B is for: A to Z of Emotional Health and Wellbeing

We welcome back Angela, as she continues with her really informative and useful  A to Z of Emotional Health and Wellbeing.

Last week we looked at A – including Anxiety, Anger, Affection, Agitation and this week we move on to the letter B.

A to Z of Emotional Health

B is for:

Beautiful – Although beautiful is not a feeling it can be a state of mind, a positive state of mind!  Feeling beautiful and looking out at life with a positive perspective can really be a mood changer.  Have you ever looked outside on a rainy day and said to yourself ‘it’s a miserable/horrid/nasty day out there today?  By doing so you’re potentially adding your mood to the weather. This can be a game changer regarding the type of day you might now have.  Have you ever noticed how people seem to be ‘chirpier’ when it is a warm sunny day – Even the forecasters have a smile on their face when delivering a projection of a warm and sunny bank holiday weekend!

Bereaved – A bereavement in general terms is often taken to mean the death of someone close to you, however it is also the loss in anyway of somebody who you love or feel close to.  You are ‘bereaved of their person’ There is no one way to grieve the loss of someone you love, whether they have died or exited from your life in another way.  It is a personal journey and often people need to seek support to help them adjust to the life they are now experiencing.  There are according to Kubler-Ross Five stages of the grief process and experiencing them is not a linear process and has no timescales attached to it and you may enter in an out of each process more than once.  Wellbeing can be achieved when you stop trying to ‘get over’ what has happened allow the process of grieving to pass through you.

Bewildered – Is a rather underused emotion in my opinion, or perhaps not underused but under identified.  It can be one of those emotions that doesn’t get processed and our bodily reaction (a bit like being sent to jail in Monopoly) is to go straight to anger, do not pass any other emotion en route.  However if you understand how feeing bewildered may affect you then it could give you an altogether different emotional outcome.  Bewildered; A state of emotional conflict and or puzzlement: Eg ‘Why did somebody speak to me like that’ or ‘What is the reason for that persons behaviour towards me’

Balance – As mentioned previously the key to good emotional wellbeing is balance.  No-one is immune from life experiences whether they are fantastic experiences or difficult to deal with.  However if you can look at what happens to you differently then that can be key to having a balanced approach.  When growing up we learn many of our ‘scripted responses’ from the adults and other people who we grow up with, this can be parents, siblings, relatives, teachers, club leaders, all sorts of people! A scripted response is what we believe we are in relation to what we have been told.  An example of this may be having an identity as ‘the clumsy one’ or ‘the noisy one’ or ‘the shy one’.  These scripts can have the effect of defining us into adulthood and we believe that this is what we are capable of, and we don’t question whether this is who we really are.  We then proceed to make life decisions on who we believe we are – Does this make sense? This may work fine for many people but if it becomes problematic it might be time to challenge this.  This is where balance comes in – If you believe that bad things happen to you because you are ‘unlucky’ or that people don’t talk to you because you are ‘quiet’ think again.  Maybe you have in the past been quiet or you have had a few difficult experiences in quick succession but does that really define you be unlucky or quiet your whole life through? No is the short answer! Look for the balance; Yes you may have had difficult experiences but also have had many great experiences too – It might be that you need to challenge your ideas of what makes something great or difficult too.

Blessed – Do you ever count your blessings?  Our brains are generally programmed to remember the more difficult situations we have encountered – It’s our ‘safety catch’ it is what alerts us to potential danger however if we practice counting the good times too it can create more of the good feelings we like to experience.  Have things like a compliments jar or a whiteboard where ‘good things’ are notes.  Have a (small) net to capture the positivity in the home or workplace

Blamed – I think we have all felt blamed or blamed others at some point in our lives.  It is easy to project our difficult or painful feelings onto another person so we can avoid having to feel them or take responsibility for them.  Just having awareness that this happens can change how we behave.

We’ve all done it – Had a bad day at work, got caught in traffic on the way home, no money to buy petrol so arrive home on a wing and a prayer, can’t find the door key, emotions are running high and when we eventually get through the from door the dog is so delighted to see you it runs around and around your feet – It’s the final straw and the dog gets yelled at for tripping you up.  Looking back, was it the dogs fault?  Doubtful! but it was a reaction to finally getting home after a very stressful day – Be kind to yourself (and the dog) and begin to recognise your emotional processing or that of others if you are the one feeling or being blamed!

Betrayed – Feeling betrayed can be a real ‘knife in the back’ that moment where we question who we can trust, what were someone’s motives for behaving as they did.  Now I’m not suggesting that the person who has been betrayed was in way responsible for the other person’s actions but there are things you can do to avoid it happening again.

·      Look at who your friends are – are they the genuine type that you know you can trust

·      What is it that draws you to certain people or friends

·      What are your relationships like with other people in your life.

·      Are you generally very trusting, sharing information about yourself before you really know someone

·      Do you feel that other people have a right to know everything about you? (an easy one to fall into)

·      Are you able to only share personal stuff that is pertinent to what you are talking about

·      Can other people generally trust you – If you can be trusted with other peoples ‘stuff’ then you will probably attract people who you can trust too.

