“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” – Maya Angelou
Remember that dress? It became a viral internet sensation on 26 February 2015, when viewers disagreed over whether the dress pictured was coloured blue and black, or white and gold. There were more than 10 million tweets mentioning the dress within a week of it surfacing.
While it was eventually proven that the dress was in fact blue and black (though I still have my doubts!), it also lends power to the idea that perception is everything.
I’m currently reading It’s Not You, It’s Me, by Camilla Sacre-Dallerup, who was the head judge on Dancing with the Stars NZ and is a bestselling author. She was recently in Christchurch to promote the book.
She’s a big believer in ‘reframing’ what we see as negative; seeing something in a new way, in a new context or with a new ‘frame’ around it. It’s life-changing stuff.
After all, Lou Holtz once said, “Life is ten percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you respond to it” and, if perception is reality, then you’ve got the ultimate power.
“Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say, and not giving a damn.” – Gore Vidal
Looking down the line-up of The Crossing Fashion Starts Here Best Dressed Best Dressed finalists at Addington this year, I was struck by just how magnificent fashion is.
It was Rachel Zoe that once said, ‘Fashion is a way to say who you are without having to speak’ and I’m not sure a truer word has ever been said on the topic.
This year’s Best Dressed Lady sash was draped over Nikki Pagen’s white, red and blue ensemble; which was simple in aesthetic and yet impeccable in its execution. In a bright and brilliant contrast, runner-up Stephanie Murray was in sunny yellow from head-to-toe. Meanwhile, for the Best Dressed Man Matt Anderson, cobalt blue was the name of the fashion game, with a hand-stitched checked jacket that he paired with bright white pants.
Despite – or perhaps because of – fashion’s increasingly casual constitution, the opportunity to welcome a much more traditional aesthetic is a welcome one. And yet, irrespective of the conservative nature of the day, we still manage to have fun with fashion, with hats, shoes and fascinators that are as colourful and creative as the jockeys’ silks.
But what caught my attention the most was the fact that every attendee – and there were 20,000 of them – was having a ball.
“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
It’s long been said that laughter is the best medicine and, although the sentiment behind this age-old adage is by its very nature rather sweet, the science on laughter actually stacks up.
Not only does laughter decrease stress hormones and increase both immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies, improving your resistance to disease, it also triggers the release of our natural ‘feel-good’ chemicals – endorphins. These handy little hormones promote an overall sense of wellbeing and can even temporarily relieve pain.
I’ve been reflecting a lot on happiness recently, not because those around me are bouncing off the walls with happiness, but because I have seen the people around me not give way to unhappiness.
You see, happiness isn’t just about the external manifestation of what we consider as ‘happy’, it also enables us to get through some of the most trying situations without allowing them to break us.
According to the Dalai Lama, relying on external forces to determine your mood is a sure-fire way to failure if it’s sustainable, long term happiness you’re after. And, since we can’t control the weather, others’ actions or toddlers (yes, I have two of them!), it might be time to take charge of what we can control – how we react to all of the above.
After all, as Gabriel García Márquez once said, “No medicine cures what happiness cannot” and I can’t think of a life philosophy I’d rather live by.
“A girl should be two things: classy and fabulous.” – Coco Chanel
Elite horse racing and fashion have long gone hand-in-hand and, while Cup Day is evidently an opportunity to honour a more traditional aesthetic, it equally represents the opportunity to add some colour and creativity to your hats, shoes and dresses.
We’ve got all the stylish secrets ahead to make it a dazzling one, from six-time Fashion on the Field judge Jackie O’Fee’s tips to blitz the competition, to a list of the hottest Cup Week breakfasts and after parties. We’ve checked out some of the region’s best places to put your ensemble together and we’ve even looked at the mammoth effort that goes on behind the scenes to pull Cup Day together.
Whether it’s the thrill of watching exceptional equine champions compete for glory, the rush as your horse bags a win, or getting a piece of the sartorial action, there’s no shortage of reasons to get in behind the hottest day on Canterbury’s social calendar. So, what’s yours?
“I began to realise how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed, embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and, above all, become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good.” – Roald Dahl
With more than 250 million book sales under is authorial belt, The Times placed Roald Dahl 16th on their 2008 list of ‘The 50 greatest British writers since 1945’.
Yet rewind to his school years and his teacher wrote, “I have never met anybody who so persistently writes words meaning the exact opposite of what is intended,” in his school report. “He seems incapable of marshalling his thoughts on paper!”
It was the made up bedtime stories he told his five children that sparked his passion for writing. He went at it full speed, embraced it with both arms and, from an old wooden shed in the back garden, with a wingbacked armchair, a sleeping bag to keep out the cold, an old suitcase to prop his feet on and always, always six yellow pencils at his hand, Dahl created the worlds of The BFG, The Witches, James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and many, many more.
So live passionately, live purposefully and don’t let the words of others stand between you and what you want to do.
“A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking because her trust is not in the branch, but in her own wings. Always believe in yourself.” – Anonymous
I’m a fixer upperer. I’m not sure where this desire for improving things stems from, but I seem to get a greater satisfaction from renovating something existing, than from building from scratch. Whether it’s a house or a life problem, I love nothing more than getting stuck into a project.
So with my latest project being my health, I’m a little hindered by my lack of a medical degree; which is why Dr Libby Weaver is my new best friend.
