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Deepening our enjoyment & appreciation of life

A sense of meaning, connection to our values and real engagement in what we do are crucial to nourish high wellbeing in our lives … and then high wellbeing feeds back to help us be more vital & effective in what we do.  But it’s important too to ‘smell the flowers’ on our journey.  Excessive focus on being happy is likely to be counter-productive but being too ‘puritanical’ tends to shoot ourselves in the foot as well.  The fascinating work of Barbara Fredrickson on the 'broaden & build’ function of positive/pleasurable emotions illustrates the way that deepening our enjoyment & appreciation of life doesn’t just balance energy & effectiveness, it actually boosts these qualities.  A high emotional

  • Ch.14: Meditation, Gratitude & Savouring

    “ The life I touch for good or ill will touch another life, and that in turn another, until who knows where the trembling stops or in what far place my touch will be felt. ” - Frederick Buechner

    There are so many interesting issues that can be covered in this chapter, for example "Four aspects of inner focus" model.  Mindfulness.  Acceptance.  Presence.  Flow.  Positive psychology findings.  Importance of gratitude/savouring.

     

    A day spent "idle & blessed": revisiting an experiment - savouring & "positive state mindfulness"

    Last September I went back to Cambridge for a reunion ... the first time I'd ever been back to school or university for such a thing.  It was an experiment in "emotional archaeology" and I wrote a series of blog posts about it.  At one stage I experimented with a dialogue between the 22 year old and the current 62 year old versions of me.  In the post "Going back for a university reunion: self-esteem, hallucinogens, wonder & the transpersonal", I wrote "I changed subject too from philosophy to medicine (in 1970).

    Mindfulness during daily activities: is it helpful to vary the proportions of the five facets?

    "If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life."    Wu-men

    This is one of a series of blog posts triggered by attending a MBSR training - see for example the recent "Learning mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR): second evening of the course".  A key aspect of the training is the development of "mindfulness" in everyday life.  To me, mindfulness during daily activities seems to have different flavours at different times.  I wonder if this is useful, if varying the flavour depending on the situation can be helpful?  Here are three examples from the last three days:

    E: Life skills for stress, health & wellbeing, session 5

    “ Those who think they have not time for bodily exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness. ” - Edward Stanley, 15th Earl of Derby

    Yesterday evening was the fifth session of this 12 evening training course.  I wrote about the fourth session last week.  As usual, this evening, the material we were due to cover was described in a dozen Powerpoint slides which the participants received as a handout.  See slides 1-6, Powerpoint or slides 1-6, PDF and slides 7-12, Powerpoint or slides 7-12, PDF.

    Life skills for stress, health & wellbeing, fifth session

    Yesterday evening was the fifth session of this 12 evening training course.  I wrote about the fourth session last week.  As usual, this evening, the material we were due to cover was described in a dozen Powerpoint slides which the participants received as a handout.  See slides 1-6, Powerpoint or slides 1-6, PDF and slides 7-12, Powerpoint or slides 7-12, PDF.

    The Ben Lui group (first post): the challenge of balancing planning & savouring

    Tomorrow I hope to head North and West up past Stirling, Lochearnhead and Crianlarich to Strath Fillan.  I should be able to park at a little village called Dalrigh just before Tyndrum.  From there I can walk in by the River Cononish for about 7 km to get to Ben Lui (Beinn Laoigh, calf hill).  The Scottish Mountaineering Club's Munros guidebook describes it as " ... one of the finest mountains in the Southern Highlands; it stands high above its neighbours, and its splendid shape is unmistakable."  They estimate a bit under 4 hours to the summit.  From there it should be straightforward to head on to Beinn a' Chleibh (hill of the creel or chest).  The forecast is mixed - hopefully low cloud will clear somewhat as the day goes on. 

    We'll see.  It's very useful having an up to date forecast, but what it's actually like on the hill can sometimes be rather different.  If all goes well and my body holds up, I'll head back over two more Munros - Ben Oss (hill of the loch outlet or elk hill) and Beinn Dubhchraig (hill of the black rock).  If it's too tough I can always pull out after just a couple of Munros or even after just Ben Lui.

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