inspiration, motivation, and connectivity. When you know how to use it in the right way, it really can be an amazing community to be part of.

Moreover, I think another crucial step is to have a social media cull and ask yourself do the accounts that you follow make you feel good and provide you with motivation? If no – bin them, you don’t need the unnecessarily high standards on your timeline giving you ammunition to alter your self-image.

Yes, there will be days where you compare yourself, even to those accounts that you find inspiring, but I think this is an inevitable risk we take by signing ourselves up to social media. My main point here is to be aware of how you use social media, and if you need a break from it – take one. Ultimately, you are in control of the way social media makes you feel and that there are solutions to overcome this. We are all on our own journies, we are all doing enough, and we all need to focus on our own personal growth and stop the comparison. You are who you are, irrelevant of likes and followers, and you should embrace every part of you.

Thank you for reading,

Jazzy B ❤

Blog

How to Overcome Homesickness at Uni

This is something that I really didn’t think I would experience.

I am so independent, and I couldn’t wait to get to uni to have my own freedom to live exactly the way that I wanted to live. BUT in the first few weeks, I felt so homesick that I seriously considered quitting uni altogether. I would get the train back home every weekend, and would absolutely dread it come Sunday when I had to travel back. It’s when you are put in a situation like this that you appreciate all the things and people that you feel lost without.

In my opinion, starting uni is one of the hardest things to do as you become so accustomed to having a long summer off, doing what you want when you want, allowing you to get somewhat complacent, then suddenly September comes and so many changes arrive all at once. It’s not just the moving to a new area, it’s all the things and loved ones you are forced to leave behind, the new friendship groups you have to make, getting accustomed to how uni works (making sure you don’t miss the dreaded 9am 😉 ) and getting involved with that uni lifestyle. On top of this, you have freshers week which as fun as it is, it is very exhausting …sleep deprivation and homesickness definitely do not go hand-in-hand!

To me, homesickness is not a sign of weakness and I think everyone experiences it to a degree when they first start. I think that is where half of the problems occur as people don’t know how to deal with it, and will often turn to other coping mechanisms (especially alcohol) in hope to overcome this, but that is the worst thing to do! I think it’s best to acknowledge it, accept it, and understand it – you will feel like this at times, it’s perfectly normal when going through a major life change such as this.

I’m now in my second year, and I haven’t felt like this at all! I always feel a little lost when I first start uni after summer, due to the extreme contrast of seeing loved ones every day and then suddenly once every three months…But I learned last year how to deal with these feelings and I’d like to share them with you ❤

1. Home is everywhere

If you truly look and are mindful of your surroundings then reminders of home can be found everywhere. I came to uni with stuff that would help me feel connected to home such as photos, ornaments, candles etc, anything that will make you feel grounded.

2. Stay Connected with your Family

I think students think when they come to uni they have to paint a perfect picture to their loved ones that everything is okay, but that is simply not the case. I certainly didn’t, I made it very clear to everyone how I was feeling and they all helped me so much and made me feel very anchored. My mum actually sent me up a mindfulness book to help me overcome this. I was always Facetiming my family, friends, and my pets :’). Use whatever social networking helps you, I used Whatsapp, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat and these all really helped.

3. Talk to your flatmates.

Everyone is in the same boat as you! When I felt bad I would always talk to my flatmates about it. However, I think the key thing here, is that you don’t compare your experience to another’s – we all experience the same event differently, and just because someone may not be feeling as homesick as you, it doesn’t mean they don’t feel it at all.

4. Go home

Failing all of this, then go back home and visit those who you love! Touch base for a few days and you will feel so much better and refreshed on return. Uni will certainly make you realise how much you value your family and friends (and a nice home-cooked roast…make sure you binge on them before you come to uni because they will be very missed :’) ).

Although overcoming homesickness is mostly about finding what works for you, I hope you can adapt some of my tips to help you out! Uni is a great thing to do and it will open up so many doors and opportunities for you – make sure you enjoy every moment, as it will go by quicker than you think.

