Mental Health Resources and Wednesdays.

First of all it is fair to say I am not too keen on Wednesdays. For me it means early starts leaving home at 6am, and late finishes, yesterday it was 7.30pm before we arrived home again. With chemo in between and over 40 tablets to take I am pleased when Wednesdays are over. Being the first day of another cycle however I had my monthly appointment with my lovely consultant. The news yesterday was good with the latest MRI showing that the mass around T12 in my spine is shrinking. I won’t know the para protein results for a few days but the signs are all good. So the plan is to continue on this path, completing a total of 6 cycles of the three chemo drugs, so I should be finished sometime in July and then we shall just have to see what happens next.

Meanwhile, now that the BrainBox resource is out and available, I am passionate about building a website and business that provides mental health resources that will help make a difference to both children’s and adult’s mental health and emotional well-being. It is sometimes quite difficult to find the right resource for the job so I want a site that reviews the resources and promotes the best product to meets the needs required. During my career I have been lucky enough to meet up with other creative and innovative health professionals at awards nights etc, that have designed and produced resources that are really making a difference to their clients. Hunting these products down can sometimes be quite a challenge so I would love to have a one stop place which provides reviews and information about products that work. Marketing and web design are challenges in themselves so there is quite a lot of research to be done yet but it’s something to work on. Any marketing tips will be much appreciated.

So there’s lots more to do, you haven’t heard the last of me yet, as my passion for improving mental health continues.

Have a great day

Deborah x

First 100 BrainBox deliveries made.

How exciting is that!

It seems to have been a long time coming but has been well worth the wait. The BrainBox was first designed quite a few years ago but has recently been re-developed to become a more cost effective portable resource. In its original format, it has been used by a range of professionals including school nurses, psychologists, youth workers and teachers with some outstanding results. It’s main purpose is to explain the fight and flight response, increasing knowledge as to how the brain works at times of heightened anxiety and anger. It is very empowering and provides the parent/ carer and or young person with some tools to help them to better manage their emotions and behaviour.
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I feel very proud of this resource as I have seen the difference it makes and am delighted it is now going to be available to even more people. It may appear very simple but it’s effect is quite remarkable.

If you are interested it can be purchased via our website http://www.thebrainbox.org.uk

We are now in the process of designing a new website for Starfish House Publishing (our new company) where we hope to add more resources including the next one in line, “Taking Control of Anger”. It is my dream to have a wealth of resources available to parents, carers and professionals to help improve mental health and emotional well being. It is over 35 years ago that I first started voluntary work in my local mental health hospital and it feels so good to continue with my passion in this field.

Today is a very good day

Deborah

Do you have a choice?

Last night I got thinking, always a dangerous thing especially when one has taken an extremely high dose of steroids, so I blame the drugs!

Many people I have spoken to recently, have told me about their lack of choices. How they feel trapped by their lifestyles. They appear to have painted themselves into a corner (imagine literally doing that) and there seems to be no way out.

So there they stand stuck, rooted to the spot with little or nowhere to move. What would you do if that were you? Stuck among a sea of wet sticky gloss paint with only a paintbrush in your hand. Could you work your way out?

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I challenge you to think of a way. Perhaps you would need to just walk through it and get your feet wet? But think of the consequences to those glossy footprints spread around, others noticing the mess.

You get out but where do you go next? Now you have an un-painted corner, do you go back and finish it off when everything has dried out? Have you ever done this?  Was it as bad as you thought it might have been?

Perhaps, just perhaps it reveals something new. Maybe it exposes your ability to move on and become unstuck.  You might then have the power of knowledge that, it is, possible?

Hmm you see I have been thinking.

I really do appreciate my life and for that I am very grateful. Dare I say, that even includes my unstable health predicament. At this moment in time I really couldn’t be much happier, the only icing on the cake would be a cure for all cancers and I believe we are very close to reaching  that point.

Having cancer has shown me so much. I have learnt how much I am loved and that feels good. I have found true friendships, become even closer to my family and had my eyes open to the wealth of human spirit and generosity around me.

