Friday, 30 September 2016

My bed

My relationship with my bed is very indicative of how I am feeling mentally and emotionally.

When I am mentally unwell, I visit my bed far too often. I might go and hide in there when things get too tough and I am overwhelmed. I stay in there too long, or I can't get out of it; there is safety in my bed when the rest of the world is far too frightening to allow me to get out and contend with it. However, sometimes my bed is not safe. Nights can be spent wanting to sleep and that respite never comes, or I can be too frightened to sleep because of the nightmares and night terrors which will visit me.

When I am becoming better, the naps and the visits to my bed become less frequent and shorter. I'm now managing at least a couple of days a week when I don't need an afternoon nap, and I don't dive for the duvet when things get too much for me.

When I am mentally well, my bed is somewhere I visit once a day to sleep and recharge, and where I sleep well. I know when I am becoming mentally unwell again, as the visits to my bed become more frequent. Things are dropped so I can go to bed. Whole days can be lost to being in bed, or constantly returning to bed. Tiredness becomes all pervading. Even if I have only just surfaced from sleep, I'll need to be asleep again.

My relationship with my bed is my barometer for how I am doing. What barometers do you have in your life for your mental/emotional wellness and wellbeing?

A Moodscope member

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

Thursday, 29 September 2016

A sense of perspective.

One of the hardest things to hear when I am at the bottom of the pit being smothered by the Black Dog is that 'things could be worse' – when that well meaning friend tries to make me feel better by saying that elsewhere someone is probably having a tougher life than me. Logically, they are right. Intellectually, I totally understand. But when I'm down there, in that dark pit, where the pain is not physical, yet is intensely full of pain, where normal feelings are dulled, yet somehow there is this other acute feeling of tragic despair that seems to curl around my body and soul like a snake, defying all attempts to break free by squeezing tight around my chest, binding my legs together so it's almost impossible to move, squirming through my thoughts ensuring the light can't get in – what could possibly be worse than that? I mean really?? They have no idea...

But of course they do have a point. It's just that another thing that the Dog (or Snake, or whatever image we may like to use for our depression) manages to achieve is to remove completely any sense of proportion and perspective that we otherwise might have: Nobody loves us. Everybody hates us. Nothing is right with our lives.

The only way I find to restore that sense of perspective is to experience others' trials myself, to learn about others' lives and to do whatever I can to help. Last weekend, I took part in two separate activities which helped re-calibrate my perspectives. I ran a charity auction for a friend of a friend, raising money for an organisation which provides support to babies and children suffering from terminal illnesses. The parents, aged 18 and 21, had just lost their baby. Ouf. Where do you start?

And then on Sunday I volunteered in a play group for children affected by bereavement - children who had all lost their Mum, Dad or a Grandparent to cancer. Ouf again.

I know that the next time I experience a depressive episode, the lives of these brave brave people will be furthest from my conscious mind. But I also know that such re-calibration activity does give me strength, when I am well. Strength to appreciate what I have, and hopefully strength to keep the dogs and snakes at bay for a little longer.

A Moodscope member.

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Wednesday, 28 September 2016

When The Going Gets Tough...

Moral Fibre.

Hmmm – sounds like something you might add to your breakfast cereal, doesn't it? The type of thing that has to be smothered with seasonal fresh fruit, yoghurt and a drizzle of honey before it is even remotely palatable and, even then, is vaguely reminiscent of eating carpet tiles. But it's good for you, isn't it!

Some people call it having spine. Some call it grit. Some call it courage. But it's not the courage to step out of an aeroplane with just a backpack containing several metres of silk and technological hope. This is a different type of courage.

All of us face unpleasant tasks. Anyone who has cared for a young child, an elderly person, an invalid, a sick animal, becomes used to those duties connected with incontinence and gastric instability. After a while one becomes inured.

Then there are unpleasant tasks which involve inflicting pain on others. I remember a friend sitting at my kitchen table weeping. He had, that day, made two people redundant. But he had done it with compassion and honesty.

I heard a while back that some people working for a large company had received notification of their redundancies by text. There was public outrage at this; I think, quite rightly. "They didn't even have the decency to tell them face to face!" was the opinion.

Because it takes courage to deliver bad news face to face. Unless, of course, one is a sadist.

"Oh Mary, I have to do a horrible thing!" a friend texted a few days ago. I have no idea what it was he had to do. Given his line of work, I know I cannot ask.

 "Then don't think about it," I texted back. "Just do it. Then move on. Don't dwell on it."

And that's the trick, I think. Like the old Nike slogan, "Just do it." But don't underestimate it, or yourself.

Because it takes courage to visit the dying. It takes courage to visit the bereaved and betrayed. It takes courage to visit a friend who is behind bars. Especially if he is rightly behind those bars.

More than this, it takes courage to endure the unendurable over time; to nurse day by day by day, an ungrateful patient, knowing only death will bring release. It takes spine to do a stressful and uncongenial job every day to the best of your ability. It takes every bit of grit you've got to stay in a painful family situation providing love and stability for your children.

"When the going gets tough, the tough get going," Billy Ocean sang. And, for some things requiring physical courage, I can quite see he's right. I see my friend who does Mudathons actually relishing the challenge.

Faced with moral challenges, I think that when the going gets tough, then the tough just tough it out.

And damn well force ourselves to eat those carpet tiles! Because it's the right thing to do.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Talk about a dream.


I love photographs and, in the days of old, when they were stored either in a packet or an album, I remember telling a friend that mine were so disorganised it was driving me crazy.  The task of sorting the packets into date order, and noting on the back the story behind each one, was huge! He gave me sound advice – "Don't try to fix the ones you already have, just start with the next packet".

Can we take this advice into our next battle against our mood?

How good would it feel to wipe clean our slate? Ignore what we already have and begin again. We can. There is nothing to stop us. For this moment, let's just drop the thought that we ever had depression or bi-polar or whatever drags us down. How would we live if it was not there? I would marry Bruce Springsteen of course. But we must remain realistic (sob!).

I would put myself to the top of the list and do yoga every single day, with a plan to train as a teacher later. I would invite friends to eat food, cooked by me, in my house. I would book on to the photography course (the one I left because I could not talk in front of everyone to introduce myself, and I was so ashamed and embarrassed).

