BEHIND THE BLOG (Wk4/2017) - Simon Sinek Inspiration, First Presentation in a Long Time and Finding Myself at Church | SMart Choice Lifestyle

Hello everybody,

I think I’m beginning to see a pattern in things that happen with me behind this blog. Remember that last week I told you that I didn’t feel so well, that I had a headache and an overall malaise? Well, as it turns out, it might have caused the left wrist pain that happened that evening and continued throughout the weekend. Thankfully it stopped on Sunday. But all this taught me some interesting lessons.

As I write this post on a Friday (27 Jan), each Saturday and Sunday need to fit somewhere. So the week I’ll be reviewing will be from last Saturday to this Friday ( 21-27 Jan). I know, weird. But that’s how my brain wants it right now. I’m thinking that on Mondays nobody wants to read stories, correct me if I’m wrong.

Let’s get BEHIND THE BLOG and see what the fourth week of 2017 brought!


Since we last talked, I had wrist pain, a family party celebrating my dad’s birthday and had a fabulous day at church on Sunday. If you’d told me a year ago that I’ll want to attend church and actually feel amazing while doing it, I would have laughed. Because at that time my mind was so fixed on personal salvation and self-help, I couldn’t understand the role all this Christianity stuff has on our lives. The mission we have to love people and how that will make us and them better in return.

But wait! What kind of Christian am I? Here's 10 facts about Greek-Orthodox Christianity:

Here's a behind the scenes of a Greek-Orthodox Church. Come and see!

But as you live, you learn, and 2016 has proven to be a turning point where I let go of Yoga and all the universal energies, kundalini ideas, etc and turned back to what is now my greatest love of all and my best friend: Jesus Christ. The other things did their job rationally, body-wise, but they are void, you’ll find nothing in them that you won’t find in Christ. It’s all a discovery process and I truly recommend it in today’s ever-disengaged world. It’s incredible what relaxation and mental ease can do to you! We each have our own methods to achieve that.


Overall, this week taught me to focus on helping people and not on self-image (being judged by others). As public opinion, people always have different ideas of you, so trying to please them ends up making you sick. Literally! I was so focused on making my best presentation ever, that I got over-agitated and under-delivered on my speech on Wednesday evening. But that’s life and it all comes with ups and downs. But all in all, there will be people who agree with you and others who won’t. And that’s perfectly fine.

“Do not be afraid, I am with you” (ISAIAH 43:5)

Be vulnerable, be human, it attracts people. Make them feel good about themselves, it matters. Coming full-circle before getting on to weekly FAVOURITES, God always takes care of things and angsts. In my experience that’s what always happens, no matter how down I am or how hopeless and scared I can get.


Hmm, what did I like this week? Let’s see:

1. Simon Sinek’s presentations on YouTube

We all resonate with certain types of people, usually with the ones we have or find things in common. Strangely enough, that's what caught my attention when discovering his work.

Coming from a Sociology background, I related to the theories that Simon talks about and being in search for my own WHY, I found his Golden Circle to be of maximum help. Not exaggerating one bit. As Steve Jobs said: "As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it.", my why took some soul-searching, past-experiences reviews and almost two years. Not an easy job, but with good help, it's totally achievable.

Simon even has an online course that can help you find your Why faster (click HERE). But the aim is to INSPIRE, not necessarily sell. Because people are drawn to stories, not numbers. It all started with WHY, and now I want to know more about how to inspire trust and confidence. Because my WHY is to empower people to live life with more personal integrity and through that be the best version of themselves. Be the person they'd like to meet.

Here's a talk about why leaders should eat last and what makes us crave connection.

2. Amy Schmittauer’s VLAB and all around brand strategy.

Amy is one of my YouTube favourites. The creator and host of SavvySexySocial, she's been one for more than two years now. She motivated me to try vlogging for the first time ever in August 2016, and I must admit I kinnda miss doing videos, although it wasn't easy.

Her content is both insightful and fun and thus she helps you learn about vlogging and digital marketing without making you lose interest.

This lovely lady is launching her first book on in just four days and has been documenting the entire launch journey in daily vlogs, which you can see in the playlist below. Learn to #VlogLikeABoss and start watching this one, as she is working her way to the top, I can feel it! Click HERE for her "Vlog Like a Boss" website!

