What makes you feel alright?

  • By Moira McDougall
  • 21 May, 2014

Is it ok to feel the way you feel?

It is Okay to Feel the Way you Feel

It is All Right to express ourselves

A pack of coloured IT’S ALL RIGHT postcards landed on my work desk a while ago, and I love the way I feel when I flip through them.

I have them spread out in front of me now, as I write, fanned like a Tarot spread. Each has a phrase that reflects current thoughts and feelings generated by Cantabrians since our world turned topsy turvy in the aftermath of the numerous Christchurch earthquakes.

So much has changed – buildings, landscapes and most of all, people. We all have something to offer, hence the birth of All Right?

What is All Right?

  • It is a social marketing campaign designed to help us think about our mental health and well being
  • It’s about helping people realise that they’re not alone, encouraging them to connect with others, and supporting them to boost their well being
  • It is about ensuring well being is at the heart of our recovery

Who is behind All Right?

All Right? is a Healthy Christchurch project that is being led by the Mental Health Foundation and the Canterbury District Health Board, helped and supported by the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Social Development and SKIP, and the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority.

The ALL RIGHT postcards have a statement on the front, and  some suggestions on the back to help us generate ideas on how we can respond to the feelings we have named. Today, these are the ones that ‘speak to me’, telling me it is ALL RIGHT to feel the way I do!

IT’S ALL RIGHT  TO FEEL OVERWHELMED SOME DAYS

Everyone has good days, and then others that are more challenging. At times it can be hard to deal with all the challenges that come our way. When feeling overwhelmed, know that it’s all right, and remember to build on what is going well, and release the things that are holding you back.

Think of something you have always wanted to learn or do, and feel all right  to give it a go. Learning new things is a proven way to help us feel good. Commit to doing something active once a week with a friend or family member. Go for a walk, a run or a bike ride and be kind to your body.

What are the things YOU could do to feel All Right, when it all feels a bit much?

 

Taking time to notice helps us to feel All is Right in our World

It’s All Right to get caught up in a wondrous moment

 

IT’S ALL RIGHT TO FEEL LUCKY

Our hope for our future is vital for the recovery of our city, and for ourselves. How can we instill the feeling that it’s all right to feel positive? How can we become more actively involved in the things that excite us?

By giving something to someone else, no matter how small, we can help to restore their optimism. We could volunteer our time and energy. This also helps us to make a real difference and connect with new people, which is  all right  too.

What things could you do to give something back, without concern for the rewards?

While we are feeling in a positive place, we could be encouraged to consider who else could also benefit from us feeling All Right. We could check on our friends and neighbours and offer to lend a hand in small ways. Everyone appreciates a little help, and giving to others makes us feel good too.

Practice mindfulness – sit quietly in a busy place and notice the people, sounds and smells that remind us to savour the moment and reflect on All that is Right in our world.

What things can YOU do to share the Good Stuff that you are feeling?

For more information and ideas visit: www.allright.org.nz

Self Manage Chronic Pain

By Moira McDougall 14 Feb, 2017

I recently visited an elderly woman in her home, in my community therapy role. So much had been happening in her world. During the weeks since my last visit she had experienced some serious health challenges, and her brother had died.

How could I be surprised that she had not managed to continue with the exercise and walking programme we had started?

She was tired, heartbroken and wracked with guilt, describing herself as “full of self-pity” because she was mourning the loss of her dear brother. This had also reminded her of the grief she experienced when her sister died a year previously.

I sat and listened with my Whole Heart.

 I was not there to offer solutions, to slap a band-aid over her aching heart, to make light of her feelings. I told her I believed it was good, right and proper to feel such acute loss and to express it. How else do we recover from our deep wounds?

