A nice cup of tea for taste
The basics of being mindful are simple – ‘live ‘in the moment’.
If you are aware of your surroundings and senses fully in the moment, then you willl feel more relaxed, more at peace, more fulfilled and more real. Awareness is great for anyone, but can also be very helpful for beating the symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress, BPD, OCD and other mental distractions. Mindfulness is a very powerful practice and using your senses is part of that.
Just think about your five special senses:
- Sight – look at photos, beautiful pictures, go out and se lovely scenery – be totally aware of the colours, shapes, patterns, darkness, brightness etc
- Sound – listen and I mean really listen, and you will hear sounds you would not normally pick up; that tiny bird singing in a tree nearby, a child’s voice… It could be anything or nothing. Maybe you will find yourself in complete silence, but for most of us this isn’t the case, but be totally aware of any noises.
- Touch – I love different textures, from my soft furry cat to screwed up paper when I am having a clear out (I love clear outs too!). From relaxing to stimulating, our sense of touch can be as ignored as the rest of our senses but being aware can even make washing up a more relaxing thing to do; warm water, bubbles…
- Smell – For uplifting, there’s coffee, cakes baking, flowers like roses and fried onions LOL, but for relaxing, how about a walk in the fresh country air, or cut grass, dewy morning air, lavender oil… There are scents all around you.
- Taste – has to be my favourite way to get myself back ‘in the moment’ especially in the past when I would be slightly ‘out of the real world’. These are never ending – two of my personal favourites are strong flavours like curry (comforting) and coffee (stimulating), but I like to practise eating and taking in every flavour so that I can work out the recipe – herbs, onions, spices – a bit like on ‘Masterchef’ but it’s a great way to really enjoy your food and appreciate the wonderful sense of taste we are blessed with.
You can do this at any time – stuck in a traffic jam, at home combined with awareness of your breathing as a kind of mindful meditation, whenever you feel you could do with this …….Continue reading Mindfulness for general happiness and mental health – being mindful is easy, have a go! Using the senses, sight, sounds, taste, touch and smell…
My Gecko Individuality tattoo because we are ALL individuals and should be treated as such
I have just completed two years at college, part time, learning counselling skills – now to level 2, and this week I have my interview to find out if I am suitable for the level 4 diploma (a two year course which entails counselling for free for 100 hours, supervision and having counselling via another therapist).
I very much hope to get on the course, but since I am in psychoanalytical group therapy for myself and will be for a few months longer, we will need to ensure that it will all tie in and that I am suitable to be a counsellor based on the present time.
I had to write 300 words to say why I want to be a counsellor and why I feel I would be good at it, so for anyone interested, here goes…
‘I have reaped the benefits and appreciated the power of conversation through undertaking many talking therapies over the years, as a patient, including psychotherapy, counselling, CBT, hypnotherapy and group psychoanalytical therapy. A few years ago I went into mental turmoil, but looking at it, I realised I had had mental health issues and difficult life experiences most of my life, including childhood.
With a mixture of medication, talking therapies and continuous self help plans, memoir writing and private journal writing, I have made a huge difference in my life.
I published two memoirs about my life and recovery, which have helped many people around the world, as well as being an on-line advocate and anti-stigma campaigner, and I now want to help people personally with their adversities – give something back.
CBT has been the most powerful talking therapy for me, especially as I like order and keeping journals. I still learn from all my talking therapies as thoughts and actions fall into place learnt from sessions a long time ago and I want to share this with others.
My tattoos of love and strength keep me going too
I have a huge capacity for empathy, as I have a great imagination and ask lots of questions so that I have a clear picture of people’s thoughts, feeling and experiences, I have proven to myself I am a good listener and I learnt so much from my first two counselling classes, my confidence is building.
Over the years I have been told all kinds of adverse and potentially upsetting stories, experiences, thoughts and emotions, which has strengthened my resilience. Whereas before, I would over empathise and get emotional over other people’s problems, I can step back now and I find I am more helpful that way. I have been through a lot of adversity since I was a child, and have done a lot of impulsive things, so there isn’t much that would shock me either.
I have proven that I can listen to people for extended periods of time and I have tackled most things that could potentially stop me from listening.’
If I get on the course, I am thinking of applying for a placement in a male prison. I have worked in one before, in a therapy department, and feel that CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) could be very useful for prisoners who live in a vicious circle of negativity and …….Continue reading Why I want to be a counsellor and why I feel I will be a good counsellor – talking therapies…
July common Seals 2014
July common Seal 2014 mum and pup
Yesterday I was lucky enough to be taken on a boat trip to see seals in the wild. About six weeks ago we saw both common seals and grey seals, but yesterday there were only common seals. However, the reason for our return was to see all the new baby seal pups born just a couple of weeks ago!
