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At last, it feels like we are coming out of the Covid-19 Pandemic lockdown restrictions in our outdoor spaces. The streets, parks and beaches are crowded again with people enjoying delicious BBQs and picnics and savouring the long awaited heat of the sun.
Transitions are a constant theme in our lives whether this is a change of home, work, career, travel plans, health, friends or personal and professional relationships. Over the last year since the Covid-19 Pandemic lockdown, we have all experienced transitions that we didn’t think we would go through in our life time. Transitioning to new routines whether that is educating children at home, having home as work office and home, social isolation, waiting in the pouring rain to get into shops, having longer hair than ever before, getting through health concerns and of course for many, loss and grief at a myriad of levels. All these transitions have an impact on our emotions and our coping abilities. Some transitions are full of joy and excitement, whilst others can feel disorienting, disruptive and painful.
At this time of year with the onset of spring on the horizon, we would normally be starting to spring forward in our thoughts, plans and actions. The clocks are telling us to spring up, reminding us that colder, wintery times are almost behind us. Planters are refreshed and reseeded while lawns are receiving a bright uplift. Spring is a time for regrowth and renewal, and there is an air of excitement.
Normally at the beginning of February different people would be waiting for different things and outcomes. Some people will be waiting to see the benefits of a dry January or a vegan January or a dieting January and some people will be waiting to find out what cultural festival or sporting or music festival programmes are going to be coming out this year. There are birthdays and anniversaries and bank holidays and Valentine’s Day and so on and so forth.
What a year it was to reflect on given the Covid-19 Pandemic. We have really had to dig deep and find all our inner resources and resilience to get to here.
Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Nov 01, 2020
Given the continuation of the Covid-19 Pandemic as we go through the second wave, it seems appropriate to consider the concept of nostalgia. Over the past decade, a small literature on the psychology of nostalgia has developed and it shows some interesting information.
Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Oct 01, 2020
These are what psychologists would refer to as VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) times. Things are volatile in that the circumstances seem to change rapidly and frequently; things are uncertain, in terms of our own/our loved one’s circumstances and the destiny of the world/society more broadly; and, it goes without saying, there is clearly much complexity and ambiguity at present. These are unprecedented circumstances, in so many of our lives. At the same time, the present circumstances are shining a light on many positive aspects of human nature. There are many who are rallying around and supporting their communities (both real and virtual).
One cannot underestimate the importance of human beings wanting to have control over their lives. Yet we now find ourselves living in uncontrollable circumstances. We have been thrown off course and have to continually adjust to new ways of living under Covid-19 For many it is a struggle to merely survive. How can we manage in these times to look after our emotional and mental wellbeing? First, we need to remind ourselves that we have always had limits to our own control. For example, we are unable to control the weather, other people’s reactions to us or what they think of us or even our own thoughts which can sometimes spiral out of control and jump to all sorts of conclusions without any evidence to back them up. Sometimes, we cannot even control our ability to fall asleep. In these situations, it seems that absurdly, letting go of control, seems to be the only way forward as there is nothing we can do to change the situation.
Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Aug 01, 2018
August is usually a month when many people get to have holiday fun and so what better time than now to remind ourselves of how laughter can make a difference to our well-being. Most of us know from experience that having a sense of humour about things can make life a little easier for everyone.
Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Jul 01, 2018
July is the height of summer and most of us want the sun to be shining with deep blue skies and not a cloud in sight. We can hear ourselves singing happy tunes such as ‘the sun has got his hat on, hip-hip-hip-hooray, the sun has got his hat on and is coming out today’. Research has shown that there is a feel good factor that comes with wearing just the right clothes. At this time of year, it is wonderful to people watch and see the range of hats being worn. Everything from cycling caps and helmets, flat billed caps, sun visors and of course, the glamorous hats worn at the Chelsea Flower Show and a variety of horse racing events across Sussex and Surrey. We don’t have to be magical, we can just create our own magic with hats.
Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Jun 01, 2018
June is a joyful month for lots of local residents as well as tourists. The beaches are often crowded with people enjoying delicious BBQs and picnics and savouring the long awaited heat of the sun. People arrive to the beauty of the sea and a lovely clean beach to sit on. So why is it that once the crowds have left the beach, the clean and tidy beach disappears too as litter is left strewn across miles of pebbles and along the promenade, taking away the joy of June and our pride in our beautiful nature-filled environment.
April Fools’ Day is a day to get enjoyment, fool around and have fun. Reflecting back to all the pranks that have been played over the years is in itself enough to make us laugh out loud. So how about starting just there for a warm up. Can you think of a time when someone played a great prank on you or vice versa? Does it still make you laugh out loud now?
Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Mar 01, 2018
March is here and the joy of spring has arrived. Everything is growing, buds are bursting into life and leaves are unfolding. Millions of migrant birds are arriving and singing and the dawn chorus wakes our souls. Butterflies are starting to be seen and mammals are beginning to wake from their winter sleep.
Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Feb 01, 2018
The frenzy of December is over, the attempts to follow New Year resolutions in January are over and spring is not quite here. So why not follow in the footsteps of nature through February when the silhouettes of trees stand strong and sturdy, composed with a sense of inner peace, calmness and integrity as they rest and recuperate before the onset of spring. The storms may come and go and the branches may bend backwards but the tree continues to compose itself with inner strength and calmness.
Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Jan 01, 2018
Research indicates that very few people keep the New Year Resolutions they make beyond the first few weeks or months. So rather than feeling guilty about not keeping them, is there an alternative to this? Try some of the following ideas and see how 2018 pans out for you.
Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Nov 01, 2017
Transitions are a constant theme in our lives whether this is a change of home, work, career, travel plans, health, friends or personal and professional relationships. November sees a huge transition in nature with the rich autumn colours gently drifting away and the trees are left bare. There is less daylight and more darkness. All these transitions have an impact on our emotions and our coping abilities. Some transitions are full of joy and excitement, whilst others can feel disorientating, disruptive and painful.
Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Oct 01, 2017
This is a time of the year when many transitions are taking place, not least the change in light and how that impacts on how we think and feel. Transitions include change of home, starting a new school, college or university, children that had left home returning and changing jobs. On top of that some situations are imposed on us – finding out that a loved person is ill, not getting the job that was really needed, a sudden layoff from a job, unwanted and uninitiated breakups in relationships and so on.
Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Sep 01, 2017
September is a time of transitions for many people. Transitions include returning to work after a summer holiday, starting a new school, college or university, taking a gap year, not knowing what to do as Plan A did not materialise or the promotion did not come through or the job that was going to be available just is not anymore. On top of that some situations are imposed on us – sudden layoff from a job, sudden change in health, unwanted and uninitiated breakups in relationships and so on.
Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Aug 01, 2017
August has arrived and with it a feeling of freedom from the normal day to day activities for most people. School holidays have arrived, the stress of examinations has dissipated and there is a bit more breathing space with that feeling of summer and longer lingering days: time to watch the world go by. Many people are thankful for this summer holiday season. So what are the benefits of being thankful, in other words, showing our gratitude. Research shows that when people show their gratitude towards other people, the following effects can take place:
Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Jul 01, 2017
With Summer sales, we can be enticed into buying goods that we don’t need and even don’t necessarily want but can human beings really resist impulse buying and a bargain? Marketers and businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the science of psychology and purchasing decisions. Examples include shop assistants asking if you want another item as you pay for your purchases, machine-learning algorithms that nudge you into buying things that you don’t need and sales assistants who ask if you want to try on shoes with that pretty dress / suit in the hope that you will buy both.
Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Jun 01, 2017
Whilst you might envisage someone who is a professional writer hunched over their computer with paper all over the desk and screwed up sheets of paper in the bin, one definition of prose is simply ‘to put thought onto paper’. If we think of writing in this way, we can all attempt writing tasks.
Posted in Wellbeing Practice on May 01, 2017
At last, the days are longer and there is plenty of light. There are more crowds of people around and the busy sound of chatter all over the place. So what do we chatter about and what sort of chatter brings meaning to our lives? It seems that everyone has their ‘story’ to tell. Whether this is about the aches and pains of life or the hilarious things that happened to them, or the way they have interpreted information or the way they want to present information to you or justify their view to you or perhaps the memories they have gathered from their experiences and want to share with you. As human beings, we seem to love listening to a good story.
Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Apr 01, 2017
April is the month normally associated with lots of rain showers. Even though rain can make us feel gloomy and fed-up at times, one of the wonders created under the right conditions of raindrops and sun are wonderful rainbows – fleeting spectrums of glorious colour that make us stop in our tracks and break out into wide smiles and feel a sense of awe, irrespective of our age. We can even end up giggling like children if we are lucky enough to see a double or triple rainbow.
Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Mar 01, 2017
March is here and Spring is upon us. Even though hope does not perish in the depth of winter, there is something amazing about the hope that awakens in the spring time. Spring can be likened to a bridge – a time when one part crosses to another and so seeds are planted and they will be transformed into flowers and fruit. The dormant grass and winter wheat comes alive to dot the fields and hillsides and our memories are jogged of the greener tapestry to come. Birds start to sing their dawn chorus and our minds boggle with their clever chirps and beautiful notes.
Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Feb 01, 2017
Many people will have realised that the ambitious goals they had set themselves at the beginning of January are just not transpiring. Feeling that we have failed can be painful, disappointing and demoralising. It can make us feel that our goals seem to be tougher to achieve and our ability to achieve them seem weaker. This can damage our motivation and effort in pursuing our goals as we are likely to believe that we are going to fail. Failing also makes people risk averse as confidence is lost. This can create a feeling of helplessness. This can lead
Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Jan 01, 2017
At the beginning of each New Year, it is easy to feel compelled to make yet another set of resolutions only to find that a few weeks later, we are utterly disappointed in ourselves not to have kept them. So this year, how about trying a different approach that research has shown to be effective because it enables you to take the smallest of steps in making the smallest of changes that can eventually help you to become the best self that you want to be over a period of time.
Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Dec 01, 2016
The holidays can be a time of joy, cheer, and gratitude; they can also be really challenging and stressful. On the one hand there is the increasing pressure on buying gifts and expensive ones at that. There is also a heightened emphasis on being part of a perfect relationship or perfect family. On the other hand there are a vast number of people struggling to make ends meet on a daily and weekly basis let alone having the funds to buy additional gifts and food.
Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Nov 01, 2016
November is a month that can be full of colour. The autumn leaves in Sussex really begin to show their vast range of shades and depth of colour. It creates a beautiful richness in our environment to stimulate our sense of vision.
Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Oct 01, 2016
Do You Want to Make Summer Last Longer - Recalling and Creating Positive Experiences? It is so easy to get straight back into work mode / home life / studying life but it is essential to our wellbeing to spend time savouring our enjoyable summer experiences and making time in our daily lives to appreciate that feeling of carefree days when our shoulders are relaxed, our minds are set free and our bodies feel strong yet flexible, especially as September’s weather has stretched out summer for us.
Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Sep 01, 2016
This month’s edition is the final continuation on the theme of resilience featured in the magazine over the last few months. It focusses on ‘self-confidence’ and this article will make more sense if it is read alongside the previous articles (soon to be made available on the 7Directory website under the tab: Psychology of Life – Changing Mind-sets).