November good reads;

A girl can dream right?

[Image source found here]

I’m currently reading ‘The Happiness Trap‘ by Russ Harris which was recommended to me around the time I really struggled with mindfulness (you can read some great mindfulness posts here). So this months ‘good reads’ will be based around this idea of mindfulness and happiness.

Four articles I’ve recently enjoyed:

– “What’s your strategy for Happiness?” via Huffpost (Healthy Living section)

– “Happiness is uncovering what you already have” via the Zen Habits blog

– “Achieving Happiness: Tips to repairing a blaming relationship” via Capital Gazette (Lifestyle section)

– “Self esteem & the mind: 5 behaviours that destroy self esteem” via the Complete Self Esteem blog

Do you have any articles you’d like to share? Or good books you’ve recently read?

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Brain rules;

Remembering things isn’t my strongest trait so when a lecturer mentioned I need to practice and time myself for an upcoming test, I made some wall notes. I’m the kind of person that has a photographic memory to the point where it’s a little freaky sometimes. Tell me to do something, I will most likely forget but ask me where I left a book/shoe, I could recall exactly where in an instant.

Good thing I realised I had a photographic memory long before I started university because it’s really helped with remembering things for exams using diagrams, tables & drawn up brainstorms (also known as mind maps).

Now, all those words in the picture above, to the right hand side may look like a long list but I’ve somehow taught myself to remember lists….only problem is, they have to be in that order! (brains, huh?)

So if you have trouble with your short term or long term memory, here’s a great tip I picked up from reading, “Brain Rules” back in June this year. If it’s short term memory that’s a problem, repeat to remember. In my case, I have to do it daily or once every second day for it to stick. Last minute cramming will only get me so far!

If it’s long term memory, remember to repeat. This is a great one for uni semesters, where you go over course material weekly or fortnightly, jogging your memory.

I hope those two tips can help someone as much as they’ve helped me! Now back to memorising that list…

Weapons of Mass Instruction;

In April this year, after reading this post by Zack, I purchased a book called “Weapons of Mass Instruction” by John Gatto, someone who had taught in public schools for 30 years before resigning from the out of date compulsory schooling system.

In the book, Gatto asks, “do we really need forced schooling? Six classes a day, five days a week, nine months a year, for twelve years. And if so, for what? We have been schooled to think “success” is synonymous with “schooling””. He goes on to show dozens of examples of successful people who didn’t finish high school, some who didn’t even attend (think George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Sir Richard Branson and Robert Kiyosaki (author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad).

Compulsory schooling teaches us to be consumers, to listen to instructions and to follow, not lead. In most parts, I was crying reading this book, thinking finally- here’s someone saying there’s more to life than to get straight A’s, go to a good college and settle into a decent job. There are other paths than compulsory schooling because it’s not for everyone.

For me, my brain switched off from this system the minute I started high school. The work wasn’t stimulating nor was it interesting. The only two classes I enjoyed were Art & Sewing where I was able to shut off and let my creativity free (and surprisingly to this day, this is still where my passions lay) so when I wasn’t in these classes, I would be at home “sick”.

I was lucky, I left as soon as I turned 16, much to my parents disapproval. If only back then, my parents or myself knew a little something about the Montessori approach to education. Taken from the Perth Montessori website:

“A Montessori education is a method of education founded on knowledge of the development of the body and mind of the child as identified by Dr Maria Montessori.

Dr Montessori (1870 – 1952) was a person of great depth and insight. She was Italy’s first female doctor before stepping into the field for which she is so well known: early childhood education” (you can read more about it here & here). 

If you’re a visual person like myself, maybe this video will be better at showing what the Montessori education is about.

It’s good to know there’s schools out there that offer an alternative approach to education such as the Montessori method & Steiner Education system.

What are your thoughts about the traditional school system? Did you enjoy it?

Summer, I miss you already.

Today marks the first day of Autumn in Australia and although it is warm here in Perth majority of the year, I am no longer on summer holidays as of today.

My summer break was a good one. After working and studying full time for the year of 2011, once uni holidays rolled around in late October last year, I could not be happier. Instead of going to uni 3 nights a week, I spent my evenings at the beach, either walking or swimming.

The summer of 11/12 was definitely one where I relaxed more and looked after myself. I took a new approach to my life in 2012 and the results speak for themselves. I’m happier, less stressed and I’m getting along with everyone in my life or I at least rush to fix the problem these days…completely unheard of before. (If you want to know more about my new approach, check out Dr Richard Carlson’s books here, he’s the genius behind the new me).

I’m not going to let go of my summer holidays just yet. Maybe I have attachment issues but I have an idea to phase it out slowly. I’m thinking maybe once a week, do something that reminds me of summer. Starting tomorrow, I’m heading down to the beach to watch the sunrise…hopefully I make it on time!

The main reason for going down to the beach tomorrow is for a yearly event called ‘Sculpture by the Sea’ where a number of artists exhibit their pieces on the beach (more on it here).

Can’t wait to see what’s on display this year!