Unhelpful Thinking Styles

Lately I keep catching myself thinking about some unpleasant things from the past (I am sure we all have them). The other day I objectively looked at it and realised that my thoughts were 40 years in the past! I keep reminding myself to look forward and not backwards. Even better if I can spend my time in the present moment.

Last Semester I ran a course for U3A called Retired:Now What? As part of that course we looked at unhelpful thinking styles by looking at and thinking about a resource I found online. Click HERE for a link to the site and for more information.

I identified that recently I am personalising anything and everything and thinking it is my fault. I sometimes joke to friends about the extremes I take this to –  e.g. conflict in the Middle East!

The point is that I have identified this recent pattern and can be on the alert when these unhelpful thoughts invade my thinking and choose to think differently!

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The eyes have it!

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I had laser eye surgery yesterday.

My eyesight had deteriorated quite a lot recently and was making it hard for me to read – especially on my  computer. Initially I was to wait until October to get in to see an eye specialist. Fortunately there was a cancellation and I had an appointment yesterday with a visiting (to the region) specialist.

I was diagnosed with glaucoma and cataracts in my early fifties. I was not impressed. These things only happy to OLD people! The cataracts were removed and my eyesight was near perfect afterwards meaning I didn’t need to wear my glasses after many years of being very short sighted.

Anyway, the long and short of it is that I can see much better today and I greatly appreciate the science that produced the technology to correct my vision without having to even touch my eyes!

Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)

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There is so much pressure for us to get involved in stuff. I find it all the time. I think it is about time I accepted that I like my life the way it is!

I am surrounded by people who are always off on holidays. Normal conversation involves talking about where you have been and where you are going next. I feel a bit inadequate not being able to contribute.

I am not into sport either – or the theatre. I am happy to stay home and watch some good programs on Netflix, read good novels and the like.

Perhaps it is in part due to be an introvert. I can spend hours researching obscure topics of interest.

So I think in future I will remind myself it is okay to have a small life – as long as I am happy with it the way it is. No problem with other people having busy lives if that is what makes them happy!

 

Life’s surprises are not always welcome

As I look back over my life there are probably a dozen incidents or more that were a significant blow to my equilibrium. The sort that makes everything else seem petty and unimportant.

I am sure that we all experience these things from time to time. My first experience I remember was when my school friend’s father died. He worked at our school and was very popular with all the kids. It was my first encounter with death and the aftermath.

I have since experienced marriage break-ups, sickness and deaths in the family, tragedies such as a five-year old neighbour’s child drowning, losing my brother and sister-in-law too soon …

I am not unique – similar things are happening every day to people around us. When I am in my ‘happy space’ I may not even be aware of others’ suffering.

I don’t know what I am trying to say today – just that life can be tough at times – we need to love and care for each other.

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What is the opposite of depression?*

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*According to writer, Andrew Solomon, it is vitality! That makes a lot of sense to me.

I listened to his talk on the video below and could relate to much of what he said. I had my first encounter with depression when I was in my 20’s and have experienced it on and off over the years. I have used a variety of methods to help me feel and do better.

Solomon raises the issue of “psychological vs physiological” and proclaims that we don’t have enough scientific evidence to choose either one. Maybe in time there will be a better answer.

Most of the time my depression is not noticeable to other people. I function quite well. I remember learning about “putting one foot in front of the other” and another tip was “just keep breathing” – these sayings were helpful at times.

Anyway, I won’t go on about depression apart from asking you to be aware among your family and friends and be brave enough to ask them if they are okay and be prepared to listen to their response. Thanks 🙂

Transitions take time …

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My old workplace

I gave up full time work six years ago and I am still adjusting to the changes brought about by that decision.

Many, many times I dreamed I was back at work – usually late and a bit lost – people had moved around and I couldn’t find them.

This week I dreamed my old boss fired me! I was actually pleased, especially when he gave me a cheque for $14,000 (only in my dream)! I thought this might signal an end to my dreaming about work.

Not so! Last night I dreamed we had a work reunion and I woke up with the idea of setting up a Facebook page for my former colleagues. That idea wore off by breakfast time!

I hadn’t realised how much hold the workplace had on me. Hopefully I am ready to let go of the life I had in the workforce and enjoy in the life I have now.

Federal Election and Online Shopping

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Three wise koalas

I finally tired of listening to the Federal Election results on Saturday night. I DID put in several hours in front of the TV.

Instead I went on my computer and did some online shopping for new sheets and towels (end of financial year sales). Being satisfied that I got a good bargain I went off to bed still not knowing the election outcome.

Here we are a few days later and my new sheets and towels arrived this morning!

No election outcome yet though :(. We may end up with a minority government which is a bit of a surprise to most people. It was thought the incumbent government would have a comfortable win. Time will tell …

PS I bought the Three Wise Koalas from Parliament House in Canberra 🙂

 

A Little Bit of Love

Sometimes it is hard to come to terms with the increasing rhetoric of hate and fear that is found in society. Has the world always been like this? When has it become OK to vilify people because of their religion, race, gender …

The challenge, as I see it, is to remain hopeful that there is more good than bad in people and not to respond to hateful attitudes in a way that fuels them to grow but to remain optimistic that love will overcome.

What do love and economics have in common?

Just recently while looking through some old documents I found my high school reports. I was surprised to see that I got top of my class in economics. I did enjoy the subject but didn’t pursue it any further beyond school.

Then today I was thinking about my Mum who passed away ten years ago. Over the years I tried to demonstrate my love and appreciation of her. Did I succeed in showing my love for her? I will never really know.

Then I got to thinking that love (as well as economics) responds to supply and demand to some degree. I tried to show my love through my words, gifts and time spent with her. That is what makes me feel loved.

Have you ever come across a book called “The Five Love Languages” by Dr Gary Chapman? The five languages are very briefly described as follows:

  • Words of affirmation
  • Quality time
  • Receiving gifts
  • Acts of service
  • Physical touch.

The book suggests that if we know the other’s love language we can learn to say and do the right things to make the special someone feel loved.

When we randomly respond to people by doing and saying what we ourselves want to hear and receive we may just miss the point.

Just with supply and demand in the economy we can be more successful if we are in tune with what our loved ones desire. Now I don’t claim to have a handle on this but thinking about it helped me see where relationships break down and misunderstandings can occur.

We mean well and love as best as we can and hopefully our good intentions are recognised.

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How much time is there?

There are 168 hours in one week. Do you know what you do with them all? Does it match what you would like to be doing? Even when we can see a mismatch it is hard to change our habits.

On another level, how much time do we have (in total)? Unless we have an appointment for voluntary euthanasia we would have to admit that we don’t know. We also don’t know how much time we have with our families, friends and acquaintances.

I started thinking about this after someone I know passed away last week. It is sad, but we were not close – however it made me consider whether I give enough thought and care to those I am close to.

It is so easy to put off telling people how much I care or asking questions about how others are really dealing with life. There is a sense that we have all the time in the world to do that. We don’t! At least I don’t.

Once again I am reminded to be awake to the  present moment and not to get caught up in thoughts about the past or fears about the future.

The present moment needs my full attention.

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