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29 signs you are doing just fine.

Posted by ajoyfulplace on September 6, 2014 at 8:40 AM Comments comments (0)

My daughter shared this truly meaningful piece. All of it speaks to me so loudly; these are things that I keep trying to help people to understand and appreciate. These are important principles to live by.  I couldn't say them better myself.

 

Here are few excerpts from the article:

 

2) You are courageously walking your own path

 

3) You are making difficult decisions and acting upon them.

 

13) You still believe in the possibilities that lie ahead. –

 

16) You haven’t let the judgments of others stop you.

 

21) You continue to make a difference.

 

22) You have enough right now to live comfortably

 

27) You know deep down that you are not alone.

 

I trust you will take some time to read the full article. Ponder and enjoy.

 

http://earthweareone.com/29-signs-youre-doing-just-fine-even-if-it-doesnt-feel-like-it/

 

Counselling is for everyone

Posted by ajoyfulplace on January 5, 2014 at 12:40 AM Comments comments (0)

Why has the word counselling received such a bad reputation in most societies? The average (whatever that means) person dares not tell anyone that he is “going to counselling”. In most cultures a person who admits to wanting to visit a counsellor is dubbed several things from weak to a freak. Yet the truth is that every one of us gets counselled practically every day of our lives. We are all “in counselling” almost all the time.

 

The Collins Concise dictionary (1988) defines counsel as -: 1) advice or guidance on conduct, behaviour, etc. and 2) discussion or consultant.

Britannica.com defines counselling as – the process of helping an individual discover and develop his educational, vocational and psychological potentialities and thereby to achieve an optimal level of personal happiness and social usefulness.

And to me, when someone gives another complete, undivided attention as he expresses how he feels then that someone is counselling the other.

 

Haven’t we all at some point in our lives, especially while we were growing up been told how to behave? Even as adults there are “rules of conduct “we still need to live by in order to conform to our particular culture, places of work, etc. And we certainly are reminded when we go against the advice or guidance. So we are all counselled constantly.

 

All of us want to develop our educational, vocational or psychological potentialities and to achieve happiness (if not usefulness). We certainly need help to do that. None of us can do that alone. Therefore we all need counselling.

 

There isn’t one of us who has not at some time attempted to get another’s attention as we relate a story. We don’t just relate the incident; we really want the listener to notice how we feel about it and give us the emotional space to process those emotions as we talk. Hence we choose specific people to tell our stories to. We are being counselled as we tell our stories.

 

Ergo, who amongst us has never been, or does not regularly go to a counsellor? Now, therapy is a different matter. That is defined by Collins as the treatment of disorders or disease. It’s a fine line sometimes between counselling and therapy. But maybe we need to make the distinction clearer, if only to remove the stigma attached to counsellors and the counselling process.

 

 

 

Dalai Lama

Posted by ajoyfulplace on October 8, 2009 at 3:08 PM Comments comments (0)



I had thehonour and privilege to attend a talk given by the Dalai Lama last Saturday at the Bell Centre in downtown Montreal. I was struck by his relaxed presence, his ease of talking to a crowd of 15,000 people and his playful attitude. Yet hismessage was powerful.

 

Some of the things he said that resonated with me included:

  • That we are all born with the same potential.
  • A more compassionate mind sustains the body’s immune system.
  • Too much anger affects the immune system.
  • When the mind is not settled, i.e. too much emotion stirred up then it is hard to think.
  • An experiment done with monkeys showed that those that were separated from their mothers were always in a bad mood and fought a lot.
  • A presentation at a seminar pointed out that people who used words like me, I,mine a lot were at higher risk of heart attack.
  • The most important factor for friendship is internal beauty not external beauty.
  • We are social beings and need a force to bring us together- that force iscompassion.
  • The real cause of loneliness is anger, suspicion and distrust.
  • One element of compassion is recognizing that every one has an equal right to ahappy life.
  • Real test of compassion is when you can extend it to an enemy.

                                

He outlined the levels of compassion and talked about ways to extend this to all levels-individual, community, national and global. One day he was wondering about whatis this global economic crisis about and he asked his friends to explain it tohim. What he understood from them was that it was about greed and speculation.

