It was in June of this year that we heard the words no parent ever wants to hear. We'd taken our three-year-old, Millie, to the doctor's because she'd been experiencing tummy pains and sickness. A series of tests revealed that Millie had stage four neuroblastoma - a rare form of cancer that mostly affects young children.
Lots of us have plenty of reasons to be grateful yet still focus on the negative aspects of life. It's not a surprise that our capitalist culture has led to a feeling of always wanting more - when in reality we need to take stock and be grateful for what we already have.
How much do we really know about happiness? From a Buddhist perspective, all sentient beings, including animals, seek happiness. We have a subconscious instinct to seek happiness - even though many of us don't have a clear idea what it is, or how to achieve it...
Research indicates that around half of those sleeping rough don't seek help before they end up on the streets, and many are simply unaware of the help that is available to them. This is not surprisingly really. Nobody plans to end up in that situation, and it often happens suddenly, the result of circumstances outside their control.
Life has no meaning besides the one you create for yourself. It is only up to you to decide what meaning to fulfill your life with.
This year, on the Kindness UK website, I have pledged one of the kind acts that I will do for Kindness Day. I'm going to visit a nursing home armed with goodies to give to the residents and I will spend time chatting to them.
family and friends but also to unite strangers through a value that can be included in every aspect of life. Kind acts do not have to be newsworthy to involve a positive chain and this effect is often present in everyday kindness we see and do like helping a stranger carry their luggage upstairs.
It was the worst natural disaster there in two decades. That, in a country where natural and human disasters seem the norm, is saying something - yet in a way that's part of the problem: so accustomed are we today to the view of Afghans as victims, it's becoming difficult to hear stories like that of Aab Barik and still be moved.
The public do not care about your petty triumphs and little successes, they only become interested in your dull little life if something graphically horrible happens in it, preferably with pictures. That is what we are lead to believe by those that are dishing this stuff up.
Inspiring people come in all shapes and sizes and from all walks of life. The people you choose as friends often inspire you. They lift you up instead of drag you down. Share your daily achievements with others and let them share theirs with you, and you never know who you might inspire next or who might tell you something that changes your life.
In my work as a Cognitive Hypnotherapist I see so many people in states of acute anxiety, depression and stress. One of the things that really makes a difference (and research widely supports this) is getting the unconscious mind to focus on the positives around us.
Over the years we have seen a lot of good, bad and ugly promises, campaigns and programmes. Some, such as increasing child vaccinations, have been very successful. But in the run up to the finish line for the Millennium Development Goals in 2015, we see that we are still way off key targets for women and children.
It may be a nice way to draw some attention to the scientists' hard work, but mixing up data & marketing is confusing to the general public - and risks to undermine our sense of environmental urgency.