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TIME

TIME Time: An old social construct   Time is a social construct which humans created to plan and schedule their lives. Whilst this view on time is necessary today in order to manage an ever increasingly busy world around us, it still remains of most importance to relish in the time we spend in our lives whilst we live out our days. Time is precious and thus, arguably, should be one of our most treasured aspects of life itself.  Time is both beautiful, as it is the starting point to all our dearest memories, but time can be equally as unpredictable as no one truly knows how much time one has left to spend. Make the most of your time and spend your time well as it is a gift. Think of life as a mountain hike – there will be moments in life where you pass through peaceful fields (this symbolising your easy, happy and harmonious times of your life) and then there will be moments where you begin to pass over very rocky gravel on a very steep incline (this symbolising your difficult, sad and troublesome times of your life). When you find yourself faced with a mountain in front of you and some rocky terrain too, all that you would have to do is take it step by step and you will find great power in yourself for you are stronger and more tenacious than you think.     Always prioritise your positive thoughts and try to always live your life whilst being embraced in the “present time”. “Life is so transient and ephemeral; we will not be here after a breath. So think better, think deeply, think with kindness, and write it with love so that it may live a little longer.” – Debasish Mridha Nicolene Fenemore 28th of December 2023

Epicureanism: The pursuit of happiness

Epicureanism: The pursuit of happiness Throughout human history, both philosophers and psychologists alike have deliberated the notion of happiness. Epicurus, a Greek philosopher, believed happiness to be our ultimate human pursuit. Many philosophers in turn suggested that experiencing pleasure and happiness referred to overindulging and enjoying things to excess. Epicurus, on the other hand, suggested that pleasure was found in simple living. Today, this philosophy is referred to as Epicureanism. Epicureanism refers to three factors needed to fully attain happiness:- Tranquillity; Freedom of fear; and Absence of bodily pain. It is this combination of factors that would, ultimately, allow people to experience happiness at the highest level. The philosophy of Epicureanism is known as an ethical doctrine that strongly advocates in life that pleasure is the highest good, and it requires moderation and wisdom to attain. The doctrine further explains that some pleasures can lead to experiencing pain in the future if they are not moderated or if they are blindly pursued. From the above it is clear that one might want to rather spend time focusing on all life experiences and achievements rather than living a life focused on meaningless short-term pleasure. Epicureanism identifies two types of pleasure, moving and static, and describes two areas of pleasure and pain: physical and mental. The Moving pleasure refers to actively being in the process of satisfying a desire – one example of this could be eating food when you feel hungry. In those moments one is taking active steps toward ones intended goal of pleasure. On the other hand, static pleasure, refers to the experience we have once our desire is met – for example, eating food when we are hungry, the static pleasure would be what we are feeling once we have eaten. The satisfaction of feeling full, and no longer being hungry, would be a static pleasure. Physical pleasures and pains, in Epicureanism, this is refers to the present. Mental pleasures and pains, on the other hand, deals with the past and future. Epicureanism in our day-to-day lives Life is uncertain and we cannot avoid pain or vulnerability. While the Epicurean philosophy suggests that the goal of life is happiness, it also recognizes that sometimes pleasure can lead to pain and that sometimes pain is necessary to achieve happiness. It is important to embrace growing older and looking back at all your experiences and the wisdom gained during your life lessons.  Physical pains and pleasure are short lived and has to do with the present.  It is important to live your life and embrace who you are.  Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow may never come.  Embrace growing older with all the stages that you go through.  The wrinkles and the body aches are part of life.  Epicureanism may be an ancient philosophy, but it can be applied to modern life as well. Minimalism, moderation, simple pleasures, cognitive reframing, and positive thinking are all strategies that can help you incorporate an Epicurean perspective into your everyday life. Nicolene Fenemore 24th of September 2023

