Here are 20 questions that can get you started on your end of year review:
- What were my resolutions or goals for 2012?
- What were my greatest accomplishments for 2012 that I am most proud of?
- Now, what was one more?
- What are the actions I took to achieve these accomplishments?
- What strengths enabled me to be able to take these actions?
- How can I apply these strengths to move forward in 2013?
- What did I intend to do in 2012 that did not get done?
- What were the biggest challenges or barriers I faced in 2012 that contributed to not accomplishing everything I wanted?
- How did I deal with each of these?
- Where do I get my strength to overcome barriers?
- How have I grown from these accomplishments and challenges?
- What am I most grateful for as I reflect back on the year?
- What have I learned?
- Who are my greatest supporters or support systems that I can rely on as I move forward?
- How can I show my gratitude and appreciation to those who have supported me?
- What would I like to be different in the upcoming year?
- What would it feel like to experience this difference?
- What am I willing to do to make this change a reality?
- What barriers do I anticipate and what strategies can I put into place to overcome these barriers?
- What is the first step I need to take to get closer to my goals?
Are you looking for a nice audio to listen to and relax to?
Have a look at this link to the mental health foundation website where there are some fantastic relaxation audios.
We need to know how to relax deeply. Sometimes, even when are watching the TV or sleeping we may not be totally relaxed. Deep relaxation is vital for health (stabilising blood pressure, thermoregulation, neurogenesis, metabolism, hormonal balance).
Yoga Nidra is a great way to learn deep relaxation.
Press play on this video and then lie back and relax
With the global crisis at our feet and the world changing, how can we adapt and stay healthy? how can we learn to live in a way that is psychologically and physically sustainable?
Have a read of the work of Charles Eisenstein-The Ascent Of Humanity.
Charles Eisenstein is a Professor of Economics at Pennsylvania State University. He allows you to download his book for no fee.
Not everyone sleeps in 8-hour chunks.
Whilst this is the industrial golden standard of sleep, some research suggests that bi-phasic sleep can also work well for some people.
This article provides us with a snap shot of the lives of people who function well with segmented sleep.
Towards a definition of wellbeing psychology.
I am not clinically obese but am overweight and have struggled for years to lose weight, who can I see? I have seen my GP but still can’t sleep, what can I do now? How can I remainresilient in the face of current economic adversity?
Back in May, I wrote to ‘The Psychologist’ to express my desire for Wellbeing Psychology to become a recognized field of Psychology in its own right. The letter seems to have sparked much interest with many BPS members coming forward who share the same wishes and over the following months, we have seen a strong debate/discussion starting to form around this area. As some of you may have seen in the ‘The Psychologist’, there has a been an article from Stuart Cairns supporting this change and another article from Bhupinder Kuwar arguing that creating an area of specialisation needs to be approached with caution. A Wellbeing Psychology group was recently set up on linked in (‘Wellbeing Psychology’ for those of you who would like to join).To those who have so far contributed to the debate, many thanks.
My view is that changes in politics and market forces are quickly calling for a new group of specialists. These may be practitioners who are already Chartered Psychologists who adapt their services and maybe complete bolt-on CPD or other graduates who train independently in the area of Wellbeing Psychology. What I think is needed are practitioners who can work both bottom-down (advisor to management) and bottom-up working at shop floor level/ high street level with john Smith who may not need to be hospitalised but who needs to feel better. In my view, diagnosis is already taken care of and is not part of what a Wellbeing Psychologist will be trained to do, although it will be vital for Wellbeing Psychology Practioners to work closely with practitioners who are qualified to diagnose. In my practice, every single private client already comes in with a diagnosis from their GP or Psychiatrist and I work alongside these individuals, not separately from them. What is needed is common sense, affordable, accessible interventions. For this reason, I do feel that more specialised training in this area would be welcome.
The Wellbeing Psychology group have put ideas together and come up with an initial definition for this area of practice:
“Wellbeing Psychology provides reactive, intervention-based services to improve the health and wellbeing of individuals, communities and organisations. The Wellbeing Psychology Practitioner delivers interventions that focus on: Weight-loss, stress, smoking cessation, life-style disorder, sleep, resilience and self-esteem, pain management, the psychology of mobility and nutrition,performance enhancement, habit-breaking, anxiety, fearfulness and depression.
