Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Anxiety

Anxiety especially too much of it, seems to be the scourge of the 21st century.

We are all anxious, well many of us are and some more than others.

Experts tell us that anxiety was an inbuilt strategy which came naturally to our forebears in times of danger, when wild beasts were attacking hunter gatherers. They call it the flight or fight response.

Experts tell us that this response or anxiety has no place in modern day society. Basically we don't need to fight off animals to survive so why should we be anxious?

We are given exercises/meditation techniques to stop the anxious thoughts, medication to calm our minds and help us sleep. To stop our anxious thoughts.

But my thinking is different and challenges these well worn assumptions and easy advice which is dished out to us in bucket loads in every daily newspaper, magazine and health programme.

What if anxiety were necessary for living in the 21st century? What if it was a valuable tool for coping with everything that the internet, social media, responsibilities, governments, national and local, wars, the terrorism threat, crowded motorways, global warming etc throws at us on a daily basis?

It's not us who should change and try to be less anxious!

It's people in authority, those who are in power, the 9% who own more wealth than the entire population, those who make decisions for us all who are responsible for our anxiety.

I am not saying as individuals we can't change society and make it a less anxious place to live in. We can! As long as we stop blaming ourselves for being anxious.

It's not us who needs to change but can we not look outside the box and forget about our anxieties and not exactly try to change the world but take small steps to effect a change?

Can you think of how this might be achieved? Or maybe you don't agree with me?

Jul xx
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/anxiety

Monday, 13 August 2018

What Gets You Energised?

What gets you energised?
What gets your atoms jumping?
What gets your molecules dancing?
What gets your juices flowing?
What gets your heart pumping?

I like people – occasionally. I like food. I like wine – a lot. I like stuff.

But I love ideas.

I love thoughts – new positive thoughts wrapped in endless possibilities.

And I love thoughtfulness. Thoughtfulness is the fruitfulness of good thoughts.

I love the thoughtfulness that goes into a bar of artisan Goats' Milk Soap. The small production run. The attention to detail. The recycled floral fabric that wraps each bar.

I value that. It energises me.

I love the outputs of a mind that has wrestled with the harsh realities of humanity and yet has come out positive, hopeful, pro-human, pro-future, pro-creation, pro-responsibility, pro-active.

I love a mind that whilst tormented by circumstances beyond control has managed to maintain the good humour that is within our control.

Hear some words of wit that energised me about that best of medicines for the soul: laughter.

"At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities." Jean Houston

"Laughter is the shortest distance between two people." Victor Borge

"Among those whom I like or admire, I can find no common denominator, but among those whom I love, I can: all of them make me laugh." W. H. Aulden

It's purely personal but...

Give me a good book.

Give me a great story.

But above all, give me a wonderful idea.

So, what shall we give you to energise you?

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/what-gets-you-energised

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Thought For The Day

I said goodbye to my husband yesterday as he flew back to the Middle East to work. We had a month together and it was great - one of our best times and ten days in The New Forest and Dorset was relaxing. Just what we both needed.

Now I am looking to restart my routine; walking my Dachshund, getting back in touch with friends for a cuppa and a catch up. Also, starting a fitness regime - nothing too difficult - maybe a daily swim. I have a stint with my personal trainer on Thursday for 30 minutes and my stretch and balance class, although off for the summer holidays, is happening some mornings and some evenings until we get back together in September.

So I will be busy which is good. Then there is the daily challenge of Sudoku, Codeword and the daily crossword. This involves brain power and sitting down for a while which isn't so good.

So, I need to do more - except I think I'm doing enough - for now. I can build on my efforts and, if I feel up to it, do more.

One step at a time.

Ruth
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/thought-for-the-day

Saturday, 11 August 2018

Becoming Real

For a long time now, I've wanted to be 'me'. To know me, to be free, more confident and to be authentic – the 'REAL' me.

Over recent weeks, for a variety of reasons and experiences, I've been facing the reality of my life – without masks, no pretence, just learning to be open and honest with myself and other close, trusted friends.

Becoming authentically 'me' hasn't been pretty. I've been facing hidden, unfelt, unknown feelings, buried deep within. It's been a very painful, tender and tiring few weeks, if not months.

I wrote a poem about how dark my heart felt during this time – I then realised that it wasn't a dark, evil heart as I'd thought – it was actually a bruised, broken, lonely, hurting and betrayed heart that had laid dormant inside a dark, heavy cloak of shame for far too long.

Coming to a realisation within myself that I'm not, and never was, a bad person and that I'd done nothing 'wrong', is something that I am working through and beginning to slowly accept.

