The Moodscope Blog

24

October

Toggling between Fear and Hope

Saturday October 24, 2020


Coronavirus cases have risen to their highest level since April in my home state of Michigan.

This is also true in the state of Illinois, where my youngest daughter and my son, his wife, and our two-month-old grandson live.

The dreaded second wave of Covid is here in most of the United States, with cases averaging 60,000 a day and around 800-1000 deaths per day. Doctors and scientists are predicting that this will only get worse in the coming cold of winter.

Our president keeps saying we’re “around the corner” and that “the Chinese virus” will soon end as we get near “herd immunity.” About 40% of the country seem to agree with him and many of them don’t believe in wearing masks.

Recently, a Michigan woman was discharged after 196 days in the University of Michigan hospital. Her family had said goodbye to her three times in the last few months but she finally left the hospital, her life “forever changed.”

My family is living with this virus as well as we can, trying to be safe and smart and not overwhelmed with despair or constant fear. It’s getting harder and harder to negotiate between fear, anger, sadness, and the occasional bouts of hope for an election and the possibility that our emotional roller coaster will end.

I work daily and stay in my office, hiding away from anyone who might be pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic. It’s not a good way to live but it’s the best way to stay safe and right now, that is more important that what our president calls “freedom.”

I fear the fall and winter and the nature of our dangerously divided country, half the country angry and not trusting the other half. But it’s pointless to live in fear and the state of the politics of our country is not something I can control.

I will stay smart and cautious but I will not dwell in fear and anger.

I must stay calm and hopeful and believe that most of us will survive and live through this.

I pray that in the year of 2021, our collective physical and mental health will get better and we can look back at this time as a period of struggle and pain that did not last.

What else can we do?

Arnie
A Moodscope Member

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.


23

October

Not disliking ourselves

Friday October 23, 2020


There is a lot written now in mental health articles about the importance of liking ourselves.

For some people like my former work colleague, she would answer the question , do you like yourself, with a, “Of course, why would I not like myself?”.
Despite struggling with depression and anxiety she has always liked her self. Even this year when her husband died and she found the grief overwhelming, she still liked herself.
 
Many of us are different and if we are depressed and struggling we do not like ourselves at all. We call ourselves names and get stuck in a box of negativity.

I have found liking myself to be hard at times, so recently I aim for not hating myself and not disliking myself. This doesn’t mean I like myself a lot, but I find that concept incredibly difficult, so I go for not disliking. This is not always easy. As a people pleaser I do not like myself when I am irritable or rude, when I cannot make decisions, when I do silly things.  I focus on bad choices I made many decades ago and end up really hating what I did.

When some people are very depressed, they only see the worst in themselves and loathe themselves even more. When asked to see something positive in themselves it makes them feel worse.

I acknowledge we all have times when we are extremely negative about ourselves and others but if we can change the strong self-hate for mild dislike, it may be s start.

I have no answers I am just starting a discussion to get Moodscoper’s to share their experiences. Maybe it does not matter to you if you like yourself or not. Are you like me that you focus on not disliking yourself rather than liking yourself.? Do you think there is too much attention on whether we like ourselves? Can you like yourself without being self-confident and vice versa?

I look forward to your contributions to this discussion.

Leah
A Moodscope member .

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.


22

October

Oh! For a magic carpet

Thursday October 22, 2020


I have referred a lot recently to Future Learn Courses. They have been invaluable. Current one is ‘The Path to Happiness and Good Quality of Life’. The range of participants and the dialogue is like having a second ‘Moodscope’ every day, can’t be bad. The last session on the second week was ‘Places we live’. Obvious effect on quality of life, but millions of people have absolutely no choice in where they live. My ‘post’ to that was the following.

This topic inevitably leads to the accident of birth. As a historian and demographer, and much travelled it colours my thinking. Born in the UK in 1935 I have been ‘free’ all my life in a democracy. Social problems are enormous now, but still freedom of choice. If I had been born in France I would have been subject to occupation by an enemy power. We chose France for nearly half our lives because the Quality of Life is better; we were made welcome, especially as we made an effort to integrate and learn the language. Born in much of the world I would have had a lesser chance of adulthood. In that ‘Great’ country, the USA, born black I would have been part of a despised race. We have sponsored girls in India, born to illiterate parents, father a drunken coolie or worse. Despite laws the ‘caste’ still reigns.

So, I have my magic carpet. Ignore any problem – cost and difficulty of getting there, corruption, gang wars, bombs, floods, fires, volcanoes, strikes, demonstrations, wrong hotel rooms, useless cars, empty promises, arriving on a national festival day, unreliable workmen and buying a house which was not the seller’s property in the first place, what is perfect? (We have experienced the whole list except the last).

