‘Re-charging’ the Christmas ritual….

images (3)As the days of December rush past, leaving us little time to pack in all the annual rituals – present buying, writing and sending cards, attending the work Christmas ‘do’- as well as trying to keep the non-Christmas side of our lives under control, it is all too easy to succumb to a bug, or feel oneself become overwhelmed with the stress and anxiety of it all. Here at The Terrace we like to gather together some tips to help survive the second half of December and on into the new year.

For many of us the rituals are all part of the season and fill us with a sense of nostalgia. For others, the rituals seem stale, lowering and unnecessary, washed away in a sea of consumer madness, bright lights and bad tempers. Money is tight, the shops are filled with things we can’t afford and don’t need. It can be difficult to cope.

If you fall into the latter category – or if Christmas holds darker memories and is a time when you battle depression-  rather than avoiding it altogether, you might want to create your own ritual, one that is personal and connects you to who you are rather than joining the ‘Christmas Mad Rush’. So why not consider the following:

  • Pay particular attention to what is important to you; seeing special friend(s) or spending time with one or two members of your family rather than all of them.
  • Prepare a meal you enjoy, rather than feeling obliged to have turkey with all the trimmings, or create your own spiritual practise – meditation and or quiet time.
  • Take time to read a book, or watch a film that interests you.
  • Don’t allow yourself to be pulled into an arrangement which you know is not going to work for you. If you cannot say ‘No’ outright, say you would like some time to think about it and let the other party know a time when you will get back to them.
  • Never feel guilty about saying you need to spend time alone if that is what you really want.
  • Try to build an understanding of what is important and getting it right for you. When a ritual has become dead for one person it normally has for others too – naming it can be a relief and stimulate new ideas. You might be concerned about upsetting other people’s routine – but they may just be waiting for someone to take that step for them!

In getting the festive season right for you, it often gets it right for others too.

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Let’s talk! about Mindfulness…

Meditation-garden-mindfulness-imageMindfulness is very much in the news these days as a means of finding tranquility in our increasingly stressful world. Big business too is beginning to take it seriously as a way to ensure the well-being of their staff (although it is to be hoped that they are approaching it from altruistic motives, rather than as a way to add even more to their frenetic daily life).  The idea is very simple: Mindfulness means merely to be present in the here and now, paying full attention to whatever is happening around you and within you, free from distractions or judgement, with a soft and open mind.

In our modern lives we are subjected to many pressures; work, relationships, money, heath worries and information overload to name but a few. And it is not only what happens outside that causes problems. Merely thinking about what’s happening to us can cause stress. Ruminating about our circumstances, regretting the past and worrying about the future inevitably makes us feel worse.

The result of these internal and external pressures is that the brain’s reaction to real danger, the “fight and flight” mechanism, can be switched on all of the time. This isn’t good for us, and can lead to stress related illnesses, both physical and psychological. Once we become stressed, ruminations can become even more negative, and stress ends up producing yet more stress.

Mindfulness gives us a way of breaking out of this vicious cycle, by repeatedly turning gently away from thinking, and towards our sensory experience. Research show that these simple techniques dampen down the reaction to stress, and enhance activity in areas associated with well-being.

Evidence over more than three decades supports Mindfulness. It has been shown to have a positive effect on physical and psychological health, and to enhance focus, memory, creativity and compassion. It decreases the impact of living in a stressful world and helps us to be the best we can be.

Miranda Bevis Mindfulness GroupsWhy not try mindfulness for yourself, at the taster sessions we hold here at The Terrace? Dr Miranda Bevis  offers a mindfulness stress reduction programme (MBSR) which is designed to help you learn new ways of managing difficult physical sensations, feelings and moods and to live life more in the present moment.

Taster Sessions (£5):

Tues 14th Oct 6.30pm – 8pm or
Weds 15th Oct 9.30am – 1pm

8 week course dates will run from Tues 21st October 6.30pm-8pm and Weds 22nd October 9.15am – 11.30am, costing £225.

More poetry for mindfulness: Keeping Quiet by Pablo Neruda

DE_20120613_PI_retarus_quiet_time_screenWhy do we find it so hard to be, simply, still? Here at The Terrace we are lucky enough to have an expert mindfulness practitioner, Miranda Bevis. Her experiences have been immensely positive, both personally and professionally and she is keen to share the  life enhancing nature of mindfulness, which is now being taken up as an effective therapeutic tool by practitioners in the National Health Service.

Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. It is something that has to be worked at, but it is incredibly powerful as a way to manage the ever-increasing pace of life in the 21st century and to cope with personal life challenges.