I wanted it to all be 'sorted', just like that. But, as my friend shared, to face all that pain, all at once, would be far too much to handle. It is indeed a process, and I need to wait and trust for the healing to settle in as the pain is gradually let out.

Learning to be patient, kind and loving to myself is part of that process. I'm reminded of the 'Becoming real' part of the 'Velveteen Rabbit' story by Margery Williams:

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you.  When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," the Rabbit asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time.  Generally by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real, you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

Over time, I'd thought that maybe if I did certain things, in the 'right ways' with the right people at the right time/place (counselling, friends, etc...), then I'd be healed, whole and able to be my true self.

However, the journey is not quick and it's not easy and I've not always liked it! It is and has been so very painful to really face, feel and process deep, unspoken emotions. It's floored me a few times and the pain is so real that it strongly affects my body, mind and emotions. Letting out 'old stuff' hurts.

However, in doing so, I'm starting to see that it allows me to become 'authentically' me.  It may take some time, and I may come out a bit shabby with most of my hair loved off, but that doesn't matter.  My heart will be real, alive, breathing and free.  And it doesn't matter what others think, because I'll finally be the 'REAL' me and be totally free.

Maggie Jane
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/becoming-real

Friday, 10 August 2018

People who need people.


'Are the luckiest people in the world' (Barbra Streisand and others).

The photograph is relevant, because it started my deep involvement with people. My father converted his boyhood passion for birds into a business after the war. The exotic specimens were kept in a warm bird-room in the converted loft of our bungalow. The garden was his 'shop window'.

I did a lot of the garden from age 10 or so, and in particular I did the gardens within the aviaries, usually with a bird on my shoulder to encourage me. He also made me, no argument, deal with the customers from an early age – a favourite being Gavin Maxwell ('Ring of Bright Water'). It was his sports car, really, starting another passion with me.

Another was a Captain Clarence – very rich, I think, and an artist – he gave me a pen and ink sketch as a wedding present – when he wrote to my father he always added a sketch for me at the top of the letter – how I wish I'd kept them.

I think they felt sorry for me, Daddy being a noted eccentric and hard task-master – they treated me like a grown up, whilst tipping me for catching birds for them (or showing off the ones I had tamed).

There were many times when I was scared stiff – especially when relationships were difficult. I've just had a 'down in the dumps' lunch party – real reviver, invited and uninvited crowding into my shop. One of the stallholders is 70 today, so he had an extra boost. His wife is part real gypsy, and, I think, illiterate, with a handicapped son – I get a huge lift when she is at home with the mixture 'chez moi'. At a big party a guest said 'You know how to receive'. Very puzzling, never trained, or 'finished', so I presume the hard school with my father paid dividends.

Reading Moodscope, and knowing so many lonely people, I think modern life has a lot to answer for (not Grumpy Old Woman, or wearing rose-coloured glasses). The village community, the local bus, social evenings, even 'borrowing a cup of sugar' brought you into contact with people. You CAN still find the French 'Quartier' even in Paris.

The last few days, as my situation worsened, if somebody asked me how I was, I let fly with a good moan. Really rather ashamed, people don't really want to know how you are. I'd had a lovely visit from son and grand-son, always a bit 'triste' because we all live so far from each other. But how we talked! They went into town and talked, down to the care home and talked – luckily we all have good French.

I am surrounded by disrupted families, ALL the teenagers are sulky (teens not easy for anybody) but they have ALL been uprooted, friends, schools, clubs. It's not a town for young people, will they spend their lives glued to a screen? Or will they find they need people?

The Gardener
A Moodscope member.

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/people-who-need-people-1

Thursday, 9 August 2018

It's not always what it looks like!

I was away recently in the UK house and dog sitting.

It was a stunning day, we were staying in a gorgeous house with an amazing garden and I was there with my boyfriend (now ex). There was a running race that ended outside the house. We were watching the runners coming in after their 10-mile run in the sweltering heat.

At the time my mind was in turmoil knowing that my relationship was coming to an end but unsure how to raise the subject and end it. My previous blog mentions this relationship and although it has been wonderful and has made me realise I am lovable and can have a relationship, it wasn't to be this one and I had to let go it.

I have spent my life thinking more about others than myself and not being true to myself.

I've managed to change this over time and I am starting to put myself first (obviously trying to account for the other). It was incredibly painful and sad to say goodbye.

To the outsider we may have looked like a carefree couple, living in a stunning location with two gorgeous dogs and the status car on the drive.

