Tag Archives: research

Do something lovely for yourself this Valentines Day

This Valentines Day, why not do something good for yourself – instead of swallowing the marketing bullshit whole?

animal-smiling

Love is in the air

There’s an adage that says you can’t love someone else until you love yourself.

But this adage says nothing about being obsessed or dependent or hopelessly devoted to someone else before you love yourself, does it?

And look around – there are so many dysfunctional relationships in this world aren’t there?

Just look at the Catholic parishioners who lust after their priest …

… The priest lusting after their altar boys …

… And the altar boys lusting after Minecraft characters.

Luckily, you don’t have to be in a dysfunctional relationship to show yourself a bit of love.

Here’s how:

 

Give up smoking: This is easy once you get over the anger, depression, physical agony, obsessive day and night-time dreams, rages, suicidal and murderous thoughts, etc.

Rab-C-Nesbitt

Not sure he loves himself enough to cut down on his drinking

Cut down on drinking alcohol: This is easy as long as you can put up with losing your friends and social life, shaking like an ornament during a smallish earthquake and feeling a restless emptiness like the worst form of grief.

Stop eating so many sugary snacks: Again it’s a piece of piss as long as you can put up with virtually constant sobbing, dizziness and pure, unadulterated emptiness.

If these methods sound a bit extreme, you could opt for less ambitious options of showing yourself you care:

  • call a friend you absolutely love, but haven’t spoken to for ages (as long as they’re still speaking to you – and aren’t dead or in a coma)
  • on a cloudless night, just look up at the sky and stare at the stars (but not for so long that you crick your neck)
  • get a dog or a cat (unless you’re scared of – or allergic to – them, and don’t mind proximity to animal faeces)
  • there are loads of other ways to make yourself feel special – they’re littered throughout the http://simlington.com blog. So feel free to look around.

And if you do want to be nice to someone else, why not just give them a hug and say ‘I love you’.

And maybe give the money you were going to waste on a heart-shaped box of chocolates to a charity for refugees, domestic abuse survivors or the homeless – who really do need to be reminded that someone cares.

You can follow simlington on Twitter

Four things you can do to feel a bit happier even if you’re a bit mental like me

by Simon Henry @simlington

Writing a blog on your birthday? Are you mental?
Well, as it happens, yes. A bit.

I have a diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder, chronic depression and anxiety disorder.

Physically, I have a diagnosis of fibromyalgia (pain all over the place.)
So you could say I have some ‘issues’ that may affect my level of bliss on this earth.

But having these conditions don’t mean I can’t have many moments of calm.
And it doesn’t mean I can’t see the joy in life.
It does mean, though, that I have to work at it.

If you’re suffering from any, some, or all of these things – or even if you just get a bit peeved from time to time – here’s the Henry Birthday Recipe To Feeling A Bit Better.

1. Being in awe is good for you.

Lego

LEGO is awesome

I know ‘awesome’ is an overused word since the Lego movie.

But there really is some awesome stuff all around you.

You just have to take a bit of time to look, hear, feel, smell …

Awesome things I like to stare at or think about include:
– Ants carrying leaves and other ant stuff that’s several times bigger and heavier than they are.

– Cats jumping on to walls that are several times higher than they are.

– The blue sky, especially if there are some green leaves in front of it to provide a bit of contrast.

– The feel of a cotton shirt against my body (especially if it’s from somewhere good like Gap).

– The sound of the cats crunching on their food.

– The smell of Miller’s gin – even though I don’t touch the stuff.

You get my point. Awesome is absolutely everywhere – we just have to decide to look for it.
And once you do, you can’t stop.

The world is just full of awesome stuff waiting to make you smile or gasp.

2. Let’s get physical

Before you do anything else, watch this clip from Olivia Newton John’s Let’s Get Physical (3 mins 43 secs). It’s utterly dreadful – a mix of  mid-70s porno and early-80s breakfast TV fitness sessions.

(How can I pinpoint porno to a particular part of the 1970s? There’s surely another blog in that one.)

Anyway, when I was a lot younger, I used to sit around all day, drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes and watching TV. I know this sounds like bliss to a lot of people but stay with me.

I would do this all day without getting any exercise at all.

Then I’d wonder why I couldn’t sleep at night and felt generally terrible about myself.

A bit of advice: if you possibly can, walk – even if it’s up and down the road.

Some might say I’ve taken my love of walking to extremes. My favourite walk is now a 26-mile excruciatingly difficult walk in the Yorkshire Dales – the Three Peaks. I’m doing it tomorrow – as a birthday treat. I warned you at the start I’m mental.

For the more mundane days when I’m not allowed to spend 10 hours surrounded by sheep and grass, I encourage myself to walk with the help of technology.

I’ve downloaded the Pedometer++ app on my iPhone. You tell it how many steps you want to do in a day.

Then it shows you whether you’ve hit your target with a simple red (bad), orange (neither good nor bad) and green (good) colour-coded graph.

A pedometer can encourage you to get off your fat arse and do some walking.

A pedometer can encourage you to get off your fat arse and do some walking.