A view of the sea would be paramount. We hired a studio flat in Villefranche-sur-Mer (between Nice and Menton). First time, a January, they were celebrating the 700th anniversary of it being a ‘Free Town’, and had put a huge fountain in the harbour. We woke in the morning to the sun coming up over Cap Ferrat (most expensive property, King of Belgium’s place now owned by Russian Mafia). Doze along the sea front in a dream, to get the bread. Write all morning, with the sea as inspiration. Walk afternoon – evening cook with most of my attention on sea and passers-by to restaurants (spenfix). If you felt energetic you could scramble up the vertiginous paths (area where Princess Grace died). When a son and great-granddaughter came we caught the double-decker train and went to lunch in Italy. No way could we afford to live there – shopping and parking car hassle, but it was great. Other dreams? Bali, Sabah, Australia, Thailand, Goa – golden beaches, warm seas. But all those places would need a St Patrick beside you – to clear (as said about Ireland) the snakes.

I AM booked in for a week’s treat at a Thalassa, facing the sea, near here. But it looks like being scuppered by Covid. Dream on.

The Gardener
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.


21

October

Lost and Found

Wednesday October 21, 2020


“Have you ever lost big?”

I was listening to an interview on the radio the other day when this question was asked. The interviewee, a professional gambler, laughed.

“Well, of course,” he said. “Several times; it’s inevitable.”

“So, what do you do?”

The gambler sounded ruefully amused. “You fold your hand; you walk away. Then you find another table and you play another day.”

It has been said that life is a gamble and maybe it is. The difference is, at the Blackjack table if you play small, then you don’t lose much. In life, even if you play small, you can still lose everything.

Have you ever lost big?

I have; for lots of different reasons. I lost my father to suicide; I’ve lost valued jobs through incompetence (accountancy was the wrong career for me); my first marriage ended in divorce; I lost a lot of money when I trusted the word of a liar; I lost a dearly valued friend through my own selfish and thoughtless actions; I lost the man who stood in as my father because death took him at 83.

None of us go through life without suffering loss, and the bigger the love, the bigger the loss. By love, I don’t just mean human relationships: one can love a job, a pet, a hobby, a sport, the security and promise of future satisfaction in a financial investment; it’s still love.

Some losses are expected – they are inevitable; our loved ones will not live forever. Some losses are our own fault. Some losses are small, yet still we grieve.

If we cling to that loss and grief, however, we never give ourselves permission to find love and joy again.

Letting go of pain and grief is hard. Sometimes it feels as if we are denying the love, the loss of which brought that pain. It is difficult to relinquish anger at the person who lied and stole from you. It is difficult to relinquish the vain hope of reconciliation with that friend or lover who is gone. It’s difficult to fold that losing hand and walk away. But, without relinquishment, we cannot find love again, invest again, find satisfaction in another job or make room for other friends in our life. While a new love can never replace an old love; it expands the heart to encompass and grow more love. Our heart gets bigger the more we love.

There is also the problem of knowing exactly when it’s the right time to walk away – but that’s another blog for another day.

This morning I heard news which will inevitably mean another loss: more pain and more grief – and not just for me.

Loss and grief is the inevitable price one pays for love. The bigger the love, the bigger the loss.

It’s still better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

And I would rather love big, lose big and find an even bigger love next time.

Mary
A Moodscope member.


Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.


20

October

I let you down

Tuesday October 20, 2020


On the wall in the spare bedroom are some artefacts which I brought back from my solo travels decades ago.

I spent 6 weeks in Sumatra, during which I undertook a 24 hour local bus journey down the length of the country. (Among my most vivid memories is the communal (very) women’s toilet, with central water tank and sloping floor, at a ‘comfort’ break.) Two of my artefacts are little bone and wood calendars from the Minangkabau people in the Lake Prapat area. They have twelve small sticks (like old fashioned ice lolly sticks) marked with the days, suspended from a piece of crudely carved bone.

That set me thinking about things brought back from holidays. On another occasion, I was in a small town where a boy befriended me. This was not unusual and, in my experience, came about through curiosity and friendliness with no ulterior motive. It might be different these days. He took me to meet his family at their home, which was very humble. There was a mother and maybe 8 small children. I remember taking a photo (old style) of them all in a row in front of it. I remember thinking how thrilled they would be to receive that photo.

But they never did. All my slides and undeveloped films fell out of my rucksack in transit back to the UK. Quite unintentionally, I let them down.

Of course, there were various alternative explanations (that is, other people’s faults) for them not getting it. The Sumatran postal service probably wasn’t great, or the film didn’t develop properly. My rucksack might have been violently tossed around by baggage handlers – but the fact remains that I hadn’t packed it properly and it haunts me to this day.

But why should it ‘haunt’ me? After all, to err is human; it was an innocent, if careless, mistake and a small one. On reflection, I think the person I most let down was me. I didn’t keep my word and bring joy to that benighted family (who probably never missed what they never had). And I have always found it hard to fail. I didn’t feel like a good enough person.

So what to make of this? It’s necessary to accept your shortcomings and forgive yourself: an opportunity for personal growth. And that means look, learn and do it better next time.

Rose
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.


