Day 10: Tapping my way to health

Being mindful in my daily tapping meditations:

A very kind friend has gifted me a 7 week online tapping course and I am so grateful.

The course has been going for a week now, and I absolutely love it already.

I first became aware of tapping, also known as EFT – Emotional Freedom Technique – about 3-4 years ago, but thought it a little woo-woo even for me!

For the uninitiated, EFT is gently tapping on the body’s energy meridian points using your fingertips, to help release physical and emotional pain.

I’ve been tapping sporadically for a couple of years now, but started using it regularly just over a year ago. I had a number of sessions last year at CFS holistic recovery specialists, The Optimum Health Clinic, and EFT is recommended as a key recovery tool.

However, it’s only since this course started that I’ve been tapping every single day. There’s morning, daytime and evening tapping meditations, each being around 15 minutes long. Plus lots of other material to get stuck into: webinar’s, Q+A sessions, and bonus classes and meditations.

I find daily tapping incredibly powerful and am already starting to feel the benefits.

I’m having some real emotional releases and shifts, and it’s not unusual for me to cry during a session. But that’s ok. Sometimes I laugh, or shout, and I’m even yawn a LOT… apparently these are all signs of energy shifting.

It’s fascinating stuff, and I intend to continue for the 7 weeks and beyond. Tapping has already become a regular daily practice and a key element in my recovery tool kit.

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being mindful in my daily tapping meditations.

 

Day 9: On a shopping high

Being grateful for my local-ish health food shop:

I am on a shopping high.

I’ve just got back from visiting my favourite local-ish health food shop called ‘Out of this World’ (OOTW), and it really is!

I only discovered this little gem a few months ago: it was a joyous moment indeed. Up until then, I’d been ordering everything online from various places which, let’s face it, was a bit of pain.

OOTW is a 30 minute drive away, but it stocks everything I need. Now I visit every couple of months to stock up on my favourite goodies, all from under one roof:

Bread:  It’s the only place I’ve found that sells a Spelt Sourdough loaf that actually resembles bread. Now, sliced and in the freezer.

Coconut heaven: They offer great value, quality Coconut Oil which I use a LOT of, and tinned Coconut Milk without all the crap. It’s also where I discovered CoYo yoghurt, heavenly creamy and dairy/sugar-free.

Choccies: Having ploughed through many raw chocolate bars since my return home, my firm favourite is  ‘Dark Vanoffee’  by The Raw Chocolate Company. I find it doesn’t have the weird aftertaste I usually find with some of the ‘alternative’ sweeteners.

TREAT: OOTW has just earned itself a big hooray and gold star for selling my latest obsession, Booja Booja Alternative Ice Cream.

Plus, they have the most loveliest staff, so it makes the drive all worth it. And when I’m not feeling well enough to make the drive, they’ll deliver it all for a fiver.

How fabulous.

Today I took my sis along, who has become the Queen of Juicing since joining the juicing revolution a couple of months ago, and a convert to the wonders of Coconut Oil.

I love taking my time to peruse the shelves and feel like a kid in a sweetshop. I could spend a fortune in there, that’s for sure. I really have to hold myself back and stick to my list and tight budget.

I always leave feeling happy for my loot, excited to try new finds, and content that I have my healthy supplies for another few weeks. And I can’t wait to get stuck into my Booja Booja…

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being grateful for my local-ish health food shop.

Day 8: My 4-legged friend

Being grateful for my new 4-legged friend Molly:

I have a new friend.

Her name is Molly and she’s gorgeous. She has the cutest face, soulful brown eyes, shaggy black hair, oh and four legs and a wagging tail.

We met on my walking meditation yesterday. I’ve seen Molly and her owner (now known as Molly’s Mum) a few times and we’ve smiled. Today, they stopped to let me go by. I hesitated, and Molly’s Mum took that for me being weary.

Which as much I hate to admit it, I was a little.

I love dogs. I am definitely a dog girl. But I was chased a few times by neighbours dogs when I was a little girl. I remember one chasing me across the road, jumping up at me and ripping my favourite dress. I was devastated and terrified. As an adult I can now see it’s playtime for them, but as a small child, I thought they were aiming to bite me.

