7 Days to Boost Your Mood!

Hug Your Dog! ❤️

I used to hug my dog every day*. Multiple times. My family think I may have doted on him a little too much! I hugged him because I loved him ❤️ I hugged him when I was happy 😀 I hugged him whenever I saw him 🐕‍🦺 and … I hugged him when I was feeling down! 😞

The last part is what might help: doing something for someone else when I’m feeling down boosts my mood! 

Often I think I need something, or someone, to help me when I’m feeling flat. But my dog scientifically** proved if I do something for someone when I’m flat, I feel better! Weird! 🤷‍♂️

Gratitude: the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness

When we give a “hug”, or whatever it might be, we’re doing something for others and ourselves. If we pay a genuine compliment, learn something new, overcome an obstacle, offer to pay for someone’s groceries … you get the idea. When we put in the effort, we get a positive emotional return. 

Whereas, sometimes we think it is when we get something that we feel better. And sure, getting stuff is cool, but if we wait to get stuff, we may be waiting … and waiting … 😳

Putting in the effort makes us feel better even though we are doing something for someone else. Even if they don’t care too much. We become a better person. We knowwe do. And no-one else needs to know that.

Don’t overthink this. 

Who will you encounter today? 

Family, friends, colleagues Mr and Mrs/Ms General Public? 

What might you give today? You’ll feel better.

Try this for 7 days. Let me know how you go! #dontstress

*Unfortunately, we recently had to put Django to sleep due to his failing health health! We are still coming to grips with this. It broke our hearts.💔

**Possibly scientific, I need to do more research! 😉

Here’s a template to get you started.

Create Your own Brag Book!

elderly man in blue sweater holding a book
Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels.com

Yes! You’re allowed to!

Hello again!

Welcome to another week. 

We had the family over for a Spanish style meal (paella, which my Spanish friend, Gonzalo, will only allow me to call “Rice with Stuff” because it’s not true paella. Tastes good but! 😉)

Today’s post about a really cool idea I discovered while doing research about beliefs and how they impact our lives as well as a deep dive into stress, particularly the good stress, Eu-stress. More articles to come on those topics soon.

Oh, and if you’ve eaten too much over the weekend, #dontstress, just start again! (That’s what I’m doing! 😬)

On with the show!

Bill

Today’s newsletter is a link to an article by David Hoang. David writes the newsletter “Proof of Concept”. The article, Your Career Hype Doc, is from December 2020 but it is too good not to share.

David talks about having a Hype Document, kind of like a brag book of all your accomplishments. David got the idea from a 2019 post by Jessica Ivins where she writes about a Career Management Document.

My contribution is to encourage you to take the time to investigate this and write down your accomplishments. I hear so many times from so many people who look at their work and shrug it off as if it was nothing. 

Write Stuff Down

I have noticed that I encourage people to write things down … a lot. This means taking time to think through the thoughts that pop into your head while you’re reading these posts or others you come across. Sometimes that can feel like a waste of time when we have so many other things to do. And if the information is important “I’m sure I’ll remember it!”

The palest ink is better than the best memory.” – Chinese proverb

This isn’t to give you homework! 😉 It is to provide you with a structure to make the most of your readings. So, for your benefit, take the time to note down your accomplishments. Pick a time frame, whether that be weekly or monthly, like David. And review how well you have done. 

You may not be where you want to be … but you won’t be where you were!

Most importantly, you’ll realise all of the things you do well. Which for some people, who tend to beat themselves up, will be a nice change. This really is an important activity.

Below is my progress for April. I’ve added a second page to my process. 

The left had side is bullet points as I think of them throughout the month. I don’t edit them. I write as I think. 

The right hand side is for looking for themes and summarising. I’ll do that at month’s end. That will help me encapsulate what I have done/achieved and I expect it will suggest next actions and directions to take.

Additional benefit: This would be a really good coaching tool for someone you’re working with. Ask them to take note of their daily or weekly wins. The have them review them with you when you catch up and, using there right hand side, ask them to articulate what this means for them! Could be quite powerful.


One last thing.

I’ve joined a gym, Flow Performance, here in Perth. If you’re in Perth, and can get to Balcatta, highly recommended! The community they have built over the past few years is amazing. And to that end I bought some Nike Metcon shoes, which seem to be quite popular in gyms. I also took the time to customise them a little. 😉

Where’s Your Focus?

person holding round framed mirror near tree at daytime
Photo by Jenna Hamra on Pexels.com

“It’s a well-known fact that what we give our attention to grows and what we don’t give our attention to tends to fade away.”

How to Make Your Dreams Come True – Mark Forster

What are your thoughts on this?

My dad used to say what what you think about will likely happen.
We tend to focus on the negative aspects of life. We do this for our protection. Negative things can harm us. So we’re constantly on the lookout. And we do need to protect ourselves from being harmed. But if we only focus on prevention from harm, we may miss the opportunities for growth, development and happiness.

