happiful september 2021

You also want an ePaper? Increase the reach of your titles

YUMPU automatically turns print PDFs into web optimized ePapers that Google loves.


SEPT <strong>2021</strong><br />

£5.99<br />

It's<br />

about<br />

time<br />

Could journeying through<br />

your past help form<br />

a better future?<br />






Find joy in<br />

the simple<br />

things<br />

In it together<br />

What really happens<br />

at group therapy?<br />


A trip down memory lane<br />

I’ve always been fascinated by<br />

the ways that every experience<br />

we’ve been through, the good<br />

and the bad, come together to<br />

create the people we are today.<br />

Maybe the child who was always<br />

picked last for the sports team grew<br />

up determined to make others<br />

feel welcomed and wanted. The<br />

one obsessed with music now<br />

effortlessly tunes-in to moods<br />

and emotions, another who faced<br />

tragedy holds those they love a<br />

little closer, and the friend who<br />

always left the group belly laughing<br />

harnesses that confidence to drive<br />

them towards their dreams.<br />

In a fascinating area of<br />

psychological study, researchers<br />

consistently trace the ways that<br />

early experiences shape the<br />

people we become, with biological,<br />

sociological, and psychological<br />

influences gradually unfolding over<br />

the course of a lifetime (for more on<br />

that, head to p45 where we explore<br />

personality tests and how to use<br />

them). On a holistic level, looking<br />

back can help us reconnect with<br />

our hopes and dreams, as well as<br />

examine the challenges we’ve been<br />

through, and the hurt we might still<br />

be holding on to.<br />

On p92, we share practical<br />

activities to help you plot, and<br />

reflect on, your life. And on p16, we<br />

look at the peaks and troughs of<br />

nostalgia, questioning whether this<br />

psychological phenomenon helps<br />

or hinders our mental health, and<br />

asking what happens when our<br />

lives don’t follow the trajectory we<br />

once longed for.<br />

The past can stir up bittersweet<br />

feelings, which muddy the<br />

waters when it comes to the<br />

topic of nostalgia. We can just<br />

as easily get caught in remorse<br />

as we can in relish. But, recently,<br />

I was given some advice<br />

that completely changed my<br />

relationship with the past: “You<br />

can’t blame yourself for not<br />

knowing back then what you<br />

know now.”<br />

Something clicked inside me,<br />

and with that, the shame, guilt,<br />

disappointment, hurt, frustration,<br />

and regret that so often builds<br />

up over a lifetime, didn’t vanish<br />

– anyone who’s been through<br />

anything knows it’s never that<br />

simple – but felt manageable.<br />

The affirmation worked because<br />

it’s not particularly philosophical,<br />

it doesn’t require self-belief,<br />

hope, or even any real reflection.<br />

It’s just a fact, it’s just the truth.<br />

This month, I pass this wisdom<br />

on to you. And as you journey<br />

through these pages,<br />

I hope they support,<br />

touch, entertain, and<br />

enrich you – but, most<br />

of all, I hope they inspire<br />

you to treat yourself<br />

with the kindness<br />

you deserve,<br />

because it’s<br />

about time.<br />



W | <strong>happiful</strong>.com<br />

F | <strong>happiful</strong>hq<br />

T | @<strong>happiful</strong>hq<br />

I | @<strong>happiful</strong>_magazine

Memory lane<br />

16 Right on time<br />

Can harnessing a sense of nostalgia<br />

benefit our mental wellbeing?<br />

16<br />

22 Child’s play<br />

Start embracing your inner child<br />

to excel at work<br />

70 Piecing it together<br />

We explore the ways jigsaw<br />

puzzles support our mental health<br />

89 The book of life<br />

Meet the photographer who<br />

captured 100 people aged 0–100<br />

92 Plot your course<br />

Creative activities to help you<br />

trace, and reflect on, your life<br />

Relationships<br />

25 The big chat<br />

How to tell your partner you want<br />

to begin working with a counsellor<br />

33 Mindful activities for couples<br />

45 Who am I?<br />

What do personality tests show us?<br />

85 Keepin’ it in the family<br />

How to navigate difficult<br />

family relationships<br />

Food & health<br />

58 The taste of childhood<br />

Tasty, nutritious recipes to<br />

transport you back in time<br />

74 PCOS: 10 things to know<br />

Get to the core of this commonly<br />

misunderstood condition<br />

Wellbeing<br />

14 What is media gaslighting?<br />

Learn to spot the signs of this<br />

sinister form of manipulation<br />

20 Soothe strong emotions<br />

Tap into these handy tips<br />

34 Orthorexia explained<br />

55 Self-harm myths<br />

Eight misconceptions debunked<br />

67 Sick-day guilt<br />

Overcome the fear of calling in sick<br />

72 Suicide awareness<br />

What you need to know<br />

78 Strength in numbers<br />

What to expect from group therapy<br />

52<br />

Try this at home<br />

32 September nature watch<br />

66 Feel-good throw-back<br />

84 De-escalate conflict<br />

98 This month’s kindness goals

85 42<br />

Culture<br />

8 Good news<br />

This month’s uplifting stories<br />

13 The wellbeing wrap<br />

49 Unmissable reads<br />

64 Things to do in September<br />

89<br />

22<br />

Positive pointers<br />

28 Alternative Limb Project<br />

Meet the woman behind the unique<br />

and stunning prosthetics<br />

40 Eco inspiration<br />

42 Have you zine?<br />

It’s your turn to create a miniature<br />

publication to be proud of<br />

50 Everyday romance<br />

52 The power of laughter<br />

We tried laughter yoga<br />

80 Take pride in achievements<br />

True stories<br />

37 Jason: opening up<br />

He felt pressure to keep it all<br />

inside, until everything changed<br />

61 Sheena: imperfectly me<br />

Self-doubt ruled her life, until she<br />

stepped into the next phase<br />

95 Victoria: coming through<br />

Thanks to her support system,<br />

Victoria rediscovered the light<br />

Expert<br />

*<br />

review<br />

Every issue of Happiful is<br />

reviewed by an accredited<br />

counsellor, to ensure we<br />

deliver the highest quality<br />

content while handling<br />

topics sensitively.<br />

The experience of our past<br />

has a huge impact on who<br />

we are today. The past is<br />

often explored in therapy to<br />

allow people to work through<br />

their experience – and, to a<br />

degree, liberate them from<br />

it. However, there can be<br />

benefits to exploring the past.<br />

For support with maintaining<br />

our wellbeing and stability<br />

– head over to p16. Our<br />

experiences in the past often<br />

inform the ‘self’ in the present.<br />

By connecting with the past<br />

and making sense of it, you<br />

unlock the ability to determine<br />

‘who you are’ in the moment.<br />

This is very powerful, and<br />

worth investing your time and<br />

energy into as, ultimately, it<br />

enables you greater control.<br />


BA MA MBACP (Accred)<br />

Rav is a counsellor<br />

and psychotherapist<br />

with more than 10<br />

years' experience.

Expert Panel<br />

Meet the team of experts providing information,<br />

guidance, and insight throughout this issue<br />


NLP Mstr Clin HDip IEMTDip CBTDip ANLP<br />

Nikki is an NLP master<br />

practitioner, life coach,<br />

and hypnotherapist.<br />


Dip MBACP<br />

Bernadette is an integrative<br />

psychotherapeutic<br />

counsellor.<br />


MBACP (Accred) Reg Ind<br />

Graeme is a counsellor<br />

working with both<br />

individuals and couples.<br />

NAOMI<br />


BSc (Hons) CF Dip Cert MBACP MACAMH<br />

Naomi is a psychotherapist<br />

and WCMT Churchill Fellow<br />

for suicide prevention.<br />


BA Hons Dip Couns<br />

Jeremy is an integrative<br />

psychotherapist who<br />

specialises in trauma.<br />



Sasha is a nutritional<br />

therapist and eating<br />

disorder recovery coach.<br />


BSc (Hons) PgDip MBDA<br />

Rania is a nutritionist<br />

specialising in fertility and<br />

chronic conditions.<br />


BA MA NLP Mstr<br />

Rachel is a life coach,<br />

encouraging<br />

confidence.<br />

Our team<br />


Kathryn Wheeler | Guest Editor<br />

Rebecca Thair | Editor<br />

Chelsea Graham | Editorial Assistant<br />

Bonnie Evie Gifford, Kat Nicholls | Senior Writers<br />

Becky Wright | Content & Marketing Officer<br />

Katie Hoare | Digital Marketing & Content Officer<br />

Grace Victory | Columnist<br />

Lucy Donoughue | Head of Partnerships<br />

Ellen Hoggard | Digital Editor<br />

Janette Owen | Sub-Editor<br />

Rav Sekhon | Expert Advisor<br />

ART & DESIGN<br />

Amy-Jean Burns | Head of Product<br />

Charlotte Reynell | Creative Lead<br />

Rosan Magar | Illustrator<br />

Tamyln Izzett | Graphic Designer<br />


Alice Greedus | PR Manager<br />

alice.greedus@<strong>happiful</strong>.com<br />


Rosie Cappuccino, Fiona Thomas,<br />

Caroline Butterwick, Gabby Willis, Sarah Young,<br />

Rania Salman, Katie Conibear, Jenna Farmer,<br />

Jason Wood, Victoria Hennison, Sheena Tanna-Shah<br />


Graeme Orr, Rachel Coffey, Nikki Emerton,<br />

Jeremy Sachs, Bernadette Padfield, Sasha Paul,<br />

Naomi Watkins-Ligudzinska, Michele Scar,<br />

Nicola Ockwell, Denise Bosque, Pam Custers,<br />

Dee Johnson, Clare Percival<br />



Denise is a life coach,<br />

hypnotherapist, and<br />

mindfulness teacher.<br />


BA (Hons) Dip Nut<br />

Michele is a nutritional<br />

therapist, health coach, and<br />

CNN lecturer.<br />



Clare is a life and<br />

executive function coach,<br />

empowering her clients.<br />


BA MA BACP<br />

Pam is a counsellor who<br />

specialises in supporting<br />

relationships that thrive.<br />


PGDip BACP<br />

Nicola is a counsellor<br />

with experience working<br />

with groups.<br />



Dee Johnson is a counsellor<br />

interested in working with<br />

individuals and groups.<br />


Aimi Maunders | Director & Co-Founder<br />

Emma White | Director & Co-Founder<br />

Paul Maunders | Director & Co-Founder<br />


For new orders and back orders, visit<br />

shop.<strong>happiful</strong>.com, or call Newsstand on<br />

+44 (0)1227 277 248 or email<br />

subenquiries@newsstand.co.uk<br />


Happiful, c/o Memiah, Building 3,<br />

Riverside Way, Camberley, Surrey, GU15 3YL<br />

Email us at hello@<strong>happiful</strong>.com<br />


Helping you find the help you need.<br />

Counselling Directory, Life Coach Directory,<br />

Hypnotherapy Directory, Nutritionist Resource,<br />

Therapy Directory

Find help<br />

Reader offer<br />


If you are in crisis and are concerned for<br />

your own safety, call 999 or go to A&E<br />

Call Samaritans on 116 123 or email<br />

them at jo@samaritans.org<br />


SANEline<br />

SANEline offers support and information from<br />

4.30pm–10.30pm: 0300 304 7000<br />

Mind<br />

Mind offers advice Mon–Fri 9am–6pm, except bank<br />

holidays: 0300 123 3393. Or email: info@mind.org.uk<br />

Head to<br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com<br />

for more services<br />

and support<br />

Switchboard<br />

Switchboard is a line for LGBT+ support. Open from 10am–10pm:<br />

0300 330 0630. You can email: chris@switchboard.lgbt<br />

£71.88<br />

£59.99<br />

For 12 print issues!<br />

Pay for 10 months, get two free<br />

Happiful delivered to your door<br />

before it hits the shelves<br />

Competitions and prize draws!<br />

p22<br />


Learn more about life coaching and connect with a<br />

professional using lifecoach-directory.org.uk<br />

Visit <strong>happiful</strong>.com<br />

p61<br />


Find support for self-harm, and for families and friends of<br />

those who self-harm, at harmless.org.uk<br />

p74<br />


Discover a supportive community and more information about<br />

PCOS by visiting verity-pcos.org.uk<br />

Cover artwork<br />

by Charlotte Reynell<br />

Our two-for-one tree commitment is made of two parts.<br />

Firstly, we source all our paper from FSC® certified<br />

sources. The FSC® label guarantees that the trees<br />

harvested are replaced, or allowed to regenerate naturally.<br />

Secondly, we will ensure an additional tree is planted<br />

for each one used, by making a suitable donation to a<br />

forestry charity. Happiful is a brand of Memiah Limited.<br />

The opinions, views and values expressed in Happiful are<br />

those of the authors of that content and do not necessarily<br />

represent our opinions, views or values. Nothing in the<br />

magazine constitutes advice on which you should rely. It is<br />

provided for general information purposes only. We work<br />

hard to achieve the highest possible editorial standards,<br />

however if you would like to pass on your feedback or have<br />

a complaint about Happiful, please email us at feedback@<br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com. We do not accept liability for products and/<br />

or services offered by third parties. Memiah Limited is<br />

a private company limited by shares and registered in<br />

England and Wales with company number 05489185 and<br />

VAT number GB 920805837. Our registered office address<br />

is Building 3, Riverside Way, Camberley, Surrey, GU15 3YL.<br />

One undeniable truth is that<br />

finding the right help for each<br />

individual is a journey – what<br />

works for one of us will be<br />

different for someone else. But<br />

don't feel disheartened if you<br />

haven't found your path yet. Our<br />

Happiful family can help you<br />

on your way. Bringing together<br />

various arms of support, each<br />

of our sister sites focuses on a<br />

different method of nourishing<br />

your wellbeing – from<br />

counselling, to hypnotherapy,<br />

nutrition, coaching, and holistic<br />

therapy. Download our free<br />

Happiful app for more.<br />

Prices and benefits are correct at the<br />

time of printing. For full terms and<br />

conditions, please visit <strong>happiful</strong>.com

KIDS<br />

Mindfulness could<br />

be key to helping<br />

kids drift off<br />

The Uplift<br />

Sleep is important for all of us, but<br />

for children, it truly is the fuel that<br />

powers their curiosity, concentration,<br />

and playfulness – and a new study<br />

from the Stanford University School<br />

of Medicine has discovered a key way<br />

kids can boost their shut-eye.<br />

A group of ‘at-risk’ children from<br />

low-income families took part in a<br />

mindfulness curriculum at school.<br />

This taught them how to relax and<br />

manage stress by using mindfulness<br />

techniques, without specifically<br />

instructing them on how to get more<br />

sleep. Teachers taught the class about<br />

stress, how to spot it, and techniques<br />

on how to help keep it under control.<br />

Following the lessons, researchers<br />

found that, on average, the children<br />

slept 74 minutes more per night than<br />

they had before taking part.<br />

Although the findings can be applied<br />

to kids from all backgrounds, working<br />

specifically with ‘at-risk’ children<br />

meant that researchers were able<br />

to target what was keeping them up<br />

at night, with principal investigator<br />

Victor Carrión highlighting how<br />

much more challenging it is to relax<br />

when you don’t feel safe.<br />

Moving forward, the study shows<br />

that when we learn to identify the<br />

signs of stress, we can start to tackle<br />

it with deliberate actions – and how<br />

a curriculum incorporating simple<br />

mindfulness techniques could have<br />

a much larger impact than first<br />

thought. Writing | Kathryn Wheeler


Students create a buzz with bee-friendly seed launcher<br />

A group of student designers<br />

are sowing the seed of hope for<br />

bees, as they tackle extinction<br />

threats with their awardwinning<br />

seed launcher, Sow<br />

Beautiful.<br />

The compact, biodegradablepackaged<br />

creation distributes<br />

wildflower seeds effortlessly, to<br />

provide a source of pollen for<br />

the declining bee population.<br />

Four Heckmondwike<br />

Grammar School students are<br />

behind the innovative device,<br />

which was awarded first place<br />

in the annual Design Ventura<br />

awards run by the Design<br />

Museum, London. Tasked<br />

with creating a product that<br />

enhances everyday life, theirs<br />

channels both sustainability and<br />

ecological development.<br />

The programme, which received<br />

more than 15,600 entries this year,<br />

seeks to shine a light on young<br />

talent, encouraging participants<br />

to gain real design experience and<br />

enterprise skills.<br />

Yinka Ilori – an artist, designer,<br />

and Design Ventura 2020 brief setter<br />

– is a keen supporter of the seed<br />

launcher, saying: “The young people<br />

behind me, they are the future of<br />

the industry, the future of design.<br />

We need to nurture that talent and<br />

support and encourage those young<br />

people. Let them know that you can<br />

make a career out of design.”<br />

The seed launcher will be available<br />

to buy in the museum shop, with<br />

proceeds going to a charity of the<br />

students’ choice. While there’s<br />

still work to be done to reverse the<br />

decline in bees, it just goes to show<br />

that the smallest of creations can<br />

sprout a big change.<br />

Writing | Katie Hoare<br />


Hairdressers and beauticians<br />

offered domestic abuse training<br />

Hairdressers and beauticians<br />

play an important role in our<br />

communities and, in line with<br />

news that the Office for National<br />

Statistics recorded a 7% rise in<br />

domestic abuse offences during<br />

lockdown, a new programme<br />

aiming to equip stylists with the<br />

skills to spot the signs of abuse is<br />

launching in UK and Irish salons.<br />

Founded in Nashville in 2017,<br />

by salon owner and survivor<br />

of domestic violence Susanne<br />

Post, the Shear Haven education<br />

programme consists of an online<br />

training session, followed by<br />

a quiz and certificate – and, to<br />

date, more than 25,000 beauty<br />

professionals from around the<br />

world have been trained.<br />

Tapping into the unique role<br />

those in the beauty industry<br />

play in the lives of their clients,<br />

the training hopes to equip<br />

participants with the knowledge<br />

to recognise the signs of domestic<br />

violence, the skills to navigate<br />

conversations with those who<br />

may be in danger, and signposting<br />

tools to help them get to safety.<br />

With the training highlighting<br />

the role community can play in<br />

supporting individuals in need,<br />

and the programme seeing<br />

success elsewhere in the world,<br />

salon business expert Liz McKeon<br />

has been appointed UK and<br />

Ireland Ambassador, with training<br />

and local-specific helplines<br />

available via her website. It shows<br />

how, with the right resources,<br />

professionals have the ability to<br />

step in to make a real difference.<br />

Head to lizmckeon.com<br />

Writing | Kathryn Wheeler<br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 9

