One sentence you need to stop saying if you want to feel good

 

One sentence you need to stop saying if you want to feel good

 

When is the last time someone asked you, “How are you?” and you responded with, “I’m not too bad thanks”.

I used to say it all the time but now I try to stop myself uttering it and it’s one sentence you need to stop saying if you want to feel good.

Why?

Thoughts are real things. What you think, especially repeatedly, you believe.

So what’s the harm in saying, “I’m not too bad thanks”?

 

One sentence you need to stop saying if you want to feel good

 

If you think about how you are feeling on a scale of good to bad, this response is on the bad side of the scale.

In other words you’re bad but you’re not too bad.

If we repeatedly express we are feeling bad, how can we ever hope to feel good?

In other words it’s a negative expression. If we say it without thinking then surely we’re coming from a negative standpoint.

When someone now asks me, “How are you?” I try to say, “Good thanks” or “I’m out of this world crazy loving it”.

Ok maybe I’ve never said the second one but it’s amazing how much better you feel when you chose to express positive sentiment rather than settle for a negative one.

Give it a try, I bet you’ll feel better.

I recently read a great article which I highly recommend entitled: The Science of Positive Thinking: How Positive Thoughts Build Your Skills, Boost Your Health, and Improve Your Work by James Clear, which is based on the works of Barbara Fredrickson a positive psychology researcher at the University of North Carolina.

If you don’t believe thoughts are real then let me point this out to you: the very device you are reading this blog post on was once just a thought in someone’s head.

 

One sentence you need to stop saying if you want to feel good

 

If you’d like to read another post of mine on positive thinking you can do so by clicking here.

Ps – If you’d like to subscribe to this blog (I’ll send you one email a week containing one link to a new blog post of mine) then you can do so by clicking here.

 

 

Do something amazing today: meet Morgan

 

Do something amazing today: meet Morgan

 

The text below was written by Morgan’s father:

Last March my son Morgan (14 at the time) started having headaches and blurred vision. This was Sunday.

On Monday we were told he might need glasses.

The following Sunday we were in a blue light ambulance to Cardiff where surgeon, Paul Leach, performed a ventricolostomy – a bypass operation – on his brain.

Morgan had a rapidly growing brain tumour that was blocking the pathways from his brain to the spine.

There then followed three months of chemotherapy.

In August Morgan underwent an operation for 12 hours.

This was followed by a month of radio therapy . Unfortunately after all that Morgan contracted a disease called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

This damaged a nerve in his legs and kicked off the syndrome which meant he couldn’t walk. Over the weeks his leg muscles eroded and eventually he couldn’t straighten his legs beyond about 70 degrees.

He is now, almost a year since it started, in slow recovery.

He can’t walk properly yet and has obviously some challenges. He is back to school one day a week and is, to my detriment, reinstating his skills of wit and sarcasm.

He is still emotional and can be afraid of things that before didn’t bother him. But he’s recovering.

When Morgan had his three months of chemotherapy he was on the Teenage Cancer Trust Ward.  His hair was gone, he couldn’t eat for weeks at a time (if he did he was almost inevitably sick), he became very thin.

For anyone of any age that would be enough but for a teenager, when you are very self-conscious and exposed you are confused and emotions are highly charged.

What the Teenage Cancer Trust did was to offer an environment where he could be with others of his own age and be treated as a teenager with dignity.

 

Do something amazing today: meet Morgan

 

On the weekend, I’m doing an 188 foot abseil off the Newport Transporter Bridge in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust – if you can see you way to sponsor me that would be great.

You can text a donation by doing the following:

Send the word:

wels71

Followed by a space then the amount you want to donate eg. 5

to

70070

So wels71 5 sent to 70070 will be a donation of £5. You can only use the following amounts: 1, 2, 3, 5 or 10.

Or you can visit my Just Giving by clicking here.

Thank you very much.

 

Do something amazing today: meet Morgan

 

 

 

 

Wise advice on why you need to stop worrying

 

Wise advice on why you need to stop worrying

 

The other day Meagan left, the house, to go to shopping with clear instructions on two jobs for me to do.

“Put the washing out and screw the broken door back on”.

The broken door in question was the little door to our shoe cupboard.

I had about 4 hours in which to do these two jobs but I also wanted to do some other jobs for myself but they all seemed completely do-able. Having said that I also had to look after Monty, our 10 month old, so this was an added complication.

