Posted in Weekly Blog

Having fun increases our well-being

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While preparing for our group programme in advance we are always mindful of the need to make sure it is finely balanced between light topics and others that are a bit heavier. After having a few deeper sessions it felt nice to mix it up today having a session on fun!  It’s something that is so important for our well-being which sadly at times we can all too readily dismiss as un-important.

We did an exercise using spiritual cards and asked group members to choose a card that meant something to them. People found this useful as it provided an outlet to communicate how they felt. After this we played the card game adaption of the popular game show, ‘Catchphrase’. By the end of the game the scores between the two teams were fairly equal!

We finished with a look at what people’s favourite movies where and why. This evoked a discussion about the emotional attachment certain films held for people. Some of the films chosen were, ‘Cinema Paradiso’, ‘Kung Fu Panda’, ‘Back To The Future’, ‘Riding In Cars With Boys’, E.T., ‘Bridget Jones’s Baby’, ‘Mary and Max’ and ‘The Godfather’ It was so nice to feel the passion and energy this brought to the conclusion of todays’ group!

Pop corn with soda and movie shows

Posted in Weekly Blog

Equality in Society

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So! We just put it out there today; Equality in society…what does that mean for people?  What were their experiences of being treated equally or unequally?

Interestingly the group went straight to gender inequality, especially sexual assult on women, a topic that is currently headlining most days as society is rocked by the prevalence of this much hidden issue for so many decades which is now surfacing more and more.  It was felt that although policy and awareness had changed, it was attitude that really mattered, and unfortunately there was still a lot of ‘dyed in the wool’ ways of seeing women and men that both genders still subscribed to with many gender stereotypes still being upheld.

In this group we often talk about the language which we use, and that by changing the language we can change the culture.  So as long as men and women, or boys and girls are brought up in opposition to each other this doesn’t help equal relationships.  For example ‘the battle of the sexes’ is language that pitts people against each other.  Phrases like ‘boys will be boys’ or ‘that’s just how men are’ makes acceptable what is unacceptable and what does that mean anyway? Why do we describe men who display sensitivity, nurturing, creativity as being in touch with their feminine side?  Why can that not be seen as being manly.  What is wrong with ‘running like a girl’? Someone suggested that sometimes maybe male violence is not helped by the message that emotions must be supressed because ‘big boys don’t cry’. And as we also often talk about in this group, our culture makes it hard for men to talk about their difficult feelings resulting in suicide in young men under the age of 45 being the biggest cause of death.  Some of our cultural language and attitudes are not helping men to be emotionally healthy and free

We also touched on how having had an episode of being mentally unwell, or having a diagnosis created inequality as people continue to see you as a patient forever after, even in long periods of wellness.  Unfortunately, people have experienced a shame and a silence around being off work with mental illness, it’s just not seen as being the same as being off with a physical illness.

We considered the inequalities of income, particularly in the stigmatisation of people on benefits being seen a scrounging and not contributing to society; which raises the question of whether its only financial contribution which is seen as valid?  If so how do we value the contributions of those who are retired or ill?

If equality is the state of being equal in status and opportunity we considered education and those who do not have equal access to the same learning opportunities, often influenced by income or area or gender.  Malala Yousafzai highlights the importance of education for all:

“I speak not for myself but for those without voice… those who have fought for their rights… their right to live in peace, their right to be treated with dignity, their right to equality of opportunity, their right to be educated.”  Malala Yousafzai

People in the group were feeling optimistic about equality increasing in future generations, recognising that younger people are more open and accepting and also the media is more open about some of the above issues.  A good example of this is shown in  the LGBT community where the younger generation have played a big part in helping change negative attitudes and inequality which  have been felt by those in the community.

A different way of understanding it maybe to think about equity; responding equally to need, which is different from giving everyone the same.  Equity gives each according to their need as the picture below demonstrates:

IISC_EqualityEquity

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Weekly Blog

Stages of change

 

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Today we looked at how people could make positive changes in their lives and ways to do this. This group’s ethos is very much built upon movement and progressing to a place of hope from low points of despair.

For some, the very thought of change invokes a fear of the unknown. This can be really debilitating and make you feel like you are stuck in a situation you want to change but are scared to (C.S. Lewis picture quote above very much captures this). Once you make the decision to change it can feel like you are taking a leap of faith, trusting that you have made the right decision and are able to deal with whatever comes your way.

We used the ‘Stages of Change’ template for today’s exercise with people using the model below;

trantheoreticalmodel-stagesofchange2

e.g.

1. Pre-contemplation – I enjoy smoking, I don’t have a problem with it.

2. Contemplation – Smoking could be bad for my health?

3. Preparation – Evaluating how to stop smoking.

4. Action – Going to smoking cessation group to learn tools and stop smoking.

5. Maintenance – Sustaining recovery and not giving in to a lapse.

In conclusion, we do realise how daunting change can feel but if you plan it out in steps like the above tool you are giving yourself a far better chance of achieving your aims. 

 

 

Posted in Weekly Blog

Favourite Places

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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.