This week, in the jungle… Vol. 19

Mid Wales views
Views from our walks in Mid-Wales

This week I’ve been thinking about happiness. On a quiet day, I started listening to this TEDx talk by Shawn Achor called “The happy secret to better work”. It was recommended by someone I follow on Twitter. I initially saved it for another day thinking that it might be interesting, but could also be click-bait leading to a long, dry lecture about how I need to be networking more, putting myself forward on LinkedIn and blagging my way up the career ladder (which I know would not make me happy at all). In reality, it’s a very funny short and anecdotal talk about the psychology of our success and rewards-based systems. It also touches on how we can (and need) to rewire our brains to stop chasing the next bigger and best thing on the ladders of success.

For such a short talk on such a vast subject, it’s struck a chord with me. For example, I’m not particularly happy in work at the moment, so I’ve started feeling negative and started looking around for the next best thing. I’ll never find the next best thing, because of my negativity. Imagine going to an interview with nothing positive to say. I doubt whether anyone would give you the job. It’s a vicious circle that we can break by becoming more positive, and therefore happier, people.

Primroses in the garden
Taking time to appreciate the primroses

Let’s face it, climbing the ladder makes no one happy; once you’re there you’ll want the next reward or step up. What I really enjoy are simple things like human relationships, a creative outlet, delicious food, a good read. I’m lucky to have those things in abundance along with all the essentials of life that some people are without, like a roof over my head and a family support network. And I do believe I am lucky in my job, even if sometimes it’s not what I want to be doing. So I’ve determined to take a positive leaf out of Shawn Achor’s book and to stop being so hard on myself. We’re only human and we’re allowed to have overriding concerns that come between the 9-5 work boundaries and mess things up for us in life. Everyone I’ve talked to understands it. Maybe we should all try to give ourselves a break.

Rosehips in the garden

To give myself that break I’m really looking forward to a quiet weekend away with all the comforts of home. We’ll be visiting my in-laws in Mid-Wales, where (hopefully) the weather will be chilly but sunny and we’ll be able to go for long walks with the dog, sit chatting in front of the fire with cups of tea (and later some good ale), eat delicious home cooked food and I’ll be able to snuggle into the sofa and get stuck in to my book and the pile of magazines I seem to have accumulated. A perfect antidote to a busy, and occasionally unsatisfactory, week!

This week’s likes:

Dipping a spoon into a fresh pot of set yoghurt – Finishing a crochet project for my brother – a spontaneous “date night” at a Japanese restaurant – My beautiful new Uashmama paper handbag from The Future Kept – A Sunday curry night with friends

Crochet Cthulhu
A crochet Cthulhu monster I made for my brother

Watch – Football, rugby, sport, sport, sport…Clearly, living in Wales and partnered with a Manchester United supporter, I have to be mad (only joking J) and just that little bit enthusiastic about sport!

Eat – Vegan potato salad (recipe here)/ Apple and blackberry porridge/ Cauliflower and fennel soup/ Roasted beetroot/ Spaghetti squash (an autumn favourite) with beef roulades/ miso soup and seafood yakisoba in a Japanese restaurant

Potato salad
My healthy version of a potato salad
Apple and blackberrt porridge
Flavours of autumn in an apple and blackberry porridge

Listen – Joanna Newsom’s Ys album/ Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds/ The Beatles

Read – Needless to say it’s still the Count of Monte Cristo; I haven’t had much time to read this week. Also, the Big Issue (I’ve really been looking forward to this week’s edition with the Dalai Lama and John Cooper-Clarke), the new Simple Things magazine, the essentials issue of Kinfolk and the autumn/winter edition of the Gentlewoman, which I was surprised to find in my local WH Smiths; the high street can still surprise after all!

Do you have any TEDx talks you would recommend? What’s your favourite antidote to an unsatisfactory week or a work funk?



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