ways to be luckier

3 ways to become a luckier person

There’s a scene in Titanic when Jack is having dinner with Rose and her family.

Colonel Gracie makes a comment that “All life is a game of luck”, and Cal replies that “a real man makes his own luck”.

Now, as much as I dislike Cal, you can’t argue with the point he’s making that luck is something we can all choose to create more of.

You might not think of yourself as a naturally lucky person, but that’s probably part of the problem.

Generally speaking, what we think about the world and ourselves becomes our reality.  So if you think you’re unlucky, then chances are that you won’t get many lucky breaks.

Don’t worry though, you can turn it all around!

Here are 3 different things you can do to become a luckier person.

 

1. Pay attention to the world around you

A lot of the time we’ll say that someone is lucky because they seem to always be finding amazing opportunities, or moments of serendipity.

All that’s really happening is that they’re paying attention to the world around them.  They’re always keeping an eye on the little things around them that other people might just walk right past.  So they spot the amazing job opportunity posted in a window.  They find a bargain designer jacket in the charity shop.  They get chatting to the person next to them in a queue who offers them a way into the industry they want to crack.

This idea of lucky people paying more attention to everything has been shown to be true in various studies.

The most famous was carried out by Professor Richard Wiseman in 2003.  He took a group of people who thought they were lucky and a group who thought they were unlucky and asked them all to count the number of photographs in a newspaper.

The unlucky people were so focused on the task of counting photos that they didn’t notice anything else that was printed in the paper.  The lucky people, on the other hand, noticed a sign in the paper telling them that they’d won $250, and another one towards the front of the paper saying they could stop counting photos.

So the lesson here is that while it’s good to focus on what we’re doing, if we want to invite more luck into our lives we have to be more open and observant of potentially great things going on around us.

 

2. Listen to your gut

If you get a gut feeling about something, do you tend to listen to it and trust it?

Well if you want to be luckier you should start trusting your gut more.

Professor Wiseman believes that our intuition is a result of our bodies and brains picking up on patterns that our conscious minds haven’t put together yet.  So that gut feeling is our subconscious telling us, “we’ve seen this before, it will most likely work out well/badly”.

People who think of themselves as unlucky are often quite anxious too.  And this anxiety leads them to question where that gut feeling has come from and ultimately ignore it when there seems to be no obvious, logical reason for it.

Lucky people, on the other hand, are more confident and trust their gut instincts.

 

3. Expect good luck

One of the reasons that lucky people trust their gut instincts is that it’s worked out well for them in the past, so they expect the same to happen each time.

The same goes with good luck.

If you expect good things to happen to you, then you’ll notice more potential opportunities and be more open to inviting good things into your life.

Studies have shown that lucky people are generally more optimistic and more persistent in their approach to life.  They expect things to go well, so they persevere more to get the outcome they’re after.

It might seem like they’ve just ‘got lucky’ but it’s more likely that they’ve just stuck at things long enough for them to work out in their favour.

 

I do think that there are some things in this life that do just come down to chance, but I love this idea that by changing our attitude and approach to life we can all become luckier.

So much of how we experience life comes down to our mindset, and we can all become lucky people if we make the shifts in our thoughts and outlook on life to invite more luck in.

Do you think of yourself as a lucky or an unlucky person?

If you feel that you’ve generally been unlucky up till now, try making these changes to how you see the world and see if things get luckier for you!

Fix your metaphorical broken windows

Do you need to fix your metaphorical broken windows?

There’s an interesting concept in the world of crime and law enforcement that basically states that when a neighbourhood shows small signs of the law being broken, with things like graffiti and broken windows, then the area is more likely to attract more crime.

This ‘broken window’ theory is built around the idea that people believe these areas to be easier targets for crime because these small acts are being overlooked and not taken care of.

Now, I think we can also apply this concept to our own lives.

When we let small things slip through, almost unnoticed but still always there on the periphery of our lives it’s too easy to let other, bigger things slip through too.

 

If you’re feeling that everything is slightly out of control in your life, then take a bit of time to look around and find your metaphorical broken windows.

They’re normally quite small tasks that, for one reason or another, you keep putting off.

