RANT: Life, The Future and The Current State of Affairs

Life scares me. The future scares me. I try to be the change I want to see in the world but the truth is, there's so many people being swept along in a wave of bullshit. I'm struggling to believe that one drop of sanitary drinking water in this ocean of shit is really going to have much of an effect .

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Fight or Succumb. Four Important Weeks to Come.

"It's okay to feel negative emotions" 

That was one of the few stand out comments from my short time in therapy. It's something I've always struggled with. In the past I just avoided anything that would make me feel even the slightest bit negative. Now on the other hand...

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How to help a loved one through their depression!

This isn't a cry for help. This isn't a cry for attention. This is a catalyst, a conversation starter. There are others out there who go through this. There are many others our there who feel abnormal, who feel different and there are those out there who feel inferior. This is to let them know, whoever you are, wherever you may be, that you're not alone. This is to let you know that there are others out there who feel the same things you feel and there are those who go through the same daily struggle that you go through.

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A Great Way To Improve Your Ability To Focus! (And Your Mood)

This method will make you feel like your right here! 

This method will make you feel like your right here! 

So the last few weeks have been incredibly busy and I'm not going to see any respite for a few months so I have to come up with a way of staying focused, staying positive and staying relatively stress free. How can I do that? Over the next few weeks I'm going to share with you what's working and what's not working and today I'm incredibly pleased to share a method that really does seem to help. Help, ALOT! 

This method, is meditation. I KNOW, I KNOW, everybody and their Aunt are going on about the benefits of meditation these days but there's a bloody good reason why, IT WORKS! When your days are long and you sleep is minimal meditation helps perk you right back up out of your slump. Feeling stressed, can't find the solution to a problem at work? Feeling tired but still have 4 hours left at work? Try meditation! I find just taking as little as 15 minutes Of meditation can really improve my mood and keep me going when I need it most. I try to meditate twice a day, once at about 11 o'clock (for 15 minutes) and then again at about 5pm but this time for thirty minutes (I also have a light work out for an hour over lunch) and in finding this to be incredibly beneficial for my productivity, seriously, give it a try. 

I personally find certain types of meditation incredibly difficult, I really struggle to sit down for twenty minutes and try to clear my mind so I don't use this method at all, well not yet anyway. I find the guided meditations to be the way forward. This way you can find a quiet, comfortable spot around the office or  a place of your choosing, plug your ear phones in, bring up YouTube and get going almost instantly. 

I've just been listening to this video here and I thoroughly enjoyed it, I've experienced some not so good guided meditations but this is a good one. I nearly fell asleep! But when I came back round I was feeling incredibly relaxed and raring to go! I also have the Glenn Harrold Complete Relaxation CD which is also worth a try. Anyway, give it a go, let me know how you find it and let me know if you find it improves your productivity and focus levels throughout the day. You can reach me on Twitter @danielcodd1994 or leave a comment below!  

Remember breathe deep, shine bright, and have a great day!

Just Get Going

Today I found myself dilly-dallying around. I woke up a little late, took a little to long to decide make my morning "green drink" and then spent too long sat around preparing to get stuff done. Luckily, before the whole day had been spent milling around, I caught and identified the routine I had fallen into. When I fall into this routine I take a deep breath and tell myself to "JUST GET GOING!" I then make it my goal to leave the house, or whatever environment that is keeping me stagnant, as soon as possible. The key to this attitude of is the idea of marginal gains. Life isn't built around huge action it's built around each individual tiny step. So rather than thinking, "DAMN! I can't get 12 hours of work done now, might as well just wait until tomorrow to do it properly" we should be thinking "I've got 11 hours/4 hours/1 hour/42 minutes/8 minutes/etc./ In which I can be productive and take steps towards my goal and I'm going to start as soon as possible." If we think in this way our productivity will shine into the rest of the day kick starting us into greatness.

Let me know what you like to do when you find yourself in a rut of unproductivity either in the comments or on Twitter @DanielCodd1994 

As always breathe deep, shine bright and have a great day! 

Intentional Action

Most of us spend our lives on auto pilot. We wake up, we eat , we go to work, we eat again, we carry on working, we go home, we eat, we watch TV, we sleep and then we repeat. In an attempt to make life as easy and carefree as possible we no longer make any real decisions, other than the highly important decisions of what clothes to wear and what food to eat of course. As a consequence of this we can often find ourselves doing activities and eating foods that don't always further our goals and in some cases actually counteract them! For example, we want to lose weight so we restrict the number of calories we consume without questioning the fact the only beverages we consume are fizzy drinks, coffee with sugars, beer or wine! Alternatively we might have a passion project we've been trying to start but we're still watching TV multiple hours a day. If we were to just question these vices and substitute them with healthier more productive habits our lives would be more enjoyable! By focusing on what we are doing and the reasons why we are, we can not only substitute certain behaviours for better ones but we will find ourselves being more alert to our surroundings, we will find ourselves living in the present. By practising this mindfulness we can easily and almost effortlessly improve our quality of living!