Why can I not start any of this today? Of course I can! I can start with 15 minutes of yoga every day instead of an hour once in a while. I can invite one friend. I can pick up my camera and self-teach until my confidence eeks out from under its shell.

It is these things, and only these things, which will stop my depression from crushing me. Are you willing to fight the crush? It can begin today. Bruce wrote "Talk about a dream, try to make it real".

Let's hear it, tell me your dream...

Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member

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Monday, 26 September 2016

See Hear Say.

The three wise monkeys are famous:

"See no evil; Hear no evil; Say no evil..."

Except a) they are monkeys, and b) they are wrong.

It's actually poor psychology to concentrate on what you don't want. Try, for example, not thinking about a penguin wearing a tutu and ice-skating. Thought so.

It is better psychology to think about the alternative - what you would prefer instead of the "don't" - the negative? So the three wise humans would say,

"See all good; Hear all good; Speak all good!"

Wow! I think I just changed the World. (Well, my World anyway!)

How many times have I listened to some tasty morsel of poisonous gossip - 'cos it tasted so good. Funny how gossip is rarely about the good stuff, isn't it?

Well transformation - a dramatic metamorphosis - can happen when we change the way we think. I'm going to change, and you can join me, if you want to.

The most common setback to free flowing, happy relationships is insufficient and ineffective communication.

Privacy prevents me from citing specific cases by name but I've been building a business membership community for many years now and I know for a fact that the number one most frequently cited reason for not doing a second business venture with someone is 'poor communication'. I'm not talking about business ventures that have gone sour. I'm talking about financially successful joint ventures.

Even though these joint ventures have been a success, the poor communication has become a deal-breaker.

You and I can create joy in our relationships by purposing to over-communicate.

Booked a meeting via email? Call the person! How many times have you thought, "Job done!" once you've pressed the 'send' button? How many times have you not received an email that someone claims they sent you?

How about this for an amazingly poignant quote from George Bernard Shaw?

"The biggest single problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place."

I say, "Guilty as charged, your Honour!"

Now, I'm more than happy to own up to my own ongoing failures in this area because
a) I'm taking action to change the habits that keep me missing the mark,
b) I'm putting back-up systems in place to support my good intentions, and
c) I only know of one person who's brilliant at this! (Thank you Stephen for being such a shining example of what is possible!)

If we adopt the wisdom of the three wise humans in relationships, we can do three amazing things to create magic:

· See the best in our partner, our friends, and our family at all times - assume the best!
· Hear the best about them - which means stopping people in their tracks if they are keen to gossip.
· Say only good things about others. Period.

None of the above negates the sensible need to do extensive due diligence on anyone you let into your circle of influence - that includes Facebook and LinkedIn invitations!

I decide firmly that I will embark on the good habits of see, hear, say only the best in and of people I know and meet.

I decide firmly to over-communicate - to confirm and reconfirm - just as I resolve, right here, right now to back-up my computer!

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Will it be okay?

"Everything will be okay in the end. If it's not okay, it's not the end." John Lennon.

I wish I was more optimistic and that I could believe the quotation all the time. I suppose I get impatient and if things don't work out within a reasonable time. I can't wait for the end.

I also have a problem with the word 'Everything'. I can understand some things being alright but by using the word 'everything' it seems so grand and a huge generalization.  Maybe if we see 'everything' as being a small section of our lives, then it may be reasonable that that small part may work out .

I think this quotation became popular when it was used in the feel good movie The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.

Maybe it is not meant to be scrutinized very closely. Of course we all want to believe that our troubles will all be worked out eventually.

If it's not okay it's not the end - I suppose I have the most difficulty with this sentence. Who decides what not okay means?

Sometimes people search for a "happy ever after" when what they have is really okay but they keep aiming for something that may be unattainable.

I wonder why does everything always have to turn out well in the end. The reality is that for some people things never seem to work out but somehow people learn to cope. I know the optimists will tell me we need to believe things will work out in the end so we have hope.

What do you think of this quotation?

Do you believe in its message and has it helped you?

Are you a bit like me and have trouble with some of the words?

A Moodscope member

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

Saturday, 24 September 2016

Is decision making driven by emotion?

Decision-making isn't logical, it's emotional, according to the latest findings in neuroscience.

A few years ago, neuroscientist Antonio Damasio made a groundbreaking discovery. He studied people with damage in the part of the brain where emotions are generated. He found that they seemed normal, except that they were not able to feel emotions. But they all had something peculiar in common: they couldn't make decisions. They could describe what they should be doing in logical terms, yet they found it very difficult to make even simple decisions, such as what to eat. Many decisions have pros and cons on both sides — shall I have the chicken or the turkey? With no rational way to decide, these test subjects were unable to arrive at a decision.

So at the point of decision, emotions are very important for choosing. In fact even with what we believe are logical decisions, the very point of choice is arguably always based on emotion.

What are the implications for us? Would being aware of our emotions as we decide help?

What do you think?


The Moodscope team.

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Friday, 23 September 2016

Life as a 'Pure Manic'.

First off, by diagnosis, I bear the label 'Unipolar Affective Disorder (Hypomania)', with pride. No stigma for me, no ma'am!

I'll introduce my world view with a short message, sent to a gal-pal enjoying the early stages of mania, but worried that she was 'too happy' and worried about the fall in to depression that would follow. (Her peaks of the high - falling off the mountain, to her lows - the foothills).

I will paraphrase slightly, to preserve anonymity.

"Fear of happiness is the most insidious trap of all, don't fall for it amiga.
We are highlanders, we touch the sky, to grasp the horizon.
The foothills are the pay-off, don't begrudge yourself the view."

This seemed to help her to continue enjoying her increased creativity (she is an artist) and she allowed herself the happiness.

As a result - no peak, no depression, just (if I may extend the mountaneering metaphor) some nice hill walking, with some fell running thrown in, for good measure.

Back to my point, because I am immune to depression (I've never cried, even as a baby and throughout my life, my only tears have been of joy or rage), I am unafraid of scaling that mountain, knowing that I won't fall, I'll climb back down myself, with a little help from my meds, both for prophylaxis and for short-term, acute stabilisation.

I don't intend the above to be helpful, because I know pure manics are as rare as hen's teeth, rather I hope to offer a little insight for those (beautiful) bipolar people who have wondered what pure mania would be like.

I'm happy to answer any questions if you'd like to know more...

Stay safe.

