Monday, 29 February 2016

The A to Z Guide to Life, Letter M for Memory.

Negative stressors can really aggravate my Moodscope score. I'm guessing this is true for you too? One of life's great stressors for me is forgetting things. In fact, I think my three greatest excuses are: I misunderstood, I ran out of time, and I forgot!

Needing to remember things opens a psychological loop. It is only when the 'thing' is done that the loop is closed. Between opening and closing there is tension. So, if I could show you some ways to recall more of what you need to remember, I'm certain your life would feel less stressful.

Here's my recipe. It's got three ingredients:
1) Use what you know;
2) Use where you go;
3) Use on the go.

Firstly, there's loads of 'stuff' in your life that you know like the back of your hand. You can use this to recall what you need to remember. For example, if you're wanting to learn information, you can piggy-back on the fact that you know the layout of your home. Placing sticky-notes around the home can jog your memory by walking around your home in your mind. Usually, with a little rehearsal, your mind will use what you know (the layout of your home) to remind you of the sticky-notes you stuck all over the place. I've had success with nurses and aromatherapists who have needed to remember anatomical facts. They've stuck the names of parts of anatomy around their homes and then 'collected' that information by doing a mental tour. Location, location, location just works.

Secondly, use where you go. You have habits – paths you follow every day in a trance. So if you want to remember something in the morning, place it in the way of your habit path. For example, need to remember your laptop? Stick it in front of the door so that you cannot miss it! Everything should have its own place – everything in its place and a place for everything.

Thirdly, realise that most of us remember things at the wrong time. We're in bed or in the shower or driving when our mind reminds us of something we need. This is inconvenient. But there's a way around it. I use a peg-system where I rhyme numbers with objects. One is a bun, two is shoes, three is a tree, four is a door. Like a skipping song.

My 'pegs' never change. So they become stable parts of my mental cloakroom where I 'hang' what I want to remember. Let's say I've remembered it's someone's birthday and I need a card. I'd make a link between the one-bun and the person's birthday by seeing a bun with a candle on it. Their name would be in icing on the bun. When I get to somewhere I can use a pencil and paper, I'll go into my mental cloakroom and have the thought, "Bun!" Amazingly, my mind will then remind me of what I linked to the bun. It just works.

Remembering more reduces my stressors, so I hope you find this useful too. I've tons more on this, so just ask if you'd like more.

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/the-a-to-z-guide-to-life-letter-m-for-memory

Sunday, 28 February 2016

"Pick me, Pick me!...please!

Moodscopers are a lovely lot. Many of them have animals, often rescue animals. My mental picture of rescue animals is sad-looking creatures looking imploringly with big eyes at anyone willing to take them on.

I have just paid a subscription to a dating website for which it is necessary to set out a profile. This is the back story plus a photograph which is where the sad imploring eyes come in. There are also so many similarities with job applications, where one draws up a CV (literally 'course of my life,') as if I was totally defined by my work and education.

Unfortunately I have always had a problem with these situations. Even going back to childhood games and waiting to be picked while the better players were chosen by the captains. (That I ended up captaining the school rugby and cricket teams shows how hard I worked to change this.) Although job interviews and dating are meant to be a two-way process, in practice I've always felt like I am sitting there saying "pick me! Please?" The down side is that I don't always check the small print when the process gets a result, and end up in jobs or relationships not quite suitable, which leads to dissatisfaction, and on downwards.

At the moment I am trying to move forward on both fronts simultaneously. (Actually I'm chasing the "Triple Crown" of having my home, my job, and my partner in the same town!)

Leah recently spoke of the fantasy/reality conundrum. I look at my CV/profile and there is nothing with which I can disagree, it is all factual (or justifiable interpretation). I read and think "what a great guy, love to meet him!"  Try as I might it doesn't feel 'me'. It is a bit like 'Ace' Rimmer against Arnold Rimmer (Red Dwarf allusion). When it comes to interviews/dates I can talk about 'Ace' Rimmer's achievements/personality with complete objectivity.

Meanwhile the real me is sitting there with the sad imploring eyes.

Norman
A Moodscope member.

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/pick-me-pick-me-please

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Little Boxes.

Pete Seeger sang about Little Boxes. A funny wee tune. Makes me smile every time!

For those of us who give out, and forget to look after ourselves before anything else, it is something I would like to encourage you to think about.

I know someone who works in boxes, he compartmentalises. When juggling things, he neatly gives each thing a portion of time, allows each thing its allotted time, and when that time is up, he moves on. Without regret, without stretching the time. He is disciplined.  It's not always helpful to me (!) but it is his way of achieving and something I can learn from. We who struggle with our mood are often the type of people who care a little too much and we go into the red. (Lex wrote The A-Z Guide to Life, Letter 'E'... this is another way of seeing that very thing. I hope this is a compliment and not cannibalising!)

Can you compartmentalise within your day or your week, giving everything a box? Think of a line of different size boxes with the words of what takes your time on the front. Can you even just be aware of needing to? Give each thing its time, the good and the dodgy. You can look at it as the box filling as you spend time on that thing or emptying as you spend the time. Either way, when it is full or when it is empty, you need to stop.

Let's build with boxes. And... I'm glad we have this thing which links our lives together.  Because it means, unlike the song, we are not all the same. I like that. Here is the song:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XUwUp-D_VV0

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:

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/little-boxes

Friday, 26 February 2016

Mooching with the MOOCs.

I waste far too much time on Facebook. If left to my own devices I can spend hours looking at rubbish all day, avoiding getting on with my life. Then, just occasionally, I find a nugget.

A friend recommended a MOOC called Learning How To Learn.
 
"A What?" I hear the moodscope collective cry.
 
A Massive Open Online Course.
 
MOOCs are available from a wide range of institutions, including some of the top American universities. They offer FREE online courses. You can choose to pay for a certificate, but if it's the course content that interests you, rather than the qualification, then it's there just waiting for you to take advantage of it.

I know from my own experience that at certain times, the idea of taking a course seems far too daunting. The pressure – usually self-applied by my ego – to complete and succeed can make the signing up too scary, and the very thought of the commitment to turning up at class each week makes me run a mile.

But MOOCs are a whole different world. They usually comprise short videos, each of 5 to 20 minutes. I say to myself "I'll just watch one video". I can choose when and where to watch it, I can watch it as often as I please. There are forums available for discussing the course with other students.
 