I was, as usual, busy with my SLR taking pictures of a mum and pup in the water, when our guide told us that the baby was actually dead. Although the mum only looks after seal pups for around three weeks anyway before they go off to be independent, her bond with her pup is so great that even in its early death, they will still stay with the pup for a few days, protecting it as if it were alive.
July Seals dead pup and mum
July common seal 2014
That was very sad news, and a reminder that adversity, pain, horror or death can come along any time and turn our lives upside down – if we are the survivors of course.
And this is why I was keen, and have managed, to get back my feeling of ‘Live for Today!’ I know responsibility takes over at times, and my mental health distress took away all those optimistic and positive feelings for a while, but now they are back and I do, every day, wake up and appreciate that I am still here and able to do things that I enjoy.
It was wonderful to see wild seals in a natural environment, hanging out and living …….Continue reading Appreciate today, live for today, new born seal pups and nature…
July Sunflower and red geraniums in memory of my Great Auntie
I have a total of twenty three pot plants and flowers outside the front of my house. (I have no garden, just a driveway, but am making the most of it.
I have also lived in this wonderful little house a year and four months already, and have only just thought of a new idea whilst being away for a few days on the Isle of Wight. I was enjoying flowers of all types around the Island and in the Botanical Gardens, when I saw some bright red geraniums, which immediately reminded me of my Great Aunt who played a loving and big part in my childhood until my twenties. “Oh I’ve got to get a red geranium” I told Chris. He agreed. From the gift shop I bought a black metal plant stick with a fork on the top and room to write a few words on white card under plastic. Perfect! Not only did my Great Aunt cook the most delicious of foods for which she was adored, but she grew all her vegetables and fruit in her garden, so the ‘fork’ was apt for both! She never had children but treated my dad well and we four siblings as her own; which at times was necessary.
All my flowers and potted plants on the left side July 2014
All my flowers and plants on the right hand side July 2014
I have always been to her gravestone and laid plants and flowers whilst having a quiet chat with her about what’s going on in our lives, but a red geranium and a memorium will bring her back to my own home.
So, off I went to the garden centre to get a red geranium, which I found easily at this time of year, and then I saw a bright yellow sunflower, one flower already in bloom. Oh my heart skipped a beat! Not only did my Great Aunt love her red geraniums outside her back door in pots, but she grew huge sunflowers and was very proud of them. So, I bought one of those too! How exciting! So, this morning I re-potted them together and here they are, outside my front door, in memory of my Great Aunt. What a colourful way to remember her right here at my own home! She’d love to know that I’ve carried on her tradition and now I can think of her every single time I come in and out of my home. She was a very strong, say it how it is, loving woman, without whom my family would have suffered more, and I totally appreciate what she did for us. She lived ninety nine years and she really did go through a lot!
Is there an important person from your life you can remember with flowers, plants, vegetables or fruit at your home?
I’d love to know!
July 2014 Japanese roses for one pound
My mum also gave me a beautiful cut glass vase the other day, as she was having a clear out so lucky me saw some japanese roses as a local market stall was finishing up and I got them for just £1, how lovely!
I potted two little seedlings this morning into huge pots – year one will bring a leafy rounded plant and year two will bring a tall flowering stem – I cannot wait and cannot believe I am committing myself to wait two years for a plant – it must be my age and the fact that I am settling down.
I cannot say it enough that making a home for myself, tending to my potted plants and flowers, having my tropical fish, hamster and gorgeous cat and taking a little responsibility for/building my relationships with, my parents in taking them out at least once a week, is doing for my mental health. At seventy nine and eighty two, they are very independent but we do stuff that requires my car! I am gaining confidence all the time and getting out more and more, rarely feeling paranoid or self conscious.
My anger is subsiding and I am able to stop anger from reaching a high level, nipping it …….Continue reading Igniting memories for inspiration in life – flowers for me this week in memory of my wonderful Great Aunt! Can you do the same?…
’39′ is 2014 finalist in best memoir book competition
The cover for ’39′ my second memoir
My second memoir, ‘39’ is finalist in the eFestival of Words book awards for ‘memoirs’ I am so excited! ‘My Alien Self’ got to the finals last year (2013) but didn’t win, so if you have read ‘39’ and feel like voting, it would be greatly appreciated
You do need to register with the site, then you can vote for any of the categories.
CLICK HERE TO SEE ALL CATEGORIES
This is a direct link to the ‘memoirs section: CLICK HERE
Being a self published indie author, things like this really do help to get my books out there into the public domain, as self advertising is very hard by oneself, so I thank the eFestival of Words for such a great opportunity!
