Size isn’t everything!

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So bigger isn’t always best, good things come from small packages. No, I haven’t gone into euphemism overload on this warm Sunday evening. This relates to the medal table so far at the Rio Olympics. I am an Olympophile and I am not afraid to say it! Born in 1972, I have vague recollections of the enigmatic Nadia Comaneci in ‘76, watching Coe and Ovett in ‘80, but it was the Los Angeles games of 1984 that caught the attention of the young me. Scrapbook made, adoration of Daley Thompson, Kathy Cook and Peter Elliott. I was hooked. Plucky Great Britain fighting amongst the big guns. Little old us, we may get something. It was the athletics that grabbed my attention; the glory events.  Over time, elation in rowing with Sir Steve, swimming and gymnastic success, cycling domination have matched and often surpassed our achievements in track and field.

Fast forward to London 2012 and something was in the air; it was a truly amazing games, creating a plethora of memories for the participants and the audience.  Of course a huge amount of money was thrown at sport in order for us to succeed in London; it paid off. With the papers talking about cuts to sports post 2012 there was rightly an expectation that things would tail off…and to some extent they did. There is however, something magical about the Olympics. It inspires, it ignites and excites. It is the pinnacle of a career. We have been spoilt with the multiple titles from so many athletes. And now, the new age has come of age.

To see my little ole country now second in the medal table (at the time of writing) is immense. The pool of talent that we can take from in no way matches the powerhouses of USA, Russia, China et al, yet we have something – something you cannot bottle and hopefully something not taken from one either.  Each and every athlete have dedicated their lives to their cause. It is humbling to listen to their stories. It is simply fantastic.  

Proud to be a Brit!
Dream BIG, Sparkle MORE, Shine BRIGHTLY

Here Comes The Sun…

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How to spot a Brit in a crowd of people? Either inappropriately dressed for the weather or…talking about said weather. If there was an Olympic medal in weather chat, we would be reigning champions since time immemorial.
At last, we have seen a return to the higher temperatures of June, as opposed to the freezing, rain-choked days of last week – of course, it was half term! There is something magical that occurs when the sun adorns the ground with its rays of warmth; hope sets in, stress levels drop and the supermarket shelves are devoid of anything related to salad, bbq food and alcohol deals!
Migrations of people flock to the coastal towns, including my own. The population almost doubles. But, everyone is in good spirits – the sunshine really does stimulate endorphins. The sun has given me the kickstart to sort out the many hours of weeding and planting that was required in my back garden. Now with aching neck and knees, I can admire a job well done. Whilst sitting on the bench earlier, I closed my eyes and tried to engage with all of my senses. The chirping of the birds, the fluttering of the pear tree leaves, the gentle breeze on my face were welcome distractions from the usual frenetic pace of life. Walking barefoot on the soft, cool grass is a lovely feeling and helps me connect back to Mother Nature. The shrill laughter of children playing outside alongside the whir of the lawn-mower are all wonderful sounds to behold on a sunny summer Sunday.
Transfixed to the weather forecast, the next question is, will it last? It is as if our happiness depends on it. Rain equates misery, sunshine gives us something to bask in, a feel-good factor where we can tackle our daily rituals and make sense of our problems with more of a positive attitude. Being British means an inherent acceptance of cold, wet and damp. A wrapped-up approach to facing the world. Our smallest chance of a glimpse of summer sees us shed our clothing (not always a good thing!) and shed our inhibitions (same applies!).
Happiness for many, is as fleeting as the weather. Happiness for me is my core, enriched by the fleeting moments where the seasons stimulate my being and I appreciate my surroundings twofold.
“Sometimes you have to create your own sunshine.” You can do it!

Dream BIG, Sparkle MORE, Shine BRIGHTLY

Spring Forward ZZZ!