PETS<br />

Did lockdown<br />

make cats more<br />

affectionate?<br />

For many cat owners, cuddling up<br />

with furry friends helped them<br />

cope during the pandemic. But how<br />

has this affected our companions?<br />

In the past year, more of us stayed<br />

home than ever before, and pets<br />

of all types were thrown by the<br />

change in routine. A new study<br />

from the Universities of York and<br />

Lincoln confirms this, with results<br />

noting that 65% of pet owners saw<br />

a change in their pets’ behaviour<br />

during the first lockdown in 2020.<br />

Nearly 36% of cat owners reported<br />

that their feline friends were more<br />

affectionate. And most owners<br />

noted that changes in behaviour<br />

were positive, with 10—15% saying<br />

their pets were more playful and<br />

20-30% noting that they seemed<br />

more relaxed.<br />

Scientists suspect the change<br />

in cats specifically being more<br />

affectionate is likely due to humans<br />

seeking extra contact, and their cats<br />

seeking more… treats.<br />

Even though the affection may be<br />

driven more by a cat’s belly than its<br />

heart, the benefits of contact with<br />

our pets can’t be denied. In a 2019<br />

survey by Cats Protection, nine out<br />

of 10 cat owners said owning a cat<br />

helps their mental health.<br />

Lockdown restrictions may<br />

be lifting, but it’s safe to say pet<br />

cuddles are always going to be the<br />

cat’s pyjamas.<br />

Writing | Kat Nicholls<br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 11

Take 5<br />

Thinking caps at the ready, it’s time for this month’s brain teasers<br />

Dot-to-dot<br />

Connect the numbers from 1–111 to reveal a throw-back image<br />

4 7 8<br />

1<br />

3<br />

11 12 15 16 19<br />

20<br />

22<br />

36<br />

2<br />

37<br />

5 6 9 10<br />

13 14 17 18<br />

21<br />

23<br />

34 35<br />

24 25<br />

How did you<br />

do? Search<br />

'freebies' at<br />

shop.<strong>happiful</strong>.com<br />

to find the answers,<br />

and more!<br />

33<br />

38 39<br />

75<br />

41<br />

40 72 73 74<br />

80 79<br />

111<br />

76 77<br />

110<br />

71<br />

32<br />

109<br />

108<br />

70<br />

107<br />

69<br />

106 68<br />

88<br />

105 67<br />

51<br />

104<br />

66<br />

52<br />

103<br />

65<br />

53<br />

102<br />

101<br />

64<br />

54<br />

100<br />

63<br />

55<br />

62<br />

56<br />

61<br />

57<br />

60 58<br />

42<br />

59<br />

43<br />

89<br />

86<br />

87<br />

90<br />

83<br />

84<br />

85<br />

91<br />

92<br />

93<br />

82<br />

81<br />

94<br />

99<br />

95 96 97 98<br />

45<br />

46<br />

78 47<br />

48<br />

49<br />

50<br />

44<br />

27<br />

26<br />

31<br />

30<br />

29<br />

28<br />

Emojinary<br />

Decipher the nostalgic film and TV shows represented with emojis

Gender neutral<br />

emojis are coming<br />

in 2022, along<br />

with multiracial<br />

handshakes<br />

Wolf-whistling<br />

and catcalls could<br />

be made crimes<br />

under proposals<br />

for new laws<br />

against public<br />

sexual harassment<br />

Japan has hired<br />

its first Minister<br />

for Loneliness to<br />

tackle its mental<br />

health crisis and<br />

rising suicide<br />

rates<br />

Monthly Google<br />

searches related<br />

to ‘hayfever’<br />

increased 220% in<br />

the past 5 years<br />

A bride recreated<br />

her wedding at<br />

a care home in<br />

Bridgend for her<br />

nan who couldn’t<br />

attend the big day<br />

The<br />

wellbeing<br />

wrap<br />

Stub it out<br />

Five councils in England<br />

are kicking smoking to the<br />

curb, in support of outdoor<br />

eating culture. These<br />

authorities banned smoking<br />

on stretches of pavements<br />

where establishments have<br />

outdoor tables, getting<br />

ahead of the curve with<br />

the UK government’s bid<br />

to become<br />

smoke-free<br />

by 2030.<br />

Musician Pink offered<br />

to pay the fines for<br />

the entire Norwegian<br />

women’s beach<br />

handball team, after<br />

they were penalised<br />

for breaking uniform<br />

rules which dictate<br />

that female athletes<br />

must wear bikini<br />

bottoms, while the<br />

men’s team are able<br />

to wear shorts.<br />

Working it out<br />

Supporting accessibility with exercise, deaf online<br />

fitness instructor India Morse recently created a<br />

series of deaf-friendly videos alongside Joe Wicks,<br />

which now feature on The Body Coach YouTube<br />

channel. India, who runs You Lean Me Up, is<br />

passionate about opening up exercise to anyone<br />

who wants to be involved. What a champ!<br />

The greatest gift<br />

Donating an organ is a huge life decision, and a<br />

recent study has investigated the mental impact of<br />

this – with some heart – warming news. Published<br />

in the British Journal of Health Psychology, the study<br />

found that donating a kidney to a stranger had a<br />

positive impact on mental wellbeing, with participants<br />

reporting feeling that they’d contributed to society,<br />

and experienced positive emotions.<br />

A new project looks to provide sustainable<br />

shelter for homeless people in London, as<br />

the Salvation Army, Citizens UK, and Hill<br />

Group team up to build 200 ‘pod homes’<br />

over the next five years. Fully-furnished<br />

pods will be on pockets of unused land<br />

across the city, suitable for one person,<br />

and highly efficient, expected to cost just<br />

£5 per week to run. Plus, the total build is<br />

predicted to come in under £50,000!<br />

Grow with it<br />

A farmer from Western<br />

Australia is doing something<br />

incredible to support mental<br />

health, following a friend<br />

taking his own life. Sam Burgess<br />

is donating all profits from 60<br />

hectares of his crop to mental<br />

health charities for the rest of<br />

his farming career. Now<br />

that’s the root of<br />

kindness.<br />

Time to shell out<br />

In a landmark case, a court in<br />

the Netherlands has ruled that<br />

oil company Shell is responsible<br />

for its own and suppliers’ CO2<br />

emissions, and must cut these<br />

by 45% by 2030! This is the first<br />

time a company has been legally<br />

required to comply with the Paris<br />

climate accords, and found liable<br />

for its impact on climate change –<br />

a big win for eco-warriors around<br />

the world.<br />

Nicola Coyle, a retired nurse<br />

from Nottinghamshire, has set<br />

up The Grey Muzzle Canine<br />

Hospice, to take care of old,<br />

abandoned, terminally ill, or<br />

stray dogs in their final days.<br />

Bringing the animals into her<br />

home, Nicola tries to ensure<br />

their tails keep wagging,<br />

as they get to live out<br />

their days to the fullest.<br />

Independence day<br />

A disabled dad has been able to take<br />

his newborn son for a walk, thanks<br />

to his wife Chelsie, a teacher, and a<br />

group of her students from Maryland,<br />

USA. Together, they designed the<br />

WheeStroll – a special child seat which<br />

can attach to a wheelchair, providing<br />

much more independence for Jeremy!

What is media<br />

gaslighting?<br />

Are we victims of this sinister form of manipulation? With the help of a<br />

life coach, we explore how to spot and stamp out media gaslighting<br />

Writing | Katie Hoare Illustrating | Rosan Magar<br />

Have you ever found<br />

yourself confused<br />

by guidance from a<br />

newspaper? Listened<br />

to a politician continuously<br />

deny a fact when science says<br />

otherwise? Read a news story<br />

with scary health facts that don’t<br />

add up elsewhere?<br />

This type of reporting actually<br />

has a name: media gaslighting.<br />

Gaslighting is a form of<br />

psychological manipulation<br />

that seeks to sow seeds of doubt<br />

in a person’s mind, making<br />

them question their own<br />

reality, memory, or beliefs. A<br />

gaslighter aims to gain control<br />

over another person, group, or<br />

nation by trying to convince them<br />

they’re wrong, reinforcing their<br />

preferred narrative by repetition,<br />

regardless of fact.<br />

“The term is derived from<br />

the play Gaslight (1938) which<br />

features a husband’s systematic<br />

psychological manipulation of<br />

his wife,” says Nikki Emerton, a<br />

life coach and hypnotherapist.<br />

“This eventually leads to her<br />

questioning her own sanity.”<br />

So how does this translate to the<br />

media? “In media and societal<br />

terms, ‘gaslighting’ may be seen as<br />

propaganda, indoctrination, or mass<br />

brainwashing. Telling people what<br />

to think to fit in. Creating a ‘gang<br />

culture’ so that if you want to ‘fit in’<br />

and be part of the gang, you must<br />

think a certain way, no matter how<br />

inaccurate it is,” Nikki explains.<br />

It isn’t just about spreading<br />

misinformation, but extends to<br />

the deliberate act of attempting<br />

to rewrite the narrative to control<br />

public opinion, and refusing to<br />

acknowledge information that<br />

tarnishes said narrative.<br />

Classic examples of media<br />

gaslighting include the portrayal of<br />

vulnerable women. When Britney<br />

Spears, Paris Hilton, and Lindsay<br />

Lohan came into the limelight,<br />

social media didn’t exist, they didn’t<br />

get to choose how they wanted to<br />

present to the world. The paparazzi<br />

made the choice for them, and the<br />

media ran with that persona.<br />

For Britney, that persona<br />

involved a sexualised childhood,<br />

vilification when she embraced that<br />

sexualisation, and her public mental<br />

health deterioration. Lindsay was<br />

heralded as a child star before being<br />

blacklisted by Hollywood, as we<br />

witnessed her multiple mugshots<br />

being bandied around. In other<br />

words, their only narrative was one<br />

of damaged goods.<br />

Doctors and scientists are<br />

often also at the mercy of media<br />

gaslighting when they offer an<br />

alternative opinion or fact that<br />

doesn’t fit with mainstream media.<br />

They’re vilified, dismissed as<br />

‘radical’, and even their level of<br />

stability comes into question.<br />

So with never-ending scope to<br />

distribute ‘fake news’, how do you<br />

sort fact from fiction?<br />

How to spot gaslighting<br />

in the media<br />

Nikki shares five ways you can<br />

identify when the media is using<br />

gaslighting techniques to tell the<br />

desired narrative...<br />

14 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com

wellbeing<br />

1. You can’t crossreference<br />

the facts<br />

Often, you may hear a report<br />

and go online to source further<br />

information. If you find it is<br />

difficult to attain additional or<br />

unbiased facts about it, gaslighting<br />

tactics could be at play.<br />

2. Information is vague,<br />

unclear, or contradictory<br />

The facts you’ve read often don’t<br />

add up, leaving you questioning<br />

what the actual message is and,<br />

importantly, what the desired<br />

outcome of the piece was. How<br />

did you expect to feel upon<br />

Nikki shares four examples<br />

of how media gaslighting<br />

tries to maintain control:<br />

• Raising anxiety levels,<br />

leading to a desire to<br />

follow a person(s) in<br />

authority.<br />

• Repetition brings<br />

retention. Information<br />

repeated often enough<br />

is likely to be adopted as<br />

truth.<br />

• Shutting down<br />

oppositional views or<br />

overpowering them with<br />

one-sided views.<br />

• Editing media to portray<br />

a predetermined public<br />

image that is<br />

inaccurate.<br />

reading the headline vs how you<br />

feel now? Often it’s confused, and<br />

even fearful.<br />

3. Information is altered<br />

Have you ever read a story, gone<br />

back to show a friend a few<br />

days later, and the information<br />

is not as you remember? Did<br />

you question if you had read it<br />

correctly? With media gaslighting,<br />

information is changed and<br />

altered as time goes by without<br />

factual evidence to support it, or<br />

signposts to note the changes.<br />

4. A significant<br />

bias is present<br />

What is reported is published for<br />

positive gains biased towards an<br />

individual, group, or organisation,<br />

and not the bigger picture. This<br />

is often seen in politics, notably<br />

around elections.<br />

5. You’re urged to support<br />

the story on social media<br />

When you read a story on<br />

social media, are you instantly<br />

bombarded with messages<br />

asking you to ‘show your support’<br />

by sharing the piece? Media<br />

gaslighting often calls on readers<br />

to advocate for their narratives;<br />

asking you to share their story<br />

suggesting you have subscribed<br />

to an official recommendation,<br />

that may or may not be true.<br />

Whether you’re privy to the<br />

gossip columns or it’s strictly<br />

business only, we hope these tips<br />

will put media gaslighting on<br />

your radar, and support you to<br />

question the unquestionable.<br />

Nikki Emerton is an NLP master<br />

practitioner, life coach, and hypnotherapist<br />

specialising in helping people recover<br />

from controlling relationships so that they<br />

can rebuild their lives. Find out more by<br />

visiting lifecoach-directory.org.uk

For old<br />

time’s sake<br />

Join us as we step back in time and explore how harnessing<br />

a sense of nostalgia can support our wellbeing<br />

Writing | Kathryn Wheeler Artwork | Charlotte Reynell<br />

It’s in the scent of the perfume<br />

your mum used to wear, it’s<br />

mixed in with the taste of<br />

your favourite homemade<br />

meal, it sounds like that track<br />

that could be heard blaring from<br />

your teenage bedroom, and it<br />

looks like the skyline from the<br />

personal pilgrimages you’ve made<br />

throughout your life. Nostalgia<br />

creeps up on us, stirring us<br />

emotionally, reminding us of the<br />

places that we’ve been, and of the<br />

journey still ahead of us.<br />

Each of us will experience<br />

it in different ways, but the<br />

science is there to support this<br />

phenomenon’s powerful force,<br />

for all of us. More than a decade<br />

of research from the University<br />

of Southampton has shown<br />

that nostalgia can counteract<br />

loneliness, boredom, and<br />

anxiety, as well as make us more<br />

generous to strangers. It can<br />

improve our relationships and,<br />

incredibly, can even make us<br />

feel physically warmer.<br />

And, this past year, it appears<br />

we’ve been pondering the past<br />

more than ever. Spotify saw a<br />

54% rise in listeners making<br />

nostalgic playlists, and a Radio<br />

Times survey found that 64%<br />

of respondents said they’d<br />

rewatched a series in lockdown,<br />

with 43% watching nostalgic<br />

shows for comfort.<br />

So, what is it about journeying<br />

back in time that is so soothing,<br />

and how can we manage this<br />

bittersweet emotion when<br />

the past isn’t always a perfect<br />

picture?<br />

A trip down memory lane<br />

From the start of lockdown,<br />

each Sunday evening, Father Lee<br />

Taylor – Vicar of Llangollen, in<br />

Wales – could be found sitting<br />

at his piano, ready for a weekly<br />

livestream, aptly named ‘An<br />

evening of pure nostalgia’. In a<br />

regular singalong enjoyed by<br />

people across the world, Father<br />

Taylor performed hymns from<br />

Sunday school, Victorian music<br />

hall songs, and the songs that<br />

“people remember hearing while<br />

sitting on grandma’s knee”.<br />

“At the beginning of the<br />

pandemic, there was much<br />

fear and uncertainty about the<br />

future,” Father Taylor says, as<br />

he reflects on those early days.<br />

“Many people, especially the<br />

elderly and vulnerable, felt they<br />

16 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com

memory lane<br />

were being plunged into the<br />

darkness of isolation, and cut<br />

off from the world. We all need<br />

an anchor to give us a sense of<br />

stability and security during<br />

turbulent times.”<br />

For him, music was that anchor.<br />

“It is incredibly evocative, and<br />

can transport us back to happier<br />

and more certain times. It can<br />

trigger personal memories, and it<br />

can help us recall people, places,<br />

and events from our past– the<br />

memories can come flooding<br />

back to us in an instant.”<br />

It’s this particular power that<br />

Father Taylor believes is the<br />

reason why his livestreams<br />

took off, each one garnering<br />

comments such as, “This song<br />

means so much to me. It has<br />

taken me back to my childhood,” >>><br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 17

