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  • The Art of Self Soothing

    One of the most vital of all life skills is soothing; the art of calming oneself down, restoring perspective and remembering to be kind to oneself. Too often, because we were never properly soothed by others as children, we have no idea how to soothe ourselves as adults. We need to learn the significance of soothing. Here the School of Life guides us in how to soothe ourselves and, in turn, others. FURTHER READING “It’s the middle of the night, let’s imagine, and we’ve been on the earth for about three months. A lot is still very unclear. We are profoundly helpless, barely able to move our own head and utterly at the mercy of others. The sources of our suffering and joy lie far outside our understanding. Hugely powerful needs pass through us at regular intervals and we have no way of making sense of them to ourselves – let alone of communicating them reliably to others…” On Soothing - The School of Life

  • Why Missing Someone Hurts

    Missing someone hurts. It is normal but why does it hurt so much? Are we weak to feel this or is it a strength? The School of Life explains that missing someone that we’re close to – because they’ve had to go to another country, or are up in the north on a course, or went on a hiking trip with their friends – is such an unpleasant emotion and it feels peculiar to suggest that it is also, at a profound level, an extraordinary achievement and an important marker of emotional maturity. It is in no way simple for an archetypal adult to be able to miss anyone and we are often, almost without knowing it, engaged in complex manoeuvres to ensure that we resolutely won’t…

  • Reflections Before Bed

    The School of Life has created another super short film all about our capacity to think - positive, neutral and negative thoughts as well as irrational and compulsive. It is estimated that some 70,000 separate thoughts hurry through our consciousness from the moment we wake up to the time we slip into sleep. To help us understand those thoughts The School of Life have produced five questions to direct our minds to areas which we tend to neglect and from where trouble can most intensely arise when we do so. Reflections before bed may just be a helpful beginning. FURTHER READING You can read more on this and other subjects in our articles, here: “Our minds are some of the busiest places in the known universe. It is estimated that, under a deceptively calm exterior, some 70,000 separate thoughts hurry through consciousness from the moment we wake up to the time we slip into sleep – some of these elaborate and sequential, many more fragmentary and sensory by nature. What these many thoughts have in common is that we seldom do them any kind of justice. The river of ideas and feelings is relentless, turbulent and chaotic. In a typical minute, we might briefly register that we are annoyed with a friend, then our minds are directed to a worry about a tax return, which is then quickly supplanted by the sighting of a raven, which makes us think of our grandmother, who evokes a trip we once took to Greece, which ushers in thoughts of some lip balm we need to purchase, which is then supplanted by a registering of a pain in our left knee, which is succeeded by a memory of a friend we lost touch with after university, which cedes to a recurring reflection on what kind of lamp we might invest in for the living room. And we might here still only be at the thirty second mark of what we casually call ‘thinking’ or just ‘gazing out of the window’…”

  • Managing Negative Thoughts: A Guide to a Stress-Free Mind

    In today's fast-paced world, stress has become a common companion for many. We often find ourselves overwhelmed by the demands of daily life, juggling work, relationships and personal well-being. But what if I told you that all stress begins with one negative thought? Managing negative thoughts can be done. Understanding the Power of Thoughts Our thoughts have a profound impact on our emotions and actions. When we dwell on negative thoughts, it can lead to a downward spiral of stress and anxiety. Learning to manage and reframe these negative thoughts is key to maintaining a healthy and balanced mindset. Strategies for Negative Thought Management Take a moment to reflect on your thought patterns. Are there recurring themes that lead to stress? Recognising these patterns is the first step towards change. When a negative thought arises, challenge its validity. Ask yourself if there is evidence to support this thought or if there could be an alternative, more positive perspective. Mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing or meditation, can help you stay present and break free from negative thought cycles. Focusing on the positive aspects of your life can shift your perspective and reduce the impact of negative thoughts. User Insights "All stress begins with one negative thought." This simple yet profound statement highlights the importance of our thought patterns in managing stress effectively. Conclusion By implementing these strategies and taking proactive steps to manage negative thoughts, you can cultivate a mindset that is resilient to stress. Remember, you have the power to shape your thoughts and, in turn, shape your reality. SEO Keywords: negative thought management Visit Cosmos Counselling in Liphook or more resources on stress management and well-being.

