Positivity: to share or not to share?

different reactions

Up to now I’ve had no problem writing and sharing both my positive achievements and my thoughts on positive thinking and how it can help, not just me but, in theory, anyone, to achieve a range of things from a greater sense of well-being to reduced stress, better focus on your goals, acceptance of who you are and what your limitations are, working to your strengths rather than fretting over your weaknesses, etc. etc.

However, two things have made me stop in my tracks and re-consider the wisdom, not of thinking and believing these thoughts, but of sharing them with the world – particularly posts or status updates like memes or inspirational quotes which, rather than being personal reflection, could be taken as some kind of self-help guidance to others.

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Pursuing Happiness…

The Pursuit of Happiness

I am currently reading Ruth Whippman’s book The Pursuit of Happiness (and how it’s making us anxious) and although I haven’t quite reached the end yet I’m finding it fascinating. As a former Happiness Project disciple I have begun to feel thoroughly de-constructed. A pin has most definitely been unceremoniously jabbed into my little Americanised bubble. I say Americanised, but only half of me seems to be have been converted.

Several times throughout the book Whippman points out the marked difference between the British psyche and that of our Atlantic cousins – the former deeply entrenched in *reality* – with a heavy dose of ‘this is all a bit rubbish’ bubbling under the surface, whilst the latter remain perkily upbeat, optimistic and outwardly positive at all times. She remarks on the way in which us Brits have been involved in a huge sea change towards the American way (citing the changes she’s noticed in the things her British friends share on Facebook these days and the fact that we have also been enraptured by the idea of happiness as a goal we can achieve through activities like yoga, meditation and mindfulness).

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Finding time to get some perspective

positivityMy aim in life is always to be as zen as I possibly can, take things calmly in my stride and be the voice of reason. Just lately, however, I have had a really hard time maintaining that feeling of inner peace and reason. Certain parts of my life have been really hard to handle, hard to get my head around, but in the back of my mind, like the buzzing of a dying wasp, is this really strong sense that I need to count my blessings.

The trouble with counting blessings is that you kind of need to have the headspace to step back from the damaging central core of what’s going on right now in order to be able to make that list. I feel like I’ve been getting into a negative downwards spiral which is exacerbated by feeling over-whelmed by the exhausting nature of full on parental responsibility.

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Life goals for 2016

small steps over timeI just read a post over on Californian Mum in London about not bothering with New Year’s Resolutions and to be honest, I never have bothered before – I completely agree that most of the time our goals are too lofty and we’re just setting ourselves up for a fall.

However for the first time I kind of get why we have them, why we start new stuff come January. December is such a hectic month and let’s be frank, the run up to Christmas starts so early these days that the last third of our year seems to be spent frantically preparing for the celebrations to the detriment of all else. No wonder the beginning of January not only feels like the calm after the storm but also a time when we are suddenly able to re-focus on ourselves a bit. There’s definitely a reason why a lot of people started up their blogs in January (not me – I started mine in July – I guess I’m just odd!).

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Facebook: Love or Loathe?

Facebook

Facebook: it’s like a drug right? I keep coming back it to it time and time again and I often get that high that I’m seeking – a friend or acquaintance’s birth announcement; a happy throwback photo reminder of my (former) babies; an invitation to an event (!); a really funny picture or the heads up to a fascinating blog post that would have otherwise slipped under the radar.

I like being able to be there for my friends in their times of need – even if only through leaving a supportive comment to say I’m thinking of them; and I like being a part of the banter – I just don’t get that with Twitter (maybe I need some Twitter groups in my life?) it’s just too sprawling and random and involves constant self-editing. Facebook also gives me that comforting feeling that I’m not alone, even if I’m sitting in an empty room feeling lonely – there will always be at least one person on my friends list active at the other end of the superhighway.

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On missing Blogfest 2015

Rabbit jumpingBack in June 2014, a year into my blogging journey, I missed the first Britmums Live conference I had the chance to attend – even though I’d bought a ticket. As I’ve mentioned before I managed to double book myself that year and our family holiday took precedence. However, despite having a really lovely holiday, I was really gutted at the time. I remember sitting in the car as we drove home from Norfolk flicking through my Twitter feed relentlessly, torn between the desire to pretend it wasn’t happening and wanting to feel in some way connected to events. I took in every Morrisons cake and staged selfie and worried that I’d missed the boat as far as bonding with the people I’d been chatting with for many months was concerned.

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On converting dreams into realities

christina's world

I studied literature at university – American literature to be precise – which included a healthy dose of analysis of the American psyche. So when Emily Dickinson wrote “I dwell in possibility” that pretty much summed up the underpinning of a nation, which is to say the pioneer spirit which helped forge one of the most powerful countries in the world wasn’t built on a ‘no can do’ attitude. Some pretty scary decisions were made, people took enormous risks and leaps of faith. Not everyone survived unscathed.

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Best little things lately

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about the ten things I need more of in my life and it included everything from coconut oil to exercise to sleep. A lot of it had to do with brain chemistry and the things we do to help flood our little noggins with the good stuff.

I was intending to follow up and go into more detail about each item on that list and/or provide a little update on how I was doing. Needless to say I was massively enthusiastic for the first two days – I even went to bed two nights in a row listening to my Headspace meditation (I know, I know, you’re supposed to do it fully awake sitting upright in a chair but it actually sent me off to sleep and that was one of the other goals on the list so I figure I’m winning one way or the other!). However there are a couple of points on that list that haven’t really touched upon yet – one of which being gratitude.

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Ten things to improve my life, health and happiness

Brain chemistry

I guess it’s true that we all need more of something in our lives because life can be a balancing act on a set of wobbly scales. The thoughts I am gathering together here are in no way unique – I’m not claiming to be either a scientist, nutritionist or healer but I am fascinated by brain science (the easily understood version), and the way in which the choices we make about what we put into our bodies, our thought patterns and our actions can trigger brain chemicals such as dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin and endorphins – all of which add up to a natural high, a feeling of well-being and peace with who we are and where we’re at in life.

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The Laughter Challenge

Snaughling

When I saw that the word ‘Laughter’ was this week’s ‘Prompt’ from Sara at Mum Turned Mom I knew that I wanted to join in, because, you know, its one of my favourite things.

I have just spent a significant chunk of the last weekend at Britmums Live and whilst I enjoyed it and had a good time on the whole, it wasn’t what I’d describe as a ‘joyous’ event in my life. I think meeting people in real life is more powerful as a way of feeling connected to others than all the faceless online stuff, but its hard to find easy laughter in a setting like that.

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