Sometimes, the practice of mindfulness is easier to describe by illustration, using poetry to distill the essence of what it means to be ‘still’. We have tried to do this before on ‘let’s talk’ and the poem we chose then, by Wendell Berry , got a huge, positive response. So here is another favourite, by the Nobel prize-winning Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. In Keeping Quiet,  Neruda asks the reader to stop, take time out from the frenetic pace of life and make time for silence. In that quiet time we can reflect on our lives, and stop being so  ‘single-minded/about keeping our lives moving/and for once could do nothing’ . It isn’t simple inactivity, it is a time to connect with ourselves, and with the earth. In doing so we can return to our routines with energy and with an appreciation of our lives and the impact of our actions.

Keeping Quiet
Now we will count to twelve
and we will all keep still.

For once on the face of the earth,
let’s not speak in any language;
let’s stop for one second,
and not move our arms so much.

It would be an exotic moment
without rush, without engines;
we would all be together
in a sudden strangeness.

Fisherman in the cold sea
would not harm whales
and the man gathering salt
would look at his hurt hands.

Those who prepare green wars,
wars with gas, wars with fire,
victories with no survivors,
would put on clean clothes
and walk about with their brothers
in the shade, doing nothing.

What I want should not be confused
with total inactivity.
Life is what it is about;
I want no truck with death.

If we were not so single-minded
about keeping our lives moving,
and for once could do nothing,
perhaps a huge silence
might interrupt this sadness
of never understanding ourselves
and of threatening ourselves with death.
Perhaps the earth can teach us
as when everything seems dead
and later proves to be alive.

Now I’ll count up to twelve
and you keep quiet and I will go.

Do you have any favourite poems which you use to help you reflect on life and which offers you the chance to be still and take time out for yourself, alone? We would love to hear your suggestions, and to hear what you think of this poem. It will take more than one reading, but we do hope it will offer you food for thought.

Miranda Bevis offers regular mindfulness taster sessions here at The Terrace. The next available slots are on the 13th and 14th of May 2014. See our website for more details.

 

Homeopathic tips for dealing with miserable winter colds & flu…

Homeopathic-pills-001We recently held an evening talk here at The Terrace that was so well received we decided to share the speaker’s notes with you. Our subject was ‘Boosting your immune system for winter’ and we have already posted some aromatherapy hints here. Today we are sharing the thoughts of one of our skilled homeopathy practitioners, Ruth Hermolle. Ruth qualified as a Licentiate of the College of Practical Homeopathy (LCPH) and is a Registered Homeopath (RHom) She is also a member of the Alliance of Registered Homeopaths (MARH), a professional body, which provides the Code of Ethics and Practice to which she works.

Homeopathic treatment works to bring a healthy balance to your body and mind. It uses carefully selected remedies to stimulate the natural self-healing resources we all have. The remedies are made from a vast range of substances and the process of preparation renders them free of toxic effects. They are safe for adults and children alike. The homeopath is treating the person, not just their condition and can treat a whole range of conditions, both acute and chronic.

A prompt homeopathic response to the first sign of cold/flu/sore throat can often stop infection taking hold. It is useful to notice the pattern of your acute ailments and learn the remedies that usually help.

Here are some that have been particularly effective, alongside the symptoms you may be experiencing. For some of us, a cold or flu strikes suddenly – nose dripping, headache and lethargy for example. For other people, there is a feeling that one is unwell, but the cold itself takes a few days to ‘come out’. Again, it may be that you find yourself feverish or you have a sore throat or ear pain. This list deals with as many of those distressing (and frankly annoying) symptoms as possible:

ACONITE:  For the sudden onset of cold or flu. There is a severity or intensity of symptoms. Often in dry, cold, windy weather. You may have a thirst for cold water and feel fearful. Vigorous, quick recovery.

GELSEMIUM: Slow onset of flu or colds over days in mild damp weather. Weakness, congested headache into neck. Low fever, cold chills. Possibly dizzy, trembling. Cold extremities and hot head.

BELLADONNA: High temperature, throbbing headache, face hot, red, dry. Sudden onset, heat, redness, lack of sweat. Wants fizzy drinks. If you have any of the symptoms of meningitis, please go to A&E straight away.

FERRUM PHOS: First stage of inflammation (eg ear, throat). For when you feel weak after exertion.

Atropa bella-donna (Solanaceae); Tollkirsche‘Anti Cold and Flu’ powders are available from Ainsworths, and you can also look at the other homeopathic pharmacies like Helios and Nelsons. Many people take these about once per month during the winter, with an extra dose if exposed to infection.

