Tag Archives: positivity

It’s the Little Things…

Have you ever thought how it really is the little things
that make the difference in life?

It's the Little Things in life - that make you truly happy - The Last Krystallos

Last Saturday I had a good day, a really good day! I had no commitments and it was a beautiful sunny morning. I popped into town nice and early, enjoyed the sunshine, and listened to the birds sing amid the hubbub of town life. It’s the little things.

star wars tattoos - the last krystallos

Great legs! © Lisa Shambrook

I wish I’d told the man in front of me on the escalator how much I loved his legs! I did call out how cool it was to hear two girls (mother and daughter) singing ‘I’ve had the time of my life’ at the top of their lungs as they paused at the traffic lights in a cabriolet. And I smiled at a six-year-old Ironman swaggering through the precinct, flexing his muscles and grinning at everyone. It was that kind of day!

The evening before, in the warmth that predicted a beautiful day to come, Vince and I walked Roxy and listened to the birds in the trees. Noting how different their calls and songs were, from the courting couple of cooing and crooning collared doves, to the blackbird’s familiar call, to a robin red-breast singing his little heart out on the top branches.

robin singing - the last krystallos

Sometimes the smallest things are the loudest © Lisa Shambrook

Sometimes the smallest creatures sing the loudest and have the most beautiful voices.

Do we listen?

We even attempted to get a photo of the tiny robin atop the tree (our phone cameras were pitifully lacking for this!), and it was a giggle to watch passing motorists’ passengers straining their necks to see what we were looking at!

It made us realise how lucky we are, and how the littlest things can often be the best things.

It's the Little Things - The Last Krystallos

The little things are the best things © Lisa Shambrook

…Like the way your cat purrs when she snuggles into you – one of your favourite songs playing in your car – brushing your hand across velvet moss – a flower blossoming – new leaves appearing on trees – getting lost within a great book – your dog’s welcome home – your favourite hot chocolate – being silly with friends – the feel of your favourite jumper – a hug – snowflakes – your bed after a hard day – creating art – dancing in the rain – fresh baking – holding hands – watching a sunrise – something that makes you laugh and many more…

What are the little things that make you grateful and happy?

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How to Keep Calm and Carry On – During Times of Stress and Anxiety

Lately, especially lately, the world seems to be bursting at the seams with stress.
Life is fast-paced, aggressive, selfish, and anxious…and
we have to try and stay calm when everything about us appears to be falling apart.

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World events, local events, and even familial situations are rarely under our own control and we can feel like we’re drowning, so how can you take control and remain calm under pressure?

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© Lisa Shambrook

Mindfulness and Meditation: I am only just beginning to learn about each of these. Both offer techniques to centre yourself. I used to think I could never try meditation because I had no idea how to empty my mind, but I have learned that meditation is more about harnessing your thoughts, bringing them back to you, and accepting who you are. When my thoughts wander during meditation, as they will, I can recognise that they are and refocus, bringing myself back, focussing on my breathing and my presence.

I am learning that knowing myself and loving myself helps me immensely to remain a calmer person. It also helps that my daughter has been studying Buddhism which has some beautiful teachings. My favourite was something she told me from a Buddhist friend:
Imagine yourself as a mountain and your thoughts as clouds, let them drift by…

anchoring-how-to-keep-calm-and-carry-on-the-last-krystallos

© Lisa Shambrook

Anchoring: I have used anchoring for many years without really understanding it. Generally using an anchoring technique means to recall a time in your life when you were calm, in control, and happy, and focus on that moment, and combine it with a physical sensation like pinching your thumb and forefinger together. Then when you feel stressed, if you recreate that physical sensation by pinching your thumb and forefinger together you will recall the moment you felt in control and calm, thus restoring a sense of peace.

