Looking for the micro good things

Books, Reading, Pages, Textbooks, Words

I could talk about the fact that we are all very nearly a year into the biggest changes any of us could ever imagine to our lives. I feel loathed to go down that road as we’ve all had to adjust in so very many different ways.  I could highlight the importance of looking to the future with positivity and encourage you to sit tight and ride out this roller coaster we are on. But… and you must have guessed it was coming, but it feels trite to preach so instead I’d like to share something with you.

I was given a book for Christmas from a like minded good friend, it’s about one woman’s paddleboarding adventure, 800 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats with a fear of the sea. ’Ignore the Fear’ by Fiona Quinn,   https://fionalquinn.com/adventure-book-shop/ignore-the-fear-by-fiona-quinn

Whilst it is jam packed full of the route details, tides, weather, sunrises, sunsets, seals and dolphins, and certainly well worth a read if like me you enjoy everything about the sea and the adventures therein. This book within the first 25 pages changed me. 

‘Forget the big adventure’, they’re great if you have the time or money, but most of us don’t have a spare few years or thousands of pounds to finance. Instead look for the adventurous opportunities in everyday life.  Seek out the small, the tiny or even the micro-adventures, that add a dash of fresh air, green open space and feeling of fear to your day.

This is the paragraph that struck a chord with me and it turned out that Al Humphreys is a man who knows about adventure. Delving deeper throught the pages of the book and looking through his website  https://alastairhumphreys.com/microadventure-inspiration/ 

The idea is that micro adventures are incredibly accessible, non- committal, fun things to do. It doesn’t have to lead anywhere, be part of a greater plan or be a success in any way. It’s just for you, to do something you otherwise wouldn’t and to see things differently.  It’s not about spending huge amounts of money and traveling to far and distant locations it’s about accessing what’s around you within easy reach, so that it’s achievable and affordable.

Clip Art Freeuse Download Heart Png With - Heart With Lifeline Png Transparent Png (#201896) - PinClipart

It all began to feel like a lifeline to me,  yes I have had my moments of feeling thoroughly  miserable, confused, afraid and fed up with the restrictions.

I am an outdoorsy type of person so a lot of the ideas are right up my street.  Of course it really might not be for you to sleep under the stars, swim in the river, kayak, or hike.  The more I thought about it the more I realised you can tailor the whole concept to you and what you’re interested in.

Looking for the small positives is not a new concept for me, it’s just what I talk alot about in my Clinical Solution Focused Hypnotherapy Sessions. I encourage clients to start looking for the small good things in each and every day, taking the time to notice, really notice and look for the small good things and how that makes them feel.

Making the ‘micro adventures or micro good things’ happen, planning them into our days or weeks we start to take control and begin to affect positive changes. When we make positive changes we are rewarded with a steady supply of those amazing neurotransmitters I talk alot about Serotonin, Dopamine, Endorphins. When we have a steady supply we are brave, happy, coping souls. We can make good decisions for ourselves in all areas of our lives, from how we interact with ourselves, others and how we know we need to care for ourselves with good food choices, good quality sleep, and exercise.

Planning, thinking, chatting about our ‘micro good things’ helps us to feel inspiration, hope, anticipation, excitement, it helps us to get some control (something that we have little of right now).

I invite you to think out of the box, grab a pen and start brainstorming, what do you like doing, what did you like doing? How can you bring that in some small way to your life? What would you like to try or get involved in? Is this something you’d like to do just for you or could the family get involved in?

Remember to think small, make it achievable and realistic for how we are currently living. 

Perhap you could simply change the route of your usual walk, pick up a different genre book, change radio stations, or maybe change your regular days routine – get up half an hour earlier to exercise, meditate, enjoy a cuppa and watch the sunrise, write a letter, prepare a different meal from a different country each week. Once you get started you’ll be surprised what things you could do.

Just imagine how different your life could be, if you just made some micro changes each day?

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. I hope it helps you in some way, please do share if you feel it would be beneficial.  

I’m off to sit in the garden with my coat, hat and gloves on with my morning coffee for today’s micro adventure, I’m not taking my phone I don’t need it the birds will entertain me. 

The 3 P’s

The 3 P’s

No, it’s not an acronym for a carefully selected group of swear words. Although a lot can be said to a carefully placed ‘F’ bomb when you’ve trapped your thumb in the car door.

No, these 3 P’s are the cornerstone of Solution Focused Hypnotherapy.

Positive action, Positive interaction, Positive thought. 

Looking back a few thousand years of our evolution gives us clues as to how we have developed into who we are today.  The cavemen realised they worked better as a tribe rather than individuals, when they hunted together they were more successful, this enabled them to form small communities, this helped to keep them safe, gave them nourishment, enabled them to reproduce so the tribe was more successful.  While all this evolution was going on the brain was releasing important neurotransmitters to enable them to thrive.  

It was releasing Serotonin that helped them to feel successful, happy, gave them the feeling of pride and respect.

Dopamine gave them a good feeling, well done on a successful hunt, lighting the fire, sharing the meal, helped to motivate them to get rewards, aided memory and attention levels.

Oxytocin gave them the warm fuzzy feeling, of being loved, enjoying companionship and social bonding,

Endorphins are the euphoria feelings, general well-being and pain relief, helps to alleviate anxiety. 

Thankfully we don’t have to go out and hunt for food or are generally not in any imminent danger.  We do have to operate within these positive parameters like early man. We do have to be active in a positive way, interact in a positive way, and think in a positive way. Because when we do we produce patterns in the brain that give us that constant flow of neurotransmitters. When we have that constant flow of neurotransmitters, in particular Serotonin  we are happy, brave, coping folk.  Life still throws us a curveball now and again and we experience highs and lows of life but we are better able to deal with them, without the extremes of anxiety, anger, depression or a combination of all three.