So throughout the day just have think, why am I doing this action? Is it because I'm on auto pilot, or is it because I want to be doing it?

Remember, breathe deep, shine bright and have a great day!

Delayed Gratification

Today I wanna talk about the idea of delayed gratification and how it can actually heighten our experience. We currently live in a society of INSTANT gratification and to be perfectly honest, I don't think it's doing us any favours. A good way to look at this would be to look at food. If we're snacking throughout the day, by the time dinner comes around, you're not particularly hungry anymore and subsequently, you have a mediocre dinner. However, if you don't snack and you go into dinner full of hunger, that same meal is ten times better! By delaying the gratification of food we end up appreciating our food a lot more when we do eat! (Plus the time in which your delaying your gratification you can be looking forward to it. Added enjoyment!)

So I propose an idea, today whenever you go to reach for a snack, postpone it for an hour, whenever you feel like sacking off productivity, give it an hour. Whenever you feel like satisfying your need for instant gratification, postpone it. Not only should this increase our enjoyment but it also has many other benefits. For one, sticking with the food aspect, sometimes we think we're hungry when in fact we're just thirsty... Or bored. So, by the time that hour has passed you might not actually want to eat any more, this helps with those waistlines, and keeps those pennies in our wallets. Another benefit, if we postpone binge watching our favourite TV show by an hour and we replace it with a more productive task then we get more done in the day! Win win, I think! On top of these short term benefits by consciously delaying our gratification we are strengthening our will power and training ourselves to persevere, reminding ourselves that not satisfying our every need instantly can actually be a good thing.

Peace out guys, breathe deep, shine bright and have a great day!

Change Your Thoughts and You'll Change Your Life!

I don't know about you, but I quite often find myself falling into spirals of negativity. In fact I used to live in a whirlwind of negativity and it was fuelled largely by my thought process and the way my thoughts were worded. For example, "Eurghhhh! I HAVE to go to work tomorrow!" As you can see, it's quite a negative statement, It creates a sense that I'm not in control of the situation and to be honest, it's not even true, very rarely do we actually HAVE to do something, sure there'll be consequences but it's rarely life or death. I choose to go to work so I can live in London, I choose to work so I can buy food and I choose to work so I can enjoy life (also I quite enjoy work but there's always days where I just want to stay in bed and sleep) This statement focuses on the negative and turns us into a victim of this dreadful thing called "WORK". So how do we change this? Simple, focus on the positive and focus on the truth, change "I have to go to work" into "I GET to go to work" or "I'm CHOOSING to go to work" you'll feel better for changing this wording and it creates a feeling of gratitude and control! When you feel in control of your life, it feels good, and when your feeling gratitude it's impossible to feel unhappy!

This is also works on dieting, exercising and almost everything else in life! It's also a great way of keeping on top of those New Years resolutions that are just around the corner. (blog post on that coming soon) When dieting, or more specifically, transitioning from our previous eating habits to our new, presumably healthier eating habits, it's easy to word things in the negative. If we say to ourselves "I'm not allowed ...... " then our bodies, and our minds, will feel deprived of that item. However, if we flip the wording to "I'm choosing not to have ....." then we are in control, our brains don't feel like we are bowing to some  mysterious higher authority figure. Why do they get to decide how and what I do?! Who the heck are they anyway?! By using the word choose we can reinforce our power in the situation and we can also be reminded of the reasons WHY we are doing it, if we can remember why then we are much more likely to stick to whatever we are trying to. So today I invite you to join me in paying attention to, and subsequently tweaking, how we word our thoughts. It's worth mentioning that when we catch ourselves wording thoughts in the negative, we shouldn't be hard on ourselves, we should just remind ourselves to make that tweak and reword that thought!

So remember breathe deep, shine bright and have a great day!