None of this was mine. Would I want it? Probably not. I am happy with my very low-profile life and knowing that I don't have to run myself into the ground to be able to afford the lifestyle associated.

I think we all have moments of the "grass being greener" but I am learning to be thankful for what I have, my family and friends and how far I have come on my recovery.

We could all wish we had acted differently, made different decisions, taken different paths, but quite frankly I'm grateful for where I am and consider it a great achievement that I am still on this wonderful earth.

Lara
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/its-not-always-what-it-looks-like

Wednesday, 8 August 2018

How to Train Your Dra– Um – Moodscope Buddy.

"Will you be my Moodscope Buddy?" a friend asked. And then, "I had a Buddy before, but they didn't really 'get' it and – well - it didn't work out."

Yes, a buddy must be chosen wisely and trained with care.

So – what is a Moodscope Buddy?

A buddy is someone you nominate, who automatically receives your Moodscope test results. You can have up to five buddies with the Lite version of Moodscope, and an unlimited number on Essential and Plus.

The advantages of having at least one good buddy are obvious. If you are having a bad day, or week, then they can take action if necessary. If they don't see a score from you for a while, they can contact you to make sure you are okay. For me, having bipolar disorder, my buddies have been essential in letting me know when I was going into one of my manias (because I rarely recognise them myself) and in telling me firmly to get myself to the GP when my score was so low they knew I was incapable of making that decision for myself.

Who should be our buddies?

Many people nominate their domestic partner as a buddy. It has certainly helped my husband know what to expect from me on certain days. Parents, children and siblings can be buddies. Sometimes it is as much for their own peace of mind as yours. Our friends and family want to know if we're okay – especially if they do not live with us, or locally enough they can just drop round to see how we are.

For some, their psychiatrist or therapist is a buddy.

I would recommend nominating at least a couple of good friends you can trust. Preferably friends who know each other, so they can consult if necessary.

And – you must train your buddies.

Everyone's scores and range of scores are different. For one person a score of 25 might be perfectly satisfactory, for another, 80 might mean they were a bit down. It is up to you to know what your own scores mean and educate your buddies accordingly.

What do you want your buddies to do if your score goes above or below a certain number? Do you want them to email, to call you, or to knock on your door? I find it is useful to agree with my buddies that they will read my score every day and that I will do the test every day. Before I was on my medication, this was vital. It was also important that I did the test every day and the most organised of my buddies had an alarm on her computer to remind her to check that she had received my score that day. If not, I got a reminder text, and then a phone call.

This might not work for you, but maybe it's a good idea to agree with your buddy how many days they should let it go before reminding you. And not all buddies do the same job. Some may use your score just as information, as does my husband; some may be more active. You need to find the right balance and that is why you may need all five, or – if you are on the Essential or Plus plan, all one hundred and five!

And – if it doesn't work out with one buddy, then it doesn't. Not everyone is cut out to be a buddy. Being a buddy is a commitment. It can be a lot of work. Many people will have neither the time or the discipline/organisation to be your buddy. It doesn't mean they are not your friend or that they don't love you; just that they are not the right person to be your buddy. Look around and see if there is someone else you feel able to trust with your scores.

You might know another Moodscope user who could be your buddy.

After all – you can be sure we do absolutely "get it".

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/how-to-train-your-dra-um-moodscope-buddy

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

Passing on kindness

In a recent blog about the impact on children of a kind Granny, I was musing about how we pass on kindness from one generation to another. The kind words of a Primary School teacher will stay with me forever. A friend's praise for an accomplishment means such a lot. A smile in the street, reciprocated, warms my day.

Kindness costs nothing, but is of tremendous value. I was speaking to a friend who'd worked in a difficult environment for many years. On retirement, she avowed she just couldn't get over how kind people actually were. She'd been used to the dog-eats-dog situation and it had eroded her natural instinct to be kind and take this as the norm. Composite kindness, the words of this person, the deeds of another, make up the sum of my life experiences.

Another friend had paid for a train ticket for a complete stranger she'd found crying her eyes out at Euston station! "Because I had a choice, "she said: "leave her to her misery, or help her out ".

Yes, there is the reverse of the coin too. I have sometimes experienced unkindness, even cruelty, as I'm sure we all have. But I am inclined to put thoughts of the seamier part to one side today. Is this because I'm feeling positive and enthusiastic about going forward with faith and hope? Probably.

But I sincerely believe that we never get what we want by antagonising people, or by throwing our weight around in an attempt to score the point.

