As I write this I’ve been a published author for twelve days, well more than that I am an Amazon No1 Bestselling author. (And a massive thank you to everyone who bought a copy).
I’ve also been on BBC Radio London and been interviewed for a number of guest blogs.
As I wrote last time, it all felt quite surreal, and it continued to feel this way until the party I held to celebrate the launch. A week ago I got together with 50 close friends, family and supporters to mark the occasion and celebrate. As you’ve probably already read, picturing the party started me on this path and kept me going through all the challenges. So it was always going to be a big night.
And it was absolutely wonderful. An introvert by nature, earlier in the day I wobbled a bit, asking myself why on earth I’d want to be the centre of attention. But my worries were unnecessary, it was fabulous. There was a lot of joy and quite a few tears, not many of which were mine.
The main focus of the evening was a question and answer session, you can watch it below.
In it; you’ll hear me talk about a range of topics including why I started writing, how it’s important to ask for help, how writing helps the grieving process, the importance of doing some type of body work, suggestions of how to find joy and the importance of having a gratitude practice. There’s also some extremely moving words at the end by one of my closest childless friends.
It’s all about the story
In every interview I’ve told a version of my story and each time I do so, it becomes more hardwired into my brain.
As I write in Chapter Twelve of Finding Joy Beyond Childlessness, it turns out that human brains have something called a negativity bias, where we focus more on what’s ‘wrong’ than on what’s good in our lives. Sometimes we hang on to these negative things for months or years, all of which can make us more pessimistic, anxious, and at the extreme, depressed. At the same time we hardly acknowledge the things that go right. Does that sound familiar?
The bottom line is that what you focus on determines which pathways in your brain connect and therefore strengthen. This in turn determines what your brain pays attention to in the future, so if you focus on pain, worry, stress, regret, etc., you’ll have more of these in your life. Of course, the opposite is also the case. When you focus on positive things you become more resilient, optimistic, grateful, and happy.
The more you tell it, the more it becomes hardwired into your brain
In the book I then talk about how having a gratitude practice can start to rewire those pathways and it strikes me that another way is to tell a more positive story.
As I was writing the book, I dug into the different chapters and a more positive and, yes joyful story emerged. This has continued as I’ve been interviewed and written articles and my positive story is now even more hardwired than it was a few weeks ago.
My story is of finding joy
I am an only child, with no children and no parents, these are facts that I cannot change. For many years I told myself that I couldn’t be happy, and now that story is firmly in the past. The story I tell now is of finding happiness and joy and making the most of the gifts that this life brings me.
All of this happened because I changed the story I was telling myself.
Of course I always end my blogs reflecting it back to you dear reader, so I ask you to consider what story you’re telling yourself about the life you have now, and more importantly the life that’s possible for you.
Spend a couple of moments reflecting on this and, if it’s not a positive story, know that you can absolutely change it. Take a look at my video and you’ll see how joyful I am. I’m the same as you, so if I can have this life, you can too.
Now please excuse me if I go for a lie down.
I’d love to hear what you think, so please leave your comment below.
You can read book reviews and interviews I’ve done here.