3. Do something for other people or for the world.

You could try to take some kittens for a walk. Good luck with that.

You could try to take some kittens for a walk. Good luck with that.

I’ve started giving blood.

I know this isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But you do get one afterwards. And unlimited Club or Penguin biscuits, too.

And the tiny inconvenience of having your blood let is far ourweighed by the sense of wellbeing you get afterwards. (Unless you faint or die, but I’m told the risk is minscule.)

If, like me, you can tend to feel a bit cast adrift from the rest of the world, like you don’t really belong or fit in, it quite literally connect you to the rest of the human race.

After all, your blood ends up pumping round someone else’s body! Wow. That’s a bit awesome. (See 1 – I knew this blog had a plan to it.)

Don’t underestimate this one for lifting your spirits.

And if you can’t give blood, you could hold a door open for someone, smile at someone on the bus, or chat to someone in a queue at the Post Office.

I know human beings can be really, really annoying.

I mean, I wouldn’t fancy being stuck in a train with a load of Mormons – and don’t get me started on right-wing Christians in general.

But small things that connect you to the rest of the human race really can make you a bit happier. Go on, have a go.

4. Train your mind to stop it being quite so annoying

This is scientifically verifiable.

This is scientifically verifiable.

I’ve already written some blogs about a new thing called ‘mindfulness’.

Actually, that’s stretching the meaning of the word ‘new’ as it’s over 2,500 years old.

Let me just summarise what it is – and why I think you’d be mental not to try it, even if you don’t have a diagnosis.

a. Start by being aware of what is going on in your mind.

You’ll find quite a lot of it is not really welcome, like thoughts about a kid at school you hated 20 or 30 years ago, or the thought of getting cancer or dying.

b. Do some exercises to start being more aware of what is going on in said mind.

This is just like exercising your legs to firm up the muscles. You can train to become more aware of what is going on. And just think – you don’t have to go to the gym and smell all that sweat.

c. If you are aware of what is going on – whether that is your body tensing against pain or stress, or your brain going into meltdown years ago – you can do something about it.

d. That something is to accept what is happening and then to consciously anchor yourself in the present moment by meditating.

A lot of people meditate on the breath, but you could meditate on your right nostril, your left nipple or your central bum hole.

If you’re thinking about what is happening right now in your physical body or brain, you cannot possibly worry about the future or the past.

And the more you practise being in the present, the more you become aware of how little time you actually spend here.

And you also realise how much time you spend pointlessly worrying about things you can’t change.

Then you realise it’s actually quite nice concentrating on the present – and you do actually feel better when you spend more time in the here and now.

It doesn’t work instantly – in my case it has taken the best part of two years for it to start having an impact.

But it’s worth the wait. If you like your fixes quick, this ain’t it. But show a bit of patience, eh?

Why not have a go at any or all of these?

I’m off to meditate on how much my feet are going to hurt, how awesome the sheep will look and whether I’ll need a blood transfusion after the Three Peaks.

If you enjoyed this, you may like a recent post, How Mindfulness can make us all a bit happier

Or have a squiz round the rest of the site – there’s quite a bit in here about how to be a bit happier.

You can get an email alert whenever I publish a new post. If you’re on a mobile you can sign up below. If you’re on a computer, sign up at the top right-hand of the page.

And you can follow me @simlington on Twitter

Copyright Simon Henry @simlington 2014

10 Facebook facts you probably didn’t know on the day it celebrates its 10th birthday

facebook

 

by Simon Henry @simlington

  1. Ten years ago, I watched crap TV. Now I read crap Facebook status updates.
  2. Over 80 million of its accounts are officially recognised as fakes. It’s not known how many of the remaining billion contain much truth.
  3. Rihanna is the person with the most fans – over 84 million. One of those internet statistics that make you feel depressed, however upbeat you were before you were told it.
  4. Spongebob Squarepants is the most popular underwater, sponge-based cartoon character, with 46 million fans.
  5. Facebook started a “trending” service for some countries (including the UK) in mid-January 2014. I can’t think where they got this idea from.
  6. Mark Zuckerberg owns over $40 billion-worth of Facebook shares. That’s about the GDP of Costa Rica.
  7. You should be over 13 years old to register as a Facebook user. Although I know a two-year-old whose posts are some of the most eloquent among my ‘friends’.
  8. Facebook has fewer than 6,000 employees. The NHS employs 1.7 million people. Facebook has a better PR team.
  9. The most popular thing people do on Facebook is upload pictures. Clicking the Like button only comes in sixth. I like this.
  10. Half of 18 to 24-year-olds go on to Facebook as soon as they wake up in the morning. So do I – unfortunately I’m 43.

If you enjoyed this, you may enjoy my post about why Failure is often better than success. Or just have a browse around – there should be something that makes you a bit happier.

You can get an email alert whenever I publish a new post. If you’re on a mobile you can sign up below. If you’re on a computer, sign up at the top right-hand of the page.

And you can follow me @simlington on Twitter

Copyright Simon Henry @simlington 2014