Posted in Weekly Blog

Songs that make me laugh!

This group regularly cite music and the arts as an important therapeutic tool for their well-being.  Today we wanted to continue this musical theme in a more light-hearted way and look at music and performances which made us chuckle. As musical tastes are totally subjective this can lead to some finding certain songs to be funny that were not necessarily intended to be so.

Below are some of the videos we watched.  Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Weekly Blog

Art and Crafts

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While constructing a group programme we try and make the content as varied and diverse as possible. When we do group sessions on art and crafts we find that it creates a real sense of ‘freedom’ for members to engage in their own creativity. This setting also seems to make people more relaxed to chat.

This is really interesting article from mindfood.com on the benefits art and crafts.

Posted in Weekly Blog

Decision making and responsibility

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Do you feel that you struggle to make decisions?  Do you feel defeated trying to choose a cereal in the supermarket, or tormented about whether to attend your niece’s wedding?  We make so many decisions daily, and life is scattered with huge life changing decisions with a myriad of implications.  Popping into Starbucks for a coffee alone offers you no less that 80,000 ways to take your caffeine, or maybe no caffeine, or milk, full fat, semi or skimmed, or soya, latte or americano, tall or grande…..you get the picture (!) So how do we cope with making decisions.  Or do we not?  Or is not making a decision actually making a decision?

First of all in the group we looked at what is it about making a decision that can feel difficult? People said not knowing the outcome, the fear that if it goes wrong it’s all your fault.  People also said that a history of making bad decisions makes it hard to trust yourself and so decreases confidence.  Overthinking and rumination over the potential ‘what if’s’ of a decision provokes anxiety and procrastination.  And a final difficulty cited is that once a decision has been made you may then be tied to the consequences of it, and that is scary.

So, the second part of our discussion was around responsibility-the level at which we are able to accept responsibility probably promotes our decision making abilities.

Taking no responsibility leads to blaming everyone else, whereas taking all the responsibility is blaming yourself for everything.

We had a think about what these two elements look like: Not taking any responsibility manifests in procrastination, always letting others decide, not paying bills, not contributing, not thinking of others, avoidance, not willing to look at oneself, unhealthy coping mechanisms [to escape e.g. alcohol or sleep], and blaming others.  Taking all the responsibility conversely involves always making decisions for others, taking the blame for everything, putting others before self, only seeing the negative in yourself, dis empowering others, not trusting others which can lead to micromanagement and bullying. Another direction of over responsibility is taking so much care of others that it can lead to obsessive compulsive behaviours trying to protect everything.

The question was posed to the group ‘Do you actually know what decision is best to make, but fear and doubt are what comes in creating confusion and reluctance to decide’.  Interestingly people mostly did seem to concur that they did in fact know what to do, so it isn’t the not knowing that creates a barrier to deciding but rather the implications of the made decisions.  People did chat too that as well as not making or avoiding decisions, sometimes they just make very impulsive choices, we talked about whether at times these were self-sabotaging behaviours.

There are some things we can do to help in combating decision fatigue.  A study of an Israeli prison parole board showed that prisoners appearing earlier in the day were more likely to receive parole for no other reason than by the end of the day the judges were tired and less likely to have the mental energy to make a decision regarding a prisoner’s release.  This study is cited in the New York Times in an article about decision fatigue. 

It is no different for us, when we are tired, hungry or it’s the end of the day having already made thousands of decisions, it becomes more difficult to decide.  So sometimes putting an important decision off until the morning may be wise, and planning and organising can significantly reduce the pressure of having to make extra decisions.

9 tips here to make better choices.

 

Posted in Weekly Blog

Food – friend or foe?

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Today we looked at what food meant to us. To assist us in this we used the questions below as a guide;

  • What is your favourite food and how does it make you feel?.
  • Do you cope with your emotions by using foods? If yes, what kind of foods do you
    consume at such a time?
  •  Do you know what you are trying to fill? (FILLING A VOID E.g Feeling lonely/
    disappointed or empty. SELF-MEDICATING)
  • How do you feel after consuming food to cope with emotions?
  • E.g. Guilty, know it is not good for my health….)
  • Do you cope with emotions by not eating and by depriving yourself of food?
    Is food your friend or foe?
  • Do you know when you have had enough to eat and stop?
  • How else might we listen to and cope with our emotional hunger?

