Happiful Issue 63

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How to develop a growth mindset

ISSUE 63 £5.99

THE AGE OF APPRECIATION Savour every second & break the taboos of ageing

DEBUNKED 8 myths about schizophrenia Break the stigma & lend your support

Follow your heart How to navigate the seas of uncertainty as you soul-search

Don’t cry when the sun is gone, because the tears won’t let you see the stars VIOLETA PARRA

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Photography | Yun Xu

Your guiding star

The thrill of knowing where you’re heading, even if you don’t know exactly how you’re going to get there, is hard to beat. That certainty in your heart about what it beats for, what fuels your fire, and guides your spirit, can give you courage in the face of any challenge, and a quiet confidence that you know your true purpose. But, at the moment, there seems to be a collective feeling bubbling below the surface; a sense of being lost, lacking direction, or that we’re set on a course that isn’t fulfilling us any more. We might feel adrift in a sea of uncertainty, carried along by a current that we’re struggling to break free from.

Rebecca portrait | Studio Rouge

So, how can we find our way again? And is it possible to take back control of our own destiny? The solution could be to give ourselves the time and space to do a little soul-searching, to quench our curiosity, and explore our true needs on the ever-changing path of life. This edition of Happiful is all about that journey to figuring out your innermost needs and desires – what is your guiding star?

From taking the plunge and chasing adventure with adult gap years on p48, to growing older with joy on p17, and a guide to finding your true calling on p32, it’s time to discover what speaks to you. Don’t worry about the direction everyone else is setting sail on; follow your own intuition. Now is the moment to break free from your comfort zone, and discover the great unknown longing in your life. As JRR Tolkien wrote: “Not all those who wander are lost.” Sometimes, when you stray from the path, and create your own, is exactly when you find yourself. Happy reading,

At Happiful, inclusivity, representation, and creating a happier, healthier society are at the forefront of our mission. To find out more about our social and environmental pledges, visit happiful.com/pledges W | happiful.com F | happifulhq T | @happifulhq


I | @happiful_magazine

Looking forward 17 Through the ages

How to grow old with joy

25 Develop a growth mindset


32 Soul-searching

Why, and how, you should explore your true calling

48 On your gap year

What do 'grown-ups' have to gain from taking a gap year?

58 The power of words

Use journaling to transform your mind

Relationships 14 Weaponised incompetence


Spot the signs of this sneaky way of getting out of chores

35 Family antics

How to reinvent your morning routine as a parent

60 EUPD and relationships

Tips for navigating this personality disorder within a relationship

63 Five micro-affections

Express your love in new ways

Try this at home

Culture 8 Good news

Uplifting stories to make you smile

16 Start stargazing

13 The wellbeing wrap

54 Mindful colouring

30 Greenwashing

82 Beat imposter syndrome

How to spot this problematic PR tactic

83 Time to grow

46 Try something new

Nourish your needs and deepest desires with our journaling pages

75 Good reads



Food & health 28 Healthy meals for kids 52 Delightful delicacies

Refreshing watermelon recipes

67 Hanger problems


Is your mood affected by your hunger levels?

79 New perspectives

Wellbeing 20 What to do on the bad days

When even the simplest tasks feel too much, here's what you should do

38 ADHD in the workplace

How to talk to your employer about your needs and expectations

41 Schizophrenia myths, busted 55 Labour pains

How to tackle birth anxiety


76 Overwhelmed by the news?

Positive pointers 22 Refilling your cup

Grace Victory on simple ways to bring mindfulness into every day

44 Summer crafts 64 Nature therapy

What to expect from sessions



What is psychodynamic therapy?

71 Eco matrimony 72 Jay Blades

The host of The Repair Shop on mending ourselves

Expert review Every issue of Happiful is reviewed by an accredited counsellor, to ensure we deliver the highest quality content while handling topics sensitively. Life’s not easy; something we are reminded of every now and then. All we can offer is our best each day, and that alone is good enough. Although, it helps if we have some tools available to support us along the way. Check out p25 for great insight into how we can cultivate a ‘growth mindset’. The ability to shape our experience in a way that fits with our personal direction can be very powerful. It can be the difference between success and failure, sadness and happiness. Ask yourself the question: which direction would you like to go in? RAV SEKHON BA MA MBACP (Accred)

Rav is a counsellor and psychotherapist with more than 10 years' experience.

Our team

Expert Panel Meet the team of experts providing information, guidance, and insight throughout this issue HANNAH BECKETT-PRATT



BA dip

Hannah is a relational transactional analysis counsellor.

Ali is a transformative coach, specialising in confidence and self-belief.

EDITORIAL Rebecca Thair | Editor Kathryn Wheeler | Features Editor Lauren Bromley-Bird | Editorial Assistant Bonnie Evie Gifford, Kat Nicholls | Senior Writers Becky Wright | Content & Marketing Officer Grace Victory, Bhavna Raithatha | Columnists Lucy Donoughue | Head of Multimedia Ellen Lees | Head of Content Keith Howitt | Sub-Editor Rav Sekhon | Expert Advisor




Dip Cert


Amy-Jean Burns | Head of Product

Alison is a transformative coach who helps introverts succeed.

Gemma is a life coach, helping people take control and achieve a better balance.

Charlotte Reynell | Creative Lead Rosan Magar | Illustrator


Alice Greedus | PR Manager


VJ is a nutritional therapist and autoimmune expert.


BA BMidwif DipCouns DipHb(KGH) CertCBT MBACP NMC

Samantha is a midwife, counsellor, and hypnobirthing teacher.


Kate Orson, Emma Johnson, Erica Crompton , Becky Goddard-Hill, Rosalind Ryan, Emma Flint, Michelle Wakerell, Jenna Farmer, Victoria Stokes


Sophie Harris , Hannah Beckett-Pratt, Ali McNab, Catherine Jeans, Alison Muir, Gemma Nixon, VJ Hamilton, Samantha Phillis, Jean Watson, Jeremy Sachs




Dip CP Dip Hyp CS

BA Hons, Dip. Couns

Jean is an integrative psychotherapeutic counsellor.

Jeremy is an integrated psychotherapist specialising in trauma.



DipHyp DipCP Ghr Reg

BSc (Hons) PG Dip BABCP

Michelle is a counsellor, psychotherapist, and hypnotherapist.

Sophie is a cognitive behavioural psychotherapist, helping new mums.




BSc (Hons) MSc MBACP (Accred)

Catherine is a functional nutritional therapist, health coach, and business mentor.

Bhavna is a psychotherapist, coach, supervisor, and trainer.

Aimi Maunders | Director & Co-Founder Emma White | Director & Co-Founder Paul Maunders | Director & Co-Founder

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ISSUE 63 £5.99




How to develop a growth mindset

Savour every second & break the taboos of ageing

DEBUNKED 8 myths about schizophrenia

Our two-for-one tree commitment is made of two parts. Firstly, we source all our paper from FSC® certified sources. The FSC® label guarantees that the trees harvested are replaced, or allowed to regenerate naturally. Secondly, we will ensure an additional tree is planted for each one used, by making a suitable donation to a forestry charity. Happiful is a brand of Memiah Limited. The opinions, views and values expressed in Happiful are those of the authors of that content and do not

Break the stigma & lend your support

necessarily represent our opinions, views or values. Nothing in the magazine constitutes advice on which you should rely. It is provided for general information purposes only. We work hard to achieve the highest possible editorial standards, however if

Follow your heart How to navigate the seas of uncertainty as you soul-search

Cover illustration by Rosan Magar

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The Uplift CHARITY

Charity launches new bedtime story to support children of first responders It’s no surprise that being a parent and first responder comes with its challenges. Naturally, children may find it difficult to understand the day-to-day aspects of their parent’s job, which can lead to concerns regarding their whereabouts and safety. In a bid to help children navigate their emotions, and enable parents to feel better equipped to address their concerns, charity Police Care UK teamed up with bestselling author Avril McDonald to launch the bedtime story The Wolf was Not Sleeping: Police Care UK edition. 8 | Issue 63 | happiful.com

The beautifully illustrated book explores the narrative of a wolf pup, worried about his dad, who works as a helper to protect the forest creatures. Reflecting on the challenges of her job, a serving police officer told Police Care UK about how she had sustained injuries while on duty, and discussed the effect it had on her children when they were younger. She said: “I really wish that this book was available back then... Even now they are affected by what happened, and worry about me going to work.”

According to Police Care UK, 83% of serving police officers said their children expressed worry or concern about them going to work. Similarly, 41% of parents shared doubt as to whether they were fully prepared to respond to their children’s worries or concerns. Keeping families connected is a tale as old as time, and the good news is that now there is a resource to support first responders in doing just that. Every sale supports Police Care UK. Visit shop.policecare.org.uk Writing | Lauren Bromley-Bird


Researchers use AI to help catch Alzheimer’s earlier Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 50 million people worldwide. And although there is no cure, early detection is crucial to ensure those affected can maximise their time with loved ones, and enables them to plan ahead. Now, in a study led by scientists at the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC), Spain, researchers have developed a new technique, which uses artificial intelligence methods to precisely distinguish between people whose deterioration is stable, and

those who will progress to having Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s is usually preceded by a degree of cognitive impairment. This cognitive impairment is milder than that seen in those with Alzheimer’s, but more severe than what would be expected from someone of the same age who doesn’t have the disease. “These patients may progress and worsen, or remain in the same condition as time passes. That is why it is important to distinguish between progressive and stable

cognitive impairment in order to prevent the rapid progression of the disease,” said Mona Ashtari-Majlan, a UOC researcher in the AI for Human Wellbeing group. The new AI method means that these two forms of mild cognitive impairment can be distinguished and classified with an accuracy rate close to 85%, something that will bring hope to many as it represents much-needed progress in identifying and managing this disease. Writing | Kathryn Wheeler


Is it time for a new generation of ‘green influencers’? Most of us can attest to the incredible impact that getting out in nature can have on our mental health. But a new ground-breaking scheme is putting this to the test as it seeks to improve young people’s wellbeing by encouraging them to not only connect with nature, but to take the lead on tackling environmental issues that matter to them. The Green Influencers Scheme is run by national educational charity The Ernest Cook Trust – and, so far, it has recruited almost 3,000 young people to become ‘green influencers’, supporting them to take positive action to improve the environment in their

schools and local communities, with the help of mentors. To get a better understanding of how the scheme was supporting mental health, researchers looked at the impact and saw a statistically significant increase in young people’s wellbeing, and their sense of ‘nature connectedness’. Muhammed, 14, is involved with a collective of 20 young people across the north-west of England, taking action for the environment with a nature restoration project. He said: “I was really happy to be part of something that would shape the landscape and inspire others to take action. I’ve learned lots of

new skills and started to appreciate the intricacies of an ecosystem, and to protect spaces. I have grown with this project.” For more, visit ernestcooktrust.org.uk Writing | Kathryn Wheeler happiful.com | Issue 63 | 9

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Revealed: the best physical activity for mental health Whether you’re a regular gym bunny, or prefer a more casual approach to exercise, we all would like to find ways to boost our physical and mental health. Well, the most beneficial physical activities for our mental health could be simpler than you might think. A new survey from Anytime Fitness asked more than 2,000 respondents about their physical exercise and mental health. It revealed that 65% felt walking is the most beneficial physical activity for their mental health, while 18% said going to the gym helped lift their mood. When it comes to figuring out what is holding us back, unsurprisingly many share the same barriers. Nearly four in 10 (38%) lacked motivation, while 30% cited a lack of time as their main stumbling block. Chief executive of Anytime Fitness UK, Neil Randall, said: “These figures help show the importance of getting active for people’s mental health. Being active isn’t just about being able to run a certain distance, it’s about doing something that you enjoy, which makes you feel good physically and mentally.” So, why not dust off those walking shoes and make time to put your mental (and physical) wellbeing first? Writing | Bonnie Evie Gifford

happiful.com | Issue 63 | 11

Take 5

How Sea did yo rc u sho h 'free do? p.ha b ies to fi nd t ppiful.c ' at he o and answe m mor rs, e!

Get your thinking gears in motion with this issue’s puzzling fun

Diamond in the rough This is a compact diamond crossword, so use the clues to help you solve the missing words in the grid. To help you out, each letter that features is noted below, so this can be completed, even if you’ve only got a few minutes to spare. DOWN 1. Bewildered, speechless 3. Muscle in the upper arm 4. To wave your arms wildly


2. 3.



ACROSS 2. Poker face 5. To join a friend 6. A point in a digital image



Word wheel

Using the letters in the wheel no more than once, make as many words as you can of three or more letters, always using the letter at the centre of the wheel. Want an extra challenge? Set yourself a time limit – 90 seconds, go!

5 = Puzzle protégé 10 = Word wizard 15+ = Challenge champ!








wellbeing wrap A rainbow 50p coin is being released in the UK to celebrate 50 years of the Pride movement

An ancient forest has been found in a sinkhole in China, 630 feet below the surface

Love Island has ditched fast fashion sponsors this year, in favour of eBay, encouraging contestants to wear secondhand clothes

Spain is offering workers three days of ‘menstrual leave’, and is the first Western country to do so

It’s official: the UK’s best seaside town is Bamburgh, in Northumberland, according to a poll by Which? The town boasts an impressive castle, and was rated highly for peace and quiet, its stunning scenery, and beach. Summer plans sorted!

Community spirit

To celebrate his 29th birthday, Chance the Rapper embraced the idea that ‘giving’ is the best gift. Through his non-profit SocialWorks, the musician gave away 1,500 free meals to people in need in Chicago.

Sowing positive seeds

JUST ONE Tree is a non-profit tackling climate change through planting trees – and its schools programme is encouraging the next generation, too, with 200,000+ trees planted by kids so far. It recently paired a UK and Kenyan school, so children knew where their donations went, and they received letters from the Nairobi kids in response. These messages helped remind youngsters of the impact their planet-saving actions can have!

Man’s best friend

There are countless wellbeing benefits to pet ownership, but new research suggests dogs can benefit your work-life, too. Butternut Box revealed that 67% of owners would be more likely to accept a job offer if they could work from home with their dog, plus 18% would accept a more junior position if it meant they could spend more time with their fourlegged friend! It’s certainly paws for thought... The iconic Blackpool tower switched its lights between the local club’s tangerine and the colours of the rainbow, to show support for Blackpool FC footballer, Jake Daniels, who has spoken out proudly as the UK’s first openly gay male professional footballer since the 90s. Jake hopes his actions, and being true to himself, will help others to do the same.

Dame Deborah

Happiful friend Deborah James recently shared the heartbreaking news that she was moving to hospice at home care, but still she continues to be awe-inspiring. She quickly raised £6.5 million for cancer charities, became a dame, launched a charity T-shirt, and moved us all. Buy a drink in her honour at bowelbabe.org

As the cost of living continues to rise, supermarket Iceland is offering those aged over 60 10% off their shopping every Tuesday, with no minimum spend required. What an ‘ice’ idea. Want procrastination to be in the past? Psychologists suggest the ‘three-minute rule’. Commit to doing the task you keep putting off for just three minutes, and see how far you get. This can help you get past mental blocks, and before you know it, the job could be done! In fact, in trials 98% of participants ended up persevering with their task when they began with just a three-minute goal.

Sending well wishes

A GoFundMe page supporting a young Black student, who was bullied and attacked at a school in Wales, has raised nearly £100K, and garnered worldwide attention. Raheem Bailey had to have his finger amputated, at just 11 years old, after fleeing an attack. Donations to support Raheem will help to pay for his medical costs, as well as a prosthetic finger.

What is weaponised incompetence?