I see life as an opportunity to enhance in a very small way another person's day, and I do hope that doesn't sound bombastic! No Saint am I, I hasten to add! (Saint Sally doesn't sound right anyway!!). And it's not "payment by results" either : no expectation of return, but surprise and joy when it does bear fruit.

Sally
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/passing-on-kindness

Monday, 6 August 2018

Tell me something...

One thing I like about moodscope is learning about different people who write the blogs and comment here. Sometimes people reveal very interesting and often moving experiences from their lives. There is so much variety from the members of Moodscope and I am always fascinated by the incredible range of life stories.

I was thinking as I always want to learn more about Moodscopers, I would like to know more about you. So can you tell me one thing  Moodscopers don't know about you. It does not have to be anything major - can be something very small or quirky or funny or unusual. Also  as we really don't know a lot about each other it should be fairly easy to find something that other Moodscopers do not know about you.

I will start.

When I was 17 I was an extra in the opera Simon Boccanegra by Verdi at the Sydney Opera House. I was one of the crying ladies.

If you have never posted before this would be a great opportunity to join in.

So anything you share will be appreciated by me and others. It could be as simple as a food you have never tasted, a place you want to visit, something you are afraid of, or something funny or embracing you did once.

I think we often focus here on our weaknesses, on serious topics so this is a chance to get to know each other better.

So let me know something about yourself that Moodscopers don't already know about you.

Leah 
A Moodscope member.

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

https://www.moodscope.com/blog/tell-me-something

Friday, 3 August 2018

The Blindspot...

Defined as "something that obscures vision and awareness" a blindspot can have devastating consequences. Just think of the driving blindspots that lead to so many road accidents.

But perhaps there is an even bigger blindspot right under our noses living in plain sight, but hidden. What is it that the majority of humans spend most time on in life after breathing and sleeping? Talking. Communicating is probably the most important and most common activity. And as such we often do it without thinking. But like any skill we pick up in life we tend to go on automatic pilot and try to get away with the least effort. Yet talking and listening, conversations and communicating effectively has the most profound impact on relationships and our quality of life.

Communicating is a skill and like other skills it can be improved. It sounds simple but how many of us are taught to actively listen? How many of us learn how to really understand and be understood. Being understood is a critical human need. It is a big part of our self validation and our self esteem.

The skills are not complex but make a profound difference if applied. Skills like 'listening to understand' can be the priority in a conversation, putting all else out of your mind and feeding back what you are getting. 'Checking for understanding' with the speaker by paraphrasing what you have understood. Simple steps like these can lead to empathy and co-operation.

The opportunity here is 'to improve life one conversation at a time'. Have you noticed which conversations tend to go better? Can you identify the skills which help? Do you agree that these skills can be learnt?

Best

Adrian x
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/the-blindspot

Thursday, 2 August 2018

The Mad Half Hour

My granny used to say we had our mad half hour after dinner. She had a great sounding laugh. Whooping and chuckling, I can hear her now! After food had hit our tummies my big brother and I would often flip into daft mode and cavort around doing impressions. We would pretend to read the news in different accents and make up the daftest stories. My granny adored it. We fed off her pleasure and it drove us to do more and more and more! Fun days indeed. Sadly, no recording equipment of the time was affordable enough to us to have kept these moments as more than a memory.

Perhaps the Mad Half Hour can teach us all something in our adult life. Typically, this thing we suffer together can eat at us from the inside, drain us and bleed us dry of enthusiasm and energy. We know we're living in a technicolour time and yet we have the frustration of knowing we only have black and white monitors.

We need tools. We need tricks. We need time management. (Or we might be sucked into the abyss of avoidance.) Resting whilst ill is really important. Not over stretching ourselves is a must. Allowing ourselves to be ill can be the nib of recovery. But we must be careful that inactivity doesn't drive another demon. Procrastination and laziness. Knowing the difference is important.

Do you think you have a Mad Half Hour in you today? It's yours! If you are currently not at work, you might use it to make the bed, wash the dishes, parcel up that return, find the stamp, load the washing machine and do it against the clock so you can finish up making a cup of tea and return to where you are now. Or, if you are working and under pressure most of the day, perhaps you will use the Mad Half Hour to nourish yourself. Take 30 minutes at lunchtime to go outside, walk 10 minutes in one direction, on a timer, and ten minutes back again. You now have ten minutes left to eat something, don't share the time. I'll bet you'll be glad you took a little time out. Just. For. You.

Let me know what you do. Keep the mad half hour alive. My granny and I are waiting to hear!

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/the-mad-half-hour