Add to the mix my auntie and uncle having two huge alsatians. Did I mention they were HUGE? Whenever we visited they used to snarl at me and bark violently (or so it seemed to my little scared self) through the living room window as I perched on the settee, absolutely terrified they’d get into the house and rip me to shreds!

It’s no wonder I grew up a tad afraid.

Over the years, various friends’ dogs have calmed my fear and released my deep love. My favourite being Angus, the gentle shiatsu/poodle of a dear friend in Australia. We hung out loads, shared oodles of joyous cuddles, and I even looked after him one weekend – all by myself; a big step for me.

I do still have a slight hesitation and weariness when I first meet a dog, until I know it’s friendly. Then I’m all cuddles and kisses and belly rubs.

When Molly’s Mum assured me Molly is friendly, I asked if I could give her a fuss. We shared a few lovely minutes together and it was love at first cuddle.

Today I went for my soul stroll a little later, and saw them walking back on the other side of the brook. I shouted over hello to Molly’s Mum and then to Molly. She bounded towards to me, straining her lead so much that Molly’s mum had to let go of it, and leapt over the narrow brook towards me, her tail joyfully wagging.

I couldn’t believe she remembered me. I responded by giving her lots of love and fuss, including Helen’s infamous belly rub, which Angus adored and would instantly roll onto his back at first sight of me.

I walked away feeling really happy and uplifted. There really is something therapeutic about stroking and cuddling a dog.

I’m already hoping to see my new friend on my next soul stroll.

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being grateful for my new 4-legged friend Molly.

Day 7: A heavenly soak

Being grateful for my Epsom salt baths:

I never used to be a bath girl. It’s always been showers all the way.

That is until I tried an Epsom salt bath about 18 months ago.

And I haven’t looked back.

Now I love nothing more than a long soak in a hot bath: it’s absolute bliss.

They’ve become an essential part of my recovery tool kit and I take 3-4 baths a week, sometimes more if I feel I need to.

Made from a naturally occurring pure mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate, the health benefits of adding a  couple of cups of Epsom salts are too numerous to mention here, but my favourites are: helping to ease stress and relax the body, relieving sore muscles, and eliminating toxins from the body.

For me, they help soothe my body, mind and spirit. I find it one of THE best ways to relax.

I usually take myself off for a long yummy soak after dinner. I even find myself craving one if I’ve had a busy or stressful day, or am feeling extra fatigued.

From the moment I turn on the taps, my worries start to evaporate, and it’s guaranteed I let out a blissful sigh as soon as I sink into the hot steamy bath of goodness.

My recipe for creating the ultimate relaxing bath experience:
1. lock the bathroom door so I’m not disturbed
2. add 2 cups of Epsom salts to a running bath
3. add a tbsp of Coconut Oil to soften the skin
4. add 15-20 drops of Lavender Essential Oil or my own relaxing oil blend
5. light a few candles & pop on some gentle, relaxing music
6. lie back, enjoy and soak for at least 20 mins, maximum 40 mins

I’ve come to love my baths so much, I can’t imagine living anywhere that doesn’t have a bath. It’s one of the things I miss when I’m away.

So with that in mind, my happy today is being grateful for my yummy Epsom salt bath.

Day 6: A cheery note or two

Being kind by sending a cheerful postcard to a friend or two:

A couple of friends are having a tough time at the moment, and I wanted to do something to make them smile.

I thought I’d send them both this gorgeous ‘Hello Sunshine’ postcard. I have the same one on my bedroom mirror, and never fails to cheer me up whenever I look at it.

After writing a little message on the back, I posted them with heartfelt love and smiles. Hopefully it will be a nice surprise when the postie delivers them in a couple of days.

I think that’s such a shame that sending someone a hand-written letter is practically non-existent these days. As we have become a technology-based society and a increasing number of our social connections are conducted online.

I used to LOVE handwriting letters to my childhood penfriends. At one point I was firing off letters to friends in the US, Canada and Germany. Plus an old schoolfriend who moved down south when we were 8 yrs old. I remember the absolute excitement of receiving a letter through the postbox and devouring it many times, word by word.

Nowadays, we can have instant connections with friends all over the world through emails, texts and social media, and that still blows my mind.