The role of the WPP is not to diagnose but to provide evidence-based interventions to promote and maintain good health. A WPP is trained in integrated interventions for health and wellbeing and is qualified in the delivery of: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, CBT, Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy and ‘Neurodharma’, Health Coaching, Basic Counseling, Hypnosis, Listening Therapy, Workshop Delivery/Wellbeing Education. He/she is also trained in workplace and community health/wellbeing. The WPP works in a large commercial organisation, in a hospital, GP surgery, independently or as part of an occupational health team and is either an entry level WPP (post-grad with minimum training) or Chartered Wellbeing Psychologist (delivering more complex interventions)”
In response to the question posed by BhupinderKuwar in her article in ‘The Psychologist’ “Where would the funding for this sub-discipline come from?“ My feeling is that many of these interventions will continue to be self-funded or funded for employees by their organisations. Support from the BPS/NHS together with the fact that there is a definite market for these services would lead to a blossoming field or applied psychology. In regards to NHS services, I wonder if WPP services would be called upon much like the services of an IAPT trained Wellbeing Practitioner. It may even be that the training of a Wellbeing Practitioner (seehttp://www.nhscareers.nhs.uk/details/default.aspx?id=2070) will eventually be extended to include the above mentioned areas of wellbeing?
What are the benefits of consolidating this new field of psychology? Besides saving the NHS and other private companies money, we feel that structured growth of this field would give the general public the ability to tap into the presently untapped wealth of graduate and above level knowledge that exists in the field of psychology that could be put to good use in improving the general well-being of society without tying up the current over-committed and not necessarily always appropriately focused route. Other benefits include:
-The creationof a ‘hub’ of expertise (moving away from the current fragmentation of Wellbeing in Psychology).
-The opportunity to brigade all the various organisations, approaches and training courses and perspectives into one coherent and bounded force for good.
-The creation of a clearer path for CPD in health wellbeing, thus improving professional standards.
If you have any thoughts or opinions that you may like to share on this matter or are interested in working in wellbeing yourself, email email@example.com.
- The Guardian,
• All adults should strive to get 7–8 hours’ sleep each night
The most common question people ask is “how much sleep do I need?” Unfortunately, there is more than one answer. It is true that the average adult sleeps for around 7 to 8 hours. But this is just an average. There is a huge natural variation either side of that mid-point. The amount of sleep we need depends on our age, varies from person to person and changes depending on what we’re doing in our lives. Some people can survive on as little as four hours of sleep, while others need up to 10. There is no such thing as normal sleep. The key is to find out what works for you instead of chasing some idea of normality.
• We should try to make up for all our lost sleep on subsequent nights
We do not need to repay sleep loss on an hour-for-hour basis. The best evidence we have suggests that we need to make up less than one-third of our lost hours. Furthermore, the sleep we get on recovery nights may be deeper and more restorative. So we should not try to make up for all our lost sleep on subsequent nights – especially if that effort just leaves us lying awake, frustrated in bed.
• We tend to sleep more deeply as the night goes on
It might be nice to think of our ideal night as a descent into deep sleep. But it’s not like that at all. Throughout the night we cycle through different types of sleep, some lighter, some deeper. This is good news. What it means is that nature has organised things in such a way that even if our sleep is short in duration, we get the biggest payback out of the early part of our sleep. These are the most restorative periods, and that is why you can sometimes wake quite refreshed after just a couple of hours of sleep.
• Sleep problems suggest that there’s something out of the ordinary going on
Occasional sleep disturbance is very common. Everybody has trouble sleeping at some point in their lives and it affects about a third of people at any one time. Most of these problems are temporary and sort themselves out once the cause is resolved. However, about one in 10 people suffer from ongoing sleep problems. Some people suffer from these troubles for 20 or 30 years before they seek help. The good news is that there are evidence-based, non-drug methods of relieving even the most persistent sleep problems
Obesity linked to lack of sleep
Article from BBC News
Less sleep led to higher levels of a hormone which increases hunger
A reduction in the time people spend asleep could partly account for soaring obesity rates, a study has revealed. Researchers at the University of Bristol have found that hormonal changes caused by lack of sleep could lead to increased appetite.
The population-based study examined more than 1,000 volunteers.
Report author Dr Shahrad Taheri said: “Individuals who spent less than eight hours sleeping were shown to have a greater likelihood of being heavier.”
It is important for people to realise there is more to obesity than just stuffing your face.
Dr Shahrad Taheri
The research, carried out in conjunction with US scientists, is one of three published in recent weeks to produce similar results.It found that people who habitually slept for five hours had 15% more ghrelin, a hormone which increases feelings of hunger, than those who slept for eight hours.
Those who slept for less time were also found to have 15% less leptin, a hormone which suppresses appetite.
“These differences are likely to increase appetite and, in societies where food is readily available, this may contribute to obesity,” Dr Taheri said.
“It is important for people to realise there is more to obesity than just stuffing your face.”