  • The Power of Emotional Resilience in Overcoming Life's Challenges

    Within mental health and well-being, emotional resilience stands as a powerful shield that enables us to navigate through life's adversities with grace and strength. At Cosmos Counselling , I understand the significance of fostering emotional resilience so we can lead a fulfilling life despite the inevitable obstacles that come our way. Let's delve into the essence of emotional resilience and its transformative impact on our lives... Understanding Emotional Resilience Emotional resilience signifies our ability to adapt to stress, trauma and adversity without succumbing to despair. It is not about avoiding challenges but rather managing them with a realistic mindset and determination. Optimism: Seeing setbacks as temporary and maintaining a hopeful outlook. Adaptability: Embracing change and being flexible in the face of adversity. Self-Compassion: Treating oneself with kindness and understanding during tough times. Purpose: Finding meaning and motivation in challenges, leading to personal growth. The Journey Towards Emotional Resilience Cultivating emotional resilience is a path that requires self-reflection, practice, and support from others. It involves the development of healthy coping mechanisms, emotional regulation skills and a nurturing environment that fosters growth. Counselling and psychotherapy offers a safe space for individuals to explore their emotions, build resilience and unlock their inner strength. Therapy sessions aim to empower individuals to embrace challenges and realise they can be opportunities for growth and self-discovery. Embracing Resilience in Daily Life Mindfulness Practices: Engage in mindfulness meditation to stay present and reduce stress. Healthy Coping Mechanisms: Develop healthy ways to cope with stress, such as exercise or creative outlets. Seeking Support: Reach out to friends, family or professionals for guidance and encouragement. Self-Care Rituals: Prioritise self-care activities that rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit. The Triumph of Resilience To conclude, emotional resilience helps us navigate life's challenges. By embracing resilience, we not only overcome such difficulties but may also emerge stronger, wiser and more compassionate towards ourselves and others. Remember, resilience is not the absence of hardships but the courage to face them. User Insights: The Power of Emotional Resilience Site Activity Conclusion: The data gathered from our site activity reveals a growing interest in topics related to emotional well-being and resilience among our visitors, showcasing a genuine desire for personal growth and self-improvement. The blog post explores the profound impact of emotional resilience in conquering life's challenges and highlights the transformative journey towards holistic well-being. Through introspection, support and proactive steps, individuals can harness the power of resilience to thrive in the face of adversity. Counselling can assist in this journey if needed.

  • Are You Mentally Tough?

    Have a listen to Penny Mallory and discover what mental toughness is and how it could transform your life. She asks us to imagine what would happen if we developed our mental toughness? Against all the odds, Penny Mallory made her childhood dream come true when she became the first woman in the world to compete in a World Rally Car for Ford in the World Rally Championship. She remains the only woman to have achieved this. Not bad considering she was teenage runaway and spent 3 years homeless in London. Penny attributes her success to having learned how to build and harness 'Mental Toughness'. She now teaches her Mental Toughness formula to help people develop confidence, resilience, commitment, determination and focus so that they can build powerful, successful teams and organisations. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community.

  • Find Your Brave Part

    Henri Matisse once said that creativity takes courage so what does that mean? How does creative courage affect what artists and other people do? When beginning a new project, we face a decision how to approach the work. Is attempting to be creative worth it? Or are the costs too high? What risk does one dare to take? Do I feel brave? Often we default to common beliefs and practices that squash our creative spirit. We frequently allow the myth that creative ideas spring from a bolt of lightning with no forewarning or preparation to dominate. Similarly, we may seldom take creative chances because of an innate fear of failure, which could mean financial loss or occupational termination. Or we continually participate in brainstorming sessions in a quest for “the ultimate solution” only to discover that we’ve wasted time and achieved little progress. This might be our big mistake - believing that a creative idea must be a big idea - on par with humans landing on the moon, building the Pyramids, or painting the Sistine Chapel. Yes, these are big creative events, but true creativity may be founded on the principle of little glimmers; the small golden nuggets we find when we see creativity as “looking for the small, not just the big" - discovering a synonym for “happy” in the story we’re writing, mixing three new colours together for the sky in a landscape painting we’re working on or buying a scarf, not because it’s cool, but because it has pictures of dogs on it. Taking a new route to work, discovering that a paper clip can be used to repair a broken toy or making a “snow-pig” rather than a snowman (or snowwoman) can be viewed as creative acts. Even using a brand-new spice in your favourite recipe simply because you fancy creative! A tiny creative act every day puts us in a growth mindset and begins to challenge those beliefs that may have negatively influenced our thinking for so long. We move away from the fixed mindset and into new realms of creative expression. Like the apple, we can all profit from one a day.