I have a stim/totem that I clasp and smooth between my fingers when I feel anxious and it helps to calm me. I’ve carried acorn cups and hazelnut halves about with me for years and years, they reside in all my pockets, and I have a compulsion to collect them when I’m out and about… Being able to channel a memory of a happy time and combine it with this action/stim is anchoring, and it really helps!

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© Lisa Shambrook

Go for a Walk: Take time out, remove yourself from the place of stress, get outside and into nature – all good advice to help you stay sane. I find nature a hugely calming influence, and it gives you space, both literally and figuratively. I’ve written before about harnessing Nature’s Antidepressants and it’s true that the natural environment can inspire and calm you. And remember it’s free, so, get out there and take your fill…

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© Lisa Shambrook

Gain a different perspective: When you’re stressed, anxious, or panicked, try and analyse how you’re looking at your situation. I tend to worry and dwell on the ‘what ifs’, my husband can embrace change and looks at the positives. If you are a negative thinker, then switch perspectives. Ask yourself if you can change anything about your position, if there is, do it, if not then you need to accept the circumstances.

We need to understand the idea behind the Prayer of Serenity: God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference.American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr. Some things are out of our control and we cannot change them we just have to go through them, but some we can, and we need to embrace the times we can change and take control of our destinies.

It’s important to note that we do have to go through many things we cannot change, and we should do that with courage and, hopefully, positivity. The most damaging advice I ever had was to visualise my problems and if I couldn’t change them then put them in an imaginary box and close the lid. It doesn’t work, and eventually you’ll end up with an imaginary cupboard full of boxes of things you’ve never been able to face. If you have these boxes, and cannot face opening them, ask for help. There are many therapies and counselling that can help you confront your deep held demons.

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© Bekah Shambrook

Calm your Environment: These days decluttering is a definite word in our dictionaries. The things within our homes can help define our moods. Now, I quite like mess to a degree, I’m creative and like bits and pieces everywhere, but it can go too far. I don’t like to be surrounded by rubbish or negativity. Too much clutter can distract me and bring me down. I have to go through stages of clearing out and decluttering at regular points in my life. I usually use the adage if it doesn’t hold a memory, or make me happy, or I haven’t used or looked for it in two years, then it can go. Except books…I struggle to let books go! Spring cleaning, at any time of the year, can be cathartic and cleansing, and help you create a healthy environment.  

Add beauty to your home, pictures that you love, candles scented with the fragrances that inspire you, flowers, anything that you love. Make your home your sanctuary.

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© Lisa Shambrook

Affirmation: The more you repeat something the more the unconscious mind accepts it, and this goes for both positive and negative intonations, so embrace the positives. Tell yourself something that makes you anxious or stressed will be fun, that you’ll enjoy it, and the chances are that you can alter your perspective!

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© Lisa Shambrook

Let off Steam: Sometimes when we’re stressed we just need to let loose, to release the tension and the pressure. Adrenalin often accompanies stress and anxiety and sometimes you need to ‘run that off’ to coin a phrase. Stamp around the house, yell a bit, get outside and exercise. Listen to music and sing along. Shake it off and rid yourself of nervous tension!

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© Lisa Shambrook

Chocolate: *shrugs* Like I‘ve said many times before, chocolate is a winner. It contains serotonin and can help you relax. Go get a hot chocolate with whipped cream, or grab a bar of chocolate… *grins* Chocolate is good!

What helps you during stressful times? 

Making Dreams Happen and Reaching your Goals

‘A single dream is more powerful than a thousand realities.’
J R R Tolkien.

making dreams happen, reaching your goals, the last krystallos, I wrote about dreams and why they’re important in a previous post, but how do you put them into action and achieve them?

A single Dream... Tolkien QuoteTo start with you need dreams – as Tolkien said one dream is more powerful than anything real, but to harness that power you need to do something to make those dreams reality, so you can grow and dream loftier and higher desires. 

I began life as a contemplative dreamer…a quiet, shy child with an imagination that spanned so many ideas. It took until I was thirty to turn those gossamer dreams into concrete goals, but I did, and now I’m working hard to keep those dreams-turned-goals alive!