 

It was indeed a special experience for me to be in that crowd and listen to the DalaiLama talk so serenely about such an emotional topic. But the best part was thatit was like hearing someone confirm my own thoughts and philosophies. Allthrough the event I was being reminded of the values with which I promised to live my own life and convinced that I was on the right path.

 

 


One School at a Time

Posted by ajoyfulplace on July 26, 2009 at 3:35 PM Comments comments (1)

My mind is always churning up new ventures;even the ones I have going at the time I feel the need to review or at least keep them fresh. My new venture I am going to call One-school-at-a-time. This is inspired by the project I have been carrying out at one particular school and which I now want to take  to all other schools- one at a time.

 

For the past 7 months I conducted a Social and Emotional Learning programme at a primary school here in Trinidad and Ihave been very pleased with the success. The two most crucial successes were that the entire school got involved and that they persisted with the programme for the two terms and are willing to continue. Also very heartening was thefact that the parents jumped on board with a day long workshop.


Here is an excerpt from the report of this first phase:

 

At the start of the programme teachers admittedthat they knew very little about Social and Emotional Learning. The awarenessof SEL as a crucial part of teaching and learning had certainly increasedthrough the programme. At the end of the 2-day workshop teachers felt confidentabout their own understanding of SEL and were looking forward to implementingthe basic lessons in the classroom.

 

The feedback sessions indicated that thestudents were responding positively and eagerly to the lessons. The studentswere developing good listening skills and were responding in more appropriateways to situations in the classroom. Some students also reported improvedrelationships with their siblings at home. This contributed to the release ofsome of the pressure on the teachers to listen constantly to students, to address their emotional needs and to deal with behaviour issues.

 

An important aspect of the programme wasbuilding support among the teachers. They also learned to use the supportivelistening skills to maintain their own emotional well-being throughout theprogramme. They too indicated improvements in their relationships andinteracting with others outside of the school setting.

 

I have also started a project at apre-school. We have only done a parents' workshop so far but we have outlinedthe sessions for teachers and parents for the upcoming school year.

 

I WILL fulfill my goal of incorporatingSocial and Emotional Learning into all schools in the Caribbean even if I do it one school at a time.

 

 

 

 


Mental health in education

Posted by ajoyfulplace on January 19, 2009 at 8:56 PM Comments comments (0)
I have concerns about the fact that despite all the efforts globally to raise awareness of the importance of the affective domain in the classroom, the changes are still slow to come. I believe that if we examine the issue of mental health in schools from many angles and perspectives it will help us to understand what is happening and what is actually keeping back the progress. Why with all the programs that have been created and all the trainings and workshops being conducted in our schools are we still plagued with dilemmas such as increasing violence in the schools, unhappy and frustrated teachers, overcrowded classroom, unsolvable issues of special education, and such high levels of poor academic performance?

I have identified some of the factors that are impeding the work as follows:

  • In many societies there is not enough value placed on the emotions and emotional work. Emotions are dismissed as frivolous or something to be passed over as quickly as possible; they are ignored, shoved aside, even laughed at sometimes. Emotional work is not seen as crucial to survival as other things in our lives.

  • The length of time required for this work to take effect. Most schools are pressured for time. The process of change is a long term one. Many of us need quick fixes.

  • It is sometimes hard to acknowledge and understand that mental health issues also affect children. There is a false notion that only adults ‘suffer’ from mental issues, such as depression, stress, etc.

  • The notion that our early childhood experiences should have been buried and put behind us as we grow up and go out into the world. We should just ‘get over it’.

  • Lack of proper research and reliable data on most mental health issues and emotional work. What little research has been done has elicited such conflicting responses in the field that it is hard for the average parent or teacher to make an informed decision about the state of mental health in young people and how to cope with it.


Before we successfully address these dilemmas in our schools we do need to understand fully what a mentally healthy mind means, what internal and external factors affect that health, and the real connection between a healthy mind, a healthy body and intelligent functioning.


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