We can get so stuck into the habit of saying nasty things about ourselves, it becomes normal. Before you know it, it's a constant battle.

Amelia Grafas starts new campaign and Self-Love Summit Positive thinking

Who checks social media in the first five minutes after waking up, then several times throughout the day?

Are you, just like many others, a little addicted to Instagram?

How does it make you feel to see all these beautiful people with their amazing lifestyles and perfect images online?

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For many people, young women especially, all this perfect body advertising makes them strive to look a certain way, and the effects are not always positive.

Most of last year, Mount Maunganui local Amelia Grafas was feeling low. She was stuck in her own thoughts, and saying negative things about herself had become the norm.

One day, Amelia realised it was enough. She discovered that putting your physical, mental and emotional health first is essential to thrive in life.

Amelia stopped counting calories, macros, and hard-core cardio sessions. She started thinking positive about herself.

Exercise and nutrition are still at the forefront for Amelia, but in a much healthier and more sustainable way.

To empower others, Amelia has launched a positivity campaign that aims to encourage others to become aware, as well as an event called the Self-Love Summit, which will bring women of all ages and body shapes together to climb the Mount.

Amelia Grafas. Photo / Mark Sandoval
Amelia Grafas. Photo / Mark Sandoval

"We can get so stuck into the habit of saying nasty things about ourselves, it becomes normal. Before you know it, it's a constant battle," Amelia says.

"On social media, we're constantly exposed to an impossible high standard. Detoxes, waist trainers, fashion, and the latest makeup trends. It makes you think, do I really need this? We need to start realising that life is not a competition."

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According to a 2018 survey published by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) in the UK, Instagram has come out on top as the worst social networking app for its negative impact on young people.

The #StatusofMind survey asked 1479 young people to score popular social media platforms on feelings such as anxiety, depression, loneliness, bullying and body image.

Instagram, followed by Snapchat, ranked as the worst for mental health and wellbeing.

Both platforms are image-focused, and it appears they may be driving feelings of inadequacy and anxiety in young people.

For Amelia, it is important to make people aware of what they are thinking. She still uses Instagram, it's an important driver for her campaign, but she has stopped following people and profiles that make her feel bad.

Amelia's campaign and personal blog #becomeawarenz launched on January 10 with a video that shows a group of women on the beach. They have each been given cards with a question, which they answer in a real, raw and sometimes emotional way.

"Everyone has a story, from eating disorders to family violence and other trauma. Being together and opening up with friends in a safe place is incredibly healing.

"It was an emotional day, we all cried. Sharing the real stuff makes you realise that it's okay to be you. No one is a perfect machine," she says.

Amelia's sister Phoebe, who's been through a struggle with her own body image, has been a huge part of this journey.

"Amelia was keen for me to join as I'm quite vocal to her about body positivity and being kind to yourself. I hope that people can find a strong sense of self at an early age, so they can live their life loving themselves and every moment," Phoebe says.

"It was great meeting the women that inspire Amelia, and most likely others, every day.

Hearing their stories has been a special experience, and it's awesome to have women around who are positive energy and build each other up."

We can get so stuck into the habit of saying nasty things about ourselves. Photo / Mark Sandoval
We can get so stuck into the habit of saying nasty things about ourselves. Photo / Mark Sandoval

Kendall Harrington, who also took part in the video, agrees there is too much self-doubt.

"We speak so nicely to our friends and family yet we often don't do the same to ourselves.

We nit-pick everything and don't celebrate who we truly are. This is a journey to try change the way we speak to each other and to ourselves, and to be mindful," she says.

Amelia's aim is to break the stigma. With #becomeawarenz, she wants to create a safe place where women can talk with each other, share experiences and be confident.

She has plenty of ideas on how to help people turn around the negativity within themselves. She welcomes local women to join, to become aware, and to positively influence each other. Some fun events are planned for later this year, which will be announced on Instagram and Facebook.

"I encourage you to look after yourself today and this year. Your wellbeing and who you are is much more important than the outer shell we see. Next time you compare, negative self-talk, or shame your body, remember that you would never say these things to your friends or family," she says

Tips from #becomeawarenz
● Get enough sleep and eat well
● Enjoy the outdoors and fresh air
● Try grounding (no shoes)
● Share the real stuff
● Write down what makes you happy
● Express your feelings in the moment
● Tell yourself you're beautiful
● Don't compare yourself to others
● Know that emotions are not shameful
● Work on self-love every day
● Choose to be happy

Self Love Summit

Amelia Grafas has teamed up with fellow Bay personal trainer and coach Kayla Anderson to put on an event to spread the self love message to women, The Self Love Summit.
"Prepare for a day of empowerment as we bring women of all sizes together and climb Mount Maunganui."

Where: Mount Main Beach
When: March 16, 5.30pm-8.30pm
Limited tickets available
Join a squad of beautiful ladies to:

● Gain self-love
● Let go of limiting beliefs
● Make supportive friends
● Gain freedom in your life
● Have fun and get empowered

Follow them on Instagram
@kayla_andersonhealth
@becomeawarenz
#myselflovesummit