August 4, 2020

Understandably, many of us are missing our old lives. This August is unlike any other. The old normal of enjoying the summer abroad and holidaying in exotic locations are a thing of the past. Instead, this year it’s all about staycations and sunbathing in local parks whilst practising social distancing norms. And of course, adjusting to more localised lockdowns and restrictions as and when infections rise. As I talk to many of my friends, colleagues, classmates and clients I see a lot of us coming down with the ‘coronavirus fatigue’. We are desperately missing our old lives – family get-togethers, weddings, celebrations and graduations and to make matters worse, there’s so much uncertainty to jobs, economy, health and our general way of life in the upcoming months. It’s natural to feel this way, but fuelling excess negative feelings, and being stuck in negative thoughts can lead to rumination, which could set off cognitive errors or unhealthy thinking traps.

Rumination in psychology is...

July 28, 2020

Most people experience some form of trauma in their lifetime – a painful divorce, physical or psychological abuse, sexual assault, the death of a loved one, serious injury and illness, witnessing acts of terrorism, combat exposure and so much more. Currently, the COVID-19 pandemic is a massive source of traumatic stress for many around the world. Trauma can be defined as any stressful event that overwhelms a person’s ability to cope. Trauma is often subjective – what may feel traumatic for one person is not necessarily traumatic for another, so two people can experience the same event and respond quite differently. It’s useful to note that not all individuals experience mental health disorders after trauma, in fact, some may experience what researchers call Posttraumatic Growth (PTG). As a coach who specialises in Posttraumatic Growth Coaching, I am often asked if PTG is the opposite of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The accurate answer is no. So, let me explain further. 

PTSD is...

July 22, 2020

As the coronavirus pandemic rapidly sweeps across the world, it is inducing a great deal of worry and concern amongst many as they deal with health concerns, losing loved ones, the plummeting unemployment rates and the shrinking economy. The mental health and wellbeing of many populations have already been widely affected. The crucial psychological impact of the pandemic is elevated levels of stress and anxiety with interventions such as the lockdown and social distancing having its effects on many people’s normal activities, routines and livelihoods. This has induced loneliness, depression, and substance abuse with suicidal behaviour also on the rise. In times like these, we could spend days just worrying about and catastrophising about all the things that could go wrong or get worse. But really, what good would that do? Instead, I want to use today’s post to write about the importance of amplifying the positive moments in our lives even in these times, and mastering the art of savour...

July 14, 2020

Last week, in an online symposium run by my University for its MAPP-CP (Masters in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology) students, I had the incredible opportunity to listen to and engage with multiple academics and practitioners from around the world in the fields of positive psychology, social science and medicine. These experts delivered lectures shared their thoughts on COVID -19 and the crucial role played by positive psychology, coaching psychology and other disciplines in these uncertain times. One session that stood out to me was by Dr Suzy Green, a renowned clinical psychologist and coaching psychologist who shared her thoughts on the role of positivity in a VUCA world. VUCA is an acronym for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. Prior to this lecture, VUCA to me was simply a managerial term, one I had only heard of when I skimmed through leadership blogs or popular business press.

However, as I reflected on the lecture by Dr Green I couldn’t agree more on...

July 7, 2020

Last week I was asked to write an article for an online runner’s magazine on my lived experience of running during the lockdown. It was an exciting opportunity for me, as I am so passionate about running and the crucial part it plays in my physical and mental health. Writing that piece got me thinking deeper on how vital the body is in our wellbeing. My last blog post outlined the five ways to wellbeing with findings derived from both the Foresight and Gallup reports. Being active is one of the key aspects to wellbeing so today I want to focus on the impact the body has on the mind.

Most of us often tend to live in our minds or ‘above the shoulder’ engaging in the stresses of daily life with a neglect of what lies below the neck. Howard Gardner in his book ‘Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences’ defines the body as “more than simply another machine, indistinguishable from the artificial objects of the world, it is also a vessel of the individual’s sense of self, his most...

