The Moodscope Blog



Shinrin-Yoku Monday June 24, 2019

[To watch a video of this blog please follow this link: and to listen to a Podcast follow this link:]

The business networking I regularly invest in has been very enriching on a personal level. Over the last few weeks I've learned how to easily boost my Serotonin levels, how to beat cancer (in some cases), why I should always wear sunscreen, the potential joys of Nordic Walking, and, this week, the health and wellbeing benefits of 'forest bathing'.

Fear not, I'm not taking my kit off and going skinny-dipping in the woods (though I know some of you will thank me for putting that image in your mind!) 'Forest Bathing' is a fair translation of the Japanese phrase, "Shinrin-Yoku."

The concept is simplicity itself – to take a relaxed and gentle walk amongst trees, be 'present', and use as many senses as possible to 'be in the moment'.

Formalised in the 1980s in Japan, Shinrin-Yoku is now so popular in preventative healthcare that there are 44 designated forests in Japan, accredited for the practice.

Research continues and the quantifiable benefits recognised so far include a reduction in the release of cortisol (one of the key stress hormones), and a boosting of the immune system. Documented reductions include less stress, anger, anxiety, depression, and sleeplessness.

15 minutes is sufficient to get a boost in clarity of focus to add to the benefits of reducing blood pressure.

Given that most of us could invest 15 minutes and find a park with a few trees, what can we do when we get there?

Firstly, this is about freedom of focus. This means the phone needs to go off – and, for me specifically, the camera needs to be put away. We want to be fully present without distraction. There is no other agenda other than to 'be'.

Secondly, be free from even positive expectations. Just be. Wander. Not all who wander are lost, though it would be great to get lost in the moment.

Thirdly, practice selective-attention. Notice the sunlight through the leaves. Follow the progress of a blackbird or a squirrel. In Autumn, notice the architecture of the fungi. Be aware of how the path feels. Sense the breeze. Feel the rain.

Fourthly, pause and perhaps sit. When I did this immediately after the presentation, I chose a spot yards from the road going through the New Forest. To my delight, I was watched by three elegant Fallow Deer before they decided to move on.

Fifthly, enjoy the (relative) silence. If you're with friends, take a vow to not talk until after a set period of time.

These steps are adapted from the article here:

I even hugged an oak tree (one that was the perfect size for me) and I liked it!

Kindly share your own experiences of pressing pause and 'bathing' in Nature.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

28 comments - Permalink



How not to be perfect? Sunday June 23, 2019

I am fairly certain that I do not have full blown depression - the kind of depression that is debilitating and life changing. Not the kind of depression that makes other people despair of one, but what I call 'low level despair'.

I have a good life with loving family and friends and enough of everything, yet on some days I am unhappy and despondent. I can rarely put my finger on what triggers it or why it happens. I know it doesn¹t happen when things are going well and by that I mean everything
going according to plan and yet sometimes things are simply not good enough. The house has too much clutter, there is too much paperwork to deal with, an arrangement is onerous. I can be really angry when this happens.

Writing this has made me realise the cause. I want to be perfect. I want to live a perfect life. Now, where's the remedy for living with imperfection?

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

40 comments - Permalink



How not to make a baby smile Saturday June 22, 2019

his is a common scene; I have observed people, both professional photographers and doting parents and relatives, taking photographs of babies and young children. All the adults, including the photographer, try to amuse the baby or young child and entice baby to smile and laugh. They raise their hands, they make funny faces and sounds, they shake toys, they dance, they shake many body parts and sometimes refuse to stop until baby or young child have complied by looking happy.

Funnily enough, often, the baby or child, rather than smiling or laughing at least looks happy, the baby or child starts to cry or get angry and the bottom lips start to quiver.
Then the adults involved start blaming each other for making the baby cry and they start arguing and upsetting each other. Meanwhile the baby may start to smile but no one captures that moment.

I have wondered why we must have babies laughing in photographs. It is so wonderful to catch that special moment when a baby or child smiles or laughs heartily. Babies, just like grown up humans, spend as much time being upset, angry, frustrated and a whole gamut of emotions. Surely the photographs we take should represent the whole child.

I wonder if this tendency to want babies to smile and laugh is why many adults feel uncomfortable with someone who is not smiling or happy even though adults may not dance, make funny faces etc. to make someone who is not happy laugh. I have had people tell me to smile (I wrote a blog about this), tell me jokes, take me to see a comedian.

Am I reading far too much into well-meaning parents and relatives wanting their baby to smile and laugh for the camera or does it have a deeper meaning in our society?

