Thursday, January 30, 2014

Three Amazing Things

1) Lovely phone calls from friends
2) Setting up a facebook group for students of dementia
3) Someone retweeting my dementia news

Sunday, January 26, 2014


1) Meditating with eyes shut in the warmth of a cosy living room with a woodburning stove and drifting off with the sun on my face - imagining I'm on a beach on holiday.
2) Doing a bit of PhD work with friends and family
3) Seeing friends and family
4) Chatting
5) Realising I'm eligible for a carers' break and looking into where I might go

Monday, January 20, 2014


1) Had a productive and relaxing weekend away with friends and family
2) Contributed to meeting at University
3) Helped a friend
4) Put some hand cream on - free treat - made me feel good!
5) Letter came through the post about a group I have joined

Friday, January 17, 2014


1) Made some more bread
2) Participated in more team sports, this time netball; not very good at it but got fit nonetheless
3) Cleaned house
4) Been listening to a beat procrastination app every night this week - and certainly more active!
5) Wrote two thank you cards to J and C - for birthday presents

Thursday, January 16, 2014


1) My question got asked at an RSA debate on power - 'What about the powerless? Aren't they increasing in number because of inequality?'  And the answer 'No - look at the Occupy movement'!
2) Made a stew
3) Brother has played with the Wailers in Jamaica
4) Went on a short run in the sunshine
5) Had lunch at my favourite café

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Five Amazing Things

1) A student I coached through her PhD passing with minor corrections!  This is truly amazing news and we are all very happy.
2) Going on a run and my feet squelching in the mud!
3) Having a delicious yet simple lunch of home made soldiers with boiled egg.
4) Running amongst the trees in Chapel Allerton Park on this mild and cloudy day for January
5) Talking to a friend T in London on the phone.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Five Amazing Things

1) The sunshine dappled greenery of evergreen plants cowering over trees in Roundhay Park
2) Getting fit with a game of basketball at the gym
3) A delicious lasagne lunch with a great friend
4) #demphd twitter chat (shameless plug)
5) sundried tomatoes marinated in olive oil and artichokes - anti-pasti for only £1 at ALDI

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Five Amazing Things

1) My warm borrowed slippers insulating my feet from the chilly day
2) The generosity, compassion and kindness of fellow human beings and our loved ones as they cook for us and help us get on an even keel
3) The delicious curry at our favourite Shropshire restaurant
4) Still drinking sugary tea as a treat despite the negative press sugar is getting
5) My valued moleskin notepads that I write my lists in calligraphy on

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Ten Amazing Things

1) Another beautiful sunny day - it makes such a difference with the sun shining and everything highlighted in glorious colour
2) Having a hot shower and listening to the birdsong outside
3) The anemones in Tibberton in flower - in January for Goodness Sake
4) The primulas also in flower here in Shropshire, in a sheltered spot, their beautiful pale yellow reminding one of the sunny day
5)  Reading a brilliant article by Sally Magnusson about her mother and dementia.  Sad but evocative and loaded with powerful words
6) Reading another excellent article in the Guardian today by Sarah Churchwell about 12 Years A Slave, the new film I want to see (though I will have my eyes shut for the violent bits)
7) Being with loved ones
8) Doing a bit of PhD work
9) Writing lists in my calligraphic Lamy fountain pen - and ticking things off the list
10) Feeling all energised after all my exercise this week

Friday, January 10, 2014

Five Amazing Things

1) The beautiful drive over to Tibberton in the sunshine
2) The community on twitter, helping to raise awareness of dementia and talking about the issues
3) Active Women at Scott Hall gym, fun fun fun playing 'Bench Ball' with lovely women
4) Seeing new and old friends and inviting them for tea and coffee at home
5) Eating butter instead of margarine- it tastes so good!

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Five Amazing Things

1) Waking up to the smell of freshly baked bread
2) The making of the aforementioned bread - the first time in 18 months!
3) An induction session at the gym with a lovely, patient and educational instructor, motivating me to do more
4) Managing to motivate myself to do even more at home
5) Watching one of my favourite programmes 'Who do you think you are?' on the actress Minnie Driver and the tears welling up as she discovers her Dad was a war hero

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Five Amazing Things

1) A very sympathetic ear in the workplace makes life so much better
2) My aching yet fit body after all the exercise yesterday, you know it's worthwhile when you ache like this
3) Chats to friends and family on the telephone
4) Watching programmes about gardening on the telly with interest - dead heading buddleia just like Dad does
5) Discussing happy memories with the people who support you

