Introducing Sheila Griffiths - Female First asked novelist Sheila, an ex-social worker and promoter of mental health rights for young people for a brief profile, about her and what makes her tick. Here's Sheila, in her own words

Sheila M Griffiths

Sheila M Griffiths

When Female First asked me to profile myself, my mind when blank. But I kept coming back to the starting point that I am quite unique. There is no one else out there like me. Of course, that's simple logic. We are all unique. Outwardly we may have similarities, but we have all walked different routes, met different people and made different choices to get where we are today. And we should celebrate that distinction.

Fact 2 - I have a 100% record of surviving bad days and so do you, or you would not be here reading this. We all have that something inside that gets us through. We are tougher than we know.

Fact 3 ( It took nearly sixty years to realise this one, and I so wish I had known this when I was a teenager, or in my twenties, or even thirties ) I am strong and powerful. I have discovered there is nothing to fear but fear itself. Stepping out of my comfort zone has become second nature to me, as I benefit from trying new things and accepting the butterflies that apparently have squatters' rights in my stomach. They are like old friends that remind me I am alive.

Fact 4 What other people think of me is their business and I do not live my life worrying needlessly about their thoughts. I can criticise myself, thank you very much !

Fact 5 I have learnt to love and accept myself. I can look in the mirror and say thank you for such an amazing body that has kept me alive and able to enjoy life so far. Now, anyone who knows me will now be falling about at this, as frankly, I am hardly the shape of a fashion model, but who says I have to be.

Fact 6 Key to getting through life is my ability to laugh and smile every day. My best accessory is my smile, and no outfit is complete without it.

Fact 7 I have to highlight my ability to be grateful for everything every day, from food on the table to a roof over my head.

Fact 8 I make a point of daily, if not hourly, stopping what I am doing and looking out at the world around me. I love the world I live in, and am amazed by this planet filled with people, animals, plants and trees. I would beg everyone around me to try it - just slow down, lift your head up, and take time each day to look out and enjoy it all.

Fact 9 I treat every day as a clean slate, where the only person I want to do better than is the person I was yesterday.

Fact 10 For me , my final rule for life is to remember that I have found happiness not in what I own or what class society has put me in, but sheer contentment with who I am and the love of my family and friends. I am not perfect, just someone who is living their life the best they can and hopefully helping others on the way. My two books The Story of You and Starling are built on these simple rules.

Sheila Griffiths's novel, Starling, and practical guide to mindful living, The Story of You, are available from Amazon