Monthly Archives: September 2017

Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

If you or I needed to move a large and heavy piece of furniture, you probably wouldn’t attempt to struggle with it on your own.

In fact it’s often the case that you need to lift something that’s so heavy that it would be physically impossible to do so alone.

What do you do?

You look around and find someone who’ll lend a hand.

If they’re not in the immediate vicinity you’ve no option but to wait until they are.

This is so obvious that you may wonder why I’m even writing about it.

Let me tell you.

The thing is, what’s true for physical weight is every bit as true for mental burdens.

As you go through life there are some things that it’s perfectly reasonable to deal with yourself.

But every now and then it’s almost inevitable that you’re going to face something which is beyond your capacity.

That’s when it makes enormous sense to ask for help.

Of course it might be that you feel there’s nobody around you who could provide it.

But, you know, that’s nearly always not the case.

Even if it has to be someone you don’t know terribly well.

When you’ve too much on your plate, stop and think.

There will be someone who can help and you’ll almost certainly give them a warm glow just by asking them.

Just as you shouldn’t try to lift a wardrobe on your own, don’t struggle alone when things are weighing heavily on your mind.

The laudability of learning.

Can you look back, and recall a teacher who made a particularly big impression on you?

The chances are that they were someone who made learning feel easy, who inspired you, who gave you the appetite to pick up new skills and acquire new knowledge.

When it comes in the right shape and form, learning can be exquisite fun.

So when was the last time you learned something new?

And more importantly when’s the next time going to be?

As part of a recent project, I’ve been discovering the joys (seriously) of finding ways to bring data to life using charts, graphs and visuals.

Needing help, I’ve had excellent mentoring from a friend who’s an expert in this field.

He’s generously not laughed at my early efforts, but has equally kept me on my toes as I’ve got (I hope) a little more accomplished.

Learning new things can be great for your self-confidence.

It can be fun.

And it’s a great way of giving yourself a boost.

What is it that you’d love to learn?

When are you going to begin?

Walking back to happiness is not just a song.

Are you sitting comfortably?

Unless you’re an incredible multi-tasker it’s pretty unlikely that you’ll be reading this whilst moving around vigorously.

(If you are, perhaps best keep the reason to yourself.)

Seriously though, it’s good to remember the strong links between feeling good mood-wise and getting a helpful amount of physical exercise.

It’s all too easy to confine yourself to the seat at home, work or car, and to forget that a lack of exercise is often a big reason that people feel bad.

Some of us (not me, I’m afraid) are gym people, in which case – well, you know what to do.

But if that’s not you, it’s more important than ever (if you can) to build in physical activity several times a week.

It needn’t be anything fancy.

Walking can be nearly as good as anything else.

Gardening is a brilliant choice too.

The key seems to be ensuring that you do enough of it, however.

So unless you have an obscenely long driveway, simply walking from your front door to your car isn’t really going to crack it.

So find ways to walk a little bit more than the absolute minimum.

Take the long way round.

Park at the wrong end of the car park from where you need to be.

Sometimes simply walk round the block for a few minutes rather than watching something you’re not that bothered about in TV.

What are you waiting for?

Lift your head, lift your mood.

When things are good, we say they’re looking up.

When they’re not, they’re looking down.

But although these are figures of speech, I was surprised to (almost literally) bump into someone I know in the street recently, simply because I was I was looking at the ground in front, rather than at what was in front of me.

And it occurred to me that, yes, I was feeling a little downhearted (a transitory thing, I’m pleased to report).

In staring at my feet, I suppose I was looking at where I was.

If I’d been looking ahead, I’d have been studying where I wanted to go.

I think we all do it at times, rushing along deep in thought, eyes glued to the ground.

The view, however, is nearly always better when you look around, taking in all your journey has to offer.

So next time you find yourself with eyes down, pull your head up and drink in the view.

It also avoids that nasty thing where you walk into a lamp-post. Not nice.

The dice man’s approach to dinner?

Have you ever stopped to think how easy it is to get yourself into a rut? To do the same things, in the same way? Day in, day out?

And to automatically snap back at a reflection like mine that, darn it, that’s how life is. A long list of things to do, places to be, routines to be followed.

Well, yes, to same extent.

But, no, it doesn’t always have to be like this.

So is there something you can do this week to inject a spot of the unexpected?

Count to ten as you walk round a library or bookstore then stop and pick up the first book you set your eyes on. Open your address book at random and call whoever’s name you happen to see. At the supermarket find two unusual items for dinner, whose names start with your initials.

Life can be better when some things are left to chance. (However if you attempt the supermarket challenge above, please do yourself a favour and steer clear of the cleaning items aisle.)