It might be:

  • The pile of washing that you never seem to be on top of
  • A stack of paperwork needing to be sorted through and filed away
  • A folder full of photos on your computer to be edited and printed out
  • That side table covered in clutter
  • The bag of old clothes you sorted out but haven’t taken to the charity shop yet
  • A piece of clothing that needs a quick repair

None of these jobs are huge.

But they’re also not really urgent, so they get moved to the bottom of the to-do list each day.  And then moved to the next day’s list, then the next and so on.

The problem with these jobs is what they come to represent.

We see these things that we can’t seem to manage to get done and feel guilty, defeated almost.  We feel that sense of chaos and lack of control because we can’t even get these niggling jobs sorted.

So we lose motivation.  We think, if I can’t even clear the clutter off the table, how can I manage all the bigger stuff in my life?

Those broken windows lead to more and more broken things, and a bigger sense of being out of control and overwhelmed.

 

The solution?

Make fixing your broken windows a priority.

You can go at it full power and dedicate a whole day, or week if you need to, to getting all those little, niggly tasks ticked off your to-do list.

If that’s not a realistic option then you could try the power hour approach, where for one hour a week you focus solely on these broken windows.  It might take you longer to get everything done but that one hour of focus will get you started, get you moving, get you feeling that you’re back in control.

 

The first step is to grab a pen and a piece of paper and make your list.

Think about all the little jobs you keep saying you’ll get to one day.  The small things that bug you but you’ve not got round to dealing with yet.

Then get to work and start fixing those broken windows.

Stay active as a family this winter

5 ways to get active as a family this winter

In the winter months it can be so tempting to spend our evenings and weekends curled up warm at home.  If you have children though you’ll know how much they need to get out and about, to use their bodies and burn off some energy.

And really, we all know that we’ll feel better if we actually get up and get active instead of just hibernating.

If you’re not sure what to do together though, here are 5 ideas for activities you can try as a family this winter.

 

1. Get some wheels

One of the best ways to get out and active as a family is to go out for a bike ride.

Make sure everyone is kitted out with helmets and head out for a cycle together.  Here in Swansea there are some great places to go for a family bike ride, and the prom at Swansea bay is always bustling with people out on their bikes.

If you’re not really a biking family then you could go for a walk while the children zip around on scooters or roller skates.  My children were recently sent some heelys from Skates.co.uk to try out which they absolutely love.  They just need to master them properly before we head out for a good walk/skate around the park.

 

2. Visit a trampoline park

If it’s too cold and wet for you to want to head to the great outdoors, then a trampoline park is a great option for getting everyone active.

A lot of places now have kicked things up a gear and are so much more than just a room of trampolines.  You can find places with ninja warrior style assault courses, inflatables areas and so much more.

 

3. Go swimming

Another option that’s great for all ages is to head for the local swimming pool.

Depending on what we fancy at the time we either head to the LC2 which is more of a ‘fun’ pool with slides, a lazy river and a wave machine, or the national pool where we can get in a bit more actual swimming.

Wherever we go though the children love being in the water and we all feel nicely worn out by the time we get home!

And even though it’s too cold to actually swim in the sea we also love popping to the beach in the winter months for a paddle.

 

4. Set up an obstacle course at home

If you don’t even want to leave the house in the first place but still want to get everyone active then you can set up an obstacle course at home.

Put some cushions across the floor to jump across, create a ‘balance beam’ with washi tape on the floor and set up chairs and tables to climb over and under.   Games like hide and seek, and even party games like musical statues and musical bumps are also great fun ways to get everyone moving and away from screens for a bit.

 

5. Indoor rock climbing

For the more adventurous types, a home made obstacle course would be way too tame.  In that case, see if there’s an indoor climbing centre you could visit.

They’ll have qualified instructors to, literally, show you the ropes and you’ll all come away with a sense of achievement for trying something new and pushing yourself.  Most centres have different walls and set ups for every level of experience, so whether you’ve never climbed before or if you’re an experienced climber you’ll find something to suit your ability level.

 

So there you have it, a few ideas for different activities you can try this winter to get the whole family active.

What’s your favourite way to get your family moving?

 

Disclosure: this is a sponsored post

Things You Can Do To Lift Your Mood

8 things you can do to lift your mood

In our hectic, busy modern age, it can be very difficult indeed to find time for self-care.