THE GIFT OF TIME

THE GIFT OF TIME Time is precious and no one truly knows what is waiting around the corner… Make the most of your time and how you choose to spend it.  If you are going through a difficult situation in life focus on taking each day step by step and minute by minute. Living in the “now” is very important, and thus it is imperative to live life to the fullest whilst relishing every second of your life. If, in some stressful moments you find yourself riddled with fear and or anxiety, try to refocus your thoughts and emotions on the “present” – this can be achieved by taking slow and controlled breaths which will assist you in grounding yourself in the moment and guard you against a possible downward spiral of emotions. To quote the movie About Time:- ‘’We are all traveling through time together, every day of our lives. All we can do is our best to relish this remarkable ride.” Life is beautiful and time is an excellent tool which you can use to turn your own life into a movie. Imagine the remarkable movie you could create if you spend every second of your life dedicated to shaping the life you want to live – I bet it would be a blockbuster movie and be worth watching. Focus on your dream and break it down into episodes (steps) while following your dream.  This can be a difficult and daunting task as it will require you to break out of your comfort zone. There is solace in knowing that it is outside of one’s comfort zone where true character is built. It helps to always keep your inner child alive and to find the beauty in everyday life. Spend your time wisely by doing the things that make you happy and the things that sets your soul on fire. To conclude, live every moment in the “present” and enjoy life as it is precious gift. “Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why it is called the present.” Kung Fu Panda, Master Oogway Nicolene Fenemore 31st of July 2023

UNBROKEN

UNBROKEN We live in a broken world with challenges that are placed in our path daily. Sometimes these challenges create such heartache and pain that we find it so difficult to even try to think how I will be able to go on from this. Feelings of hopelessness, fear, heartache, pain, anger, and frustration might arise in your thoughts. Today I would like to remind you that a situation is never hopeless.  You must always believe in your strength even if you are feeling very weak and overwhelmed.  Never give up, always move forward, and go on.  Take a step back and breathe in and look up to the sky and close your eyes and concentrate on your breath that is passing through your body.  Grounding yourself and being in the moment is very important. How do we go on from the change that has happened in your life.  Amid so much need and urgency we act and respond instinctively because we must.  We do not take the time, to take the time to think about how we will respond to change. Everyone deals with change differently.  How can some people adapt, and some people struggle so much.  We need to prepare ourselves to prepare for change and not to respond on impulse but strategy. How do you want to change and be the person you want to be and how can you move on from the brokenness and pain.  We struggle to adapt, and our coping mechanisms change as life changes.  We need to be more aware of how we are dealing and responding to change.  We cannot control the change that is happening to us, but we can control how we respond to it. Some points to help you today: Remember you have a unique purpose in life.  This purpose will guide you if you focus on your uniqueness and purpose. Ask a lot of questions.  Place your questions on paper and look at how you can think of the problem in a new way and constantly looking to adapt.    Develop resilience which will assist you to overcome setbacks.  Resilience enables you to reduce stress and the formation of a habit that is not affected by a setback.  Learn from the setbacks.  This will make you stronger and wiser and more adaptable.  There is a positive correlation with adaptability and change. Always remember that the negative feelings of hopelessness, pain, anger and heartache has a negative correlation which will trigger your threat response.   Create a strong awareness of what triggers your threat responses.  To be more adaptable you need to reduce your threat response and increase your positive correlations.  This technique will train your brain to create new thinking patterns.  You need to make a constant commitment to change your thinking and learn how to adapt and start again.  Always remember you will get through whatever it is you are going through.  Be graceful to yourself. 1st of July 2023

Toxicity

Toxicity Daily, we encounter various forms of toxicity, such as harmful words, emails, or events that negatively affect our mental state.  This can lead to a vicious cycle of toxic thoughts, causing us to blame ourselves for what has happened and become consumed by the situation.  We often wonder how we could have prevented it, and why it had to happen to us. This can result in victim-like behavior, which can ultimately lead to a poor quality of life. However, we can take control of the situation by regulating our emotions and thoughts.  This involves recognizing our emotions and distancing ourselves from them to think logically.  We can ground ourselves by utilizing breathing techniques, which can help eliminate our toxic thoughts and enable us to think objectively about the situation.  With clarity, we can devise a plan to neutralize the toxicity and move forward.    Practicing this technique can lead to graceful and respectful interactions with others, as we learn to agree to disagree. Tiffany Smith 23 May 2023 Nicolene Fenemore