 

Wise advice on why you need to stop worrying

 

I decided to tackle the washing first.

I got it out of the washing machine and proceeded to load it onto our clothes donkey (which is a clothes horse with a dodgy leg).

This is Monty’s cue for us to take part in an hilarious game in which he proceeds to pull anything off the donkey that I put on it.

 

Wise advice on why you need to stop worrying

 

After trying and failing to put a pair of my soggy pants on the clothes donkey for the fifth time I decided to stop what I was doing.

“Monty this isn’t helping!’

He smiled at me.

I looked out the conservatory window and noticed the sun temporarily winning it’s battle with the clouds. I bathed in its rays for a moment, realising that I haven’t seen the sun for a while. This has, after all, been the wettest winter on record.

Having said that the weather is a prolific record breaker.

 

Wise advice on why you need to stop worrying

 

I thought, “Shall I chance hanging the washing on the line outside?”

My decision was made when I looked at Monty smiling widely and sensing victory, in the clothes donkey game, as he threw my wet pair of pants onto the floor.

Within twenty minutes I was back inside the house weighing up the chance of me having to rush back outside and retrieve the washing amidst a predictable downpour.

I stood there mulling this over for two full minutes.

It’s then that I had this realisation: It will take the clothes a good few hours to dry but only a few seconds to get wet.

You don’t have to be a professional risk assessor to realise that this was a bad bet on my part.

Here I was in the back end of the wettest winter we’ve ever known with nothing more than hope that the weather will hold off long enough to dry our families clothes.

At first I thought, “I’ll sit close to the door and rush out and pull it all in on the first sign of rain”. Then I thought, “So what? If it rains it rains, the clothes will get wet. There’s no point worrying about it”

 

Wise advice on why you need to stop worrying

 

Four hours later I was retrieving our dry, freshly smelling clothes as the sun was setting.

I understand hanging out washing probably isn’t the greatest analogy for life’s fears but in most cases it’s worth completely ignoring your worries.

Don’t take my word for it. In his Legacy Project Karl A. Pillemer P.H.D. asked 1,200 elderly people this question:

When you look back over your life what do you regret?

The most common answer be far was:

“I regret that I worried so much about everything”

They suggested eliminating worry is the single most positive step you can make toward greater happiness.

John Alonzo, 83, a construction worker, had battled a lifetime of financial insecurity. But he didn’t think twice in giving this advice:

“Don’t believe that worrying will solve or help anything. It won’t. So stop it”.

Betty, 76, expressed this point with a succinct example:

“I was working, and we learned that there were going to be layoffs in my company in three months. I did nothing with that time besides worry.

I poisoned my life by worrying obsessively, even though I had no control over what would happen. Well — I wish I had those three months back”

 

Screenshot 2014-02-27 19.44.55

 

By the way I didn’t get round to fixing the door.

I know I said worrying is a waste of time but after our clothes donkey game, I was worried Monty and I would burn ourselves out if we’d tried to tackle another job, so we went for a little nap instead.

 

Ps – if you worry a lot I’d love you to fill in my survey by clicking here.

Pps – if you’d like to subscribe to this blog, you can do by clicking here

 

 

A simple mind trick that helped me feel happier

 

A simple mind trick that helped me feel happier

 

Last week I spent several days in a dark mood. I lacked, inspiration motivation and to a certain extent, hope.

I didn’t care about anything. I was truly apathetic.

The only emotion I felt I could honestly relate to and express was anger. Of course I held it inside for the most part but it was still there.

 

A simple mind trick that helped me feel happier

 

On day three of my seemingly never ending mood, as I cycled into work, I had one thought that helped relieve my depression.

It’s a simple mind trick that helped me feel happier.

It came to me as I thought about the recent passing of Meagan’s nan.

Her last few weeks were spent, getting slowly weaker in a hospital bed. When I last saw her, via Facetime, it took all her strength to say, “Hello”.

Apparently during the last few days she just wanted to go. She’d had enough.

For some reason, I imagined myself in my advanced years, in a similar predicament. Then I imagined being like that and looking back on my life as it is, right now.

With this perspective, I considered what I’d have said to myself, if I could have spoken to myself right now.

This is what I would say:

“You’ve got a lovely little family, you’re all healthy, you’ve got a decent job and you’ve got friends. You have nothing to worry about. Learn to enjoy it right now whilst you can because it won’t last forever”

 

A simple mind trick that helped me feel happier

 

My problem was overly focusing on issues that aren’t really that important. They may seem important to me in the short term but they’re not really that important in the grander scheme of things.

