By Nadine Hickman
This weekend was a special family time as our extended family gathered to farewell a life well lived. We reflected on the life of a man who had lived his life putting family and people first, with an open door policy on the family home, he had spent a life time welcoming family and friends from near and afar. And as a result he lived a full and rich life.
Many people at the gathering, including myself, felt inspired to find more time for the people in our lives. On the back of our COVID19 Lockdown, it was another call to keep life simple, and focus on what's really important.
Then today, I feel the predicament as I wonder how to create more balance in my life. I know many other parents who are also finding themselves swept up in the busyness of life and activities, we said we wouldn't live like that again, but suddenly we are.
Then I saw this William A Ward quote -
"A well developed sense of humour is the pole that adds balance to your step as you walk the tightrope of life"
What a great analogy. Rather than chasing that magical elusive "balance", we could accept that life is always going to be like walking on a tightrope, (especially if you're someone with ambition, who wants to mix that with people, fun and good times). We could shift our focus to working on developing our sense of humour, so we can keep it light as we navigate this tightrope called life.
But how do we embrace and build our sense of humour? We are all born with a sense of humour, just watch a child, they find all sorts of things funny! But through life in all its seriousness, this sense of fun can be slowly withered away. Here are some tips to spark your innate sense of humour back to life...
7 TIPS TO DEVELOP YOUR SENSE OF HUMOUR
There you have it, 7 tips to work on developing your sense of humour, to help you balance on the tightrope of life... now there's a great focus for your week ahead!
Written by Jac Lockington
Holistic Life & Financial Coach
We constantly hear about being resilient to change! Changes are usually made by others,
such as our policy makers, employers, service providers and while they might ‘rip our
nighties’ at the time, we invariably succumb and quickly forget.
But what about changes we make for ourselves… you know the hard ones, the ones you’ve
been thinking about for ages and for some reason keep putting off? When you begin
thinking about making a change, do you feel overwhelmed or just plain scared?
You are in good company, a lot of us lack courage to make positive changes!
Our brain is like a conservative investment fund - you get a return, but nothing like you
could get with a little more risk!
Our ‘want’ to change thoughts are pushed back by our brain’s ‘need’ to be secure thoughts
which naturally oppose each other. Our subconscious brain is designed to keep us alive and
out of harms way and it will do ANYTHING to keep us in our familiar place. It’s more
powerful than any computer - and it NEVER switches off! So, during your waking hours you
can be contemplating change while your subconscious is sabotaging those ideas while you
are asleep and unaware!
Courage begins in our Conscious Brain!
Courage is required for anything new to us and for things previously tried that didn’t end
well. Although we mostly run on auto pilot, do you remember how you felt the first time
you went to school, drove a car, started work, or had your first date? I was terrified before I
mastered any of those situations! When you do things successfully, your subconscious files
those experiences in the “Safe” box. It has hundreds of different boxes and has recorded
everything that has happened since you were born. Now, when you want to do something,
your subconscious searches those boxes until it finds a similar experience and then either
approves or disapproves. If it doesn’t find a similar one, it MUST be too scary to do!
Subconscious Brain :
“You know what happened the last time you
did that… the same will happen
Childhood memories affect todays decisions!
Let’s say, you had a bad experience at the dental clinic when you were a child. Your
subconscious saved that to the ‘Scary’ box, so even though you are an adult, the mere
thought of the dentist has your subconscious waving the ‘Scary’ flag while evoking the
original feelings you had back then! Yes, not only does it store memories, it also stores
I had a meeting with a Tarantula in Australia. I was 8 years old; it was the size of a dinner
plate and was blocking my only escape route - the bedroom door! Beyond petrified, I was
insanely trying to climb the farthest wall to escape…. what was I thinking? Was I going to
punch through the ceiling? The point was I wasn’t thinking consciously, the fight, flight or
freeze part of my brain had taken control!
For the following 16 years, every time I saw a spider, no matter how small, adrenaline would
surge through my body, I couldn’t breathe and I ran. My subconscious was waving the
‘Scary’ flag and even though this spider was tiny, my brain didn’t care, and I felt the same
fear grip me. The embarrassing situations this caused make me smile now but running out
of toilets with my pants down or balancing on the back of a friend’s sofa while her husband
removed an innocent arachnid destroyed my dignity!