Spot the sneaky excuse that can lead to relationship inequality Writing | Kathryn Wheeler


t’s fair to say that things like household chores and daily responsibilities aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. That said, what needs to be done, has to get done. But, sometimes, people have sneaky ways of avoiding those responsibilities – and it might be flying under the radar, until now. ‘Weaponised incompetence’ is used to describe a scenario where one person leads another to believe they are bad at a task, in order to get out of doing it altogether. The key thing here is that they’re feigning the incompetence, and it’s likely to be related to unappealing or tricky chores – think using the washing machine, navigating a GP’s booking system, or doing a child’s hair before school – so that someone else has to pick it up. This dynamic can happen in many different ways, but it’s particularly prevalent in longterm relationships. “Weaponised incompetence can be considered a psychological game played by many couples, to varying degrees,” explains

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Hannah Beckett-Pratt, a transactional analysis counsellor. “A psychological game is where both partners play out a certain sequence of behaviours together, that repeat patterns with which they have become familiar. This happens outside of conscious awareness, so we usually do not notice we have been playing the game until we wind up with the same end result.” Hannah points out that the partner on the receiving end of the weaponised incompetence can often end up feeling as though they know best, or are more competent, and so do the task – but at the same time feel hard done by and confused. This feeling of frustration is usually what then drives them to complete the task they really want their partner to do, and so the cycle repeats. “If we are playing the other side – resorting to manipulating our partner into doing something for us because we ‘can’t’ – we are victimising ourselves, and will likely feel guilty, powerless, and inadequate,” Hannah

adds. “It can appear that the partner weaponising their incompetence is only affected in beneficial ways, but actually, these behaviours are reinforcing their own helplessness, and also driving a wedge between them and their partner.” Hannah explains that this behaviour might stem from low self-esteem, difficulty with boundaries and control, or could perhaps be a leftover tool of getting out of boring chores in childhood. Alternatively, she points out that they might be overcommitted in other areas of their lives, but find it hard to communicate that directly. “Whatever the reasons underling the game of weaponised incompetence, neither partner is acting as an autonomous adult, responsible for their own needs,” Hannah concludes. “Instead, partners engage in a battle for who can control the other one, without directly stating what they really want, or do not want, to do.” Weaponised incompetence lays the foundations for an unequal


Partners engage in a battle for who can control the other one, without directly stating what they really want, or do not want, to do

relationship. So, what can you do to address this? The answer is rooted in communication, and Hannah has some tips for navigating it. “When it comes to conflict within a relationship, I love the analogy of being on the ‘same page’ as our partner,” she explains. “Arguments around weaponised incompetence, or shared division of labour, usually result in a ‘me vs you’ dynamic. It’s like standing on opposite sides of a mountain, arguing about who put it there, both of you struggling to be heard. “Instead, try considering the weaponised incompetence as a relational issue between you, rather than a problem with one of you. Imagine you and your

partner side by side, facing the mountain, and forming a plan together of how to climb it. Be curious about how this dynamic has been created between you, when it appears, and how you each contribute. This mimics the non-judgemental dynamics of couples therapy, and gives you the best chance to work on the issue together.” Hannah rightly points out that in abusive relationships, where one partner is deliberately manipulating the other to exploit or bully them, professional help is needed. But, often, approaching problems with curiosity and patience is the key to making progress. “When we have a fair or equal relationship, we show our

partner we respect them, and are committed to the partnership,” Hannah says. “This is the basis of the trust, and teamwork, that happy relationships depend on.” Communication doesn’t have to be a chore. Call it how it is, but do it with care and compassion, and – together – you could be laying the way to a more equal, and more fulfilling, relationship.

Hannah Beckett-Pratt is a relational transactional analysis counsellor. Find out more by visiting counselling-directory.org.uk happiful.com | Issue 63 | 15

A mindful moment:

stargazing Writing | Rebecca Thair


ocusing on the night sky, and twinkling stars above, you can’t help but be captivated by the present moment. This mindful activity can help us gain a sense of perspective and compassion, as we consider the bigger picture and the part we have to play in it all. Knowing there are so many people out there, all looking up at the same sky, can provide us with a deeper connection and help to minimise our personal worries and woes. And, from a scientific standpoint, being away from artificial light can support better sleep, and reduce anxiety. There are so many reasons to draw your gaze upwards

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and bask in the starlight, so why not start tonight? Take a blanket and wrap up warm, the magic of the night sky awaits…

Enjoy the moment. Whether

there’s traffic noise, or lots of cloud, giving yourself some time – and space – to take it all in and really notice your surroundings has positive benefits, even if the sky isn’t crystal clear.

Let your mind wander. Allow

your thoughts to come and go freely as you gaze up, noticing the pattern of your breath, and any tension in your body melting away. Wonder at the world

around you, and know that you’re a part of something bigger.

Can you spot any

constellations? If you’re looking for a way to engage kids, or to give yourself a focus, you could bring an astronomy book, or print off a few key formations to search for.

Times of change. As you take

in the stars, what movement do you notice? Are clouds gently passing by? What phase is the moon in tonight? Can you see any stars twinkling? If you enjoy this pastime, you may want to recall previous nights, and marvel at how varied the night sky can be.

looking forward

Growing older with joy Negative attitudes towards ageing and death could spoil the full enjoyment of your later years. It’s time to confront the taboos and look for the positives… wrinkles and all! Writing | Kate Orson


n our culture, youth – having perfect, wrinkle-free skin, being cool, and fashionable – is celebrated. Absorbing these cultural messages can lead us to feel worried, stressed, or sad about ageing. As soon as we see the first blemish, we may start trying to fix it. We may colour our hair, or do whatever we can to hide the signs for as long as possible. Yet, no matter what we do, deep down we all know that growing older is inevitable. Negative attitudes towards age are common in Western societies. The World Values Survey, analysed by the World Health Organisation, looked at attitudes towards the elderly

in all age groups, and found that the lowest levels of respect were reported in high income countries. We may have subconscious negative beliefs about ageing that are not only hurtful to others, but can impact our own wellbeing, too. Research published in The Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences found that people with a negative view towards ageing report lower levels of life satisfaction. They are

also more likely to be hospitalised or to die young. What can we learn from cultures that do value the elderly? Ancient civilisations, like the pagans, worshipped a triple goddess. They recognised three different life stages of women – the maiden, the mother and the crone. The crone was the last stage, after menopause. The crone represents wisdom and counsel, valuable skills that are of huge benefit to the young. >>> happiful.com | Issue 63 | 17

Later life is far from unproductive, but is a time when the opportunity to slow down and consider life can make choices and actions more meaningful and rewarding According to therapist Dr Linda E Savage, author of Reclaiming Goddess Sexuality, the crone years are a time of “giving back to society the cumulative wisdom of the years. Many women have an urge to speak out, to organise others. It is often crone energy that leads to changes being made in society. As the crone woman moves further into her life path, she feels the urge to teach others and to cultivate her passions. It can be the most productive time in women’s lives.” Another more positive impression of the elderly is found in Native American cultures. Older generations are respected, and known as the ‘wisdom keepers’. It is typical for elders to receive people’s full attention when they speak. Wrinkles and stretch marks are seen as signs of wisdom, rather than flaws. As people get older, they may experience a slowing down, a reassessment of values and ways of living. However, this doesn’t mean that they lose their usefulness as human beings. Far from it. With more time to focus on what matters, people can 18 | Issue 63 | happiful.com

hone their purpose, and spend time doing what brings them joy. In the book Our Wisdom Years: Growing Older with Joy, Fulfilment, Resilience and No Regrets, psychologist Charles Garfield tells how a hip injury forced him to slow down and reassess his values. After a lifetime of achievement and constant busyness, his injury allowed him more time for reflection. Garfield considers the later years of life to be ones in which the elderly can listen to their calling – something they’ve always wanted to do, but hadn’t had the time before.

Later life is far from unproductive, but is a time when the opportunity to slow down and consider life can make choices and actions more meaningful and rewarding. Instead of considering old age to be dominated by body and mind falling apart, Garfield sees it as the time when the ‘fruit’ of our being ripens. He says: “What happens next, after the flowers are gone, is the point of it all. The fruit within us ripens invisibly then; the sweet essence of ourselves that we’re here to cultivate at this time of life. Our goal now isn’t

looking forward

achievement or success for its own sake. It’s to tend to this fruit, our wisdom, our fascinations, our kindness.” A positive attitude towards our later years, can allow the self to come into full fruition. However, the body’s deterioration may be a reminder that death is always drawing closer, and part of the problem may be Western attitudes towards it. We tend to think of it as something taboo that we shouldn’t talk about. Avoiding talking about death can mean that negative feelings prevent us from enjoying the later years to the fullest. There is much inspiration we can take from other cultures’ attitudes towards ageing and dying. In This Party’s Dead: Grief, Spilled Joy, and Spilled Rum at the World’s Death Festivals, author Erica Buist processes her father-in-law’s sudden death by visiting death festivals around the world. Buist found that this way of carving out time on a yearly basis helped people to deal with their feelings around the death of loved ones, and their own mortality. Death was seen less as something to

avoid, and more as a natural process. In the UK we may not have death festivals, but we do have Death Cafés. This global movement was set up to break the taboo around death by inviting people to get together to drink tea, eat cake, and discuss death. “To share a fear is to remove its power,” says Kate Brassington, organiser of a Death Café in Portland, Oregon. Taking some time to talk, to connect, to focus on others, can mean that fear of death doesn’t have to get in the way of your last years of enjoying life. You can find local death cafes on deathcafe.com, or set one up if there isn’t one in your area. Taking some time to reflect on your own attitudes towards ageing and dying can help you release any subconscious prejudices, and allow you to honour the real process of growing older. You could journal about your attitudes. How do you relate to the elderly around you? What subconscious beliefs may you be holding about your own ageing? How might growing

older be framed in a different light? Just writing your thoughts can help you access your inner wisdom, and make a shift in perspective. You could look around for books, movies, or TV programmes that have a more positive view of growing older. Examples include the Netflix series Grace and Frankie, which follows two women starting over in old age, or the movie Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, in which all the main characters are older adults. Both these are comedies, and humour can be a wonderful way to laugh away the taboo of ageing and dying. With a little attention to your own attitudes towards ageing and death, you may soon start to feel more joyful about it. You can enjoy the benefits of slowing down, and having the time to truly grow into yourself. Perhaps one of the biggest lies of our culture is that our younger years are the happiest. I suspect that, actually, we are hiding a big secret – that the later years are the ones where we get to grow into our innate, joyful natures. happiful.com | Issue 63 | 19

What to do on the really bad days For those times, when even the simple things feel impossible, try this Writing | Kathryn Wheeler Illustrating | Rosan Magar


ood and bad mental health days are something many of us will cycle through at some point in our lives, and, usually, we have strategies in place to keep on going about our daily routines. But, when things get really bad, those usual strategies can feel out of reach, and the thought of doing anything can feel overwhelming.

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When that happens, show yourself compassion, and try these four, basic steps for taking care of yourself.

1. Take time off work In the UK, there is no legal difference between taking a sick day for a mental health problem, and taking a day off for a physical problem – and the process of arranging a mental health day is

just the same; you simply need to follow your workplace’s usual sick day policy. Legally, you don’t have to tell your workplace why you’re off sick, and a doctor’s note will usually not include any sensitive information. However, if you are comfortable speaking to your manager or HR about what you’re going through, it may help them understand how they


can better support you on your return to work.

2. Basic hygiene Letting personal hygiene fall by the wayside is a very common side-effect of mental illnesses like depression, PTSD, and sensory processing disorders. Even among those without a specific condition, habits and routines that might normally be second nature can slip down the priority list. Of course, feeling better is never as simple as just taking a shower and washing it all away – but taking care of yourself on the outside can make a difference to how you’re feeling on the inside. Think about all the things you would usually do when you’re feeling better (i.e. taking a shower, putting on deodorant, washing your face, brushing your teeth). If that feels overwhelming, or if the thought of having to do all of it puts you off altogether, try to just do one thing, and see how you go from there.

3. Stay hydrated When we’re dehydrated, our bodies start to shut down – and when you consider how mental health problems are caused by brain activity, and dehydration causes our brain functions to slow down, it’s easy to see how the two are linked.

The best way to get into habits is to remove all barriers to achieving them, so try to make sure that you have a bottle of water near you that you can take sips from throughout the day. Alternatively, suck on ice cubes, have some fruit juice or herbal or green tea, or set regular reminders on your phone to pour yourself a glass of water if you’re prone to forgetting.

If you’re working with a mental health professional already, now’s the time to reach out 4. Get some fresh air ‘Fresh air and exercise’ is a common recommendation for good physical health, and mental health is just the same. Numerous studies have linked spending time in nature to an improvement in wellbeing, and breathing in oxygen-rich air is invariably going to support our brain function. Of course, on the really bad days, when energy is a finite resource, setting off on a 5K hike probably isn’t realistic. But if you can get outside, give it a go. If not, airing out your home

If you are in crisis and are concerned for your own safety, call 999, or go to A&E by opening some windows can help get some fresh air inside, or even just stepping outside for a few minutes and practising some deep, slow breathing can help ground you a little.

5. Reach out to your support system If you’re working with a mental health professional already, now’s the time to reach out to let them know you’re struggling – they might be able to offer you an additional session, or point you in the right direction to access more help. If you’re not at that stage yet, try contacting someone you trust. Remember, you can go into as much or as little detail as you feel comfortable with. Even a text saying: ‘I’m having a hard time today, can we talk?’ can set you off on the right course. Another option is to reach out to the numerous free support lines that are available to you. You can call Samaritans on 116 123. Many services also offer live chats, email contact, and textlines, if you’re more comfortable speaking that way. Turn to p7 to find more details of where to get help, or visit happiful.com/whereto-get-help happiful.com | Issue 63 | 21

Back to basics

Taking care of yourself and finding a moment for mindfulness isn’t always easy, even for those who’ve practised it for years. Here, columnist Grace Victory shares her own struggles to refill her cup, and offers four simple ways to bring mindfulness into your everyday life – even when it’s tough Writing | Grace Victory


t’s actually ironic that I’m sitting here writing this piece when my own everyday mindfulness practices are the worst they’ve been in years. I just can’t seem to find my flow or motivation. Life is fullon right now, with big personal things (and some professional), so I know I need to find pockets of peace to benefit my overall health, but it just feels too hard. I barely get a chance to pee by myself at the moment, and any ‘alone time’ I’m lucky enough to find, I sleep, put on some washing, or cry due to feeling stressed. It’s a vicious cycle I’ve been in for a while, and I guess potentially the result of prioritising the wrong things and giving too much of myself to everyone – except myself. I know this, yet I’m still here?! I know the washing can wait, the vacuuming doesn’t have to be done right now, and I can cancel dinner for the second time with my friend because my toddler is teething, but the shame and lack of control over my life takes over.

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Maybe a part of me still wants to have it all. Maybe a part of me is still grieving pieces of my life before I became a parent. Maybe a part of me wants to be a little bit more selfish, but recognises just how much her tiny human needs her. I’m mindful of my thought patterns right now. They are darker than usual, and, if I’m honest, I spend a lot of my days trying not to spiral into a black hole that I don’t have the energy to crawl back out of. Previously, I relied heavily on rituals and spiritual practices that kept me grounded and afloat at the same time, but lately… I can’t seem to grasp them (mainly due to a lack of time, and mental and physical capacity). The healing treatments, holistic methods, and wholesome things I used to do just don’t feel like ‘me’ any more. There’s a disconnect from the way I used to practise mindfulness and, all in all, I am struggling – and I’m saying this in the hope that someone else

reading this month’s column will be able to relate, and maybe feel less alone? Because writing this, I too, feel extremely alone. Not to be a total Debbie Downer though, I have mustered up the strength to put together four small-but-mighty ways we (together) can practise mindfulness in our everyday lives. Whether you’re a tired single parent, a stressed out university student, or a person who has yet to find their way with mindfulness, I hope this list helps in some way, and can be applied to your own lives. 1. Take 10 big, deep breaths when you’re having a wee. Honestly, there are days where the toilet becomes my safe space, and the only place I can get a minute of peace. We all have to use the bathroom, so let’s take relieving our bladders as a chance to relieve some tension and connect to ourselves, even if it’s just for a moment.

