Pleasures in simple moments

The sun has gone on holiday. I’ve had to drag out the heater again, pile on jumpers and walk home in the rain – luckily I have a trusty brolly in my bag.

Despite the gloomy weather this as been a brilliant day which stared with a lovely email from ve540447_296256847127709_197996310287097_675934_299281390_nry dear friend (Susan) sharing all her news,  lots of nice comments, including one from a very old friend (Geoff) on my blog from yesterday.

A couple of hours later I received an extremely excited text message from a student with the news she’d passed her English exam (heaps of smiley faces told me she was pleased). The positivity continued with fun and laughter in subsequent classes and concluded with a really amiable conversation group this evening. Nothing earth shattering BUT I enjoyed every moment.

Happiness can be found in the simplest of things and by taking pleasure in the joys others experience. Make someone happy today by showing how much you value them as an individual. Pick up the phone, send a note, a text or whatever you fancy. Go on……reach out and bring a moment of happiness to both your lives.

Michelle

Happiness Challenge

At the beginning of this week I announced I was taking part in the Happiness Challenge as part of the lead up to International Day of Happiness.  I’d like to share the challenge below:

“We all have faults and weaknesses but we all, also, have strengths and positive attributes. Focusing on the former tends to sap self-esteem and confidence whereas focusing on the latter has been shown to contribute to feeling better about oneself. Your challenge today, therefore, is to write a list of your top three qualities (if you struggle to think of some ask a close friend, relative or trusted work colleague). Think of all the ways you currently use these strengths AND of all the additional ways you could use them in the future.”

Challenge provided by Dr Timothy Sharp (@drhappy) of The Happiness Institute. LINK.
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So although it might be blowing my own trumpet, my self assessed list of top three qualities are:
  • Authenticity
  • Integrity
  • Reliability

I encourge everyone reading this to take a moment to think about your top qualities and share them here – time to blow your own trumpet.

Michelle

Self care – an essential

419290_511331578905810_463274963_nLooking after yourself. Taking care of number one. It doesn’t always come easily. However, it’s also absolutely essential we learn to practice this on a regular basis.  In today’s electronic age it’s too easy to always be ‘on’, to feel the need to check emails and answer mobile phones with little regard to the day or the hour.

I know, from first hand experience, that we are faced with onerous responsibilities, tough decision making and coping with a myriad of demands on a daily basis. It’s so easy to allow ourselves to be engulfed by the burdens that are an integral part of todays corporate landscape. This frequently includes a tightened budget which translates into more needing to be done with less. Less human resources to tackle tasks have a tendency to result in longer hours, placing even more pressure on individuals.

Self care should be embedded in our lives. We are all different and there is no one size fits all but, the one thing that is common to everyone is that, unless we practise self care we are unable to continually thrive and function at optimum levels.

Most of us naturally place our families first and foremost – definitely the way it should be. But, it shouldn’t be at the expense of our own sanity or the risk of losing ourselves.

Self care means setting boundaries. It means valuing and respecting our own worth. It means being able to say no without having an attack of the guilts. It means carving out time especially for ourselves and regarding it as a necessity as opposed to an indulgence.

Michelle

Living in the moment

When I was a child a year seemed like an awfully long time. It was an unbearable wait till Christmas rolled around each year. At boarding school the terms seemed to drag on interminably whilst I counted down the days until school holidays. I think that’s pretty normal for kids, approaching life with gusto, keen to move on to whatever comes next.

I remember wishing that I was 16, then I wanted to be 18 and before I knew it I was celebrating my 21st birthday. After that the years fled by at the speed of light. The older I get the faster they whizz past.

As I’ve grown older I’ve become much more aware of how important it is to cherish the precious moments in life. It’s not about the places. It’s about the moment we are in. We don’t have a rewind button so we absolutely have to enjoy experiences the first time round. I think many of us struggle with remembering to live in the moment, after all how often do you find yourself walking or driving along thinking about what you will cook for dinner tonight, or about a meeting you have to attend, a place you want to go next or something else in either the past or the future?

When we do these kinds of things (and hey, I’m as guilty as the next oappreciating_full_400f this), what we are actually doing is robbing ourselves of time to enjoy and appreciate what surrounds us at that very moment and place in time.

I know that when I am consciously in that exact moment, I notice so much more. My powers of observation are much sharper and this is a good thing. I am focussing on what is right there in front of me. It might be the beauty of some little detail on a building I pass, a wonder of nature, or a subtle unspoken key that a family member, friend or colleague is transmitting.

If we are too busy looking forward to a future point in time, we are cheating ourselves of experiencing life to the fullest. Some of the happiest people I know are not those who have everything but rather those who truly appreciate and take the time to live in the present moment.

It’s not so easy to do but I highly recommend trying to slow down, to appreciate the here and now rather than dwelling in the past thinking about what we could have or should have done. It’s past and can’t be undone. Don’t dwell too much on the future either because nothing is certain. Instead, enjoy today – as the old cliche says ‘that’s why it’s called the present’.

Michelle

PS I’ve often spoken about the importance of living in the moment but I’ve never put it down in a blog but I was inspired recently by Marie Griffith with More painful th..to write it all down.

Happiness

“People will forget what you did, people will forget what you said, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”    Maya Angelou

Some people are naturally happy. I’m fortunate to be one of those individuals who is generally optimistic and happy. For others, it’s more difficult and that’s where small gestures can make a huge difference and, most importantly, we can all play a part in making our world a happier place. AAAhappy-2015-2

Friday 20th March is the International Day of Happiness and in the lead up I’m participating in a program to actively focus on creating happiness each and every day in some small way.

Happiness is a state of being and research shows that it is related to our connections with other people. It doesn’t mean having heaps of friends and being popular rather we are talking about authenticity. Check out the 10 keys to happier living.

Simple things that make me happy are hearing from my kids, chatting to my parents, exchanging news with my sister and brother and a gossip with old friends.  Out in the Blogosphere there are heaps of great posts that bring a smile to my face. Sharing posts, giving and receiving feedback and compliments all add to my happiness equation. Today I’ve enjoyed reading Weekend Edition by @suddenlyjamie – brought a smile to my face and a couple of EdwinasEpisodes which are always good for a giggle. I also love visiting Storyshucker by Stuart M Perkins.

Let’s all make a big effort, especially this week, to perform a simple gesture, give a smile or a utter a few words that will contribute to the happiness of those with whom we share our world.

Michelle