What Makes Me Feel Good at Work

When I complete a project and it has brought benefit to someone, then I feel good.

When I’m able to do something easily and quickly because of the skills I have accumulated over a long period of time, then I feel good.

When I have been given a tricky problem and I solve it (either quickly it eventually), then I feel good.

When I put my head down and work, and look up and realise that I have completed the task, then I feel good.

When I have learned something valuable from my work, then I feel good.

When the paycheck comes in and I don’t even notice, then I feel good.

When I get a day off, paid for by the company, to sit and answer questions like this, then I feel good.

How to Cure a Panic Attack

Catch it early and nip it in the bud.

I have a perfect storm happening in my life right now. Work has become a place of pressure, I’m doing an MA in Creative Writing and Christmas is coming. On top of that I have a stinking cold complete with headaches and runny nose, aching limbs and eyes that don’t feel like opening.

Yesterday, I started to have the feeling that something bad was coming. It felt like doom. It felt like I was going to have to do something that I didn’t want to do. It felt bad.

Over and over I searched my mind for a cause. It couldn’t be the Masters because I’d just got my first assignment back and it was marked as a distinction. It couldn’t be my work because I had a plan and was rigorously sticking to it come hell or high-water. It couldn’t be Christmas because, well, that’s a time of goodwill and all of that. And it couldn’t have been the cold because I know that these things pass. So what was it?

Having scanned my mind, environment, relationships and body and found nothing threatening I told myself not to worry and I went to bed.

This evening, the feeling of impending doom returned, but this time I was ready. I told myself that it was nothing but a feeling and that everything was okay and, to my happiness, it agreed and it passed over and left me with a delicious sense of well-being. It came back a couple of times after that, and again I went through the same process and it receded.

And that, for me, is how to cure a panic attack: find that it has no basis in reality and tell it to pass. And it does.

And now – roll on wellness, productivity and success. I wish you all a beautiful day, season and life.

When You Have Nothing

What do you give when you have nothing?

You remind yourself that this is not true; you have amazing things to share.

What do you say when you have no words?

You remind yourself that this is false; you have many lovely things to say.

What do you do when you feel low?

You pick yourself up and move yourself on and be the wonderful self that you know you are.

At heart, you are fantastic and you always were and you always will be. ♥

Be yourself – that’s all you’ll ever need and no-one has any right to tell you otherwise.

Awareness

‘ … follow the breath as you expand that awareness,’ were the words I heard I joined, eight minutes late, a Mindfulness call.

This is what I became aware of in subsequent words:

  • … awareness to make better decisions …
  • … aware of that from moment to moment …
  • … aware weeks away from the appointment …
  • … aware of how it really is …
  • … awareness, try to do something about it …
  • … aware of that discomfort …
  • … aware of what is happening …
  • … awareness into all of your day …

Strikes me that even if I was do something as trivial as try to become aware of all instances of the word ‘aware’ throughout the day, it would change my consciousness.

There’s a lot that can be done with being aware of awareness.

Public Safety Announcement

How do you feel about squirting an aerosol of faeces in your face? Not keen? I didn’t think so. Here’s a simple way to make sure that you don’t do this every day of your life (depending on how regular you are):

Put the seat down before you flush the toilet!

When you flush the loo, the powerful action of the water converts the contents of the toilet bowl into a tiny particles, much the same as an aerosol. These then shoot up into the air. And what do they find, hovering over the bowl having just pressed the flush? Yep – it’s your face, just waiting to receive them.

So, guys (’cause let’s face it, all the ladies already do this) here’s a public safety announcement: in the interests of …

Oh, you got the message. Alright then.

How to Stay Alive

This is a challenging world and we’re living through dangerous times. People die all the time and it’s good that you’re reading this, because that means you haven’t joined their ranks.

Here are a few essential tips on how to stay alive:

  • Keep breathing
  • Eat food
  • Drink.

Okay – that should keep you going for now.

No, of course I’m not drunk!

How to Listen to Pressure and Avoid Stress

Pressure can be GOOD.   <——————>   Stress is BAD for you.

Pressure pushes us towards doing stuff. That’s fine because we should do stuff. But if there is too much pressure, this can lead to stress. Stress is what happens when something is in the process of breaking.

Imagine a thin wooden stick. In your mind hold one end and apply pressure to the other end; the kind of pressure that would normally bend it.

  • A small to moderate amount of pressure will cause the stick to flex, and a release of that pressure will allow it to move back to its original shape. The stick has had pressure applied to it, but has not been stressed.
  • A more than moderate amount of pressure will bend the stick further and a release of that pressure may not result in the stick returning to the original state. The stick has been stressed by the pressure applied. Its structural integrity has been damaged.
  • Extreme pressure will result in a cracking sound initially, then a splintering of the stick at some point along its length and then the stick may break. The pressure in this case has led to so much stress that the stick has been irrevocably damaged.

We receive constant pressure from our environment and from other people. Often it is because we are being impelled to do something. If we do the things we are being pushed towards, the pressure generally stops.

When we ignore, or do not notice the pressure, environmental factors usually (and people certainly) apply more pressure. The more we resist the urge to act, the more pressure is brought to bear. The result is ever-increasing stress. Eventually, we may (like the stick) snap.

It’s best not to snap.

The important thing is to listen to your body and your intuitions. Often we are given small warnings of big things.

  • Vibrations in the earth allow birds and small animals to move clear of tsunamis
  • Itchy spots on the skin when shown to a doctor may prevent skin cancer
  • Incremental changes to a high cholesterol diet can reduce the risk of heart disease
  • Listening to that small voice that tells you that there are better options than drugs and other destructive things can prevent untold misery and possibly even save your life
  • Hearing the innocent voice of a friend as they say ‘I love you’ can sweep your heart clear of the destructive effects of many years of murk and pain.

Listen to those small messages. They might seem like pressures that you don’t want in your life, but listening to them may prevent you from experiencing stress. Who knows – they might just make a huge positive difference to your life.

Oh, and by the way – I love you, my friend.

Nirvana

Buddha apparently didn’t want women to join the order and become Buddhists (although I’m sure they weren’t called that then) because he said it would cause the teachings to die out hundreds of years sooner.

Perhaps the fact that he relented and allowed women into the Sangha did set Buddhism back, but I think that grunge set it back even further. Even now, almost a quarter of a century since the death of Cobain, I can’t think of nirvana without Nirvana coming to mind.

Try searching for nirvana on Google (other massive multi-national conglomerates are available) and you will notice that Buddhism only features once in the top ten. Most of the other slots are taken by “one of the most influential and important alternative bands in history” (Wikipedia).

But even so, I’ve been thinking about the state of nirvana a lot recently. I’ve been getting a sense of that emptiness that lies beneath and beyond my thoughts, emotions and sensations.

These disturbances (aka thoughts) used to run wild through me; but not so much these days. It’s taken a while, but I might finally be getting a slight tinge of the trailing skirt of a faint sense of what it is like to be ‘blown out’ (as in an oil lamp).

I can’t claim to have reached a state of anything like perfect quietude or freedom from the bonds of corporeality, much less a state of highest happiness, but slowly, slowly – I’m heading in that direction.

And it feels nice.