Supporting students

I am mindful that this week is mental awareness week for children and these events give us all a platform to encourage our children to open up, if they are able. Over the past few weeks I have had several discussions with colleagues working within education and one common theme is recognising how stressful it is for today’s students.

Thankfully proactive schools consider positive intervention which can take many shapes. I write often about the value of mindfulness and, of course, taking regular exercise and considering yoga both are great ways for staying relaxed and fit. The various breathing and calming exercises that take just a few minutes can really make a difference in quickly regaining a position of tranquility and calm.

As parents we must ensure that communication between our children during exam time is kept open without appearing to be nagging but encouraging and offering support.  Providing a base that is quiet when needed and positive social inter-action to stop them from suffering cabin fever by isolated studying!

As I discussed with a mother recently – at times we feel we are going through the exams with them! Good luck to both students and parents this coming year, stay focused, positive and be proud of your achievements.

 

NTA Awards -animal awareness

All forms of media is full of last night’s NTA awards and it is always great to see those who do their job so well getting recognised. Interestingly two of the awards go to two of our national treasures who work and help promote the plight of animals and our planet. Sir David Attenborough who continues to amaze and enthral us all and of course the lovable Paul O’Grady doing such fab work for re-homing animals.

We need those prepared to speak up for animals and who are not afraid to talk about the bad side of human nature as well as the kindness we can all apply to make things better.

A new blog follower has asked where do I get my info from to write my blog? It’s observing life, experiencing life over six decades, self-development through studies and finding time to find out what makes people tick.

People are important material things are not..sometimes we lose sight of that fact. Slow down and talk to one another.

The value of life -A Mother’s Love

If one googles ‘the value of life’ all sorts of quotes will come up. The one I wish to share today though are lines taken from the poem by Helen Steiner Rice:-

‘The value of life is not measured in length but in deeds’

It reminds me of one of the many quotes from my own amazing mentor and mother:

‘The time to be good to people is when they are here..too late when they are gone’

It may seem obvious but in our busy lives we forget this sometimes she also taught us to be grateful something modern day people forget. In remembering to be grateful we actually become happier so it’s simple but oh so effective.

Currently reading: ‘The things you can see only when you slow down‘ by Haemin Sunim.

As with most books I read of this nature I hear mum’s voice and this voice was the reason I wrote and produced my kindle book  ‘A Mother’s Love’ available from Amazon to download:-

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Annie-Manning/e/B005XXYJL0

Breast Cancer Awareness

My regular and lovely followers know that I like to help charities and causes with awareness and October as we know is breast awareness month. Today is, I am told,  ‘wear it pink‘ day for the Breast Cancer Now charity. I hear and I obey and I am suitably attired in pink.

For my own family we are very ‘aware’ of breast cancer having lost my maternal Nan and Aunt to this particular cancer and had my own scares. I will say however, that for all of us, every week, month should and must be breast cancer aware and regular examination is crucial – as with many types of cancer the earlier we discover anything untoward the better chance we have of maybe beating the odds.

For anyone caring for a loved one with any type of cancer ensure you get any support that is available for both your loved one and yourself.

Make the most of everyday and make it count.

Being mindful and listening

During the course of both business and social meetings this week friends and colleagues have all mentioned the value of being listened to in both personal and business environments.

Whatever age we have arrived at in life, and, whatever journey we have travelled to get there we will have times when we need support..although we may fight against admitting it.

During my early morning dog walk (before being glued to the laptop) a colleague and I not only covered many steps but many topics. Both professionals in pastoral and practice mindfulness but ‘mindful’ that our maturity and qualifications enable us to do so whereas others are struggling particularly today’s teenagers/students.

We both discussed the rewards we get when we have a break-through with somebody we are trying to support and how the use of eye-contact, or rather its avoidance, plays such an important part. We have many senses and our hearing being our best gift for those that need to talk and not be judged. Sitting next to somebody, respecting their space and not intimidating them takes patience and consideration..but it’s easier than we think. That’s all part of mindfulness…slowing down and using our intellect rather than our emotions will always be fruitful.

Over the weekend find time to be ‘that friend’ who listens. Please give those you love the platform and opportunity to talk, but moreover the chance for someone to listen.

The many uses of music

Those that know me well know I am a music lover always have been. Music can lift our souls, get our feet tapping and motivate us in so many ways. Some say music breathes life into our soul and I tend to agree. Writing for songwriters is also therapeutic and enables them to tell their story.