19

October


[To watch a video of this blog, please click here: https://youtu.be/PH65wGX5LhY and to listen to an audio version of this blog, please click here:https://soundcloud.com/lex-mckee/the-7-habits-of-happiness-part-3-gratitude]

As a general rule… Happy people are grateful people. Unhappy people are possessed with a sense of inappropriate ‘entitlement’.

Entitlement, I believe, breeds apathy. If we are ‘entitled’ to benefits in life without adding value, there is a tendency to wait for the benefit to come. We become passive. This is not the Way of the Entrepreneur. Like a Samurai, the Entrepreneur knows how to deliver valued and valuable ‘service’. Only when outstanding value has been consistently delivered does one with an entrepreneurial mindset expect appropriate remuneration.

How can I say all this with any credibility?

I can say this with total credibility because I am the man.

To this day, I have no idea where my inflated and inappropriate sense of entitlement came from. I certainly wasn’t a confident person and so I don’t think I was overly arrogant (though I most certainly was arrogant on some occasions.)

However, it came into being, I believed the Universe owed me more than it was dishing up! And, when times were very good (jet-setting around the World business class and staying in swanky places while people were telling me I was great – what’s not to love?) – when times were good, I didn’t appreciate them as fully as I could. As wisdom declares, “Pride comes before a fall.” And I fell.

I got proud and arrogant. My old clients said, “We cannot afford to pay you what we used to,” so I said, “Maybe it’s time to move on.” I put all my eggs in one basket, then the bottom of the basket broke. With all my former clients being cared for by other training providers, I lost nearly everything. I’ve been bankrupt twice and it is only through the kindness of others that I have somewhere to sleep, write, and thus, for me, to live. I write therefore I am! Now, the sense of entitlement has all but vanished. The void of ingratitude and lack of appreciation has largely gone too. Of course, I probably still have the capacity to be an arrogant and ignorant ingrate, but I don’t want to be.

We have a gawdy shower curtain that cost about 85p reduced in a Sale at ASDA. I am SO grateful for the pleasure and utility it brings. It is covered with Tropical Birds, and I love it. Every shower-time is like visiting an Art Gallery. We’ve found our favourite brand of coffee – and I am grateful for every cup. Nowadays, I can afford to buy a bottle of wine, and I love this luxury. I’m thankful for traffic lights turning green, a kind word from a retail team member, a smile from a child, the sight of a charm of Goldfinches. My life is bathed in gratitude and I am, at last, happy again.

Let’s do a happiness-health-check. What we are looking for is any growth of an inappropriate sense of entitlement. If you find any, cut it out immediately.

We are also checking for a flow of gratitude. Let’s get ourselves up to the Gratitude Gym and make sure we work out each and every day!

What are your reasons to be cheerful?

What are you grateful for right now?i

Lex
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.


18

October

Seeking a Hiding Place

Sunday October 18, 2020


I had no idea how I was
going to escape.
I was considered a bit of
an escape artist. A restless spirit,
I didn’t seem contented
to be where I was.
Unable to live in the now.

I felt distinctly
Out of place; not entirely
comfortable where I was;
revisiting old places has never
proved a great idea.

I am always looking
for a safe space
where I can be accepted
for who I am;
not judged, not condemned.
Is there such a place?

I believe that it is important
to work at being;
constantly searching for that
safe place where I could
be myself.
At least, I strongly believed
others had a taste for life.
that seemed lacking in mine.

The only way to climb out
Of the hole that I have
tumbled into
is by a self-acceptance
still a work in progress.
I know the solution but
don’t always apply
what I know
to my life.

No visible symptoms, no running nose, just a head full of darkness. No fever or rash, no fractures or strains, just a longing for something; unable to explain.

Orangeblossom
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.


17

October

Horlicks

Saturday October 17, 2020


When do we start to feel old, and when do we start to think others are over-the-hill?
 
We recall people from the past, who seemed old to us then. Now it’s chastening to realise they were maybe 40ish. I described someone as “a really nice lad” the other day. I have known him since his teens, but he must be 50 by now.
 
I used to read to a lady who was in her late 90’s. Her daughter, mid 70’s and son-in-law in his 80’s had been to stay. I arrived to find her very agitated. They had failed to phone to let her know they had got back home safely.  I said maybe they had just got a bit distracted. She nodded “You’re probably right, young people can be very thoughtless.”
 
This same lady was besotted with a toy-boy in his late 80’s. They met at a weekly club, and often had coffee afterwards. She invited him to a family party, and was delighted when he accepted. The day before he rang, backing out. The reason he gave was that it was all going a bit too fast for him, he would like to see how things worked out between them.I wonder, did he feel there was still time to play the field a bit before settling down?
 
I don’t know how to be my age. I don’t fit the stereotype. I don’t consciously try to deny the passing of time, but I feel I am much the same person as I always was. Obviously,I have learned my lessons the hard way, some maturing was much-needed. Of course, my aching  body reminds me every day that I am knocking on a bit. However, I don’t shock easily. I swear quite a lot at home and among certain friends, Sunday nights don’t find me watching Antiques Roadshow, more likely Breaking Bad (again). I read Private Eye, Viz, fashion magazines, not People’s Friend.
 