To finish of the Bs here is a reminder that even it doesn’t feel like you have control over your destiny or relationships – You really do!

Next week is half term for many of us so our A to Z will return on 8 June.

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What’s Important For your child and how to support this – #1PPin2015

Over the last few weeks, we have looked at What is a One Page Profile, how it can be used and how to complete the Appreciation and Important to sections.  Today, we are going to help you to produce the final section of a One Page Profile – the “How to best support” our child. To do this, we have to look at what is “Important for” our child or young person.

1PPin2015Important For

As we said last week, many people get confused between important to and important for.

Important for = things that keep them healthy, safe, valued and having the opportunities to learn or work.

Important to = things that make your child or young person happy, e.g. ipad game, chocolate, going bowling, etc.

When we look at what is Important For, this should only include things that are relevant to the person at that time, rather than general things that may be important for anyone to be healthy and safe or valued. For example some people enjoy exercising so this won’t need listing under what’s important for them. However, someone else may struggle to do enough/any exercise in order to keep them healthy, so in this situation it would be useful to have something about exercise recorded as Important For them.

So what sort of things do you put in this section?

This is where you look at how you balance what is important to and what is important for your child or young person.

No one can have everything that is important to them all the time (especially if that is something that makes us unhealthy or unsafe, e.g chocolate or McDonalds) but there are very few people who do what’s good for them to stay healthy and safe all the time. So yes, having chocolate is important to your child but having it limited is important for them.

This section is all about how other people can support your child or young person, e.g. if your child arrives at school and has left an item at home but having everything at school is important to them, then it is important for them that the staff support your child and let them contact you to have it dropped off.

One example we used personally was that it was important to my daughter to have girl friends but due to her SEN and the dynamics at home, she found it difficult to know how to socialise or make friends. It was Important For her that she felt valued and had the same opportunities as her peers to learn this skill.  We chatted with the school about how they could best support her as this was something outside of our control. The school were very supportive and set up a girls’ group once a week where she has the chance to mix with her peers, do some typical girly activities, learn new games that can be played outside the club and the end result is she gets to have girl friends and her social and emotional well-being are better.

Questions and Points to consider when looking at this section:

The information in this section includes what people need to know, and what people need to do.

When you know what is Important to and important for your child or young person, think about how you or others can best support them.  For example, if it is important to your child to have some time on their ipad or Playstation when they return home from school, the important for part of this is how do you ensure they are not on it all night and as a consequence have problems sleeping?

  • What makes your child feel better when they are stressed or unhappy?
  • What do you do at home to ensure they are not on their PC all night?
  • What do you do to ensure that healthy foods pass their lips on occasion?
  • Is this the same in other settings, e.g. school?

Who else do you ask?

Obviously, first and foremost, you ask your child. Then, ask people who meet your child or young person in a different environment, e.g. school or short break provider.  What do they do to support your child in school or during an activity?

How do you ask them?

Again, you can send them a postcard asking them to list the things they do to support your child (explaining that this means how do they keep them safe, healthy, valued or having opportunities to learn or work).  Send them a text.  Use Facebook messenger.  Give them a call.  You will probably now how best to approach different people. 

What doesn’t go in here?

This isn’t about the things that are important to them. This is how you best support what is important to them.  

How can you support your child or young person when completing this section?

  • Explain what you are doing and why;
  • show them the post card or text message you are thinking of sending;
  • discuss who you will be sending it to and constantly check throughout that they are happy for you to do this.
  • explain what you will do with the answers and how these will form part of the One Page Profile, and most importantly,
  • explain again what the One Page Profile will be used for.
  • Let them see the responses and constantly check they are happy with anything that is written on their One Page Profile.
  • Ask them what works for them, sometimes we do things automatically and don’t consider it as being supportive, but it may really stand out for them as something that supports their needs at that time.

What do you put in the final version?

Be as detailed as you can be.

Examples 

• Anna is naturally quiet and can seem like she is ‘no trouble’, she needs gentle questions to draw her out.

• James struggles to ask people to work in pairs with him. It helps him if you suggest people for him to work with and use other ways to pair children up.

• Joe finds circle time very difficult. It is easier for him if he is sitting near the front and has an opportunity to say something early on.

Remember:

  • This One Page Profile is about your child or young person.
  • This One Page Profile should tell someone who has never met your child about them as they are now. If a new teacher walked into the classroom tomorrow and read the One Page Profile, would it really tell them about your child now?

Resources:

A big thanks to Beth Sheldrake at Helen Sanderson Associates who has produced all the short videos for these posts.

 

Mia, Aged 12

Mia, Aged 12 – click on the image to read the story behind this profile

If you are looking for a template to use, there are many sites out there offering examples or free downloads.  One of the most popular, offering the biggest selection, is Sheff Kids.

If you would like to look at other people’s One Page Profiles to get some more ideas and inspiration, then pop over to the One Page Profiles site where there are 100 examples of one page profiles and stories.  The stories provided are a real mix of profiles including children, young people and practitioners.

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Next week, we will be giving tips on how you can get your One Page Profile into school, something many families consider to be a barrier.

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