Archive | May, 2013

Positive Mental health- Action matters

30 May

to-do-list-nothing[1]Life it seems is a series of choices that we make. These choices are generally made up of actions or behaviour. We either decide to do nothing… and nothing changes or we decide to put an action in place that will make a difference.

It is the action that makes the difference. Are all actions good? Not necessarily!. Some actions like overeating, hitting out at others, drinking excessively or spending money we don’t have are actions that will contribute to how we feel about ourselves or the world in a negative way.

We know that our thoughts can affect our feelings and our physical feelings. Our Behaviour(actions) can also contribute to negative responses in our thoughts and feelings.

Remember I said that if you do nothing, nothing changes. That’s a given. If there is something in your life that is impacting negatively on your life put an action in place that will help you.

Here is an example: If you wanted to lose 12lbs in weight what actions could you do.

  1. Order an Ice cream and tell yourself you didn’t want to change anyway.
  2. Talk lots about how you used to be a stick insect years ago.
  3. Buy lots of books on weightloss
  4. Watch Tv programmes on weightloss
  5. Talk a lot about wanting to lose weight- Tommorrow-Maybe!
  6. Go shopping on an empty stomach
  7. Get excited about special offers on Your favourite Ice cream tubs while shopping.
  8. Clear out your kitchen and fridge of foods that are not helping you lose weight.
  9. Eat everything that you were just about to clear out of your Kitchen and fridge and then revert to numbers 3, 4 and 5 above.
  10. Do nothing!
  11. Change your diet for the better
  12. Start to exercise 3 times a week.
  13. Find a form of exercise you like and start slowly at it.
  14. Cut down on portion size.
  15. Avoid High calorific foods.
  16. Set small goals of losing 2lb a week over a 6-8 week period.
  17. Put a plan in place to do this.
  18. Treat yourself a little on milestones or weekends.

So listed above are a series of actions that we could do if we thought about losing 12lbs of weight. I have made it quite obvious that Actions 1-10 might not get us very far or revert us back up the weight scale a little. Nevertheless they are still behaviour that might seem very familiar that we are quite capable of resorting to.

What I have listed on 11-18 are actions that are much closer in getting us to the goal we had in mind.

So now we are aware that Actions make the difference. It is important that we know which ones will help to change patterns in our lives that are impacting negatively.

Get out there and put more positive action into your life. As I have said before

Do nothing and nothing changes. Pick the right action and your life will never be the same again”

As Aesop once said. “After all that has been said and done there is a lot more said than done”

Positive Mental Health- Gratitude

16 May

Thank you

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is  as though everything is a miracle” Albert Einstein

Of all the areas of positive mental health improvement. Gratitude to me is the greatest.

When we are thankful for what we have in lives we begin to open all these little doors that are in our lives that we never looked behind before. Being grateful rocks in so many ways.

Gratitude comes in many forms. What I do is ask people to begin to look at what it is that they are Grateful for in life? We do that by creating a simple gratitude diary. How it works is that at the end of each day we look at the 3/4 things that went well today. They might be very simple events like the fact that a friend called around with cake and you had an enjoyable chat or that you received a smile from someone who brightened up your day. You may have been told in work that you have done a great job today, or it might be the fact that you achieved something that you wanted to for a while. Simple usually unnoticed events that we take for granted are placed in our gratitude diary. Each night as we write these down we begin to see that we are far more thankful for our lives than we thought before. The small things that happen become wonderful parts of our day and life. When the amazing wonderful events cross our path well they just seem to be unbelievable. Simply because we have learnt to become grateful for the small things in life. The neural pathways in our brain are now hardwired to look for the good in life. I recommend that you do this every night of your life. We start with 21 days and see these amazing changes in our view of our beautiful world. Which uncovers wonders that happened to us daily it’s just we never took time to notice.

The other way is to tell someone in your life that you are grateful that they are there. You can physically tell them or you can write it down on a piece of paper and deliver it to them personally. Let them read it out as you are there. It is a wonderful sharing experience between two people and deeply moving. Try it some time. It is wonderful.

