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.

It’s ok for me to have everything I want

Anon

The internet seems to have made the world a smaller place. Access to trains, planes and automobiles means it’s likely you’ve traveled more than the generation before you. I was blessed with a better level of education than my parents (thank you) and my son has a larger variety of food accessible to him…more doesn’t always mean better. However, with expanding technologies and science it’s likely this choice to seize more opportunities will continue (…unless we blow ourselves up, which I always think is likely given some of our leaders brain cell capacities), what im not so sure of is that our mindsets have kept up with our progress.

Many of us stay in our lanes, only ask for things that we know are achievable within our level of status, financial remit, age, only going where those around us have been before…to an extent there is a common sense to this, it would be foolish to financially live above our means and find bailiffs knocking at our door, or perhaps to travel to places that we haven’t researched and find we have returned home with a tropical disease that we were ignorant to.

It’s ok for you to have everything you want (as long as it doesn’t harm others), balance allows us to prioritise and then reprioritise. With ebbs and flows we can have it all, just not all at once or all right now.

If we had it all, life would be dull…and often people who chase ‘the next best thing’ often find the gap of darkness still lurk within them long after they’ve bought the item home.

Perhaps we should be careful what we wish for, however this blog post is a reminder to actually dream, that you can manifest your desires, that you are worthy and that you don’t need to limit yourself to the ideals of others…one life, one century of fun…make it count, see the things you wish to see, spend time with those you hold dear, do that thing, go to that place, laugh, cry and stay up for the sunrise – it’s worth it and so are you.

#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.

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.

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.

I’m too magical for your bullshit

Quote Anon

Where ever you are and whatever you are doing, I hope you are wearing a smile.

Smiles go with all outfits, occasions and climates…they improve your wellbeing and overall health, it’s true! Smiling boosts your immune system, are contagious to those around you and according to studies women smile more than men, babies are born with the ability to smile and there are 19 different ‘types’ of smile. Who knew?

Today I’m encouraging you to dust off your ‘seeing the silver lining smile’, why? Today I’m looking at a rainy Saturday ahead, the grey clouds can make us feel low and bring productivity to a huge low. I know I have some ‘messy jobs’ ahead of me…bathrooms and 2 toilet cleans, fridge needs a wipe over, my sons homework needs ‘managing’ and we’ve run out of food, so a supermarket trip is required.

However, today I’m magical.

I’ve stayed in bed (where I’m currently writing this post) for two cups of tea and a long scroll through Pinterest *mainly looking at pretty things I don’t need nor will ever purchase. Next, I plan to tackle the bathrooms and toilets, I will then reward myself by painting my nails and pulling on an outfit that makes me feel beautiful (I rarely dress practically, comfy or appropriate to the weather) feeling good and accomplished I’m going to seize the day and get my sons homework done and dusted, this will need heavy bribery of cake and treats later as he is currently absorbed in Saturday morning cartoons.

I’ll come back and wipe the fridge shelves down (whilst listening to some vinyl for upbeat vibes), this task is never as horrendous as I think it will be and I’m already picturing in my head how pretty it looks when it’s clean…then to the supermarket, where I can’t tell you I won’t put items in my trolley that I don’t need, today I will embrace the middle isle and may come away with a hot tub, a frying pan and a face mask…the middle isle is a magical place of endless possibilities.

Today, I will seek out the magic in every task, I’ll look for the joy, I’ll reframe moments of bull shit with sequins, polish and glitter. Perhaps you’re thinking she’s fooling herself, the plan will unravel and the rain clouds will become thunder, alas this is how I live most days…of course I see and feel the shit moments, I can’t avoid the storms…but I get to choose how I feel in every moment and today is a magical, blessed Saturday of house chores, cake and smiles. Sign me up.

Once a year, go someplace you have never been before

Quote Dalai Lama

Dear Mr Lama,

Whilst it’s clear you are knowledgable, wise and a guru of the spiritual world, if the opportunity arises I believe that you should go somewhere new monthly, weekly…whenever you can! In fact, I’d say you should go out of your way to plan, create and make these breaks for joy and freedom. Travel is certainly something that until lockdown life hit over a year ago, I’d taken for granted. That said ‘someplace new’ can often be on your doorstep, many people live in the same village, town or city, all their lives and never explore the joys that exist a few steps away from their front door.

