Become a wellbeing champion

Monica and Joana Smith have been volunteering for decades. They both said they have the volunteers bug. When they see people helping others in need it encourages them to join in and help people in their community.

We are delighted to have Monica and Joana as volunteer wellbeing champions at the Institute of wellbeing. 

In this video we hear why they do what they do and we hope that their “why” inspires you to become a wellbeing champion

You can make the difference
We recognise that Wellbeing Champions are the backbone of community transformation projects.

We offer a free online course designed to help you understand more about the Wellbeing Champion initiative and the tools and resources that are ready to help you start making a difference to families in your community.

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Random Acts of Kindness – Winner 2021

Patrick Hutchinson came first place in our Random Act of Kindness competition. He continues to whole heartedly serve his community. He happily gave up his time to help us on our Superhero park trail and handed out the goodie bags to all the lovely children who took part.

Patrick continues to serve his community and be a positive role model for our youth, yet the unforgettable image of Patrick that was captured on camera and then in a matter of hours, was circulated globally will never be forgotten.

This image was posted everywhere and by morning the likes of CNN, The New York Times, The Guardian, and The BBC started calling for interviews.

We have all heard the saying ‘actions speak louder than words’, and Patrick’s act of kindness showed the world we need love and compassion and togetherness to unite us all as one. The most striking element of Patrick’s photo from that day didn’t require any subtext: it was that of a man simply taking another man out of danger.

Check out Patrick’s website as he continues to inspire and help those around him.

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Give your resilience a boost

What is resilience?

Psychologists define resilience as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress—such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors. As much as resilience involves “bouncing back” from these difficult experiences, it can also involve profound personal growth.

How you can give your resilience a boost?

1. Visualise Success
Resilient people create their own vision of success. This helps them achieve their goals by providing a clear sense of where they’re headed. Your vision needs to be rounded and vibrant and based on what is currently possible; resilient people don’t waste time on impossible dreams or hankering after things they’ll never have. They recognise the fine line between stretching goals and unrealistic goals.

2. Boost yourself-esteem
Some people are naturally blessed with high self- esteem. Others – perhaps most of us – need to work on self-esteem, which involves understanding where it comes from and what makes you feel good about yourself. The checklist below may help.

  • Identify what you’re good at. What can you feel positive about?
  • Remind yourself of these things regularly.
  • Recognise what other people appreciate about you.
  • Allow others to praise you, and resist the temptation to brush compliments aside.
  • When something goes wrong try to avoid beating yourself up unnecessarily; others will undoubtedly do it first!
  • Don’t compare yourself with other people.
  • When things go well for others feel genuinely pleased for them.
  • Enjoy it when something goes better than you thought it would.
  • Praise yourself.

3. Take control
Resilient people believe they can make a difference and be successful. Others suffer from unhelpful beliefs, or ‘drag anchors’. Here are 6 of the most common:

  1. I am the victim of my personal history – Your past must have an impact, but is no excuse for not improving yourself now.
  2. There’s so much to do it’s not even worth trying – Life is complex, and you now have to do more with less. As a result, you may come to believe there are simply so many imperatives that you can’t se where to start. Psychologists call this ‘agglomeration’ – feeling overwhelmed by the volume and complexity of the issues. Break the problem down, establish priorities and take first things first.
  3. You only get one shot – Occasionally this may be the case, but not often – especially in circumstances where even the experts can’t predict the right way to go. It then becomes a question of trial and error, always being alert to the worst-case scenario and unintended consequences.
  4. There’s a right answer to everything – Analysts dream that by scrutinising data hard enough, the ‘correct’ answer will emerge. This rarely happens in real life. The danger is that analysis becomes a substitute for, rather than a prelude to, action.
  5. I’m on my own – It’s easy to believe that you are the only one suffering and that you have to weather the storm alone. The old adage ‘a problem shares is a problem halved’ works well in these circumstances; talking things through is a source of strength, not a sign of weakness.
  6. This isn’t fair – Doctors claim that perpetrators of crimes heal more quickly than their victims. More generally, if you believe you have in some way contributed to a problem, you may feel more motivated to resolve it. If you are not to blame you tend to dwell on the unfairness of the situation rather than on what can be done.

Slip these drag anchors by reframing. Recognise when your thinking is negative and immediately turn it around so that it becomes positive.

