Five ways our thoughts hijack us … and how to say hello

Five ways our thoughts hijack us … and how to say hello
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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD

Following the recent terrorist attacks in Manchester and London, survivors will be recovering from the physical injuries inflicted on them in a long and painful process. However, there is also a less obvious condition which will impact not only those harmed in the attack but sends far reaching ripples across the population, known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder PTSD. Often associated with those involved in war zones around the world, PTSD can affect anyone who has been exposed to an event in which death, severe physical harm or violence has occurred or was threatened. Family members of victims can also develop the disorder, through sharing their experiences. 

Symptoms may include flashbacks, anxiety, problems sleeping, intense guilt, irritability, numbness, sadness, angry outbursts, avoiding certain situations or places, feeling detached and that things are unreal.PTSD is frequently accompanied by depression, substance abuse, and anxiety disorders.


In order to reduce the risk of developing PTSD it is important to seeking out support from other people after the traumatic event such as mental health professionals, friends and family or a support group. Feeling good about your own actions in the face of danger and having coped with the situation can help you to build resillience. Somtimes PTSD can develop after a period of time so it is important to build support for as long as you need help in the early days following the incident.

Treatments for PTSD include medication, counselling and psychotherapy or both.
 
https://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/ptsd-overview/basics/what-is-ptsd.asp
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Positive Outcomes for Dissociative Survivors

PODS is a leading provider of training on trauma, dissociation, sexual abuse and attachment.

They have a website with a wealth of information for professionals and survivors about dissociation and trauma. They provide literature and training events focusing on how the mind and body respond to traumatic events. Through this understanding of the symptoms of trauma they have developed strategies for treatment and recovery.

Having attended events and read their literature I can highly recommend looking at the website and making use of the support offered for both professionals and survivors. Please see the link below

www.pods-online.org.uk
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Help with anxiety

If you are suffering from  anxiety, it might be useful to download the Headspace App.

It guides you through a 10 minute meditation session which can help bring peace of mind and reconnect you with your body and the environment. Meditation is known to help with stress and improve sleep.

This is a free download and 10 day trial hopefully easing your anxiety. It can be downloaded to your android or iphone so you can use it on the go. See the link below

www.headspace.com/
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Listening to Saturday Live on Radio 4, I am always interested in hearing the inheritance tracks selected every week.
This week was a Bob Dylan song which had the lyric

                "May you always do for others and allow others to do for you"

In my work I realise how much of a challenge this is for some people, especially allowing others to do for you. To reveal you vulnerability to others and accept their help and support is what makes life manageable and forms strong bonds that will sustain and nourish you through bad times and good.

I hope you can find some space to do for others AND allow others to do for you.
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Courage

This week the word "courage" has featured many time in my work and personal life. Regardless of whether we are facing big changes in our life or just making it through each day, we all need courage. If we are lucky enough, we may have people in our life who will encourage us to move forward and meet the challenges that we all face. Facts About Geese is an interesting article which I have attached below as it talks about courage. It teaches us that we can all learn from nature and interpret animal behaviour in terms of how we can take steps to live a better life.
Wishing you the courage to cope with all your challenges whether they are life changing or just getting through each day.

Facts About Geese 
Milton Olsen (the Naturalist) said it’s very interesting that, particularly with geese, we have a lot to learn. 
Fact One: As each bird flaps its wings, it creates an uplift for the birds following it. By flying in a V-formation, the whole flock adds 71 percent greater flying range than if the bird flew alone. Lesson: people who share a common direction and sense of community can get where they’re going quicker and easier because they’re travelling on the thrust of one another. A universal collective lesson. 
Fact Two: Whenever a goose falls out of formation it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of trying to fly alone and quickly gets back in formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front. Lesson: If we have as much sense as a goose, we will stay in formation with those who are headed where we want to go and be willing to accept their help, as well as give ours to others. 
Fact Three: When the lead goose gets tired, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies at the point position. An invaluable lesson for us to apply to all group work. It pays to take turns doing the hard tasks and sharing leadership. With people as with geese, we are interdependent on each others’ skills and capabilities and unique arrangements of gifts, talents, resources, or what indigenous societies call “the good, true and beautiful.” 
Fact Four: The geese in formation honk from behind to encourage those in front to keep up their speed. Lesson: we need to make sure that our honking from behind is encouraging. And not something else. In groups where there is greater encouragement against great odds, the production is much greater – the power of encouragement. Now, I love the word courage because it means “to stand by one’s heart, to stand by one’s core.” To encourage someone else’s core, to encourage someone’s heart – that quality of honking. 
Fact Five: When a goose gets sick, or wounded, or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it. They stay with it until it is able to fly again or dies. Then they launch out on their own with another formation or catch up with the flock. Lesson: if we have as much sense as geese, we too will stand by each other in difficult times as well as when we are strong.
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29 Castlegate is a free information, support, advice and guidance service for young adults aged 16-25. It is staffed by professionals who deal with problems and concerns such as: sexual health; housing and benefits; legal issues; education, training and employment. There is also a confidential counselling service.