A Moodscope member. 

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

Thursday, 22 September 2016


When I was hospitalised in July, big emphasis was on structure and routine. Everyday, there was a set program to be followed as part of their 'get well' plan. At first I whimpered, grumbled and protested; I wanted to be left alone in the depths of my despair. However, as my stay lengthened I realised how very important a considered day with planned things 'to do' was.

These 'considered' and 'planned' things weren't world changing, just having a shower or eating breakfast, lunch and/or dinner were achievements that made me feel stronger.

Knowing that I would have a considerable amount of time off from work to recover after my discharge and therefore a lot of 'me' time, I carried forward this idea of structure and routine because, for me, tedium equals rumination and rumination can and often does lead to a downward spiral.

So everyday I plan. I am learning to appreciate my day as blocks of time, morning, afternoon, evening and night. Inside these four chunks of time I know there are four essential things that make me feel human, a shower in the morning, breakfast, lunch in the afternoon and dinner in the evening. Around my four essentials I build in one or two tasks, errands or things to do which might include some self-care, going for a coffee with a friend, reading a book, writing for a blog, a trip to the supermarket, tidying up at home etc. Things, that in my recovery are not hugely overwhelming but are acknowledgeable to me as achievements.

As an extra jolt, every morning I start my day with what's called 'Behavioural Activation'... in other words, and as a very famous sports company put it, a 'just do it' approach to get myself out of bed, push myself to have that shower, to eat breakfast, lunch, dinner, and so on and so forth.

Every task throughout my day if it seems a struggle I say internally to myself, 5,4,3,2,1 I've got this...

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

What Doesn't Kill Us...

That which does not kill us makes us stronger, goes the old adage. Actually, it was the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche who said it.

Huh. I prefer the one which goes, "That which does not kill you gives you a lot of unhealthy coping mechanisms and a really dark sense of humour." I think a lot of us can relate to that one.

Besides which, the first does not seem to be true. That which does not actually kill us, may leave us weaker, not stronger. Death by a thousand cuts is still a death. People who have defeated cancer more than once will tell you the second time is harder. Survivors of torture know that the second and subsequent beatings are more difficult to endure because you know the pain that is to come.

So how can we be stronger for a traumatic event? How can going through the darkness of depression make us stronger? How can we be stronger after surviving, say, a suicide attempt?

Apparently, studies have shown that some trauma survivors report positive changes and enhanced personal development, called post traumatic growth (PTG). PTG refers to any beneficial change resulting from a major life crisis or traumatic event, but people most commonly experience a positive shift by having a renewed appreciation for life; adopting a new world view with new possibilities for themselves; feeling more personal strength; feeling more satisfied spiritually, and/or their relationships improve.

Hmmm, do you hear that? Yes – that's the sound of my deep scepticism...

But maybe I need to rethink.

Because I know that I am stronger, more resilient, more compassionate and less judgemental as a result of my times of darkness. My relationships are rich and loving (mostly) because I am more accepting of how people actually are, instead of trying to make them into my idea of what they should be. And that's because I have to accept myself as I am.

I accept my condition. I have bi-polar; it's as simple as that. If I try to deny it, or hide it or fight against it, I sentence myself to more trauma.

Accepting isn't the same as condoning or approving. To accept means to stop resisting or struggling against what is because to do so causes pain and suffering. Acceptance means to surrender to the moment as it is. Not to give up.

So no, I'm not giving up. I accept that I will probably go down into the pit again and yet again, but I'm keeping my eye open all the time for new medicines and new practices that might reduce the depth of the pit or enable me to avoid it. Because yes, I'd love to be well. I'd love to be delivered from this condition.

And I'd love to know how easy you find this acceptance, and if you feel you are stronger for having depression.

A Moodscope member 

NB – parts of this post have been taken from a blog post by Debbie Hampton in The Best Brain Possible.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Take flight.

Months had passed and each one had been turbulent. I felt I was in a disaster film, unsure of which particular crisis would take centre stage next. Having a holiday was the last thing on my mind, not to mention the effort of packing us all away there. My attendance hung firmly in doubt.

My parents joined forces and knitted an invisible mattress which ran underneath me, and up each side, and it protected me as I bumped along. I managed to go on the holiday.

More turbulence rocked the boat during and after the holiday.  

But. Today. I found myself needing to go to the big bookshop across town. Not the clinical one with the heart made of pretty perfect pink plastic, where I can park easily and be the next customer in line, but the interesting one with the messy, fleshy heart, where I'm welcomed like a new pupil at Hogwarts.

The weather was conducive and I let my feet decide... they did not return me to the car or the bus but instead asked that they might lead. I walked for miles. Early morning, after my 3 rush hours had passed and before my other stuff kicked in, I walked alongside all kinds of people still battling with their rush hours. And it was so relaxing. My morning stresses melted away as I felt the skin on my back grow damp with sweat.

Once again, nothing has changed. But my attitude has been spruced up. (How I love the words 'spruced up'.) And once again I will jump on its back and ride with it for as long as I can.

May you find space today to hear something your body is saying.

Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

Monday, 19 September 2016

"Don't Go Changing, Trying To Please Me..."

Well, so sings Billy Joel!

With a little bit of 'artistic licence' there is a powerful message here for Moodscopers.

Trying to be 'all things to all people' can become a massive source of stress in our lives, upsetting our Moodscope balance. It's best for you to be you and for me to be me, and for us to work together – playing to our strengths.

Of course, I appreciate the tyranny of necessity – often we're the best person, or even the only person, to do the task that has to be done. So we become busy, very busy - too busy.  Before we know it, there seems to be no time left for anything – especially ourselves.

The vision of the bold, independent, self-made person is a marketing fabrication – an unhelpful invention. Human beings have never worked, played, or lived in isolation. We have always been tribal. Yes, you can make it on your own, but it's the hard road.

Moodscope helps us get back to the tribe – the community existing for the common good.

But today, I'd like to encourage you to come deeper into the tribe and into the tribal way of thinking. You see, you are not great at everything. Yes, you might be good at everything, but you're not great at everything. Often it is better to find someone else in the tribe to do 'stuff' that isn't your core strength. Thus I return to Billy Joel. The message is, "Don't go changing..." Instead, "Find your place in the tribe and then work with other tribe members to meet your needs." Let them be strong where you aint!

