Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Looking forward and looking back

When I started writing this blog I promised to be honest about was happening in my life and how I cope with the difficult times.  I wanted people to know that being happy and feeling positive is something that can be achieved even when life isn't great.

I know too that focusing on the positive side doesn't mean that everything in life is wonderful, this blog has been a way for me to explore how my emotions and thoughts impact on me and my family. I hope that by sharing my experiences that it gives you some hope and maybe some tips on how to feel happier.

December is an emotional time for me (and for a lot of other people)  Calum's birthday is the 8th December, he would have been 17 this year, (he died just a few weeks shy of his 13th birthday). This year his friends in 6th year at Bishopbriggs Academy chose the Meningitis Trust as the school charity of the year in remembrance of Calum. They decided to hold a Memorial Service to remember him and celebrate their memories of him, they wanted the people in school to know this was not just any charity their fundraising efforts were for their friend.  The video that they made to show at the service is so wonderful, it made me smile and laugh through my tears.  I loved the smiles and light in their eyes as they remembered Calum. So many young people are held up to be neds with no care or interest in others, watch this and see the positive encouraging side to these young folks.Remembering Calum by S6 Bishopbriggs Academy

The school then had a week of fundraising activities culminating in a sponsored sleepover for S6 in the school last week. Calum would have just loved being a part of it and I am so pleased that they had great fun raising money for a very supportive charity.  

Kirsten, my gorgeous daughter, is now 12 and in first year at this school. She has been involved in the fundraising activities with Calum's friends that she also grew up with.  She has loved this but it has also been an emotional journey for her too.


So add all this with Christmas, my mum back in hospital again for another op, some worries over work and money and it is not difficult to see how my emotions have been a bit raw.  I have felt really weepy at times, a bit frazzled and low.  Is this allowed for someone who runs Happiness Clubs and wants to inspire Scotland to be happier?

Of course it is! - Not one of us is immune to low times, me included. If I cry I release that emotion, I feel better for it, trying to hold them back just creates more pressure. So what next? I am blessed to have some very good friends and they are so kind and helpful in different ways, acknowledging how I feel with them sharing tears and then laughter really helps.  

So today I feel like I am turning the corner again, I have some inspiration back maybe not quite all my energy yet. Last night I went out with Kirsten to see the School Band perform in Glasgow and caught up with a few friends for a chat.  It was good to laugh with them.

It's times like this that I have to dig into my own Bag of Happiness to find the things that help me.  Essential oils - bergamot and peppermint, uplifting music, remembering that I have achieved so much, immersing myself in some really good memories, looking forward to spending time at Christmas with my family and Boxing day with my very best friend and her lovely family. Focussing on gratitiude creates a feeling of wealth and abundance, I have so much to be grateful for - mostly friends and family.

Life will continue to throw challenges but I know that I can cope, I know that I have learned a lot so far that has helped me and that I will continue to learn.  I also know that sometimes I will forget what I have learned!  We all need to be reminded now and then.  

Looking forward to next year

I think that so many people are living in fear and worry.  I understand it so we are bombarded by the news of how terrible our economy is, how few jobs there are, how dangerous the world is. My response is to increase the number of Happiness Clubs and get others involved to create more happiness and positive energy.  I know that life can be shit - I know that we can't just go into a wee Happiness bubble and it will all go away.
BUT I know that when I can lift my mood, feel happier and more positive then it gives me fuel to energise me.  I can look at the same problems through different eyes and see a solution I didn't before, I can start to believe that things will get better and find ways to help myself and others so that it is better.  

I have developed a new personal development program Happiness in Action that will give you the tools to create more positive thoughts and happiness for youself.  As soon as I have charged my batteries fully then you will hear more about the exciting new options for this program.

As Christmas approaches I send my love to everyone who is missing someone, to those who have worries and concerns, to those whose health could be better, to those that strive for a new job, to anyone without a home. I also send my love to those who are doing well and feeling good, may you share your good feelings with those that need it.  

So December may be emotional - highs and lows just like life really. I learn and grow in the low times then create and reap the benefits in the high times.  You can too.

Merry Christmas
Kim xxxx

Monday, November 28, 2011

Death and Happiness

Today I am saddened by the death of Gary Speed at the young age of 42. I did not know him personally but like so many others have watched and listened to the stories from those who did.  I have heard so many people say what a happy person he was so how could a happy person with all the success he had feel so low that they end their own lives?

So many of us put on a face to the world around us, when asked how we are we may say "fine" or "no bad". We may not want to admit to others that we feel so terrible that not living seems like the only option.  Talking about how we really feel to a trusted friend can be a life saver, when we say the words that rattle around inside our heads we can challenge them.  If we have no one to help us challenge the negative thoughts of hopelessness then they will grow stronger as we focus on them. 