Calm in a crazy world

Calm in a crazy world Life is messy and humans are wired to avoid discomfort.  If we encounter a situation that is causing us pain and discomfort, we will try and hide and slip away from the situation that is causing us pain and despair.  We create a thinking pattern where we focus on the mess and not the reality.  We turn our backs on the problem because it hurts so much to try and do something about it.  We start to tell ourselves stories to justify the situation so that we do not have to deal with it and we look for proof of that false narrative to reassure ourselves.  We only hear what we want to hear and start looking for something or someone to blame.  This process drains us of emotional, mental, and physical energy which could have been used to resolve the situation. Where do we begin: We must face reality and surrender (acknowledge and accept the situation). Reach out and share your mess with other human beings where there is a safe space to share your mess.  Remember you are not alone and reaching out will allow other people to care for and assist you.  We need to share our messes with each other so that we can love each other in and through our mess. Don’t forget everything is temporary.  When your life gets messy you don’t want to salvage what you can from the mess, you want to create something new. Remember you are not alone and if you need to reach out you can always contact us at Mind Matters. We have created a safe space for you to create something new.  Tiffany Smith 28 October 2022

A New Approach: Being Present and its 5 Life-Changing Benefits

. A New Approach: 5 Life-changing Benefits of Being Present What does it mean to live in the moment? How can I be more present? If your thoughts are stuck in the past you will most likely be stuck reliving negative past experiences which can lead to depression and dark thoughts. If your thoughts are in the future, you will most likely experience anxiety and obsess over what the future holds. If you live in the present, you will feel in control and more at ease. Peace There is peace in knowing that you are exactly where you need to be right now. There’s no such thing as being behind in life. There’s only being where you are and the path you’re creating. To be behind means to be behind someone walking the same path as you. No one is walking the same path as you. Happiness Living in the moment promotes feelings of happiness and serenity.  Happiness is connected to the feeling of being present and in the moment.  Happiness is a mindset and an attitude that you are in control of. Remember that you can control what you are thinking.  We have the power to train our thoughts to think in the present.    The moment we catch ourselves being distracted and thinking past or future thoughts we must redirect our focus to thinking in the present moment.   Gratitude That moment we realise we are not in the moment is a very powerful realisation and we need to use it as a signal to ground ourselves in the moment.  Look for something you can savour.   Find something that you can focus on right now and be grateful for.    An example would be enjoying a beautiful meal with friends and family.  Enjoying the flavours of the food and beautiful company.  It is all about gratitude.  Small acts of savouring are how you expand your happiness.  Recognize your cravings All you have to do to quit smoking is notice when you’re having a craving, and respond to it by doing anything other than putting a cigarette in your mouth. That is the entirety of the goal, and it’s small enough to be achievable any time. If you lose sight of that, you might misunderstand quitting as some big, abstract goal that can never be done now, such as “Maintain perfect self-control for the rest of your life.” It works the same with anything else. Boost your social skills If you stay in the present when you meet someone, abstractions like job titles and education levels seem quite distant, if they’re present at all. You get a feel for the other person’s humanness above their social position, and visual cues matter less. This humanness is a shared quality, and on that level you feel like equals. It’s impossible to see someone’s personhood and simultaneously appraise them, or wonder how they are appraising you.

GROUNDING

The Importance of Grounding Do you ever ask yourself, “How do I get through this situation that nothing could have prepared me for?” Do you feel empty and alone? You need a solution that will bring you back to the present moment.  We live in a world that can be very overwhelming and we are bombarded with information overload everyday thanks to social media and technology.  Information overload then leads to burnt out.  We are overwhelmed by choices.  We question our lives because we compare it to the “perfect lives” broadcasted on social media. Our work and home life used to be separate, but we don’t have that luxury anymore because technology has merged everything at all hours of the day.  There is no rest and recovery.  So, what can we do? We need to schedule that sacred time for our own wellbeing and mental health.  We are constantly stressed and experience anxiety at every waking moment.  Our inner voices are being drowned out by the onslaught of the events happening around us, which makes it very difficult for us to function. The question to ask is how important you would say your wellbeing is and what coping mechanism can you utilize.     Meditation is a very good coping mechanism to deal with stress.  It takes 5 minutes a day to get quiet and to tune into your inner voice. Practicing meditation will give you clarity, increase your energy levels and reduce your anxiety and stress.  Meditation also has been proven to improve your brain’s functioning.  It only takes about 5 minutes a day of quiet time so that you can recharge and ground yourself.  This will allow you to gain clarity on your individuality and importance.  Setting aside a short amount of time for meditation can be life changing. Mediation will allow you to be responsive rather than reactive when confronted with your daily life challenges.      Smelling something that you love is also a good coping mechanism.  It will trigger your emotional perception of the happy memories connected to the smell that you love and this will calm you down dramatically.     Another coping mechanism is response control with regards to your reactions.  Our lives are crazy, and we all have things that we’re battling with.  Your mind goes in first and that is why we need to practice mind management to repair and grow.   Response events include when we look at our social media platforms or news for example. You have to learn to self-regulate your reactions and responses to another person’s choices and circumstances which we cannot control.     Always remember that we are all unique human beings on our own personal journey through life and that we must be patient with ourselves and others. Nicolene Fenemore 19 March 2023

How do we go on?

