10 Reasons to Enrol in the MA in Spirituality, Ecology & Mental Health

10 Reasons to Enrol in the MA in Spirituality, Ecology & Mental Health

Here are 10 reasons why you might choose to enrol in MA in Spirituality, Ecology & Mental Health at Buckinghamshire New University.   1. Academic Excellence The program is offered by Buckinghamshire New University, renowned for its Centre for Positive Psychology and international reputation. With expert lecturers, visiting experts, and practitioners, the course provides academic excellence in the field of spirituality, ecology, and mental health.   2. Take a Transformative Journey The program presents a unique opportunity for you to embark on a transformative journey that will profoundly reshape your perspective on life, the world, and most importantly, yourself.  By exploring spirituality and adopting practical approaches to living a healthy and fulfilling life, you will not only experience personal growth but also gain a sense of empowerment that will enable you to thrive in all aspects of your life.   3. Make a Meaningful Difference The program strongly encourages active participation in community projects or initiatives, empowering you to make a meaningful difference. By applying the knowledge and skills gained, you have the opportunity to actively contribute to positive change in your community or even on a global scale. Whether it’s initiating your own projects or joining existing ones, you can leverage your newfound understanding and abilities to create a positive impact in the world around you.   4. Find New Career Opportunities The program opens up diverse career opportunities for individuals from various professional backgrounds. It provides avenues for career advancement and prospects in fields such as complementary and alternative medicine, healthcare, education, counselling, coaching, leadership, social work, journalism, and more. The interdisciplinary nature of the program makes...
Connecting Through Stillness and Silence

Connecting Through Stillness and Silence

“The more space we give to stillness and silence, the more we have to give both to ourselves and to others” – Thich Nhat Hahn “A poor life this if, full of care, we have no time to stand and stare” – W.H. Davies The late Thich Nhat Hahn was a wise person indeed. He could see that the world with all of its rushing and busyness was not a rewarding place. There is a significant amount of research that suggests that the way we are living our lives, with speed and urgency to achieve the next thing, to rush to the next challenge, and to have what everyone else has, is making us ill. The sociologist Harmut Rosa has recently developed a theory which proposes the metaphor of being on an escalator trying to get to the top yet the escalator is moving downwards. It is taking all of our effort just to stand still. This post is offering you an opportunity to reflect and think about your own life and where you are on the escalator. Are you running fast to stand still? Positive psychology offers us helpful guidance on how to connect rather than run.   Wanting more, conquering all Rosa (2020) proposes that we are in a state of social acceleration. To be able to stand still we have to aim for more: More money, more growth, more qualifications, more technology to list just a few. For consumer businesses to stay profitable they need to continue to sell to the population. Inventing more things we don’t need, convincing us we must keep doing more and...
Mental Health – What it really looks like

Mental Health – What it really looks like

Where do you think you might be on the mental health spectrum today? (don’t worry it changes regularly) just today…are you struggling or thriving? unsettled or excelling? It’s important to really stop for a while and connect with what you’re thinking and feeling to try to establish just where you are. Important because once you understand where you are you can begin to take really good care of yourself or to seek help that will support you through any difficulties that you might be experiencing. There are 5 points on the mental health spectrum, from left to right; 1) In Crisis 2) Struggling, 3) Unsettled, 4) Thriving and 5) Excelling You may well be able to instinctively pinpoint where you are, but if not here are some descriptions of each of the areas to help you identify. In Crisis When you’re in this state you may well be feeling very anxious, unable to think clearly and could often be exhausted. You may well be physically ill, and have pain (there is a very close connection between psychological health and physical pain) You may not be sleeping well and this in turn will undoubtedly be affecting your day and maybe your performance at work. You may have started relying on substances like alcohol or drugs, or you may have become isolated. Struggling If you’re struggling you may well be tired, anxious, sad or even depressed. You may have a poor appetite or have lost weight. You may be simply unable to concentrate for significant periods of time and your self-esteem may be noticeably dropping. You could be present at work...
The Gift that Keeps on Giving: Building Your Conceptual Knowledge

