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We are what we think

On Friday I took a trip down to one my favourite cities in the UK, Brighton! I was booked into a studio so I could have pictures taken for the launch of this website. I should mention that this photo shoot was only possible thanks to one of my greatest friends Matthew Denison; me and my mates call him Denny!

I had been looking forward to this day for such a long time, because I knew this day would signal when MY Mental Health was nearly ready to go live; I had always planned that the photo shoot would be one of the last things that needed to be done before launch day.

I was feeling full of energy when I arrived in Brighton, the sun was shining and Brighton was being its usual cool self. When we got to the studio we ventured down a maze of stairs and corridors until we reached the basement. Denny and I then spent about half an hour walking around like zombies in the dark trying to find light switches for the studio. Strangely these were located at the far end of the room, rather than the conventional location by the entrance.

Whilst Denny was busy setting up all the equipment; untangling leads and choosing lights for the shoot. I was wandering around in a giant cove painted in pure brilliant white. There weren’t any corners, so you couldn’t see any edges.

I was on set and suddenly I started feeling quite nervous. I looked down the lens of the camera and became very self-aware. I wasn’t sure why at first, as I was in the safe hands of one of my closest friend and this was an exciting day.

Then again, how often had I stepped on to a professional photo shoot like this? The answer to that is not once. I wanted to enjoy this experience, but knew I wouldn’t if I didn’t loosen up and relax.

So how did I chill myself out? Well, first of all I decided to think outside of myself. This photo shoot wasn’t just about me after all. I looked over to my mate Denny, who was currently blinding himself with camera flashes trying to adjust the lighting. Every time the flash went off without warning his head would throw back in response, he’d then stand in a daze for a moment until he’d regained focus.

Denny had taken time out of his busy schedule to come take photos of me for launching this website, and he wasn’t charging me a penny for this, just giving up his free time to help me out. What a legend!

He clearly had his own tasks to worry about and he didn’t seem to be nervous at all, or at least it seemed that way. I realised it wouldn’t be fair to him if I wasted his time by not enjoying this shoot.

So thinking outside of my own worries helped massively, but that wasn’t it. I thought to myself, why do I even feel nervous, what was I really worrying about?

Honestly, I was worried about looking silly. I’m not a natural in front of the camera and I’ve never been a big fan of having my photo taken. I’m the guy that when a picture is being taken I tend to stiffen up and force an awkward smile. The end result is normally a picture of me with a square smile and a lazy eye. Stunning!

But I figured, was worrying about my image going to change it magically? Of course it wasn’t! In fact, it is normally when we overthink how we look in pictures that they look unnatural and awkward.

So, as a result of being nervous, the first few photos we took looked very unnatural. But, after I had decided to embrace the experience, loosen up and just have fun, the photos reflected that. The photos actually looked a million times better.

At any time in our lives we can be faced with an unfamiliar situation that may makes us feel uncomfortable. What I have learnt is that the outcome of that situation will normally reflect the mindset you go into it with.

I could have remained nervous and walked away from the photo shoot feeling negative about the day. Instead, I had a great time! In fact, I can’t actually wait to do it again one day.

The saying is “you are what you eat”. I think it should be “you are what you think”.

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