Here's another great post on Mark Sisson's blog where he lists the 7 characteristics
you can cultivate which are associated most with living a long and contented, healthy life.I don't necessarily agree all the time with his dietary advice, but he has some great insights on the human psyche and h
e seems to be one interesting and clued-up, wise person.I especially liked the link to information on the sayings of Epictetus and many of the hints to help let go of controlling everything in your life
really rang true for me. I think that's the key to contentment, in my life anyway.
And it's helped me become more content with things as they are. When I don't allow myself to get upset about things I can't control, there's much more sunshine about. The trick for me was working out what those things I couldn't control were. And now I have, I'm much more at peace with the world.
Another item to add to my long list entitled "things I wish I'd been taught at school instead of Latin and Shakespeare"......!
Just a thought.....
Following on from my previous post about the wonderful song of the nightingales, I was sitting outside last night and suddenly became acutely aware of the amazing volume of sound coming from the wildlife; the crickets, frogs and birds. I was in awe at how incredibly loud it all was.
Isn't it funny that we love and accept the sounds of nature outside, day and night, loud as you like, but, if our next-door neighbour was making just a small fraction of that noise, our first response would be indignancy (is that a word?), if not anger at their thoughtlessness and we'd probably be straight round to complain?
It's all a question of perspective, I suppose....
So I'm sitting here by the computer and even with the windows closed, I can hear the nightingales singing outside. I so look forward to this time of year - first it's the frogs and not long after we get the crickets and then the nightingales, as well as all the other birds, warbling their little hearts out.But it's that nightingale song gets me
deeper than the rest. Right down deep into my heart or soul or whatever. There's just something about it.
I remember a french friend moaning to me they'd gone to London for a business meeting and there was a nightingale that sang outside his hotel room window all night and he didn't get a wink of sleep!
Now I never heard a nightingale sing in all my time in England and I'm still mesmerized by the sound. It actually sends me to sleep at night. It doesn't disturb me at all. To me it's a hopeful and positive song, not grating or annoying in any way. In fact, I open the window at night to hear it more clearly. It says to me "don't worry, everything's fine, sleep well". If you'd like a reminder of the wonderful song of this special bird, then click on the audio on this RSPB page here.
That's exactly what I can hear right now. And it's LOUD!But there's one thing that does concern me. How on earth does this little bird keep singing day and night, for what must be well over a week now, without getting a sore throat?
If I sang my heart out for just an hour I'd need a long, long rest before I could repeat it.They're real stayers, these nightingales
and I, for one, salute them all.
Wow, what happened today? Beat my last visitor record by 300%! Triple wow!
Anyway, I've got another nomination for President of the World. And the nomination is (drum roll please): Allan Savory.
He's a guy who made a monumental mistake, admitted it and now is spending the rest of his life trying to make up for it. And if his discovery about reversing desertification is a fraction as great as he suggests and if it's not too late already, he may just have saved our climate and ourselves from ourselves.Have a look at his bravely honest and refreshingly insightful TED talk and see what you think. And maybe the smart money now is in desert real estate......
Have you read this most wonderful Derek Walcott poem on those mindful moments when you can stop that chattering thinking, engage directly with your senses and rediscover yourself for a while?This is my most favourite poem ever.
It feels even more powerful when I read it aloud.Hope you like it too...Take care
and have a great week.x
I apologize that I've been rather remiss in posting recently because I've been hurriedly watching video lectures recently on one of the Coursera courses
I signed up for - It's called "Know Thyself" and I needed to download all the lectures and watch them before the course went off air. Ron's been very patiently watching TV with headphones on, so I could concentrate on being a girlie swot and watch the lectures on the computer every night for the past couple of weeks.
This one was a philosophy/psychology course with lectures given by Professor Mitch Green of the University of Virginia and I absolutely loved it. The lecturer was so interesting, calm, kind, passionate and unassuming and, well, humble. Nothing like the lecturers I ever had! And it's helped me greatly with my study of what makes us people tick and to answer a little more of the questions "who is my "self"?" and "what/how do I want my "self" to be?" On top of that I've also been doing the "Introduction to Irrational Behaviour" course and a new one I've just started is "Nutrition, Health and Lifestyle". Much more fun that TV I reckon, but then "Love of Learning" is one of my top 5 strengths so there you go....