The City of York Council has made a decision to remove this holistic provision and there is a petition requesting James Alexander to review this.

Will you sign the petition to save this important service for young people in the City of York? Click on the link below.

http://www.change.org/p/james-alexander-review-the-decision-to-remove-the-provision-of-holistic-information-support-and-counselling-for-young-people-16-25-in-york-provided-by-support-workers-careers-advisors-and-counsellors-at-castlegate?recruiter=165350499&utm_campaign=signature_receipt&utm_medium=email&utm_source=share_petition

Thank you
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Click on the link below to understand a little more about depression and how it can affect all areas of your life.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XiCrniLQGYc

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Counselling can help you make the changes to live a better life.

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Coping with exam stress

How to reduce exam stress
This time of year is important for students taking exams. Stress can prevent you from performing at your best and achieving the grades that you deserve. Below are some steps you can follow to help you to keep cool, calm and in control. You may already have some of them in place or have other strategies which you find helpful. Please feel free to share.
Prepare
  • Make out a revision plan showing what topics you need to revise and when you will do this.
  • Include some fun activities in your plan, when you can relax and spend time with others.
  • Don't work for too long at one time. If are finding it difficult to concentrate, take a break.
  • Leave some relaxation time between working and going to bed. 
  • Challenge yourself by completing questions/problems and not just reading and making notes.
  • Pay close attention to mark schemes.
  • Form a small revision group to discuss ideas and support each other.
  • Turn off social media site so you are not distracted.
  • Play background music if it helps but don't continually select. Stick to a playlist.
  • Make sure you are comfortable and not disturbed. Take frequent short breaks.
  • Make time to exercise and enjoy some fresh air.
  • Talk to someone you can trust if you feel that you are not coping.
Look after yourself
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Prioritise, you may not be able to fit in all your regular social activities. You can party after the exams.
  • Eat a good diet and keep hydrated.
  • Take care with energy drinks. Sugar and caffeine hits will not help you to study effectively
  • Treat yourself. Rewards are always welcome and a good motivator.
Before the exam
  • Don't stay up too late and succumb to last minute revision.
  • Make a list and prepare what you will need for the day of the exam to avoid a last minute panic.
  • Eat protein and fruit beforehand rather than sugary snacks and keep hydrated with water.
  • Practice some deep breathing exercises to help you stay calm or imagine yourself doing something you enjoy or feel positive about.
  • Give yourself enough time so that you arrive early.
During the exam
·         Read the exam paper and decide which questions you might answer, if you have a choice.
·         Answer questions that you feel confident about first. Stay with feeling positive.
·         Keep your eye on the clock and make sure you don’t run out of time.
·         Divide the time up between the questions. Limit the time you spend on each one.
·         Leave time for checking at the end and only change answers if you are absolutely sure.
Afterwards
Try not to go over the questions and worry about your responses. Give yourself a treat and concentrate on the next exam, if you have one. Nothing can be gained from speculating on your results.
Remember that exam results are only part of your route to success. There are many other factors that contribute to future careers and possible options. Not performing well in an exam does not mean that your future will be less successful. It is important to keep things in perspective and to realise that worrying can act as a barrier to performing at your best.  Good luck to all students, keep positive and take good care of yourself.
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