Slowing Down

We had a great webinar this week with people who have done our HANDLE® Level 1 and 2 Course on the subject of ‘Slower is Faster’. From the feedback we’ve had people found the ideas very helpful and we even got to do some practice of feeling the impact of doing something slowly.

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We discussed how doing HANDLE Activities slowly can help calm our brains and the branch of the autonomic nervous system that is triggered when we are stressed. It can create a moment of mindfulness to balance the busyness of everyday life.

The other benefit of SLOW is that it enables us (and the other person if we are doing an Activity together) to pay more attention to what is happening, both in ourselves and around us. Research is showing how when we do things with attention the learning is dramatically accelerated and we are less likely to remain stuck in our habits.

Here is an activity for you to feel the value of slow in your life. It only takes 5-10 minutes, doing something you would already be doing anyway. Choose something you enjoy doing like drinking tea, bathing, going for a walk or cooking, and do it very slowly. Give yourself the time to really be present with what you are doing and enjoy the experience. Notice how it feels in yourself, for example the warm feeling of the mug in your hands, the sensation of your feet contacting the ground as you walk, the smell of something you are cooking. Allow yourself to luxuriate in the sensations that are always there if only we’d notice them. This time is 100% yours. Switch off mobiles or other distracting devices and rest back in being present with what you are doing for just these moments. You don’t need to do everything slowly, just 5-10 minutes. When you go back to moving at everyday speed, notice what feels different.

When I did this on a daily basis it dramatically changed the whole of my day. I approached what I was doing with more energy and alertness. I’d love to hear if it makes a difference for you.

Sean

 Snailspace art trail in Brighton this autumn reminding us to cherish ‘life in the slow lane’  #BeMoreSnail

Snailspace art trail in Brighton this autumn reminding us to cherish ‘life in the slow lane’ #BeMoreSnail

What Great Parents Do: 75 Simple Strategies for Raising Fantastic Kids by Dr Erica Reischer

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We’re starting a new series, reviewing books that we think are worth taking a look at.

First up, “What Great Parents Do” by Erica Reischer. I was actually surprised by how much I liked this book. I first picked it up from the library shelf with a kind of disdainful curiosity based on the title, but I soon discovered that Erica Reischer was not, as I’d thought, contributing to the culture of pressure to be a ‘perfect parent’ (Tip #12 “Great Parents aren’t perfect”) but instead offering a framework for cultivating a respectful and joyful relationship with your children.

The book is designed as a practical manual- it’s very readable, concise and clear. Each of the 75 tips is numbered and briefly described, then followed by a suggestion of how to implement it. Other related strategies are then cross-referenced. It makes it extremely easy to dip in and get some instant support or inspiration without having to wade through long chapters or lots of details.

Overall the guidance is sound, research-based and feels do-able. The heart of the philosophy guiding the book is the importance of cultivating “non-judgemental awareness- of yourself, of others (such as your family), and of the moment”. The key principles are Acceptance, Boundaries and Consistency. The tips outlined are tangible ways of putting all this into practice.

The tips themselves cover things like empathy (“If you don’t know what else to do, try empathy”); paying attention (“if we don’t notice what is happening, we can do little to change it”); avoiding reward economies; and very specific tips like avoiding saying “but”, and pivoting (“the art of saying yes instead of no, and meaning the same thing.”) Much of what she talks about isn’t new but I find reminders helpful, and bringing more awareness to what you’re already doing can help it all happen more smoothly and confidently. Otherwise the book is so succinct that if a section feels like old news you can just move onto another tip for some fresh inspiration.

This book comes recommended for people interested in caring for children with acceptance and awareness, but who don’t necessarily have time to read more than the odd few pages here and there.

Downsides: I’d have liked it if sometimes the cross-referencing had titles instead of just a number as it can get a bit distracting, at the same time it all helps to keep the book more concise. I’d also still lose the judgemental/labelling language from the title! But then I am a HANDLE provider…

Sarah

We are recruiting!

Brighton Learning House is a unique organisation running training courses and a clinic providing HANDLE and Feldenkrais services to adults and children. We are based in Hollingbury, Brighton.

We are looking for someone to join our small team part-time with the skills to liaise with our clients and students in a warm and open, efficient and organised way.

Our work is about enhancing people’s lives and helping them to do the things they want to do with more ease. We strive to apply the same principles to our own working lives and are keen for employees to find real meaning in their work and have the chance to be innovative and creative within their role.

See our full description of the job role here.

Applications will be considered on a rolling basis so please get in touch as soon as you can if you are interested in joining us.