Top Twenty Free Treats - Rewards for jobs done

1) Cup of Tea
2) Count Blessings on Blog - FAT or TAT
3) Chats to friends on phone
4) Plan holidays or weekends away
5) Put make up on
6) Write lists in calligraphy fountain pen
7) Coach self using own acronyms
8) Listen to relaxation downloads
9) Stroke cat
10) Do a yoga move
11) Do a Tai Chi move
12) Meditate
13) Look at wedding album
14) Read MA dissertation
15) Send cards to people to keep in touch
16) Listen to music
17) Watch good quality TV
18) Listen to Radio 4 - favourite programmes like Desert Island Discs
19) Hand cream
20) Lip salve

Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Success follows Failure - Top Ten Tips to being an optimist

For about six years I've been doing FAT and TAT - Five Amazing Things and Ten Amazing Things on this website and I can quite happily say that, despite everything that's happened to me -  a number of challenges, losses and failures in quite a young life -  I'm an optimist.

1) Count your blessings
Try to do this every day and write them down or better still publish them, then everyone can share in your positive vibe and follow your optimistic musings.  This has an enhanced effect as you can then read your blessings after a period of time and realise how lucky and fortunate you are! Three Beautiful Things has a good blogroll you can turn to for inspiration.

2) Do not solely take the blame for failure
Things are never black and white.  They are shades of grey.  Have the people 'helping' you got something to answer for too?  Were you ill?  Did circumstances prevent you from being at your best?  Make sure you have flexible thinking in yourself and that you have no negative self-talk.  Change this negative self talk to positive self talk: 'I'm lovable, I'm unique, I'm powerful, I can change for the better'.

3) Hypnosis: Listen to and watch inspirational motivational hypnosis practitioners, or better still meet face to face
Uncommon knowledge is a great company, Andrew Johnson gives free downloads.   Hypnosis works by suggesting positive action.  NLP is a hypnotic technique as is Emotional Freedom Technique.  Mesmer preceded Freud by about a hundred years - you can alter the way your mind works yourself by learning self hypnosis - meditation followed by positive suggestion that you say to yourself.

4) Exercise
Exercise releases positive chemicals and gives you more energy.  If you have mobility problems you can still do it - Tai Chi is excellent for example and most leisure centres do chair based exercise classes.  The UK government recommends 1.5 hours per week of exercise where you get out of breath - just two classes a week will do the trick.

5) When others say you're an optimist, make sure you spread the news!
At a leaving do I once had my boss described me as such a positive person, always looking for the good in everyone and everything.   It was such a compliment and I am quite rightly proud of this and the impact it has on me and my life.

6) Switch the broadcast news off
The news is just depressing - fact.  If it wasn't then it wouldn't be news.  No one wants to hear 'good news' so it just doesn't get on the news.  I avoid it like the plague.

7) Revisit your past
If you have had other 'failures' can you put a positive spin on them?  Poor relationships teach us how to have good ones.  Poor performance in exams means we learn how to improve for next time.  Poor performance at work - perhaps we weren't suited to that job.  Make sure you have a positive story for each so-called 'failure' or 'setback' in your life.  If necessary write it down.

8) 'Free treats': Have a list of your favourite activities that cheer you up - stick them on your fridge and do them on a bad day
We all have bad days.  Make sure you had your positive arsenal up your sleeve, sometimes these black days can come without warning like a shot in the dark.  Have your list of your favourite things to do close by and easily accessible - tell your friends and family the things you love to do - your free treats and do them.

9) Measure your mood
And watch it improve.  Much like the principle of measuring your weight - you can see what affects it and how to improve it.  The best website for this is moodscope.

10) Have a favourite positive visualisation
You might have a favourite photograph of yourself, your partner or your pet.  Can you have it close by?  Study it really intricately so that you can describe it to someone who's never seen it.  If you can get a whole album like this then even better.

Ten Amazing Things

1) Gym membership at Scott Hall gym - £5 for 10 weeks.
2) Active Women sessions at aforementioned gym: went today, made new friends, got fit, and had fun!
3) The beautiful blustery day as I went to and from Scott Hall gym
4) The seagulls that populate the sports field making a fuss and noise as a generous person fed them
5) Tai Chi session at the gym (busy day today!)
6) Learning 'brush leg' and 'deflect monkey' in Tai Chi lesson
7) Having a lot of energy - is Andrew Johnson's 'procrastination app' working?  I did all the housework today:
8) Tidied the house
9) Hoovered downstairs
10) Cleaned kitchen and felt great as a result!

