Permissive Fun

When did you last give yourself permission to have fun ?

In current times when just about everyone is struggling to get by it’s more important than ever before to find ways of relieving the stress in our lives.   When did you last set aside a few moments to have fun ?    Having fun places you in the present moment and is a natural reliever of stress.   Think back to the last time you had fun, when you played and laughed.   Whilst you are having fun there is no worry or anxiety just a feeling of lightness of spirit.   

Children are renowned for living in the moment.   If you watch children at play they are totally absorbed in the moment and unaware of anything other than their immediate activity.   Give yourself permission to take some time out of your day each day to do something that makes you feel good.    Just for a while, become a child again.   Below are a few ideas …

  • Put on your favourite music and dance around your living room.
  • Watch your favourite comedy DVD and laugh.    Laughter truly is cathartic.
  • Make some bubble solution and blow bubbles.   Note the shapes and the colours.   How large a bubble can you blow.
  • Google comedy sketches on You Tube.   This is a quick way to put a smile on your face.
  • Jump up and down on a trampoline.  Maybe to music.
  • Take a few slices of bread and go and feed the ducks.
  • Play a computer game.
  • Go for a run / walk / bike ride.
  • Read a children’s book to your son or your daughter … you will very quickly find yourself in the realms of fantasy.

Remember that when we are doing something we enjoy endorphins, the feel good chemicals, are released in our brain.   The more you allow yourself to practice at having fun the effect is cumulative, the more easily those endorphins will be released so it will become easier and easier to become relaxed.

Have fun

Jacqueline

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Be Mindful to Enhance Your Day

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness.  If you are attentive, you will see it. ”  Thich Nhat Hanh

How is your day today ?   Are you drifting through it without fully living it ?

For years I did just that, always waiting for an elusive ‘something’ to come along.    While I was waiting for this future something to appear in my life, I felt as if life was passing me by.    My life felt like I was just waiting for some future event to occur in order to make my life better.

What we do today is preparation for tomorrow.     Our tomorrows are created from what we do today.     Surely then it makes sense to be fully alive in each moment of today in order to create a future we want to live.    We can do this by practising Mindfulness.    Mindfulness is all about being present in the moment, helping us to appreciate life as it is rather than constantly looking forward and waiting for some better time or better place.

Here are a few of my favourite Mindfulness exercises which have now become a part of my daily life.   When practised regularly they become a life enhancing habit.    Take what you want from them and leave what you don’t.

Begin the day slowly:     When you get up in the morning, whilst your day is still new, allow yourself a few minutes to just be in the moment, five minutes out of your day is all you need.     Sit quietly on a chair, or take a cushion and sit on the floor and take your focus to your breath entering and leaving your body.    Each time your mind wanders, and it will, take it back to your breathing.    This is a very peaceful place to be.

Tune into your body:     Take your attention to the top of your head and consciously move down your body, asking every part of your body how it is feeling, right down to the tips of your toes.    slowly awakening to the day.

Walk slowly.     Take a short break from what you are doing, and go outside for a walk.   With each step practice awareness.    Pay attention to your breathing, to everything around you, to the light, to the air, how does it feel ?    Pay attention to your surroundings, the sounds, the smells and the colours and textures of the things you see around you.

Work with focus.     Prioritise your workday and choose the task that feels the most important and concentrate on doing only that task, putting all other tasks from your mind until the priority task is finished.   Single-tasking is a great way of finding focus and lessening stress.

Read in silence.     Find a quiet time and a quiet spot, and read a novel.    Switch off the TV, the radio and the computer and just absorb yourself in the realm of the novel.    It might seem contradictory to take your mind from the present into the era of the novel, nevertheless it’s a great practice in focussing the mind.

Eat mindfully.     Eat slowly, paying attention to eat bite and mouthful of food.   Become aware of the taste and texture of the food.    This not only makes the food taste better, it gives you a better awareness of how soon your stomach feels full.    A good habit to get into when watching your weight.

Be grateful:     Each day, instead of seeing what you always see in those you are close to, really look at the people in your life.   See their qualities and skills and become aware of how they manifest in your life.     Tell people how thankful you are for their existence and their presence in your life.

I look forward to hearing how you get on via the comments box below …..

Have a good day.

Jacqueline

 

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WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR ?

In the busyness of modern life it’s easy to find a reason to put off doing or saying something and most of us are pretty good at it …..     

We assume that we have plenty of time to call the good friends who are in our thoughts.   So we wait.

We assume that it will one day feel safer to tell people how we really feel.   So we wait.

We believe that in order to forgive the people who have hurt us that it is they who need to make first contact.   So we wait.

We feel too ashamed or too stubborn to admit culpability for the things we’ve said or done.   So we put off apologising.

If we are not very careful, we could spend our whole lives finding excuses to put things off until a ‘more appropriate time’, only to come to the realisation one day that the appropriate time we’ve been waiting for still hasn’t arrived.   

Most of us would rather not acknowledge that our days on Earth are limited.   The truth of the matter is that none of us ever know how many days we have left.   We can however be fairly sure of the fact that in our final moments we won’t be saying “I wish I’d waited longer to put aside my anger, and I wish I’d waited longer to forgive my friend/family/myself and I wish I’d waited longer to give my full attention to those I love”.   

Most of us will get to the end of our lives and, provided we are given the time, say, “I’m sorry”. “I forgive you”. “I love you”.

