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Ten ways to help feel less anxious this year

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finding peace

This morning I lined up at the uniform shop, with my list rattling around my head. I had been thinking about this day for quite a while, hoping and praying that I didn’t forget. Over and over in my mind, I have been subconsciously checking off everything on the list of what Max needs for school. Is his shoe regulation? Is his hair too long, short, styled or inbetween?

The pressure of a new school or a new class or meeting a new set of people can often create discomfort whether you are an introvert, extrovert or somewhere in the middle.

In the middle of last year after three operations in a short space of time, I woke from anesthetic in the midst of a panic attack. The cycle of reoccurrence with this health issue impacted me greatly last year. Little moments of anxiety have been laying dormant close to the surface and I have been on a journey of discovery around anxiety and its ways.

In an ideal world, I would watch a movie by myself, sleep for three days and restart my emotional health. As the Mum of two people, owner of businesses and wife I don’t have this luxury. Here are some ways that I have been creating space to feel less anxious over the last year.


Acknowledge the feeling and don’t try to ignore it.

Anxiety manifests in everyone in different ways. For me personally, I know I am feeling anxious, when I have a soft awareness of tightening in my chest. For no reason, with really no pattern or trigger, I can feel this grey shadow start to rise in my chest. It is like I can’t get enough air, into my lungs and I am breathing shallower. I am realising that one of the greatest ways to feel less anxious, is to actually admit that I am feeling anxious. Revolutionary hey. When I acknowledge the feeling and don’t try to ignore it, especially to those closest to me, I am one big step towards it fading away. Admitting that you need a break, that you need help or you just need a listening ear is the greatest step towards relief.

Find resolve in something simple.

Only recently I have found one of the hardest parts of parenthood is the relentlessness of the season. I personally feel most peaceful, when I have a sense of resolve. The more out of place things feel, the more unsure I am of my responsibilities, boundaries and opportunities, the more anxious I feel. Being anxious is not just a feeling for the shy and unsure. The confident, those with a great sense of purpose and those in leadership positions feel anxious often. What helps me find a sense of peace and rest is finding resolve in something, anything, not necessarily what is the cause of the anxious feelings. By writing a list, answering emails, making dinner, decluttering a room, ringing someone and generally just taking the time to bring resolve to something, anything can help me breath deeper again.

Reading and repeating positive verses.

Philippians 4: 6-7 says this;

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” I absolutely love this verse, it might even be one of my all time favourites. When I read this verse and I repeat this quote, it helps me reframe emotionally what is happening in the moment. A lot of people say that we need to empty our minds, but I believe when we fill our minds with good thoughts, it is a much more satisfying and long lasting space for growth and change. This scripture also goes on to talk about meditation and how we fill our minds. “whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Reading and repeating positive verses and quotes reframe anxiety and bring the most amazing shift.

Drinking water.

I have found anxiety can be directly correlated this year with how much coffee I have consumed. After coffee number two, it is like a beacon that shines brightly saying “warning, warning, warning caffeine overload.” Unfortunately, though I don’t always listen to my body. Beverages with caffeine can increase anxiety. Replacing soda, tea, and coffee with water is a good place to start. It is important to limit the consumption of caffeine, sugary drinks, and alcohol. All of these liquids cause dehydration because it takes the body, even more, water to remove it from your body. As simple as increasing our water intake can help us feel less anxious.

Replacing coffee with tea.

Coffee is one of my greatest loves. I am a coffee connoisseur. I am learning though that one really good coffee a day and herbal tea is a much greater decision. For all the reasons above but also to reframe where I get my energy and motivation from. If you buy a great tea, the difference in taste is huge. If you are looking for a brand to try Seven Seas Tea is my absolute favourite.

Teaching myself to slow down.

I grew up in a family that didn’t really know how to rest. We had play down, we had working hard for others down but rest, yeah not so much. It has taken me most of my adult life to reframe busyness as being successful and being focussed on what is important. Lately, I have been listening to Erin Loechner’s latest book Chasing Slow and I relate so much to her theories about life. Chasing Slow, reframing what I say yes to and sitting comfortably with the discomfort of not achieving. Each and every time I slow my pace down, anxiety comes to say hello, but I am learning to say goodbye to it as well. I have been listening to this book via Audible as an audio book and that in itself has been teaching me to slow down as well.

Framing my spaces.

