Our 12-week Mind Course brought to you in partnership with prosoma provides a scientific evidence-based approach to reduce stress and anxiety. These conditions not only affect your quality of life but also have a truly devastating effect on the immune system. The international team of world-renowned psychologists and psychiatrists from Prosoma incorporated a number of interventions that have proven clinical effectiveness in helping people even at the most challenging moments of their lives. During the 12 weeks, we will introduce you to cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), stress reduction techniques and mindfulness. This programme will take you from beginner to confident in these techniques. Below are some fun and useful things to think about as you prepare to start the course.

Turn social distancing into physical distancing and social integration

In the current climate we are continuously encouraged to stay away from each other, this however does not mean that we can’t grow closer in other ways. It is important to spend time on nurturing empathy for other people and ourselves, by listening to our needs, problems and worries. Together, we can survive this crisis and we can help each other remain healthy and in good spirits. If ever there was a time to reach out, take care of one another, and connect even if it is only online – it is now.

Understand your emotions

Would you like to learn more about emotions, what they mean and where they come from? Understanding these patterns will help manage the way we feel. Emotions are an interesting concept; they are a part of our lives from the moment we enter the world. Before we learn how to speak, we express ourselves through emotions; we cry when we need food, a loving embrace, rest, or comfort; we smile to indicate happiness and satisfaction when those basic needs are met. Our needs become more complex as we grow older and the same goes for the ways in which we express them. But how and what do we feel really? What is it based on? Where do our beliefs about the current situation take us? It really depends on the situation that we find ourselves in. Join us in delving into these nuances as we navigate this challenging time together.

Practice 5 rules of healthy thinking

Why do we keep focusing on recurring thoughts? If you are feeling slightly off-beat it is easy to fall into a cycle of repetitive strands of thought. You might start wondering – is this a healthy way for me to think? Is this helpful? – it might then be easy to fall into overthinking and agonising over the situation. There is no real way of deciding whose beliefs and thoughts are right and whose are wrong. There is, however, a practical way to decide which beliefs are healthy and which are not. Remember healthy thinking need not be positive all the time. It is completely fine to think negatively if that is how we feel. How we deal with these feelings is a completely different story and our five rules will help define what is helpful to us and what is not.

Vital activities for better health

Have you ever heard of vital activities? These little wonders you can do for yourself can really improve your wellbeing. Vital activities are actions or hobbies that increase joy and peace of mind when you undertake them. Whether it is a walk in the woods, playing the piano, painting a picture of the meadow, throwing a bowl on a potter’s wheel or eating a favourite meal, these simple actions can really improve how you feel and see the world. You know what they say – it is important to take some time for yourself and this is a perfect opportunity to do so. We will go through ideas and inspirations to help you get started.

Focus on the little picture. Be more mindful… of yourself

Mindfulness is a powerful tool. You might have heard of it, but what does it actually mean? Mindfulness is about knowing what is going on right now in your mind, body and around you – without getting carried away by it. It is an everyday experience of being engaged and focused on what we are doing from moment to moment. There are probably moments throughout the day when you are already mindful and present. For some people, this happens when they are busy with an activity they enjoy, such as their favourite sport, or practising their hobbies such as knitting, painting or pottery. So, take a moment for yourself, and learn how to recognise your mindful moments, how to be more aware of the moment and how to use it all to your advantage.

A lesson in acceptance

Accepting things that happen to us and around us can be incredibly challenging and it is definitely one of those things that are easier said than done. For your own benefit though, it is important to remember that we can really only control our own actions and in reality, it is not feasible to try to predict and control the outcome. Shifting your thoughts to elements of the puzzle that you can actually have an impact on, can really be helpful in the long run. The Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr (1892-1971) unlocks the secret: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

Be kind, especially to yourself

Kindness in simple terms is an ability to be understanding and forgiving, looking at yourself and those around you with warmth in your heart. It also means treating yourself as you would those that you care about. We usually talk and hear about kindness in relation to other people, but kindness towards ourselves is just as important. You might have heard this before but let us say it again – you can’t love other people until you can love yourself. The way you treat and talk to yourself becomes the foundation from which you approach your other relationships. Kindness isn’t just about how you treat other people; it’s about extending the same intentions and behaviours to yourself too.

Laughter is the best medicine

We have all heard this sentiment, but does it actually work? Well, have you ever had a good laugh that didn’t feel somewhat good? Humour and laughter are underutilised and underreported in therapy, in part because it is a new field of research. What has already been proven though is that laughter has social and physiologic benefits that can be used to help with depression, anxiety and pain. The good news is also that our bodies cannot differentiate between real and fake laughter, so why not give it a go? You will get all the benefits and what is wrong with a little chuckle? So, in the future if you’re faced with a situation where you don’t know whether to laugh or cry, you will know what to do. As Victor Borge famously said, “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”

Gratitude is a catalyst for happiness

Sometimes being grateful might not be the obvious path. When we feel like life has given us a bad hand, it might not be the first thing on our minds. However, focusing on beautiful, uplifting, and refreshing things in your life in the present moment can have a great impact on how you feel. Every day, we experience small and large miracles that we do not even realise. If we think about gratitude every day, then it turns out that life has more shades, colours and flavours than we thought! Not only that, by practicing gratitude our well-being will improve. It brings a sense of freedom, joy, happiness and fulfilment. It frees you from complexes, persistent thoughts, senselessness, a sense of “losing” and improves relationships with other people because we are looking for people like us.

Use your words wisely

What we say really matters. Even if we only say it to ourselves. It is important to focus on the words that we use to describe ourselves and the events around us. Think of the brain as a blind organ. It will follow any sincere thought that your project and will respond to it with an appropriate emotional reaction. What is significant is to consider that all elemental processes are mediated by words. This means that the brain interprets your words literally, and then uses them to direct mental, emotional, physiological, and behavioural responses. Even if you do not feel like it right now, you can work on how you express yourself to trick your brain into making you feel better.

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