You needn't tell anybody that you've signed up, so, if it isn't for you, you can just drop the course, and, if inspired, may spot something else you fancy. Many MOOCS are just four weeks long.

I am currently enjoying 'Successful Negotiation: Essential Strategies and Skills' by The University of Michigan. Reading moodscope blogs and the comments they inspire, it seems to me that many of the tools outlined in this MOOC might also be very useful to other moodscopers as we negotiate our way through life and relationships.
 
Might learning help us through the difficult times? Are you ready to put another arrow in your quiver or string in your bow?

Susannah
A Moodscope member.

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/mooching-with-the-moocs

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Humans are Emotional First and Rational Second.

As you know I often just sit and let my feelings fall onto paper as a poem. Needless to say it's emotion that drives it. I often write poems to show people, especially with mental health challenges that they are not alone – as we so often feel SO alone.

I am touched by emotion,
In sight and in sound.
I get touched by emotion,
It is all around.

The young child smiling,
As their parent arrives.
The tail of the dog wagging,
With the car in the drive.

The teenagers nervous,
As they go to hold hands.
The insecure adult,
As they hug as they stand.

This world is so material,
We kinda lose touch.
Of what is within us,
We're so in a rush.

Life goes too fast,
As we grow up and die.
How often do we sit,
And let out a sigh?

IQ teaches us,
There's a right and a wrong.
Yet we go on seeking,
Some words in a song.

The only 'rights',
Are deep in our heart.
But we often put the,
Horse 'fore the cart.

Our children grow up,
With the same fears as us.
Who am I really,
And so life is thus.

We take the outside journey,
Into that material world.
And measure ourselves,
With hearts unfurled.

How do we start,
To go deep inside?
And find some compassion,
Not that external pride?

I sit here alone,
And now say to you,
Be careful my friend,
To your heart be true.

What emotion does this poem make you feel and why?

Les
A Moodscope member.

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/humans-are-emotional-first-and-rational-second

Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Visible Injury.

So let's get one thing quite clear; I could have happily lived my whole life through without breaking my ankle.

I could have spent my entire holiday in sunny Tenerife even more happily not breaking my ankle.

And I could have especially spent a glorious afternoon in the dusty hills above Playa de las Americas on a horse without falling off and, yes, breaking my ankle.

(Breathes deeply)

But I did fall off and I did break my ankle (comprehensively) and ended up spending the rest of the week in hospital and then on crutches and with my poor husband in hourly communication with the insurance people.

But this isn't about the ankle or the insurance. It's about the kindness with which I have been met.

From the husband of the trek leader who picked me up on his Quad Bike and took me back, to the unfailing gentleness and exemplary care exhibited by the hospital staff; from the concern shown by the apartment complex team to the compassion of our fellow holiday makers, everyone has been so kind. Everyone has wanted to help.

In fact, they have been upset when they couldn't help.

And there are two sides of this.

The first side is that I could say bitterly, "Oh yes, people want to help when it's a broken ankle. When I have a broken mind they shy away!"

The other side is that I observe that I am happy to confess my broken ankle. I've posted about it on Facebook, for goodness sake. It's hard to hide a great big plaster cast and crutches anyway. We tend to hide our broken minds, don't we?

How can we expect to meet with kindness, compassion and help, if we try to hide our injuries? How can we expect the world to accept our illness if we ourselves act as if we are ashamed?

I know that since I decided to be "bi-polar and proud", to be utterly open about my condition, I have met with far more acceptance, understanding and compassion than ever I would have expected.

In fact, for the first time today someone actually asked me outright if I am bi-polar. It was my postman.

I can't remember why he asked, when I opened the door, on my crutches, to receive a parcel, but it was something to do with a broken ankle being a visible injury (as opposed to an invisible one) and he just came straight out with it. "Excuse me for asking," he said, "but are you bi-polar?"

"I thought so," he said. "It's in my family and I recognise the signs.

One more person I don't have to pretend with. One more person who understands.

We can't put a plaster cast on our minds, or give ourselves crutches for our mental state. But we can start treating our illness as if it's a broken bone. We can have dignity and pride and we can stop being ashamed.

Although I'm still a bit sheepish about falling off that horse!

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/visible-injury

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Mental health sufferers need your help!

At last, some excellent media attention and some action regarding the report published by the mental health charity Mind.

It states that one in four UK adults a year suffer from a mental health condition, and of those three quarters NEVER receive help.

Other shocking facts it highlights:

- One in ten British children have a diagnosable mental health condition.
- The leading cause of death for men aged 15-49 is suicide and a quarter of people who took their own life had been in contact with a health professional, usually their GP, in the last week before they died.
- Suicide is also the second leading cause of maternal death, after cardiovascular disease, but only 15 per cent of areas have the right perinatal mental health services. While 40 per cent have none at all.

ONE million more people a year with mental health problems will receive treatment in England by 2021, the NHS has pledged. Yes, it's great and it will help close the gap, but what if you're one of the people that needs help now?

You may not know this, but in 2011(!!) The Department of Health ran a campaign to crowdsource the most popular apps for health and Moodscope was voted #1 of just under 500 entries. Andrew Lansley MP attended a presentation, congratulated us and sang the praises of Moodscope. Excellent we thought, the Department of Health would promote it - A FREE service, people didn't have to WAIT for.

Well, we waited for them to get in touch... and we're still waiting! We have a proven free service available to all, and they did nothing. Zilch. Zip. Diddly-squat!

Well, I guess it's up to us - and I include all of you in this 'us'. You, me, anyone you or I know. Anyone that cares about the people who are suffering now, the people who have suffered and still bear the scars and the people who will suffer if we don't do something.

There's not loads we can do without being able to get hold of the 1.4 billion the UK government are going to put towards mental health by 2021, but what I know we can do is tell everyone about Moodscope.

Write to your MP, write to your therapist, write to your GP, write to your local newspaper, write to a national newspaper, call in to a radio station. Just tell the person sitting next to you! Send out emails to everyone you know, so that they know there is something that can help them or someone they know, NOW, and it's FREE of charge. Moodscope may not be the total solution, but it will give people something to focus on and help them take charge of their own mental health until they receive the help they so desperately need.

As we know, it's not only a UK problem. So, please, whatever country you are in, spread the word any which way you can.

If there are any PR people out there who would like to help in our quest, please can you email support@moodscope.com.

Many thanks.