I don’t want more bobbies on the beat, just better ones. I don’t think my life is more precious than that of a younger adult. I don’t phone the BBC to complain about nudity or rude words.I must admit though that I am bored to death with the obligatory soft-porn sex scenes that are put into every drama. I find myself thinking “Can’t we just skip this bit and get back to the storyline.” Then again, that’s how I felt about actually having sex, once the hormones fizzled out.
 
Two young men were very disappointed last year by my jaded, seen-it-all-before attitude. Walking through some shortcuts that lead to the town, they jumped out from behind a garage, and invited me to inspect their penises.I duly gave my expert opinion, and walked off, leaving them looking somewhat sheepish. I don’t recall my exact words, but unflattering comparisons were made with my male Chihuahua/Jack Russell. Much younger women had walked though ahead of me, but probably not, in their eyes, such good victims. And no, I did not report them to the police.
 
When I had an accident in 2014, I was puzzled when the medics said “You will walk again, you are fit and young”. I thought they were having a laugh, until I got onto the ward. Apart from a young rugger player who broke his hip in a flying tackle, I was the only one under 90. One day the nurse said to the very weak lady next to me “I’ll get you a nice cup of Horlicks”. That did it. People who had never moved, faces turned to the wall, suddenly sprang into life.”Nurse, why can’t I have some Horlicks?”  I tell you, that stuff’s like crack cocaine on some of the wards .
 
When she was in the psychiatric hospital, my mother used to get given daily glasses of Guinness, Sanatogen tonic wine, and Horlicks. This regime had to be continued at home. I was the “taster” as she thought ground-up glass was being put in her food. The Guinness and wine went down a treat, but I hated Horlicks. I have therefore decided that when I start to ask for a cup of Horlicks instead of strong coffee or red wine, I will give way to Anno Domini.
 
When, if ever, do you think old age begins?   
 
Val
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.


16

October

Wanting a giant giraffe

Friday October 16, 2020


A few months ago I saw a huge soft giraffe that went up to my hips and instantly wanted it and loved it. When I arrived home I told my partner thinking he would know what I needed, but predictably he said there was no room.

A few days later it was gone and while I was a bit disappointed that intense wanting phase was over.

Have you ever been in a shop where a child wanted a toy or other object that their parent will not buy? They start just asking then demanding then screaming then full blown tantrum throwing knocking items over and lying on the floor kicking. If the child is verbal they start the negotiation - I really want this I will never ask for anything again - then when that fails they start trying to guilt their parents - my brother got something for $20 and mine is only $10. The nagging and the screaming intensify.

My parents would not buy me some Derwent pencils as they said they were too expensive, and I was so bad at colouring in why I would need such expensive pencils. For my 50th birthday I bought myself a 24 pack of Derwent pencils.
 
That feeling that you really want something is not restricted to children but as adults we can buy it for ourselves or reason, we do not really need it.

I wonder if anyone has had that experience as an adult or a child of something they really wanted but were not allowed it? Did you eventually get what you wanted? If you didn’t get it how did you feel afterwards.

If I see another giant giraffe, I will buy it, or maybe I will just throw a tantrum.

Leah
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.


15

October

Passing the blame

Thursday October 15, 2020


A couple of things have been annoying me recently. Well, many things annoy me to be fair...

But I have been thinking a lot about people who blame others, to make themselves feel better or let themselves ‘off the hook’.  

I wonder, do they even realise they are doing it?

I have a good example, but if I write it here, I probably won’t send the blog.

So I will keep it simple.  

Have you ever been to blame unjustly?

Been ‘used’ in a sense, by the other person, as they pass the blame.

I’m not really thinking of relationships as such, as we could be here all day, if we did the blame game with them.

I’m eager to find out from other members, have you ever been a ‘victim’ of the blame game?

Or perhaps you play the blame tool and pass the issue onto somebody else?
Maybe not even realising it?

I’ve never been one to blame others so I’m out of the latter.

Maybe I’m too astute for the former!

So wrapping things up, I hope you can relate to my blog and tell me what experiences you may have had with the ‘blame game’.

Molly xx
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.


14

October

Soulscaping

Wednesday October 14, 2020


I stared down at my open package in absolute horror, and I was not alone.
Last weekend saw my company’s (virtual) national conference; two days of company updates, intensive training, networking and - the obligatory motivational session.

I’ve been with the company for 20 years and I’ve listened to a lot of motivational speakers. This time it was “Soulscaping”, an intriguing title that made me uneasy.

We had each received a parcel in the post. Our MD asked us not to open before the session.

It contained a set of paints, a brush, and a blank canvas: would we have to “Paint our soul?” I quailed at the thought.

As it turned out, the process was painless; even enjoyable, and illuminating.
The artist leading the session asked us to think of a time we had felt really alive. He asked us to dwell on the feelings that we had in that moment and then apply paint to canvas.

“There are no mistakes!” he said. “Every brush stroke, finger swipe, splatter, smear, blob, is meant.”

