Image

Bee Happy (and a bit about Laughter Yoga)

Hello, everyone ūüôā¬† I was back at work this week after having an extended Easter break.¬† Can’t say I was overjoyed at the thought of returning to work, but very grateful to have a job¬†to return to (the current economic climate being what it is, every extra day of employment is a bonus).¬† It took a while to get back into the swing of things, and I was horribly nervous when people came in to ask questions about our services etc ; after just a week off, I was a bit brain-dead and stupid.¬† But I got through it ok and people seemed happy with my responses.¬† It’s probably just me who thought I was useless!

One of my tasks today was to write a book review.¬† The book, “Love Laughter and Longevity : the Art and Science of Wellbeing” by Janni Goss, talks about laughter and its positive effects on our health, longevity, and quality of life.¬† As my organisation assists people with dementia, and encourages positive thinking and celebrating the small joys in life, this book could benefit many people who are dealing with the difficulties that dementia inevitably brings.¬† But laughter is a well-documented medicine for many of the things that ail us, whether we are experiencing illness or not.

There are physical changes that occur when we laugh : blood flow increases, endorphins are released, cortisol levels are lowered and the immune response is improved.¬† Intense laughter (whether faked or not – the brain can’t tell the difference) also provides aerobic exercise, which is far more enjoyable than time spent at the gym.

Janni is an advocate for Laughter Yoga and its benefits.¬† Over 100 countries around the world have Laughter Yoga groups, and its positive effect on people with illnesses ranging from high blood pressure to cancer has been studied and reported in numerous medical journals.¬† It’s certainly an interesting topic to read about (a lot of my reading-for-work tasks are pretty dull and make me go a bit cross-eyed) and worth further investigation if you’re into self-improvement and inner health (whilst improving your outer health at the same time!).¬† You can read more from Janni HERE¬†or learn about Laughter Yoga throughout Australia HERE

All that laughter and being happy reminded me of this little canvas I painted on the weekend.¬† At first, when I had finished it, I felt a bit unsure about the whole “bee happy” thing.¬† Sometimes we’re just NOT, right?¬† Sometimes we are decidedly unhappy and a bit down in the dumps.¬† But I guess what Janni’s book and philosophy encourages is to embrace the small joyful moments in life and use them to promote well-being in our bodies and minds.¬† It’s kinda like faking it til you make it.¬† Not avoiding dealing with sadness but, rather, using joy to combat it and face it head on.¬† And you might as well have a few extra happy hormones to help you, right?

Having said all that, it’s important to let people know you’re struggling.¬† No one should suggest you “pretend” to be happy if you’re not.¬† That’s way too much pressure!¬† I believe happiness itself is a bit of a myth.¬† It’s such a vague concept.¬† No one is happy 100% of the time ; how can you be, when there is so much suffering and pain in the world?

But I think it’s important to be content with your situation, be in the moment, and be happy about the small things in life, focusing on the good, and doing what you can to minimise the “bad”.¬† It’s easy to be overwhelmed by the sad or upsetting moments in our life, but how often do we give the same amount of energy to joyous moments, savouring them and replaying them in our minds?¬† The brain can’t differentiate between something that is a memory and something that is happening now.¬† So, we should try and hold on to happy memories and use them to boost our spirits when we are down, rather than re-living those moments that caused us pain and distress.

Easy to say.¬† But I think every extra weapon we can have in our arsenal against the blues is a bonus and worth a try.¬† I don’t think I will be doing a class of Laughter Yoga any time soon (I’m not a joining-in kinda gal and I would spend the entire time worrying about what I look like when I’m laughing and whether or not I was doing things right) but there are definitely principles that I could use to be more positive or, at least, trick my brain into¬†feeling¬†happier, until I am able to feel it for real.

Be happy today.¬† And if you can’t be, I’m sending good thoughts your way and a wish for a happier tomorrow.¬† Hang in there x

IMG_3944.JPG

Advertisements
RIP Mork

RIP Mork

Last week was a sad week with the passing of Robin Williams.  He was a great actor, amazing comedian and, just as importantly, a human being with problems and issues, just like the rest of us.  At the end of the day, with all his fame and money, he was still a damaged soul and wasn’t able to stand it any longer.  It makes me so sad to think someone who is beloved by millions could be that lonely and in that much pain.  Some of us have experienced that and some of us hopefully never will, but just imagine what it is like to be someone who is responsible for so much laughter and yet be so unable to be happy himself.  Just soul-destroying.  My heart goes out to his family, who must be beside themselves with grief. My heart also goes out to Mr Williams, who is now, hopefully, at peace and able to smile.

