The unfed mind devours itself

Quote by Gore Vidal

A new week and time to remind ourselves that our brains need stimulation.

Feed your brain the nutrition of a Watsit, stay in your comfort zone and stop learning new things = brain mush.

Our brain is not only crucial for daily functioning but it’s what we use to make decisions and steer the course of our lives with, with each new turn of the steering wheel we create new neurone pathways and that gives us more options and allows us to flourish. When it comes to the brain, variety is not only the spice of life but the whole plate.

It’s very easy to sit in our comfort zones and as we get older, I suggest much like an old and loved couch, it’s becomes harder to get out of. This post is a moment to reflect on whether you need to do something new, go somewhere different, to take up that course you’ve always wanted to do. Perhaps you are well read and enjoy regular trips to the library, you may have not realised that you always read the same genre, or same couple of authors. This means you are likely to stay roughly in the same word count and in turn you haven’t learnt any new words or expressions for a while. Much like a child learning to speak, the more eloquent we are the further we can use language to express our emotions and to an extent, feel deeper. The same can be said if you tend to watch the same TV programmes, genre of films or visit the same websites regularly.

Part of my job as a behaviour adviser, is going into schools and observing children in classrooms. Boredom isn’t as rare as parents may hope. Whilst the bored mind can also stimulate imagination and innovation – in the majority of classrooms I’ve observed in, this isn’t always the case, it’s more likely that biros will be tapped, twirled, dropped and span. After a while, the bored mind becomes frustrated and antisocial behaviour kicks in, the mind devours itself in chaos.

The other thing a bored mind does is it has too much time, when this happens it fills itself up with fear and ‘what ifs’ – again, great for the imagination but not so much for in being / becoming a mentally well balanced individual.

A diet of fear, leads to a vulnerable existence and anxiety, so every now and then we need to take stock and reassess what our brains are digesting, food wise there are many awesome ‘brain foods’ from blueberries to nuts they can help increase performance. Exercise wise, the brain craves new environments, challenges and goals. However, one element that often gets forgotten is sleep. A good nights sleep allows the brain to process, reassess and much like a computer it turns on more effectively after it’s been reset. We may not grizzle like toddlers when we are tired (I think I do actually?) but it lowers our mood and our performance, which can effect how enjoyable we are finding the task at hand. Don’t devour your own brain, use it and manifest the life you always dreams of.

Listen to your body, it’s smarter than you

Today I offer you a pause. An opportunity to reflect on your physical health.

Often we look in the mirror and we reflect on what we immediately don’t like; multiple chins, sagging cheeks (either or both), hair condition, spots, blemishes, too fat or too thin… and we tell ourselves we aren’t worthy.

Except today’s health pause it’s a little bit deeper. I’d like you to think upon your body as your home. The list of common body issues above (blemishes and hair condition) it the decoration. It’s the wallpaper and the alcove, it’s the initial impact that we see. Beyond that we add clothing, accessories and hair cuts – these are the home decor, where we may show a little of our personality, back to our home analogy and this is the cushions, the fixture and fittings and the paintings on the wall.

If you’ve ever purchased a house you’ll know that surveyors are more interested in foundations, in wall structure and wood rot…they ignore the appearance of the home and look deeper to see if the building is structurally sound. This is the level I’d like you to pause on. I’ve loved yoga since forever but in 2021 my practise has been redundant – at one point the mat that’s often in action daily got dusty. I tried several gimmicks and surprise surprise they didn’t work. My mat reduced to a corner of our home while I made every excuse not to roll it out. We (yoga and I) fell out of love.

That was until a few days a go. I’m not sure why or how, so we’ll go with the obvious ‘magic’ answer. I rolled my mat out, went back to an old favourite routine and I loved it again. It was like reuniting with a friend, the magic sparkled over the mat and it wasn’t a chore. I was back.

Once my magical yoga experience had ended, I tried again the next day and sure enough more magic shone over my mat and I. That said, I learnt a few lessons…I didn’t flow as well, I was rusty and it showed. My muscles ached after, easy poses were harder than usual and I realised I’d lost some ‘foundation’ strength…neglecting my yoga practise meant my house was a little crumbly in places. My surveyor wouldn’t be too worried but there would definitely be a warning clause on my home.

There is a direct comparison between leg strength and death. Ageing is inevitable (except if you’re Madonna) and the weaker your legs, the more likely you are to tumble…the more likely you tumble, the more likely you are to experience other issues…the human body really is like a Jenga tower and the better your tower, the better your future is. Looking after your bones, joints and organs is integral to how ‘well’ we can move and good movements means a better quality of life.