I’m forever grateful to be able to keep in touch so easily with the friends I’ve made on my travels. But nothing beats receiving a hand-written letter or card in the post.

So, with that in mind, my happy today is to make a couple of friends smile by sending each a cheerful postcard.

Day 5: Riding the CFS wave

Being grateful that I’m learning to accept my condition with love and grace:

Today I woke up feeling utterly and completely wiped out.

I guess it’s no surprise really as I’ve overdone it the last couple of days.

Following my recent ‘blip’, after some stress and a nasty ear infection, my recovery has taken a couple of steps back and I need to take things much more slowly.

Accepting CFS has not been an easy journey. At all. It’s still a work-in-progress but I feel I am definitely getting there. I’ve fought this condition long and hard for too long. Which is no surprise as it’s been completely debilitating and has changed my life drastically.

Progress is painfully slow. Just when I think I’ve taken a small step forward, I have a ‘blip’ (my positive word for ‘crash’) and take a few steps back. But rather than react like it’s blooming frustrating, which it is, I’m trying to ride the wave.

It also reminds me of the advice for when caught in a riptide – if you panic you use up all your energy and it gets you nowhere, but if you stay calm and go with it, you will eventually end up where you’re supposed to be: to safety.

I’m learning to trust the process and go with the flow. I’ve learnt to listen to my body and know when I need to have a bedrest day. And that’s perfectly ok.

This too shall pass.

So with this in mind, my happy for today is accepting my CFS condition and today’s ‘blip’ with love and grace.

Day 4: Soul stroll

Being mindful by going for a walking meditation around my neighbourhood:

I’ve come to deeply appreciate my walking meditations, a stroll around the neighbourhood that fill my soul with joy.

I’ve always enjoyed a good walk; it’s one of the things I miss the most since becoming unwell.

I used to go on long walks all the time: coastal tracks, forest hikes and countryside strolls. Living in Australia, I’d often start the day with a walk by the sea, and take an invigorating power walk at lunchtimes.

I love being outside and was feeling pretty depressed about being cooped up in the house – mainly in my bedroom – all day long, every day.

As part of my recovery plan, I started taking short walking meditation around my neighbourhood. I was resistant to the idea at first, wondering how I could possibly enjoy a walk around the houses?! How could it begin to measure up to my Aussie daily coastal walks?

I gave it a go, and soon discovered the perfect circuit. Needing to start slow, this takes around 10 minutes, and has nature to admire in abundance to admire: including a green open space with a brook running through it, magnificent trees and bushes, flowers and birds.

Most days, if wellness allows, I walk this circuit and try to tune out my thoughts and focus on my senses instead.

On this perfect English summer day, I saw the birds perched in the magnificent trees as the branches swayed in the breeze, the winding brook that is now low in water, the dogs playing happily together while their owners watched on, the colourful flowers in full bloom, and the sweeping hills and farmers’ fields in the distance.

I listened to the birds chirping, the dogs barking excitedly, their owners chatting, and the wind gently rustling the leaves on the trees.

I felt the coolness of the gentle wind against my skin, the warmth of the sun shining down, and the tickling of the long uncut grass on my feet and ankles.

It was pure bliss and I arrived back home feeling happy and grateful that I took the time to appreciate all that Mother Nature has to offer.

So with that in mind, my happy for today is being mindful by going for a walking meditation around my neighbourhood.

Day 3: Choc full of kindness

Being kind by leaving chocolate bars for strangers to find:

I’ve wanted to be part of the kindness movement ever since reading Danny Wallace’s brilliantly funny ‘Join Me’ book. With so many kindness organisations such as the Wake Up Project and the Random Acts of Kindness foundation encouraging people to spread happiness by being kind, I feel it’s time I did something about it.

I love the idea of Kindness Cards, which involve doing a kindness act anonymously and leaving a kindness card. While this is enough in itself, it may hopefully encourage others to do an act of kindness, creating a ripple effect.

The Sydney-based Wake Up Project offer a handful of gorgeous Kindness Cards, but understandably don’t post internationally. So I decided to try and make my own.

While in the midst of doing a pretty embarrassing botch job on my macbook (technology is not my forte), I received an email from Vista Print offering me 100 business cards for free. Perfect timing I thought. So I decided to make use of this gift of generosity and make my own kindness cards.