@GRACEFVICTORY breathing – which is a great tip if you experience anxiety. Drink, drink, drink! 4. Feel your feet underneath you. This is a great grounding technique to bring you into the present moment. So many of our anxious thoughts are rooted in the past or in the future, but if we are able to just be in the moment more often than not, then we are more likely to feel a sense of calm and peace. Ask yourself: what does the ground feel like? How does your body feel? Close your eyes, and describe what you can smell. Can you hear anything? Connecting to your senses and focusing on where you are, enables you to feel more balanced.

2. Allow yourself a five-minute stretch. It could be before or after the washing up, as your kid independently plays for a few minutes, or in the morning (set your alarm a couple of minutes early if you need to), but take five to check in with your body, and feel where you are holding stress, or negative thoughts. Our bodies keep the score of how our mental health is doing, so it’s important to be aware of the energy it’s

holding. Stretch into those muscles and let shit go. 3. Nourish your body. Our wellbeing benefits so much from taking daily vitamins and supplements for our individual needs. Talk to a professional about what vitamins might work for you, so that you are giving your body what it needs. Take them with a big, big, big glass of water to stay hydrated, but to also regulate your

Essentially: strip things back, and tap into the basics. If medical trauma and motherhood has taught me anything, it’s that sometimes the bare minimum is enough. We don’t always have the privilege of indulging in lavish ways to improve how we feel in our day-to-day lives, but small things can impact us over time, and when we have the resources and energy to implement more advanced techniques, we can. I’m with you. Let’s shake off the dense and heaviness together! I’m manifesting us all a better month.

Love Grace x

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Dreams are illustrations… from the book your soul is writing about you MARSHA NORMAN Photography | Dynamic Wang

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looking forward

How to develop a

growth mindset

If you find yourself saying ‘I can’t’ more than ‘I can’, getting clammy hands at the thought of a different direction in the workplace, or marvelling at the abilities of others around you while berating your own skills, it might be time to consider adjusting your mindset… Writing | Lucy Donoughue


’m sure I’m not the only person who, when faced with a completely new and seemingly daunting direction at work or in my personal life, feels cold fear flood through my veins. In recent months, I’ve encountered this sensation many times, as I’ve started to produce videos for Happiful – something I have very little previous experience of. As a result, my imposter syndrome, fear of failure, and discomfort, has been at an all-time high as I’ve waded through editing tutorials, tried to understand YouTube algorithms, and repeatedly faced my own image on the screen (not an easy task with a pesky inner critic ever-present on my shoulder). “What an amazing opportunity to learn another skill!” my friend Becky says, smiling, when I tell her what I’m up to over coffee. Her response is positive,

immediate, and in no way trying to mollify me, as I haven’t yet uttered the words: “It’s just so out of my comfort zone.” I’m pleasantly taken aback and curious about the difference in our viewpoints. While trying to work on my own misgivings, I come to understand that Becky’s response (and her demeanour in general) is indicative of someone with a ‘growth mindset’, and I believe that I’m predisposed to wandering over to the ‘fixed mindset’ side of the street a bit more regularly than I’d like. So what can I do to change that, and is it even possible to? Transformative coach Ali McNab believes that the transition from fixed to growth is indeed possible, and it all begins with an understanding of what those phrases really mean, and how they play out for us.

“This terminology was derived from the works of American psychologist Carol Dweck, who has written many books on the subject, having studied human development and personality,” Ali explains. “The theory looks at the way we believe in, or perceive, our intelligence and abilities, and the impact this has on our behaviours, and how we respond to challenges and opportunities to learn.” Ali says that having a fixed mindset, in particular, can hold us back from evolving and expanding our skills. “With a fixed mindset we believe that our intelligence and abilities are static; we have a set amount and that’s it. We think our successes are due to a natural ability, and it can’t be grown or changed. We believe that we can either do something, or we can’t do something, and nothing can change that.” >>> happiful.com | Issue 63 | 25

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A fear of failure, and avoidance of challenges that are outside our comfort zone, can come hand in hand with a fixed mindset

A fear of failure, and avoidance of challenges that are outside our comfort zone, can come hand in hand with a fixed mindset, due to the fact that we might be scared of making mistakes or looking stupid. People operating from a fixed mindset may also give up more easily, see effort as pointless, and shy away from feedback. This mindset can negatively impact how we perceive other people, too. “If we believe that our intelligence can’t grow, then we’re more likely to be threatened by the success of others,” Ali notes. “We see them doing things that we could never do, or be capable of. Ultimately, all of these factors suggest that if we’re operating from a fixed mindset, then we’re less likely to achieve our full potential.” Adopting a growth mindset however, can be a gamechanger. “Carol Dweck asserts that this mindset can enable us to live a less stressful and more successful life, as we learn to cope with challenges and actively look for opportunities for learning and growth,” Ali says. “Those with a growth mindset do not believe that their intelligence and abilities are fixed, and by putting in effort, training, and learning from mistakes, they can get better at most things. They embrace challenges, and persist to overcome them.”

looking forward

With this frame of mind, the receipt of feedback becomes an opportunity to learn and grow, and it’s embraced. Other people’s success will be a source of inspiration, rather than a reason that we might not be able to achieve the same (or more). Those operating from a growth mindset are more likely, Ali notes, to fulfil their potential. The benefits of a growth mindset are clear, but Ali is keen to point out that this mindset theory is not as definitive as it may first appear. “It sounds very black and white – either fixed or growth – but it’s not that cut and dried,” she says, reassuringly. ‘We’re likely to see both mindsets playing out in different areas of our lives in different ways. “For example, we may have a really fixed mindset when it comes to our sporting abilities, and a growth mindset around our academic abilities. So we might be prepared to put in effort to pass our exams, but when faced with catching a ball on the sports field, we simply believe that we can’t achieve it. “Often the fixed mindset will also come into play for us all in times of great stress or anxiety,” Ali adds. “So when we’re nervous, worried, or under pressure, that will be when we veer towards the ‘I can’t do this’ state.”

Bearing all these factors in mind, I’m still keen to know if a transition from predominantly fixed to growth is possible, and Ali has good news – with a caveat. “It’s absolutely possible to cultivate a growth mindset,” she says. “It’s not easy though. Mindsets are informed by our internal belief system, and the views we hold about ourselves. Those can be very well embedded through our past experiences, and what we’re told and hear as we grow up.” While there’s a lot of layers to our inner belief system, Ali says we can help ourselves by challenging negative self-talk. “If we find ourselves using language like ‘I always do that’, or ‘I’ll never be able to do that!’, or if our default is to think that we did something wrong so we must be stupid or a failure, then we’re installing these patterns in our thinking that may not be true.” Increasing awareness of your own behavioural patterns, can be hugely helpful in cultivating a growth mindset, and Ali has three great steps to start you off. “Journaling is a great tool,” she says. “Firstly, notice and write about the triggers that put you in a growth or fixed mindset, what activities or scenarios make you happy, nervous, fearful, and curious. Then, once you’ve identified your triggers, pay

attention to what your internal narrative is, and where you’re using language like ‘never’ and ‘can’t’. Replace that with a more positive narrative like ‘I can’t do that yet, but with time, practice, and training I can.’ “Finally, if you’re putting in effort and nothing is changing, then look at your strategies and resources. It might be that the effort you’re putting in is not aligning to how you learn. Just doing the same thing over again is a fixed mindset, so consider if you could be doing things in a different way.” It all comes down to adopting a position of curiosity, and opening ourselves up to opportunities that we may previously have closed the door on. Pursuing a growth mindset is a chance to embrace change, and explore what’s beyond our comfort zone – who knows what amazing new experiences we may grow to love in the process?

Ali McNab is a transformative coach, specialising in confidence and self-belief to support growth and personal development. Visit lifecoach-directory.org.uk to find out more. happiful.com | Issue 63 | 27

Ask the experts

How can I help my child eat well? Functional nutritional therapist Catherine Jeans answers your questions on child nutrition Read more about Catherine Jeans on nutritionist-resource.org.uk


My child is a fussy eater at the moment. How can I encourage them to try new foods?


Firstly, I like to reassure parents that many children go through a phase of fussy eating – usually it’s something they grow out of. Keep encouraging them to try lots of different healthy foods, and

make healthy eating the norm in your home. Create buffetstyle meals so they can pick and choose from healthy options, and always put a variety on their plate, whether they eat it or not. It depends on their age, but you could try making a game out of healthy foods – for example, who can eat the most colours of the rainbow every day? Get

them cooking with you, so they feel more confident about different foods, and encourage them to try what they’ve made. Finally, to keep nutrient levels up, sneak as much goodness as you can into family favourites – hidden grated veggies, whole grain versions of their favourite starchy foods, blended up or stewed fruit in yoghurt.

external cues from parents or carers about when they should eat, or when they are full. Try to take the emotion out of feeding your children, which I know can be hard! If they try something new or refuse food, avoid making any fuss. Just make healthy eating a normal part of life, not

something to be praised. Model healthy eating behaviour yourself, and talk about how much you’re enjoying your food, the taste of it, and why it might be good for you. Also try to avoid tempting them to eat their savoury food with the lure of a sweet treat, and avoid using ‘treat’ foods as rewards.


I’m keen to ensure my child has a healthy and happy relationship with food. How can I help with this?


It’s really important that children learn to take their food and hunger cues from within themselves, rather than

Nutritionist Resource is part of the Happiful Family | Helping you find the help you need

Catherine’s top tips for supporting children’s nutrition: 1. Never give up. I know life can get busy, and it can be hugely frustrating when your hard work with food gets thrown back at you (quite literally when it comes to toddlers at times!), but it’s so vital we carefully consider our children’s nutrition and give them the best start in life, to support optimal development and their future health. 2. Focus on what you can change. There’s not a lot you can do when your children are out of the house, so pick your battles. Do your best with the food you make at home.


I struggle to make time to cook from scratch every night. Do you have any tips for timestrapped parents?


Always cook double batches. So if you make a nutritious meal, double up so you have a second portion to freeze or for lunch the next day. Second, make a list of 10-minute meals you can whip up when you don’t have much time. My go-tos are

breakfast for dinner (e.g. eggs, beans, wholemeal toast, and chopped up carrot, cucumber, and slices of avo); lentil pasta with a sauce like pesto, and some microwaved veggies (using lentil pasta means you have plenty of protein, another option is to stir in some pre-cooked beans or chickpeas); baked potato with various toppings and chopped raw or steamed veggies. Finally, if it must be an occasional ready meal, then so be it – just add in extra veg.

3. Don’t forget the omega-3s. This is an essential nutrient I see so lacking in children’s diets, you can get either from oily fish - like sardines, salmon, and mackerel - two to three times per week, or daily portions of nuts or seeds, especially flaxseed or chia seeds. Omega-3 fats have to be consumed in the diet, and a deficiency is linked to poor cognitive function, mental health problems, poor immunity, and hormonal imbalances.

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What is greenwashing?

Getting to grips with how brands are twisting eco values for big business Writing | Rebecca Thair


e’ve all seen it: products claiming to be ‘sustainablysourced’, ‘carbon neutral’, or ‘environmentally-friendly’. But when might a seemingly positive policy actually be a bad thing? This is where greenwashing comes in, and it’s something we need to flush out. According to the World Wildlife Fund, searches for ‘sustainable’ goods have increased 71% since 2016, and as awareness of our individual impact on the planet grows, the public is placing more emphasis on corporations to do their bit, too. While this mounting pressure may have prompted some legitimately positive steps in businesses, for others, the scrutiny has led to a rise in ‘greenwashing’, AKA the easy way out. Rather than choosing to transform their whole business in order to reduce pollution, these companies put their money behind marketing campaigns intended to portray themselves and their products as being more

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environmentally friendly than they actually are. While the phrase was established in the 1980s by environmentalist Jay Westerveld, it’s gained traction in recent years as more and more people are seeing it play out, with companies using the idea of being eco-conscious as a marketing ploy to gain customers and their trust, while, in reality, their efforts to be more sustainable might be sincerely lacking. In effect, it’s style over substance; paying lip-service to how important environmental values are, without actually doing the legwork to back it up and take action.

What does greenwashing look like in the real world? You’ll undoubtedly have seen it, even if it flew under your radar – perhaps with fast fashion brands whose alleged sustainability promises couldn’t hold water, or airlines with misleading ‘low emission’ claims. But some of the most notorious examples can be seen in a L’Oreal campaign from 2019 that caused

controversy for claiming its range to be ‘vegan’, while continuing to carry out animal testing in markets such as China. Or the famous rebranding of BP in 2000 to ‘Beyond Petroleum’, changing its logo to a green and yellow sunflower, and pledging to invest in renewable energy. Yet, by 2018, clean energy was receiving a mere 3% of the company’s investments.

What are the consequences? Put simply, greenwashing stops real action from happening. It creates this misleading perception that businesses are tackling climate change, when they aren’t. If it ‘appears’ as though progress is there, the pressure to reduce pollution, or address production, sources etc. eases off, and nothing really changes. We’re at a critical time with tackling climate change, and this false front of environmental action can either delay or halt companies truly being held accountable for their impact on the planet.


How to spot greenwashing • Misleading claims or a lack of evidence. The Advertising Standards Authority is on the watch out for this: when products or services talk a big game, a key sign that it is all talk is when the brands behind them offer no evidence to support this. • Buzz words and visuals. Advertising may focus on language like ‘sustainable’, ‘green’, and ‘eco’ to present a product, and lure you in with wholesome natural imagery, with no scientific evidence to back it up. They may even have ‘green’ versions of products as a marketing gimmick. • Token gestures. Speaking of gimmicks, some companies focus their ecoadvertising energies on one section of their offerings – a ‘sustainable clothing collection’ for example – to hide or distract from the fact that change isn’t happening across the board. • Offsetting alone. Carbon offsetting is balancing out the emissions you create, typically by paying into an initiative that removes an equal amount from the atmosphere. While this sounds positive, companies can abuse the system, either by miscalculating emissions, or claiming they’re meeting certain eco targets, without actually attempting to reduce their greenhouse gas production in the first place.

• Vague explanations. If a company is making genuine efforts and fulfilling environmental pledges, it should be able to give specific details. Broad explanations can lead to misunderstandings, or misinterpretations, e.g. by saying a product is recyclable, when only part of it is.

What can you do about it? At the end of the day, governments need to take action to ensure big businesses aren’t getting away with misleading claims, or dodging their environmental responsibilities.

But the good news is that we can still make our mark. When you spot the signs of greenwashing, call it out. Comment on ads, or question brands about unsubstantiated claims. You could sign petitions, and have your say by contacting local council representatives, and voting where possible. We can also use our power as consumers; let your money do the talking. Spend it with companies genuinely trying to make a difference, and show those greenwashing that they actually need to get their hands dirty if they want to impress you. happiful.com | Issue 63 | 31

Soul-searching: the pathway to your best self Are you questioning what your next move will be? Or feeling disconnected from yourself? It might be time to do some soul-searching, and we’ve got the tips to help you on your way Writing | Kathryn Wheeler


o you ever get the feeling that there must be more than this? Perhaps in your daily life, or in whatever you’re heading towards on the horizon? Or maybe the things that used to do it for you no longer give you the pleasure they did before, or you experience tension and dissonance in an area of your life that used to flow so easily? Us humans have been obsessed with soul-searching since the first Greek philosopher got up on their soapbox; asking questions about who we really are, what our purpose is, and how we should live our lives. In 2022, it’s safe to say we’re not really any closer to a conclusive answer we can all agree on, but there’s beauty in that. When you go on a soul-searching journey, you’re going into the depths of what makes you you, and coming out with your own answers that don’t need to be signed-off by anyone

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Illustrating | Rosan Magar

else to make them legitimate – meaning the possibilities for selfgrowth are endless. “An example of a dictionary definition of ‘soul-searching’ is: ‘A long and careful examination of your thoughts and feelings, especially when you are trying to make a difficult moral decision, or thinking about something that has gone wrong,’” says life coach Alison Muir. “For me, this is too limited. Yes, often when faced with a difficult decision we will search deep within us for an answer that feels ‘right’ – which aligns with our sense of who we are, our morals, ethics, beliefs, and values. But what if those aren’t clear for you? What if you’ve lost your sense of self, purpose, or meaning? That’s what ‘soulsearching’ means to me.” Alison points to Viktor Frankl’s 1992 book Man’s Search for Meaning, where he writes: “Striving to find meaning in one’s life is the primary motivational force in man.”

