I remember making my first ever journal entry in 2008. It was a green, A5, soft covered book with lined pages, which ended up being transformed into my confidant and wise adviser. I had not anticipated what a powerful and useful tool that journaling would become for me. It developed into an invaluable medium where I could freely articulate my thoughts and feelings, which I could not express to others at that time in my life. It increased my awareness of myself and my life, as well as it being a place to release any pent up feelings of sadness, anger or fear. It was also a space where I could rejoice and record my achievements or happy events. I have not stopped journaling since 2008 and I now have quite a collection of different note books on my shelf of varying shapes, sizes and colours. I now see journaling as an important part of my self-care routine as well as it being a method that assists with my continuous personal development.Read More
The New Diary by Tristine Rainer
This is the first book that I ever read on journaling and it is still one of my favorites. The New Diary begins by discussing the benefits of writing a journal before moving on to the basics, such as whether to keep your journal private and to encouraging you to let go of the usual rules of spelling & grammar. The New Diary contains different ideas on how you can write your journal. For example, writing unsent letters, writing a self portrait or using lists. Tristine then uses diary excerpts to demonstrate the ideas that she is suggesting. This meant that I was then able to see how I could apply these methods in my own journal. These excerpts also bring the book to life and make it so readable.Read More
Do you feel you would like to experiencing more calm and harmony in your life? Are you looking for a method to add to your self care practice? Have you ever considered the complementary therapy of Reiki?Read More
Mindful colouring books
Mindful colouring books have become popular over the last several years. Some of them have patterns and mandalas, others may have images of scenery or animals. There are books with simple designs that can be completed quickly whereas others are more intricate and take longer.
The beauty of these colouring books is that anyone of any artistic ability can enjoy completing the images within them. There are also appears to be various benefits from colouring in, some of which include, quieting a busy mind, reducing negative thoughts, reducing feelings of stress and anxiety and promoting feelings of relaxation.Read More
There are many different mediums that can be used for tapping into our creativity. It can be fun giving different artistic methods a go in order to find the ones that you connect with the most. Here are some examples of different creative mediums that can be used:
Creating shapes from Plasticine or clay
Creating music and songs
Painting or drawing
Making a collage
knitting, sewing or felting
What comes to mind if you think of the word ‘creativity’?
For me, it used to conjure up images of elaborate works of art. Creativity was something reserved for artists, authors or musicians. I did not believe myself to be a creative person.
When I look back I realise that as a child I was very creative. I could spend hours writing stories, making things and drawing pictures. There was nothing I loved more than to sit with paint, crayons, glue or other art materials and creating something just for the sake of it.
Somewhere along the way my artistic side got rejected, first by others and then by myself. However, over time I have learnt to no longer deny that part of me. I now realise that being creative has nothing to do with skill and talent but about my personal self expression and doing it just for the joy of it.
Do you hold yourself back from engaging in creative tasks? If so, what blocks you from doing this?Read More
Journal writing for well-being
In a previous blog I gave some tips on how to get started with writing a journal and the possible benefits is can have (click here if you want to read it). Journalling can be used to express and explore difficult emotions and experiences and to reflect on our strengths and achievements. This has the potential to increase our self awareness, release strong emotions, come up with creative solutions to some problems and boosting our well-being….Read More
I have been reflecting on the modern world and its impact on our sense of community.
Community used to be something that was a natural and intrinsic part of society. During ancient times our instincts drove us to be around others and we formed tribes. Being part of a tribe is what enabled us to survive as a species. We needed one another for protection, to build shelter and to obtain food. Whilst in modern society we do not face the same challenges as the ancient humans did, to not be be part of a community and to feel isolated appears to be a large contributing factor for poor mental health.
Before the industrial revolution people were born, lived and died within their close knit communities. People grew up together and knew each other their whole lives. Religion often played an important role in community too, but from the 16th century science became more prominent and many people started to lose their connection with the spiritual aspects of themselves and the support that organised religion gave them. Transport improved, it was easier to travel and move away from the location in which we were born. Families and friends moved from where they grew up to obtain better jobs. As a society we became more segregated, individualized and more lonely.
I believe that some of the problems faced in the modern world are due to this lack of community. It is a time where jobs are unstable, people are forced to move to keep ahead of the game and may end up many miles away from those they know and love. This lack of community can bring about loneliness, lack of purpose and low self esteem. Loneliness is a serious issue and is often cited as one of the largest cause of premature death.Read More
I am sure that the majority of us find ourselves putting off certain tasks for a various reasons. Just yesterday I found myself watching some TV, surfing the internet and tidying up, when really I needed to sit down and sort out my paperwork. Does any of this sound familiar? Quite often procrastination is a minor problem, but it is thought that up to 20% of people can have real difficulties with it, where procrastination goes on to cause major issues with their education, career and/or personal life.
