On the way to work this morning I heard on the radio the new track  by Ed Sheeran ‘Sing‘ which is the first release from the highly anticipated second album x, which is set for release 23 June.

This track is more upbeat and has a really catchy hook! Admittedly I do quite like the somber tone of his previous album,  however it’s a nice change and perhaps a glimpse of the style of the forthcoming album?

Ed Sheeran explains the collaboration with Pharrell for the track –

‘”Pharrell really pushes you and wants you to do the best thing possible. Pharrell must have been on about his 17th idea when he played me this beat. Instinctively, I dismissed it, but I had a guitar in my hand and started playing that riff absent-mindedly. From that moment, I was playing that song and… we just pieced it all together.”

Give it a listen …

I must confess that I have been extremely lacking with my positive thinking tracking. I originally stated I wanted to blog every evening with one positive thought that came from the previous 24 hours. (See original post).

However the past week or two I have been extremely busy, so when the evening finally comes around – all I can think about is face planting my pillow. Rather annoyingly my positive thinking blogging has taken a back burner during this hectic time.
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I have noticed a difference; when I haven’t taken the time during my evenings to sit at my laptop whilst drinking my cup of tea and reflect with positive eyes over the events during the past 24 hours. I can honestly say, having these quiet moments to understand your day and select these positive feelings/achievements/conversations brings another way of thinking to how you see your day. 
I would like to compare it to practicing yoga. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert in yoga either, but often I go to yoga classes in the evenings as a way of removing myself from the day and just relax. Spending dedicated time just with your thoughts is an amazing way to clear whats in your mind. I’ve found by blogging about my day I have this similar feeling of clearing my mind, filtering my thoughts into smaller pieces and understanding myself.

So rather than seeing the negative in the fact I haven’t been blogging in a while – I will try and put my positive hat on and see the good.

I have been manically busy, because at present I’m doing my placement year with a company whilst holding down a part time job. This means many of my days are split between the two and I feel like I’m running all over the place doing both.
I am really enjoying the challenges that are in both! I feel like my brain is constantly needing to be active and focused. My days are both filled with learning and work.

Recently I’ve had some really nice feedback of my work at both my placement and my job. Recognition of the hard work I’ve been putting in is welcomed tremendously! It’s nice to know that my hard work hasn’t gone unnoticed. It just makes me more determined to do better. Doing my work placement year has been an invaluable experience! I’ve had a lot of changes throughout but I’m starting to understand myself a lot better; whats important to me, how I like to work, what is it that drives me, which is starting to help me understand how I want to live my life.

 

happy

Something that I need to still improve on is prioritising my time better. In my head there are so many things I’d like to be doing better; playing the piano more often, reading, learning new skills (Photoshop, music production etc), blogging more often, seeing friends on a regular basis, going to the gym more often. I never seem to have the time to get stuck in and feel like I’m progressing in any one of these areas. I’ve been reading a lot on Quora recently, about how people learn new skills at different ages and what it takes to train yourself. It’s very interesting reading about people’s experiences with developing themselves.
One of my favourites was a question from someone asking if he was too old to learn an instrument. One of the answers gave an example of their grandmother who had started learning the violin at 60 and when she died she had been playing for 25 years.  This is an incredible example of how anything is possible at ANY age. It really does put things into perspective, and the possibilities around you.

🙂

This weekend as a last minute decision I took the three hour journey back to my home in Wales. As it was Mother’s Day on the Sunday I thought it would be nice to visit to everyone for the day.
So I guess the positive thing from my weekend was family / home.  I always love going back home to Wales. As soon as I cross the Seven Bridge I instantly feel at home.

Home
When I was younger, I was so desperate to leave Wales, venture out and experience more than I had done in the small town where I’m from. Over the few years since I’ve left, I’ve come to appreciate my home.  The people that are in it and of course my family. I guess this appreciation has comes with distance.
For people that have never been to Wales it’s hard to explain the differences from the rest of the country. They are only minor differences in themselves, however as a whole the country feels very different, especially in attitudes.

I got to spend some quality time with my sister, which is always so lovely. As kids it’s pretty fair to say we didn’t get on. We are only two years apart so I guess this in normal for sisters. Now we’ve had some time apart and we’ve grown up we seem to be much closer. It feels more like we’re on the same team against my parents. As apposed to us battling, and our parents being the referees.
We get to have the girly chats, much like the ones I have with my friends – which I suppose she is my friend. Over time, it feels like we can tolerate our differences, which weren’t the easiest thing to do when your a teenager.

