Saturday, 28 March 2020

Three Positive Steps We Can Take in The Face of Adversity

It’s been a while since I last shared a post, but I felt inspired to write one this morning so here goes. I’m not sharing anything new with you, in fact, I’m sure you’ve most probably come across this content many times in recent days, but these are my own words and reflections based on my own experiences. I’ve been using the following techniques for many years to help me through challenging situations and they've been really helpful!

1: Acceptance

To overcome adversity, we have to accept our situation. We cannot fight It or reject it as hard as this sounds. We must try not to stay angry, disappointed, resentful or sad. By all means we should allow ourselves to feel these emotions, indeed welcome them, but if we exert too much energy trying to reject these negatives, we’ll only end up feeling hurt and frustrated. Instead we must learn how to accept difficult situations because when we do, we can free our minds and feel liberated allowing us to move forward more positively.

2: Gratitude

This is a great tool to reconnect us with happiness and help us alleviate ill feelings. It is very simple. All you need to do is start listing the things you are grateful for. You can write these down, say them out loud or think them silently. I try and practice gratitude in the morning before the busyness of modern life takes over. It calms me, it soothes me, it sets me up for my day.

3: Don’t Make News the First Thing

What’s the first thing you do in the morning? The other day (and this is something I never normally do), I turned my WIFI on and started reading the news. I literally felt my chest tighten and my heart rate increase as I read one negative headline after another. I made the same mistake one evening last week, when I watched the news just before bed-again something I never normally do-it took me ages to fall asleep and I had really intense dreams. Needless to say, I have not interacted with the news first thing or last thing since. Of course, I check in with the news, but I choose my moments. Perhaps not everyone reacts this way, but I do believe that absorbing too much negative information first thing in the morning does not prepare us well for the day. Is it really a necessity to check the news first thing? Instead, take a moment to observe. Are the birds singing? Is the wind blowing? Is the morning sunlight creeping through your curtains? Is your toddler crying out for you? Whatever those first moments are, just let yourself be. You have a choice.

I hope this post has been useful. Feel free to visit my blog for many more useful tips and positive thoughts.

Friday, 14 June 2019

Have a Digital Disconnect

Our lives have become consumed with digital technology, whether it’s using our smart phones, tablets or laptops, it seems to be a daily occurrence for most people, and whilst there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with this, I believe there’s a balance to be had between staying connected and knowing when to disconnect.

I, like most, enjoy interacting with my friends on Whatsap. I also like instagram and will ‘check in’ most days (quite a few times) often for no particular reason, mainly because it’s quite addictive scrolling through the home page.  (When I was more active on Facebook, I have also been guilty of scrolling through endless pictures of people I haven’t even met, oops)!

Although I do interact digitally most days, I also make a conscious effort to have time away from my phone. When I’m with my son I try and keep wifi and data off and sometimes keep the phone in a different room to avoid distractions from the outside world. The same is true when I have dinner with friends and family or when I’m watching a film. The main reason for doing this is that it keeps me in the present moment.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read articles or heard on the radio the benefits to having time away from social media. Indeed it’s good for our mental health. Stepping in to nature is a wonderful example of how to be present and the experience is all the more valuable when we’re not live streaming it online.

So, next time you feel you’re investing too much energy in your smart devices, try having a no smart device day, or even just a morning or an hour! Having a digital detox is so refreshing and it can reset your mind and will often leave you feeling happier. What are you waiting for?

Monday, 4 February 2019

Forget what everyone else is doing: Focus on you!

Too often in life, we can find ourselves observing other people and conclude that what they are doing is in some way better than what we are doing.

This is something that can occur anywhere and at any time. Perhaps you find yourself comparing your grades to your peers, or comparing a sporting achievement with someone else. Maybe you look at what your friend is wearing and feel green with envy or wish you could earn as much money as your co-worker. This type of comparison can leave us feeling negative and deflated and may even lead us to question our own lives.

A good place of example which can leave us feeling inferior, is social media. People often paint an image of a perfect life, sharing beautiful pictures of themselves, their friends and amazing places they’ve visited (me included).  But this isn’t their whole reality! The truth is, sometimes we have moments and indeed whole days where nothing seems to go right and we’re left feeling miserable. These are the things that we aren’t so quick to share online.

Ultimately, It is irrelevant what anyone else is doing in life. It’s up to you to create your own narrative and not waste time comparing.

So remember, the only person you can compare yourself to in life is you!

Friday, 21 December 2018

Create a Calm Space

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been over a year since my last blog post! And a lot has happened in this time. I am now a mum to a beautiful little boy and my life has become somewhat preoccupied with this wonderful little being. I’m over joyed yet exhausted but ready to start sharing some positive thoughts and suggestions with you all again.

I want to share a very simple idea today and that is to try and create a calm space at home. This could be your desk (if you work from home like me) or a corner of a room where you enjoy a leisure activity such as reading or sewing. Ultimately somewhere you can go to and feel relaxed. For me personally, I love a tidy, de-cluttered space, it gives me peace of mind and genuinely helps me work better. And when you simply want to relax, you are able to do this more easily in a place which feels calming.

So why not look around your home and create somewhere that’s calming for you.

Friday, 8 September 2017

How To Create a Positive Morning

Mornings! That part of the day many of us dread; the realisation that we have to get up even if we don’t want to and get ready to go to work. But it doesn’t have to be this way! In fact, with a few simple steps you can free yourself of any negative thoughts that present themselves in the morning, here’s how:

1-Prepare the night before!

Choose your outfit, pack your bag and make your lunch the night before, this will save time and effort and keep you calm as well.

2-Tidy up the night before!

