Friday, 15 March 2013

I'm sorry, it's been quite a while since I posted here. No excuse, but it's been quite a busy life for me the last couple of years, and I lost a few months last year to a bad choice of medication, though it had to be tried.

Anyway, todays talkings. 

I remember a song in my youth by the charming Ian Drury: Reasons to be Cheerful (part 3) At the time I was never sure of the words, the reasons Ian Drury had for being cheerful, he didn't sing it especially clearly but the tune always got my toe tapping and the corners of my mouth upturned - rather awkward when I was trying to be the moody teenager, but still .....

Stop for a moment, think hard. What reasons do you have to be cheerful? It's ok, I'll wait while you have a think, come back when you're ready.

Got one? More? Yes? Great!

Or, not thought of one yet? OK, here's one for you. You're alive.

Yes, the simple fact that you're reading this, or having it read to you, even if it's by a piece of software, means you are amongst the living. While you live there is hope. Dead there is nothing (depending on your religious leanings you may disagree, but that isn't you in this current realm, so we'll not count that for now, if you don't mind).(If you do mind, apologies, but this may not be the place for you. God is not in this blog.)

So, you're alive, that's one on our list of reasons to be cheerful. A universal one for us all. One we can share. Now isn't that nice. We are all connected by something we share - life. So none of us is truly alone. 

OK, getting a bit metaphysical there, speaking of intangible connections. Let's look at something a bit more tangible. How about clothes? You are wearing clothes aren't you? I'm not sure how comfortable I feel about being read in the nude. But even if you are, if you have foregone clothes for this moment, you do own some. So you can be clothed. In fact I suspect you may have a choice of outfits, perhaps several to choose from. Some warm for those cold days, some cool for the warmer ones. Chances are you have clothes for every sort of weather your region experiences to prevent you from being adversely affected by them. And perhaps you have some for travel to places with slightly different weather.

Well, isn't that something to be cheerful about?

And how about where you sleep? You have a roof over your head, a bed to lay on, protection from the elements and malicious persons while you sleep. A place to store all your belongings so they're not open to the world to take? Isn't that something you can be cheerful about?

And how about birdsong, or the beauty of nature. Does seeing a kitten in a teapot make you smile? How about children laughing, or a baby lamb springing around in it's field. These things you can picture if you're not lucky enough to have them to hand (though shouldn't everyone have a springing lamb to hand? ;-) )

Even in these times of austerity and cuts, there are still things to be cheerful about. Many of them will be personal to the individual - good friends, a kind word from a stranger, support from a loved one in time of need, having friends who listen, having a job you enjoy ...... 

I am cheerful that the sun came out today, that the air temperature has gone up a few degrees, that the pain medication I'm taking is working better, that my cat's health has stabilised and, though not perfect, he's doing well and is happy. I'm cheerful that I can afford the gas to heat my house to keep me warm. I'm cheerful that I got some books to read yesterday, that I don't need to go shopping in the supermarket this weekend (all those people, all that queueing....)

Little things, maybe. But the little things add up. 1+1=2, but 1+1+1+1+1............ a million times is a million - that's a lot of little things. A lot of things to be cheerful about.

See if you can come up with three initially, then keep adding to your list as they occur to you. Write them down, count them up. Is that good enough reason to be cheerful? How about if you add another one? Or another?

Then, be cheerful. :o)

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Smiling on through

Did you know, your body doesn't know the difference between you putting on a fake smile, and you smiling for genuine reasons of joy? It turns out that is the case, both release the same feel-good chemicals in your brain. So, next time you're feeling down or flat, try smiling, it might just do you some good.

Also, it's fun smiling while walking down the street - some people will wonder what it is you are smiling about, others will pick up your smile, be it consciously or subconsciously, and pass it on themselves - in a very short space of time a smile can spread around a town, a county, and in a bit more time, assuming the modern transport systems are working ok, right around the country or the globe! What fun!

I recently went down with a bout of shingles, with a painful rash starting at my spine at the bottom of my neck and spreading around to just below my collarbone. One day in particular I felt really bad - a blinding headache that seared through my brain when I moved, and particularly so as I squatted on my haunches to feed and inject my diabetic cat. It was so intense I felt like crying, and had to go to see the emergency doctor. But, during the consultation one of us said something mildly amusing, and I smiled. Amazingly, that smile helped my head! Not a lot, of course, I needed some very strong painkillers to take the pain away, but the fact it helped a little showed me how important it is to keep that side of myself going, even when I feel dreadful.
I'm lucky, I quickly felt better. Simply taking the pain pills made a big difference, and within 3 days I didn't need them. But throughout I have kept smiling and joking, and I'm sure that has helped my immune system to fight.

Of course, you don't have to have an illness to make use of this benefit. Just keep humour in your life, keep smiling through your day, and get those benefits every day. Make the world a happier place, and your body a healthier one, just with a smile.

