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.

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

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?

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.

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.

Don’t look where you fell but where you slipped

Quote Anon

The wise words of ‘Anon’ strike again. I actually did fall today. I was putting something on a high shelf, with my Mrs independent head on…slipped, fell and then altered to my damsels in distress vibe across the kitchen floor. A giant and far too big plaster later and I was good to go. *Why do you never have the right size plaster for the job at hand, even though plasters come in a box of various sizes?

Alas, I don’t want to look at the literal interpretation inspired by this quote but as we step into spring (in the UK the clocks sprung forward last night) I realised we are a quarter of the way through the year. Last night whilst journaling (and watching Greys anatomy) I reflected on my personal goals.

January was successful in motivating my New Years resolutions and now those goals have become habitual or achieved. For me, in this moment where I’m ‘slipping’ is an evaluation of where I’m going, what I want to achieve and how I’m going to get there..I guess this post is a NY resolution part 2.

For me, yoga had become repetitive and I needed to move my journey along. Currently the pandemic means I can’t go to live, in person, classes for inspiration – instead I’ve set myself 2 advanced poses to concur. Already it’s meant my mat has been out more frequently as my interest is peeking.

Next, the Mr treated me to a waffle maker. This meant that the variants of the waffle experience are now up for mastering. For example, today’s recipe was really enjoyable but I completely misjudged how much batter to put in the waffle machine…moments later my kitchen counter looked like an active volcano, although it smelt amazing! I’m also going to explore healthy toppings and the perfect batter amount. *I may need to buy a ladle?

Career wise I have a plan, house wise the list is endless…but taking the time to prioritise the next steps and what’s important will hopefully help me avoid ‘slipping’ into a stagnant pond of helplessness. The full moon tonight provides an added incentive to pause, reflect and avoid the slippages of life.

Where are you falling down? What have you become complacent in? Are you getting the best out of 2020? More importantly if you have any waffle recipes or topping ideas – send them my way in the comment section.

With thanks x

Watch more sunsets than Netflix

Quote Anon

This quote is sound advice and for that very reason this post is going to be small, as what I want to say is ‘get outside’. In the UK we have home schooling going for one more week and that means juggling screens and it also feels a little like we’ve been stuck inside for years.

However, on Thursday the sun came out to play and my entire soul lifted. The bulbs in the garden are coming out to dance and buds are popping like popcorn in a hot pan. Spring has given the UK and huge reason to smile.

Netflix is also awesome and we are a house that also spends time hugging our Disney plus access with gratitude daily BUT Mother Nature will always do it better. Lately, she’s been throwing out sunrises and sunsets that make Disney firework displays look like a £20 box from your local garden centre. She’s obviously extended her palette lately. She’s thrown some crimson, orange and hot pink swirls of delight in the mixture and my photographic friends are clicking both their fingers and their heels with joy.

My advice, for what it’s worth are to make time to rise and open the curtains or take a little stroll as the sun comes out to play, or if you’re more of a night owl then walks later in the day can feed the sunset hit. I love sitting with a cup of tea and the chiminea going for a double joy hit (and gets rid of a little garden waste along the way).

Today we discovered a new walk on our doorstep and as my son entered the start of the forest and looked up in awe, he questioned whether we’d found big foots home.

I knew what he meant, with that his imagination exploded and we were listening out for bears, fighting soldiers and walking an invisible Hippo called Sonar. I couldn’t help but think how stimulating our mini adventure was.

Don’t get me wrong ‘Netflix and chill’ will always have a place in my heart, but never at the expense of an awesome sunset.