I must admit though a few weeks before Christmas, at a time when I was in remission and physically almost recovered from the last rounds of treatment, I was at my lowest point. I was clinically depressed. I couldn’t talk about it, there didn’t seem much point in that or anything else much. On the outside I bumbled along but inside I was flat, unmotivated. I started to shut the world out, you may have noticed my lack of blogs. Perhaps you thought this was a good sign? That I was getting on with enjoying life at a time I was physically able to do so. Planning a holiday abroad and organising a family Christmas. The worse of all I felt ashamed, I am or was Deborah Bone expert Mental Health Practitioner. I had the answers for good mental well being, but here I was locked in the dark hole and thinking that there really wasn’t a way out. I lost one of the things dearest to me, no longer able to practice as a qualified nurse, my identity had changed. No longer was I Deborah Bone, the Mental Health Nurse, I become Deborah Bone, you know the one with Cancer. Luckily for me I am no longer in that place. So what pulled me out and sent the black dog scarpering? I need a bit more time to think about that one so I will save it for another time. You lucky readers!

Back to choices. Having being diagnosed with what is described by some medics as a terminal illness (I know otherwise.) my choices seemed to be slipping away. My life has changed dramatically, but looking back I can’t say it’s all been so bad and at this moment in time life feels pretty good. I am doing I job I love again, working with my husband in a beautiful home surrounded by family who love me and true friends. I have enough money to buy fresh wholesome food and the time to prepare and cook it. I can stop in the day to visit a spa, have friends round for lunch, sit in my PJ’s and watch TV. I can decide to pick up my paints or make jewellery, I can take the dog out for fresh air, spend whole days with my grandson, infact do pretty much anything my heart desires. I consider that fairly lucky, don’t you?

So what stops you having some of this dream of a lifestyle?

Maybe you don’t have the same dreams for a start.

But so many times I hear people say that they have no choice. They have painted themselves into that corner and cannot see a way out, at least not without making a big mess of things. If you are one of these people just think for a moment if you did find a way what would it be like for you?

If your dream life were to start tomorrow morning, what would you be doing. Are many of you stuck already. I can almost hear some of you thinking, I would need to win the lottery. Now you are stuck because that bit is out of your control! What would the money bring you that you couldn’t find in another way?

I know the most lovely sensitive, kind charming guy. He represents lots of other people I have spoken to professionally and privately. He feels stuck in his corner. It’s not all bad in there he can temporarily swing from the chandelier now and again, but it always seems to end up with him falling back into that corner. I wonder what it would be like for him if one day he just walked through that wet paint and entered a different room on the other side. No painted floors, a blank canvas just waiting for that first brush stroke? A blank first page on the novel “My New Life” or the “The Day I got My Feet Wet”.image

Perhaps you will discover a new skill, make new connections, more money than ever before or realise you gain that most precious gift of all time. I can feel another book coming on.

In my story, my guy uses his talents and love for cooking to set up his own company catering for the rich and famous. Whist swinging from the chandelier he took a holiday to Italy and learnt from the great master chefs. He learnt how to source the finest ingredients and from a Sommelier about the perfect wines to accompany each corse. He became well known in his circle of old colleagues and new and old friends, and was in high demand. He learnt so much and taught so much to so many. He took control and it wasn’t nearly as messy as he feared it would be. He is the hero in my book which is going to become a best seller. All the proceeds are going to go back to my main character who inspired the book in the first place, but somehow I don’t think he will be needing it.

Call me a dreamer, I can take such a title and wear it with pride. If you don’t have a dream, how you going to have a dream come true. Oh dear, I feel a Miranda moment coming on and that will wake Colin up! I had better move on before I just can’t help myself.

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Today I am off for a trim at the Cancer hair place and then out for lunch with a good friend. I can do that sort of thing now, I may even get my nails painted again. I will then get home and carry on with my most enjoyable work project.

If you find yourself stuck in any corners just dare to spend a few of your precious moments today thinking about taking another swing on that chandelier and imaging a house full of other blank walls just waiting for you.

Have a good day if your not too exhausted from reading all of the above.

Deborah xxx

Here we go again

We are already on the road at 6am attempting to miss the rush hour traffic, although there does seem plenty of it around. Colin was rudely woken by the alarm unlike myself who was already playing solitaire on my iPad. However with the help of a good dose of sleeping tablets and pain killers I didn’t have too bad a night and so far my back feels a little better this morning.

So today is week 2 of cycle one and so far so good, with no horrendous side effects to report. During my waiting time today I have booked myself in for an aromatherapy massage, so that’s something to look forward to. Colin has brought his computer so will spend his time working.