Courage to Tame the Beast- YOU can do it!
Although our subconscious brain is stubborn, we can force it to accept ‘updates’. By
working with a professional, my phobia was cured in 10 minutes flat by retraining my brain.
I was tested though. The following week, they were everywhere. Under my daughter’s
quilt, in my car and one even appeared in the shower! Nope, nothing, no running,
screaming or loss of consciousness ensued….. I even had the courage to look at their little
faces. My life was changed!
Back to the dentist scenario, we need to question whether the TRUTH and BELIEF we
experienced as a child is still relevant today.
Questions to consider:
Desire- Define what you want to change and why:
might doubt ourselves after a minor setback. Your support team could be a mixture of
friends, family and maybe a professional mentor who genuinely understands what it means
for you to achieve this.
Action - Are you READY to commit to this now? If you are, then read on….
Then, if you have achieved that in 3 months, what would you need to achieve in 6
weeks? Keep going until you have weekly actions to get you to your goal!
Courage needs a booster shot regularly, so catch ups with your support team are useful. Doesn’t need to be flash, just 30 minutes over a coffee! It’s easy to slip into negative thinking when you hit a speed bump. Remember it’s just your subconscious trying to keep you safe and stop you being hurt. We can reduce this negative self- talk by using the “Catch, Challenge, Change” process, which was developed by Vicki Thondley, Director of Mind Body Food Institute in Australia.
It always seems impossible until it's done."
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jac is a Holistic Life and Financial Coach and a Community Facilitator for a Bullying Prevention Programme delivered to local schools in Cromwell.
Jac is a mum of two and grandma to four and insists she is younger than that sounds! She loves completing research projects just for fun and as a former Mental Health Advocate, keeps up with the latest research on mental wellbeing.
In her spare time, Jac loves exploring Central Otago on the many trails available on her EBike, catching up with friends and ‘supervising’ her husband in the garden!
By Guest Author :
Let’s Cut To The Core
Personally I suffer from bright light syndrome but the one thing that keeps me grounded are my core values. They’re my foundation and I know when things are off course it’s because I’m not listening to them or to my intuition (to be in-tune).
It’s those times where I struggle the most and ask myself endless questions:
... why am I feeling like this
... why is this person getting to me so much Why is he/she being such a dick
... why am I so sensitive blah blah blah
You know the ones.
I remember meeting my now husband (he from London, me from South Auckland) and we were very different human beings with different human doing tendencies but I remember thinking the more serious things got the one thing we had in common that remains to this day was our same core values.
How Did Those Core Values Reveal Themselves?
I saw how much he loved and adored his mum. He saw how much I protected and cherished my kiwi brothers and sisters (and yes of course the random Aussie and Yappie) at our home away from home. He cooked and nurtured his best mate from “Up North” of England of Indian descent who loved nothing better than his Sunday roasts.
He heard me talk to my Nana from a phone box in Hastings (the UK one) and only after I hung up did he say she sounded like Dame Edna Everage. Later on he met her (Nana not the Dame) and like the rest of us loved her quick wit and stoicism.
You see it was those core values that has kept us grounded some 20 odd years later. It’s not been without its challenges and there have been many times where we’ve had to push the reset button and pick ourselves up to start again but that’s how we’re all feeling right now as we navigate this new normal.
Time To Push The Reset Button
Right now our core values are something we need to strengthen because it’s been a bit of a wild ride right.
It’s natural to feel a range of emotions after such unbelievable events so what can we do to steady those ups and downs and twists and turns?
We don’t know what this new normal is even but word from the street is the majority of us want things to be better, easier, less stressful, less chaotic and more of the connectivity, more care, more togetherness and the list continues...
For employers it can be an opportunistic time to get to know their employees on a much deeper level; what their TRUE core values are and what direction do they wish to go in. Let’s face it for many of us we play lip service with the boss when really we want to:
How cool would it be if you shared your own unique purpose that sits at the core of who you truly are? Telling stories about how you feel does mean you’re vulnerable whether you’re the boss or not, but isn’t it a damn sight better than “faking it”?
Being humble and vulnerable are powerful core values. We can see everyday how badly it goes for leaders home and away who don’t behave with humility or vulnerability as part of their values system.
