Your Happiness Factor:celebrating happiness, prosperity, hearth and home, good health.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Feeling Blue - Here is help!

" She is the old man's angel overseer ......  We all feel down sometimes.  I’m talking about those days when something has gone wrong or those odd days when you just wake up feeling down.
I'm not talking about depression here!  If it is happening on more than the odd day, then please have a word with your doctor because depression can strike anyone of us and you will need help to overcome it! 

But let us assume you are not ill, you just feel down today.

First of all understand that it is OK and perfectly normal to feel down now and then.  It may just mean that you need to take a rest. 

Anyway, if you just want to feel brighter, try on these simple techniques to raise your mood.
  1. Get a pen and some paper and write down 20 things you are grateful for right now.  It might be the film you watched you last night.  It could be your favourite soap – I love Coronation Street and East Enders.  It can be as simple as the blue sky above you or the smell of the earth after rain; or even what you had for breakfast. But find your 20 simple things and enjoy them.
  2. If you have access to a computer, think of the three places you have always wanted to visit.  Now look them up on Google Earth! Now you are going to take yourself there in your imagination.  Day dream your imaginary vacation.  What would you see? What would you hear? What would you smell?  How would that air feel on your skin. How would you get there, where would you stay? Enjoy it all and make your own special memories.  The nice thing about this is you can come back any time!
  3. Who are your three favourite people in the whole world?  Do you know them personally, then send them an email or a letter telling them how much you admire them and why!  It will make you feel better and it should certainly make their day.  If it is someone famous and you are a fan, write them a fan letter - tell them why you like them and how grateful you are for what they do. Remember everyone likes to be appreciated. If they are not famous, characters from history or just someone you don’t know, then still write it all down and  enjoy some time in their company, even if you can’t send your letter.
  4. Last of all, visualize one perfect day in your life.  What would it be like if things today went just the way you want them to?  For the next few minutes, imagine you are in that day. Go on really imagine exactly what it would be like.  Now go out into the world walking and talking your perfect day and, guess what, this way you have another perfect day coming along tomorrow.

Friday, 27 May 2011

Working Creatively - Going with the Flow

Waterfall near Lepena, Slovenia  

 The key elements of flow are
    1. The merging of action and awareness in sustained concentration on the task at hand,
    2. The focusing of attention in a pure involvement without concern for outcome,
    3. Self-forgetfulness with heightened awareness of the activity,
    4. Skills adequate to meet the environmental demand, and
    5. Clarity regarding situational cues and appropriate response.

When I sit down in my office at to write,  I enter a state of flow and I love it.  I see and feel nothing but the words before me.

The state of flow is when you are so fully focused on the task at hand that you no longer realize the passage of time.  You may not feel heat or cold (I don’t) and  you may not hear what is said to you. Being in this state of allows you to achieve high productivity and be happy at the same time.  

To enter the flow state, you need a goal; you need to know what you want to do and why.  Vague intentions don’t trigger the flow state.

The task you face needs to be just hard enough to be a challenge.  If it is too easy you don’t need to be in a creative state.  If the task is too hard you may lose confidence and doubt your ability to complete it!  That will probably mean you don’t allow flow to happen! 

Your environment can make it harder or easier to enter flow.  But this is something you need to work out for yourself by trial and error. 

Some people work best in the fresh air.  I love my own little office at home – very plain, no distractions and everything I need at hand. 

I have to be careful about temperature though.  When I’m in flow I don’t seem to feel the cold.  If I leave the window open, I come out of flow, freezing cold. 

Dedicate time to getting into flow and staying in it!  It takes a little while to get into it. 

For me it takes about half an hour to really get in and I can stay there for about an hour and a half to two hours. After that I start to need something to eat and drink and I need to move round.  Those things clearly take me out of flow.  But it’s down to trial and error again.  

Try to prevent interruptions and distraction during your creative period.

Delivering a tangible piece of creative work requires tools such as a computer, a musical instrument, a paint brush etc!  You need to practice their use until you are competent.  No amount of creativity will make up for a lack of competence.  
You have to practice before you can enter the flow state and make something worthwhile.

Entering and maintaining the highly creative flow state is a skill, not an accident and it is not a talent given to few!  You can practice and you can find your own state of flow with perseverance.    

Once you learn to harness the power of flow, just wait, your creative output will soar.