3. "After 20 years (1997-2017)" playlist that made me remember my 12 year old self:

And that's it for this week's review and behind the scenes. Hope you find some use or inspiration from it.

BEHIND THE BLOG is a weekly letter from me to you. Its purpose is to offer a behind-the-scenes into the motivations, life events and learnings that make the building blocks for the SMart Choice Lifestyle. It’s about life through my eyes, the author of the blog. It is shared for you, so that it may help you in any way, shape or form. It also serves as a personal journal so that I can come back to what happened later in the year.

See you next week & have a wonderful weekend!

Behind the Blog (Wk 3/2017) - Self-discovery, Planning and Foggy Mind | SMart Choice Lifestyle

Hello dears,

I’m writing to you from my couch, as I sit here all bundled up in my blanket and waiting on my tea to be ready. Although today is my dad’s birthday and my week has been both productive and insightful, for some reason my mind isn’t focusing right. I woke up with a right side migraine, mostly pain in my right eye area. That made me somewhat cranky for the whole morning. Did my injection and all seemed to be ok, until I realised that I had a hard time concentrating on the task at hand.

For the past four days, I have been energetic, planned all my week, made important progress in my goals for this year, but today something felt off. Then, as I sat to write this article, I realised that our thoughts are just that: thoughts! We can choose the way we feel and what we are able to do given our physical condition at some point. Once we admit to ourselves that it’s OK to have a bad day and go with the flow, it all becomes so easy to tolerate that I even question if there was something wrong to begin with. You see, it’s all a matter of perspective.

But let’s go BEHIND THE BLOG. Its purpose is to offer a behind-the-scenes into the motivations, life events and learnings that make the building blocks for the SMart Choice Lifestyle. It’s about life through my eyes, the author of the blog. It is shared for you, so that it may help you in any way, shape or form. So let’s see what the third week of 2017 brought.

The HIGHLIGHTS were all about self-discovery, planning and finding purpose. I’m the kind of person who finds joy in the world of ideas and finding ways in which to help people be the best version they can be, while sticking true to their authentic selves. It’s much easier for me to write this down than it would be to talk about it on video (funny fact, my mind is a bit foggy as I write this and I kindda lost my line of thought for a bit). In short,  I learned more about my personality, about what’s next in line project-wise and planned both my goals and calendar for the following months. That put my mind at ease, allowing me to focus on taking action.

The LESSONS that I learned had to do with finding the right combinations of time, effort and planning in all that I do (there’s a lot of “I” in this article, sorry!) and with accepting bad days as well as good ones just as much. All in all, this week taught me that if I’m productive 80% of the time, I can allow myself to be off focus for the rest 20%. That’s what I’m learning just now: my mind continues to be foggy, as my right calf and foot are slightly numb and cold. But it’s on and off. I learned not to be afraid of these things anymore, as usually the anxiety is worse than the thing itself.

So, with that being said, I’ll keep it really short for the FAVORITES part, and outline them as follows (random order):

1. The Myers-Briggs Personality Classification (I'm the INFJ type - click HERE)
(image source -

2. “Discover Palace of Versailles” (wishlist item)

3. “Pride and Prejudice” (analyzed Mr. Darcy’s behavior in terms of pride and prejudice)

4. “Ben Hur” (book)

"Ben-Hur is one of the best selling books of all times. This poignant novel intertwines the life stories of a Jewish charioteer named Judah Ben-Hur and Jesus Christ. It explores the themes of betrayal and redemption. Ben-Hur's family is wrongly accused and convicted of treason during the time of Christ. Ben-Hur fights to clear his family's name and is ultimately inspired by the rise of Jesus Christ and his message. A powerful, compelling novel." (Amazon)

(or if you're the one who prefers the movie - although I TRULY recommend the book also)

Sorry for not being quite myself today, but at the end of the day, you have to accept that it is what it is and go with the flow. I'll adapt by pouring myself a hot cup of tea and watching "Becoming Jane" with Anne Hathaway (HERE's the link in case you're curious: )

See you next week & have a wonderful weekend!

