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The right tool for the job. Sunday October 9, 2016

I subscribe to, and follow, various "positive" pages or emails online. A nice daily quote in my Inbox (Oh, I do love a good motivational quote); beautiful photos of nature and wildlife, with vivid uplifting colours; inspirational people; videos depicting kind acts of humanity; that sort of thing.

Well, the other day an article popped up which initially seemed worth a read – something along the lines of "14 things to do in 14 days to enhance your wellbeing". Wonderful, I thought, let's see what I can add to my repertoire.

But in actual fact the article left me feeling like my wellbeing had been somewhat sabotaged. It was suggesting setting aside an hour a day for one thing, 15 mins a day for another, another hour a day for something else... And on, and on, so that by the time I'd reached the end of the 14 suggestions, not only did I feel totally overwhelmed with all these things I wasn't currently doing, I felt like I needed to set my alarm for 3am just to try and fit them all in!

Don't get me wrong, the "things" suggested were all valid and worthwhile (albeit things we probably already know would help) – doing something you love/derive great pleasure from, reading a chapter from a book, learning/trying something new, taking a short walk, reflection, affirmations... And actually it did make me stop and think that I could probably pick one or two to try and fit into my own evenings more often (certainly more than just slobbing out on the sofa watching Australian Masterchef whilst devouring a tub of BBQ pringles with sour cream & chive dip anyway. Don't judge me...)

But not all in the same day. Not even if you picked one a day, for the next designated 14 days. That still feels like an enormous amount of (counterproductive) pressure to try achieve all these things, in order to reach this alleged state of happiness.

So we need to be careful, and considered. I am, like most of you I'm sure, very open to new strategies to enhance the mood. But we need to decide whether the latest idea we're trying out is actually going to contribute to our overall wellbeing, or whether it's just going to add extra pressure or panic to what can sometimes be a very difficult day just to get through. Otherwise we run the risk of signing up to something that realistically isn't right for us; not enjoying any of the things that are supposed to "help"; and then finish with the feelings of guilt when we "fail" to complete the task. Definitely not the path to a happier self!

So go forth, my fellow Moodscopers, and fill up your emotional toolbox with whatever implement you think can be put to use on your way to wellbeing. Just be sure to pick the right tool for the right job.

A Moodscope member.

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

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Duma Sun, Oct 9th 2016 @ 5:58am

Hi Fiona.

my 'toolbox' contains (amongst other things) meditation.

To me it's the multi-tool, well used, with the corners worn smooth from long use.

"I'm off to meditate", it's one of the cliches of my life - when the going gets tough, I hide in my mantras.

Works for me.

Cheers, Duma.

Mary Wednesday Sun, Oct 9th 2016 @ 9:18am

One thing. It's similar to Duma. Watch out for Wednesday's blog. I try to swim most days. For me it combines eccercise with meditation. Yes, it's an hour out of my day that is hard fought for (and sometimes lost) but oh, so worth it!

Hopeful One Sun, Oct 9th 2016 @ 9:29am

Hi Fiona- thanks for your interesting blog. I try and avoid books with titles like the one you describe because these books often mislead promising somthing which may or may not work for one.

I have two Universal Tools in my tool box. Like Duma I would rank meditation as my top all round tool always available and costing nothing. The other is laughter. I have other specialist tools too like My Vitamin N ( for Nature) but that is not always available in the U.K. Seeking out company to share a conversation or a meal from someone in my Notrobba group of friends and acquaintances( the other two groups are Trobba Not , and Trobba- Trobba stands for trouble- to be generally avoided if possible)

Today's laugh has lawyers in its cross wires having heard from a couple of friends how they were ripped of by their solicitor who for his fiscal convenience dragged out their case when it had no chance of success. So apologies to any lawyer Moodscopers.

At a convention of biological scientists, one prominent researcher remarked to another, "Did you know that in our lab we have switched from mice to lawyers for our experiments?" "Really?" the other researcher replied. "Why did you switch?" "Well, for three reasons. First we found that lawyers are far more plentiful. Second, the lab assistants don't get so attached to them, and thirdly there are some things even a rat won't do."

the room above the garage Sun, Oct 9th 2016 @ 1:33pm

Thank you Fiona! We are so bombarded in life, from all angles, that it is refreshing to read your view. A wise friend once told me it doesn't matter what we do...just pick one thing and stick at it and progress will follow. Thank you, love ratg x.

Jackie Sun, Oct 9th 2016 @ 3:44pm

Hi Fiona, it is as much as i can do to get out of bed this week. Ive been telling myself to rejoin ladies gym or try swimming again or the excercise class thursday mornings but so far its not happening. Maybe tomorrow be a better day i hope to try and go to burnham on crouch it is very nice byy the river. I also listen to the headspace app some nights the guy has a very soothing voice.

