FACING ANXIETY AND FLOURISHING

Is anxiety causing you distress and holding you back in your career or personal life? Do you know that your anxiety is most likely being triggered by your own thoughts and thinking patterns?  

Here’s some examples of thoughts and thinking patterns that often lead to anxiety:

“Catastrophising” thoughts, where we imagine things going wrong, such as:

  • This will be a complete disaster
  • Things always go wrong for me
  • I’m going to fail / I’m going to get sick
  • If I don’t take on this extra work, I will lose my job
  • Soon everyone will find out that I don’t belong here

Or “abusive self-talk”, where we say mean things to ourselves, such as:

  • I’m not good enough
  • It’s all my fault
  • I’m a terrible friend/partner/parent
  • My life is a complete mess
  • Everyone else is going ok, it’s just me who’s not coping
  • I always say stupid things in front of others

These types of thoughts can make us feel frustration, fear, shame, guilt, anger, confusion, sadness, isolation, envy, rejection, abandonment. These are the stress-related emotions, which power up our nervous system and lead to the symptoms of anxiety and circular thoughts of self-doubt.

What can we do to reduce these unhelpful thoughts and calm our anxiety?

The good news is that there are a range of evidence-based techniques and skills that we can learn and practice in order to overcome our negative thinking patterns, calm our anxieties and live in a more content and less fearful way.

Wellbeing Partners teaches these techniques and skills through a four part course called Facing Anxiety and Flourishing which is run over four weeks – one hour per week. New courses start each month and both daytime and evening courses are available.

The Facing Anxiety and Flourishing course is led by a fully qualified and highly experienced cognitive behavioural science instructor who specialises in anxiety issues. The course will provide you with the advice, skills and exercises to manage your unhelpful thinking patterns, reduce your anxiety, balance your mood, build perspective and help you gain resilience.

The course utilises a blend of practices from CBT, psychology, resilience training, stress reduction, self-compassion, mindfulness, and emotional intelligence to give you a distinctive set of tools to respond to anxiety skilfully and with confidence.

The Facing Anxiety and Flourishing course runs monthly throughout the year and costs £180 per person for the four parts, materials and lifetime access to the Mindfulness UK app.

6 September 2022

Letting Go

At some point in our life someone will have said to us “you’ve got to let it go”.  Well-meaning as the advice may be, the idea of “letting go” can seem challenging, even unrealistic, but letting go is an attitude that can be cultivated by all and doing so can be liberating.

The pandemic saw the removal of the certainties of life, leaving us with an experience akin to having the rug pulled from beneath our feet.  Everything was thrown up in the air and we had no idea how bumpy the eventual landing would be.  Every aspect of life – health, family, profession, finances and human interaction – was impacted.  Anxiety rose as we tried to navigate experiences that were troubling and beyond our control.

As the pandemic recedes we find ourselves facing many new uncertainties. Adapting to the new normal of hybrid working, the cost of living crisis and political unease are part of our landscape, a reality we naturally try to push back against.  But rather than helping, resisting our reality feeds an endless cycle of stress, rumination and even despair.

Recent experiences have magnified the inherent uncertainty of the human condition but amongst all the difficulty, they opened a door to a more progressive way of approaching these challenges. Perhaps it is time to “let go” of that which is beyond our control and get back on track.

When facing things beyond our control we can endlessly ruminate. This serves to increase stress without resolving anything. A more compassionate response is to train our minds to accept our reality and let go – to respond with choice and self-care.

It is important to clarify that “acceptance” and “letting go” are not passivity.  It is not a mental shrugging of the shoulders, but instead a more nuanced response to meeting difficulties.

When we face a challenge, we begin the process of acceptance and letting go by asking ourselves a simple question:

Do I have any control over this situation?”

If the answer is “yes”, then you can decide how you want to respond, giving you a sense of engagement.

If the answer is “no”, then you can decide how you support yourself – to let go of that beyond our control. In doing so we do not give up on ambition, progress or affecting change, but we let go of those behaviours that compound stress and rumination, instead increasing our sense of equilibrium. 