I really dislike walking in to a kitchen where the previous day’s washing up is still sitting there on the side. It makes me feel irritable, so I always try to ensure that the washing up is done the night before so that when I walk in to the kitchen, I am greeted with a clean and welcoming space. I know it’s not always possible, but it’s a ten-minute task that can really help the morning routine.

3-Read a positive affirmation or quote

You can find positive quotes everywhere; in books, magazines, online or even better, make one up. It doesn’t have to be long, here are some of my own examples:

‘smile often’
‘Keep believing’
‘PMA (positive mental attitude, although you all knew that one didn’t you!).

4-Don’t check in with the world first thing

Do you really need to check social media or work emails as soon as you wake up?.....really? If you honestly feel this will be too difficult, see if you can wait at least 15-20 minutes before you start checking in.

5-Don’t immerse yourself with too much news

I know we all love to know what’s going on (myself included), but when we listen to the news, watch it on TV or read about it, it won’t be too long before we’re absorbing something very negative. I’m not suggesting you turn your back on the news, just reconsider how quickly you connect with it during your day.

6-Try silence at breakfast

No conversation, no radio, just enjoy the peace and quiet before a day full of moments to chat and listen to the world around you.

7-Have a mindful shower

You most probably won’t have time to have a long shower, but try and be mindful as you shower, focus on how the water feels when it touches your body, what’s the temperature like, what’s the water pressure like? Nothing complex here, just a simple opportunity to observe.

8-Don’t fear the day ahead

Even if your day looks daunting (maybe you have a meeting with your boss, maybe you have a presentation or a deadline to meet), try and not look forward to the day ending because you would have just wished a whole day of your life by! We’ll all experience days that won’t be so good, but there are always good moments within every day, you just have to find them.

9-Smile at someone

Go on, I dare you! As you walk down the street, make eye contact with someone and smile, most the time you’ll get a smile back and if you get anything else back, laugh about it!

10-If something goes wrong it’s not the end of the world

Okay, your train is delayed or even worse cancelled, you’ve laddered your tights or got caught in the rain-as much as these situations suck, you have a choice to how you’re going to react to it. Transport is completely out of our control so if you’re going to be late, don’t panic, it happens. If you get caught in the rain, well at least we get rain and it’s better than being sunburnt! And if you ladder your tights or lose a button, well you can replace these items so it’s really not the end of the world.

I hope you’ve enjoyed my blog post and even if you just manage to implement one of my points, I hope you feel the benefits! Enjoy your morning, remember you only have seven each week!

Friday, 21 July 2017

Don't Try To Change People

Have you ever spent time with someone and thought; ‘you could be so much better if you just……’ let me help you fill in the dots: Shave more, straighten your hair, get up earlier, eat healthier, work out more, not wear odd socks etc etc. I bet at some point in your life you have thought this or even verbalised it to someone. Are you doing it now? Well I have to hold my hands up and admit I’m guilty of this! I tell my husband at least once a week to moisturise his face. His response every time is ‘leave me alone babe’. As he rightly points out, humans have survived perfectly well for 100s of years without any of the skin products we have today.  Suggesting that he should moisturise his face results in annoying him (because I’m telling him what to do) and in turn annoying me (because he won’t do it)!

I’ve noticed that when you spend less time observing and analysing other people and just letting them be (i.e. loving them just the way they are), you feel happier! Now I can’t promise that at some point in the future I won’t suggest that my husband should do something this way or that, but I am making more of an effort to hold back. Imagine if the roles were reversed and someone kept telling you what to do, I bet it would become annoying and could also make you feel rather sad.

Next time you’re tempted to try and change someone, think twice! Does it really need to be said? Does it really matter? Will it make that big a difference to your life? Instead, try saying thank you to that person and focus on all the wonderful things they do in their life and in yours.

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Charlie's Tips for Increased Productivity

It is very easy to get distracted in today’s fast moving world. Many of us find it hard to be separated from our electronic friends (me included) and with what seems like an infinite amount of external stimuli all around us it can be very challenging to stay focused.

So today I would like to share with you some of my top tips for increasing your productivity levels:

1-Start the morning with a ‘thank you’. Most of us will wake up each morning in a comfy bed and this in itself is a privilege. Think of all the things you do in the morning which make for an easy start to the day-hot water for a shower, food to eat, electricity…these are obvious things we take for granted, imagine a morning without them.

2-Get your emails and social media fix out the way! After ‘connecting’ with the cyber world and responding to the ‘urgent’ messages in your inbox, try turning your wifi off and limit yourself to specific times during the day when you turn it back on. How important is it to be online all the time? Not to mention distracting!

3-‘Quality not Quantity’. Remember it’s not how long you work for, it is what you achieve within that time. Avoid working hours on end, you often lose your productivity and energy levels working this way, choose instead to work in short bursts making sure you take regular breaks. I like to stretch my legs and swing my arms around but if you fancy something a little more discreet just turn away from your computer screen or find a quiet place to gather your thoughts for a few moments.

4-Recharge your ‘mental’ batteries. By simply taking a few deep breaths and observing the physical process involved, we bring our awareness inwards and learn to reconnect with ourselves. There’s a reason why people tell you to ‘take a deep breath’ perhaps when you’re anxious, or angry because it really does calm you down.

5-Make time for some physical activity. Take a walk, go for a run, have sex! Release your happy hormones and reap the benefits.

6-Drink plenty of water. This is perhaps the thing that keeps me most productive during the day. Staying hydrated is an essential part of living so don’t forget to do it! I always make sure I have a glass of water by my desk when I’m working or if I’m on the go I will always carry a water flask with me. Next time you feel that headache kicking in around 3pm, it could simply be that you’ve forgotten to have a drink of water in the last couple of hours.

I hope you’ve found my blog post useful, do feel free to leave a comment or subscribe!