Thursday, July 12, 2007

Back On Track

I was going to delete the previous post as it was only intended to be a test post. But then I thought better of deleting it. I think this is because I slowly realised that it was about something more than just saying: "Hello, I'm back!"

One reason for my not posting for so long was to do with the fact that I was reluctant to upgrade my blog. I had steadfastly ignored all the prompts from over the months to do this. I’m always inherently suspicious of upgrades. It’s been my experience that along with all the blandishments they usually come with all sorts of unforeseen “challenges”. I didn’t want to know. I was happy with the old version thank you very much. But of course, as is the way with technological change, the inevitable happened. I was no longer given a choice. I could no longer log on to the system.

The only trouble was that I quickly realised I was out of depth and couldn’t manage to navigate my way to realise my brave new blog. So I didn’t bother. For three months.

But then my good friend, Kim Ayres, aka, the rambling, bearded one, came to the rescue and talked me through the whole process. It was like a scene from Airplane but we got there in the end.

Kim is also the person who got me started with my blog in the first place and introduced me to the seductive and addictive arena of the blog universe.

So the previous post will stay. This is partly because it symbolises my “long awaited return” but also, more importantly, because for me it encapsulates one outcome of a very positive and much valued friendship.

Monday, June 11, 2007

I'm Back

I'm back with blogger




and Happier!!!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Change Journal

One of the activities I adopted once I'd started on the self help track, was keeping a journal. I know that strictly speaking a journal is a daily recording but I don't think it's necessary for you to do this. It can be quite intermittent, as mine was at first. These days, however, I do literally write in my journal every day. It's a habit I've developed, a good one I think, and one I couldn't not now do. I would no sooner skip my journal than skip brushing my teeth. For me it's like inputting the numbers in Lost; my world would start to implode! Though this could have something to do with my somewhat obssessive nature.

So what are the benefits of keeping a journal? Firstly, it's a way of recording progress on your path to self improvement. It's easy to lose track of this. You can look back and see how far you've come.

It's useful to remind yourself of this when you feel that you've taken several steps backwards. It's also a useful way to highlight the temporary nature of problems that you have to face and how you have come through them in the past. The present has a way of expanding so that it feels like it's always been like this. That feeds into our tendency to eternalise situations: "This is always happening to me!"

You can use your journal to set goals: long term, short term and daily. This is a good way to stay focused. If you're stuck for things to write about, just write some positive affirmations over and over. There is a power to writing them down in addition to speaking them aloud, feeding as it does your motor memory.

A journal is a great outlet for giving vent, a vehicle for your emotions and to explore dilemmas. Sometimes when you're writing you can pose questions for guidance and sometimes get an answer, especially if you imagine a sort of higher self, a wise friend, who will step in with advice, even though it is still yourself writing!

Looking back through journal entries for time to time, you will also start to perceive recurrent themes, even blind spots, that perhaps you wouldn't otherwise be aware of. So the journal provides a feedback mechanism.

Finally, it can be a means to take control of your life to a greater extent, as you start to sense that you can write your script, becoming more conscious of your own narrative. What sort of day would you like to have? Get scribbling now. It's cheap, easy and accessible. All you need is a pen and a notebook.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

I've got the Power!

My daughter, Meredith, takes the credit for this one.

A couple of years ago I was preparing to sit my driving test practical. The hardest part of this for me was getting over the self-belief that I was never supposed to be a driver. I'd had a block about it all my adult life. It was only when we moved from London to a rural area of Scotland that I realised I couldn't put it off any longer and that I would have to address it. Dumfries and Galloway is a region of 2500 square miles and the public transport system is very limited. I would have to to reinvent myself as a driver finally. One of the most difficult aspects of passing the test was the mental preparation. My belief about myself as being a non-driver for life was impacting on my confidence.

Meredith suggested a strategy to me at the time which I took up because it's so simple yet very effective. She proposed that to boost my confidence and give me a burst of energy, I should keep playing in my head the refrain from that song that goes: "I've got the power!" I don't know the rest of the song, what it's called or even who sings it. It's used in the film Bruce Almighty starring Jim Carrey, which is where Meredith came across it.

I took it up enthusiastically and found it worked for me really well. It's just so gleeful, empowering and slightly crazy - a bit manic to be honest, but it so charges you up. The great thing too is no-one, of course, can hear this going on as you don't have to do it aloud! It's like those annoying tunes that get stuck in your head from time to time, that you can't seem to shake off. The effect of this one is that it boosts you mentally very quickly but also has an impact on your physiology. You automatically walk with more of a spring in your step. This creates a positive loop as it further reinforces a positive mental state. (By the way, I also passed my driving test first time - though this wasn't the only strategy I used to get throught that particular ordeal.)

I've not been using the technique for some time but it came back to me recently and I decided to use it again. For the last couple of weeks I've not been sleeping that well and also working long hours, so felt the need to recharge myself. It certainly helped.

Try it today. Try it right now! I guarantee you'll feel better. By the way it doesn't have to be this particular song. Pick any one that has a good energy feel to it but R&B is probably the right genre, especially if you sing it from the perspective of someone with the energy level of the late James Brown!