Posted in Weekly Blog

How music is good for the soul



Today in the group we looked at how music can play a big part in people’s lives.  We can sometimes recall parts of our past while listening to music, weather it be a school disco, first boyfriend/girlfriend, holidays, the list goes on.  Even if you are unable to remember the year of certain memories in your life, chances are you will remember what music you were listening to.  Group members remembered listening to the top 40 music charts on a Sunday evening and recording the songs on a ghetto blaster!

Below are some examples of the exercises we did around music;

What piece of music makes you happy?

  1. “Smile” Charlie Chaplin
  2. “Waterfall” The Stone Roses

What piece of music makes you laugh?

  1. “Happy talk” Captain Sensible
  2. “I’m too sexy” Right Said Fred

If you could be any artist dead or alive who would it be?

  1. Liam Gallagher
  2. Whitney Houston
  3. Beyonce
  4. Freddie Mercury

In conclusion, it just shows how much music can be such a positive influence in our lives and a potential life saver.  Below is a song from John Miles in the 70’s which captures the importance and joy of music;



Posted in Weekly Blog

Relaxing with whales



Relaxation is a popular and often requested session in our Choose Life Group.  When people are experiencing life as being very stressful, demanding and at times painful with a lot of anxiety it can be very helpful to stop, and breath and find a sense of calm to escape for a few moments and get things into perspective again.  This week we used a guided meditation from a website called meditainment.  You can login to this website and use some of the meditations for free, we used ‘Deep Ocean-for total relaxation’ which allows you to swim with whales and hear whale song.  It was good to experience this as a group, people did feel stilled and relaxed after it and a little distanced from the everyday chatter.  For some swimming with whales brought on a sense of being accepted unconditionally.  Others enjoyed the imaginary experiencing of being deep in the ocean so much that they could have stayed there all day.  If we can learn to manage day to day stress, this will help us to combat overall anxiety.

The following is a transcribed extract from a SMART Recovery podcast by  Dr. Bill Knaus

(To hear the full podcast click here)

Well over 40 years of research amply demonstrates that serene nature scenes reduce stress, you could put this knowledge to use to lower your stress and to take better advantage of opportunities to lessen your anxieties and feel more in command of yourself and your life.  How much exposure of natural scenes do you need?  Well as little as five minutes a day of walking in nature can have a positive effect.  But what if you can’t get out and walk everyday?  Can observing pristine nature scenes make a difference for you?  Well you don’t have to be in nature to enjoy the benefits, a nature scene painting or photo can calm the mind and feel relaxing, but not all nature scenes stimulate tranquillity, imagine yourself in nature and all of a sudden you see a bear running in your direction you probably high tail it out of there.  So a nature scene with a bear that appears to be charging is probably not going to be a very serene scene.  But, there are some ingredients that science has found useful to promote a sense of serenity, and a sense of thriving for that matter.  That is, blue skies, green fields and water, but it’s not just, blue skies, green fields and water-they exist in an open landscape possibly a setting of rolling hills but that’s not necessary.  The idea is that you are looking from a sheltered advantage point.  You don’t see any dangers because you can look ahead and see any in advance, if you do see any dangers you have plenty of advance warning. So you are more comfortable in that type of setting, now you could add an ingredient such as a stream that winds into a wooded area it may also trigger a sense of curiosity, so you are not only going to feel more serene but also your curiosity is peaked, and curiosity can be a driving force so that you can move on onto something more active, more directed a greater sense of openness towards your experience and looking around to see what life is like for you.  When your mind is tranquil you feel relaxed and you can’t at the same time feel stressed out.  You may better see possibilities of the future and you may very well feel more forgiving of the past.  Nature scenes can buffer you from stress and when you are less stressed you have more emotional reserves for coping with real and imaginary threats, such as tolerating addictive urges and keeping out of procrastination traps.  Stress is inevitable, you know that and I know that but now you know how to build emotional reserves to buttress yourself against stress.

Dr. Bill Knaus is the foremost authority in the field of overcoming procrastination, and he is also renowned for his work in practical application of rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) for anxiety and has written extensively on the subject, most recently in his newest revision of: The Cognitive Behavioral Workbook for Anxiety: A Step-By-Step Program (2014).


Posted in Weekly Blog

Laughter heals the bones

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We were delighted to have with us at the group this week Stuart and Shug from Universal Comedy.   The services provide comedy as an educational tool to improve the lives of young people and adults with long-term ill-health. They run courses which help;

  • Improve self-esteem, confidence and motivation
  • Reduce isolation
  • Help reduce stress and encourage positive thinking
  • Enhance and improve general health and well-being
  • Provide a network of friendship

Stuart and Shug treated us to their stand-up routine which we all enjoyed and had a good chuckle in the process!

Following the stand-up routine we all had a good chat and discussion with Stuart and Shug regarding comedy and health.  They mentioned how having the ability to laugh at their problems and difficulties had became a life changing experience for them.  They have gained so much confidence and happiness from doing the comedy workshops that it has had a positive knock-on effect on other aspects of their lives.

The group would like to say a massive thank you to Stuart and Shug for all that they brought to the group and the how their stories inspire and create hope for others.

It is truly amazing the way in which comedy can be good medicine for our health!

Below is a interesting article about a comedian who also used comedy to help with his depression

Posted in Weekly Blog


In this week’s group we explored how people used food and any connections they could make between what or how they eat and their health or mood.  It transpired that some people have a love of sugary sweet things and do use these type of foods for quick energy or a rush.  It also emerged that people actually really enjoy cooking healthy, sometimes organic meals with lots of vegetables and spices.  Other people recognised that for them to eat well is a whole lifestyle approach; for example, if you exercise you feel good and then you prefer to eat healthy, nourishing foods to keep up the good work as it were. We then looked at some information taken from various sources around the web, the information contained therein seems to be common across a number of sources, however we cannot verify 100% accuracy of facts.

We also had a look at a few tips from Ella Woodward’s new book; ‘Deliciously Ella Every Day’ about good ways to relate to food, which we have inserted here;deliciouslyella.   Group members talked about how much they could identify with the section on how the colours on our plate can influence us and how we all eat with our eyes first.


Below is a video of the slides we used in the group;