Posts made in August, 2015

Radwinter Show

Posted by on Aug 31, 2015 in Discussion, News | 0 comments

Radwinter Show

A word about the Radwinter fete including the Flower and Vegetable show.  Interesting how a local event like this can incorporate the ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing.’ This morning I was tempted (with all the horrible rain) not to try and extract plants from the garden and prepare them for some of the classes. I had some baking to enter ( aim this year to come above last place in the victoria sandwich class, where humiliatingly my cake usually finds itself), the tea bread and the honey buns. The latter are gluten-free – a class I was keen to set up because my daughter is wheat sensitive. I did not enter any of the art and craft classes but put together the culinary herbs arrangement and the ornamental shrub. I am not a flower arranger – however I have found being given an incentive to go out and really look at shrubs and flowers to select the most beautiful specimens helps me to learn  to really notice the beauty of leaves and flowers, the shapes that branches make, the subtlety of the  variations in shading on leaves and petals. In the rain the herbs gave off a very strong smell as I harvested them, the sage and rosemary very pungent, the mint and parsley very sweet. I have learned so much from previous shows about the importance of using the right vase and arranging your cakes on the plate elegantly. It was a lovely afternoon although it rained so hard – everyone who had organised it had tried so hard to make it a success, delicious teas and cakes, the tombola, the book stall – catching up with friends from the village. It was easy to do connect, be active, take notice, keep learning and give (and get something back) in one easy day. Yes and my victoria sandwich came 2nd from last –...

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The Wellbeing Journal: Keep Learning

Posted by on Aug 30, 2015 in Discussion | 0 comments

The Wellbeing Journal: Keep Learning

‘Keep Learning’ is one of the ‘Five Ways to Wellbeing.’ There is a growing body of evidence showing that if we keep our brains active by learning new things, new skills, new facts, we can probably delay cognitive decline – that is the onset of mental frailty and perhaps some types of dementia. Forgetfulness, and indecision may not be the inevitable accompaniments of getting older. The greatest impact occurs when what we learn is new, it is not enough to have a busy demanding job that we do very well – however complex the work we do during the day. It is the acquisition of new skills that helps our brains to remain active as we grow older. If are brains are functioning well we will benefit in other ways – apart from the pleasure we will have in acquiring new knowledge or abilities, we will be more alert, we will be less likely to be taken in by tricksters and fraudsters who prey on the vulnerable, our horizons and our social circle will widen. In the future most of us will have several careers through out our working lives, we may need to take on less physically demanding roles as we continue to work  into our seventies.  We will have greater choice if have kept our ability to learn new expertise and take on new roles.  If we want to keep learning and have no specific need in mind, we can start simple, perhaps with a new recipe, or studying through an evening class, where there are no formal demands on us.  Learning a new skill may mean periods of feeling embarrassed at our incompetence or comparing ourselves to others who seem to be much better at French, or carpentry or painting. We may want to give up. We need what Chip and Dan Heath (in their book ‘Switch’) outline the need for a ‘flexible’ rather than a ‘fixed’ mindset in order to persist through the difficult times associated with learning new skills. When I was working with a group of people keen to improve their own sense of wellbeing, they were mostly retired women, a number of them took on new physical challenges. Two started to learn Tai Chi – a martial art that promotes balance and a meditative approach. Although it took many months for them to feel confident about the complex series of movements that they were practising they got immediate benefit from the sense of understanding and learning a completely new set of skills in a supportive environment. More tomorrow....

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The Wellbeing Journal

Posted by on Aug 28, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

The Wellbeing Journal

One of the themes of this blog is the contribution that creativity can make to our health. I became interested in this when  I worked as a palliative care consultant. Perhaps when we get very ill, our creativity, although it may be diminished by illness, is one of the important aspects of us  that remains and may even be stimulated by our fear of having limited time left in our lives. The Wellbeing Journal was published in collaboration with The Fitzwilliam Museum education department, in Cambridge.  It took about five years to complete the journal which was based partly on research I had carried out with Professor Felicia Huppert of Cambridge University and also on the Five Ways to Wellbeing, developed by a think tank called  ‘the new economics foundation’ (lower case deliberate). The Five Ways to Wellbeing are ‘evidence-based actions’ which, if followed regularly, help to enhance our own personal resilience.  More on this tomorrow.  ...

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Managing the blog

Posted by on Aug 26, 2015 in News | 0 comments

Managing the blog

Bit of a shock today as I found out that none of my blogs had been published…as I had not been writing them on the right page. Tutorial with Adrian Hare of the excellent Three Circles Recording Studio , very near my home in Wimbish – he helped me record my mindfulness CDs for ‘The Wellbeing Journal.’ Learned  a lot and hope that from now on anything I write will be visible and organised. You have been warned!

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Beauty enriches, creativity sustains

Posted by on Aug 26, 2015 in Discussion | 0 comments

Beauty enriches, creativity sustains

We need to use textiles carefully, without wasting them. In previous centuries when cloth had to be woven  and clothes sewn together by hand, there was judicious use of fabric throughout all classes. Even the finest dresses of the richest would be cut down to be fashioned into another item of clothing.  Patchwork quilting made use of scraps of fabrics or areas of fabric from partially worn items. This happened throughout the world and the reuse of fabric rose to an art form – look at Amish patchwork quilts, look at Japanese Boro textiles – beauty from necessity.

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