Three Good Things – Day Seven

Today’s Three Good Things – The what’s and the why’s?

1. Lunch with J.
J and I met in London where we both worked for a global organisation. Since meeting, we’ve forged the kind of connection you have with people you meet on your travels… particularly if you’re from the same city. Todays lunch was at the usual, City Edge on Reservoir. I convinced her to check it out with me based on the premise of good food and hot men. Funnily enough, the latter didn’t really exist today but we still had the spoils of a good meal and obviously good chat, too.

2. Leaving work before 7pm
In advertising, it’s apparently the norm to not have lunch breaks or work the hours of 9 to 5. I wouldn’t know really since it’s my first job in a factory… ahem, advertising agency. So I managed a proper hour for lunch today, but leaving at 6pm still needs has to be worked on. It’s amazing what happens when your bosses are at the pub having a pint.

3. A dog with short legs jumping on to a super-high bed.
Mica, my sister’s dog, is a Pomeranian cross Maltese. She’s got stumpy little legs and a body like a keg. I left my room today to go and collect my tea from the kitchen. I also left a plate behind with some marinated fish and a corn cob. I expected to see her sitting on the floor upon my return, looking up at the bed with sad eyes. But no. She had bolstered her rotund self on to the bed and was polishing off half the fish while I yelled like a crazy lady. I’ve gotta say it’s a major feat for a furry person of her stature to make it up on to the bed. So well done to her. But she’s been on a diet for a few months now (I blame European parents for overfeeding and no idea about portion control) so it’s more about the health hazard.

I guess I’ve learned two good things –- don’t leave food on the bed, and if you really do want something, you will get it –– even if you’re an animal.
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The Three Blessings practice was designed by Dr Martin Seligman, to help re-focus our thoughts on positive experiences, rather than the negative ones we tend to wallow in. I’ve re-named mine to Three Good Things because I think the term ‘blessing’ is misleading considering I’m not religious.

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Three Blessings – Day Six

Today’s Three Blessings – The what’s and the why’s?

I’m trying to do these daily… really, truly… 

1. ANZAC Day

Remembering and commemorating all of those who served and died in war is the April 25 tradition. Apart from watching the ceremonies on TV and the minute silence observed by all, I’ve never been to Gallipoli or out of bed for the dawn service – it is on my list of things I must do, though. My good friend and I travelled into the city to soak up the atmosphere, watched the dozens playing two up, the veterans walking the streets, the medals lined up on their pockets. It’s a blessing to see these people, appreciate and admire what they’ve done. Lest We Forget.

2. One great big hug

I didn’t recognise her at first – she’s stripped her hair of all the darkness and is a shiny blonde these days. J grabbed me as I walked past the bar at the pub and gave me the biggest, longest hug I’ve had in an age. We tried to condense over three years of happenings into ten minutes, as my buzzer went off for the food I had to collect from the kitchen. We’d never have met if we weren’t thrown together into a shambolic workplace years ago, and I wouldn’t have seen her if I hadn’t come out for the Anzac Day traditions.

3. Sunshine after rain.

The forecast only mentioned a few showers so L and I were pretty annoyed when we were caught in a torrential downpour for about 30 minutes. I wore a pair of open shoes – big mistake, and had dirty road water freely baptising my feet. It can be fun dodging puddles and streams if you’re wearing gumboots but not so when you’re caught unprepared. Not long after though, the muggy gloom turned into a sun-soaked paradise. We sunk a few beers in the courtyard at our favourite pub with that warm goodness on our faces. I think the weather was a reflection of all that’s felt on Anzac Day.

Three Blessings – Day Four

Today’s Three Blessings – The what’s and the why’s?

1. The married couple at the coffee shop
Every morning while the cool kids are buying their trendy single origin coffees, I walk into the same coffee shop to get my perfect extra shot soy latte. The Italian couple behind the counter are amazing. N, is boisterous, argumentative, and in a grump every morning, but you can’t help liking her. Her husband, B, churns out a dozen coffees in 30 seconds, it’s miraculous really. Every morning without fail, they make me laugh or smile with their argumentative, over-exaggerated Italian playfulness. Mornings are a bitch for most people but these guys are the antidote. They really make my day everyday and I have coffee to thank for it.

2. Mum
Even as an adult, you have those days where things get too much and there’s nothing like some reassurance from Mum. I’m grateful she’s still around and though dumping problems on her is the last thing she needs, if I don’t open up to her then she can’t help me out.

3. Stu the copywriter
He’s a contractor taking on word-smithing duties for this job I’ve been busting my arse to get out. He knows everything about everything. Useless facts, the origins of common phrases, the original artist of a cover song, every conspiracy theory under the sun. He sings out loud, burps out loud and swears out loud. In such an uptight workspace, he brings the place to life. If I hadn’t taken this job, I’d never have met him.
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The Three Blessings practice was designed by Dr Martin Seligman, to help re-focus our thoughts on positive experiences, rather than the negative ones we tend to wallow in.

Three Blessings – Day Three

Today’s Three Blessings – The what’s and the why’s?

