Single this Valentine's day?

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Single this Valentine's day?

February 14th. A dreaded day across the world for every person without a significant other. A day most single people are likely to spend sitting on their sofa watching romantic comedies whilst eating an entire tub of ice-cream. It is time to re-define Valentine’s day for those who won’t be receiving a gift or posting a soppy 'couple photo' on Instagram. There are approximately 17 million single people in the UK. You are not alone (even if it may feel like it today).

Instead of dwelling in self-pity, binge-watching your favourite romantic films, here are 10 things you could do instead!

  • Replace those romantic films for comedies. Laughter is a natural way to boost your mood, reduce stress and all round improve your mental wellbeing. Get comfortable in bed with healthy snacks and laugh to your heart’s desire! The night will be over before you know it!

  • Get together with your other single friends instead of being by yourself. Plan an event such as going to the cinema, a night out, or going for a bite to eat. Even if you are single, you don’t have to be single alone.

  • Treat yourself. There is (almost) nothing more therapeutic than retail therapy! Instead of money you would have spent on a present or dinner if you were in a relationship; treat yourself! Get that jacket you’ve been pining for since it went up in the window 3 weeks ago, or even treat yourself to a relaxing massage.

  • Pick up that book you’ve been meaning to read for the past year. There is nothing like getting lost in a book to forget your troubles. Have a nice bubble bath, get in your cosiest pyjamas and lose yourself in the wonderful world of fiction.

  • Spend time with your family. If you have any relatives with children, offer to babysit whilst the parents go and do their Valentine's day thing! Children never fail to make you laugh with the silly things they do! Maybe you’ll get a bit of spare money whilst you’re at it! Maybe some of your loved ones are also alone this Valentine’s day?

  • Call your crush. If you really aren’t happy with your current relationship status, what better day to ask the person you’ve been interested in, out?!

  • Try something new. There is no time like the present! Go somewhere you’ve wanted to go to but haven’t had the time. Make yourself something you’ve always wanted to cook!

  • Forget about it. Turn your phone off, do not look at any social media and just do what you would usually do! There is no need to get upset over a fictional tradition, especially when some people in relationships don’t even celebrate themselves!

  • Pamper yourself. Have a night in pampering yourself and taking time to relax. If you’d rather not venture to the spa, bring the spa to you! Put the attention on yourself rather than the day. Invite any single friends you have and make a night of it!

  • Practice mindfulness. One of the most therapeutic things one can do to reduce levels of stress/anxiety associated with being alone on Valentine’s day is practicing mindfulness. This can include numerous activities, and you can try it right from your phone or tablet using our app, Feel Stress Free. It’s also a great way to pass the time! 

Do not let Valentine’s day get you down. You are amazing and deserve to be happy!

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Shut the Safeguarding Loopholes in Sports

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Shut the Safeguarding Loopholes in Sports

November last year, grassroots football was in the spotlight of the media. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to do with the talent coming through the ranks or the state of the art facilities that the country has. It was because a very brave and courageous former player, Andy Woodward, spoke up about the abuse he suffered as a young footballer from his former coach.

In response to this, the Football Association (FA) and the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) have set up a hotline to encourage victims to contact them. Key England football players have joined together to create a video to explain the key steps to safeguarding children.

Since Andy Woodward has spoken out, several other players including Paul Stewart and David White have told their stories publicly. Woodward has launched an independent trust with former players Steve Walters and Chris Unsworth to support victims, called The Offside Trust.

Andy Woodward described how he had felt suicidal, and battled depression & anxiety whilst faking physical injuries as a youth player. He was having panic attacks that would hinder the rest of his playing career, all due to the abuse he subject to. He has had to suffer with all of this bottled up until the age of 43, when he felt he was able to live without the secret and burden he has carried for over 30 years. He confided in two coaches in his playing career but no-one else knew. He lost his career as a result of this but came out the other side because of the strength of character he has. Others may not have been able to, and we cannot risk this happening to other children.

Sports coaches have a position of trust, responsibility and influence. They can make children’s dreams come true. These coaches are the key to them progressing through the ranks within the sport. This makes it all the more confusing why sport coaches currently do not sit under the same ‘position of trust’ legislation that certain professionals like teachers and social workers fall under.

Sports clubs are no longer able to carry out a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check on anyone working with children on a supervised basis. This was after the Prime Minister relaxed the rules in 2012, when she was Home Secretary. This means people that are barred from working with children can take up support roles within a club going undetected, putting the protection of children at a potential risk to child abusers within the club or to build up their trust and abuse them outside of the club setting.

The NSPCC has been instrumental in campaigning for this loophole to be closed and has urged the government to do so. It has contacted individual sporting associations/governing bodies for them to look at their individual safeguarding practices to ensure they are as strong as possible.

There needs to be more accessible support for children going through the grassroots system in sports. A positive start would be for sports coaches to be legally under the same legislation as teachers and social workers.

Players need ongoing support throughout their career and after it. The management of stress and anxiety is imperative to living a healthy, happy life and career—not just for athletes, but for everyone. Athletes need to be able to express themselves confidentially rather than everything getting on top of them which may affect their career and personal life.

 

For more information about how we can help athletes, visit

www.thrive.uk.com or get in touch at mike@thrive.uk.com.

Written by Mike Thomas, Business Development Manager at Thrive Therapeutic Software Ltd.

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Don't take life personally - Jennine Proulx

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Don't take life personally - Jennine Proulx

A 3 Step Process to use Mindfulness and Deep Breathing to De-stress and Disengage from the Drama of the World - by Jeannine Proulx

The car in front of you just cut you off and sped away, almost running you and the car next to you off the road. The driver in the car next to you laid on the horn in response and made more than a few hand gestures.