This is a phenomenally freeing way to live. It frees you and me to focus on what we are great at, and it allows other people space to shine!

OK, the dominant objection to this is that folks often don't have the resources to get other people to help them. I would challenge that thinking and suggest that there are many ways to reward people for helping us out. Money, like the myth of the self-sufficient person, is an invention. It's an invention that works well, but it is still an invention – a currency. There are more currencies than just money. People have used shells as money; people have bartered – it's the principle of 'exchange' that is the key.

So could you exchange skills with someone to help you out? A job is an exchange of time for money, so how could you cut to the essentials and swap time for time?

My message is this: give yourself permission to be yourself and celebrate your key strengths. Give yourself the freedom to let go of some tasks that others could help you with. And in so doing, give others space to shine using their own strengths.

And, yes, this sometimes begins with you and me asking for help...

A Moodscope member.

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Sunday, 18 September 2016



Azure haze and
Moody light.

Instant flash!


Distant rolling rumble.

Heavy drops in Soaking heat.

Bake before the daily stove
Shower not 'till all is done.

Do it! Seize it! Live it!
Glory in it!

Wet heat. Wet hair. Wet clothes.
Wet face. Wet tongue. Wet skin.

Cooling, thrilling, timeless, mind filling.

Chilling, damp, alive

Calm, alert and alive!

A Moodscope member.

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Saturday, 17 September 2016

Good enough to bottle.

I was mentioning to a friend that some days there are only about 5 minutes in the evening when I feel ok, when I feel confident that I can do things. She mentioned (thanks Jul) that wouldn't it be good if that feeling could be bottled.

I have often thought that if I could bottle the feeling I had when high - not manic - before it gets out of control it would be great to harness that delightfully confident feeling.

If only I could market that feeling. People who have been on drugs describe a similar euphoric feeling.

I like the idea of pouring that feeling I have some evenings into a bottle so I can save it for times when I need it. I would only have to use a tiny bit at a time, maybe dab it  on my wrists or even smell it.

Maybe not limit it to that five minutes on a low day but what about when there are many positive and confident feelings that we could preserve for another day. Some days I feel I am connecting and relating well to others and I would like to store that feeling.

Sometimes I remember things well and have good ideas. If I could save that feeling for times when I am forgetful, it would be helpful.

Are there feelings you would like to bottle and save for another day?

Do you have a way of recalling confident emotions when you are low?

A Moodscope member

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Friday, 16 September 2016

Crossed wires.

I was ironing the other day and got frustrated with the fact that the wire on the iron was twisted and curly. My work phone, prior to wireless, used to be the same. Nobody else seemed to have the same problem!

Getting your wires crossed is an euphemism for getting the wrong end of the stick, not correctly interpreting a message. My brain at times appears to have many crossed wires. Sometimes it appears over-wired where my brain overreacts and creates many messages in its interpretation of the environment. It's so busy with thoughts flying around, great for creativity but not so fun if you can't control it and you never switch off. At other times, my brain distorts those messages and misinterprets them so that seemingly innocuous thoughts become negative ones.

Can you train your brain? I'm not talking about doing the crossword or sudoku but finding ways of decoding those negative messages or stilling the brain.

I'm no brain expert nor do I understand the physiology of the brain. What I do know is that medication, exercise, laughter, CBT and mindfulness all have had a part to play in my journey.

So is there a message you have misinterpreted or a way of thinking which was unhelpful which you have learnt to change?

I'm eager to learn!

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment on our blog on the Moodscope web site:

Thursday, 15 September 2016


Recently our sleepy little town hosted an annual cancer walk, and this year there were over 2000 people who took to the streets and walked 7.5km.  As I was walking I thought to myself, how many people who do this for Bipolar or depression?  The answer... possibly none, or maybe just a few.

The problem with our society is that people only truly feel sorry for people who have signs of illness, but most of the time we don't show signs that distinguish bipolar or depression. People who suffer with depression and bipolar often have thoughts of suicide or self harm, and people tend to think that it's attention seeking. Well it is not!

I often, when having a bad day, am told to snap out of it, or to get over it, or the best, change my attitude! Some days I really struggle to get out of my bed and face the world, and then other days I can't wait to get out of bed. But how do I describe this to people?  I love the comments of... I read that on the internet... or the internet says. The internet is not me and to be honest the internet does not describe in detail how bad a bad day can be!

So how does one get people to understand what we suffer from? Simple, we need to explain it to them, we need to create an awareness and make people realize that, just because they cant see our pain or frustration, that their judgements are unjustifiable.

So I challenge everyone to help create an awareness. Let's make our diseases known.


A Moodscope member.

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Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Out of Nowhere.


The wave of misery swept over me like a tsunami. I was walking down the road to the bus stop, to collect my daughter from her third day at "big school", when it hit.

I literally had to stop dead. The feeling was so intense it brought a wave of weakness and I felt as if I couldn't walk another step. I wanted to sit down, right there on the pavement, and weep.

I didn't sit down, but I did lean against the wall of someone's garden for a moment. I took out my phone and texted Richard (you remember Richard from last week?) "Send hugs!" I tapped. "I need hugs!"

"Sending them to you…" was the immediate reply. "Big hugs. Enormous hugs. Huuuuuuuuuuggggggggssssssss!"

I smiled, felt a bit better and was able to carry on.

I received more hugs. No, you're right of course – hugs from Germany, Italy and the other side of the UK, sent over the phone, are not the same as the hug I received from my daughter when she got off the bus, but they helped and they enabled me to carry on.

But that swamp of desolation was mystifying.

Where had it come from? Why did it appear out of nowhere? What was the reason?

I went back over my day. I'd conducted a really positive business meeting with a woman I'd met while networking; I'd prepared my studio for the class I was teaching the following day; I felt quite proud because I'd given blood; I'd cooked tea...

Hang on – I'd given blood!

Light dawned.

Now, some people can give a pint of blood and carry on with no ill effects. Some people keel over. My husband was advised not to give blood after the third time he collapsed before even getting to the tea and biscuits. With me, it hits emotionally.

I used to suffer from debilitating migraines. Some people get a visual aura as a warning before one hits. I used to get an emotional aura. For no reason at all I would experience an overwhelming urge to hide away in a corner and cry. The feeling would pass after a few moments, but twenty minutes later a red hot poker would stab behind my left eyeball so I could hardly see from the pain (fellow sufferers will wince here with sympathy).

