We all struggle with our emotions. A two-year-old has a tantrum because they cannot have something they want in that moment. And equally, a 40-year-old will struggle with feelings of anger over a situation they cannot control.
What’s the difference?
I remember back when I was around six years old, my parents were being incredibly unreasonable and stopping me walking 3 miles alone to the gas station to claim my free Smurf toy. At the time when you refuelled the car you would be given tokens which you could then trade in for little Smurf characters. They were amazing, I already had 10 and I wanted another.
Without a doubt, the number one way to live a happier life is to practice gratitude. But why is it so important, and if it’s simply ‘appreciating what we have’, then why do so few people do it?
We become so focused on what we want, what we don’t want, and what we haven’t got, that we miss out on everything we do have. For weeks we desire a new item we’ve seen in a shop or online, we save our money or find a way to get it. When we finally get it we feel great, opening the item and enjoying this nice new experience we’ve looked forward to.
Three weeks later, everything is back to normal and we no longer spare a thought for this inanimate object that gave us such delight and pleasure just a few weeks ago.
Over-dramatic? Maybe a little? No, I don’t think so.
What is an easy way to practice gratitude?
When I was around seven years old, I would visit my grandparent’s farm most weekends. The front of the bungalow had a large area with banks and slopes perfect for playing. I remember finding an old bike on the farm and pushing it up the side, carefully balancing it on the top of the slope while getting on and then I would free wheel down the slope and try to go as far as I could without falling off.
After days of repeating this same action for hours upon hours, I got to the stage that I could ride the bike around the side of the bungalow by peddling after the bike slowed down before running out of steam.
I remember constantly thinking about what life would be like once I’d mastered ride that bike. When I woke up, eating breakfast and going to bed, there was nothing else on my mind apart from how my life would finally be perfect the moment I could ride a bike.
I don’t think I have ever woke up since that time and thought ‘yes, I am so happy, and my life is brilliant because I can ride a bike.’ Of course, I couldn’t ride a bike now if I tried because of my disability. However, the point is that so often we believe happiness is just around the corner.
So, is happiness as simple as a state of mind?
I first attempted meditation in my late 20s, thinking it would be a cool thing to do. I even thought it might get me a love interest being ‘cool and all that!’
The lotus position of sitting cross-legged and upright on a cushion was out of the question for me due to being paralysed. Insert link. So I would sit in a quiet place and attempt ‘meditation’ which lasted approximately two minutes.
My thoughts kept coming thick and fast and there was no chance I could sit without thinking for two minutes. I wanted peace, tranquility and blissful escapism. Come on; it cannot be that hard to sit and do nothing.
Dammit. Not only did my thoughts continue I swear they got louder and more frequent. I had to find an easier way, lucky I did.
Mindfulness seems to be the latest buzzword, but what is mindfulness? Is it really so powerful it can help with depression, anxiety and even improve your health with just a few minutes a day? According to Google mindfulness is ‘a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and
I think climbing a mountain is quite a good metaphor for what we go through in life. As we know, mountains have many faces. Some faces are easier to climb along with a direct contrast, almost impossible to climb.
For many years it has been a gradual incline growing up, coping with life changes and learning more as I go. However, every now and again that incline turns into a rock face. Like at 18 years old I broke my neck and was left paralysed from the chest down with no hand function. This would hit anybody, hard. It would be like suddenly coming up against a brick wall and feel almost impossible to climb. Now, I believe in choices and when we hit with these cliff faces, we can either try to go around them or we can dig in and climb them.
There is a massive difference between the two. Trying to find your way around it would be like running around the bottom of the mountain hoping for a shortcut up to the next level. The pay rise, the dream job, the ideal partner or winning the lottery. These little step ups are great but you miss something more valuable than what you received from them.
You’re perfect, with some room for improvement. What does this mean?
It means that right now you are perfect in every way, and there’s no other way you can be at this moment. Everything that has happened in your life either by direct experience or from the stories, beliefs and experiences of others that they have shared with you makes you exactly who you are today.
There is absolutely nothing you can do to make you any different than you are right this moment. Accept it!
After a few days of running a temperature and feeling absolutely dreadful we noticed a huge lump. I continue the story in this video…
We have all been at the mercy of someones anger and it is not nice, in fact it feels horrible. Even worse when there is no justification for them to aim their anger towards us. On the flip side whether we want to admit it or not we too have found ourselves frustrated and taken our anger out on somebody that did not deserve it.
It is handy to bear in mind that we can all be loud and aggressive when we care passionately about something. Like when a driver cuts in front of us on the road and we feel threatened or in danger in some way. It is normal conditioned human behavior to react for protection reasons.
Read more for the solution.
May 2014, I believed the only way I could escape my thoughts and painful feelings would be to completely shutdown and block all my feelings. A breakdown was on the cards and I believed I deserved it. After all, other people have breakdowns for a lot less than what I’m coping with. Why not me? I wanted a break. But I kept going. (I had recently become single which I wrote about in this blog, How I Learned to Forgive.)
It was a tough time. Very painful, possibly the hardest time of my life. It does show how much emotional pain hurts when even breaking my neck doesn’t compare.
At some point during that month I made a conscious decision to change. I was no longer going to be controlled by a constant stream of damaging and random thoughts running through my head. I couldn’t think straight let alone have the ability to accomplish anything beyond the normal daily chores.