Over the last few months, I have really been loving discovering the simple beauty of the sense of smell. Through essential oils, I have been reframing stress, fatigue and the spaces that I exist in, encouraging deep breathing. You will often find me now diffusing a peace blend of essential oils and often I am surprised by how much joy oils have been bringing me. Deep breaths, clearer spaces and a calming environment that helps me move forward.

Short chats with friends.

My friends and I have been promoting a new rhythm in our friendships, that we chat on the phone more than we text. Messaging back and forward makes me feel quite stressed. I never know when the conversation is finished and whether I have answered someone properly and whether we have brought resolve to our conversation. I have been having more short chats with friends and this has helped me feel heard and helps me feel like I have been able to talk out some of my thoughts as well.

The healing power of the ocean.

I worked so much of my career inside offices and cafes, so I didn’t realise that normal people spent a lot of time outdoors. Walking kids to school, swimming in the ocean and generally just seeing the sun. A few years ago, when I retreated down south in the midst of near burnout, I was swimming at a beautiful beach and I heard these words. There is healing power in the ocean. This experience marked me so much, that I went home and wrote those words and I realised I had run away from the ocean because I had some really difficult memories there. Each and every day since I have been drawing myself towards the ocean. When I swim and dunk my head under, it is like I am resetting my soul to receive more from the new day. The ocean in its expanse and beauty, has the capacity to make us feel small and alive, all in the same breath.

Distracting my sleep time routine.

Scrolling through social media is one of the worst ways to try and develop a good sleep routine. Anxiety was reframed pretty much immediately when I limited how I fell asleep and woke up each day. Laying in bed scrolling on my phone is a terrible way to get our minds ready for deep and restorative sleep. Now I charge my phone away from my bed in our lounge room and I have a rule that I need to have a conversation with a human in the flesh before I have a conversation with someone online. It has been revolutionary. For stress, for relaxation, and for sleep. Deeply breathing in my sleeping space and falling asleep with peace and purpose.

I hope these little thoughts have helped someone out in my internet space.

What ways do you combat anxiety in your everyday?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Amanda Marie.

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ten ways I am bringing inspiration back into my life


I was riding on the back of a motorbike in rural Indonesia, just a few short months ago and I realised something was very wrong. The wind was rushing through my hair, I was resting my head on my husband’s shoulder and everything within me should have been buzzing. This situation in the past would have filled me with adrenaline and my heart would have been racing.

As a creative, pioneering soul, my heart aches to rebel. It is like I have always been curiously designed to push the boundaries, not in an intensely negative way but an innovative edge to challenge the status quo. Honestly, I believe if we are not pushing boundaries, then we will be constantly seeking comfort and nothing new is birthed in this position.

It was this Thursday afternoon in Indonesia that I knew something needed to change for 2017 and that my time as a stay at home Mum after five years was coming to a close. It was a natural transition, as my now not so little first born Maximus was starting full-time school. My second born Liberty has that same I want to leap out of the nest innovative style like her Mum, so we have decided to put her into a pre-kindy program and I am stepping back into part-time work.

After a lot of processing, I have come to the conclusion that there are many reasons for my squashed adrenaline response on the back of the motorbike that day. One being grief, I realised that to shut down to pain was to shut down to joy. I also realised that the constant stimulation from little people’s questions and demands had depleted my creative heart. I also knew that tiredness and lack of solitude had zapped my inspiration tanks. Together, my husband and I have come up with a simple plan to refuel my inspiration responses this year with ten simple ways I am bringing inspiration back into my everyday life.



I am prioritising “rhythm over accomplishment”.

It is easy to get overwhelmed by the urgent rather than the important. The life of a parent is filled with urgent needs in front of our vegemite smeared faces and yes our attention is absolutely needed by those closest. But an empty washing basket, worn as a badge of honor, that is prioritised over a manuscript that is awaiting attention does not give me the same long-term satisfaction as expressing the gifts that lay dormant. I am pursuing a rhythm this year, where I am seeking the important over the urgent and saying no to those things filled with the obligations that drain. Five-minute journalling and reading every day, rather than a big binge once a week.


I am prioritising “connection over scrolling”.