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There is a difference between gossamer dreams and concrete goals.

Putting something in writing or into action changes the aspect of a dream into something solid.

Choose to put your dreams into action, choose to make them happen.

Sometimes circumstance prevent us from achieving, but sometimes we are the ones who put obstacles in our way. My favourite barrier to achieving my dream is procrastination and I’m very good at it! We need to know how important our dreams are to us, and we need to prioritise to be sure they remain important. So often we say how much we want something to happen, but we make no effort to achieve it. How often do we want to be slimmer, but don’t want to put in the work to lose weight or alter our eating/exercise patterns? Do you ever say how much you wish you could visit (insert dream location)…but fail to plan or save, or make an effort to go there?

Merlins Hill from our house and looking back from Merlin's Hill...

Merlin’s Hill from our house and looking back from Merlin’s Hill…

We sometimes sabotage our own dreams by failing to realise that we actually could accomplish them.

I wanted to walk up to Merlin’s Hill, which is a flat topped hill we can see from our bedroom window, but without deciding to do it and walk the six miles there and back, it would have just remained the view from our bedroom window. Simply taking a two hour walk helped us to achieve something we wanted to do.

Reaching our goals is the result of a choice and a decision to recognise and to work towards making something happen in our lives.

The stages of achieving are thus:

  1. Recognise your dream, the thing you desire.
  2. Write it down, it’s been proven that putting something on paper makes it more concrete and more likely that you will do something about it.
  3. Make a plan. Save for that holiday, outline that novel, change your diet…
  4. Decide to do it and don’t give up until you reach that star.
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Quote found at familyshare.com

Will Self said on writing: “Always carry a notebook. And I mean always. The short-term memory only retains information for three minutes; unless it is committed to paper you can lose an idea for ever.”

Just three minutes…I can attest to that – so write it down!

Dreams have meant so much to me that my first book ended up with the tag line ‘It’s those silly dreams that keep us alive’. We need dreams to inspire us and we need to turn some of them into reality to make us grow. Goals are a way of growing and achieving, and we have those airy fairy dreams to give us hope and inspiration, but we need to do something to actually make them happen!

Lisa_Shambrook_Beneath_the-Rainbow_and_Beneath_the_Old_OakLive Your Dreams…

What dreams do you have and what are doing to achieve them?

Dreams and how to be Happier

Have you ever wished you could be happier?
Life can be tough, but it’s important to find sunshine even on rainy days.

dreams-and-how-to-be-happy-the-last-krystallos-titleMy bishop spoke on being happy just the other week and, having recently gone to an Emotional and Mental Health Training Day organised by the church I attend, and currently battling depression, I listened with great interest.  What he said made a lot of sense and he later introduced me to the site www.actionforhappiness.org. Action for Happiness has no religious, political or commercial affliations, and welcomes anyone committed to building a happier and more caring society.
Today I’d love to share their GREAT DREAM poster with you:

greatdream_full_400 actionforhappiness.orgSo here we are: Ten Keys to happier living:

1. giving-dan-giving-blood-the-last-krystallos

Dan giving blood… © Lisa Shambrook

GIVING Do things for others – They say the best way to forget your own troubles is to help others and give service. There’s an old Hindu proverb: Help thy brother’s boat across, and lo! Thine own has reached the shore.

© Lisa Shambrook

© Lisa Shambrook

RELATING Connect with people – I’m a known loner, a typical INFJ, but when you are part of my life, it’ll be forever. I find socialising very difficult, so Facebook has become a life saver, quite literally, the place where I discovered my people. Without this connection, though I love my own company, I’d be lost.