1. The walk along Circular Quay to the Opera House
At dusk, I decided to waste some time walking along the Quay towards the Opera House while I waited for my friend to arrive. It’s a walk I haven’t done in many years but the effect was still the same. If you’ve ever seen Sydney Harbour in person, you’ll know what I mean. On one side, the grandeur of the Harbour Bridge illuminated by light and on the other, the splendid white sails of The Opera House. If I hadn’t won those movie tickets, I wouldn’t have taken that walk. It’s still a combination of the most beautiful cityscapes and engineering wonders I’ve ever seen.

2. Spending quality time with a friend
We didn’t have much time to talk before the film, but it’s always a joy hanging out with C regardless of what we end up doing. We worked together years ago and still hang out these days. It’s like our friendship hasn’t changed – we just click. It’s also nice to know some people are still up for random nights out at the last minute.. You just have to ask.

3. Sonny
She’s a temperamental cat, Sonny. One of those felines who truly boss their owner around. She suffers from separation anxiety and is an emotional eater. We were good friends until I moved out. Now that I’m back temporarily, she only gives me the time of day now and again – like last night for instance. It must’ve been 2am and she jumped up to lie beside me for the rest of the night. Like old times. It was lovely. But it only happened because I left the door open for a change.
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The Three Blessings practice was designed by Dr Martin Seligman, to help re-focus our thoughts on positive experiences, rather than the negative ones we tend to wallow in.

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Three Blessings – Day Two

Today’s Three Blessings – The what’s and the why’s?

1. Winning tickets to see The Grand Budapest Hotel
Always sceptical about competitions and the chances of winning, I thought I’d enter a competition during my so-called lunch break (5 minutes long), since lately I’ve had more than enough at work. Seeing the congratulatory email was one of the nicest surprises in my inbox – better yet, it’s screening at the cinema by the Sydney Opera House so it’s more like a double win. All this just goes to show that you do have to be in it to win it, and I think that’s why this little blessing came to be.

2. Customer service with an authentic smile
A huge bonus of working in Sydney’s inner-city is the plethora of great places to buy fresh and healthy meals – something I missed while I was over in Ol’ Blighty. City Edge on Reservoir Street makes sandwiches and salads that’ll have you pining for them a day later and it’s been my latest obsession.

Though good food is pretty much everywhere, what’s rarer to find in Sydney among the vain, ill-mannered population, is decent customer service. So combining genuine kindness and good food = lunch-time heaven. That said, to the name-less guy at City Edge (Tommy?), thanks for being super polite to me as I paid, and flashing me the kindest of smiles. Maybe because I’m trying to live as kindly as possible, this blessing came about? Oh, I don’t know really. But it did make my day.

3. Being thanked for putting in the hard yards.
I’ve been working over 42 hours a week in a job I had doubts about from the start. It’s not just me working on the job, but a team of people, and the directors of the company haven’t said thanks once, or even offered to buy dinner or a case of beer for us. So my third blessing was  the thank you I received as I was walking out the door last night. It wasn’t from senior management, just someone I’ve worked closely with, and it’s nice to know my efforts are noticed. And I think that blessing happened because I’ve been working my ass off and doing the best I can.

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The Three Blessings practice was designed by Dr Martin Seligman, to help re-focus our thoughts on positive experiences, rather than the negative ones we tend to wallow in.

Three Blessings – Day One

Today’s Three Blessings – The what’s and the why’s?

1. Starting my exercise routine from scratch.
I actually made it through 15 minutes of painful leg sculpting exercises after weeks without exercise. It killed me but I even forced myself to do a 30 min walk afterwards and felt relieved. I’m so glad I did it because it means I’m back on the track to fitness and getting those serotonin levels back up.

2. Having a conversation with my sister without an argument.
My sister and I finally had a discussion where I refused to judge her based on her decisions. I acted like a sister, not a parent and there was not a single argument out of it. I guess when I remember that I can not control other people’s emotions or ways of living, it makes it easier to accept her for who she is without the need to want to lecture her. And that in turn helps our sisterly bond come back again.

3. Spending a few minutes talking with my 90-something grandfather.
It’s not easy to remember the language I spoke as a child fluently but for each conversation I have with him, even if it’s broken, still counts as something for the both of us. He’s getting the interaction he missed while living alone and I’m brushing up on my Ukrainian.

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The Three Blessings practice was designed by Dr Martin Seligman, to help re-focus our thoughts on positive experiences, rather than the negative ones we tend to wallow in.

Brainpickings and Dr Martin Seligman

Amongst the masses of email junk I filter through daily, there are some gems I take the time to read because of the little joys they bring. One such e-newsletter comes from Brainpickings.org.

Fearing that I might be slipping back into the dark hole of depression, I’ve decided to take up the Three Blessings practice Brainpickings just introduced me to. The Three Blessings practice was devised by Dr Martin Seligman, a founder of Positive Psychology which in summary, helps us to focus on living a fulfilled life, rather than treating mental illness.

The Three Blessings practice is designed to help re-focus our thoughts on positive experiences, rather than the negative ones we tend to wallow in, as it’s these negative thoughts that can lead to anxiety and depression. Each day, by writing down three experiences that went well and why they went well, our thought processes change, and by the end of it, we should be feeling “less depressed, happier, and addicted to this exercise six months from now,” according to Seligman.

So it seems pretty simple to me and if that’s the end result, well, I’m in.