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The usual ritual of clock re-setting occurred with gusto on all floors of the Hasted residence yesterday evening…about 8pm! In my head, I had given myself an extra hour in bed that morning to counter-balance what I was about to lose last night. There is logic there, promise!
I was surprised this morning when I woke about 8am, that I didn’t do the normal…ooo well, it really is 9am mental calculation in my head. I just thought, hurrah…it won’t be dark until later this evening. THAT is the joy of BST. The realisation that I can still do things in the evening without feeling like it is time to roll into the duvet womb as soon as I get home from work.
With that feeling of night-time hibernation at 5pm, our bodies are purely responding like our ancestors to the phases of the moon and sun. It is a natural process in our unnatural way of life. We have altered the timing of our body’s rhythm and we wonder why we have problems sleeping! I noticed that there has been research into how the change to BST impacts our well-being.
In an article from the Mail Online today, it says that research has shown that heart attacks increase during the spring time change, as well as more traffic incidents, injuries and general grumpiness! Ouch…..
It is not rocket science to understand that however we try to alter our lives, the pull of Mother Nature will always override the human need to control. With the joy of longer evenings comes the penance of feeling out of kilter for a while. On balance, I’ll take it! Welcome to happiness….spring is my time of year.

Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’ Robin Williams

Dream BIG, Sparkle MORE, Shine BRIGHTLY

International Happiness Day

 

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Awaking on International Happiness Day, I opened the curtains to find the usual greyness of Spring greeting me like a blanket of misery. The sunshine definitely at bay, that immediate unconscious lift it brings not occurring, how can I begin my happiness day? Well, I am alive, fairly healthy, with a brain, a roof over my head, food in the cupboard, clothes to wear…not a bad start I’d say.

The thing is, we tend to try to make grand gestures on ‘special days’ and that is where we go wrong. Today is a new day, but no more or less important than the last.  Our happiness should not be dictated from the external world, the core of who we are comes from within. It has taken me many of my nearly 44 years to really appreciate that concept. I used to envy those who would wake refreshed and cheery in the mornings, ignoring their happy salutations as I huffed and grunted my way through the first part of my morning. Now, I am better! My internal happiness gage has shifted hugely with age and experience. Life is great. If only I could have control and sculpt a better external world, my happiness cup would overflow!

So when you are asked how you are…take a breath and think before replying with the negative moans, try and tell people the positives, it really does have an impact. Appreciate what you have and live for today. See the good in your world.  Pass a smile; spread the happiness.  

“It takes no more time to see the good side of life than to see the bad.” ― Jimmy Buffett

 

Dream BIG, Sparkle MORE, Shine BRIGHTLY

An Introduction to Happiness – a talk SATURDAY 19 MARCH

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Want to find your happiness?

You are invited to begin the journey…

Happiness is not a pipedream, it is a reality, one that we leave behind as children. Being an adult does not mean we have to neglect our core being. If you feel that there are changes you could make, but need a nudge in the right direction then this is for you.

Come along to a talk that will allow you to think about what you need to tweak in your life to make you happy. Listen to the science, discuss with others and begin to understand what is your ‘jack in box’.

If you can’t make this date, look out for details of the next talk in May.

Dream BIG, Sparkle MORE, Shine BRIGHTLY

Move Your Mountain

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http://tinyurl.com/hhuatc2

Trawling through my emails, I enjoyed opening the daily lifehack.org edition. There is always something that grabs my attention. The above article by Jenna Drew really resonated with me. Coming from an education background, I have seen those pupils who just do not fit in, have a tough time and are genuinely unhappy in their surroundings. You can watch their body language, how they slink to the side of the classroom, head down, eyes showing an acceptance of their lot.

School is a metaphor for life. There are those who breeze through, those who have great social interaction and those who struggle.

The joy of Josh, the boy whose change of mindset literally changed his life, gives hope to us all.   Sometimes enough is enough. But what can you do when you reach your limit?  Josh changed school and decided to take the initiative not to be a victim, but to be proactive in kindness.

“ I wanted to reach out to people and show them who I really was.”

This kindness spread like a welcome disease into happiness for the whole school.   It would be seriously unrealistic to think that anyone facing their ‘mountain’ can wake up one day and change their whole world with a click of their fingers, but what can be done?

You can make small changes. Small changes can gather momentum as you realise that the world did not implode when something shifted,  Maybe you find yourself one step further up the mountain, one step closer to that happiness goal at the peak.