“Relax,” he said, “and let it happen.”

It was hard to relax at first: we wanted our paintings to be “right.” After a while, though, the judgemental part of our brains switched off and the creative side silently stepped in. We were enjoying ourselves, just as a child enjoys painting for the pleasure of painting itself.

At the end of the process, we all loved what we had created. And we felt at peace.

The next part of the process involved sharing it with three others. Each of us looked at the others’ paintings and said what we loved about them.

Everyone sees something different. No two people see the same painting, any more than they read the same poem or read the same book, because any work of “Art” (I use the term loosely) speaks to each person through their own personality, experience and world view.

Because everyone was positive, we saw things in our own paintings that we had not consciously intended. For some there was passion, for others quiet. Some of us had painted excitement and some connection. Some had painted of home and some of adventure. Some had painted from joy and others from pain. Some of us painted boldly and some with delicacy. All of us, had taken on the challenge and painted from the heart.

I’ve chosen to share my painting with you. A recent time I felt most alive was this summer, when a friend took me wild swimming. This came from that.
I’m sharing to encourage you all to put paint (or any colour medium) to paper and lose yourself in colour. Paint yourself; paint your soul. Even if you’re not creative try it anyway.

You don’t have to share it, but, if you do, ensure others say only what they like about it and how it speaks to them. This is not an art-review; this is discovering and painting your beautiful soul.

And through it, finding peace.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to post a comment below.


13

October

Achieving (or not) Harmony

Tuesday October 13, 2020


I am not making any assumptions about your journeys through these strange times but I know I have struggled. And something totally left-field came into our vision, an unexpected and potential project which we both became obsessed with since lockdown, visiting it twice peering through the dirty windows defying the notice which said “you are being watched”. Restrictions in place did not permit us to be shown around so we took matters into our hands. We passed it regularly, musing that “our” future house was perfect. The outlook. The peace and quiet. A mile and a half only from our town, only a short drive away. The next step-up for us, with no real savings to speak of and the only asset, our own house to potentially sell.

Life however isn't perfect, and this house wasn't but we could see its potential, just as we did in our current house with its jungle garden and utterly unloved interior. Nine long haired grey cats trapped in the house, water that torrented through the ceiling and over two years of silence and no occupants. We breathed life and love into it. But the neighbour's dog has always been a pain. Simple gaps in the fence set her off constantly with passers-by on the back path but nothing that DIY wouldn't fix. We should know better though as we hear the once yearly sound of the chainsaw cutting back the leylandi. And then the gardening is over for another year. Lovely bloke but he isn't Monty Don. Neighbour two doors away on the other side has a gorgeous but constantly barking Westie that is never told off. So during lockdown you become aware more than ever of others around you.

Back to Harmony. We started imagining where we would build things, put things and even imagined a new business. Harmony hadn't been lived in since 2016 but we knew it would be hard work and constant upheaval but we could see the potential. We obsessed since the middle of March, taking many detours past till just a few days ago and were told... you can't put in an offer unless you have the cash to go. There had been a substantial interest and the rules are different here. So the dream went to dust as ours is being done up, would sell I'm sure but isn't on the market crucially. We were hoping to be able to given the chance but slim had just left town.

The old me would have thought sadly “people like us are never given the chance, unlike the ones under Homes under the Hammer who have money behind them”. The new me said... I acknowledge my disappointment. I will keep in mind the business plans for the future. We will continue with the DIY and make the house beautiful so that when something comes along that is right for us, we'll be more than ready. And the words of my grandma “What's for you won't go past you”.

Liz
A Moodscope member.

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


12

October


[To listen to an audio version of this blog, please click here: https://soundcloud.com/lex-mckee/the-7-habits-of-happiness-part-2-health and to view a video of the blog, please click here: https://youtu.be/RWIloyQebsQ]

A healthy brain is a happy brain. Happiness is a brainwave state… a biological state of happy chemicals dancing to the beat of happy impulses. It’s a state of beats-per-minute and cycles-per-second. It’s the Rhythm of Life.

Let’s share brainfoods, breathing, binaural beats, and bilateral (hilarious) exercises!

Brainfoods.
There are at least 11 recommended brainfoods.
Fatty Fish
Coffee!!
Blueberries
Turmeric
Broccoli
Pumpkin Seeds
Dark Chocolate
Nuts
Oranges
Eggs
And finally
Green Tea!

Breathing and Bilateral Exercise.
Of course, we know that the brain is about 2.5% of our bodyweight but consumes 25% of the oxygen! This means getting oxygen to the brain is essential. This is one reason why so many spiritual disciplines emphasise breathing exercises to increase the flow of oxygen to literally ‘inspire’ us.

Another way to oxygenate the brain, reboot the brain, and to get both sides working together is to invest time in some hilarious bilateral exercises. As well as increasing oxygen flow to the brain, these exercises light up the motor cortex. You’ll know well that the left-side of the motor cortex controls the right-side of the body, and the right-side of the motor cortex drives the left-side of the body, right?