Monday, January 06, 2014

FAT - Five Amazing Things

1) I've been doing FAT for five consecutive days now - and it really helps you feel good!
2) Cheap yet tasty and nutritious lunch - boiled eggs and soldiers.
3) Andrew Johnson's free Relax download and his cheap (£2) downloads on positivity, success, exam prep and procrastination.
4) Cleaning my new-ish boots with vigour after my lovely walk.
5) Cat falling asleep on lap and feeling her warm fur with my strokes.

Twenty New Year's Resolutions for Wellbeing

1) Prioritise your own health first. That's mental and physical health.  You can't have one without the other.  It's no good being super fit if you've neglected all your relationships and are quite frankly miserable.  So look after your mind, body and soul.  You can't do anything without your health so you must make sure you're happy and well in the first instance. Think about how you can get better - physically and mentally.  Resilience in the physical, emotional, spiritual and mental sense.

2) Don't compare yourself to others.  Just think about yourself, now, in this moment in time.  Especially if you're going through a tough time, and even when you're not, comparing yourself with others - whether they have more money, a better job, a better relationship, a happier family - is not a good idea. Why? Well, first of all you don't know if they have got all that - they may be depressed themselves. Secondly, adversity comes to everyone at one point or another so don't wish it on anyone. Thinking about others in a comparing and competitive way just hinders your own personal development.  Learn to think of others proudly instead of in an envious way.

3) Treasure and nurture your relationships with friends and family.  Second in your list of priorities should be friends and family.  Our relationships with others are probably the most precious things in our lives, our true capital resource.  People who nurture their relationships, give to others, people who listen to them, are generous to others are the happiest.  Laugh with others and be kind to them.  This will pay dividends throughout your life. Happy time spent with friends and family is never wasted.

4) Meditate. Learning how to meditate must be one of the most beneficial things that any person can do in their lives.  Research is now showing that meditation lowers blood pressure as well as helping us sleep, relax and focus.  Simply set aside a  minute each morning to breathe in deeply to the count of seven, then breathe out deeply to the count of eleven.  Set a timer if you're unsure how long a minute lasts.  The next day increase to 3 minutes and the next day to five, increasing gradually to twenty minutes a day.  Just sitting or resting, breathing deeply, concentrating on your breathing.  You should never be bored again!

5) Do what you enjoy, what you want to do  Perhaps the most difficult tip this one, but important, you may have to save up money and do something you don't like for a while to be able to do this.  Spend time thinking about what makes you happy and try to do it, perhaps first of all in your spare time to see if you really do enjoy it, then go for it for a full time occupation if you can.

6) Be open It is difficult to be open when we feel under attack, but by being open, encourages others to open up and then makes tip number 3 easier which is nurturing relationships.

7) Ask for help. Most people find it difficult to ask for help when they need it, because we're a very independent species.  But when we struggle, one of the best things we can do is ask our nearest and dearest what they can do to help us regain balance.

8) Exercise regularly.  The government recommends each adult exercises to full cardiac fitness level for 1.5 hours per week - that means exercising until you get out of breath for that amount of time - quite a lot really.  It is difficult to fit it in, but when you do the endorphins and adrenalin released makes it worth your while both physically and mentally.

9) Help others - volunteer  This can be as small as contributing to online forums or forwarding informative tweets on twitter - anything that helps people gives you that buzz of happiness.  Make a meal for a friend,  bake a cake.

10) Coach yourself There are free coaching courses you can go on, just google Coaching academy.  Most life coaches give their first session free on Skype or face to face.  It's worth it to help you prioritise your life and for action planning.

11) Write to do lists everyday and cross things off! It is very therapeutic to cross things off your to-do list.  Writing lists or action plans keeps you focussed on the action which is resolving your situation, helps to prevent anxiety and depression before they start as you are focussed on the end goal.

12) Give yourself free treats every day Pin your list of your favourite 'free' treats on your fridge - whether that's a cup of tea, hand cream, lip salve, a chat to friends on the phone, surfing the net or cooking your favourite meal.  Try to give your free treats to yourself as a reward for taking action, so you get into a virtuous cycle of action, reward and achievement.

13) Forgive yourself and others  Forgiving yourself is the most difficult thing of all to do.  Just picture yourself meeting someone who is dressed exactly like you on a deserted misty beach.  As the person approaches you realise that it is you after all.  You are meeting yourself.  You give yourself a big, friendly hug and say 'I forgive you' for whatever you have done.  This is a powerful visualisation that really helps for bereavement for example. It is effective for negative emotions such as guilt, depression and loss.