Ikigai | Time To Serve A Greater Purpose
Have you heard of the Japanese term Ikigai? Iki - means life and gai - means value or worth, and in simple terms it’s what gets you up in the morning (not in the alarm clock sort of way or the beeping dog needs to go to the loo again way either).
It’s all about finding your purpose, your passion, and it manifests into “the value of life or the happiness of life”.
I think Ikigai for me and for most at this time is to focus on not just what I/we want/need but also what the world as a whole wants/needs.
Imagine what a positive impact on our family, community, city, region, country and around the world if we understood and nurtured the value of life over all else? Not just our life either; the life of the planet, our environment, the greater good.
Cause and Effect
There is and always will be “cause and effect”. What happens at home impacts what happens at work and vice versa. What happens there then impacts our community.
Our emotionally intelligent core values as a community can allow us to take care of ourselves as well as others which means our city or region not only has a chance to survive but thrive. If those set of core values are carried into our nation as a whole that influences others around the world.
What Would Alice Do?
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat. “I don’t much care where—” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
I love Alice but let’s not be the Alice in this quote. Let’s put down that funny tonic, stop talking to the cat and draw up a set of emotionally intelligent new rules. When we cut to the core we don’t want to see any rotten bits - we want to see new growth so the world around us heals and flourishes.
Thank you Cherie for sharing your insightful words to inspire and encourage others to delve deeper into their core values, to find their purpose and to passionately and whole-heartedly follow it.
THE 7 DAY MENTAL DIET - TAKE THE CHALLENGE!
What do you think would happen if for 7 days you did not allow your mind to think one single negative thought?
Imagine if you could go 7 whole days without dwelling on one thought of fear, regret, judgement, criticism, frustration, overwhelm, lack, negation, or doubt....
WILL YOU TAKE UP THE 7 DAY MENTAL DIET CHALLENGE ?
Ok, so you may not be ale to control the thoughts that come to your mind, but you can control which ones you allow to stay there. It's just like you can't control who turns up at your doorstep, but you CAN decide who you let in.
What's required is for you to post a sign at the door way to your mind, just like this one:
We've designed this sign for you as a phone wallpaper, a desktop background, and an A4 wall poster so you can display these words everywhere you look, for constant reminders during the day, to help you stay focused during the next 7 days of mental dieting.
You're going to need reminders, especially when you get busy and preoccupied, or something happens to throw you off. Just as with a physical diet, temptation is everywhere so you're going to have to be strong. Negative thoughts are sneaky little things! They'll pop into your mind and take over your consciousness, if even just for a moment, you let down your guard and give them a chance.
CLICK BELOW TO DOWNLOAD YOUR "NONE BUT THE POSITIVE AND THE GOOD SHALL ENTER HERE" SIGNS FOR YOUR PHONE, COMPUTER, AND PRINTABLE WALL POSTER.
MENTAL DIETING TIPS :
Keep a notebook to help make the most of your 7 Day Mental Diet.
In your notebook, record:
1. Mantras & Good Thoughts
These are the things you will replace negative thoughts with, or use to recite when you're preoccupied or busy. Write down some positive one liners you could fill your mind with.
Here are a few examples to get you started:
EMPTY SPACE IS STILL A PLACE... If you don't fill your mind with good, it will fill with negative. Use your good thoughts and mantras to fill your head with so much good, the negative can't get in.
2. Celebrate the wins
Use your notebook to celebrate the wins. You may be surprised the good things that start to come your way when you think good thoughts, and eliminate negative ones. You may notice some things that seem like coincidences or synchronicities, that are actually the result of your more positive mindset and vibration. Record the good happenings, even the smallest of things, so you can see the evidence of your hard work on the mental diet. This will encourage you to keep going.
Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions! To really ramp up your 7 Day Mental Diet, each day list all of the things you're grateful for. List things that you've had in the past, things that you now have, and also write down things you are grateful for that are coming your way in the future - express your gratitude for the past, present and future.
Start the day out right
How you start out the day is vital to how the day ends up going. I really encourage you to commit to going to bed half an hour earlier and rising half an hour earlier (make it an hour if possible). Spend this quiet time in the morning to sit and read over your good thoughts and mantras, and brainstorm some more to add to the list. Record your gratitudes past, present and future, and read over the entries from previous days. Fill your heart and mind with gratitude and good. Use this time to sit with your thoughts, take some long slow breaths and get yourself in to a mentally peaceful and strong place for the day.
