Tag: positive thoughts

Ditch the blanket fort for some sunshine

Ditch the blanket fort for some sunshine

I love the sheer power of nature. Even in the most serene of settings, nature never fails to have a profound impact on me. To be honest, several hours before I wrote this post I felt awful. I felt that the only solution would be:

  1. glass bottle of Merlot
  2. Ferrero Rocher and Lindt chocolate
  3. a blanket fort.

But then I stepped outside and felt the warmth of the sun. A few hours later I realised that I had indeed needed three things to transform my mood. I had just thought of the wrong list. What really worked in the end was:

  1. a cup of green tea
  2. Autumn sunshine
  3. my hammock

This just reinforced my thoughts about nature that I’d had during a road trip… A few months ago whilst travelling through South Africa I had the opportunity to stay in many little towns along the way. There was one area, just outside one of these towns, that I found to be particularly magical. We stayed in a cottage luxurious unit in the middle of an ancient milkwood forest. We were surrounded by unspoilt fynbos as far as the eye could see. And where there wasn’t fynbos there were mesmerizing views of the sea and an incredibly beautiful bay. I felt truly immersed in nature. (No snide comments about the luxury accommodation, please.) In an incredibly short space of time we were able to completely relax and unwind. I really felt as though I was able to re-balance my body, mind and soul. It enabled me to be mindful, with remarkable results. Words simply cannot describe how my sense of wellbeing was completely transformed in this idyllic place. Whenever I enjoy spending time outdoors, I always have the same thought: we should do this more often. There really is a tangible healing power in nature. There’s some irony here too, because we wouldn’t need the curative powers of nature if our modern lifestyles didn’t take us away from nature in the first place. So we need nature to be a healing balm for the modern lifestyle, because this lifestyle prevents us from spending sufficient time in nature in the first place. Time for a change, methinks. What have been your healing and relaxing experiences in nature?

Will you please quit pouring that green goop over yourself?!

Will you please quit pouring that green goop over yourself?!

In my last post I confessed to starting to go organic and natural. It’s not an obsession by any means. Promise. It’s just about trying to eliminate physical toxins such as harsh chemicals from our home. Despite what my Pinterest boards might seem to be proclaiming, I am not trying to be a domestic goddess.

It’s really made me start to think about toxicity in general. And not just slimy green goop that’s stored in dubious barrels.

eliminating toxicity

 

You might remember that I also wrote a post on emotional toxicity. Basically what I was trying to say is that being negative towards others, being unduly critical of others, gossiping, etc all just adds to the negativity in your own life. Plus, you pass that toxicity onto others. And nobody needs green goop of any shape or form in their life.

But there’s something else to consider. In some weird slimy version of the vaguely recent ice bucket challenge, many of us seem to pour toxic goop all over ourselves. And it is also a viral sensation.

Sure, by being negative about others we are encouraging negativity in our own lives. But all too often we assume unnecessary blame, feel inappropriate guilt, wallow in self doubt, and subject ourselves to undue self-criticism. Do you pour this green toxic gunk over yourself?

You are who you are.

And who you are is enough. 

I think that it’s time to take a more zen-like approach to life. Accept life for what it is. Accept others for who they are. Accept yourself for who you are.

I’m not trying to suggest that we should never try to improve. What I do think, however, it that constantly focusing on the future and trying to improve encourages us to be negative and critical about our present circumstances. It also prevents us from being mindful of the present and accepting ourselves with loving kindness and compassion.

Let’s face it: we all need a little love, kindness and compassion in our lives. Let it start as an inner personal phenomenon because your internal world ultimately determines your external reality.

I’d love to know your thoughts about eliminating the toxicity from your life?

Pink elephants, lemon meringue pie, and eliminating toxicity

Pink elephants, lemon meringue pie, and eliminating toxicity

I have to admit that I read a lot of articles of the LifeHacker variety. If you’re like me, you’ll have this this lovely warm Aha! moment. And then dish up another serving of dessert as you watch yet another episode of Bones, and somehow forget the beauty of that insight.