The truth is that self-care is more important than it has ever been, but many of us simply don’t make room in our schedules to look after ourselves. As a result, we can often find ourselves tired, fatigued, and lacking the energy to do the things we love outside of work. The good news is that there’s lots you could be doing to improve your mood.

Here are 8 things you can do to make yourself happier if work and life are getting you down.

 

  1. Do something you’ve never done before

One of the things that can really get you down is adhering to the same routine day in and day out. While there are many aspects of life that improve when you implement a routine, you should be looking to add new activities and experiences into your life in order to convince yourself that life isn’t as repetitive as you think.

Go skydiving, try seeking out some psychic predictions, or join some clubs to make some new friends. Your options are limitless; all that’s holding you back is the time and effort you’re willing to put in!

 

  1. Pursue a hobby

Everyone has hobbies; if you haven’t found yours yet, there’s still plenty of time, so don’t worry. Many of us allow our hobbies to lapse as our work schedules take over our lives, so if you’ve got a hobby you haven’t been pursuing lately, now’s the time to get into it more seriously. Pick that musical instrument back up and get serious about learning it.

Got some money saved up? Why not buy some video editing equipment and become the filmmaker you’ve always dreamed of being? Hobbies enrich our lives and can quickly become passions if you let them.

 

  1. Take a break from work

You don’t owe your workplace anything but your time and your energy, so if it’s time to start winding down and thinking about taking a break, you should seize that opportunity. You could be suffering from burnout and be completely unaware of it. When this happens, it’s important to step away from your workload and take some time for yourself.

Try to detach yourself from your in-tray; somebody else will take up the slack, and if they don’t, then it can’t have been that important to begin with. Your health is more important than your job!

 

  1. Spend time with friends and family

One of the things depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems can do is to make you less inclined to socialise. Doing so can even feel more difficult when you’re depressed or even just suffering from low mood. Despite this, it’s more important to spend time with friends and family when you’re down than it normally would be. Hanging out with people you love can have a seriously positive impact on your mood. If they’re true friends, they’ll fully understand if you don’t commit entirely to conversations and will be happy just to be there for you.

 

  1. Don’t expect too much of yourself

No matter what kind of career trajectory you’ve got planned out for yourself, it’s important not to expect too much. If you haven’t quite achieved what you hoped to achieve by a certain time, then it doesn’t mean you’ve failed; you simply need to adjust your plans to accommodate these new developments.

Be kind to yourself and don’t simply assume you’re failing because things aren’t quite going as you expected them to. This goes double for tragic events such as deaths in the family or a loss of employment. Be realistic about your expectations and your accomplishments.

 

  1. Try to get more sleep and relax more

When you’re stressed out, it’s very difficult to find time to relax. However, your lack of sleep could well be the thing that’s causing your low mood in the first place.

If you don’t sleep well, it can impair your judgement, your decision-making, and your overall state of mind. Set aside some time at the end of each day to relax into sleep.

This includes not overusing your devices, as the blue light emitted by the screen can seriously damage your chances of sleeping. Instead, try reading, listening to a podcast, or simply soaking in a bath with no devices or media.

 

  1. Don’t make important decisions

During times of stress or sadness, it can be extremely tempting to make massive decisions like ending a relationship, quitting your job, or moving house. This is in actual fact the worst time to make those decisions, as your cognition is impaired by your mood.

Instead, try hard to take a step back and look at your situation. Draw up a list of pros and cons and compare them. Do you really feel that bad about your job or your marriage, or are you just letting the depression or low mood speak for you? Important decisions should only be made when you’re feeling okay.

 

  1. See a doctor

There’s definitely a right and a wrong way to explain what you’re going through to your doctor, but it’s something you should do if you’re concerned that your mood is seriously impacting your life. Your doctor isn’t there to belittle or ignore you; they want to know how to help you and make you better, so don’t be afraid about “wasting their time” (a common complaint, believe it or not).

Making an appointment to see your doctor could be the best decision you’ve ever made, so don’t put it off until you think the problem is “serious enough”; it’s serious enough once it’s affecting your life.

 

Disclosure: this is a collaborative post

New year resolutions worth keeping

New year’s resolutions that are actually worth making

How many times have you made a new year’s resolution, only to give up with it a few weeks later?

We tell ourselves this is the year we’ll get in shape.  We vow to stop drinking and to cut sugar out of our diets.  We promise ourselves that we’ll make these huge life changes, and then beat ourselves up when we don’t see them through.