  • Who Says You Can't Create?

    Sadly I so often hear adults say they are not creative, they can't draw or they can't write. I try to encourage having a go, it's more about the process than the outcome and how relaxing it can be. So, meet Roger. Roger was super-creative but he had a major secret. Until one day..... In his first animated film, best-selling author Danny Gregory tells the story of how an artist overcame his block — and changed his life forever.'s good for you. If you liked this story, please share it with someone who could use it. This story began as one of Danny's essays. Subscribe for free at and get more stories like this every Friday. 00:00 Meet Roger 01:10 Meet Zoe 01:45 The Garden 02:26 The Magic Marker 03:50 Progress 04:43 The Drawing Life 05:15 Uh-oh 05:38 Meet Danny

  • How To Change Your Mind

    The BBC reported back in October 2023 that there is growing evidence that simple, everyday changes to our lives can alter our brains and change how they work.  It seems meditation and exercise together can boost brain plasticity. Changing your mind may just be a possibility! So how do we keep our brains healthy?   BBC journalist Melissa Hogenboom explores the latest scientific research and has her own brain scanned and analysed, with intriguing results. Watch part two of Brain Hacks here:

  • What Can Happen When We Change Our Thinking

    We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them. In his famous quote, Albert Einstein has thought-provoking insight into our process of solving problems. He wonders if the thinking that led us towards our challenges is highly unlikely to be effective in resolving them. His words emphasise the necessity for a shift in mindset, a change in our current thinking, examining things from new perspectives to tackle our problems more effectively. Einstein's words encourage us to recognise the limitations of our current thinking and embrace the possibility of exploring different pathways. This quote embodies the essence of innovation and progress – that successful solutions are often found beyond the boundaries of familiar thinking. To fully understand the significance of the quote, we can dive into the world of philosophy and explore the concept of paradigm shifts. Often attributed to Thomas Kuhn, a philosopher of science, paradigm shifts refer to major changes in the way we understand our world. They happen when the model or framework of thinking of the day, no longer adequately explains new observations or problems. When we are facing challenges, either on a global or individual scale, it is crucial to understand and accept the limitations of our existing thinking and be open to exploring alternative approaches. Einstein's words encourage us to stretch and push our comfort zones, question current conventions, and create the conditions for new solutions that could shape a better future.

