About Joanna 

Hello! I’m Joanna, the creator and Director of Smile Being You.  I would like to briefly introduce myself and share why I set up Smile Being You.

Joanna Profile Image

My passions
I’m a thirty-something art, music, nature, writing, talking, running, hiking, travel and personal development -loving female living in the UK. I have many passions. A passion close to my heart, inspired by my own personal journey, is to help other people nurture and improve their wellbeing and happiness.

The creation of Smile Being You
I reached a point in my own wellbeing journey where I felt much happier, healthier and balanced. I released how much I had learnt and that this could be useful to others. I recognised how much I have benefited from prioritising my wellbeing, health and happiness, and that I am passionate about inspiring others to do this. I decided to act on this aspiration, to draw together my wellbeing knowledge, ideas and insights, to combine this with my professional expertise, and to enjoy being creative. In 2016 I set up Smile Being You and I am excited about progressing my ideas through 2017.

Inspiration for the title
I came up with the title Smile Being You to convey not just happiness and wellbeing, but share a message that a core component to enjoying life is knowing, embracing and being your authentic self. I also believe it’s really important in all situations, including approaches to mental health, to recognise and value each and everyone for their uniqueness and individuality. I was fortunate to work with a therapist who really listened to me, and believed that connecting with my core sense of self, accepting and valuing myself and practicing self-compassion are all important and interlinked, and so I want to share this message with others.

The start of my wellbeing journey 
I experienced a number of emotionally and mentally tough years through my mid-twenties into my early thirties. During this period of my life I developed and battled with anxiety, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and depression. You might well be thinking – why did this occur? Well, I can only ever hypothesise the cause of my mental health problems, as  like many people who are the 1 in 4 that experience a mental health problem in their lifetime, there wasn’t a specific identifiable cause. On reflection I’d say my anxiety and OCD was caused by a combination of factors including: various life events, beliefs I’d developed about myself over time, the thinking patterns I’d unknowingly found myself habitually following, and physiologically being more predisposed to worry and anxiety. Actually when my OCD began my life was going really well and in a way I was trying to protect myself and keep everything ‘perfect,’ which of course backfired in the end!

At the time, the anxiety and OCD impacted on many of my day-to-day activities,  as well as my relationships and my leisure time. This impact on my life all lowered my mood and made me feel pretty negative about myself, which in turn fuelled my anxious thinking. This was pretty physically and mentally exhausting too. I became consumed with worry, fear and self-doubt. I felt my true self was buried underneath negative emotions. At times I felt hopeless, at a loss of what to do, and unable to see a positive future. However…

With time, hard work and support, I eventually found ways to break out of this cycle, change my state and feel happy and healthy again. Not only did I reach a positive, calm, balanced place, I had equipped myself along the way with skills and strategies to maintain this and better deal with future bumps in the road of life. Skills and learning I continue to draw on to help me further grow as a person and thrive in life.

I share this background information with you to give context to my motivation to create Smile Being You, my strong desire to help others enhance their wellbeing and happiness, and the learning I share with readers. You can read more about my inspiration and aspirations in my introductory blog post.

Smiling Being Me Again
As mentioned, I’m pleased to say that after plenty of hard work and determination, help from others, self-reflection and self-development, I reached a much happier and healthier place and felt like myself again. I truly value how I feel today and I am incredibly grateful to all the people who have supported me to reach this point. Smile Being You is a resource for anyone with an interest in wellbeing – we don’t need to have a negative experience to want to prioritise and look after our wellbeing and happiness. If you are experiencing mental health difficulties though, such as anxiety or depression, I hope I can give you hope.

Focus on smiles 
Understanding your own mental health is crucial to addressing it and there is a wealth of information online to help you do this. One reflection though is that with all this information about the symptoms, signs and sufferers experiences, it can make it easy to become absorbed in the problem and sufferers experiences, which could make it seem more difficult to overcome. In light of this, and to not duplicate information about provided by numerous excellent mental health challenges, Smile Being You focuses on what can help, on successes, on positive stories, on motivating and inspiring.  Smile Being You is also aimed at anyone with an interest in wellbeing, not just anyone experiencing psychological or physical health difficulties.

Your happiness and wellbeing matters 
Perhaps you are having a tough time and want to feel happier?
Maybe you are feeling good and you want to keep yourself in this place?
Or, perhaps you feel great but you want to feel amazing?!
… Whatever state you are in right now, if you want to nurture your wellbeing and happiness, Smile Being You is here for you.

I don’t have all the answers
I don’t have all the answers to obtaining a strong inner sense of wellbeing and happiness, no one does. If someone did we’d all be ecstatic all the time… thought that then might lead to burnout and be a problem in itself. Anyhow, there might be a straight forward solution for you, it might take a more complex approach, but regardless you will need to search for the answer and see what works for you. What I do know is what it can be like to not feel so good in life, and that it is possible to change this and feel happy being you again.

Professional background
Smile Being You is enabling me to combine my personal and professional experience. For a significant part of my career to date I have volunteered and worked in the charity and higher education sector, motivated by my desire to support other people and contribute to society. I have worked in roles where providing information, support and guidance to others has been an essential element giving me skills in these areas. My work has also developed my knowledge of services, organisations and resources that can support health and wellbeing, as such I’ve drawn on this to set up a resource directory. Drawing upon my wealth of customer service experience, I am keen to continually shape Smile Being You to meet the interests of my readership.

Expertise of others 
To offer as broad perspective as possible, I will be sharing ideas from others who have relevant personal or professional experience too. I invite you to join in and encourage discussion about wellbeing, wherever in the world you may be, so together we can enhance wellbeing and improve lives. I hope that Smile Being You will complement and add to the excellent work and global wellbeing conversation already taking place.

I hope that Smile Being You will be a useful resource to you and look forward to sharing more of my story and learning with you.

Joanna 

Speaking out 

Joanna Public Speaking Joanna Public Speaking Joanna Public Speaking

I am eager to raise awareness about mental health, tackle the associated myths and stigma, spread messages about wellbeing and, crucially, just give others hope! As such, in addition to my online work, I am combining this passion with my skills in public speaking to deliver talks about enhancing wellbeing and mental health to relevant audiences.

If you’d like me to speak at an event, to a group, or to take part in an interview about wellbeing or mental health, please do get in touch by emailing me at Joanna@smilebeingyou.com

Joanna Public Speaking Joanna Public Speaking Joanna Public Speaking

Read More

Smile Being You Half SunYou can read more of my story in my introductory blog and I share some of my experiences, thoughts and ideas through posts on my Smile Being You Blog. You can also follow me on Twitter or Instagram.