Posted in Weekly Blog

Confidence Building

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At today’s group we looked at how we can build our confidence and the way we view ourselves.  Group members talked about how fear and change can play a part in their self-worth or lack of it. Fear of the unknown is quite a common thing people can struggle with especially if change is thrust upon you.  A group member described their fears and apprehension about starting a new job and their doubts of whether they could actually do it.  Through perseverance and hard work they began to love the job and believed it was the making of them and this then lead on to a positive knock on affect in other parts of their life.  We are not saying it is easy to face fears or to try something new, it can feel terrifying, but by trying you’re giving yourself the opportunity to dip your toe in the water to find out. If it doesn’t work out try something else, you’ve not lost anything by giving it a go and not being put off  by fear of failure. If you can do this you’ll see your confidence grow.

As today’s group was all about building confidence we chose to revisit an excercise we have used in the past which helps people see their strengths and qualities.  Each group member has post it notes with their name on it which are passed around to other members who then write down some of the qualities they see in that member. Once this is completed, the list is given to the member who, if ok with it will read it out. People felt really touched and appreciative of the feedback they received from their fellow group members.  Some people also found it hard to believe the qualities that others saw in them.  A common quality that came up all the time was ‘kindness’.  People could see good things in others but found it hard to see them in themselves.  Helping people to learn to be kind and compassionate to their self  is one of the main aims in this group.  For group members it’s about learning to apply the same kindness and comspassion they undoubtedly have for others to themselves. The good thing about the strengths and qualities list is that people can take them away put them in their wallet/purse or on their fridge and remind themselves of the qualities others see in them.  Group members really enjoyed the excercise and found it fun.  While leaving, group members took away their lists safe in the knowledge that if negative thoughts occur they can pull out their list of qualities others see in them.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Weekly Blog

The Joy Therapets Bring

Willow

Inviting a therapet to the group was something we have wanted to do for some time, so it was great to welcome Willow (Therapet) and his owner Barry along to the group.  It was lovely seeing the way Willow interacted with Group members and the smiles she brought to their faces.  If Willow did not think she was receiving enough attention from people she would simply put her head on their lap with a look of “Please pat me!”  Members have regularly commented on how pets and the companionship they offer can feel like a life saver while going through hard times.  Dogs can help get you out of the house and give you a reason to get out of bed in the morning.  When out walking your dog you can also make friends with other dog walkers.  Doing these things can help your confidence and alleviate some feelings of isolation.

Willow is from the charity, Canine Concern Scotland.  Willow visits a number of places including; Older Persons’ homes, Schools, Brownies, Hospitals, and Community Centres.  Below is a section from the Canine Concern Scotland website describing the joy pets can bring to people.

“Sometimes small miracles occur – people who have never spoken, turned their faces to the wall in fact – magically come to life at the appearance of a dog in their ward! This to the surprise and delight of the nursing staff; in many cases the dogs and owners provide some light relief for them, too. Sadly, it has to be said that for some of the residents or patients the THERAPETS are their only visitors. We like to encourage them to regard the doggy visitor as their very own. There is no charge for this service which is organised and carried out entirely by volunteers. We fundraise in various ways to keep it active”.

We would like to leave you with the very apt tagline Canine Concern Scotland use, ” “WE care for Dogs… and DOGS care for us!!”

 

For more information on Canine Concern Scotland please click

Posted in Weekly Blog

How humour can help with depression

 

quote-i-can-do-comedy-so-people-want-me-to-do-that-but-the-other-side-of-comedy-is-depression-deep-parker-posey-147747At today’s group we looked at the ways in which humour can have a positive impact on our mental health.  Members felt that while humour can prove a really useful tool in achieving better mental health they also acknowledged the fact that this or other interests may not make much of a difference if they are feeling so low and at rock bottom.  Members said that if they felt really bad and were not functioning properly humour could potentially make them feel worse.  It’s like anything we normally enjoy while feeling well, these things could then turn out to be the very things that trigger us while we feel at such a low ebb.  Being self-aware of what your triggers are and being mindful of your health helps play a part in achieving better mental health.  It’s worth remembering that just because someone feels rock bottom at the moment does not mean that things cannot change.  With better health you are in a better position to enjoy interests and humour.