Frankie Sun, Oct 9th 2016 @ 5:30pm

RATG is right Jackie (see above); also Fiona; just pick one thing; maybe the gym is too big at the moment - a gentle stroll in the park instead could be more achievable - or even just round the block and seeing how many birds you spot ... sending gentle hugs ... Frankie

the room above the garage Sun, Oct 9th 2016 @ 9:06pm

Hello Frankie, love to see your name, and how are things? Jackie, you said it all in your own words (1) you're struggling a stop pushing yourself, it's not yet time for that , (2) the river brings you go there when you can, (3) headspace is giving you some stick with it. That is PLENTY. Keep talking. Love ratg x.

Jackie Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 10:46am

Yes i think your right i might be aiming too high at moment. Im going to the river today it does seem to provide the peace i crave right now. Thankyou ratg xx

Jackie Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 10:47am

Or should i say frankie but thankyou for replying

The Gardener Sun, Oct 9th 2016 @ 4:57pm

Only replying to Leah from yesterday - no idea of the slang meaning - just Googled it. For those with that sort of mind my yesterday title allied to that of Fiona today could stretch a fertile imagination. Rough day, lots working out of problems - hugs to everybody out there for replies to my blog yesterday

Frankie Sun, Oct 9th 2016 @ 5:32pm

I'm loving this Fiona! So true; and very wise - pick the right tool for the right job - thank-you! Frankie

The Gardener Sun, Oct 9th 2016 @ 6:02pm

My tool for the job does not come off a shelf - staying focused - Mr G is at the stage of wanting to know where I am every two minutes - haven't given myself anything but the most minor projects today - but nothing achieved at all. SO frustrating - it piles enormous stress on the two respite days - which are no longer respite. Working on it - tomorrow painters, psychiatric 'minder' (mine) reader for 2 hours for Mr G and lady about curtains. Fingers crossed - that stratagem did not work last week - and virtually the whole town was going round with crossed fingers!

the room above the garage Sun, Oct 9th 2016 @ 9:11pm

TG, forgive me if I am speaking out of turn but I haven't always kept up... Is there nursing care available to you in France? Long term. We had to give in with what we wanted, and swallow our deep unsettled and harrowing concern, and accept that long term nursing care was what my granny needed. She's 9 months in and, although it took time, I see what a fabulous difference it's made to all. My dad now can spend time with his mum playing scrabble, walking her round the garden and being WITH her. She is beautifully taken care of. I wish it for you.

Eva Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 7:03am

I was really struck by a lady's story yesterday about her autistic son, and how the whole families health improved when he went to live in a specially equipped and staffed home, and they were then able to make the most out of the time they spent together without being exhausted and frustrated and sad. I am hearted to hear that you and your family have had a similar experience. I believe the issue facing the Gardener is cost, she needs to sell her second property to finance care.

the room above the garage Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 8:43am

Ah thank you, I understand.

Andra Sun, Oct 9th 2016 @ 9:45pm

Ah my goal is close to the Moodscope suggestion "Clean your teeth, wash your face, measure your mood. A daily must-do." I'm pretty good about washing my face and almost always brush my teeth before bed. I've fallen off with Moodscope while working a full-time job which helped enormously with keeping my mood more steady. Now I'm unemployed again and while I love the expanse of time most days, I also dread it because it gives me free reign to flit from one thing to another. So back to Moodscope I go. I hope. I'll keep my feelers out for any guilt or self-judgement when I don't.

Mary White Sun, Oct 9th 2016 @ 9:47pm

Hi, I really feel you.sometimes I do a list of things that could encourage me, but it is difficult to do all. What I try to do is to have a list of things that I have to do and add one new thing everyday, so it works.

Eva Mon, Oct 10th 2016 @ 6:58am

Hi fiona, this resonates with me, I too have become overwhelmed by the good things I do to stay in balance. Currently like ratg recommends to Jacqui I am doing what I can and if I am not fully motivated, energy filled I don't do it. Recently I've been managing to swim once or twice a week, and have started using the Calm meditation app. And this week I am hoping to do two yoga classes, but I won't beat myself up if I can't complete them. I'm also hoping to get a little work done in the afternoons, we'll see how it goes.

Nicco Tue, Oct 18th 2016 @ 5:18pm

Hi Fiona, thanks for your blog. I realise I have too many self-help books and far too many meditation cds/emails to cope with so I've done the sensible thing and chosen just a couple - that way my head doesn't get so overwhelmed that I sit and do nothing at all. Thanks again.

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