100 days to be happy: Catch up – My Top Ten ways to relax.

You may have noticed that I haven’t been posting my happy reasons recently… well, doing this sort of kick-started my writing and I’ve managed to write two and a half chapters so far! So I’m really rather happy…

Anyway.

I thought today I’d catchup a bit by doing a sort of summary post… in the form of a Top Ten List:

My Top Ten ways to relax.

1) Breathe.
On of the things that happens when you are stressed is that you take shallow breaths, so the best thing you can do to relax is to take some deep breaths. Try my Breathing Exercise from my earlier post on Breathing.

2) Close Your Eyes.
Shut your eyes and you shut out the world. Yes, your hearing intensifies, but by shutting your eyes you put your body into that “pre sleep” state and it automatically relaxes. Just don’t keep them shut for too long or you might doze off…

3)  Listen to the Wind.
Find a quiet place and listen to the wind and everything it carries with it. Try naming the things you can hear. Don’t think about anything else.

4) Read a Print book.
There’s one thing that Print books have that e-books don’t. It usually occurs with older print books; that wonderful relaxing smell that reminds you of trips to the library as a kid…

“Scientists say that “old book smell” is more than just mustiness; it contains hints of grass and vanilla.  That’s because all the compounds used to make the book release distinctive odors as they break down. For example, lignin, which is present in all wood-based paper, is closely related to vanillin. As it breaks down, the lignin grants old books that faint vanilla scent.”
– Taken from ILAB website.

 

5) Listen to Japanese Music.
There is something ethereal about Japanese Music. Maybe it comes from the unfamiliar instruments they use or the inspiration of their beautiful islands, I don’t know, but listening to it can be very  relaxing.

Here’s a taster:

 

6) Go for a Walk.
Gentle exercise can be strangely relaxing. In fact there’s a type of meditation that relies on walking. You just focus on what your body is doing and forget about anything else. Sadly this doesn’t work if you have children with you…

7) Play.
This is fairly simple actually. Just let go of all those stifling adult inhibitions and play. It doesn’t matter what. Have a tickle fight with your partner, throw water balloons at each other on a hot day, play tag, find a playground and go on the swings, build a sandcastle on the beach… enjoy yourself. Who cares what it looks like.

8) Sex.
This tends to be something that falls by the wayside when you have kids. You’re tired all the time, they keep interrupting those loving moments with your partner and you can’t catch a break… so when you do manage it, it can be incredibly relaxing!

9) Stretch out those muscles.
I’m not talking about a full blown yoga session or a session down the gym (although those will work too), I’m talking about standing up from your chair and stretching. Just soft gentle stretches to the ceiling and floor, maybe some leg lunges to lengthen the calf muscles and ease the upper leg a little.
For some strange reason stretching the body out also relaxes it!

10) Get a decent amount of sleep.
I’m not just talking at night, although that helps. If you’ve been doing a lot of intense mental or physical work, or you’ve not had a good night’s sleep then having a nap can be incredibly refreshing.

Bonus Item:

You may notice that if you do #1,#2 & #5 all together,  you’ll probably end up doing #10 naturally. Do not fight this – if your body needs it, then it’s best to listen to it!

Forget What you know…

My son has Aspergers. It makes him highly intelligent, socially awkward and seriously obsessed with various things – mostly Money, Pokemon, Doctor Who and Card collecting…

Aspergers is what they call an Autistic Spectrum Condition. Autism is –

a lifelong developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people. It also affects how they make sense of the world around them

Everyone has a few autistic traits, it’s just when there is a whole slew of them that the condition is diagnosed. Aspergers / High Functioning Autism are two separate conditions, but are so similar that they get mistaken for each other.

Why am I talking about this?