“This has brought back so many<br />

wonderful memories of my<br />

grandparents”, “I haven’t sung<br />

this for many years”.<br />

Reminiscent of studies which<br />

found that music has the ability<br />

to unlock memories in dementia<br />

patients in ways that no other<br />

form of communication quite<br />

can, Father Taylor’s livestreams<br />

tapped into this unique force,<br />

transporting singers on a journey<br />

through time.<br />

“I think people respond well<br />

to nostalgia, especially through<br />

musical memories, because it<br />

makes us feel safe and grounded,<br />

giving a strong sense of identity<br />

and our formation as we look<br />

back to our younger years,”<br />

he explains. “It gives us that<br />

warm and cosy feeling of being<br />

embraced by a long-lost friend.<br />

It can also bind us together with<br />

others who either share our tastes<br />

in music, or are of the same<br />

generation as us.”<br />

The story so far<br />

Beyond the specific things that<br />

trigger a fond sense of nostalgia –<br />

such as music, photos, and foods,<br />

to name but a few – reflecting on<br />

our personal history can help us<br />

to develop better insight into the<br />

things that drive us, as well as the<br />

hopes and dreams that we still<br />

have for the future.<br />

It’s something Helen Hart sees<br />

first-hand in her role at memoir<br />

writing service SilverWood Books.<br />

“The past is such a personal<br />

and important aspect of our<br />

lives; it shapes our present,<br />

Father Lee Taylor<br />

allowing us to identify who<br />

we are and how we can be<br />

the best version of ourselves,”<br />

she explains. “Deliberately<br />

reflecting on the past can stir up<br />

all kinds of emotions, but it can<br />

be healing. Many SilverWood<br />

authors creating a memoir enjoy<br />

working through past events,<br />

reliving them or sorting through<br />

memories as they decide how<br />

to express what they feel on the<br />

page – and that can help them<br />

move forward in their lives.”<br />

Helen describes how, for some<br />

people, writing a memoir can be<br />

like pressing the reset button on<br />

their lives, prompting them to dig<br />

deep into their needs and desires.<br />

With the help of chronological<br />

formats, we might uncover<br />

a newfound appreciation for<br />

the journeys we have been<br />

It makes us<br />

feel safe and<br />

grounded, giving<br />

a strong sense of<br />

identity and our<br />

formation as we<br />

look back to our<br />

younger years<br />

on, for the challenges we<br />

have overcome throughout<br />

our lives, the things that we<br />

have lived through that, in<br />

the end, made us stronger,<br />

more compassionate, and fully<br />

rounded people. We can track<br />

our values systems that guide us<br />

forward, and in moments where<br />

we feel a bit lost, we can retune<br />

into these guiding principles<br />

that have always been with us.<br />

Don’t look back in anger<br />

Of course, not every journey<br />

is straightforward, and we<br />

haven’t always viewed the<br />

experience of nostalgia in such<br />

a fond light. As counsellor<br />

Jeremy Sachs points out when<br />

considering this point, in 17th<br />

century Switzerland, nostalgia<br />

was treated with opium,<br />

18 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com

memory lane<br />

leeches, and a prescribed walk<br />

in the alps, due to its links to<br />

melancholy and depression.<br />

Today, if you’re about to go on a<br />

trip down memory lane, Jeremy<br />

recommends doing so with a<br />

degree of caution.<br />

“Nostalgia looks to the past,<br />

often simplifying it and looking<br />

at it through rose-tinted glasses.<br />

This in itself is not a bad thing,<br />

however people can get stuck<br />

looking back to their past,”<br />

Jeremy explains. “This often<br />

happens when the pain of what<br />

is happening in the present is too<br />

overwhelming. This doesn’t mean<br />

to say the past was better – rather<br />

that nostalgia creates a false, but<br />

reassuring, narrative that it was.”<br />

As an example, Jeremy points<br />

to how, in early 2020, there<br />

was a tendency to compare the<br />

Covid-19 crisis to the Blitz.<br />

“In truth, Covid-19 is nothing<br />

like the Blitz,” he says. “However,<br />

this past experience existed in<br />

our societal consciousness (even<br />

if we don’t have lived experience<br />

of it), and this comparison made<br />

sense of something new.”<br />

He explains how this same<br />

concept can work on an<br />

individual level too: reliving<br />

times from our past can help us<br />

confirm our idea of ourselves and<br />

our connections, and that in turn<br />

can make us feel safe and secure.<br />

“As therapists, we’re constantly<br />

moving between three time<br />

zones: past, present, and future.<br />

We look to the relationships in<br />

our past in order to make sense<br />

of current or future ones.<br />

“However, we can get stuck in<br />

the past, regretting past events,<br />

and believing ‘if only things had<br />

been different’ we could find<br />

happiness in the present.”<br />

Those kinds of thought spirals<br />

can be difficult to break free of,<br />

but the key is to spot when you<br />

might be caught in one. Spend<br />

some time reflecting on the<br />

relationship you have with the<br />

past, and ask yourself: are there<br />

things that you need to let go of in<br />

order to thrive in the future?<br />

When all’s said and done<br />

Human beings are fascinated<br />

by the passing of time – we’ve<br />

been recording it, celebrating it,<br />

and predicting it since, well, the<br />

start of time – and many of us are<br />

sentimental creatures by nature.<br />

But, as with anything, the past is<br />

best served up in equal measures,<br />

with an appreciation for the<br />

present and the future.<br />

Tap into this unique element of<br />

the human experience, connect<br />

with those you love the most,<br />

reminisce on the things that<br />

have brought you happiness,<br />

and celebrate the hurdles you<br />

overcame – while knowing that<br />

there is still so much more to<br />

come on the horizon.<br />

Jeremy Sachs is an integrative<br />

psychotherapist who specialises<br />

in working with trauma recovery,<br />

long-term conditions, adolescents,<br />

and young people. Find out more by<br />

visiting counselling-directory.org.uk<br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 19

5 ways to soothe<br />

painful emotions<br />

Ride the waves and tap into self-care with these tips<br />

Writing | Rosie Cappuccino<br />

Have you ever had an<br />

emotion that felt ‘too<br />

much’, or feared that<br />

your feelings would<br />

overwhelm you? While emotions<br />

have an adaptive purpose – to<br />

help us stay safe, make decisions,<br />

communicate, and build social<br />

bonds – there are times when<br />

they become so strong that their<br />

intensity hurts.<br />

Although some people<br />

experience intense emotions more<br />

frequently (such as those who, like<br />

me, have borderline personality<br />

disorder), painful emotions are<br />

part of being human. It is normal<br />

to feel large amounts of emotion,<br />

especially in response to difficult<br />

events such as an illness, or the<br />

death of a loved one. Here, we<br />

take a look at five ways to soothe<br />

painful emotions.<br />

1. Engage your senses<br />

“[This] is an act of mindfulness,<br />

pausing and tuning-in to your<br />

body, surroundings, and what<br />

is happening in the now,” says<br />

counsellor Dee Johnson. “It helps<br />

with concentration skills, and<br />

brings awareness, sharpening<br />

your observational abilities.”<br />

If you’re sad or anxious, try<br />

recreating a fragrance you<br />

associate with comfort, perhaps<br />

spraying diluted lavender oil onto<br />

a tissue. Experiment with looking<br />

carefully at leaves during a walk,<br />

and try savouring something<br />

fresh, such as a juicy piece of fruit.<br />

Explore textures to see what you<br />

find soothing; prop a cushion<br />

behind your back when you’re<br />

writing a stressful email. Play<br />

around with sound to see if the<br />

chatter of the radio soothes you.<br />

2. Delve into a story<br />

Stories can take us temporarily<br />

into the minds of others, and<br />

to diverse locations, providing<br />

a short break from whatever is<br />

going on in our lives. For some,<br />

stories involving crime, war, or<br />

horror can exacerbate fear, guilt,<br />

or sadness – so genres involving<br />

romance, fantasy, or nature may<br />

be more soothing options.<br />

Undoubtedly, the cognitive<br />

effort needed for reading a book<br />

or processing narrative twists<br />

can be difficult when emotions<br />

are intense, but audiobooks of<br />

familiar or childhood stories<br />

may be able to offer escapism<br />

more easily, and without any<br />

jarring surprises. Travel vlogs on<br />

YouTube can also be a fun way of<br />

momentarily exploring interesting<br />

landscapes or cities.<br />

20 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com

3. The power of temperature<br />

Have you ever felt either<br />

uncomfortably hot or miserably<br />

cold during times of painful<br />

emotions? Sometimes, restoring<br />

balance to your temperature<br />

helps bring us closer to emotional<br />

equilibrium. If you’re feeling<br />

chilly, relating to deep sadness,<br />

consider taking a warm shower,<br />

and snuggling up with a hot water<br />

bottle. Conversely, if you’re too<br />

warm, maybe due to shame or<br />

anxiety, put a damp face cloth in<br />

the freezer and then gently rest it<br />

over the back of your neck or your<br />

brow. Alternatively, try soaking<br />

your feet in a bowl of cold water,<br />

and see if that settles you.<br />

4. A safe place in your mind<br />

Imagine you’re visiting a<br />

location that makes you feel safe<br />

and comfortable. It might be<br />

somewhere you know well, a place<br />

you have been to in the past, seen<br />

in a film, or an entirely made-up<br />

place. Some people find it tricky to<br />

visualise a scene in great detail, so<br />

browse Pinterest or Instagram to<br />

gather inspiration for how it might<br />

Painful emotions<br />

are often<br />

amplified by<br />

anxious thoughts<br />

look, feel, and sound. The more<br />

detail you can generate, the more<br />

vivid your mental picture will be.<br />

As Dee explains: “Safe place<br />

imagery [is] very helpful for<br />

trauma and anxiety – a great<br />

grounding technique to remind<br />

you that you have experienced<br />

safety, feelings are transient, and<br />

to give a sense of control as it’s<br />

your place to choose to go to.”<br />

5. Make a list, and<br />

then put the list away<br />

Painful emotions are often<br />

amplified by anxious thoughts<br />

(‘what if…’, ‘I don’t know how…’),<br />

not to mention a ‘to do’ list that<br />

feels unmanageable. List all the<br />

thoughts bothering you, and all<br />

the jobs preying on your mind.<br />

Then put the list out of view and<br />

take a break from ruminating,<br />

planning, or solving. When your<br />

mind wanders to your worries<br />

or tasks, gently tell yourself they<br />

are safely recorded, and you will<br />

take care of them when you’re<br />

ready. It’s amazing how worries<br />

can dissolve and tasks seem<br />

more manageable once painful<br />

emotions start to subside.<br />

Rosie Cappuccino is a Mind Media<br />

Award-winning blogger, and author<br />

of ‘Talking About BPD: A Stigma-<br />

Free Guide to Living a Calmer,<br />

Happier Life with Borderline<br />

Personality Disorder’.<br />

Dee Johnson is a counsellor<br />

interested in working<br />

with individuals and groups.<br />

Find out more by visiting<br />

counselling-directory.org.uk<br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 21

By the end of play<br />

How embracing our inner-child in the workplace<br />

can help us rediscover our passion<br />

Writing | Fiona Thomas<br />

Illustrating | Rosan Magar<br />

What would you<br />

give to turn back<br />

the clock, and live<br />

a day as your fiveyear-old<br />

self? For many of us,<br />

the life of a child looks not just<br />

fun but easy, especially when<br />

compared with the pressures<br />

of adulthood. Instead of dealing<br />

with bills, appointments, and<br />

endless meetings, playing in the<br />

sandbox and taking naps seems<br />

like a far better deal.<br />

The funny thing is, you connect<br />

with your inner child more often<br />

than you think. Have you ever<br />

played a harmless prank, or<br />

doodled to pass the time? As<br />

humans, we need an element<br />

of play in our lives to manage<br />

stress and release endorphins,<br />

and once you allow yourself to<br />

act like a kid again, you’ll want<br />

to do it more often.<br />

22 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com

memory lane<br />

Contrary to popular belief,<br />

bringing playfulness to the<br />

workplace isn’t an excuse<br />

for employees to skive off.<br />

It boosts productivity and<br />

can induce a flow state; that<br />

in-the-zone feeling when<br />

you’re concentrating hard on<br />

something you find challenging,<br />

but also creatively stimulating.<br />

A study published in The Tohoku<br />

Journal of Experimental Medicine<br />

found that the simple act of<br />

laughter can mitigate the effects<br />

of stress, strengthen teams,<br />

and build better relationships.<br />

Adults who prioritise play may<br />

be able to find more happiness,<br />

fight off depression, and lower<br />

their risk of dementia.<br />

Now we’re not suggesting you<br />

surprise the team with a bouncy<br />

castle in the office car park, but<br />

we do have some ideas to help tap<br />

into your inner child at work.<br />

1. Ask questions<br />

As an adult, you’re expected to<br />

be the fount of all knowledge<br />

for children. If you’ve ever<br />

witnessed a child descend into<br />

a ‘But, why?’ spiral, then you<br />

know exactly what we’re talking<br />

about. Try stepping out of your<br />

adult role from time to time, and<br />

lean into the fact that you cannot<br />

possibly know everything all of<br />

the time. Explore the idea that<br />

it’s OK to admit you don’t have<br />

all the answers, and instead try<br />

asking questions to figure out a<br />

way forward. Try posing openended<br />

questions, such as: ‘What<br />

seems to be the problem?’, ‘What<br />

else do I need to know about<br />

this?’, and ‘What’s holding you<br />

back from succeeding?’<br />

2. Talk to someone new<br />

Have you ever noticed that<br />

children are experts in making<br />

new friends? They don’t think<br />

twice about inviting newcomers<br />

into their space to talk or play<br />

games. We adults are a different<br />

breed entirely. According to a<br />

Try stepping out<br />

of your adult role<br />

from time to time,<br />

and lean into<br />

the fact that you<br />

cannot possibly<br />

know everything all<br />

of the time<br />

YouGov poll, just a quarter of<br />

older Britons report having made<br />

a friend in the past six months,<br />

and only 18% over the age of 55<br />

have made a new friend in the<br />

past six years. But reaching out<br />

to a colleague could be the ticket<br />

to boosting job satisfaction,<br />

because – according to a study in<br />

Social Psychological and Personality<br />

Science – small talk has been<br />

shown to improve executive<br />

functioning; the area of the brain<br />

related to focus, prioritisation,<br />

and organisation. The next time<br />

you try to avoid that after-work<br />

event, consider what your inner<br />

child would do.<br />

3. Gamify your tasks<br />

Reward charts are common in<br />

academic settings because they<br />

are brilliant motivators to get kids<br />

engaged in learning, but this can<br />

be applied to modern workplaces,<br />

too. Say you’ve got a stack of<br />

boring paperwork to complete.<br />

Why not split it between you and<br />

a colleague, and whoever finishes<br />

last has to buy the other one a<br />

coffee? Alternatively, set yourself<br />

a deadline and reward yourself<br />

with lunch from your favourite<br />

sandwich place. You could even<br />

bring health and wellbeing goals<br />

into work and get others involved,<br />

trying to walk 10,000 steps every<br />

day, or taking short meditation<br />

breaks together.<br />

4. Be curious<br />

As children, we’re endlessly<br />

curious and encouraged to make<br />

mistakes. There isn’t a person<br />

on Earth who learned to speak<br />

without a whole lot of garbling<br />

and gobbledegook beforehand.<br />

No one figured out how to walk<br />

without stumbling and crawling<br />

along the way. Your inner child<br />

chooses curiosity over ego<br />

every time, so try to accept that<br />

failure might occur when you<br />

try new things. That said, having<br />

a curious mind doesn’t have to<br />

involve big scary challenges.<br />

Something as simple as switching<br />

up the time you have lunch will<br />

offer up new experiences, such<br />

as hearing an interesting radio<br />

show or bumping into an old<br />

friend. Take on that new project,<br />

volunteer to do something you’ve<br />

never done before, and embrace<br />

being a beginner.<br />

Fiona Thomas is a freelance writer<br />

and author, whose latest book, ‘Out<br />

of Office’, is available now. Visit<br />

fionalikestoblog.com for more.<br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 23