  • ADHD Traits and Tendencies

    Do You Need to Change Your Perspective on ADHD? It seems most people who don’t have Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) don’t really understand it. ADHD is often associated with what is wrong with a person so a diagnosis of ADHD may leave you feeling shame, fear and self-doubt. Changing your perspective on ADHD is the start in removing the stigma surrounding ADHD. I believe in emphasising the positive traits of ADHD.  People with ADHD represent some of the most fascinating, fun, and accomplished people I have met. Nevertheless, words such as organisation, structure, supervision, reminders, and persistence don’t even begin to describe the magnitude of the task people with ADHD have to tackle every day, particularly children and young people. Children need their parents and teachers to understand their difficulties, and help them to overcome those challenges. When explaining ADHD to a child, say, “you have a superfast mind – like a Ferrari engine, but the brakes of a bicycle, and I’m the brake expert.” When ADHD is properly managed, children can achieve: doctors, lawyers, CEO’s, dreamers, innovators and explorers. Remember the flip-side of distractibility is curiosity. Barriers Parents Face: Steps to Changing Your Perspective on ADHD 1. Educate yourself The biggest barriers for parents are denial, ignorance and a refusal to learn. If this goes on tfor oo long, children can suffer further loss to their self esteem. The stakes are high, not only for the child, but the whole family. So learn what ADHD is and what it isn’t. The most powerful treatment for ADHD is understanding ADHD. It can be a positive attribute in your child’s life. So ,read books, talk with professionals and talk with other parents with ADHD children. You need to understand ADHD well enough to embrace it so you can help your child avoid unnecessary stigma, as that breaks children rather than builds them up. 2. Look for that special spark Children with ADHD invariably have a special something, a spark, a delightful quirk – which they sometimes try to hide. Look for that special something and help your child feel good about who they are. Identify talents, strengths, interests and dreams. Teach them to see and believe in what they can do, and avoid the tendency to focus on what they can’t do. When you believe in your child, it makes it easier for them to believe, too. 3. Unconditional Love Let your love for your child carry the day. Tune out the diagnosticians and labellers and notice and nourish the spirit of your child for who they are. Providing this unshakable base of support will set the tone for all interactions to come. This is what builds self-esteem, confidence, and motivation, which in turn create joy and success in life. Several studies suggest that loving acceptance by parents is the most important thing young people with ADHD need in dealing with behaviours. Ensure your child knows, every day, how much you love them. Showing your love and affection will reinforce your child’s sense of hope and help the family weather criticism from outside sources. Young people need love that never gives up. 4. Reframe Challenges in terms of Mirror Traits Remind yourself and your child of the positive sides of the negative symptoms associated with ADHD. By recognising the mirror or flipside traits, you avoid the impact of shame and fear. 5. Surround yourself with Laughter Laughter is the best medicine. Surround yourself with people who can laugh. It is important to be able to regain a perspective that allows you to see the humour in all of the situations these youngsters can get into. Why wait to look back on something and laugh at it – go ahead and enjoy the ridiculousness of the situation in the moment. When our young people begin to laugh at themselves, and not take themselves quite so seriously, it allows them to learn humility without shame, and adds to their character and their enjoyment of life. Conclusion: As a parent, how you approach your child’s ADHD will set the tone for how your child manages their ADHD. When you show them compassion and understanding, you teach them to love themselves and see their strengths. That will help them find the motivation they need to manage their ADHD, one strategy at a time. Adapted from Hallowell, E.M., Jensen, M.D. & P.S.,Ballantine, M.D. (2008) 'Superparenting for ADD: An Innovative Approach to Raising Your Distracted Child', 2008.

  • Lazy or Could It Be Overwhelm?