Any exercise that gets both sides of the body doing something different really wakes-up the brain.

If you remember patting the head with one hand and doing circles on the tummy with the other hand as a childhood exercise, you’re on the money! My favourite one is popping up the thumb on one hand with all the fingers curled in. The other hand just has the little finger out like a posh person drinking Tea! The thumb on this other hand must be tucked down so that the only thing sticking out is the little finger! Now, try swopping what you’re doing with both hands. Gives me the giggles – it is SO hard!

The Binaural World.
Everything about your mind and body (and thus also about happiness) consists of energy expressed in rhythms, cycles, frequencies, beats, and flow. Whether it be the flow of electricity down the axon of a neuron, or the flow of lymph through your system, or the flow of blood, or the flow of energy producing food through your gut… it’s all rhythm and flow.

The most powerful phenomenon I have ever learned about is ‘entrainment’ – the bodily tendency to synchronise with a beat. A flickering flame or the swish of the windscreen wipers on the wet Winter motorway journey home – both can entrance us – entraining us into a soporific state.

Your sound environment, with or without headphones, will affect how you feel. Surround yourself with serene sounds if you wish to feel serene. Turn up the beats (and the volume!) if you want to work yourself up into a more excited state of happiness. Anyone up for euphoria on the dance floor? Whilst this seems obvious, we now know a lot more about the scientific reasons why it just works. Music changes your body chemistry and metabolism!

Our next physical action steps are:
Eat more brainfood
Breath more consciously and intentionally
Bilaterally exercise our bodies (and thus our brains)
Build our brain power with binaural beats and sonic environmental enrichment.

Lex
A Moodscope member.

PS. A “Happiness” Playlist would be a great idea! What tracks would be on yours?

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


11

October

Tom the Car

Sunday October 11, 2020


I’ve written before about how some of my best friends are people I see in tiny, regular, bursts. The window cleaner, fishman, courier, postie, all great friends who I never meet without our ‘appointments’.  We’re on first name terms and I’ve known most of them more than 20 years.  We’ve shared family highs and lows, daily joys and disappointments, and sometimes a hug. (And hugs will return for those who need them.) 
 
Tom the Car texts me when he’s going to be in my neighbourhood and asks “does your car needing doing hon?”.  I take that treat about 3 times a year and his valeting prices have never changed in 20 years! Tom the Car, in all brutal honesty, is a heart attack waiting to happen. I suspect he smokes and drinks heavily, his breathing is laboured, he is a heavy build, his face often quite scarlet. I was worried about him during lockdown as I knew he could be strongly at risk should the pandemic reach his door.   
 
He sent me a couple of messages during lockdown. Checking in on me and letting me know he wouldn’t be out for a while. When things eased a little, he started working again, just mornings. He let me know he was back and we made a date to refresh my car. On the day, he rang the bell and, as I opened the door, we said at the very same time “hiya darlin!” and we both burst out laughing. It was so good to see him. He cheers me up just by caring and asking “how are you doin’ hon?”  
 
The days can be very trudgy at the moment and I’m so glad for pals like Tom the Car.
 
Love from

The room above the garage
A Moodscope member.

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


10

October


How do I cope with all that life throws at me?

It's not an easy prospect, when low in spirit. My physical and mental state struggles to survive each day. Every movement is like walking uphill on ice, wearing leather soled shoes. The two sides of our persona share our 'Ups' and 'Downs', the 'outer' visible self, and the 'inner' hidden subconscious self.
Trying not to allow the 'Inner' self to bring me down.... I've accepted this mood and am beginning to like myself, so long as I don't hurt others.

When I feel a 'low' coming on, finding ways (however menial) to keep occupied, distracting my mind, stops me ruminating and helps me relax. In time, I've consciously learnt to deal with this mood, preventing it destroying my ‘normal' way of life. Despite the subconscious trying to get me to believe it's here to stay. But it always passes...

We're all in the same boat, equal, rich or poor, with or without mental illness. Three things that bind us together, coming in and going out of this world... and attending to 'our ablutions' in the same manner. I can accept my place in society, carefully not to judge others.

Perhaps when low... Ask yourself who's in control of my life?

I found 'Practicing' affirmations written on the bathroom mirror, displaying 'I'm a good, kind, nice person to be around”, ”I’m as good as the next person, no better, and no one is better than I”. Given time, it really does work, mindfully gaining control of my life.

May I respectfully suggest repeating these affirmations each day, for 6 months, please do try and don't give up. Practice smiling when out, even when feeling at rock bottom...

I'm in control, I've trained my subconscious 'Inner' self, to be positive even when it tries to tell me otherwise. It's where contentment lies, that 'Inner' peace and 'Inner' happiness we all so crave. Self-confidence came to me eventually. I started to believe in myself again. Enjoying a 'Positive' way of life, the way life is meant to be... It's how I get through each day. It works for me, it may not for you, but why not try, you've nothing to lose.

