Hi I’m Ellie, founder of Kindfulmind and a happily married mum of two children, 2 cats and one dog living in Bristol.
I haven’t always been happy though, and for most of my life until I reached my 30’s I was pretty unhappy if I’m to be honest, suffering with anxiety and depression and not having a clue who I was - ‘I mean the true me’.
I hid this all very well with use of regular recreational drugs and alcohol and threw myself into a life of partying (hey, it wasn’t all that bad – there were fun times too!), but mainly I felt very alone. I knew I wasn’t happy, or in the right job or right relationship, but feeling helpless to do anything about it, I just carried on acting in this way, ignoring the niggling feelings and gut instincts, telling myself ‘you must be wrong’ all the time.
There, that was part of my problem. Listening to that critical inner voice of mine. I actually believed everything I told myself about myself – that I wasn’t ‘pretty enough’ or ‘good enough’ or to ‘stop even trying’. I didn’t have a clue back then that thoughts were not real, they are just thoughts without any basis of fact (we have over 6,000 a day, so how can they all be true?).
I only wish someone could have come to my school/college/university and just taught me those 4 simple words - ‘thoughts are not facts’ - this may have changed my whole perspective, but alas, I just kept believing all the crap in my head!
I was acting from a place of fear. I never truly expressed myself or spoke up for what I needed. No wonder I felt alone. How could I attract the kind of people I wanted (and needed in my life) if I wasn’t being truly authentic in myself? My life was ok, but I wasn’t happy at all.
In my mid-20’s I had cosmetic surgery on my nose. I chose a New York surgeon who had lots of top clients – but only a few years later after my nose job, he was shut down from practice, as one of his patients died whilst getting a face lift! So, I had put myself at risk (maybe), but although I was happy with my new nose shape, I still felt awful about myself. Why was I still talking negatively to myself and thinking people were staring at me? I just couldn’t feel happy or stop feeling anxious all the time.
It wasn’t until much later, in my 30’s, when I was more settled, that I began to find out about mindfulness, starting off by reading the wonderful ‘Power of Now’ by Eckhart Tolle. I then began a journey of finding out more online, reading books and attending courses, before training to teach mindfulness, first to children and later on to adults too.
My mindfulness journey helped me to notice my anxiety and be able to manage it, as well as notice when my critical and harsh inner voice was speaking to me. I learnt to develop a new kinder more self-compassionate way of talking to myself and therefore looking after myself and my mind.
I spent a few years teaching mindfulness to families, groups and individuals, and ran a few courses with the youth mental health charity Off the Record.
Fast forward to 2020 and the start of the first lockdown, and I decided to train to teach face yoga as it was something I had been doing for a year or so before. I loved that fact that face yoga helped me to feel calm and as though I was giving love to myself – it’s an act of self care, which has loads of benefits. I started seeing the benefits for myself and knew this is also something I wanted to share with others.
I am at a very fortunate place in my life to feel in control of my anxiety and have a wonderful self care practice for my mind and body, which includes mindfulness & self-compassion meditation and face yoga.
My passion for working with young people is to help them realise that ‘thoughts are not real or factual’ especially when it comes to thoughts of their own personal self-image, which can be distorted by social media so much these days. I want to spread the message of self-kindness and self-compassion, and to help young people build an inner resilience to overcome negative self-thought.
My aim for working with adults (in particular busy working mum’s) is to help them slow down and take time for their own self-care. Busy mums are usually the last to look after themselves, being the main care giver and putting everyone’s needs before their own. Self-care is not selfish but essential - ‘you can’t pour from an empty cup!’ The practice of self-compassion meditations plus face yoga can be really transformative, and a holistic way of feeling and looking better, working from the inside-out.
Youth Mindfulness Kids Programme - 2017
Youth Mindfulness Teens Programme - 2019
Mindfulness UK – Mindfulness & Compassion in Professional Practice - 2019
Children do Yoga – Yoga teacher training - 2019
Danielle Collins Face Yoga certified teacher - 2020