“Nobody wants to feel like a stranger to themselves,” Alison says. “We seek to understand ourselves and our place in this world to know that there is a meaning to our experience, and that we matter.”

Finding your ‘why’ We all set off on these sorts of ventures starting from different places, but Alison says that she most commonly notes that people begin soul-searching when they find themselves in a position they didn’t expect to be in, or when something just feels wrong. “This may be because of choices they’ve made, which makes them question themselves,” she explains. “It could be because they’ve experienced trauma or loss, and they need to do some soulsearching to find a way through the experience. It can also occur when someone has spent the majority of their lives putting >>>


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other people’s needs ahead of their own, and as a result have ‘lost’ themselves.” Coming to the end of school or university, switching between jobs, or facing an empty nest or retirement – these feelings can touch us at any stage in our lives, but the key is to recognise them and honour them. And there’s a number of ways that you can do that…

What would a life lived true to yourself look like?

Soul-searching 101 The best thing about soulsearching is that it only really requires a bit of time, space, and focus. That said, Alison has the following recommendations: • Spend some time identifying your core values. Often the values you develop in childhood are based on what your parents, family, friends, and society valued. So, if you don’t question 34 | Issue 63 | happiful.com

whether these are still relevant to you as an adult, you can end up living ‘one step removed’ from yourself. Be curious about yourself. In her book The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, palliative nurse Bronnie Ware shares that the number one regret she heard through her work was: “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” What would a life lived true to yourself look like? Meditate and journal, as these tools help you keep perspective and explore your thoughts and feelings. Find a coach to work with who you feel comfortable with, who specialises in personal and existential coaching, and who has an explorative approach. Start a gratitude practice. Not only will this help develop your awareness of the things you feel are important, but it will help combat spiralling down into painful self-analysis.

Limitless opportunities As is so often the case, it can be easy to expect everything at

once – and why wouldn’t you? If we could all snap our fingers and make everything all right, our lives really would be a lot easier. Sadly, that’s not the world we live in, and Alison cautions us not to put limiting timescales on what is often a life-long journey. She explains that it can be easy to let your inner critic run riot, stopping you in your tracks, and leaving you lost and disheartened. So, take some quiet time to yourself, block out the selfdoubt and distractions, and tune-in to your hopes, needs, and desires, because, in Alison’s words, the soul speaks quietly.

Alison Muir is a transformative coach who helps introverted leaders and business owners succeed in a way that feels right for them. Find out more by visiting lifecoach-directory.org.uk


How to reinvent your morning as a parent Whether it’s starting your day at 5am, or fitting in a workout before breakfast, we’re all well-versed in the best daily habits for getting your morning off to a great start. And while the advice might be well-intended, unfortunately it’s just not always realistic for busy parents. So, how can you reinvent your morning while taking care of small humans, too? Writing | Jenna Farmer


or many parents, the morning is the most stressful part of the day – whether that’s due to a rush to drop children off at childcare, negotiating breakfast with a toddler who just threw their toast on the floor, or trying to function on a few hours of broken sleep. Establishing routines as a family is actually really important; family routines have been linked to social skills and academic success. But, with busy lives, mornings can also help you carve out some important time for the day ahead.

The sticking point is that, all too often, the suggestions we read don’t seem feasible when caring for small children. After all, how are we supposed to do a workout or make a smoothie with a twoyear-old glued to our hip? The good news is there are some simple changes you can make to reinvent your morning routine as a parent – here are some of our top tips.

1. Get up before your children We know what you’re thinking: your children already have you rising early, but, when their sleep is in a routine, try setting

your alarm clock just 10 minutes before you know they’ll stir, to help start the day with calm rather than chaos. Use that time however you’d like: to make a todo list for the day ahead; to catch up on the news; to have a shower in peace; or to finally drink a cup of tea before it gets cold. “If you can create some time for yourself to wake up before your children, then that’s great and can be really helpful,” says psychotherapist Sophie Harris. “However, there will likely be many times that this doesn’t happen for various factors. If this is the case, don’t beat yourself up.” >>> happiful.com | Issue 63 | 35

2. Get the kids involved Many things on our morning to-do list don’t seem achievable when looking after children, leading us to start our day with a feeling of missing out. But can you get the kids involved? If you’re determined to start the day with exercise, there are workouts that can be done safely when wearing your baby or, for toddlers and preschoolers, head to YouTube – they’ll love the Hey Duggee Joe Wicks series, which means you can exercise alongside them while they burn off energy. This can apply for other things too; get the whole family out to walk the dog or, for slightly older children, involve them in simple chores and making breakfast.

3. Prep the night before “If you have somewhere to be, organise your things the night before where possible,” Sophie suggests. “This can help reduce the overwhelming feeling that may come from busy mornings.” Of course, when the house is finally quiet, the last thing you want to do is delve into chores, but it may be worth using evenings for prepping. Breakfast is an easy one; overnight oats 36 | Issue 63 | happiful.com

take seconds and can be grabbed from the fridge first thing. Go through the nursery and school bags the night before as well, to avoid any last minute ‘Where’s my…?’ dramas the next day.

4. Be realistic For new parents, adapting to change can be hard, but remember that what you achieved in the morning prebaby probably isn’t realistic now you are a parent. After all, it was easy to make green smoothies from scratch when you weren’t responsible for a whole new human! Set simple goals, let the small stuff go (if you need to bribe kids with screen time to have your coffee in peace then so be it!), and realise it won’t always be like this.

“Hold in mind that this is all just a chapter. Although times may feel hard, nothing lasts forever. Give yourself compassion,” adds Sophie Harris.

5. Subscribe to happy post One of the few adult interactions we get first thing in the day is the postman. So why not set an intention to treat yourself to some happy post to make sure you always get your day off to the best start? Subscription boxes are a great way to do this. We love Tassie Club, a subscription box specifically focused on helping busy mums prioritise their wellbeing with a book, self-care goodies, and a group chat community with morning gratitude prompts and check-ins.


6. Make your bedroom your happy place If you’re going to be woken up at the crack of dawn, you might as well make your bedroom the most relaxing place to be, to help boost your mood from the second you open your eyes. “Make your bedroom somewhere that is nice to wake up to,” advises Sophie. “Consider treating yourself to comfortable bed sheets, or other small luxury items, like soft towels. These little treats can act as selfcare to yourself in busy moments.” Treat yourself to items that can make that bedroom-to-kitchen transition easier too, such as a gorgeous coffee mug for that first morning brew, or fancy cereal. Who knows, it may even get you through being woken up at 5am?

7. Weave in moments of gratitude It can be hard to do when we’re bleary eyed, but gratitude does make a difference. A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology actually found that those who wrote about gratitude for 10 weeks felt better about their lives. The good news is this practice doesn’t have to involve lengthy

journaling if you haven’t got the time – simply thinking of a few things you’re grateful for while enjoying a cuppa could help.

Hold in mind that this is all just a chapter. Although times may feel hard, nothing lasts forever “Try to think of what you are grateful for upon waking. This can help to create a mindset shift to start the day,” adds Sophie. If you need some inspiration, we love LSW Mind Cards: New Mum Edition (lswmindcards.com), which are specifically designed to help you look after yourself during the early stages of motherhood.

have children to take care of, but Sophie reinforces the importance of this: “Try to place your own needs as equally important to your children’s – make time to eat a nutritious breakfast, or put on clothes to make you feel good.”

Not everyone is a morning person, and that’s OK! While we can’t promise you’ll jump out of bed full of energy and gratitude every morning, putting in place some of our simple tips may make a real difference to how you and your family begin your day. Jenna Farmer is a freelance journalist who specialises in perinatal mental health, and gut health. She has Crohn’s disease, and blogs at abalancedbelly.co.uk

8. Don’t fall down the priority list You’ve factored in feeding the baby, sorting clothes, and packing bags, but what about you? It’s natural to not focus on yourself in the morning when you

Sophie Harris is a perinatal cognitive behavioural therapist (CBT) and coach. Find out more and get in touch via counselling-directory.org.uk happiful.com | Issue 63 | 37

How to talk to your employer about ADHD Get the support you need and celebrate your unique strengths


Writing | Emma Johnson

alking about neurodiversity in the workplace may initially feel a little daunting, however building up a successful channel of communication with your employer provides you with support and understanding to succeed in a challenging work environment. But, while it can be hard to adapt to set structures and schedules, it’s important

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Illustrating | Rosan Magar

to remember that ADHD brings numerous strengths and refreshing perspectives into your new role. Starting the conversation about ADHD and your career can be done comprehensively and effectively by covering each of the following topics. It is important to remember that your employer will also benefit from this, as adapting certain things

to work to your strengths will improve your productivity and wellbeing. Keeping someone with ADHD engaged and challenged will usually mean results above and beyond expectations.

1. Give a brief overview and bust some stereotypes Working in customer service for a decade has highlighted to me the lack of training for direct


and line managers with regards to neurodiversity and mental health. Therefore, in some cases, a brief overview of ADHD may be necessary. Prioritise information on symptoms that will affect your dayto-day tasks. Explain the challenges your workplace presents, and what you can put in place to help you succeed. Many people will not associate ADHD with adults, and therefore may need some context and a brief explanation on how it differs from childhood symptoms. Writing a list of things that you’d like to include prior to this discussion is a great way to guarantee you don’t forget anything important, and can aid in feeling less overwhelmed.

2. Explain how your employer can help Give a clear overview of the adjustments you need to accommodate you, and an explanation of why. Remember, under the UK Equality Act 2010, you are entitled to reasonable adjustments to your workplace. For example, for people working in retail or customer service settings, this may be a change of task, including switching to something with less customer interaction for a shift, or even a few hours. Small changes to how you work can increase your productivity, and ensure you’re working to the best of your ability while avoiding over/understimulation. Conjuring unique perspectives comes naturally with ADHD, and you may well suggest something that helps the whole team!

3. Share triggers and consequential reactions Adult ADHD isn’t talked about enough, and is greeted with many misconceptions. When talking to your employer give examples of common triggers, such as: • Loud or repetitive noises • Repetitive tasks over long periods of time Explain the consequences of ignoring these, such as: • Anxiety attacks • Irritability • Fatigue

While ADHD does present challenges in the workplace, it can also bring many unique skills, perspectives, and advantages to any role Giving on-the-job context like this is the best way to give people the tools to adapt tasks, play to your strengths, and help if you’re having a hard time. Remember, they can’t help you effectively if you don’t tell them how.

4. Try continuous communication The most important part of working with someone to ensure a safe and comfortable work environment is continuous communication. Organising a ‘check-in session’ with your employer at regular intervals

is a great way to make certain that you both stay on the same page. Pre-planning these means any changes or concerns can be regularly addressed. Monthly or quarterly ‘check-ins’ guarantee you don’t forget, or put off, scheduling time to communicate.

5. Don’t forget the positives! While ADHD does present challenges in the workplace, it can also bring many unique skills, perspectives, and advantages to any role. It is important to communicate these as well, to really give a well-rounded picture of neurodivergence, and give an accurate representation of yourself. Having ADHD has personally equipped me with great people skills, unique problem-solving ideas, and a creative flair for product merchandising. Feeling comfortable in your workplace, and being given an equal opportunity to succeed, is everyone’s right. If you feel you aren’t receiving the support you need after feeding back to your employer, you should seek advice from your HR representative. Ultimately, it is your decision on how much you feel the need to disclose to your employer. You have the right to privacy, and sometimes explaining yourself can feel disconcerting, or overwhelming. Nevertheless, neurodiversity is something to be celebrated, and the majority of colleagues and workplaces are welcoming, supportive, and appreciative of the unique qualities you have to offer. happiful.com | Issue 63 | 39

Every achievement, big or small, begins in your mind MARY KAY ASH Photography | Anna Sullivan

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8 myths about schizophrenia


Few people really understand this severe mental health condition – and the stigma attached to schizophrenia remains so great that the illness itself is often used as a throwaway insult! Here we demolish the untruths surrounding a disorder that affects millions worldwide Writing | Erica Crompton


e’ve all felt paranoia at some point in our lives, those days when it feels that even the plants are out to get us. We’ve all suffered from delusions, too, whether it’s the teen musician hoping to be the next superstar, or the school crush where love is unrequited. We all know how unpleasant these fleeting blows are, yet for those of us diagnosed with schizophrenia, delusions and paranoia are the daily treadmill we walk on. I was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 2009, after a hospitalisation. It may surprise you that I, too, wasn’t immune to the myths and misunderstandings about this illness, and didn’t know what to expect. But, over time, I came to read up about the condition and get more savvy. Simply put, schizophrenia is a severe mental illness where

people experience psychosis for the longer term. People with schizophrenia often lose touch with reality, see visions, hear voices, or experience delusions. Sometimes, the stigma of schizophrenia is worse than a good day actually living with it. I’ve lost friends, and can count quite a few people who are scared of me. Of course, this is completely unjustified – schizophrenia can be treated with antipsychotic


medication, and managed as an outpatient by a mental health community team. With this care in place, people diagnosed with schizophrenia can go on to be re-diagnosed with less severe conditions, hold down jobs and relationships, and live meaningful lives. So, in case you missed the memo, here are eight myths about schizophrenia that are simply untrue:

MYTH: People with schizophrenia are violent

Research has established that people with schizophrenia are more likely to be victims of crime, rather than perpetrators. Sadly, the public’s prejudices will continue, as the media still chooses to report the rare incidences where a person unwell with schizophrenia has committed a crime. For most people experiencing symptoms of schizophrenia, the experience itself is terrifying, so it seems ironic the terror the diagnosis can provoke in some people. >>>

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MYTH: Having schizophrenia means you’re a bad person

We’ve all seen on Twitter, or heard down the pub, people speculating that someone has some sort of schizophrenia – and it’s not a description that’s intended to be flattering. You wouldn’t use ‘cancer-sufferer’ or ‘wheelchair-user’ as a derogatory comment to insult others, so why use schizophrenia? Another prime example of stigma I’ve experienced is feeling like I’m not always being listened to or heard by medical professionals. For example, if they ask if we’re feeling suicidal, and in our notes, if we’ve said no, they write: “Denies feeling suicidal.” It can feel like we’re not believed when we say we’re doing OK.

MYTH: Schizophrenia means split personality or multiple personalities


Mental health writer and speaker, Cara Lisette, says: “One thing that I still see a lot is referring to schizophrenia as a ‘split personality’, which is a myth that’s been around for longer than I’ve been alive, and seems to be persisting.” This resonates with me and other people diagnosed with schizophrenia. It possibly stems from the term’s Latin meaning: schizophrenia literally means ‘splitting of the mind’. However, having split or multiple personalities isn’t true of people with schizophrenia. Instead, it’s much more likely that a person will hold delusions, false beliefs, hear voices, or hallucinate (the experience of schizophrenia varies wildly from person to person).

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People assume, because they don’t know someone who has schizophrenia, that it’s rare – but one in 100 people will have been diagnosed


MYTH: Schizophrenia is rare

People assume, because they don’t know someone who has schizophrenia, that it’s rare – but one in 100 people will have been diagnosed. It’s more likely to be true that a handful of your Facebook friends have this condition, or someone at your workplace, or on your street. The chances are that they’ve kept it concealed, and continue to do so, due to stigma.