In our 29 August issue of Metropol, Dr Libby talked about her latest book – The Invisible Load. A guide to overcoming stress and overwhelm, it covers the mental side of stress; how much of what we perceive as stress (such as that overflowing email inbox!), isn’t actually stressful (unless it really is life-threatening) and that the inner turmoil that we experience as a result of letting these things get to you is one of the greatest health crises facing the modern woman.
I don’t do life by halves; something my three kids, three dogs and the full time job that I passionately live and breathe, will attest to. I love every single one of these areas of my life, but it is a lot of love to juggle.
I’ve now got my hands on a copy of The Invisible Load, so it is perhaps ironic that the only problem I now have left to solve is how to find the time to start reading it.
“In a world where you can be anything, be kind.” – Jennifer Dukes Lee
Dear Friday night emailer,
I usually start my email responses with ‘thank you for your email’. Unfortunately, in this case, I cannot do that.
I’m unsure if I’m more shocked or saddened by what you chose to email me; a complete stranger and someone for which you had no idea of what was going on in my life at that moment.
You mentioned your letter to the editor was not ‘publishable’ and I agree, but it was also not ‘send-able’. Yet for some reason, you thought it was OK to send it to me. Is it because the act of emailing de-humanises the recipient? Because I suspect – or at least I hope – that the email you sent me wasn’t how you would speak to your own family; your own friends; even your own acquaintances. If you’re about to click ‘send’ on an email you wouldn’t want someone sending your own child, then don’t click send.
I’m not sure whether it was Tiki Taane’s tattoos or mohawk that offended you so. Had you read the associated article, you would have found that there is so much more to Tiki than tattoos and a mohawk.
In fact, you would have found the back story of one of this country’s most prodigious talents; the story of a father; of a partner; of someone’s son; the inspiring story of how music saved him and of the beautiful way he proposed to the love of his life, with their children alongside.
I’m not angry with you for sending that email. If anything, I’m sad for you. I’m sad because the world is a big, vibrant melting pot of diversity and you’re never going to see the beauty in that.
“If I asked you to name all of the things you love, how long would it take you to name yourself?” – Anonymous
At a recent team building breakfast, we had to open envelopes and discuss the questions inside as a clever way to invoke conversation between those present. However, it seems nobody in our table of women had a quick answer for ‘What’s your favourite part of your body?’ In fact, one of lovely ladies I was enjoying breakfast with that day recognised that, “this would be a lot easier if we were listing things we dislike!”
And yet, our bodies are capable of the most amazing things, automatically, every single day, and we take them for granted, focusing instead on the pimples, the wrinkles and the stretchmarks that cover them. Perhaps it’s time we change our perspective on our bodies and start reminding ourselves every day just how amazing our bodies are.
Did you know alcohol is actually poisonous to us and the body cannot excrete it? So our clever livers transform it into something it can excrete so the toxins don’t poison us. While the ability to grow a baby inside us is amazing on its own, breastmilk actually changes its composition to meet the nutritional needs of the baby or babies. So if you express milk and line it up on the bench, you’ll see a beautiful rainbow of shades to illustrate the changes.
There are millions of amazing processes that our bodies do every single day and I don’t think any one of them is less impressive. So don’t forget to remind yourself every day just how amazing you are.
“Always remember that life is precious, you are precious and treat yourself accordingly.” – Dr Libby Weaver
We live in a world of self-help books, of Google diagnoses and of armchair psychology. We’re constantly trying to be the best versions of ourselves and the highest bar often isn’t the expectations others set for us; it’s the expectations we set for ourselves.
As a goal-focused A-type personality, I love aiming high and the constant quest for advancement. But where does that leave what we already have in our lives?
When speak to those who are dying about what they’re going to miss the most in the world, it’s never the pressure, the deadlines or even the success that comes from meeting all of the above.
Instead it’s the simple things they say they will miss the most; the feeling you get when your significant other tells you they love you; the feeling of your child’s arms wrapped tightly around your neck; your dog’s excitement when you walk in the door at the end of the day.
So if that’s what we’re going to miss, why not fill our lives with more of that? Don’t forget that happiness is a choice. It’s time to stop striving for ‘your best life’ and start striving for a good life.
If you’re still in doubt, head along to see Dr Libby Weaver later this month, she’s likely to tell you, “You are enough, you have always been enough and you always will be enough”.
“In most cases, suicide is a solitary event and yet it has often far-reaching repercussions for many others. It is rather like throwing a stone into a pond; the ripples spread and spread.” – Alison Wertheimer
There’s a poignant saying that ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ and, while it was likely penned to provide encouragement for those grappling with the challenges of a difficult experience, it is not necessarily accurate in its sentiments. Because, as we know, we all process feelings quite differently. For some, grief really does have the power to make them stronger, for others, it has the ability to break them.
Depression has long been a taboo subject in New Zealand; something which is discussed behind cupped hands in the lunchroom, if it is even discussed at all. Well-known New Zealanders such as Mike King, Oscar Kightley, John Kirwan and Jay-Jay Feeney have all lent their names and their profiles to getting mental health into the public consciousness. But for every high-profile New Zealander to propel the discussion into the public sphere, there has been one that has been lost. Greg Boyed, Charlotte Dawson, Sophia Hawthorne and Pua Magasiva, to name just a few.
There was a record 668 deaths in the 2017/18 year. That’s 668 too many. Not talking about it hasn’t done us any favours. So, let’s talk about it. Let’s shine the spotlight on mental health, depression and suicide. As a society we must do everything we can to recognise the signs of depression and learn how to best support those who are suffering. We owe it to each and every one of them.