I find it so easy to let small issues, which aren’t going as well as I’d like, get the better of me in the moment. So much so that I forget a more realistic and relevant perspective exists.

All I was experiencing was the trough of one wave. There are many more to come, in fact there’s an ocean full of them.

So the mind trick that helped me feel happier and I hope works for you is this:

Think like an old person.

Be the old you, with a few days left on the planet and look at your position right now where you are today and assess what your problems really are.

I guarantee they won’t seem as big as they seemed.

It also turns out that what we believe makes us happier, changes as we get older. I just read this great article, “What Makes Older People Happy by Judith Graham”.

This is an extract:

“When we’re young and believe we have a long future ahead, we prefer extraordinary experiences outside the realm of our day-to-day routines.

But when we’re older and believe that our time is limited, we put more value on ordinary experiences, the stuff of which our daily lives are made”.

Which perspective is more sustainable and essentially more wise?

 

A simple mind trick that helped me feel happier

 

 

Dave Stopera has been responsible for some awesome lists on Buzzfeed. You could do a lot worse than follow him on Twitter.

 

Which of these pictures make you smile the most?

 

Here’s another of his great lists entitled:

35 Pictures That Prove The World Isn’t Such A Bad Place.

The human condition is such that fear grabs our attention more than cheer and so this is portrayed in media.

This is no way reflects the reality of the world.

Many, many more good things happen on a daily basis than bad things but we often let the fears haunt us to the detriment of our happiness.

This is why I welcome lists like: 35 Pictures That Prove The World Isn’t Such A Bad Place.

Which of these pictures make you smile the most?

My favourites are these 3.

 

Which of these pictures make you smile the most?

 

Which of these pictures make you smile the most?

 

Which of these pictures make you smile the most?

Which of these pictures make you smile the most?

Another great post by Dave is called:

The 35 Happiest Things That Have Ever Happened.

 

Which of these pictures make you smile the most?

How to do more in less time.

We all have one thing in common. I’m not just referring to us humans. I’m talking about dogs, cats, wasps and all the other stuff.

It’s the most precious resource of all. We don’t know how much we have but we assume it’s plentiful. Unfortunately, once it’s gone, it’s gone and we can never get it back.

Of course I’m referring to time.

 

How to do more in less time

 

I recently had a birthday, which has put me twice as far away from my birth as it has from my retirement. This made me reflect on my life and the time I have left.

Then I realised I’ve no idea how much time I have left. So I should be grateful for any time I have now.

Therefore I’ve come to the conclusion that, while I still have some, I need to treat my time with a little bit more respect.

Up until now I frittered it away with gay abandon like it will never run out. In actual fact, I’ve been a fool thinking I own any time at all. This is not the case, time owns me but I can use it.

 

How to do more in less time

 

So why not use it wisely? In short, I can invest in it.

This is why this week I’ve broken down and planned my day into 5 minute chunks. I know… it sounds nuts.

Initially I did a working version on a spreadsheet but now it’s all in a cracking little app called cal on my iPhone. So I know exactly what I should be doing at any time of the day.

 

How to do more in less time

 

You’re probably thinking I’m a spreadsheet loving, lunatic. Well you’d be right but I’m also getting more done in less time.

Whereas before I used to stare zombie-like into space trying to think about what, of the many things I’d forgotten to do. Now I know exactly what I should be forgetting, when and how much time I should spend forgetting about it

 

How to do more in less time

 

So I focus on the one thing I’m meant to be doing until it’s time to move on to the next thing.

More often than not I finish the thing I’m meant to be doing, in the allotted time, therefore confirming Parkinson’s law:

“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”.

I have a process, a system that works and it frees up a lot of my time.

So rather than before, where I had little bits of time here and there, which I would waste doing nothing, now I have a bigger chunks of spare time to waste.

Besides I try to convince myself that it’s not a waste of time if I enjoy wasting it.

 

Screenshot 2014-02-13 19.42.04

 

By the way have you worked out how old I am? Only ask because I’m so old, I’ve forgotten.

 

 

7 little challenges that will make my life more exciting

I was feeling quite low recently and when this happens it’s often hard to pinpoint why.

Is it the weather? Am I eating badly? Am I not getting enough sleep? Am I exercising regularly?

I did manage to find the source of my recent darkness.

