Guest Speaker: Ellie Smart
Available as a Guest Speaker at Your Event or on Your Podcast
Nature Nerd | Photographer | Ecologist | Introvert | Social Anxiety | Social Engagement Manager at Quiet Connections
A little about Ellie...
I've been a photographer for the last 10 years, and I'm currently training as an ecologist at university. However, my true passion really lies in helping others use these tools as a way to feel safer, stronger an more comfortable in who they are, no matter their background or feelings.
From since I can remember I have always been labelled as ‘shy’, my school report from when I was 6 stated ‘Ellie is a quietly spoken girl’ – I found it hard to talk to people, too scared to share my own ideas incase what I wanted to say was wrong. Big groups or crowds were (and still are!) daunting – they filled my head with noise. In my teens I tried to isolate myself, I convinced myself I was fine with just my own company and happy to be alone – I didn’t want to socialise and would often use my physical health conditions as an excuse. But the truth is I felt really lonely and scared, and eventually, it lead me to fall into a deep, helpless, depression.
I’ve always wanted to help people and the planet, I felt it was my main goal in life, but how can I help people when I feel scared of them? Thats when I found photography – it became my lifeline – a way to express myself and to talk to people, without saying a thing. But it was more than that, it meant I was able to give others a voice and share their stories too. There was no right or wrong with photography.
My other saviour was nature – this was my safe space, outdoors with the birds and the butterflies, where it was quiet. You could observe, listen and focus. You’re not judged, and you can be at peace and comfortable with the world.
Now, I have found a way to communicate to people and engage in a way I feel comfortable. I love telling other peoples stories, I love helping nature and most of all, I want to help people feel better. I’m currently studying conservation and ecology, and I am so excited to be using my passions to help the Quiet Connections community reconnect with their true quieter nature and feel good about who they are. I hope I can have a small impact, helping people to express, feel valued and find a voice in their happy place!
Topics of discussion include:
- How connecting with nature helps you to feel that you belong
- How nature can help you feel less anxious and more connected
- Using photography for mindfulness and communicating in quiet ways
- The healing power of nature connection for people experiencing social anxiety
- The quiet language of nature: Recognising the value of quieter qualities through the natural world
Questions Ellie is always ready to answer:
- What's your story?
- What are the methods that helped you to navigate your way through social anxiety?
- How can photography be used as a tool for communication?
- What are the benefits of using creativity for our people who feel socially anxious?
- How does nature impact our mental health?
- Who does Quiet Connections help, and how?
- What can we learn about valuing our quieter natures from looking at nature?
- How can photography help us to share our stories even when we feel socially anxious?
- How does caring for nature help to improve our own wellbeing?
- Tell us how pursuing your interest in photography and storytelling has helped you to stretch your comfort zone (ask about the motorbike adventure!)