Negativity and the Expectation Gap


*Written on December 24th*

With Christmas only a day away, the majority of us will already be forming expectations of how we expect the next two or three days to pan out, whether those expectations are about how we expect the family to act, what awkward topics of conversation we expect them to raise or even how good/bad/stressful/fun/pleasant/...(insert adjective here)/ we expect the holidays to be. Some of us will also have expectations as to what presents we're going to receive and for the most part this is only going to cause disappointment. In fact expectation itself tends to lead to disappointment and this brings me on to the idea of the expectation gap. As you can imagine the expectation is just the gap between our expectation and the eventual reality. When our expectations are lower than the eventual outcome we are pleasantly surprised but when the expectations are higher than the outcome, we become disappointed. If we have the highest of expectations we can only be disappointed, if we expect the worst we can only be happy and if our expectations are in line with reality we will be content (although we don't know what reality is until it happens so there's a risk here that it can go either way). For example, if people had overhyped The Force Awakens and you expected it to be the best movie of all time, you'd probably end up slightly disappointed but if you expected it to be dreadful and you only went to please a friend or partner then the chances are your mind will be blown and you'll have a fantastic time. This is the key to happiness and expectation, aim low. However, one caveat I will mention is pessimism. When people expect things to be dreadful it can be pretty easy to come across as a pessimistic grinch and we don't want that! We have to remember to remain open minded with reality and don't allow our negative expectations and stubbornness to prevent how we actually see the event. I guess a better way of explaining it would be to say "prepare for the worst and see what happens"

Side note: I know how much fun it can be to get over hyped and excited for something's, it's great fun. You just had to spend about ten minutes with me in the days before Star Wars and you would have realised how excited I was. It adds to the fun. So how didI apply this idea of expectation management you ask? Well I got incredibly excited until about an hour before where I mentally prepared myself for what would happen if it absolutely tanked. Luckily for all us JJ did a fantastic job. (It was also less of a risk to get hyped over Star Wars due to the great words we were hearing from the critics, the cast and the greatness of the trailers, other events aren't so easy to predict and the risk of disappointment becomes greater. For example, I don't ever go into watching an Arsenal game with the expectation that we will win, that's just far to unpredictable)

If you do find yourself disappointed over the coming few days just do one thing, be grateful. Find absolutely anything and everything to be thankful for about the situation. Whenever we are in a state of true gratitude, all other negative emotions fly out the window.

So remember breathe deep, shine bright and stay grateful.

Hydration for the Nation

Today's thought is more along the lines of a "very useful thing to do that won't take very long but will your body will LOVE you for especially over the coming few weeks if you keep it in mind throughout" rather than a thought per-say. It's the wonderful and bizarre concept of.... DRINKING WATER!! Shock horror I know! Water is just one of those things, needed for the existence of all life on Earth but appreciated about as much as a member of the flying penguin squad. Growing up, I never really cared for water but in the last few years it's been pretty much all I drink (with the odd glass of tea or coffee and the morning green juice smoothie) it's a fantastic thing to do I tell us! The benefits are tremendous and I feel like your body hugs you every time you choose straight up tap water over teaching for that acidic sugary cordial juice drink that populates your kitchen cupboard. So today whenever you feel thirsty, or even hungry (FUN FACT: dyhaydration can lead to feelings of hunger) rather than grabbing a cup of steaming hot coffee or a glass of chilled your favourite fruit juice that pumps your blood full of sugar and acid, choose the a nice glass of the life force we call H20.

 Your body will thank you for! (Hopefully not verbally, that'd be weird)

 As always breathe deep, shine bright, (DRINK WATER) and have a good day.

Seek First to Understand


Christmas is a wonderful time of year! It truly is! It's a time for family, friendship, love and compassion. It's a time to be giving. However, it can inevitably be a time of stress and anxiety also. Tensions run high, we fluster about and we can very easy lose track of what matters. When we find ourselves in this state of panic and frenzy, ordinary behaviours of both loved ones and strangers alike have a much higher propensity to cause aggregation and annoyance. So that leads us to today's Thought of the Day! Seek first to understand. When we catch ourselves becoming frustrated at that muppet who didn't have their oyster ready or that one person paying for their shopping in ten pence pieces, we should try to remember that we don't know their story. Just like ourselves, they could be stressed, they could be preoccupied, they could be worrying about how they're going to afford that big Christmas dinner with all the trimmings. If we think of all the possible scenarios that our aggravator could have ran through, to get to where they are now, then we reap two benefits. Firstly, it can create a sense of connection with the human being across from us. When we can empathise with them, we connect with them and we can begin to understand their actions. If we can understand then we are much less likely to harbour these feelings of anger towards them. Secondly it's creates time to "make our first reaction, our third reaction" and this is the idea that if we've gone though the process of trying to understand, we've taken a few seconds to breathe, a few seconds to reassess our feelings and we still believe their behaviour to be unacceptable then by all means we should act upon these feelings but we should do it in a polite and courteous manner. Acting on our emotions in an uncontrolled abusive manner will only escalate the situation and nobody wants, or at least I hope we don't.