To see the memoir on Amazon just CLICK HERE ’39′ …….Continue reading My second memoir, ‘39’ is finalist in the eFestival of Words book awards for ‘memoirs’ Very exciting! Just need your votes now! (please :-))…
June botanical gardens isle of wight Ventnor 2014
June 2014 Carisbrooke Castle window
I have just spent five days on the Isle of Wight; a beautiful, laid back British Island.
It is like going back in time when it comes to the helpfulness of bus drivers, the attitude of the locals, and the way it is unspoilt and I want to go back again! We always stay in Shanklin or Sandown and this time stayed in a little village near Ventnor. Highlights were the history of Carisbrooke Castle and Osbourne House, the beauty of Yarmouth and the coastal roads between Ventnor and Yarmouth, the handsome houses along the way with their pretty flowering gardens, and the peace and tranquillity of the Botanical Gardens, which nestles on the coast of Ventnor in a micro-climate, growing plants and flowers not grown in anywhere else in the UK.
Badgers feeding June 2014 Isle of Wight
June 2014 Isle of Wight Aerial
Impressed? I was. But, most of all it is the true fresh air that we enjoyed due to such a lack of traffic and pollution and the wildlife – red squirrels and badgers in particular. Of a night, we were privy to seeing wild badgers feeding where we got within three feet of them. They were very cautious of us, which is great, as man is their biggest threat, and I couldn’t believe how big and cuddly they looked. They munched away, making quite a racket, yet they ate very slowly, which surprised me for such a large creature. Absolutely cute, beautiful and very special, I cannot believe how people can even think to cull these wonderful animals; part of few species of unusual wildlife we have left in the UK compared to the past.
So, the point of this blog? Well, in keeping with my recent spate of inspiring blog posts, I just wanted to share highlights of the Island with you and to re-iterate how important it is that we take a break sometimes from our normal lives, even if just for a day, to refresh our mind, body and soul. In just five days of walking and taking buses round the Island, I feel totally refreshed and relaxed and even ready to start my seventh book, which hopefully will be my first novel!
June 2014 Isle of Wight
June open top bus Isle of Wight 2014
And to ease me into being back home, as I sometimes have issues with change, I have the excitement of picking up Titus my cat and Molly my hamster today. I cannot wait to see them! Titus is very important to me; I cannot begin to tell you how much he has helped me calm down and enjoy life more. My depression improves all the time and he is a very loving boy.
If you can adopt or foster a cat or dog or other animal, then do go check out the animal rescue centres such as RSPCA, Cats Protection, Battersea cats and dogs etc. They have a huge number of animals that need and deserve a loving home. Animals do not have to be a pedigree to be a great pet, and it helps to reduce the need for pedigrees which are sometimes bred by people just in it for the money and not for the animals’ health and happiness – sad but true. …….Continue reading Inspiring Monday Blog! Fresh air, badgers, wildlife, walking, the Isle of Wight and picking up my pets; cat and hamster…
June flowers – my red lillies
I was able to cry in front of mum and dad last night! It was the programme about the Sumatran Tigers ‘Tigers about the house’ that started it as it was so sad. I hid my tears for a bit, as usual, and then I let go and let them flow even allowing mum and dad notice. I had to go out of the room quite quickly, to wash my face, but at least I let them see.
I think they were warmed by it, as it showed them a part of my personality they probably didn’t think existed, and I could hear them mentioning it as I left the room.
I am a nice, caring person, I just don’t always show it with my hardened exterior and the way I muck about like a child. It has taken me a long time to realise it for myself, as I have been very harsh on myself for many years now, not even liking myself most of the time, as I haven’t known who I am and what I stand for in this life.
June Titus loves to get in on the action of my pot gardening
I do now; or at least I am getting there. I like myself now, and it shows in the way I look after myself better with eating, body care and doing things I enjoy. I am very pleased indeed that I could cry last night, as I have spent my whole life since I was six years old covering up my many tears, partly, I believe, because my emotions were invalidated as a child and partly because I want to protect myself from showing my weaknesses. That is what I think anyway.
Even if I do not talk about myself each week, I learn so much about myself from my group analytical therapy, such as how I get on with others in a group, how I react to people saying things I don’t like and I get to look deep into myself as to how I behave in the group, good and bad.
I don’t ask much of the group, I go regularly each week (nine months already!), I listen and I try to help others all the time. I am happy with my efforts, even if I may come across a little harsh at times. I am truthful, and I feel that if I am going to help others in the group, then molly coddling is not always helpful. So, I can be myself in the group too without needing to be liked or the centre of attention as I did for many years. Of course, when learning to be a counsellor, I am completely different (no advice giving or sharing my thoughts), but as a fellow patient in a group, I can make suggestions and offer my thoughts.
