What’s going on with your monkey?

Friday thoughts…about your monkey!

According to Buddhist writings, the ‘monkey mind’ is a term that refers to being unsettled, restless, or confused. When we feel unrest in our mind, our inner critic shouts loudly.

Our monkey mind can stop us being brave; looking inward and doing what we know is right for us.

Often, we can let our inner critic speak so loudly it stops us doing what fills our soul, setting our goals and reaching our dreams and visions. It makes us doubt oursleves, allowing imposter syndrome to be dominant and we start living from the point of view of other people’s perceptions and opinions.

STOP!

Check in with yourself and ask who is controlling your thoughts and actions… is it you or your inner chimp?

Tame it – hell name that chimp, control those thoughts and live your truth. That will allow you to be the happiest version of yourself!

It’s not always easy, but way more authentic. Live your life in your way, not just in a way that pleases the needs and expectations of others.

Feeling overwhelmed by your monkey mind?

Here’s just a few scientifically proven taming techniques: meditation, mindfulness, reframing your thoughts, colouring, mantras, running, talking, journaling, kindness, giving … and more.

… and if all else fails, remind yourself that your mind is designed to have this inner chatter; just sometimes you have to manually override it, because, mostly, what that chimp tells you and predicts is completely untrue! 💚

Want a good read?
Check out “The Chimp Paradox” by Prof. Steve Peters here.

Building Resilience….

Resilience…

What is it?

Why do we need it?

How do we build it?

Tabby Kerwin takes a look at one of the fundamental elements of emotional fitness that allows us to live a healthier life and get back up and fight stronger when difficult situations come our way.

Resilience is the ability to easily adjust to misfortune or change whilst Hope is defined as a desire accompanied by expectation or belief in fulfilment or wanting something to happen (Merriam-Webster, 2021).

These two elements of hope and resilience are closely intertwined, acting as protective factors against adversity and for our mental health and following some recent research I posited that:

Hope + Action = Resilience + Mental Wellness

Protective factors are vital; they protect our mental health in contrast to risk factors which pose a threat to our mental health and in the same way physical fitness can be improved through physical exercise, emotional fitness can be improved through emotional exercise and it is these emotional exercises which are the Action in my Hope + Action = Resilience + Mental Wellness equation.

My personal definition of resilience is not just strength, but the ability to be stretched and then return to form (not always the same form), mentally or physically.

Evidence shows us that hope helps protect mental health (Leite et al,. 2019) and that it is resilience that helps people bounce back when they face adversity, but why do we need to build resilience?

A person who is resilient can work through adversity and challenges by using their strengths and other elements of psychological capital (resources a person can use to help improve their performance) such as hope, optimism and self-efficacy (someone’s belief in their capacity to perform) (Fontane Pennock, 2020). The more resilient you become, the stronger you feel and more mentally healthy you are. Resilience self-perpetuates where resilience builds more resilience.

When we develop our emotional fitness by utilising tools in our wellbeing toolkit we are not only building our resilience but we our increasing our levels of hope, boosting our mood and becoming mentally healthier.

What are the tools that can help us build resilience and emotional fitness?

  • Visualisation
  • Movement
  • Breathing
  • Meditation
  • Journaling
  • Gratitude
  • Grounding

These are some of the examples of tools we should have in our wellbeing toolkit that we can use as a daily practise for preventative measures and use as continuing and maintenance tools, or in a moment of emotional distress.

To buy Tabby’s Book: ‘The Three Ps: Possibility, Productivity & Performance’ click here

Wearing a Mask

Wearing a mask become the new normal for us over the last few years, but when we refer to wearing a mask, we’re not always referring to the physical mask worn as a protection from Potential physical illness, but the metaphorical mask worn when someone is experiencing emotional distress.

I was part of a discussion about ‘maskless conversations’ over the weekend. It’s not often that we have these, in fact I do not always have them myself.

What do I mean by ‘maskless conversations’? Well, simply put, when we talk and are truly vulnerable, open and honest about how we are feeling with not just strangers but those closest to us.

As honest as I am there are still many things I don’t share. Why? Because sometimes people don’t need to know what’s in my head, or I don’t want to burden them, or that still intrusive, but much quieter, fear of judgement.

For people who wear that mask constantly (and I know many people who do but don’t even share that with those they live with), hiding their reality is a necessity, often due to feelings of shame, stigma and discrimination. The feeling that other people’s opinions are judgements of them and these opinions can sometimes manifest in discriminatory behaviours, so they would be better placed to hide their truth – to wear a mask and suppress all their emotions.

But the truth is that the constant mask wearing is exhausting and can make them feel worse until they lose themselves and stigma becomes the barrier to them getting the help that they need.