“Letting Go” is an attitude that is cultivated.  Mindfulness, anxiety management and consciously shifting our mindset are all effective ways of practicing acceptance and letting go.  They allow us to observe rather than avoid our difficult experiences.  We nurture a stance that allows the difficult to arise without it triggering behaviours that sustain stress and unease. 

This is the bedrock of an approach to life that ultimately gives us more choice over how we meet demands and challenges.  Each time we encounter experience with this attitude, we create new habits, behaviourally and neurologically, that become second nature over time. In doing so we expand our comfort zones and increase our resilience to difficulty. Letting go means growth, not retreat and the implications are massive.

Wellbeing Partners are committed to helping people develop the techniques needed to cultivate “letting go” and offer a variety of workshops and courses that introduce and deepen these skills in a range of contexts.

Back on Track, Wellbeing in Hybrid Working and Recovery from Burnout look at developing resilience, choice and adapting in the professional context, whilst Mindfulness Sessions, Facing Anxiety and Flourishing and Managing Change look at the wider context of letting go and the emotional intelligence needed to find the strength to face uncertainty with courage and confidence.

If you would like more information on any of these sessions, please get in touch or enter your details below.

Getting Started

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23 August 2022

MBCT – for depression and anxiety

Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) isnow a recommended treatment for relieving mental health issues, based on guidelines by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)

  • Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy is a clinical form of mindfulness, similar to cognitive behavioural therapy but not the same
  • The rollout of MBCT on a societal scale has the potential to revolutionise how we view and manage mental health issues
  • MBCT is a non-drug treatment from the field of psychology, which helps to combat the unhelpful thinking patterns that feed many people’s mental health issues

Recently published NICE guidelines have placed Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) at the forefront of improving mental health in society, with NHS GP’s set to recommend MBCT more widely as a front-line treatment for mental health issues. Though this will likely take several years to fully implement, MBCT has already been successfully used as a mental health treatment for several decades. Our fully qualified MBCT teachers at Wellbeing Partners explain:

MBCT, if you do not know of it already, is an acronym you will be hearing regularly in the very near future as the treatment is more widely rolled out across society, and as we embrace this novel and extraordinary approach to how we relate to our thoughts and feelings.

Most people know mindfulness as a relaxation tool but MBCT is something different. MBCT is a fusion of mindfulness and cognitive therapy developed to combat recurring depression and it has been shown to also have a positive impact on a variety of mental health issues, including anxiety. The treatment gives us a greater understanding of our own unhelpful thinking patterns and how it is these thoughts can make us feel stressed, anxious, alarmed, frightened, ashamed, guilty, paranoid, and can eventually lead to mental health issues.

Here are some of the main tools and techniques we can learn from Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy:

MBCT teaches us to relate to our thoughts differently: “Thoughts are not facts”

The greatest gift that MBCT gives people is the ability to relate to thoughts differently.

Many of us can get into the habit of “overthinking” a lot of the time – perhaps anxiously fantasising about how our work or personal life might go wrong, criticising ourselves or others for not being good enough, or feeling like things in our life will never improve. And because our thoughts are our inner voice which speaks to us, these thoughts can seem like the truth. We may spend time and energy battling these thoughts, or giving into them, increasing our unhappiness and anxiety as we try.

MBCT teaches us to recognise that our thoughts are our opinions, and we can choose how to respond to these opinions, or perhaps let them go. This technique is both a mindset shift and a skill that is learned over a number of sessions with a qualified and experienced MBCT teacher.

Emotional Intelligence: “How am I feeling?”

Emotional intelligence is a coveted but elusive skill, one that is important for our professional and personal lives. MBCT is a doorway into better understanding of how we are feeling and gives us the tools to use our emotions intelligently. Unless prompted, we are rarely conscious of how we are feeling and how our emotions are shaping our behaviour, and this can sometimes have unfortunate consequences. 

Emotions like fear, anger, frustration, shame, guilt, resentment can build up over hours, days, weeks, months even years. These emotions are often wrongly-labelled as “bad” feelings, or negative emotions that should be avoided or swallowed. But emotions are neither good nor bad, just a bunch of signals in the amygdala part of the brain that are designed to help us navigate life.