Nobody is perfect and we can all do a little more here and a little less there…as I said at the beginning, this post is a pause. What does your house need? Your intuition usually knows. Mine requires a little more water (a little less tea), yoga to be integral to my routine and a few more early nights. The great thing about bricks and mortar is they’re usually things we know we should / could do…if we could be bothered. If your actual home falls apart, you can rebuild…your body doesn’t always allow you a second chance and you can’t move house, otherwise we’d all live in Madonna’s body. Enjoy the pause and know you are worth the home improvements, everyone should live in their dream home.

Most of the stuff people worry about never happens

‘Thank heavens’ is how I feel I should start this post. Have you ever paid attention to your thoughts, if so you’ll know they come quick and fast, multilayered and often disjointed. My brain is like two elderly ladies arguing at a bus stop – and if I’m really honest, at times one of those old ladies is seriously dark humoured.

Sciences backs my dark humoured old lady up:

‘In 2005, the National Science Foundation published an article regarding research about human thoughts per day. The average person has about 12,000 to 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 95% are exactly the same repetitive thoughts as the day before and about 80% are negative.’ Source Dent neurological institute.

Conscious thoughts and mediation allow us to slow the brain activity down and focus on positive thoughts that increase our positive vibration…as we know, how we vibe is what we attract. So the more we focus on the negative and ugly thoughts – the more we will see those experiences turn up in our daily lives. I think what makes this worse is that we’ve only got ourselves to blame.

As a positive fairy of good vibes, I’m not saying I don’t think melancholy thoughts but I have learnt (through conscious thought and daily habits) to alter some of those darker moments with a few rainbow sprinkles.

Letting go of old thoughts is hard and it’s how our capitalist society makes its money, often adverts fear monger us into buying things we don’t need, the news reports only the most horrendous events it can find globally and the algorithms work like tiny ninjas to show us the same content until it becomes familiar.

What can we do? Nothing you don’t already know about…

Let go of thoughts that don’t serve you: if you catch yourself saying or thinking something negative. Stop. Breath and let it go…this is easier said than done but can be achieved

Keep a gratitude journal: they work. Start your day with writing down 3 things you have in your current existence that you are blessed to have. you’ll be amazed how quickly this two minute habit sets you up for a better day

Meditate: honestly I suck at this practise, but taking a few minutes to empty our minds is like taking the rubbish out on bin day. You’ll feel lighter and have more room for the good stuff

Inhale good media content: delete accounts on social media that moan and that drop your energy vibe…if you need an even bigger top up of joy, pop the device down and get out in nature.

Exhale good vibes: be kind, do good things. Pick up the litter everyone else is stepping over, ring that friend and donate old unwanted items to charity. Be the change you want to see in the world.

In conclusion, remind yourself of this quote. Most of the things we worry about…never happen. If you’re feeling really bold, dream big and think positive and watch your life improve. It all begins with a positive thought

#8yo collect moments

When my son was three I began to ask him a series of twenty questions, except for when he was six (unsure what happened?) As a result I now have a collection of his opinions on the basic ‘favourites’ in life. Somethings have remained steadfast and I don’t see them ever changing (his favourite colour has always been green, I blame Hulk), others bounce around like his food preferences and some alter like the wind blows. This year we reread them together and he laughed at some of his responses. I will continue this self indulged thread until he refuses to play, a little part of me hopes he is 45 years old and still playing the game, as what we now have are a collection of memories – things come and go, but memories are often free have a priceless value.

(If you’re interested in reading his 7 year memories as a comparison Click here )

1. What’s your favourite colour? Green

2. What’s your favourite toy? Orco (giant cuddly Orca whale that’s also a puppet)

3. What’s your favourite fruit? Mango

4. What do you like to watch on TV? Mickey mouse and friends (shorts)

5. What do you like to eat at lunch? Plastic rolls (basically, for all the organic and homemade food I prepare – the boy adores a supermarket sandwich??)

6. Who’s in your family? My Mum, Dad, Pearl (our dog) stick insects, Burple (leopard Ghecko) and Nathaniel (tortoise) , fish.

7. What item of clothing do you most like to wear? My green dinosaur head T-shirt (it’s from Boden and gets a lot of love

8. What game do you like to play? Hungry sharks evolution (haven’t a clue?)

9. What’s your favourite animal? Crocodile

10. What song do you most like? Anything by stick figure – World on fire (he loves chilled music in the background when he’s reading or playing)

11. What’s your favourite snack? Raisins (This was news for me?)

12. Favourite book? Beast Quest (he loves the series)

13. Who’s your best friend? Luke

14. What’s your favourite sport?  Judo

15. What’s your favourite holiday memory? Going on the cruise to see the whales

16. What do you sleep with? My teddies

17. What do you like best for breakfast? Waffles

18. What do you like to do outside? Play the game ‘it’

19. What’s your favourite drink? Mocktails

20. What’s your favourite dinner? Margarita pizza , no macaroni, or burgers, or steak, or tortellini, maybe a cheese board with grapes? I can’t pick and now I’m hungry.

