Why and how to stay mindful at work

Posted April 20th, 2018

Mindfulness and Meditation in the Office

The benefits of mindfulness have been receiving much attention over recent years, with many companies introducing ‘mindfulness at work’ initiatives to benefit their staff, including giant corporations such as Google, Nike and Procter & Gamble. But how can this practice make any difference?

The concept of mindfulness is defined as the process of bringing one’s attention to what is occurring in the present moment, and without judgement. The aim is to be fully aware of your thoughts, feelings and actions but without getting caught up in them.

Rooted in Eastern philosophies, the practice is based on meditation and has the following benefits for the regular mindfulness student:

Reduces stress and mental health issues

Scientific studies have shown that mindfulness has the power to change the structure of our brains to allow us to respond to stress in a healthier way. It does this by lowering the production of cortisol (the ‘stress hormone’). Mindfulness can be particularly effective in lowering the negative effect of mental health issues such as anxiety and depression, when used together with Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and medication.

Improves focus and concentration

With regular practice, mindfulness can train your brain to stay fully focused on the present, meaning you are able to devote your full attention to what you are doing now, while minimising the impact of any distractions. Your mind will retain the information for longer, and the ability to approach each task calmly is likely to boost both your self-confidence and performance at work.

Teaches greater resilience

A mindful approach to the present can help us learn to appreciate the purely ‘experiential self’ rather than the learned narrative that we tell ourselves about who we think we are/should be. This can be helpful in the face of change and/or adversity brought about by, say, an unexpected life event, sudden job loss or major career change.

Helps to develop better relationships

Strong self-awareness, the ability to empathise and desire to behave with altruistic intent are important cornerstones for developing meaningful relationships. Mindfulness helps us to respond more authentically to people, which in turn builds trust and understanding – key ingredients for resilient workplace connections and collaborations.

Encourages creative thinking

Practising mindfulness on a regular basis stimulates divergent thinking, which can be hugely beneficial for creative brainstorming and ideation sessions, helping to produce innovative ideas and solutions for all kinds of business problems.


How to get started in your mindfulness practice

In order to gain the most benefit from mindfulness, regular practice is essential. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither should you underestimate the time it takes to ‘learn’ to become mindful. Here are 5 steps you can take to practise being in the here and now.

1 – Meditate daily

Find somewhere quiet and comfortable where you can sit in an upright but relaxed position. Pay attention to your breathing and listen to the sound of your breath as you feel your chest rise and fall. Do this for at least 1 minute and don’t worry if you get distracted – you will learn to notice your thoughts and let them pass, like clouds in the sky, bringing your attention back to your breath. If you feel that you need guidance, there are plenty of meditation apps and guided meditations you could try.

2 – Observe the world around you

With digital technology and the demands of a hectic 24/7 world all around us, it can be hard to get off the treadmill and just be. Mindfulness teaches us to focus on the here and now, on what is right in front of you right now, cutting through the din. Can you hear birdsong outside? Feel the sunshine on your skin? See children playing in the street? Smell the rain? Make a point of paying attention to the world in 3D. Whether on the daily commute, at the office or at home, really observe and sense the environment that is all around.

3 – Make it a habit to slow down

Rather than rushing through the day to try and get as much done as possible, slow down! Concentrate on completing one task at a time calmly and to the best of your abilities. Multitasking can be overrated – sometimes the pace and sheer volume of demands on our time can mean that quality of our work suffers. Instead of feeling overwhelmed and overhurried, refocus and gently direct your attention to the task at hand until it’s done to your satisfaction.

4 – Appreciate routine tasks

Rather than treating routine tasks as pesky chores that get in the way of ‘real work’, reframe the way you think about these jobs. Whether it’s filling in your timesheet, filing paperwork or restocking the drinks machine, release your inner resistance to the task and simply pay attention to the detail of the activity in front of you. Feel the warm water on your hands, or the paper between your fingers while you carry out this routine task without judgement, worry or undue pressure.

5 – Accept your feelings

An important part of being mindful is to not judge your thoughts and feelings as being either right or wrong – whatever it is, they’re just thoughts or feelings that will pass. On their own, the don’t define you, and they only have the power over you that you give them. Rather than letting a particular thought or feeling negatively affect your self-esteem, you can choose to let it pass.

How can you tell if you’re in a bad relationship?

Posted April 13th, 2018

Man and Woman in Disagreement

We all deserve to feel safe, loved and happy in a romantic relationship but sometimes it’s not as straightforward as all that. But how can you tell whether your relationship is a healthy one or whether it’s time to say goodbye?

