Tuesday, 30 April 2013
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
I just read about the longest-running longitudinal study into human development. The Harvard Grant Study started in 1938 and followed 268 Harvard graduates for 68 years. And it is one of those crazy moments where you watch someone else's life flash before you, but more than crazy it is absolute gold. It is like finding proof of God, when with that amount of data is collected, over that period of time, the findings prove that if the men had a warm relationship with their mother and a happy marriage, their lives were not only happier and healthier but also more financially successfully. It basically shoots "the nature vs nurture" argument squarely in the head too.
Wow! just wow!
Wow because I am a Mum to two toddler boys, wow because I know a man that didn't get on with his Mum and wow, I suddenly feel really terrified.
I know this is all a good thing, because I am determined to love my boys and maintain a warm relationship with them, but life doesn't always work that way and people sometimes get it wrong.
The good news for Mums struggling with their relationships with their sons is this though, the study also found that happiness can be found later in life, by things like finding the right spouse, a health scare or finding a new community, like three examples from the study did.
Christopher Croke wrote in The Australian, "The journeys of the Grant Study men show that most people's lives are more authentically stories of growth and change than they are tales of demographic or genetic destiny."
Scott Stossel wrote in The Atlantic, "Vaillant’s key takeaway, in his own words: “The seventy-five years and twenty million dollars expended on the Grant Study points … to a straightforward five-word conclusion: ‘Happiness is love. Full stop.’ ”
It seems apt to end hAPpyRIL with that final note. Loving others is the most powerful and fulfilling thing we can do in this life.
Love your family, love your friends, love the humans you've never met,
but most of all LOVE your children.
Monday, 29 April 2013
Monday, April 29, 2013
Shawn Achor said there were five things you had to do to every day for 21 days to change the way you view the world. Well I'm stealing two of his and adding three that have been verified in countless studies I'm sure, unfortunately though they are studies no one has ever read nor heard of. In any case I'm convinced they are little things that will improve your life and at the very least will be good to wheel out at dinner parties!
This is definitely the weirdest on my list, but from one that has avoided a lot of chores in my time, when I get in and just do them I know it is a path to happiness. I think it is not the chores themselves but what they represent - i.e. a barrier, a blockage, a weight, a burden. My husband is an expert at relieving himself of this particular kind of unhappiness, by just getting in and doing it. Now to complete his happiness, he needs to get me to do the same! Trying dear promise, I've got to the first state of chore happiness, I've written the list (I'll give it to you later...as proof I mean, not because I know you'll get to them before me...seriously).
This is not that strange and any doctor will tell you exercise of any kind releases endorphins (happy hormones) in your brain and creates wellbeing far beyond just being physically healthier. I have singled out Pilates because it is like this quiet achiever that not only gives you a work out without you noticing, but has the bonus of fixing anything from a crooked walk, to a lower back issue, to bad posture etc etc. The thing is a cure-all - it may not have the buddha on a mountain-top-ness of Yoga, but I assure you it is all that.... now I have to just start doing it again!
Can you believe that flossing, that little habit that very few people bother with can completely change your life. Not that you would notice straight away, lack of flossing is a slow burn to unhappiness, rather than a rocket to your head as such. The bacteria that lingers in your mouth from literally rotting food travels through your body and has been shown to contribute to heart disease and stroke! And you thought bad breath was the biggest issue here, when in fact being alive rather than having a raving social life is the issue. Ok so have freaked myself into flossing, be back in a mo.
I met someone that went away for a week somewhere and didn't speak the whole time. He said that the result was he had a clearer brain, a week of just meditating if you like meant he could clear all the white noise that had been humming in his brain. I personally think about half my problems would be solved if I had clarity of mind, the sheer volume of thoughts that I connect up every minute is exhausting just thinking about it, and it is easy to see why my own brain simply overwhelms me sometimes. Add a bit of quiet non-interactive time to your life, they say 10mins will do it and it is meant to change your life.
I used to ride horses a lot and when I was helping mix their feed, I suddenly got a real insight into the whole "we are what we eat" cliché. If you had a flighty horse that had thrown a few school girls in the morning classes ( you can't really blame him can you though) you had to down his Oats and mollases. Oats is basically like rocket fuel for horses, it really does get them going, and I figured it was a real shame that most of us were brought up on processed stuff like Corn Flakes, which basically has the nutritional value equivalent to a similarly sized piece of cardboard.
