Be Your Own Ecotherapist

Earilier this year results were published from a project lead by Kings College London, into to effects of the outdoors on our mental health.  Using smartphone data the Uban Mind app collected real time data on the impact of nature on mental wellbeing. 

They found:

  1. Being outdoors, seeing trees, hearing birdsong, seeing the sky, and feeling in contact with nature were associated with higher levels of mental wellbeing.
  2. The beneficial effects of nature were especially evident in those individuals with greater levels of impulsivity who are at greater risk of mental health issues.

 

How do we start to incorporate a better connection to the outdoors in to our everyday life? Here are some suggestions:

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Glantawe Riverside Park Ecotherapy Volunteer Group

At the Riverside Centre in Pontardawe, we have exciting opportunities for individual volunteers and groups to get involved with our Ecotherapy group.  The group will learn new skills to help look after the 25-acre park bordering the beautiful River Tawe and Swansea Canal.

Ecotherapy is a form of volunteering that promotes well-being by:

  • Improving mental and physical health.
  • Developing a social life.
  • Building confidence and self-esteem.
  • Strengthening connections to nature.
  • Giving a sense of achievement and giving back to the community.

 

Everyone is welcome, our experienced practitioners provide all the support and equipment that you will need.  The practical skills that we will use will include:

  • Conservation work
  • Hedge laying
  • Pruning and felling trees
  • Rural crafts
  • Tree planting
  • Litter picking
  • Plus many more

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Beat the Sunday Blues

It’s Sunday evening and much of the developed world is giving a collective groan. The weekend is fast receding, Monday is fast approaching, and the blues set in.  What can you do to stop Monday morning sabotaging your weekend:

Sunday

  1. Prepare on Friday

Instead of racing out of work at first opportunity of Friday, spend the last 5 minutes of the day planning for the following week; write a to do list, clean your desk, set everything up ready roll on Monday morning.  Realise that you might be feeling a little fragile and that Monday morning You needs a helping hand.

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Escaping the Everlasting Duvet Day

So we all love the odd lazy day, Staying in our PJ’s, eating junk food and cosying under the duvet.  It’s a treat, an indulgence, a necessary part of being Ill or having a cheeky hangover.  But what happens when it’s more than the odd day?  When you can’t imagine or face life out of the duvet and you’ve been wearing the same PJ’s day in day out. When it’s no longer a treat or occasional thing, chances are that you need to take some care of your mental health. 

Wanting to hide yourself away, feeling fatigued and losing motivation are all symptoms of depression.  If you are fearful or worried about facing the outside world it might be a sign that you have an anxiety disorder.  You might feel pretty despondent and desperate but have no idea how to summon the strength and energy to get out from under the again. 

Duvet Day, Depression, Mental health

How do you start to break out from the solitude of an everlasting duvet day?  Continue reading “Escaping the Everlasting Duvet Day”

How Walking Benefits Mental Health

Walking riverIn CBT we often use behavioural activation to start people on path to feeling better and reclaiming their lives.  The aim is for people to restart activities that mean something to them and will bring about positive feelings.  Unfortunately, mental illness can last for so long that we forget the things that are important to us or things can change or the activities that used to make us happy are no longer possible.  This is where walking can be a great starting point.   

Why walking?

Although it might not spring to mind as everyone’s first choice of a fun activity, walking has been proven time and time again to improve mood and reduce the effects of mental illness.

The best thing about walking it is that it’s free and can be done by most people.  Many people who are unable to walk can still reap the same benefits from spending time in the outdoors.  It can also be a group or solo activity, allowing for the social benefits or much needed quiet time.

Walking can give a great sense of achievement.  From just getting out of the house to do it, to building up the time and distance.  It is easy to incorporate, weather you live in a large city or rural village there are always places to walk.  By jumping off the bus a stop earlier or parking the car a distance from your destination and walking, it doesn’t take much planning.  Just being in the outdoors can bring about feelings of pleasure, tranquillity, and well-being.

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CBT, What is it?

We’ve been hearing a lot recently about mental health and how many people in the UK are suffering.  Chances are, if you are reading this that you have heard of CBT,  it’s the buzz therapy at the moment. It’s recommended by doctors, counsellors, the government and the many people who have successfully been treated using it.  It also has a load of science to back it up.

So, what is it?? 

It’s just counselling right???  I’ll  lie on a sofa while some shrink gets me to talk about my relationship with my mother. 

WRONG!

CBT is a brilliantly simple and practical way to deal with what can be very complex and distressing issues.  It is usually one to one but can be done online or telephone (click here to find out more about what to expect in a session).  The therapist works with you to understand what is going on for you why you came for therapy. 

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The Long Term Effects of Stress – How CBT can help.

Most of us have experienced stress and anxiety to some degree during our lives.  But many people are living with excessive worry day in day out.  The constant “what if…” running through their brain everyday; “what if I miss my deadline”, “what if I’m late”, “what if they don’t like me”.  Constantly looking forward, trying to plan for every eventuality.  We all know that it feels pretty horrible to be in this state but many don’t realise that chronic stress can have a serious impact on long-term physical as well as psychological health, due to sustained time spent in  ‘fight or flight’ mode.

Mind and body are inextricably linked and the interaction between them can produce physical changes. Our brain notices a stressor, which triggers a physical reaction, this reaction can lead to further emotional reactions, which affect our mental and physical wellbeing. Some problems such as headaches and muscle tension are often directly caused by the bodily responses that accompany stress.  Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) works with the links between body, mind and behaviour to reduce both the long and short term effects of stress and anxiety.

Here are some of the effects that chronic stress can have on our bodies if left untreated:

Continue reading “The Long Term Effects of Stress – How CBT can help.”