Thank you for reading, and I hope this was helpful.

Jazzy B ❤

Blog

The importance of setting goals

One thing that I have learnt since I started taking my fitness seriously, is to never underestimate the importance of having a goal to focus on. Time after time I would aimlessly wander into the gym and do the same thing every day (cardio, of course) and wonder why I wasn’t seeing the results that I wanted. I now know this was because I hadn’t considered a specific goal to focus on, and so I wasn’t working towards anything.

Since setting myself goals (both aesthetic and strength) I began to notice improvements with my body and mind. My long-term goals have been to improve my strength when lifting, strengthen my abs, and of course work on the booty. With these goals in mind, I started researching as to how I could achieve them. However, I do understand that it’s not as easy as that, with so much conflicting research it requires trial and error, but you will eventually find a way of achieving your goals that is best suited to you. With my long-term goals in mind, I will then make a mental note of what I want to achieve in the short-term to help my progress towards the goal e.g to deadlift/squat a certain weight.

If this method isn’t for you, you might consider setting yourself ‘SMART’ targets. This is a way to set a goal that encourages you to deconstruct your goal to make it more achievable;

Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant Time

Once you have a goal in mind you can begin to think about the ways in which you can achieve it, measure your progress, and keep on the right track to reaching your goal whilst ensuring it is manageable. The key thing here is how you interact with your goal – it’s something that you should be investing energy and focus into.

I know some people may think that having a goal takes the fun away from getting fit and staying healthy, but I love how flexible you can be with your goals. They can be long-term, short-term, generic, or specific, the important thing is to have something to work towards which will help you to see those results! My experience is that a goal helps to keep me motivated as I’m so determined to achieve it.

Setting yourself a goal also has other benefits, such as providing you with a sense of achievement, and helps you to keep track of your progress by forcing you to see how far you’ve come – something we could definitely all acknowledge and appreciate more!

To wrap this post up, if you’re not seeing the changes that you want to get I would seriously recommend coming up with a long-term goal or area to focus your efforts on, then work out how you are going to achieve this by setting attainable short-term goals to keep you in the right direction.

Thank you for reading,

Jazzy B ❤

Blog

Foodie Finds – July 2018

What a fab month July has been (although slightly worrying that I’m halfway through my uni summer break already). I wish this weather will never end, as everyone is in such high spirits for once (so long as you don’t mention the World cup!)

I found some different goodies this month, so I hope there is something here that takes your fancy.

1) Marmite Cashews38152756_2082056911868557_620041695261622272_n

Don’t knock these before you’ve tried them! I personally am I marmite fan, however, I know you will either love it or hate it :’). I think the marmite goes so well with the cashews making them very moreish (marmite fans be warned). Whatsmore, they also have all the benefits of Marmite as it contains B12, folic acid, and niacin.

38036784_2082056688535246_8191318574179024896_n2) Kind Bar – Dark chocolate nuts and sea salt

I picked this up from Sainsbury’s as a pre-workout snack, and it was so good! What with all the protein and energy bars out there today, this one really stands out to me, due to it’s simple and raw ingredients. Each bar contains 5.6g of protein and over half the bar is made from nuts. I’ve tried the peanut butter one which is also just as good!

3) Deliciously Ella Energy balls38227006_2082057235201858_4958439228112371712_n

You can’t get more raw than this! These energy balls only contain six ingredients and with the most part being made from dates. They also claim to be a source of copper, which is good for energy levels and so they would make a perfect pre-workout snack. The pack consists of 5g of protein which isn’t much at all, but I think the main purpose is to provide you with energy as opposed to protein. In terms of taste, they are very rich and 6 is most definitely enough!