Most of the time, this is not a clear cut issue. Relationships are complex webs of human interaction and problems may develop slowly, over many months or years, possibly without you or your partner even realising. However, once the feeling sets in that ‘something isn’t right’, that’s when an experienced relationship therapist may be invaluable to help you understand what’s going on.

Do any of the following scenarios sound familiar?

Fighting too much

It’s normal to have arguments but as you get to know each other, you would expect there to be a progression towards better understanding and communication. If you keep going round in circles arguing with each other, possibly over the same thing, there may be a problem. Poor communication that never improves is toxic, stopping the relationship from moving forward.

Walking on eggshells

Is your partner dominating or controlling? This doesn’t necessarily have to involve threats of violence. It could be that you’re nervous and afraid of your partner’s emotional reactions, and change your views or behaviour to make sure s/he doesn’t get upset. Or perhaps your partner chooses what you wear, how you spend money or who your friends are? Manipulative behaviour is not the sign of a healthy relationship.

Wishing your were home alone

Do you find yourself wishing that your partner wasn’t around? Do you have more fun on your own? If you prefer spending the evening home alone while encouraging him to go to the pub, or you increasingly socialise independent of each other, all may not be well at home. With tensions building while you’re together, you may start to realise that life would be happier on your own.

Constant power games

In a good relationship, the balance of power is evenly distributed; there’s plenty of give and take so that both parties feel that their voice is heard. However, if one partner feels powerless or disenfranchised, they may try to redress the balance by inadvertently upsetting the proverbial apple cart. Suddenly, the relationship feels on edge, destabilised and uprooted, upsetting both partners.

Habitual stonewalling

Positive communication is key in any relationship – you need to be able to talk about important issues to move your relationship forward. But what if your partner refuses to talk about the big stuff such as moving home, getting married, having a baby? Blocking the possibility of talking about the future means the relationship is stuck in the present, which could be a toxic situation.

Something’s changed

People change and the secret of a long-term relationship is to keep adapting to each other and still make it work. If you find yourself thinking that ‘this isn’t how it used to be’, ‘this doesn’t feel good anymore’ or ‘this isn’t what I signed up for’, then perhaps what was once a good relationship has turned bad. Can you bring the good times back?

If you’re tired of feeling stuck, lonely or unhappy in your current relationship, seeing a relationship counsellor may help. At KlearMinds, we can show you simple steps you can take to improve your relationship difficulties, giving you plenty of advice and active strategies to help you achieve the improvements you want. Contact KlearMinds today on 0333 772 0256 for a confidential chat to see how we can help.

Filled Under: Relationships

How do you recognise Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?

Posted March 19th, 2018

Hand washing

OCD is a psychological problem characterised by repeated unwanted thought and/or actions. There’s no easy test to tell if someone has the condition; often the behaviour in question is nothing more than a personality quirk.

However, in some cases, the obsessive compulsive behaviour may point to a more serious disorder. If you are suffering from OCD, counselling and psychotherapy can help you regain control over the thoughts and rituals that are affecting your life – and the sooner you seek treatment, the better the prognosis.

Here are some of the most common patterns that may indicate Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Checking behaviour

Nearly 30% of OCD sufferers feel the need to check and check again that, say, the front door has been locked or the oven has been turned off. While it’s normal to double check now and again, if it becomes a ritual that you cannot do without, it could be a sign of OCD.

Order and symmetry

Being neat and organised on your desk, in your wardrobe or your home is one thing, but when you feel the need to ensure that everything is perfectly ordered and symmetrical all the time, it’s driven by compulsion rather than personal preference.

Arranging pencils

Hand washing

Regularly washing your hands is an important way to avoid spreading germs and getting sick. But if you’re thinking about germs even after washing your hands, worry that you’re not scrubbing well enough, or wash your hands 5 or 6 times, your behaviour may be obsessive compulsive.

Overzealous cleaning

Similar to hand washing, compulsive cleaning is another way to try to beat a fear of germs or feelings of impurity. While spending hours cleaning your home may not necessarily be a sign of OCD, feeling anxious and fearful as a result of not cleaning may be.

Scrubbing the floor

Overanalysing relationships

Obsessing over the tiniest offhand comment someone made, or the smallest detail of a personal relationship with friends, partners, family or co-workers can be a sign of excessive self-doubt or difficulty accepting uncertainty.