The problem is that these kinds of resolutions are generally about depriving ourselves in some way.  In the cold, dark days of January we try and cut out the things that we enjoy, the things that bring us pleasure, the things that brighten up our days.

This year though, I think we should all be trying something different.

 

This year we should be making resolutions that are actually worth keeping.

The kind that add to our lives.  Resolutions that bring us joy and contentment.  The type of things that make life better, happier, brighter for us and those around us.

 

Focus on kindness.

One of the best resolutions to make is to be more kind.  To other people and to yourself.

Make a promise to yourself to work on stopping negative self-talk.  If you wouldn’t say something to your best friend, then don’t say it to yourself.

Be kind to your body.  Learn to love it for everything it’s done and everything it still lets you do.  Remember the line from the sunscreen song, “Enjoy your body. Use it every way you can. Don’t be afraid of it, or what other people think of it. It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own”.

Make a point of treating everyone you come across with kindness.

Hold doors open, smile, let someone go in front of you at the tills, offer compliments, buy flowers for your partner, write a thank you note to the school lollipop lady, let other people live their lives without comment if what they do doesn’t harm anyone else.

Just be kind.

The world would be so much better if we all put more kindness out there.

 

Manage your time better.

I don’t just mean learning time management tricks to be more efficient, although this is a great skill to master.

What I mean is really look at how you’re spending your time.

Make sure you’re actually using your time in a way that brings you and your family joy.

When you’re with your children, make sure you’re really present with them.  Instead of trying to multitask, take one thing at a time.  Plan an evening routine so that you have time to read with your children every night.  Schedule in a few hours each weekend to get out as a family and explore the local woods or park, no phones allowed.

 

Don’t postpone joy.

This is a big one for me, and one that I’ve been working on for years now.

If there is something that will bring you joy, and it won’t harm anyone else if you do it, then go for it.

Now. 

Don’t wait for an imagined ‘perfect time’.

Eat the fancy box of chocolates.

Wear the new shoes on the school run.

Crack open the bottle of champagne in the fridge and celebrate a random Tuesday.

Stop saving things for ‘best’.  This is your life, right now, this is it.  And it is so fleeting.  Make a point of finding as much joy as you can, in the big things and the many, many small moments.

 

Have you made any resolutions this year?

Do you think you might try and of these suggestions instead?

4 new years resolutions for a happier new year

4 resolutions to make for a happier new year

When a new year rolls around we all start to look at our lives and make big, sweeping declarations about the changes we’re going to make.

Now, I’m not convinced that we need to try and reinvent ourselves at the start of a new year.  I think, instead of trying to radically change our lives, we should be looking at the little things we can do to gently change our outlook.  To bring more joy and happiness to our lives, and to other people’s.

 

If this sounds like the sort of thing you want to get on board with, then here are my suggestions for 4 resolutions to make for a happier new year.

 

1. Make mindfulness a habit

Our lives are so busy these days, especially as parents, and it can feel like we spend our days rushing around trying to get everything done.  We end up trying to multitask and feeling like we never do any one thing properly.

This year let’s try to do things a bit differently.

Take everything one thing at a time.

Let’s say you’re at home with your children and you have jobs to do around the house.  Instead of trying to juggle the housework and entertaining the children, separate out the tasks.

When you’re with your children, make sure you’re really there with them.  Get down on the floor and play with them.  Then set them up with an activity while you get on with the jobs that need doing.  Giving them your undivided attention for half an hour before you crack on with some housework is much better for everyone than spending two hours trying to juggle the two tasks together.

Be mindful of how you’re spending your time, and try to slow down a bit.

Notice the world around you more; stop and appreciate the changing seasons instead of rushing through the year.  Taking a bit of time to practice mindfulness can do so much for you sense of happiness and wellbeing.

 

2. Move your body more

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, getting regular exercise is one of the best things you can do to boost your happiness.

Don’t get caught up in the new year hype about getting in shape though.  If you jump in, join a gym and pledge to go every single day you’ll burn out really quickly.

Take the focus off losing weight and getting in shape, and shift it to how good it feels physically, mentally and emotionally when you move your body more.

Start off gently.

Go for a walk around the park on your lunch break.  Or walk to the local shops instead of taking the car.  Dig out your old exercise DVDs and do them at home a few times a week.  Look on YouTube for some free classes you can follow along with.