We have some great news about the BrainBox. We are in the process of re-developing it into an ‘easy to use’ pack which will include the manual, some cut out representations of the original resource, connecting wires (neuro pathways) and a scaling dial. This will allow us to make it more widely available and at a much lower cost. Today we are changing the BrainBox website and then we shall send out some marketing material. We have already had an order for 80 packs. This has really lifted my spirits, as anyone who uses the BrainBox will tell you, it really does help parents and children increase their knowledge about the workings of their brain and empowers them to take some control. The next stop will be to contact Mental Health First Aid and anyone else we think might be interested.

So we have 11 booklets to create on a number of mental health subjects, our BrainBox packs, our website to re- design and a couple of books to write. We have also set a publishing company called Starfish House Publishing and are about to release our first Ebook. That should keep us out of mischief for sometime.

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Enjoy your day.

Much love

Deborah x

This time a year ago…

..I would never imagined that today I would be attending my own retirement do. It really doesn’t seem that long ago that I strolled nervously, up to the front doors of Fairfield Hospital, to enquire about voluntary work within the old Victorian asylum. Never once have I regretted choosing this path.
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Watching the recent programs coming from Bethlem Royal Hospital (Bedlam) , England’s first psychiatric hospital, brought back early memories of my training, work on the wards and visiting people’s homes as a community psychiatric nurse. Working for the NHS and particularly in the field of mental health, whether it be with children, adults or the elderly, has always been so rewarding and I have received so much more than I could have ever given.

Along the way I have experienced and learnt so much, but with mental health being such a large field, I have only really just scraped the surface. I am however very passionate about a few values and beliefs that I have collected over the last twenty plus years. These aren’t rocket science, and dear reader you may indeed disagree with some or all of them (which you have every right to do). Please excuse my boldness for sharing my top ten with you, if I haven’t already done so!

So here goes…

Deborah’s Top 10 pointers towards good mental health.

1) To improve someone else’s mental health, it is important, to first make sure you take good care of your own. That way you can act as a good role model.

2) It is important to talk about mental health. Mental health, is something we all strive for. Mental health is not mental illness. Nobody is mentally healthy all of the time. Its OK to talk about mental health and mental illness, it is part of life.

3) Time is the most precious of resources and the most valuable gift we can give to another human being.

4) The mind and body are part of the same system. It’s important to take good care of your brain. How many of you know what the brain needs in order to remain as heathy as possible? It has both physical and mental requirements. Think LAMBSS (see earlier posts)

5) How you think or feel on the inside or the way you act on the outside will have a direct effect on the other two. So changing how you think will in turn change the way you feel and behave. You can effect how this happens for someone else by being conscious about how you respond to them. Take for example, a simple smile, besides increasing your own serotonin levels, it can do the same for the receiver.

6) So once again (I think this one’s worth repeating), never underestimate the effects of what you do, think or feel and the effects it has on the physical body and mind. Just changing how you breathe, stand or think, changes your physiology and can reduce anxiety.

7) The world is not as it is, it is the way YOU perceive it, don’t presume other people perceive the world in the same way.

8) If we want to have mentally healthy children we need to start with mentally healthy adults. Working within children’s mental health means working with the whole family and system.

9) To have mentally health staff who are in the best possible place to care for patients, managers need to act as good role models and provide the same level of care and support as they would expect their staff to provide for their patients.

10) Nobody’s perfect, you won’t always get it right, it is often the mistakes that we make along the way that teaches us the greatest lessons. There is no such thing as failure only feedback.

For the last eight years, I have been working for Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust, and I feel very grateful for the support and guidance the trust has given to me. The different managers, I have had along the way, were generous and trusting enough to give me the autonomy I needed to be creative. This allowed me the opportunity to start up the unique Step2, Early Intervention Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service. Step2 is a credit to all the hardworking members of the team who together continue to stick by its principles of being, innovative, flexible, creative, accessible and empowering. Starting with practically a blank sheet and a PA with a wooden box for an office, we launched a conference that set the high standards we set out to deliver. When waiting lists grew we adapted and changed the way we worked, if one system didn’t work we tried another. With the foundations of strong theoretical knowledge, a wealth of skills and experience combined with a passion to make a real difference Stép2 does more than deliver a great service in a Hertfordshire. This last year hasn’t been the easiest, but the Step2 team has pulled together and supported each other and I for one couldn’t feel prouder of having had the privilege of working within such an amazing team of dedicated people. I have been fortunate enough to receive high praise and even awards for my own achievements, but Step2 has never been about me, it is about what can be achieved when a group of passionate caring people come together with a common goal and purpose and I have no doubt that their shared vision will continue for a long time yet to come.