Let’s be honest those epic films we know and love would be nothing without the music score setting the mood, the drama and emotion.

It is a well documented fact that those people with speech challenges i.e. stammering, their stammer seems to disappear when they sing.

Recently I watched a teacher (Christian Foley) using his amazing ability to rap making his lessons more interesting for his students with great results. It immediately reminded me of an old Welsh History teacher who taught us the Kings and Queens of England by reciting a rhyming poem/song – which to my own amazement I can still recite. Moreover I remain amazed he could recite them himself after a lunchtime tipple which was a regular event in those days.

I use music therapy within sessions with dementia clients to help stimulate happy memories and prompt discussions giving an insight into their lives with beautiful results.

For me life would be impossible without my music, an old fashioned girl; a loft full of vinyl and my little CD player still brings hours of joy whilst studying.

As my mum used to say ‘music gets my motor running!’ How true.

Old loves

Through our lives people will enter at various stages and leave an imprint on our hearts. As we grow older and often have time to reflect, often it is then that we truly recognise why and the impact they had.

Everything happens for a reason and we make decisions which may feel are right at that time for our own personal growth. But as my wonderful mentor used to frequently say ‘memories live longer than dreams’ and maybe the dreams we thought we wanted to chase don’t actual exist and the stars we try to reach for we actually already had.

As part of one of my  psychology study assignments I found myself confessing experiences and relationships and the fact that ‘feeling loved’ however long it lasted will of course keep us warm in our old age. Here’s hoping.

I will end on lyrics from a great musician and song writer Zarr

‘love is hard to find…I’m reaching for you but you are like the stars..far so very far.

 

Musical bumps

Musical bumps…and I don’t mean the game we played as children which I believe the fun police have said is now too dangerous!!

I am referring to when we hear a piece of music or a song and we are immediately transported back in time to a memory, a place or a person. These ‘bumps’ can of course be great prompts to bring back happy memories and in my work with dementia clients this can prove invaluable.

On the other hand one can hear a piece of music which may remind us of a loved one we have lost and we may feel reflective and saddened, but even those feelings are useful in helping us to allow our bereavement process and healing to continue.

Let’s face it the music score creates the scene, the atmosphere and the moods in any great film as the amazing John Williams has continued to prove over some four decades. Personally, I would be lost without my music whether it is lifting a mood or emotive to shed a tear or two.

My music list and appreciation is both long and eclectic and in case a certain man is reading my blog today…we had Barber.

Resuming studies

Anyone who has had a break from their studies will know it can be quite a struggle to get back on the learning horse and regain one’s focus.

Even the most positive and ethusiastic students can find themselves delaying the inevitable. This week I have found myself in this very same situation, so I did the sensible thing and rang one of my support tutors to have a general chat and confess where I felt I was at!

Distance learning can be daunting but I have had a very positive experience these past few years receiving great encourament and support from the BSY Group. As I revealed yesterday to a new tutor, the personal comments I received on previous coursework always inspired me to press on. Whatever age we are – receiving praise for our achievements is always well-received and makes it all worthwhile.

My chat albeit perhaps not terribly focused (for me) nor containing any specific questions to be answered, helped me to appreciate my chosen projects this year had indeed been advance homework rather than causing delay starting my course. Working with the elderly and the young in mind has provided valuable research for my latest Psychology studies as well as giving me an opportunity to make ultimate use of my varied skills and qualifications gained with BSY. I have even ressurected gems from running a writers group many years ago within reminiscent and sensory work.

In life, I always maintain nothing should be a waste of time, even the bad experiences hopefully teach us something. Reflection gives us an opportunity to grow..if we just make time to do it.

So for any students mature or young on the run down to resuming studies; enjoy the break you have had, keep healthy and be inspired to meet the next challenge.

Reflecting

I often encourage friends and family members,  and, of course my counselling clients to stand back and reflect. All too often we think and act with our emotions rather than with our intellect then regret it later.

It is very easy to take one another for granted or even our work and a holiday away can provide us with that essential time to think about what we have, what we have achieved rather than worry about what we perceive as our failings.

Over the weekend, whilst having a break from painting the garden fence (very therapeutic) I watched ‘Goodbye Mr Chips’  wherein one of the characters advised:-

‘Distance lends enchantment to the view’ 

Indeed putting a bit of distance between ourselves and sometimes our problems or even other people can really make us appreciate the beauty in everything.

That’s a positive thought to start the week on…now to tackle the accounts.