This week, I’ve been thinking about positive affirmations.
I have to confess that, much like a gratitude practice, it seems silly that words can make much of a difference to our mental health.
But then my dear friend Leaping Lord Stephen sent me a message about an app called I am.
This app sends positive affirmations throughout the day to your phone. I liked the idea of receiving a bit of a boost from my phone screen every time I look at it. And like most people, I look at it a lot. Like, more than I care to admit.
As a side note, I just want to do a brief whoop for Tech. Tech is absolutely fantastic. I love the crazy cool things it can do, like bring us the recorded sounds of global forests and get groceries delivered to our doors in minutes.
We need to be careful with it, because it can constitute a monumental time-sink (social media can get in a bin) but used carefully it can and is an enormous force for good.
Today, the app has told me that I have a good brain, that I think positive thoughts, and that I ‘radiate positive energy with ease.’ Really? Maybe I do!
I am fine with who I am and I love who I am becoming
It’s good stuff this!
I would encourage you to try it. And there’s no need to download an app either. Simply write yourself some post-it notes. You might be surprised by the positive effects. Here are some starters for 10:
I deserve to be healthy, happy and successful.
I am proud of myself for getting this far.
I deserve endless love and happiness.
And you do!
What else is going on
1) This week I sat down with Netflix, a glass of wine and Gosford Park. Very much enjoyed the chemistry between Ryan Phillippe and Kristen Scott Thomas. Nearly as much as I enjoyed Ryan Phillippe’s attempts at a Scottish accent.
2) I am moving house (to the other end of the cycle path) and am very hyped about it. More on that later.
3) Last weekend, I took 9yo to Go Ape in Chessington. I think you need to hear about this trip.
The trip to Chessington
Chessington is a small town near Kingston in the UK, just west of London and famed for the more famous theme park, Chessington World of Adventures, which I still think of as having opened 'recently'*.
* It opened in 1987 when I was 6.
Go Ape is your opportunity to behave like a monkey for the day, scampering around the treetops, hurtling down zipwires and snowballing helplessly with a faceful of woodchip into your friends at the end of the 'landing zone'.
Think forest bathing meets The Crystal Maze and you're halfway there.
They make a big noise about the course being '50ft off the ground!' It reassured me to learn that as I fall to my death I can relax in the knowledge that it was recorded in good ol' imperial.
As we arrived in the car park, we heard the cacophonous squeals of newly broken-up school children being Mach 3'd around the nearby World of Adventures.
I thanked my lucky stars that I was not in charge of a 15-year-old's birthday party.
9yo was excited. Not by the banshee wails filling the air, but the staggering four-person zip, positioned slap-bang in front of the reception hut.
Having completed the obligatory track and trace, QR code, what-time-did-you-book-for-exactly admin (having first extracted the boy from the gift shop (who puts a gift shop inside the entrance of an attraction?!)), we witnessed an utterly terrifying sight, right above our heads.
Two men clipped their carabiners to the zip wire in such a way that they began their descent heads down, legs akimbo, whooping as they descended to their absolutely certain deaths.
"OY! DOWN!! ... D-... DOWWWN!!!", bellowed the nearest instructor, fearing the worst.
We never saw the aftermath of this risk assessment 'worst-case scenario', but the absence of sirens in the ensuing minutes suggests that the lads got away with it.
I put this out of my mind, took 9yo’s hand and trotted him down a puddle-spotted dirt track to our safety briefing.
The Go Ape instructors have their work cut out. Keeping the public safe as they clamber around on ropes, 50ft above the forest floor carries significant responsibility compared to the clunk-clicking of punters into high-velocity rollercoasters half a mile down the road at Chessington Chessington.
These brave but weary folk have to get the attention of small children, hen parties and the almost entirely disengaged Parents-on-Instagram, and they have to do it between 30 and 40 times a day, depending on how sunny it is.
I can only assume that there's a moment at dusk when all the punters have finally f*cked off when they can go down the zip wires backwards, beers in hand, celebrating another zero-deaths-despite-everything day at the office.
But back to the briefing.
The instructor was giving us excruciatingly clear and simple instructions:
"Three people allowed on a platform", he announced brusquely.
"Two on a walkway. 1 on a zip wire. How many on a platform?"
"Two!" exclaimed Parents-on-Instagram with enthusiasm, to demonstrate that they had been listening.
"Three!" shot back everyone else, relieved to have waited for half a second in case it was a trick question.
Parents-on-Instagram looked unabashed, grinned sheepishly and resumed scrolling.
"OY!!!" the instructor yelled unexpectedly at someone above us who had failed to clip on their carabiner.
The person reversed awkwardly onto the platform, over-subscribing it immediately and causing a small panic amongst the three, tutu-clad children behind them.
The place seemed to be a heartbeat away from disaster at every moment.
Nevertheless, 9yo and I had a cracking time. It was a lovely bonding experience, less terrifying than I expected and super fun.
Even if I did have to go round the loop with the crawl-through cargo net twice. Which was in no way dignified.
I am a strong, confident woman
If you haven’t checked out the podcast recently, have a listen. I got pinged by the NHS Track and Trace service on Thursday, so the last two episodes are futile and hilarious as I attempt to do a daily walk around my coffee table at lunchtime.
I should be released on Wednesday, and will be back on the cycle path as soon as I possibly can.
I am stronger than my problems
Lots of love,