A Moodscope member

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

140 comments - Permalink



Having a buddy Friday June 21, 2019

At the university where I work, our department initiated a "buddy program" to increase retention of our administrative staff.

The buddy program provides support from Day 1 to the new hire. The buddy, a volunteer admin., greets the new hire, sets up a one hour weekly meeting during the first month, to go for a walk, have coffee and to have informal, personal conversations, rather than only focusing on the new hire's work duties. There are other admins who provide support to teach the software and day to day work activities. The buddy is officially providing support for six months so it is a long-term commitment.

The new hire has told us that this program has many benefits. She feels part of our community from Day 1. She participates in social events (Monday coffee, Icecream socials, kickball matches...) in our department by being introduced to the other admins with her buddy. Each day she knows there is support for her on many levels which diminishes the fear that we all feel when we start a new job.

Wouldn't be great if we had "buddy programs" in other settings: ie. New students starting College, which can be really scary for most students living alone for the first time on campus. A "buddy program" would also be beneficial in schools, to identify and prevent bullying and making new students who transfer to a new school, become part of the community starting on Day 1.

It could be used in re-entry to civilian life for war veterans, for prisoners leaving jail, and also for patients leaving rehab and other programs dealing with mental health. I could especially see this "buddy program" being set up in nursing homes and other residences for the elderly.

I truly believe that being alone, feeling isolated is a PRIMARY factor in causing continued mental health issues, like depression and social anxiety. Do you think you could implement a "buddy System" in your work setting, or if a new neighbor moves into your neighborhood?

It seems idealist but it is worth thinking about it.

Christine G
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

26 comments - Permalink



Alterations Thursday June 20, 2019

When did you last make alterations?

A garment maybe? ... taking up that hem, just to avoid you tripping up or adding an extra button just so it sits better. Maybe you needed to let out a seam by a centimetre or two just to help you breathe that little bit easier.

Perhaps you wanted to change a room in your home. Redecorating with a new colour on the walls to brighten up your living area. It could be a full-blown renovation and knocking through into another space by removing the wall altogether.

We all appreciate change sometimes and it can be exciting and challenging to start a new project. But when was the last time you made alterations in yourself and in your life?

I started a "Me Project" and I'm still in the process of it all. I'm adapting my life's clothing to fit me by making alterations. I'm changing my 'living' room, looking for new décor to fit my style and it's evolving with me and always open to further change. My previous alterations have been around me but never for me or in me and this project is probably one of the biggest challenges of all.

It doesn't happen by itself and its not a quick fix. I want to get it right! The garment doesn't get fixed properly without using patterns or laying out the needles and thread. The room doesn't get redecorated without planning, colour charts and mood boards. We, therefore, need to spend a bit of time thinking about what we would like to alter, making decisions, putting our thoughts into plans and then into action. It's the prep work for a good finish, the lining paper for a dress pattern, the filling and skimming and undercoat before the paint and it's always, always worth the effort.

We need to start somewhere. How about starting now? Write down your ideas for your own alterations, whether you're stitching and sewing, splashing on colour or knocking things down and watch your 'Me Project' begin.

Don't you just love it when a plan comes together?

You've got this!

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

27 comments - Permalink



Water Way to Go! Wednesday June 19, 2019

It's raining. Again.

I sat at the breakfast table, morosely viewing my family devouring cereal and bacon sandwiches – because, yes, I am that mother who sends her children off with a cooked breakfast at seven in the morning – please feel free to hate me: I hate myself for it too!

"Girls: You'll need your raincoats," said my husband brightly.

There was an equally bright, "Yes, Daddy!" from one, and an indistinguishable mumble from our other daughter, who would rather catch her death than be seen to wear something so uncool as a raincoat to school.

They splashed out to catch the bus. He splashed out to catch the office and I was left, watching the rain drops chase each other down the windowpane and wondering where I would find the energy to start my day.

The answer was coffee, of course. Coffee seems to be the answer to many questions, but it is only part of my answer in the morning.

I've been reading a lot about nutrition in the past couple of weeks and I'd love to share my findings with you.

This week it's the role of water in mental health.

We know that we need food and water to stay alive, but we tend to give them both equal weight, when they are not the same at all. We can survive for quite a long time without food: weeks or even months, but we can last only about three days without water.

Even mild dehydration can cause mental confusion and lethargy.

Health professionals have found, with elderly patients, that symptoms they were taking for Alzheimer's, were those of simple dehydration. Once they made sure the patients were getting enough to drink, the mental confusion cleared up.