4. Become more optimistic
Optimism is one of the most important characteristics of resilient people; it is vitally important to look on the bright side, have confidence in your own abilities, and salvage what you can from problematic situations. Even those who lean towards the glass-half-empty mindset can learn.

5. Manage stress
Psychologists see stress as an energising force – up to a point, beyond which it becomes debilitating. Highly resilient people have a higher tipping point and, when things threaten to get them down, they know how to deal with it. Sources of stress are unique to you: to boost your resilience, you need to identify what your stressors are and how to counteract them. There are also personality traits that make some individuals more stress-prone. Look at the list below. If you tend towards any of these, discipline yourself to reduce or eliminate them:

Displaying hostility Hiding feelings Being unable to listen properly Being over-perfectionist Having difficulty relaxing Being generally critical

Stress management falls into 2 categories – distraction and resolution. Distraction techniques include exercise, breathing deeply, walking or extracting yourself from the situation. Resolution is focused on solving the problem.

6. Improve decision-making
 Resilience requires you to make rather than avoid decisions. Resilient people trust their own judgement, but aren’t afraid to challenge their minds. They know that decisions are rarely irreversible and that procrastination is the enemy of resilience. Understanding your preferred decision-making approach is a critical step towards building resilience. Tips for shifting your style are given below.

Becoming more intuitive – Build experience – understand your decision-making shortcuts – trust your gut – establish the worst-case scenario – take a risk – learn
Becoming more rational – Stand back/don’t rush to judgement – gather data – talk to the relevant parties – establish criteria – use a rational process – ‘sense check’ the answer.

7. Ask for help
You don’t have to do this alone; resilient people know when to reach out to others – and who is best to turn to. Do you have this strength of network? If not, map it out. Draw a circle on a sheet of paper – this is you. Draw your network, with others depicted as circles too: the more important they are to you, the larger the circle; the stronger the relationship, the closer they are to you. Draw lines linking you to others and others to one another, dotted lines for indirect relationships. Consider what you want from them and what you can offer and add this to the map. What actions do you need to take to get and give support?

8. Deal with conflict
Conflict occurs when our views differ from those of another person – so we have to deal with conflict every day. The ability to handle it constructively is an important part of resilience – ensuring that the style of resolution is appropriate, given the nature of the conflict and the other party.

9. Learn
Thinking regularly about what lessons can drawn from your experience strengthens your ‘learning muscle’ and helps you build resilience. Figure out how you learn best and take the most from the experiences life throws at you.

10. Be yourself
You may be determined to enhance your resilience but you won’t succeed if your plan for doing this offends your core identity and values. The most resilient leaders are as self- aware as they are self-confident!

Attribution – NHS Public Health England

How to build a network of relationships

No matter what you are trying to achieve in life, you are going to find it much easier if you have the right people on your side. You can go through life trying to kick every door down or, you can build relationships which mean that you only have to knock on the door and receive a warm welcome. 

Joining us in our Wellbeing Cafe is speaker Ben Andoh – founder of the Ahava Experience. Ben Andoh shares his insights with us for how we can build our network of relationships.

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Relationship advice for couples

In the last two years the world we live in has changed immeasurably and there’s no denying that our relationships are changing, too. More couples are choosing to live together, fewer are choosing to get married, and we’re all increasing our dependence on technology and social networks, while battling to achieve an ideal work/life balance. 

But some things don’t change – age-old issues such as money, sex and arguments still present challenges. So it shouldn’t be surprising that maintaining and building our relationships can feel like such an uphill struggle. 

Joining us today in the Wellbeing Cafe is published author, psychotherapist, researcher, and entrepreneur, Russell Edwards. Published author, psychotherapist, researcher, and entrepreneur, Russell Edwards has a broad and dynamic career that has spanned over 35 years. 

As an author, he has written two true crime books and a graphic novel representing a 13-year research project created out of a passion for history which resulted in a historic breakthrough. His work has sold to major Publishers in the UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, France, Finland, Indonesia, and Brazil. The book is currently in 8 different languages. He is currently completing two children’s books.

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Reading together is richly rewarding

We recently invited a father and his young son to our studio to help us create an advert to support the Hungry Little Minds Campaign

At the studio, Andrew’s son Oscar sat glued to his dad’s phone. You could hear Oscar making noises as he was so engrossed in his video game. This was just a distraction which allowed us to record in peace.

Sometimes as parents, we give our children devices to occupy them whilst we attend to our list of things to do. This may not be the correct way to parent but it certainly helps us to distract them and allows us some freedom, even if it’s 5 minutes. Let’s be honest, we’ve all done this at some point. I personally think once in a while is ok, but let’s ask ourselves, our children on their devices daily and how much is too much?