The things that members found funny and cheered them up included; Fawlty Towers, The Office, The big bang theory and comedians Billy Connolly and Richard Herring.  This then led us on to discuss the link between comedians and depression.  We watched videos from comedians who have had mental health issues.  The videos explain how comedians use ‘stand up’ to benefit their mental health and raise awareness.  The link to the videos are from the new Mind and Comedy Central campaign

We also read this interesting article from the Huffington Post 

In conclusion we realise that humour can play a helpful part in someone’s recovery but it has to be at an appropriate time for an individual to reap the benefits.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Weekly Blog

Favourite Places

arthur-seat

At today’s group we looked at what group members favourite or safe places were.  This exercise was not meant solely for holiday destinations visited, but places that people found comfort in and felt safe.  Groups members talked about how certain places and environments really benefited their health.   People’s favourite places included; Their garden, Arthur Seat (Edinburgh), Rome, Tokyo, Munich, Amsterdam, Milan, St Margaret’s Loch (Edinburgh), Venice, Reykjavik, Somerset, Devon, Florence, The Highlands, Botanical Gardens (Edinburgh), Dunnottar Castle (Stonehaven), Miami, Jersey and Simpson House was also mentioned which is always nice to hear.  As you can see from the list it is really varied for each individual although Italy seems to be the one common denominator!  What this exercise showed us was how important environments can be for people and their wellbeing.  For some people simply getting out of bed and being able to function can feel so hard. Having the bravery to get up and go out for a little walk can really help your mood and give you a sense of achievement that can help build up your self-worth.

Posted in Weekly Blog

Wandering

wanderingSometimes it’s OK to just wander and find things we weren’t looking for and discover at times, treasure!  There’s the famous Wordsworth for example on finding the daffodils, the visual memory of which continued to serve him when in vacant or pensive mood his rapture of beautiful discovery.

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Geoffrey Baines, was our very welcomed guest today and brought with him in his topic of wandering, a sense of potential.
A French word for a wanderer is ‘Flâneur’ or female, ‘Flaneuse’.  The term has previously  been associated more negatively with the term idler  but is enjoying a more positive revival.  This was helpful to some members of the group who had been described as ‘idle’ as children when in fact they did not experience it as this but youthful exploration and discovery of their environment, so the positive concept of being a  ‘Flâneur’ or ‘Flaneuse’ was liberating.  In the modern age of 24/7 shopping and internet use, maybe slowing down to look and discover may be a helpful use of one’s time on occasion.  See the Paris Review; ‘In Praise of the Flâneur’ for more information.

And for a particularly female account, Lauren Elkin’s book ‘Flaneuse’ has a nice write up on the ‘Penguin’ website, see below:

‘Flâneuse [flanne-euhze], noun, from the French. Feminine form of flâneur [flanne-euhr], an idler, a dawdling observer, usually found in cities.

That is an imaginary definition.’

If the word flâneur conjures up visions of Baudelaire, boulevards and bohemia – then what exactly is a flâneuse?

In this gloriously provocative and celebratory book, Lauren Elkin defines her as ‘a determined resourceful woman keenly attuned to the creative potential of the city, and the liberating possibilities of a good walk’. Part cultural meander, part memoir, Flâneuse traces the relationship between the city and creativity through a journey that begins in New York and moves us to Paris, via Venice, Tokyo and London, exploring along the way the paths taken by the flâneuses who have lived and walked in those cities.

From nineteenth-century novelist George Sand to artist Sophie Calle, from war correspondent Martha Gellhorn to film-maker Agnes Varda, Flâneuse considers what is at stake when a certain kind of light-footed woman encounters the city and changes her life, one step at a time.

There is even a wander society inspired by Keri Smith’s book of the same name described by ‘Penguin’ as;

You are electing to join a secret underground movement.

Membership will require you to conduct research on your immediate environment and complete a variety of assignments designed to creatively disrupt your everyday life. That is all you need to know for now. All else will be revealed in time.

Society wants us to live a planned existence. The path of the wanderer is not this! The path of the wanderer is an experiment with the unknown. To be idle, to play, to daydream. The Wander Society offers us all a way to experience the joys and possibilities of unplanned time.

As a group we told of when we had ‘mistakenly’ found magical places, or the joy in finding links and coincidences by just taking the time to look and being open to allowing our curiosity to lead us at times, and how at times, the internet, amazing as it is with everything at the touch of a button, robs us in some way of the joy of discovery. So yes, maybe it’s OK to wander and allow ourselves to find joy in discovering things again.  The group found this discussion to be very inspiring as it opened up potential for, well, anything!