The Moodscope Team 

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/mental-health-sufferers-need-your-help

Monday, 22 February 2016

The A to Z Guide to Life: Letter "L" for "Life"!

"The Life and Soul of the Party!"

Well, I'm willing to bet most of us reading the Moodscope blog figure that 'someone else' is always the life and soul of the party. But we'd be wrong.

You are the life and soul of my party – I want you to know that – to really KNOW that.

You see, you are the spark. You are the spark that brings me hope.
You are the flame. You are the flame that gives me light.
You are the fire. You are the fire that warms my heart.
You are the life. You are the life that reminds me I have life to give too.

I now know that genetic scientists are so 'clever' that they can currently engineer just about any gene sequence they like. However, there's a snag. The engineered DNA doesn't work. It doesn't work until some living tissue is added to the mix. Life has to be added. Heart and soul. {Great song, btw, by Wolfstone – check it out https://youtu.be/qzn_BWA_UUU }

There's a spark that is missing.

And you, dear friend, have that spark – no matter how diminished you believe it to be. So, how could we fan that spark into a flame this week – in just one week?

Here's how...

Here's a week of "Wow!"

Monday is for Moving. Moving towards more of what you want – just one step. Choose something you want more of (or someone!) and take one step towards this (or them!)

Tuesday is Chooseday – a day when you choose to spend time doing things or being with people that energise you. You need feeding up.

Wednesday is for Wealth Creation – taking the best in you and sharing it with someone else. Can you paint? Teach someone else! Are you empathetic? Show someone else how to be sensitive! Speak French? Seek a willing student, n'est pas?

Thursday is Turdsday... yes, unfortunately, you heard me. That 'stuff' happens and life is about dealing with it. But it can be fun! So, Thursday is clean up day. Tidy something. Clean something. Sort something. Heal a relationship.

Friday is for flowing, for growing, for building, for creating, for making... be bigger. Add something to the World today.

Saturday is for Sacrifice. Not in a bad way;in a great way! Give something back. Make a contribution. Ideally, do this 'secretly'. Pop a tenner through a neighbour's letter box!

Sunday is for Sensitivity. Reach out to those you love and listen. Just be sensitive to others.

And here's the promise, based on whatever credibility you have invested in me. If you follow this path, just for one week, you will feel more 'alive' than you have for years. Promise.

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/the-a-to-z-guide-to-life-letter-l-for-life

Sunday, 21 February 2016

Use by date.

There is a very dark, lonely, cold place where only the brave go - that is the back of my fridge. Last week I found a jar of some unrecognisable substance stuck frozen to the side of the fridge. The use by date was, well put it this way, it was a long time ago!! I decided I would go through and throw out all those other jars, packets whose use by dates have expired.

I was thinking how easy it was throw them out when I saw the old use by date. I started to think why can't I get rid of old emotions, harmful thoughts, critical sayings, negative feelings as easily.

Wouldn't it be great if emotions and feelings had a use by date, they would be so easy to erase.

That angry feeling I had towards my parents for how they treated me over 40 years ago - out it goes.

That worthlessness I felt when a teacher showed the class how messy my maths test was - thrown away.

That pity I have felt because I have a mental illness label - shredded.

You get the idea. If we could discard useless, out of date even harmful emotions and thoughts as easily as we do food, wouldn't that make our lives easier.

I am not saying that removing these thoughts and emotions will be easy, we have had them for so long, that sometimes we may have even forgotten how they started.

The hoarder in me always wants to hold onto things just in case, but even I recognise I have so many damaging thoughts and emotions that really have no use in my life now or, to be honest, ever contributed anything.

Can you think of one feeling, thought or emotion in your life that is well past its use by date?

Leah 
A Moodscope member.

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/use-by-date

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Simplicity.

I have an illness/disability that affects me mentally and emotionally, as well as physically, and the failing currency is energy; it's something I have to think carefully how best to spend; something I have to plan, pace and prioritise.

I don't want to live in a boom and bust economy.

In effect, I was given a new body in 2010 and it took a few years for this newness to make itself fully known.

I can still remember how the old one felt and I often find myself thinking/feeling/acting as if I am the same person; my mind hasn't caught up. And I often wonder if it can as the sands are ever-shifting.

The manifestations of this illness continually change and surprise me. I think I've learnt a rule or a technique or I have an approach that works and then it becomes obsolete.

It's as if a software developer, who keeps changing things for the sake of it, and a technophobe, who has been given a new computer with a new operating system and new versions of software that seem bafflingly clunkier, uglier and more irritating to use, have met inside me and are at war.

What I do know is that my capacity is not what it used to be, both literally and figuratively; I have moved to a smaller house and my mind doesn't seem to contain as much as it used to.

I don't want to cram either with 'stuff'. I have to operate a one in one out policy, not only with mugs and books and suchlike but, it has struck me, I have to do that with ideas too. My mind is full of other people's ideas, and suggested projects that I am now too fatigued to follow up, and the half-finished, adds to the backlog that adds to the abysmal (in both senses) fatigue.

Recently, my thoughts turned to Lent and how best to prepare for it. I didn't want to just give up chocolate so I contacted a bishop, a vicar and a curate to ask them for their suggestions. Only the curate replied and the thought that appealed to me most this year was that of simplicity.

I found myself looking up 'living simply' on the internet, and there were some useful thoughts; simplicity versus clutter and how clutter drains energy. Then I started looking up books about simplicity to get some more ideas...

But hang on a minute – that isn't quite the point! A book about simplicity to help me declutter my minute home and compromised mental capacity? Yet another book I'm unlikely to get round to reading? Don't I already have enough of those to fill a charity shop?

Subsequently, I spoke to a nun; she suggested at least half an hour a day of being kind to myself.

Perhaps it really is that simple.

The Librarian
A Moodscope member.

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/simplicity

Friday, 19 February 2016

Walking on the Moon.

Doreen went to the moon! And we rejoiced with her!

Do you like the moon?

I love it. It gives me solidity. It appears in its different forms in its different times and each way it presents is beautiful to me. I find the slip of a crescent moon tantalising and full of wonder. The harvest moon feels like a cuddle and makes me think of Moonface (see The Enchanted Wood, Enid Blyton). I've often joked with my kids when they've eaten Babybel... full moon (bite), crescent moon (bite), full eclipse.