There are many reasons for people procrastinating and it is can very individual to each person. Some of these reasons are benign, whereas others are much more problematic and deeper rooted. The most common reason given for procrastination is that it is a means of avoiding unpleasant emotions. Certain tasks may cause feelings of boredom, frustration and the fear of failure.Read More
I decided to write this blog as I often hear people say, ‘I have this issue but I don’t need therapy as I have friends and family I can speak to’. Whilst having a good support network is important for our well-being, sometimes we need more specialist assistance to help us through a difficult or challenging problem. It is great if you have someone that you can confide in and who will listen to you without judgement, yet not everyone has this. However, even if you do you could still benefit from therapy. I have listed a number of reasons which I feel that therapy is different from talking to a friend or a family member:Read More
Anger has a bad reputation, yet it is a natural and valid human emotion just as sadness and joy are. Often, as children we are taught that it is wrong to be angry and that if we show our anger we can begin to believe that we are bad for having done so.
I remember as a child, I was given the clear message that anger was not acceptable. This message came from teachers, family and society. My anger was met with punishment or rejection, and as such I learnt to suppress it rather than learn how to use it in a more productive way. This suppressed anger would then either turn into resentment or it would be turned inwards towards myself. What I was not taught as a child, and had to relearn as an adult, is that anger is not bad and that it can be a very useful and helpful emotion.Read More
In my previous blog I talked about how anger can be a useful emotion. That it can empower us to make changes and defend ourselves. However, anger can also become an issue depending on how we react to it. This blog will focus on how to overcome problematic reactions to feeling angry. I have created three characters, Abigail, Claire and Edward to demonstrate some of the unhelpful ways that people can react to their anger and the impact this has on them:Read More
In the previous two blogs I talked about how you can start to understand your anger and how to manage it. This third blog looks at more creative methods for exploring and managing anger. The methods I will talk about here are writing an angry letter, drawing angry feelings or creating a collage. The drawing angry feelings or creating a collage can also be done with any other emotion too such as sadness or grief or happiness and hope.
Write an Angry Letter
Unsent angry letters can be a great way to express pent up anger in a safe way. It can be a space for you to freely describe what you think and feel about a person or a situation you areRead More
There are many different causes for chronic pain, such as, fibromyalgia, arthritis or injury. Maybe you are living with chronic pain or you know someone who is. Chronic pain can have a huge impact on many aspects of a person's life. Pain can bring about sleepless nights, irritability & anger, anxiety and depression. It can result result in the loss of independence and feelings of frustration or shame.
Prior to experiencing a chronic illness the persons life may have evolved around work, caring for family and being active. Yet the debilitating nature of pain can limit how much a person is able to do. It can also affect their relationships with their family, friends and colleagues and leave the them feeling lonely and isolated.Read More
For a while now I have been wondering as to whether the diagnosis of mental health is helpful. I have mixed feeling around this so I thought I would put some of my thoughts into a blog.
I frequently find that people who have been given such a diagnosis are actually having perfectly natural reactions to events that have occurred at some point in their lives. Diagnosis can open up access to help and services, yet at the same time it can lead to people being over diagnosed, heavily medicated, stigmatised and feeling as if there is something wrong with them.Read More
I have recently been posting on my Facebook page about the positive affects that nature can have on us. I keep discovering more and more research that seems to demonstrate that being outdoors is great for both our physical and psychological health. However, if you are feeling low, depressed or anxious it can be extremely difficult to get the motivation and the energy to regularly get out into nature. If you are wanting to get outdoors more then here are my top five tips:
Start by considering what it is you would like to gain from spending time outside. There are the obvious benefits such as physical and psychological health but there might other factors that could also be motivating for you. May be you would like to learn a new skill, make new friends, become fitter.Read More
Starting a new venture, project or hobby?
How do you feel about new beginnings and change?
As I started to write this blog I initially thought of the term ‘new beginnings’ as a positive concept. The idea of starting out on a new adventure and heading down a road or path that is full of potential. Yet the more I reflected on this, I realised that even the most well planned of journeys can be fraught with various obstacles and challenges.Read More
Shortly after writing the previous blog I was reminded of this poem by Wordsworth:
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
If you take a Reiki workshop you would often be taught about the Reiki Principles (Gokai). I will use the next three blogs to explain what these principles are and a bit about each one. The principles are as follows:Read More
Just for today do not anger
This is the second Reiki Principle.
Anger can be both a helpful or unhelpful emotion depending on how it is expressed.
Anger can be used to empower us and take action. It can be used to defend ourselves and those close to us. It gives us a voice to express unfairness and injustice that is done to us or to those that we love. It can also bring people together to fight for social injustices. However, there can be a less positive side to anger. Anger can become destructive, causing issues to the person who is angry and to those around them. Consequences of dysfunctional anger can result in, the loss of a job, poor relationships, sustained unpleasant feelings as well as it manifesting as physical complaints.Read More