So today may mark the end of one particular journey for me, but I don’t think you will have seen the last of me yet. I have a few more creative ideas up my sleeve and there is no way I am going to allow a touch of Myeloma keep me down.

I am looking forward to meeting up with colleagues old and new, at Starfish House today. I shall look on today as being a time to reflect with a sense of joy and pride and be thankful for having had the opportunity to have worked in a job that I loved.

Not everyone is that lucky.

Deborah xxx

Re-organising

As my new life starts to take shape there is lots of re-organising going on.

This includes giving this blog a good old sort out.

You may notice that there is an extra page title on the black strip under the photo at the top of the Home page. This page titled ‘Mental Health Strategies’ will include all future and previous posts that are particularly related to improving mental health and emotional well being. I hope that this will make it easier to navigate. I know there are lots of you out there who are quite happy to read about my cancer journey or holiday antics and rather than having numerous different blogs, I wanted to stick with just the one. I did however want to make sure, that those of you who want to access information related to particular topics, can do so easily. If you hover over the Mental Health Strategies title you will even find a drop down link to posts specifically about the BrainBox. How clever is that! Although I must admit it took me quite a while to achieve, what now appears to be a fairly simple wordpress process. Don’t forget you can regularly follow my posts by clicking on the link at the top of the bar on the right, you will then receive an email every time a new post comes out. There is also a search option, categories option and a list of all the old posts under ‘Archives’. Whoopee I am getting there!

This past week has been pretty busy as we, in the ‘royal’ sense of the word, have been re-decorating the living room, including laying a new floor and putting up new ceiling lights. It is a great feeling to have it freshened up and a step away from the place I lay around in feeling so poorly earlier in the year.

Cancer, what cancer? Accordingly to my latest report as it reads ‘ Bone marrow trephine biopsy showing no evidence of an abnormal plasma cell infiltrate, 2-3% plasma cells”. and paraprotein is still undetectable. This is such good news and I thank all involved for making this possible including you dear readers. I now just have my monthly hospital visits to check everything stays as it is.

So what next?

Well it’s good news that I am driving again, now that I am medication free, which although I have never been that keen on driving. it feels great not having to rely on lifts anymore.

An article I have written is due to come out very soon in The Journal of Family Health Care.

I am awaiting to hear back about how my skills might be put to good news in some new projects. 😉

The book I am writing is coming on, if somewhat slowly, and I am starting to build a story board for some short films or E learning sessions.

I am very excited to have been short listed to the last three in the Inspirational Leader Awards which means I have an exciting black tie event to attend on November 20th and get to catch up with some of my team.

Oh yes and there is my retirement do to look forward to on November 25th.

My eldest daughter is continuing to fly the flag for the NHS and making her mother very proud.

And due to the skills of my youngest daughters brilliant parenting my grandson continues to be the happiest and most content little boy that I have ever met, and brings great joy into our lives.

So life really is pretty good but that’s not to say that I still don’t desperately miss my old job and colleagues though.

None of this would have of course be possible without the wind beneath my wings.

You know who you are!

Xxxxx

Back to the BrainBox

I am having one of my early morning thoughts once again, perhaps this is a good sign as it reminds me of the old days pre myeloma.

A few days ago I watched another television programme on Obssessional Compulsive Disorder (OCD). This time the programme came from an internationally renowned treatment centre dealing with severe, complex and resistant OCD, based in London. On there was a young computer programmer with severe symptoms related to contamination. After weeks of intense therapy his improvement was evident but I couldn’t help wishing that I could have had the opportunity to share the BrainBox with him and the other patients on the unit. It seems such a missed opportunity to have this resource and for it not to be more widely available as I know the difference it can make. (See Feb 2nd post)

So I have been awake thinking since 3.30am about what else I can do about it. The conclusion I have come up with so far is to make a YouTube video of me demonstrating the resource. This may be enough to help lots of people out there understand more about how their brains work and to help them with a range of often very disabling symptoms.