I heard a simple fact about the moon today which made me love it even more. It doesn't shine. We would never see it if was not for the sun lifting her smile up towards it. The moon can only be seen because the sun shines her light upon it.

It made me think of us. We don't always shine. We are sometimes hidden from view and sometimes happy that way. But when we receive just a little something, we can be seen, and sometimes we feel ok with that. Sometimes we are even glad that someone shone a light our way to both encourage us out from the dark and to show that we have treasures worth finding.

If you are hiding in the dark, have a little think about what or who might shine a little glow your way. It can be anything. A song, a coffee, a bath, a photograph, an old letter, an email, a sandwich, a colleague, a trip to Iceland with Doreen (although this is marginally more expensive). Even your favourite checkout person. Be with that thing. Try to place yourself beside it and it will help you shine.

Be more moon. Let the sun reach you.

Love from 
The room above the garage.

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/walking-on-the-moon


Thursday, 18 February 2016

Who Are YOU?

Without thinking about it, point to yourself. You probably didn't point to your head. Rather, you pointed to the centre of your chest, the area around the heart.

And the reason most of us do is evident in the way the word heart is used in just about every culture and language around the world: Follow your heart; speak from your heart; in your heart you know. All metaphors for the authentic you!

Being true to your heart is the formula for living the life you want. When there is an alignment between what's in your heart and the actions you carry out, the better life seems to work. You're fulfilled, content and at peace. You feel care, appreciation, love, joy, compassion, kindness—heart-felt emotions that not only feel good, but are good for you, too. Is it any wonder we all live for the moments our hearts come alive?

If you want to manifest more of who you truly are, start by considering what you value most. Is that something you can put a monetary value on?

What you value is at the core of who you are. Core values are the embodiment of intelligent operating principles that give meaning to life, rejuvenate spirit and create a sense of well-being.

Still not sure what's at your core? Here are some questions to help you sort through all the should's, could's, and would's that can get in the way of hearing what your heart wants you to know:

What matters most to you?
What's important to you professionally? Personally? (The greater the differential = the greater the stress)
What values do the people you admire exemplify? (Do you mix with people whose values you don't admire? If so why? And if so – what are your real values?)
What motivates you to put in more effort at work?
What would you do Saturday morning if time, distance and money weren't an issue?
What values do you want your children to grow up with? Remember they only learn from actions and not words!)
Who can you openly discuss your values with and feel at ease? Probably the 'richest' conversation you can have...as its your heart speaking.

Now, ask yourself:

Do you follow your heart as consistently as you would like?
If not, what do you want to do about it?

The greatest change anyone can have is a change of heart.

A change of heart changes everything.

Les
A Moodscope member.

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/who-are-you-3

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Almost Heaven.

No – not West Virginia. South West Bromsgrove in fact.

At a party with some friends I hadn't seen for nearly twenty years.

In the final chapter of The Last Battle, where all the good characters from the Narnia series meet up in the New Narnia, C S Lewis writes, "And there was greeting and kissing and handshaking and old jokes revived (you've no idea how good an old joke sounds when you take it out again after a rest of five or six hundred years)."

Well, it wasn't quite as long as that, but those jokes still sounded good.

A little earlier in the book it's said of one of the characters, meeting another in this wonderful place, "At first he thought she looked older, but then didn't and he never could make up his mind on that point." And so it was with us.

"You haven't changed a bit!" was exclaimed in voices of delight. And, "You must have a picture up in your attic, with all the lines and wrinkles that should be on your face but aren't!"

Nonsense of course! We have all aged. We are all a little heavier. There is grey hair or less hair (for the men, naturally: we women never go grey until we choose too), there is more tummy in a couple of cases and a few laughter lines for all of us. But what we actually meant, and the reason for the delight, is that our friendship is still there, as bright and warm as ever it was.

We've all been through hard times. Some of the talk was about Moodscope and which anti-depressants have worked or are working best for us. We were able to share about those hard times face to face in way you just can't on the virtual meeting place that is Facebook.

Circumstances have taken us out of each other's spheres. Where once we all lived within a few miles of each other, now we are scattered across the country. Once we performed music and poetry together regularly. Now the musicians still play, but for different groups, and we writers find that our writing has moved to prose: not so conducive to performance.

We have kept up contact of course, but nothing can replace the warmth of human touch. I spent the entire evening in some kind of physical contact with my friends; holding hands, hugging (there was lots of that), casually leaning against one friend as I talked poetry and literature with another. Oh it was so good to be back among musicians, writers and artists. I've missed that so much. I didn't realise how much until it was restored.

It's unlikely we will ever work together again as we did twenty years ago – life moves on. But it was great to be with them again, even if just for an evening.

And yes – it was a foretaste of heaven. To see old friends and to find that the love we bear for each other is still strong. In fact, as we have grown in faith and maturity during those years, we love each other even more.

In fact, it was just a damn' good party!

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/almost-heaven

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

You asked for it...

When we asked you for ideas to make Moodscope even better you made some great suggestions.

Well, we have a number of improvements coming up over the next few months, but the first one we're introducing, you have asked for many times.

You've been asking for a way of contributing to Moodscope without having the commitment of a monthly subscription.

So today we've introduced a 'contribution' facility. You can now make a one-off contribution whenever you can afford it, or whenever you want to.

It allows you to contribute as little or as much as you want and it will help us keep Moodscope Lite free of charge to those that can't afford it.

If you'd like to contribute now just follow this link:

https://www.moodscope.com/contribute?mc

There's also a button on the home page for future contributions.

We'd just like to say a very big thank you in advance.

Kind regards.

The Moodscope Team.

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/you-asked-for-it

Monday, 15 February 2016

The A to Z Guide to Life: K for Kinaesthetic.

What on Earth does 'Kinaesthetic' mean? Kinaesthesia is an awareness of Physical sensation. Especially to do with muscle movement; those who learn by leading with Kinaesthesia, learn best by 'hands-on' experience first – they learn by doing. This doesn't mean that they don't need to see and hear what they are learning – merely that they learn best by beginning with a tactile experience of what they want to learn. Don't show me that [Cntrl] + [S] will 'Save' my file, let me do this! Then I will know.

OK, I'm going to say something bold here. It is my 'belief' that many people feel depressed because they haven't had enough physical attention. I am in no way talking about sexual attention. I am talking about raw physical stimulation of the nervous system packaged within a safe emotional construct. Touched by someone or something you trust. 'Something' here means the cat or the dog. Cats and dogs know about this stuff!

