Mind exercise can keep the summer blues at bay

The Good Life Letter

Sunday 17th July 2011

Are you truly happy?

Let me leave you to think about that as you read today's letter.  Don't worry the reason for asking will become clear.

I enjoy people watching - settling myself in a corner of a pub or cafe and just watching the world go by. Happily, I have spent the last two weeks doing just that.

My recent holiday gave me lots of time to indulge my favourite pastime, and I started to see that most of the tourists who walked past fell into 3 types.

Firstly, there were the holidaying families who seemed to have some sort of mental checklist for all the stuff they wanted to do. These people were invariably English and strode around the place loaded down with heaps of inflatables, wind breaks and umbrellas they never settled anywhere.

Their lives were in constant motion, with frequent visits to ice cream shops, burger bars and souvenir shops.
They seemed to be a blur of activity, never stopping to look at a view. Completely unaware of who or what was around them. I imagined them starting the day in a sweat and never losing it.

The second group were the opposite. They mooched around slowly, browsing over the beach goods stands. But again, they never look up. Their backs and shoulders rounded in some sort of tribute to Quasimodo. It seemed they never made contact with anyone, or anything.

Like group one they could have been anywhere in the world - rather than the sun-drenched Portuguese fishing town we were in.

Lastly were the happy people. Engaged, holding hands and chatting as they walked.  These groups smiled at everyone they passed.

When they settled somewhere they looked around them and talked about what they could see. Taking delight in other people, the beautiful views and the perfect weather. They laughed at their own jokes, never scathing or critical, always joyous.

This year, Lara and I decided that if we let the kids choose the programme for they day it was best for all of us. Occasionally this meant putting life and limb at risk on devious waterslides. However, it also meant  that we had fun as a family, all together - and that's important.

Now, I'm not saying we are a perfect family, or indeed that those 'happy families' I saw were without their problems. But, it seems a better place to start from for a happier life.   But it wasn't always that way.  To achieve a better frame of mind, to allow myself to really relax and enjoy my holiday I needed help.

You might remember last year I introduced you to my friend Wendy Churchill.

Like me, Wendy writes a weekly e-letter called Bag of Revels full of good advice and wisdom. Whether it's wrinkles, overdrafts or stripping paint off the banisters, her aim is not only to find the best answers out there, but to take a thought-provoking trip around this amazing life we live in.

Wendy has been more to me that just a fellow writer I can bounce ideas around with. She made me a much happier person.

Let me explain how.

Why 100 billion neurons decide how you feel

Things are tough for everyone at the moment, right?

The media tell us that financial and political upheavals are  a given for our immediate future. We're all facing personal hardship, reduced health care systems and poorer opportunities for individuals and companies.

All of this is bound to get you down a bit isn't it?

One weird thing I noticed a long time ago: I can be unbearably jolly even when the world is ending.

On the flip side, I can be miserable even when I'm healthy, in love and being loved.  None of this stuff seems to have anything to do with how I feel.

Just think about that for a second...

The reason you feel as you do is about how you THINK. Within your brain are 100 billion neurons which contribute to your emotions, your fears and your dreams. Each of them is connected to some of the others which form a network of grey cells.

That's a huge number of connections and electrical activity. And we are all wired up slightly differently to make things even more fun.

As we grow, we begin to display particular habits, language styles and emotions. This makes you the person you are.

These characteristics colour how an individual feels about their lot in life.
As a result of the pre-holiday reading that Wendy gave me, I now know how to make sure I am always happier. My glass isn't always full - but I don't let that get to me.

I have begun a mind exercise programme following 7 easy steps to personal contentment.

The Super Fit Mind Programme:

The 7 easy steps to personal contentment

I've seen and read a lot of 'self help' type books - and can safely say that none of them really made sense to me.

Commonly, they seem to be the work of a 'guru' who wants to impart their unique view of the world. There is always a BIG IDEA that they sell you, and it's done with an evangelical zeal that makes me uncomfortable.

But Wendy is different.  She has developed a programme that allows the reader to be at its centre. That worked for me.
Imagine being taken gently by the hand, placed somewhere comfortable and safe, then having the chance to think

Gain greater self-confidence and get the life you want

Get rid of negative mind habits and hang-ups and learn the secrets of a happy mind

Discover how your upbringing is still affecting you today - and how you can rewrite your own 'script'

Stop over-worrying and seize the rest of your life NOW

Discover the real reasons why we suffer depression, dissatisfaction and anxiety... and how you can knock it on the head!

Find out more here: Super Fit Mind Programme

So, how happy are you? Do you think this summer you could take the 7 easy steps to being a much happier person?

Yours as always,




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