Let me just recap what the BrainBox does.

Using recycled computer components it demonstrates how three different parts of the brain work.
1) the basic operating system represented by the motherboard
2) the emotional brain or Limbic system represented by the hard disc drive
3) the clever thinking part of the brain or the neocortex represented by the intel processor.

These three parts of the brain are linked together by neuro pathways represented by wires with crocodile clips on the end that can join the three parts together.

Once joined together information is flowing freely between the different parts of the BrainBox or brain.

Now bear in mind that the main job of the brain is too keep us alive. It is in charge of all other parts of the body. It is in the control seat.

We know from brain scans that information enters the brain through the emotional part (hard disc drive). This is extremely sensitive and designed to detect anything that the brain perceives as danger. If it does detect anything IT (rather than you) perceives is dangerous it can disconnect from the thinking part of the brain and immediately send messages to the basic operating system to get you out of that dangerous situation. At this moment in time we do not need our thinking brain to be in gear we just need to respond. The operating system will send chemical messages to the important parts of the body required for our survival. It will speed up our heart rate, increase our breathing and provide us with the adrenaline to run or fight. This is often referred to as the fight or flight response. Just imagine for a moment a lion came into the room or a tree was falling. This is not the time to be thinking about the sex of the lion or it’s country of origin. We don’t need to know about the type of tree falling, we just need to very quickly get out of the way or stand up and fight. Not that I recommend fighting with a lion or a tree for that matter.

Where things go wrong is when the brain is too sensitive, a bit like a car alarm going off when the wind blows. Severe anxiety or anger, times of heightened emotional arousal, will start this process off, disabling our thinking part of the brain and rendering us temporarily stupid. Luckily we can’t stay in this state for too long, as the brain knows this itself would be detrimental to our health.

I believe those suffering with OCD, among others, have exceptional brains that are just working too hard. At some point (which may be or may not be known ), the brain will have decided that a particular action, stimuli, external or internal thought is of severe danger. Often the sufferer, with the thinking part of the brain attached, will be able to understand how irrational this may be but the brain has been programmed so well into its own perception of danger that it will disconnect from that thinking making the person do whatever he or she needs to de to remain safe.

I believe once a greater understanding of this is achieved, and the BrainBox provides an excellent visual and kinaesthetic metaphor for this, then progress can be made very quickly.
Various strategies can be used to quickly reconnect the thinking part of the brain including breathing and visualisation techniques.

Can you think of any times when your thinking brain has disconnected? Perhaps you have become very angry and said things that later (when reconnected) you’ve regretted? Perhaps you have been anxious before an exam or job interview and your mind seems to have gone blank? All this is perfectly normal. Your brain has just detected something which it has perceived as being dangerous and done something about it. This might have included making you feel physically sick or unwell to get you out of the situation.

Sometimes the brain has just been wrongly programmed. It has learnt that something is very dangerous or required for its survival. This happens with phobias or addictions.
The BrainBox can help with understanding these programmes, that often cause severe difficulties both physically and mentally. Take smoking for example. Most addicted smokers know the risks but find it very hard to give up. Imagine the brain being so strongly programmed into thinking it needs nicotine for its survival. Your intentions to give up are great but once the nicotine levels in your body start to drop your brains alarm systems go off, you disconnect from your thinking part of the brain and reach out for the fag packet. Once your nicotine levels have risen you thinking brain reconnects and you are left wondering where your resolve to give up disappeared to.
The same thing can be said for sugar or alcohol cravings.

As soon as Colin wakes up I think I will explore how to put all this into a YouTube video. Remembering the starfish story, if I can make a difference to one person than that’s a worthwhile thing to do.

Have a good day

Deborah x

More ramblings.

It’s 7.15 and I have just woken up to some sort of grinding noise coming from outside. On closer inspection I see Colin using his chain saw. The last two times he did this he cut through the cable, so it does concern me a little! The noise just stopped so I just broke off from writing to check every thing was ok. Colin’s reply to me shouting from the bedroom window was “I just thought I cut through the cord but It’s OK I am wearing gloves” Huh? He also seems to be chopping Willy Nilly any plant or shrub that gets in his way. His parents bought him a chain saw sharpener for his birthday, maybe he has just sharpened his saw and thought he would try it out? It is a worry but he’s a grown man so I will just stay wrapped up warm under my duvet.