My bold assertion is based upon the years of research that sit behind Transactional Analysis and similar disciplines. The root of all human need is to know one is significant through positive physical attention. A simple holding of hands is enough to say, "I love you, I accept you, I want to be with you, I love to be with you. I'm here for you."

I have been sick for a week. I just want to be held. I want to be stroked. If I had hair, I'd want it to be brushed gently. I don't want sound – I don't what to hear that you love me and care for me.  I don't want to be looked at or to look. I want the simple warmth of another living being's presence… (you can be my hot water-bottle) and for that familiar presence to give me deliberate physical attention because they care.

So, where does this leave us? If you are not offended by this post, I seriously suggest you find a massage therapist whom you trust. Get in touch. Get touched. Get it as if your psychological health depended upon every positive stroke. In fact, Transactional Analysts call 'units of attention' by the name, 'Strokes'. Their research proves that premature babies who have positive physical attention, develop faster. Your heart, your brain, your very nervous system, your psyche, your health needs attention.

Stroke me! I promise you, I'll stroke you back. Hey, you scratch my back...

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/the-a-to-z-guide-to-life-k-for-kinaesthetic

Sunday, 14 February 2016

A lot of loss.

My son was home from school with an ear infection and, while I worked on my laptop, he watched a Star Wars movie. The beautiful sound track called me away from my work and I sat beside him on the couch. We snuggled up together. A perfect moment.

In the movie, Anakin arrives too late to save his tortured mother. He takes her dying body in his arms and swears vengeance on all who killed her.

And I started to cry. Silently.

I thought my son wouldn't notice. Until the tears dripped down his neck.

"Why are you crying, mum? It's just a movie,"

"I'm sorry," I answered. And yet the tears wouldn't stop.

Anakin utters the simple but powerful words: "I miss her so much."

And more tears came.

Now, my son is upset. I am his Florence Nightingale. When he or his sister are sick, I look after them. That's my job.

But now I was crying.

At a movie

At a Star Wars movie.

And I couldn't stop.

"Sometimes even I get a bit sad," I explained.

"Why?" he asked.

"Because... like Anakin, I miss people too."

And in that tiny moment, I thought of my birth mother who I've met a handful of times, my lovely father who died last year, my aunt who I adored, my friend who I miss terribly and my former husband who I loved once and thought I would spend the rest of my life with.

And I thought to myself: That's a lot of loss.

My son gave me a ginormous cuddle.

He reminded me that the mother dying is the least of Anakin's problems. Which is a good point!

We all have loss. And some of us feel our sadness on a very deep and dark level. And the oddest things can trigger the pain.

What makes it bearable for me is those cuddles. Rarer now because my children are that bit older and self-conscious.

Rare but so very precious.

Salt Water Mum
A Moodscope member.

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/a-lot-of-loss

Saturday, 13 February 2016

Fomo.

I heard a radio programme recently about fomo - which means the fear of missing out, which is about people worrying they are not invited to a party or event, where people will be having a great time, that is promoted on Facebook, Twitter or other social media. Fomo apparently can cause anxiety and depression. Before dismissing this as just another example of the craziness and overuse of social media, I thought about how it may affect others if we broadened the meaning.

For me, maybe I experience, fohmo - fear of having experienced missing out. When I look at how other people seem to go effortlessly through their lives without overthinking and worrying about everything, I wonder what I have missed out on. What would it be like to wake up every day feeling happy and full of energy and looking eager to the day ahead instead of waking up after a restless night, grumpy and irritable even after thinking positive thoughts, writing positive ideas and smiling? What effect would that have had on my life, my relationships, my studies, my work and my family?

I wonder what it would be like to have people come to stay or organise a small gathering without worrying, writing endless lists, and stressing about trivial things. What have I missed out on with my moods, my dark thoughts and my endless worrying? I look at friends who are able to relax and cope with life's dramas and routine activities in their stride.

I am too old to worry about everyone having a good time at parties I was not invited to, but I do ponder about what I have missed out on, I do not fear it, I acknowledge it and accept it. Sometimes it makes me sad, but it's the past and I cannot change it.

At the moment I really don't think I fear missing out on anything, but then again I may not know what I am missing out on!

So do you have a fomo from the present or past?

Leah
A Moodscope member

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

http://bit.ly/1SMaosL

Friday, 12 February 2016

Confident Vulnerability.

Confident and Vulnerability are two words rarely seen together – almost an oxymoron for many.

How many of us, especially males, have been schooled to be strong, confident and of course, right!

This brittle approach is the downfall of many teams and organisations and of course relationships.

How many debates or even arguments have you had when you wanted to protect your 'opinion' or position?

The world is rarely 'black or white', or 'right or wrong'... any wisdom (EQ), rather than cleverness (IQ) is about how we create synergy, where 1+1 = 5 or 10 or 50 where we simply find solutions that are better than either of us could 'see' together – what is sometimes called the 'third way'...

Recently I came across some great research from Gallup which clearly showed, that the key for any healthy 'organism' (person, family, team, organisation) was the mix of confidence and vulnerability.

If you dislike the word vulnerability, check out Brene Brown's work and her wonderful TED Talk – it was singularly the one word that separated those who thrived, in creating strong, effective and sustained relationships (Interdependence) and those who repeatedly failed!

Gallup's research demonstrates that these two words used jointly, are THE key indicator of a healthy person (organism).

Here is a way to view this:


Looking at the diagram it illustrates that to be healthy and able to 'accept' a third way (Interdependence), we need both Confidence AND Vulnerability.

This is especially important in mental health where I happily talk openly about my 'weakness' and thus make it safe for others to show theirs – we can confidently share vulnerability!

I believe this sharing is what makes 'we' strong, rather than 'me' weak' if I conceal.

Now, people may attempt to take advantage of that 'weakness' and you then know they are not for you!

As I have always said, 'show weakness to gain strength'.

The world – OUR world – if it is to be healthy and sustainable, needs people who are going to be open and authentic.

Try it today, show a bit more of yourself to someone - be confidently vulnerable - and 'feel' what happens... then share this with our Moodscope community.

Lean into that discomfort, where all learning takes place.

Les
A Moodscope member.

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/confident-vulnerability




Thursday, 11 February 2016

Resilience and our little ones.

Why did I never get a decent part in the school play?...

I was rubbish at games, always lost the race...

