Smiling at ourselves

Compassion, Mindfulness & Self Care” with William Bloom, October 2014

William Bloom led a fantastic seminar for us this Wednesday, introducing us to the concept of the ‘inner smile’ as a method of self-care.

We respond to life’s challenges with surges of the fight-or-flight hormone, adrenalin, and the tension hormone, cortisol, William explained. If unexpressed, these leave us feeling angry, pent-up, anxious and depressed. To move into a more positive state we need to promote the body’s production of endorphins – the ‘natural opium’ of the body, which produce a ‘post Sunday lunch feeling’ of release and well-being. One way to do this is to turn a compassionate, nurturing and loving gaze upon ourselves, and particularly on areas of tension or distress in our bodies, just as we would attend to a small child in pain or distress. Smiling down on ourselves, perhaps holding or hugging our own bodies, and intentionally saying ‘hello’, ‘bless’ and ‘how are you?’ to ourselves can trigger a positive state of calm well-being. Teamed with actively thinking about things we like, allowing ourselves to rest, connecting with nature and making sure we physically move about, the ‘inner smile’ could enable us to hold and manage ourselves better, as well as to hold our clients more effectively and with less drain on our own resources.

Eighteen therapists from varying backgrounds attended the seminar, all with our own expertise and perspective on self-care. Our average rating of the event was 4.5 out of 5, and of the speaker, 4.7 out of 5. My own over-riding sense of the day was a great feeling of empowerment coming with the realisation that I have the power to love and affirm myself, independent of external validation.

To find out more about William Bloom’s work, and see details of his published books visit williambloom.com

For details of further seminars at Wendy Bramham Therapy at newburytherapy.com   Themes coming up: Attachment Theory, Dreams, Archetypes and Healing

Briony Martin, Counsellor and Psychotherapist

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