Changing the Conversation on Mental Health | SMart Choice Lifestyle

Mental health is as important as physical health, there’s no doubt in that. Even more so when it seems like mental illness becomes more and more present in young people’s lives. Anxiety, depression and stress disorders have unfortunately become daily occurrences and people need help more than ever.

The easiest, quickest and it seems the more effective form of help is simply to talk about these issues. Starting a conversation about what’s bothering us at a mental level, creating a safe space for these conversations to happen, are the key-points that should interest us in 2017.

Up until now, mental health issues have been a taboo, especially among children and young people, thought to be individuals who possess excellent health all around. Mental illness was mostly associated with elderly people, who were known to have cognitive and emotional issues. That’s what keeping things under covers does to these kind of issues!

“Talking can help heal hidden challenges that we can’t deal with alone [...] two heads are better than one when dealing with a mental health problem” 
(HRH Duchess Catherine of Cambridge, #HeadsTogether campaign briefing, 17/01/2017)

In today’s world, life is so fast paced that it can leave each and every one of us with huge amounts of stress, leading up to anxiety and isolation. We live in an ever-expanding and interconnected society, but people feel more and more alone when dealing with close relationships. Even the ones they already have seem to deteriorate due to the lack of real, empathetic conversation that plagues our century.

Last week, I wrote HERE about how the love of people can save the world. Today I add more: the conversations we have about health and especially about mental health, can help all of us understand each other better and by that have more tolerance in this ever-judging world. Compassion comes from feeling the same as the other, and that can be achieved only if we know and understand what people are going through.

People living with Multiple Sclerosis are also affected by these issues, as an effect of either having the disease or of going through emotional hardship without any or major support / understanding. Here to, talking about emotions and negative thoughts with someone who will truly understand is crucial to well-being and living a better life, even with a chronic illness. Find out more about the topic in the article I wrote HERE.

Mental health needs to be talked about in a safe climate, where individuals feel comfortable with disclosing their problems. The conversation can start in the most familiar contexts we all have: with family, friends and colleagues. Opening up to the people we know and trust the most, helps with feeling supported and understood; it helps soothe the inner emotions or struggles we all have.

(image source - 

It is no exaggeration to say that conversations – simple conversations – can be life-changing: in a workplace, in your kitchen at home, with a friend, family member or colleague.  And that’s what Catherine, Harry and I want to do – we want more people to be having those conversations.”
(HRH Duke of Cambridge, #HeadsTogether campaign briefing, 17/01/2017)

#HeadsTogether is the 2017 Virgin Money London Marathon Charity of the Year. “Over 500 people will be running for Heads Together, leading from the front (well perhaps not right at the front!), raising funds for the vital services provided by our Charity Partners. These runners will also be leading by example by starting conversations on mental health with their families, friends and colleagues.” (HRH Prince Harry, #HeadsTogether campaign briefing, 17/01/2017). The Virgin Money London Marathon will take place in April 2017, aiming “to end the stigma and change the conversation on mental health once and for all.”

(image source - Heads Together)

Find out more about the #HeadsTogether campaign briefing HERE.
Find out more about Heads Together HERE.
Become a supporter HERE.
Start the conversation on social media: use the #HeadsTogether hashtag (more HERE).

Mental health is an important part of the 2017 SMart Choice Lifestyle topics, as it is strongly tied with brain health and a healthy lifestyle overall. My focus, as a young person living with MS in Europe, is to start the conversation on issues that impact our health in more ways than one.
Until next time, have a wonderful day!

BEHIND THE BLOG (Weekly Review) week 2 / 2017 - That Crazy Little Thing Called Love | SMart Choice Lifestyle

What’s the one story we all look for? What’s that one feeling that lets us know that we belong? That we’re equally responsible for the other as they are for us? What’s that thing that has the power to lift us up whenever we may think life is now over? We sing it, feel it, suffer for it, wish for it. It feeds us, it starves us. It’s everywhere around us, inside us, between us… I’m talking about that crazy little thing called LOVE (Thank you for the title, Freddie!)

