As you know Smile & Stroll is all about improving your wellbeing. The meetups will help with this, however you do get out what you put in and this page is all about taking other steps towards wellbeing to reinforce the meetups. These steps can be small; the most important thing to remember is to set yourself challenges that are achieveable and to remember even small steps make a big difference over time.
Where should I start?
It may be useful to prioritise the following:
'Wellbeing Scale' ~ this is optional but if you do choose to complete it try to do so before you start Smile & Stroll this will give you a 'wellbeing benchmark'
'Mindful Walking' ~ it would be great if you could read this before we meet as we often use techniques from this.
'Outdoor Swimming Tips' ~ read this if you are new to outdoor swimming and intend to swim in the colder months.
'Smile & Stroll action plan' this is useful for helping increase commitment and motivation to any actions you choose each week; please try to complete this at the same time each week.
You may already have access to one of the online CBT programmes and this may be enough to get your teeth into for now. Following completion of the online course it may be helpful to check out these additional resources.
If you felt the online course wasn't for you but wanted options of other ways you could help yourself this is the place for you.
Smile & Stroll '7 Steps to Wellbeing'
Smile & Stroll is based on the '7 Steps to Wellbeing' which uses the acronym LA GEMS to stand for:
A: Achievement Therapy
G: Gratitude Therapy
S: Social connection
This page will include resources around each of these areas and each week/ fortnight we will focus on one of these. Whatever you opt to do around an area of wellbeing remember small achievable steps are best! Please let me know if you have any feedback.
This may be useful if you are new to swimming outdoors during the colder months.
We may include a period of ‘Mindful Walking’ on days where the weather’s not so good for sitting still for the mini mindfulness session. You may also find it useful in everyday life.
It’s good to buddy up whilst outdoor swimming in the colder months but also a good idea to carve out some time to swim mindfully. If you can create this quiet time to really absorb the moment this guide may help you get the most out of this.
By completing this action plan your motivation to take action will increase. This is crucial to help you commit to this plan even on days when you don’t feel like it.
Here is a very basic introduction to the NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) technique called anchoring which we may use in our sessions. I hope you find this useful in every day life.
This Mindful Mermaids resource has lots of ideas of how we can take up learning and make this a lifelong habit.
Research has shown that beginning to spend a small amount of time each day focusing on positive thoughts (in this case your achievements) will help improve your mood. List 3-6 achievements each day and see how it works for you.
Practicing Gratitude Therapy where you focus on ‘Three Good Things’ or ‘What Went Well’ can positively impact your levels of happiness and give you a more optimistic outlook. Research suggests writing down three things every day for seven days or weekly on a Sunday for 6 weeks makes a positive difference. As part of Gratitude Therapy it is important to spend time focusing on the the positive feelings associated with each item that you write down. Try it and see for yourself.
Find out how small amounts of exercise can make a difference and explore the types of exercise that best suit you.
Mindfulness is about being aware of what is happening in the present moment both internally (in your mind and body) and externally (around you). It is about observing what is happening with curiosity, attention and acceptance, without judgement.
Remember that as little as 5 minutes of mindfulness at the start of your day can have a huge positive impact. It can boost your ability to focus, increase productivity, reduce stress and enable you to be fully present throughout the rest of your day. If you find it difficult to start your day mindfully try to make time later in the day.
There are two resources below. If you are short on time try dipping into the second resource (‘Mindfulness Tools’) and selecting one approach to mindfulness to try over the next wek.
Here’s a 10 minute guided mindfulness recording based on one of the Mindful Mermaids sessions. Hopefully this will help you practice what we have covered in our Mindful Mermaids meetups. This recording incorporates the sounds of the sea to recreate our Mindful Mermaids session as closely as possible.
Practicing controlled breathing regularly is great for wellbeing. Try to practice using this technique at least once a day and make a note of how your breathing changes from the start to the end of the exercise.
Social connection is one of the ‘7 Steps to Wellbeing’ in Mindful Mermaids because scientific evidence shows it’s a core human need; one that’s essential for us to feel satisfied. Our relationships are really important for keeping us happy and healthy.
Click on the link below to find out more and get ideas for increasing social connection.