Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Smiling Despite Your Self

When my youngest daughter was a little pin-dot she would sometimes get an attack of the glums; an attack so powerfully projected and pervasive that it would bring the whole household 

One of the wellbeing ways I used to lift her - and us! - was to create poems and songs which would make her smile despite herself. Here's one such creation from that time:

Take care my bunny
Please mind that lip
It's pouting so far now
You might go and trip
Beware the Gloomy
The Gloomy is glum
And so are the rest of us
When the Gloomy is done
Dark are the shadows
Where Gloomy has been
Beware the Gloomy
This Gloomy is mean
Sad little Gloomy
Covered in gloom
Moaning and groaning
Alone in her room
Come on out Gloomy
into the sun
There's fun to be had
This day's just
Shamelessly derivative, inspired as it was by the poetry of Colin McNaughton. Nevertheless, it really did work, and I remain very fond of this poem. Growing up shouldn't mean that we can't be playful. Of course, wellbeing isn't about being relentlessly happy twenty four seven (heaven forbid). We experience a range of moods, and our highs are defined in relation to our lows. However, it is about being aware of ways through which we can increase our emotional resilience, and improve our general sense of wellbeing. 
Beware the gloomy!

Colin Howey <*((((><(

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Valuing Each Other

I have been working with a group of unemployed people who have just completed an eight week Adult Education employability skills course called 'Your Aim Your Gain'. In a conversation, the tutor and I agreed that the group had bonded really well, and that it seemed such a shame that - due to the realities of funding - the course would be coming to an end. We decided, therefore, to encourage the students to form their own informal network and stay in touch. I am really pleased that this suggestion was met with enthusiasm, and that they intend to meet in the city centre on Thursday mornings.

Connecting is absolutely vital for people who are unemployed. Not only is the experience often so isolating and disempowering, it is also that work is a vital source of identity and status for people. The group have been working to develop skills to identify skills and aptitude in their peers, and I am hopeful that this process will continue between them. I certainly know that most jobs I've got have been as a result of someone else seeing that I'd be good at it, whereas I'd only see potential barriers. The ability of people to value each other, and give others status is really important.

I have also talked about the Five Ways to Wellbeing with this group, and they were all very interested. I think that if you give folk a practical and understandable set of principles (a 'toolkit') then they may be able to develop the personal resources to develop emotional resilience, even during these hard times.

Colin Howey <*((((><(

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Ready to go again...

Well, it has been a while since I last posted anything here. I have been ill recently and needed to take some time out. However, I am feeling better now and I'm ready to continue working to promote wellbeing.

During my recuperation I travelled with a good friend of mine and spent some time exploring some of Norfolk's wonderful medieval churches. I found that taking the time to spend quality time like this was really restorative. You might be interested to read the following piece I wrote about an incident with a Wren trapped in a church...
Birds with Broken Wings