Ruth Williams for the Sunday Express S Magazine
“So much of modern life sees many of us lacking confidence and motivation. But by taking advantage of the very idiosyncrasies that make us unique we can connect with people and draw them to us.
The online shop for every mood, Department Store for the Mind, creates simple things, such as gifts and books, to encourage happy and healthy daily habits. And two new books, Washing Up is Good for You and Walking in the Rain which take a look at how everyday activities can keep us grounded, are out later this month.
You can improve your life by reshaping your attitudes. Do you zip through chores to increase your free time then spent in front of a screen? It may sound a crazy idea, but how would it be if you actually looked forward to the chore itself? Believe it or not, washing up can be liberating, relaxing, creative and healing. There is always a temptation to rush through daily tasks, such as washing up, but while doing these chores we can take time to pause and reflect on the pleasure of a job well done.
Technology shapes so much communication these days. So why not take a break with techno sabbatical? Relax, listen and be heard. Mugs out means phones off. It’s the simple daily stuff that can bring true happiness, such as getting down on the floor with the kids and joining in whatever they are doing, letting them lead the game. At the heart of mindful play is the idea that we are totally absorbed, free of judgement and happily notching details while acting out our instincts.
And what about food? Experiment with new smells and flavours – and don’t worry about getting messy. Think about where you eat and what you do while you are eating.
What if we bought only the things we need and had fewer but better-quality objects in our lives? Fixing a bike, maintaining the Hoover and learning how to change the wheel on the car can all bring greater peace of mind.
Walking in the rain is an excellent activity for the mind, too. What we do with our bodies has a massive impact on what happens in our brains, so think of walking as giving your mind and body a chance to hold hands and reconnect.
You know the chats you have on long car journeys when you are not looking at each other and the times you get something off your chest while having a difficult conversation? Walking together can be like that but many times more powerful. When you walk you are more creative, your body and mind relax and you get into the same rhythm as your walking friend.
Inspirational company Voyage Beyond organises self-exploration breaks. Its founder, transformational coach Gert-Jan De Hoon, walks with people for sometimes hundreds of miles across Spain and Portugal along the Camino De Santiago.
By journeying with him, travellers emerge with a new feeling of being connected to something bigger and a sense of being part of things.
Stress and anxiety are the new common cold. They strike us down with ferocious force. In Walking in the Rain people share stories of how a few daily steps calmed their wobbles and cleared their minds. There is a body solid science behind this thinking as daily pacing offers none of the nasty side effects that come with pills, we are strong advocates of the stroll.
And as a psychologist, cyclist and firm believer in living simply I can assure you it’s often not what do, but how you think about things that makes all the difference. “