My best friend chose to sit next to someone else...

The setbacks of childhood might now seem trivial, but if we cast our minds back, we can probably all remember the very real hurt caused by these early experiences when things didn't go the way we wanted them to.

As a parent, my natural instinct is to protect my little one - from pain, from adversity, from anything that might hurt him. I want his life to be as carefree and untroubled as possible. He has a lifetime of adult worries to come, so why shouldn't I shield him for as long as I can?

But then I remind myself that these (small?) obstacles in childhood serve an important purpose. When we learn how to cope when things don't go our way in our early years, we are building the foundation for our coping skills as an adult.

If we swoop in and fix every mistake or problem in our children's lives, how else can they develop the resilience and the skills to cope with adult problems?

Someone broke my heart...

I lost my job...

My mum died...

I don't know if you are aware, but in the UK this is Children's Mental Health Week. And amidst our wonderful, thoughtful and supportive community here at Moodscope I'd encourage us to use this week as an opportunity to think about our own resilience and how we nurture it, as well as that of children (whether our own, our nieces, nephews, grand or godchildren or those in our daily lives). We must help them to grow up to be the well-rounded, thriving adults of tomorrow.

We can't protect children from life, or change the difficult circumstances they sometimes live in, but we can help them cope with it, to deal with adversity, to learn from the knocks and challenges - however small or big - so they don't become overwhelmed.  Instead of 'getting stuck' we can help them to 'bounce forward'...

Catherine
A Moodscope member

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/resilience-and-our-little-ones

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Horrid Nasty Stinking Cold!

"Your score has dipped!" emailed one buddy anxiously. "Are you alright?"

"Just concerned about your score…" delicately enquired another. "You have been so stable recently..."

I sneezed, blew my nose, took another swig of Lemsip (Proprietary cold and 'flu medicinal drink for those of you outside the UK) and thought about my reply...

"I'm fine. Just full of cold. My aching head feels like a pillow stuffed with rocks, my body hurts all over, and some kind of alien monster has taken up residence in my lungs and sinuses and is exuding green slime in copious quantities..."

No – no – that was too much information. I couldn't possibly tell my concerned buddies all that.* Instead they got the restrained version.

"I have a cold and am not feeling great. My score reflects this. Please don't be concerned."

But of course they are concerned. Just as I was concerned a couple of days ago when a dear friend of mine posted a dramatically lower score than usual.

I texted him. "Are you OK? Do you want me to call you?"

To which came back the reply "All blocked up. Talking hurts. Virtual love appreciated but whatever you do, don't come near me!"

I took him at his word. Fairly easy since we live a couple of hundred miles apart.

Yes, it's difficult to be cheery and upbeat when we're physically unwell.

If we are in pain, exhausted and/or nauseous we're not going to have great scores.

I don't know about you, but I find it difficult to be enthusiastic when I'm ill. I certainly don't feel strong or energetic and I may feel a lot more irritable than normal. (Noises off) Oh – I have just been told that I am definitely much more irritable and hostile when I have a cold. Thank you husband, dearest.

And this is where the annotation function of Moodscope is so useful. It enables us to track back and see exactly what caused these unexpected blips. I would encourage you too to make full use of the comments box.

Sometimes a low score is nothing to do with depression. Sometimes a low score reflects the row you had with your nearest and dearest. Sometimes it reflects the worry you feel on behalf of another who is going through a bad time. My low score today certainly reflects the heartbreak of a close friend. It's not my heartbreak – but I feel for them. I think it's called empathy.

And sometimes a low score is just a cold.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

* Please note however, that I feel I can freely share with you!

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/horrid-nasty-stinking-cold

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

I'm not OK.

I've been spending so much time of late trying to convince others and myself that I'm OK, that I have stopped to check.

So busy convincing that I've been ignoring the palpitations during the day and the bursts of agitation that arrive when it's time to go to sleep.

Today though the little voice that exists within each of us got through. It said: "I'm not OK." And I heard it.

It may sound a little odd but I was pleased. Pleased that it had got through and that it hadn't been muffled completely as is so often the case.

This little voice allowed me to run a 'body scan', to see that the vital signs weren't all together right. I was feeling tense, I was worried and anxious. And that was OK.

Sometimes all it takes is noticing and naming a feeling to make it dissipate. The more we try to muffle that voice, the louder it shouts.

Take a minute to scan yourself, what's going on for you in this moment?

With gratitude

Cassie
A Moodscope member.

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/im-not-ok

Monday, 8 February 2016

The A to Z Guide to Life: J for Joy.

I remember a wonderful moment in an episode of "Star Trek; The Next Generation." Lieutenant Worf, dressed as one of Robin Hood's Merry Men, declares, "Sir, I protest... I am not a Merry Man!" https://youtu.be/ri5S4Hcq0nY

I echo his declaration. I am not a merry man. Neither am I a happy man. Yikes! That sounds negative doesn't it?

However, I am not concerned because my life is full of Joy. Joy flows from my heart. Constantly. A never-ending stream. I sing all the time. Music accompanies me wherever I go. People think I am happy. I am not. But I am joyous.

Happiness, to me at least, depends up on an old-fashioned word: happenstance. A happy collision of favourable circumstances. It's based on certain 'things' having to work in our lives. Happiness is for amateurs!

Joy is independent of circumstance.

My life doesn't work. It never has. Probably never will. I am not happy. Probably never will be. The spirit of cancer is attacking many of my family and friends at the moment. I cannot be happy. I refuse to be happy.

But I rejoice – I have joy in their presence. This is very, very, critically different.  Fundamentally different. Essentially different.

Those of us who face mental-health challenges as well as physical-health challenges may reasonably assert that there is no place for happiness in our present circumstances.  Happiness is inappropriate.

But there is always space for joy. From the heart. From within. And shared between us. And in between each tear. This is why I am a fan of Joy.

So, how can we tap into more and more joy? Where is that endless fountain?

The Psalmist believed there was 'Joy' in God's presence. I'd latch onto the concept of 'presence' to begin with.

I have joy (and sorrow) in the presence of my family members and friends who are suffering. I grow my joy in the presence of my Granddaughters. In the presence of my sons, I nurture the seeds and fruit of joy. They are my pride and joy.

I feel my joy in the presence of the music that links me to my past, my present, and my dreams – that music that is an echo of the songs flowing from my heart.

I experience joy in the presence of my natural flow: being creative, being in nature, creating, giving, bearing fruit.