Sometimes routines can really help.

In good times and bad, you’ve still got to do the dishes.

When things in your life are average or normal, it’s relatively easy to keep up with the routine stuff. Your life is probably better when there’s food in the fridge, when the laundry’s done, when the car has been serviced.

But if things get over-busy or (strangely) if they get over-quiet, it can sometimes be easy to neglect life’s ‘boring-but-essentials’.

I think the trick is to build some sense of routine around these necessities, and I’m afraid I all too often don’t.

I’m regularly heading off to the supermarket at 7pm to get something to eat that same evening, when it would have made infinitely more sense to have stocked up earlier in the week.

If this only ever happened when and if you were crazy-busy it might be understandable, but exactly the same can take place if your mood has taken a dip.

Rather than not having the time, your routines can slip because you simply can’t be bothered.

Why not try to find ways of rewarding yourself for your routines therefore? A system that’s worked for me, for example, is arranging to meet a friend every week immediately after doing a grocery shop.

You both get the benefit of each other’s company.

And you’ll know where your next meal is coming from.

To get the most out of friendships, let others in.

I love other people’s book collections. There’s something fascinating about running your eye along their shelves, because I think you can tell a lot about someone from the literary company they keep.

A couple of months ago, someone I’ve known for a long time came to my office.

In a few seconds in front of my books, he’d got a pretty good handle on what inspires me. Almost completely non-fiction by the way.

Technology. Psychology. Self-help. Popular science. (I know, you’d already guessed this about me.)

I felt good knowing that he’d got a richer understanding of what’s important to me.

In general I think many of us enjoy it when someone gets to know us better, even though this can take a leap of faith on our part.

Sometimes, especially if your mood is a bit iffy, it’s easy to withdraw. To close-down rather than to open-up to others. To be inward rather than outward looking. To take rather than give.

But people want to understand you. They want to get to know you better.

If you let them.

So if you can, why not try to open up a little this week? Obviously only to people you trust, and obviously only appropriately.

But it can be good to share. Good to let someone in.

What if today really is a gift?

It was twenty years ago in Auckland, New Zealand that I first saw a phrase which has popped up in all sorts of places since, and I’m sure it’ll be familiar to a few Moodnudges readers.

That first time it was printed on a sticker fixed to the rear of a battered old car:

Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. But today is a gift, and that’s why it’s called the present.

OK, it was probably never going to win any copywriting awards, but it’s always seemed to me an admirable sentiment.

There’s nothing you can do about the things that have already happened, and you only have a degree of influence over what’s going to come to pass in the future. (Life can have a habit of throwing you curve balls.)

But there’s a great deal of value in focusing on the here and now, the part of life over which you do have control.

So why not find a short part of today (or even a long one) during which you’ll (a) stop ruminating about the past, (b) stop worrying about the future, and (c) live a little in the here and now?

Even though some may disagree, I believe we’re here on earth just the once.

Make the most of today.

The joy of exercise – it’s child’s play.

If you wanted to prove the link between good mood and physical exercise (it’s strong, by the way) you don’t need a science lab.

Just a children’s playground.

Put a bunch of kids in a play area and within seconds there will be squeals of laughter, hoots of joy.

Granted children probably have a much lower gloom barrier to breach than we do, but there’s no questioning their ability to feel good by jumping around.

So how much jumping around do you do?

If you’re like me, probably not too much.

But the thing is, physical exercise can come in all shapes and forms thankfully.

Running’s good, but so is walking.

Tennis is great, but golf is too.

Hill walking is fine, just as gardening is.

The simple truth is that doing anything that keeps you active is going to be good for you.

So why not walk a little more this week?

Go for a swim?

Or even hop, skip and jump?

Will today be a mango and peach smoothie kind of day?

Some love Saturdays, others hate them.

For those on the latter team I think the distaste might be attributed to a sense of isolation and loneliness.

Perhaps work or other commitments mean that weekdays are spent at least partly in the company of other people, but that weekend days are a bit more solitary?

If this might be the case for you (even if it’s just sometimes) it’s worth remembering that connectedness is a pretty crucial contributor to your wellbeing.

Being around others can give your mood a seriously healthy boost.

A kind of peach and mango smoothie for the soul.

But it can be easy to forget this, especially if you wake up feeling tired, lethargic, or a little low.

It can also be easy to forget that you generally start your day with more choice than you might believe about what you will or won’t do.

Today is a good day – a great day – to go out of your way to connect with others.

Face to face is best.

But a phone call can be great too.

Why not make today a connecting one?

A peach and mango smoothie one too, if you like.