Yesterday I had an army of volunteers looking after me. My parents came up to do more gardening, a good friend collected my ironing to do, Colin’s mum baked us more scones and our two best friends came to cheer us up in the evening, armed with a cup full of chocolate raisins. I also received a number of kind emails and comments to the blog. It made me think about what have I got to be sorry about? OK I do have, what is classed (at the moment) as a incurable illness but nobody knows what is just around the corner, and I do have many things to be grateful for. So I have allowed myself a few tears and some angry why me? moments, and I am sure I will have many more of these but in between them I can look around and appreciate the lovely things I do have.

I think I wrote about sleep and how much I am enjoying it in yesterday’s blog. Well yesterday afternoon at about 1pm I sneaked up into the bed in the motorhome and slept until Colin came in with a cup of tea and my medicine box at about 5,15, that’s over four hours sleep, hardly an afternoon nap. This meant that I had enough in me to stay awake for the finals of Masterchef, which I have really been enjoying and Colin has kindly been enduring. I was just about to chat about my views on the winner but have stopped myself just in case you recorded the programme and have yet to see it.

Some people are completer finishers, unfortunately I am not one of them, maybe that’s why I am struggling to get these party invitations finished and sent out. Today could be the day but I’m not making any promises.

I was reflecting on my recent visit to the hospital and I was interested to note the effect a few words had on my own mental and indeed physical health. It was interesting to see that I was quick to pick up on the negative words said by my consultant and how my brain then quickly switched off from the clever intelligent part (the neo cortex) and I started listening with my emotional brain. This part of the brain responded by sending a number of messages to different parts of my body making me feel physically sick. Good job I had Colin by my side. This is all very important to know and think about as a professional or any one else come to think about it. I suppose that is why we learn to give a feedback sandwich when giving any type of feed back this means, just in case you don’t know,  saying something good followed by the negative then the good bit again. We can maybe think about this when speaking to our children? Hmm lots to think about here. The most important message is the power of language. This is not just the words we say but also the tone we use and our body language. Did we ever look into whether we are mostly visual, auditory or kinaesthetic if not let me know and I shall add an exercise in one of my future posts. It really is helpful to know which one you are.

Enough of that I am now starting to get excited about seeing the postman, not that he is particularly fit but rather that he may have a letter with the big words congratulations (I don’t seem to be able to change the font size so it’s bold instead) Mrs Bone you have won….. I am not really concerned about the prize I just like to know I have won.

Time to get up I have some pills to swallow

Enjoy your day

Deborah x

The Oxford Dictionary definition of courage is…

…the attitude of facing and dealing with anything recognized as dangerous, difficult, or painful, instead of withdrawing from it; quality of being fearless or brave.

I must be brave and continue with my treatment remembering the end goal, which ultimately is life, and I do so love life.

I need, must and will have courage because I am not alone. You give me the strength to continue on my journey – Thank you

I have also been given the gift of optimism and resilience, something I really must not take for granted, even when it appears to be trying its hardest to hide itself from view..

Thank you for allowing me to use this blog to be honest.

It has been a pretty tough weekend and I expect I will have a few more of those to come, but I can do it. For a start I have Village Secrets coming up, my scarves to deliver and of course most exciting of all the Summer Party to look forward to.

Thank you to my family and friends who worked around my aches and pains to make Mother’s Day very special and a big Thank you to Pollyanna and Jem for the wondefully thoughtful gifts. ( hot massage oil for aching bones, favourite bath soaks, perfume, ice creams,and all the toppings etc).

Now let’s get back on track, where were we?

Oh yes the minefield of therapies on offer.

So let’s get the ball back rolling with – Mindfulness (mind, body connection)

Mindfulness has grown in attention and interest in the recent years, thanks to a rapidly expanding evidence base demonstrating that it can be helpful for many mental and physical health problems, as well as for improving well-being more generally. But Mindfulness isn’t new, it had been applied for thousands of years by Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims and Christians.

Mindfulness is the integration between the mind and body. The true body and mind connection.

Training our brains to become more mindful helps us become more aware of our thoughts and feelings so that instead of being overwhelmed by them, we’re better able to manage them.