I discover joy in the presence of the birdsong every morning. Their pointless anthems hold the secret to infinite purpose: gratitude.

I am soaked in joy in the presence of the flow of water over me in the shower each day – lost in those few precious moments. Simple pleasures. Celebrated.

Recognising those in whose presence you experience Joy is my wish for you today: I wish you Joy. I hope you'll awake to the presence of those who really count.

Lex
A Moodscope member.

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/the-a-to-z-guide-to-life-j-for-joy

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Lost & Forlorn.

Sometimes if I dip for a time, most often in the morning, this is how I feel as I seek to somehow re-connect to the world outside my bedroom. Well, just my bed really...

How dark is blue,
In this life of mine.
As I walk the streets,
It's no pantomime.

Alone and lost,
As I walk in the dark.
I only think back,
The future's too stark.

I used to be happy,
Walking the streets.
I really had nothing,
But my heart had a beat.

I have achieved so much,
Changed so many lives.
Now I feel empty,
And the cut of the knives.

I used to have angst,
And suicidal thoughts.
Now I am lost,
And my thoughts come to nought.

I am so creative,
And can make connections as well.
But there must be something,
To take me to hell.

I lost my daughter,
Through my wife and money.
I lost my dog,
Life wasn't funny.

But I pulled on through,
And did my own thing.
The problem is now,
My heart doesn't sing.

My soul is bleeding,
My spirit is gone.
How long can I go on,
Dark and forlorn.

But I'll get up tomorrow,
Put my feet on the floor.
I can only keep moving,
Yet I can't find the door!        

There is always that need to KNOW I have to move, history has shown to me that the more I move, the more I lift.

Les
A Moodscope member.

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/lost-forlorn

Saturday, 6 February 2016

My finest moment...

When we're depressed we struggle to remember anything good we did. As we recover we remember times when we achieved, no matter how insignificant it was. I must be recovering because I recently remembered this story.

I was playing in a rugby game in Burton-on-Trent. They had a huge pack of forwards who all seemed to work at the brewery (and didn't look as though much of the output made it past them and through the doors.) Their only strategy was to use their huge players to batter their way forward, which was exhausting to defend. (Imagine Indiana Jones trying to rugby-tackle the boulder instead of running away from it).

As they won the ball yet again they hoisted a high-kick which was coming down just outside our "22." It was well-placed, whoever caught it would be immediately hit by their onrushing forwards. As I ran back I noticed that although my team-mates were heading in the general direction of where the ball would land, for some strange reason no-one was actually getting into position to catch it.

Someone pulled the string in the middle of my back and my unbidden voice said "mine!" Immediately I sensed opponents assessing my bulk (not huge) and calculating course and speed to impact like some meat-seeking missile.

I caught the ball and got hit by a stampede of Staffordshire beef. I was desperately trying to avoid being turned or losing the ball while being driven back on the run. After a few centuries (!!) team-mates began to arrive, holding me up and slowing then stopping the retreat. Once stable I rolled the ball along the deck to the scrum-half, who kicked into touch level with where the move started. We hadn't lost a yard.

We lost the game, and overall I didn't have much of a game, but for a fleeting second I did what needed to be done and felt good about it.
     
(This may not actually be my finest moment, but I like telling the story... )

So what was your finest moment?

Norman
A Moodscope member.

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/my-finest-moment

Friday, 5 February 2016

Living with the tough stuff.

This morning (whilst in the bath) I was thinking how utterly British I am. At Christmas I wrote the cheeriest round robin describing all the positive things that happened in 2015. I completely downplayed the fact that I spent three weeks last February having been rushed to A and E with a stomach problem. My Facebook page exudes positivity - and I positively dislike those posts where people put down how annoyed, angry or sad they are.

In fact, I came to the conclusion that I should be awarded a doctorate in CBT, just for effort alone. However, there is a problem with this. Now I'm not knocking the power of positivity, nor CBT, which many people find helpful, but what do you do with those more uncomfortable feelings, like anger, sadness, guilt or jealousy?

It's only as an adult that I have realised that it's ok to be angry. How much depression could I have avoided if only I had realised that earlier? Last month I was very angry about something that happened to one of my clients at work, but actually it was right to be angry and although I couldn't do a lot about it, I reported the situation to my CEO who has blogged about the issue in the national news. This client had been treated appallingly and I was right to be angry on her behalf.

Occasionally in complete frustration with my kids I have stormed off for a five minute walk around the estate where I live - it's given me breathing time to stop myself totally blowing a gasket!!

It's taken me 44 years to realise that it's ok to feel negative emotions, that they are, after all, just part of being human and that pushing them away or ignoring them does not help at all.

I recently came across a wonderful little video about dealing with difficult feelings on Vimeo designed for children. Check out 'A Curious Look' by Helena Cameron.

How are you feeling today? If you're not feeling good, ask yourself why. Are you, like me, trying to be terribly British and ignore those negative feelings? Own them, feel them and see what you can learn from them.

BrumMum
A Moodscope member.

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/living-with-the-tough-stuff

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Share my laughter as well as comfort my tears.

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone;
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.

The lines above come from the poem Solitude by the famous poet Ella Wheeler Cox in 1883. My mother used to quote the first two lines to me when I would be sad and she wanted to cheer me up.

Ella apparently was inspired to write this poem on the way to a ball where she saw a woman dressed in a black dress and comforted her. When they arrived, the poet was so depressed that she could barely attend the celebrations. As she looked at her own happy face in the mirror, she suddenly recalled the sorrowful widow. It was at that moment that she wrote the opening lines of "Solitude".

I have often been troubled by the meaning of these lines. I used to think if you were sad no one wanted to be around you, and I thought that was not very kind because when one is sad one needs people around. People like happy people because they make them feel good about themselves.

I sometimes think that on moodscope while we are very good at supporting each other when we are down, sometimes I wonder that we feel we don't want to share our good times in case that comes across as being boastful or may be seen as insensitive.

I know that moodscope provides a soft place for us to land and supports us as we journey towards better health. I don't want anyone to cry alone or to feel alone when sad and depressed.

I would like us to be able to celebrate our achievements no matter how big or small we may think they are. This needs to be to done in a context where we are sensitive to people who are feeling rock bottom.

I thought maybe as a start we could just share one thing recently we have done that made us smile and pleased with our selves.