On another note, I’m a self-confessed lemon meringue pie snob. And glutton. And addict. And obsessive. And compulsive.

Over and over again we’re told the same stuff:

  • eat right
  • exercise right
  • sleep right

But we also need to think right.

And I’m not just talking about having the right mindset, or being optimistic. Judging from what people say and write, I think that we’re guilty of a lot more negativity that we realise. I believe that negative thoughts and comments are truly toxic to our wellbeing.

toxic thoughts

It’s just so easy to fall into the trap. I think we’re all too quick to judge, to criticise, to belittle, to gossip. Oh of course we all agree that these things are awful, but yet these kind of comments seem to creep into conversations all the time. And I’m no exception.

Taking it a step further, I think that even negative things said in jest, in teasing, are just as toxic. If you’re think I’m being oversensitive, then that’s okay. I think you’ll just be proving my point. Because it’s okay to be sensitive. I’d rather have a capacity for empathy and be sensitive than be that woman who sends bitch slap messages.

negative messages

I think that even when we say negative things in a joking manner, that negativity is still transferred somehow. I’ll use an example that is random but is nonetheless one of my personal favourites…

Whatever you do, do NOT think of a pink elephant.

I’m hazarding a guess that you now have an image of a rosy pachyderm in your mind? It’s kinda cute, hey? Awwww. Okay, back to my point…

Even though the instruction was not to think of something, that idea or image was still presented to your consciousness. I think that negative things said in a joking or teasing fashion are just the same. Long after the humorous tone has faded, the message remains.

So here’s to being mindful of what we are thinking, saying and writing. To eliminating the negative – and being committed to doing so.

do not think of a pink elephant

You’ll have to read my next post to find out my embarrassing confession when it comes to eliminating the toxicity in my life.

I’d love to hear from you. What are your thoughts on the extent of negativity and trying to eliminate it?

The best time to adopt a better lifestyle

The best time to adopt a better lifestyle

I have this theory that the timers on cardio machines were developed in Hell. They operate slowly in order to extend your torture and agony. There is no way that twenty minutes on a treadmill is the same as twenty minutes in real time. It’s some sort of Hellish cosmic joke where we’re all victims of this never-ending hoax. And then, to add insult to injury, we keep on returning to gym.

Sometimes I get the better of the hoax and avoid the gym. But then I get sucked in again. And the agony is always worse once you return after a break.

You know that feeling when you are sweating it out and you need to distract yourself from what you are enduring? I was on the rowing machine at gym, looking out the large glass windows at the trees on the surrounding hills. The beautiful colour of the changing colours of Autumnal leaves captured my attention.

There was one tree that really caught my eye. The changing colours were incredible. Perhaps it stood out so predominantly because the forest behind it was still green. Even in Nature, things grow and develop at different times.

So it was okay that I was only on the rowing machine in May, my first real attempt to kick-start what should have been New Year’s resolutions. If trees can adapt to the seasons at different rates, so can we.

I had been beating myself up (not literally – that would be too excessive even for me) about the fact that it had taken several months for me to get my A into G. I realised that ‘should’ often involves undue criticism. We worry about what we should be doing, what we should look like, what we should be earning, and when we should achieve all this.

But that just focuses on the negative and fosters criticism of ourselves and others. It’s not about a specific date. It doesn’t matter when you start. So what if I only got back on track with a healthy lifestyle in May? The point is that I have. Who cares when I will get to the level of fitness that I once reached? The point is that I will at some point. Hell, I might even surpass it.

healthy lifestyle

So when is the best time to adopt a better lifestyle? It’s not about when. It’s not even really about how. It’s about developing a habit organically because you enjoy the process. And that is what my next post is all about: the truth about developing new habits.

When did you do something later than you ‘should’ have, only to realise the irrelevance of the timing and your self-criticism?

