Blogon November 1st, 2013No Comments

pearSOMETIMES…   sometimes ….   things go a wee bit pear-shaped.

So you may notice here that the last post before this one was published in September 2010 just after the first Christchurch earthquake, and before the second earthquake that caused the deaths of so many people. Why the break? Why no blog postings since then? After all, I had hardly got started with blog postings.

Well, there were blog postings. Many of them. And then, unbeknown to me, my website got moved from one platform to another, or however the jargon goes. Unfortunately what got moved was an old version of my website, and the recent one with all the blog postings was deleted.

And so we start again. This time with less enthusiasm. This time blog postings will be briefer, less frequent, and this time, anything I write that I want to be sure I can retrieve, I will post as an article and keep a copy.

But move on we must. Older and wiser. Keep the chin up. Bigger, more important things are happening.

Christchurch Earthquake Grief

Blogon September 9th, 2010No Comments

Many of the people of Christchurch and surrounding areas will be experiencing grief from the losses they have suffered as a result of Saturday’s 7.1 earthquake. Just as one feels grief at the loss of a loved one, people can experience grief from loss of a home, loss of income, loss of a way of life. Just as with the loss of a loved one it is important to feel supported by others who are close.

I remember, years ago, heavy rains that brought extensive slips down on the farm. We didn’t own the land, just managed it, that didn’t matter. The land was scarred and it felt as though my mother had been in a car crash. I knew I loved the land but the depth of my feelings caught me unawares. I experienced a kind of grief. How much more the grief when you see your home in ruins, your land split in two, and then on top of that, for some the loss of livelihood.

If you have friends or family in the Christchurch area offer your loving support. Ask what they need that you can do. Maybe they need to come and stay for a while. If you don’t have friends or family in the area, help anyway – maybe just a donation. It’s going to be a long haul for many of those affected.

New Oceans

Blogon August 16th, 2010No Comments

Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.”

Sail boat

This quote comes from Lord Chesterfield (1694 – 1773) who was, apparently, a British Statesman. It is relevant to our lives right now because at the end of last week my husband announced his resignation in his current position. He resigned a good job he has been in for almost 12 years with no knowledge of where he will go or what he will do next, i.e. no other job to go to. Scary stuff. He resigned because it was time – time to go and time to start a new challenge. And the best way to be ready to take on new challenges is to be free of current commitments.

Staying tied to the jetty feels a whole lot safer than letting go, and sailing beyond sight of the shore takes a whole other level of courage.  I am proud of my husband’s courage. I am proud of his motivation to embark on the journey in these ‘interesting times.’

Getting Down and Dirty

Blog, Happinesson August 13th, 2010No Comments

In the gardenDirt is good. It makes you happier. It improves learning ability, improves memory, makes for better moods and feelings of wellbeing, and reduces anxiety. How’s that for a concept?

More accurately and specifically, it’s the natural soil bacteria mycobacterium vaccae that is considered of benefit. The bacteria are likely to be ingested or breathed in while participating in outdoor activities such as gardening. The bacteria increases serotonin levels, at least in mice. Serotonin is the neurotransmitter that affects mood and feelings of wellbeing.  Serotonin improves learning and decreases anxiety.

Researchers believe people may experience the same benefits when they participate in outdoor activities where natural soil bacteria are present. The researchers also speculated how the school learning environment could be enhanced by children spending more time outdoors as this may decrease anxiety and improve the ability to learn new tasks.

So this weekend, spend some time in the garden or biking through the forest – weather permitting. And schools – think how you could use this information to improve the learning of children.  I am sure there are many boys in particular who would learn better just from being able to be outside digging in the dirt, independently of bacteria.

Happiness At Work

Blog, Happinesson August 12th, 2010No Comments

At work

Happiness at work is all about your attitude towards that job according to a Columbia University professor. We often think that we have little or no choices at work. We think that we are powerless and that someone else has all the control. We wait for something outside ourselves to make us happy, a pat on the back from the boss, a promotion or pay rise. But it’s what is going on in the inside that counts. How we think about our job has a huge impact on what makes us happy or unhappy.