Seeking reassurance

We all value our friends’ and family’s opinion and use them as a sounding board on occasion, but if you repeatedly ask the same question in an effort to seek reassurance, it may be a sign of obsessive compulsive behaviour.

Counting

Counting can be a good aide memoire to remember chores or errands, or a distraction for instance to help you climb stairs. However, if you cannot get the numbers out of your head, or you have to perform certain rituals to numeric patterns, your behaviour be me driven by compulsion.

Man counting on hands

Fears of violence

We all have the occasional thought regarding our personal safety including dark thoughts of what might happen if we’re not careful. But if the fear of getting mugged makes you avoid going to the park, or you need to call your daughter several times a day to make sure no harm has come to her, it’s time to seek help.

Sometimes, taking the first step is the hardest part of seeking help. Why not contact the experienced and sympathetic team at KlearMinds for a confidential chat or to book an appointment? We look forward to hearing from you.

Filled Under: OCD

Try something new for 30 days

Posted March 6th, 2018

Did you know that it takes 30 days to form a new habit, or break an old one? If you’ve been wanting to make a change in your life – large or small – why not embrace the idea of a 30-day-challenge to see if you can make a positive impact?

If you need a bit of help or a large dose of inspiration, we recommend watching the short Ted Talk above, given by Matt Cutts 5 years ago.

Committing to a 30-day challenge can make a huge difference in your life in so many ways. By setting aside just a small amount of time every day for a month to devote to whatever challenge you’ve set yourself, you can gain more self confidence, feel empowered, more adventurous or simply happier with yourself.

Rather than trying to overhaul all your bad habits at once or make a drastic change to your routine which will be hard to sustain, you’ll be making tiny, almost imperceptible but progressive changes one day at a time, building upon your successes day by day.

Here are just some ideas of the sorts of 30-day-challenges you might like to consider.

Tackle an unhealthy habit

Whether you bite your nails, eat too much chocolate or don’t get enough sleep, use the 30-day-challenge to help you get on top of your unhealthy habit. Take it one day at a time and promise yourself a meaningful reward at the end of the month for having stuck to the challenge. If you need to, tell yourself that it’s only for 30 days – you can always go back to your old habits if you really want to. At the end of the period, check in with yourself and see what you want to do.

Spend more time outdoors

Are you spending the majority of your days inside, either at work or at home, and possibly spending too much time in front of a computer screen? Fresh air and exercise can do wonders for your mental and physical wellbeing. Why not challenge yourself to get outside at least once every day? Whether you simply sit outside and fill your lungs with fresh air, go for a walk around the block or resolve to walk to work instead of taking the car, even small amounts of outside time will help you feel calmer and more centred.

Take a digital detox

From smartphones and tablets to social media, TV and computers, it’s easy to become used to the digital world. Make a conscious effort to reconnect with the real world by restricting your access to digital technology for 30 days. Try to use your smartphone for phone calls only, don’t watch TV and keep the computer switched off outside of work. You’ll be surprised at home much time is suddenly available for real life activities, hobbies, meeting friends and generally being more present in the moment.

Carry out acts of kindness

Making other people feel good is a sure fire way to put a smile on your face too. Spend 30 days doing a good deed every day, completing a random act of kindness or giving someone a compliment. If you’re not sure how to do this, take inspiration from the Pay It Forward Foundation or the Random Act of Kindness Foundation, both of which are dedicated to spreading kindness throughout the world to change people’s perceptions and experience and make the world a happier place.

Take more exercise

We should all take more exercise but often life (and lack of motivation) gets in the way. Setting yourself a specific, measurable goal for only 30 days may be the perfect way to break through the mental barrier and get moving. Whether you commit to 30 Days of Yoga, take the 30-day abs challenge, or simply add 30 minutes of exercise into your daily schedule, you will feel more energised and positive at the end of the month.

Declutter for 30 days

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the amount of ‘stuff’ you’ve accumulated but feel unable to gain control, a 30-day-challenge may be just the thing you need. Resolve to get rid of one item every day – either sell it, give it away or throw it away. Start the process of freeing up space in your home and marvel at the difference a little bit of decluttering can make after only a month. You may feel so liberated that you decide to keep going!

Keep a gratitude journal

If you feel that your life is in a rut and nothing great ever happens, it’s a good idea to count your blessings. A genius way to do this is to keep a gratitude journal. The idea is to think of at least one good thing that happened to you every day. It doesn’t matter if it’s a tiny thing (‘a nice sunny day’) or a big deal (‘got a pay rise’) – what’s important is to refocus your mind to see and appreciate all the good things that do invariably happen. Write it down in a journal and review all your positive experiences after 30 days.

