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Life skills for stress, health & wellbeing, fourth session

So yesterday we had the fourth evening of this twelve session course.  I posted on the third session last week.  What we covered is illustrated on the Powerpoint handouts I gave out as two six-slides-to-a-page handouts.  Click on slides 1-6, Powerpoint or slides 1-6, PDF and slides 7-12, Powerpoint or slides 7-12, PDF to see.

Life skills for stress, health & wellbeing, second session

So it was the second session of the group yesterday.  I blogged about the first session last week.  Sadly a couple of people couldn't get to this second meeting - due to a pre-planned holiday and to an unexpected crisis.  It's quite common for participants to miss one or two evenings across a twelve session course like this, but I want to be careful when people miss such an early meeting.  It's important that they don't lose their way and get left behind.  They will get copies of the handouts and the Autogenic CD, but I also make a note to contact them myself.   

Life skills for stress, health & wellbeing, first session

Yesterday we had the first evening of the Life Skills group.  I've written in the past about the background planning behind this group.  How did this first meeting go?  Well there were nine of us - eight participants and myself.  Rather demandingly I'm both running a new course and trying to get used to new technology at the same time.  For years, when running small group trainings here at our house, I've used an overhead projector to shine transparencies up onto the wall.  For a while I've wanted to upgrade to a laptop and data projector, and this evening I went ahead to put this into practice.

Developing a training course: life skills for stress, health & wellbeing

Last Spring, I went walking and camping in Glen Affric.  Amongst other things, being away on my own in the hills gave me a chance to think creatively.  Once I was back I wrote a blog post about developing a next generation stress management course.  I said "I've known for some time that I wanted to "upgrade" the stress management/relaxation skills course that I've been teaching for many years.  I find the emerging research on mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) exciting and encouraging ...

Recent research: six papers on helping children & adolescents

Here are half a dozen papers on helping kids and adolescents.  The Fuligni et al paper found that adolescents experiencing frequent interpersonal stresses tended to have increased levels of C-reactive protein, " ... an inflammatory marker that is a key indicator of cardiovascular risk ... ".  Jackson et al showed that in preschool kids each extra hour of regular TV viewing is associated with an extra 1 kg of body fat.  This appeared to be due to increases in calorie intake rather than reduction in physical activity.  Decreased family accommodation is associated with improved outcome in paediatric OCD, Merlo et al found.  Naylor et al found that a six lesson teaching block on mental health benefitted young teenagers.  Proctor et al provide a free full text overview of teenage life satisfaction assessment measures, while Wilkinson and colleagues report on 28 week follow-up in a treatment trial for depressed adolescents.  The authors found "Depression at 28 weeks was predicted by the additive effects of severity, obsessive-compulsive disorder and suicidal ideation at entry together with presence of at least one disappointing life event over the follow-up period.

Relationships in general

“ What is to give light must endure burning. ” - Victor Frankl

Relationships are right at the heart of human health and wellbeing.  The first four sets of handouts listed below highlight the increased death rates, poorer psychological health and lowered wellbeing in those with worse relationships.  There is a rather confusing plethora of different questionnaires for assessing relationship networks.  I like the large amount of helpful information one can elicit from the "Personal community map" and associated sheets (below).  Sheldon Cohen has argued convincingly that social intimacy, social integration, and social conflict all make independent contributions to our health and wellbeing - we want higher scores for intimacy & integration and (usually) lower scores for conflict.  The community map overall question sheet and the associated brief three question current a

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