Money Can Buy Happiness

Blog, Happinesson August 11th, 2010No Comments

Money and HappinessMoney can buy happiness according to research out of Cornell University. We just need to spend it the right way. It’s experiences that make us happy. A vacation, in the end, will make you happier than a flat screen TV – we get used to the TV but somehow remembering the experience of the vacation brings more long term satisfaction. However, material goods that are vehicles for experiences bring happiness, the more experiences it can bring, the more happiness it brings.

People with more money are marginally happier than people with less money – perhaps that’s because they can buy more experiences.

Unemployed and in debt?  You can still have experiences that bring happiness. I recall a friend of mine, at that time a solo mother struggling financially. She found a way for her children to have an adventure. They all put their raincoats and gumboots on and went out into the rain and jumped in puddles.  They all loved it! As adults these ‘children’ still remember it and talk about it.  To check out the video:

Reducing Stress

Blog, Happinesson May 24th, 2010No Comments

Over 50?  If you are, you may have noticed you are less stressed with every passing year. Research involving 340,847 adults between the ages of 18 and 85, conducted by Gallup and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences show that the negative emotions of stress and anger decline as a person gets older.  Worry remains fairly constant until a person reaches 50 whereupon it drops sharply, while overall life satisfaction increases after 50 years of age.  42% of 50 year olds said they had “a lot” of stress; this had dropped to 20% by 70 years of age.

Do we have less to worry about as we get older?  Probably not, although with our children grown and generally beyond the worrisome teen years there could be those who would say there is less to worry about.  Perhaps we are more financially secure.  Or perhaps as we get older we simply get better at sorting out what is important and what is not, and not worrying needlessly about things we can do nothing about.

At all ages, women were sadder, more worried and stressed than men.

So if you are young and and want to reduce stress, just hang about and it will happen naturally.  Rock on 70!  Even better, rather than wait for it to come to you, learn to reduce negative emotions now. Start by accepting those things that you cannot change, and changing what you are saying to yourself and others about it.

Happiness-Increasing Tools

Blog, Happinesson May 19th, 2010No Comments

According to a worldwide study, there are positive links between access to technology and feelings of well-being Access to communication devices was found to be the most valued technology. Something as simple as a basic cell phone can serve as a happiness-increasing tool. It enables the expansion and maintenance of social networks beyond the immediate community.

Happiness is increased especially for women, for the poor, and for the poorly educated.  Women in developing countries are more socially constrained than men and it is thought that this is the reason they benefit more from the use of a cell phone. Technology is also a status symbol and can be a sign of prosperity.

There is a view that that technology has a negative impact on people because it blurs professional and personal time.  The difference is whether the cell phone is a tool or whether it becomes the Master.

The Power of Instinct

Blogon May 18th, 2010No Comments

In Penrith, Australia a man was holding his baby while talking to his parents when a car ploughed into them  The parents were knocked unconscious and took time to recover from injuries but amazingly the man and his baby son were unharmed.  Instinct took over as the car slammed into them and the man turned his body to protect his son.  We all have this instinct to protect those we love and it is especially strong with our children.  It’s great to know we will instinctively do the best we can in the moment.

Liberty, Freedom and the Right to Happiness

Blog, Happinesson April 28th, 2010No Comments

“Only God gives liberty, freedom and only God gives the right to happiness,”  according to Republican Michele Bachmann in a speech to fellow Republicans, where she referred to Democrats as “a cabal of radicals” who want to “pull the rug of freedom out from under us.” I’m not sure if Us refers to Republicans or Americans.

I wonder if that’s the God that those of other religious persuasions believe in or if Michele Bachmann means only the God that Republican Americans believe in.  What about those who do not believe in a God? Will they never have liberty or freedom, or a right to happiness?  I even wonder if God-fearing Democrats miss out …

Reminds me of those old Superman movies where he fought for ‘truth, justice, and the American way.”