And if you haven't looked into the massive online experience of Coursera courses yet and you share my love of learning then there's bound to be something there for you.
Why not give it a go? Click on the link above and use the search function to find something you think you'd enjoy. And if it doesn't work out, you can stop anytime and you've lost nothing. Sure, you need to devote some time to it each week, but it's very, very good and it's free!
I'm also reading about the difference between women's and men's brains and the (fairly predictable) psychological changes we all go through during our lifetime. I find it fascinating that the journey is pretty much similar for most of us humans but no one teaches us this stuff. And then I just came across a way to illustrate one difference between men and women; two w
The first is by those clever marketing people at Dove about women's self-perception of beauty.
They got a forensic artist (someone who draws faces from witness statements for the police) to draw a woman's face from her own description - she's hidden behind a screen so the artist never sees her. Then they ask a stranger to describe the same woman and the artist draws this image too. The woman then gets to see both drawings and is able to see the difference between how she sees herself and how others see her. It's very enlightening and quite moving and, understandably, all quite girlie!
If you haven't yet seen it, you must watch the video here.
But then, I hear you cry, what would happen if men were being interviewed instead? What would the results be? Have a look at this second video
for a possible answer.I love the irreverent way that
people take wonderful, emotion-laden stuff and just turn it on it's head and make you laugh at it (and yourself). I think it's so wonderfully human.
And I think it reminds us that we could try to not take life so seriously....
Today is the UN's International Day of Happiness.So try to make some time for a smile today - for you and for those around you.
And facially-speaking, for most of us, it's more comfortable to smile
with your muscles than to frown, so why not give your face a break too!
Win-win all round.....And if you'd like to read how happy you're supposed to be, based on where you live, you can download the UN's 2012 report on World Happiness here.Have a great day!Kate
I mentioned, before, a friend who stayed at a Buddhist retreat learned there that the best way to start the day was to simply smile upon waking while still lying there in bed. She'd just lie there and grin to herself for a few moments before getting up. She said that it was something she would continue doing forever - that it really set her up for the day.
She even had a sign by her bed to remind her to smile every morning!
And now some clever researchers at the University of Kansas have shown why it works. They've found that even if we only pretend to smile, even if we fake it by shoving chopsticks in our mouths to mimic the action with our facial muscles and we don't know that we're supposed to be smiling, we actually de-stress and feel happier.The theory is that the act of smiling actually tells our brain that we are
not in any danger and so we relax and our blood-pressure lowers and our heart rate slows and we feel better!You don't have to mean it. Try it. Just fake a smile and maybe you'll find, in a few seconds, that it turns into a real one. You just can't help it!
Go on. Give it a go right now. Go on! Just for me....
You can see a summary of the research here
And next time you find yourself feeling stressed or upset, why not try smiling and see what happens?
It's been proven that optimists live longer and enjoy that longer life to its fullest. And the good news is that w
e all start out life as optimists.
So why do so many of us see that glass as half-empty or maybe focus on the bad in good things rather than seeing the good in bad things? Psychologists have proven that we learn pessimism from someone else, most usually our mother.
I've always thought of myself as a realist, but the truth is that my parents were not great optimists and then a career in science and project management has taught me to look for problems and to plan for failure. And I used to struggle being optimistic about bad things and even the good things that life threw my way.S
o I thought I'd share some of the stuff that's helped me get back on track and also highlight things that we can do to help kids hold on to the optimism they're born with.
Kids learn pessimism from their primary caregiver at a very early age; they will lose their natural optimism and will then be at a much higher risk of developing depression in the future because of it.In the book "Learned Opt
imism" by Martin Seligman he explains that to keep your kids happy and optimistic, you need to make sure they hear you always explaining bad events that happen either to you, or to them, with an optimistic tone. And this, of course, works with everyone and not just kids, including ourselves.
And so whenever we encounter a problem in our life, for the sake of our own optimism and that of those around us, we need to try to explain why bad events happen as follows:1. T
he cause of the event is a temporary, one-off thing"Never mind, the test was very hard, next time you'll do better.
