Blog

How to provide hope

Here in the northern hemisphere it’s almost the summer solstice; the day of the year when the hours of daylight are longest, and the hours of darkness at their most brief.

And yet, world events make each passing day feel ever darker. Continue reading “How to provide hope”

The Fear Dance

As March rolls straight into May (I know April was in there somewhere, but I’m damned if I can recall WHERE in the blur), I’ve been thinking about fear.

(I suspect it’s the water we’re all living in.)

As luck would have it I recently found an old handout from Gary Smalley, an author and relationship counsellor, which describes something he’d see in relationships called ‘the Fear Dance’.

Each party would have unspoken expectations. When these were unmet, their fears would be triggered – which in turn triggered the other person. A chain reaction would ensue, and a dance of dissatisfaction and anger would launch unhindered.

Gary lists a host of different fears, and a host of behaviours and responses.

But they come down to 2 core relationship anxieties; fearing a loss of power/feeling controlled, and the fear of disconnection; Continue reading “The Fear Dance”

Finding a balance

Wow. The Western world looks pretty different to when we last met on these pages.

I know that everyone and their mother is posting advice on how to keep calm and live radically differently. I don’t want to add to the overwhelm.

So I’ll keep this brief and highlight some brand-new research on HOW to engage with all that good advice; to wit, you can combine just two strategies to deal with everyday stress;

  1. Make plans
  2. Stay in the present moment

Continue reading “Finding a balance”

The kindness of the design

I’ve been walking through treacle recently.

Not literally, of course; that would be insane. But metaphorically speaking, it’s felt much the same; like walking, moving, thinking, through treacle.

It’s one of the joys of chronic illness – and the impact it can have on my emotional and mental well-being. Continue reading “The kindness of the design”

An uncertain kind of loss

I’ve been thinking about ambiguous loss and grief lately.

(Yes, FUN TIMES.)

My thoughts were sparked by two articles; the first, on how middle-age is impacting Gen X women (spoiler alert: badly. REALLY BADLY). The other, a letter writer wanted to feel like her single life is enough (spoiler alert: even the ‘agony aunt’ who responded struggles and fails to cultivate this feeling).

As someone who, Venn-diagram-speaking, is slap-bang where these two overlap, they made interesting reading.

And by interesting, I mean .. the other thing. Continue reading “An uncertain kind of loss”

Does it help?

When it comes to therapeutic modalities, I’ll admit: I’m a bit of a magpie.

I spent October attending a collective trauma online summit and another on the clinical application of compassion; I have various books on mindfulness, self-compassion and connection, and am becoming increasingly drawn to Compassion-Focused Therapy.

(Basically, if it helps folks to be kinder to themselves, I’ll wander over and give it a sniff.)

So I was pretty excited to attend Rich Bennett and Joe Oliver’s introduction to Acceptance and Commitment Therapy recently, complete with a copy of their book, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy: 100 Key Points and Techniques. Continue reading “Does it help?”

If you want to go far, go together: Lightbulb to Launch with The Happy Startup School

My inbox is out of control. I mean, WAAY out of control.

(Like everyone else’s, I know.)

I have emails about things I have no interest in, from things I signed up for but have long forgotten, from people who assume that I recognised them by their first name alone.

I occasionally have a cull, chop the number down, have an unsubscribe session. But it often resembles the grass verge on a motorway: full of debris from past travels, unidentified random plants, and weird stuff that wants to take over the general ecosphere.

But sometimes – just sometimes – my benign form of neglect pays dividends and I get an email about an opportunity that I just wouldn’t hear about otherwise.

Continue reading “If you want to go far, go together: Lightbulb to Launch with The Happy Startup School”

HALT! Are you Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired?

I came across something by accident recently, and its succinctness has absolutely blown my mind.

It’s the acronym HALT – which stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired.

Hungry: Do I need something physically or emotionally?

Angry: What’s causing me to feel this way?

Lonely: Am I having difficulty connecting with others?

Tired: When was the last time I took a break? Continue reading “HALT! Are you Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired?”

For a friend who is struggling

This month, I’m going to share something very different.

One of the first pieces I ever had published was a poem, and yet I rarely read them – and the last one I wrote was five years ago. But a friend who lives overseas was struggling recently, and I wanted to keep in touch through loving voice messages.

I didn’t want to add to his mental load by chit-chatting about my day, though. So what could I say that would be short, helpful and meaningful? Continue reading “For a friend who is struggling”