New beginnings

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‘When one door of happiness closes, another one opens, but often we look so long at the closed door we do not see the one that has been opened for us.’

Helen Keller

One of the effects of being under a lot of stress is that our focus can become quite narrow. We tend to fixate on our problems and hardly notice what else is going on in our lives. From an evolutionary perspective, this makes sense – when we are in the fight/flight mode, our focus is solely on the tiger which is about to attack us, not on the birds singing prettily in a near-by tree.

Unfortunately, for us living in modern societies, we find our fight/flight mode activated by all kinds of stressors, most of which aren’t life-threatening. Continue reading “New beginnings” »

Flourishing

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Every blade of grass has its Angel that bends over it and whispers, “grow, grow.”

The Talmud

The desire to grow, to flourish, is one of the most basic drives in nature. When we see a fragile seedling emerge from the ground and strive rapidly upwards, or watch a young child take its first steps, we are witnessing the desire of every living being to establish itself in the world and maximise their potential. After we’ve sow lettuce seeds, we don’t expect any of those seeds to deliberately sabotage themselves, to grow more slowly so that seeds 45 to 55 may thrive instead. Yet we as humans frequently hold ourselves back, often with the intention of assisting others. Continue reading “Flourishing” »

The Daffodils

daffodils

‘For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,

They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances with the daffodils.’

William Wordsworth

 

 

How many of us lie on the couch in a ‘vacant or in pensive mood’, let alone ‘oft’? William Wordsworth, one of England’s most esteemed poets, knew the importance of mental downtime for creativity and productivity. Recent research has confirmed what highly creative people seem to know instinctively – that the best ideas can often come during breaks from work, such as while going for a walk or having a bath. As well as being good for creativity, regular mental breaks can improve attention, increase our productivity, strengthen our memories and embed newly learnt material. Continue reading “The Daffodils” »