Our physical and emotional states are inextricably bound together. If our physical wellbeing is compromised, then very often our emotions will follow suit.

Knowing this and, more importantly, acknowledging it while it's happening, does not necessarily make us feel better, but it does tend to stop the guilt. I am sure I am not the only one who regularly beats myself up for feeling down. If I know there is a physical reason for the way I feel, then I'm far more likely to be kind to myself about it.

And to ask for more hugs. Hugs are always good, even if texted from a thousand miles away.

A Moodscope member.

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Tuesday, 13 September 2016

It's the small stuff that makes the big stuff.

This time it's been harder. I have felt as though I am being seared over hot coals, and in front of an arena of baying natives. And yet, there is an upside.

For those of us who suffer the hideosity of the insult of living alongside depression... we have an upside. When we are exposed, violated, on display, hurt, sore and thrashed, the smallest thing can mean the world. For the man with the Midas touch, the beauty of a simple gold ring was not enough. But for us... it is enough. And that must be celebrated.

My dad knows. I blurted it out to him about 18 months ago. He is a silent gem. Either too embarrassed, or not wishing to embarrass, he doesn't discuss it. That is strength, comfort and a fierce security for me. Because I know he is not ignoring it. He jumps to attention the second I ask for help. He hugs properly. And he never tells.

And when he turned up today, dressed smartly, carrying a coolbox filled with tonight's dinner for me and mine, I could have run naked through the streets in celebration.

We do not always need someone to fix us. That is our job. Sometimes, we simply need the bigness of the small stuff.

Much love

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

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Monday, 12 September 2016

The Garden of Your Mind.

Surrounding the Garden of Your Mind, there is a perfect wall - just as there is a dome encasing and protecting your brain.

Within that wall is a fertile garden, open to nurturing and growing any thought, idea or imagination that takes root there. The Garden of the Mind does not discriminate but rather multiplies anything that is sown - good or bad, resourceful or unresourceful, positive or negative. Which is why it is wise to guard the garden.

"If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need." Marcus Tullius Cicero

My mind is both garden and library - I have everything I need... as long as I understand my role as guardian, gardener and librarian.

As Gardener, I watch the Gateways to the Garden. These are the five primary senses: seeing, hearing, touching, tasting and smelling.

Let's take the last first. Scent is a powerful sense - and one that directly impacts memory and recall. Interestingly, it is one of the best guarded gateways to your creative garden. As soon as we smell an unpleasant scent, we naturally recoil and move away from a potentially noxious source.

Taste is the same. If it tastes bad, the brain says it is most likely to be bad. We spit it out, or, in the case of bad medicine, at least grimace. Touch is clever too - if something is too hot or too cold or too sharp - we respond rapidly.

I wish our senses were so acutely calibrated when it comes to seeing and hearing. These are the biggest and broadest gateways.

"More than 50 percent of the cortex, the surface of the brain, is devoted to processing visual information." David Williams

It seems to me that we are more than willing to let dangerous stimuli enter freely through what we look at and listen to. I watched "The Wolf of Wall Street" last week. It seemed that every other word was the "F" word. Whilst this is totally unnecessary, the toxin is the 'permission' this gives our brain to grow a crop of our own "F" response to anything which annoys us. Research into Mirror Neurons also would suggest that we mentally rehearse everything we pay close attention to with a view to imitating the behaviour. I wonder how many people my mind has murdered watching (and thus 'mirroring') the 'hero' in an action movie? Then there's all that sex... enough said?

Fear not!  I'm not anti-TV or Video Games... I just believe we would be wise to be purposeful about what we sow in the garden of the mind. My belief is that we get more of what we pay attention to.

So, what shall we pay more attention to? What we want more of, of course!

So, sow, sew...

The great news is this stuff just works! What you look at will grow in the garden of your mind. What you listen to will grow in the garden of your mind. Who you mix with - their behaviours, attitudes, habits - all are infectious! Do you know someone with an infectious sense of humour? You'll catch it if you spend enough time in their presence! Do you know someone with infectious joy? It's catching!

What would you like more of? Let's be purposeful this week and deliberately plant good seeds in the garden.

A Moodscope member.

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Sunday, 11 September 2016

Alarm Bells.

It was a Friday evening. It was bright outside.

I had a work meeting all day and afterwards, collected my daughter and son from their friends' houses.

Then, tired but happy enough, we headed home. As I drove in, the alarm was ringing.

My son was immediately anxious. I said everything was okay. 'Stay in the car. It's all okay'. As I put the key in the front door, I realised it was open and that my desk chair was up against the door from the inside. I pushed it open and ran up the stairs. The balcony door was open. And broken. My jewellery boxes were thrown around my bedroom. Every drawer had been emptied. Underwear, pajamas, scarves strewn all around. And yet a part of me still couldn't believe this had actually happened. To me.

I checked my jewellery. I knew I wasn't supposed to touch anything but I had to know. The kids were calling from the front garden. Is everything okay? 'It's okay', I call back. 'We have been robbed. But he's gone. He didn't take much'. I have six pieces of jewellery that mean the world to me. Everything else is glittery, sparkly and fun. But these six pieces are valuable - in every way. My ring. My beautiful diamond eternity ring. The most valuable item I owned was gone. As I ran down to my children to keep them calm, my stomach was nauseous. Why oh why hadn't I worn the ring to work today? Why oh why did I not organise house insurance? Why oh why?

The guards were lovely. Young and kind and when one of them asked about the inscription on the ring, I started to cry. My son cried too. The guards became even kinder. They tied up the balcony door so we could sleep that night.

My children slept. I didn't. I was keeping watch. The anger I felt was terrifying. I feared the slow sadness would arrive and engulf me, overpower me and I wouldn't be able to function. I cried over the happy memories of the ring. The time I felt safe and loved and life was good. And that made me angrier. With the thief yes, but also with life and love and expectation.

I work hard for the little I have and the thought of someone stealing that makes me furious. Yes, it could have been worse but it could have been a whole lot bloomin' better too!

But I have accepted that horrible things happen in life. It's not just the ring. It's all it represents. It's all about loss. But I didn't fall into a black hole. I spluttered. I dipped. But I didn't sink.

What have I learnt?

Don't buy second hand jewellery unless you know who and where it came from. Especially not off the internet - it's most probably stolen.