So let’s break it down a little further, 

Positive Action, now it’s great if you can run a Marathon or know the winning numbers to the National Lottery. But looking at each of these are small steps, really small steps, that then lead to the bigger achievements. You’ve got to be able to run to the next lamp post before you can even begin a 26 mile run. Or you’ve got to have a pound in your purse before you even go to the local shop to purchase that ticket.  

Positive action can be, treating yourself to a cup of tea in your favourite cup, getting up 5 minutes early just so you don’t have to rush so much, making your bed, making a shopping list, making a list of any kind and having the joy of ticking it off. For some it may be, washing your hair, emptying out a cupboard, giving yourself time to read another chapter in your book, baking a cake, going for a walk, lighting a candle and just being quiet and thoughtful for a few minutes.

Positive Interaction again this doesn’t have to be the huge things like losing a stone in weight, or getting that dream job although both of these things are achievable but to start with again we need to take small steps.  It could be texting a friend, smiling at someone in the street, researching how you begin the process of getting that dream job, volunteering, helping a neighbour.

Positive thinking, Buddha spent a great many years in isolation and deep meditative states to be able to share with us the great wisdom he gained.  Again start small, Positive thinking is the changing of the mindset it takes time. It is easy to negatively forecast the future,’I’ll never be able to afford that’, ‘I’ll never find a partner’, ‘I’ll never lose any weight’. It’s also easy to negatively introspect about the past. It’s that trip to the beach which was much longed for and enjoyed thoroughly, then negatively remembering the hellish journey home with the children tired and hungry, focusing on the journey home eradicates much of the feel good feelings that you had when you remembered splashing in the sea, building the sandcastle, having the ice cream treat.  

It’s fair to say the 3 P’s are tricky little P’s, it does take a little bit of time and practice to start changing your mindset into a more positive solution focused mind.  But change is possible and so very worthwhile because when you start these small steps they then gather momentum and you start to become your best self, reaching your full potential.

Small steps = big changes

‘We all have our very own stress bucket’

‘We all have our very own stress bucket’

This miserable looking bucket is here to help show you what we do with all our stress and negative thinking.  

It’s a stress bucket, we all have one (a wonderful client once described her’s as an Urn).  Unfortunately as we navigate through life we accumulate stress and it pours or drips steadily into our bucket, we then fill it up with negative thinking, like negatively forecasting the future – I’m never going to have any friends, lose weight etc.  We can also negatively introspect about the past.  Next we  add more to the bucket with negative chatter, whether that be internally to ourselves or with others.  Then we can add some more to the bucket with our dear mood hoovers – those folk who are never happy unless they are moaning and groaning seeing the bad and negative to every situation.  Throw in COVID-19, the news etc and you can see that the stress bucket can fill up very quickly.

When the bucket fills up it has nothing else to do other than overflow, this is when we throw a crazy tantrum, suffer anxiety, panic attacks, lash out, or retreat to the safety of the sofa or bed and don’t interact with the world for a while. Guess what all that does? it fills the bucket back up again and now we are in a vicious cycle.  

The very image of a stress bucket has helped me enormously and it certainly did for one previous client who expressed how she felt protective of her Urn, no way was other peoples moans and groans going in there, she was mindful of her responsibility for her Urn, she took great care of it and ensured that she had spare capacity.  

Because life does throw curve balls our way sometimes and if we have no spare capacity in our bucket we cannot cope with life.

So whether you have a lovely Urn, or an old bucket, we can consider self care as not letting negative thinking, speaking and doing into our bucket.

 

Being positive is a mindset it takes time, your learning new skills and making new pathways in the brain, and yes you’re human you’re going to get it wrong sometimes but you are also getting it right and you are taking control of your life. 

Not only can we take control of what we put into our bucket we do have a method of emptying it. Sadly it’s not as swift as the picture would suggest but little by little we can.  

We do it quite naturally whilst we are in our Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep, this is where we partially empty out our stress bucket. Sadly it’s restricted and if we are experiencing disturbed or poor sleep you can see how we are in a vicious cycle.

Hypnotherapy can help you get back on track by helping with the process of bucket emptying so that you are feeling yourself again.

 

 

Happy Neuro Buddies

I had no idea at all!

That was me for a long time (a little too long) but I confess I thought that all the neuroscience talk was for clever people, who knew stuff.

But once I stopped (grief made me do that) I started wondering why do I :

  • Ruminate
  • Worry obsessively
  • Negatively predict the future
  • Suffer poor sleep
  • Jump to conclusions
  • Have to fill every minute with doing things
  • Assume I’m not quite good enough
  • Not challenge myself
  • Compare myself to others
  • Procrastinate

And on and on … you get the picture.

So I figured that the only person I am in charge of is me so I made small steps, tentatively at first with great secrecy (incase I was no good, and then everyone would know, and I’d be rubbish at everything!).  

The small steps became bigger and easier and then I got good at things and felt confident, excited and looked forward to being me. 

I began to learn about these amazing neuro-transmitters that I have and understood how important they are to my survival, happiness, interactions, understanding and sense of self.

Here are my little “Happy Neuro Buddies”:

Dopamine – responsible for motivating me, rewards, memory and attention.

Oxytocin – it’s warm and fuzzy, promotes feelings of love, social bonding and companionship

Serotonin – regulates mood, happiness, pride, respect.

Endorphins – euphoria feelings, general well-being and pain relief.

I worked out when they were off duty and how I could get them back on track to keep me steady, motivated, focused, happy, content and logical.

Of course I haven’t found the answer to all life’s problems (I’m human) – its work in progress, but I’m in charge of me now.