Boredom.

 

7 little challenges that will make my life more exciting

 

I’m not talking about temporary boredom because there’s nothing on TV for the next half hour. I mean systemic boredom that comes from feeling that my life has become a, never ending, monotonous routine.

I get up, I go to work, come home from work, pick the kids up, have dinner, get the kids ready for bed, get things ready for the next day, go to bed and it starts all over again.

It feels as if life has no purpose.

 

7 little challenges that will make my life more exciting

 

I thought this through and reflected on the other day, when I went for a run in stormy, torrential rain.

I felt alive.

You can read that blog post HERE

Surprisingly I really enjoyed it but at the time I don’t think I quite realised why.

Now I do.

It was because it was exciting.

I also realised it’s impossible to feel sad when you’re excited.

 

7 little challenges that will make my life more exciting

 

Happiness isn’t the absence of sadness, it’s the presence excitement or a state of flourishing (video) as many psychologists, including Martin Seligman, have coined it.

It’s easy to slip into a routine as it can make life’s little hassles easier but they also become forgettable.

It’s almost like ironing out the bumps in life but without the bumps there’s no variety and therefore no excitement.

So can I bake some excitement back into an otherwise routined lifestyle?

Yes.

It’s doesn’t have to be jumping off cliffs or swimming with Great Whites.

I’ve found small changes, in my routine, can have a great impact on my happiness.

So every morning when I get up, I look at my phone and read this sentence:

Today could be your last, be grateful for what you have and make the most of it. DO SOMETHING EXCITING TODAY.

Here’s an example of what I’ll be trying next week:

7 little challenges that will make my life more exciting:

1. Moan free Monday

I’m going to attempt not to whinge, moan or gossip on a Monday.

2. Gratituesday

I’m going to take a little time out to think about all the things I’m grateful for and make a point of personally giving thanks to people who have helped me in some small way.

3. Water Wednesday

I will not drink anything apart from water for 24 hours.

4. Thrill Thursday

I will do something that thrills me enough to make my heart beat faster. It can be something spontaneous or planning an adventure in the future.

5. TV free Friday

I will spend this time doing something constructive and creative.

6. Smile and nod Saturday

Smile at everyone I talk to and be agreeable. This is particularly hard for me as I can apparently start an argument in an empty house.

7. Share Sunday

I’m going to share something with someone that I think would help them.

 

7 little challenges that will make my life more exciting

 

 

 

I’m not a fan of the traditional hidden camera “prank” video as all the laughs seem to be at the expense of an unexpected victim.

 

At last a positive prank video

 

We have no idea what is really going on in the world of the victim.

They could be going through a rough patch so the last thing they want is to be humiliated on camera for the pleasure of strangers.

A good (or bad) example of this is the Devil Baby video.

Hidden camera prank videos don’t have to shock, scare or embarrass the participants to be funny. They can actually make them happy.

That’s why I loved the video below because it’s a positive prank video.

 

 

 

At last a positive prank video

 

 

I met an angel the other day… they weren’t as I’d imagined.

 

I met an angel the other day...

 

It happened on a garage forecourt.

To give you the background, due to both our kids being ill, Meagan and I had the week from hell.

Being sleep deprived and stressed, we were really looking forward to the weekend because it was going to be child free.

You see, we’ve just had this new sound proof cellar installed, with a feeding hatch, for the children… only kidding, it’s not completely sound proof, you can still hear a bit of noise if they are really playing up.

Only kidding… all we had to do was drive 60 miles up the motorway to drop the kids off with Meagan’s mother, then drive home and relax.

Seems quite straightforward doesn’t it?

 

I met an angel the other day...

 

The reality was a bit more complex.

Imagine the situation:

A stressed filled car crawling through near stationary traffic, in the pouring rain, containing two exhausted adults, trying to placate two poorly screaming kids.

Not the perfect recipe for a good Friday night.

When we finally arrived at the meet up point, which was half way between our house and Meagan’s mothers, we were concerned she wasn’t there.

So we gave her a call, just to check how her traverse of the M25 was progressing.

Considering there’s more people, at anyone time, stuck in a jam on the M25 than there are jars of jam on all UK’s supermarkets shelves, it wasn’t much of a surprise when she informed us that she’d be over an hour late.

 

I met an angel the other day...

 

Above the kids screaming Meagan desperately asked, “What we going to do for an hour?!”

