News Archive July 2020
The Little Things Add Up
Since spending so much time at home during lockdown, I’ve realised I will do absolutely anything to put off little tasks. Whether its replying to a text; sending a parcel back at the post office; or sorting the flowers that are wilting in the kitchen; I just can’t seem to do it at the time at which it needs to be done.
Why is it so easy to look at these jobs and think, ‘I’ll sort that later’, knowing full well that it will be a long time before that happens. The list of jobs will then pile up, along with negative thoughts about myself for not being on top of things.
When I finally do these tasks, I feel a wave of relief and any anxiety I was experiencing is suddenly lessened. The more of these ‘odd jobs’ I do, the more my other worries – the ones I can’t do anything about – don’t seem as bad. Completing these tasks gives me an element of control, that during these corona times, is very hard to come by.
It’s taken me a while to realise this is the case. I don’t think I really appreciated the weight that these little ‘to-dos’ carry and the negative effect that endlessly putting them off can bring. But it makes sense, since we are so hugely influenced by our environment and it’s easy to forget that we need to look after it. Just by realising this, it doesn’t make it easy to suddenly do all of the boring chores I have waiting for me. Maybe I need to change the way I think about these tasks? Here are two suggestions that I’ve found helpful.
Firstly, I think it’s important to set aside enough time for the task. Not an abstract ‘later’, as we often do, prioritising other ‘more important’ things ahead of them. If we keep pushing them to the back of the queue, we’re not acknowledging the importance of them. Setting a specific time and completing the task can give you a sense of achievement.
It might also be useful to think of it as doing something for our ‘future self’. It can be tricky to do something nice for ourselves as we often don’t see ourselves as deserving. It’s easy to put off the things we should do to feel better. But maybe it’s useful to think about the person you will become in an hour, or a week, month or year? What if you were able to view your future self as a person who is worthy of being treated well? What if those tasks you put off, you complete as a ‘gift’ to future you. Often, it’s a lot easier to do something nice for a stranger. For example doing the washing up late at night so that future you doesn’t have to come downstairs to dirty plates first thing in the morning.
This is just a reminder to take out your recycling, book in your car for that M.O.T and send that letter. Whether you just make enough time in your day, or imagine you’re doing it for your future self, you’ll definitely feel better for it.
By Emily Muntz
Posted on: 31st July 2020
What Is Hate Crime?
The Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) and the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) define hate crime as any criminal offence which is perceived by the victim, or anyone else, as being motivated by “hostility or prejudice” based on one or more of the following personal characteristics:
- Race or ethnicity
- Religion or beliefs
- Sexual orientation
- Transgender identity
Hate incidents and hate crimes can take many forms including:
- Physical attacks – including physical assault, damage to property, offensive graffiti, neighbour disputes and arson
- Threat of attack – including offensive letters, abusive or obscene phone calls, intimidation, and unfounded, malicious complaints
- Verbal abuse or insults – including offensive leaflets and posters, abusive gestures, dumping of rubbish outside homes or through letterboxes and bullying at school or in the workplace.
- Threats, harassment, and bullying
- Online abuse
There is no place for hate crime, it can have a significant impact on victims as it targets a fundamental part of their identity. We know from research that victims of hate crime are more likely to suffer repeat victimisation and serious psychological impact. Hate crime is also a damaging social problem that harms entire families and communities, as well as individual victims. Failure to recognise and effectively target hate crime and hate incidents can lead to victimisation of individuals and vulnerable groups, as well as the destabilisation of entire communities.
If you think you have been a victim of a hate crime or incident contact the police, victim support, your GP, a parent, safeguarding lead, tutor, teacher, counsellor, support worker, friend or colleague. It is important to report all Hate Crime.
Change takes courage.
By Carmen Coke-Alphonse – Mind HFEH Safeguarding Lead
Posted on: 17th July 2020
Mood on shuffle: how does music affect how we feel?
Music plays a central role in our lives, whether we realise it or not. It is frequently used to entertain and amuse us, as well as being a very powerful means of influence. Music is in everything around us; films and television, advertisements and even shops and restaurants have music playing in the background! But music goes beyond this, and it can be a powerful tool in allowing us to connect more with our emotions and get through challenging times.
Our brains are incredible. They absorb information and enable us to learn patterns that we hear and their associations with different contexts. You only have to think of a scary film you’ve seen to remember that visceral reaction you felt throughout your body when the villain jumped out in front of the ‘good guy’ in a dark alleyway… Do you remember what music was playing in that scene? No? Well we can assume it probably wasn’t a jolly sounding folk tune as it’s unlikely that this would give you the same feeling of fear – we’re just too used to hearing this sort of music in a happy context such as Heidi to believe that a scare is coming…
But the amazing thing is, most of this happens without us even realising and there is so much more that music does behind the scenes. One study looked at the brains of people whilst they listened to music and saw an increase in activity and when people were playing instruments, they saw the whole brain light up. It also activates areas in the brain that can distract you from pain – that’s why music can really help if you’re exercising or getting a painful tooth filling.
Music genre is also important – when we listen to music we like, our brains release dopamine causing us to experience feelings of pleasure and it can also reduce our levels of stress hormone (cortisol) causing us to feel calmer. You might wonder then, why do we sometimes actively listen to sad music? One argument for this is that it makes us feel understood by the musician and therefore less alone. Certain music has also been found to help us use energy more efficiently and even improve our memory and learning ability. The benefits are endless!
Here are some ways you can use music to support your mood
Find out how music affects you by asking yourself these questions:
- Does it make you feel better or worse? Does it make your body feel a certain way?
- Can it change your mood?
- Are there any particular genres/artists/lyrics that you find helpful or unhelpful to listen to?
Create playlists for different moods and times of day
Or if you can’t be bothered to make your own, most music streaming sites have ready-made playlists. When I hit a block writing this I searched for ‘music to help you concentrate’, clicked play and sure enough, managed to get some more sentences down!
Don’t listen to songs associated with bad memories
Music is powerful in evoking memory which is great sometimes but less good when those memories are unpleasant. If it brings up bad memories, skip the song!
How often do you listen properly to the lyrics in a song? Try really noticing the lyrics in songs you like and think about what they mean to you.
For musicians – try writing a piece of music yourself
It can be a great way of expressing your emotions and connecting with others (if you choose to share it!)
If you’d like to learn more about music and the brain click here.
By Molly Phillips
Posted on: 3rd July 2020