You may have noticed that, especially on hot days, you get headaches: headaches which are cured by the judicious application of a pint of water to the inside of your throat.

Sometimes those feelings of exhaustion and lethargy you get are dehydration and can be alleviated by a drink of water.

So, how much water should we be drinking per day - in addition to any cups of tea or coffee or other caffeinated drinks?

As with everything, the experts differ. But the minimum is four pints or two litres. I would recommend three litres myself. I keep a big jug of water in the fridge, flavoured with cucumber slices and sprigs of mint, but you may prefer it sparkling, or just straight from the tap.

I used to have a water app on my phone, which would ping to remind me to drink water. I deleted it after a week: it was far too annoying. Now I just try to remember.

So, it wasn't just a cup of coffee on that rainy morning, it was a glass of sparkling water with a slice of lemon. It really set me up for the day.

So, if you feel tired, grumpy and headachey: before you do anything else, drink a big glass of water.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

36 comments - Permalink



Three Questions about BPD Tuesday June 18, 2019

I was 40 when I got diagnosed with 'traits' of Borderline Personality Disorder.

Why 'traits'? Although I have several recognisable symptoms including emotional instability, intense fear of abandonment and difficulty with interpersonal relationships, I do not (any longer and for many years) self-harm and engage in suicidal behaviour. I've also managed to lead a fairly successful life in terms of education and career. I am considered 'low-risk', but this doesn't mean that living with my form of BPD is without risk.

Since diagnosis people that know about my BPD have asked me the same three questions. Perhaps they will be familiar to you.

Why seek diagnosis so late in life?

Several reasons; the era I matured in, misdiagnosis and self-stigma for example. There's such a stigma attached to BPD that even those of us who have it would rather it was anything but! It took me two years to pluck up the courage to seek diagnosis. I'd gained enough self-awareness by my mid-30s to recognise that what I had wasn't anxiety/depression. My low moods weren't sustained enough; my 'highs' so intense that others would notice and pass comment. I felt confused about my identity and spent a lot of time asking myself questions. Why couldn't I maintain a 'baseline' mood? Why did I hurt so much whenever I was criticised or rejected? Why were my personal relationships so difficult?

Then a friend got diagnosed with BPD. I did some research to improve my understanding. As I read I thought to myself 'this is me... this is also me... so is this!' I felt this 'light' go on in my head. Eventually I revisited my GP, who referred me for further assessment.

How is having a label useful?

Having a 'label' I can identify with has helped me manage my condition. I've met others with BPD and made some great friends. I have a starting point from which to find helpful tools. The DBT course I currently attend helps; it's shown me that during my life I've already learnt some of the healthier coping mechanisms. Having this validation has reassured me of my ability to cope.

Will you get better?

There is no cure for BPD. Lots of literature says that symptoms lessen by 40, often misinterpreted by non-sufferers as 'you will get better by 40'. Not true. I can't ever completely stop the daily rollercoaster my mind rides. Research says much of this is biological; my brain literally reacts differently to emotional triggers (especially negative ones!) So I try to learn mechanisms to manage those reactions. One thing I've learned is never to give up, even if at that moment I feel like my world is falling apart. I'm nothing if not tenacious, and I think this stubborn streak has actually helped me cope at times.

There's so much more I could write about here, however I just wanted to tell my story and let others know they're not alone. And I hope some of what I've written resonates with others.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

65 comments - Permalink



The Magic of Tintagel Monday June 17, 2019

I believe dark times are seasonal. They don't last forever. Whilst still facing many challenges, I am delighted to say that we have had a week's respite, courtesy of my 89-year-old dad. Dad paid for a stay near St Nectan's Glen, Tintagel, Cornwall – and so I drove him, his sister, and my friend Penny to a week of luxury and natural bliss.

What I'd like to do is share some of the lessons I have learned from this last week. Tintagel is steeped in associated 'magic'. The Castle, in legend, is the place of King Arthur's conception. The power of the story of King Arthur has turned Tintagel into a magnet for tourists. But what can one do when the castle is closed - as it has been since October of 2018?

The impact on local businesses has been huge, but we discovered the real gems of Tintagel are the people, and they have a message for us. The four I'd like to have 'star' in this blog are Sarah, Grant, Edwina, and Lucy. These are their real names.

Sarah is the steward of St Nectan's Waterfalls – a truly magical place. She provides Wellington Boots for visitors so that they can get close to the waterfalls, but she suggested I go padding and promised a towel to dry my feet off. This was a much better proposition – and I had a wonderful experience in this 'holy' place.