This is the second Friday that I write about what the week taught me. From this point onward, we’ll name this section BEHIND THE BLOG. Its purpose is to offer a behind-the-scenes into the motivations, life events and learnings that make the building blocks for the SMart Choice Lifestyle. It’s about life through my eyes, the author of the blog. It is shared for you, so that it may help you in any way, shape or form. So let’s see what the second week of 2017 brought.

In terms of HIGHLIGHTS, I think you’ll agree with me that not all life is made out of such bright and shiny things. There may be just hidden little gems like the “HUMAN” documentary that opened my eyes (once more) about how unique we are as people on this planet and how much alike we really are. It taught me about that crazy little thing called LOVE that has the capacity of saving the world if we all work together.

Relationships and belonging are not just for the immediate family. We all feel the same, love the same, suffer the same, hate the same… The only difference is about the local contexts and conditions we’re brought up. People are influenced by the culture they are brought in, but at the same time, they are more alike than they think, and the most powerful common ground is LOVE.

I kid you not, at one point as I was watching the documentary and listening to the stories, my hand reached out wanting to comfort the ones who were crying. There’s something unbearable about looking in another human beings eyes and seeing them cry. It brings instant action, need to comfort and compassion.


It reaffirmed my belief that pride and Ego are the source of all the evil in this world. Without getting too philosophical or melodramatic, I really believe that being humble and giving more of ourselves than we actually receive can be the key to achieving harmony between people. Serving, helping people with whatever skills we have is amazingly rewarding and heart comforting. Both for the ones who receive it and for the ones who give it. We are all different and are made to serve a different purpose in this mechanism called LIFE. The essence of this mechanism is LOVE.

With that all being said, here are some FAVOURITES from this week. Here it goes!

1) “HUMAN” (by Yann Arthus-Bertrand) #WhatMakesUsHUMAN

2) “Al Pacino’s Top 10 Rules for Success” (by Evan Carmichael)

3) Obama’s farewell address (ABC News)

See you next week & have a wonderful weekend!

Make The Right Choice for Your Broken Heart. Come and See! | SMart Choice Lifestyle

As I’m writing this, outside it’s freezing cold: -15 degrees C at just 11:30. Although if you just looked outside my window it will well be misleading, as the Sun is up and shining. But the frost is also biting! So, with that being said, we’re starting today’s article with me being all bundled up with my laptop sitting on my lap, inside my home-office.

A year ago, I gradually got the urge to look over my faith. I was born into a Christian Greek-Orthodox family, knew the general stuff, believed that God existed, but that was about it. This black book that my dad gifted me back in 2006, was staring at me from the shelf, and one day I picked it up. "Let's really see what these stories teach me!". But that was just the beginning. The best part of my life was yet to come.

I agree that life is a process and you need to come back to it over and over again. I know that things aren’t fixed and reality can change in the blink of an eye. Mine surely did on the day of my diagnosis! Most people choose a more spiritual life path when they’re faced with a crisis in their lives. When something happens to them, they need to cope and search for something outside of them that might help.

We’re all on a lookout for some kind of spiritual experience, something that will transcend us and hopefully transform us from the inside-out and get us out of this mindless living pattern. In today’s world, the ability to decide what type of spirituality we follow is made easy by the multitude of choices that are at our reach: meditation, mindfulness, yoga, retreats, and all that jazz. Our pick becomes part of our identity and for that needs to feel authentic to us. And although you might have heard me talk all about yoga, meditation and letting the energy flow, there came a point in my life when all that left me empty once again.

We live in a digital world, have all the social media networks, tons of friends and followers, all the things we can buy at our discretion, but we feel alone. Somehow not quite understood. The things we cherish most are those close bonds we get to have with the people we love.

Something is clearly missing from the picture and our lives can get pretty mechanical and without purpose. The gloomy picture I’m painting here has nothing to do with the nasty weather outside. It has more to do with that inside feeling we all have when nothing ever pleases us anymore.

Gathering material possessions won’t make us happy forever. The clutter we create by buying so much stuff is there to compensate for the lack, the void we feel within ourselves. Once we outgrow our passions, all that until yesterday we thought was exciting becomes today the most boring thing ever.