Be kind to one another.  Let loved ones know you are there for them and reach out if you yourself are in need of support.

I’ll leave you with an excerpt from an episode of the wonderful “Mork and Mindy” – it says it all.

“Mork & Mindy: In Mork We Trust (#1.21)” (1979)

Orson: The report, Mork.

Mork: This week I discovered a terrible disease called loneliness.

Orson: Do many people on Earth suffer from this disease?

Mork: Oh yes sir, and how they suffer. One man I know suffers so much he has to take a medication called bourbon, even that doesn’t help very much because then he can hear paint dry.

Orson: Does bed rest help?

Mork: No because I’ve heard that sleeping alone is part of the problem. You see, Orson, loneliness is a disease of the spirit. People who have it think that no one cares about them.

Orson: Do you have any idea why?

Mork: Yes sir you can count on me. You see, when children are young, they’re told not to talk to strangers. When they go to school, they’re told not to talk to the person next to them. Finally when they’re very old, they’re told not to talk to themselves, who’s left?

Orson: Are you saying Earthlings make each other lonely?

Mork: No sir I’m saying just the opposite. They make themeslves lonely, they’re so busy looking out for number one that there’s not enough room for two.

Orson: It’s too bad everybody down there can’t get together and find a cure.

Mork: Here’s the paradox sir because if they did get together, they wouldn’t need one.

Haircuts and Brown Paper

Haircuts and Brown Paper

 

¬†Well, I finally went the chop. Hair today, gone tomorrow…or, rather, on Saturday. I went to a hair dresser recommended by a friend and I‚Äôm glad I did. The lady was really nice and did a great job and it was so cheap! Normally I avoid getting my hair cut because it‚Äôs just so expensive, but this one, wow, very affordable ‚Äď so much so, I might even get my hair cut regularly (like you‚Äôre supposed to do apparently – who knew?). Anyway, it‚Äôs done now and I‚Äôm happy with it (thank goodness ‚Äď no one would want to listen to my whining about it if I wasn‚Äôt happy) and I can get on with life. I also dyed it (bye bye grey strands!). Not a fancy, weird colour – just my own natural mousey brown shade. ¬†Just sans grey. ¬†What do you think? ¬†I don’t think it even looks dyed…

Image

 

Christmas is looming and I am no closer to being organised. ¬†I am running out of time to see everyone I wanted to see before the 25th and I haven’t completed my gift shopping. ¬†Actually, I’m only about a quarter through it, if that. ¬†It gets harder every year. ¬†I don’t like to buy gifts that are junk or just some thing that will get thrown in a cupboard never to see the light of day. ¬†I like gifts to mean something to the recipient and be well thought out and from the heart. ¬†Having said that, if it’s December 24th and I still haven’t got you something, you are probably going to wind up with a gift voucher, a box of chocolates or some socks. ¬†Just warnin’ ya! (Personally, I like getting socks, so it’s not really a lame present in my mind‚Ķthey’re practical, right? ¬†Everybody needs socks!). ¬†I like to make presents too although I am hardly ever organised enough for that. ¬†I haven’t even got any Christmas cards ready yet. ¬†Pathetic effort. ¬†Epic fail!

My twiggy Christmas tree is up and decorated and has some tiny sparkly lights too. ¬†I have gone for a silver, white and blue theme this year. ¬†Actually, that’s what I do most years ha ha. ¬†I’m not into the traditional red, green and white for Christmas.

Image

 

I have wrapped a total of three presents.  Which is quite sad.  I have gone for the usual brown paper wrapping.  This is because
a.) I have a big roll of brown paper to use up
b.) I like brown paper and it goes with everything and doesn’t clash with my decor when under the tree
c.) It always looks so nice in the magazines and decorating books and I am trying to be classy and sophisticated
(ha! that’ll be the day!)