I trade device time for reading or bike riding. That way my daughter gets to keep fit, soak up some vitamin D and gain knowledge. This is a deal we’ve had in place for many years and it’s worked superbly. Don’t get me wrong, it is totally normal to hear my daughter complaining that she wants to watch her favourite programmes and that as I mother, she feels I’m being mean. Often through exhaustion or hearing my name ‘Mummy’ for the 100th time, I give in. The majority of the time I put my foot down and distract her with a board game or two. 

Where was I? Let’s get back to the story….. Andrew was reading a book for our Hungry Little Minds campaign. The book is called ‘I Need A Wee’ by Sue Hendra. The moment Andrew introduced the book, Oscar (his son) looked up and giggled. I kept having to exclaim a directors “Cut” as his laughter kept interrupting our recording. Andrew continued to read the book but Oscar could not hold in his laughter. 

So…. my light bulb moment was to ask Oscar to be in the video. That way he could giggle to his heart’s content and it would be perfect for the message we were try to get across. Now this was a natural process and it was beautiful to witness. You can even hear me giggling with them.

How wonderful is it when a book can make a beautiful moment between a father and son? You could clearly see they already had a wonderful bond but this book made 7 year old Oscar put down his device and pay attention to the magical words falling off the page. He was glued….. and that my friends is the magic of reading.

The Hungry Little Minds campaign is here to encourage parents and guardians to interact with their children. The YouTube video you are about to click is proof that it actually works. This shows us it’s time to put away the devices, sit with your creation and start to ‘Chat, Play and Read’. There is nothing better than the sound of your child’s laughter.

Please know from my heart to yours that I too have questioned whether I’m doing the right thing as a parent. Am I raising them or spoiling them? All I can say is this, I try my best to make my children happy. Their mental wellbeing is as important as their physical. I endeavour to always keep their well being at the forefront of my mind and I pray I am doing a good job. Time will tell.

Elle Cato
Wellbeing Champion and Ambassador
The Institute of Wellbeing

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Wellbeing power of sound frequencies

Are some sounds making us ill?

Sound and music operates at a frequency and a frequency can adjust the structure of water, the mood of a person and literally perform healing. We will be exploring with Joseph the solfeggio frequencies and how some music is potentially making us ill.

We will also be looking at how sound and water can have a positive effect on you during periods of lockdown or isolation.

About our guest Joseph Farodoye has dedicated his life to business and philanthropic causes and has worked to bring people together to create a disruptive impact and positive change on a global scale.

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Surviving Covid – How it changed my life

During this pandemic we have heard many statistics – the number of infections, deaths, ICU admissions. With so much news and information on the subject it is very easy to forget that behind each statistic lies a human life and a life changing story. Whilst those stories are crucial to understanding the true impact of coronavirus there are some that inspire hope.

About Our Guest
Joining us in the wellbeing cafe is Lereko Ntshona is a musican, business man and the owner/founder of Edikeni Restaurant in Sandton – South Africa. In 2020 Lereko contracted coronavirus and survived. He joins us live from South Africa to share more about that experience and how it has changed his life.

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The real lock down story – life after jail

We all have to face setbacks in our life from time to time, whether in our personal relationships or in our careers. But some people tend to deal with setbacks and challenges better than others.  It is interesting to look at the ways in which people cope.

Psychologists have identified three broad ways of coping that they have labelled: problem-focused coping, emotion-focused coping and avoidant coping.

About Our Guest

Joining us in the Wellbeing Cafe is Dr Johnson – a sought-after Preacher, Teacher, Life & Spiritual Advisor/Coach, Evangelist and Leadership Speaker in the UK and worldwide. His transparency has led to him being admired and revered internationally.

He is an ex professional actor, an international motivational speaker, televangelist as seen on Sky Faith & Revelation TV and international Minister of the Gospel, impacting millions of people’s lives all over the world.

He is also known for being a Marketplace & Socialite Pastor working with high-profile individuals, celebrities, actors, musicians, ex-offenders, addicts and everyday people. An excellence leadership mentor, motivational speaker, and philanthropist.

Dr Johnson is the author of numerous books and a dynamic and passionate speaker.

Visit the institute of wellbeing online and try our new online course – Emotional Hygiene – the hand sanitiser for your mind…

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