Grant, ex-Army, has given his life to bees. He has 200 hives that produced 50 tons of honey last year! Honey has near magical properties too.

Edwina runs 'Vega' – a Vegan restaurant in Tintagel that gives half of its profits to animal charities.

And Lucy is one of several daughters in the family business that is the Tintagel Brewery (where they feed their Wagyu Cattle on beer! It would seem they are the most chilled cows on the planet!)

OK, why am I sharing this? The four have three things in common that just might be a message to all of us.

1) They have chosen lifestyle over money. St Nectan's Waterfalls, for example, makes no money – it goes back into improving this natural beauty spot. Edwina gives half back. There's magic in their 'largesse'.

2) They have chosen location over convenience. The falls are difficult to get to! This makes them even more magical.

3) They chose – no one else.

So I'm wondering... could you and I make some new choices that could improve our quality of life – even in the face of limiting circumstances?

I've been haunted by a line from Led Zeppelin's "Stairway to Heaven" now that I've returned: "There's a feeling I get when I look to the West, and my spirit is crying for leaving..." Is it time to move, to grow, to seek something new? Or is it time to be consciously grateful for what we have right here, right now?

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

22 comments - Permalink



Community Sunday June 16, 2019

Feeling like we belong is really important to feeling safe. So where do you belong?

I have found friends amongst the dog walkers of my local park. We don't generally talk about the heavy stuff, and definitely not Brexit, but the fact of the matter is our joint love of dogs means we all have something in common and soon you find yourself looking forward to bumping into your doggie pals and their owners.

Recently many of us shared a collective joy as one of our number who is in his 70s returned to the park after an operation for lung cancer. The fact that he couldn't walk far would not keep him away and we all rejoiced as he returned in an electric scooter with fancy personalised number plates with Grandad on!! His rescue dog, Caramel, couldn't be happier and so were his walking companions who were pleased to see this kind, gentle man out on the circuit again.

Another place I have found community is among the people I make porcelain with. And many of us have confessed to us that having a morning a week devoted to this painstaking, laborious process pays dividends to our mental health. But it is also actually the gentle chat of people from different paths who only meet once a week that also makes the experience so special. This class got me through a really bad patch of anxiety earlier this year. Another of its members who has been confined to a wheelchair since boyhood acknowledges that it's not only the pottery, which as an artist he paints, but also the company and good hearted banter which makes the cost worthwhile.

Joining the group for a first time is daunting, especially if you are feeling depressed or anxious. But it pays dividends. After all,'No man is an island'.

What communities are you part of that make you feel good? Or what could you join to make yourself feel better?

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

48 comments - Permalink



JOMO Saturday June 15, 2019

I like finding out about new acronyms since I wrote a blog about the word FOMO. This means fear of a missing out just in case you have not read my blog from long ago.

JOMO Joy of missing out which is feeling content with staying in and in disconnecting as a form of self-care.

I like that there is a word for JOMO as I feel many people do not understand the needs for some of us to not go out and just chill. This is not being rude, or lazy but what it is what is needed at times to stay well.

These words may be seen as just being trendy but I think it shows how there is a need for new words to be constructed.

FOJI - fear of joining in is another acronym and is a word I can relate to at times.

I have a FOJI about going to parties where I do not know many people at all and the ones I do know I do not connect with very well.

I have FOJI when on a conference call as I worry I will join in at the wrong moment by talking over someone. I sit and wait till someone says my name and then I miss my chance to have a say.

Do you find the use of these words and words like them to be annoying?

How do these words fill a gap in the dictionary?

Would you ever use one of these words? Have you ever created an acronym?

Mine is FOGO, fear of growing old.

A Moodscope member

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

91 comments - Permalink



Do we put too much pressure on ourselves? Friday June 14, 2019

This is something that I have really been thinking about these last few weeks. The last three years I have been doing a degree and working full time. During this time, I also decided to have a change in career after nineteen years... you could say I don't do things by halves.

Anyway, during the summer break leading into my final year I started having bad anxiety attacks, something that I had never experienced before. Yes, I have had nerves before an event or presentation but nothing to the extent of what I was going through. The most annoying part was it was tasks I had done hundreds of times before, like driving to the shops or going to work.

So, after some counselling through work, one of the things they told me to do was not over analyse why I was feeling that way, because if it wasn't anything obvious then it would wind me up more. Boy were they right!! The times I didn't focus on the why and just getting through the attack they went so much quicker.