I went to a water aerobics class. This may not sound like much but I am not into exercise or group exercise. I managed to last the whole lesson without complaining too much!

Leah
Moodscope member

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/share-my-laughter-as-well-as-comfort-my-tears

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

A Life threatening Illness.

Isn't it time we stopped pretending?

Depression can and does kill.

Suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45 in the UK.

It kills a lot of women too – but the fact is that over 75% of all suicide deaths are men.
4,624 of them last year.

Oh, and just to clear something up; yes, more women than men attempt suicide. The men just seem to be more successful at it.

I'd like to say that I am uniquely qualified to write this blog as I lost a father to suicide in 1967, I lost an uncle to suicide in 2008, I lost another friend just last year.

But I'm sadly not unique, or even particularly unusual.

And I'm surely not the only one here, or even in the minority reading this, who has done more than flirted with that precipice, who has thought about it. I have not just wanted to die, I have actively planned my death. Quite a few times. Somehow, by the grace of God. Or just because I procrastinated that one extra day that allowed for healing, I'm still here, writing this.

And I'd never want my mother to know how close I've come or how many times.

So I want this to be a bit of a wake-up call for us. We need to take our illness seriously. And we need to make others take our illness more seriously.

My forty year old neighbour has cancer. It's for the second time of asking and she's facing a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and then radiotherapy. We're all putting a brave face on it. We're all expressing interest in her treatment, planning how we can help out the family while she's going through it. We're thinking positive thoughts. But you know what? Behind it all is the thought "Oh, what a tragedy it would be if she doesn't make it. For that family to lose a wife and mother so young..."

Because we take cancer seriously. These days we'll all talk about it. There's no shame in it.

So for goodness' sake can we please talk about depression? Let's do our research on it. Let's discuss treatments and drugs and recovery rates.

And if we lose someone to this terrible illness, we must not for one moment let that little comment slide past us. You know – the one where people say "I wonder what he can be thinking of, that he felt he had nothing to live for?"

He. Was. Ill. He died from his illness, not through choice, any more than a cancer or a heart disease patient dies through choice. It was not "selfish", it was not a moral failing. It was his (or her) illness.

And I for one would like to see this illness treated with the same respect and given the same funding as cancer. A world where depression was easily diagnosed, treated and cured: how would that be?

Mary
A Moodscope member.

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

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

My Five Currencies.

Today the sun has graced us with its big beaming face. Living in a wet, rainy grey climate really does challenge many of us. My inkling is that part of the reason Britain is teeming with eccentrics and off-the-wall characters is because of our weather.

I have been called "crazy" and "mad" in affectionate ways. And do you know what, instead of trying to tone it down I have decided to embrace this part of me that affords me sunshine. Maybe it is a way of escaping the dark (and I do still go there) but it gives me energy, the currency of living. That's my number one currency.

But I need other currencies to pay into my energy account, especially to balance the zany.

Nutrition is the number two. I haven't eaten unhealthily but I haven't packed enough nutrients or protein. Ridiculous actually as my cooking has inspired others who tell me to write a book on my creations. Depression can take the appetite hostage and anxiety can tighten the purse strings. Since supping daily "blasts" using a well known extractor I feel more vitalised. Frozen berries, spinach, apples and beetroot with fresh ginger is a great pick me up, hard lining nutrients to my brain.

Number three goes without saying – music: especially on the radio or new finds on YouTube. The preponderance of enriching music out there is inspiring.

Number four - meditation and breathing via any source you like. Gyms are functional but for me soulless, so the free fresh air and singing my own ditties gets the lungs working. Wouldn't it be great to have dance breaks at work? I bet that would oomph productivity, the Holy Grail of the industry!

Number five. Winter is the time the trees shut up shop and go within to cultivate energy within ready for new growth in Spring. Trees tend to be around for a while so I am following their wisdom in winter and having plenty of sleep or if insomnia is a problem listening to relaxation tracks or binaural beats on my headphones.

I bet you all use these strategies and more already. I am creating a tree on wall in the house where I pin my tips as leaves to help me sustain these good habits. As I feel better I hope to pin larger leaves with the fruits of my strategies.

Lesley
A Moodscope member.

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/my-five-currencies

Monday, 1 February 2016

'I' is for 'Improv' – used by Drama experts as short for 'Improvisation'.

This is one of my favourite forms of Art. It is displayed particularly well in the Game Show, 'Whose Line Is It Anyway?'

With Improv, as in the show, the goal is to create flowing dialogue – and there are rules to the Game of Improv.

My alternative title to today's blog is, 'Turning Talking Traps into Flowing Conversations' – in recognition that being 'misunderstood' is one of the major blocks to enjoying a life to the full.

We can learn from the principles of improvisation. So let me begin with the key question, "Which would you prefer: points or prizes?"

In popular Game Shows, points make prizes but in 'The Game of Strife' the rules are the opposite. You can make your point and win the argument, but the only 'prize' you'll get is a damaged relationship and often resentment. If you would prefer to have the prize of a great long-term relationship, you need to play by different rules. And this is where Improv can help.

In Improv you never negate the point of another player on stage. If one suggests a scenario where they have been injured in some adventure, the next player can ruin the play simply by saying, "No you're not!"  Any negation blocks the flow. In the rest of life, this is called an 'Empathy Blocker'!

I have seen this time and time again in relationships. One party continually blocks the other's flow by putting them down or contradicting what they say. It never works. Never.

Improv Professionals use 'and' a lot to move the flow on. They accept the other person's position and then build from it. It's a 'yes + and' strategy that works well. It builds relationships upon the foundation of letting the other party know they have been heard and understood.

So the next time you're tempted to contradict someone, realise you are falling into a Talking Trap. Press Pause! Then, let the conversation flow by acknowledging the other person's point and then build upon it. It takes practice, but the prize of free flowing relationships founded on deep rapport is well worth the effort.

I am so committed to the importance of improving relationships that I am launching a new radio show today! It's called, 'The Really Useful ShowTime' (T.R.U.S.T. for short), and exists to deliver on one promise: that the content will be really useful! You can listen to this for free around the World by tuning in to:

http://tunein.com/radio/Hope-FM-901-s80435/
The timing is Noon-2 pm UK time.

The first show is going to cover how to improve your memory recall – something I think we'd all find 'Really Useful'.

DJ Lexi!
A Moodscope member.

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/the-a-to-z-guide-to-life-letter-i