Taking actions purely based on these emotions can sometimes have a bad outcome, but emotions themselves can be looked at differently, reframed, as important information for us to pay attention to. By focusing our attention on our current emotional experience, MBCT allows a greater knowledge of how we are feeling in real time, which regulates our emotional energy if we are stressed and gives us a chance to choose how to respond to situations, experiences and people in a more informed way.  Again, this is a skill that is learned as a part of a MBCT course over a number of sessions with a qualified teacher. The outcome of a greater understanding of our emotional state is a more robust sense of calm and equilibrium, one that MBCT teaches us to cultivate and to be able to call upon when required.

Recognising the Good

Much of the conversation around MBCT concerns mental health issues. However, there is another side to MBCT which is equally important and that is how it connects us to the good in life.

Humans evolved to have a “negativity bias”, meaning we find it easier to focus on that which we find threatening or difficult.  MBCT helps create balance by teaching us to pay attention to the good, the richness and variety of life, those little moments of joy that might otherwise be missed when we are caught up in ruminative thinking patterns.  The sound of a loved one’s voice, the exquisite tase of our favourite food, the beautiful skyline or anything else that comes through the senses.

Being in the present moment helps us experience these small moments of joy as they are happening, enjoying the emotions that these moments create.  And these small moments add up.  Psychologist Rick Hanson calls this “hardwiring happiness”, the process of training ourselves to focus on what makes us calm and content, what brings us happiness, especially the smaller moments that we might not usually notice or value.

A multi-faceted approach

MBCT provides a subtle but multi-faceted approach to understanding how our mind works, and how we can accept and manage our thoughts, and the energy from our emotions, in a healthier and more positive way.

For more information, or to book an MBCT session or group course for your organisation, please contact us at Wellbeing Partners – [email protected]

Re-Igniting the spark: Five steps to help employees re-engage with their work

  • Around one third of employees feel disengaged from their work(1)
  • Hybrid working is more likely to amplify than mitigate the issue
  • Disengagement can be a consequence of poor boundaries between work and home life
  • Clinical experts offer five steps for employees to regain a positive post-pandemic mindset

Employee mental health and wellbeing experts, Wellbeing Partners, announced today five tips that will help employers boost post-pandemic mindsets – to drive better staff engagement, improved resilience and a more positive workplace outlook.

Wellbeing Partners research shows that 37% of employees(1) report feeling disengaged and demotivated at work. A large number, including those in HR and People teams, are also experiencing moderate to severe burnout.

The solutions for improving the post-pandemic mindset into a more engaged and productive workforce depend partly on an organisation collaborating with employees to permit and encourage better work life boundaries. Employees wellbeing will benefit enormously from being able to switch off and having more life outside work, and also need to take responsibility for actioning other positive changes as outlined below.

James Milford, head of behavioural sciences at Wellbeing Partners comments:

“A significant number of employees, more than a third, report feeling disengaged, exhausted, unfocused, low in motivation, and many are also anxious about social interaction. It’s something that employers simply cannot ignore as recruitment and retention becomes more challenging.  Businesses need to prioritise and put in place structures that cultivate better work life balance for employees as a first step for re-engagement, and then encourage staff to take actions that enhance focus, improve mood, build confidence and create a more positive mindset around their work.”

Wellbeing Partners offer five tips from their “Back on Track: the Post-Pandemic Mindset” session for employees, which helps foster a post-pandemic mindset that is resilient, positive and prepared for the challenges ahead. In summary:

  1. Mindfulness for Resilience and Calm: practicing mindfulness reduces stress, promotes relaxation and gives people the tools they need to be resilient in the face of challenges.
  2. Challenge Unhelpful Thinking Patterns:  habitual patterns of thought can trigger and sustain stress. Learning to respond differently at times of challenge boosts confidence, resilience and mental positivity.
  3. Explore – don’t Ignore: while we naturally shy away from difficult subjects, it’s importantto surface emotions through journaling, speaking to others or engaging in creative projects. Exploring difficult emotions helps us process them, reducing their impact and decreasing negative mindsets.
  4. Find the Right Balance: demotivation is often a sign that we need to pay more attention to our work/life balance. Actively putting clear, defined boundaries in place to transition from work to rest are key. Not checking emails after work hours is a simple but effective starting point. Instead engage in fun, relaxing or supportive hobbies and activities.
  5. Cultivate Connectivity: engaging with others makes us happier, so we should look to activities that bring people together.  Volunteering or engaging community projects help boost mood and confidence whilst reducing social anxiety.