People surprise you all the time - they can be meaner than you thought them capable of and kinder than you thought was possible.

Wear your favourite jewellery every day.

No matter how sad, angry, lost or disappointed we get, it is possible to surprise ourselves. Yes, I actually surprised myself! I just might be tougher than I think I am. Maybe we all are...

Salt Water Mum
A Moodscope member.

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Saturday, 10 September 2016

Surprise Surprise!

There was a time when expectant parents had to wait till their baby was born until the gender of the baby was known. Today most parents know the sex of the child before birth with some knowing the name and day the baby will be born. No surprises everything known in advance.

Remember when you eagerly unwrapped a present or maybe try to guess what it was by the shape of the noise it made when shaken?

Many people now tell us what they want for their birthdays even writing out a list or sending an email with suitable websites from which a gift can be chosen. A friend told me that her 12 year old daughter sent her friend a link which showed her what gift the daughter was buying.

Wedding gift registries used to be the exception now they seem to be the norm. Now you can buy a gift online for the couple without even seeing the gift. Some couples now ask for money to go towards the honeymoon or for fun activities like parachuting.

People getting married today will never know the fun of wondering what to do with 4 toasters, 3 fondue sets, 12 sets of towels and an interesting figurine from one's great aunt.

It seems that all the excitement has gone from receiving a gift. No more smiling sweetly at a relative when you receive the same gift 3 years in a row! The challenge has gone from finding a present for a friend or loved one that they would like and want.

Surprise birthday parties seemed to be more common than they are now, but maybe that is only among people I know.

I am someone who at times does not cope well with changes and I have been known to tell people, I can be spontaneous, as long as I get a week's notice!!

However I do like small surprises, fun surprises!

Maybe I am a dinosaur and I should get with the times.

Do you like the idea of the trend to choose your own presents for a wedding or birthdays?

What do you think of surprises?

Do you feel we are losing something as a society by not having as many surprises in our social customs as we used to?

A Moodscope member.

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Friday, 9 September 2016

'What goes around comes round'.

Running my own company, I was hospitalised (forth and last time), in 1986, at 42 years of age... you know, unable to cope.

After six weeks in hospital and near to discharge, I was talking to a fellow patient, John, a 74 year old man, who had, (as he thought) lost everything.

John lived in a mansion, half the size of Longleat, set in acres and acres of land, with a half mile drive to his front door - he was wealthy.

He had built up an empire with offices in London, Manchester and Birmingham with his co-directors, as architects, finding and buying 'sites' on behalf of various supermarkets.

Under great pressure,  he had 'burnt out'.

Whilst in hospital, his wife had left with one of his co-directors and they voted him off the board. She absconded with his yacht and locked him out of his home. She was filing for divorce and was taking him to the 'cleaners'.

John was sitting next to me in tears; he was in suicidal mode.

I shall not forget his words, "I have nothing to live for". He had two sons, with a property he was renting out, which he'd put in their names.

Bankruptcy he thought, was going to take this property, leaving him penniless and 'out on the streets'.

I was going home for the weekend and I said I'd seek a lawyer friend's help.

Returning back to clinic on the Monday, I said my legal friend advised that his wife could not take this property, away from him. The look of joy, in this old man's eyes was a blessing to behold.

Out of hospital and back under pressure myself, six months later, my wife answered the door, "Somebody's here to see you" she said.

I did not recognise the man standing before me, it was John, walking unaided, his looks were vibrant, full of determination.

What an example, this man, at 74, had started up a new business. His clients had discovered his plight, left his old company, and put their business and trust his way.

Driving a new Range Rover, John wanted to buy from me, all office machines and furniture for his new offices, worth a great deal of money.

Verging on tears, the thought came into my head, 'Heavenly Father' above, had born witness once again, that "losing myself in the service of others", gives purpose, to this mortal life.

Personal, inner peace, and inner happiness.

'What goes round, came around', to both giver and recipient.

To give without expecting anything in return... is not 'holier than thou', not religious,  but Christlike.

A Moodscope member.

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Thursday, 8 September 2016

The role of photos?

Instagram can be a good indicator of a person's mental health.

At least that's what two researchers, Harvard University's Andrew Reece and the University of Vermont's Chris Danforth, have written in a recent report. The study was based on 166 volunteers who were recruited from Amazon Mechanical Turk, where you can make money by completing "Human Intelligence Tasks," and it looked at their entire Instagram histories, which came out to about 43,950 photos.

Participants' levels of depression were determined using a standardized clinical depression survey. They were then asked about their social media habits and history of depression diagnosis. The researchers then analyzed their Instagram photos by looking at colors, brightness, and faces.

Those who were depressed tended to post photos with increased hue, decreased brightness, and decreased color saturation. Overall, their photos were "bluer, grayer, and darker." They also tended to post more frequently and use more Instagram filters, the most popular one for depressed participants being Inkwell, which turns a photo black and white. The most popular filter for volunteers who weren't depressed was Valencia.

What do you think? Do you see any role for Photos in Moodscope? Record your picture alongside your score and comment?


The Moodscope team.

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Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Once Upon A Time...

A friend of mine, we'll call him Richard; lives a fairy tale life.

Yes – his mother died and when his father remarried Richard gained a wicked stepmother. She's trying to steal his inheritance. This happens in real life too.

Richard does not have to wear rags and scrub the kitchen floor; at nineteen he's a bit beyond that now. Besides, he's won a prestigious scholarship to university and is now self-financing. But the prospect of a happy family life is one that is now denied to him unless and until he can form a stable relationship and have children of his own.

We all talked about it. There were five of us in the room, all very close friends; and we had all, at a young age, lost parents. A father dead by suicide; two mothers killed in road accidents, two mothers lost to drugs.

This commonality of experience seems to tie us together somehow, although the scars we bear are different. Two of us suffer deep and recurrent depressions; one is a wild child – constantly rebelling against authority; two seem on the outside, to be unscathed.

But none are unscathed by loss. The scars are there on the inside. They emerge as darkness in us all. "We all have our dark side, to say the least. And dealing with death is the nature of the beast," as Pink Floyd say in the song Dogs of War. It may not always be death, but there is always pain.

Richard recently did some gardening for my mother and, as he would not accept money, she gifted him a quilt she had made. He loves it. Not just for the colours and patterns on it (black and green and purple) but because of the words she stitched onto it: "No Garden is Without Weeds."

