Are you satisfied with your life

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From time to time I feel dissatisfied with my life. I feel I should be more than I am, that I do not live up to my potential. I should have a higher paid job, I should be living in a big house, driving a fancy car, going on exotic holidays. I should be more decisive at work, be pro-active, ruthless, a go getter. Sound familiar?

These are just some of the markers of success that our culture values, therefore we have a tendency to measure ourselves them, and decide if we are a success or not. Invariably with are not able to live up to all if any of these values. But we are constantly exposed to the idea that people around us are doing better than us. Pre-social media this exposure was limited to people we saw on the telly, the odd self publicist and gossip. Now we are all connected with have all become shameful self publicist, and now it seems even our friends and neighbours have a better life than us. This just adds to our feelings of inadequacy, and dissatisfaction. This clearly is no way to live our lives.

One answer to this problem I suppose would be to disconnect yourself from all forms of social media. But social media has so much going for it. You would not be reading this blog for one if you stopped engaging with all forms of the media. After all Facebook and Twitter are great ways to share with everyone, how much of a nice time you had, or to share a common experience, therefore adding to your feelings of satisfaction.

The answer is not to change the world but to change the way you see the world and how you respond to what you see. The first thing to do is to assess how you see yourself based on your own measure of satisfaction rather than the medias’. I like to measure myself against Martin Seligmann’s conditions that are required for happiness. Martin Seligmann suggested that to be happy the following conditions need to be present in your life. If you are happy then you will feel more optimistic about you future and therefore more likely to succeed and feel satisfied. The conditions are:

Positive Emotion; how many times a day do you laugh and smile?

Engagement; do you take part in activities that you do for the sake of it, something you don’t have to think too much about (reading, sewing, running, singing etc.)?

Relationships; how often do you see or speak to family or friends or both?

Meaning; why do you do what you do? what are your values?

Achievement; this does not have to be academic or vocational achievement, it could be baking bread for the first time, a personal best time swimming or running, anything where you have done your best, and achieved personal excellence (as good as you can do it). How many times have a you achieved this week.

Answer the questions relating to each condition above. What are areas of your life do you need pay attention to your life to be satisfied? Identify them and then plan how to address them. This is how you can be successful, rather than trying to live up to an impossible ideal imagined through our cultural idea of success.

Be happy, be what you want to be, then you will be successful.

If you want to discuss this further, or want some coaching to have a successful happy life, email me.

Matt@mattycoach71.com

Running for my mindfulness

Over the past 2 months I have been running a lot more frequently. I know try to run at least 5 times a week. I generally run 1 to 2 miles each time. Not far I know and to be honest I am painfully slow. I run mostly in the evenings during the week and in the morning at weekends. Sometimes I will mix it up and go to the gym where I will go on the treadmill and have a go at some weights.

As I said I have been doing this for a few months, in fact you may remember my previous blog posts on the subject. Naively I thought my body shape would change I would be all slim and lithe like by now. No chance I’m still a porker! I have discovered that you have to adjust you diet if you want to get slimmer, which is a shame, I am quite partial to a bag of crisps and the odd chocolate bar. Oh I will just have to be that fat bloke in sports gear.

Anyway I digress, the main reason for this blog is to describe how I now feel after running regularly for the past few months. I have mentioned before the mindfulness I experience when I run. Well now that has spilled over into everyday life. When I feel myself getting stressed out by events or thoughts I can now in most cases switch on this mindful state when I run. Even though I don’t run for long, so therefore I am only mindful for short periods everyday, that regular practice of mindfulness everyday allows me to employ the technique when I need to.