It won't be easy, but it'll be worth it!
Remember this is only for 7 Days, you CAN do this! If you fall off the horse and become overwhelmed with negative thoughts, just reset and start again, get back on that horse every time you fall off. The mind is persistent, but you are stronger!
This will be the most important and rewarding 7 days of your life, so let's get started!
If you're not using this time to rest, reset, and prioritise your purpose and people in your life, you my friend are wasting an opportunity you may never get again, the world literally stopped and shifted for you to get your shit together."
This post dramatically shifted my mindset, it helped me to let go off the frustration I was feeling about all of the exciting things that had been happening in my life that had suddenly been whisked away. It helped me to see this situation as an opportunity.
I made a firm pact with myself that I was not going to come out of this the same person.
This is an important lesson for life, because whether it's a global pandemic, or some personal stressful or traumatic situation, or even just an irritating person in your life.... SHIT HAPPENS! And if you are breathing, you are going to experience adversity in your life. There are going to be people that upset you, situations that frustrate you, or daily annoyances to irritate you.
The question to ask yourself is:
AM I GOING TO GO THROUGH THIS OR GROW THROUGH THIS?
Often situations can cause great pain, but you can decide,
"I am not going to waste this pain by coming out the same!".
AS YOU HEAD BACK OUT INTO THE WORLD, THINK ABOUT HOW YOU WANT TO BE DIFFERENT... WHO IS THIS NEW IMPROVED VERSION OF YOU? GO OUT AND INTRODUCE 'THE NEW YOU' TO THE NEW WORLD....
For me, the new me is someone who keeps her peace more of the time.
I want to strive to achieve the state of serenity, that I learned about years ago in my first experiences of Yoga and meditation, and hold on to it for longer periods throughout the day.
I don’t want to let the same people upset me, the same circumstances frustrate me.
I'm determined not to allow what’s on the outside to get on the inside. I'm going to strive to not let the busy-ness that’s happening on the outside get on the inside. It can be busy on the outside, but still on the inside.
This is my challenge to myself... WOULD YOU LIKE TO JOIN ME?
In the midst of any adversity there is a place of peace inside that we can go to. Finding that place and developing the skill of going there is a massive step when it comes to building up resilience, and this is my daily goal. To me, this is now more important than what I achieve and accomplish in my day.
If I ticked many things off my to-do list, but I lived my day stressed out and strung out, that is no longer a successful day to me.
RESILIENCE : The capacity of a system, enterprise or person to maintain it's core purpose and integrity in the face of dramatically changed circumstances."
In the ocean, on the surface the water is always changing depending on the wind and the tide.. It can be very smooth and calm in the morning, then later in the day it can be rough and choppy, there can be 5 metre waves, where a few days ago it was just small white caps. What’s interesting is, if you go down about 30 feet deep, the water never changes, it’s as calm and still as can be. Right above it on the surface it may change a dozen times a day, but 30 feet down it never changes, it's always calm.
As we nearly finish the fifth week of lockdown, I reflect on what the last five weeks have brought, what I have managed well and what I need to improve on, but most importantly how I can be a better, happier version of myself going into the next week. This is something I have challenged myself to think of each Sunday evening before a new week starts.
Another big thing for me to do each Sunday evening is write down some goals for the week around all aspects of life. When we do this the connection from thought in our brains, getting written down physically in front of us, makes it seem more realistic. Goals keep me motivated, productive and help me to appreciate the ones I have achieved, even if they're small.
A Pep Talk is a vigorous, emotional talk intended to lift the spirits of yourself or someone else; and arouse positive feelings of happiness, enthusiasm, confidence, and determination to succeed.... PEPTALK as an organisation empowers people by delivering evidence-based knowledge and tools that build mental wellbeing and protect against mental illness.
PEPTALK is a registered charitable foundation who empower this generation and the next, by helping people realise and embrace their innate ability to enhance their own mental wellbeing. We deliver the knowledge, tools, and strategies that enable adults, teen, and children to harness this ability, through our publication, resources, and events; our proceeds fund initiatives that empower children and teens with the skills for wellbeing.