Because Richard knows his dark side. He lives with it. He has to manage it, or it will manage him.

The original fairy tales are scary. They are not the sanitised Disney versions. Heroes do not always behave as we would like them to. In one of my favourite stories, The Tinderbox, the hero soldier turns on the witch who gifted him with riches and kills her, because he wants the tinderbox for himself. That action was selfish and cruel, yet because he is the hero he ends eventually with wealth and the princess.

We are all the heroes of our own fairy tale. We all live with tragedy and darkness. We are all surrounded by the archetypes of story: cruel stepmothers, evil magicians, cynical soldiers and wise old women who are really shape shifters. We fight through enchanted forests and battle mythical beasts.

We must acknowledge our dark side and bridle it. Used properly it can aid us to deal with the world. Ignored and unacknowledged, it can gain power over us and destroy us.

I write my demons into words. Richard kicks his into submission with Taekwondo.

How do you deal with yours?

A Moodscope member.

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Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Roadside Assistance.

A few weeks ago, my journey on life's highway hit one of those jarring potholes that do somewhat more than give you a jolt. This one did some serious damage to an already pretty fragile set of shock absorbers, and frankly nearly broke my suspension altogether.

To continue with the driving analogy, I was travelling too fast, not really looking where I was going, had too many other things on my mind, allowed myself to be distracted, was in dire need of rest, and to make matters worse, had been running on empty for far too long and decided to fill up with cheap, nasty fuels that may have filled the tank but actually did more damage than good to the engine.

As a result, not surprisingly, I broke down. And then I then started to beat myself up,
for being so stupid and allowing this to happen;

for being so stupid...
for just being...

Hair was pulled out, bruises from pinching appeared all over, nails and fingers were picked and bitten until they bled, muscles cramped through tensing up, teeth were ground etc.

In short, a classic telling off from the critical inner voice.

I pictured myself stood on life's roadside, wrecked, broken, and only fit for the scrap heap.

Thankfully however, I have some very basic self-preservation instincts that kicked in at this point, and just (only just) managed to make themselves heard above the cacophonous tirade of abuse spewing from my critical inner voice.

I took the 'car' back to the 'garage'. My lovely therapist, whom I had thought I'd never need to see again. And we sat and we talked, and we cried, and she met me where I was and slowly we worked together to repair the damage.

And she reminded me, for I needed reminding, of a few parts of life's Highway Code I had forgotten:

that all states are temporary;

that I must give myself permission to feel cr*p now and again;

that returning to see my therapist is not a sign of failure to get better - more ongoing maintenance, and therefore to be expected, for the mind, like the body, requires maintenance in order to stay fit and in balance;

that given life's stresses, it is not surprising to hit a bump now and again;

that sometimes it's ok to be sad. No need to beat myself up about it - let the sadness envelop and it will wash through leaving fewer scars than if it is fought against and made unwelcome;

and finally, thanks to a gift from a good friend, that fresh eggs from home reared chickens are so much nicer than supermarket eggs!

I posted these reminders on Facebook – partly to share with friends, but also, because I know that Facebook will remind me in a year. And we all need reminding.

A Moodscope member.

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Monday, 5 September 2016


Believe me, it sounded worse than it looks when written. "Excuse me?" I said to the lovely lady who said the offending word, unsure that I was hearing correctly.

"Mustobeytion!" she re-asserted with a grin, and continued, "This is many people's problem!"

The lady who shared what I first thought was an uncomfortable, borderline 'offensive' word, was perhaps the most politically correct and respectful person I'd ever met at the Industrial Society. This word, spoken by her, had added shocking impact because of her impeccable manners and deeply ethical stance on life. She had my attention.

"Tell me more," I invited...

She went on to explain that may people are driven by alien imperatives:

"Must" and "Ought" and "Should"

This inner tyranny drove them to obey other people's values as if they must - hence "Mustobeytion".

My friend emotively highlighted the power of feeling compelled to live by someone else's values. Some believe the pathway to creating an inspired and fulfilling life begins with examining these values.

Now let's agree that these imperatives may actually turn out to be perfectly appropriate and aligned with our own core values. As was reputedly said by Socrates at his trial, accused of impiety and corrupting youth, "The unexamined life is not worth living."

The key is to test everything - to examine all those 'ought' and 'should' and 'must' statements we make to see if they really are a belief or value we truly subscribe to.
Perhaps some examples will help?

"I ought not to swear!"
"I should mind my manners!"
"I must obey the Government!"

Ought and should and must statements are usually logically valuable - hence they usually go unchallenged. However, if you fail to follow the oughts and shoulds and musts that you mentally assent to, it may mean that you've adopted a value that your heart hasn't agreed with. The result is often a bad feeling, self-criticism, even self-condemnation. Time to break free.

Ask yourself, "Is this a value that I really subscribe to from my heart?"

You won't be surprised to hear that "need" is another word in this family of tyrants. "I need to be a better parent." The challenge is simple:

"What would happen if you weren't a good parent?"
or "What would happen if you didn't obey the Government?"

The answer to these kinds of questions will help you decide whether the value you are seeking to follow is one native to your heart or an alien imperative that should be expelled. The result is an "examined life" that will be far more worth living. I find it fascinating that Tony Robbins and, even more so, Richard Bandler (co-developer of NLP) certainly have challenged the alien imperatives not to swear and to mind their manners! As for me and my house, we're happy to mind our manners and watch what we say... from the heart!

Shall we let my friend from, what was The Industrial Society, have the final word? Her parting shot was to declare how she challenged others who tried to force their values on her. She would say, overly loudly, "Did you just 'Should' on me?"

This kind of strong intervention requires a firm relationship, a sense of assertiveness, clarity around one's own values, a twinkle in your eye, and a great deal of rapport! Happy hunting!

A Moodscope member.

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Sunday, 4 September 2016

Meditation's what you need.

I never thought that I would become someone who meditates. Who me? Me of the demented hamster on a wheel brain, sitting on a chair, clearing my mind and meditating each morning? You. Are. Having. A. Laugh.

I discovered meditation when I was really unwell. I started off using 'Headspace's free 'take 10' guided meditations to give me a structure. Then I discovered 'Stop, Breathe and Think' which is a free app including guided meditations for specific issues and self meditation timers for your own practice. I now find myself having a daily meditation either using a guided meditation, a timer or music from the app, something which was unthinkable when I was consumed by my stressful career and not looking after my wellbeing.