Homeopathic First Aid kits can also be bought from the pharmacies, so remedies are to hand for most common acute ailments.

The ‘common’ cold feels far from easy to deal with, especially when you have a job to do, children to look after (perhaps with the bug themselves) or Christmas to organise (and hopefully enjoy). Homeopathic remedies support many through the winter months and used with care can avoid the necessity for expensive, and often chemically strong, over-the counter remedies. If you would like to know more, or work with Ruth to find a tailor-made homeopathic solution you can contact her via The Terrace on 01823 338968 or post@the-terrace.co.uk.

 

 

 

Shaping Anger – a workshop for couples

shapeimage_3The Terrace is pleased to announce that Jill Gabriel is bringing her ‘Shaping Anger’ workshop to The Terrace in Taunton this autumn. This group has been running for many years in Bath.

Since 1983 Jill has worked and trained as a counsellor and psychotherapist in both analytical and humanistic psychotherapy. For twenty two years she has been involved with Spectrum, a humanistic and integrative psychotherapy centre in London. She has run their Working with Anger Workshop for ten years. She also has a private practice for individuals, couples, supervisees and groups. Jill is a co-founder of Relationshapes and has been training therapists since 1995 to work with couples. Her passion is to continue to understand her own truth while working with others to do the same.

In this workshop Jill will explore ways in which we organise and shape our expression of anger, both individually and as couples.  She will provide a contained space for couples to explore their patterns of conflict through dialogue and exercises. The workshop will also look at the function of this multi-faceted emotion and our responses to it.

In order to continue growing and maturing within our intimate relationships we need to find a balance between sustaining enough contact and maintaining enough distance. In this process appropriate expressions of anger help us to define ourselves and our differences. We will work with each couple’s unique ‘relationshape’ of anger.

Date: Saturday 23 & Sunday 24 November 2012

Time: 10am to 5pm

Cost: £150 per person

Venue: The Terrace, Humanistic Psychotherapy and Complementary Health Centre, 35 Staplegrove road, Taunton TA1 1 DG

To book a place on this workshop ring Jill Gabriel on 01225 318834,

or The Terrace on 01823 338968 or email post@the-terrace.co.uk

The emotional impact of a road traffic incident…

This post has been written by Rosemary Pell, one of our colleagues at RUSS – the Road User Support Service – a unique organisation based in the South West, offering complete rehabilitation assistance to help deal with the emotional problems and trauma as a result of a road traffic incident. For more information, do contact us here at The Terrace and we will be happy to give you more information.

Staff at Road User Support Service

Staff at Road User Support Service

This is my first post and I admit to feeling a little apprehensive!  However, my irrational fear pales into insignificance when I consider the symptoms experienced by some of my clients after they have been involved in or affected by a road traffic incident (RTI).

My main business (RUSS – Road User Support Service) professionally supports people who are finding it hard to come to terms with the aftermath of a collision, whether they are drivers, passengers, cyclists, pedestrians, witnesses or family members.  The treatment available is irrespective of the severity of the incident or of blame.  It maybe the incident was a horrific life changing event or a considered to be just a minor bump.  However, each client’s experience is unique to them and is treated with the upmost respect and care.

It was owing to my personal experience of two head on car crashes, in addition to training in trauma therapy, that has brought me to this work which I have felt privileged to be involved in and enjoyed for 17 years.

You may know someone who is suffering after a road incident who may have one or all of the following symptoms, and may have some others to add to the list:

–  Flashbacks and/or intrusive thoughts

–  Sleep disturbance

–   Impaired concentration

–   Lethargy

–   Mood swings, anger, irritability

–   Social withdrawal

–   Reduced work performance

–   Avoidance of driving, being a passenger – maybe preferring to walk or use public transport

–   Generally anxious and fearful

All of the above are normal reactions.  Some symptoms will settle down with the passage of time, others may need professional intervention.

Coping strategies, information and advice is available free on the RUSS website www.roadusersupportservice.co.uk. RUSS also has a Team of appropriately qualified counsellors to assist clients in coming to terms with the incident, one of whom, Annie Rivers, works at The Terrace in Taunton. In addition we also have empathic Approved Driving Instructors who help drivers regain their confidence and lessen anxiety when they are behind the wheel.

Next time I will write about victims, survivors and thrivers and give you a very interesting case study!

Thanks for reading my 1st Blog.  I hope you have found it interesting and helpful.

Rosemary Pell, Manager RUSS.