Then in work, because I had taken some time off, I felt like a complete failure going back to work. Like I had let everyone down, including myself, but my boss was brilliant (I am so lucky) and said that I need to stop putting so much pressure on myself and only control things that are in my control.

This piece of advice has been invaluable, so for the past six months this has been my motto. I can only control things that are in my control and nothing else is worth putting pressure on myself about. I am also trying to instil this philosophy in my work colleagues who take on the pressure themselves.

When I started my degree, I just wanted to pass, I wasn't bothered about the classification, I just wanted one, as I had never been academically bright. My problem was, the more good results I got the more I wanted a first and I piled the pressure on myself to do well. I have now finished all the assignments, exams and dissertation and I feel like the pressure has lifted, not only from my lecturers but also myself as what will be will be.

As I write this, I know it sounds easy to control what is in your control, I kid you not this was harder than I ever realised that it would be but it has definitely taken the pressure off me and I feel so much happier. I am hopeful that the panic attacks will now start to alleviate too with this much more positive attitude.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

35 comments - Permalink



The Cycle of Trauma Thursday June 13, 2019

Caution: Today's extremely courageous blog is about the sexual abuse of a child which some members may find upsetting.

"You can recognize survivors of abuse by their courage. When silence is so very inviting, they step forward and share their truth so others know they aren't alone." ― Jeanne McElvaney.

Rape. Molestation. Sexual Abuse. Sexual Assault. Sexual Violation. I never came across the words when I was a child. The gritty stories were shielded from me. Why do parents hide the reality? To let our young minds be devoid of fear? But, how does it help when the children are hunted down and trapped? What happens when the ones who are supposed to protect who, commit such crimes themselves? We are lured by the shiny promises, a toy, and a chocolate? The exciting proposal of playing and sitting on the lap? What is wrong with that? Nothing, not really to a child.

I was shushed saying that it is a friendly touch. When his hands went down, he said its affection. When he groped me, I remember his whisper, "I will miss you, my favorite niece." I was 10 years old. I just wanted to play with my closest cousin before he left the city. It felt wrong. But he assured it's the perfect way to say goodbye. If it's so, then why did he ask me to keep it a secret?

Whenever I saw him next, I felt nauseous. I wanted to run away when he greeted me with 'that' smile. It's the same smile that still haunts me. By the time he got married, I was older and I realized what he did was wrong on every level. But who would believe me? I just hoped that he had stopped being that 'monster' in my nightmares.

Out of all the sexual abuse incidents, this one is something I can't 'forget' as my family says. They said that I have lost the right to speak out now as I didn't speak out then. Yes, it's my fault for not understanding the consequences I would have to face still years down the line. It's my responsibility for not comprehending his actions at that time. It's also my own fate as I kept my mouth closed every time I saw him. I wish I could have surpassed the fear and severe anxiety and spoke out.

The tragedy is that the feeling of mistrust is deep rooted. I am surrounded by some wonderful men around me, including my best friends. But I hope that one day I wouldn't flinch when they try showing affection. I hope I can reciprocate that warm hug that I always imagine giving, without being cold and detached.

There are unreported and even unheard abuse cases against family members around the world. Either the victims are too young, or, when they yearn to be assertive, they are silenced, fearing the stigma from society. Being a psychologist, I pray that awareness prevails and such innocent children are given the support and are encouraged to speak up. Even as I fight through the vivid flashbacks and the fear of being confronted by the same actions by someone close, this time, I will choose to fight. My counselor once told me that the day I summon the courage, I should pen my thoughts down and share. Maybe for venting, maybe for closure, or maybe because others will join my fight. Don't be disheartened when they say it's too late to speak. Don't generalize by saying every seed is bad.


A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

160 comments - Permalink



Are You Getting the Love You Need? Wednesday June 12, 2019

They say that it's love which makes the world go round.

I'm not sure of that – I think it's probably physics, but there you go: some people will say anything, especially if they think it sounds good.

It's true however that we function best when we love and are loved.

Even if we are in a romantic relationship, have families and friends who love us, we still need more. We need to love ourselves, and to show that love to ourselves.

There have been blogs before on the five languages of love: words, touch, gifts, deeds, time; so, I shall just jump straight in. We all tend to need one or two of these more than the others, so work out from this what kind of love you need most.

Words: Can we say warm and encouraging things to ourselves? "You did a good job there: you should be proud," "You look great!", "You've got a real talent for that." It's not blowing our own trumpet; it's giving ourselves some positive feedback, even if no-one else does.