Time mindfully managed increases our ability to cope - living in the now moment’, as though it were my last day on Earth. Try not to look back, it serves no purpose. Looking in the rear-view mirror of life, like we drive our car, we're bound to crash. Try to enjoy each day as though it's our last... Time and Tide wait for no man. We're only here once, appreciate this 'Gift of Life’.

I know exactly what you're going through, I've been going through it many times since 1963.

Best wishes.

Davexx
A Moodscope member.

Are you a person who would never have a go at something that you fear?


9

October

Having a go

Friday October 9, 2020


Last week my partner’s daughter and two young children came to visit, they planned to go on  a scenic cable ride, a skyline ride and a very steep fast train. We live in a beautiful mountainous area so there a many tourist attractions.

I am ok with heights but not heights that move, so avoided the cable cars because it seems such a big car, attached to such a small attachment. The skyline also worried me.

I told everyone I was not going on the rides and they were disappointed. Next day I thought I could go and just wait for them to return if I felt a bit queasy.
I ended up going on all three rides and was sort of all right. I did have to borrow a teddy bear form the 6 years old and close my eyes for a bit.
 
I had a go and I was ok. Now I know many people have huge fears and phobias and I am not saying it is easy. Would I do it again?  Maybe, but  not for a few years.

I was wondering if anyone has a story of where they did have a go at something that they feared, something that they didn’t feel comfortable doing?
How did it go? Why did you have a go? Are you glad you had a go?

Are you a person who would never have a go at something that you fear?

Leah
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to leave a comment below.


8

October

I’m doing my best

Thursday October 8, 2020


Friday afternoon and I got my work done, deadline made. Kids were in school. I looked to the dog: ‘Come on, let’s go for a walk by the sea.’ 

We jumped in the car, parked, trotted over to the beach and walked along the shore. People swimming. Families paddling. Couples smooching. I didn’t bring a bag or money. Just me, the dog, his lead and poo bags, my phone, the car and house keys… 

Nooooooo! I wasn’t holding the keys anymore. (But I was holding a full poop bag!) Where were my keys? Me and the now-reluctant-dog retraced our steps searching for the keys amongst the pebbles, sand and seaweed. 

These were some of the thoughts that went through my head -

‘You’re such an eejit.’
‘How did you not notice?’
‘Did you not hear them drop?’
‘Can you do anything right?’
‘This was supposed to be a nice, quick walk - look at you now.’
‘This doesn’t happen to anyone else.’
'I must look so stupid muttering and looking down at the sand.'
‘Typical me!’
‘What if there’s something wrong with me? A sign of early dementia or something else weird?’
‘Mum was right - I’d lose my head if it wasn’t screwed on.’
Etc etc etc...

Just over an hour later, I collected my car keys from the local Garda station. I was still calling myself all kinds of foolish in my head. But a friend said these words to me -

‘Everyone loses their keys.’
‘You handled it very well. You rang the kids. You rang me. You made a plan.’
‘You had a hidden house key so you could still get into your home.’
‘You had a spare car key in a safe place in your home.’
‘You rang the guards.’
‘The guard complimented you on having a distinctive keyring for easy identification.’

Deep breaths. Everyone has mini emergencies. Everyone has mini dramas. We all make mistakes. When things go awry, we make a plan and we cope. 
I want to stop these miserable, negative voices in my head telling me I’m an eejit and doing it all wrong. How dare they!! 

My new mantra: I’m a good enough mother. I’m a good enough human being. I’m doing my bloomin’ best. We all are…

Salt Water Mum
A Moodscope member

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to leave a comment below.


7

October

Mr Blue Sky

Wednesday October 7, 2020


On 1st October 1977, Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) released their double album “Out of the Blue” and it stayed on my turntable for months; I loved it.

I’m listening to it again as I write. Not on my old stereo system of course; now it is streamed through my laptop, but that music of 43 years ago still sounds fresh today.

Side three was my favourite – entitled “Concerto for a Rainy Day.” It features the tracks “Standin’ in the Rain,” “Big Wheels Turning,” “Summer and Lightening” and, of course, the wonderful “Mr Blue Sky.”

Today, after a week of rain, the sun is shining, the sky is blue, and I feel my spirits soar. The lyrics of the song seem so right:

“Hey there, Mr Blue

We’re so pleased to be with you.

Look around, see what you do;

Everybody smiles at you.”

I don’t suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), but I know people who do. Sunshine is essential for them. I have a friend who moved to Tenerife for her health. She has ME and is much better in the sun and where the days are the same length all year round. I texted her yesterday; it’s 25˚C over there and – yes – sunny. “I’m not jealous at all,” I told her, and felt my nose grow longer.

One of my favourite books as a child was Noel Streatfield’s “The Painted Garden.” In it, the father, a writer, has depression and cannot write. The family visits California because he’s always better in the sun and, sure enough, in that sun, they start to hear the typewriter keys tapping away again. The book is not really about the father at all; it is about the children and their experiences over there, but I do sometimes wonder if Streatfield herself suffered depression in the dark gloom of the English winter and found that she could not write.