Sleep is important
Dr Taheri, whose work is published in the journal Public Library of Science Medicine, said there was evidence that children as young as two years old might be in danger of becoming obese if they lost a lot of sleep.
“We have to realise that sleeping is not a waste of time, we have to recognise that it impacts on our health.”
The results of the study were replicated in a second piece of research, led by the University of Chicago.
This study found people who slept for only four hours a night for two nights had an 18% reduction in leptin, anda 28% increase in ghrelin.
The young men in the study also tended to eat more sweet and starchy foods when sleep was cut short.
A third recent study, by Columbia University, also found found people who slept four hours or less per night were 73% more likely to be obese.
Dr Neil Stanley, of the British Sleep Society, said not everybody needs a lot of sleep.
“There have been a number of people who have been famous for being short sleepers, most famously in our time Margaret Thatcher, who was renowned for only four hours, and before that people like Napoleon and Hitler.
“None of those was particularly large. But on the other side is Winston Churchill, who famously had his two hour nap in the afternoon, but also did not sleep very much during the evening, and cannot be said to have been a slender gentleman.”
Article from BPS Research Digest
Controlled study finds mind-body stress reduction techniques effective in workplace
A large randomised controlled study has found yoga and meditation techniques to be effective for stress reduction in the workplace. The study screened employees from a single company at two location to find healthy individuals who identified themselves as stressed and did not practice those techniques. This led to 239 employees who were randomly assigned to a weekly program of viniyoga practice, a similar program focused on mindfulness meditation, or to a control group who were simply given information about resources available to help with workplace stress. After 12 weeks, participants in both programs had significantly lower stress, as well as reduced difficulties in sleeping, whereas the control participants did not.
The study also measured biological features, such as heart rate variability measured post-intervention, where the participant had to imagine an upcoming stressful event and try and apply the relevant technique (mindfulness, yogic techniques such as breath control, or simply their default coping strategy if a control). Again those participants who had been through the intervention had better outcomes, in terms of heart rhythm coherence, a measure of autonomic balance linked to better functioning.
Key to these findings were the time commitments taken on by participants: the weekly commitment was in most cases just an hour, with a total time investment of 12-14 hours leading to these health effects. We’ve written about even more bite-sized approaches to introducing health activities into the workplace, which itself is being evaluated in a trial form. As our scientific understanding of the valuable impact of these often-ancient activities deepens, it’s very welcome that we are simultaneously investigating the pragmatic concerns: understanding which strategies are viable for introducing these techniques on a large scale into a workplace.
Wolever, R., Bobinet, K., McCabe, K., Mackenzie, E., Fekete, E., Kusnick, C., & Baime, M. (2012). Effective and viable mind-body stress reduction in the workplace: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of Occupational Health Psychology, 17 (2), 246-258 DOI: 10.1037/a0027278
Have a look at how resilient people behave.
You too can learn to be more resilient.
- Resilient people take time to reflect and know themselves.
- Know their needs, joys and frustrations.
- Know their goals, values and beliefs.
- Know their limits.
- Know what’s in their control and what’s not.
- Develop and use their strengths.
- Look at the bigger picture of their lives.
- Understand their personal styles and personal history and how these relate to their current behaviour (learned and automatic patterns of doing things).
- Resilient people develop healthy attitudes.
- Develop an attitude of acceptance, tolerance, flexibility and optimism.
- Are prepared to learn and accept feedback.
- Seek realistic expectations.
- Learn to see opportunities in all things.
- Accept their own style of doing things AND aim for growth.
- Accept personal responsibility and commit to working at things.
- Talk and listen and seek help when appropriate.
- Accept realities of life and change and learn how to let go.
- Aim for a mindful and respectful approach to people, emotions and problems.
- Resilient people maintain their body, mind and soul
- Maintain a personal stress management plan.
- Feed their bodies with good ‘fuel’ – balanced diet; limited stimulants and depressants.
- Keep active with exercise and activity.
- Rest and relax; laugh and seek fun.
- Manage frustration well.
- Participate in life by doing things they enjoy and stimulating their mind (learning).
- Maintain support and relationships – spend time with others.
- Resilient people organise their environment and their life.
- Take time to set goals and review progress.
- Aim for workable balance for health (work-life balance).
- Organise their time to meet balanced demands.
- Plan for known difficulties and challenges.
- Take steps early to manage or remove barriers with active problem solving.
- Use goal setting and active problem solving to move around change and challenges as they arise.
- Use assertive communication skills to manage their needs and negotiate with others.
- Set limits and accept them.
- Learn how to say no.
- Take things a step at a time.