There are many days that I cannot remember who contacted me where and what I am responding too. It is like social media has fractured my connection space and it used to be one of my strengths. I have messages waiting on Instagram and people texting me replies to something I posted on social media and facebook messages, tweets, likes, follows and comments. My brain is exploding from all the messages that are flying back and forth and it is changing my capacity to remember who I have spoken to about what. I have decided this year, that I am not going to feel the pressure to respond to every text, message, and invitation that flys at me. I am prioritising face to face connection and phone conversations with people. If anyone wants to communicate online with me I am asking them to email me and once a day I will respond via email. I have also disconnected email from all my different computers and screens. I am only having my email account on my laptop and will be unsubscribing from all the emails that do not add value. I am prioritising my connection with people and thoughtful responses over scrolling and half answers and emojis filled with rolled eyes and exhales.


I am prioritising “health over speed”.

My life as a Novice Mum has been categorised by vegemite toast on the run and coffee going cold in a cup. I have survived the last five years, by saying yes to all of you and my children over time walking, exercising and creating healthy boundaries with food. So once again I stand here at the beginning of a new year and I am faced with the weight I have carried around with me, as I have chased my children through life. I am choosing health over speed and apples over toast, water over Pepsi max and herbal tea over coffee.


I am prioritising “writing over pleasing”.

Social Media brings with it such instant gratification. Every time you like my post, my people pleasing nature is ignited and the loss of online engagement over the season when I turned my phone off, made me feel deep places of rejection. This year I am choosing to write instead of people please online. The requests, the reaching out and the conversations are all so important, but it has come at a cost and the cost is the voice that I have been developing each time I sit to write with intention and grace. This year I am promising myself to write more and people please less.


I am prioritising “music over noise”

I like to know what is happening in the world. With two little people listening to the news in all its glory, I have realised how deeply destructive our media is. Each morning I like to put on the news and listen to it as I make breakfast. I also have a habit of listening to the news at nighttime as I prepare dinner. This year I am changing that deeply engrained habit. I am choosing music, uplifting songs and atmosphere’s, over the systemic nature of the world and its media organisations. This decision is one of my hardest, as I feel like I am saying goodbye to friends. But I would prefer to read articles and books with a more balanced world view, that the way the media has turned.


I am prioritising “being present over perfect”

One of my greatest privileges of 2016, on that trip to Indonesia was reading a couple of books that were profound. I read Shauna Niquest’s book Present over Perfect and I think it was the grace shift I needed in this whole season of my life. Here is the link if you want to have a read. We have also decided in February to do a book club with Elaine Fraser, Jodie McCarthy and I with this book if you want to order and read along.


I am prioritising “listening over apologies”

This one is a hard one. My husband said this recently “Do you realise how often in a day you apologise my love?” Woah, a stop the car moment. I spend so much of my day teaching my children to say sorry and to stop and to sit in the corner, that I have become an apology machine. When I slow myself down, I have realised that I constantly apologise for my voice. So rather than say sorry, I am going to listen more and be slower to speak.


I am prioritising “space over clutter”

Yesterday we de-cluttered our spare room and we deep cleaned our pantry. The plastics cupboard got a good spanking and our fridge was emptied again. I am a serial de-clutterer, but I absolutely believe the only reason I am able to write today is because my space is prioritised. It is the simplest inspiration principle, but it is profound. This year I am once again prioritising buying quality over quantity and removing myself from the culture that more is more. Whoever dies with the most stuff does not win. I refuse to be drawn into this cultural phenomenon, that if my Instagram feed is full of the latest and greatest, that I am somewhat successful.


I am prioritising “making over buying”

In my pursuit of consuming less, I am taking the time to make things, rather than just buy them. I have pulled out my sewing machines more times in the last couple of months than I have in the last few years. Second hand to me is my delight and hand me downs are our sustenance. I refuse to mindlessly scroll the shopping centre, throwing stuff in my basket so I feel better, I am going to get my hands dirty and make food, clothes and I know I will find the satisfaction of making there.


I am prioritising “the pavement over the couch”

Last night as the sun was setting my husband dressed our family in their outdoor gear and pushed us all off the couch. We should have been having showers and settling in for the evening, but he forced us out to the beach and the result was profound. The whole way as the pavement stared up at me, I wanted to return to the comfort of the couch but getting active and breathing in fresh air is the best remedy for inspiration that I know. Drinking water, talking and walking is one of the greatest ways to connect as a family and I am prioritising the pavement this year over the couch.


What are you prioritising this year?

Welcome to my new series that I will be publishing every Friday of 2017, “ten ways with Amanda”. A series of articles that will be releasing each week encouraging inspiration and encouragement for our weekly lives.

Happy Creative and Inspired Year truth Seekers,

I’m hoping to write a lot more in this space this coming year.