Walking the dog © Lisa Shambrook

Walking the dog © Lisa Shambrook

EXERCISING Take care of your body – This has become more important to me as I’ve begun to understand how much exercise deflates depression. Your general health has a lot to do with how you feel, so look after yourself. I love walking Roxy, our german shepherd, and daily walks allow me to exercise and enjoy the outdoors. Last year, as a family, we learned how important exercise was. We used MyFitnessPal and lost a combined eight stone between us. Never have we felt fitter and better!

Appreciating beauty © Lisa Shambrook

Appreciating beauty © Lisa Shambrook

APPRECIATING Notice the world around – This matches exercise, get out and see what lives around you! I have so many posts on this blog about the wonder of nature, which you can find in the menu at the top under Articles in Simply Nature. I love wading through the ocean and rivers, wandering through woodland glens, climbing mountains and exploring the great outdoors. When I feel down, I need to be reinvigorated by nature, it makes me happy!

Learn more © Lisa Shambrook

Learn more © Lisa Shambrook

TRYING OUT Keep learning new things – Knowledge, you should never stop learning. There’s always something new out there, whether it’s keeping up with technology and the children or learning a new skill just for yourself. Just because our school days are gone, it doesn’t mean we should rest on our laurels, get out there and learn new things, have fun!

Set goals, dream big © Lisa Shambrook

Set goals, dream big © Lisa Shambrook

DIRECTION Have goals to look forward to – I once wrote this as a reply on someone else’s blog about achieving their dreams: I began life as a contemplative dreamer…a quiet, shy child with an imagination that spanned so many ideas. It took until I was thirty to turn those gossamer dreams into concrete goals, but I did and now I’m working hard to keep those dreams-turned-goals alive!

(There’s a)… difference hence my gossamer dreams and concrete goals. Putting something in writing, or into action changes the aspect of a dream into something solid.

Dreams have meant so much to me that my (first) book ended up with the tag line ‘it’s those silly dreams that keep us alive’…we need dreams to inspire us and we need to turn some of them into reality to make us grow. Goals are a way of growing and making things happen, but sometimes we just need those airy fairy dreams to give us hope and inspiration!

Bounce back © Lisa Shambrook

Bounce back © Lisa Shambrook

RESILIENCE Find ways to bounce back – Life wasn’t meant to be easy. If we didn’t know the sour we wouldn’t know the sweet. We need the bad to love the good. Opposition in all things is the way of life, don’t let it get you down, let it build you up instead. Be resilient. Be a cat. You know when a cat slips, or makes a mistake? They right themselves immediately and look at you like it never happened… be a cat.

Love life © Lisa Shambrook

Love life © Lisa Shambrook

EMOTION Take a positive approach – Life has negative and positive people. Be someone who people want in their lives. We all suffer at times, and it’s important to be there for each other through the tough times, but as with resilience, we need to embrace the difficult and allow it to strengthen us. The process of refining silver includes being blasted with fire…a lot, but the finished piece is beautiful and brilliant. Let’s concentrate on the good, the positive and embrace the sunshine in our lives.

Be yourself! © Lisa Shambrook

Be yourself! © Lisa Shambrook

ACCEPTANCE Be comfortable with who you are – Love yourself. It’s as simple as that. Whatever your beliefs as to where we come from, we’re all wonderful human beings, with amazing miraculous bodies. I love the Marianne Williamson quote, from ‘A Return to Love’: ‘…We ask ourselves “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?” Actually who are you not to be?’

Our deepest Fear... Marianne Williamson quote © Lisa Shambrook

Our Deepest Fear… Marianne Williamson quote © Lisa Shambrook

MEANING Be part of something bigger – My bishop spoke of our faith being something bigger and I took comfort from that. My faith to me is something that encompasses my entire life, my reasons for living and being. You may find something different. There are plenty of things in my life that give me reason to be, from my faith to my family, to my writing and many more wonderful things…embrace them and live happily!

Be part of something meaningful © Lisa Shambrook

Be part of something meaningful © Lisa Shambrook

Do you agree with these points
or do you have any more ideas on how to live happier?