There are two ways to interpret the headline of this article. Both interpretations are, or indeed can be, true.
The first: being happy, being joyful…these things take work. Being happy starts with a mindful decision and mindful actions that need consistent work. It takes effort to build happy habits like meditating, walking in nature, and exercising rather than giving in to the passive entertainment a phone or television brings. However, this hard work pays well in happiness coins and enriches our lives.
The second: being happy at work. This is the less obvious interpretation because it's not often you hear of people celebrating a day at the office. Monday is blue. Wednesday is Humpday. Friday is friyay. We spend so much of our time resenting work and counting down to the weekend.
Unless you’re in a country that promotes 4 day work week, 5 days are spent working either at home or in the office with just 2 days are allocated to downtime - being...
I don't always feel like bouncing out of bed and have been known to hide beneath the covers convincing myself that I have every good reason to remain snuggled.
However, once my common sense gives itself a good stretch and nudges me into reality, I move on to phase two of the waking up process – intentional deep breathing using Breathing Space from the Healing Hub and then a warm drink of lemon and ginger, before my first cup of coffee. Unlike the alarm, my coffee is the recipient of much love and adoration. I then trot off into the promise of a fresh new day before work responsibilities take centre stage.
Until recently, mother nature has been incubating during her well-deserved annual leave – aka Winter.
Just as she has her insular times, so too do we. It’s the natural ebb and flow of the universe. And, that’s okay. The good news is that there is always wonder around us regardless of my mood and regardless of yours. We just have to be open to receiving it....
Are nibble and natter the matter?
No. They’re part of the solution.
Natter? One may believe that staff banter and walkabouts reduce productivity. If colleagues are shooting the breeze, they surely can't be shooting the lights out in terms of targets or deadlines? Well, that’s simply not true. Exchanging stories with colleagues is not wasted time, provided it’s done in moderation and isn’t gossip. Human interactions bring on the feel-good feels – we need to laugh in the workplace! We love that modest Mildred from accounts shares her naughty side beneath those sensible-Susan glasses, and that Chris from creative was a self-confessed nerd before he transformed into a man-bun, hipster guy.
We spend too much time in the office for it to only be about stubborn printers, low ink flashing lights, time-keeping bosses, and stay-put cubicles. Researchers at the University of Michigan conducted a study to test the efficacy of small talk. It was found that the group...
The day we’ve all been waiting for has arrived. At least in part. Life is tiptoeing back to normality. Most of us have been given the "backed-by-science” thumbs-up to return to work.
But we have been working, you say?
Well, yes, but now we’re allowed to return to our formal downtown office on the third floor and do things like sit around actual boardroom tables and strategise over filter coffee, choc-chip cookies and bran muffins.
With in-the-flesh colleagues?
Someone sound the alarm bells!
Does this mean we have to be 'seen,' unprotected by ZOOM filters, island life backdrops, or the pajama-friendly video ‘off’ button, and make light conversation between meetings too?
The truth is - this good news brings with it a downside because it requires change. And while they say change is always good, it doesn’t mean it’s easy. Going into the office is no longer the norm. We are being asked to adjust YET again. Many of us have become comfortable...
And by 'thee,' I mean 'me'!
Yes. I unashamedly work on myself first. I seek joy and mindfully pursue happiness. Ironically, it's one of the most selfless things you'll ever do – to love yourself first. We’ve all heard about the concept of 'self-love.' In fact, it’s running the ragged edge of becoming a buzzword – one embroidered on an on-trend, overpriced scatter cushion. However, 'self-love' is not a passing word or a phrase; it is a lifelong practice that we must consciously maintain and prioritise if we are to beam our unique light on the world. And the world needs your light!
I believe that all things in life come down to balance. A balanced diet, a balanced fitness regime, and a balanced mindset make for a balanced individual. Now more than ever, we've been thrown off balance. We've had to shift, wobble and realign more times than any of us ever signed up for. So, what do we do to minimise life’s vertigo and draw closer to equanimity?
