One Simple Technique That Will Change Your Life

It’s true. Slightly hyperbolic but true nonetheless. And, what’s better, it’s not even a technique that you need to learn. It’s something we all do, all of the time. You just need to become aware of it and choose to focus it positively.

Visualization.

It’s as simple as that. Visualizing a positive outcome. Picturing what you want to happen. Keeping your eye on the prize.

It really works. You do move towards what you focus on. It’s like riding a bike. Look where you want to go. Don’t look down, or you’ll have a wobble. Don’t look back or you may take a tumble – you’ll certainly slow down.

I don’t know about you but sometimes I can be pretty good at catastrophizing. Particularly on those nights when I wake in the wee small hours, mind churning with work undone, bills unpaid, forms unfilled. I can quickly work myself up into a sitting-bolt-upright state of sleeplessness. That’s me scuppered. It’s entirely counter-productive.

Keeping my eyes on the prize....climbing onwards and upwards

Keeping my eyes on the prize….climbing onwards and upwards

So, recently I have decided to stop it. Now I know from bitter experience that when you’re lying awake in the dark busily catastrophizing it can be¬†far from simple to just stop. The secret is not aiming to just quiet and still the anxieties that are pressing in but instead to replace them. By visualizing positive outcomes I leave no space in my head for the niggling anxieties. I busy my mind with lovely stuff, with dreams and fantasies and ideals. With what I want to happen.

And soon enough, I fall asleep with a smile on my face and wake the next morning to face the day refreshed and raring to go, ready to make those dreams a reality.

Try it – you might just surprise yourself with how easy it is and what a big difference it can make to your life! And if you do, please come by and tell me how it worked out for you.

 

Advertisements

Quick Fix Tips for When You’re Feeling Stuck

Somebody said something really insightful to me today. Something that struck a chord. In fact, it felt more like a clunk settling down within me as a giant piece of a jigsaw fell into place.

And, would you believe it? I can’t actually remember exactly what it was that they said. How dumb is that?

I do know that it was something to do with letting go of fear and allowing yourself to go with the flow. But much more elegantly and cogently put.

I feel a little like words are escaping me right now. I am tongue tied. I can’t express myself how I’d like. But I still have all these amazing thoughts spinning around inside. Moments of recognition and understanding. How do I best express and share them? Is that in fact what I should be doing?

Some things I know for definite. Small things, easy to encapsulate. These can be my jumping off point. My base list.

1. Drinking less alcohol is better for me. For my health, my productivity, my energy and my mood. It is totally worth cutting out alcohol midweek and keeping it to a two drink maximum at the weekend. This more than any other one change can make the single biggest and easiest to achieve difference. I need to remember this. I need to remind myself regularly until it becomes easy, comfortable habit.

2. Exercise. I’ve known for ages that exercise is a fantastic mood and energy mover for me. But try fantasize as I might I have yet to turn myself into a hungry running machine who pounds the tracks come rain or hail and regardless of whether my son wants to go to the park or not. Again, the getting started is so hard. The getting to a point where you’re hooked on the healthy behavior and will move heaven and earth to do it. Which is why the seven minute workout and five minute abs apps are so great. There can be no chance of wriggling out of doing them. Jeez, even the Pope could find seven spare minutes in his day.

3. Writing and Blogging. I’m desperate to get back into my blogging. I love it. Although you would be forgiven for imagining this was not the case given my recent blogging output or rather lack thereof. I need to start again, posting and publishing. Oiling the creaky joints of my writing skeleton. A post a day, come what may. Here or there or anywhere. As long as I write and commit to paper the thoughts and analysis that constantly whirr in my head begging for expression I know that, once again, it will get easier. I will hit my stride, find my flow and the inspiration will come again.

That’ll do for now. A three point plan to start me on the way to happiness, to shake me out of my stupor. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not unhappy and I have every reason to be content. But there is a little niggle of dissatisfaction, of stuckness, of unfulfilled potential that, if left untended, could prove dangerous. Time to shake things up.

How about you? What quick fix tips work for you when you find yourself stagnating or lacking inspiration?

Good Days, Bad Days

Yesterday was a good day. So good it felt like nothing could ever dent my deep-seated contentment. So good it felt like there was a universal truth dangling just millimeters beyond my reach. Like maybe I was on the verge of distilling happiness and bottling it for mass consumption.

Today I woke up tired, after DIY-ing late into the night. My hands were stained black with wood tint, my hair was full of dust and my head too. I had a meeting with clients scheduled for first thing, so when I turned the tap to discover there was no water I was not best pleased. No shower to wake and cleanse me, to soak the stain from my hands, to make me fit for human contact. Grrr.

I stomped and banged about the house as I (drily) prepared myself for work. I had my meeting and it went okay but by the time I made it back home I was in a foul mood.

The dishes were stacked high on every available surface, unwashed and unwashable. Still no water. The day was hot an sweaty and I had still not fully awoken. I was tired and sleepy and couldn’t face tackling the tidying up, let alone the intimidatingly epic to-do list that awaits me in my work agenda.
So I superficially ignored the mess around me and stared at my computer screen awhile. Facebook, Twitter, news sites. Endlessly scanning, my chewing gum of the mind. Letting it all stream across my consciousness, a constant passive input.

Somehow, with a mammoth effort of will, at about six pm I forced myself to do a seven minute workout. I know, seven minutes right? A perfectly undeniably tiny amount of time that even in your busiest or tiredest moments you can squeeze in and grit your teeth through.

And grit my teeth I did. And once that was done I took the dog for a short walk and did a little training at our mini climbing gym in our garage. A minimal training session but a session nonetheless. And by the time I got home I felt better and more energized. There was still no water but at least I managed to stack the dishes neatly, clear some space and cook a healthy dinner.

And now I’m in bed, tapping out this blog on my phone. Already I feel better. Tomorrow I may just edge a little closer to that tantalizing, dangling truth. Here’s hoping. ūüôā

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’ ūüôā ) 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!