So remember, breathe deep, shine bright and have a good day.


Finding the Beauty

So today's thought of the day is the idea that beauty and joy surround us at all times, we just have to look for it.  So today I really want us to focus on connecting with our surroundings and finding that beauty.

It is all to easy to just go with the flow and turn on the auto pilot but when you do this you tend to miss out on the stuff that makes life great. For example, as I write this I'm walking along London's busy streets but instead of listening to music I'm making a conscious effort to connect with my surroundings, to pay attention to the beautiful minutia of life and guess what!? For the first time in months I just heard the sweet melodic bird song of morning and it's wonderful! It's far too easy to forget that these moments exist when you live in London but when you take the time to look for them, they're not as rare as you might think!

So today just try and find the beauty and joy in life; whether that be the birds chirping or even just the way those around you are interacting with each other. Take a moment to step outside of your own mind, connect with your surroundings and focus on the good stuff! If you're really struggling to find joyous or beautiful moments around you then try to reevaluate your perceptions of the innate objects in your own home, try and consider how they interact with each other or try to think of the story behind each object. What memories do these objects conjure up when you really think about it. Most items have a story, or at least a memory so search for it! 

Thank You, and as always, breath deep, shine bright and have a good day!

Unconditional Interaction

Today's thought of the day is the idea of Unconditional Interaction and subsequently, its antithesis the Covert Contract*. These concepts are surprisingly powerful and they have done wonders for my social interactions and social anxieties over the last few weeks.

 

So what is Unconditional Interaction you ask? Why, it's the idea that every interaction you have with others, whether strangers or friends, should be one without expectation of something in return. A Covert Contract is therefore interacting with people on the assumption that they will then provide you with something in return be it emotional or physical.

 

For example, holding the door open for someone would be an example of a Covert Contract if you then expect that person to verbally or physically signify gratitude. Im pretty sure we have ALL done this before! Think about it, how many times have you become incredibly frustrated when you take the time out of your supremely incredibly overly busy manic schedule to hold a door open and the person doesn't even say thank you!? It's annoying right! It's damn right rude of the recipient! You go out of your way and spend time to be polite and they can't even say thanks?! Disgraceful! Exaggeration kinda pokes fun at the situation but it all seriousness it can be quite frustrating, however, there are many factors at play. For instance, the other person could have just come out of a very stressful meeting and could have a million and one things on their mind, they could be completely oblivious of their surroundings. They could have received some incredibly bad news or they could have said thank you and nodded their head but you didn't realise. Normally the situation ends by creating an internal environment of frustration and anger and this only affects one person, ourselves! It serves no purpose but to make ourselves miserable. By taking this concept of Unconditional Interaction you remove any chance of creating this toxic internal environment. When you interact with such unconditionality the joy of your own intent is sufficient to make the action worthwhile and nothing can take that away from you. A large source of unhappiness comes from the gap between reality and expectations, when you remove these expectations from your interactions there can be no gap with reality. This leads to a decrease in the negative emotions that arrive when things don't pan out as expected. In addition, anxiety can be caused by focusing on potential negative outcomes. If you go into your interactions today without expectation, you cannot possibly focus on any such negative consequences! Less anger less frustration and less anxiety. Wonderful!

The example of holding open a door is rather mundane I know but it is one from every day life that we can all associate with. The effects of Unconditional Interaction are far reaching and the consequences can be  substantial. When you take this idea into your other interactions people are more likely to see you as more genuine and less manipulative. Despite it being very subtle us humans can be very good at subconsciously picking up on people's intent and if someone realises that you are acting and interacting from the bottom of your heart, in an altruistic unconditional manner, their opinion of you is likely to elevate (but don't act in this manner just so people think higher of you!!! That would be a Covert Contract!!)

So go out into the world, interact unconditionally and let me know how you benefit from today's  Thought of the Day! 

As always you can contact me on Twitter, @danielcodd1994, Instagram, daniel1994codd or you can leave a comment below!

 

Breath deep, shine bright and have a great day! Thank you.

 

*The idea of the Covert Contract is one discussed at length on one of my favourite podcasts, The Art of Charm, brought to us by Jordan Harbinger. Check it out, most of the content is great, but nevertheless, the content that isn't so great still broadens your the expanse of the ideas populating your consciousness.

 

P.P.S. There are going to be some exciting changes on this site over the next couple of weeks, predominantly an expansion of content and contributors and a new aesthetic to fit. One of these changes will be the introduction of a self help section including these "thoughts of the day" alongside self improvement book reviews and concepts.