(1) Research by Wellbeing Partners from 4,000+ employees at 50+ workplaces across the UK in 2021/22.

About Wellbeing Partners

Wellbeing Partners is a firm of clinical experts in employee mental health, providing a range of tools to aid the emotional, mental and physical wellbeing of employees at more than 350 organisations in the UK and across the globe. Its market-leading wellbeing workshops, mental health training courses, crisis counselling and one to one wellbeing coaching services are delivered by more than 50 qualified clinical health experts. Topics include mental health, physical and nutritional wellbeing to parenting and menopause support.

Press contacts:

James Milford
Media Relations
[email protected]

Open MHFA Course

Would you like to become a Mental Health First Aider?
Our next two day mental health first aid course takes place on 5th and 7th July – online and interactive with our nationally-accredited MHFA instructor.
This course trains you as a certified Mental Health First Aider, giving you:

  • An in-depth understanding of mental health and the factors that can affect wellbeing
  • Practical skills to spot the triggers and signs of a range of mental health issues
  • Confidence to step in, reassure and support a person in distress using the Mental Health First Aid action plan
  • Enhanced interpersonal skills such as non-judgemental listening
  • Knowledge to help someone recover their health by guiding them to further support – whether through self-help resources, internal support such as EAP, or external sources such as their GP
  • An understanding of how to keep themselves safe while performing their duties
     

Format

  • This is an online course delivered in a live and highly interactive format by our nationally-recognised and accredited instructor
  • Learning takes place through four live training sessions, spread across two days, with self-learning activities in between. 
  • Each session is built around a Mental Health First Aid action plan
  • We limit numbers to 16 people per course so that the instructor can keep people safe and supported while they learn
     

Takeaways

Everyone who completes the course gets:

  • A certificate of attendance to say they are a Mental Health First Aider
  • A manual to refer to whenever they need it
  • A quick reference card for the Mental Health First Aid action plan
  • A workbook including a helpful toolkit to support their own mental health
     

The price per delegate is £300 plus VAT. 

Getting Started

Enter your details below or call us on 020 3951 7685 to get started

Men’s Health Week – 13th to 19th June 2022

Men’s Health Week presents a terrific opportunity for employers to bring awareness to health issues that affect men disproportionately, and to encourage male employees to think more about their health and wellbeing.

Wellbeing Partners’ selection of relevant workshops include:

Men’s Health – presented by our award-winning men’s health educator and campaigner Peter Baker, this 60-minute live and interactive session encourages men to engage in discussion and learn about different aspects of physical and mental health that are most likely to impact men such as heart disease, prostate and other cancers, high blood pressure, erectile dysfunction and other sexual health issues, diabetes, weight, alcohol and substance misuse, depression and more. The session promotes the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, providing simple, straightforward advice, and encourages men to think more about their wellbeing and access health services when required. (In-person or online)

Men’s Mental Health – presented by one our fully qualified counselling psychotherapists and men’s mental health specialists, this 60-minute live and interactive session focuses on removing stigma and shame around men discussing and seeking help for mental health issues, provides effective tips and techniques for how men can improve their mental health and wellbeing, and signposts men to the variety of support services they can access if required (including promoting services such as an EAP).