One of the best reasons I love going home is to harass my dog! You can see my obsession in more detail in my previous post – Introducing Woody.
Here’s a photo – because it’s too cute not to.

Love dogs, Jack Russell,

 

So I’d say in conclusion, the positive element of this weekend is appreciation of my family 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Following on from my previous post  where I plan to document one positive thing from each day.  The positive part of my day was that this morning I made the effort to get my ass down the gym! I’ve been feeling very motivated recently and I think it’s because I’ve started training on a regular basis. For me, I find if I do a good hour session at the gym it releases me from the day, a way of getting my brain to focus on one task and to completely relax.

I’ve got a good gym plan now that i’m powering through trying to push myself further. I have a good support around me in terms of people I can go to for advice. About a year ago my sister really got into fitness, learning how to develop herself physically as well as mentally. This has rubbed off on me, so I can go to her when I need anything!

Also one of my friends is a personal trainer. She has one of these infectiously passionate personalities where you can’t help but get enthralled by her vast amount of knowledge and dedication to improving other people. She is driven by the fact she is helping others succeed and fulfill their goals. This passion shines out of her, and it literally makes me want to hit the gym immediately.
Have a little look at her website

With all this around me I cannot help but feel like I need to pull my weight (quite literally).

Gym, motivation,

Having a good balance with work, social life, exercise (well for me anyways) it makes such a huge impact on my general happiness day to day. If I lack in any of these areas I start to feel a bit imbalanced and as though I’m not getting the most out of myself. This week as a whole I’ve been pretty good. I’ve had some much needed time with my girls, the other half and some gym time.

What was positive about your day?

I read my horoscope yesterday, which is something that I don’t often do. I’m not majorly into horoscope and astrology however from time to time I enjoy reading what might come of the next month.
Well it just so happened that my horoscope read ‘you should take the time with a friend or lover as you have both had testing weeks, and enjoy some quality time’. I don’t need to be asked twice.

That evening with my ‘lover’  we went on a little date night, had food and just spent some quality time with each other. Even though it was a Thursday evening I think it was a good choice to remove ourselves from the chaos of the week and just enjoy being with the two of us.

I think it’s very important to have moments like these! Whether it’s with friends or partners. It makes you appreciate what you have and allow yourselves to reconnect. I see very often couples for example that may live together not really enjoying each other, just simply existing next to each other.

Taking the opportunity when you can – even for a couple of hours is invaluable! If you don’t have the time, make the time. As the gap between the relationship will just keep growing. The day to day stresses can cause you to take it out on the ones who are closest to you, so from time to time appreciating the relationship and reminding yourselves why you are with each other brings you closer.

Oh and this is completely irrelevant to the rest of the post, but I saw these photographs today and it made me smile, so I thought I would share it 🙂

FireShot Screen Capture #006 - '500px _ Angry birds by Elke Vogelsang' - 500px_com_photo_32796035

See link for the full album
(Images by Elke Vogelsang)

My positive thing from today would be having great friends!

It goes without saying; that having a close group of friends is priceless! I have made such lovely friends at University, something that I will cherish for the rest of my life. Having the support from your friends can truly bring another sense of happiness to yourself.

Hours of chatting about dramas, gossips, guys obviously.  It removes yourself from your own troubles and worries when your with your friends. Mainly because you can share your worries and they can offer honest advice with the best intentions. And also you absorb yourself in their lives and offer your support.

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My friends came down to see me, and we had a lovely day – catching up on the latest events. It also reminds me that we are slowly growing up (unfortunately). As the gossips that are brought to the table nowadays have changes over the past year.
Friends are having babies, moving in together, settling down in relationships. It all reflects the changes that are happening in our lives and it is amazing to be able to share this with your friends.

It’s true they say as long as your have your friends – you will be happy!

Day 2

Today was a much more productive day than yesterday! I was busy throughout the day but for once it felt like I was ticking things off my to do list. Which is always such a delightful feeling.

My positive thing from today would be amongst all the hectic events of the day I had giggle fit for about ten minutes.
I saw an article which read 40 Hilariously Honest Notes From Kids. A brilliant read!

This is a snapshot of one of my favourite letters from one particular child:

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I love the pure honestly that comes with the mind of a child, so brutally honest yet so innocent. I guess it was a lovely break during my day to have the biggest giggling fit reading endearing comments by children.

I’m really enjoying at the end of my day sitting down with my cup of tea and sieving through the events of the day only focusing on the positives and looking at what impact it had on my day. It does start to make a difference in how I perceive how well the day has gone.
If you haven’t already had a look – I did a post  on TEDtalks who did a brilliant talk on how to be more productive with positive thinking. I’m giving myself the 21 day challenge, as suggested in the video, to journal one positive element of the past 24 hours.
Even though today was only a small ten minutes of laughter, it really gave my day a little lift.