Karma isn’t a bitch, it’s a mirror

Wow! You know when you are a collector of something and you have to have it…that’s how I felt about this quote.

I’ve always believed in karma. At times in my life I’ve relied on it being served to others, I’ve also had my fare share of stubbed toes in return for minor errors on my part.

However, I’m also of the belief that what you give out you get back and that the universe has your back. I also believe that good vibes create more good vibes, so the idea that each of us had our own hand held mirror of karma makes total sense. Perhaps next time you use the phrase ‘karma is a bitch’ be mindful that you are just calling that person a female dog.

Reflections can sometimes be hard to look at.We don’t always like what we see, or sometimes our own reflection doesn’t relate to how we thought we looked, the main reason I take so many dresses back to the store…4ft11 me can’t always rock a dress the way it looked in the brochure, on a taller friend, or even how I thought it might look from the hanger.

As humans we are quick to judge others, but often not as fast at owning our personal issues, the mistakes we make, the things we might do differently…it’s much easier to insult others than recognise issues within ourselves and set to work to fix them. If karma is a mirror I recommend you speak kindly to her, treat the mirror well and make her sparkle, after all who doesn’t want a life full of clarity and kindness?

Going with the idea that nothing can stop me

Quote Anon

It’s my birthday eve. Another year around the sun and so much has altered. My opinions have evolved, a year of memories to cherish and a few to discard. I began celebrations this weekend with those I love deeply, received gifts and cards with words of love scribed inside. I am blessed.

Birthdays are a wonderful way to reflect on your achievements, thankful in all you have and wondering what the next year may have in store? Will new people step into my life? Will dreams be realised, or will they evolve to new dreams?

As a summer baby my birthday gives me a half way mark prior to the end of the year, a time to check in, prioritise and reaffirm. As I dance in the final years of my thirties I know I care a lot more about those I do love and a whole lot less about everything else.

A few days a go I had some landscape gardeners come to price up some work for us, I couldn’t fake caring about pavement slabs? It’s a patio. I’ve never seen a patio and had the desire to have one just like it…so I let the landscape gardener pick. Im a huge fan of allowing the ‘experts’ to make decisions. We all have varied passions and strengths, we should allow each other to play to those strengths.

As a birthday eve present to myself I’m going to create some time this evening to bask in the year that’s just gone, light a candle, drink lots of tea, probably watch some Greys Anatomy (I’m addicted) and then I’m going to write a letter to myself. In the letter I plan to write down some dreams and desires I’d like to see come to reality in the next year and much like the quote this week suggests, I’ll then just make them happen, preventing limitations from stopping me and just do it anyway, or at the very least have a go! If I go with the idea that nothing can stop me and continue to careless about outside thoughts, perhaps I’ll succeed?

This blog will still be a part of my world, so buckle up and let’s get going, you can watch from the sidelines and if you’d like to join me, write your own letter and let’s go together with the idea that nothing can stop us.

Life is what you make it

Anon

Imagine if I told you that you’ve been selected to write and direct your own film. You may react by saying that you have no experience? I then go on to tell you that you’ll only get one shot at the film, we won’t have time to edit or reframe any scenes and I’d really like you to act in it, to be the star of the show.

By now you may be overwhelmed, with no experience in the industry that’s a lot to take on. I’ll then tell you it’s called ‘your life’ and hopefully you’ll smile and see the metaphor.

Each day, a scenario unfolds. Some days the drama is larger than others, be cautious – it’s the mundane moments that will pass you by the quickest.

There doesn’t always need to be a climax, action or plot twist…if there is always horror you may be doing things wrong? What you do have a duty to do in each moment is act truthfully, you don’t want to look back on a season where you lied to yourself or said things that weren’t true. It’s also worth speaking to the costume department too, sometimes we can get stuck in an era and it ages poorly on us.

You get to decide who features alongside you, you get to influence them and in turn they will advise you. Make sure your cast is faithful, funny and trustworthy…it’ll get you through the dark times easier and sometimes end with a smile.

….lastly, my film has already been ‘live’ for 14211 days. You can be cut at anytime and often you don’t realise it’s the end, so make the next day count, then the day after that. Each day is what you make it and you really do get to control so much of it, there is no dress rehearsal. Action.

Just enjoy where you are now

Quote Anon

Whether you are living your best life right now or rising from the ashes, the chances are you are hoping tomorrow will be better, that ‘soon you’ll be there’… it’s human nature to want better, most parents want better for their children, most people would like better for themselves.

The problem is we often look back at photos and realise those little moments in the past were perfect just as they were, we just didn’t realise it.

I don’t know where you are on your journey, to be honest I’m often lost in my own world but I do know that the secret to a better tomorrow is to feel good right now. No matter what’s happening, no matter what curve balls life has thrown you…consciously decide to feel better. Below I’ll share some methods that I use to help me to raise my vibration, but wherever you are in the world you get to decide how you feel. When you feel good, you attract good….and guess what? You’re life perspective improves.

