Tuesday, February 22, 2011

MY HAPPINESS CHALLENGE - MEMORIES AND MINDFULNESS

Well folks, it's been just over a week since my last blog. Thanks for the encouragement readers, I hope that you find this useful.
In the last week I have had ups and downs just like all of you. School holidays can create a challenge for keeping Kirsten busy, balancing work and child care. I try and take as much time off with Kirsten as I can. It is all too easy to put off doing things, life and work can take over but I know how precious those fun times together are. Kirsten had a friend to stay over, we made candles which was great fun, it didn't take long but was a real quality moment. I was looking around at the messy kitchen we were working in, did the girls notice -or care? No they were just having fun adding colour and scent to their melted wax. I had fun too, I made a candle in a lovely vintage china cup, it felt so good to look at what I had made. Simple pleasures, it reminded me of the times I made things when I was growing up and the fun times that we had with Calum when he was small guddling in water, making messy goo, baking and having fun in our untidy kitchen.
The girls also made some movies with Kirsten's video camera, laughing and capturing the memories. It struck a chord with how we record our memories inside our heads all the time. This is one of the things that I use regularly to help me feel happier.

MEMORIES ARE MADE OF THIS
Try accessing your mind videos -think of a time when you enjoyed a great day and had fun. Close your eyes and remember. Can you "see" the scenes and hear the sounds from that time, immerse yourself in it, make it vibrant, colourful and real, now notice how you feel. Your happy mind videos can lift your mood, your body will react as if it is happening now, so you can find yourself smiling, relaxing and even laughing as you relive the good times. I am a great one for reminiscing with my family and friends, laughing over the things we did in the past, retelling the stories over and over. It is always such a happy event when we do this, I love those times as much as I did the actual event.
Sharing your happy times with someone else helps to pass on some happiness and keep those stories going. Scots used to have a great tradition of story telling, passing on the previous generations' tales. I think it is a shame modern day reality TV seems to be more interesting to some people rather than sharing our own real lives. Sharing stories about people we have lost is a real tribute to their impact on your life and helps to keep their memory alive. I know some people who find it difficult to mention Calum, perhaps for fear of upsetting me. To not talk about our son and his part in our lives and our history is far more upsetting. Talking about the good times, the holidays, the daft things he did, the jokes we shared, the silly sayings we had helped me to find a tunnel of light out of the grief. Tears still come at times but as a wise friend tells me tears are healing too.

WHAT IF MEMORIES ARE PAINFUL?
I experienced some anxiety last week while travelling to meet my very best friend Ann. We were having a day away to ourselves, staying overnight in a hotel in a town where I used to work. I felt shaky and anxious on the train, at first I didn't realise what was going on. I was looking forward to meeting up with Ann so why did I feel bad? Thinking about it for a minute I realised that I had not been back to this place for a long time. I had left my job because of some stressful times and this journey back to that physical place had jolted my body back to that emotional state. This is what we call anchoring in NLP terms. You might have suddenly felt upset, anxious, scared or even sick when your mind makes a link to a past time. How do you handle this? I used some EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) to release the negative emotion and found myself begin to relax. The jitters in my tummy and shaking eased. Then the train stopped at a station and I found myself thinking about an old work colleague who I knew lived here, before long I was immersed in the memories of that time so very long ago. He was a lively character and we had fun, I started to smile and suddenly I had reached my destination feeling upbeat and looking forward to tea and lots of laughs with Ann. We have both positive and negative anchors to people, places, things, music and more. I had used a positive anchor to clear the negative emotions without even trying, my thoughts and feelings changed quickly. Next time you find yourself in anxious state try some EFT and a positive thought.
I had a great time and we met up with some other ex colleagues for a good laugh, I am looking forward to my next visit.

MINDFULNESS (OR WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOUR MIND IS FULL TO BURSTING?)
I had some low points last week, feeling overwhelmed about the amount of things I still had to do, taking time out is great but when you are self employed no one else does the work. You would think that that this would mean I would be really motivated and busy when back to work, but no! I couldn't focus and that means that self doubt creeps in - could I really achieve all these plans I have, all the different workshops and business angles seemed too much. Where to start? I call this my headless chicken phase, so many things to do that I end up running round like a headless chicken and not starting anywhere. I have been here before so I know what works - take time out. What more time off! Sounds like madness, but just a few minutes to breathe, relax and calm my mind. Being mindful some call it or meditation, whatever you call it doesn't matter it works. Try out this link to give it a go http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-12263892
Now my mind is calm I can write my list of things to do and prioritise it, I don't feel so overwhelmed now I can do a couple of things on the list easily. My positive thoughts begin to come back, I can do this. I even begin to feel excited about some of my ideas again. My thoughts and emotions can either work for me or against me. Recognising that allows me to do something about it. It's not about being upbeat, positive and happy all the time it is handling it and not being a victim of my own low points.

So all in it was a good week, the scales tipped more on the positive side. 7 out of 10 on my happiness scale.
If you have any questions or comments please post them. See you next week.

Take care, wishing you love, light and laughter
Kim
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