Oats conversely are classed as a superfood, because they are:
- the only grain proven to reduce blood cholesterol lowering the risk of heart disease
- low G.I. and therefore give you long-lasting energy
- high in insoluble fibre in other words laxative ads are irrelevant to oats eaters (have you ever met a constipated horse? colic is not the same thing btw)
- high in soluble fibre which is great for Heart health
- they fill you up so you don't fill like eating a mini-Cherry ripe with a coffee at 10am
- packed with essential vitamins and minerals such as Calcium, Magnesium, Iron, Phosphorus, Manganese, Vitamin B5 and Folic acid
Is it any wonder I am writing this series as I am currently doing one out of five of these and I wonder why I am stressed out!
What one are you doing? or are you a super happy person doing all five!?
Friday, 26 April 2013
Friday, April 26, 2013
Animals make me very happy.
I don't really know why I am so drawn to them, maybe it's their innate authenticity, despite them not speaking english you are left with no uncertainty of their meaning. I suppose they are like children but for most of their lives; honest and loving.
My poor Mum was dragged every Saturday to Duffy's Forest for horse riding lessons from when I was 7. And our driving holidays always took a lot longer than Dad would have liked as we had to stop at any horse that had it's head any where near where I could reach over and give it grass and have a natter.
I thought I would be assured of having a dog in my adult life as I did in my childhood, but my farm boy hubby doesn't feel the same way and then little people popped along. So when I can get more than 5 hours sleep in a row and the boys are able to dress themselves a puppy is on its way to us whether my beloved hubby likes it or not!
In the mean time I ask generous dog owners whether the boys and I can have a pat or get my fix, luckily a lot closer to home.
Today we went to Calmsley Hill City Farm only 40 mins drive from the inner west. It was like the easter show but cheaper and less soul-destroying. And last week we went to The Grounds at Alexandria and met Kevin Bacon, a gorgeous and very friendly miniature pig and some chickens. You can also get a horse ride at Centennial Stables - five minutes from the centre of the city, and where I used to ride the two horses you see below. Learning to jump in Centennial Park was amazing.
|From top left clockwise: Calmsley Hill Farm, Norman at Centennial's indoor arena, Goats at the Easter Show, Max going for his morning walk at Centennial, Kevin Bacon at The Grounds and two Labradors I befriended on a holiday!|
Where do you get your animal-fix?
Thursday, 25 April 2013
Thursday, April 25, 2013
I am so grateful today for what others have done. I hope their sacrifice is remembered and felt for years and years to come so that we can continue to live in peace and never let War take and ruin the lives of fathers, sons, mothers and daughters again.
Have a great Anzac Day, rest and remember xx
Tuesday, 23 April 2013
Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Today's post comes from someone that needs little introduction as she is awesome, both for her work as a child behaviour consultant and for the what she shares on social media and her blog Easypeasykids. I was lucky enough to connect with Nathalie in person when I was down in Melbourne for a blogging conference and we had a gorgeous day making each other laugh in between the occasional tweet and instagramming of toes. Her post today is exactly like her: wholehearted, LOL funny and inspirational all at once. Enjoy.
What makes me happy?
Children make me happy, and I have the great fortune to work with them everyday. The
world through their eyes brings happiness to the simplest of moments. They make me
laugh out loud, help me see the bigger picture and they show me that a happy moment
can be anything that makes them feel good inside.
These are the moments that they have shared with me that make them happy. It really is
the simple things.
Mr 5 “When I wipe my own bottom and don’t get poo on my back”
Miss 4 “When mummy blows raspberries on my tummy”
Mr 7 “Having pop off competitions with my brother”
Miss 8 “When I read a hard word on my own”
Mr 9 “Playing footy with my mates especially went it’s muddy”
Miss 6 “Snuggling on the couch with dad watching TV”
Mr 8 “Every time my mum says I love you”
Miss 5 “When my mummy reads to me”
Mr 6 “Digging for worms”
Miss 6 “When mum says I can jump in a puddle”
Mr 10 “When dad plays minecraft with me, he’s not very good but I don’t care he’s with
me and we laugh at how bad he is”
Miss 3 “Kisses on my nose”
Mr 4 “When mummy chases me like a big monster”
Miss 9 “Being with my dad, he makes up not very good jokes but that makes them even
Mr 11 “Mum’s hugs although I’m older now, her hug makes me feel on top of the world’
Miss 7 “Singing in the car with mum, we pretend we are Divas. I’m not sure what a Diva
is but it must be something great because mum loves doing it and it is so much fun”
So keep looking for those happy simple moments, they are there. Make your kids laugh;
a child’s laughter is the tonic we sometimes need to get through the next hurdle. Ask
your child what makes them happy; you may be surprised at the simplicity of their
Nathalie Brown x
Saturday, 20 April 2013
Saturday, April 20, 2013
Ok so I am still a little in shock here, sitting in my pjs, as only two days ago I confirmed the change in date to tonight, for a girl's night out with two smashing Mums from my neighbourhood. It's a night out we've been discussing for probably four weeks as we all have varying degrees of work, not to mention two toddlers each so finding a night we were all free and then moving it the week before was pretty lucky.
