All posts tagged: wisdom

Poetry Friday

If I Had My Life to Live Over By Nadine Stair – aged 85 If I had my life to live over, I’d dare to make more mistakes next time. I’d relax, I would limber up. I would be sillier than I have been this trip. I would take fewer things seriously. I would take more chances. I would climb more mountains and swim more rivers. I would eat more ice cream and less beans. I would perhaps have more actual troubles, but I’d have fewer imaginary ones. You see, I am one of those people who has lived sensibly and sanely, hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I’ve had my moments, and if I had to do it over again, I’d have more of them. In fact, I’d try to have nothing else. Just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day. I’ve been one of those people who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a raincoat and a parachute. If I had to do it again, I would travel lighter than I have. If I …

Be happy. Be productive. Build PERMA.

We all want to be happy. When we’re happy we look on the bright side of life, take ourselves less seriously, become more motivated, loving, and are generally better people. Scientist know our genes and upbringing influence around 50% of the variation in our personal levels of happiness.  Our circumstances 10%, e.g our income and external environment. Which leaves as much as 40% accounted for by our daily activities – the relationships we keep, the work we do and the choices we make. Our actions strongly impact our happiness levels, which is great news because it means we have great control over them and can therefore almost instantly, boost our happiness. Respected positive psychologist Professor Martin Seligman developed a well-being theory called the PERMA Model. It combines the five building blocks required for a happy and flourishing life. These five blocks are – POSITIVE EMOTION (P) Experiencing feelings of joy, hope, love, inspiration, satisfaction, gratitude or any positive emotion allows us to experience wellbeing. ENGAGEMENT (E) When we’re fully engaged in a challenging task and time seems to stand still, we experience a state of flow (see blog post ‘How do you …

The Art of Resilience

We will all experience suffering at some point in our lives. Perhaps through illness, heartbreak or death. Difficult times are inevitable, often hitting us some idle Wednesday afternoon, unexplained and unexpected. No matter how careful we are, how honorable a life we lead or how hard we try to avoid pain, in the words of Buddha, life is suffering so it’s inevitable it will affect us all eventually. For some, suffering will be an old friend, to others a frightening new foe. We cannot change the things that happen to us, we must each accept that. Fortunately, we can change the way we respond to them and this is where building resilience is key. What is Resilience? def. the ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy. It’s important to point out resilience isn’t overcoming pain nor trying to forget it ever happened, instead it is growth and personal development through suffering and adversity. Author, psychologist and resilience specialist, Chris Johnstone designed the Self Help SSRI Model to help each of us improve our resilience. It’s important to …

Why do Digital Devices Affect our Happiness?

Scientists know 40% of our personal happiness levels are accounted for by our daily activities (50% genes & upbringing, 10% income & environment). So our lifestyle, the relationships we have and the habits we keep, significantly affect our happiness. We live in a hectic digital age where it’s impossible to avoid technology; iPhones, laptops, tablets and digital TV are an all-encompassing part of our daily routines. We’re addicted to notifications, checking our phones at any free moment and at the mercy of emails, checking them last thing at night (from our tranquil beds!) and first thing in the morning straight after we’ve switched off the alarm (our lovers don’t stand a chance!). Pressured to ‘show face’ on social media and regularly finding ourselves watch TV whilst navigating multiple Whatsapps and browsing Facebook on our iPads. Like it or not, we are all utterly addicted to technology, in fact, the average smartphone user now checks their phone a whopping 150 times a day! Unsurprisingly, these addictive digital habits are affecting our mental health and suppressing happiness. Millennials are struggling to sleep and suffering …

Poetry Friday

One for a (hopefully) sunny Bank Holiday! Wear sunscreen. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it. The long-term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience. I will dispense this advice now. Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth. Oh, never mind. You will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they’ve faded. But trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked. You are not as fat as you imagine. Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle …

Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust – Why Every Adult Needs to see the New Pixar Animation

