Tag: happiness

Back to School !

Is the tail end of August bringing up those ‘back to school’ feelings for you ?

Perhaps , as a hangover from childhood, the new school year feels more important and significant to you than the actual new year in January. Maybe you get the sense that this is a time for change , new beginnings, letting go of old patterns of behaviour and maybe feelings of excitement and anticipation as to what lies in the year ahead. In all the business that this time of year brings, I would encourage you to take some moments to listen to the messages these feelings might have for you.



As well as being frantically busy, for many parents this time of year can bring a mixture of feelings. Often a new transition, whether it be going to nursery or school for the first time or moving up into the next school year,


starting school - godwin


starting school


going to secondary school




a gap year or university





or ultimately finishing education and going out into the big wide world


happy graduates

first job


can bring into focus that your child is becoming more and more independent and there is a need to appropriately let go a little more – not always easy !

As parents we need to provide love and care for our children, whatever stage they are at, but it is all to easy to confuse care with worry and instead come from a restricting place of fear.

We worry – what if they have no friends, don’t fit in, don’t get the grades they need, don’t get a job, even if we don’t say this to them they always feel our fear.

It is a classic thing to say – I just want my child to be happy – but parents often don’t realise they hold a specific image of what that happiness might be and on some level this can feel restrictive and be a pressure for their child.

Nowadays we are encouraged as parents to make our children feel better, so as to promote good self esteem. Have you ever thought that perhaps instead we should be concentrating on helping them get better at feeling !


Feelings are one of our greatest links to our unconscious mind and intuition. A big part of hypnotherapy is encouraging people to listen to their feelings instead of ignoring them or pushing them down with food, numbing them with alcohol, drugs, shopping or even perfectionism and business. Listening and validating their feelings is the most nurturing thing we can do for our children ( and spouses and friends!)

So whatever stage your children may be, what about making this September a time for welcoming and validating all feelings, both theirs and yours, and start choosing thoughts of love and care rather than those of worry, control and fear

I always find this poem by the Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran a great reminder of this


On Children

Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children
as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might
that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

The Mathematics of Happiness

Does the title of this blogpost seem a bit like an oxymoron to you ?

Are you one of those people who believe maths and happiness don’t ever belong in the same sentence !

So many people have a fixed mindset about maths, that they are no good at it and never will be. Maybe you feel that your brain is not wired up in that way and that maths will only ever be something that brings you stress and frustration.


Psychologists are now realising that this sort of mindset develops very early in life both from parental input and current teaching attitude and methods . A fixed mindset is where you have made up your mind about your abilities or characteristics and then document and look for evidence to support that decision. In comparison a growth mindset is one that is open to change and development.

Teaching to foster a growth mindset is being trialled in various British Schools at the moment. The work of Carol Dweck the Stanford Psychologist was recently highlighted in a very interesting segment on Woman’s Hour on R4.

The limiting effects of an early fixed mindset are not just seen in maths but also in other areas of people’s experience.




You might like maths but are you one of those people who have decided you are just not creative. Did you decide that you were not any good at drawing pictures at school and this has held you back from trying creative pursuits later on in life.

It isn’t just a fixed mindset around maths and art that can have a constricting impact in our lives. At a very young age the decisions we make about the sort of person we are have far reaching effects into our future. Our child minds can make fixed decisions that continue to hold us back later on in life and stop us doing and experiencing that which could give us deep satisfaction and fulfilment.

I find the power of mindset really interesting and will probably come back to that in another post but today I want to get back to my original thoughts on the mathematics of happiness.

maths symbols


When you think about your own experience of happiness does it seem like a problem of addition. Do you think that you will only be happy when you add things to your life.

How often do your thoughts tell you that you will only be happy when you get those clothes, that gadget, that holiday, move house, loose weight, fall in love.

Initially these things will make us feel better but often that good feeling soon passes and we are left looking for the next addition solution !

Maybe you feel this doesn’t reflect you and that your motivation is more spiritual. Perhaps what you are looking for is more time, peace and relaxation, more connection. We say to ourselves surely that is more worthy than wanting more stuff ! The problem is that this can still be the ego looking for an addition solution just fooling us dressed up in a spiritual guise.

True happiness most often proves to be more of an exercise in subtraction instead.

Unease , unhappiness and discontent are like a stain on a wall. You might be tempted to keep adding layers of paint to get rid of it, in an attempt make everything shiny and clean. At first it looks great but then disappointingly the stain soon starts to come through.

Do you want to spend your life continuously painting over the top or would it be better to strip off the layers and actually clean the stain away once and for all.

In the same way lasting happiness and contentment usually comes from subtraction, letting go of the blocks in our minds to our natural happiness. Blocks such as stressful thoughts, the need to control, obsessions and judgements and then coming to a place of forgiveness.



Simple – yes – but I am not pretending easy !

However recognising this and shifting your perspective on happiness is a massive first step.

What could you subtract rather than add today ?


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