There comes a time in your<br />

life when you have to choose<br />

to turn the page, write another<br />

book or simply close it<br />


24 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com<br />

Photography | Joanna Nix-Walkup

elationships<br />

How to tell your partner<br />

you need help<br />

We explore how to navigate the conversation, and help you<br />

integrate your therapeutic life into your dating life<br />

Writing | Becky Wright<br />

‘<br />

I<br />

need some professional counselling, mentoring, coaching, Part of my reluctance to tell<br />

or something else), you may still my boyfriend I wanted to access<br />

feel worried to say it aloud to the therapy was that it suddenly felt<br />

person closest to you.<br />

very serious and final. I’d been<br />

thinking about getting support for<br />

a while but, once I said the words<br />

out loud to him, I knew there<br />

would be a sense of accountability<br />

for me to book the sessions and to<br />

attend. And that in itself was scary.<br />

help, but what will my<br />

partner think? Will they<br />

think it’s their fault? Or that<br />

I’m being overdramatic? Will<br />

they think it’s unnecessary?’<br />

These are some of the questions<br />

that went through my mind<br />

before deciding to start therapy<br />

sessions earlier this year.<br />

Admitting to yourself that<br />

you need help is a huge step<br />

in looking after your mental<br />

health. But, often one of the most<br />

daunting steps in getting the<br />

support that you need is telling<br />

other people – especially the<br />

important people in your life –<br />

that you’re struggling.<br />

As much as you should feel<br />

proud of yourself for trying<br />

to access help (whether it’s<br />

Why is it hard to ask for help?<br />

In a romantic context, people can<br />

fear that ‘having issues’ will make<br />

them seem less attractive. But,<br />

according to counsellor Bernadette<br />

Padfield, there could also be other<br />

fears that make you feel reluctant to<br />

tell your loved one that you want to<br />

access professional help, including:<br />

• They’ll feel inadequate or hurt<br />

because you can’t discuss your<br />

issues with them.<br />

• They’ll feel they are responsible<br />

for you seeking help.<br />

• They could share this<br />

information with others you<br />

don’t want to tell.<br />

Why should I ask for help?<br />

Undeniably, the strongest<br />

intimate connections are built<br />

on a foundation of honesty,<br />

mutual support, and trust. As<br />

part of this, it’s natural to want<br />

to discuss important aspects of<br />

your life – including your mental<br />

health. If you’re reluctant to talk<br />

about this with your loved one,<br />

ask yourself why. >>><br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 25

Do I have to tell<br />

my partner?<br />

You deserve to get the help you<br />

need, but it’s important that you<br />

feel secure and safe in having the<br />

conversation. Here, Bernadette<br />

lists some reasons you may not<br />

want to tell your partner that you’re<br />

considering professional help:<br />

• You don’t feel safe.<br />

• They may react violently.<br />

• They may make it difficult<br />

for you to access help.<br />

• They may make life difficult<br />

at home.<br />

• They may try to humiliate you.<br />

“All of these are acceptable<br />

reasons for not telling them.<br />

However, from a therapist’s<br />

perspective, they all appear<br />

to identify issues within the<br />

relationship.”<br />

If there are problems within your<br />

relationship, a therapist may have<br />

some useful advice, or you could<br />

explore scheduling a couple’s<br />

counselling session to help you<br />

improve communication with<br />

your partner.<br />

26 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com

elationships<br />

Perhaps you’re dealing with<br />

a painful or difficult issue and<br />

you’re not comfortable sharing<br />

that information with anyone<br />

yet. “Whether or not you tell<br />

your partner is entirely your<br />

decision,” says Bernadette. “But,<br />

it may be worth exploring this<br />

with a therapist.”<br />

Despite any worries you have<br />

about telling your partner you<br />

need help, there is a lot that you<br />

could gain from talking to them.<br />

Bernadette says it’s important<br />

to think about how you could<br />

benefit from opening up. “Ask<br />

yourself ‘What is motivating<br />

me to tell them?’, then list some<br />

of the things you could gain by<br />

telling them.”<br />

For example:<br />

• They may acknowledge<br />

my unhappiness.<br />

• They may be supportive/<br />

empathetic.<br />

• They may respect my courage.<br />

• They may listen.<br />

• They may offer practical help.<br />

Remember, if you’re dating<br />

someone seriously and you want<br />

the relationship to progress, you<br />

need to have hard conversations<br />

sometimes – including letting<br />

them know when you’re<br />

struggling.<br />

How do I start<br />

the conversation?<br />

If you’re concerned about telling<br />

your partner that you want to<br />

seek help for your mental health,<br />

then remember, you don’t have<br />

to do anything until you are<br />

ready. Don’t put yourself under<br />

any pressure, as this could<br />

prevent you from accessing the<br />

support you need.<br />

But, when you do feel<br />

ready, create a comfortable<br />

environment to have that<br />

conversation in – at a quiet<br />

time, without distractions, when<br />

you’re both feeling relaxed.<br />

It’s perfectly<br />

normal to get<br />

upset and to feel<br />

vulnerable<br />

Prepare what you’d like to say<br />

You may be feeling nervous<br />

or emotional, so having a few<br />

points in mind can help you<br />

to structure the conversation.<br />

Unless your problems are very<br />

serious, a short explanation<br />

about how you’re feeling and the<br />

type of support you want to get<br />

will be fine.<br />

It’s perfectly normal to get upset<br />

and to feel vulnerable. Just take<br />

your time, and ask them to be<br />

patient as you open up.<br />

Say as much or as<br />

little as you want to<br />

If your partner wants more<br />

information, they can ask, and<br />

you can answer to whatever<br />

degree you feel comfortable.<br />

If this is the first time you’ve<br />

discussed mental health with<br />

your partner, it could open<br />

a new world of conversation<br />

between you. They may decide<br />

to share details about their own<br />

mental health experiences.<br />

If your issues are deeper, a<br />

longer discussion may need to<br />

happen, but you don’t need to go<br />

into this right away if you don’t<br />

want to. You might feel more<br />

comfortable disclosing this with<br />

therapeutic assistance, such as<br />

in a couple’s therapy session.<br />

Ask for what you need<br />

Perhaps you need practical<br />

support. Could they help you<br />

search for a suitable counsellor<br />

online? Could they take you to<br />

an appointment with your GP, or<br />

your first therapy session?<br />

Asking for help is a big step,<br />

and you should do it on your<br />

own terms. But, when you’re<br />

ready, talking to your partner<br />

could not only help you to<br />

access the support you need, but<br />

it could also help you to unlock<br />

a whole new level of connection<br />

within your relationship.<br />

Bernadette Padfield is an integrative<br />

psychotherapeutic counsellor and<br />

a registered member of the BACP.<br />

Find out more about Bernadette on<br />

counselling-directory.org.uk<br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 27

The perfect alternative<br />

With a passion for promoting uniqueness, Sophie de Oliveira Barata,<br />

founder of The Alternative Limb Project, shares her inspiration for<br />

developing bespoke and stunning prosthetics, and why her creations<br />

are an active invitation to see and celebrate difference<br />

Writing | Lucy Donoughue<br />

Founder of The Alternative<br />

Limb Project, Sophie<br />

de Oliveira Barata, is a<br />

little shocked when I<br />

congratulate her on 10 years of<br />

her company’s existence. It’s<br />

not something she’d realised,<br />

she laughs, slightly baffled as to<br />

why she hadn’t noted her own<br />

anniversary, but as we chat it<br />

becomes clear why this milestone<br />

may have passed her by.<br />

The Alternative Limb Project,<br />

her brainchild, was established<br />

in 2011 to create unique,<br />

imaginative limbs that empower<br />

the wearer, and inspire a positive<br />

dialogue about the human body<br />

and its differences. Her drive to<br />

design and realise these pieces,<br />

she confesses, keeps her artistic<br />

brain more than busy, and she<br />

recalls many years of working<br />

through the night, and excited<br />

conversations about materials<br />

from crystals to light beams,<br />

clocks to faux porcelain. No<br />

wonder the years have flown by.<br />

During this time, Sophie has<br />

collaborated with amputees<br />

including models, paralympians,<br />

children, charity founders, and<br />

ex-military personnel to create<br />

bespoke limbs that are both<br />

stunning to look at, and actively<br />

draw attention to what can be<br />

seen, rather than a part of the<br />

body that is no longer there, or<br />

was never present. She’s also<br />

exhibited creations across the<br />

world, prompting conversations<br />

about transhumanism, body<br />

perception, and personal<br />

choices of limb representation<br />

and expression.<br />

Sophie, how did you first<br />

become interested in<br />

working with prosthetics?<br />

I studied art in my early 20s,<br />

and worked in a hospital in<br />

my spare time. I was offered<br />

an opportunity to help with a<br />

medical disaster re-enactment<br />

they were carrying out for<br />

training, by creating realisticlooking<br />

wounds with makeup.<br />

The experience marked the<br />

beginning of medicine and art<br />

running side by side throughout<br />

my work ever since.<br />

I went on to study special effects<br />

makeup at the London College of<br />

Fashion, and I became fascinated<br />

with the ways makeup can trick<br />

the human eye. Shortly after<br />

graduating, I took some work<br />

experience at a company that<br />

made prosthetics for amputees.<br />

To me that was the ultimate trick<br />

of the eye: making an artificial<br />

limb appear convincing!<br />

I worked there for eight years,<br />

and was lucky enough to learn<br />

how to make fingers and toes,<br />

partial hands and feet, forearm<br />

and leg covers.<br />

How did your limb creation<br />

practise evolve?<br />

The process within that company<br />

was for the prosthetist to see<br />

clients, and then I’d create the<br />

limb required from drawings,<br />

measurements, and photographs.<br />

So, I rarely met the people we<br />

were making limbs for. However,<br />

one of our prosthetists met with<br />

a little girl called Pollyanna Hope<br />

who was just 2 years old and<br />

travelling in a pushchair when a<br />

bus mounted the pavement and<br />

sadly killed her grandmother,<br />

severely scarred her mother, and<br />

injured her, resulting in a leg<br />

amputation.<br />

28 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com

positive pointers<br />

Through insurance, she was able<br />

to have a realistic looking leg each<br />

year, and I was assigned to work<br />

with her. Pollyanna had received<br />

another limb prior to meeting me –<br />

she’d had stickers on that and liked<br />

the idea of something different. I<br />

could see she was really engaged<br />

with the process, and creating<br />

her a bespoke leg meant she was<br />

getting something special that said<br />

something specifically about her.<br />

Her family and friends were always<br />

excited to see what was coming<br />

next, which changed the dialogue<br />

around her being an amputee.<br />

Pollyanna’s leg had colourful<br />

pictures of her family in frames<br />

one year, Peppa Pig another, and<br />

at one point she drew a picture of<br />

a limb with drawers containing<br />

special items. I was just really<br />

inspired by Pollyanna and, from<br />

a rehabilitation perspective, I was<br />

deeply interested in pursuing<br />

the personalised limb route,<br />

and collaborating with others to<br />

reflect who they are through the<br />

prosthetics they chose. >>><br />

Image | Omkaar Kotedia<br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 29

How did The Alternative Limb<br />

Project come about?<br />

I had an unwavering passion<br />

for what I’d started with<br />

personalising limbs, and I<br />

realised it was fulfilling a deep<br />

artistic desire within me, as<br />

well as reflecting the unique<br />

personalities of the people who<br />

wore them.<br />

I started to look for amputee<br />

models to create with, and I<br />

found artist Viktoria Modesta,<br />

who was on the front cover of<br />

Bazaar magazine, with her leg to<br />

one side and her stump on show.<br />

In her article, she explained how<br />

she chose to have an amputation,<br />

despite being warned against it,<br />

because she had a withered limb<br />

and had encountered problems<br />

because of that. She shared that<br />

after the amputation she’d never<br />

looked back. Her boldness and<br />

beauty really spoke to me, the<br />

way in which she claimed control<br />

over her body.<br />

Viktoria and I spoke, and she<br />

expressed that she saw how a<br />

prosthetic limb could be playful<br />

and an accessory, rather than<br />

something that’s purely functional.<br />

We began to collaborate, and<br />

together we created the sensational<br />

leg she wore to dance as an<br />

Ice Maiden for the Paralympic<br />

Ceremony in 2012, covered in<br />

Swarovski crystals. She wanted<br />

to focus on being an amputee,<br />

and to make a point of having an<br />

alternative, beautiful limb.<br />

Around this time, I also worked<br />

with Priscilla Sutton on the Spare<br />

Parts exhibition, which turned<br />

pre-loved prosthetic limbs into<br />

modern works of art, Kiera Roche<br />

who is the chairperson for Limb<br />

Power, and with British swimmer<br />

and amputee Jo-Jo Cranfield. And<br />

all of that was the beginning of<br />

The Alternative Limb Project.<br />

How has your work evolved<br />

in the past 10 years since the<br />

company began?<br />

As time passed, our creations<br />

were getting more and more<br />

interest from museums and<br />

galleries. Now, by exhibiting the<br />

limbs I co-create, I’ve realised<br />

they have the ability to start<br />

and extend wider conversations<br />

around bodies, prosthetics,<br />

individual personalities, art,<br />

medicine, and science.<br />

Images (left to right) | Omkaar Kotedia, Channel 4, R. Williams, Lukasz Suchorab<br />

30 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com

positive pointers<br />

To continue this work, I<br />

often use money generated to<br />

collaborate with amputees on the<br />

development of a piece they own,<br />

in return for being the inspiration<br />

and model for a copy of that limb<br />

to go on public display.<br />

Recently I made a leg for a<br />

beautiful champion pole dancer<br />

– a man in his 50s who I sought<br />

out for a collaboration. Initially<br />

he thought that an alternative<br />

limb might be cumbersome but,<br />

after a conversation, we created a<br />

tattooed leg with a hoof that clips<br />

onto the pole, with a sculpture<br />

on the back that spins as he does,<br />

adding another feature to his<br />

phenomenal performances.<br />

What impact do your<br />

alternative limbs have on<br />

people’s outlooks?<br />

From the beginning, the people<br />

who came to me said they<br />

wanted a limb that would be<br />

seen. One lady I met was born<br />

without her arm just below<br />

her elbow, and she shared how<br />

people might not notice this<br />

as they began a conversation<br />

with her but she would clock<br />

the moment that they did, and<br />

it was awkward. For her, having<br />

an alternative piece was a way of<br />

non-verbalising that difference<br />

while speaking volumes, as she<br />

was actively inviting people to<br />

see her chosen limb.<br />

Another gentleman who lost<br />

his leg while he was in the<br />

military explained how he was<br />

surrounded by amputees when<br />

he was in service, but when<br />

he returned to civilian life that<br />

wasn’t the case, and people stared<br />

at him constantly. We worked<br />

together because he wanted to<br />

give people something to really<br />

look at, in a playful way and one<br />

that was positive for him. After<br />

we fitted his alternative limb, his<br />

whole body stance changed. He<br />

was completely empowered. It<br />

was just incredible to witness.<br />

Find out more at altlimbpro.com<br />

and @thealternativelimbproject<br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 31

