Today we had our annual group BBQ in the back garden of Simpson House and used the group room to stay in from the rainy Scottish weather! We had an informal group but still had space for group members to say how they were.
When people feel very stressed or in despair it can feel like there is no way out. This can feel overwhelmingly bleak and can lead to suicidal feelings if we have not developed healthy ways to cope. Overwhelming negative thoughts and feelings can be like powerful waves threatening to submerge us and if someone has usually coped by engaging in behaviors dangerous to their life and health, it can take time and support to learn new helpful and safer ways to deal with a flood of emotions and distressing thoughts.
The real challenges come when out of the blue, we can experience devastating life changing events we had not anticipated. Coping with such situations requires inner strength coming from a initial decision which says ” I am setting my stall out; my decision is to keep myself safe no matter what life throws at me”. We are stronger when we make a decision rather than waiting to see what happens, as this leaves us vulnerable.
It is crucially important to believe in yourself; you do have the strength to make this decision, you are able to see this through and make good decisions for yourself.
This week we had Maciej and Diwakar as guests at our group introducing people to the Soulight mood app. “Using a combination of colors, music and descriptive words it allows you to find your mood in seconds. It helps you to find out where you are and connect with yourself to keep you well.” More information can be found on their website: http://www.musemantik.com/mobile-health/
We had an experiential journey of exploring mood through this app. At the end of the group people said how it could really shift your mood, and how they could really get into the music and that the music was descriptive and enabled visualization of nice relaxing places.
We discussed the possibility of working together with musemantik to develop a new Choose Life app.
Today we did an exercise around music and what it means for us. We used some of the methods from “Turntable” which is a project that helps individuals and communities connect through music and story. Some of the questions included
- What music were you listening to when you were 10 and what influenced that?
- What music were you listening to when you were 15 and what influenced that?
- What music were you listening to when you were 20 and what influenced that?
- What was the first concert you attended and what were your thoughts about it?
The responses people gave were really fascinating.
It did bring up a lot of stories including;
- How people thought they knew everything at the age of 15
- Moving out of the family home
- Getting their first job
- Life influences
The responses enabled people to identify music with memories from their past. There was a lot of hilarity around the various fashions people wore, weather it be a “Bay City Rollers” tartan scarf or a pair of “Bros” trainers! It was fascinating to see the changes in people’s music tastes while growing up and how certain pieces of music reflected those changes. While listening to music can trigger good memories and some not so good, it still proved to be a very worthwhile exercise. Below is an interesting article from livescience.com
Music shapes the brain in many ways — it can alter brain structures in musicians, and enhance cognitive skills in children and adults alike, research shows. Still, scientists are continuing to learn much about the way the brain responds to music.
Here is a look at one way that music is known to affect the brain.
Unearthing patients’ lost memories
- Music has the power to bring back memories, leading some researchers to say that music could be used as a treatment for people with memory problems.
- In one recent study, researchers found that music could bring back old-age memories in people who had memory problems after sustaining traumatic brain injuries (TBI).
- In fact, the musical treatment, which involved playing hit songs from different periods in people’s lives, was better than an interview at eliciting past memories, according to the study published in the journal Neuropsychological Rehabilitation in 2013.
- Other investigations have found that for people with severe memory problems as a result of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, music can affect the memory when nothing else does. The effect can sometimes be so great that experts have likened it to “awakening” a patient who has been unconscious.
People in the group today were struggling with some really tough situations. As we chatted, it was tangible that people began to feel lighter and were able to report that they felt better at the end of the group than they had felt on arrival.
We talked about having to wear a mask and keep going for other people which is tiring, so it was helpful for people to have the respite and support of the group to talk honestly about how they feel.
With summer holidays upon us and the kids off school, we talked about how good it is to have a holiday, and those who had been away, even a short break not too far away, really felt the benefit of having a breather away from every day stresses. We also discussed the importance of self-care, which is quite a common theme, but again if we continually feel obliged, duty bound or made to feel guilty into denying our own needs to look after the needs of others, we can get stressed and even burn out. Please feel free to look at our Pinterest board about self-care https://www.pinterest.com/choose0263/self-care/