I remember one very bleak night not long after Calum died, sitting crying as I couldn’t sleep.  I just wanted this terrible pain to end, I wanted the hurt and hopeless feelings to go away.  I thought that if my husband and daughter died with me then we would all be together again with Calum.  That would take away the hurt and pain for us all and it would be ok.  I had an outlet for my thoughts though – I wrote to Calum in a journal.  Even as I wrote the words I realised that it was not death that I wanted but a happier life back.  At that time I didn’t really know how I could have happiness but it got me through that night.
I have lots of friends and family who supported me through this terrible time, they listened to me, were kind to me in so many ways and through the pain and sorrow some light began to appear. (You can read a little more of this in David Hamilton’s book Why Kindness is Good For You). What I held on to was that I wanted to be happy, it was right to be happy and so I developed a mindset to allow happiness into my life.

My story is not a miraculous overnight recovery, it took time to grieve for the loss of Calum and heal the pain.  It’s 4 years on and I am happy, I still have times when I feel sad or low and I acknowledge them because living a happy life means living a real life with all its ups and downs.  I still write to Calum, I find that it helps me to get the thoughts out of my head and help to shift my perspective. I also write when I am happy and inspired so I share the positive thoughts too.  

If you find yourself at a real low talk to a friend, GP, Support line like Samaritans or Breathing Space or try writing. Ask yourself what is it that I really want – to end the pain and misery may be your first answer but what do you want instead? Is it to be happy? Make that your focus and it will shift your perspective on life a little. A little glimmer of light on a dark night can be all that it takes to start your journey. 

 You can read some of the practical ways that I handle the lows and create more happiness in my life in previous blogs.  I support individuals, teach Creating aHappier life courses and run Happiness Clubs, where we can all learn new skills and share in a common aim – to be happier.  Please feel free to contact me if you want to know more.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Coping with change and creating happiness

Hi there,
It's been a long time ... sorry! I don't know where the time has gone. A lot has been happening in my life over the past few months, mostly good I will say.

Kirsten has now started secondary school, that is a biggie for me. She is now 12, havin
g caught up with her big brother, and has taken that next step up the educational ladder. Kirsten is really enjoying school which is partly due to the excellent teachers and facilities at her school and partly due to her own attitude. She has had some wobbles too, a few tears and fears. I did expect this as any major change can throw up some anxiety. We deal with this by talking about how she feels and reminding her of her strengths. She has been encouraged her to join the school clubs and share her interests with others so she can make new friends. She is missing Calum a lot, she is enjoying seeing his 6th year friends at school but it is also a reminder that he isn't there. So we talk about Calum and what we think he might have been like, share our stories of him and keep him close to our hearts.

I have spoken about Calum to the Press in the past,
to raise awareness of meningitis and about the fundraising we have done for the Meningits Trust. A couple of months ago I started to think about sharing my journey through grief with the Press. I wanted to give people some hope that you can survive your worst nightmare and still be happy. It's what this blog has been about. I wanted to let people know about the Happiness Club, the courses and this blog, to help people find ways to handle the crap that life can sometimes dish out. I met a wonderful journalist called Maria Croce who wrote a great article that was published in the Daily Record. You can read it here
The article generated a lot of interest from other journalists, magazines and individuals looking for some help. Bella magazine are featuring my story very soon and the local Bishopbriggs Herald told the story again today.


This had led me to really focus on how I can help others. The Happiness Club meetings have been going well, I am looking for other venues to expand them. I have developed Creating a Happier Life course for those who want to have a more concentrated boost of happiness. I have been developing ideas at such a rate that Sinclair is laughing at my plans for world domination! We now joke about how the Death Star is coming along and the question "What would Vader do?" is asked often. (Star Wars was Calum's favourite film).


Being inspired is a great feeling, it is at the completely opposite end of the spectrum from grief and depression. I remember the terrible black, soul less days after Calum's death when I had no hope or inclination to do anything. It made me think this is what JK Rowling must have been describing when the Dementors attacked people in Harry Potter (another of Calum's favourites). That feeling that you'll never be happy again and that all the light and love has been sucked out of the world. I know that is it possible to beat the Dementors and create your own Patronus (the charm that is created by focussing on the happiest memory and emotions). This is one of the techniques that I teach on my courses and at Happiness Club.
If anyone reading this is having a black day then remember the happiest, most wonderful memory that you have. Re-live it in your mind, surround yourself with it like a blanket and you will find it can let a little light into your day. Your situation may not have changed but your ability to cope with it will.

We all deserve a happy life, life is for enjoying and sharing now. If you need some help to feel happy then check out my website

My life is happy, there are challenges and struggles, tears and worries being happy helps me cope with these times. I'd love to hear how you cope with difficult days.
Wishing you all good health and happiness,