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Modern definition of insanity – to continue to do the same thing and expect a different result. Saturday March 12, 2016

The Hungarian doctor Ignaz Semmelweis who practiced obstetrics in Vienna 1840 started a change that would eventually shape medicine worldwide.

He noticed impoverished women, who were under the care of midwives, were not nearly as susceptible to fatal childbed fever as the wealthy women who were cared for by doctors.

He figured out, that this was due to the fact that the doctors were not washing their hands before examining the women.

As an experiment Ignaz, tried washing his hands before seeing patients, with the result that his patients did not contract the dreaded fever. But when he implored his colleagues to do likewise, they scoffed and laughed, paying no attention to his seemingly outrageous idea.

Finally in 1862, in a desperate attempt to make his point, he cut off one of his fingers and plunged his hand into the open belly of a corpse, only to develop the fever and die within a few days.

Yet still nothing changed. The medical hierarchy was not yet ready to change, because without any knowledge of germs, his observations made no sense. It wasn't until Louis Pasteur in the 1880s and germ theory materialised that reluctant doctors were forced to comply with new rules on cleanliness.

Organisations today are no different, as they are simply made up of people, who often choose comfort before courage to change, even if things are now proven. And to quote Brene Brown 'You can have comfort or courage, but you cannot have both."

We comfort: eat/drink/drug/seek sex/think/watch TV/play video games/internet and we even get upset when our comfortable route to work is denied us, for the sake of improving the actual road or rail we are on.

I talked last week about the importance of desire (want to) over the knowledge (what to and why to) and skill (how to) to create a healthier habit. Due to shifting from our comfort zone to somewhere less initially comfortable - desire (courage) is key.

I know for me, doing more mindfulness will help, yet up until my last depression I didn't have enough 'want to' – even although places like Harvard and Oxford have carried out endless research which proves it aids mental health and can reduce depression by up to 60%. Why would I not embrace it – except to avoid change and thus effort!

How can you find the courage to change your lifestyle to become healthier from what you 'know' will make you feel better and you have yet to embrace?

And often crucially, can you find a buddy to work with you or support you along the way?

A Moodscope member.

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

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Arvind Sat, Mar 12th 2016 @ 6:46am

I think people are in different places perhaps and maybe there is a healthy sweet spot... however, I think the sincerity and fairness is mostly absent and these type of posts turn out sounding like a con-job...

Les Sat, Mar 12th 2016 @ 12:26pm

Hi Arvind - well one thing is for sure, my sincerity and love of fairness has never wavered. I struggle with life just like so many others and keep 'falling'......I just have to keep getting up again...somehow. My sense is that your comment is more about your own frustration and it also makes it easier to point the 'blame' out there in some way. For sure people are in different places....even the same person is different places each day..... // Treat everyone kindly, as everyone is fighting their own battle. // Good luck with yours.

Zareen Sat, Mar 12th 2016 @ 7:33am

I found that your blog has encouraged me to go back to the mindfulness application Headspace & to start again. Thanks for your encouragement.

Les Sat, Mar 12th 2016 @ 12:31pm

Hi Zareen - my sense is that as we are all told / informed....we have to stick with it. Thoughts will ALWAYS come in - they always have - its just how we treat ourselves kindly when we notice. I loved the metaphor of the new young puppy who keeps pee-ing in the wrong place - we smile and gently take that boyant being back to where they should do it...smiling gently as we do so. Treat your thoughts like that errant young puppy and gently and without judgement return to your mindfulness anchor (breathing or whatever you use) Good luck

Anonymous Sat, Mar 12th 2016 @ 8:50am

Good Morning Les. I was only thinking yesterday how Mindfulness isn't mentioned on Moodscope very much these days. My mind is chattering incessantly at the moment and I often stop myself when walking along as I am so aware of the silly conversations going through my head. So I start to do a mindfulness exercise and immediately I feel the benefits. It brings me back to a calm state. However, I find myself chattering again after a few minutes and I have totally forgotten the mindfulness. I can be walking home again after meeting friends or whatever and I suddenly remember that I didn't even get past the "feel" part of the mindfulness exercise on the way. So I continue and sometimes finish but often don't! I learnt about Mindfulness over 2 years ago and have been mostly sceptical of its benefits. But I now know it works. The contrast between the chattering earnest conversations and the silence is amazing. You are right, we really have to work at making oir lives healthier. It does take effort. Thanks Les for reinforcing this. Julxx

Les Sat, Mar 12th 2016 @ 12:33pm

HI A - Totally agree, the more we 'think' the worse it can be - keep returning to the breath....and again..........and always. The research is SO strong.....