I will try to explain how it works for me. When I am running in generally hurts, mainly because I am in my mid forties and overweight, so my joints object quite strongly to moving this lump around at a greater speed. I also find that for the first couple of minutes my breathing is all over the place. So that is where I start I listen to my breathing. I don’t try to regulate it or slow it down, I just listen to it. I allow myself to be breathless for the first 2 minutes. I am then able to relax and work with my body rather than fighting it. After about 2 minutes my breathing settles down and gets into a regular rhythm. I can then use that breathing as a reference point along with the sound of my feet hitting the pavement. These are places I can bring myself back to say when my knees and ankles start hurting or when my thoughts wonder to unhelpful areas. I will also take in my surroundings, I notice the trees, the colour of the sky, cars passing by, the feel of the wind, rain or sunshine on my face. My mind quickly relaxes and allows me to experience what is happening to me now, rather than what has already happened or what might happen in the future. However if positive memories or positive plans of the future enter my head I do allow them to linger for a while, but I will always come back to the hear and now to help me through the run. (Remember I am only running for a few minutes so it does not take up big chunks of my day. Can you give up at most an hour 5 times a week).

Now I use that technique 5 times a week I find it so easy to bring myself into the moment when it all gets to much. As a result Foggy now has a much reduced impact on my life.

So if you are struggling with your mood, think about taking part in some exercise and employing mindfulness.

Don’t forget I am still offering free coaching sessions providing you contact be before 5pm on 1st August 2017

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Live in the moment and enjoy your journey through life


Many of you will have realised by now that I use this blog as some kind of therapy, to remind myself how to be to keep myself on an even keel. 

With that in mind I thought I would talk about the day I have had today.

It has been a good day, bordering on a lovely day. 

It started in the usual fashion with butterflies and that general feeling of inadequacy. That didn’t last however I was soon distracted by the sound of birdsong and a lovely bright summer morning. The kind of  morning that reminds you how wonderful the world is.

I arrived at work and started on writing a training session, something that I started last week. This early stage of writing a training session is my favourite part, this where I start bringing together all the current evidence and combine it with my existing working knowledge. I learn so much during this process about how much I know and don’t know. I always over write at this stage as I get so fascinated with the subject. This kept me engaged for the first hour. Then to stop me getting stuck I went to collect some paperwork from one of the wards. 

As a consequence of visiting a ward I ended up doing a coaching session with one of my coachees. Again I was completely engaged in what I was doing. We managed to spend an hour discussing her plans, and she gave me some very useful feedback. 

2 hours in and I am buoyant. I then meet a member of staff to sign off evidence for her competences, and then back to writing the teaching session. In the meantime I received an email from a colleague at the university giving me feedback from the students I taught on their last module. I was practically walking on air.

After lunch I must admit I got a little carried away on a particular part of the session and ended up doing a quick literature review. Now I have 15 articles to read through. They may not change the presentation dramatically but they are often good to provide more context when delivering the session, and provides a wider reading list.

When I got home the weather was gorgeous if not a little warm. I decided to go for my mile a day run before I relaxed too much and didn’t want to go.  Even though my knees and hips and ankles ached (my legs really object to carrying this fat lad around) it was worth it. I do keep telling myself it will get easier, I have to keep the faith. Anyhow just being out in this glorious weather was worth it the sunlight lit up the trees and the houses giving everything a majestic glow. 

Today has been so good, because I have concentrated on the moment and not over thought the past or the future. There is so much around us to embrace and enjoy. I don’t manage it everyday but when I open my eyes to what is happening and live it the moment I feel so much more fulfilled. 

Open your eyes to what is around you and start enjoying your journey through life.

Walking Through Treacle

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It was like walking through treacle going to work this morning.

My chest was tight, my legs felt like lead, and I had a feeling of impending doom one minute, then a feeling of complete indifference the next.

On at least 2 occasions on my way to work I considered turning around and going home and go back to bed. On both occasions I ignored myself and carried on. It would have been so easy to run back to bed and hide. I was dreading going to work, the thought of speaking to people made me feel sick. But I carried on. I sat on the bus holding back tears, and not knowing why I felt emotional. But I carried on.

As the bus travelled down Anlaby Road I let my mind wander I started to look around me, taking in the different people on the bus, most of them regulars on the bus. Then looking outside of the bus I took in the familiar sites of the K Com Stadium, the church at the end of Boulevard (sorry don’t know what it is called). The sun was shining, it was a beautiful morning. The negative unpleasant feelings had left me.

I arrived at work and walking up the stairs to my office the ruminations and treacle legs started again, until I got inside my office, opened my emails and started work. I was in the moment again away from my negative thoughts.

