My Happiness Project: Back on track with a good PMA!

I think I can!

At the beginning of 2014, I was full of conviction about improving myself, my life and having some goals. I spent most of January and February feeling pretty good really, pretty happy, acting on all the advice I had read. Pharell’s ‘Happy’ was topping the charts and filling my morning drives to work with a carefree, uplifting vibe.

But as the next couple of months played out I seem to have lost a little bit of that conviction and forgotten a few key rules and pieces of advice about attaining and holding on tight to happiness. I had been filled with ideas about all the things I would achieve and all the new crafts and hobbies I could take up come April when I began dropping one day of work and gaining a few precious hours of ‘me’ time.

It transpires that 5 hours a week just isn’t long enough to do a full weekly house clean, a couple of cooking projects, learn crochet, visit the cinema, go for a cycle, have a haircut, get a cervical smear, organise your wardrobe, organise the kids wardrobes, visit your local thrift shops, improve your photography, create some amazing artworks, de-clutter the house – oh, and lets not forget improve and boost your blog by writing more, reading more, commenting more and interacting more.

I guess I’m the kind of person who wants to achieve a helluva lot in five minutes! I now know that, realistically speaking, I can only tackle one thing at a time and its going to take many, many weeks to get to the point where I can look back through my Wish/ and To Do List and see the ticks actually appearing down the side.

Secondly, I have fallen foul of one of my worst bugbears – the tendency to comparison. I can find myself becoming so mired in comparing myself unfavourably to others that their lives (and blogs!) begin to make mine feel inadequate: not as beautiful, not as successful, not as organised, not as sociable… I completely lose sight of what I’ve got, who I am, the things I actually love about myself and my life. And it can be the start of a depressing downward spiral as the more I wallow in this feeling of uselessness and inadequacy, the less I get done and the worse I feel.

As Linford Christie once said “it’s all about PMA: Positive Mental Attitude”. I do love a mantra! My first mantra this year took in the joys and exhaustion of parenting little munchkins “The days are long but the years are short…”, but what I really need right now is a good PMA!

Another inspiring quote I read today (via a Bloglovin’ weekly feed) was this from Maya Angelou: “You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them”. She’s hit the nail on the head of course – everything, from social anxiety to fear of failure and the demons that sit on your shoulder and tell you you’re not good enough – everything can be overcome without even lifting a finger because we all have the ability to decide how we choose to think and the things we choose to dwell on. [Before there is a backlash – I should add that I’m not talking about people who suffer with clinical Depression but those of us who are lucky enough to be able to achieve mental balance, whether it be through meditation or simple mindfulness practice).

I’ve often thought that the people who are the most successful are not actually the most beautiful, or necessarily the most intelligent or interesting ones, but the ones who exude an aura of self-confidence and self-belief. I’m not sure if this is the product of nature or nurture or whether it occurs more frequently in people of certain nationalities (I imagine Americans to be more this way inclined than us Brits – something to do with this race of people who have been brought up to believe that they can do anything if they put their minds to it – even become President [of the Western World!]).

Anyway, I guess my point in all this is that I’m back on track, I have a lot to be very happy about and proud of, and as far as self confidence goes – well, some of that comes with age (and not giving a s**t anymore!) and some of it might have to be faked. Well ‘Gotta fake it to make it’ – another great mantra! And I’ll leave you with this from Henry Ford:

henry ford quote

Other peoples’ blues

Half empty

Four mornings a week I find myself in the presence of a lovely lady who does me a great favour saving me both time and money through her selfless generosity. She is the first person who I see and speak to on these days. Unfortunately she is also the world’s biggest pessimist, gloom-monger and doom sayer. In fact I’d go so far as to suggest that her glass is way less than half empty.

This puts me in the unenviable position of starting off each working day, not with a cheerful, sunny or inspirational ‘thought for the day’ but rather a dire, doom-laden prospectus on the unravelling of society, the hopelessness of the way our country is going and the traffic gridlock our town will surely face when they start building the new Sainsburys in a few weeks time.

Sometimes I am tempted to stick my fingers in my ears and, as the choon says, sing “La La La”. However, this would be extremely rude, ungrateful and frankly, out of character (I was after all brought up with some manners!).

My main strategy is to try and turn the conversation to something less gloomy as soon as a suitable chance presents itself. This doesn’t always work and sometimes I just don’t have the energy (its mostly quite early in the morning). As I have lately been aiming to live mindfully, enjoy the moment more and always think positive thoughts wherever it is humanly possible to do so, I’m finding this quite challenging. The weather isn’t helping.

So what do you do to stop yourself from having all your good karma zapped into oblivion? Answers on a postcard [or there’s also a thing called a comment thread – see below ;-)]

Linking to PoCoLo over at Verily Victoria Vocalises:

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