Carol Sat, Mar 12th 2016 @ 9:16am

Was inspired by the Brene Brown quote so googled her. Just watched the Ted talk on vulnerability and courage. Was just what I needed right now so thanks you so much for posting it : )) xx

Les Sat, Mar 12th 2016 @ 12:33pm

Hi Carol - Enjoy....fab stuff.

Mary Sat, Mar 12th 2016 @ 10:41am

Thank you Les. Absolutely one needs courage. It is far easier to carry on travelling along well worn rails right over the cliff at the end (lemmings anyone?) than to shake ourselves out of that rut. But I've never really understood mindfulness.... Being someone who lives very much in the moment, I am either already totally involved in what I am doing at the time - or in a daydream with the characters who live in my head - plotting out their stories and finding the words to share those stories. But then there's the slight ADD, which goes, "Oh - there's a butterfly!" (Actually - it's a blue tit, and it's building a nest in the bird box outside my window..... now there's lovely for you!)

Les Sat, Mar 12th 2016 @ 12:38pm

Hi Mary - Be glad you live in the moment....wonderful. I used to do and never understood why people couldn't, until marriage and then work kinda tipped me into something I have not since been able to quell - that's 25 years ago. Just be aware that what you have is a gift and enjoy these moments that you can savour.

Skyblue Sat, Mar 12th 2016 @ 12:35pm

Hi Les, desire has to be sustained in order for action to take place and so often the enemy is plain old inertia. It's a powerful thing and depression is a perfect breeding ground for inertia. Or is it the other way around? Perhaps inertia brings on depression. So how to find that courage? A constant battle to shake ourselves out of that rut, as Mary said. Perhaps repeated exposure to the desire eventually wears down the inertia. Sorry, I'm probably not making any sense. Thanks, as always. xx

Les Sat, Mar 12th 2016 @ 12:40pm

Hi SB - I always use that phrase 'both and'...rather than either or. I think they both feed off each other. The GP used to send me back to work when I didn't feel quite ready - and he was always right. As soon as I went back my mind was filled with other thoughts to focus on and back to 'normal' I came. Now being self employed.......not so good. Go well

The Gardener Sat, Mar 12th 2016 @ 5:45pm

I keep losing this - Les's blog very apt - the awful last few days have resulted in Mr G being taking into respite for a few days. Watershed time - do things I have not done for months, and contemplate how I am going to cope with our future lives - and to pray (perhaps) for courage and wisdom to face the future with a cheerful face and, above all to control my increasingly bitter feelings - my husband is a very sick man, and only resilience is going to stop me screaming my head off every now again.

Frankie Sat, Mar 12th 2016 @ 10:29pm

Evening Gardener; please DO look after yourself during this respite; I think screaming your head off is perfectly understandable ... Frankie

Frankie Sat, Mar 12th 2016 @ 10:31pm

Oh gosh Les, I am still working on last week's blog! My mind is so full ... This, and last week's blog, have been hugely helpful ... so rich ... Thank-you ... Frankie

Salt Water Mum Sat, Mar 12th 2016 @ 10:41pm

Hello Les and to everyone a good evening,

A late response from me but I was fascinated reading about the doctor and his germ theory - That part of me that adores Grey's Anatomy was delightedly intrigued !
And, like Carol, I too watched Brene Brown's TED talk and loved it (I am a fan of hers now).

So, thank you Les :-)

Good evening The Gardener, I'm with Frankie - mind yourself during the respite, perhaps take some time to do a few things that you want to do, that you can even luxuriate in doing, you deserve some time out...

I have several books about mindfulness - I do find reading about it most relaxing, it's the putting it into practice I have a difficulty with !!!


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