Touch: While nothing can replace tender, passionate sex with another warm human being, there are things (beyond the obvious) we can do to satisfy our need for touch. And, touch within love does not only mean sex. A pat on the back can transfer love too. If we have pets, we know how good it feels to stroke them. Indulging our sensual side with a walk in the open air, a hot bath, or fleecy blanket to snuggle in can work too. For some people, working at something with their hands gives a sensual satisfaction. Wood, clay, fabric, wool are all particularly tactile mediums.

Gifts: giving ourselves something is often just as nice as receiving a gift from someone else. At least we know it's something we want! It doesn't need to be expensive: my favourite gift to myself is nice stationary, or a book I've been wanting to read. I often buy myself flowers. I love to see them every day in my office. We should be able to do this without feeling guilty.

Deeds: When was the last time we did something nice for ourselves? Something that gives us pleasure? Something which gives me great satisfaction is a squeaky-clean bathroom. So – occasionally – I give it a really good deep-down scrub. The pleasure is not in the job itself, although cleaning can be quite therapeutic, but in the sparkling bathroom afterwards.

Time: This is the big one for me. The best gift to myself is time to myself – to spend however I choose – away from the demands of work, my husband, my children and even my friends. I wrote about one such day in "Going Down to the Sea (Again) on 1st May this year. I cannot recommend it enough.

So, don't wait to be given love by others; it's time to give yourself some love today.

How will you show yourself some love?

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

23 comments - Permalink



Does the weather improve/worsen your depression? Tuesday June 11, 2019

I have no statistics to show whether those who live in a cold climate are more subject to depression than people living in Bermuda or Tahiti. I believe suicide rates are high in parts of Scandinavia? It is claimed that the weather is the main topic of the British. But the French will always remark on the weather, and today is a goodee. I am watching, from my kitchen window, my weeping willow literally being turned inside out. It will survive, but there will be a huge mess to clear up, dead leaves and broken twigs, before I can mow the lawn. And I have two slates off the roof this morning.

All our adult life has been governed by rainfall, drought and wind. We started as agricultural contractors, and we took a lot of flak. It would rain on and off for a fortnight at haymaking or harvest time, then, of course, all our customers were ready at once. Then market gardeners until last year – how we kept off the psychiatrist's couch I know not, but I think we paid for it in stress and strained relationships. And I have had (still have) beautiful, demanding gardens. So I am either waiting for rain, to avoid mass watering, or for it to stop, then mass weeding. This is not a gardening dissertation, but a serious look at my future – can I cope with this large property? What can I do with it? And, what are the options?

On the blog, Molly said, jokingly, when I was having a good moan a few weeks ago that a care home might be the option. But the idea of a small flat, no responsibilities for upkeep, and freedom to go away in the winter is a huge temptation. But, 84 next week, if I could not travel (particularly not get insurance) I would be a virtual prisoner and bored stiff.

Huge outdoor events make weather headlines. Glastonbury usually seems sea of mud, but it does not keep punters away. Ascot races amuse the cynic, watching hats costing hundreds of pounds acting like Frisbees. Wimbledon has had to succumb to roofs. Agricultural shows rely on the 'gate', we were very involved for years with our local one, how our nerves suffered. We looked at pluvieus insurance, but financially out of the question.

Climate change is affecting us, severely. Not one clear, cold, frosty night this winter. The ubiquitous grey. A daughter-in-law, a geographer, said years ago that global warming would bring global dimming, and she's right, with increasing low light levels in winter. I have 'flirted' with the weather, for huge parties, and won. A daughter (31st May) and a grand-daughter (27th July) had sodden weddings. You do not choose where you are born, your work, marriage, or being rich might take you to a better climate. For many years we 'escaped', cheap flat in south of France, Far East, or India. If that solution is out of the question, how do we cope with weather which affects our moods?

The Gardener
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

35 comments - Permalink



Jump Up to Happiness Monday June 10, 2019

Picture this. Close on one hundred serious businesspeople at a networking breakfast meeting. It's before the 9am watershed. Dr Hannah Beard takes to the stage – a wellness expert and qualified Chiropractor.

Hannah asks us where we think 'The Happiness Hormone' – Serotonin – is mainly produced in the body. One of us falls into the trap carefully laid for us and says, "The Brain!" Actually, it's the gut that produces the most Serotonin.

Allegedly, jumping up and down gets it produced very quickly too, so undaunted by our serious demeanours, Hannah gets us all to stand up, lift up our hands, and start jumping. (I have the evidence on video!)

After the collective jump-start to the day, she asks us whether or not our fingers are tingling. They are. This, she assures us, is a sure sign that the magic of Serotonin is taking effect.

