I am very pleased to say that I have now completed the MSc in consciousness and Transpersonal psychology. I have also become a Fellow of the National college of Hypnosis and Psychotherapy, having completed a further advanced diploma. I am now UKCP registered.
Each Wednesday at Blythe House hospice Dave Oldham runs a mindfulness meditation group-if you are local to Chapel en le frith, this class is well worth attending and all proceeds go to the hospice. For further information, contact the hospice on 01298 815388. Otherwise if you live farther afield then I would suggest looking out for mindfulness meditation classes and learning the practice- it is simple, safe , and most importantly, effective.
I am very happy to announce that the next mindfulness and compassion day retreat being held at Blythe House is on June 23 and booking is essential.
For further information or to book a place, please contact Nicky Theaker at Blythe House:01298 875086 (24-hour voicemail) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I run weekly relaxation classes at Chinley community centre on Mondays from 10am -11am. This is an informal class where I take you through a guided relaxation technique. All are welcome to this beneficial and friendly class. £5.00 per session.
I am still looking for somewhere quiet to run a Tuesday evening class, so please let me know if you know of anywhere in the Chinley area.
Please note: There will be no class on Monday July 9 or Monday September 10
Later this year I will be running a series of workshops with health and wellbeing in mind and a particular focus on compassion and self compassion.
These workshops will be based on my own research and the research of Professor Kristin Neff and Christopher Germer who are both visiting the UK this summer and running workshops at Bangor and Derby, and the work of Professor Paul Gilbert. For further information about their research and work you can go to www.compassionatemind.co.uk the website of ‘The compassionate mind foundation’.
I will be posting details on my website and will update you in my next newsletter.
Tips for the month ahead
In these times of recession and uncertainty, the one thing you can be certain of is your ability to recover from setbacks. We all have skills and resources that we were born with and can tap into. No matter how steep or rocky the road ahead seems, taking one step at a time, mindfully, purposefully, and compassionately will lead you safely along.
Setbacks may be financial, physical, or emotional, but have an important part to play in our evolving and achieving our potential.
How we recover and make a comeback from setbacks is largely about what we learn from them. What can be gained?
For example- redundancy may be frightening, unexpected, and certainly unwanted, with bills to pay and mouths to feed- but many who have come to me in states of anxiety and stress at the prospect of redundancy and insecurity have often found it to be a way out of a job they had not been happy in for a long time – and an opportunity to take another direction.
How we recover following illness- particularly serious illness, or how we adapt to chronic illness that has put life on hold and created dramatic change- can be helped by focusing on some positives such as the opportunity/chance to re appraise lifestyle and habits- to change some habits, to pace ourselves- to be kinder to ourselves- to look at bringing in more balance.
For example -many sufferers of illnesses such as fibromyalgia, acknowledge that change has to happen, that we have to listen to our bodies after living life at 100 miles per hour- what have we learnt? To slow down, to prioritise, to listen to our intelligent bodies, to pace ourselves.
To let go of unnecessary guilt when we rest when tired, and say no when we need to.
Setbacks can also knock our confidence, so it is good to have a goal to focus on-acknowledging your abilities, capabilities, strengths, and achievements t date when focusing on achieving desired goals- taking a day at a time, a moment at a time.
We may lament at what we used to be able to do but once we accept our limitations and work within them, life becomes calmer and easier- so rather than looking back, focusing on the present and looking forward.
“The past is supposed to be a place of reference not a place of residence!
There is a reason why your car has a big windscreen and a small rear view mirror- you are supposed to keep your eyes on where you are going, and just occasionally check out where you have been- otherwise you crash” Willie Jollie
Nelson Mandela said
“When individuals rise above their circumstances and use problems to push them to become more, they grasp greatness”
One way to begin to focus on managing setbacks and challenges is:
To be in the moment you are a part of, to refocus your thoughts that may be in the past or the future.
So, it is important to know that yesterday is past and you cannot change it- it is gone.
The future has not happened yet- therefore it does not exist and we cannot predict what will actually happen, as there are so many possibilities.
But, we can choose to acknowledge that just as there may be negative possibilities that we fear, so too are there equally, wonderful positive possibilities, and just because something has happened one way in the past does not mean it will happen that way again.
The only reality is this present moment, so to really be in this moment- it is about bringing your focused attention into the space and peace around you- being mindful of what you can see, hear and feel.
Focus on all your achievements and all you are thankful for – at the end of everyday. Each night before you go to sleep, look back over the day and recall ‘something that has made you smile’; ‘something you are thankful for’; and, something you have achieved’- something you have ticked off that ‘to do’ list- however small or great- an achievement deserves acknowledgement.
I see a lot of people with anxiety and stress related issues and I am often asked about the best way to take control and calm down wherever you are.
So here is what I believe is a simple and effective technique that people report to have worked for them
If when feeling anxious you acknowledge the feelings within your body- racing heartbeat, sweating, feeling faint or dizzy, a sense of being out of control- as nothing to be afraid of – to acknowledge and accept that this is your very intelligent body telling you it is time to slow down, rebalance, and shift into a more positive and solution focused creative state of calmness.
It is good to listen to your body- rather than fear the feelings. Acknowledge and accept what is happening – it is an automatic physiological response to particular situation – real or perceived- to tell you to slow down, take a moment. Then, once you have acknowledged and accepted, you can refocus – bringing your mind into the present moment, by paying attention to your immediate surroundings.
The mind and the breath are connected- our mind is part of our body- the mind can only think about one thing at a time- however quickly it may move to a different topic, so when you focus on your breath, you are not focused on the situation, issue or problem that you have experienced. The breathing technique that I am going to show you is simple and easy to remember, and you can do it anywhere and as often as you like until you achieve a change of state, a slowing down.
In our everyday lives we breath quite shallowly from here (chest) and when we are anxious we breath more quickly and shallowly, increasing heart rate, as blood goes to the major organs for ‘fight or flight’ – not to the brain, so the increasing breathing increases the sense of dizziness, faintness and further fear- so we want to reverse this process quickly and effectively and take control.
Take in a really nice deep breath; – this helps you to take in more oxygen and slow things down.
Hold to the count of four, – the mind is then focused on the count and the breath, And then breath slowly out through your mouth- this lets out all the tension and you can notice your shoulders going down- and imagine the word ‘calm’ – by imagining the word ‘calm’ you are sending a further reinforcing positive signal to the body that it can ‘relax’.
To recap on those four simple steps:
1.Bring yourself into the present moment- refocus.
2.Pay attention to your surroundings.
3.Listen to your body, acknowledge and accept its message.
4.Take in that nice deep breath, hold to the count of four, breath slowly out through your mouth as you imagine the word ’calm’.
“The compassionate Mind” Professor Paul Gilbert
“Self Compassion” Kristin Neff
“The mindful path to self-compassion” Christopher K. Germer, PhD
“Mastery” George Leonard
Please note my tips and shared information are not a replacement for medical advice. They are intended for personal growth and development and to enable you to think about new ways of addressing and overcoming emotional challenges. Always speak to your doctor before making any changes if you are under medical care, this includes medication regimes.