Earlier in the week I was late to meet a friend, stuck in some serious traffic…I couldn’t do much about that, I texted my friend to tell her I was delayed and then rather become frustrated I looked at the views…

I’ve been stuck in many traffic jams in the past, but how could I feel anything but gratitude when this was the view out of my car window. Reframing my thoughts is a learnt behaviour and you can give it a go to…it’s a PollyAnna recipe for a better now.

Methods:

* meditate *name 10 things you love * visualisation things you’d like to manifest with feeling – no lack! * sleep * clear away clutter (a small draw) * try the power stance – this one is awesome and it’s instant * dance party * breath work * look around and appreciate what’s around you, it could just be the colour of the grass * divert you attention to something that makes you smile, giggle or belly laugh

Warning: improving your life and knowing you’re responsible for all the joy that surrounds you is highly addictive, doesn’t require checking with your GP and leads to more happiness, a better perspective and you may well sweat gratitude.

Don’t ever take a fence down until you know why it was put up.

Quote by Robert Frost

In a literal sense, I’m probably the person who is likely to think on one hand this is great advice, on the other ‘it’ll be fine if we take that wall down, what’s the worst that can happen?’ and then live to see the consequence.

On a metaphorical level, this quote reminds me about boundaries. Of who I share my time, energy and make memories with and who I say ‘thanks for the journey’ and swiftly ask them to exit at the next train station of life.

Personally, I believe that some people (friends or family) are only meant to be with us for a short amount of time, they deliver a lesson, being joy or we learn from contrast and then we should release them, very few are wonderful enough to walk the whole journey with us.

Human fault means that we often hold on for too long, trying to recreate a relationship from decades ago. The crazy thing about this is that I am aware that events in my life mean that I am, like you, forever changing…so why we expect others to give us what we had in the past is insane?

Upon reflection, it’s worth evaluating your fences regularly…do they still serve the purpose of why you put them up? Do they bring support or perhaps they just block out the light…it which case, it’s time to let go off that particular fence panel.

Fences can enhance a space, walls can be healthy, in gardens and in relationships, but build them with solid foundations, maintain them and know when to take them down and when to strengthen them.

This advice works well for fences and people alike.

Better an oops than a what if

Quote Anon

I have a huge fear. It consumes my soul and often makes me take huge leaps, challenges and when other people step out of their comfort zone I like to run, jump and pliat.

The fear that eats me up, is I can’t live with a ‘what if’… when I was younger I dated a lad that worked for the BBC, at the weekend I’d often go to work with him and sit in a black box all day whilst he worked. Amongst all of the knobs, buttons, twiddly things and general sound equipment… was a giant red button in a protective casing, it called my name and said ‘push me’ at the time, the lad realised that this button was too juicy for my ‘what if’ fear and he let me push it…it stopped the broadcast for several seconds *sorry Radio Oxford. Once I’d pushed it I was never interested in it again…I’m that person that needs to push a button or two.

Last week a lovely lady on Instagram did a story that resonated with me, I private messaged her and asked her if she’d like to do a ‘live’ with me, simply because I wanted to talk to her, to engage, to inspire others. The plan was to chat for about 20mins at 7pm this Thursday. It sounds fun right? The great news is – it was, we hopefully will do it again soon BUT the truth was I didn’t have a clue what I was doing…I’m comfortable in the uncomfortable. I think it comes with age, with caring a little less about what others think and also by knowing that the ‘good stuff’ in life tends to not come when you are comfortable, it usually follows when you wonder ‘what’s if’ and act on it. It’s true that sometimes you get a ‘ops’ that follows. But it goes with the territory of thriving.

As I watched our live back there are a few things I’ll be altering next time, the biggest ops being that I didn’t speak for about 30 seconds whilst I pushed buttons, blagging to make the live work. That’s how we learn, I’m very much a kinaesthetic learning, I learn best my doing. Some people prefer to watch others and then replicate, to listen, to read…me, I like to jump in and try, even if it results in a few ‘oops’ along the way.

At primary school my parents were often told I talked too much and asked lots of questions, in that respect nothing much has changed. However, I wouldn’t change it, it forces me to analyse, to work things out and to improve. Isn’t that why we are all hear? I should probably add that personally my ‘leaps’ are usually calculated. I don’t take high risks with high ‘ops’ results…I don’t jump without a parachute.

This week I’m sure there will be a few more challenges as I avoid the inner voice that says ‘what if I had…’ and I’m sure an occasional ops will also follow. When was the last time you stepped, or leaped out of your comfort zone? If it hasn’t been for a while – this post is your sign to live a little braver, be a little boulder and smile a little more. *The smile is just for fun.