Posted in Weekly Blog

Be Kind

Kindness makes you the most beautiful person in the world no matter what you look like

Kindness is a subject we talk about often in the group. In fact we published a blog on this two weeks ago so we are delighted that it is the focus of this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week. We couldn’t agree more.

The smallest acts of kindness can have a profound impact such as a smile, a thank-you, saying ‘hello’ or ‘sorry’.
As Francis of Assisi notes: “A kind face is a precious gift”.

Maya Angelou observed “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

The following is a story sent by a group member illustrating how even in correction the greatest lessons are delivered kindly:

An old man meets a young man. The young man asks: “Do you remember me”?

The old man says no. The young man tells him he was his student, and the teacher asks: “What do you do now in life?”

“I became a teacher ” said the young man.
“Good” said the old man “like me”. 
I became a teacher because you inspired me to be like you “.

The old man asks the young man what had inspired him. The student told him this story:

“One day,  a friend of mine,  also a student, came in with a new watch, and I decided I wanted it and I stole it, I took it out of his pocket.

When my friend noticed that his watch was gone he immediately complained to the teacher.  As that teacher you said: ” This student’s watch was stolen today. Whoever stole it, please return it”.

I didn’t return the watch because I didn’t want to. You told us you were going to search our pockets, one by one until the watch was found. 

You would only look for this watch if we had our eyes closed. You went from pocket to pocket. When finding the watch in my pocket you took it. You continued searching everyone’s pockets. When finished you said.  “Open your eyes, we have the watch”. 

You never told who stole the watch.  That day you saved my dignity. This could have been the most shameful day of my life. But because of your kindness I decided not to become a thief.

You did not shame me, scold me or moralise me. Through kindness I received your message clearly. 

Thanks to you, I understand what a real educator needs to do. 
Do you remember this episode Professor? The Professor answers: “I remember the situation, the stolen watch, I didn’t remember you,  because I also closed my eyes while searching. This is the essence of teaching, if to correct you must humiliate; you don’t know how teach. 

Posted in Weekly Blog

Light-hearted humour during lockdown

Throughout this challenging period of time in which we have all had to deal with so much fear and uncertainty, one thing that has been really helpful for some has been the use of humour. The memes and jokes people have received have provided some welcome respite, raising spirits and maintaining a connection with others. This however does not in anyway disrespect or take anything away from the devastating impact this virus has had on the world, It merely provides a sense of escapism. In light of this we have included some light-hearted jokes below that we hope you will like and provide you with some respite!!

“If a child refuses to sleep during nap time, are they guilty of resisting a rest?!”

“What did the pirate say on his 80th birthday? AYE MATEY!”

“Did you know the first French fries weren’t actually cooked in France? They were cooked in Greece!”

“My new shoes are very smart and they can dance all by themselves, clever clogs!”

“I put one of my jokes on someone else’s Facebook threads the other day and got no response… must have been lost in the post!” 

“These new invisible tennis balls are fantastic, you just cannie whack ’em!”

“Not happy that my dog has only the one leg, It doesn’t sit well with me at all!”

“My mistake, I bought shaving foam instead of deodorant, I will take that on the chin!”

“What do you call a dog that can do magic? A Labracadabrador!”

“Why couldn’t the bike stand up by itself? It was two tired!”

“What’s Forrest Gump’s password? 1forrest1!”

“I used to have a job at a calendar factory but I got the sack because I took a couple of days off!”

“Two guys walk into a bar, the third one ducks!”

“What did the buffalo say to his son when he dropped him off at school? Bison!”

“Two peanuts were walking down the street one was a salted!”

What did the horse say after it tripped? “Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t giddyup!”

“You know what the loudest pet you can get is? A trumpet!”

“What do sprinters eat before a race? Nothing, they fast!

“Why do melons have weddings? Because they cantaloupe!”

“What happens when you go to the bathroom in France? European!”

“How does a penguin build its house? Igloos it together”

“What’s the difference between Bing Crosby and Walt Disney? Bing sings and Walt Disney!”

Posted in Weekly Blog

Be kind to yourself during Covid-19 Lockdown

The current social distancing guidelines and living in self isolation means that many of us will have had to meet with ourselves in these times.  Where ordinarily we would be with others we may now be alone, where we would find distraction and comfort in going to other places we are now at home.  Where we may be in a difficult relationship at home it may now feel like there is no escape or relief and feeling very alone in the presence of another person who may not understand, care or connect with you.

Building the quality of our self to self relationship is very important in these times.  There are a lot of terms around to describe our self relationship; self-worth, self-esteem, self-help, self-confidence, self-criticism, self-compassion, self-support, the list goes on.  Some parts of the self to self relationship are helpful and others are not.  Today it might be useful to grow those parts which will best sustain us in this difficult time.

It is useful to find those things within ourselves which can give us a sense of feeling safe, secure and reassured. Kindness, compassion and gratitude are helpful tools for this.

Speak kindly to yourself when you are struggling; it is understandable you would feel like this, it is a time of suffering in many different forms, many people are feeling sad, scared, lonely and many are grieving. Here are 10 self-compassion exercises by Kristin Neff to try being kind and reassuring with yourself when you have moments of struggle, overwhelm and upset.

Kindness, compassion and gratitude have emotional, physical, psychological, relational and societal benefits for the giver and receiver, it’s a win win!

‘Be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle’, (Philo of Alexandria). This includes being kind to yourself in your own battles. Kind words diffuse negative situations and grow confidence, kind acts show love.

Gratitude focuses us on what we do have, when we are struggling it can help to re-calibrate us onto an upward spiral. We get the opportunity at the moment to say thank-you together as a society on Thursday nights at 8pm. If you haven’t tried this try, join in with the clapping for our NHS, care workers, shop keepers, refuse collectors, if you really want to go for it you can bang saucepans, if you have a ship, blow your horn.

Collect grateful thoughts in the morning to start the day well and at night-you might find you sleep better. When we meet together as a group we have a weekly ‘Good Notice Board’ where we each think of one good thing in the week-even if it was a tough week. Can you think of one good thing that has happened this week?

Compassion recognises the suffering of ourselves or others and desires to relieve that suffering. What do you need right now to feel cared for?

If we learn to find our own care, compassion and kindness to self we will fill our well from which these attributes will automatically flow to others. If we are trying to fulfil the second but not the first we will feel empty and worn out.

What was good about today? What went well? What was hard today-what kind words do you need to hear? What moved you-how can you reach out?

Paul Gilbert, one of the founders of Compassion Focused Therapy explains that we have a tricky brain, we didn’t choose for our brain to react like this, it’s not your fault you feel scared and anxious, and now we find ourselves here, in isolation. Because our brains have the capacity to imagine and create, in frightening times they can ruminate and worry which is how our brains have developed to protect us, we are shaped by the circumstances we were born into and did not choose this. So it is not our fault that our brains can sometimes loop round lots of anxious and depressive thoughts. Instead of putting yourself down for feeling anxious, learn more self-compassion and remember that you did not choose this brain. The good news is that by learning about applying compassion to ourselves we can feel more safe and secure and less anxious.

Studies about the effect of kindness, gratitude and compassion have shown that when engage in these towards ourselves and others it can improve our health, our immunity, slow down aging and make us feel happier.