Since then, I've been jumping around the kitchen each morning to this great Eurovision Song: - and just the sound of it now makes me feel amazing.

If you'd like more Serotonin – more happiness – in your life, this is only two steps away.

Step one: exercise. Jump, dance, run – especially outside in a bit of sunshine.

Step two: Carbs! Yes the dreaded carbohydrates are great serotonin catalysts. Whilst a bit of pasta and potatoes goes a long way to that happy tummy feeling, complex carbs offer a less hazardous route to happiness: sweet potatoes, blueberries, carrots, garbanzo beans (sound great, don't they), and apples!

Eat, jump, dance your way to better memory, greater happiness, and higher quality sleep.

What's not to love?

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

49 comments - Permalink



Knowing how to be Sunday June 9, 2019

Was there ever a time and when men were men and women were women and people knew how to be?

People often talk about 'the good old days', but back then the stereotypes of what it meant to be male or female, young and old, could be very restrictive.

For people in modern culture, there are conflicting messages on 'how to be'... Do you be strong and tough and bottle up your emotions, do you find it hard to be assertive without people saying you are aggressive, do your children tell you to act your age?

I understand as a mother of sons how hard it can be working out their role in life.

I also feel as a woman who is aging in a society where youth and beauty are valued it can seem that once you pass a certain age you become a bit invisible.

I wonder what a world would look like where everyone is free to be what they want to be if they are harming no one or the environment, there would be no pressure to act like a man, or a woman or to act your age etc.

If we could be free of gender, age, social stereotypes would we be more likely to like ourselves more?

Or am I kidding myself that this is just a dream.

I wonder what other people think.

Are you comfortable being who you are, or do you feel there are restrictions on how you behave based on your gender and or age.?

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

104 comments - Permalink



Get Lost Saturday June 8, 2019

I don't mean to be rude or unkind, but "Get lost", no really, get lost and see where you find yourself.

I had a book to return to someone whose house I had visited only once before. It was about a 30 minute walk from my house through a park and recreational ground. I had a vague idea of where it was so was not overly concerned about not being able to find the house in question.

I made one wrong turn about 5 minutes from the destination, so I simply asked the next person who walked by, where the street in question was. We exchanged pleasantries and I went on my way. I found the house, deposited the book and decided since I was out and about, I might as well do a small shop for a few basics on the way home. I knew where I was heading sort of, but decided to follow my nose and see where it led me.

About 10 minutes in, I asked a young lad if I was heading in the right direction – no doubt he was completely perplexed as to why I hadn't simply looked at the map on the phone. But this was the point exactly. I was in a different part of town that I didn't know at all and so I wanted to explore it, not just pass through it. I spoke with several people along the way and had a thoroughly enjoyable walk.

I was open to whatever the journey brought. I was relaxed and unconcerned. Worse case scenario, I could have taken a bus in the general direction of home. I was not exactly in a threatening environment and I wasn't 'lost' as such, I was simply meandering my way home through a part of town I didn't know.

It struck me that it is not often we get the opportunity to set off on a journey with no real intention. Generally, we try to get from A to B in the shortest, fastest space of time. We try to get to the intended destination from the onset, from the first step taken on our thoroughly planned out journey.

I have now firmly decided that I am in absolutely no rush whatsoever to get to my destination, is it not the journey that counts, as the expression goes? I have finally understood this. What, after all, do we do when we reach our destination? Is it the end or is it the beginning? I have absolutely no idea, but either way, I'm in no race to find out. I am going to embrace the journey, ups and down, twists and turns, that it will undoubtedly continue to take. Seems to me, put like this, that it's a far more interesting journey than a long straight road ahead.

Try it, try getting lost! Set out with no intended destination in mind and see where you find yourself.

(Reminds of " The unlikely pilgrimage of Harold Fry". If you are looking for a good read, borrow a copy.)

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

36 comments - Permalink



Take Pride Friday June 7, 2019


A deadly sin, some believe.

Precursor to a fall, say others.

And we all know someone who has a bit too much.

But for those of us who find day to day life a struggle, for whom the black dog visits and the darkness engulfs, a little pride can go a long way. I'm not talking about running marathons; I mean pride in the everyday achievements which poor mental health can turn into such a challenge.

Pride for getting out of bed when we really didn't want to.

Pride for getting through a busy week.

Pride for saying "No" to something and instead prioritising self-care.

We have so much to be proud of, even on our darkest days, and acknowledging that can be such a positive step to recognising just how good we all are, and just how hard we fight to get through.

