Hello, beautiful Hearters and Smilers! Happy Saturday! I hope you've had an amazing day so far.

If you haven't read the last #TheSmileProject article, then I have a cool announcement for you. #TheSmileProject is 1! On November 10, 2017, I started an initiative called #TheSmileProject where I made a mission to change the lives of others through kind words and smiles.

The project has come a long way but has also had multiple downfalls. I nearly quit at one point in time (actually, I did, but then I came back) and I've been dealing with a lot personally. Hence the title of this article.

Before we get into it, though, I have a few things to say.

I know I always say I'm working on new stuff. And I am. A creator never stops (you'd be shocked at how much time I send on stuff like this). I'm constantly going. There are some new things I am considering in doing. Please let me know what you think. I would love to hear your feedback.

1. Contests (cool ones, I promise)
2. Q and A articles
3. Random Acts of Kindness Days (which will also be held on Instagram)
4. Advice articles
5. And pretty much anything that inspires

I've been in an artsy stage lately, so maybe something will come out of that (like maybe printable posters?)

I also want to get you involved. Send in requests for articles or a song recommendation. (Would you love to see a new song at the beginning of each article?)

I really want to make #TheSmileProject as great as I possibly can without overdoing it. So your feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Question: What does positivity mean to you? _(Message me with your answer with #PositivityMeans. Let's see how many answers we can get!)

Alright, I'm done. For now. Maybe expect another article today on my ideas for the future of the project. Again, I want to make it as helpful and inspiring as it can possibly be. (For information on how to become a part of the movement, check the bottom of the article!)

My Anxiety Story

I never really had anxiety. When I was little, I had a series of panic attacks in the process of moving from one place to the next, but that's about it. I've always heard about how harmful and debilitating anxiety could be and I never really knew how hard it was until I experienced it myself.

I'm not diagnosed or anything, but that doesn't mean I don't suffer from it.

When It Started

Two months after I started #TheSmileProject (weird, right), I started experiencing crazy anxiety. It started off as small at first. Nothing really major. I had already gone to my college campus the semester before at the end of 2017. I made a lot of good friends. I was doing well in school. Everything was okay.

Then my friends started leaving. More problems started to rise and I was unsure of my future and who I was (as cheesy as that sounds). Then #TheSmileProject hit a bump in the road. I realized we weren't getting many reads or hearts. I feared we were heading to the end. And I overworked myself. I made semi-good articles every day until I was burnt out.

At the beginning of 2018, my anxiety got worse. I started having little panic attacks. I was crying and I couldn't catch my breath. I was hyperventilating, really and it scared me because I wasn't sure what was going on. I have to be honest, I'm kind of a crier. It happens. But I have never cried to the point where I felt like I couldn't breathe. That never happened.

I started becoming more emotional. The smallest comment would make me cry. The littlest argument made me angry. I wasn't the happy person I always was. I still don't recognize myself to this day. I am, however, taking time to reflect and trying to get back to where I was.

During this time, I was also distant from God. I was so overwhelmed with school that my relationship with Him was the last thing on my mind.

There was so much change happening. My friends were leaving (they all stopped talking to me). I stopped going to my college group at my church. This is the first years in six years where I'm not attending a group at my church (that might change soon though). And I was honestly lost. I was bitter. And I distanced myself from #TheSmileProejct. How could I keep a project going if I was suffering from something I didn't even understand?

How Am I Doing Now?

I'm doing better. I've spent more time in my Bible. I'm trying to make new friends. I'm trying to find my way back to a better me. And it's going okay right now.

I'm doing good in school. I have a chance to go to a school that will be good for me next year. I'm learning how to work with my anxiety.

It's hard. Really hard. But I'm getting there.

What Are My Tips To Keep Anxiety At Bay?

Anxiety will most likely not stay at bay. I've learned that. But there are ways that can help you cope with it. Here are my favorite things to do when I feel like I'm on the brink of a panic attack.

1. Listen to Music. Listening to calming music helps me a lot. I close my eyes and listen to the music and just let the tune carry me.

2. Breathing Exercises. Taking deep breaths is a huge one. I sometimes forget to do this from time to time. I don't usually do it until I'm in the middle of a panic attack. Try taking deep breaths before. It can hoestly help a lot.

3. Talk to Someone. Find someone you trust. Let them know what's going on. Maybe they canhelpyou calm down. I talk to my parents and boyfriend whenever I feel like my anxiety is rising. Talking is a nice distraction for me.

4. Write It Down. If you don't have anyone to talk to, write everything down. Don't leave anything out. And don't worry about grammar. Just write everything as you're thinking. It does wonders.

5. Think Positive Thoughts. I like to look at the bright side of things. Whenever you feel anxious, think about something positive. Maybe your dog, a book you love, anything that makes you happy.

That's all I have for you guys. I hope this article gave you a little insight to how I have been doing and why I took a break from #TheSmileProject. I hope I can make more articles like this in the future.

Like always, I hope you have an amazing rest of your day and weekend. Remember to keep smiling. You never know who will need it.


Want to join #TheSmileProject?

Just message me. I'll ask a few questions then we'll get you started!


Instagram: (the.smile.project.1)