July 1, 2020

Think about this: What is wellbeing for you? How do you know when you’ve found it? How do you know when you’ve lost it?

In today’s world we as a society are facing extremely tough challenges in the form of the coronavirus pandemic, trauma, racial inequality, unemployment, economic recession, climate change and so much more. So where really is this space in our current lives for wellbeing? And does the concept even exist? Even before all this started and personally having come from a background of trauma, I’ve been absolutely fascinated with the idea of the ‘good life’ - wellbeing, happiness, growth and fulfilment so much so that it drove me to study it. Now more than halfway into my Master’s Programme in Applied Positive Psychology and Coaching Psychology, I still continue to be in awe of this phenomenon of wellbeing and how it fits in with our modern-day agenda. I’ve been putting my heart and soul into its study and research and I look forward to sharing some thoughts here. Firstly, if...

June 16, 2020

In these extraordinary times, consider if you agree with any of the following statements:

My priorities have changed.

I now know what's important to me in my life.

I value my life and the ones of those dear to me.

I can better appreciate each day. 

Today’s post on Appreciation of Life is the fourth part of my Post-Pandemic Growth series, based on the phenomenon of posttraumatic growth. The Posttraumatic Growth Inventory created by pioneer researchers Tedeschi and Calhoun, show “authentic” personal growth in different dimensions including personal strength, relationships and finding meaning. The focus today will be on the domain of Appreciation of Life post-trauma – a greater acknowledgement and value for all things life has to offer, be it large or small, perhaps things, experiences or relationships that were once taken for granted. Undergoing trauma often allows individuals the opportunity to see life as the gift of a second chance and one they often realise should be deeply cherishe...

June 9, 2020

  • Who am I?

  • Where do I belong?

  • When do I feel fulfilled?

  • What is the legacy I want to leave behind?

In these times of crises, have you been asking yourself these questions? Well, if you have you are not alone. Today’s post on Finding Meaning and Purpose is part three of my Post-Pandemic Growth series. The first two focused on personal growth and meaningful relationships. My series on post-pandemic growth is based on the scientific phenomenon of posttraumatic growth pioneered by researchers Tedeschi and Calhoun in the early 90s. This concept of growth and transformation following highly challenging situations is an area that is widely researched with studies conducted over multiple domains including natural disasters, war, terrorism, disease, divorce, abuse, sexual assault and so on. These articles I publish weekly are designed not to get you comfortable but to encourage you to stay with the discomforts you will experience on the path to recovery and posttraumatic gro...

June 2, 2020

Part one of this series on post-pandemic growth that I posted last week focussed on personal strength – how in the midst of this ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many of us are discovering our own internal personal strength. Today I want to focus on another important dimension of growth and that is meaningful relationships or relating to others. Let’s take a moment to reflect on the last 10 weeks. Many of us globally and almost overnight had to physically cut off from our friends, extended families and colleagues. If anyone had said to us on New Year’s Day this January that we would soon be spending weeks in lockdown with no physical contact with anyone other than members of our household, we would have looked at them like they were crazy. Yet here we are in these unprecedented times.

Although social distancing is a public health intervention that has been implemented by governments to reduce the spread of COVID-19, this has also unfortunately set an ideal platform for greater social isola...

May 27, 2020

Human beings have the capacity to deal with and benefit from hugely challenging situations. A question that we now face is - how do we want to live our lives post this pandemic. What do we want our lives to look like let’s say 12 months from today? Most people I speak to strongly feel that they don’t want to just go back to the pre-pandemic days. I am very fortunate these days to be able to offer coaching to NHS key workers. Many of them are continuously facing adversity on a daily basis but I was just struck when one of them said to me - “why waste this distressing experience on just getting back to who I was?”

Research has shown that an estimate of about three-fourths of adults is exposed to at least one traumatic event in their lives. While trauma can lead to suffering and a host of psychological issues like anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder, depression and other mental health disorders, there is also equal empirical evidence and studies that show that positive personal transfor...

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