September nature watch<br />

This autumn, tune-in to the world around you<br />

Squirrels hunker<br />

down for winter<br />

Blackberry picking<br />

British hedgerows and<br />

bushes will be ripe for<br />

the picking, with juicy<br />

blackberries coming to<br />

fruition this month. Harvest<br />

these tasty treats for home<br />

baking and snacking. Make<br />

sure to stay on the path, and<br />

pick berries from at least<br />

one metre above the ground.<br />

At this time of year, squirrels<br />

begin to hoard food for the<br />

coming cold months. If you’re<br />

happy to welcome these fluffytailed<br />

creatures into your garden,<br />

unsweetened and unsalted<br />

peanuts, hazelnuts, walnuts, and<br />

almonds will go down a treat.<br />

Swallows and house<br />

martins head south<br />

Between September and<br />

October, both swallows<br />

and house martins will be<br />

preparing to fly the nest, as<br />

they leave the UK and head<br />

south for winter.<br />

Deer watching<br />

Autumn is the deer rutting<br />

season, where stags clash<br />

heads as they seek to secure<br />

the perfect mate. Living both<br />

in the wild and on private land,<br />

rutting deer can be dangerous<br />

and unpredictable, so if you’re<br />

interested in watching this<br />

spectacle for yourself, the<br />

safest option is to find an<br />

organised group near you.<br />

Conker season<br />

Falling from horse chestnut<br />

trees from August to October,<br />

conkers may take you on a<br />

nostalgic trip straight back to<br />

your childhood. But there’s<br />

more to them than the classic,<br />

game. Conkers are thought to<br />

keep spiders away – and you<br />

can even use them as a natural<br />

washing detergent as they<br />

contain saponin, a substance<br />

used around the world to<br />

clean clothes.<br />

32 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com

elationships<br />

It takes two<br />

Spend some quality time together, with these<br />

five mindful activities for couples<br />

Writing | Kathryn Wheeler<br />

Offer a sensual massage<br />

You don’t have to be a master<br />

masseuse to take your partner<br />

on a relaxing mind and body<br />

journey. YouTube has a huge<br />

selection of tutorials for basic<br />

massage techniques that you can<br />

try out. Just remember, take it<br />

slow, keep it simple, and tune-in<br />

to what works for your partner.<br />

Create a shared vision board<br />

Vision boards are all about<br />

putting together a picture of the<br />

future that you want. What’s the<br />

next step in your relationship?<br />

Perhaps there’s an experience<br />

you always wanted to try<br />

together, a project you want to<br />

undertake, or maybe there are<br />

big life milestones waiting for you<br />

just around the corner, such as<br />

buying a house, or heading into<br />

retirement. Whatever it is, get<br />

creative and visualise your future<br />

on the board.<br />

Spend time in<br />

nature together<br />

Tuning-in to the sensations of<br />

the natural world around us can<br />

transform our mindset – and<br />

getting back to your roots with<br />

your partner by your side makes<br />

it all the more rewarding. Do you<br />

have a favourite spot that has a<br />

special meaning to you? A view<br />

that takes your breath away? Or a<br />

route you have fond memories of<br />

walking together? Tie your laces<br />

and head on out.<br />

Declutter your space<br />

It may sound more like a chore<br />

than an exercise in mindfulness,<br />

but you could be surprised at<br />

how cleaning and tidying can<br />

help us to switch off and unwind.<br />

Choose an area of your home<br />

you want to focus on. If your aim<br />

is to declutter, take a moment<br />

to consider each item you come<br />

across – does it have a particular<br />

meaning to you? Does it spark<br />

any emotions? And once you’re<br />

done, you can both relax in a<br />

fresh, clean environment.<br />

Couples yoga<br />

When you think of ‘couples yoga’,<br />

your mind may automatically<br />

go to the acrobatic feats often<br />

shared online. But, in reality,<br />

couples yoga can be done at any<br />

level, and is much more about<br />

tuning-in to each other’s bodies,<br />

aligning your breath, and finding<br />

support in your partner, than it<br />

is about pulling off impressive<br />

shapes. Search on YouTube for<br />

free introductory videos.<br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | Month <strong>2021</strong> | 33

Ask the experts: orthorexia<br />

Nutritional therapist and eating disorder recovery coach<br />

Sasha Paul answers your questions on orthorexia<br />

Read more about Sasha Paul on nutritionist-resource.org.uk<br />

Q<br />

I’ve heard the<br />

term orthorexia<br />

being used,<br />

but I’m not sure what<br />

it means – can you<br />

explain it?<br />

A<br />

Orthorexia is a word used<br />

to describe an unhealthy<br />

obsession with healthy eating.<br />

What often starts out as a wellintentioned<br />

health goal, can<br />

become a serious problem that<br />

affects all areas of a person’s life.<br />

Those experiencing orthorexia<br />

tend to follow rigid food rules<br />

around what they ‘should’ or<br />

‘shouldn’t’ eat – and, over time,<br />

the number of foods they allow<br />

in their diet can reduce. It is very<br />

common for those with orthorexia<br />

to spend a lot of time thinking<br />

about food, and to feel a<br />

significant amount of distress<br />

if the foods they deem to be<br />

healthy are not available.<br />

Although healthy eating is not<br />

a problem as such, it’s when<br />

the pursuit for health stops<br />

being about balance, that<br />

things can start to tip towards<br />

unhealthy.<br />

Q<br />

My relationship<br />

with food feels<br />

unhealthy,<br />

but I’m not sure what<br />

to do about it. How<br />

do I know if I need<br />

professional help?<br />

A<br />

Recognising a potential<br />

breakdown in your<br />

relationship with food is an<br />

incredible step. My ethos is that<br />

if your relationship with food is<br />

affecting your life in any way,<br />

then you are absolutely right<br />

to seek out support. And the<br />

sooner you reach out, the better!<br />

The next step is to find a<br />

practitioner who specialises in<br />

this area, so that you receive the<br />

right support for your journey.<br />

I strongly believe that eating<br />

problems require a holistic<br />

approach that incorporates<br />

work on understanding nutrition,<br />

shifting unhelpful thought<br />

patterns, and emotional<br />

support. Together, this can<br />

change your relationship with<br />

food for years to come.<br />

Many health professionals<br />

will offer you a complimentary<br />

initial call, where you can<br />

ask about their approach<br />

to this problem and if they<br />

have experience in this area.<br />

This is also an opportunity<br />

for you to make sure that you<br />

feel comfortable with the<br />

practitioner.<br />

Nutritionist Resource is part of the Happiful Family | Helping you find the help you need

wellbeing<br />

Top tips for those struggling with orthorexia:<br />

Q<br />

I’m trying to eat<br />

healthier at the<br />

moment, and am<br />

finding myself thinking<br />

about food a lot. Is it<br />

possible to take healthy<br />

eating too far?<br />

A<br />

It’s wonderful to hear that<br />

you are considering your<br />

health. However, if you are<br />

starting to think about food a lot,<br />

it may be time to shift your focus<br />

from health to balance.<br />

When we focus on healthy<br />

eating, often we restrict the foods<br />

we really enjoy. This increases<br />

our thoughts around these foods,<br />

and makes them more desirable.<br />

In many cases, it is far healthier<br />

to take an intuitive approach<br />

to nutrition, where we focus on<br />

nourishing the body as well as<br />

allowing ourselves the foods we<br />

enjoy – satisfying both our wants<br />

and needs.<br />

It can also be helpful to consider<br />

if what you are eating is enough<br />

for you. This is important because<br />

one of the direct effects of undereating<br />

is increased thoughts<br />

around food.<br />

1. Create a supportive<br />

environment for yourself.<br />

This may include spending<br />

more time with people who<br />

have a balanced relationship<br />

with food, leaving triggering<br />

environments, and following<br />

supportive accounts on<br />

social media.<br />

2. Keep focused on your<br />

motivation for recovery – your<br />

‘why’. List all the reasons why<br />

you want to recover – think<br />

about what making peace<br />

with food will bring you. Next,<br />

create a vision board inspired<br />

by your list, so you can wake<br />

up ready to take on the day.<br />

3. Get the right support.<br />

Working with an expert will<br />

arm you with the tools and<br />

support to break free from<br />

the problem. Take the time<br />

to choose someone who<br />

specialises in this field, and<br />

can support you with the<br />

different aspects of recovery.<br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 35


Never miss an issue<br />


SEPT <strong>2021</strong><br />

£5.99<br />

£71.88<br />

Now<br />

£59.99!<br />

It's<br />

about<br />

time<br />

Could journeying through<br />

your past help form<br />

a better future?<br />






Find joy in<br />

the simple<br />

things<br />

HAPPIFUL.COM | £5.99<br />

09<br />

9 772514 373017<br />

In it together<br />

What really happens<br />

at group therapy?<br />


ISSUES<br />

FREE<br />

Subscribe for a year and get Happiful delivered straight to your door<br />

Pay for 10 issues, get two issues completely FREE<br />

Plus postage is now included! *<br />

• We’re proud to say that our magazine is 100% recyclable<br />

• For every tree used to print our magazine, we ensure two are planted<br />

• Supporting our print magazine allows us to distribute a free digital<br />

edition – ensuring anyone who needs help can access our articles,<br />

without financial barriers<br />

*UK mainland and NI only. Additional charges may apply for postage elsewhere. For orders to the EU please visit <strong>happiful</strong>.newsstand.co.uk<br />

Prices and benefits are correct at the time of printing. For full terms and conditions, please visit <strong>happiful</strong>.com.<br />

36 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com

true story<br />

Bringing the walls down<br />

Following the deaths of both his parents, Jason felt immense<br />

pressure to be ‘the man of the house’, and to bottle up his emotions.<br />

But, with time, he discovered the healing power of vulnerability<br />

Writing | Jason Wood<br />

What is your most vivid childhood<br />

memory? Mine is from 15 May<br />

1997. It was a chilly spring day<br />

in Chicagoland. The sky was<br />

painted an abstract portrait of greys, whites, and<br />

yellows. The home, where glorious memories<br />

were once made, had now been converted<br />

into a makeshift hospice. My dad, my hero,<br />

lay in a hospital bed, drifting in and out of<br />

consciousness. He had only been sick for a few<br />

months, but the end was near. The cancer had<br />

ravaged his body, much like how this event<br />

would eat away at me for years to come.<br />

I arrived home from school and came to his<br />

bedside. I was able to hold his hand one last time<br />

as he whispered, “I love you, Jason.” His body,<br />

yellow from jaundice, looked like a fragment of<br />

the man I once knew. This was my last memory<br />

with him. He breathed his final breath a few<br />

minutes later, and life changed forever. That<br />

is the memory that defines my childhood. It<br />

quickly trumped the joyful ones of holidays and<br />

fishing trips. My hero, my innocence, and my<br />

naivety died that day.<br />

“You’re the man of the house now,” he said<br />

just a few weeks prior, as Mom and I left the<br />

hospital. At 11-years-old, I needed to take care<br />

of Mom, who was chronically ill herself. My<br />

childhood was over. I needed to be an adult.<br />

The top priority was making sure Mom would<br />

be OK. To do so, I put up a front. I began to<br />

mask my inner fears and feelings because<br />

I could not appear weak. I started to lose<br />

touch with who I was, but chalked it up to just<br />

growing up under special circumstances.<br />

Fast forward to 2005, and it felt like my life<br />

was a terrible rerun. Mom, my last pillar, slept<br />

in a hospital room full of beeping machines<br />

and rattled breathing. After two successful<br />

battles with cancer, she was about to lose<br />

this one. I was only 19 – what the hell was I<br />

supposed to do? I was not prepared to be an<br />

adult yet. The wounds from Dad’s death were<br />

still fresh.<br />

I held her frail hand, she reminded me to let<br />

the dog out, and then she joined Dad. I was<br />

alone, really alone. My siblings had turned on<br />

me. They seemed like the enemy now. There<br />

was an age gap in our family, and I was the<br />

youngest by 15 years. They did not approve of<br />

my new party lifestyle. I didn’t approve either,<br />

but it was the only way to feel somewhat my<br />

age and escape the pain I felt.<br />

I faced eviction, arrest, a nasty estate battle,<br />

and a few dead-end jobs in the aftermath. I felt<br />

broken, I felt useless, but above all, I hurt. >>><br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 37

I had lost my parents. My childhood memories<br />

felt tarnished. Meanwhile, the rest of my<br />

friends were living their best lives at college<br />

while I struggled to survive.<br />

Did I ask for help? Did I let others into<br />

my world of pain and inner turmoil? No! I<br />

needed to stay ‘the man of the house’. Act<br />

tough, put on a brave face, and impress<br />

others with my resilience. I turned to alcohol<br />

a lot. It temporarily numbed the pain. I was<br />

that obnoxious, loud friend, always up for<br />

another beer. I lied to myself that this is who<br />

I was and wanted to be.<br />

In 2010, I met my future husband, my knight<br />

in shining armour. I could never understand<br />

why he loved me or wanted to be with me.<br />

I felt like I wasn’t worthy of him, and that<br />

he could do so much better than me. As<br />

such, I only allowed him to see the tip of the<br />

iceberg of my pain. I feared that my complete<br />

openness might chase him away. I had already<br />

lost too much to lose again.<br />

This hurt eventually turned into anger. My<br />

perspective soured as the years went along.<br />

I was bitter at the world, at my family, at life<br />

I began to embrace vulnerability;<br />

I felt empowered each time I let<br />

my guard down<br />

for handing me this unfair deck of cards. My<br />

loving relationship with my husband grew tense.<br />

Bickering progressed into arguments and tears,<br />

usually as a result of my abusive relationship<br />

with alcohol. I turned to beer to escape my pain<br />

and insecurities, while still masquerading as a<br />

happy-go-lucky guy.<br />

In 2020, I bottomed out. My weight and selfrespect<br />

reached an all-time low. My drinking<br />

and frustration hit an all-time high. My husband<br />

expressed his concerns, and in this moment of<br />

weakness, something awoke in me. He opened<br />

my eyes to the pain and hurt in my childhood,<br />

and the damage I was doing to myself now.<br />

He recognised my pain and, in a move of<br />

independence, I did too. I realised I was broken.<br />

I ached. I needed help. The following Monday,<br />

I called my doctor and started my road to<br />

recovery. I began working through personal<br />

issues with my therapist, who helped me better<br />

understand my anxious and OCD thoughts, thus<br />

enabling me to address my disordered eating.<br />

38 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com

true story<br />

We talked about how I never had a chance to<br />

eulogise my parents, my jealousy about never<br />

having a normal childhood, the pain of losing<br />

my family, and how the fallout from the estate<br />

battle left the good memories tarnished.<br />

My therapist helped me open up and face<br />

problems I didn’t know I had. In turn, I began<br />

to embrace vulnerability; I felt empowered<br />

each time I let my guard down. I found the<br />

strength to take the upper hand with my eating<br />

disorder, to cope with the pain I buried away. I<br />

reconnected with the parts of me I always loved.<br />

I remembered who I was before life’s vicious<br />

attacks commenced.<br />

I’ve always enjoyed writing, and found this as<br />

my outlet to speak my truths. Through writing,<br />

I learned that ‘the man of the house’ can show<br />

vulnerability. That does not equal weakness<br />

but, instead, it shows love for himself and those<br />

around him. I can be honest with myself now,<br />

with my husband and with my friends. I broke<br />

free from the chains of my eating disorder, my<br />

insecurities, and the hurtful memories.<br />

Vulnerability is defined as the state of being<br />

exposed to the possibility of being attacked or<br />

harmed, either physically or emotionally. All<br />

along, I was the one doing the attacking and<br />

harm to myself by not allowing myself to share<br />

my struggles. I am now on a mission to help<br />

others live their best lives, just like I am finally<br />

doing after two decades of inner hell.<br />


Jason’s inspirational story provides insight into<br />

how difficult life events at an early age<br />

can have a damaging impacting our self-esteem.<br />

The trauma Jason experienced was evidently<br />

very challenging, and he used alcohol to cope.<br />

However, over time, with a supportive husband<br />

and access to therapy, Jason was able to<br />

work through his past and challenge the<br />

stigma of what it means be a man.<br />

Jason is living proof that men<br />

can be vulnerable, and this is a<br />

true sign of strength.<br />

Rav Sekhon | BA MA MBACP (Accred)<br />

Counsellor and psychotherapist<br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 39