The Gift that Keeps on Giving: Building Your Conceptual Knowledge

In previous posts I have written about emotions and how they are constructed by us rather than fixed within our brains. This gives us a great deal of freedom and opportunity to construct many different emotions to build a healthy emotional life. To do this we need to have a rich body of conceptual knowledge. This post will look closer at what this means and how we can do this through skill development, so we can start the New Year by giving ourselves the gift of healthy mental health and resilience.   The importance of situation We experience emotions within context, meaning with each moment of the day we are doing something, with or without another person, at a particular location, for a particular reason. All of this is data is gathered by our brains, alongside the feelings we have about the situation (it’s good or bad), and ends up as an emotion, thought, or behaviour. We therefore have the potential to have an infinite amount of emotional experiences as each moment is slightly different to the next. These differences may be subtle, but they are different and if we want we can develop the skill of constructing emotions that are specific to each of those moments. This is called ‘emotional granularity’, or the ability to be really specific about the emotion we experience for that particular situation.   Why a skill, isn’t it just what happens? Even though we all have the ability to experience our emotions very specifically, we are taught to experience them in a more general way. In our culture, we talk about basic emotions...
Mental Health – Prevention is Better than Cure

Mental Health – Prevention is Better than Cure

‘Prevention is better than cure’ so the old adage goes…and it was never truer than with mental health. Fortunately, there are actions that we can take in order to keep ourselves psychologically well and resilient. It concerns me that the focus for some organisations is on providing Mental Health First Aiders (MHFA’s) rather than ‘Wellbeing Advocates’ Mental Health First Aid is about responding to someone exhibiting signs of distress or changed behaviours. It is, by its very nature, the equivalent of offering a sticking plaster when someone is on the edge. And how do we look after the MHFA’s? –       Is their training thorough enough? –       Who supports and supervises them? –       Don’t they need an appropriate background to deal with mental health? –       What happens if they get called outside of working hours? –       What happens if their conversations turn into counselling, where does the professional liability lie then? And what responsibility does the organization have? –       If your MHFA is put into a situation where they need to support someone who is struggling what can they realistically do? If an employee is really struggling they’re often going to need more than signposting. ‘Why would we wait until this critical point’? …why wait until someone is struggling when we know right now what actions and interventions can help individuals? Why wouldn’t we put in place a programme where the employee takes responsibility for their own mental health and wellbeing and can follow a programme proven to support them and keep them well. This is available right now. Small changes make a really big difference. The research shows us...
What Am I Good For

What Am I Good For

What am I good for? I recently attended the International Meaning Conference (IMeC) in London (July 2019), which held many inspiring talks by inspiring people. It led me to reflect on the journey of positive psychology and how it has come a long way from being all about finding happiness to a place that also values having a meaningful life. This blog reflects on a statement, inspired by Viktor Frankl, which is: Ask not ‘what makes me feel good?’ instead ask ‘what am I good for?’ Origins of positive psychology Most people with an interest in positive psychology will be aware that the seeds were planted by the thought that we should be studying the outliers of data that seemed to buck the trend of what most people experienced in life. These outliers were individuals who, despite difficulties and challenges, still flourished and thrived. Usually psychologists would ignore these oddities (they upset their charts!), but in the late 1990s Seligman, Peterson and Csikszentmihalyi decided to explore them further. What makes me feel good? Most of the researchers under the umbrella field of positive psychology wanted to understand what made people happy and satisfied in life. This was important to create better well-being in society. However over time this first wave of positive psychology was challenged by researchers and critics who thought this was far too superficial and limited. Many studies began to emerge that demonstrated that chasing happiness as a means to an end in itself led to more unhappiness. It seemed that happiness was always out of reach, like the end of a rainbow. Positive psychology had attracted...