“If you carry joy in your heart, you can heal any moment.” - Carlos Santana
2022 doesn't seem to be any different from those preceding it, and there is a flurry of resolution and goal setting. Perhaps, like me, you feel apprehensive this year about diving right in with the busyness that New Year resolutions demand?
There's nothing inherently wrong with setting a New Year's resolution. Where things can get problematic is when you're doing it from a place of obligation or pressure. After the last two frenetic years, it feels as if being gentler and slower out the starting blocks may serve us better than aiming for the very distant finish line of yet another year-end.
What could you do then (if anything)? Instead of cultivating a bunch of new pledges and habits, why not spend time nurturing joy or a sense of joie de vivre? Joie de what?
My French heritage influences my choice of words!
Joie de Vivre [zhwa.da.ve.vre]
french n. 1. “joy of life”
Joy is often...
I am human. I am unashamedly imperfect but proud that I consistently work towards being more self-aware, more present, more wholehearted. I do this for myself, for my inner peace, and so that I can contribute positive energy to my loved ones, to my clients and society as a whole. So, yes, I have the tools – I teach them, after all! However, even the teacher is constantly being tested, learning fresh lessons.
My test arrived a few short weeks ago in the form of a COVID Fit to Fly Test (PCR) - it's a lesson as uncomfortable and far-reaching as the nasal swab. I had booked a flight back to South Africa to visit my parents after our beloved dog, Clicquot passed. I had a profound sense of the fragility of life and wanted to comfort my parents and spend precious quality time with them for the first time in 2 years. I'd booked my flight, bags were packed, and travel documents, necessary COVID documents too, in duplicate, neatly placed in an easily accessible pocket. All boxes...
Do you remember the joy you used to find in a simple, brightly coloured bouncing ball? How you used to shriek with delight as you and your friends relished in its playful unpredictability. Was it going to hit a stone on the ground and veer sharply left instead of into the intended cupped hands of your friend? Was it going to bounce so high that only your bedroom ceiling could withstand its upward soar with an audible ‘thud’? Or perhaps on your next throw, it would land on your plush, soft duvet and be unexpectedly stopped in its tracks– devoid of any bounce. There may even have been an occasion when it ricocheted off a wall, hitting you in the temple, resulting in tears and a hug from someone who cared about you.
Suppose we recognise that many of our childhood games were, in fact, the beginning of our life lessons. In that case, we will see that this little bouncy ball was part of the intriguing learning tapestry of life. Inadvertently, in these innocent years of...
Have you recently been staring at yourself in the mirror and pondering as to whether the person staring back at you is, in fact, actually you? And if it is you, then what is it that has changed? And to what degree? Is the change for the better or worse? You look ok. Maybe you even look fabulous. After all, you've just been shopping to replace your sweatpants with a tailored pantsuit for that in-person meeting. Visually, you’re rocking it! However, sitting plum in your solar plexus is a pesky state of angst and uncertainty that you just can't shake—a constant state of FLUX. You are feeling more than just a little left-of-centre. Why now? Why this feeling of angst when the life you were forced to give up for 18 months is finally returning to normal?
It's just that they're rolling around your feet in a disorderly manner,...
Building better habits or changing your actions is not all about willpower or motivation. One of the number one drivers of your behaviour change is without a doubt your environment.
Our environment has the incredible ability to shape our behaviour, and never has this is been truer than with what we EAT. Leave the crisps on the counter and you will finish them. Have a well-stocked fruit bowl and you will grab some fruit. It’s all about what is accessible when you are hungry.
Why not take a little bit of time to organise your kitchen, your pantry and your grocery list so that your choice architecture can guide you toward making better decisions, even when your willpower is fading.
Learn how to consolidate your kitchen like it is your job
Two key steps in this process are:
Keep more healthy and nutritious foods around. Make sure they...