Throughout the day Foggy and his ruminations have come and gone, on the whole it has been a shitty day. If you asked anyone I met today if they thought I was struggling, they probably would not have noticed. I was determined not to let him rule my day and my life. 2 years ago this would have been the first day of a long run of giving into the depression and taking time off work. Not anymore, they are only feelings, I can let them rule me or I can rule them. I liken it to running, every time I started running it hurts and I want to stop, but I carry on and quite quickly the pain lessens and I can complete my run and reap the benefit.

As I said it is too easy to give into the feelings, but then I would always be a slave to them and never move on. They are just feelings the same as the positive feeling I have, no more or less powerful so why should I pay more attention to them than other feelings.

No doubt tomorrow will be just as bad, but if I don’t give in I know I will have good days very soon.

If you recognise any of this, don’t suffer by yourself, talk to someone, get some support. If you know me, come talk to me, you are not alone. Most of all talk to your Doctor and get some professional help as well as talking to friends and family.

 

Enjoy The Moment

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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.

Mix Tape of my 30s and 40s

Here is my last mix tape, bringing up to date with music that I have been listening to for the past 16 years. A soundtrack to my boys growing up into young men, me losing my dad, getting promoted, moving house, struggling with my mental health, it has been an eventful 16 years and I am […]

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Here is my last mix tape, bringing up to date with music that I have been listening to for the past 16 years. A soundtrack to my boys growing up into young men, me losing my dad, getting promoted, moving house, struggling with my mental health, it has been an eventful 16 years and I am grateful for every moment of it. If a journey is going to be worthwhile it should be challenging. The view from the top of the mountain is always more satisfying if you have worked hard getting there.

Again my original list was 50 songs long, these are the songs that resonate with me the most at this moment, ask me again in a few months and it may well be different. I have provided a link for each song so you can have a listen. I will also provide a link to the playlist on iTunes.

30s and 40s mix tape

Rococo-Arcade Fire

The View From The Afternoon-Arctic Monkeys

Claire-Baxter Dury

Gossamer Thin-Conor Oberst

Make You Better-The Decemberists

My Sad Captains-Elbow

God is a DJ-Faithless

Ballad of a Dying Man-Father John Misty

Sixteen-The Heavy

Sequestered in Memphis-The Hold Steady

Club Foot-Kasabian

Jenny Was a Friend of Mine-The Killers

Ubu-Methyl Ethel

Hyper Music-Muse

House of Cards-Radiohead

Present Tense-Radiohead

Are We Really Through-Ray LaMontagne and The Pariah Dogs

I Still Want You-Richard Hawley

Adore-Savages

Under The Pressure-The War on Drugs

 

 

 

 

Mix Tape of my 30s and 40s

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Here is my last mix tape, bringing up to date with music that I have been listening to for the past 16 years. A soundtrack to my boys growing up into young men, me losing my dad, getting promoted, moving house, struggling with my mental health, it has been an eventful 16 years and I am grateful for every moment of it. If a journey is going to be worthwhile it should be challenging. The view from the top of the mountain is always more satisfying if you have worked hard getting there.

Again my original list was 50 songs long, these are the songs that resonate with me the most at this moment, ask me again in a few months and it may well be different. I have provided a link for each song so you can have a listen. I will also provide a link to the playlist on iTunes.

30s and 40s mix tape

Rococo-Arcade Fire

The View From The Afternoon-Arctic Monkeys

Claire-Baxter Dury

Gossamer Thin-Conor Oberst

Make You Better-The Decemberists

My Sad Captains-Elbow

God is a DJ-Faithless

Ballad of a Dying Man-Father John Misty

Sixteen-The Heavy

Sequestered in Memphis-The Hold Steady

Club Foot-Kasabian

Jenny Was a Friend of Mine-The Killers

Ubu-Methyl Ethel

Hyper Music-Muse

House of Cards-Radiohead

Present Tense-Radiohead

Are We Really Through-Ray LaMontagne and The Pariah Dogs

I Still Want You-Richard Hawley

Adore-Savages

Under The Pressure-The War on Drugs