Tag Archives: happiness

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. šŸ™‚

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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, stifleĀ 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 Ā 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!

Treating Your Self

I’m an acupuncturist by profession. As such I know very well the power of this ancient holistic treatment. And yet I can go months without having any acupuncture treatment myself. This, despite expending a lot of my own energy in treating others and despite my own wise recommendations to patients about the importance of maintaining health and preventing illness and not waiting until symptoms appear before looking after one’s self.

I’m reminded of this because yesterday I felt shocking. I was stressed and anxious and drained and as a result felt unable to tackle any of the tasks that I needed to do and that the doing of would have made me feel better. The classic vicious circle. And so it was that I spent most of the day in a fug of mental wheel spinning.

The good thing about feeling bad is that it can force you to look for ways out. And so it was that at about 3pm yesterday that I remembered that I am an acupuncturist and I can help people who feel stressed and anxious. *Light bulb* I took a half hour out of my busily unproductive day to give myself a treatment. And I eased up on myself a bit, taking it steady for the rest of the day, feeling confident that I would feel better the next day and that then would be the time to get stuff done.

And I was right. Today I feel great and I’ve had a really positive, productive day which in turn has fired me up even more. The classic virtuous circle. Now I’m not telling you this to big up acupuncture (although, really, if you haven’t tried it go get yourself some!) I’m telling you this because it made me think how so many of us are rubbish at treating ourselves. Or, indeed, our selves.

Somehow it can be so much easier to give great advice to a friend than to oneself. To see how someone else can help themselves, to have compassion for another. Sometimes we all need to turn inwards and treat our selves, whether that be with a trip to an acupuncturist, a therapist, a friend or with a drop of auto-compassion.

The real trick is remembering to do it before the need becomes vividly apparent. My promise to myself is to treat my self regularly. It’s going in the diary, in a different coloured ink to the rest of my ever expanding to-do list!

How about you? Are you prepared to commit to treating your self? And how will you do it?

Do What Makes You Happy

Simple advice but also somehow intimidating. The incitement to ‘do what makes you happy’ resonates at a deep level but it also challenges us. To find and know what it is that makes us happy. To admit to what that something is and to dare to go for it.

Breaking it down though, it doesn’t have to be scary. Start small. We’re not necessarily talking ‘do what will make you permanently and continuously happy’ (is there even such a thing?) More like: do what will bring you joy in this moment right now and the next. Micro-happiness as opposed to macro-happiness.

Now I’ve gone to the other end of the scale in advice giving. Now my advice sounds too small and insignificant. Barely worth bothering with. But bear with me.

Each micro happiness can be a building block in the construction of your macro happiness.

A simple example. Yesterday I went rock climbing. I had a great day, got some exercise, felt a sense of personal achievement. Today, Monday, I woke up in a great mood. Positive, disposed to work and take on the world. Yesterday’s micro happiness made today better. Today’s positive attitude is helping me do things that will make tomorrow better.

So my best advice to you really is do what makes you happy. Reflect on the choices you have in each moment and choose the option that you know will make you happiest in this moment and the next. Small step by small step.