Awareness, education, open and honest conversations and implementing protective factors for better wellness will change this.

The phrase “if you need help just reach out and talk” is often heard, but the truth is if you’re wearing that mask it’s so difficult to talk. So we need to spin the narrative and create safe places and environments where talking about emotions, emotional fitness and mental health are completely acceptable, not just normal.

What environment are you in where you can do that? Be that at home, school, workplace, bandroom or sports club? Can you create an environment where having “maskless conversations” becomes psychologically safe?

The Five Ways to Wellbeing

The Five Ways to Wellbeing are a set of evidence-based public mental health messages aimed at improving the mental health and wellbeing of the whole population.

They were developed by NEF as the result of a commission by Foresight, the UK government‟s futures think-tank, as part of the Foresight Project on Mental Capital and Wellbeing.

So, what are they?

Connect
There is strong evidence that indicates that feeling close to, and valued by, other people is a fundamental human need and one that contributes to functioning well in the world.

It’s clear that social relationships are critical for promoting wellbeing and for acting as a buffer against mental ill health for people of all ages.

With this in mind, try to do something different today and make a connection.

  • Talk to someone
  • Speak to someone new
  • Ask how someone’s weekend was and really listen when they tell you
  • Put five minutes aside to find out how someone really is
  • Give a colleague a lift to work or share the journey home with them.

Be Active
Regular physical activity is associated with lower rates of depression and anxiety across all age groups.

Exercise is essential for slowing age-related cognitive decline and for promoting well-being.

But it doesn’t need to be particularly intense for you to feel good – slower-paced activities, such as walking, can have the benefit of encouraging social interactions as well providing some level of exercise.

Today, why not get physical? Here are a few ideas:

  • Take the stairs not the lift
  • Go for a walk at lunchtime
  • Walk into work – perhaps with a colleague – so you can ‘connect’ as well
  • Get off the bus one stop earlier than usual and walk the final part of your journey to work
  • Organise a work sporting activity
  • Have a kick-about in a local park
  • Do some ‘easy exercise’, like stretching, before you leave for work in the morning
  • Walk to someone’s desk instead of calling or emailing.

Take Notice
Reminding yourself to ‘take notice’ can strengthen and broaden awareness.

Studies have shown that being aware of what is taking place in the present directly enhances your well-being and savouring ‘the moment’ can help to reaffirm your life priorities.

Heightened awareness also enhances your self-understanding and allows you to make positive choices based on your own values and motivations.

Take some time to enjoy the moment and the environment around you. Here are a few ideas:

  • Get a plant for your workspace
  • Have a ‘clear the clutter’ day
  • Take notice of how your colleagues are feeling or acting
  • Take a different route on your journey to or from work
  • Visit a new place for lunch.


Learn
Continued learning through life enhances self-esteem and encourages social interaction and a more active life.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that the opportunity to engage in work or educational activities particularly helps to lift older people out of depression.

The practice of setting goals, which is related to adult learning in particular, has been strongly associated with higher levels of wellbeing.

Why not learn something new today? Here are a few more ideas:

  • Find out something about your colleagues
  • Sign up for a class
  • Read the news or a book
  • Set up a book club
  • Do a crossword or Sudoku
  • Research something you’ve always wondered about
  • Learn a new word.

Give
Participation in social and community life has attracted a lot of attention in the field of wellbeing research.

Individuals who report a greater interest in helping others are more likely to rate themselves as happy.

Research into actions for promoting happiness has shown that committing an act of kindness once a week over a six-week period is associated with an increase in wellbeing.

Much Love
Tabby x

Resources: mind.org.uk

What a weekend!


At the weekend I visited the Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Centre at Conishead Priory in Ulverston, South Lake District to both decompress from a busy month so far and to also gain some insight on wellbeing to help and better support colleagues and clients.

This was a weekend meditation retreat with a focus on restoring wellbeing using Buddhist teachings and what a great weekend it was. 

Such an impressive and beautiful location where in the grounds of a 12th Century Augustine priory a huge and inspiring Buddhist temple emerges from the landscape. Breathtaking!

Now, you could fully immerse yourself in these weekends and stay on campus, living a simple life and perhaps even completely detox nutritionally and digitally, but I chose to make it a hybrid experience, staying in the nearby town of Ulverston in a small house with friends who joined me in the retreat experience.

Over the course of the weekend we attended several meditation sessions and talks and whilst based on the Dharma (teachings of Buddha) this did not feel like a religious experience (personally not my bag) but words of total relevance and accuracy for how we need to think, feel and behave to increase our wellness and protect our mental health.

The consequence of the weekend (aside from another valuable lesson in red wine consumption!) was leaving feeling calmer, more open and a desire to implement simple daily practises for the benefit of myself and others. It was all so relevant.

