I read a report recently stating that almost 11 million days are lost each year because of “stress” – amounting to about £6.5 billion lost to the UK economy.
There are many different approaches that have emerged to try to tackle this – mindfulness, meditation, CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), resilience courses, counselling, more physical exercise, social networks – as well as a whole range of prescribed medications.
It also seems there’s a lot more ‘self-medication’ going on in the form of alcohol abuse, over-eating and even binge-watching TV, in an attempt to ‘numb’ ourselves from what seems like a harsh reality.
I’m noticing that it’s typical for many of us to agonise over decisions – big and small. Conversations with my coaching clients recently have brought this into the foreground:
- “I just don’t know what to do for the best”
- “I’m losing sleep”
- “I can’t stop thinking about this and it’s driving me crazy”
- “Part of me thinks I should do this, and the other part then convinces me I should do the opposite”
- “I feel paralysed and stuck”
I wanted to share an insight I’ve been living over the past couple of years that makes a big difference.
Welcome to the last musing of 2016.
I’m excited to tell you that I’ve finished my book (called, funnily enough, “The He’Art of Thriving”!), and pressed ‘send’ to the publisher this morning! Should be out early next year.
Many of you have probably been writing cards or e-mails to loved ones, wrapping presents and decorating your house for the past few days and weeks.
I wonder how many of us really stop and think what we actually mean when we write “Happy Christmas” on a card? I ran my Saturday Salon this weekend, and invited the group to do the following activity:
Imagine a new baby has just been born – a new miracle of Life. You are the wise people who have travelled to see the baby and impart gifts. Each of you will present a gift – but the gifts should not be ‘things’. They should be a piece of wisdom – something that you know will guarantee the new baby grows up to experience a life where they truly THRIVE.
|In my conversations with people from all walks of life, I find myself repeating something like this over and over again:
“Your innate nature, when uncontaminated by personal thinking, is clarity, well-being, peace of mind, and intelligent wisdom. That’s the ‘factory-setting’, the default. It never really disappears, but it can seem like it’s nowhere to be found when we get caught up in believing our transient thoughts. When we see through the illusion of these temporary thought-storms, we naturally and effortlessly come back Home, like a beach-ball that bobs back up to the surface of the water. We’re back in the groove, and in a nice feeling again. From there, it’s obvious what to do next, if anything actually needs to be done.”
It’s all true, and it’s amazing how quickly people grasp it. But it can take a long time to say!
So, I was delighted this morning when my husband Ross alerted me to a very old, and much shorter, way of describing this feeling.
Last week I had two experiences that made me reflect on the cultural norms we rarely question. About what makes us happy.
The first was I went to see “Trolls”, the latest Pixar movie for kids.
(It’s a great film by the way – delightful and engaging, but maybe a bit scary for younger children. I say this because we had a 6 and 7 year old sat next to us in the cinema who spent the first half of the film crying and hiding behind their parents, who eventually had to take them out).
As you may know, the heroine is a very cheerful female troll called Poppy – and the story is about how she saves her entire species of trolls from extinction.