Some people talked about pleasant associations with food in a nostalgic way, like family gatherings with sunday roast or mince and tatties. For others food has become a coping mechanism providing some comfort whether it be eating too much or too little. Of course, both over a period of time can be equally damaging to our health. If people feel they have no control in their lives this may be the one place they feel they do.  Unlike others dependencies we cannot avoid food- so we need to be informed, relearn
our physical hunger because then we can trust ourselves to make good choices
and to attend to emotional hunger in other ways.

INTERESTING FOOD FACTS
Foodie Fact 1-
Do you know that some foods (like Pringles) are engineered to keep us eating and wanting
more and to ignore signals our brain is sending that we are full. Sugar, Salt, fat, additives,
combined in a snack/nibble or a sweet treat. Such foods actually light up the pleasure
centres in our brains as much as taking cocaine would! So neurologically we
become addicted to them and we ignore that we have had enough.

Foodie Fact 2-
If we consume lots of calorie dense foods which lack good nutrients such as; a
McDonalds, pizza or fish and chips our body might well be signalling it is starving and
needs more grub, because it is needing some vitamins and minerals not in fast foods. So
we want to eat more and often we will deride ourselves for being greedy or lacking will
power.

Foodie Fact 3-
Food information is so confusing and conflicting it is hard to work out what we should be eating. So here’s what ‘experts’ agree on-
• Reduce or stop eating processed foods (white bread, pasta, biscuits, cakes & fast food.
• Eat your greens! Fruit and vegetables.
• Be loving and compassionate to yourself as you make some alterations. Start small
with little changes, over time they all add up.

 

Posted in Weekly Blog

Safe Cards

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safe card

Several years ago in the group we developed a safe card.  This was a tool for people to draw on in moments that felt difficult, overwhelming or unmanageable.  The idea is to fill it in when feeling in a more positive place.  First of all in the group we thought about the types of situations where it may be helpful; times of crisis, or being very down and self-critical of oneself.  Sometimes when we fall into a very negative place it can be hard in those moments to bring to mind a more positive outlook or a different possibility of how things might turn out.  It may be that in those moments we can’t get there at all by ourselves so we might be reminded of someone we can go to who is able to remind us which is  why there is a space for a supportive person’s number and crisis phone line numbers.  The kind of things that the group knew to do to look after themselves were to go for a walk, eat something, exercise, talk to someone.  People found quotes that were helpful to them too, that made them feel better, things that reminded them to embrace the vitality of life and that troubled times change and pass.  People cited the serenity prayer:

serenity prayerWe chatted about the value of acceptance of situations we can’t change rather than fighting against them, because we have power to change our feelings, thoughts and actions.

What we can also find sometimes too is that we have ‘paralysis in pursuit of perfection’ in that we don’t even try new things or new ways because they may not go perfectly but that’s ok!!

other serenityThere seems to be a power of writing important reminders down and then sticking them up. Remember that our brains and thoughts default to the negative, and we need ways to remind ourselves of the other ways of thinking, a different story and other possible outcomes.  So this is where a safe card can come in useful.  We also chatted a bit about the last section of the safe card; a vision for the future.  For some people this was about identifying and realising things they had maybe not put into words before, and others at different stages in life were ready to start looking for a new journey to find a new passion.

When you are feeling anxious it is so important to have strategies to cope. To this end using a safe card can provide a safety net to hold and ground you.

Posted in Weekly Blog

Strengths

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“I don’t see what others see in me”.  This is a saying that we can hear a lot of in society throughout all walks of life. Is this a default position we go to or are there cultural reasons for it? Certainly here in Scotland and the rest of the U.K. there does seem to be more of a tendency to play down our strengths as to do otherwise could leave you feeling uncomfortable. Is there a fear that by acknowledging our strengths we may be seen by others as ‘getting too big for your boots’ or ‘playing your own trumpet’. Does finding the fine line between confidence and arrogance play a part in our fear? You only have to look at celebrities who are universally loved by people all over the world who also can struggle and use self-depreciating comments such as; “What if I get found out, and am not as good as people seem to think I am?” This may seem like a silly thing to say given all the evidence to the contrary, but it does show that  they are only human and can have insecurities like anyone.

Group members shared their own experiences of how they found acknowledging their strengths. Some people actually felt that it would be much easier to list their short comings.  We then did an exercise where we asked people to write down the strengths and qualities they saw in one other and pass it back to the person so they could see the qualities others saw in them.  While people found it nice doing this they still found it a challenge to take in and believe what people saw in them.

Today’s subject felt very relevant as this group is very much based on helping people build up their sense of worth.  The hope being that through doing this it can play a part in being able to acknowledge their strengths without totally dismissing them.