Friday 2 March 2012

A walk in the park

This morning we had a 2 hr company meeting in Leicester Square. When I woke up this morning I was a bit irritated by this.  Firstly because it's in Leicester Square and I don't have a travelcard and anyway I hate the tube. Secondly because it was for two hours on a busy day , and as it doesn't start until 9.30 I actually lose about 3.5 hours of my day given I normally get to work at 8.15 and blah blah blah blah.

Then I decided to try and find positives. Aside from the obvious work related ones like actually knowing what's going on from a company wide perspective.  And I realised it being in Leicester Square gave me a fantastic opportunity to go for a nice long walk. That thought alone had me out of bed in a shot. In fact I was out of bed, showered, dressed and downstairs in 15 minutes (I later discovered I had forgotten the whole makeup application thing in my haste which may in some way account for this fast turnaround!).

Why was the idea of a giant schlepp through London such a motivating factor for me? Probably sounds awful for some.

Firstly because I try to walk at least 10,000 steps a day...for health and weight reasons (and walking is proven to be one of, if not the best way of keeping both of those in check) but also cos, as previously mentioned I am not the world's greatest fan of public transport. Or any transport for that matter. It has an unfortunate habit of making me feel sick.

Secondly, because I just enjoy walking.

Thirdly because I like the space it gives me. To do whatever I want to do with that space. Think, not think, listen to music/podcasts, get away from it all. Whatever.

And finally because I love to take in my surroundings and looking at new things. I'm like a small child seeing things with glee for the first time, every time I see them, and I find mooching around on foot is a much better way of doing this than crammed up against somebody's armpit whilst whizzing about underground, or desperately trying not to vomit in a packed steamy windowed bus. It doesn't even really matter what sort of thing it  is I'm looking at, but two in particular are anything to do with 1. nature and 2. buildings, cute side streets, shops etc...both of which were going to feature heavily on my walk.

When I say nature I literally mean any nature. We can be on a train and go past a field and I will see a rabbit in the distance and yell "ooh, bunnies, look!". When we lived in London our train went past Battersea Dogs Home and I would insist on sitting on the right side of the train to look out to see if there were any dogs out playing. Every single time we went past. And it delighted me every single time I did see some. And I love anything to do with flowers. I am choosing to see this as a positive aspect of my character and not a very clear signal that I am in fact alarmingly simple.

So, off I went, feeling like I was going on a school trip, with my little rucksack on my back, and headed for Hyde Park.

I love Hyde Park. You can totally forget the choked up, frantic noisy nonsense of London is a few feet away when you're in there. I saw bluetits and parokeets, people walking their dogs ( a cute spaniel puppy followed me by accident for a bit which was extra cute), all manner of swans and ducks floating serenely on the Serpentine, people riding horses, joggers, cyclists, squirrels...I love a squirrel.  All of this made me smile until I was skipping along (not literally, although I could happily have done so at the time) with the goofiest of grins slapped all over my face.  Then a great song came on my iphone which lifted my spirits even higher. As an experiment I wanted to see if I could lift them even higher than that so tried some NLP anchoring too ...and it worked! I did have a bit of a moment when I realised I'd been so busy drifting around delighting in it all that I may not actually get to the meeting in time, but it soon passed.
other people enjoying the view too

Once out of Hyde Park the fun continued as I meandered through little side streets spotting all sorts of coffee bars and things I'd never seen before. I also stumbled upon some giant painted eggs in Green Park and discovered they were part of a big London wide treasure hunt so I started looking out for them too...I'd spotted 17 by the time I got back to the office later!

And I made it to Leicester Square in time to get my favourite skinny sugar free vanilla latte as well.

I think this demonstrates several things about happiness..for me at least:

Finding the positives did alter my mood and the way I viewed the situation, as well as giving me the motivation to get on with it

Walking is good for emotional as well as physical health (and of course the two are so linked they may as well be the same thing anyway)

Nature and outsidey type things are like a giant happy pill for me

Doing new and differernt things is good

Being more mindful and aware of our surroundings rather than just rushing through them with our heads down is so much more rewarding and sort of nourishing. London has so much stuff to look at & appreciate, if we're looking, & feeling appreciative

Egg shaped treasure hunts are fun

Coffee served by jolly people is still a winner :)

and all this before 9.30 in the morning!

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