Reasons to be cheerful!

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Smiley faces – courtesy of my grandson

I learnt some new stuff about personality last week and I am amazed!

Being on the slightly introverted side (though you’d never know as I tend to over-compensate) I also am a ‘bit of a worrier’. This shows itself in my tendency to want to organise things so that I know every ‘i’ has been dotted and every ‘t’ crossed.

Now, Michael Mosley (he of the ‘Fast Diet’-  borne from trying to ensure he doesn’t die early of being overweight and unhealthy) has turned his attention to Personality. Again, driven by his own ‘need’ and personality (after all a pessimist and a worrier would be the one to search for the way not to die early – wouldn’t they)

However, his anxiousness resulted in him also being an insomniac – which is NOT GOOD for anyone. Fortunately, I do not suffer from this ( but, hey, if I didn’t micromanage things – perhaps I would)

I have put a link to a youtube copy of this programme further down – the iplayer one will disappear too soon – so I hope this one gets left up – it is worth watching if you didn’t see it. (DON’T FORGET – YOU NEED TO GO TO THE TOP OF THE EMAIL AND CLICK INTO THE TITLE TO TAKE YOU TO THE BLOG TO SEE THE VIDEO)

I’ll not go through it step by step (you can watch it yourself) but I want to  bring out a couple of points that have interested me.

1, Our genes are not fixed! They can be turned on… and off.  Your environment (what happens in your life) therefore can change your personality – with the tantalising thought that a gene that was once turned on, say for depression, might be able to be turned off again.

2, That being an optimist can add 7 and a half years to the average lifespan. (This is almost double the extra that would be added if we found the cure for cancer) What’s not to like?

3, That you can literally ‘change your mind’ – you can redirect your thought patterns toward optimism – and towards a calmer reaction to stressful situations.

This is great news for many – as long as they are willing to put in the time —  10 minutes three times a week for the Cognitive Bias Modification (spent in front of a computer screen) for the thought patterns  and 10  rising to 20 minutes a day of meditation for the reactions to stress.  Doing it , however, is the same problem people have with doing exercises of any kind 🙂

Now that The Angel Bug is published, I am researching for my next novel and for part of this I am reading a book called, ”Born Liars – Why we can’t live without deceit’ where a chapter of the book is about placebos and the marvellous tricks our own minds can pull on us. (The placebos aren’t the bit I’m researching – but  I’m reading the whole book anyway)  The mind is an amazing thing, but what does it come to when you can’t trust your own mind! Yet what a marvel when it can provide a cure!

One thing they didn’t look at in the programme was the role of forgiveness. I believe that holding a grudge or feeling bad towards someone is the best way to create unhappy brain patterns and disturbed nights, whereas by forgiving you let go of that grudge. (I’m not saying this is possible for everyone to do in all circumstances – I can imagine some I couldn’t handle)  However, it would be interesting to see if forgiving is part of the mind’s method of dealing with stress.

Are you an optimist or a pessimist?

What makes you happy or anxious?

Do cute pictures of kittens really make everyone happy?

Do share your thoughts – you know I love to hear from you !



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