Some examples I thought of:

  • we talk in detail about a bad day at work but summarise a good day
    • them: “How was your day?”
    • me: “Yeah, good!”
  • we look for what is wrong with a situation rather than looking for what is right
  • our organisational reports generally identify error rates, not success rates
  • we tend to coach faults/gaps in performance rather than build on strengths/achievements
  • we complain about our lot in life rather than the benefits
  • we never have enough money so we focus on our lack, not what we have
  • we look how far we have to go rather than look at how far we’ve come
  • we listen to the news which is commonly negative and depressing

If this is the case, we are missing an opportunity to focus on the positive. And if the initial quote is true, or at least beneficial, how might this play out in living the life we want?

This isn’t being Pollyanna – all butterflies and rainbows. It is, in fact, looking for information and examples in situation that are good and generally in any situation.

So, how would you like to think? By focussing on the lack, the gap, what you don’t have? How will that make you feel? How will your energy be?

Don’t try this at home: Spend the next 7 days highlighting all the gaps, problems and issues that you see … in detail!

Try this instead! I actually suggest you do the opposite. Spend the next 7 days looking at all the things you do have.

To do this I suggest the following:

  • grab a notebook
  • go in to each room of your house and where you work (might be the same place)
  • write down all the things you have
  • this isn’t Marie Kondo, they don’t have to bring you joy, just list them
  • you may be amazed at what you have
  • (you may also realise you have a bunch of stuff you no longer need!)
  • do the same with relationships – this could be tricky if you’re in a tough situation
  • same with finances – if you’re in debt, like we used to be, start making a plan to rectify that by focusing on what you want

Doing this exercise does not automatically resolve all our issues into a perfect life. It’s not magical. But it may help you realise how much you can be grateful for and what you can focus on.

As the quote says: “what we give our attention to grows”.

And may also help on taking some initial steps on improving some things.

I’m writing this on a perfect day in Perth, Western Australia. I’m outside on the patio. A galah is feeding from the bird feeder. The wife has just pruned the bushes this morning. There are kids a few houses over having a great time!

While I sit here, I am in to Day 6 of a 14 day quarantine. I have to stay home while the rest of the city is free as can be. I don’t like it and I don’t agree with the strategy. But, the peace and quiet, the ability to read and write is priceless. I’ll focus on that for a while!

Developing Gratitude

two person hugging photograph
Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

I’ve been working with a business group over the past few months. We start off each session with 3 things we are grateful for. It can be a challenge at times. Some people don’t know what to write. Some think it’s corny. Some draw a blank and feel like they may be failing. Others just don’t care for it. To be honest, I find it hard sometimes.

Until …

I’ve been thinking a little deeper into my my model of life: Bamboo SL. One thing that has been missed in the model is the influence of feelings and how they drive us toward or away from things. They are kind of there but need to be brought more to the surface so I’m working on that. Stay tuned.

On the subject of feelings, gratitude is part of that. I thought it would be useful, rather than to try to think of things from the top of my head, I’d start to document what I am grateful for. And to document from both the physical and non physical aspect.

Let me know what you think.

The image above is of one of our spare rooms. It is also the room our granddaughter sleeps in when she sleeps over.

The point is to illustrate how I am learning to have gratitude.

This is the spare room. I’m grateful we have the room because it means Alex can sleep over. Having Alex sleep over means we get to see her develop and have fun with her. She is a super articulate kid. She’s got a bit of cheek and quite often she’ll come out with words and phrases we don’t expect a kid of four to have learnt (Not cuss words, normal words like “Grandad, I am very frustrated at the moment!”) I’m grateful for that too.

The pictures on the wall have been created by my daughter and my sister. I love the paintings and am reminded how talented they are. Each time I see my daughter’s painting (on the left) I get a real sense of warmth and love for her. It’s a relatively simple painting but is also quite expressive and a joyful image.

The picture by my sister is also quite playful and bright. It’s a cheerful image for which I am also grateful. It’s also a but quirky, like my sister! 😉

The bedspread was made by my wife. She has created a few of these and they are projects in themselves. We actually bought a cabinet to store them all! It takes, patience and an eye for colour and coordination. It’s a work of art in itself. I am of no help at all but the kids get involved and it becomes a team effort.

Lastly, on the side table on the right hand side of the bed is a small drawing of boats. It’s by my grandmother, Portia Bennett, who was a well regarded artist in her day. I have a few of her paintings.

And so, from one room, I can highlight quite a few things I am grateful for. The physical items have meaning for me as do the people associated with them. There is a lot of talent in the family and also the fact that people will do things for others to help make life a little nicer. And they bring joy to me and those who receive them – if we’ll slow down and recognise that.

My Thoughts

If you are struggling to find things to give gratitude for, can I suggest an exercise?

Go through each room and list the items in the room. Perhaps just list the items at first. Maybe in a notebook down the side a page. And then, over time or when the thought strikes you, write alongside the item what you are grateful for.

What does the item do for you? How does it, or what it does or maybe just infers, make you feel? Could you be grateful for that?

Let me know what you think.