Power tools and business suits

Power tools and business suits

“The first thing they teach you is not to wear a tie when using power tools.” I thought this was the most ridiculous piece of advice ever. I mean, who dresses formally whilst using power tools? But then I realised that the person speaking was my husband. Wrench in one hand, angle grinder in the other, he was dressed in suit and tie.

Now he might wear a suit and tie five days of the week, but my husband fancies himself as quite the electrician. And he is. Apart from the fact that he hasn’t quite got the hang of the dress code. I, on the other hand, hate power tools. They terrify me. When sparks start flying, I fly further. (Please don’t read anything into that.)

So there we are, staring at the motor of our electric gate. I have managed to find three spare extension cords in the house which now form a long cable from our bedroom window, snaking up our steep driveway to the gate. At the end of these cables is the terrifying angle grinder. I was put in charge of plugging and unplugging said power tool. Luckily, thanks to the cabling, I was able to do this whilst cowering behind a shrub.

When the sparks had flown, the faulty padlock in question been cut, the surrounding concrete inadvertently sculpted, I could emerge from my cowardly pose. And then I couldn’t help but laugh at the ludicrous scene we must have made.

The situation was in reality very frustrating. What should have been a simple task with the turn of a key turned into a lengthy DIY chore involving an angle grinder at the most inconvenient of times. But the irony of my husband’s advice was just too funny to ignore. So instead of swearing (sorry Mom) and complaining, we laughed about it. And at ourselves. It just shows that even in the most common everyday occurrences we can find humour. Choose optimism and the funny side of things. Always.

Note: My husband insists that I mention that he was pushed for time, otherwise he would have dressed appropriately. It’s up to you whether you believe him or not. I don’t.

Let Go of Worry

Let Go of Worry

Let go of worry when you have no control.

It seems paradoxical but the secret to learning how to let go of worry is to only worry when you have some degree of control.

Most of us experience worry, anxiety, and even anguish, over situations where we don’t have any control. Intuitively, this seems like a logical reaction. If you can’t control the outcome, you tend to worry about what the outcome will be and what it will mean. But, in reality, worry just saps you of your vital energy, draining your motivation, and depleting your resources. Think about it: how can anxiety possibly alter an outcome over which you have no control? It can’t. All it does is leave you in a state that is not conducive to dealing with the eventual outcome. And usually it’s all for nothing because, in the end, things do tend to work themselves out.

So before you get yourself in a complete psychological and physiological tangle over something, think about it. Can you control the outcome? If not, let go of worry because what will happen, will happen regardless of your state of being.

When it’s okay to worry

What about situations where you do have some control? Where you can influence the outcome? This is where there might be a place for a certain degree of concern. But here, let it be a motivating factor. Allow your worry to channel your focus and energy on productively addressing the situation at hand. The trick is to allow your feelings to actually be a source of energy, a fuel for action, not an unproductive depletion of motivation.

All too often in life we expend unnecessary anguish over the past, or dwell in increasingly insurmountable anxiety over the future. Let go of worry. Let the past be just that: in the past. The future will happen.

let go of worry

Let Life Surprise You

“What is the point in being alive if you are never taken completely by surprise?”

– Anne Perry

 

This quote made me pause a little and think about my life. I think that what struck me first about this quote was her use of the words being alive. It’s so much more than just existing.

Life needs to be injected with a sense of energy. Vitality. Dynamism. I’m not saying that you have to be an irrepressible ball of energy for every moment of every day. As we all know, afternoon naps are very important. Necessary, in fact. I might go so far as to say sacred. You get my point.

In all seriousness, though, life needs to be filled with fun. I think that with the right approach you can live a life where you feel alive and invite welcome surprises into your life. It’s about being optimistic: having faith in all that is good, having faith that things will work out in the end. I don’t want to get sucked into the negativity and cynicism that seems to be all too commonplace nowadays. It’s one of the reasons I tend to avoid newspapers and watching the news on television. Some might call it a form of naivety, but I really don’t care. I want to feel content with things as they are in my life. And I do.

I think that we could all benefit from putting a little bit of surprise and energy back into our lives. Life after all should be enjoyed.