Vision for the future<br />

10 incredible innovations changing the world for the better<br />

Writing | Rebecca Thair<br />

When it comes<br />

to saving the<br />

planet, there are<br />

countless people<br />

and organisations achieving<br />

astounding things – and yet we<br />

often don’t even know about<br />

them. Here, we’re celebrating<br />

10 fantastic eco-feats that are<br />

worth shouting about.<br />

A fashion brand in Kuching,<br />

in Malaysia, is breathing new<br />

life into old food delivery<br />

bags for a good cause. Neng<br />

Kho Razali repurposes<br />

‘Grab Food’ delivery bags<br />

into school bags, which<br />

are donated to orphanages<br />

across the country.<br />

By utilising an enzyme<br />

found in red blood<br />

cells, scientists from the<br />

Worcester Polytechnic<br />

Institute, Massachusetts,<br />

have created ‘self-healing’<br />

concrete – four times more<br />

durable than traditional<br />

concrete, that reacts with<br />

CO2 to repair cracks in itself<br />

before they become bigger<br />

structural problems.<br />

1<br />

2<br />

3<br />

A team of engineering students from Quebec’s University of<br />

Sherbrooke has developed a ‘beach vacuum’ to collect and separate<br />

microplastics, which are extremely damaging to our ecosystem,<br />

from sand. The Hoola One can process about three gallons of sand<br />

per minute, and could be key to cleaning up beaches.<br />

4<br />

For those eager to explore<br />

the world once again, as<br />

soon as restrictions allow,<br />

using the site ecohotels.com<br />

not only gives you a range<br />

of sustainable property<br />

options, but also for every<br />

booking made through the<br />

website, it plants a tree to<br />

increase reforestation.<br />

40 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com

positive pointers<br />

Dutch artist and innovator<br />

Daan Roosegaarde has<br />

created an award-winning<br />

world-first with his smog<br />

vacuum cleaner. The<br />

tower (7 metres tall) takes<br />

in polluted air, cleans it<br />

through ionization, and<br />

then releases it again – and<br />

is able to clean up to 30,000<br />

m3 of air each hour!<br />

5<br />

8<br />

A piece of plastic can only<br />

be recycled two or three<br />

times, which prompted<br />

Nzambi Matee to come up<br />

with a longer-term solution.<br />

She started a social enterprise<br />

called Gjenge Makers, which<br />

turns waste plastic into<br />

bricks, able to withstand<br />

twice the weight of concrete<br />

blocks. And the best part?<br />

Every day her factory recycles<br />

about 500kg of plastic,<br />

producing 1,500 bricks, and<br />

providing jobs to those from<br />

marginalised communities.<br />

In 2020, Waitrose began<br />

using a fleet of eco-friendly<br />

delivery vans, which run on<br />

biomethane (a sustainable<br />

alternative to fossil fuels).<br />

Given the volume of carbon<br />

emissions delivery vehicles<br />

are responsible for, these<br />

green machines could gear us<br />

up for a brighter future.<br />

6<br />

7<br />

Coral reefs are a natural, sustainable way to protect coastlines from<br />

erosion, but rising water temperatures and bleaching due to acidity<br />

are killing off this protective ecosystem, with 50% of the world’s<br />

reefs already destroyed.<br />

To counter this, CCell Renewables is utilising wave-generated<br />

electricity to grow artificial reefs faster than they would naturally,<br />

to protect vunerable coastal communities and support marine life.<br />

A 3D mesh, called CloudFisher,<br />

is capable of converting fog into<br />

safe drinking water, or water<br />

to irrigate agriculture. Able to<br />

withstand high wind speeds, the<br />

mesh can be made in various sizes<br />

depending on the need, and could<br />

be a game-changer for those living<br />

in coastal areas or the mountains.<br />

Solar glass technology might be the next big thing, with several<br />

companies developing their own versions. One start-up from San<br />

Francisco claims its transparent solar cells, which layer over glass,<br />

convert ultraviolet and near-infrared light to electricity, while<br />

allowing visible light through. Efficiency is being worked on, but it’s<br />

believed this tech could be cheaper than solar panels, with a range of<br />

applications – from the windows of our homes, to car windshields.<br />

9<br />

10<br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 41

Zine better days<br />

Something on your mind? Why not produce, publish, and<br />

distribute your own magazine about it? All that creativity is<br />

therapeutic, empowering, and fun<br />

Writing | Caroline Butterwick<br />

Lots of us love getting<br />

creative, as a way<br />

of supporting our<br />

wellbeing and<br />

expressing ourselves. And<br />

alongside more notable artistic<br />

outlets, such as painting and<br />

poetry, is the world of zines.<br />

In his fascinating book on zine<br />

culture, Notes from Underground,<br />

author Stephen Duncombe<br />

defines zines as “non-commercial,<br />

non-professional, smallcirculation<br />

magazines which their<br />

creators produce, publish, and<br />

distribute by themselves”.<br />

Zines often contain a mix<br />

of materials: poetry, collage,<br />

sketches, first person reflections,<br />

advice pieces, photos, lyrics –<br />

anything the maker feels like<br />

including. There’s no set way to<br />

produce them either, as zines<br />

may be handmade, with items<br />

glued or drawn directly on to the<br />

pages, photocopied, or created<br />

entirely digitally.<br />

Some people make zines just<br />

for themselves, or as gifts for<br />

friends. Others print copies<br />

to distribute more widely.<br />

Increasingly, zines are available<br />

to view or buy online on<br />

platforms such as Etsy.<br />

For decades, zines have been<br />

used to share interests and<br />

experiences, from the science<br />

fiction zines of the 1930s to the<br />

Riot Grrrl zines popular in the<br />

90s. They can be on literally any<br />

subject: there are zines available<br />

on everything from The Tiny<br />

Little Book of Bunny Behaviour to<br />

Doing Stuff Outside – a guide for<br />

anxious autistics.<br />

Being self-published, zines are<br />

a place where we can control<br />

the content. This makes them<br />

perfect for sharing a diverse<br />

range of experiences, such as<br />

experiences of marginalised<br />

communities.<br />

“We don’t need to fit into anyone<br />

else’s framework or rules when<br />

we have creative outlets such as<br />

zines,” explains counsellor Jane<br />

Fellowes. “If we feel passionate<br />

about sharing a part of our<br />

identity or story, we can then<br />

express this in a creative way.<br />

This gives us space to tell our<br />

own story in a way of our own<br />

choosing, not someone else’s.<br />

There is great therapeutic value<br />

in telling our story, and in this<br />

being welcomed and accepted<br />

by others.”<br />

Mental health is a common<br />

theme in contemporary zines.<br />

Author and journalist Erica<br />

Crompton started Hopezine after<br />

losing two childhood friends to<br />

suicide. “I wanted to use my own,<br />

and others’, experiences to give<br />

hope to all people feeling low or<br />

suicidal,” she says. Erica publishes<br />

Hopezine quarterly, and it includes<br />

a combination of articles, short<br />

stories, poetry, and artwork.<br />

“I’ve always believed that<br />

writing can help us process<br />

difficult feelings,” Erica explains.<br />

She also sees Hopezine as an<br />

opportunity to give a voice to<br />

her friends and colleagues, who<br />

may sometimes be overlooked by<br />

more traditional forms of media.<br />

42 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com

positive pointers<br />

The value in zines as a space<br />

for marginalised voices is a<br />

sentiment shared by professional<br />

artist Deborah Rogers. Deborah<br />

is the founder of participatory<br />

arts organisation The Cultural<br />

Sisters, and ran a project with the<br />

YMCA encouraging participants<br />

to make zines.<br />

“Zines can help provide a<br />

voice to someone who might<br />

feel voiceless,” Deborah says.<br />

“Self-publishing is extremely<br />

empowering, and this is where<br />

zines came and grew from.”<br />

Zines are one of my favourite<br />

creative activities. I find it<br />

cathartic to have this space<br />

where I can write candidly about<br />

my experience of disability and<br />

mental ill-health. One of the<br />

great things about zines is how<br />

you can use different artistic<br />

techniques. On one page I can<br />

include a poem, on another a<br />

collage of words taken from<br />

doctors’ notes, rearranged<br />

to reflect and subvert how<br />

alienating these notes can feel.<br />

“I feel zines allow us to<br />

thoroughly explore an issue, each<br />

page looking at it from another<br />

angle, using a different material<br />

or technique, to look at the issue<br />

differently,” explains Deborah.<br />

“Zines allow us to create<br />

something as unique as we are,”<br />

says counsellor Jane. “They<br />

are a form of free expression,<br />

where parts of ourselves can<br />

be explored creatively, and<br />

presented with freedom and<br />

choice.”<br />

I’ve also made zines as gifts<br />

for friends, the pages full of<br />

things meaningful to us. Many<br />

people share their zines more<br />

widely. Erica posts print copies<br />

of Hopezine to friends and family,<br />

and then around 700 PDFs go<br />

out to her colleagues, past and<br />

present. She also sells them on<br />

her Etsy shop, and archives them<br />

on Hopezine.com.<br />

The power of zines comes, too,<br />

from their ability to connect<br />

communities. “Zines can help<br />

you feel listened to and valued,”<br />

Deborah says. “They can help<br />

link people together, or be a voice<br />

to the community.”<br />

Zines are a feature of many<br />

subcultures because of this<br />

ability to connect people. It can<br />

be really validating to read a zine<br />

that resonates with your own<br />

experience. >>><br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 43

Zines allow us to create<br />

something as unique as we<br />

are. They are a form of free<br />

expression, where parts of<br />

ourselves can be explored<br />

creatively, and presented<br />

with freedom and choice<br />

“They provide us with something<br />

to focus on which will be of<br />

interest and value to others, which<br />

can give us a sense of purpose<br />

and meaning,” explains Jane.<br />

“Creativity provides an outlet for<br />

us to explore, be, and express our<br />

true selves.”<br />

Visit hopezine.com<br />


A good way to start is to decide<br />

what you want your zine to be<br />

about. Try thinking of a theme,<br />

such as ‘living with anxiety’ or ‘my<br />

favourite family recipes’. Consider<br />

if it is a project for yourself, a<br />

gift, or do you like the idea of<br />

distributing it?<br />

Zines can contain a range of<br />

creative techniques. One of my<br />

favourites is using ‘found objects’:<br />

items we are all surrounded by.<br />

This can be newspaper cuttings,<br />

old train tickets, receipts –<br />

anything goes! These can be kept<br />

whole or arranged into collages.<br />

If you feel stuck, try “free<br />

writing”. Take 10 minutes to sit<br />

with your notebook and write. You<br />

could use a key word or phrase<br />

that summarises the theme for<br />

your zine as a starting point.<br />

Maybe you have illustrations or<br />

photos you’d like to include? Lists<br />

are also great to use.<br />

It could be music<br />

you’re listening to,<br />

places you want to<br />

visit, stereotypes<br />

you want to challenge, or your<br />

ambitions.<br />

The other consideration is how<br />

you will put it together. I like<br />

using quality A4 paper folded into<br />

an A5 booklet. Once it’s done,<br />

and I’ve made any photocopies, I<br />

staple these in the middle. I once<br />

used thread to bind it – which<br />

looked beautiful, though sewing<br />

paper is time consuming and<br />

fiddly! There are also various<br />

paper-folding techniques, with<br />

lots of guides available online.<br />

Plus you can create zines<br />

electronically. Erica’s Hopezine is<br />

a great example of this, and she<br />

provides both PDF and printed<br />

versions of the finished work.<br />

You could, like Erica, collaborate<br />

with others. Do you have friends<br />

who write poetry, or create<br />

artwork? Some zine creators post<br />

callouts for contributions online.<br />

This is a great way of bringing<br />

together diverse voices around a<br />

theme, again building the sense of<br />

community.<br />

There is no right way to make a<br />

zine, so relax, and enjoy creating<br />

something that’s personal and a<br />

perfect space for exploring your<br />

experiences.<br />

44 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com

elationships<br />

Takin’ it<br />

personally<br />

INFJ, type 2 – ‘the helper’, high agreeability… There are lots of personality tests<br />

out there, each promising to give us more insight into the people we are. But<br />

what do the results really mean, and how can we use their findings?<br />

Writing | Kat Nicholls<br />

As humans, something<br />

that sets us apart<br />

is how unique we<br />

are. Like snowflakes<br />

under a microscope, we all have<br />

different patterns – of behaviour,<br />

preferences, and responses –<br />

which form who we are as a<br />

whole. This can be thought of as<br />

our personality.<br />

Each personality is different,<br />

formed in a certain way<br />

depending on how and<br />

where you grew up, among<br />

countless other factors. But,<br />

in between the differences,<br />

there are similar patterns to<br />

be found. Certain traits seem<br />

to sit together neatly, and this<br />

is what personality tests look<br />

for – clusters of traits that form<br />

alongside one another to create<br />

a personality ‘type’.<br />

Helping us to recognise our<br />

particular patterns, personality<br />

tests were first used in the<br />

workplace and by psychologists.<br />

These days, a quick Google for<br />

‘personality test’ will throw up<br />

numerous results, with various<br />

tests promising to help you<br />

uncover who you ‘truly are’.<br />

As these types of tests are<br />

self-reported – you are the<br />

one answering the questions<br />

– and not always put together<br />

with evidence at their core, it’s<br />

important to take the results with<br />

a pinch of salt. These tests are a<br />

fun and engaging way to learn<br />

about your personality, but they<br />

don’t dictate who you truly are.<br />

So, should we bother with<br />

personality tests, and how can we<br />

use the knowledge we gain from<br />

them in our everyday life? Let’s<br />

start by looking at some of the<br />

major tests you may come across.<br />

>>><br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 45

The Enneagram of personality<br />

9<br />

Peacemaker<br />

Challenger<br />

8<br />

1<br />

Reformer<br />



It’s estimated that more than two<br />

million people take the MBTI<br />

test every year, so it’s likely you’ll<br />

spot it when searching for a<br />

personality test to try. Created<br />

by mother and daughter team<br />

Katharine Briggs and Isabel<br />

Myers, the test is based on Carl<br />

Jung’s theory of personality,<br />

and looks at the following four<br />

dimensions:<br />

1. Attitudes: extraversion or<br />

introversion. This is about how<br />

people regain their energy<br />

(introverts do so with internal<br />

reflection, extroverts do so<br />

by reflecting outwards with<br />

others), and whether or not<br />

someone is thought-oriented<br />

or action-oriented.<br />

2. The perceiving function:<br />

sensing or intuition. This<br />

identifies whether or not a<br />

person perceives using their<br />

five senses, or their intuition<br />

3. The judging function: thinking<br />

or feeling. This is about how<br />

a person makes a decision,<br />

either with rational thought or<br />

using empathic feeling<br />

4. Lifestyle preferences: judging<br />

or perceiving. This reveals<br />

how a person primarily relates<br />

to the world, either through<br />

their perceiving function, or<br />

their judging function.<br />

Enthusiast<br />

7<br />

Loyalist<br />

6<br />

Investigator<br />

5<br />

When you take the test, you’ll<br />

see your combination of these<br />

factors, and be given one of<br />

16 different personality types<br />

such as ESTP (extraverted,<br />

sensing, thinking, perceiving)<br />

or INFJ (introverted, intuition,<br />

feeling, judging). You can then<br />

learn more about common<br />

characteristics of this type,<br />

and see if you recognise<br />

yourself in the description.<br />



(NEO PI-R)<br />

Created by Paul T Costa, Jr.<br />

and Robert R McCrae in the<br />

70s, this test started life as a<br />

way to investigate age-related<br />

changes in personality. The<br />

most recent version of the<br />

test, NEO PI-R, looks at six<br />

4<br />

Individualist<br />

3<br />

2<br />

facets of what’s known as the ‘big<br />

five’ personality traits:<br />

1. Neuroticism<br />

2. Extraversion<br />

3. Openness to experience<br />

4. Agreeableness<br />

5. Conscientiousness<br />

Helper<br />

Achiever<br />

Today the test is typically<br />

used during recruitment and<br />

employment, to help maximise<br />

the productivity of a workforce.<br />


Inspired by ancient traditions,<br />

the Enneagram (coming from the<br />

Greek words ‘ennea’, meaning<br />

nine, and ‘grammos’, a written<br />

or drawn symbol) was brought<br />

to the 20th century in 1915, by<br />

philosopher and teacher George<br />

Gurdjieff. Over time, other<br />

46 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com

elationships<br />

Self-awareness is a<br />

key part of personal<br />

development – it’s<br />

how we grow<br />

psychologists added personality<br />

types to the diagram, integrating<br />

it with modern developments in<br />

the psychology field.<br />

When you take the test, your<br />

result will be a number between<br />

one and nine, which represents<br />

an Enneagram type such as ‘the<br />

helper’, ‘the enthusiast’, or ‘the<br />

challenger’.<br />


If you’re interested in learning<br />

more about yourself, and having<br />

a little fun on the way, why not?<br />

Self-awareness is a key part<br />

of personal development – it’s<br />

how we grow. There are lots of<br />

activities you can do to support<br />

this, including journaling and<br />

meditation, and you can consider<br />

a personality test the cherry on<br />

top of your self-awareness cake.<br />



Read up on your result and see<br />

how much of it resonates with<br />

you. Some tests will give detailed<br />

report, and tell you more about<br />

how your personality type affects<br />

your relationships, work-life, and<br />

even what motivates you.<br />

Use this information to note<br />

the strengths, weaknesses, and<br />

behavioural patterns you tend to<br />

fall into. Having this insight can<br />

help you adjust accordingly to<br />

work with your personality type,<br />

not against it. For example, if you<br />

learn you are more introverted,<br />

you can factor this into your<br />

lifestyle and make room for solo<br />

reflection to rebuild energy.<br />

You could also ask loved<br />

ones to take the same test and<br />

compare results. Knowing each<br />

other’s personality types can<br />

open the door for more honest<br />

communication. Encouraging<br />

colleagues to take the test could<br />

also be incredibly valuable. It<br />

may reveal how you can work<br />

better together as a team, as you<br />

understand each other’s needs<br />

and ideal working environments.<br />

With all this in mind, it’s worth<br />

noting that as we grow and<br />

change, our personalities can too.<br />

Try taking the same test every<br />

few years, and see if you notice<br />

any differences.<br />

The more we know ourselves,<br />

the more we build self-trust.<br />

This paves the way for self-belief<br />

and the confidence to go for<br />

what we truly want in life. So, a<br />

personality test in itself may not<br />

be life-changing, but what you do<br />

with the results could be.<br />

If you’re keen to explore personal<br />

development more, why not work<br />

with a life coach? Learn more and<br />

find the right coach for you at<br />

lifecoach-directory.org.uk<br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 47