38001549_2082057661868482_7957675853674971136_n4) Women’s best protein bites

These remind me of mini grenade bites, and so I like them a lot! I haven’t actually tried any of the women’s best range, but these were so good! They are so chocolatey, so you can get away with having a few and still feeling satisfied. To me, these are a great alternative to chocolate as they are low in sugar and high in protein and plus the packaging is so pretty :’)

 

5) Ape coconut bites38195959_2082057771868471_2795826459027963904_n

These were purchased from Boots and they are unlike anything that I’ve tried before. The best way to describe them is like a crunchy, creamy crisp! In terms of ingredients they only contain coconut, tapioca starch, and sea salt, so no nasties lurking here!

Thank you for reading,

Jazzy B ❤

Blog

We aren’t all self-obssesed…

Probably one of the most important blog posts that I’ve written, and I think this is something that needs to be said. Along with the fitness lifestyle comes the association that those who dedicate themselves to living this way, are self-centered, self-obsessed, and vain. Here’s why this simply isn’t the case.

First of all, I feel that there are far worse things that someone can dedicate their time to, and a healthy lifestyle is by no means one! This lifestyle is seriously misunderstood, and although it may appear that going to the gym frequently, being mindful of what you eat, and generally investing time in your own health and wellbeing, is ‘self-obsessed’, I question if this really is the case? Arguably, a healthy lifestyle is time-consuming and requires a degree of focus, but I don’t feel this warrants a person being considered ‘self-obsessed’ for trying to become a better version of themself. This to me is a fault in our society, that we feel the need to comment on another’s healthy lifestyle just because it is different to our own.

Having taken my fitness and health seriously in the past two years I have seen first-hand the benefits it can bring to your life, not only do you feel physically energised, stronger, and fitter, but I feel this way of life does wonders for your mental health. Exercise is a proven way to help better manage stress levels, it can also act as a distraction from anxious feelings as during your workout you are essentially practicing mindfulness by focusing on the present and forgetting about any worries.

However, in truth, I think the stereo-type manifests from what people see online, and by this, I mean certain Instagram accounts. Admittedly, Instagram is full of ‘progress pictures’ posted by fitness influencers and accounts, which involve sharing the physical progress that someone has made. This is where I feel confidence gets confused with arrogance. I understand the importance of progress pictures as, depending on your fitness goal, the scales only show an increase due to the muscle mass gained (especailly if you are into weightlifting). Therefore, progress pictures make a great solution for this as they give you a physical reference to compare against to see how you are doing in relation to your goals. Moreover, when you live, eat, and breathe this lifestyle it can be very hard to notice your own progress as often we can become so fixated on a goal that we forget to recognise the milestones that we have passed. Below are two progress pictures that I took. The righthand picture was taken in my first year of university, and the lefthand picture was taken towards the end of my second year. If I didn’t take these two pictures, I wouldn’t have recognised just how much my body has changed over the past two years.

IMG_3506

Personally, I see no wrong in sharing your achievements through progress pictures when it comes to fitness, as it is so much more than an ‘arrogant’ picture, it’s symbolic of the hours of time and effort that someone has put into this lifestyle, and this should only be encouraged.

I guess the main point of this post was to give an insight into the level of commitment required to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and I feel this dedication should only be encouraged rather than tarnished as arrogant and self-obsessed.

Thank you for reading,

Jazzy B ❤

Blog

How to Stay Organised at Uni

Uni is 50% organisation and 50% hard work. If you manage to stay organised, and on top of essays, presentations, and exams…I can assure you, you will be fine!

What with exams only a few weeks away for most uni’s, I thought this post would be very relevant. It is crucial to stay organised, as there is so much you have to think about at uni, that it can get really overwhelming if you don’t. Although organisation can take some time to do, and feel like a chore at first, it soon becomes part of your routine. Also, the organisation helps you to work effectively which is definitely key when you’re trying to manage your time.

Here are a few of the ways that I stay organised at uni…

1.Plan your week

I do this using a desktop sticky-note app. I write down when my lectures are, what time I plan to go to the gym, and any other events or activities I have planned for the upcoming week. This really helps me to visualise what my week will be like so that I can allow extra time for things such as revision and coursework. As my lecture times are constant, I hardly have to update this so its a low maintenance way of staying organised!