There have been times, lately, when I dearly wished that I could change the past. Well, I can’t, but I can change the present, so that when it becomes the past it will turn out to be a past worth having.”  Terry Prachett

Today is our chance to live and love, to decide what really matters and to avoid looking back with regret.   Each moment of today is our only guaranteed opportunity to be kind, thoughtful, compassionate, understanding and forgiving.

What have you been meaning to do ?    What have you been meaning to say, and to whom ?    What are you waiting for ?

Be brave

Jacqueline

 

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Ripple Your Way into Immortality

The Ripple Effect – A Legacy

I have just finished reading Dr. Irvin D Yalom’s latest book, “Staring at the Sun”,a beautiful and courageous book which provides a superbly comforting and enriching perspective on our ultimate fear of death.   Stating that we all live with the wound of mortality, Dr. Yalom encourages us to fully consummate our lives and by doing so, avoid the regret of an unlived life.    I like this book immensely and I recommend it to you.      

Dr. Yalom is highly regarded as both a  psychiatrist and therapist.    (www.irvinyalom.com)  

In this book Dr. Yalom encourages us to embrace our fate in order to fully consummate our lives, thus avoiding the regret of an unlived life.

He introduces and explains the idea of “The Ripple Effect,” the effect that we all have on each other, and how that effect ripples out throughout our social network.    Dr. Yalom, focussing on the positive, suggests that, when people are struggling with the impermanence of life, it often helps them to think about the positive effects that they have had on others; the kindness, energy and love they show to others (and indeed, have been shown)  which continues to ripple out beyond their immediate social circle in ways that they often don’t even realise, creating wavelets that burgeon out far past their own seeing.     

By taking up the Ripple Effect, from our words and deeds, we can create our own positive legacies, passing them down from one generation to the next.    Knowing we could have a far reaching positive effect in the World often helps us to mitigate our fears surrounding the transient nature of life.

Live Mindfully

Jacqueline

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Tell The Difference Between Assertive, Passive and Aggressive Behaviour

Some people, more usually women, are brought up to nurture and this can mean that they are conditioned to bend their own wills for the assumed greater good of others.    This means that they tend to agree with opposing opinions, even when they know that they are right, or they ignore bullying or domineering behaviour without saying anything for fear of upsetting others.  Many will feel that they won’t be loved or valued unless they are subservient to some degree.

Many people feel that if they assert themselves others will think of their behaviour as aggressive.   There is a huge difference between being assertive and being aggressive.   Assertive people state their opinions while being respectful of others.   Aggressive people attack or ignore others’ opinions in favour of their own.   Passive people don’t state their opinions at all.  

 The chart below gives some examples of

The differences between Passive, Aggressive and Assertive behaviour

If you would like help in identifying how you can become more assertive please get in touch.

Jacqueline

 

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Keep Your Calm When Irritated

During course of every day, we can find ourselves irritated by numerous experiences.    We all have experience of people who are so irritating that no one wants to be around them.  Other irritating experiences can be anything from someone cutting you up in traffic to an acquaintance making a derogatory remark about your favourite sweater. 

Sometimes, there’s the option to walk away from the irritant and you can depart with no more than your hackles having been raised.   However, some situations are inescapable and in those instances it is helpful to have some skills up your sleeve to help yourself keep calm.

  • Close your eyes, breathe deeply,and hold the breath for a count of four and then release the breath.  Do this as many times as you need until you feel yourself calming.
  • If the situation is safe to do so, take your attention to something other than the person or situation that is irritating you.   Look at your finger nails, your computer screen, anything that takes the irritating person or object out of your sight.   This gives you time to think more calmly.
  • You cannot change somebody else, but you can change the way you choose to react.   Take a minute to look at the bigger picture.   Ask yourself whether this situation will matter in a day’s time, a week’s time or six months’ time.   Is this situation really worth giving your energy to ?
  • If you decide that the situation really does need to be addressed;  Rather than allow your irritation to escalate, assert yourself, speak up.   You have a perfect right to politely ask the other person to refrain from being patronising, asking too many questions, being too loud or using language that offends you etc etc.
  • Remember that you are not the object.   Most people are not trying to annoy you – they probably don’t even realise that the behaviour they are displaying is annoying.    If it’s traffic that’s winding you up, traffic just is and doesn’t and cannot care.
  • Practice at being more patient.    You will find that you’ll stop feeling beaten up by time and circumstances and that you are able to take things more in your stride and relax more.   Patience is the key to minimising irritation in your life.    Think of patience as a tool that helps you to know what to attend to, what to put up with and, what to walk away from.

 

Be happy.

Jacqueline

 

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Friendship Matters …..

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Growing and maintaining a good friendship takes time, effort and generosity of spirit.    Maintaining a good relationship with our friends requires a gentle honesty, unconditional love and a respect for the other’s values and beliefs.      We make time to … Continue reading

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Going for Gold

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In the midst of these exciting 2012 London Olympic Games I got to thinking about the derivation of our human desire to compete with our fellow man ……   I believe our human competitive mind-set has evolved naturally from the survival instinct.    Human survival … Continue reading

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What do You Expect …….. ?

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  In my work I do a lot of thinking about relationships and the causes of disharmony within them.    Relationships come in many forms,   To name but a few, we have relationships between men and women, relationships between members of … Continue reading

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Sticks and Stones and Germinating Words

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I am currently in the grip of some rather nasty cold germs.    I knew these germs had plans to travel to other humanoid locations to cause further misery so, having already booked time off, I decided to revoke their passports … Continue reading

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