Writer Reflections Q&A: Ariel Y.

While writing for Reflect & Refresh, I’ve been more inclined to seek out forms of media that in some way mirror my own experiences. Finding media that relates to your struggle can be so helpful in understanding your own pain.

From academic articles to television shows, there are so many people that are eager to explore the same struggles that you are going through, often with their own unique perspectives that can provide you with new ways of thinking about your own situation.

I realized that reading anything, from memoirs to graphic novels, has real value because it connects us with other people. More than it informs, writing engages first because it connects us to other people; their beliefs, struggles, accomplishments and fears.

What are some techniques or practices that have helped you personally in pursuing wellness?

A practice that I picked up was repeating truths to myself during hard times. When I was in a bad place, where my mind was circling itself, I remembered that there are people who are willing to listen and help me.

Even if my issues don’t go away completely, there are ways to significantly alleviate the situation. If I keep trying it’s likely that I’ll find a treatment, medication, relationship, school, job, or passion that works for me.

Which of your pieces was your favorite to write? Why?

The piece I most enjoyed writing this summer was my latest piece, where I advised readers on how to stop rushing through life.

My goal in writing this piece was to encourage readers to ask themselves if they’re on a timeline wherein they have to accomplish a preordained list of achievements or otherwise be considered a failure.

This is something that I still struggle with, so I felt that it was my responsibility to share my experience and help others make a change in their lives. I also felt compelled to write about my experience because I felt that the advice given about the subject is often superficial.

Of course rushing through life and doing tons of things at once isn’t ideal, but is sometimes necessary to escape toxic situations. For me, rushing through life was a fear-based decision.

I was afraid that if I didn’t attend college, even if I wasn’t ready, I would fall behind everyone else. I was acting on autopilot, letting fear be my decider without any consideration for what I truly wanted.

Writing this article helped to solidify my belief that mindfulness is the cornerstone of wellness. I have written a number of articles for this website that covered everything from how to make small talk to how trauma can affect relationships.

What I’ve noticed while writing these pieces is that many problems can be remedied in some way by being intentional. When we act with intention it means that we are thoughtful in what we do and say. In order to be intentional, we have to practice being mindful of our thoughts and emotions.

Mindfulness is recognizing the things that bring you joy; intention is pursuing them. Without mindfulness, we act on autopilot, unable to make informed decisions because we have no understanding of ourselves.

What piece of advice would you give to our readers?

If you’re reading this, perhaps starting your own journey to wellness, I would advise you to practice patience and show yourself some compassion.

There will be days where you just don’t have the time to be mindful. If you find yourself falling back into old habits, in the weeks or even months after you’ve made the decision to make a change, don’t vilify yourself.

Identifying a habit that you want to change is only the first step. The second step is to commit to all the uncomfortable work necessary to make real change. You repeat that step every day.

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