Amanda Marie

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He is enough

New Zealand


Have you ever known something, but even though you know it, like really know it, you still question it all the time?

A hesitant knowing.

I have known that I have needed to write this post for weeks. Weeks of musing, weeks of thinking, weeks of mind debating but I have a hard out heart-war to declare what I know to be true.

These coming words have not been flippant, quick cliches, that are rolling out of my keyboard without deep contemplation. These coming words have been an internal fight to turn into an external song.

Over the last couple of years (Okay maybe five years) I have really wrestled with the idea of prayer and healing. Not specifically prayer for healing, the concept of them separately.

I have questioned after many a series of calamity, whether prayer is actually as powerful as I have been lead to believe.

I have wrestled.

I have pleaded.

I have asked simply for revelation.

You see I have seen many answered prayers come to pass over this season of contemplation. It is not whether I have seen fruit from my faith. The problem is I have seen and watched many people at the same time pray with as much fervour and faith, without any answer.

I am hesitant to write, that I have often questioned whether God is enough.

Is He enough?

I really want Him to be, but so often I live a life that does not show this to be absolutely true. A life that wrestles with the possibility that maybe, just maybe, He just cannot hear all the time.

Maybe just maybe He skips some prayers and answers others.

Maybe just maybe He is playing a divine game of Russian Roulette.


Or Maybe not.

The haunting part of this state of questioning, is that I know. I know that I know, He is real. I know that I know, that I know, I have prayed and He answered so clearly that either I am a little loopy or He is a lot real.

I’ve seen people helped, I’ve seen miracles unfold, I’ve spoken words that are profoundly not my own, I have written passages that have come to pass, I have seen Him move.

I have heard His voice.

I have known that He is absolutely good.

The problem is often my perspective and often I have just seen many crazy things done in His name as well. These two things combined, has wearied my heart to trust that He is enough.

People and perspective have been my greatest let down but I layer this belief onto the sovereignty of His will.

My heavy heartedness from the way people have projected their questions onto His way, has grown and grown.

When people are experiencing devastating seasons of loss, the last thing they want to hear is that maybe God has another plan. When friends have waited and waited, prayed and fasted, yet their breakthrough has been slow to unveil, the last thing they need sprouted off to them is a quick witted cliche that makes the person saying it feel better about the awkwardness of the situation.

Every time we fake our response to someone and speak irrelevant, insensitive untruths to make ourselves feel somewhat more comfortable in the state of in-between for the person we are interacting with, we reinforce this unspoken question of whether He is enough.

He is enough.

I know He is.

He has shown me over and over again at the power of His presence.

The problem I have always battled with is changing my perspective on what enough looks like for me, this side of eternity.

My enough, is so different to His.

My version of solution is very shallow in comparison to His.

My answer to his tarried response is never with the insight of what is to come.

He is enough.

Even when we have come to the very end of our capacity to trust and hope.

He is enough.

I am certain of it.

Even though I question.

I know it to be true.

But he said to me, “My grace is enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” So then, I will boast most gladly about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may reside in me.

2 Cor 12:9

As I step into this New Year, with the potential for amazing grace and heartfelt mercy, I am reminding myself once again that His power is made perfect in my weakness.

In the midst of my questioning, this wandering heart is leaning in to hear from his soft, gentle whisper.

Amongst my heart that heaves and groans awaiting his perspective, I can say without a shadow of a doubt He is enough.

Lord, change my perspective this year about what is enough in my world.

Help me see your ways above my own.




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Learning that embarrassment is my own worst enemy


Last night I rumbled and wrestled, hardly sleeping the whole night long. It was like I was fighting a battle in my sleep, with enemies such as shame, embarrassment and vulnerability.

I’ll let you in on a little secret after last weeks post about my Hangry Bear, I haven’t posted here, I hadn’t read my Brene Brown Book for this online book club, I shut them all away and pretended that I could just hide away from the reality in my today. I skipped chapter eight in fact and read straight through chapter nine, promising this weekend I would backtrack. I had to get this blog written. I had made a commitment.

I had kept my Hangry Bear at bay all week, until yesterday. With a serendipitous aligning of events, I found myself wrestling all day with feeling embarrassed.

Have you ever felt embarrassed?

Have you done something so brave and it just didn’t pull off?

