Monday, 10 September 2018

Avoiding bad news and being happy!

I am attempting to avoid the bad news items in the papers: anything about Boris Johnson, the ongoing is-it-or-isn’t-it-antisemitism? question, and the growing popularity of right wing parties all over the place. Watching TV news last night I almost wept to hear a Swedish journalist ranting about the invasion of her country by immigrants. Because the interview was being filmed as they walked along a street, they kept being interrupted by people who wanted to give their opinions, both for and against immigration, in astoundingly good English.

In a similar sItuation television reporters in this country would be unlikely to be interrupted by a series of fluent speakers of French or German or Spanish, let alone Swedish.

So, as a distraction technique I have been focussing on more light hearted items.

Somebody called Gerrard Gethings went around Britain looking for 50 canine-human lookalikes with characteristics – mostly hair, sometimes eyes – in common. Interestingly the project was originally commissioned as a card game, presumably a matching pairs game of some kind, and will be released 10 September. Here is a link to photos of some of the couples.

In the Observer Magazine yesterday, on the “Beauty Spot” page I found this little gem:-

“Unfairest of them all?
A voice-controlled mirror that analyses your flaws has been labelled ‘dangerous’ by mental-health campaigners. The HiMirror Mini (£239, claims to offer results similar to a clinical skin analysis, and includes contouring and eyebrow-shaping tutorials.”

Personally, I feel that anyone who spends, or even contemplates spending, £239 on a mirror already has mental health issues.

And then there is this item by someone called Brad Rassler who attended a course in California (where else?) on happiness. It gave links to advice on keeping a journal of “three good things” which occurred every and avoiding the four horsemen in relationships - criticism, contempt, defensiveness and stonewalling.

So we have Dr Steve Peters, sports psychologist, telling us about our inner chimp and now Berkeley, California going on about four horsemen. Emotional life is just one big metaphor.

Here’s a sample of the advice on happiness. This one is entitled “Random Acts of Kindness”, which sound to me like bits of ordinary everyday life. But maybe that’s just me. Here’s the sample:-

Varies depending on your acts of kindness. Could be anywhere from several minutes to several hours.

One day this week, perform five acts of kindness—all five in one day. It doesn’t matter if the acts are big or small, but it is more effective if you perform a variety of acts. The acts do not need to be for the same person—the person doesn’t even have to be aware of them. Examples include feeding a stranger's parking meter, donating blood, helping a friend with a chore, or providing a meal to a person in need.
After each act, write down what you did in at least one or two sentences; for more of a happiness boost, also write down how it made you feel.”

Wow! By the time you have completed your random acts of kindness and counted up your three good things and written it all down in a journal and reflected on how you feel, you won’t have any time left to wonder if you are happy or not!

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