My dysfunctions chronicled

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAI found this crazy little journal today. I particularly like the ironic quotations on each double page, which offer a skewed insight on life.

It brought to mind Rosenhan’s experiment “Being sane in insane places”, where ‘sane’ people faked insanity to gain admission to psychiatric institutions. They were subsequently diagnosed as being ‘insane’ despite acting ‘normally’ and their pleas to the contrary. Not surprisingly, one of the institutions became angry with Rosenhan and challenged him to send pseudopatients, ie ‘sane’ individuals pretending to be ‘insane’, for them to identify. They identified 41 pseudopatients during subsequent weeks. Rosenhan hadn’t sent any!

Life is absurd and now I plan to chronicle just how dysfunctional mine is.

"Instant gratification takes too long"

“Instant gratification takes too long”

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Life’s complicated

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAWe all have problems: some major; some minor; some life-changing; some no more than mildly irritating. I work hard to find solutions to these problems, but what I’ve noticed of late is that in solving one problem, I seem to create another. And so it goes on…and on…and on… At least, I’m smiling at the irony of this.

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Just a Minute: 5 tips to make studying easier

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAThe thought of getting out the books and settling down for a long stint of studying can be off-putting to say the least, so much so that it deters you from starting at all. Here are some ideas that take just a minute of your day. Next time you’re standing at the bus stop, waiting for Facebook to load, or it’s the commercial break during X-Factor, don’t waste the time. Try one of these:

1. Sharpen your mental maths: recite a times table; add/subtract/multiply/divide random numbers; convert fractions to decimals; work out a percentage of an amount; or any other calculations that you’ve been working on in class recently.

2. Practise a foreign language: speak (aloud or in your head) on the topic you’ve been studying; conjugate verbs in different tenses; run through vocabulary items.

3. Take a subject you’ve had that day and recall as much as possible about what you learnt; define key terms; mentally list the main points, or the details.

4. Carry your revision cards with you so you can memorise and test yourself on: quotations for English literature; vocabulary for a language; mathematical formula; terms and definitions; those tricky words that you find difficult to spell. Alternatively, you could have questions on one side and the answers on the back.

5. Whilst you’re doing the above, make a mental or written note of anything you can’t remember or need to check out later.

Don’t forget that all these single minutes can add up to a lot of time so never under-estimate how much can be achieved in short bursts. Running through things on a regular basis keeps them bubbling away in your mind and helps you to commit them to long-term memory.

Of course, there will be times when you need to settle down to a longer session but are having trouble making the commitment, and let’s face it, getting started is often the most difficult part. To help overcome this hurdle, set a timer for ten or fifteen minutes and fully focus for that time: get out your books, read a paragraph, make some notes, sketch an essay plan, make a list of topics to revise with textbook page numbers, anything at all. Stop when the timer goes off – if you can. You might just find that once you’ve started, you don’t want to stop.

My final tip is for the end of a study session. Make a note in an easily accessible place (diary, phone, notebook, laptop) of the first thing to do at the beginning of your next study session. That way, you won’t waste time trying to remember where you got to.

Now that you’ve finished reading this, set your timer for one minute and try one of the above tasks. Easy, isn’t it?

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The power of now

SDC13134In an attempt to become more mindful, I’m reading The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle.  It’s made me realise how much of my time is spent letting past events affect my present well-being or playing through various scenarios that may happen in the future, leading to anxious thoughts.  Neither of these is beneficial.

The important thing is to concentrate on the NOW – it is the only time we have.  If we’re OK now, then everything is fine, because the past and the future are only happening in our heads.

This is a difficult concept for me to grasp but it’s starting to make sense.  I think that’s why I enjoy dancing so much: it happens in the NOW.  I focus on interpreting the music and following my partner’s lead.  There’s no time to worry about the past or feel anxious about the future: my full attention is on what’s happening in the present.

What do you think about this?

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When I started this blog, I didn’t expect anyone to even find it, let alone read it.  Consequently, I noted today with some surprise that I now have 99 followers, who at some point have felt that they might want to read my rambles on writing, reading, knitting, sewing, exercise, happiness, motivation, and other ponderings on the absurdity of life and trying to get by one day at a time.

Will you be my 100th follower?


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The satisfaction of a list

The illusion of creating order out of chaosThere’s something satisfying about writing lists, in my opinion.  I think this goes back to my childhood and memories of my mother carefully creating beautifully handwritten lists in whatever notebook she was using at the time.  I wasn’t allowed to look in these notebooks – she wrote Christmas and birthday present lists, which she wanted to keep a secret – and curiously I respected her rule and never gave in to temptation.  Occasionally, she would show me a page and it was pretty mundane: a list of household chores to be completed, or items to be bought when she next went shopping.  But her habit left a lasting impression and I have to confess that I am a listaholic.  Here is a list of five things I make lists about.

1.  The books I read.  I write them in a notebook or diary but also keep a digital list on Goodreads.

2.  My goals for the week.  These are written in my diary.  I try to ensure I don’t make too many goals each week so I’ve got a better chance of achieving them, but it doesn’t always work.

3.  The things I need to do.  I used to write these in a notebook but I now use the Errands app on my phone.  Check it out if you’re into To-Do lists and tracking – it’s great.

4.   The projects I’m working on (knitting, sewing, writing, art, running and anything else I’m interested in).  Because I sometimes put a project down for a few months, I also list the next steps for each project so I can more easily return to it.

5.  Random lists that have been prompted by other people.  For example, five things I love about snow or five things I want to teach my children.

Are you a listaholic?  What do you write lists of?


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You’re not alone

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAI’ve had a few things on my mind recently: the kind of things that make you think you’re a bit crazy and not like anyone else so you bottle them up and keep them locked inside.  Then it gets to the point where you can’t hold them in any longer and you have to find someone to share them with.

So I mentioned my situation to three different people: three people who look like they’re leading normal, healthy, problem-free lives, only to discover that they all are or have been in a similar situation.  Who’d have thought it?  I’m not alone.

Remember, whatever you’re going through, you’re not the only one.

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