She told me about her family, her ancestors who had migrated to New Zealand from an Eastern European country, just before the time of the Depression. She spoke of a grandfather who worked many menial jobs to provide for his family of seven children. Her parents also worked hard to raise her and her many siblings – a labour of love which she reflected on with great gratitude. She spoke of one of her sisters who had endured many trials and tribulations only to finally triumph – and she now lives overseas. She spoke with love of her own children – their successes and challenges.

In the telling, she called all of her Ancestors into that small lounge. I could feel them standing around her. I told her that I believed that talking about our Loved ones brings them close.

I can recognise the entrenched belief that being occupied fully, being accountable for every minute spent at the expense of any form of pure relaxation, has been ingrained in our psyches. No wonder, then, that this dear soul believed she was “full of self-pity” because her thoughts kept turning to those she loved dearly who were no longer here, in physical form. Because she could not do it for herself, I offered her the gift of my time, so that she could express what her heart was longing to share.

When it was time for me to leave, she hugged me tightly and thanked me for “just listening”. I feel I was the recipient of the greater gift. I heard her heart sing!

Do you feel taking time to grieve is selfish? Do you believe it is a form of self-pity?

I welcome your comments.

By Moira McDougall 12 Jan, 2017

You are going to win! With these words spurring me on, how could I not be a winner!

This morning I set out on my morning run, and it was hot already. Along the way, I passed and greeted a mum on her early morning walk, pushing her two small children in their stroller. The older child called out to me as I passed them, “you are going to win!”. How could I not honour that proclamation? How could I even consider feeling tired or discouraged with those beautiful words ringing in my ears?

This set me thinking about the many times I feel discouraged, as if I am wading through sludge. I have a strong work ethic, and set myself tasks and deadlines. This works for me when I have a good idea about a desired outcome, because it keeps me on track and I can measure my progress. But what happens when I am not sure about what I want to pursue or produce?

I am marooned in indecision, in not knowing, what my ‘next step’ is. Do you experience this too?

Business and personal coaching works wonders in helping one to define a pathway, helping to break down goals into manageable steps, in order to reach the defined outcome. This supposes that one already KNOWS or at least has an idea of the desired outcome.

One beautiful practice I was invited to participate in, invited us each to choose a Word to define a theme to focus on through the new year ahead, and to choose four Supporting Words to cushion or supplement the Word.

I have chosen SURRENDER.

Nothing works easily when I am pushing uphill, trying to do it all alone. I am not giving up, just practising being present in the moment, experimenting with ‘flowing’ rather than being rigid.

My supporting words are Grace, Gratitude, Courage and Insight – all qualities I will need to call on and include in my daily living.

Which brings me back to the proclamation “You are going to win!” We are all winners when we focus on what inspires us, what gives us meaning, and practice living in the present moment. And when we have others cheering us on!

“You are going to win!” – how does that make YOU feel?

By Moira McDougall 02 Jan, 2017

I have a heavy heart moving into this new year. Endings and more endings, because I am grieving the loss of two people dear to me.

My sister Anne has dementia and she is sliding further into the space between here and there. While she is still physically present, I miss her intellect, her sharp wit, her full presence. She is my older sister. I have known her my whole life. I never imagined that I would not be with her ‘fully’. She was the drawcard for my move to live in Christchurch.

She always looked after my younger brother and I; we looked up to her and trusted her guidance. As the eldest child, she copped the authority of our parents, and she fought hard for her independence. She is super intelligent, and my brother and I had a hard time following after her at school. She chose her own path, and with her husband travelled to places I have only ever dreamt of.

Now, I call on all my parenting and therapy skills as I navigate our relationship. She can’t remember what she ate two minutes ago, or whether she has eaten at all. She can’t dress herself. Her spatial awareness is impaired – steps are a challenge, and she doesn’t recognise familiar objects. Loud noises and busyness upset her, and her tolerance levels are reduced. Soon, she will need to be placed into full time care, which seems like a jail sentence. Excepting, there is no parole to look forwards to.

My heart is breaking. How did her Soul choose this challenge in this Lifetime?


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