Pixar’s new animation Inside Out is about an 11 year old girl named Riley and five of her emotions – Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust. These emotions live in headquarters in her mind influencing her actions, guarding her personality and storing memories. The story sees Riley’s family relocating from Minnesota to San Francisco after her father gets a new job, and the trials and tribulations her emotions go through as she settles into a new home and school life. From Director Peter Docter (Monsters Inc, Up) , “the idea was to portray what happens in the human mind as emotions set in, and depict it through animation.” The subtext is rich with wisdom and repeatedly expresses the rich repercussions determination and positive thinking produce. Yet it also explores the power of sadness and inevitability of growing up. Leaving your childhood self behind and embracing change to allow personal growth and renewal to happen. Inside Out is a poignant, smart and uplifting emotional roller coaster that will make you laugh and cry. An exhilarating battle between Joy and …

An Inspiring Expression of Man’s Heart and Mind

I often share the words of Kahlil Gibran in my Poetry Friday posts, so today is dedicated to the source of that poetry – his best selling book The Prophet. The Prophet is a collection of 26 essays written in English by the Lebanese artist. A masterpiece, it has been translated into more than 20 languages and is considered one of the most loved classics of our time. Gibran was also a philosopher and each chapter provides us with wise insight on how to approach different aspects of our life. These topics include love, children, giving, work, joy and sorrow, laws, freedom, reason and passion, pain, self-knowledge, teaching, friendship, talking, time, pleasure, beauty and death. It is a profound and spiritual read containing many a simple truth, expressed with poetic fluidity. It is a book that can be read over and over again, or dipped in and out of when inspiration is needed. I would highly recommend you invest in a copy – and another for a friend, because it makes a great present and is certainly a book that needs to be …

Rediscover the Power of Mother Nature

This weekend for two days only, the London Parks & Gardens Trust (in association with the National Trust) are offering a fabulous incentive to promote London’s green spaces – the Open Garden Square’s Weekend. In honour of this Historical event, run solely by volunteers, today’s post is about reconnecting with Mother Nature. When we were young, most of us couldn’t get enough of the Great outdoors. Charging outside at any given moment to make perfume from flower concoctions, jump in muddy puddles or follow adventure trails through the woods. But why do we so quickly lose that desire as we grow older? Our lives become so busy, it’s easy to forget how magical and nurturing nature can be. Living in London we become blinded by the miles of concrete and rows of skyscrapers that dominate our physical environment. Yet underneath it all lies a peaceful, natural landscape. The foundation of our planet and all that lives and thrives on it. Our core. The provider. Mother Nature is a beautiful, life-giving power that we must endeavour to keep in touch …

A to Zen of Life by The Dalai Lama

A to Zen of Life, By The Dalai Lama  A – Avoid negative sources, people, places, things and habits B – Believe in yourself and succeed C – Consider things from every angle D – Don’t give up and don’t give in E – Enjoy life today, yesterday is gone and tomorrow may never come F – Family and friends are hidden treasures, seek them and enjoy their riches G – Give more than you planned to H – Hang onto your dreams I –  If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door J – Just do it K – Keep trying no matter how hard it seems L – Love yourself M – Make it happen N – Never lie, steal or cheat. Always strike a fair deal O – Open your eyes and see things as they really are P –  Practice makes perfect Q – Quality not quantity in anything you do R-  Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer S – Stop procrastinating T – Take control of your own destiny …

Redefine Success and Create a Happier Life

When Arianna Huffington collapsed from exhaustion in 2007, she was forced to take a long hard look at her life and redefine what success meant to her. With her health so visibly deteriorating, the classic notions of success as money and power, were irrelevant. If she wasn’t alive, both would cease to matter. In her book THRIVE, we are introduced to a third metric of success. A metric that consists of four equal pillars. The pillars represent Wellbeing, Wisdom, Wonder and Giving and they make up the four chapters of her excellent book. An impassioned read, Arianna encourages us to look within ourselves and build a more meaningful and fulfilling life, aligned with our values. Touching on the importance of sleep and meditation to nourish our minds and bodies. We are also introduced to the power of giving back to our local communities and the joys of delighting in wonder. Something we rarely give ourselves the time to do. “Disconnecting from our technology to reconnect with ourselves is absolutely essential for wisdom.” Arianna Huffington Each page is filled with wisdom and insight, and I would …