This is a powerful activity to use in the classroom at any time a student is in need of some extra love and care or as a focus activity during International Day of Friendship. It’s one we’ve included in the Ripple Kindness Project for Schools primary and elementary curriculum as it can have such an incredibly positive impact on children who are being acknowledged and complimented. read more →
Art and music have been used for years in various forms of therapy due to their healing powers, but many people don’t understand how big a part they can play in boosting mental health and overall well-being. Not only do they promote wellness by giving an individual an outlet for stress and anxiety, but they can help you socialize and provide a confidence boost, two things that are important for all ages but that are essential for young people.
Music, especially, can make a big difference in the life of someone who is battling stress, depression, anxiety, or substance abuse. It can help a student do better in school by waking up the part of the brain that processes language, and it can help young people get involved and active in school activities. Music can also help form bonds with other people, allowing the individual to stay social and connected. read more →
These funky little relaxation jars are so easy to make and are wonderful visual aid for helping kids calm themselves when they’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed.
They’re a popular aid for parents but we also encourage teachers to use them in the classroom and have included the instructions in our primary/elementary school curriculum. read more →
When one of your children, (student or biological) is hysterical because they’ve just had an accident or some sort of perceived trauma, what’s your first challenge? You need to understand what has happened, so you can soothe them. This of course is impossible if the child is blabbering and sobbing incomprehensibly. Your naturally wise self invites the child to calm down. What’s the most effective way to help calm a child? “Alright sweetheart, take a deep breath, ooh there you go. Lovely, well done. And another deep breath and blow it out. That’s it. One more…” and voila, the little person is already calmer and quieter, has decreased the adrenalin and cortisol (stress hormone) in their cute little body and is now well on his or her way to being well again. They are more empowered because they can be understood and you are more able to help them because you can comprehend the situation.
Now how would it be if we applied this simple yet awesome process to ourselves and our young people before we/they get in a pickle? How would it be if we chose to apply this simple mind/body technique to everyday living? How much calmer would you, your students and your classroom be? read more →
Meditation has been used since ancient times as a means to reduce stress, calm the mind and increase inner peace, and most spiritual traditions have some form of meditation practice. Therefore, there are many different types of meditation. Generally, we can say meditation is any practice where you focus your attention on specific internal or external processes, whether it is your stream of consciousness, your sensations, your breath, repeating a mantra or identifying sounds.
Nowadays, most people use the word meditation to refer to relaxation techniques and mindfulness. In order to see what techniques are suitable for you, you should learn more about different types of meditation and try them out. Any meditation practice is highly beneficial and have been around for millennia for a reason. Science is finally catching up with the importance of meditation, and we have just heard confirmation from Harvard neuroscientists’ study that meditation grows our brains. We present you with reasons why you should take up meditation today.
A large percentage of employees globally are disengaged and business is struggling to know what to do about it. The disengagement problem cost the US economy more than $500bn in 2014 so why, when the stakes are so high, is this such a difficult problem to solve?
In fact, an employer cannot directly engage any employee no matter how much money is thrown at the problem. The employee themselves has to feel engaged from the inside. This is a feeling that can’t be bought with movie tickets, achievement certificates, team lunches and the plethora of other rewards that may be available to middle managers who are tasked with keeping their teams motivated.
So if money can’t fix this, what will?
Ironically the fast track to engaging employees might cost nothing at all, and is one that everyone is equipped and empowered to start using today as either a manager, a co-worker or a customer.
We’re talking about gratitude… a no cost solution! read more →
Cathy Domoney shares her very personal journey through depression and anxiety.
I’m stubborn, really stubborn, I mean I hate being told what to do (as my poor long-suffering husband will happily verify). Some people say that this is my strength; some say it’s my weakness. I’d say it’s my motivation, my driving force, my rocket-fuel. When people tell me that I can’t, I go out of my way to prove them wrong. This has led me to overcome illness, have children, change careers, publish a book, move countries to mention a few things. This can have the opposite effect on the person hearing it, however. Let me explain.
When I was a child I was affectionately described as a ‘mistake.’ (I prefer the term a wonderful surprise). My parents had their pigeon pair at the appropriate age and place in their lives, they were complete and content. But when they went from the UK to Australia for a holiday, they came back with a stowaway! Being the youngest sibling by ten and thirteen years, I got told what to do and think from a very young age, by multiple sources. Of course, when your sister is ten years your senior and bullies and belittles you relentlessly, and frequently informs you that she resents the day you were born, it translates as pressure.
I lived in fear and was constantly the recipient of emotional abuse. I behaved the only way that brought me peace. I began to be the best possible person I could be and made sure not to make any mistakes that may be used as ammunition against me in my already powerless world. I would never be told what to do as I’d already done it, I never had arguments because I’d done nothing wrong and I pushed my voice way down where it couldn’t be heard and, therefore, couldn’t ‘rock the boat’. This was a short-term solution which got me through my childhood but was to have long-term consequences anchored to years of depression and panic attacks in my adult life. It’s something I still struggle with today and it can be exhausting. These ridiculously high expectations that I placed upon my child-self, because of the actions of others, kept me in an emotional prison for decades.