14) Count your blessings every day. Every day preferably write down the smallest of lovely things that you see or that happen to you.  It might be the sun shining, the rain glistening, the snow reflecting glorious white light.  This gratitude helps you appreciate life.

15) Be flexible in your thinking.  Life is rarely black or white.  It is shades of grey. Very, very rarely will one problem or challenge ruin your life, and it is not healthy to think like that anyway.  We all make mistakes and what happy people do is learn from their mistakes.  Write down what you have learnt from your latest mistake and put it away somewhere, come back to it in a few years and you might find you have learnt much more.

16) Have high expectations. One of the most depressing things anyone ever said to me was that I had to lower people's expectations of life.  Surely this is the opposite of what life is about.  If we have high expectations of each other then it means we can trust, have events to look forward to and a society to be part of.

17) Learn to Relax. Some people find it difficult to switch off, others easy.  The key is to finding out what makes you relax - everyone is different.  Meditation is great for some, others it's playing computer games (which you could say is a form of meditation!).  Do what floats your boat relaxation wise.

18) Keep positive. The maxim if you've only got something horrible to say then don't say it is even more true in our internet age.  People can get very worried about your health if you go around insulting others or denigrating yourself on social media, so avoid this.  Keep updates positive and upbeat.  If you must be downbeat - do it in person when you can be properly helped.

19) Carry on learning! We all learn something new every day - celebrate this and savour it.  It's great to learn new skills or read new books.  Share your progress with others so the positivity breeds.

20) Be confident.  A psychiatrist once said to me that he had never met a confident depressed person.  So confidence and happiness go hand in hand.  So focus on increasing your confidence if you feel down.  Confidence can be acquired through NLP, hypnotherapy, assertiveness training, an evening class.  Find the best ways for you to increase your confidence.

Sunday, January 05, 2014

Five Amazing Things

1) Seeing family and chatting to them about life, the universe and everything.
2) Woodburning stoves burning in the depths of winter, meditating to the curling flames and sweet, musky scent.
3) Hypnosis downloads given as a gift for Christmas - listening to them and feeling motivated and energised and positive.
4) A refreshing and bracing walk in the cold winter rain round the beautiful Lake at Roundhay Park.
5) Eating hearty and more tasty leftovers - where the tastes have marinated together in rich sumptuousness.

Saturday, January 04, 2014

Saturday 4th January 2014 - Five Amazing Things

1)  Driving a short drive to E my wonderful friend's house round the corner - so lucky that we live so close together
2) The delicious carrot and coriander soup from Aldi - cheap supermarket - 89p for 2.
3) Friends and family in contact by phone and text.
4) The refreshing breeze as I lock the house and bring in a loaf of bread.
5) Looking forward to seeing cousin J tonight.

Friday, January 03, 2014

Five Amazing Things

1) The early January winter sunshine warming my back as I stroke the cat.
2) A cheap and nutritious and delicious lunch of baked potato, cottage cheese, cherry tomatoes, chopped cucumber and sliced red pepper with a rasher of bacon.
3) Seeing V so quickly - after a phone call just 2 hours before!  Nothing like good service and fast access.
4) A lovely text from a long lost friend (L) from Leek
5) Another lovely phone call from another friend, a newer friend - P from Hollinsclough!

Five Amazing Things

1) Creating my own meditation teaching course - and it going very well.
2) Using acronyms to help people remember how to do things.
3) The sun shining again - this time illuminating the green ivy thick amongst the brown trees in the coppice opposite.
4) My beautiful cat sitting quietly, then finding a comfortable place to sleep near me.
5) My wonderful family and friends, always there to help and support those around them.

Thursday, January 02, 2014

If you're having a bad day...

Ask yourself the following five questions:

1) Did you sleep well last night?
2) Are you putting yourself first now or soon?
3) Are you getting help with your problem/s?
4) Are you doing what you want to do now or soon?
5) Have you counted your blessings today?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, then address it today, tomorrow or the next day - make a plan and make a date with yourself to resolve your problems!

Five Amazing Things

1) The comforting and long lasting taste of a sugary cup of tea.
2) Light bouncing off the wall and creating glorious shadows that you can lose yourself in; meditating.
3) Remembering a dementia friends session that went well; raising awareness about the condition.
4) My motivational quotes pinned on my computer monitor; reminders of what I've done well.
5) The soft whirring of the computer as it speedily publishes my positive contributions to the amazing world we live in.