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Articles by Sima Patel from the Wellbeing Practice

Chartered Psychologist and Coach

15 New Road | Brighton | East Sussex | BN1 1UF
Telephone: 01273 803 013

Dealing with Uncontrollable Circumstances (Or – Don’t worry worry until worry worries you).

Posted in Wellbeing, Wellbeing Practice on Jun 01, 2020

One cannot underestimate the importance of human beings wanting to have control over their lives. Yet we now find ourselves living in uncontrollable circumstances. We have been thrown off course and have to continually adjust to new ways of living under Covid-19 For many it is a struggle to merely survive. How can we manage in these times to look after our emotional and mental wellbeing? First, we need to remind ourselves that we have always had limits to our own control. For example, we are unable to control the weather, other people’s reactions to us or what they think of us or even our own thoughts which can sometimes spiral out of control and jump to all sorts of conclusions without any evidence to back them up. Sometimes, we cannot even control our ability to fall asleep. In these situations, it seems that absurdly, letting go of control, seems to be the only way forward as there is nothing we can do to change the situation.

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Fun Filled August - Laughing at Ourselves for that Holiday Feeling

Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Aug 01, 2018

<h3>By Dr Sima Patel</h3> <h3>‘Never be afraid to laugh at yourself, after all, you could be missing out on the joke of the century’. Barry Humphries</h3> <p>August is usually a month when many people get to have holiday fun and so what better time than now to remind ourselves of how laughter can make a difference to our well-being. Most of us know from experience that having a sense of humour about things can make life a little easier for everyone.</p> <p>And there’s science to back that up: being able to laugh at yourself may be a sign of an optimistic personality and a sense of humour, according to a small 2011 stud...</p>

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Joyful July and The Sun Has Got His Hat on so Why Not You?

Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Jul 01, 2018

July is the height of summer and most of us want the sun to be shining with deep blue skies and not a cloud in sight. We can hear ourselves singing happy tunes such as ‘the sun has got his hat on, hip-hip-hip-hooray, the sun has got his hat on and is coming out today’. Research has shown that there is a feel good factor that comes with wearing just the right clothes. At this time of year, it is wonderful to people watch and see the range of hats being worn. Everything from cycling caps and helmets, flat billed caps, sun visors and of course, the glamorous hats worn at the Chelsea Flower Show and a variety of horse racing events across Sussex and Surrey. We don’t have to be magical, we can just create our own magic with hats.

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The Joys of June and Especially Taking Pride in our Beautiful Clean Spaces

Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Jun 01, 2018

June is a joyful month for lots of local residents as well as tourists. The beaches are often crowded with people enjoying delicious BBQs and picnics and savouring the long awaited heat of the sun. People arrive to the beauty of the sea and a lovely clean beach to sit on. So why is it that once the crowds have left the beach, the clean and tidy beach disappears too as litter is left strewn across miles of pebbles and along the promenade, taking away the joy of June and our pride in our beautiful nature-filled environment.

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April Fool – A Month for Fun and Laughter

Posted in Wellbeing, Wellbeing Practice on Apr 01, 2018

April Fools’ Day is a day to get enjoyment, fool around and have fun. Reflecting back to all the pranks that have been played over the years is in itself enough to make us laugh out loud. So how about starting just there for a warm up. Can you think of a time when someone played a great prank on you or vice versa? Does it still make you laugh out loud now?

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March – A Month to Relish in Awe

Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Mar 01, 2018

March is here and the joy of spring has arrived. Everything is growing, buds are bursting into life and leaves are unfolding. Millions of migrant birds are arriving and singing and the dawn chorus wakes our souls. Butterflies are starting to be seen and mammals are beginning to wake from their winter sleep.

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February – A Month To Cherish Being Still And Feeling Calm And Content

Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Feb 01, 2018

The frenzy of December is over, the attempts to follow New Year resolutions in January are over and spring is not quite here. So why not follow in the footsteps of nature through February when the silhouettes of trees stand strong and sturdy, composed with a sense of inner peace, calmness and integrity as they rest and recuperate before the onset of spring. The storms may come and go and the branches may bend backwards but the tree continues to compose itself with inner strength and calmness.

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January 2018 – Time to Make New Year Resolutions – Or Is it?

Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Jan 01, 2018

Research indicates that very few people keep the New Year Resolutions they make beyond the first few weeks or months. So rather than feeling guilty about not keeping them, is there an alternative to this? Try some of the following ideas and see how 2018 pans out for you.

