All posts filed under: motivation

Forge meaning, build identity

If you can spare 20 minutes this afternoon, use it wisely and watch this inspiring TED Talk by Andrew Solomon – ‘how the worst moments in our lives make us who we are’. He explains how experiences form the foundations of our identities, and how we can build a better self and more colourful identity in the face of adversity. Reminding us we can learn to endure pain if we’re mindful it can forge greater meaning in our lives. Tissues at the ready for the final few minutes! Enjoy.

Put your phone down and pick up a book! 10 ways reading can boost your mental health

Technotox is here to try and encourage each of us to switch off to the drains and distractions of digital technology – emails, social media, addictive computer games – we spend far too many hours devoted to our screens, in fact the average person now checks their phone 150 times a day and unsurprisingly, it’s affecting our mental health. Being a slave to our phones can leave us feeling brain dead, overwhelmed and lost. So it’s time for a technology-detox and to rediscover more traditional activities that help promote our well-being, those which nuture rather than neglect our mental health. Reading is one such activity and has lots of wonderful merits, here are my top 10 – Stimulates the mind Reading keeps the brain sharp and the mind active. Unlike watching TV – a passive pastime, it stimulates our brain cells, helps build the memory muscle and gives our minds a workout. Reduces stress Reading is incredibly relaxing and can help us unwind after a hard day. It’s proven it reduces stress levels; as an engaging activity that requires …

How do you find your flow?

A moment in your life when time stands still, oblivious to the world around you, so fully focused on what you’re doing, concentrating so hard, time disappears completely. Psychologists call these fully absorbent times, flow states or a ‘heightened state of consciousness’. Perhaps you find flow doing a crossword, playing a competitive sport or writing and giving a powerful speech (like the legendary Martin Luther King, Jr – featured above). There are many activities in which flow can be found, but it can only happen under very strict conditions – at times when our skills are tested, but our ability is just about sufficient to meet the challenge. Stretching us to our maximum limit. If the challenge is too easy, we become bored and lose interest, too hard and we become anxious and want to give up. So flow cannot be achieved. Achieving flow is incredibly important to achieving inner happiness, it leaves us feeling worthy, satisfied and encourages personal growth. Testing our limits and fulfilling our  potential. Unfortunately, the amount of time we spend surfing the internet, checking social media sites and watching catch-up TV …

Find what you love

Steve Jobs co-founder of Apple Inc and Pixar Animations, was responsible for revolutionising four major industries in his relatively short life; computing, music, movies and mobile telephones. He was a visionary who transformed our day-to-day lives through his passion for technology and drive for perfection. But something few people know about Steve Jobs is he was an incredibly spiritual man with a deep interest in Zen Buddhism. It began in high school when he started experimenting with fasting and rigid vegan diets. Then during his only semester at Reed College, Steve continued to explore his spirituality by creating his own reading list, including the following titles – Be Here Now by Richard Alpert, Cosmic Consciousness by Richard Maurice Bucke, Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism by Chögyam Trungpa, Meditation in Action by Chögyam Trungpa, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki Once Steve dropped out of College, he continued to sleep on friends’ floors and drop in on lectures which took his fancy. Meanwhile he would travel seven miles across town to the local Hare Krishna temple once a week for a good meal. In the Summer of 1974 he …

Positive Psychology

This book is an easy to follow introduction to Positive Psychology for anyone with an interest in mindfulness or searching for authentic happiness. Positive Psychology is the most recent branch of psychology, founded by Martin Seligman. It is summarised in his own words as the ‘scientific study of optimal human functioning, it aims to discover and promote the factors that allow individuals and communities to thrive.’ (Seligman & Csikszentmilhalyi, 2000). In this book you will find the results of scientific studies carried out to help us understand the key factors in creating and maintaining a happy life. Broken down into 15 easily digestible chapters including Optimism and Hope, Living in Flow, Happiness and Subjective Wellbeing, Time in Our Lives, Love and Positive Psychology interventions, it provides a brilliant overview of optimal human functioning along with simple tools and tips on how to apply it to your own life. A highly recommended read. Positive Psychology in a Nutshell: The Science of Happiness by Ilona Boniwell Available at all good book shops or via Amazon.

Talking to your Future Self is an interesting website founded by Jason Wachob, Carver Anderson and Tim Glenister. Their mission is to “Revitalise the way people eat, move and live” – providing an ongoing conversation about health, with useful tools and information to help you achieve the life you want. I discovered a great list on their site recently, a list of things my future self would want me to know. The exercise encourages a more balanced life by taking a mindful approach to how we spend our time now and what impact that will have on our future. Take a look for yourself and think about what your future self might want you to know – 

The Great Outdoors

There’s nothing like running through a park on a crisp and sunny autumnal day. Pacing over crunchy fallen leaves, in every shade of orange imaginable. A time to reconnect with mother earth, away from the drain and noise of our digital age. I urge everyone of you to take the time this month to run in your local park one morning. Leave your iPods and iPhones behind and just carry your own thoughts from tree to tree. Notice the difference in the air and the clarity in your attentions.