I know that I always feel better in the sun. I cannot go out in it for long as I burn, but I love sunny days. The long hot summer we had a couple of years ago was wonderful – even though the temperatures were uncomfortable at times.

It may be, for some of us, that we need to watch our mental health more carefully in the winter months. Even in winter, we generally have some sun and perhaps it would be a good idea to make a resolution now to take advantage of those sunny moments and get outside.

I may have lost my chance today. As I have been writing, the blue sky has clouded over, a spiteful wind has whipped around the plants in the garden and it feels like rain again.

There are still roses, however, on the bush outside my window – sunshine yellow roses. I shall cut some and put them in a blue vase. It won’t be the same, but it will remind me that Mr Blue Sky will be back another day.

Mary
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to leave a comment below.


6

October

Hiding my depression

Tuesday October 6, 2020


I’ve been away from work on holiday. Two weeks in total. We were supposed to go abroad but with this pandemic decided to stay locally. The first week was okay and I switched off from work however, on my second week back from a few nights away up north, it’s been an emotional rollercoaster with constant racing thoughts about work and life in general.

I’m dreading going back to work. I’m now more worried about a lot of things, overly worried which is causing me a lot of anxiety and a strong feeling of ‘I’m not good enough’. I was up and down when Covid started and when the lockdown happened I’ve had a few times where I seemed to feel better but the majority of the time I start feeling this dread which I can only described as the worst feeling in the world (it’s hollow feeling in my gut, an emptiness and a  detachment from being me! It’s extremely difficult to explain...)

I feel hopeless as I write this and trying to find some kind of olive branch or kind words because I can’t get it anywhere else because I know if I tell my family I’ll worry them and I’ll feel more disappointment.

I don’t understand why this keeps happening to me but I know that I can’t go through this constantly and when is enough enough?

I can’t go through another breakdown. I worked so hard to get out of the first one.

I feel stupid, ashamed, unworthy of anything and how can this be...? if I was well I wouldn’t be thinking or feeling this way.

Hugo
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to leave a comment below.


5

October

The seven Habits of Happiness

Monday October 5, 2020

[To watch a video of this blog post, please click here: https://youtu.be/AO29cJcb08c">https://youtu.be/AO29cJcb08c and to listen to an audio version, please click here: https://soundcloud.com/lex-mckee/the-7-habits-of-happiness-part-1-rest">https://soundcloud.com/lex-mckee/the-7-habits-of-happiness-part-1-rest]



Why not the 7 Habits of Happy People, after all, that's far more "Covey"? That would’ve worked too, but I like the thought of “Happiness” as a person.

In Ancient times, “Wisdom” is described as the most attractive and desirable woman, and thus I think Happiness must surely be her rather radiant sister. In fact, Wisdom is the MOST desirable of Women but I have to say Happiness, her sister, is far more fun!

Today begins a series on the 7 Habits, timed fortuitously to be initially published just before World Mental Health Day on October 10th.

Let’s begin with an outline of her character. The 7 Habits are:

- Rest
- Health
- Gratitude
- Attitude
- Aptitude
- Contribution
- Connection

At first, it surprised me to learn that Happiness begins with “Rest”. Then I thought back to the children when they were each very young, a tired toddler is rarely a happy toddler! We still have our Inner Toddler, don’t we? Do you get cranky when you’re tired?

I’m writing this on my favourite day of the week: Saturday. This, for me, is my “Sabbath Rest”. I’m looking forward to a day where I will rest and play! There are strong winds blowing across the UK and I hope to stay indoors most of the day and compose! I will be Happy!

Taking one day away or aside each week where ‘play’ and ‘rest’ are the themes, is essential for developing a sense of rhythm at the moment. Otherwise, all days seem relatively the same now that I’ve been robbed of Church (Zoom Church is NOT for me!)

Every day, I have a series of Micro-Sabbaths too which I call, “FABs” – firstly, because they are fab and secondly, because it’s an initialism standing for, “Fluid Adjustment Breaks”!

If you are a fan of the Pomodoro Technique, you’ll be used to a shift every 25 minutes. I’m old-school and, like my old school, I have a micro-break every 45 minutes. I find that when I look after the Minutes like this, I stay energetic and the hours magically look after themselves.

Let me close this first session with some exciting Biology. You were NOT designed to sit still! Our lymphatic system is partially-pumped by movement. Sit still and your system will have more issues getting rid of toxins than it needs to. Physical Fidget FABs enable our bodies to flush out the toxins more effectively and efficiently – especially if you top up the tank with water! With many more of us working from home or under effective house arrest, moving every 45 minutes is an issue of health and happiness.

Some very poorly kept secrets to a happy and restful home-working environment are attention to posture, light, air, sound, and scent. In short, get a table that you can stand at from time to time, an ergonomic chair, natural light, fresh air, harmonious sound, and ‘clean’ scents such as a blend of Rosemary, Lavender, Citrus, and Eucalyptus.

Next time: Health and Happiness.

"Until then, keep moving... and have a rest!"

Lex
A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above, please feel free to leave a comment below.


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