Just Do It

I’ve been spending WAY too much time in front of screens of late. Like WAY too much time. It’s beginning to feel positively unhealthy. I’m feeling stuck. In thrall to the white light, like a tech-age zombie.

It may seem a tad ironic that I’m typing these words on my laptop, whilst obviously watching them appear on the screen. But the truth is that the key difference is that at least this particular smidgeon of screen time is about output and not about passive, indiscriminate absorption. As a result it feels freeing and enlivening in a way that scrolling through random photos on Facebook or watching videos where I ‘won’t believe what happened next’ will never be.

The truth is I have to spend a lot of time on the internet. I work on the internet. (Not as in ‘I fix the internet’ but as in ‘I work online’ 🙂 ) The problem is, that in the same way I was an indiscriminate telly addict when I was a child, I may start off by doing work emails and important website updates but before I know it I have 15 tabs open, with Facebook, Twitter and news media sites requiring my constant checking. Never mind that they are rarely interesting or edifying, if I don’t check them every few seconds I may miss something hugely important.

They are like chewing gum for my mind. Instead of tackling scary tasks I can just distract myself from them with a little shiny screen time. But the thing is the scary tasks are still there. Just pushed to the back of my mind and drowned by the hum of trivia. And because I don’t do them and try and push them down they bubble under in my subconscious. And so they wake me up at night. Or they make me grumpy, because in reality I’m annoyed at myself and I know I’m copping out.

And when I say ‘scary tasks’ they are mostly terrifically mundane. But a mind in avoidance can manage to make the most minor task seem scary. You really have got to hand it the marketing guys at Nike. They were on to something big when they came up with their slogan. 

Just do it.


Stopping Shouting

I made a solemn vow to try and stop shouting at my son. It was getting out of hand, upsetting him and me. What feels like a temporary release instantly blows over into increased misery all round. So I decided to make a real effort.

At first I was rubbish. But then I realized it was actually quite easy. Taking that millisecond, that beat, to pause, breathe and control could turn it all around. I actually felt like a but if a fraud. Like an actor playing ‘nice mummy’. But overall I felt happy and proud and pleased with myself. There was just one thing. I left one key component out of my strategy. Daddy. Aka my other half. It seemed like all the shouting I subdued I redirected from son to Dad. Or at least when I was being so delightful to the little one it made my nastiness to the big one seem even worse. And I hadn’t even thought of that. It hadn’t even occurred to me that I should even try to be nicer to him. Telling.

So there you go. Equality for all. If you make a commitment to happiness and harmony it needs to be universal. At least in its intent, if not in it’s initial application.

Peace out.

Remembering What Makes You Feel Good…..

…..and doing it. A simple recipe for happiness. Note the good things, the good sensations. And repeat. From the small to the big. If a cup of camomile tea makes you feel good then brew it. If taking a walk shifts your mood then do it.

Take your focus off the negative things. What makes you feel bad, what you haven’t yet done. Look at what makes you feel good, the great stuff you have done. And then do more of it.

My thought for the day…… And with that, I’m off for a walk.

Mass Motivation

I’m tired and I’m sore and most of all I’m stressed. You know the way. A tight knot sits in my stomach and I want to press it down, ignore it, stifle it with aimless Facebook-trawling and maybe with a beer or two this evening.

And, yes I do know that better coping strategies are available. See: yoga, walks, exercise, deep breathing, long talks with good friends. But somehow, if I’m honest, they are not the first things that spring to mind when I am super-stressed. Nor are they the things that most appeal. If only. Life would be so much simpler then.

But. Despite my innate self-destructive tendencies / stupidity / humanity (delete according to your levels of compassion) there is something that pulls me back on track just as I’m getting set to veer off radically.

You see, one of my best friends is coming to visit me this weekend for a brief climbing trip. And she is currently super-psyched and amped up for training and fitness. She’s been texting and WhatsApp-ing me updates on her progress and posting inspiring/intimidating statuses all over Facebook. It could be depressing but I’ve chosen to look on it as motivating.

I need to at least try and keep up with her. So, despite feeling rubbish and not at all like doing anything, I’m about to haul my lazy ass up off the sofa, go out for a walk and then do some core stability exercises.