Mindfulness for Men – presented by our James Milford, our head of behavioural sciences and a fully qualified mindfulness-based cognitive therapist, this 60-minute live and interactive session offers your male employees an ideal opportunity to learn about the science behind mindfulness and to try a range of meditations as a highly effective form of DIY mental healthcare. Using evidence-based and scientifically proven mindfulness and meditation techniques to reduce stress and anxiety, overcome unhelpful thinking patterns, improve sleep and benefit overall health. (In-person or online)

One to One Wellbeing Sessions – our team of fully qualified wellbeing coaches include five male therapists, who we can make available to your employees during Men’s Health Week, or at any time of the year! These sessions offer tailored, confidential mental health and wellbeing support directly to your employees, including those who might be otherwise reluctant to access mental health support, based on their individual requirements. (In-person or online)

Employee Health Screening – Know Your Numbers – our team of registered occupational health nurses come to your workplace to provide employees with individual health checks onsite. Tests include cholesterol and blood sugar levels, blood pressure, waist:hip ratio & BMI; cardiovascular, discussion around alcohol consumption, exercise, smoking and diet, plus overall health. Each employee receives their personalised results in a graphical and easy to understand report, with signposting to specific health services where relevant. We also provide your organisation with an anonymous overview of the health of your employees, and a comparison with national average. (In-person)

Did you know?

Diabetes Week runs from the 8th to the 13th of June. Our fully qualified nutritional therapists present a range of relevant workshops such as ‘Sugar Awareness: Reducing Sugar from your Diet’ and ‘Nutrition and Healthy Eating’.

Healthy Eating Week runs from the 14th to the 20th of June and focuses on helping us be more aware of what foods we need to increase and avoid to balance our diet and eat more healthily. Our workshops include “Top 10 Tips for Healthy Eating’; ‘All about Breakfast’; as well as Cooking Demonstrations and ‘One-to-One Nutrition Sessions.

World Yoga Day is on the 21st of June, a day for fun and learning about all the different types of Yoga and its benefits. We offer 45 minute sessions in-person or online with our fully qualified yoga teachers. All welcome from beginners to intermediate level. Yoga mats are provided for in-house sessions.

Getting Started

Enter your details below or call us on 020 3951 7685 to get started

18 May 2022

The Framework for Supportive Conversations

The Framework for Supportive Conversations

If a colleague, team member or indeed a friend or loved one is struggling with their mental health or has a personal life issue or crisis that they have disclosed to us, we can easily be drawn into those conversations and find ourselves offering advice, trying to fix them or rescue their situation, or perhaps we become overly involved in their issues, or end up giving them anecdotes about our own experiences in the hope that it will somehow be supportive for them.

But the truth is, none of these things are actually helpful to someone who is struggling with their mental health or a personal life crisis. Giving advice, trying to fix or rescue or self-disclosing our own issues is more likely to be damaging, disempowering and not really what the other person wants or needs. Especially within the workplace, where the added dimension of hierarchies can come in to play and fears of delayed career progression can be an actual or perceived danger for someone who discloses mental health issues.

So how should we navigate supportive conversations in a psychologically safe way? What are the right and wrong things to say and do if someone discloses to us that they have a mental health issue, is struggling, or is in crisis or distress?

The Framework for Supportive Conversations is Wellbeing Partners’ easy to understand, simple to follow “conversation map” that provides clear boundaries and skills for holding any type of discussion around mental health, distress, crisis or personal life issues, or even emotionally charged conversations around work matters.

The Framework for Supportive Conversation provides clear guidance around what to say, what not to say, key questions to ask, and explains how to navigate these conversations successfully and skilfully so that they remain appropriate and helpful, and lead to appropriate support where required. The Framework gives clear guidance so that no-one becomes “enmeshed”, makes unhelpful comments, provides unqualified advice or gets overly-involved in colleagues’ or team members’ mental health issues or personal life difficulties.

The Framework for Supportive Conversations is one of the core elements of many of our short training courses, including Mental Health Training for Managers (2 hours), our Wellbeing for HR Course (90 minutes), and our Talking Mental Health Course for all employees (90 minutes).