2. It is specific to just one small part of your world"I burnt the toast but luckily there's more bread in the freezer.
"3. It is
not someone's fault but external factors caused it.
"I didn't get the promotion because the boss was in a bad mood that day."This means that you avoid using words such as
"Always" and "Never" and also you are careful how you criticize someone's (including your own) actions - don't make it personal - criticize the behaviour not the person.
"It's so unlike me, I must've been really tired that day" rather than "I always screw it up, I'm such a loser."Or "Don't worry, it was just a mistake" rather than, "You never get it right, do you?"And the opposite is the case for good things that happen. To give your optimism a boost, they are best explained in the opposite way to bad things; you say that the reasons for the good thing are permanent, specific and about the person. "Of course you passed. you're were always so clever at biology" instead of "You were lucky the questions were on the things you studied this time."Or"The day was a great success. You always organise these things so well"
instead of "These things never usually go so well, we were so lucky with the weather."
Now I know it's not always a good thing to be blindly optimistic and take crazy risks with money or your health, for example, and some people are happy JUST being grumpy or harshly realistic about life. But if the world has bashed you around a bit and you wish you could be as optimistic as you were when you were younger; the good news is that optimism can be re-learned.
Cognitive behavioural therapy is the term used for the technique that can help you to understand why you think the way you do and change that thinking to a more positive, optimistic tone. And you will become happier and healthier because of it. It's not a quick fix and takes considerable effort and time, but if you want to read a great self-help book on how to use CBT, I recommend this one
by Stephen Briers.
And for a lighter read you can discover more about being optimistic in your thinking and behaviour here
And finally, if you would like to read more great, powerful things to say to your kids, check out this wonderful post by Dr Kim
If Eeyore can do it, anyone can! Have a great day.“It's snowing still," said Eeyore gloomily.
"So it is."
"Yes," said Eeyore. "However," he said, brightening up a little, "we haven't had an earthquake lately.” A.A. Milne
As a child, I was always to be found with my nose in a book. I would read whenever I got the chance. It was my way of escaping and going to new, exciting places and seeing life through other peoples' eyes.
I would read in the daytime. And I would read by torchlight at night, in bed so as not to be discovered by my parents and be told to go to sleep. They said that I would ruin my eyesight by reading in dim lighting but I didn't care. I just had to read that next page in the book.And, amazingly, my eyesight remained perfect for over 40 years.
Until, that is, a couple of years ago when it suddenly started to deteriorate.
I remember the day that I realised I had a vision problem; we were out food shopping and I complained to Ron that the writing on a label was too small to read. How ridiculous was it to write something so small on the label that it was impossible to read? But Ron could read it perfectly. I was shocked to realise that my body was now officially getting old even though my mind is still (and will ever be) right there at my favourite age of 25!So I did what people do, I bought a pair of cheap reading glasses
and they helped me with labels when shopping. And then I found that I couldn't write neatly anymore without wearing the glasses.
A slippery slope I thought. Next stop the opticians?
So not being one to take things lying down, I got a couple of books on
improving your eyesight and started doing some eye exercises at the start of this year.
And I haven't used my glasses since. I'm not saying that my eyesight is perfect now, but it is still improving. All my eyes needed was a workout. I suppose, like the muscles in your body, they need exercising or they lose their strength.
If you fancy a go at trying to improve your eyesight, or just making sure they stay healthy, then you can try these exercises here
. Or have a look this book here
or check out the many sources of information on the Bates method on-line
I found the main thing to remember was to do the eye exercises very, very slowly to avoid any pain. Stop and go slower if you experience any strain, pain or headaches. And try to be as relaxed as possible as you do the exercises. Just like you would for any stretching of muscles in your body.
And stick at it. It took me a couple of weeks of daily exercises to notice a difference.Now I know that opinion is divided as to whether eye exercises do anything at all to improve your eyesight; maybe this only works for some lucky people. And some exercises that some people advocate (like looking directly at the sun - say what?) seem downright crazy, but surely the basic movement and focusing and relaxation exercises can't hurt to try. All I know is that they worked for me.
What do you have to lose?