Whatever you feel may need attention in your life, KlearMinds have a team of expert counsellors that have helped many people overcome a wide range of concerns, empowering them with the skills to maintain happier and more fulfilled lives. For a confidential chat or to book an appointment, please contact us.

Filled Under: Happiness

Harness your midlife feelings and make a career change

Posted February 5th, 2018

Man choosing a path

If you’re at the midpoint of your life and your first career is leaving your bored, empty or worn out, it may be time to find a new path. But how? And to do what? Are you itching to make a mark on the world by starting your own business or write a novel? Do you feel the need to give back to society, or simply slow down and do something more ‘meaningful’ with your life? Perhaps you’re just not sure?

Not only are these big questions to deal with, the implications of what you decide to do (or not do) will affect the rest of your life. That’s why it is important to resist the urge to find a quick solution and take your time to really do your homework.

Challenge yourself to some hard questions, talk to friends and colleagues, get some individual Career Coaching help or consider life coaching. Oh, and don’t forget to see a financial adviser too.

Tune into your personal needs and priorities

Whether you call it soul searching or navel gazing, you need to be clear about who you are and what you want out of life. What makes you happy? What excites you and fills you with passion?

There are lots of tools you can use, tests you can take and questionnaires you can fill in to help you get closer to the answer. Some are free, some are self-assessment, some can be found online – but the most valuable ones will be guided by an experienced counsellor or coach to help you assess your skills, interests, values and personality traits so that you can make sense of the results.

Mine your own back story for clues

If you’re struggling to define the road map to your future, start by going back to your past. There’s no need to write your autobiography (though it’s an interesting exercise if you’re that way inclined) but do try to identify and write down critical events, significant achievements and influential relationships that have shaped your life.

As a result of this task, you may be surprised to find obvious answers to questions such as ‘What do I want more or less of in my life?’ or ‘What gives me most energy and pride in my job?’ or ‘What do I need to be happy?’

Don’t shy away from professional help

Misplaced pride or shyness have no place in your plans for a major life and career transition – you should use all the help you can find. Expert career coaches and counsellors are experienced in dealing with exactly your type of situation and can help you identify skills, set goals and draw up action plans, while providing emotional support throughout the process.

Financial planners are useful allies to help you crunch numbers and see whether your chosen new career or activity is affordable, how to optimise your funds and secure your retirement.

Put your toe in the water first

Research has shown that midlife adults have more success with experientially based rather than analytically based transitions. Often, it’s a case of trying out new ideas and seeing what works for you.

Take a business course and work in a small company to see if you’ve got what it takes to be an entrepreneur. Volunteer for an animal charity, work in a care home or become a teaching assistant to see if you’re cut out for a caring profession. Get qualifications on a part-time basis in your chosen field, be it stockbroking or publishing, gardening or yoga.

Dipping your toe in the water in this way allows you to gain hands-on experience, while minimising the risk, before you commit fully.

Filled Under: Career, Life Coaching

What are the benefits of online counselling?

Posted January 17th, 2018

Old woman using her laptop

Contrary to popular belief, counselling doesn’t have to take place face to face. If you are seeking professional help for a mental health issue but find it inconvenient to come in for your sessions, online counselling may be the perfect solution for you.

According to recent research, online psychotherapy meetings can be just as effective as face-to-face consultations. And with modern digital communications technology such as Skype and FaceTime widely available, there’s no reason why you can’t access high quality counselling for a wide range of issues including anxiety and depression, relationship problems, career concerns and much more.

With the help of online coaching and counselling you can

  • Have sessions in the convenience of your own home, office or hotel at a time to suit you
  • Save on childcare and/or travel arrangements, time and expense
  • Access counselling even if you’re housebound, have a disability or limited mobility

An online psychologist can be particularly helpful in the following situations:

  • Your daily schedule may simply be too busy to take time out for a visit to see a counsellor. Rather than wasting precious time to get from A to B, why not save time and arrange a Skype session straight to your office desk?
  • If you live in a remote location, high quality counselling may not be available locally. The availability of online support will substantially broaden your reach of highly qualified and experienced counsellors who can help you tackle your concerns.
  • Are you a frequent traveller, spending much time abroad or away from home? Why not book a Skype session to avoid overly long gaps in between personal consultations to keep your progress on track?
  • Do you live abroad and would like to see a counsellor? Whether you are uncomfortable with the local language or can’t find a good English speaking counsellor where you are, online sessions will provide the required access to a high quality coaching and counselling service back home.