The Framework provides the boundaries for supportive conversations, and includes:

  • Preparing for a supportive conversation – Where, For How Long, and When
  • How to Initiative a supportive conversation, simply and safely
  • Listening Skills – less is more
  • Validating – not advising or rescuing
  • Explore – key questions to ask
  • How and where to signpost for further support if appropriate
  • Closing the conversation – simply and skilfully

The training includes practical activities and exercises and all delegates come away feeling confident and relieved at the simplicity of holding a supportive conversation, and knowing the skills for navigating these often difficult discussions.

Please get in touch if you would like to know more about the Framework for Supportive Conversations, Mental Health Training for Managers, Wellbeing for HR or Talking Mental Health for all employees.

30 March 2022

The Levity Series – uplifting ideas for your 2022 employee wellbeing programme

The Levity Series is our range of in-person sessions and classes that aim to boost the wellbeing of employees through energising, interactive, fun and collective experiences.

The uncertainties inherent in the last 2 years have contributed to a marked increase in stress, anxiety and burnout as well the undermining of skills such as collaboration, creativity, self-confidence and social interaction.

At Wellbeing Partners we offer an innovative approach to meeting these challenges. Our “Levity Sessions” are in-person sessions and classes (also available online if you prefer) that aim to boost the wellbeing of employees as well as foster connection with other colleagues in an experiential way, reduce burnout and help promote mental positivity and resilience.

CREATIVE

Research shows how creativity can help boost mental health and promote emotional equilibrium.  These sessions allow you to bring that creativity into the workplace:

Art For Mental Wellbeing: Enjoyable and interactive 1-Hour painting and illustration classes guided by a professional art therapist. It is not about winning the Turner Prize but engaging in the flow of creativity, finding joy in expression.

Cooking Classes: Engage with a qualified nutritional therapist as they take you through enjoyable cooking lessons, mixing practical guidance and nutritional information. Classes include healthy eating, vegan cooking, sustainable eating and keto. Good nutrition is essential for mental and physical wellbeing meaning these classes have benefits that extend beyond the sessions!

Both classes available as regular and ad hoc sessions

MOVEMENT

Keeping the body active lifts mood and energy as well as helping boost mental and physical wellbeing. We offer a variety of different types of movement practice:  

Movement, Posture and Stretching is a 45-minute interactive class that boosts energy and educates employees on the importance of posture and stetch-based movement during the day. Led by our fully qualified Physio and Pilates teacher, this is fun, practical and energising

If you want to raise the heart rate as well as the mood, energetic classes such as our 45-minute Fitness Classes or Zumba Classes are a perfect mix of fun and challenge

Another great movement option is Yoga Classes run by our team of qualified yoga teachers. All abilities and levels of experience catered for.

All available as regular and ad hoc sessions

FOCUS

We offer Dynamic Mindfulness sessions that extend beyond the traditional practices by utilising movement and techniques to engage the senses to help us really connect with the present moment. Our fully qualified mindfulness teachers develop mindfulness into a shared, sensory experience and teach skills that can be taken into our busy days. A combination of mindful movement activities and soundscape meditations using gongs and bells over 45-60 minutes. Participation in this session is a great conversation starter!

Contact us for more details

ONE to ONES

Sometimes we need that extra bit of individual attention, and Wellbeing Partners can cater for this:

For the body we offer Massage Sessions. The practice of massage can lower stress and anxiety whilst boosting the production of serotonin and dopamine, neurotransmitters that are the basis for positivity. The fully qualified massage therapist will focus on the shoulders, neck and upper back. Employees are fully clothed and sitting up and forwards in a special massage chair. Ideally 20 minutes per massage

For the mind we offer One-to-One Wellbeing Sessions. Guided by our counsellors with a wide range of wellbeing knowledge and experience, these one to ones allow confidential and safe spaces to discuss any issues that are hampering an employee’s ability to function well

WELLBEING WORKSHOPS

  • Some of our most popular one hour wellbeing workshops for employees include Recovering from Burnout; Wellbeing in Hybrid Working; From Anxious to Calm; Six Pillars of Health; Back on Track-Mental Wellbeing Post-Pandemic; plus more than 30 others – https://wellbeing.partners/wellbeing-workshops/

Getting Started

Enter your details below or call us on 020 3951 7685 to get started

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