Little by little, we become robots, we imitate, we follow fashions, man-made role-models, watch TV shows, movies, go to concerts, go on vacations, to parties, to work, to a pub, to a birthday… And it’s exhausting. It damages both our bodies and our souls. The sad part is that not so many people are aware of this and most of them never do anything.

Most of us (especially in our 20’s and 30’s) are overwhelmed, our minds are racing and we have a gazillion things to do on our lists but nothing seems to make us truly happy or peaceful.

Through all this inner search, the only thing that was left standing were the prayers I learned when I was little and the need to somehow getting closer to God.

“As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”
(Steve Jobs - Stanford Commencement Speech - 2005)

With the help of The Bible Project (@thebibleproject) reading plan and their digitally drawn video Bible stories, I dove deep. By December 24th 2016, I've finished reading it all, minus the so-called Apocryphal texts.

This year I'm continuing my journey by reading the entire Bible a second time, looking at how Jesus is being foreshadowed and God's love for us even when He punishes us. Also going in parallel with the Apocryphal chapters, for a 360 view on the topic.

The smartest choice I've made so far is to constantly search for Jesus in all there is around me. Being the curious person that I am, I even researched HIM in great detail. No regrets there! He is my daily companion in whatever I do, and definitely my biggest resource for all things personal or business.

Imagine having a best friend that will never leave or let you down, that will always tell the truth about who you are through your conscience and who although will sanction you for your mistakes, will always love you and care for you no matter what happens. Jesus is a personable God, one that you can establish a connection with. He never leaves us. We’re the ones who always leave Him. And that’s when all those bad things happen to us. All.The.Time!

Why search for inner peace in a form of energy or in a universal field, in a guided meditation? The world today is full of logical, scientific and factual data on spirituality, the power of the mind and so on. But brain anatomy and how to control brainwaves are a million miles away from our hearts. Faith speaks to the heart, but it only works if you choose to be humble and honestly admit your failures and mistakes.

I agree that each one of us has choices and free-will. Just come and see! Experience it for yourself. Make it intentional and explore. You first have to believe in order to have faith. Some connection needs to happen within you. Some distress, some suffering that knocks your world upside down and that nothing seems to heal you. Believe with all your heart and ask for help.

May you all have a wonderful year, guys! Let me know if you'd like to read more stories like this or are interested in details of my journey. God bless you, no matter your beliefs!

Until next time, have a wonderful day!

Weekly Review: Feeling Overwhelmed (week 1 / 2017) | SMart Choice Lifestyle

This first week of 2017 found me a bit conflicted between work and taking time off. As much as I like having free time and spending it to my liking, I also have plans for this year that I’m really excited for. Enter overwhelm and mind freeze. What do I mean by that?

Somehow, I wasn’t able to focus although I had my planner and to do list right in front of me, each day. Although I wrote the first article of this year about acceptance, I wasn’t able to cope with my own state of mind. I think it was a combination of feeling a bit under the weather and being energized by interesting ideas. I felt like I was moving in slow motion. But then I understood where the problem laid. I wasn’t paying attention to my body and just letting my mind stress me out with a tornado of thoughts (and my mind is a true expert at speed thinking).

The thing that helped me get back track was, as always, knowing that God has my back and the only thing I have to do is to love Him, love others and be a good person. More than a year ago I started a spiritual journey while trying to get back to myself, following the MS diagnosis. Little by little, as I read the Bible, I began to understand all of those stories I once knew from afar and more so, getting to remember and love myself through rediscovering God in my life. I am sorry that I can’t provide a road map for that, but the journey is unique and the discoveries are so personal, that no guidelines would do them justice.

All that I can tell you for the time being is to take breaks and just sit with your thoughts, whenever you feel overwhelmed. Be still and become mindful of your five senses, explore your sensations and pay attention to how you feel. It might sound like any other meditation technique you might have heard of, but this one is different. Why? Because it’s a search for the love inside your heart, it’s a journey to forgiving all that have ever done you wrong, it’s a journey to self-discovery. And it can begin now. The only trick is to keep it constant, do it daily and reflect on your findings.

It’s all a long story and I’ll not be able to tell it all here. I plan on adding regular content on themes like these throughout 2017 and hopefully they’ll serve you well. We all learn things in our lives so that we pass them on to others that either need them or are curious to learn, to grow.