MYTH: People with schizophrenia can ‘think past it’ or ‘ignore thoughts’


Being told to ‘ignore thoughts’ as if they’ll just go away is annoying, yet not uncommon. It’s a similar adage to believing someone with schizophrenia can ‘just snap out of it’ or ‘pullup their socks’. The brain is an extremely complex organ, and scientists are still learning things about it. To think schizophrenia is as simple to overcome as ignoring thoughts or snapping out of it, denies us our suffering, and is unhelpful.

MYTH: Schizophrenia means hallucinating people


Another myth, according to people diagnosed with schizophrenia, is that sufferers hallucinate about people regularly, and think they’re real. This is how it’s often shown in films (in Donnie Darko, for example), but it’s actually quite rare. You see, schizophrenia isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ diagnosis. Some people with the diagnosis may even find their experience a positive one, though many people will see scary visions or feel distressing sensations. For me, though, I hold the fixed belief that I’m Britain’s most wanted criminal!



MYTH: Drugs cause schizophrenia

As well as dealing with an illness people use to insult others, I’ve known people to assume that my condition is due to experimental drug use in my teens. While trying cannabis as a youngster didn’t help my mental health, it was actually stress that was the real springboard for the first episode of psychosis, which eventually led to a suicide attempt before my paranoid schizophrenia diagnosis.


MYTH: People with schizophrenia never recover

Being told I had paranoid schizophrenia felt like a life sentence to me. That was more than 10 years ago, and since then I’ve been re-diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder – but that’s just one example of how things have got better. Since I was discharged from hospital, I’ve gained a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, made friends, and had two stable romantic relationships (the latest one is still going strong!). Just because I received a diagnosis of paranoid schizophrenia, doesn’t mean I can’t live a fulfilling, happy life. And you can, too.

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Flower power Indulge your senses and embrace the outdoors with these four, fun summer flower crafts that everyone can enjoy Writing | Becky Goddard-Hill


Secret Messages

ature bursts to life in summer, and is abundant with colour, texture, and fragrance – a sensory delight. We can harness this power to awaken all our senses through crafting with flowers, and children will love to join in! Here, we look at four beautiful, summer flower crafts that celebrate the season, and make the most of fallen flowers.

Did you know that you can write secret messages with dandelions? The trick is that dandelion stems contain sap. This is clear while it’s wet, but turns brown when it dries, so you can use it to write secret messages. You will need: • A dandelion • A piece of paper

Finding flowers to craft with Flower crafts are a delight, but you must be mindful where you source your flowers. If you don’t have an abundance of fallen flowers, or an excess of homegrown flowers to pick from, then you can always buy a seasonal bouquet, and when done, repurpose the flowers into a craft instead of throwing them away.

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Dandelions flower from May right through to October. Picking the flower will not kill the plant as it stores up energy in the roots, enabling it to regrow. People tend to think of them as weeds, but insects love them, so do only pick where they are in plentiful supply.

Method: 1. Pick a dandelion flower at the base of the stalk, where it meets the plant. You should be able to see sap at the end of the stem. 2. Hold the stalk like a pencil, and use the sap end to write your message on a piece of paper. 3. If your sap runs out, snap a little bit of the stem off. The new end will have more sap on it. 4. Your paper will look blank at first, but once the sap dries your message will be revealed!

positive pointers

Flower stamps

This fun technique makes for beautiful pieces of art, or gift wrap.

Flower crowns

Flower crowns are a thing of beauty, and as lovely to wear as they are fun to make. You will need: • Flowers with long stems • Leafy foliage, such as ivy • A pre-made natural willow twig wreath (optional) Method: 1. Start with two long-stemmed flowers. Give them a dip in fresh water so they will last longer. Make a slit in the stem of one with your thumbnail, and thread the other stem through. 2. Keep threading through foliage or flowers until you have a piece that’s long enough to fit around your head, then knot or twist the ends together to make a circle. 3. Once you have your basic circle, you can weave more flowers, leaves, and treasures of nature into it. 4. For an easier flower crown, use a pre-made natural willow twig wreath, and simply tuck your flowers and foliage into it.

Hapa Zome

You will need: • Paints • Flowers with large heads (like gerbera and sunflowers)

Hapa Zome is a traditional Japanese art of ‘bashing’ flowers and leaves into fabric, so their natural colours make a print. You can also use card if preferred.

Method: 1. Simply dip the flower heads into paints, and make your patterns on cloth or paper. 2. Leave to dry.

You will need: • A piece of cotton fabric (white works best), or a piece of card • Fresh flowers • Colourful leaves • A chopping board • A rolling pin

Remember: if you paint on cloth, place another piece of cloth over the top before ironing to fix it.

Method: 1. Place your fabric on top of a chopping board, and arrange the flowers and leaves face down on the side of the fabric you want to print on. Place another piece of fabric on top. 2. Use a rolling pin to gently bash the top of the fabric, so the flowers make prints. 3. Remove the top piece of fabric, and leave to dry. 4. Iron the cloth to ‘fix’ it so the colours last. You could use your prints to make a piece of art, a card, gift wrap, a flag, or even bunting.

Embrace the wonder of imperfectly perfect nature Nature crafting is messy and imperfect; there are no straight lines in nature. So relax, enjoy, soak up the scent, and revel in the colours. Nature crafting is an experience that’s far more important than the end product.

Becky Goddard-Hill is the co-author of ‘A Year of Nature Craft and Play’ – a book full of year-round nature crafting ideas (Collins, £12.99). happiful.com | Issue 63 | 45

Happiful recommends

From optical illusion cake videos to a virtual challenge across the UK, and a film that’ll inspire you to chase your dreams, try something new with our enriching suggestions Writing | Lauren Bromley-Bird


Thank someone every week We often underestimate the power of a simple ‘thank you’. We might think we’re showing our appreciation through our actions, but how often do we actually say it? Show your gratitude to your loved ones by simply writing a thank you note, or sending a text. Not only will it make them feel appreciated by you, you’ll also feel great for doing it.


PAGE-TURNERS Great TED Talks: Creativity by Tom May Never underestimate the power of a TED Talk, especially when you can access 100 of them right at your fingertips! Packed with motivational advice and lessons from TED speakers worldwide, this handy guide will inspire you to unleash your creativity and unlock your full potential. (Out now, Portico, £9.99)





‘Griefcast’ with Cariad Lloyd Coping with the loss of a loved one is one of life’s biggest challenges. While healing can take a long time, this downto-earth podcast is here to help ease the process of your grieving journey. Caraid Lloyd invites well-known comedians and other guests to talk openly about their experience with grief, and provides comfort in a time of need. (Available on all podcast platforms)


Land’s End to John O’Groats Virtual Challenge To conquer this virtual challenge, you must walk or run 874 miles, which is the same as the distance from the bottom to the top of the UK. You can track your progress and stop at any time, but what better way to motivate yourself than knowing you are planting trees as you progress? Not only that, but when you reach 50% of the way, a meal is donated to someone in need. (Visit endtoend.run for more information) 46 | Issue 63 | happiful.com



The BakeKing Award-winning cake artist Ben Cullen deliciously turns cake into everyday objects and food – and we can’t get enough of it. His lighthearted video content creates a recipe for visual trickery, and has us screaming at our phones while we watch him bite into a milk bottle or raw potato that is actually (yep, you guessed it) made out of cake. (Follow @thebakeking on TikTok)




Calculate your carbon footprint If we actually sat down and thought about how much carbon we produce, we would all be shocked. Understanding our carbon emissions and where it comes from is a powerful way to make changes to our daily routine for the protection of our planet. (Visit wwf.org.uk to calculate your carbon footprint)





Reflectly Reflectly is your daily journaling companion that uses positive psychology and CBT techniques to relieve you of stress and anxiety throughout the day. The friendly app is packed with personalised prompts and quotes, and allows you to track your thoughts and feelings over time. (Available on the App Store)



Puppy yoga Finding the motivation to exercise can be difficult, but this fun-filled class might have the solution: puppies. It involves 30 minutes of puppy yoga, and 30 minutes of cuddles, promising a paws-itively unique experience. Not only are you boosting your own wellbeing, but you’ll also be helping young pups to socialise. (Visit puppyyoga.co.uk to book)

Bloom & Glow | angelalangford.com

Tick, Tick… BOOM! If you need inspiration to chase your dreams, look no further! In tribute to the renowned playwright Jonathan Larson, the musical film captures the creative struggle of an aspiring composer. While it teaches us that it’s never too late to follow your dreams, the movie also shows us how important it is to enjoy the journey, and be in the moment. (Available on Netflix)



Angela Langford Bloom & Glow Face Oil Packed with natural ingredients, including chia seed and sea buckthorn, the beautifully smooth face oil is the perfect indulgence for the self-care day you’ve been so desperately craving. Its powerful properties help to repair, calm, and heal all skin types, leaving the skin feeling radiantly soft and rebalanced. (£20.50, angelalangford.com)

WIN! WIN A BOTTLE OF BLOOM & GLOW FACE OIL For your chance to win a bottle of Bloom & Glow Face Oil, simply email your answer to the following question to competitions@happiful.com ‘Lemon of the north’ is a nickname given to which natural ingredient? a) Sea buckthorn b) Rosehip c) Chia seed *Competition closes 21 July 2022. UK mainland and Northern Ireland only. Good luck! happiful.com | Issue 63 | 47

Adventure is out there Taking a gap year is no longer just for school-leavers or recent graduates. A ‘grown-up’ gap year can help you work out what you want in life, at any time of life Writing | Rosalind Ryan


took my first gap year when I was 19, just after sixth form. I took my second in my late 20s following a messy break-up and being made redundant. My third? My husband and I are planning to sail around the Mediterranean to celebrate a big birthday. But I’m not a permanent student or living off a trust fund; I’m part of the steadily growing trend for ‘grown-up’ gap years. Although there are no official figures for how many of us are now taking adult gap years, a quick Google reveals the explosion of travel companies aimed at older ‘gappers’. Social media is also filled with photos and updates from older generations taking a year off.

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Some of us have reached a natural break in our lives, like turning 30, 40, or 50, while others are discovering there’s more to life than the standard nine-to-five. If you’ve ever thought about taking a life break, but are put off by the thought of travelling solo surrounded by amorous A-level students, then a grownup gap year may be exactly what you need.

Why take an adult gap year? There are many different reasons to take a gap year. “You might get itchy feet, or start wondering if there’s something else out there,” says Gemma Nixon, a life coach from Durham, who’s also taken three

grown-up gap years. “You could be getting married and decide to take a longer honeymoon before you have children, or plan to take the children travelling while they’re still little.” Your desire for a gap year could also take you by surprise. Gemma says: “You might develop a sense that you’re not 100% content in your life, but you’re not sure why.” For me, my first gap year felt like a natural point at which I could take time off to backpack around South East Asia, but my second was more about helping me work out where I wanted to go next in life. “A gap year doesn’t have to ‘bookend’ parts of your life, but can offer new dimensions to it,” says Gemma. >>>

A gap year doesn’t have to ‘bookend’ parts of your life, but can offer new dimensions to it happiful.com | Issue 63 | 49

This yearning to take a different path is inspiring more of us to make the break post-pandemic. “As people have gone back into shops and offices, they realise their ‘old’ life is no longer enough,” Gemma says. “Many loved spending so much time with their family, and want to enjoy more experiences together, or they’ve decided there’s more to life and now’s the time to enjoy it.” Others may have planned for years to take a grown-up gap year. This could be after retirement, getting the all-clear after an illness, or to celebrate a 50 | Issue 63 | happiful.com

milestone event, like a significant birthday or the children leaving home.

What to do during a grown-up gap year

A gap year isn’t limited to full moon parties in Thailand, or fruit-picking in Australia – although if that sounds appealing, go for it! You could use the opportunity to explore a new career, or put more time into a creative hobby. Gemma says: “You might want to do a year-long cookery course in Italy, or follow a passion for wildlife photography in Costa Rica.”

But what if you don’t know what to do?

“Taking time off gives you the head space to think,” says Gemma. “When you don’t have to deal with the commute, getting the kids ready for school, or worrying about work, you can ask yourself some important questions.” These could be “What do I really enjoy doing?”, “Is this where I want to be in my career?”, “Am I happy where I am?” If this feels overwhelming, working with a therapist or life coach can help you to start asking the right questions.

looking forward

Taking a gap year doesn’t mean you have to go away either; there’s no rule to stop you from staying at home. If a relative becomes ill, for example, you could use your gap year to spend quality time with them. If a good friend has given birth, or is going through a divorce, you can be there for them without the usual time pressures. Or you may want your gap year to feel like one long bank holiday: lazy lie-ins, doing DIY, and inviting friends and family round for lunch. You don’t have to stick to one adult gap year, either. I try to take one every 10 years, so I never feel ‘stuck’ – emotionally or literally – in one place. As my life has changed, the things I want from a gap year have changed, too. This could be to escape, to reset, or simply go exploring. Figuring out why you want a gap year can help you plan how to spend it.

Planning your gap year

“Think very carefully about what you want to do, rather than what you think you should do,” advises Gemma. So, don’t sign up for something like a three-month cycling trip if you’re not a big fan of exercise, or feel pushed into travelling abroad if you’re a homebody at heart. On the other hand, volunteering overseas can offer some amazing opportunities you might never experience again. The key is to find out what’s motivating you to take time off, and what you

hope to gain from a gap year; it’s less about the specifics of where you go, but more about what you need to feed your soul in that particular time.

It’s less about the specifics of where you go, but more about what you need to feed your soul in that time Once you know where to go and what to do, the next step is paying for it – and this is where being an older gapper really helps. Gemma says: “If you own your home, you could take a mortgage break, or rent out your property. Work may be more understanding, too; they’ll value your years of experience and might offer you a sabbatical or unpaid leave, rather than having to quit your job.” If your employer is a national or international company, talk to them about getting a transfer, then take a few months off to discover your new location. And if you’re taking a gap year after retiring, you probably don’t have to worry about finding work while you’re away or when you get back. Despite all your planning, inevitably things might not pan

out as expected. You may decide you hate the trip after three months, or terrible weather stops you taking the route you planned. “There’s nothing wrong with saying it didn’t work out, but can you pivot that experience to your advantage?” Asks Gemma. “OK, you didn’t enjoy cooking in Italy, so can you drop the course and go travelling around the country?” It’s also worth asking yourself, ‘Is this a bad day or is it a bad trip?’ If it’s just a bad day, give yourself a pep talk and pivot the experience. When I was in Tahiti, it had been raining for days. I felt utterly miserable until I remembered: I was in Tahiti! Rather than dodging the downpours, I went snorkelling – I was wet anyway, and it turned out to be one of the best days. Whatever you choose to do, commit to making that choice. Gemma says: “There’s never a right time or a wrong time to take a gap year, but if you do it, you need to jump in with both feet.” And who knows? It could be the first step towards a new career, or a whole new you.

Gemma Nixon is a life coach helping people take control of their lives and achieve a better balance. Get in touch and find out more by visiting lifecoach-directory.org.uk happiful.com | Issue 63 | 51

Summer refreshers Treat your guests with two tasty watermelon-based recipes! Writing | VJ Hamilton 52 | Issue 63 | happiful.com


s there a better way to welcome summer than with a BBQ or gathering in the garden? Even if you prefer to spend your Saturday solo, why not treat yourself to a delightfully refreshing drink? Watermelon is the perfect summertime treat. Not only is it hydrating and delicious, but watermelon is also packed with essential nutrients. Both of these recipes can be made in advance to enjoy as a side dish or weekday lunch, or for a larger group (simply double the ingredients).

food & health

The healthy bit

Watermelon & feta salad Serves 4

Ingredients For the salad • 1 watermelon (cut into 2cm cubes) • 200g of strawberries (halved) • 1 cucumber (diced) • 200g of feta cheese, crumbled (or vegan alternative) • 5 mint leaves (chopped) For the dressing • ½ cup of red wine vinegar • 1 tsp of honey • 1 tbsp of Extra Virgin olive oil Method: • Combine the red wine vinegar, honey, and Extra Virgin olive oil. Set aside. • Add the fruits, cucumber, and crumbled feta into a large salad bowl. • Add the mint leaves and dressing. Mix everything together. • Season to taste with black pepper and Himalayan pink salt. Enjoy! Want something extra? Add a slice of toasted sourdough.