But luck ran out for me tonight as I entered the twilight zone and completely forgot I was going anywhere. When my hubby opened the door and I heard my lovely yet "my-forgiveness-is-running-low" friend ask innocently "is Nicole ready to come out?", I screamed 'Oh my god".
Mortified I unravelled myself from a toddler-turned-puppy-dog who had settled into my chest as only a puppy can, and stumbled to the door, my racing mind stopped by my beautifully dressed, made-up friend, confirming my fears and throwing me into the realisation of my ridiculous absent-mindedness.
She conversely was treated with a vision of shapeless grey marle, in my comfy and oft-stained pjs, the grey tinge of an unmade up hungover and exhausted face, distorted in horror. "You are not quite ready then" she giggled, I think still hoping I wasn't a complete ar5e and was going to rush and get my act together.
|An x-ray of my brain taken tonight|
The truth is I was actually lucky to be awake as I was contemplating passing out about half an hour earlier but was staying up to help with bath and bedtime for the boys. When she did note the suitcases that had taken up residence under my eyes I think she knew I was in no condition to join them.
This really isn't a happy post, it is kind of a scary post, obviously my life is a little bit too congested at the moment and maybe I need to work out how to give my mind a break ... and if I do that, fingers crossed my lovely friends will forgive me and invite me out again.... please!
Friday, 19 April 2013
Friday, April 19, 2013
I struggled so much with the choice to return to work, especially fulltime given I had two gorgeous toddlers, but what I found in my new role at Adshel were people that you only dream about working with. I feel assured now that I am a better person and indeed a better and happier mum from knowing and working with some phenomenal people. One person in particular has had such an amazing influence on my life, and she has kindly agreed to share what makes her happy. I think you will see from her words how wholehearted her approach to life is and how inspirational she is to those lucky enough to cross her path.
Every night this month I have thought about what happiness is and have after 17 days realised that happiness for me is all about people and moments I've shared with someone this month:
- Chatting to my sister for 1.5 hours on the phone about anything and everything and laughing a lot
- Driving home on a Sunday with my husband and feeling enveloped by the love of a great man, content and complete
- SMSing with my Goddaughter about The Voice and some of the singers
- Chatting with my son about our day as we make dinner together
- Helping my beautiful mum pack up 25 years of her home and breaking the back of her sense of overwhelm
- Listening to my 11 year old nephew tell me about his latest school project on mouldy bread and his dreams to do well in a cross country race the following day
- Finding just the right birthday card to send to an old mate that is guaranteed to make her laugh
- Sharing the ache in my daughter's heart as she shares news that her ex has a new love interest
- Feeling a silent heartfelt connection just with a hug
- To notice in a fleeting moment of silence in the home that my aching daughter is singing & humming once more. She will be okay my beautiful warrior woman
- Hi-fiving when a complex work challenge ended on a high note
- Knowing something I have done has made a difference to someone else
- And lastly, having a lovely long black delivered to my desk and realising I had missed that person around the office for a few days and the importance of their presence
Thursday, 18 April 2013
Tuesday, 16 April 2013
Tuesday, April 16, 2013
Other than The Bloggess I have had some generous tweeps share what makes them happy, and as we are half way through #hAPpyRIL I thought it fitting to share the first of I hope will be a few posts from others and what makes them happy. Sas Loos even shared a gorgeous piccie of her son, and his gorgeousness explained her heart swells!
@_wideeyedgirl the boy in question :) twitter.com/SasLoos/status…
— Sas Loos (@SasLoos) April 10, 2013
@_wideeyedgirl running #hAppyril
— Elen(@EllyfromOZ) April 10, 2013
@_wideeyedgirl Family love and good time spent with them best describes happiness:)
— Campee Australia (@CampeeAus) April 2, 2013
@_wideeyedgirl i like things that smell good.