So go on, dear Moodscopers, puff out your chests and tell us all: what are you proud of?

With love

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

33 comments - Permalink



Thanks! Thursday June 6, 2019

I've had this certain ability for years... in fact, I'm a bit of an expert, if I say so myself! I certainly don't think it's unique because I know a lot of my friends have it too. Maybe you have it!

I've had it for years, as far back as I can remember and use it regularly. I'm not sure if it's some genetic, predisposed ability or a learned behaviour but I know it's taking me a long time to change it.

What is it? What can I do?

Deflect! I am a professional dodger. I can hand-off a compliment better than a rugby union flanker! I can put down or side swerve someone's good intentions and lovely words with absolute ease.

Someone may say, "Your hair is lovely", I reply, "It's due a cut". "That's a beautiful top"... my response, "I've had it for years". Even at work, "Well done, great job", my reply, "It was nothing".

But why do I do it? If I pay someone a compliment, it's for them, I don't want it back, I want them to keep it and feel it and enjoy the sentiment for the rest of their day. I don't know why I can't accept them easily myself. Maybe its low self-esteem, maybe its low self-worth but if it is, deflecting the compliments isn't going to strengthen my ego.

I made a decision. It's not always natural for me but I'm learning a new behaviour. I'm teaching myself to accept, that's all, just accept. The compliments are no longer being deflected, they're being received and appreciated to help my acceptance of me. The me that other people see fit to compliment and the me I'm learning to love a lot more.

I was recently stopped in a railway station by a complete stranger who was just walking past. She smiled and said "You look amazing, I love your style." I smiled back, laughed a little, maybe slightly embarrassed and then replied, "Thank you, what a lovely thing to say". We were both complimented.

It starts with thank you... just thank you!

"You look beautiful today"... "Wow! Thanks – I feel great"

Yvonne x
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

29 comments - Permalink



Fifteen Minutes – and GO! Wednesday June 5, 2019

Last week Cathy posted a blog on housework and this really struck a chord with me.

Several chords really.

The first is that I rate myself pretty low on the scale of "clean and tidy". There is dust on the windowsill – and smears on the glass beyond it. I have heaps of paper and magazines, and a pile of clothes on the floor ready to take to the charity shop. My kitchen floor could do with being swept and mopped and there are usually spiderwebs if you look up. I have random clutter on most surfaces. Oh dear, my house is not what I would call "clean and tidy."

But – there's another thing. A couple of months ago I was exhibiting at an event, with a table right next to the fire service. They had a series of photographs showing the fire service "Clutter Scale", as it relates to a fire risk. You can find a similar image here (you will need to scroll down the page to see it): I realised that my clutter scale tops out at around 2 out of 9: it is perfectly normal. I judge myself (unrealistically) by full page spreads in House Beautiful or by TV stage sets. Maybe you do too. Normality is where and how normal people live. A certain amount of dirt and clutter is – yes - normal.

I thought about some dear friends of mine. They throw the most amazing parties where you will always meet interesting people. But their home is very far from "show perfect." My husband loves going to them as he says they make him feel tidy. I admire them immensely for their joyful acceptance that people love them and do not care that there is a pile of shoes in the hall or that the kitchen table is covered with stuff. I envy them for their freedom from fear.

The chord that struck most loudly however, was something I read about a woman who has made a career out of teaching people how to clean their homes and keep them tidy. She calls herself "The Flylady". The thing I love most about her is that she teaches self-acceptance first. It's okay to be where you are, and you can only take one baby step at a time. She works with baby steps and fifteen-minute tasks.

Saturday's task was to spend just a few minutes in the hall, sorting out the shoes (I put all the winter boots away: we won't need those until October) and clearing the hall table of the broken pens, leaflets and oddments that collect there. Just having an ordered shoe rack and clear table made me feel much better. And it took ten minutes.

Today's task is to clear just one shelf in a food cupboard. Just one. I can do that in fifteen minutes and feel great.

You can do a lot in fifteen minutes. But set your timer! Then stop.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

45 comments - Permalink

What is Moodscope?

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. If you’d like to receive these daily posts by email, just sign up to Moodscope now, completely free of charge.

Moodscope is an innovative way for people to treat their own low mood problems using an engaging online tool. Anyone in the world can accurately assess and track daily mood scores over a period of time. We have proved that the very act of measuring, tracking and sharing mood can actually lift it. Join now.

Blog Archive


Posts and comments on the Moodscope blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice. Moodscope makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this blog or found by following any of the links.

Moodscope will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.