See you next week & have a wonderful weekend!

How to Accept, Adapt, Overcome. Choosing the Positive in Any Situation | SMart Choice Lifestyle

We all make choices daily. Between 20 - 40 years old we make the most important decisions for our future in terms of job / career, relationships, family, etc. This is the same time we think of ourselves as being invincible. Or at least that’s what we like to believe. I talk mostly about MS because it’s what I know better, but the following words can be applied to all chronic illnesses.

The truth is that in most cases, life chooses FOR us. It makes us confront situations in which we have to decide what road to take. Being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis is one of those moments. You get the feeling that your life is now over, that you no longer have the freedom to choose.

Actually, the real choices are just starting. Now it’s the moment in which you choose if you either give up or keep moving forward. If you choose to fight. And as with any fight, you need a strategy. You need information about the enemy. When you don’t know who and how is attacking, you become physically, mentally and emotionally vulnerable. Now it’s the moment when you have to make the conscious choice of moving forward.

In 2016, on World MS Day, we talked about independence. Although some of us have trouble being on their own two feet, we never lose our ability to choose. Being informed about what MS is, what it can do to you and how to cope with whatever it might throw at you, restores that independence. It has the power to free your mind and transform your life, empowering you to make the lifestyle decisions that can really improve both your health and quality of life.

Know what your options are at any given time. Being informed about that is the real meaning of “knowledge is power” - you can then make choices.

“May your choices reflect your HOPES, not your fears.”

Accept that there are some things that you CAN do and others that you CAN’T (are out of reach). Focus on what you do have and how that helps you go forward and grow as a person.

Accepting illness as chronic doesn’t mean you suddenly become hopeless. Hope is always there. But when associated with the wish of getting back to the state you were BEFORE the diagnosis, things might get tough. Having expectations for something that might not return to its initial state is standing in deep anxiety, blocked and scared waiting. The reality is that you have to make the best of each day with what you have been given.

There is always a way out of things, a way to make them better, a positive turn to things. No matter how bleak the horizon seems, there are always choices that can be made: you can either go on or stop then and there. What choice you make influences the outcome. Not deciding anything is also… a choice. And like any of them, it does have consequences. Choose to grow, to better yourself, to heal.

After suffering a loss of some type, you need to understand that things are never going to be the same again and be OK with that. Things in life are bound to change anyway. We assign so much control to our days, that when some external force takes something away from us, we feel like we lost the compass and our reason to continue living.

Rebelling against faith and being hard headed about wanting things to go back the way they were will get you nowhere. It will only bring frustration, anger and sadness. An experience just changed you. Things aren’t going back.

But you are still here. You’ve been given a second opportunity and a great challenge.

As much as you want to go back, imagine using that same energy to rebuild yourself from scratch. It’s like surviving an earthquake. Let me paint the picture. You seem to have lost it all, and all you have left around are broken pieces. Whatever’s destroyed can no longer be brought back. In that situation you begin to rebuild whichever way you can and go back to living your life sooner or later.

Having lost a part of you, either physically, emotionally or even a loved one has the same effect. You’ve been put down by life’s challenges, but at the same time, you have the pieces from which to rebuild yourself even better than before. You are stronger, you are a survivor of loss, but richer in experience and life lessons. Clean your life of all bad things. Look at what you can learn from all that happened.

After going through hardship, what is the story that you tell yourself about the situation you’re in? How do you describe it? How does it make you feel? What do you feel most insecure about? What would you have done about those insecurities before? What can you do now, given the present conditions? Think of alternate solutions. Plan. Act.

Adapt to your present conditions and decide to only look closer at the positives and what you CAN do, leaving the birds-eye view for the negative ones. Learn which are the best ways that help you cope and get used to your new normals. Life with MS is not a fight. There are always reasons to smile more and rebuild your life from the ground up. That’s when you begin to transform and understand that inside of you there are all the tools that will help you overcome the hardships you’re facing. You just have to choose to look at those tools, pick them up and start using them.

How would you encourage others in a similar situation? What would you teach them? What do they need to do?

Until next time, have a wonderful day!