You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera and grace before the play and pantomime and grace before I open a book,and grace before sketching,painting,swimming,fencing,boxing,walking,playing,dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink” Gk Chesterton

Also simply from the moment we wake in the morning until the moment we close our eyes and drift to sleep at night we should be saying Thank you to your God , Spiritual leader or Universal life force for all that you have. Thank you for the hot water in my shower  the Sun that lights up my day. The fact that I press a switch and  a light turns on. Thank you for my fridge that keeps my food fresh. Thank you for the roof over my head and the clothes on my back. The car that I drive and the people who I love. Being thankful for everything that you experience throughout the day and just as you are about to finally close your eyes for the last time that day be Thankful for the bed and covers that you are drifting off to sleep in.

In the end it is this quote from David Steindal-Rast that says it all.

“In daily life we must see that it is not happiness that makes us grateful but gratefulness that makes us happy” David Steindl-Rast

Positive mental health-Let it out.

8 May

Wailing walle Jerusalem_i-G-21-2166-HLICD00ZOf all the contributors to positive mental health talking/communicating seems the most obvious. Talking through problems expressing how you feel especially when you are down sounds like the best and most obvious option. The funny thing is that it is something that we do not do enough of when we are feeling low.

Every class I do on mental health I ask the participants when was the last time that you talked about your feelings to someone else. Considering there is usually a 50/50 split between male and female participants I find the answers starkly different. The male participants in the group especially at a young age will say they can’t remember the last time that they talked about their feelings to anyone. It is not something that is  a part of their world. On the other hand the Female participants freely admit they talk openly between themselves. They talk about how they feel regularly. They talk about how they feel about the relationship they are in and whats going on. Guys never talk about this. Girls are also great support when the relationship falls apart and her friends are there to support her when she is going through this.

Men are quite different they end up holding all there feelings in . Rarely will men have a similar conversation to women around a breakup. Hi Guys Sarah has just split with me . Dave we are on the way over I’ve got the Ben and Jerry’s, Chris is bringing “Marley and me” we are there for you Bro.

But I began to seem some glimmers of light when I discovered that certain male students began to admit that they openly talk about their feelings with their friends or their parents. Building coping mechanisms like this builds a stronger you. Some began to mention the importance of crying when they feel down. Something their Fathers  and Grandfathers generation may have never admitted to.What a great breakthrough.

Sometimes we struggle with communicating with other humans we choose to talk communicate in other forms. Many participants said that they regularly talked to their Pets or animals. One guy had great conversations with his horse. The horse may not be able to provide the advice you want but it allows you to express what is going on for you. Horses are good listeners too.

It reminded me of a facility that the local church near me used to provide. Situated at the left hand side of the altar was a large noticeboard. Underneath it was a table with post-its,pens and drawing pins. People would come to the church and write their troubles or worries on the post it. Like ” Please say a prayer for my Dad he is really ill at the moment and I am worried about him” or “My husband has lost his job and is really down at present could look after him God” or “I am really struggling at school because I am being bullied please help Lord”. People could add comments to the post its(it was all anonymous) giving support to those in trouble. ” My Thoughts are with you”  or “you are not alone”.

I thought it was wonderfully cathartic. The noticeboard was packed full every time I visited. It was like the wailing wall in Jerusalem. Sadly it was taken down a few years ago and never replaced.

Some people let it out by writing down their worries on a piece of paper and either binning them or setting them alight and letting them go. Either way both techniques are very effective.

Whatever we do. It is important to understand that keeping our thoughts and emotions wrapped up inside of us is not healthy. Expressing what we are experiencing through writing, talking or through music and art are far better options than allowing it to fester inside and create negative thoughts, feelings and ultimately behaviour.

As Robert Heinlein quoted ” worrying is like trying to teach a pig to sing….it wastes your time and annoys the pig”. Share what you feel and see the changes in you.

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