Watermelon breeze Serves 4 Ingredients • 1 watermelon (preferably seedless) • Juice of 2 limes • 5 mint leaves • 1 litre of soda water Method: • Add the watermelon and lime juice to a blender, mixing until smooth. • Pour into a large jug. If there are a few lumps, pour through a sieve to ensure the juice is as smooth as possible! • Add the mint and stir. • To serve, pour the contents into 4 cocktail glasses, topped with soda water. • Garnish with a sprig of mint.

Watermelon provides antioxidants, vitamin C, lycopene, and carotenoids – the latter having photoprotective effects to help protect your skin from sun damage. Antioxidants also help to neutralise the effects of free radicals in your body. When you have more free radicals than antioxidants, your body is in a state of oxidative stress and inflammation, so if you end up overindulging at a summer party, this nutritious watermelon juice and salad can help bring you back into balance! Another winning nutrient is citrulline, which may improve athletic performance and reduce muscle soreness after exertion, so this watermelon breeze could make a refreshing pre- or postworkout drink. Limes are packed with vitamin C, so you get an extra dose of immune-promoting goodness. Lime juice has antibacterial properties too, so it can provide that extra immunity boost. Strawberries support your immune system, eye health, and boost mood. Especially when in season, strawberries help to keep your skin refreshed due to the high amounts of vitamin C. Feta cheese makes for a deliciously creamy and salty flavour to contrast the sweetness of the watermelon. Feta is rich in the mineral phosphorus, which is vital for healthy bones. VJ Hamilton is a nutritional therapist and autoimmune expert. Find more on her profile at nutritionistresource.org.uk happiful.com | Issue 63 | 53

Colour me in!

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Illustration | Becky Johnston


What to do when you’re expecting the worst

Birth anxiety is a common experience, but it doesn’t have to rule you Writing | Kathryn Wheeler


irth anxiety is extremely common – thought to affect up to 80% of women, with a further 14% experiencing ‘tokophobia’, a severe fear of childbirth. And, if we take a minute to consider where this fear might come from, it doesn’t take long to come up with some hypotheses. “When we think about the images and perceptions of birth which flood our subconscious from early childhood, it’s no wonder labour and birth are surrounded by feelings of fear and apprehension,” says Samantha Phillis, counsellor, midwife, and hypnobirthing teacher. “Women are usually portrayed as helpless, screaming in agony, relying on another person (usually a man, like a doctor or husband) to rescue them. Normal labour and childbirth are, quite frankly, not dramatic enough to make ‘good television’.” Samantha goes on to explain how, even in supposedly ‘real’ portrayals of birth on mainstream television – One Born

Every Minute being one example – what you see on the screen is likely to have been edited to ramp up the drama. “Women are usually in the ‘lithotomy’ position (on their backs with their legs in stirrups), lots of people in the room telling them to ‘PUSH’, with a lot of noise and seemingly a considerable amount of drama.” But the consequences of this kind of culture are more sinister than simply making the whole thing look a bit unappealing. All those stories, sometimes passed down through the generations – of births gone wrong, near-misses, emergencies, accidents, and trauma – stick with us. Those stories help to continue the cycle of fear, and that fear can become self-fulfilling. “Physically, the effect of anxiety can actually increase how we experience pain,” Samantha explains. “When we are tense, we reduce the amount of oxygen flowing to our muscles (known as a state of hypoxia) which increases the experience of pain.”

She points to Grantly DickRead’s description of the ‘fear-pain-tension’ cycle in his 1921 book Childbirth Without Fear – which outlines how the more that we fear the pain of birth, the more tense we will feel and therefore the more we will experience pain. What’s more, fear can also prolong the labour, caused by the release of adrenaline when we’re frightened. “One of the most important hormones we require for labour to progress is oxytocin,” Samantha explains. “Oxytocin is a shy hormone that needs privacy, dim lights, and for you to feel safe in order to work effectively. When adrenaline is released, oxytocin is inhibited, therefore labour will slow down or even stop if women do not feel safe.” When it comes to tackling birth anxiety, Samantha has plenty of practical tips – including avoiding negative stories, reworking your mindset, and building support systems – but she also highlights how the key to having a more empowered and positive >>> happiful.com | Issue 63 | 55

If you’re supporting a pregnant person, Samantha suggests… “If you are supporting somebody who is pregnant, help them to surround themselves with positive images and stories about labour and birth. Encourage friends and family members to only share positive stories, and ask people to not share scary ones. “Be kind to your loved one. If they share their worries or concerns, listen to them and try not to minimise those fears. Remember that throughout a person's life, they have likely only heard and seen images and stories of birth which are fear-inducing, so even if you have attended hypnobirthing classes and know all the facts around birth, women and birthing people are still likely to feel apprehensive with the impending birth – so validate these feelings while also gently reminding them of what you learnt together. “When labour starts, remember the techniques you learned together in classes, and use these techniques, allowing your labouring partner to be however, and wherever, they need to be. Being supportive means trusting your partner and your partner's body, but also advocating for them if they do not feel able to advocate for themselves. Labour and childbirth can be an incredibly vulnerable, as well as empowering, time – and knowing your partner and having been on the journey together, you are the best person to be the voice for your partner if they are unable to be.”

experience is having trust in your body and your instincts. “We kind of ‘overthink’ birth, which can interfere with the labour process,” she explains. “Just like with breathing, urinating, or opening our bowels, we can do these things without thinking about them, but we can also have conscious control over them. The same applies to birth. “Think about other mammals and how they birth. Cats, dogs, horses etc., all go to a quiet place, make a nest, and birth. Sometimes they will need intervention, as will human

births, but a lot of the time they are just able to birth. Human births are slightly more complex due to how we have evolved and the shape of our pelvis, hence why women have birthed with support throughout our herstory. However, the majority of women can birth their babies when provided with a safe, supportive, private environment, whether that be at home, on a midwifeled unit, or in a hospital with doctors.” Samantha recommends looking up positive birth stories on YouTube and elsewhere on


social media – as those can give you some insight into what this might look like, and what you can expect. But she also recommends finding your tribe IRL, too. “If you attend antenatal classes, you are likely to be surrounded by like-minded people, so share stories and tips for coping in labour with each other. Hypnobirthing is a great method for ‘quietening’ our new brain (neocortex), and allowing our ancient brain to get on with the process of birth. Although the term ‘hypnobirthing’ may sound a little ‘out there’, it actually just

refers to antenatal classes which educate about pregnancy, labour, birth, and postnatal support – and includes techniques to tunein to processes your brain and body are naturally able to do.” Ultimately, no two births will ever be the same, and interventions and C-sections can be life-saving and equally positive. Through it all, if you have knowledge, choice, and trust, you’re in the best position possible. If you are finding your anxiety about birth is intruding into your thoughts on a daily basis, and you

are struggling to function due to intrusive thoughts, you may find you need more specialised support. Speak to your midwife or GP, and explore how talking therapies can help.

Samantha Phillis is a counsellor, midwife, and hypnobirthing teacher. Find out more by visiting counselling-directory.org.uk happiful.com | Issue 63 | 57

Journaling: the joy of text Bhavna Raithatha

BSc (Hons) MSc MBACP (Accred)

Bhavna is an international psychotherapist, coach, critical incidence debriefer, supervisor, and speaker who has worked with more than 17K clients in the past 25 years. Find out more by visiting counselling-directory.org.uk


hile it’s not a recent phenomenon, journaling has become a fastgrowing staple of those curious to explore their inner lives. As a psychotherapist, one of the most powerful techniques I offer clients is an invitation to journal. Many people can be apprehensive of writing at first – some may have had traumatic experiences connected with writing, for example people with dyslexia, or those from an older generation who were severely punished for being left-handed. Apprehension is absolutely understandable, however, the incredible power of using the written word to travel into the

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They say the pen is mightier than the sword, and for good reason. Seeing our innermost thoughts and feelings on the page can be a hugely beneficial thing, allowing us to express ourselves in a safe space, and process our experiences. Here, psychotherapist Bhavna explores the powerful practice of journaling, and how you can harness it, too

inner sanctum of your being is worth it. And, if it doesn’t work for you, you have lost nothing. But, if it does work, you have access to one of the most powerful self-help techniques created, for free! Writing as a form of therapy has transformed the lives of many hundreds of my clients, and myself. A page is like a wise and nonjudgemental companion, a witness to your most scared and private thoughts. Let’s look at why the act of writing (with a real pen or pencil, not a keyboard) can produce what feel like miraculous results. Our memories are stored in our brain and body as chemical signatures. As you write, an

incredible chemical reaction takes place in your brain. Those memories, made up of thoughts and feelings, are transformed in real time into words. Words that express, process, and translate what you are feeling and thinking. Sentences that describe, explore, challenge, accept, wonder, and question what is going on in your head. Words connect us to our soul, enabling us to communicate our joy, sadness, disappointments, triumphs, needs, dreams, and desires. Everything is made up of words! Now, imagine taking control of this powerful organ, the brain, and beginning to understand how it works in your life. Learning its secrets through the written word,


and seeing it come alive on the page before you; that is the magic of journaling. My clients are offered many different forms of writing as part of our work. Writing for a few minutes daily allows us to connect with ourselves. Write whatever is coming to your mind: are you worried, angry, sad, happy, or excited? Write it down. As you do this, you will begin to see patterns emerge in relation to your thinking style. Are you generally positive, glass half full? You can then take the patterns – for example feeling anxious – and write about that, asking yourself questions such as: Why do I feel anxious? Where does it come from? When did it start? Why is it present in my life? Is it

your ‘stuff’? If not, whose is it, and what keeps it there? Remember, if the process gets overwhelming, you can simply put your pen down and get some fresh air. Therapeutic journaling will bring up sadness, along with difficult emotions including anger, grief, and regret. This is absolutely natural, and it enables us to face and process these feelings, which is the whole point of journaling. The therapeutic benefits of writing have been repeatedly proven in numerous studies, including those by Dr James Pennebaker and his team, who significantly reduced the impact of trauma and PTSD in subjects who had found other interventions unhelpful. But

it’s important to remember that if you do experience trauma or PTSD, you should look to find a properly experienced and qualified therapist to support you. For some, writing may be the only way to express something they cannot disclose to another person. What is important is that it is being released. For example, writing unsent letters can be very powerful in telling someone how you feel about them in no uncertain terms, especially if they are deceased. My clients love this exercise, because it allows them to turn the air blue, have a good rant at a boss, parent, spouse, sibling, or friend, and then destroy it. It is a safe way to express how you feel without getting fired or into trouble. Journaling also allows us to be creative and play! When was the last time you sent or received a real hand-written letter? How amazing did you feel? Why not get some beautiful stationary and surprise your loved ones, or yourself, with a letter? I have letters from my best friend and pen-pals that date back to 1989, and I love them! Forget texting, try writing a letter. The act of writing is about taking control of our own life. It allows us to realise what kind of things we allow in our minds, and how we can create good, healthy boundaries for ourselves and others. It also helps us organise our minds, sharpen our senses, and understand how we think! As we write, we become sharper, more present, and more mindful about what is going on around us. We become more aware of who we are, and of our place in the world. Journaling allows you to meet and get to know your true self. happiful.com | Issue 63 | 59

EUPD and relationships: what you need to know Emotionally unstable personality disorder is a label that can evoke a negative response. As a result, revealing your diagnosis to a partner can be anxiety-inducing, and sometimes exacerbate the traits you live with. This is why it’s important to better understand yourself, to help forge stronger relationships Writing | Emma Flint


s the name suggests, emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUPD) involves a lot of intense fluctuations in moods and emotions. Unsurprisingly, this can often lead to difficulties forming and maintaining relationships, as you can be seen as harmful or destructive. People with EUPD’s view of the world can also be very black and white, thus creating a finality to their perspective – for example, you’ve done a bad thing, ergo you’re a bad person. Given the complexity of the disorder, alongside a general lack of knowledge in the public eye, EUPD has been demonised. Consequently, those who learn of a potential partner’s disorder may be cautious to form a relationship; they fear running foul of these ‘toxic traits’. Although relationships with someone with EUPD can be challenging, this isn’t to say they can’t be successful and long60 | Issue 63 | happiful.com

lasting. The key to navigating the turbulence of this disorder is to better understand what you need from yourself, and from your partner. Here are some things to keep in mind as you navigate a new relationship.

Your feelings are valid As counsellor Jean Watson sees it, validation is a key coping mechanism: “It’s important in helping achieve a deeper understanding of your emotions. This then allows you to explore a more appropriate level of response and affect change.” Validating your emotions is one of the most important ways of helping you reconnect with what’s going on around you. It can be easy for people with EUPD to invalidate themselves, believing that their emotions aren’t worthy, eventually leading to withdrawal and dissociation. This can then create more friction in the relationship. When you listen to those feelings

instead of ignoring them, it enables you to work through them more effectively.

Live in the moment Due to the intensity of emotions felt, people with EUPD can sometimes be quick to act without consideration – you may run on autopilot instead of listening to how you feel. This is where living in the moment comes into play. By recognising how you’re feeling, you can be mindful of how that affects you. For example, if you’re angry, does your body become tense, do you feel hot, are you shaking? Choosing to concentrate on yourself, rather than succumbing to your urges, means that you can better learn what your true emotions are. However, this process needs to be done in a non-judgemental way; remove personal judgements and be gentle with yourself. Remember to observe and be aware, rather than react.


thus creating that autopilot of unpredictable behaviour. If you validate your primary emotion instead of bypassing it, you can start to form an appropriate response created through reflection instead of reaction.

Create a crisis plan Despite trying to be more selfaware, moments of crisis can happen. To ensure both you and your partner are better equipped to deal with this, it’s vital to create a crisis plan. This is so you both know the signs to look out for, as well as aiding you in dealing with them in a safe way. “Only when these are in place and working for the client in keeping them safe, will it be possible to begin to work on the symptoms their EUPD causes,” says Jean. Building on this notion of creating a solid foundation with which to work, a crisis plan also facilitates better communication between you and your partner, because it allows you to openly express your struggles, thus better enabling them to help you.

Understand your primary and secondary emotions Related to living in the moment, it’s important to recognise which emotions you’re experiencing. For example, is your angry outburst due to rage, or are you upset as well? By asking yourself this, you can better understand what your primary and secondary emotions are.

Primary emotions, as the name suggests, are instant reactions, whereas secondary emotions are our reactions to our primary emotions. So, if you’re upset by a difficult situation, you might get angry about it rather than reveal that you’re upset. The issue for many people with EUPD is that your secondary emotions can override your primary ones,

Jean Watson is an integrative psychotherapeutic counsellor. Find out more by visiting counselling-directory.org.uk happiful.com | Issue 63 | 61

To live will be an awfully big adventure JM BARRIE, PETER PAN Photography | Pete Nowicki

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Five micro-affections to show someone you care

It’s the small gestures that can make all the difference and, here, we’re sharing five ways to let the one you love know how you feel Writing | Kathryn Wheeler

Lingering eye contact

It lets someone know that you’re listening, helps you express and read emotions, and studies have gone on to show that eye contact has the ability to boost attraction – even between strangers. It’s also thought that making eye contact when talking about difficult things can make us more honest, and invites the other person to be more open with us, as well. So, next time you’re having a deep and meaningful chat, let your eyes linger that little bit longer.