Mindfulness exercises or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) are ways of paying attention to the present moment, using techniques like meditation, breathing and yoga.

MBCT is recommended by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) for the prevention of relapse in recurrent depression. It combines mindfulness techniques like meditation, breathing exercises and stretching with elements from cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) to help break the negative thought patterns that are characteristic of recurrent depression.

Neuroscientific studies have found differences in the areas of the brain associated with decision-making, attention and awareness in people who regularly practise Mindfulness meditation. People undertaking Mindfulness training have also shown an increase in activation in the left pre-frontal cortex, an area of the brain associated with positive emotions that is generally less active in people who are depressed.
Regular meditation also results in increased brain size in areas linked to emotion regulation, such as the hippocampus, the orbito-frontal cortex, the thalamus and the inferior temporal lobe.

Almost three-quarters of GPs think mindfulness meditation would be helpful for people with mental health problems, and a third already refer patients to MBCT on a regular basis. (Source: ICM survey June 2009 of 250 GPs). With the increase in talking therapies being instigated across the UK this is something that you can raise and discuss with your GP.

Mindfulness can also help you take control of your eating habits by amplifying the volume of your body’s cues so you can hear loud and clear when you are hungry and full.

Eating while multitasking, whether working through lunch or watching TV while eating dinner, often leadsus to eat more. On the other hand, eating “mindfully,” savoring every mouthful, enhances the experience of eating and keeps us aware of how much we take in.

Many social and environmental factors can stand in the way of being able to accurately decode your body’s feedback. Mindfulness helps you break free from routine eating habits by examining the thoughts, feelings and internal pressures that affect how and why you eat (or don’t eat).

Mindfullness does take some practice, and I must admit I certainly need more practic!

To find a course near your visit you GP of take a look at this link:

http://bemindful.co.uk/learn/find-a-course/

One more thing here is a funny,but quite long (you have been warned) little animation that explains all so it back relax and enjoy.

http://youtu.be/ePw0pZxe3yI

Has anybody experienced mindfulness they would be willing the share?

Tomorrow we will explore Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT)

Thanks again for sticking in there

Deborah x

Two sleeping tablets later…

…and I managed 8 hours sleep, I want to jump out of bed with joy but feel the remnants  of my deliberate choice to increase to double my dose, holding me back.

Yesterday I was yet again reminded of the kindness of the human spirit. Another beautiful new scarf was left on my doorstep, and some lovely friends from the village delivered us a whole truck full of logs. This will make such a difference as Colin should not really be chopping away and putting further strain on his heart, and I am feeling the cold more than ever
So Thank You dear friends and village buddies.
Kate will drive and chaperone me to my final beetle juice and stomach injection of the week, today. This will give Colin a much needed break from it all, and a rest from my continuos steroid fuelled chatter.  On the journey I may get the chance to help Kate explore some of her excellent training ideas. I like helping others and feel disappointed when my body has other ideas and I have to go back into succumbing mode.
Tomorrow is my planned day of rest but I do have some other ideas for it so I am willing my body to synchronise well with my mind.
I am excited about the future.
Firstly I am really getting excited about the Village Secret event on a March 22nd I do hope many of you will come and support me. I hope I have enough clothes and shoes that you will like but if not we will just have a fun evening together any way.
Secondly I hope to deliver all the new scarves to the cancer centre next week, I should have received the white paper bags that I want to decorate by then and have written all the positive messages to accompany.
Thirdly I now have the NHS Change Day  to attend  on March 13th, so I can share my pledge and join with colleagues nationally who want to make a difference and improve the services we deliver to our patients.  I will just need to find myself a healthy chaperone who is  willing to wander around with a blown up baldy, (that’s how I feel sometimes), maybe I had better get the wig out!
Then it’s the BIG one, the prep for the Hinxworth Charity Birthday Festival. I want it to be the best night ever so I am busy visualising a lots of sunshine and plenty of people willing to lend us their patio heaters, just in case the air gets chilly in the evening .
I need to stay as well as possible, as does Colin, to acheive all of the above, so we are doing our best to follow instructions ( not my usual modus operandi) and succumbing when we really have to!
Please note,  this blog has been complied  in rather a drug induced state so I hope the above makes some sense.
Back on form tomorrow is the plan,
All the best
Deborah x