Guest Blogger | Hannah Bishop. I think you are magic.
Who do you think is magic? I bet the last person that sprung to your mind was you.
Every day we're faced with a multitude of distractions. Our smartphones wake us, the news over breakfast, the urban sprawl and the fast-paced rat race soon follows. Of course, there's our careers, finances, family and friends to consider too. We can so easily forget to make time for ourselves. Our energy can be spread too thinly, our bodies and minds exhausted. But just pause for a second to observe: before we fill up anyone else's cup, we have to make sure we're full to the brim ourselves.
Sophie wrote in her last blog post about the way our bodies react to everyday stresses. How often have you laid wide awake at night, or felt short of breath, even nauseous because of the impending to-do list? These are signs that your body is going into flight or fight mode. You need to slow everything down.
So what can you do to make you one of the people at the top of your list?
There are so many natural ways you can make life easier on yourself. Start by introducing some happy habits into your daily routine. As Sophie explains in her last blog post, oxytocin is one powerful hormone that when present in our body and brain, reduces stress and anxiety. Oxytocin is related to our emotional and social reactions, it is said to be connected to the way we trust, empathise and bond with one another. And it's a natural antidote to depressive feelings. Expressions of love and affection produce oxytocin in our brains, so each time you hug someone or tell someone you think they are extraordinary, you're boosting oxytocin and happiness in yourself, and of course in the person you're connecting with.
In the last few months I've got a bit silly about flowers. It was just a hobby that seems to be turning into an obsession. I've turned the flat upside down most weekends mucking about with bundles and bundles of flowers. Wielding secateurs; preparing, arranging, playing. I've even been foraging on bike paths and any green spaces for extra foliage to add to my oh so wild creations.
This has led to friends asking me to make up hand tied bunches, flower garlands, flowers to top cakes. What a joy it is to know something I love to do, is being passed onto other people, and bringing them joy too. It's been so much fun. But there's another reason I've been pulling together these flowers each week, and yes, it's related to oxytocin.
I want to make this city a little smaller, a little more familiar. Each week I also make enough flowers give to strangers as an act of kindness. I leave flowers in places and spaces around London for people to discover. I also leave a note explaining that I want that person to feel valued and extraordinary. I also leave a stamped envelope with my address on, asking that they write back to me to tell me all about someone they think is magic.
So it begins... Flower power, and a dose of oxytocin with it to pass on. In this digital, over-sensory world where nothing ever stops, you can feel very small. I want to remind people there's good stuff in the world, and good people too. Flowers always remind me of that. By approaching strangers or leaving flowers with a note in unexpected places, I aim to build up trust between people and break down the barriers we put up.
So who do you love? Just pick up the phone, or wrap your arms around them if they're close by. If they're far away, write them a letter or send them a bunch of flowers.
Today, I got my first postcard back in the mail. A couple had found a bunch of my flowers at a bus stop near Old Street. It turns out it was their first wedding anniversary. On the day of their wedding, they'd got up at 4 am to go the very same flower market that I go to, to source their flowers for their wedding day. So you see, the world is not so vast after all. You have the opportunity to pause and take breath anytime you want. Oh, but make sure you smile at a stranger as you do.
Follow my journey @ithinkthatyouaremagic