Later that day, your friend calls in distress. Her boyfriend once again cheated on her, or at least she thinks he did. She isn’t sure and needs to talk for hours and hours in a high pitched whine about what he has done, hasn’t done, or might just do.

That evening, your two year old, who has up until this point been a model child, decides the terrible twos are going to be his thing—right in the middle of the grocery store as you are standing there with a full cart and an empty fridge at home.

 

What do you do?

What do you normally do? Do you yell at the driver, cry at the thought? Do you tell your friend a thousand ways in which she is better than this, spend most of your day worrying about her, stressing, fixing? Do you continue listening to her, even when she refuses to listen to you? Do you yell at your toddler, run through the store with a horror look on your face, toddler under your arm like a sack of screaming potatoes, cart in tow, tears running down your face in your hurry to escape public embarrassment?

Or do you use a tool you have at your disposal each and every moment of each and every day?

You breathe.

Breathing is life. It is our body’s way of keeping us alive. It is our signal to the world that we are alive. When we are stressed out oftentimes we stop breathing. We hold our breath. It is a part of the flight or flee response needed for survival.

Taking three simple breathes during times of fight or flight, we can pull ourselves back into our bodies, our lives, out of stress, and into calm.

 

1. With the first breathe we stop, we stop holding our breath. By doing this we are saying to our bodies “I am not in fight or flight. I am not in danger. I am alive.”

 

2. With a second big deep breath, we give ourselves just a moment to stop our automatic reaction to the crisis or drama happening around us. Our first instant reaction to stress is usually the way we learned how to cope as a child. Taking a second breath, we can become aware that our first reaction is usually an old coping response mechanism. By stopping to breathe before we react, we give ourselves time to think and choose.

 

3. With the third deep breath we take back control of our automatic fight or flight and we say “I choose to respond differently. I choose my life. I choose.”

 

With choice we are saying to our bodies and minds that we are not in crisis. We are not in the drama. We are not in danger. We can then move into a calmer state of mind, a clearer state of mind, in which we are more likely to make better, more rational, and balanced decisions. 

 

We can do this breathing while the crisis is still ongoing! We can do it while staring at our two year old in aisle three. We can pull over in a parking lot or do it at a stop sign. We can put the phone away from our ear for a minute and just breathe. It is available wherever and whenever we need it.

 

This simple process can be done anywhere with anyone.

Our lives are filled with OPD = Other People’s Drama. Each day we are bombarded with it. From drivers on the road, to family, friends, toddlers, teens, and even the news; our lives are filled with other people’s drama. Taking back control of our automatic stress reaction to other people’s emotions, actions, and screaming sounds allows us to move into a better, more mindful frame of mind and life a happier life.

OPD is other people’s drama. It is not ours. We do not have to own it or take it personally. We can choose to stop our automatic reaction to it and move into a space that is our own—filled with the feelings, beliefs, opinions, and reactions we choose to have to the world around us. And when you are in a better space, the world is a better place!

The Feel Stress Free app from Thrive helps us to become aware of those moments that trigger us into fight or flee stress. Once you identify the stress times you can use their tools like Calm Breathing, Meditation, and even a Zen Garden to bring yourself back to a centered and relaxed state. It also makes looking at your phone a de-stress tool instead of a stressful one!

We make the best decisions when in a balanced stress-free state of mind. Learning how to bring ourselves to that place of calm confidence, no matter what other drama is going around us, is an invaluable tool for healthy living and creating more mindful moments in our lives!

 

Jeannine Proulx is the founder of MindfulnessMothers.com. A conscious creative genius at heart, she works with those seeking for personal transformation with her work as an author and Possibility Life Coach, coaching clients worldwide. She is the Mindfulness Expert for Inspired Parenting Magazine, presenting to Head Start parents and teachers self-care kits and workshops. She feels her life purpose is helping those find the calm in the chaos and the possibility in each moment.

You can read more of her work and sign up for a complimentary meditation that frees you from the to-do lists of thinking that can take over our worlds at: www.mindfulnessmothers.com or www.aworldofpossibility.com

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We have partnered with No Panic!

We are extremely happy to announce that Thrive have partnered with No Panic- a registered charity whose aim is to help those who experience panic attacks, anxiety, phobias, OCD and other related anxiety disorders. They not only support those individuals suffering themselves, but also those who care for somebody with an anxiety disorder. It is suggested that up to 18% of the population within the UK suffer from an anxiety related disorder- so by working together- we are aiming to help as many of those as possible!

No Panic are a telephone helpline where individuals who need to talk can reach out to them. All volunteers are trained and is available every day of the year! From January, they will be offering our app, ‘Feel stress free’ to each of their members, callers and volunteers in attempt to help as many people as possible who are affected. They have a range of self help tools including a night time crisis line, telephone recovery groups, telephone one to one mentoring, written recovery programmes, a selection of books, guides on starting a local self help group. Roughly 75% of those with an anxiety disorder do not seek professional help with many preferring to cope confidentially.

Feel Stress Free offers users clinically proven techniques, developed by leading psychologists and psychiatrists to build resilience to and prevent stress, anxiety and mild depression. It is the first app of its kind to be going through the process of becoming featured within the ‘Public Health England’ library. By partnering with No Panic, we are hoping to achieve a larger number of people improving their mental health and wellbeing.

You can find out more about No Panic here- http://www.nopanic.org.uk/about-us/

You can download Feel Stress Free here- www.feelstressfree.com

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