    Make the first thing you do each day something relaxing and pleasurable. Psychiatrist Dr. Hallowell describes the dread for many people with ADHD of getting started on work or a project as a “colossal boulder of negative thinking" but you can turn that boulder into a pebble with some smart strategies, particularly ones that focus on the cycle of negative thinking. Try starting your day with something pleasurable to attenuate the dread. It could be a good breakfast, some morning exercise, or a chat with a friend or colleague to help you get fired up about your project or task. A “Nice Things” folder on your phone, where you paste any kind responses about you or your work from colleagues can be really useful to read through when you need to remind yourself that you can do anything. Break down your tasks into tiny subtasks. Once you’re ready to get started, start small. Like, very small. You can make just about any project more manageable by chunking it out into smaller components and setting yourself deadlines for each of those parts. Make sure you set a really low bar to just get yourself started, such as “open the document” or “do 10 minutes of research.” You can also lean on apps like Things or Todoist to help you structure your tasks and projects. Google Keep’s create a checklist which feels satisfying to tick things off. Make sure your first task is one that you have a 100% chance of succeeding at. Susan C. Pinsky, a professional organiser and author of Organizing Solutions for People With ADHD, recommends organising your day intentionally so that when you need a win, there’s one right there waiting for you. “Try to structure your workday so you do the easiest thing first,” she says. “You’re already giving yourself a success. You’ve accomplished something, and now that big thing that sits in front of you isn’t so overwhelming.” Ceremoniously crossing something off your to-do list may give you a bit of a buzz and help you move on to the next thing. For every item on your to-do list, quickly jot down why it’s a priority. The things that motivate neurotypical people don’t always work for people with ADHD. Dr. Hallowell explains, motivation can be hard to come by, especially for tasks that are intrinsically boring, tedious, or uninteresting. Just because you know you have to get something done doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be motivated to actually do it. One thing that can be helpful is making sure you know exactly why you need to complete a task. Try writing a quick note to yourself for these kinds of tasks and you can also schedule a quick catch-up with a coworker or friend to give yourself a refresher on why something needs to be completed. Another go-to strategy is condensing an email or project brief into bullet points and paste them at the top of whatever document you're working on so Iyou don’t forget any essential tasks or priorities. Overestimate how long tasks will take. Having a fundamentally different sense of time—specifically not being able to estimate and record the passing of time—is part of many people’s experience of ADHD. When their perception of time differs from the neurotypical-based deadlines and timelines most people are required to stick to, people with ADHD can find themselves struggling. Dr. Hallowell explains that for many people with ADHD, there’s “now” and “not now.” When, for example, a project is due next Thursday, a person with ADHD might tag that as “not now” and put it on the back burner until it’s too late to get it done in time. All of a sudden “now” is almost here and you’re panicking. The solution to this is to overestimate how long things will take. f you think each jobsis going to take an hour, try scheduling two for each of them. Building a 'gentle disaster mindset' can help you have some margins in case things run over. Having an analog clock can help you perceive time passing; set alarms on your phone, reminders for appointments and meetings before they start. Remember those big tasks you chunked out? You can set those in your phone or calendar too; it’s how to avoid any deadline disasters. Find ways to make boring tasks novel and fun. When a task isn’t intrinsically rewarding, it can be difficult for people with ADHD to feel motivated to do it. For Dr. Hallowell, a balance of fun is crucial to staying on task. “[Combine] situations that are highly structured and full of novelty and stimulation. Too much structure and it gets boring, too much novelty and it’s confusing.” Make the most of this need for stimulation by writing your to-do list down using colourful (and therefore visually stimulating) pens and paper, or keeping a selection of Post-its in your workspace and around the house. “Write [your task] on a colourful Post-it and slap it on the door. That way, tomorrow when you leave the house, that Post-it is staring you right in the face. The key is to have a variety of those colours, because if it’s always the same coloru, your eye isn’t going to see it." You can also introduce novelty by varying your work environment. Try speeding up boring tasks by listening to a podcast while Iyou do them, or draw out a colourful checklist for repetitive tasks so you can clearly see your progress while also injecting some festivity into your day. Get strategic about minimising distractions. Having ADHD can already mean that you have problems focusing so added distractions can be debilitating to people with ADHD. There are products and apps out there that can really help you reduce (or simply avoid) distractions in your environment. Noise-cancelling headphones can be a total lifesaver. Strict Workflow, on yourlaptop, blocks social media for 25 minutes at a time. After 25 minutes an alarm rings, which means it’s time for a five-minute break so you can look at social media if you want to. You can also listen to Brain.FM, which is music that is supposedly engineered to help you focus. The ambient, lyric-free music keeps the brain occupied enough while working so that you don’t need to seek out other distractions. Find someone who’s willing to be your accountability partner. After removing all those distractions and maybe even removing yourself from environments where lots of people and/or chitchat is happening, you might start to feel isolated. It’s still important to stay connected, as Dr. Hallowell explains. “You really need to work with a team, you have to get encouragement, don’t isolate yourself. It can be anybody, a teacher, a spouse, a dog, any form of positive connection.” If something is a huge stress point, such as sitting down to pay your bills, ask a friend or partner if they want to meet up virtually and pay bills together. Depending on your workplace, you might also be able to lean on coworkers, telling them you’ll send a draft or provide a project update by a specific deadline. If that doesn’t feel appropriate, you can ask a friend to be a deadline stand-in, letting them know you’ll send them a screengrab of your progress on a project by a certain deadline. Schedule a “should-less” day regularly. Living with ADHD can be exhausting at times. It’s great to strategise and maximise your productivity, but you also want to avoid burnout. Make sure you’re scheduling time—maybe a weekend day, if possible—where you don’t have anything scheduled and you can just be guided by your desires and energy levels. Take a “should-less” day every now and then; it’s a great way to recharge your batteries. It doesn’t mean you don’t do anything, but it removes the stress of having anything hanging over you. On that day, don’t schedule anything. Instead, let your instincts guide you throughout the day - sleep in, read a book for an afternoon, or take a walk. If you are often hypervigilant about letting people down with ADHD forgetfulness, should-less days help you have a break from accountability for a bit. Thank you to Isabelle O'Carroll for her excellent advice on managing ADHD.

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