Posted in Weekly Blog

The cookie thief (by Valerie Cox)


A woman was waiting at an airport one night, with several long hours before her flight. She hunted for a book in the airport shops, bought a bag of cookies and found a place to drop.

She was engrossed in her book but happened to see, that the man sitting beside her, as bold as could be. . .grabbed a cookie or two from the bag in between, which she tried to ignore to avoid a scene.

So she munched the cookies and watched the clock, as the gutsy cookie thief diminished her stock. She was getting more irritated as the minutes ticked by, thinking, “If I wasn’t so nice, I would blacken his eye.”

With each cookie she took, he took one too, when only one was left, she wondered what he would do. With a smile on his face, and a nervous laugh, he took the last cookie and broke it in half.

He offered her half, as he ate the other, she snatched it from him and thought… oooh, brother. This guy has some nerve and he’s also rude, why he didn’t even show any gratitude!

She had never known when she had been so galled, and sighed with relief when her flight was called. She gathered her belongings and headed to the gate, refusing to look back at the thieving ingrate.

She boarded the plane, and sank in her seat, then she sought her book, which was almost complete. As she reached in her baggage, she gasped with surprise, there was her bag of cookies, in front of her eyes.

If mine are here, she moaned in despair, the others were his, and he tried to share. Too late to apologize, she realized with grief, that she was the rude one, the ingrate, the thief. *Valerie Cox*


We have talked in the group many times about why we fear the worst in certain situations. We then looked at the reasons behind this and how the brain’s threat system is activated towards a negative bias.  How often have you be absolutely convinced of something, only to find out later that you were mistaken?  Perhaps you were certain you put your keys on the dining table, but found them in your pocket. Or you were convinced you failed an exam, but ended up doing better than you thought.

Most of us have a tendency to err on the side of pessimism, justifying this by claiming it is more “realistic” and saying that we don’t want to get our hopes up and be disappointed. 

‘The cookie thief’ is a fine example of how our initial reaction to situations is not always the correct one.

Posted in Weekly Blog

The time we Spring Cleaned the world


The world it got so busy
There were people all around,
They left their germs behind them,
In the air and on the ground

These germs grew bigger and stronger
They wanted to come and stay
They didn’t want to hurt anyone
They just really wanted to play

Sometimes they tried to hold your hand
Or tickled your throat or nose
They could make you cough or sneeze
And make your face as red as a Rose

And so these germs took over
They started to make people ill
And with every cough we coughed
More and More germs would spill

All the Queens and kings had a meeting
“It’s time to clean the world up they said”
And so they had to close lots of fun stuff,
Just so the germs couldn’t spread.

We couldn’t go to cinemas
Or restaurants for our tea
There was no football or parties
The world got as quiet as could be.

The kids stopped going to school
The mums and dads went to work less
Then a great big, giant scrubbing brush
Cleaned the sky, and the sea
And the mess!

Dads started teaching the sums,
Big brothers played with us more,
Mums were in charge of homework
And we read and played jigsaws galore!

The whole world was washing their hands
And building super toilet roll forts!
Outside was quiet and peaceful,
Now home was the place for all sports

So we played in the world that was home
And our day filled up with fun and love
All the germs they grew smaller and smaller
And the sun watched up from above.

Then one morning the sun woke up early
She smiled and stretched her beams wide
The world had been fully Spring Cleaned
It was time to go back outside!

We opened our doors oh so slowly
And breathed in the clean and fresh air,
We promised that forever and always
Of this beautiful world we would take care


Posted in Weekly Blog

Where would I like to (virtually) visit?

map 3

*Due to the current CV-19 world health pandemic and how it affects us all we felt it would be good to have a look back at a group we did a couple of months ago.  We hope doing this can provide some hope in what are uncertain times.  We also hope  through this health crisis we can have even more appreciation for our beautiful planet.*    

 This week’s blog is looking at a discussion we had about places people would like to live or visit. Our format for this discussion used the below template;

What do you like about this destination?

  • Culture?
  • Climate?
  • Scenery?
  • The people?
  • Lifestyle?
  • Communication skills?
  • Traditions?

Some destinations group members mentioned included;  Bermuda, Southern Italy, Florida, Maui (Hawaii) and Northern Africa. Some of the reasons for this were;

Bermuda:  Laid-back lifestyle, familiarity and churches

Southern Italy:  The food, the people and the culture

Florida: The warm climate, language and laid-back lifestyle

Maui: The lifestyle, the scenery and the tranquility

Northern Africa: The wildlife, the scenery and sense of adventure

At this time when nobody can travel away for a holiday it is still very important to take a break.  You might need some space to get your head around this situation or even if you’re working from home or around children. Lots of places have made virtual tours of their exhibitions available to us.  Please click below to visit! 

Virtual around the world tours!

Edinburgh Zoo live web cams





Posted in Weekly Blog

2020 So far…

In our first group in January we looked at how people had got on over the Christmas and New Year period. It was fair to say it was pretty much a mixed bag in terms of this answer. Some people were pleasantly surprised with how well they coped while for others it felt like a long time from the build up to when things resumed back to normal. Routine and structure can form an important part of recovery which can leave a big void when it’s not there. People can use these experiences as a learning tool for future holiday periods.

Group members said that they wanted to have new positive goals for the year ahead as opposed to the usual New Year resolutions! A few group members wanted to continue with the good work they were doing in learning to feel better about themselves.  Some people would like to get involved in volunteering or paid employment gradually over a period of time.  The good thing about this group is how the mutual support given by one another helps people who may feel stuck in their situation deal with change with a bit less apprehension.

We did a group on climate change which is a topic we have never fully covered before in the group.  We looked at the five major environmental problems;

  • Ozone Depletion
  • Desertification
  • Deforestation
  • Loss of Biodiversity
  • Disposal Waste

Group members acknowledged how they have become more aware of environmental issues and have since made changes in their lifestyles to reflect this. Some though did find it frustrating having so many changes to bins that they find it hard to know which bin is for what.  If we all do our bit through recycling and other environmentally friendly ways we can all play a part in saving our beautiful planet.


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


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 on the benefits art and crafts.

Posted in Weekly Blog

Decision making and responsibility


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… 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.