As you all know from my blogs music plays an important part in my life. I take music with me wherever I go. Whether that be on my run, on the way to work, in my office and in the seminar rooms just before teaching. Music can provide a narrative to what is going on around me. When I rediscover a piece of music I have not listened to for a while it evokes feelings and memories of the time I first listened to it. Music can also create a mindful state to help me reconnect with myself when I have been over thinking. In essence music is my safe place. Therefore the music has to be pretty special to evoke these feelings.
I have chosen 10 of my favourite albums that have been released this year. At least 2 or 3 of these albums will live long in my consciousness and evoke feelings and memories in the future. All of the albums have provided me a safe place throughout the year. However my number 1 album this year I have no doubt will be a favourite of mine for some time to come. This from a band that I have paid little attention to for the past 10 years, and it took them to split up and reunite to produce in my opinion a classic album. If you have not listened to American Dream by LCD Soundsystem then I implore you to do so, every track is a delight,
So here is my top ten albums of 2017
- American Dream-LCD Soundsystem
- Pure Comedy-Father John Misty
- Popular Manipulations-The Districts
- Villains-Queens of The Stone Age
- I See You-XX
- Little Fictions-Elbow
- Deep Understanding-The War on Drugs
- Stranger in The Alps-Phoebe Bridges
- Everything is Forgiven-Methyl Ethel
- Sempa Femina-Laura Marling
I derive a lot of pleasure from music as many people do. So by putting together a top 10 list and talking about it, I am celebrating a positive part of my life. It is so important to consciously acknowledge what is positive in your life on a daily basis. It is so easy to dwell on what is not going well and miss what is good. I am not saying ignoring what is going wrong is the way to go far from it. If you look at what is good first you start to feel positive and put yourself in a far better frame of mind to tackle what needs to be addressed rather than just feeling about what is going wrong. There is always something positive in your life.
What a gorgeous weekend it has been. The weather has been truly wonderful.
I was cutting the grass this morning and was looking around my garden and thought to myself how lucky I am to be here right now enjoying the sunshine, listening to the birds singing and smelling freshly cut grass.
We spend so much of our time worrying about what we have and have not done, and planning what we are going to do next that we can miss what is right in front of us. The events of the past few weeks should make us all stop and take stock, as our lives can be snuffed out or changed forever in a blink of an eye. Live every moment, pay attention to what is all around you.
Now planning for the future is important, but it should never be at the expense of the here and now. How do you know what you want if you don’t really know what you have.
I am as guilty as the next person for ruminating on what I have done and what I am going to do. When I find myself doing this (usually in the morning), I start looking around me, I pay attention to my surroundings, what is next to me, what is above me, below me, and in front of. Before I know it I am appreciating what is happening to me now. My mood lifts immediately. I am alive, I can sense what is around me. As my mood lifts I feel more confident and more creative, and therefore more productive.
It is really important to plan and strive for a brighter future, but don’t forget to enjoy the journey.
As you will know Foggy has been quite active over the past couple of days. This morning was not much different. The feeling was more visceral than before, with a tight jaw, pains in my chest and a feeling of impending doom (yes it did cross my mind that I was having a heart attack) This stayed with me all day. Working today was like running through treacle. Worst of all I was like a bear with a sore head.
After being a miserable git with Lisa, I said to myself, ‘enough is enough, you need to do something about this’. As mentioned yesterday I went for a run on Monday which had some effect. Up stairs I went and got my running gear on. Well it took me about 10 minutes after talking myself out of doing it twice, but eventually I got myself ready and did my warm up.
I do a couch to 10k app which involves slowing building up the amount of running you do. So I put my headphones on. The app gives me instructions throughout the run, and in between I put my music on. Quickly I am in a world of my own listening to my playlist and concentrating on not falling over. For the first 5 minutes I did my 5 minute warm up walk, then I started 10 minute run. 2 minutes into the run those visceral feelings had gone. As I was running I let my mind wander to where ever it wanted to go. The only thing I focused on was not stopping and remembering to breathe. After 10 minutes there is another 5 minute walk, this is normally a struggle, but this time I kept the same focus as I did during the run, and before I knew it I was back running for another 10 minutes.
No doubt me feeling more positive, is down to an accumulative effect of taking action firstly by exercising more regularly and writing my feelings down, and all the wonderful messages I received last night.
When you are beginning to struggle with your feelings do two simple things, talk to someone about how you feel and get outside and do something active. If you don’t yet struggle with your feelings, treat your mental health like your physical health and look after it, if you don’t it might just sneak up on you and cause you problems in the future.
I certainly wish I paid attention to my mental health years ago.
Many of you know me, so know that I am built more for comfort than speed, so if I can get active then so can you. Go for a run and look after your head.
I hope you are all having a relaxing Easter doing all the things that make you happy.
I am cooking for the family daydreaming about my future plans, imagining a time when I can coach full-time. I imagine working with all different people helping them realise their dreams, or taking stock of the wonders they already have, and it makes me smile. I get excited and what to achieve my goal more than ever.
Daydreaming is so important when planning the direction of your life, it reminds you why you want something, it keeps that desire alive.
You must however combine it with a robust and clear goal, alongside a strong plan.
Keep dreaming, keep planning, and enjoy the journey.