Taking a few moments every day to meditate and to be more mindful about our thoughts, intentions and actions is incredibly beneficial for our overall health and wellness levels. The simple process (and granted simple does not always mean easy) of changing our thoughts to be more positive can help boost our mood and decrease levels of anxiety – in turn this helps us function better, be more productive and of course, increases our happiness levels.

If you need to gain a little more calm I thoroughly recommend you check out the meditation sessions at the centre and maybe even one of their retreats. Modestly priced and a great experience which you can either fully immerse yourself in or take the hybrid route like I did. 

It’s definitely an experience which will benefit myself and all those I work with and for. 🙏

Find out more at https://manjushri.org/

Much love

Tabby x

Strike Up a Conversation – It’s Time to Talk Day 2022

MENTAL HEALTH:

Conversations have the power to change and save lives.

This week is #TimeToTalk day on 3rd February and an opportunity to start a conversation .

Whether it’s in person, via text, over a cuppa, in your bandroom or as you play football, start a conversation with someone to help them and you.

Talking and sharing are superpowers.

For more details and resources visit: https://timetotalkday.co.uk/download-a-pack/

timetotalkday #mentalhealth #wellness #wellbeing #starttheconversation #asktwice

Brass on the Mind goes free…

After a year of publishing the magazine ‘Brass on the Mind’, Mode for… director Tabby Kerwin and team have made the decision to make wellbeing and mental health content even more accessible to musicians in the brass band movement.

Based on the ethos of “doing what we love and loving what we do” Mode for… has always been a business for benefit, wanting to help and support as many people as possible through all its brands and as such, in 2022 ‘Brass on the Mind’  has moved from being a paid magazine to a free blog.

Content will be regularly added to the blog, all designed to support the wellbeing of brass band musicians, plus there will be more activity in the Facebook group, new seasons of the Podcast and Mode for… is working hard to create more free mental health and suicide prevention training opportunities for people in brass bands.

It is so important that we prioritise wellness and mental health in the brass band movement as by looking after the people we strengthen the movement as a whole. It has been great publishing the magazine, but the reality is we are never scared of mixing things up at Mode for… and having great content and contributors is amazing, but that content needs to be accessible to everyone to be effective.

I’m passionate about supporting wellness and mental health in the brass band movement as we have an opportunity to impact people’s lives in a positive way across many generations through music and camaraderie. By making Brass on the Mind completely transparent and accessible, Mode for… can really play its role in helping people and that feels so right and attuned to our ethos of “doing what we love and loving what we do”.

Check out the new blog over at www.modefor.co.uk

Much Love

Tabby x

Notable dates

There isn’t a week that goes by without there being a day to celebrate or acknowledge different things, whether it’s national rubber ducky day (we totally acknowledged that),  sticky toffee pudding day, national pets week or teacher appreciation week.

We’ve become a nation that celebrates people and things by dedicating a day, week or even a month to things. 

I’ve always had a thing about days such as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day because they have developed into such commercialised commodities they hardly feel special… besides which, if you’re a mum or dad, you are that every day and you should be celebrated every day… seriously, celebrate yourself now – it’s a tough gig!

Anyhow, whilst we shouldn’t always need a day in the diary to celebrate some things, certain days do bring an awareness of events and causes that need their profile raising or need to be acknowledged in order to make people stop, step back, learn and implement things to make their, and other people’s, lives happier and healthier.

There’s now a plethora of dates dedicated to acknowledging areas of wellness, mental health and suicide prevention week and I will always advocate for those as there is still so much work to do in raising awareness around these subjects and, to be quite frank, when we raise awareness and do better around the subjects of mental health and suicide, we save lives. 

Here at Mode for… we’ve collated a few dates you might want to pop in your diary and acknowledge privately, at work, at school or in your community organisations. Use these dates as prompts to learn a little more, use your creativity and help support yourself and others.

Want to know a little more? Then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Much love

Tabby x

The Mode for… Notebook

Mode for… is a diverse portfolio business created in 2008 by husband and wife team Tabby and Simon Kerwin.

Since Simon’s death in 2018, Tabby has continued to develop Mode for… based on its original ethose of “doing what we love and loving what we do” and today it is the place where experience, performance and wellness meet through creativity and learning.

A diverse portfolio of six areas of business focussing on brass bands to weddings, publishing to Italian events and experiences and performance wellness coaching to training in mental health and suicide prevention.

Mode for… continues to develop organically in an exciting and diverse way with Tabby and her team being their for the needs of their clients and colleages.

Keep up to date with all that goes on and join the Mode for… story through our blog, The Mode for…Notebook