I am also feeling better in myself, less self aware, more self confident, and happier – I am feeling like I like myself more ‘just as I am’ and that I will have a great life ahead. …….Continue reading Just be yourself today, let it all go and show others who you really are! Crying and showing our emotions can be good…
Pink flowers from my flower pots
Growing up, I was never a girl for hanging out in groups, bar a couple of times in junior school. Even then, the only reason I hung out in a group was to try to ‘fit in’ with everyone; even those who did and said things that I didn’t agree with. I even found myself doing things I didn’t agree with in order to fit in.
However, I was taught all kinds of subjects at school in classrooms full of children, I went to work and mixed with large groups of people; all types of personalities, many of which I wouldn’t choose to socialise with, some who became good friends. I was fine with this, and even became supervisor and manager of many in various jobs, until…
My mental illness took over in a negative way.
Without going over that story, I became quite introvert in the past few years, finding myself paranoid, nervous and catastrophising at times at the thought of mixing with people. I cancelled an outing with one of my brothers, missed a school reunion I wanted to go to, and a get together last year of all the ladies on my first counselling college course. It was a shame, but I preferred to hibernate than to mix.
My tattoos of love and strength keep me going too
However, the fact that I joined and finished the college course, was a big achievement, got me out of the house, gave me a little regularity and I learnt a subject I am very interested in. I even became good at the course and passed the exam.
So, in September last year (2013) I enrolled on the Counselling Skills level 2 course, and two of my friends from the first course were on it. I also began therapy for myself; group analytical psychotherapy. Apart from a few issues which led a short absence from both group activities, I kept going. I knew that if I didn’t, I would never get better. Each day I go to college I don’t want to go and I feel the same about my group therapy, but I still went, knowing that I would be fine when I got there.
And, to top it off, on Thursday, I went out with the ladies from college, to a casino.
Despite having a manicure, pedicure and a head massage which calmed me at the time, I felt really nervous and anxious. We finished the college course a few weeks ago and I keep in touch with some of them (both my best friends from my course in particular who I’ve known two years now) but it was the whole group thing that made me nervous.
My back tattoo with the word ‘Individuality’ in Japanese as we certainly are all different and that’s what makes the world an interesting place!
I worried about what to wear, how I would behave, that I might drink too much (still a bit of an issue for me, the alcohol problem), that I might gamble too much (it was a meal at a casino), oh it went on… My group psychotherapy is helping me deal with groups and I knew it would be a great night, but I felt physically sick and stressed the whole day. Chris kindly came round at 4pm, leaving work early, so that I could get ready at his place and he said he would drop me off and pick me up from the casino, bless him!
Calm down, deep breaths…
I phoned one of my friends and arranged to meet her outside the casino so that helped but my poor tummy was doing somersaults as my IBS was triggered by the stress and I was very shaky, even though I knew it would be a good night…
And it was a lovely night. It was wonderful to see everyone – they are very lovely ladies. Only seven of us turned up out of fifteen, so it was a very manageable group for me too! I got into it very easily and had fun, but I was pretty excitable and didn’t eat that much. I knew my fear was all about nothing in my head but as per I couldn’t convince myself at the time. I did have three large glasses of wine and a cocktail which was too much, but I
All my pets, fish, hamster and cat
found myself making people laugh, chatted all night and felt pleased with my personality for a change. I have found myself losing my identity, not really knowing who I am, acting in a way to try to fit in with varying people, but I am beginning to find myself and certainly was ‘just myself’ on Thursday.
I am continuing to get better all the time!
I will definitely draw on memories like those in the future when I need to find the confidence to get out and about. I drew on negative memories to get there Thursday too – those times I didn’t go to our evening out last year and didn’t go to my school reunion, regretting both.
I am so pleased I didn’t do it again this year and continue to prove to myself that I am …….Continue reading Thursday night I overcame my fears and proved, once again, that these things can be done; going out in groups, going to college and to group therapy….
39 book cover June 2014
I recently self published my second memoir ‘39’ on Createspace, as a paperback, so it is now available for kindle and hard copy on Amazon. I just got my first copy this morning and it looks amazing! So happy with the cover!
You can order it via CLICKING THIS LINK
After recovering from mental illness and many other adversities, Amanda Green published her true story (‘My Alien Self: My Journey Back to Me’ on kindle). This is the journal of her life during the year following publication. Dysfunctional and ever more inspiring, this thought provoking memoir will take you into a whirlwind of love, humour, emotion, depression, adventures, music, animals, family health, counselling and relationships, as she strives to stay strong and achieve a life really worth living as a childless woman before her fast approaching 40th birthday. Due to flashbacks of dark scenes and sexual abuse, this memoir is for adults only and although it’s a sequel, it can easily be read …….Continue reading ‘39’ my second memoir, is now available as paperback on Amazon and I just got my first copy this morning, self published via Createspace…