Monday, March 28, 2011


So I'm late again - sorry Mrs B thanks for the reminder. At least I know that someone reads this!


The past couple of weeks have passed in a blur, lots of work and lists of things to do that seem to grow rather than shrink. I also had a few sleepless nights worrying about something. We all worry now and then, some people seem to live their lives in a constant state of worry. Over the last week I became aware of how high my shoulders were - right up to my ears! This is not a good look as it goes hand in hand with the frown lines and crabbit face. It's a real indicator of when things are getting too much. I'm sure you'll all know that feeling. So what do I do when I feel like this?
  • first I ask myself whether the things I am worried about are within my control
  • if they are, then I write a list of what I could do (I like lists- once it's on paper it never seems as much)
  • I then prioritise the list - what can I do that will make things a bit easier (doing the hardest thing first is such a relief but not always what I want to do! I remind myself that the sense of relief and achievement is better than procrastination. I'm not perfect though so sometimes I'll just do what gives me a quick boost. A cup of tea usually works.)
  • that leaves the things that I was worried about that I can't do anything about. These thoughts are the ones that can cause us real anxiety at times. Talking these issues over with a trusted friend is worth it's weight in gold. I'm very lucky to have wonderful friends to share stuff with. Once the things that concerned me are discussed I feel better, I know that I can't do anything more.
  • I like to take a bit of time to then focus on some good memories to lift my mood, shifting my thoughts from the negative ones to positive ones make room for more solutions.
  • I use lavender oil or pepermint oil to clear my mind, a few drops on my clothes work well.
My daughter, Kirsten is a bit of a worrier, she gets upset about the world, how terrible things happen, what destruction humans do and whether the planet will survive. She worries about school, her friends, burgulars, homework, growing up and whether anyone in the family will get ill. I know that a lot of other children feel the same, they are bomarded with so much information to keep them safe it's no wonder that the world can feel scary. She can struggle to sleep at times. She can be snappy and weepy when it gets too much. Her feelings are no different from mine really.
As her mother, I want Kirsten to be happy I know that she has been through a lot in her 11 years and losing Calum, her big brother and best friend really shook her up. I also know that although I can help her, listen to her, support and guide her - she is responsible for her own happiness. My job as her mother is to get her ready to cope with the world on her own so I get her to use the same tactics that I do. Can she do anything about it? Is it her responsibility? What can she do? Talk over the fears so that she can rationalise them. Then I encourage to her to think of a happy memory or something from her bag of happiness. Kirsten loves crystals so I'll get her to choose a few to hold. This helps to shift the focus to a more positive stance. The worries never seem so bad then.


I had the pleasure of delivering 2 Happiness Workshops for SHARE, at their annual conference for the housing sector. It was a fabulous day, my workshops "sold out" first which was a great boost of confidence that this is an important issue for people. All the participants made their own Bag of Happiness as I explained some real life easy ways to handle to difficult stuff we all face. I had a lovely audience and had great feedback from people. I hope that they will continue to add to their bag of happiness.

If you would like to come along and learn how to use these ideas for yourself then take a look at my Happiness Club .


We all need positive feedback, we all have doubts and crisis of confidence so it was great to have validation of my ideas. Have you told anyone how well they are doing recently? Has someone impressed you, have you had good service from a company or someone just been nice and smiled? Give them some feedback, you'll make their day.

It's Mothers Day this Sunday, we can all thank our mums for their support (even if they are no longer with us). Who else do you know is a good mother? Perhaps they need some positive feedback - it can be a hard job and some recognition of their efforts could really help. Go on pass on some positive words and see someone smile.

My happiness meter has wavered over the last few weeks from 5.5 to 8.5 out of 10. What about you?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Gratitude and Inspiration

Hi folks, I'm sorry that this post took a bit longer than a week.

It's been a busy time in our house recently. I seem to be rushing around, never stopping to catch breath. My husband has been busy writing his new book, and my daughter has been working hard on her school project. It can be so easy to get caught up in being busy, striving to do more, squeeze a little more out of the day. I thrive in the energy of creating new things, but what do you do when you don't have that spark? How do you get yourself going and bring a bit of creativity in to your life?

I don't always have the motivation to get going. When I am stuck in a slump then I take a good look at what I have in my life to be grateful for now. I have a gratitude journal on my phone that I fill in, not every day, but fairly regularly. I was reminded recently about how lucky I am to have family and friends around me, to have people in my life that I can lean on. People that I can turn to for advice or reassurance, people to share my successes with. I know how important my friends and family are to me, how they have been there to support me through my son Calum's death and the grief that can surround me still. I can't imagine being where I am now without the help and support of these wonderful people.

I have come in to contact with some remarkable young people in the last few years and some of their stories are heartbreaking. Some have come to this country to flee terrible horrors and persecution that I can only imagine. They arrived young and alone after long difficult journeys and great sacrifices. Most have no family here, some don't know if they're families are alive or dead. But this is not a sob story - this is a story of inspiration. These very same young people have thrown themselves in to education, learnt our language, come to understand our customs. They are looking forward with a vision of how they would like their lives to be and they are taking steps towards creating it. Some are working,studying in university or thinking about creating their own business. They have taken the opportunities that are available to us all and are motivating themselves. They have done this without a family to support them. Most have built networks of friends and have taken opportunities for help from mentors. They have created their own "family".

Could you imagine yourself alone, in a different country unable to speak the language, not knowing if your family are alive. Now take a moment to think of all the people that you have in your life that you can turn to. Think of how rich your life is. Now if these young people can find a way to create a life for themselves we all can. These young folk that I have met are happy, they are grateful for what they have and for the opportunities offered.

I am inspired by their stories and grateful for the chance to have played a small part in their journeys. Perhaps you could reach out and help someone? Perhaps you have someone to thank?

I'll finish with my favourite quote that I saw written on the wall of an old bookshop in Paris. "Be kind to strangers they could be angels in disguise."

I'd love to hear your comments.

with love