In lockdown we, like many families went on more walks than ever before, did I mentioned that we walked A LOT? We are blessed to live in the Sussex countryside but we found many walks we never knew existed, discovering abandoned railways, tunnels and even a camel that lives in our village, no joke his name is Jeffery and he reminded me why I wasn’t a fan of them when I went to Egypt…that are stinky beasts, that said it was delightful to find him.

However, the reason for me writing Mr Lama is that as much as I think you’re right and exploration leads to many delights, from a better education, deeper sense of connection, an understanding of new cultures, new foods and new and often better ways of doing things…I feel we should also big up ‘the old’

Often the places we always go, the food we regularly eat…it has a comforting nostalgia that brings its only joy – if we stop to notice it. Let me give you some examples; the smell of Anais Anais and Chanel no.5 reminds me of my Mum (yes I grew up in the 1980s), the taste of so many food and drinks remind me of my childhood include lemon drizzle, homemade rice pudding, dumplings in a stew, Ribena, Sarsaparilla, pie ‘n mash with liquor…

This evening we had a classic food from my childhood, boiled bacon with veg and pease pudding. Now whilst I won’t be writing a review for Master chef anytime soon, I wanted my son to try it. To taste the past and for him to flip this around and try something new… there is a magic in that, just as there is in exploring a new place.

This week, give thanks for the old, look for the new and seek joy in the present. The balance of all three leads to a enriched life. What foods do you still want to try? Where do you want to go and what smells, tastes or textures remind you of the past?

Self care is the new health care

Quote Anon

Apparently in parts of Asia, you pay your doctor until you get sick. When you are ill it’s considered they aren’t doing their job well and you stop paying until you’re better…that makes sense to me. It’s the doctors financial incentive to keep you healthy.

Most of us know why we aren’t healthy. Whether we stayed up too late and lack sleep, our diet is out of balance and the local take away service knows your first name…or perhaps the only exercise your body has seen was in Year 9 at secondary school.

That said, looking after your health in the circumstances that you are in, with the time and finances and time you have is a wonderful start.

Self care for me, is a little deeper. Making time to prioritise myself, listening to what I need at any given moment and leaning in, rather than ‘I’ll do that tomorrow’. The balance of self when done correctly isn’t selfish, it actually means those around you, those closest to you, thrive from you being a better version of yourself. Last night I was exhausted…I went to bed at 6:30pm. I woke at around 5am, with nearly 11 hours of sleep under my belt, I was like an upgraded me! Even if it did mean my family went to bed after me.

The other crazy thing about self care is it often has little cost attached to it, of course a spa day at an exclusive resorts can be fabulous, but taking time to look after your skin, to paint your nails, wearing clothes that fit you well and make you feel awesome can serve you on a daily basis.

My favourite self care tip is talking kindly to yourself. Totally free and easy to begin right now – no excuses, except in reality many of us struggle with ‘thinking’ kindly about our own looks, actions and dreams. We allow our negative bias to stop the power of what we could do and often want to do. Within seconds we feed our minds negative thoughts and halt any potential progress or growth mindset before we’ve even realised it. To alter this you need ninja responses – when you think a negative thought, you instantly need to say ‘I see you naughty negative, and I raise you three positives’ then drown the single negative thought (my bum looks big) with three positives (the dress looks lovely on me, my eyes are sparkly, my eye brows are on point) or you can reframe the initial thought ‘ my bum looks big in this dress and it makes the outfit pop, I look wonderful and curvy’….

Self care begins with the simple step of allowing yourself to be happy. Next to allow happy thoughts, happy dreams and the self belief that you can achieve them. Despite evaluating self care in 3 lines – it takes most people a life time to do, sadly most don’t even try.

I double dare you this week to show yourself DAILY self care – book something to look forward to, create five minutes each day to do something you enjoy ‘just because ’ and if you are feeling truly rebellious, stop the negative ninja moments and watch your life and those around you become totally awesome in under a week. *side note: if you miss a negative ninja moment, allow it. Don’t fuel yourself with more ‘ I can’t even do that right’ negative fuel.

Have a wonderful week and make time for you…off to do a midweek face mask my lovely friend gave me.