Emmerdale star Shila Iqbal: 'I was lost but every day I am getting better'

Mental health awareness is something very close to my heart, I’ve suffered from depression and battling with my anxiety is a constant process. Even though I’m a very open person, I’ve always been quite a closed book when it comes to talking about my mental wellbeing.

Every time I open up to someone, they say ‘I can’t imagine you being depressed Shila, you’re always so happy’; that’s because I’ve always painted a smile on my face. Many people go through mental health struggles and we never know – so it is vital that we spread kindness.

This is part of the reason why I started Reinvenshen. It’s a positivity and mindfulness company, with one purpose in mind – to help people create a positive change within themselves and those around them.

From Vision Board Kits to Happy Jars, we are providing people with the tools to reinvent themselves. I just know that it will help so many people; those struggling with mental health, those just looking to enhance their mental health and those wanting to improve certain areas of their life to find happiness and success.

I had a difficult few years and I found that when I was over the initial shock, it all hit me suddenly and I found myself feeling lost. I always believed that when something bad happens, you shouldn’t perceive it as ‘bad’ because everything is always happening for a reason.

In hindsight, I was clearly meant to come to London and live with my now business partner, Kay. We were both meant to help each other, give ourselves ‘self-therapy’ in a way. We were meant to make our own vision boards together and realise what a powerful tool it was and subsequently use our own journey of reinvention to inspire and help others to do the same.


Personally my vision board helped heal me. There is one positive affirmation that I would look at and repeat daily, ‘Every day, in every way, I am getting better and better’. At times I would be crying when I’d repeat this, but soon I managed to make my subconscious mind believe that I was better, mentally and I overcame my mental struggles.

I’ve always believed that business and philanthropy should come hand in hand. I’ve found that the most profound inner happiness comes from love, kindness and compassion to others. If we focus on giving, not only do others benefit from it, but we end up transforming ourselves in the process, giving ourselves purpose and most importantly gaining inner peace.

I personally believe that this is the true root of happiness and the meaning of success in life. Ultimately I think that’s what mental health is – the achievement of peace and happiness within us.

A vision board is a visual representation of your goals and what you want your life to be like, in order to achieve your very own definition of happiness. It acts as a compass -improving your internal self as well as your external life. It works by re-affirming our positive thoughts and studying our vision regularly, until it becomes part of our subconscious programming.

This will allow us to set clear intentions, take consistent action and maintain focus on achieving our goals. Creating a vision board can allow you to gain self clarity and better understand your needs, so you can consciously improve your mindset. It acts as inspiration and motivation, helping to maintain a positive mental state.

Our Happy Jars are filled with daily inspiring, uplifting quotes, designed to help bring in a positive thought, pushing out the negatives. We made them as part of our ‘You Buy One, We Give One’ initiative; so for every Happy Jar someone buys, we donate one to vulnerable young adults who are dealing with mental health issues.

Since coming up with Reinvenshen, we realised that children should be taught this from a young age. Kids should be taught about; finding their purpose, following their passions, having a vision, setting goals for the future that aren’t limited, gratitude and kindness – which all ultimately increases ones self esteem and creates a positive mental state.

Unfortunately not every child is exposed to this from a young age, but imagine if they were? So we plan to expand the charity side of the business and intend to donate Kids Dream Board Kits and provide workshops in the near future, in disadvantaged areas in the UK and LED countries.

We’ve run a few Vision Board Workshops for young disadvantaged people in the local area and the impact it had was remarkable.

And I want to finish by telling all readers: You don’t get a say in the big wave and thunderstorm that comes crashing towards you, but you do get a say in the person you become when the rain clears.

You can find out more about Reinvenshen and what it offers by heading to the website.

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Metro.co.uk MHAW Takeover

This year, to mark Mental Health Awareness Week, Metro.co.uk has invited eight well-known mental health advocates to take over our site.

With a brilliant team that includes Alex Beresford, Russell Kane, Frankie Bridge, Anton Ferdinand, Sam Thompson, Scarlett Moffatt, Katie Piper and Joe Tracini, each of our guest editors have worked closely with us to share their own stories, and also educate, support and engage with our readers.

If you need help or advice for any mental health matter, here are just some of the organisations that were vital in helping us put together our MHAW Takeover:

  • Mental Health Foundation
  • Rethink Mental Illness
  • Samaritans
  • Mind

To contact any of the charities mentioned in the Metro.co.uk MHAW Takeover click here

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