How do we go on after loss? Life can sometimes be very difficult.  We experience loss, grief, and pain.  We are flooded with these feelings and this can cause a person to feel so overwhelmed that nothing in life appears good any longer.  Technology opens the door for us to be exposed to all the pain and suffering in the world which also contributes to our feelings of despair. How do we deal with all of this and get through life?  This is a question we ask ourselves constantly.   We know that we must go on and we cannot just stop.  We have family, friends and animals in our life that depend on us.  It is all about choices.  We can allow this pain and suffering to engulf us and immobilise us from going on with our normal day to day living or we can choose life and focus on the positive things around us.  We can focus on the small little things that we sometimes overlook and appreciate it more.  We can focus on the fact that we have a purpose.  It’s ok not to feel ok.  It’s ok to feel angry.  It’s ok to feel sad.  It’s ok to cry.  Crying is the natural way of your body to get rid of stress.  We have challenges but we have choices as well.  Always remember you have a purpose in life and that you are important and one of a kind.  Nicolene Fenemore 16 March 2023

Why should I go to therapy?

Why should I go to therapy? Perhaps the real question is, why DON’T I go to therapy? We go to the doctor when we’re sick, the dentist every 6 months so our teeth don’t fall out and the salon when we want to feel and look fabulous.  These are all activities which are considered rather essential to most, and nobody bats an eye about it. But why do so many individuals actively avoid addressing their mental and emotional needs? Why don’t people go to therapy? After working and studying in the mental health field for a considerable amount of time, I can hedge a few guesses. First of all, it can be daunting to ask for help, right? To drop the endless façade that you have everything handled and admit that you are indeed a human being, with unique emotions and needs. But you see, taking that courageous first step towards mental and emotional well-being is a crucial act of love, for yourself AND those around you. Once you have taken care of yourself, you will be freed up in order to be truly present for your loved ones, colleagues, and friends. Going to therapy does NOT mean that you’re weak, on the contrary, it bears testimony to your strength. I have also heard many people claim that they would simply prefer to talk to their loved ones instead of a total stranger. If you are lucky enough to have a supportive circle of friends and family to open up to, that is absolutely wonderful and I agree, you should utilize your support system to the fullest. But friendship is simply not psychotherapy. In a therapeutic relationship, you will be supported and challenged to take a much deeper look at your life, emotions, and motivations and thus gain valuable insight into your identity and struggles. A counsellor is a trained listener and solution-finder, and everything you divulge remains entirely confidential. Another strategy is the use of medication, prescribed by a doctor. Absolutely, if necessary, your doctor can provide medication to address a diagnosed mental health issue.  But doctors are not trained mental health professionals and popping pills can often merely address the symptoms rather than the cause of your problems. Therapists will treat you as a whole person and navigate the nuances of your mental health in a personalized and holistic way. They will listen, provide feedback, identify healthy coping mechanisms and work empathically with you to help you rediscover the joy in life. Lastly, time and money. Possibly the most common excuse for avoiding the counsellors’ sofa. For any real change to take place, real resources are necessary. You will be more wholly committed to the therapy process, simply because we all like to get our money’s worth out of anything we invest in. Regarding time, this is something which requires a bit of planning and rearranging, but it is so essential to make time for your mental health. In fact, making time to address your mental health needs will save you time in the long run. Consider all the time you have spent being unhappy, argumentative, or undecided about something. In addition, online counselling via zoom or google meet is an easy way to save time (and fuel!) while remaining in the comfort of your home, office, or hotel room. Setting aside the money and time for yourself will give you more control over your life and your overall well-being. You are worth the investment. So, why don’t you go to therapy? If you’re ready to take the first step, reach out to us on WhatsApp at +27 825287730 or email info@mindmatterscounselling.co.za Tiffany Smith 28 October 2022