Take your time and keep focused on all the benefits of regularly moving your body more.  You’ll feel happier, calmer, and more able to cope with the little stresses in life.

 

3. Let yourself feel things other than happiness

Sometimes, when our goal is to be happier, we try and shut out all the other emotions.  We feel like we’re failing if we feel stressed, or anxious, or sad.

So give yourself permission this year to feel all your feelings.

If you’re sad then cry.  Wallow in it for a bit.  Get a journal and write down everything that is making you feel sad, no matter how silly it might seem.  Really feel it, get it out of your system, and then you can pick yourself up and move on.

The key is to feel it, acknowledge it, express it if you need to but then let it go.  Don’t let a negative emotional experience in the morning set the tone for your whole day.  If someone cuts you up in traffic on the school run, then have a moan about it, and then let it go.  Choose to move on from it instead of letting it put you in a bad mood for the rest of the day.

 

4. Be thankful

If you only do one thing differently this year then make it this.

Develop a practice of thankfulness.

At the end of each day write down 3-5 things that you’re thankful for.  You can do this in a notebook, or you can get a gratitude journal to fill in every day.  If you want to be more public about it you can post your lists on Facebook or Instagram stories every day.  I’m trying to build the habit of putting mine on my stories as much as possible, and I’m using #thisgloriousyear if you want to join me and use it too!

Studies have shown that spending just a few minutes a day thinking about what we have to be grateful for can help us feel happier, more optimistic, physically healthier and more likely to help other people.

 

How many of these things do you already do? 

Which do you think will have the biggest impact on your happiness over the course of the year?

Self care at Christmas

5 self care ideas for the Christmas holiday season

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

But it’s also a time of year when we can end up pushing ourselves and our needs to the bottom of the pile.  And it’s so easy to end up stressed out and overwhelmed over Christmas when you’re running around trying to get everything done and make the whole thing as magical as possible for your children.

So make a point of taking care of yourself this Christmas.

If you’re not sure where to start with doing that, then I’ve got 5 self care ideas here to see you through the festive season.

 

1. Focus on what you can give

Maybe it’s a bit strange to talk about giving in terms of self-care, but if you find the holidays a hard time of year then shifting your focus on what you can do for others can be a really useful strategy.

This doesn’t mean go crazy buying and giving presents to everyone you know.

It’s more about focusing on giving your time.  Pop round and have a chat with a lonely neighbour.  Offer to watch a friend’s child for a few hours so they can wrap presents in peace.  Give someone a hand if you see them struggling with opening doors with full hands in town.

Studies have shown over and over again that when we do good things for other people, we feel good ourselves.

 

2. Get out in the fresh air

As tempting as it is to stay cosy indoors with non-stop Christmas films on the TV and a tub of Quality Street by your side, you’l feel so much better if you get out in the fresh air regularly through the holidays.

Wrap up warm and go for a walk on the beach or through your favourite park.  Pay attention to the sounds you can hear, the sensation of the cold air on your cheeks and the smells of a crisp winter day.

 

3. Make time for down time

On the flip side of that, make sure that you do schedule in some time for just chilling out at home.

Whether it’s watching the latest Christmas Prince movie on Netflix, soaking in a hot bath or reading a book with a mulled wine, make sure you take time to do what YOU want to do.  And really enjoy it when you do, no guilt allowed here.

 

4. Take time off from social media

One of the best things you can do for your mental health and wellbeing over Christmas is stop scrolling social media.

It’s too easy to see other people’s carefully curated highlight reels and start to believe that your Christmas just won’t match up.  So step back.  Stop scrolling.  Stop comparing.

 

5. Enjoy a few early nights

Over the Christmas break there is so much going on it can be hard to keep to any kind of normal routine.

But make a point of getting in to bed nice and early a few nights a week.

Create a relaxing routine that works for you and stick with it.  It might be having a warm bath then getting into bed with a hot water bottle and a good book.  You might want to spend a few minutes to write down a few things from each day that you’re grateful for.

You’ll feel so much better than if you let yourself stay up late every night over Christmas.

 

How are you planning on taking care of yourself this Christmas?

I hope this post has given you some ideas along with a reminder to put yourself back to the top of your list of things you need to take care of.