The Mind Management

As part of my reflective reading moving towards my psychology exam I have been reading ‘The Mind Management’ by Prof Steve Peters. Purchased for my daughter last Christmas this brilliant book has been on my own reading list for some time.

Known also as ‘The Chimp Paradox’ this book makes psychology accessible for everyone. Not only does it prove an interesting and quick read for professionals it sits well with those receiving life coaching. The idea of keeping ‘one’s chimp’ in check in order to be more confident and move forward is simplistic and both logical too.

I highly recommend this book for those looking for ways to increase confidence and are interested in self-development. I have  already been using the author’s teachings with clients with excellent results…and it does increase happiness levels as well as confidence.

Winding down after exams…with Keats

I am mindful that my blog has been neglected I have had reason to rant…but I confess I too have been winding down after exam invigilating, supporting students through the exam period and being a mature student. Though I still have an exam to do!! However, I have not been lazing around and have enjoyed a few cultural experiences alongside the usual challenges of my counselling and freelance work.

Last weekend I attended an event organised by the Redbourn Museum where we were fortunate to be visited by Professor Nicholas Roe from St Andrews University a historian and writer specialising in Keats one of the greats.  We were treated to a great talk and I managed to purchase and have signed his latest book on John Keats. This followed an interesting evening of poetry and wine in the museum gardens where various poetry lovers read from their favourite books; I chose Rupert Brookes, a few Haiku gems and one or too old favourites.

I had forgotten just how much poetry had featured in my own life and reflected on happy memories of reading from my mother’s poetry books as a small child. Writing poetry, indeed any writing is always therapeutic and it can be fun don’t forget even if you just write it for your own private reasons. However, don’t be shy try and get it published you may surprise yourself.

Normal daily blogging will resume now and for those students awaiting exam results try not to get too stressed enjoy your break you have earned it and I wish you all well with your results and chosen career paths. I will be writing about how choices change in the forthcoming weeks…and sometimes unexpectedly for the better.

 

Team work…invigilating

Yesterday I enjoyed after-work drinks with a group of lovely ladies all from within the educational sector. The group included: fellow exam invigilators, teachers, wives of teachers and pastoral support and most of which were parents too.

We had a healthy open forum about our views of many aspects of the educational system and our own parenting experiences. I think I can safely say we all agreed how stressful the exam period is for our students/children and adapting to the various on-going changes of exam structures and grading.

I think many of us also agreed that a percentage of stress that students experience is often applied maybe inadvertantly by parents and I know I shared how even with various professional skills it is hard, at times, to support our own children through their personal journeys. Again, I slipped in the subject of encouraging boys to open up and talk.

To on-lookers invigilating may appear boring but when you work as part of an efficient caring team you soon realise just how important the role is. Every shift is different and one must be prepared for the unexpected and quickly offer support to help ease a stressful situation for a student already in a stressful situation! I always come away feeling I have done something useful and this is confirmed by the appreciation shown by the great school I have the privilege to work within.

Through our eventual ‘wine goggles’ our conversation moved onto the importance of demonstrating kindness and being grateful and how events in our own life sometimes remind us to ‘live a day at a time’ (one of my own mantras).

Many of the group have other roles often working in isolation and it really is good to feel a sense of belonging to a team however small and for however long. If any of the team are reading my blog today we must do that again and soon. I for one will make more of an effort to keep in contact before we meet for the exams in 2019.

Being kind

Being kind and grateful feature frequently on my blog and I often say how kindness is not a weakness. Today I will quote a few words from ‘Alfie’ by the great Burt Bacharach to ponder:-

‘What’s it all about, Alfie
Is it just for the moment we live
What’s it all about when you sort it out, Alfie
Are we meant to take more than we give
Or are we meant to be kind
And if only fools are kind, Alfie…’

On speaking about kindness and being grateful with various pastoral colleagues it often seems that to some modern day people it’s uncool to be either…but I am an old-fashioned girl and believe we only get out what we put in and demonstrating kindness in all that we do, considering others… then we are happier ourselves. At the end of the day be grateful for any small achievement, success or happy moment and I promise you will wake up the next day feeling more positive and ready to face the day ahead.

Speaking to a recently bereaved gentleman yesterday; I reminded him to think about the good times and funny moments he had shared with his wife and after our unscheduled encounter he said he felt better and that made me feel grateful for my training too.

To the icecream man who gave me a free icecream this week after a hot afternoon invigilating- thanks for that tiny act of kindness Mr Whippy. You made an old girl very happy.

 

 

Something to offer

In my time of working with students of all ages and counselling I am constantly reminded that we are of course all different but we all have something good to offer. As students are put under pressure not just by their schools but often parents too I try to re-adjust the balance whenever I get an opportunity to say that we cannot all be academics or A* students but please do not write us off!

Similarly a fellow life coach and I acknowledge on a regular basis that anyone who is dyslexic is not ‘stupid’ as previously labelled as this challenge is in no way an indication of a person’s level of intelligence.  Personally speaking I really enjoy the challenge of helping those who are considered ‘different’ by society and often unkindly judged and misunderstood.

I was encourged as a child to ‘not mock the afflicted’ that may be considered now as non pc but the message behind came from my mentor and one who accepted and saw the good in everyone. If you look for the good in somebody you will find it…some hide it better than others of course. Remember what some perceive as being naughty is infact somebody with a brilliant mind who may be bored and/or has a personal challenge they may be in fear of revealing.