— Claire Hewitt (@ClaireyHewitt) April 10, 2013
Ahhh white wine you make me so happy! Almost as happy as a big cuddle from my daughter that almost chokes me!!
— Jade Evans (@Jadey85) April 10, 2013
What makes you happy?
Monday, 15 April 2013
Monday, April 15, 2013
We have reams of books for the boys, partly because I read to them from when they were five weeks old, and partly because my lovely mother-in-law makes a point of buying them both a book every time she sees them. Like everything there are varying levels and purposes for these books, some are jigsaws, some are colour books, touch and feel, numbers, first words, animals or nursery rhymes but by far my favourites are those that have a good story and beautiful illustrations. And arguably the king of, in my view the best kind of children's book, the illustrated story book, is Oliver Jeffers.
My favourite has to be The way back home, followed closely by Lost and Found, that is also a most beautiful short film too (see trailer below). But really whatever Oliver Jeffers I pick up, I have yet to be disappointed. The beauty, humour and adventure of each one moves me to a better place every time.
Which book makes you happy? Do tell...
Sunday, 14 April 2013
Saturday, 13 April 2013
Saturday, April 13, 2013
I didn't know spoken word poetry would make me happy, in the same way interpretive dance or performance art normally doesn't, unless you count sniggering at someone else's unfortunate career choice as happiness. I didn't know this despite Poetry and I having quite a history - in all those black hard cover journals in the attic there are so many poems, some quite bad and others woeful (when I am doing my month on misery, Maysery, I will share some of them...my pleasure), but I wrote a lot of poetry as only a super-drama queen can.
I remember receiving an unpublished book of poems from an aspiring poet(snigger) and he misguidedly wanted my feedback. Even back then, (my late 20s aka the decade of mega-delusion), I knew what made a bunch of words on a page, magical and it is the simplest and the hardest thing in the world: BEING REAL. Who you are, how you feel, what you think has to scream from the page loudly and genuinely to make words sing. Otherwise it is an essay, it has been said before, heard before and sounds awfully like someone trying to be someone they're not... and that gets boring real fast (I oughtta know). Of course earnestly believing in "being real" I didn't hold back and let him know in no uncertain terms how lacking his cryptic words without heart were.
The truth is it is REALLY hard to be REAL, poor guy. It is scary! I am constantly thinking, "what if so and so reads this or that, they will think I am mental!", then I remember that if they know me they already think that so the game is sort of up already.
Seriously though, it does take courage to be real in writing and about ten times that to be real to someone's face. And that is why I love this particular spoken word poet - Sarah Kay. In her Ted talk she says that "the number 1 rule of being cool today is to appear unphased" and she quite rightly goes on to imply that sort of fakeness ends up cutting you off from life, and more importantly doesn't allow you to connect with people. Connecting with people is in our DNA, it is what we truly crave and what makes us very happy. She would rather be truly engaged with the world, the good and the bad....even if that means being "uncool" (does that mean being daggy is at last cool? - did I just write that - oops).
Here is the last poem from her Ted talk (full version here), that shows that there is one thing she does know about life and that it is worth trying at, it is worth being a little phased, life is like that, so just be, but be IN it.
I also found this one after watching the one above and it is gorgeous in it's truth and whimsy. I hope Sarah Kay makes you happy too.
P.S. Thanks to Mike for suggesting I watch this - you were right she rocks!
Sunday, 7 April 2013
Saturday, 6 April 2013
Saturday, April 06, 2013
Today's happy post will I know make many happy, as it is about wine, sweet wine. Last year reseachers from the University of California proved at last what has long been speculated, that is that alcohol releases endorphins in the areas of the brain associated with pleasure and reward.
Here's someone who's seen a lot of Mums and knows exactly what they need:
Before you down that 3rd glass here's the bad news:
"Researchers say low to moderate doses of alcohol release feel-good chemicals, while high doses appear to fail to release them and may stimulate other systems in the brain leading to anxiety and depression." (Read the full article here)
I suppose it all depends on your definition of low to moderate, my take on it is demonstrated in this picture:
and this one:
Anyway you don't want to end up like Miles in SideWays so maybe don't take Woody's advice and stick to two, as long as it's not Merlot.