The funny thing is I speak most weeks on a stage of some kind and every week I have to face the fear of embarrassment and carry on. Although many people think I am extremely confident, I question everything and I see all of the faces. The faces of people who I desperately want to like me. Last week, whilst speaking, I fell off the stage and tripped over my shoe. I cracked a joke and moved on, but when I came home to my little shack, all I wanted to do was hide away and never come back out again.

Lately with my speaking I have been questioning myself over and over. Am I too loud? Am I too passionate? Am I too much?

The too much question, gets me every time. Too strong, Too opinionated, not sweet and palatable. It is like my mouth was designed to provoke. It is like my hands were designed to type questions that dig deep. It is like my heart was called to swim into wide, open passages. It is like my brain was created to keep challenging the status quo.

My heart aches often for those who don’t see their own potential.

My mind battles daily with the tall poppies and the online bullies.

My soul yearns for something more.

I feel way too much and that often causes me to feel embarrassed.

The greatest part of the Book Club we have formed around Brene Brown’s latest book, is that I have become more curious around my emotions. It is like I am stepping back and watching myself react, I am listening to my inner record player and I am learning.

This week I have learnt that embarrassment is often my greatest weakness in the midst of a emotional battle.

If I feel embarrassed, I react strongly. The feeling of shame and being made fun of deeply rocks me.

So back to yesterday, It was a perfect storm of embarrassment for me and it made me wrestle the whole day long. I withdrew from my family, As we stood in the shopping centre I asked them to stop embarrassing me, even though they were doing nothing out of the ordinary. I tried to hide from my husband.

I wrestled.

I questions.

I got angry in my half sleepfulness.

I rumbled with the feeling of failure that overwhelmed me.

Then this morning, as I walked out to my family at breakfast, all I wanted to do was carry on with my distancing dance.

Then something curious got a hold of me.

Over coffee, over eggs prepared by my holidaying husband, I sat down directly opposite him and I quietly spoke. I asked forgiveness for my distance, I explained what parts of my heart felt so vulnerable, I faced the dirt that was making me feel unclean.

I owned my story.

Chapter seven, eight (unread) and nine you have been annoying me.

However, if you are causing me to face my shame and come out clean to those who I can totally trust, then you are worth the wrestle. A rumble that echoes words like transformation, whole hearted living, connectedness, peace, hope and authenticity.

Hoping to write a little more this week.

Maybe that quiet conversation has broken the embarrassment drought and is calling me to process through writing once again.

Question; What emotion have you been made more aware of through this book club, reading Brene’s Book or just reading these posts?

This is one quote that has been ringing through my heart and mind this week;


Happy Weekend My Readers,

May the curious force be with you and may change be following not far behind.



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Living a life that inspires others.

StrawberriesThe one word that describes my business philosophy is;

inspire (verb)
1. fill (someone) with the urge or ability to do or feel something, especially to do something creative.
2. breathe in (air); inhale
The word inspire means to breathe life into. It is a divine interaction that brings life and hope with future potential into ones everyday moments. Over years many different people have inspired me with creative innovation. As I have watched people grow and develop I have been overwhelmed by the beauty that they are bringing in their own unique way.

I absolutely believe everyone of us has a unique signature that we can bring to the world and it is in this place of purpose that light and love are accelerated.

I have been using a hashtag #inspire15 with the year ending on it (inspire14 etc). The whole intention behind this hashtag was to inspire others with what they are doing creatively, to be a source of hope for each other, to get out and just have a go.

Over the years of seeing people use this tool to encourage one another free from comparison and competition, I have realised a simple principle’s in business.

  1. There is enough room for everyone.
  2. There is enough inspiration and creativity available for everyone.

I think we sometimes act as though there is only a certain amount of information available for the small elite group who have the courage to reach out and act on their business dreams.

There is not. I promise there are enough customers, enough opportunities, enough ideas for every single one of you.

As I walk into the final week before our Inspire 15 retreat, I wanted to interview some of my amazing entrepreneur friends and ask them great questions about creativity and business.

Questions like;

What is your Greatest lesson/ failure you have learnt in business?

If you were to encourage someone just starting out in your field of expertise what would that be?

Attached in the e-zine I have interviewed twenty entrepreneurs, some our business owners have over 100,000 followers on Instagram, some of them have started amazing online social projects, they have published books, started psychology practices and some are very new.

So go grab a cup of tea and Click this link Online Magazine to download this E-zine that I have created with some my favourite Creative Business Entrepreneurs. (Open it up in ibooks on your ipad for optimised reading results.)

I hope you are as inspired as I have been.

Happy Days my friends