Well, I came across this video in my internet ramblings earlier today and was immediately struck by something… Go watch the video and come back – I’ll hang on until you do…

http://autismawarenesspage.com/jacob-barnett-forget-what-you-know/?utm_source=social&utm_medium=autaware&utm_term=20130820&utm_campaign=jacob-barnett-forget-what-you-know

…interesting one isn’t it?

Okay, what struck me about this video is that it took a teenager with Aspergers to notice something significant about the way the human mind works.

We shove our kids into school at an early age and push them to “Learn Something”. We insist that it is the best way for them to grow up; they have to be tested and constantly have information shoved into their delicate brains and memorised before they can be allowed out to play .
Yet Jacob Barnett noticed that it was only when Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein were stopped from Learning (one by the plague, the other by racialism) that they made their biggest and best discoveries.

This is why his Tedtalk was called “Forget What you Know.”

In order to be truly creative in our thinking, we have to free ourselves from that crammed in mass of knowledge that the education systems of the world force us to memorise.

It doesn’t matter what subject you are working in or learning – forget about the book learning we are all piled high with and allow your creative mind to wander through the daisies.

Believe it or not, this actually works!

My best stories have come from times when I have ignored conventional forms and styles of writing and allowed my mind to run free with an idea. My favourite short story was created for a charity anthology called “Words to Music”.

The story isn’t remarkable because of that though. It’s different because of the way I wrote it. I originally wrote a story called “Statues of Justice” for the anthology.

I’d been assigned a song I’d never heard of and I had to look it up in order to write my contribution. The story that I created was just a little pedestrian and predictable (it’s changed substantially since it became “Tales of Cassius: Statues of Justice”) and wasn’t really my best work; mostly because I had tried to write the story that the lyrics told.

So when it was rejected, I lay back, listened to the song for about the fiftieth time, and let my mind wander.

It came back with the idea of rebelling against a higher authority. And while Statues is definitely about rebelling, it isn’t pure enough. The story for the anthology needed to be more idealistic and the second story  I came up with was perfect – it’s called “I, Dragon”…

The idea was simple – a lightning strike on a computer creates an AI mind which travels the interconnected worlds of the electricity system and the Internet to find a way of becoming a physical reality.

I managed to combine SF and Fantasy into one story without being too clichéd – and this time it was accepted.

So forgetting what you know and allowing your creative mind freedom does work… and it’s much more fun!

 

Split Personality

I have a lot of different names… for instance, to my children I’m currently “Mummy” (although NOS has started calling me Mum recently) and it’s a name that I love and hate at the same time. Those of you who are parents will know exactly what I mean by that!

When I write in one Genre, I’m Kira Morgana. If I write in another, I’m A.E. Churchyard. At Brownies,  I’m Barn Owl. When I teach,  I become Miss Ward, Mrs Court or just plain Miss.

At times, I lose track of who I am. The one name that is always me, though, is the Tiger Princess. I’ve been the Tiger Princess (aka Tigger or TP) for such a long time that I can’t remember not being her.

So I googled “Tiger Princess”… just for fun.

Apart from the Kindle edition of my Blog  (yes, you can get all my witterings delivered directly to your kindle for the minute sum of 99p) and the usual links to Welcome to Wherever where I’ve had a few things published, you also get another author popping up.

No, it’s not another one of my pen names…

Sarah Renee has written a book called “The Tiger Princess” and it’s this that pops up. It sounds pretty interesting, so I’ll be reviewing it in the next week or so… but just in case you want to know what I’m talking about, here’s the trailer:


When I woke up this morning I was singing “Firework” by Katie Perry:

I’m not sure why I was singing it, but it made me want to re-evaluate the way I look at myself, hence the look at my split personality. I’m not sure where I am in the middle of all those personalities, but I know that they are all different facets of me and I don’t need to go looking for who I am, I just have to haul her out of the middle of it.

And that made me think.

Are all Humans like me? Do we all have split personalities or is it just creative people who have different names for their roles? What do you think?

When was the last time you hauled the Real You out of the middle and let him or her have the stage?