I’m using some little clay tags I made a couple of years ago, to embellish some of the gifts I’ve wrapped. ¬†Just to add an extra element. When it comes to 24th December and I am still wrapping, I will be cursing these “embellishments” and the extra time they require to attach to gifts (all of 2.5 seconds most likely). ¬†Sometimes the clay tags are a bit brittle (my crappy workmanship) and they break just as I am trying to tie them to a gift. ¬†Or I haven’t made the hole in them big enough to accommodate string. ¬†But I think that the little bit of extra effort looks nice and makes it look like I took the time to create something appealing. ¬†The recipient doesn’t need to know it caused minor tantrums and fits of cursing. ¬†And the tantrums weren’t that minor. ¬†

Image

I have just seen some beautiful Christmas cards I want to try on Dianne Faw’s blog. I have done cards before with a “patchwork” feel to them but I haven’t done any Christmas ones and I think I will try it this year. ¬†I need something fairly quick to do as I am running out of time and creative energy as well. ¬†Thanks Dianne for the post! ¬†It reminded me of an easy technique that has saved me in the past.¬†

Had two of my library friends over for dinner tonight – my first real “dinner party” (if three people can be considered a party‚Ķ). ¬†I made mushroom risotto which turned out ok although took a monstrously long time to cook for some reason (which is always the way when you are trying to make something for other people that you’ve made a million times for yourself) and for dessert I made cinnamon-maple ice-cream with gingerbread cookies crushed up in it. ¬†Yum! ¬†So good. ¬†I served us up delicate little bowlfuls but really I think we could have all just eaten the whole tub. ¬†We had a nice evening chatting, talking about books (it’s a cliche that librarians do that‚Ķbut we did do it tonight!) and laughing about ridiculous things – God, it’s so good to laugh! ¬†I haven’t done that in such a long time. ¬†The kind of laughing when your tea comes out of your nose and you collapse in a heap with exhaustion and can’t even remember what you were laughing about. ¬†THAT kind of laughing. ¬†So good. ¬†

Must go to bed. ¬†It is a hot and sticky night and I foresee lots of tossing and turning and the fan working in overdrive. ¬†I have carb overload from dinner and so I am going to waddle over to the kettle and make myself a nice cup of peppermint tea (that dissolves fat, right? I’m sure I read that somewhere‚Ķ) and watch some
21 Jump Street re-runs because I am having a weird 80s fetish right now and am re-living my youth.  

Hope you’ve had a good day ūüôā

 

 

 

 

 

 

Proverbs for the Non-Conventional

Proverbs for the Non-Conventional

In cleaning up and tidying my spare rooms this week (yes, it has taken a week…and I’m still not finished), I have found lots of things that had been hiding, forgotten, in cupboards and boxes, stuffed-to-the-max envelopes and files. ¬†One of these “treasures” was a list of proverbs my brother wrote with a friend, twenty years ago. ¬†They were mucking about and being silly (as boys are), trying to think up things to put on t-shirts, and they came up with an extensive list of slightly “alternative” proverbs that make me laugh every time I rediscover them. ¬†I’m not sure if my brother even remembers them or if he wonders where they ended up. ¬†I’m the “keeper” in the family – if there’s a certificate or a first lost tooth or a movie ticket that was bought on such-and-such a day, I’m the one who keeps it. ¬†Hence my continual tidying up and de-cluttering. ¬†What can I say? ¬†Some say “Guardian of Important Stuff”, some say “Hoarder”. ¬†It’s a little of column A, a little of column B.

Anyway, back to the proverbs.  Here they are in their entirety (I apologise for any that are slightly risqué Рwe are talking about two guys in their early twenties here):

  • If at first you don’t succeed, break a leg!
  • He who laughs last spoils the broth!
  • Never look a gift horse in the bush!
  • A rolling stone catches the worm!
  • A wise man gathers no moss!
  • Too many cooks, try, try again!
  • When in Rome, call the kettle black!
  • He who laughs gets two in the bush!
  • He who laughs last puts all his eggs in one basket!
  • Look before you make love!
  • When in Rome, leap!
  • A bird in your hand spoils the broth!
  • Don’t count your chickens before you make love!
  • Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man spill the milk!
  • The Early Bird looks before he calls the kettle black!
  • When in Rome, laugh last!
  • If in doubt, break a leg!
  • If at first you don’t succeed, make love!
  • Beware of Greeks bearing children!
  • Too many cooks catch the worm!
  • Make love before they hatch!
  • A watched kettle never prospers!

So there they are. ¬†Maybe they make me laugh because my brother created them and¬†he always makes me laugh because I love him and like to see him being silly and happy. ¬†Whatever. ¬†Hope they made you laugh too and who knows, maybe one of them might actually apply to something you do today. ¬†Let me know if you can add a few silly variations of your own ūüôā

IMG_7856

 

IMG_7857