And best of all, they are completely free :o)

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

..... and also

I know this is seriously off-topic and out of my stated remit, but I had to share this with anyone who reads this: there's a trailer out on youtube to an animation of a beat poem by Tim Minchin. People who know me will know my love of the work of TM, and so be unsurprised that I'm promoting this, which is what I am. Click here and watch the trailer, spread the news, and then join the hundreds, if not thousands, waiting for the full-length nine-minute (plus credits) version to be released on YouTube later this year. :o)

Saturday, 21 March 2009

It's all a question of perspective

Happiness is a choice.

OK, that statement may annoy some, confuse others and make others want to smack me in the face for not understanding. Believe me, I do understand. I'm not saying that those who are not happy have chosen not to be, simply that if you want to be happy, then you can choose to be. No, it's not that simple, but nothing in life worth having truly is.

What I mean is that you choose, albeit often on a subconscious level, how you are going to respond, emotionally, to the things life throws in your path. For example, you're in the high street, and wanting to go into a shop. You approach the doors, and as you do so a man comes bursting out, knocking into you as he passes, but says nothing, and lets the door fall closed behind him. You can react to this by taking umbrage, by taking the man's actions as a personal attack on you, and reinforce any feelings you may already have of your own lack of value in society.

Or, you can assume that the man has other things on his mind, perhaps he's having a bad day, perhaps he's in a rush to get back to work, or perhaps something bad has happened to him and he's preoccupied with thinking about that, or any number of other things. In this case, you are taking nothing personally from his actions, and are able to just brush them off and continue with your day.
So which is going to bring you happiness? Well, the latter is more likely to, though of course there's no guarantee, it depends how you process the other things happening in your day/life. If you always assume though, that nothing bad is meant by other's actions and words unless you are absolutely certain it is otherwise, then you'll have less in life to be upset by.

And if you have less in life to be upset by, then the chances are you'll be happier.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Cat chat

I was watching some local cats the other night, and realised, there's a lot we as humans can learn from some of these creatures. For example, the other night, two local cats were sitting in the road outside my house. One clearly was all stressed up and feeling territorial, posturing and growling at the other cat, right in it's face, making it clear it was less than happy.

The second cat, though, was just sitting there, and I do mean just. It was doing nothing, there was no twitch of the tail, no response to the growling cat, no movement at all. It simply sat there. The first cat carried on for some time, posturing and growling, but getting no response. After several minutes it gave up and slowly walked off.

The second cat still sat there, as if oblivious to anything having happened.

I admire that second cat, his ability not to get stressed out by threats of attack, but to calmly take it all in his stride. This isn't the first time I've seen this cat behave this way - it's the same whenever he gets threatened by another cat, he just sits there calmly until the other cat goes away.

Also, who hasn't seen a cat sleeping? Anyone who owns a cat knows this is something they can do for up to 20 hours a day. Is it laziness? I don't think so. Most cats are pretty fit and flexible, able to jump quite high, especially considering their size, able to run, fast, at a moments notice. No, cats aren't lazy, they're just good at energy conservation - if you don't need to expend that energy, then why bother? They do exercise, and they never forget to stretch before moving off. Who of us can say we remember to stretch before making demands on our muscles? Most of us get out of bed in the morning without any preparation of our bodies for what we expect of them. Yet a cat always remembers.

Maybe they're brighter than we realise, or maybe we've just lost touch with the basic parts of our brains and lives. Cats know when it's going to rain, when there's storm coming. They don't need to listen to a weather forecast. It's said that our ancestors could do the same, when we lived that hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Yet, who amongst us now could say what the weather's going to be like, unless we see those dark clouds building on the horizon. Nine times out of ten, we have no idea what weather the day will bring. We can make a guess - it's summer, the chances are it'll be warm, or it's winter, the chances are it'll be cold, or even, it's the UK, the chances are it'll rain, but we don't know. Where and when did we lose this skill that many animals have retained?
Perhaps man is not so great ;-)

Wednesday, 16 July 2008


Before I start on with the talking, I thought I'd tell you a bit about myself. I am currently unable to work due to various health conditions, including ME and FMS. I first got ill in January 1996, following a nasty bout of flu, and haven't worked now since 1999. At first my health really got to me, being unable to do all the things I used to do, but with time has come acceptance, and a certain amount of change in my attitude, both to being ill, and to life in general.

From time to time I have thoughts, about how I now cope with the rubbish that life throws at me, and how I cope with being, officially (well, I have a blue parking badge) disabled. Living with a chronic invisible illness is not easy, as many can tell you (you might be surprised how many invisibly ill people you actually know), but it's not the end of the world.

I keep smiling on through, and seeing the joke in life. I don't know if I'm any better than others at this, but I know I'm better than some. Of course, the chances are I'm worse than others too, that's just the way the cookie crumbles.

So, if you pop back from time to time you may see my thoughts on how to achieve a degree of happiness despite the obstacles life throws in your way, or you may just get my rambling thoughts to which you reply 'yeah, so? I knew all that already, tell us something new'.

I hope you enjoy what I write, though, and welcome all comments, both positive and negative. So, welcome, and may the world shine some happiness into your life today. :-)