It’s also had a huge impact on my health. I now have three auto-immune diseases. I’m the sort of person that believes that illness of the body has deep routed emotional triggers. I’ve taken pills prescribed by doctors, but until I investigated why I was feeling the way I was, my illness remained dominant. Wasn’t it Sigmund Fraud who introduced us to the term ‘sublimation’? Where we push down emotions but they later manifest somehow? Well, I believe that in me, it manifests in chronic illness. From the age of 18, I’ve danced with chronic illness. That’s when my journey into self-discovery and my thirst for knowledge of the human condition was born. read more →
The older I get, the more I’m hearing people complain of a lack of joy and fulfillment in their lives. Personally, I think this is often caused by an imbalance in physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual needs. In other words, people are not allowing themselves the right amount of sleep, nutrition, exercise, work, security, intellectual stimulation, attention, sense of achievement, socialization, fun, time alone and so on.
While exploring ways to increase happiness, many people identify a lack of spiritual satisfaction which often leads them on a journey of gratitude.
What is Gratitude?
Robert Emmons is recognized as the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude. He describes gratitude as “a felt sense of wonder, thankfulness, and appreciation for life” and explains it as an acknowledgement and an appreciation of things that are given to or done for someone. He goes on to say that the good feelings associated with gratitude inspire people to create the same feelings for others.
Most people learn basic gratitude as children when they’re taught to say thank you, show respect and help others. But in this busy and disposable world, it seems many have developed a sense of entitlement, feeling it’s their right to live their lives a particular way, instantly have the best instead of working and saving for it and taking so much of their lives for granted.
Why is Gratitude Important?
Positive psychology research proves that gratitude is strongly associated with the emotions that help people enjoy greater health and happiness. It can also play an important role in nurturing relationships and can even inspire people to take better care of themselves.
read more →
As important as it is for parents to encourage, love and support their children, it is just as important that children learn to create this within themselves. It is very empowering for a child to create positive beliefs in themselves so it is much harder for people to tear them down.
Our children are learning behaviours and wiring their brain and this is why affirmations are so effective with youngsters. Positive self-belief developed in childhood will stay with them throughout their life.
We all develop our belief systems about ourselves and the world around us from our environment. Our family and friends, role models, television, magazines and advertising can either be nurturing or damaging.
It is important that we learn to take control of our belief systems and the younger that we learn, the easier it is. It can be as simple as affirming the positive beliefs that we would like to grow up with. Negative beliefs can impact our lives greatly and can be hard to shift as we grow older.
Affirmations are a powerful and holistic way of building a positive mind and happier children. Nurturing their authentic self and helping them to enjoy the magic of childhood.
Put simply, an affirmation is to affirm to one’s self. Positive words that are absorbed by the mind to create your belief system. Once affirmations are learned, they work by coming to mind when that belief is challenged. If your affirmation is “I am wonderful just the way I am”, and you are told you are stupid, the affirmation will come to mind to remind you of your belief. Instead, you will think, “I’m not stupid, I am wonderful!” Without a positive belief, you may take on the one you just heard and start to believe that you are stupid. The more an affirmation is repeated, positive or negative, the stronger it becomes.
What we think about ourselves, is how we develop
If we feel we are worthless, we will behave like we are worthless. If we believe that we are special and loved, we will behave like we are special and loved. read more →
Everyone has times when they feel overwhelmed by the direction their life is taking. The feeling that you’ve been chasing your dreams for far too long without the results you were expecting is all too common and can result in you wanting to give up.
Emotions can run high during these times and outside pressures can add to a pot of stress that’s just waiting to boil over. It can leave you feeling hopeless, confused and questioning the viability of what you’re doing.
Though it may seem as if you’ve fallen into a deep dark hole, please don’t lose heart. Try to remember that your emotional state is more than likely causing you to overreact and the mountain that you see ahead, is probably really more of a mole hill.
The trick is to break things up into bite-sized piece that can be tackled more easily and allow you to see some progress as you slowly move towards your goal. read more →
A teacher in New York used the crumpled paper exercise to show her students the last impact that bullying can have. read more →
To Those I Love,
A Letter from the Heart
If I cannot come to see you, or to see you if you come to see me, know that it’s not personal; it’s never you.
If I try and I fail, it is better to be happy for me that I tried than to be sad or frustrated that I failed. Every attempt, no matter how far I get, is a step I am taking back to you.
If I am able to reach you physically yet cannot meet your eyes, speak, stay or seem to be comfortable in your company, it’s not personal; it’s never you.
If I try and I fail to be there emotionally, please try to remember that it is because my demons are taking my attention away from you and making me uncomfortable.
If I seem selfish in my behaviour, it is because I am trying so hard not to be selfish. I am trying to find myself and reclaim my mind from my demons so that I can be there, in mind and body, for you.
If I become so uncomfortable to the point my behaviour screams that I want to get away, know that it’s not because of you. Sometimes I have to leave in order to redeem myself and to protect you from feeling uncomfortable or from worrying about me quite as much. Sometimes I have to say to myself, “I’ve done all I can for now. I will try again another day.” I will come back to you. If not that day, then another day. read more →