8-12 TH SEPTEMBER <strong>2021</strong><br />


Set at the inspirational Sculpture by the<br />

Lakes, Wellbeing by the Lakes is 5 day festival<br />

dedicated to wellbeing, exploring what it means<br />

to be mindful and live well in today’s world.<br />

Yoga . Fitness . Pilates . Breathwork . Qoya . Sound Healing<br />

Expert Talks . Guided Meditations . Delicious Food . Art Gallery<br />

Award-Winning Gardens . Marketplace . Massage & Healing Therapies<br />


*Excludes bookable activities. Please see website for more information. Please note no children under 14 (including babies) or dogs are permitted on site<br />

BOOK<br />

NOW<br />

Our partners:<br />

Wellbeing by the Lakes - Sculpture by the Lakes, Dorchester, Dorset DT2 8QU<br />

48 | August <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com

culture<br />

Happiful reads...<br />

Happiful reads...<br />

From ways to spice up your favourite noodle recipes to uplifting<br />

stories, we share four books you won’t want to miss this month<br />

Writing | Chelsea Graham<br />

Grief can come as a<br />

shock, and it can be<br />

difficult to know how<br />

move forward. When<br />

Amy loses her mum, she realises<br />

she has now become the ‘woman<br />

of the family’. While navigating<br />

her feelings, she also begins to<br />

work her way through learning<br />

the skills her mother never got a<br />

chance to teach her.<br />

Amy comes to realise that<br />

she doesn’t know how to keep<br />

the peace between her feuding<br />

aunts, or how to react when<br />

her dad makes lasagne for an<br />

unknown woman. Uplifting,<br />

relatable, and honest, Amy<br />

Lavelle’s novel will resonate<br />

with anyone who has ever<br />

experienced the loss of someone<br />

close to them, or who has had<br />

Definitely Fine<br />

by Amy Lavelle<br />

Out now<br />

to navigate challenging and<br />

important life moments without<br />

the person who had, before,<br />

always been there to guide them.<br />

Must reads<br />

Book covers | amazon.co.uk<br />

Bowls & Broths<br />

by Pippa<br />

Middlehurst<br />

2 September<br />

Once a cancer<br />

research<br />

scientist, and<br />

now a cook<br />

and author, Pippa Middlehurst is<br />

a keen advocate for building the<br />

noodle bowl from the bottom up.<br />

Sharing recipes for heart-warming<br />

broths, fiery noodle bowls, and<br />

crunchy toppings, Pippa has a<br />

recipe for every craving. She<br />

believes it’s important to offer<br />

accessible recipes that can be<br />

adapted for each reader, and so<br />

creates options with each dish.<br />

Patience by<br />

Victoria Scott<br />

Out now<br />

The Willow’s<br />

youngest<br />

daughter,<br />

Patience, has<br />

Rett syndrome<br />

– meaning she is trapped in her<br />

own body – forcing her family to<br />

make all of her decisions on her<br />

behalf. An extraordinary story<br />

of love, hope, and dilemma,<br />

Patience is a heart-wrenching<br />

tale of parents given the chance<br />

to cure their child’s disease, and<br />

who must to decide whether<br />

a seemingly impossible risk is<br />

worth the reward.<br />

A Book of Secrets<br />

by Derren Brown<br />

2 September<br />

Having previously<br />

written a book all<br />

about happiness,<br />

Derren now<br />

explores why this<br />

may not be our only successful<br />

route to finding value. He delves<br />

into the idea that maybe there<br />

is something to be found in our<br />

frustrations, and in uncertainty.<br />

A deep dive into history, his own<br />

experiences, and the opinions of<br />

others, this book is a wonderful<br />

exploration of how we can find<br />

compassion and consolation in<br />

surprising places.<br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 49

How to find romance<br />

in the everyday<br />

See the world around you in a new light with these<br />

tips for introducing romance into your day<br />

Writing | Gabby Willis<br />

Illustrating | Rosan Magar<br />

Not just something<br />

connected to love and<br />

relationships, romance<br />

can be as simple as harnessing<br />

feelings of mystery, excitement,<br />

exoticism, and appreciation of the<br />

day-to-day things that make life a<br />

pleasure to experience.<br />

Deeply connected to gratitude<br />

and self-love, harnessing the<br />

romance of the everyday can be<br />

the perfect foundation for lifting<br />

our spirits, and self-soothing<br />

when life has been a little rough.<br />

We’ve all experienced throwing<br />

open the curtains to bask in warm<br />

rays of sunshine that flood into a<br />

previously cool and dark room,<br />

and it’s time to tap into that<br />

feeling more.<br />

Danielle Thornton-Walker, a<br />

life coach at Danielle Louise<br />

Coaching, says: “The love that we<br />

feel for anything comes from us<br />

– so if the inside of you is a soft,<br />

sunny space, it’s going to radiate<br />

from the outside too.”<br />

Whether you find romance in<br />

the smell of fresh laundry<br />

and new books, or<br />

50 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com

positive pointers<br />

the rush you get when listening to<br />

your favourite song in the car with<br />

the windows down, here are five<br />

ways you can find and harness the<br />

romance of the everyday to make<br />

your own, and others’, lives better.<br />

1. BE PRESENT IN<br />


Danielle encourages you to take<br />

some time to immerse yourself<br />

into the present moment. Just like<br />

being in love, being wrapped up<br />

in a moment – as if nothing else<br />

matters – does wonders for our<br />

wellbeing.<br />

As Danielle explains, when you<br />

tune-in to the simple things, and<br />

get real joy from them, your brain<br />

floods your body with oxytocin,<br />

serotonin, and dopamine – ‘happy’<br />

hormones that make you feel alive<br />

and at peace.<br />


Starting, and/or ending, your day<br />

with gratitude can also help you<br />

remain present and in love with<br />

the moment. Danielle says: “You<br />

can’t be practising gratitude and<br />

feel angry, or shame, or jealousy,<br />

or any of those uncomfortable<br />

feelings. Practising gratitude<br />

brings in all the joy, the<br />

love, the hope, and the<br />

optimism, and raises your<br />

emotional vibration.”<br />

You might be grateful for<br />

the taste of your favourite<br />

food, or the soothing sound of<br />

heavy rain. You could have a bad<br />

day, but there’s always something<br />

romantic to be grateful for,<br />

somewhere. Try making a list of<br />

five things you’re grateful for in<br />

the day ahead when you wake up,<br />

and add five extra things before<br />

you go to sleep.<br />


Really paying attention to sights,<br />

sounds, smells, sensations, and<br />

tastes will give you more things to<br />

find romance in.<br />

We’ve all experienced<br />

throwing open the<br />

curtains to bask in<br />

warm rays of sunshine,<br />

and it's time to tap into<br />

that feeling more<br />

This is something Karen<br />

Liebenguth, qualified life coach<br />

and accredited mindfulness<br />

teacher, believes in strongly. She<br />

says we should also engage in<br />

things we are passionate about,<br />

like really immersing ourselves in<br />

a piece of music, or finding bliss<br />

in sinking our hands into the<br />

dough when baking bread.<br />

All of these feelings and<br />

activities contribute to making<br />

us feel relaxed, fulfilled, and<br />

alive, which in itself can be<br />

very romantic. At times, it is<br />

impossible to hear the birds sing,<br />

feel the dewy grass underfoot,<br />

and see summer blossoms in<br />

bloom without feeling in love<br />

with yourself, your surroundings,<br />

and your companions.<br />


Karen says: “Beauty can ignite<br />

awe and wonder, [but that] can<br />

also happen with meditation<br />

– when we sit quietly with<br />

ourselves, are connected to the<br />

body and breath, and the mind<br />

quietens down.”<br />

Karen often meets her coaching<br />

clients outdoors, and encourages<br />

them to practise mindfulness<br />

and meditation in green or open<br />

spaces. This can help with a sense<br />

of connection to life around us,<br />

something bigger than ourselves,<br />

which is key to appreciating the<br />

romance of the everyday.<br />

5. MAKE IT A HABIT<br />

Danielle adds that this all needs<br />

to be done regularly to appreciate<br />

the effects. Your brain likes<br />

consistency and evidence, and<br />

will start to do these things on its<br />

own once you’ve taught it to.<br />

Pamela Rose, psychotherapist<br />

and coach, says creating a habit<br />

of appreciating the romance<br />

around you will help you fall back<br />

in love with your life, and boost<br />

your wellbeing.<br />

Pamela says: “Try starting a new<br />

daily habit of picking one thing<br />

that day you’ve loved. It can be<br />

difficult to remember to do this<br />

at first, so leave yourself a note<br />

perhaps next to your toothbrush.<br />

And while you’re brushing your<br />

teeth, think back through the<br />

day and pick one thing you felt<br />

was perfect, just the way it was.<br />

This helps to release serotonin<br />

and fills you with peaceful calm.<br />

Your brain will start to realise<br />

how great this feels, and will<br />

encourage you to do more of this<br />

throughout the day.”<br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 51

You’re having<br />

a laugh<br />

Laughter yoga classes are taking<br />

off around the world, so Happiful’s<br />

Kathryn Wheeler signed up for<br />

a session to discover the serious<br />

benefits behind having a chuckle<br />

It’s 3pm on a Monday, and I’m sat<br />

in front of my laptop, ready to<br />

join a virtual laughter yoga class.<br />

When I first stumbled across the<br />

idea of ‘laughter yoga’, in my mind’s<br />

eye I envisioned a group of people<br />

heartily laughing while in traditional<br />

yoga poses – similar to my own<br />

reaction every time I poorly attempt<br />

downward facing dog – and I was<br />

about halfway right.<br />

Laughter yoga, as it is done today,<br />

was developed by medical doctor<br />

Dr Madan Kataria who, after<br />

studying the numerous benefits<br />

of laughter, was inspired to<br />

launch the first ‘Laughter Club’<br />

with five people in a park. The<br />

group gathered in a circle, told<br />

jokes, messed around, were<br />

generally silly, and had a laugh.<br />

Rather than adapting the yoga<br />

poses we’re accustomed to, Dr<br />

Kataria’s laughing yoga was<br />

more focused on tuning-in to the<br />

intentionality and mindfulness<br />

of yoga, mixing in breathing<br />

and stretching with moments of<br />

prompted laughter. Following<br />

the first few trials, he realised<br />

that the body cannot distinguish<br />

between real and pretend<br />

laughter – furthermore, makebelieve<br />

laughter often turned<br />

genuine, and the physiological<br />

benefits of the exercise were felt<br />

for days after the sessions.<br />

With that discovery, the practice<br />

took off, and today Dr Kataria<br />

runs a free virtual laughter club<br />

every day – which is what I’m<br />

about to dive into.<br />

52 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com

positive pointers<br />

With a mix of periods of laughing,<br />

stretching, and breathing, Dr Kataria<br />

masterfully switched the tone between<br />

peaceful quietness and jubilant laughter<br />

A perk of going virtual, the<br />

Laughter Club attracts people<br />

from all over the world, and<br />

as the host welcomes the<br />

‘international family’ to the<br />

call, I see ‘hellos’ from Italy,<br />

Japan, Spain, Brazil, Portugal,<br />

Germany, Israel, Uruguay, and<br />

Hull. The first part of the session<br />

was hosted by laughter yogi<br />

Vinayak Shastri, who took a<br />

moment to remind us that we’re<br />

all small children, that the child<br />

is still within us, that we have<br />

suppressed that child, but in<br />

Laughter Club we’ll allow that<br />

child to come out once again.<br />

This leads us seamlessly into two<br />

minutes of freeform ‘silly time’ –<br />

and, let me tell you, the attendees<br />

of the Laughter Club understood<br />

the brief. As my Zoom window<br />

jumps from person to person,<br />

I watch, half in bewilderment<br />

and half in awe, as people blow<br />

raspberries, pull funny faces, and<br />

make all kinds of odd noises with<br />

not a single punch pulled. At this<br />

point, I did try to access my own<br />

inner child – but because, as a<br />

child, I was painfully shy, serious,<br />

and usually found on the sidelines<br />

of the action, I didn’t find much<br />

help there. That said, who could<br />

resist letting out a chuckle as an<br />

adult man gleefully flies across<br />

your screen making aeroplane<br />

noises? It was all very, very<br />

silly – though, of course, that’s<br />

completely the point.<br />

But the benefits of laughter<br />

yoga are no joke. On a physical<br />

level, laughter increases our<br />

intake of oxygen, stimulating<br />

our heart, lungs, and muscles.<br />

From there, it increases the<br />

endorphins (feel-good chemicals)<br />

that are released by the brain,<br />

soothing our stress response<br />

and even decreasing our blood<br />

pressure. It’s these endorphins<br />

that leave us feeling happy and<br />

calm after a good laugh – add<br />

some friendly company into the<br />

mix and you’ve got yourself a<br />

recipe for a good time.<br />

About 20 minutes into the<br />

session, it was time for the<br />

main attraction, as Dr Madan<br />

Kataria came on the call to<br />

guide us through the next<br />

stage. With a mix of periods of<br />

laughing, stretching, clapping,<br />

and breathing, Dr Kataria<br />

masterfully switched the tone<br />

between peaceful quietness<br />

and jubilant laughter, and soon<br />

– without really realising it – I<br />

found myself laughing along<br />

without having to try. Over the<br />

course of the session, I shed that<br />

self-conscious layer that was<br />

stopping me from letting go at<br />

the start. I was laughing from<br />

my belly, and feeling the warmth<br />

spreading through my body,<br />

mixed with deep, healing breaths<br />

and stretches as I embraced this<br />

hour of silliness and solace in<br />

the middle of a standard, busy<br />

workday.<br />

The session ended with a<br />

dance party to Pharrell Williams’<br />

‘Happy’ (no prizes for guessing<br />

that song), and as I watched the<br />

images of people from all over<br />

the world freely dancing while<br />

grinning ear-to-ear – one man<br />

even taking a break to wipe<br />

the tears from his eyes – I got<br />

it. I got the power of letting go<br />

of the behaviours you may not<br />

have even realised were holding<br />

you down, to let all the silliness<br />

bubble up to the surface, to shed<br />

seriousness and sensibleness,<br />

and to just have fun. That<br />

evening, I felt lighter, playful,<br />

and relaxed. And the best part? A<br />

good laugh doesn’t cost a thing.<br />

Fancy giving laughter yoga a go?<br />

Join free, virtual classes every day<br />

at laughteryoga.org<br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 53

Let us make our future<br />

now, and let us make our<br />

dreams tomorrow’s reality<br />


54 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com<br />

Photography | Emiliano Vittoriosi

wellbeing<br />

Content warning: this piece<br />

discusses topics and details<br />

relating to self-harm<br />

7 myths about<br />

self-harm, debunked<br />

Sort the facts from the fiction when it comes<br />

to the sensitive topic of self-harm<br />

Writing | Sarah Young<br />

A<br />

Lancet Psychiatry study<br />

found that, in 2014,<br />

6% of 16–74-year-olds<br />

living in England had<br />

self-harmed, which is equivalent<br />

to more than one in 20 people. In<br />

young women aged 16–24, this<br />

figure is one in five. And yet, selfharm<br />

is still a topic that’s often<br />

considered ‘taboo’, surrounded by<br />

myths, stigma, and stereotypes<br />

that make people afraid to ask for<br />