And the funny thing is, of course I already know I’ll feel better once I’ve done them. As in, this ball of tension in my stomach will have dissipated somewhat and I’ll be capable of more productive work. You’d think that would be motivation enough wouldn’t you? Somehow it’s not. But the motivation of someone else out there putting the work in and goading/encouraging me into it somehow does the trick.

It’s something I’ve been thinking about quite a lot actually. Especially in this last month of mega-stress and slings and arrows of outrageous horribleness, when my sanity has in no small way been saved by the simple act of some social spreading of motivation. This is a power that I need to  harness and share.

Watch this space for some forthcoming ideas and experiments.

And what about you? Have you got any ideas, insights or experience of the power of shared or social motivation techniques? Am I making any sense to you? I’d love to hear from you and really hope that you will join me on this journey into happiness.

More happiness for more people – that’s my mantra!

What Doesn’t Kill You….

This month’s mantra is currently ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. In the last two weeks I have experienced more stress than I can remember. The break-down of a business partnership that turned ugly is the simplest way of putting it.

Any ‘break-up’ is always painful. When the other party gets nasty it’s even worse. When they decide to take to the internet and slander you it goes off the scale. I only realised this was happening when I saw a link to a libellous blog shooting past me on my Facebook timeline. At first I wasn’t really that bothered, as the allegations were all so ludicrous and easily disprovable. Then I realised that people were reading this s$%*t and believing it. And some of those people were even people who know me. Now that hurts.

So what can I do? I’ve tried maintaining a dignified silence. Released a simple statement refuting the lies but not stooping to retaliatory mud-slinging. I await an appointment with my solicitor. I hope she can help. Meanwhile the lies are out there and the people seem to believe them.

Life goes on. I’m starting to eat and sleep again. I’m turning to tasks to lose myself in. Getting on. I’m understanding that acquaintances are not necessarily friends (although some are) and that a friend in need is a friend indeed.

So the next time you read something unbelievably nasty about someone on the internet, stop and think. Don’t believe everything you read and don’t join a vendetta that you don’t understand. You could be seriously hurting someone innocent. Not to mention laying yourself open to action for libel.

And if you’ve experienced anything similar I’d love to hear how you dealt with it. Supportive comments most welcome….


Scary Stuff

Yesterday I had to do some stuff I really didn’t want to. It was scary. But I had promised that I would do it. When I got to where I was going I actually walked past the door, heart pounding, mind racing through scenarios: could I lie? say I’d been when I hadn’t? The answer was no.

I turned on my heel and in the rapid, no time to think way of a jump into cold water, I pushed the door open and flung myself into the reception. With the receptionist’s eyes upon me, I had no choice but to open my mouth and start talking. It’s the getting going that’s always the hardest.

When I got to my next meeting the surroundings were even more intimidating than in the first but buoyed by my earlier success (I’m judging being brave enough to attempt something scary as success in itself here) I found myself confident enough to just push on through.

By the time I got home yesterday evening I was on a high and feeling super-motivated and inspired. I could do anything. I could take on the world.

It reminded me of why I like climbing. The digging deep we do when we really need to pull it out of the bag, when we’re facing down our fears. The fight we have to put up when flight is not an option. The hanging on because the alternative doesn’t bear thinking about. Pushing yourself and how good that makes you feel. Retrospectively, at least 😉

Scary stuff. It keeps us on our toes.

Life’s Ups and Downs

Life has been somewhat up and down of late. That’s the problem with highs; they are, of necessity, followed by lows. The yin to the yang.  You can get to the stage where it’s hard to believe in yourself. Are you just fooling yourself when you’re feeling great? Is it all a sham?

I don’t think so. But I don’t know. What can we ever know 100%? I know that I love my son, more than anything in this world. That much I know 100%. That much is impervious to change. Beyond that, not much. I can’t vouch for the non-changing nature of anything. Everything changes. Everything evolves. Flexibility is our greatest friend. We need to be able to adapt to new situations, accept change and respond accordingly.

It’s not always easy. It can be scary. But it’s life. Constantly changing, ever-evolving, never the same. Wouldn’t it be dreadfully boring if it were otherwise?