I can follow the meditation and bring back my errant thoughts as many times as I need to. Meditation seems to do something to my hamster brain, leaving me soothed and calmer.

I used my early meditation practice to deal with a particularly nasty panic attack; just counting my breaths helped me to deal with a situation that I felt I couldn't cope with.

My practice isn't perfect and there are days when my mind feels impossible to bring back, but I just continue to try and bring it back without judgement. Again, something that would have been impossible not that long ago. One of the five ways to wellbeing is to learn, and I'm learning every day with meditation, both in terms of my practice and in terms of myself.

So, apologies to Roy Castle and Record Breakers, but meditation's what I need.

A Moodscope member.

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Saturday, 3 September 2016

To Love Myself?

The concept of loving myself has felt uncomfortable to me on all sorts of levels.

For very many years the very suggestion threw me into a deeply sad confusion. "I don't even know what that means!".

It's understandable that if I didn't feel loved by my main carer as a child that the concept feels a bit alien. For me that's probably something that needs to be worked on. Letting go feels like abandonment.

I also find it very difficult to take on board the idea that one can't be loved without first loving oneself. A bit harsh isn't it?

Loving oneself also felt a little like vanity and in a very English way, it was easier for me to be modest and self critical, I've had to work on that.

I'm sure though that it means something very different.

I thought that maybe it's about being kind to myself. I might as well, after all I don't see queues of peeps offering! (Except of course there are many on Moodscope! :))

Yes, number one has to be looking after my health. For me it's finding enjoyable or pleasurable ways of doing that. If it feels like a chore or a punishment, it ain't happening!

Looking for ways to enjoy the small gifts that life has to offer. Thankfully I am now able to see them often.

Being mindful when repetitive worries start to take over my brain, man that's exhausting!

Accepting how I look and who I am, a work in progress, I admire people who say that they are comfortable in their own skin!

Refraining from being self critical.

Allowing myself to feel how I feel without being hard on myself about it.

Recognising that I feel stuck and asking for help.

Facing a dilemma or decision where my heart and logic come up with conflicting courses of action (or inaction).
I came across a really helpful question that helps me with this a few months ago. "What would you do if you loved yourself?". I liked that. No pressure to say whether or not I love myself, just imagining for a moment that I do, frees up the blockage and allows me to think of possibilities.

Maybe you can think of others?

Maybe the concept of loving ones self means something different to you?

What would you do today if you loved yourself?

A Moodscope member.

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Friday, 2 September 2016

Those uncomfortable feelings.

When I was a child if I was hot I would wear light clothing and make a paper fan, there was no air conditioning. If I was cold I would put on warmer clothes as we had no central heating just a little (now possibly considered dangerous) kerosene heater we would put our hands over to keep warm.

Being too hot in summer and cold in winter was considered part of life. Before air conditioning and adequate heating many generations managed the changes in temperature.

While I have learnt to accept physical feelings, I have found emotional feelings to be difficult.

At various times in my life, I have tried to handle difficult feelings by eating, drinking, avoiding, over spending or denying them.

There are going to be times in life when we feel uncomfortable and often there is not a simple solution but learning how to cope with these feeling may help.

One of the mental health strategies is teaching people how to deal with unpleasant feelings.

Developing qualities such as self-awareness, motivation, empathy, and taking responsibility for one's feelings will help understand other people's emotions and one's own.

When it is appropriate, just allowing the discomfort to pass knowing that it will go away.
As Jean Kerr said "Hope is the feeling that the feeling you have isn't permanent.'

In a world of air conditioning central heating, instant gratification, it is hard to learn to just sit and wait.

Of course if a feeling is very negative and possibly dangerous one would need to get help.
I am talking about learning to cope with uncomfortable or awkward feelings without resorting to food or drugs and alcohol, over spending or other strategies.

Creating situations with positive feelings will enable you to follow your passion and feel good about doing something you have always wanted to do.

How do you cope with uncomfortable feelings?

Have you tried sitting and waiting or developing your emotional intelligences?

How would you teach young children how to handle uncomfortable feelings?

A Moodscope member.

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Thursday, 1 September 2016

People Watching. What we can learn.

I was eating outside at a restaurant in Spain the other evening and in my direct line of sight was a table of 7 people eating their dinner too.

I was fascinated watching them.

There were two young married couples, one with a small child in a highchair plus the grandparents, so 7 in all.

What I noticed, and this was a revelation to me, was that they hardly spoke to each other, they laughed occasionally but seemed totally at ease with one another.

I know they were an extended family, not a group of friends. However what struck me so forcefully was the contrast between how I would behave in such circumstances.

They didn't need to constantly talk as a way of reassuring each other, everyone was happy.
Cue me, I would not let a silence go on too long before saying something probably banal to make sure no-one was unhappy and everyone was enjoying themselves. One of the husbands occasionally looked at his phone and would show the others a photo. The child would cause the mothers to comment from time to time and the grandparents sat there, the grandfather talking every now and again to the son in law who was sitting opposite him.

It seemed to me to be just a content family meal taken at a restaurant.

I said to my OH that from now on I would not cajole people, family into talking if they didn't want to. From now on, I would allow silence! From now on, it wouldn't be up to me to keep the "party" going!

All those years when I've tried to be cheerful, feeling anything but cheerful (both with friends and family), I needn't have. I could have been myself (maybe?) but at any rate, not try to jolly everyone along. What an effort for nothing all these years! I laughed at the thought actually. I remonstrated with my OH to understand the comparison between this family (which he couldn't see as his back was facing them) and me and our family extended or not, over the years. He said that I shouldn't have bothered, that it was okay to be silent and that he was glad I was going to think about this for the future.

As we were walking back to our hotel, I said but you know, I know nothing about that family. They could have just had a massive argument or had a death in the family... I mean that's what it would have taken for me not to speak! We just didn't know what had gone on before the meal, but actually I did know. They did smile and laughed genuinely; they communicated but in an easy way. The child yawned and the parents laughed and talked kindly to him.

Well, I intend to put this into practice for the next 20 or 30 years and then maybe when I do actually say something, it will be a genuine comment and one I want to make.

A Moodscope member.

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