How does it work?

At KlearMinds, we offer counselling and psychotherapy via Skype or FaceTime with our highly experienced psychotherapist and psychologist Jo Frost. With over 14 years’ professional experience, she excels in helping people understand what is going wrong in their life, supporting them to find effective strategies to successfully address a wide range of issues such as panic disorders, bullying, low self esteem, bereavement, anger management, eating disorders etc.

To make contact, simply email KlearMinds or phone and request a Skype session. Jo will be in touch by email to arrange a mutually convenient time and to exchange contact details. And if you’re worried about the security of a Skype call, rest assured that Skype uses encrypted data transmission protocols that are the safest forms of internet security currently available.

Why not call KlearMinds today on 0333 772 0256 or email us to set up a Skype consultation for you.

Filled Under: Counselling

5 practical tips to make it a happy New Year

Posted January 4th, 2018

New year goals

Welcome to 2018! Whether or not you’re the type of person who makes New Year’s Resolutions, the beginning of the year is always a good opportunity to take stock of what’s gone well (or not so well) in the past year. Many people use the time between Christmas and New Year as a period of reflection, and to formulate a plan of action for the months ahead.

Fresh energy in January is a great idea to spur you on to make improvements in your life that can really benefit your mental health. But while it’s tempting to get carried away on a wave of ‘new year, new you’ initiatives, don’t forget that most New Year’s Resolutions will have failed by February. If you do decide to make an action plan for 2018, you need to give yourself the best chance of success.

Focus on doing something new rather than giving something up, to keep motivated. Choose small positive changes that will benefit your confidence and keep the momentum going. Here are 5 practical tips that can make a positive difference to your mental health in 2018.

1 – Start a gratitude diary

Make it a habit to write down 3 positive things that have happened to you each day. These don’t have to be major events, they can be small things such as ‘I went for a walk in the park’ or ‘I met up with a friend for lunch’.

Training to look at the good things that happen every day help to cultivate a positive mind set, which in turn will benefit your overall mental wellbeing.

2 – Practice meditation

Learning to meditate is a fantastic way to give your mind some much needed downtime. It’s not difficult to learn, and nor does it need to take up much time. If possible, try to fit 2 sessions into your day, even if it’s only 5 minutes each.

If you’re not sure how to get started, you may find it helpful to use an app to teach you the basics and guide you through your meditation. There are plenty of free ones available including Calm, Inscape, Headspace, Buddhify, Simple Habit and The Mindfulness App, making meditation accessible to everyone.

3 – Take up a hobby

The new year is a great time to start a new hobby or revisit an old one. If you’ve always wanted to play the piano, learn Spanish or take up hill walking, now is the perfect time to do it. Not only will learning a new skill be a confidence booster in itself, it will give you something to look forward to during the week and a chance to meet other like minded people.

Just remember to focus on enjoying the experience, rather than letting it become yet another pressure to achieve. While practice does indeed make perfect, it may be the journey rather than the destination that gives you the greatest pleasure.

4 – Treasure ‘me time’

If you work long hours, juggle work and family commitments and generally lead a busy lifestyle, it’s important to take time out just for yourself. That way, you can recharge your batteries ready for the next day, able to perform to your best ability. Being tired, stressed and permanently exhausted is no good for your mental health, your relationships, career or overall wellbeing.

‘Me time’ doesn’t have to mean an expensive holiday; it could be something as simple as soak in the bath and an early night, getting lost in a good book or a trip to a favourite art exhibition. The important thing is that you get to relax.

5 – Get professional support if necessary

If it feels as if everything is getting on top of your and you’re struggling to cope, you might benefit from professional support. Asking for help doesn’t come naturally to most of us but it can be an important first step to help you get better.

The KlearMinds team consists of experienced counsellors that are highly trained in a range of therapeutic approaches including counselling, psychotherapy, life coaching and cognitive behavioural therapy. We provide advice for a wide range of issues and can help you achieve fast, effective and lasting change.

If you wish to make contact, why not email us in confidence today?

Filled Under: Counselling

Season’s Greetings from KlearMinds

Posted December 6th, 2017

Merry Christmas

The Christmas season is upon us and the team at KlearMinds would like to extend their very best wishes to all our clients past and present.

We all need a little help sometimes. With the right approach, positive change can happen fast. Our experienced therapists can help you understand the challenges you are facing and show you the steps you can take to make things better.

