Saturday, 23 May 2015

Five on Friday: Self Help Books

Over the past year I've read quite a few self help books which I've mentioned in the blog on occasions.  Currently I've got several Mindfulness books out of the library and have been dipping into them.  But I'm starting to question my addiction to this genre and think now it is time to stop and evaluate the advice given.  There's just so much of it floating around my head now that I'm afraid I'll forget what I am supposed to be doing to make me less anxious.  A paradox - I'm anxious about how to be less anxious. 



Many years ago (late 70s?) I read Susie Orbach's Fat is a Feminist Issue and it helped me escape the yoyo diet cycle I was trapped in at the time.  I don't remember the details, just one piece of advice - eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full.  Sensible and easy to follow advice which seems to work for me as I've managed to maintain a fairly stable and healthy weight since.  So I'm now going to condense the advice from the self help books I have read into five commandments.

1. Slow down
I tend to rush through days, even days off, squeezing in as many chores and improving activities as possible. This needs to stop.



2. Do one thing at a time
This will be hard - I'm a habitual multi-tasker. But I know from experience that lesson planning while  making dinner often leads to burnt offerings.

3. Be in the moment.
Smell the flowers; listen to the birdsong; taste the coffee; watch the woodpecker; stroke the dog.  Be aware of your body and senses.  This one is easier for me.

4. Listen actively to others.  
I'm ashamed to say that I've been in the habit of finishing people's sentences for them.  This will stop if I focus on them and stop being so self-absorbed.


5. Breathe
I've been doing some of the meditations in one of the Mindfulness books and, for the first time, it seems to be working.  The Three Minute Breathing space works best for me.

By the way, my life was not changed magically by tidying up, as promised by Marie Kondo, so none of her advice is included here.  I have decluttered as instructed but now am regretting getting rid of some items of clothing I didn't feel love for because I have nothing to wear to work! I now fold my knickers and scarves are packed vertically in an old shoe box in a pleasing way, but otherwise my house is still relatively untidy.  






















 

10 comments:

  1. Good advice. I'm bad about trying to do too many things at once and just getting frazzled.

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    1. I'm trying hard to focus on one thing at a time this week and do feel calmer. But it's an easy week as it's half term so I'll have more of a challenge to keep this going when I'm back at work.

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  2. This is so interesting Doris, I agree that over reliance on the many self-styled 'lifestyle gurus' out there is ultimately self defeating. I tend to avoid self help books because I fear that they will make me feel even more inadequate than I already do! Frequently the best advice is the stuff our mothers and grandmothers told us: eat sensibly, get enough sleep, take your time, eat your greens a place for everything and everything in it's place etc. X

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    1. Agreed! Mums know best - wish I still had mine.

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  3. Thanks for that! You've saved me reading at least 5 books! ;o)

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    1. Am sticking with fiction or biography in future!

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  4. It sounds like you've summed it up well, Doris and I think you deserve a shopping trip to find some work clothes you can feel the love for :-) xx

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    1. I'm trying with teenage daughter's advice - she's my style consultant.

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  5. I had to laugh about your Kondo experience. This book seems to be the hype at the moment but I don't think it would do anything for me.... apart from causing stress! I have a 15 min frantic tidying rule. It is amazing how much gets done in 15 minutes! I have been known to finish peoples sentences.... I am aware of it and find it annoying but it is a difficult one to change.... my brain works too fast (that's my excuse, lame I know). I read a fair number of self help books but I stopped the habit because I get stressed about 'following the rules'. Happy meditating! xx

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