For Josh, something simple as opening a door and issuing a greeting made the difference to his life. Change does not have to be HUGE, in fact you have more chance of success and longevity with small and subtle inroads into your unhappiness. If you look up and see your mountain, take time to mindmap all the things that are causing this angst. Pick one change.

As The Shaman sang:

I will not fail nor falter, I shall succeed

My perception is altered I do believe…

I can move, move, move any mountain

Dream BIG, Sparkle MORE, Shine BRIGHTLY

Workplace and Wellbeing

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Sitting at my desk, in my home, I trawl and read what is out there about a subject dear to my heart – happiness. I have blogged before about the importance of the link between happiness and a successful business. I was therefore pleased to read the article written by Lesley Stones – see link.  The momentum is gathering pace.. it isn’t just a half-baked idea adopted by the holistic happy-clappy brigade in the UK – this is worldwide. If you think about the core of what the whole happiness at work ethic is all about, it is not rocket science; it is basic human understanding.  Happy people will work more productively which equals more success for the business!

Can companies who are not creating the best working environment take stock and change? Of course… change is proactive, change shows willing, it is never too late to change.

Science, for those who need a more solid foundation, has shown that happiness can be taught. The brain can develop and attitudes can therefore alter. I particularly love the quote from the UN

“Happiness for the entire human family is one the main goals of the UN.” Whether we like it or not, our workplace is usually our second family. It can be our escape, but it can also be a major trigger in stress and illness. It is my mission to bring awareness that times are a-changing and businesses need to think about their staff not as commodities, but as individuals, with all the problems, joys and baggage that it entails.

Seek staff development. Seek staff fulfillment. Seek happiness.

“Everyone smiles in the same language.” Unknown

Dream BIG, Sparkle MORE, Shine BRIGHTLY

Visual Happiness…

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In the dark and grey January days, I read my Lifehack daily email and smiled – a lot!

The Happy Page on Facebook encapsulate snippets of what happiness is in simple yet wonderful cartoons.  Sometimes we don’t necessarily want to trawl through lines of text to find a meaning to an article. Life needs to cater for the visual learner too!

Check out the link, and the page. What is your happiness?  I pondered mine…

Dream BIG, Sparkle MORE, Shine BRIGHTLY!

Give It Up!

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http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/10-things-you-should-give-boost-happiness.html

As 2015 draws to a close, I found myself performing a yearly stocktake.  As last year was my annus horribilis, with the death of my father, I wanted to see how far I had come on my road to recovery.   Being lucky enough to have a strong core of friends who have kept an eye, and have often commented on my strength and ability to process my grief in a healthy way, I felt that the tide had turned. WIth all anniversary milestones met, the focus was truly back on me. NO excuses.

Profound change was made in my own life over the past year. I knew once my head and heart was settled, time was right to unleash the creativity within and mix it with the teaching, training and holistic backgrounds I have to formulate something worthwhile to help others.

In order to do just that, the last remnants of baggage clearing needed to occur. To commit to assisting others to find their happiness, mine needed to be genuine and heartfelt.

On a perusal of Twitter, I read the above article by Lianne Martha Maiquez Laroya on the 10 things you should give up to boost happiness.  I am in agreement with her list and could check back in my own life and mentally tick off each and every one. Number 10 was the hardest. How do we really give up the past? It surely is the past that shapes who we are and what we value in life? It took a long time to reconcile my past. To view things differently, to take from it what I needed to learn and to think what life lesson I had been taught each time, rather than whinge and moan and ‘why me’?

Lianne states, “Happiness is not a goal, it is a state of being.” My happiness has taught me to view life with more compassion, to strive to achieve all that I can in my pursuit of business, to take risks and know that the pathways will always lead somewhere that I am supposed to be.

It is liberating. It is how we should be. It was hard to get there.

My advice to you? Read the article, see which of the 10 things you can tick off, and which you need to work on. Find a way. Changing your mind-set can change your life. If you want to that is… Bring on 2016

Dream BIG, Sparkle MORE, Shine BRIGHTLY