Playing with their hair

Thanks to the delicate sensory neurons located at the base of hair follicles, having your hair gently played with can feel heavenly. And there’s really no technique to it – even just grabbing a hairbrush and gently running it through your partner’s hair will do it. Not only is it relaxing, but being delicately touched in a gentle and loving way leads to the release of oxytocin, the bonding hormone, which only deepens our connection.

Showing gratitude

We all like to be acknowledged for the things that we do, and so make sure to let your partner know when they’ve done something – big or small – that you’re grateful for. It could be picking you up a small treat from the supermarket at the end of a long day, remembering to checkin about an important event, or just the day-to-day love and support they offer you. Whatever it might be, take some time to reflect on what that means to you, and let them know how much you value them.

Hand holding

In 2009, a study published in the journal PNAS looked at at the effect hand-holding might have on our connections. Measuring the brainwaves of couples while they were sitting together, what they found was that, when the couple held hands while one of them had mild pain administered, their wavelengths appeared to sync up, and the participant experiencing the pain reported feeling it less

intensely than when they weren’t holding hands. Those findings speak wonders to the comfort and intimacy that comes with this simple gesture.

Recognise their achievements

Life is that much easier when you’ve got a cheerleader in your corner, celebrating your wins and helping you to keep up the momentum with their support and encouragement. So be that person for your partner. That might mean hyping up their achievements at work, taking an interest in their hobbies and skills, or recognising how far they have come on personal journeys with mental health and wellbeing. And you don’t have to get the pom-poms out to do this – often, simple words say it best. happiful.com | Issue 63 | 63

Nature’s calling Being at one with the world around us, and harnessing the power of the outdoors, has countless wellbeing benefits. So, why not make the most of this natural resource when supporting your mental health? Here, we’re exploring nature therapy, and exactly what you can expect from it Writing | Michelle Wakerell


hen you imagine a therapy session, what do you see? A calm office interior, or a quiet consulting room? While this may indeed be the typical set up for counselling, many therapists are now offering alternative environments to support their clients. And stepping outside of these traditional expectations, enables professionals to bring the human/nature connection into the present. Nature therapy – also known as walking therapy, wilderness therapy, and eco-therapy – is the practice of being outside surrounded by nature. This can be in any open space, whether that be in a garden, a park, or the countryside, and is usually facilitated by a therapist who will be there to support and help the growth of the client.

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Of course, this concept is nothing new, although it is now gaining more popularity. Nature and the natural world is a wonderful resource, which has always been available to us, and it offers us the opportunity for a connection to enable us to gain clarity, create perspective, feel inner calm, and to aid growth and healing. Trees, plants, animals, birds, the elements, and not forgetting the cycle of the seasons – all of these can be our teachers. They can mirror our feelings, and offer us the opportunity to increase our self-awareness.

Try nature therapy for yourself

Take a moment today to step outside – if you have a garden, you could head there, or to a local park if there’s one nearby. Even

if this isn’t possible, simply being outside in the fresh air can be a good starting point. Once outside, close your eyes and take several deep breaths. Focus on listening to the sounds around you, and feel your body relaxing and responding to your breath. By removing ourselves from the confines and brick boundaries of a building, and instead transporting ourselves outside into an open space and filling our lungs with fresh air, we can immediately feel the benefit and a sense of wellbeing. With various activities available such as walking, observing, and meditating, we are able to involve all of our senses, which then helps us to develop our connection to the natural world that surrounds us – of which we are an intricate part of. Often this

positive pointers

Trees, plants, animals, the elements, and the cycle of the seasons – all of these can be our teachers. They can mirror our feelings, and increase our self-awareness is something we forget, or indeed we believe our busy lifestyles do not allow for. The next time you are out, perhaps for a walk or just sitting on a bench, you can make a conscious effort to notice the beauty of nature by listening to a bird sing, or maybe touch the trunk of an ancient tree; both these experiences connect our emotional attachment to that which surrounds us in nature. This experience of connection may be further explained by studies that have been done using fMRI scans to measure the brain’s activity. When participants viewed various nature scenes, the parts of the brain that are associated with empathy and love were shown to light up, however when the participants then went on to view urban scenes, the parts of the brain associated with

anxiety and fear were activated. This suggests that nature really does inspire feelings that connect us not only to one another, but also to our environment. It is in this environment that we are able to work through our issues, and find our own unique potential and sense of wellbeing; the outdoors offers us a safe and inspiring space in which to do just this.

How does nature therapy differ from traditional, indoor therapy?

There are numerous scientific studies that have delved into the benefits of nature, with the payoffs including improved mood, motivation, concentration and creativity, as well as our ability to problem-solve. There is even evidence from a 2016 study in Environmental Health

Perspectives which suggests that exposure to green spaces can help you live longer! Furthermore our physical health also benefits as, amongst other things, our heart rate and blood pressure are reduced, with research published in the Journal of Cardiopulmonary Rehabilitation finding that spending time in a horticulture therapy programme following a cardiac event even supported patients’ recovery. Just by being outside, and perhaps walking at a gentle pace, this informal and less intense approach can feel less intimidating to the client, and they can often find it easier to begin talking about their feelings and experiences. In fact, the act of walking itself can be meditative – and for some people, the talking element and opening up can be much easier >>> happiful.com | Issue 63 | 65

How can nature therapy surprise you?

when done side by side, rather than when facing one another. If speaking face-to-face is something that might concern or intimidate you, nature therapy could be a good avenue to explore to help you feel more comfortable. Therapy outdoors also encourages natural and social interactions, and a feeling of ‘connection’ with the wider world. This reconnection reminds us humans that we really are all part of the ecosystems around us, rather than separate from them. Plus, in a very literal sense, the act of standing upright, and putting one foot in front of the 66 | Issue 63 | happiful.com

other, is the most positive and primal way of stepping out on the path towards self-discovery and fulfilment. Both the body and mind are inextricably linked, so to move forward physically can also metaphorically help one mentally. To be able to combine these two processes can help further the progress. This is particularly the case when we feel ‘stuck’, or that we have little control over our personal situation. In these instances, this form of therapy can often bring an added sense of freedom over conventional therapy in an indoor space.

Many surprising experiences may well come up from being out in nature with the therapist. When we find ourselves surrounded by, or viewing, something amazing, beautiful, wonderful, and/or profound, we may discover that this experience becomes ‘awe-inspiring’. Additionally, the natural world has the ability to help us connect more deeply to our true selves, and can become an important third partner in the therapeutic relationship shared. These surprising benefits were seen in research from Jonathan Haidt and Dacher Keltner, who found that when people experienced ‘awe’ they had increased feelings of connection, and felt more willing to help others. They wrote: “Aweinducing events may be one of the fastest and most powerful methods of personal change and growth.” I hope that having read this, you can begin to envisage a different kind of therapy session – one which combines the mind, body, soul, and nature, to soothe, heal, and grow.

Michelle Wakerell is a counsellor, psychotherapist, and hypnotherapist. Find out more and get in touch via hypnotherapy-directory.org.uk

food & health

Hanger management If you are irritable after skipping breakfast, or your mood goes haywire an hour before dinner, you’ll know that being hungry can affect your emotions. Here we examine the science behind being ‘hangry’, and why how you feel often depends on what you eat Writing | Jenna Farmer


e’ve all seen the Snickers advert with the tagline: “You’re not you when you’re hungry.” While it’s a lighthearted take at feeling ravenous, it turns out that the science behind hunger impacting your mood is actually pretty solid. And there’s plenty of reasons why being hungry can actually affect your mood, and even your relationships. A study of married couples found that anger towards spouses was greater when glucose levels were lowest, which is when we feel hungriest. But how exactly does hunger impact our mood and, more importantly, what can we do about it? Let’s start by talking about why it happens. Whatever we eat (whether that’s a full English breakfast or a superfood

smoothie) is digested into helpful things like amino acids and sugars, which are then absorbed into the bloodstream and used around the body for all sorts of functions to help keep us alive. A few hours later, our blood sugar level drops, and that’s what makes you feel hungry. This is actually a really useful cycle, but if we’re rushed off our feet, or don’t have food close to hand, then other changes start to kick in to remind us that we need to start eating again. That’s when our fight-or-flight mechanism gets going, thanks to a big adrenaline boost, making us feel emotions such as anger, anxiety, or a general sense of stress and panic. This was ideal in caveman times, when we needed a signal to hunt, but less useful nowadays if you’re in the middle of an

important work meeting, and suddenly feel rage. If you’re not eating, your brain wants to boost blood sugar, so it sends signals to other parts of your body to release more hormones to help. These include our stress hormones, which also trigger perceived ‘negative’ emotions like stress or anger. Nutritionist VJ Hamilton explains: “When blood sugar gets low, which may happen when you haven’t eaten for a while, it triggers several hormones to be released in the body, including adrenaline linked to the fightor-flight response, and cortisol, known as the stress hormone. These hormones are released to bring blood sugar back into balance, but both adrenaline and cortisol can affect mood and cause aggression in some people.” >>> happiful.com | Issue 63 | 67

A study of married couples found that anger towards spouses was greater when glucose levels were lowest, which is when we feel hungriest There’s plenty of research to show that being hungry can make you feel more negative: research on university students found people who were hungry reported more unpleasant emotions – such as feeling stressed, or even hateful – and had a more negative attitude to the researchers in the study. If you’re not eating enough throughout the day, this can cause physical symptoms, too. “Often people feel tired and develop headaches if their blood sugar regulation is not in check, especially if they develop a couple of hours after eating. You may also feel hungry and crave sugary foods,” says VJ. Of course, it’s worth mentioning that your current mental health can further impact this cycle. For example, those with anxiety or depression may experience a loss of appetite (meaning they’re hangry, but still don’t feel like eating). Certain medications, such as antidepressants, may also make you feel more or less hungry, meaning you get out of sync with your usual eating patterns. But what can we do to help us feel less hangry? Well, the 68 | Issue 63 | happiful.com

food & health

most obvious solution is, of course, to eat. But realistically this isn’t always straightforward, depending on your relationship with food and a history of disordered eating. Or it could prove more challenging simply based on your physical location – but where possible, and if you do have food to hand, you need something that will help boost your blood sugar, so reaching for carb-rich foods is ideal. While you might be tempted to head to the vending machine, some sugary snacks might only temporarily solve the problem if their blood sugar is absorbed too quickly (leading you to feel hangry again an hour later). Good snacks to help hanger are complex carbs. These often take longer to digest – thanks to being higher in fibre – so they cause your blood sugar to rise more steadily. These include things like oats and wholegrains. “Start eating foods that help regulate blood sugar levels, such as good quality protein, highfibre foods, healthy fats, and colourful, plant-based foods such as dark green leafy greens, red

and purple berries, and sulphurrich garlic, onions and leeks,” adds VJ. The best thing you can do is to try to prevent hanger happening in the first place, by opting for regular meals. Did you know that one in four of us regularly skips breakfast? Yet, there’s a reason this is the most important part of the day. Having a breakfast that’s rich in complex carbs and protein will help you feel fuller for longer, and keep hanger at bay before lunch. If you find yourself not feeling hungry first thing, even a light breakfast – like fruit and yogurt or toast with nut butter – can make a big difference. If you find yourself regularly getting hangry, VJ also suggests researching the glycaemic index. “The glycaemic index scales foods on how likely they are to affect your blood sugar levels. If you eat foods with a lower glycaemic load, you are less likely to encounter a dip in blood sugar that can lead to hangry symptoms,” she adds. If the problem is that you’re not prepared, then it could be

worth prepping meals or meal planning for your week ahead. Take a look at your timetable and make sure to schedule in lunch, dinner, and snack breaks – you might also figure out which times you’re more likely to feel hangry, and try to have snacks to hand. It’s reassuring to know that most of us feel hangry from time to time, and while it might seem like something to joke about, it’s a very real emotion, thanks to the complex body processes. Prepping meals, eating regularly, and switching to foods that won’t cause sudden blood sugar spikes, can all help to make feeling hangry a thing of the past.

VJ Hamilton is a nutritionist and expert in autoimmune disease. To find out more and get in touch, visit nutritionist-resource.org.uk happiful.com | Issue 63 | 69


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It’s a nice day for a ‘green’ wedding

If environmental anxiety grows when you think about the impact of your big day, there are simple steps to make your wedding more eco-conscious Writing | Rebecca Thair

Go paperless A simple way to cut your carbon footprint, and potentially save money, is to go digital with your wedding communications – a temporary website to house all information for guests, and gather RSVPs, can make life a little more simple for you, and save on print and postage emissions.

Get vendors on board You might want to choose suppliers based on their eco values, or have detailed discussions with them about adapting things to be more environmentally-friendly. Remember, sticking with local produce (flowers, food etc.) can be a big help, as well as discussing disposal/waste for afterwards – could leftover food be given to a local shelter?

Travel Naturally, a destination wedding that requires flights for a large entourage is going to be less ecofriendly, while choosing a venue more local to the majority of your guests could minimise additional travel. Some venues are able to have the ceremony and reception all on site, which can save travelling between places during the day, or where this isn’t

avoidable, could you encourage a carpool system for guests? I once went to a wedding with a double decker bus transporting attendees between destinations!

Sustainable favours Something simple like packets of seeds can be a lovely long-term gift that keeps giving, as guests can be reminded of you and your special day when tending to the flower! Another option might be to make a charitable donation, or plant a tree for every guest.

Reuse and repurpose From Facebook Marketplace to Still White, Depop, Ebay, Vinted, and good old charity shops, there are so many places where you can find pre-loved treasures to add a special touch to your day. You might pick up a wedding dress that’s only been worn for a few hours for a fraction of the price, or find pristine decor for your reception tables. Plus, opting to rent suits, bridesmaids dresses, or encouraging guests to rewear something from their wardrobe, can be a fun way to encourage everyone to get involved in your green purpose. They don’t say ‘something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue’ for no reason!

Jewellery And speaking of borrowed, could you wear an item of family jewellery with sentimental value rather than buying something for the big day? Or consider exploring sustainable diamonds, which are lab grown so you know the Earth wasn’t harmed with mining activities, and there is no risk of conflict trade in their creation.

Give back with gifts Their company may be the only gift you desire, but friends and family often want to share their love with something special for you as well. But rather than a physical wishlist, you could suggest people make donations on your behalf to a list of charities that are close to your heart. Organising a big life event is stressful enough, so just know that you aren’t expected to ‘do it all’. Even trying just a few of these ideas, or any other sustainable suggestions you come across, is a great start – know that every little bit helps. happiful.com | Issue 63 | 71

Restoring hope Host of The Repair Shop, Jay Blades, joins Happiful to talk about the amazing ability to mend anything, even ourselves, with the help of community, human connection, and conversation Writing | Lucy Donoughue


ay Blades is visibly buzzing with energy when he pops up on the screen from his agent’s central London office. The past month has been hectic for him, he says, but in the best way possible. He’s received an MBE for his services to craft, The Repair Shop has returned for its 10th series, and No Place Like Home, a fantastic new documentary series about his childhood home, Hackney, has recently aired. Making It: How Love, Kindness and Community Helped Me Repair My Life, Jay’s autobiographical book, has also recently been published in paperback. It’s a warm, honest, and open account of everything that’s brought him to the point he’s at today. It charts his struggle with mental ill-health, the people and places that brought him back to a place of wellness, his relationships, and deep love of mending and making good of objects and situations that others might write off. “I don’t like to give up on people or things,” Jay says emphatically on this subject. “I believe that everything can be repaired, and

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it might take a little while – I know on The Repair Shop we normally do it in 15 minutes, but in the real world it could take anything between a day and six months to repair an item. If you’re ‘repairing’ somebody, it could take their whole life.” Jay knows this concept personally, and draws on his own experience, including actively contemplating suicide seven years ago. “I needed repairing at 45, and I’m still repairing myself,” he says, with raw honesty. “I’m still looking around to make sure that I manage my mental health, and stay strong physically, too. I do that with the support of other people, who make sure that I eat right, I sleep enough, and so on. I listen to those people, because I’m vulnerable and I’m not as strong as I believed I used to be.” Jay’s clear that maintaining wellbeing isn’t a lone project for anybody. “The reality is that we need people to help us repair us, because if you fall down again, who are you going

to speak to? You can’t speak to yourself if you’re in a dark place. You need that community.” The concept and impact of community fascinates Jay, and he’s explored this further in his recent documentary. Over three hour-long episodes, he learns about the history of the streets he walked as a boy, meets old friends and local heroes, and wonders at the incredible events and unbelievable injustices that took place mere minutes and miles from where he played as a child. Hackney, he says, has left an indelible mark on his heart, and helped him to form the unshakeable ethos he has when it comes to community support and giving back. He explains that he’s benefitted from the support of so many people at different stages in his life that it’s only right to ensure that help is available to others when they need it, too. Jay’s keen to note, however, that you don’t have to be a public figure to help or make a difference. “We can all do good, I don’t think it’s something that’s only possible for a chosen few.

