GM Weekly Blog 26th Feb 2021
Published: Friday, 26 February 2021 by Dunc
Gordon Moody’s Weekly round up
Looking after your mental health
Looking after the wellbeing of our service users, our colleagues and ourselves has been paramount in helping us to continue to deliver a service throughout the pandemic. Like many organisations we have provided some light relief from the pressures of day-to-day life with online parties, coffee mornings and fun challenges. We have provided additional time off for wellbeing and for colleagues and service users past and present we have run a number of mindfulness sessions.
Mindfulness is a useful practice to help look after your mental health and this week’s blog is written by our Retreat and Counselling therapist Kira Bradbeer who is a qualified mindfulness coach.
What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness is a natural human capacity we are all born with, but one that we often lose connection with when the thinking mind develops and takes over our experience. Mindfulness means being aware of our moment-to-moment experience and not only includes our thoughts, but also our bodily sensations and emotions, as well as the world around us.
Fortunately, we can re-learn how to tune into our experience through mindfulness practices, where we train our mind to pay attention to the present moment.
We begin to see how we usually rush through life without noticing much at all and often react to our experience in unhelpful ways. Instead, when mindfulness is practised over time, we begin to notice exactly what we are thinking and feeling in each moment and this supports us to make helpful choices about how we can respond to situations wisely.
How is mindfulness used to support clients?
Because building self-awareness is such an important foundation of recovery, we introduce clients to brief mindfulness practices that support them to tune into their experience.
A really helpful practice we use is called the Mindful Breathing Space that encourages clients to pause and stop in any given moment of the day to purposively notice what they are thinking, how they are feeling and what is occurring in their body.
This also gives clients time to find refuge for a few moments in their breathing and this supports them to respond to situations they find themselves in.
Why is mindfulness helpful to disordered gamblers?
The act of gambling is always triggered by an internal or external experience, such as an unpleasant emotion or having seen a gambling advert.
However, when people first enter recovery this process happens very rapidly and automatically. Mindfulness, therefore, supports client to slow down and notice both the triggers and their immediate internal reactions to them.
With this noticing, clients then have a choice about how to respond to the triggers, rather than simply reacting to them by gambling.
What do clients have to say about mindfulness?
A common first reaction to mindfulness amongst clients is scepticism and bemusement. On the Retreat and Counselling Programme we introduce mindfulness through the mindful eating of a raison, which people often say is a strange experience and gets a few giggles.
However, as this becomes more familiar, many come to realise that mindfulness is just about tuning into ourselves, and many tell us it supports them during times of stress and heightened emotion especially.
For me, it is also great to hear how a practice has calmed someone and supported them to let go of some worry, so they can get the most out of their group session or go about their day feeling more settled.
How can I bring mindfulness into my day?
Mindfulness is useful for many people, not just if you have a problem with gambling, but is also helpful with tuning into stress triggers and responding to them wisely.
A great place to start is a simple five-minute daily practice of noticing the breath at the tip of the nose. You will no doubt find your mind takes a wander away from this place frequently, but each time you notice where the mind has gone and bring your focus of attention back to the tip of the nose, you are strengthening your muscle of attention that bit more.
Now that’s what I would call great mindfulness!
Why not try mindfulness for yourself?
Gordon Moody in the news
It is really encouraging to see lots of interest on how to tackle women and gambling harm currently. It is important that awareness of the issue is raised and that there are more opportunities for women who are affected by gambling harm to seek help.
Gordon Moody is committed to providing more treatment for women in 2021, including the opening of a specialist women’s residential treatment centre later in the year.
Retreat and Counselling Programme manager Jane Fahy and outreach therapist Kerri Nicholls appeared on Steph’s Packed Lunch on Channel 4 last week to talk about women and gambling. Both were tremendous advocates for more to be done for women and were great ambassadors for Gordon Moody and you can watch their interview here.
There should be no stigma in reaching out for help. If you are affected in any way by gambling harm channel 4 have provided information on support services available
Please don’t suffer in silence, we are open, we are here to help, and we are still accepting applications for treatment, whatever the twists and turns of the COVID-19 regulations.
To apply for treatment at Gordon Moody visit www.gordonmoody.org.uk or for more information call us on 01384 241292.
The National Gambling Helpline is available 24/7 call free on 0808 802 0133.
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