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Dealing with Transitions - part 2

Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Nov 01, 2017

Transitions are a constant theme in our lives whether this is a change of home, work, career, travel plans, health, friends or personal and professional relationships. November sees a huge transition in nature with the rich autumn colours gently drifting away and the trees are left bare. There is less daylight and more darkness. All these transitions have an impact on our emotions and our coping abilities. Some transitions are full of joy and excitement, whilst others can feel disorientating, disruptive and painful.

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Dealing with Transitions

Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Oct 01, 2017

This is a time of the year when many transitions are taking place, not least the change in light and how that impacts on how we think and feel. Transitions include change of home, starting a new school, college or university, children that had left home returning and changing jobs. On top of that some situations are imposed on us – finding out that a loved person is ill, not getting the job that was really needed, a sudden layoff from a job, unwanted and uninitiated breakups in relationships and so on.

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The Transitions of September

Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Sep 01, 2017

September is a time of transitions for many people. Transitions include returning to work after a summer holiday, starting a new school, college or university, taking a gap year, not knowing what to do as Plan A did not materialise or the promotion did not come through or the job that was going to be available just is not anymore. On top of that some situations are imposed on us – sudden layoff from a job, sudden change in health, unwanted and uninitiated breakups in relationships and so on.

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The Art of Gratitude

Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Aug 01, 2017

August has arrived and with it a feeling of freedom from the normal day to day activities for most people. School holidays have arrived, the stress of examinations has dissipated and there is a bit more breathing space with that feeling of summer and longer lingering days: time to watch the world go by. Many people are thankful for this summer holiday season. So what are the benefits of being thankful, in other words, showing our gratitude. Research shows that when people show their gratitude towards other people, the following effects can take place:

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Summer Sales & Impulsive Buying

Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Jul 01, 2017

With Summer sales, we can be enticed into buying goods that we don’t need and even don’t necessarily want but can human beings really resist impulse buying and a bargain? Marketers and businesses are becoming increasingly aware of the science of psychology and purchasing decisions. Examples include shop assistants asking if you want another item as you pay for your purchases, machine-learning algorithms that nudge you into buying things that you don’t need and sales assistants who ask if you want to try on shoes with that pretty dress / suit in the hope that you will buy both.

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The Joyful Month of June and The Benefits of Writing

Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Jun 01, 2017

Whilst you might envisage someone who is a professional writer hunched over their computer with paper all over the desk and screwed up sheets of paper in the bin, one definition of prose is simply ‘to put thought onto paper’. If we think of writing in this way, we can all attempt writing tasks.

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Memories for the Merry Month of May

Posted in Wellbeing Practice on May 01, 2017

At last, the days are longer and there is plenty of light. There are more crowds of people around and the busy sound of chatter all over the place. So what do we chatter about and what sort of chatter brings meaning to our lives? It seems that everyone has their ‘story’ to tell. Whether this is about the aches and pains of life or the hilarious things that happened to them, or the way they have interpreted information or the way they want to present information to you or justify their view to you or perhaps the memories they have gathered from their experiences and want to share with you. As human beings, we seem to love listening to a good story.

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April Showers, Rainbows and The Psychology of Colour

Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Apr 01, 2017

April is the month normally associated with lots of rain showers. Even though rain can make us feel gloomy and fed-up at times, one of the wonders created under the right conditions of raindrops and sun are wonderful rainbows – fleeting spectrums of glorious colour that make us stop in our tracks and break out into wide smiles and feel a sense of awe, irrespective of our age. We can even end up giggling like children if we are lucky enough to see a double or triple rainbow.

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Spring and Hope – How do we want our gardens to look?

Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Mar 01, 2017

March is here and Spring is upon us. Even though hope does not perish in the depth of winter, there is something amazing about the hope that awakens in the spring time. Spring can be likened to a bridge – a time when one part crosses to another and so seeds are planted and they will be transformed into flowers and fruit. The dormant grass and winter wheat comes alive to dot the fields and hillsides and our memories are jogged of the greener tapestry to come. Birds start to sing their dawn chorus and our minds boggle with their clever chirps and beautiful notes.

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Recovering from Failure

Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Feb 01, 2017

Many people will have realised that the ambitious goals they had set themselves at the beginning of January are just not transpiring. Feeling that we have failed can be painful, disappointing and demoralising. It can make us feel that our goals seem to be tougher to achieve and our ability to achieve them seem weaker. This can damage our motivation and effort in pursuing our goals as we are likely to believe that we are going to fail. Failing also makes people risk averse as confidence is lost. This can create a feeling of helplessness. This can lead

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Thinking about the Best Possible You for 2017 and beyond

Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Jan 01, 2017

At the beginning of each New Year, it is easy to feel compelled to make yet another set of resolutions only to find that a few weeks later, we are utterly disappointed in ourselves not to have kept them. So this year, how about trying a different approach that research has shown to be effective because it enables you to take the smallest of steps in making the smallest of changes that can eventually help you to become the best self that you want to be over a period of time.