Photography | Paul Marc Mitchell

positive pointers

I don’t like to give up on people or things. I believe everything can be repaired

“Doing good could be volunteering at the local church, it could be volunteering anywhere. “And you never know who you’re going to come into contact with and what impact you’re going to have on that person,” Jay says. “Let’s say you’re a man and you’re volunteering at a place and there’s someone there that doesn’t have a father. You could become that role model for them. So really and truly, we all need to give back.” As part of his personal commitment to this, Jay has mentored a number of people, including Little Mix’s Leigh-Anne Pinnock. He’s now a trustee of her charity, The Black Fund, an organisation that channels finances and other support to charities already doing important work to empower Black communities. He’s also an ambassador for Gangs Unite and The Prince’s Foundation, as well as informally supporting and inspiring people through the programmes he presents. “I classify myself as a glorified community worker that they’ve put on TV,” Jay says. >>> happiful.com | Issue 63 | 73

I’m 52 years old, but the thirst I have for life now, I feel like I’m 17 or 18!

“And my role is to influence and help people I’m never going to meet.” As for the people he does meet on the set of The Repair Shop, his influence is more immediate and visible. He’s a people person, able to put contributors at ease as they share the memories and emotional meanings behind the precious family heirlooms they’ve brought in the hope of having them restored. This skill is one that Jay is immensely proud of, as it’s born out of his ‘super power’: dyslexia. “It’s not something that I’ve shied away from,” Jay explains. “I’ve been able to adapt in any different environment that I’m in. 74 | Issue 63 | happiful.com

“As humans, I’m grateful that we can speak and communicate, so we don’t need to rely on technology; when you talk to someone, that’s more impactful than sending an email or a text. When you can talk and smile, see their reactions, hold their hands and give them a hug, that’s really powerful. So I’m gifted to be able to speak to people. That’s what my superpower is.” Instead of working from scripts, or the production notes on the show, Jay says that he’ll be told the name of the person and what they’re bringing in for repair just a few minutes before they meet on camera. “I have a conversation with them to find out what the item is and the history behind it. I find it’s easier to do that when you know nothing, so then you’re just having a human-to-human communication. I’d say 99.9% of the time it works out beautifully.” Jay is so evidently passionate about all the work he does, and his mood remains as vibrant and good humoured as it was at the beginning of the conversation,

despite the endless work commitments he has coming up in the days ahead. There is, he says, a good reason for his sustained positive energy. “I’m 52 years old, but the thirst I have for life now, I feel like I’m 17 or 18! It’s because I was in a place where I hit rock bottom, and I’m not saying that everyone should go out and do this, but for me it’s actually what gave me life again. “To hit rock bottom, to see that you’re not existing in tomorrow, and then to come out of it, you’re just so hungry, and grateful for life.”

‘Making It: How Love, Kindness and Community Helped Me Repair My Life’ by Jay Blades (bluebird books for life, £9.99) is out now. Listen to the full interview with Jay on Happiful’s podcast, ‘I am. I have’

Happiful reads... From learning how to navigate toxic positivity to Europe’s best getaways, here are four books not to miss Writing | Lauren Bromley-Bird


ave you ever heard the phrase ‘good vibes only’? Or maybe you’ve been feeling down lately and a friend has advised you to ‘stay positive’? Being optimistic isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it can help us be more resilient and strive for what we want. But, as humans, we are hard-wired to always look on

Toxic Positivity: Keeping it Real in a World Obsessed with Being Happy by Whitney Goodman Available on Kindle and audiobook now

the bright side of life, and we seem to brush any negative emotion we experience under the carpet. Therapist Whitney Goodman examines the damage that this can have on ourselves and our connections with other people.

The insightful and honest read offers useful advice to address toxic positivity in our everyday life, backed up by the latest research and client examples from her career in therapy.

Lonely Planet’s Where To Go When Europe by Lonely Planet Out now If you are in the midst of planning a European getaway, but have no idea which way to turn, this unique travel planner could be just the thing for you! Designed to take the stress away from the planning phase, it offers 300+ destination ideas, accompanied with expert advice about where to go and when.

The Self-Care Cookbook: Easy Healing PlantBased Recipes by Gemma Ogston Out now A treat for the body and soul, this heart-warming self-care cookbook is a musthave! Written by the owner of ‘Gem’s Wholesome Kitchen’ and a busy mum of two, it’s packed with more than 60 easy, plant-based recipes to nurture healthy living, with the additional sprinkle of selfcare prompts and tips to brighten up your cooking experience.

Book covers | Amazon.co.uk

Must reads The Note by Zoë Folbigg Out now Who knew that a little note could change your whole life? Based on a heartwarming true story, Maya Flowers notices a new stranger on her daily commute to London. Drawn by his presence but hesitant to make the first move, she hands a note to the stranger in a plea to follow her heart and take chances. After all, isn’t life about taking a chance?

happiful.com | Issue 63 | 75

How to have a healthy relationship with the news With heavy news cycles, it’s easy to see how staying informed can come at a cost to your mental health. But it doesn’t have to be that way Writing | Victoria Stokes


n today’s world of constant connectivity, there’s little avoiding the news. Rolling news coverage, and countless online media outlets, mean it’s on our screens, and at our fingertips, 24 hours a day. But sometimes the realities of what’s happening around the world can be just too overwhelming. In fact, research published in Science Advances shows that media exposure is linked to higher levels of psychological distress, and can exacerbate feelings of stress, anxiety, and helplessness. Tani Taylor, a hypnotherapist and psychotherapist, notes that people who are predisposed to anxiety and depression may be more negatively affected by news coverage than others, too. If you’re someone who is feeling the effects of a distressing news cycle right now, you might be facing a moral dilemma: stay informed about the traumatic events that are happening around the world, or shield yourself from it to protect your mental health.

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Want to strike a balance between the two? Try the following:

Take action

When watching distressing events unfold, you may feel helpless to do anything about it, but finding a way to be of service can go some way to alleviating this sense of powerlessness. “Look at what realistic action you can take that could benefit whatever cause you are seeing on the news, like taking part in a shoebox collection, or donating to an official charity,” advises Taylor. “Taking action like this is far more helpful to people who need your support, than making yourself unwell in a state of anxiety, stress, and overwhelm.”

Be conscious about what you consume

For Taylor, striking the right balance is about proper planning. She suggests setting aside a specific amount of time each day or week to pay attention to the news. You could decide that you’ll

only scan the headlines during your lunch break, or choose to only watch the news three times a week. “This way you’re not stopping your exposure completely; you’re still following what is happening without being in a constant trauma state, which is unhealthy for you,” she explains.

Consider reading the news, instead of watching it

Have you ever felt shaken and unsettled after a scary film? Watching a distressing news report can elicit a similar response. “Our brain has two main control features, our intellect – that can look at a situation and recognise how much it affects us directly – and our limbic system – that fight/flight response that doesn’t have the ability to look at rhyme or reason, just kneejerk responses to ensure your survival,” Taylor explains. “The trauma we’re exposed to in the media can be perceived as trauma we are experiencing

Looking out for yourself first and foremost means you can be of more help to others

in real life, and this can cause our bodies and minds to have a psychological and physical response.” Taylor says if you want to keep up-to-date, consider picking up a paper, or reading the news online instead. Reading about events isn’t as traumatising as seeing the images played out on-screen.

Pay attention to unhelpful thoughts

Have you started catastrophising and imagining worst case scenarios? “Our survival response often has us negatively forecasting our future. This is a protective mechanism, but sometimes it can spin out of control,” says Taylor. When this happens, you might be consumed with feelings of worry, dread, and overwhelm. Taylor says the key is to recognise when you’re catastrophising and to lean into those emotions. You can begin by questioning the validity of your thoughts, and writing down a list of facts that you know to be true.

“When we write down what we know to be absolute truth, this can help us to distinguish the facts from the overwhelming list of possibilities flying around our heads,” Taylor explains.

Take a news break and spend it wisely

Most of us know that, when it comes to the news, it’s helpful to take a break, but these intentions can fall flat if we don’t actively schedule one in. “Choose when you are going to have a news break, and decide to replace that time with something that is good for your mental health,” Taylor advises.

That might mean watching a familiar show that offers you comfort, going to therapy, or spending time with friends. Prioritising rest and relaxation can be particularly beneficial. “If you’re very anxious, try listening to a guided relaxation that incorporates helpful breathing techniques,” Taylor advises. You might feel guilty for taking a breather from the news, but looking out for yourself first and foremost means you can be of more help to others, and find proactive ways to help those who are in need. happiful.com | Issue 63 | 77

Don’t go through life, grow through life ERIC BUTTERWORTH Photography | Eugene Zhyvchik

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What is psychodynamic therapy?

We speak with integrative psychotherapist and counsellor, Jeremy Sachs, to learn more about psychodynamic therapy, its benefits, and how to find out if it’s the right approach for you Writing | Bonnie Evie Gifford


hether you’re struggling with a specific issue, or are looking for someone to talk things over with, there are many different reasons why you may reach out and start counselling. But did you know that there are a variety of different approaches out there that could help? Finding the right one that best suits your needs can feel overwhelming; that’s why it’s important to learn more about specific types and approaches.

What is psychodynamic therapy?

Also known as psychodynamic counselling, psychodynamic therapy is a therapeutic approach that embraces the work of all analytic therapies. In essence, psychodynamic therapy is based on the idea that our unconscious thoughts and perceptions develop throughout our childhood, affecting how we behave and think now.

A psychodynamic therapist is interested in your past, how you adapted to the people and environment in your past, and how these people and experiences shaped you. They believe how we relate to other people now is based on these beliefs/experiences from our childhood. By working with a psychodynamic counsellor, you can unravel these deep-rooted feelings, to resolve the painful memories that you have unconsciously been holding on to. They can help you see where you might need to unlearn, relearn, or change the ways you see the world. Integrative psychotherapist and counsellor, Jeremy Sachs, explains more: “Psychodynamic psychotherapy reflects on these key areas: the relationship between the client and therapist, the informative early experiences, and relationships of the client’s childhood, and their subconscious. The therapist will be interested in what the client believes about themselves, their relationships, and how they

interact with the world as, often, these beliefs can be the source of psychological pain.”

What should I expect from psychodynamic therapy?

Using a variety of different techniques, at its core, psychodynamic therapy relies on the interactions between you and your therapist to reveal your unconscious. But what does that actually mean, and what can it help with? Jeremy says: “Entering psychodynamic therapy, one could expect to examine past experiences that may feel particularly painful in the present. These could be losses, or instances that are traumatic. Alternatively, someone new to psychodynamic therapy may feel stuck, depressed, or anxious. “Psychodynamic therapy can also be a useful mode of therapy for personality disorders. It is often called ‘deeper’ therapy, as it examines the root causes of pain, and is often long-term.” >>> happiful.com | Issue 63 | 79

What are the benefits?

I could be the ‘best’ psychodynamic psychotherapist this side of the equator, but if you don’t feel safe and comfortable with me, it is unlikely therapy will help 80 | Issue 63 | happiful.com

Designed to help with a wide range of problems, it can be particularly effective in treating issues including anxiety, eating disorders, addiction, and depression. It can also help those who feel like they have lost meaning in their lives, or are struggling to form or maintain personal relationships.

Who is psychodynamic therapy for?

Taking that first step towards therapy can be tough. So, how can you know if psychodynamic

therapy is the ‘right’ kind of therapy for you? “Data tells us that the type of therapy comes second to the relationship you have with your therapist,” Jeremy explains. “I could be the ‘best’ psychodynamic psychotherapist this side of the equator, but if you don’t feel safe and comfortable with me, it is unlikely the therapy will help. However, if you find yourself disproportionately affected by past events, traumas, or that present relationships are challenging, it might be worth considering psychodynamic psychotherapy.”


How long does it take?

While the number of sessions needed, and frequency, varies from person to person, typically someone who undertakes psychodynamic therapy may meet their therapist one or more times a week. Short-term, you may work with a therapist for 25–30 sessions over six to eight months, or one study suggested you could expect therapy to last around 50 sessions over the course of a year. The length of time depends on the individual, and your preferred frequency of sessions.

What techniques are used?

Drawing on techniques used throughout both psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic therapy, psychodynamic psychotherapists may use the following techniques to help them better understand how a patient’s mind works. • Free association: Where you talk freely to your therapist without shaping your ideas before saying them, and without using a linear story structure. This spontaneity is thought to allow your true thoughts and feelings to emerge without fear of how silly, illogical, or painful they may sound. This helps create an honest and open dialogue without fear of judgement.

• Therapeutic transference: Transference can occur during psychodynamic therapy when you project your feelings about someone else (typically from your childhood) on to your therapist. This could be positive (e.g. you see them as caring and wise), negative (e.g. experiencing feelings of anger, resentment, or distrust towards them), or sexualised (e.g. experiencing romantic, intimate, or sexual feelings towards them). • Interpretation: Typically staying quiet throughout your session, your therapist may occasionally interject with thoughts or interpretations of the topics you are choosing to discuss. Your therapist can help you to learn new ways of behaving and thinking that promote personal growth and development, overcoming limitations your unconscious feelings may be causing. • Content vs process: What you say (content) is at a conscious level, and can be limited to what you understand. Whereas, how you present that information (the process) may give your therapist insight into your unconscious, and what you may be trying to communicate outside of your

awareness. By observing your non-verbal cues, such as stumbling on certain words, changing topics, or even how much emotion you are putting into what you are saying, they can gain a deeper insight.

Should I try psychodynamic therapy?

When it comes to choosing a therapeutic approach, the most important aspect is to find the right type for you. There’s no right or wrong answer; it’s about finding a style (and a therapist) that you can connect with, and feel comfortable working with. Consider what you want to get out of therapy – do you have a specific problem you want help with, or a goal in mind? Don’t be afraid to try having sessions online, in-person, or even by telephone, until you find a method that works for you.

Jeremy Sachs is an integrated psychotherapist who specialises in sexual trauma recovery, young people, and working with the LGBTQI+ community. Get in touch and find out more on counselling-directory.org.uk happiful.com | Issue 63 | 81

Affirmations to tackle imposter syndrome When your inner critic takes over, and that voice of doubt becomes deafening, repeat these simple phrases to remind yourself just how powerful you truly are

I am worthy of

good things

happening to me Mistakes do not mean I am incompetent

I can do anything I set my mind to My opinions and expertise are valuable I have faced many challenges before, and I have always got through them 82 | Issue XX | happiful.com

I trust in my instincts, experience, and decisions

I am prepared and capable of tackling any obstacle Luck didn’t get me here.

I have earned my place

I do not have to be perfect to be effective

I deserve to be here






25 JULY 2022







DAILY INSPIRATION | THERAPY & SUPPORT | YOUR MAGAZINE The Happiful App Happiful App is a product from the Happiful family, which includes: Counselling Directory, Life Coach Directory, Hypnotherapy Directory, Nutritionist Resource and Therapy Directory. Helping you find the help you need.

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