With a limited choice of design, well they are free after all, my Kindness Cards arrived a few days ago. Following the Wake Up Project’s example, my cards simply read:

Kindness Cards

Kindness Card
You’ve just been touched by a random act of kindness
Now it’s your chance to do something kind and pass this card along

As my circumstances are limited – both health wise and financially – I need to get creative with what I can do. I’m sure I’ll be writing about my kindness acts as I go along.

Keen to start today, I bought a couple of chocolate bars, stapled a Kindness Card onto each wrapper, and wrote: ‘Please enjoy! 😊’ on the back to hopefully entice the finder to take it and enjoy it, and not be suspicious of it!

I excitedly left my first act of kindness on the shelf at the library, hoping a bookworm browsing the shelves will stumble upon my choccie gift and enjoy it. The second I left on the bus, for the next passenger to enjoy.

Numerous research has shown how doing an act of kindness for somebody also has an incredible effect on the giver as well as the receiver. And it’s true. I feel happy and uplifted that my kindness acts have hopefully made two people smile today – and the thought that they may even feel inspired to ‘pass it on’ is the icing on the cake.

So with that in mind, my happy for today to being kind by leaving chocolate bars for strangers to find.

Day 2: Me, my BFF?

Being kind to myself by being my own best friend:

Today I’m focusing on the wisdom from my ‘Louise Hay’s I Can Do It’ calendar: I am my own best friend. Other friends may come and go, but I am always here for me. I support myself in feeling good.

When I saw this, I instantly wished it had come later in the the 100 days, as I felt I couldn’t possible have both Days 1 and 2 as being kind to me. That’s a pretty selfish way to start this project.

But then I thought why not?

So instead, I’ve chosen to take it as a sign: lesson I need reminding of.

Being your own best friend is one of the most powerful lessons I’ve learnt on my self-growth journey so far.

I remember my self-love guru Louise Hay asking if you would ever talk to a friend like you talk to yourself.

It was a huge light bulb moment for me.

Ultimately, we have a choice: we can either be our own worst enemy or our own best friend. I know which I would prefer to choose, but is it that easy?

I follow two-step programme for being my own best friend: The first step is to listen and catch my inner voice, the dastardly inner critic, when it’s berating me. You know the one, it’s the voice that says things like: “Look at the size of your muffin top, you are so fat”, “Why did you say that?” or “You’re such an idiot.”

I was pretty shocked to witness how my inner critic could get really stuck into me. I know I’d be absolutely horrified if a friend told me that’s how they talk to themselves.  So why should it be any different to how I talk to myself?

The next step, is to banish my inner critic by showing myself kindness, understanding, compassion and love. Whenever I catch my inner critic rearing it’s ugly head, I pause, take a deep breath, and think what I’d say to a beloved friend in the same situation.

It’s pretty liberating and so much nicer than telling myself off. Hopefully I’ve made a friend for life.

So with that in mind, my happy for today remembering to be my own best friend.

 

 

Day 1: A happier me

Being kind to myself by committing to this project and becoming a happier me:

Eeek! My first day. And I’ve no idea what to write.

OK Helen, take a deep breath in… and out… that’s better.

Sooooo, here I am: embarking on my 100 days of happy project.

I think I want to kick off this project by being grateful that I’ve decided to do it! That I am committing to my quest to being a happier me.

Doing a project like this has been on my mind for quite a while and I’ve been inspired by the 100 days challenges that have been popping up recently.

Happiness means different things to different people. For me it’s about feeling more positive, being content with my life, being the best friend/daughter/sister/auntie I can be, improving my health, and simply, because it feels good. I say a big fat YES to all of the above! Life is too short to be unhappy.

So, after a bit of digging to look for inspiration on how to carry out this project, I came across ‘The Happiness Challenge’ workbook – (a collaboration by Action for Happiness and Headspace to support a feature on happiness by BBC Breakfast in January 2011).

It gives me a good starting point and suggests three simple actions to try in my daily life: being mindful – do less and notice more; being grateful – remember the good things, and being kind – do things for others. It also has great ideas and suggestions with questions to answer and sections to complete – making it easy to track changes you experience.

So with this in mind, my happy for today is being kind to myself by committing to this project and being a happier me.