Tuesday, 5 November 2013

I choose to be happy. (Well, most of the time, anyway)

It's grey here. Grim November has arrived, and hot on it's heels will come the Russian winter. The laundry needs hanging up, there are toys all over the floor, and I have a million jobs to do which - post half-term - can no longer be put off.  The dishwasher in our UK home is broken & needs to be replaced (although god love it, it has just celebrated it's 13th birthday, so I'm not judging), Husband is travelling most weekdays, and it's raining, just in time for the school run on my bike.

On the other hand...

It's not snowing.  The temperature is above freezing.  My family is happy and healthy. We had a great 4 days somewhere sunny and warm last week.  The house is clean.  There is enough food in the fridge, and before I put on my raincoat (in a jaunty colour I have christened 'In-Your-Face-Winter-Orange') I have five minutes to myself, a whole scope of creative projects I can dip into, the Man Booker Prize winner on my kindle, and the whole of NetFlix to explore later this evening.

See what I did there?  It's called (my version of, anyway), CBT*

Because, without wanting to come over all PollyAnna about it, life really is what you make of it.  I learned this not through having a naturally carefree disposition but during 2 years of counselling after I stopped work outside the home following Boy #2's birth - and fell apart.  It took a while but my lovely counsellor slowly showed me how to reprogramme my results-orientated, work-obsessed, what-am-I-if-not-my-job?, brain into one that could turn my mental inclinations around.  It takes self-awareness, that's true, but the feeling of control when you look at what could be quite a shitty situation and decide not to let it bring you down - in fact, to turn it to your advantage and learn from it - is empowering.

Yes, the days in my mental landscape still seem long and grey sometimes.  But I know, when that happens, that it's not forever.  In fact, if I choose, it doesn't even have to be until tomorrow.

Now.  Off through the rain to do that ruddy school run.  Where's my in-your-face-winter orange raincoat gone?

*Cognitive Behavioural Therapy


  1. Definitely be happy in being warm, safe and healthy. I'm finding it tough at the moment not being healthy, and realising how much I took it for granted before. I know how the little things can grind you down, but it's the big things in the end that really matter x

  2. 13 years old? Wow, how did you manage that? Oh, that wasn't really the point of the post was it? Sorry ;)

  3. I agree PD - positivity is a practice that is only rewarded if you keep it up. It does take some practice on some days, though.

  4. Great post. I have days/weeks/months where I find it very hard to see anything positive in my life, even though there is masses. And it is as simple as reprogramming your brain, catching those negative thoughts and squishing on them like a bug before they get a chance to fly. In fact I did it this morning. I got out of bed with my normal eeyore-esque view of the world and suddenly thought: hang on, I have a whole day free with nothing more onerous than some ironing to do (which is what normally makes me want to reach for the razor blades) and I have decided to use it to flesh out characters for my new book.

    Perhaps I too should get an in-your-face-orange-jacket to remind me to be positive.

  5. Think we need a picture of the coat

  6. NVG - it certainly is. It can be hard to keep sight of that sometimes, though.

    Lapland -a ha a ha. (But seriously, amazing, right? 13 years? Neff did the business for us, that's for sure)

    Jeanie, CONSTANT practice! *Looks out at lowering skies...

    Melissa, you are an inspiration! (No -really)

    Muddling Along - I would, but what I didn't mention were the stains and dust on it...

  7. But I thought that you were (like me) brought up to be Pollyanna and always look for the silver lining? Is that a slightly different thing to having a positive attitude? I suppose it is. Interested to know what you think.

  8. I like to listen to particularly moany music when I'm feeling down - the Smiths, Keane, sad bits of Chopin etc - always cheers me up as I'm not feeling as bad as them. Awful attitude but it works. The orange coat sounds fab X

  9. Hahahaha, DD!! Keane renders me slightly suicidal on the best days, how can that cheer you up?
    Anyway, I get the gist of deciding to be happy. I do the same, which lately has turned me into one of these annoying people with a constant smile etched onto their face. I just can't help it. Life's pretty fantastic, most days.

  10. Good for you - sometimes it is just a glass half full moment we have to look at......and agree with Muddling alomg mummy - want to see that coat!Lx


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