If you come across say somebody with a speech issue such as stammering, be patient, be kind and try to avoid finishing their sentences or words it just makes them more anxious. Bear in mind they may be recovering from a stroke and re-learning to speak all over again.

Let’s celebrate who we are and be more accepting of others around us.

Exam stress

It is that time of year when students all over the country are revising for their exams and true to form the weather is hot, the pollen count is up just as they need to focus.

As ever, I remind those that are busy cramming to have regular screen breaks, exercise, keep hydrated and enjoy a break away and an ice cream or chocolate bar or two too!

Seriously, keeping up the exercise is vital as it releases all the positive endorphins, reduces stress, clears the head and re-energises to help keep the momentum going. For those so inclined I have always recommended yoga classes and most gym clubs now have yoga lessons available. So pick up your mat and join a class. Relaxation and meditation work wonders I promise.  Keep calm…you know your subjects…you are almost there!

I will be doing my bit in starting invigilating next week and sign off wishing all students the best of luck for the coming weeks.

Finding time…

A great mentor of mine always maintained that ”we will always find time to do the things we like or want to do.‘ I guess, to a certain extent, that is true but at times ‘other stuff’ prevents us from getting on and doing things we like at the risk of neglecting what others may perceive as more important.

I had an interesting chat with a friend today on how we both avoid being judgemental on how others spend and live their lives but sometimes we will be criticised by those that we would rather support us. Unrequested advice can be very annoying and to some upsetting. We all have that friend or family member that wants to tell us what they think we should be doing but above all else we must remain true to ourself.

It would be a boring world if we were all the same..and life would be a dessert without a little rain. I will also spout more words of wisdom from said same mentor ‘that people are only important if you allow them to be.’

Realistically we can only just try to live our lives the best we can and hopefully without hurting anyone around us. Anyway who has the right to say what is and isn’t normal eh? In my experience of helping coach others; most people are just too hard on themselves. Once we learn to accept our limitations and love ourselves the rest will fall into place with time, patience and perhaps self-development and self-belief.

For the rest of the day remember what it is YOU like to do and just do it!

 

Getting ready…for exams

When I started my psychology course in the Autumn I chatted with my tutor saying how I had been putting off  beginning my course for one reason or another. After sharing for a while I soon realised that this was not the case as my work and life experiences had been preparing me to a certain degree to be in the right frame of mind, and, be better equipped to respond to what would be required of me.

I had great momentum going throughout the course returning each lesson promptly and starting reading and research for the next whilst my tutors marked my latest offerings. Then…suddenly the past few months when I should have been starting my exam I seem to have been distracted and whilst there is no time restraint (aside of those I impose) I feel I am starting it later than I intended.

The sunshine of the past few days and the welcoming blue sky brings us all out of the winter blues which I know a lot of my colleagues have found to be never-ending this year. I am now sitting in the garden re-visiting one of my reflective reading books and ready to resume my studies and face my exam. Maybe it is partly down to the fact that I will be invigilating exams the coming months and the student in me is coming back.

I am mindful that as I write my blog students all over the country are also starting to revise for exams. I will of course start to post blogs about exam stress…or should I say how to avoid it very shortly but for now here are a few quotes from ‘The things you can see only when you slow down’ by Haemin Sumin.

‘Wear confidence, It is the height of fashion’

and

‘Love, not righteous words, can change people’s lives’

 

 

 

Business housekeeping

Anyone that works freelance knows that finding time for business housekeeping can be difficult. So busy looking for new ventures, one’s accounts and websites get neglected. I put my hand up that even having spent many years working in business development and marketing it is far easier to promote others than one’s self.

I love writing other people’s CV and mine today is looking rather sad and was not a true reflection of what I have actually been doing the past few years. I am an old fashioned girl and still believe it’s the covering letter that gets you noticed. Many colleagues have been groaning to me recently about the online approach to job seeking where just uploading a CV may leave some of us at a disadvantage.  I am told a faceless agent is sifting through hundreds and it’s a secret what they are looking for and weeks go past without any contact. I am sure we are not alone in feeling this way.

To be honest most of my best projects have come from personal recommendation and in between…yes that’s right I get on with the business housekeeping. Yesterday the dreaded accounts and today I’m tweaking the websites… the months disappear and like me the websites are in need of a revamp and a serious update!!

To those followers who have already commented on my kissing blog posted earlier –  a huge thank you for confirming I am not always talking to myself though I am mindful some days I am!

Coping with grief

In my privileged position in working with the bereaved I recognise that everyone grieves in different ways, at different times and in a family unit it is a very difficult time for all concerned.

One of the key things I have noticed is how parents hide their own feelings from their children feeling it inappropriate to cry in front of them. Of course this is to be expected and in a way for some admired but for the grieving parent who may have lost their life time partner it makes their own journey placed on hold to a certain degree.

The British way of being strong, keeping a stiff upper lip is one which frustrates me terribly and this, I speak from personal experience; as a child surrounded by adults set on surpressing their own grief and probably my own too. I always maintain to speak of our loved ones and remember them keeps them alive in our minds, our hearts and of course helps the bereavement process…to deny their existence is not only cruel but of no use to anyone.

If you know of any one mourning a loved one reach out to them and communicate, let them talk, let them cry if they need to…it’s normal. Most of all do not avoid visiting and please do not stop mentioning their loved one either – think of a funny story or a great occasion you shared.