It was still hammering it down as I looked at the cars dashboard display, which, for the last two weeks, had been nagging me that one of our tyres needed pumping up.

I suddenly had an ingenious idea. Why not kill two birds with one stone?

I looked at Meagan, in the back and smugly suggested, “We’ll go to a garage and get the tyre pumped up!”

For some reason, her expression didn’t reciprocate my enthusiasm.

Ten minutes later and I was manfully filling our tyre with air… or so I thought.

Unbeknownst to me, there was a fault with the machine and what I was actually doing is letting the tyre down.

 

tyre

 

I looked at the pressure display on the machine and figured it must be faulty.

So I started letting air out of the second tyre. Before I got to tyre number three I “quickly” realised something was up, or down.

I looked at the tyres carefully and deduced that they seemed to look flatter. I opened the door to the car and was immediately welcomed by a wall of crying misery.

“The machine has let our tyres down”, I explained to Meagan.

“Brilliant! What are we going to do now?”

 

I met an angel the other day...

 

Just as I was racking my brain for another genius idea, an angel appeared from nowhere.

Glowing, he calmly stated, “That machine is faulty”

“I know it just let my tyres down!”

“I’ve got a pump if you want me to pump them up”

“Yes please”, I said in awe.

Within minutes, the angel had pumped up our tyres and was heading into the distance. It’s only then that I realised that this was THE ARCHANGEL.

The highest ranking angel of all.

How did I know?

Because on his glowing high viz jacket were the letters, “THE AA”.

I’d like to point out I’m not a member of The AA and the only payment he accepted was a, “Thank you”.

 

I met an angel the other day...

 

This is not an endorsement for a company but for a person, who, on a horribly wet and windy busy Friday evening went out of his way to help us out, just because he could.

Sometimes a small act of kindness, such as this, can make someones day and on this occasion it did.

This, in my mind, is the behaviour of an angel.

 

I met an angel the other day...

 

 

 

I was going to give up running the other day because it was so hard.

Every step I took hurt me.

 

3 reasons to spend time doing something you don't like doing

 

I was only half a mile into a six mile run when I thought, “I’m going to stop, turn around and walk home. In fact I’m going to stop, call Meagan and ask her to come and pick me up. I can’t do this anymore it’s torture”.

I’ve no idea why it was so hard but it almost put my off running for life.

Anyway through gritted teeth I managed to complete the six miles and get home without, completely, dying.

Three days on and I’d decided to do the same run again.

I was dreading it.

 

3 reasons to spend time doing something you don't like doing

 

I listen to podcasts whilst I run but also use an App called RunKeeper which tells me my pace, time and distance every half a mile.

I decided to switch off the pace and distance announcements.

I figured, “Why put myself under more pressure when just doing the run was hard enough?”

 

3 reasons to spend time doing something you don't like doing

 

As I ran the only annoucements I was getting was the time markers. So the lady in my ear would say, “3 minutes 42 seconds”.

As I struggled past the first mile the lady said, “7 minutes 24 seconds”. It’s then that I realised this wasn’t just how long I’d run for, this was time.

Not only that, this was time my time I’m was using up and I wouldn’t get it back.

Then I thought, “Am I enjoying this?”

Not really, it’s hurting.

 

3 reasons to spend time doing something you don't like doing

 

I’d always thought that one of the secrets to living a happier life was doing more of what you enjoyed.

If this is true why do I run? As it’s hardly ever enjoyable at the time.

After contemplating this I can up with this answer:

Time is unlike anything else.

We don’t own it but we do have some.

We don’t know how much we have but we know it’s limited.

We also know once it’s gone, it’s gone.

So why waste it doing something you don’t like doing?

 

3 reasons to spend time doing something you don't like doing

 

There’s only 3 reasons to spend time doing something you don’t like doing:

1. It’s the best option at the time.

The alternative to what you’re doing is worse – for example, going for a run is better for me than sitting on my backside watching rubbish TV, shoving food into my face.

2. It’s an Investment.

We can’t get anytime back but we can invest in our health to achieve an extended period of time with a better quality of life. Doing something healthy is investing in yourself.

3. It has feel good after properties.

If what we’re doing makes us feel better about ourselves after we do it, it’s worth it. It’s scientifically proven that exercise make us happier.

You can’t be happy all the time but this this time isn’t wasted if it’s spent investing in your future well being.

This video is very powerful.

 

 

 3 reasons to spend time doing something you don't like doing

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