Our therapists have qualified from some of the UK’s foremost training institutions, with many years’ experience in working in the NHS, private practices and charity organisations. They are registered with recognised government bodies in the field: CPC, UKCP, BACP and BPS.

By choosing KlearMinds, you don’t just benefit from our team’s award winning leadership. Each of our therapists is trained in a range of counselling, life coaching and psychotherapy approaches. That way, we can tailor our approach to suit your learning style and give you the best opportunity for positive results.

But there’s no need to take our word for it.

We’re delighted to have received many positive reviews from past clients including these comments:

“I had tried counselling before and thought it wasn’t for me. I now realise that finding the right counsellor makes all the difference. As a result I feel in control, grounded and confident in all parts of my life and most importantly, I feel capable of moving forward.”

“Outstanding at providing me with what I needed, not as a “quick fix” but by giving me the tools to use whenever I may need them in the future.”

“Straight away Maggie was warm, kind and understanding… I didn’t want to be in therapy for a long time, I just wanted to get better, get on with my life… I cannot recommend Maggie highly enough to you. Whilst life still presents me with challenges I can cope with them as I feel so much stronger now – I owe her much.”

“My relationship with my partner is now fantastic, as are my relationships with my family… I am so much happier now than I have been in many, many, years.”

How to have a meaningful Christmas

Posted December 1st, 2017

Christmas Candles

What does Christmas mean to you? A huge Turkey Dinner followed by the Queen’s Speech? Lots of presents and an empty wallet? Partying through the season? While Christmas is a wonderful time of year, sometimes the real meaning can get lost in the frenzy of it all.

You don’t have to be religious to appreciate Christmas. Whether or not you celebrate Advent or go to Midnight Mass, it’s good for mind and soul to remind ourselves of the non-commercial aspects of the season and use the Christmas holiday as an annual break to recharge the batteries.

Practise kindness and generosity, charity and compassion and learn that giving from the heart can be the ultimate Christmas present to both the giver and receiver. Here are 7 ways to have a more meaningful Christmas.

1 – Give homemade gifts

Rather than spending big on presents just because it’s Christmas, why not get creative instead? Bake Christmas cookies, make your own Yule Log or cranberry sauce. How about a home made calendar with photos taken through the year? If you’re into needlework, handicrafts, creative writing, painting or music, use your talents to create personal gifts that have real meaning.

Homemade shortbread cookies

2 – Make time for the family

Christmas is a time for family, so make it a real priority to spend time together. Rather than putting the kids in front of the computer and the grandparents in front of the TV, go unplugged and do stuff together. Whether you play charades or board games, go for country walks or read stories to each other, the important thing is to appreciate everyone’s company and share the love.

3 – Talk about the meaning of Christmas

Why not have an open conversation with your family about what Christmas means to them? This will give every family member the opportunity to shape the festivities and create traditions that everyone will love. It might be going to Midnight Mass as a family, a favourite film you always watch together, the ritual of wrapping presents or making home made mince pies, the annual Pantomime outing – whatever makes you gel as a family.

4 – Have a ‘no presents’ policy

If your family is in agreement, why not use the money you would have spent on presents and make a donation to a good cause instead? You could go shopping for a local foodbank, give the money to a children’s charity or a homeless shelter to help those less fortunate than you. How about asking the children to choose one toy each that they would like to donate to a child who wouldn’t otherwise get any presents?

5 – Get out into the community

Christmas is a time for sharing, so why not share your time with friends and neighbours? Make your community a priority this Christmas and help out where you can. From going carol singing to inviting everyone back for Christmas drinks, from delivering home made cookies to your neighbours to distributing hot soup to the homeless, there are many ways you can connect with the local community.

Celebrating Christmas with the Family

6 – Share your good fortune

Look around your home – aren’t you blessed that you have so many things? Many people have less than you, for whatever reason, and simply cannot afford to celebrate Christmas. How about creating a stocking full of treats and gifts, or put together a food hamper, and place it on the doorstep of someone you know would really appreciate it? Or give your time freely to a community organisation to help with Christmas celebrations? Whether you help cook Christmas Dinner at your local church hall or look after abandoned pets, there’s always a way you can help.

7 – Setting good intentions

Rather than treating kindness and compassion as a seasonal activity, why not make plans to carry on through the next 12 months. Set out your intentions to do one good deed every day, and be grateful for one good thing that happens to you every day of the year. Studies have shown that consistent positive interactions and practising gratitude can increase happiness and decrease levels of depression.

Filled Under: Depression, Happiness

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