I hope your August was filled with fun. Mine was filled with assignments and university exams and the joy and laughter of a dozen wellbeing through laughter sessions here in Melbourne, in regional Victoria and in Adelaide.
Thanks to 2 wonderful clients I also had the joy of trialling my new program which is tentatively called ‘Fast Track to Slow Change’. So called because we literally take the fast track, a 4 hour journey, to discover a range of simple and effective strategies that help us approach our days at a slower and more mindful pace that will actually help us to be more creative and productive. Thank you to all the participants and to both clients, both of whom have both invited me to facilitate a follow up program to extend their learning.
We cover quite a few topics in the Slow Change program and one of them is memory. Did you know that not only does your current emotional state affect the memories you recall, if you’re feeling happy you’ll recall happy memories, if you’re feeling sad or upset your memories will reflect that, it also effects way memories are laid down. The example we discussed in the slow change sessions was the idea of a ringing phone at a music concert. Imagine, you’re in a concert hall, you’re really enjoying the music, the concert is almost over, you’re having a wonderful relaxing time and then somewhere in the audience a mobile phone rings. It echoes through the concert hall and drowns out the music! Most of the group agreed that the ringing phone would be annoying and most of them agreed that sadly it would probably be the thing they remembered most about the event. Most of us can remember a time when a single thing ruined an entire event and the idea highlights how, even if we’ve had a wonderful time, if something unexpected happens and we become upset or angry about it, even for just a moment, that moment of strong emotion can hijack the entire memory.
The remedy, the way to stop the memories being hijacked, is to focus on the good things, to let the annoying thing to fade away, and the best way to do that is through celebration. If you’ve been to one of my workshops you’ll know that I’m a firm believer in the power of celebration. We should celebrate everything we do, the good and the difficult, the things we’ve competed and the things we’re part way though. If strong emotion is going to hijack our memory then we should do our best to ensure that that strong emotion is one of celebration.
How you celebrate is up to you but however you chose to celebrate it should be something heartfelt and uplifting. I have friends who pump the air and say “YES!” One friend has a happy hand dance that makes me smile - I should video it and put it on youtube. If you’ve been to one of my workshops you might raise your hands and shout, or say a silent, TA DA! As long as your celebration is joyous and heartfelt your memory of the event will be, if not hijacked, at the very least highlighted by the joy. Celebrating achievements, especially the difficult things also has the added bonus of building your resilience.
In the case of the mobile phone at the concert the way to diminish the impact of the phone would be to celebrate the concert, the music, the experience you were feeling before the phone rang, although most of the participants in both slow change groups added that they would also celebrate that at least it wasn’t their phone that rang!
In November I’m heading back to Bhutan. I am honoured that my application to be included in the Slow Change Experience being held at the Gross National Happiness Centre has been accepted. I’ve met with the amazing Sophie from Humankind Enterprises who’s organising the adventure and my visa application has been sent off. The group leaves on November 10. My flights are yet to be booked and while the date of the flight to Bhutan can’t be changed due to other commitments my flight home is flexible at this point, so, if you aren’t in Australia and would like to experience a Let’s Laugh workshop towards the end of the year and like the idea of potentially saving on the cost of flying me in, please get in touch.
I wish you a wonderful rest of September.
Keep smiling, keep celebrating and keep on being amazing!