How was your day?

 

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Day 1

Following my previous post about improving productivity and happiness through positive thinking. I start today’s post with my first day of documenting one positive thing about my day.
As I start to write this, I realise that looking back over my day, I never usually look for the good, and it feels almost unnatural to try and sieve through the days events through a positive lens. I don’t know about you but my usual thoughts (especially on a Monday) would go go something like this; I forgot to start this, I need to remember to do that, I didn’t have time to do this etc. It does start to make you feel as though you had a very unproductive day, when in fact if I acknowledged all the good things in my day I actually have done pretty well!

– Taken on new tasks in placement
– Had a lovely conversation with the guy that served me coffee
– My first shift alone as a supervisor at my part time job – everything went according to plan! Woo

I know it seems very obvious that we should look for the positives in our lives and therefore will make us happier.  But this is not our default setting. We are trained to search for better, what could we improve, what did we do wrong. I am aware that it is good to challenge yourself with new things however taking time to appreciate what you have done, and acknowledge your successes, really does make all the difference.

So as for Day 1 – my positive thing from my day would be; A successful first shift alone as supervisor in my new job. 

What was the positive thing in your day?

After my usual mindless scrolling through the internet on a Sunday afternoon through random websites, articles and videos I watched a really interesting video by ‘Ted Talks‘. It’s a video by psychologist Shawn Achor who argues that actually happiness inspires productivity.
Admittedly all of the Ted talks are amazingly captivating and engaging leading you to start questioning many areas of your life, the world in which we live in, and agreed this is a result of excellent speakers. I once watched a 20 minute video on ‘How to use one paper towel’. Now let me explain; I did not watch the full length of this video because I’m overly passionate about saving paper, or being efficient with my bathroom duties, however the speaker was so entertaining and was able to keep my attention. This demonstrates the information itself is equally as important as how the information is provided.

Anyway back to the point. I will give you a quick synopsis of the video – if you don’t fancy watching the full 12 minutes.

Shawn Achor identifies there is an underlying problem with how we formulate our happiness.

– If we work hard, we will be more successful; and if we are more successful we will therefore be happier.

However this is never the case, because once we reach success, we move the parameters. Once we hit our sales target, we change them, better grades, better jobs etc. This creates an unobtainable happiness as we will be constantly pushing the success barrier and never registering our own success, and never reaching our own happiness.
I find this such an amazing analogy! It literally identifies the world we live in now. So many people don’t appreciate and acknowledge what they have and are searching for things, that they feel will bring them more happiness.

Shawn Achor explains that if we change the way we formulate our own happiness by being positive and being content with the now this can lead to being more; successful, creative and happy etc.
He outlines that by doing some daily tasks (for 21 days) that will focus on retaining the positives from your day it will force you to look for the positives rather than the negatives. By:
3 Gratitude’s – stating three things that your grateful for
Journaling – documenting one positive thing from your day and writing it down
Exercise
Meditation
Random acts of kindness

All of these things will train your brain to seek out the positives in your life and change the way you categorise your happiness.

I love this idea so much so, that for the next 21 days (as stated in the video) I will write one blog posts a day, of one positive experience I had over the past 24 hours.
I will document if/when I see a change in the way I start to view my day and the effects it has.

Take the test yourself – do one of the listed items each day to see if helps you project your happiness in each day.

This weekend (slightly late post) whilst perusing the streets of sunny Bournemouth we came across a gathering in the square of the city center. On further inspection it was a demonstration of a group called Zil’oKA. A French Caribbean group promoting the diversity of traditional rhythms, singing, and dances. 

French Caribbean

 

After standing and watching the group for only a few minutes you couldn’t help but be mesmerized by their connection with the music and to each other. They gathered quite a large crowd. It seems only fitting on the rare occasions the sun comes out to have a beautiful sound track of African percussion in the background. Many people were dotted around the square lounging on the grass, readying, soaking up the sun whilst listening to the groups catchy rhythms.

French Caribbean

Many people who were watching started to join in and dance with the group. Small kids would reluctantly let go of their parents hands and be draw into the circle of dancing.
It was really nice seeing a group of people joining together to share their passion with complete strangers. Although they were taking donations it felt as though the group were just humble to have the opportunity to share their music.

The group was made up of women and men of all ages playing tradition percussion. The women of the group were mainly dancers who would interact with the crowd.

Was lovely to be a part of their music and  helped me to get excited that summer is on it’s way!