2. Plan your mealsdiners

I discussed more on this in my post about how to stay healthy at uni, but I swear by it! I think there is nothing more important than a good diet when you’re wanting to perform well, and often round exams it can be a chore to spend time thinking about what to eat. To overcome this, I will plan my meals so that I know my body is getting the nutrition that it needs. Also, it’s cheaper to do this, as you’re not wasting food and you’re guaranteed to eat something healthy.

3. Write down all your goals before the week has begun

To me, this is the most important one, as it gives my week a sense of direction in terms of what I want to achieve. I also find this keeps me motivated, as I have a target that I can work towards. I will simply list all the things that I want to get achieved in the upcoming week. I list them all on sticky notes on my computer, so whenever I use my computer I’m reminded of what I need to do.

4. Make a revision timetable near exams

Call me the timetable queen :’) I’ve created so many of these, that I think I have an obsession.  Sometimes I’ll create a timetable of the content that I need to cover day by day, and other times I will create a more detailed timetable of everything I need to do in a particular time frame. The timetable below is the one I am currently going by to revise for my second-year uni exams.

blog

5. Utilise your uni breaks

Admittedly, the least appealing one here but, it will help you in the long-run! I’m not saying that you should do a 9-5 and study like crazy on your easter/Christmas break, however, you will feel more relaxed about things knowing that you have started to write an assignment due in, or started revision for an upcoming exam. It’s all about getting the balance between feeling refreshed on return to uni, but also having accomplished something to give you a head start for when things inevitably become more stressful.

Wishing you all the luck if you have exams or dissertations due,

Jazzy B ❤

Blog

My Weekly Food Shop

As Sunday is my get-sh*t-done day, I thought I would share with you what my weekly food shop looks like, so if you follow my Instagram (@jazzy_b_fit) you’ll realise just how simple it is to make the meals that I cook. As I’m a student, I try to keep the cost of things fairly low, and I’ll spend anywhere between £18-£25 per week which covers breakfast, lunch, dinner, and my snacks. Typically, I do my shop in places like Aldi or Asda as you get so much more for your money. My shop this week came to £25.65, which also included some extras that I don’t usually buy. I try to do a balanced and healthy food shop full of lots of fruit and veg, and a few yummy treats of course ;).

I always plan my meals from Sunday to Sunday, as I find meal planning reduces food waste and is cost effective. This is my meal plan for the coming week:

Dinners:
Monday – Corriander-lime grilled tuna steak with avo-cucumber salsa
Tuesday – Garlic mushroom chicken quinoa
Wednesday- Spicy chickpea and quinoa bowl
Thursday – Moroccan red lentil and tomato stew
Friday – Mackerel pasta
Saturday – Leftovers
Sunday – Cashew and Chicken Stir-fry

I’ve broken my shop down into protein, fruit & veg,  snacks, and carbs.

Protein:

You won’t find any meat in this pesci’s trolley…only fish and vegan sources of protein here! The most expensive thing here is the tuna steaks at £2.99, but in comparison to meat this is so cheap, plus it contains a lot of protein. The mixed nuts are mainly for snacking on, as they are high in good fats and of course, protein.

img_35351.jpg

Veggies:

As you can see, a majority of my food shop is fruit and veg! As well as using this for lunch and dinners I will tend to snack on things like avocado on toast with chili flakes, black pepper, and salt.

img_35341.jpg

Fruit:

I think fruit is also great to snack on and makes a great addition to porridge. The lemon and limes are for flavoring up some of my mid-week dishes. This is typical of the fruit that I will buy on a weekly basis, as its relatively cheap and versatile.

IMG_3532[1]

Carbs:

I will only buy grains and carbs when I need them, and this week I didn’t really need much. Although I’m looking forward to trying the edamame spaghetti which has 22g of protein per serving! I’ll use the bread as a post-workout snack with peanut butter and banana or topped with smashed avocado.

IMG_3533[1].JPG

 

Thank you for reading and happy Sunday-shopping,

Jazzy B ❤