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Changing Our Expectations to Enjoy the Festive Season

Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Dec 01, 2016

The holidays can be a time of joy, cheer, and gratitude; they can also be really challenging and stressful. On the one hand there is the increasing pressure on buying gifts and expensive ones at that. There is also a heightened emphasis on being part of a perfect relationship or perfect family. On the other hand there are a vast number of people struggling to make ends meet on a daily and weekly basis let alone having the funds to buy additional gifts and food.

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Blending Light and Dark, Hope and Fear

Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Nov 01, 2016

November is a month that can be full of colour. The autumn leaves in Sussex really begin to show their vast range of shades and depth of colour. It creates a beautiful richness in our environment to stimulate our sense of vision.

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Changing Mind-sets

Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Oct 01, 2016

Do You Want to Make Summer Last Longer -  Recalling and Creating Positive Experiences? It is so easy to get straight back into work mode / home life / studying life but it is essential to our wellbeing to spend time savouring our enjoyable summer experiences and making time in our daily lives to appreciate that feeling of carefree days when our shoulders are relaxed, our minds are set free and our bodies feel strong yet flexible, especially as September’s weather has stretched out summer for us. 

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The Psychology of Resilience Part 5

Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Sep 01, 2016

This month’s edition is the final continuation on the theme of resilience featured in the magazine over the last few months. It focusses on ‘self-confidence’ and this article will make more sense if it is read alongside the previous articles (soon to be made available on the 7Directory website under the tab: Psychology of Life – Changing Mind-sets).

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The Psychology of Resilience Part 4

Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Aug 01, 2016

This month’s edition is a continuation on the theme of resilience featured in the magazine over the last few months. It focusses on ‘coping’ and this article will make more sense if it is read alongside the previous articles.

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The Psychology of Resilience Part 3

Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Jul 01, 2016

The first part to this feature on resilience was covered in the May edition which looked at how we view hardships and how we can develop a well-balanced emotional response to life’s challenges. The June edition featured a second key component in developing resilience, which is taking steps to ensure that we have a sense of belonging.

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The Psychology of Resilience Part 2

Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Jun 01, 2016

The first part to this feature on resilience was covered in the May edition. This is a continuation on the key factors that help people build resilience and it would be helpful if this feature was read after reading part 1.

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The Psychology of Resilience

Posted in Wellbeing Practice on May 01, 2016

Mayday is an international radio distress signal used especially by ships and aircraft. Although a connection to the month of May might seem likely, it is actually an anglicization of the French m’aidez or m’aider, meaning ‘help me’.

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The Psychology of Humour

Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Apr 01, 2016

April Fool’s Day (also known as All Fools Day) is celebrated by playing practical jokes and spreading hoaxes. It’s a day that brings about laughter. All that mirth, teasing, warm feelings, banter and puns comprise a complex social and psychological phenomenon, known as humour. Psychology has been interested in humour for about 100 years now. Why is humour important? This is what the research tells us:

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What Does Psychology Tell Us About the Benefits of Spring Cleaning?

Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Mar 01, 2016

March is the month when spring arrives with blossoming trees, birds chirping and the sun on your face. For many people it is a time associated with spring cleaning whether it is cleaning out and organising cupboards and wardrobes or decluttering. At the end of these endeavours, we might look at the extra space that has been created, the sparkling windows and the benefits of organised wardrobes and cupboards. More importantly, the results of spring cleaning have been associated with improved mood, feeling ‘lighter’, decreased stress and increased creativity. Why is this? Clutter can increase stress as it distracts us and overwhelms us by giving us the idea that there is so much going on. For example, piles of papers can indicate that work is endless and that even when we finish what we are working on, there is more to be done. Some research shows that the stress hormone, cortisol, increases when people perceive their homes as cluttered.

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Another Perspective on Love & Ways of Loving

Posted in Wellbeing Practice on Feb 01, 2016

February is the month when people celebrate Valentine’s Day, love stories and love songs and sentiments of the heart. Most people are too restrictive in the way they think about love. It tends to be reserved primarily for, say, a romantic partner, a parent, child or long-time friend. Perhaps there is another way to celebrate the heart that involves listening to what it says and thereby appreciate love from a different angle. Scientific research into how the heart and body experiences love tells us the following:

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