help for fear of negative attention.<br />

So, it’s time to clear up some of the<br />

myths and misconceptions about<br />

self-harm.<br />

1. People who self-harm<br />

are attention-seeking<br />

This may be one of the most<br />

pervasive myths surrounding<br />

those who self-harm, and one<br />

that dismisses and invalidates<br />

the emotional anguish that they<br />

experience. Many people who selfharm<br />

feel ashamed and go to great<br />

lengths to hide their injuries from<br />

others, as often the attention that<br />

self-harm brings is negative due to<br />

stigma. The reasons why people<br />

self-harm vary immensely and are<br />

personal to each individual.<br />

Emily, 29, who lives with<br />

depression and CPTSD, says: “Selfharm<br />

is a coping mechanism for<br />

when I’m experiencing extreme<br />

emotions that cannot be relieved<br />

by anything that isn’t destructive.<br />

Also, when I am dissociated and<br />

not able to connect to the real<br />

world, it grounds me.”<br />

It’s also important to address<br />

our perceptions of “attentionseeking”.<br />

When someone sneers<br />

that “people who self-harm just<br />

do it for attention”, we can feel the<br />

need to prove them wrong. But<br />

why do we view this through such<br />

a negative lens? Often people don’t<br />

have the words, or the confidence,<br />

to say that they need help. While<br />

the last thing many people who<br />

self-harm want is attention, for<br />

others it may be a call for help.<br />

When someone is trying to<br />

communicate that they are in pain,<br />

they need validation and support,<br />

not ridicule and dismissal.<br />

2. Self-harm is just cutting<br />

Typically, when people hear ‘selfharm’,<br />

the first thing they think of<br />

is cutting. While this is a common<br />

method of self-harm, it is not the<br />

only way that people can cause<br />

damage to themselves, either<br />

internally or externally. Other<br />

forms of self-harm to be aware of<br />

include overdosing and substance<br />

misuse, excessive exercise, or<br />

harming themselves through<br />

eating disorders. >>><br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 55

Where to get help<br />

If you are affected by self-harm,<br />

here are some ways you get<br />

support or information<br />

Phone and text lines<br />

• Samaritans: 116 123 or<br />

jo@samaritans.org<br />

• Shout crisis text line: Text<br />

“SHOUT” to 85258 or<br />

“YM” if you’re under 19<br />

• Childline: 0800 1111<br />

(under 19s).<br />

• YoungMinds parents helpline:<br />

0808 802 5544<br />

• Mind: 0300 123 3393<br />

Webchat services<br />

• Self Injury Support webchat<br />

(for women) is open Tuesday,<br />

and Thursday from 7pm to<br />

9.30pm<br />

• CALM webchat (for men) is<br />

open from 5pm to midnight<br />

every day<br />

3. It’s just a phase<br />

Some people’s experience of<br />

self-harm can be more isolated,<br />

related to a specific situation, and<br />

may stop once that has resolved.<br />

Others may self-harm as a<br />

long-term coping mechanism.<br />

Similar to how some people<br />

crave cigarettes or alcohol in<br />

times of great stress, others may<br />

find an emotional release from<br />

self-harm, which could become<br />

habitual, or even addictive.<br />

“When I was younger, I was<br />

genuinely addicted to it and would<br />

self-harm every day at some<br />

points,” says Emily. “I didn’t know<br />

how else to deal with emotions.”<br />

4. Only teenagers self-harm<br />

Ivy*, 30, who has struggled with<br />

severe depression throughout<br />

her life, says: “One of the biggest<br />

myths around self-harm is that<br />

it’s just teenagers and young<br />

adults who do it. A lot of selfharmers<br />

carry on much further<br />

into adulthood.”<br />

A culmination of the emotional,<br />

hormonal, and physical changes<br />

in teenage years can mean that<br />

this age group is more likely to<br />

become overwhelmed and use<br />

self-harm as a way of coping,<br />

especially if there are other<br />

difficulties going on in their lives.<br />

But self-harm can begin or stop<br />

at any age. Claire*, 28, shared<br />

her experiences of her daughter<br />

Anna* with me.<br />

“When Anna was only three<br />

years old, she began hitting<br />

herself on the head when she<br />

became overwhelmed. I was<br />

56 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com

*Names have been<br />

changed for privacy.<br />

very concerned and searched for<br />

counsellors to help Anna but,<br />

due to her age, there wasn’t any<br />

support that they could provide,<br />

which was very upsetting.<br />

I talked with Anna about<br />

expressing emotions and tried<br />

to validate any feelings she had.<br />

When she started school there<br />

was an incident where Anna was<br />

playing with another child and<br />

an accident happened that upset<br />

the other child. Anna’s way of<br />

dealing with that was to slam<br />

her fingers in the door. She was<br />

trying to hurt herself to make<br />

things right.<br />

“It hasn’t happened again but you<br />

can see when she gets upset or<br />

frustrated she does bang her fists<br />

on herself. It is her struggling to<br />

deal with difficult emotions.”<br />

5. It’s a slippery slope to more<br />

severe self-harm or suicide<br />

Some people who self-harm<br />

may have suicidal thoughts, but<br />

many do not. The intent behind<br />

self-harm and suicide can be<br />

very different: one is a coping<br />

mechanism, and one is a desire<br />

to end their life. In this way,<br />

they could even be said to be at<br />

opposite ends of the scale, and<br />

each require a different approach<br />

to treatment.<br />

It’s important to be aware that<br />

some people’s self-harm may<br />

escalate over time, but for many<br />

their level of self-harm will<br />

remain consistent. For example,<br />

I self-harmed frequently for<br />

more than 10 years: I never<br />

required hospital treatment and<br />

my self-harm never increased in<br />

severity. This isn’t to minimise<br />

the seriousness of it, but more<br />

to make you aware that not<br />

all those who self-harm will<br />

require hospital treatment, and<br />

hopefully in time people can<br />

find alternative, healthier coping<br />

mechanisms.<br />

6. People can choose to<br />

stop self-harming<br />

Telling someone that they<br />

can ‘just stop’ is an unrealistic<br />

expectation that they often won’t<br />

be able to live up to. And for<br />

some, who may use self-harm<br />

to cope with extreme feelings,<br />

it can even be dangerous to<br />

abruptly cease all self-harm<br />

as they may be left without an<br />

outlet. It’s important to support<br />

them in finding safer ways of<br />

coping – this is likely to involve<br />

working with a therapist.<br />

Attempting to prevent someone<br />

wellbeing<br />

When someone<br />

is trying to<br />

communicate<br />

that they are in<br />

pain, they need<br />

validation and<br />

support, not ridicule<br />

and dismissal<br />

from self-harming may mean<br />

that they use riskier methods to<br />

self-harm, or feel unable to come<br />

to you with issues.<br />

Often self-harm is a symptom<br />

of another issue. My self-harm<br />

was completely entangled with<br />

my eating disorder, as a symptom<br />

of that illness. Once my eating<br />

disorder was addressed and I<br />

recovered, the daily self-harm<br />

wasn’t something I felt I needed<br />

to do anymore.<br />

7. Only ‘goths’ and<br />

‘emos’ self-harm<br />

There isn’t a ‘look’ for someone<br />

who self-harms. Anyone of any<br />

age, background, race, gender,<br />

or sexuality can self-harm. It is,<br />

unfortunately, all too common in<br />

our society, so it’s important we<br />

break down the stigma around<br />

it so that it’s easier for those who<br />

self-harm to feel comfortable<br />

sharing their struggles. No one<br />

should have to suffer in silence.<br />

With love and understanding, we<br />

can create a safer place for those<br />

who self-harm to seek out help<br />

when they need it.<br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 57

Family favourites<br />

Childhood dishes got you hungry for more? Try these two<br />

family favourites, each with a nutritional twist<br />

Writing | Rania Salman<br />

Reminiscing about<br />

childhood family<br />

dinners? Want to<br />

recreate your favourite<br />

family feasts? We’ve got two<br />

delicious dishes packed with<br />

veggies and key nutrients, plus a<br />

dash of nostalgia!<br />

High in taste, but low in salt<br />

and unhealthy fats, these classic<br />

meals are incredibly versatile –<br />

it’s easy to substitute vegetables<br />

to suit your personal taste. So<br />

have a go, and make some new<br />

memories around the stove.<br />

Vegetable lasagne<br />

Serves: 8<br />

Prep time: 20 minutes<br />

Cook time: 1.5 hours<br />

Ingredients<br />

• 1 medium yellow pepper, 1<br />

medium red pepper, ½ medium<br />

green pepper, chopped<br />

• 1 very large courgette, chopped<br />

• 1 medium aubergine, chopped<br />

• Handful of cherry<br />

tomatoes, halved<br />

• 1 Italian sun-dried tomato mix<br />

• Grind of black and white<br />

pepper<br />

• Olive oil<br />

• 1 medium onion, diced<br />

• 2 garlic cloves, minced<br />

• Tomato passata with basil<br />

• Pinch of oregano<br />

• 15 wholegrain lasagne sheets<br />

• 100g butter/spread alternative<br />

• 80g flour<br />

• 500ml semi-skimmed/<br />

skimmed milk<br />

• 220g cheddar cheese, grated<br />

Method<br />

1. Preheat the oven to gas mark<br />

6/225°C.<br />

2. In an oven dish, mix the<br />

chopped veg, Italian sun-dried<br />

tomato mix, and salt and pepper<br />

with olive oil, to coat the veg.<br />

Cook in the oven for an hour, or<br />

until soft.<br />

3. While the vegetables are<br />

roasting, sauté the onion and<br />

garlic with olive oil until the<br />

onion is translucent. Add<br />

the tomato passata, pepper,<br />

oregano, and salt to taste.<br />

4. Boil the lasagne sheets for 7<br />

minutes and sieve to drain.<br />

5. Make a Béchamel sauce by<br />

melting butter in a saucepan.<br />

Add the flour and milk slowly,<br />

whisking until the mixture<br />

thickens. Add cheese and<br />

pepper to taste.<br />

6. Once veg has cooked, remove<br />

from the oven and mix in the<br />

tomato passata to make the<br />

veggie lasagne base.<br />

7. In another roasting dish, layer<br />

as follows: lasagne sheets,<br />

Béchamel sauce, vegetables.<br />

Repeat until you get a few<br />

layers. Add remaining grated<br />

cheese on top.<br />

8. Cook for 30 minutes at gas<br />

mark 5/215°C, or until the<br />

cheese has browned.<br />

9. Enjoy with a side salad!<br />

58 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com

food & health<br />

Chicken curry with cumin rice<br />

Serves: 6<br />

Prep time: 20 minutes<br />

Cook time: 45 minutes<br />

Ingredients<br />

• Rapeseed oil<br />

• 155g onion, diced<br />

• 2 garlic cloves, minced<br />

• 1–3 bird’s eye chilli, diced<br />

(optional)<br />

• ¼ tsp turmeric<br />

• 2 tsp curry powder (mild–<br />

medium, as per taste)<br />

• 2 tsp garam masala powder<br />

• 360g raw chicken breast, cubed<br />

• Pinch of salt<br />

• 80g yellow pepper, 80g red<br />

pepper, 80g green pepper, diced<br />

• 90g carrot, diced<br />

• 200g potato, diced<br />

• 1 medium tomato, diced<br />

• 1 ½ tbsp tomato puree<br />

• 30g coriander, chopped<br />

• Handful of peas<br />

• 3g cumin seeds<br />

• 300g basmati rice<br />

Method<br />

1. In a pan, heat a tablespoon of oil<br />

and add the onion and minced<br />

garlic. Add the bird’s eye chilli (if<br />

using) and sauté until the onion<br />

is translucent.<br />

2. Add ¼ tsp turmeric, ¼ tsp curry<br />

powder, and ½ tsp garam masala<br />

to the pan, and mix well.<br />

3. Add an extra tablespoon of oil,<br />

turn up the heat and add the<br />

chicken. Add salt to taste.<br />

4. Add the diced vegetables (apart<br />

from the peas and coriander).<br />

Add another ½ tsp of garam<br />

masala and ¾ tsp of curry<br />

powder.<br />

5. Add 650ml of water, the tomato<br />

puree, 1 tsp curry powder, 1 tsp<br />

of garam masala, and bring to<br />

a boil.<br />

6. Boil for approx 20 minutes or<br />

until sauce has thickened. Once<br />

thickened, add the coriander<br />

and peas.<br />

For the rice:<br />

1. Add 1 tbsp of oil and the cumin<br />

seeds to a medium-sized pot.<br />

Sauté the cumin seeds over<br />

medium-low heat for 1–2<br />

minutes.<br />

2. Add the uncooked rice, stirring<br />

for 2–3 minutes to toast.<br />

3. Add enough water to just cover<br />

the rice. Place a lid on the pot,<br />

turn the heat up, and bring it<br />

to boil.<br />

4. Once boiling, turn the heat down<br />

low and simmer (with lid) for 15<br />

minutes. Turn off the heat and<br />

let the rice sit undisturbed for 10<br />

minutes before lifting the lid.<br />

5. After resting, fluff with a fork,<br />

and serve alongside the curry.<br />

The healthy bit<br />

This lasagne is loaded with<br />

vegetables, meaning there’s lots<br />

of fibre and good plant chemicals<br />

that our bodies love and need.<br />

Switching to wholegrain lasagne<br />

sheets is a great idea, as emerging<br />

research shows the importance of<br />

fibre, so trying to get it in wherever<br />

you can is important for optimal<br />

health – most people don’t meet<br />

the government’s target of 30g of<br />

fibre per day. Remember, when<br />

using margarine, opt for one that<br />

doesn’t include trans fats – look<br />

out for ‘hydrogenated’ or ‘partially<br />

hydrogenated oil’, and avoid.<br />

The chicken curry is a healthy<br />

twist on the family-favourite<br />

takeaway, an Indian chicken curry!<br />

This recipe hits all the right spots<br />

without using unhealthy fats and,<br />

by adding a load of vegetables<br />

into the mix, you ensure you<br />

meet at least two of your fivea-day<br />

in just one serving. The<br />

spice mix used in this recipe is<br />

packed full of polyphenols which<br />

are increasingly known for their<br />

incredible bounty of health<br />

benefits.<br />

Rania is a registered<br />

dietitian and nutritionist<br />

specialising in fertility,<br />

PCOS, weight management<br />

and chronic conditions.<br />

Find a<br />

nutritionist on<br />

our Happiful<br />

app<br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 59

Happiful Partner<br />

Championing mental health in the workplace<br />

Why become a Mental<br />

Health First Aider?<br />

Here’s what our<br />

delegates say:<br />

• Recognise the symptoms<br />

of mental ill-health<br />

• Help to improve awareness<br />

and break down stigma<br />

and discrimination<br />

• Join a growing<br />

community of amazing<br />

people supporting the<br />

conversation around<br />

mental health<br />

• Improve your own mental<br />

health and self-care<br />

• Virtual courses mean you<br />

can train from the comfort<br />

of your own home<br />

Plus our readers enjoy an exclusive £10 discount<br />

off all Happiful MHFA courses when you book<br />

through training.<strong>happiful</strong>.com using the<br />

code HAP10<br />

You can hear more about the impact of MHFA<br />

training on Happiful’s ‘I am. I have’ podcast,<br />

featuring Happiful’s MHFA instructor Matt<br />

Holman. Listen on Spotify and Apple Podcasts.<br />

A course that really made<br />

me reflect. Delivery was<br />

excellent, and the instructor<br />

makes you feel valued and<br />

listened to. They make<br />

the course interesting and<br />

inclusive by sharing their<br />

own experiences. – Sol<br />

I felt very comfortable and<br />

in a safe space. Honestly, it<br />

was life-changing. – Jamie<br />

The instructor was amazing<br />

– so open and personable,<br />

and really made the tough<br />

subject matters digestible.<br />

It was really engaging, and<br />

they created a wonderful<br />

space for us to share<br />

openly. The course has<br />

enthused me even more to<br />

shout about mental health,<br />

and I feel extremely proud<br />

to now be a Mental Health<br />

First Aider. – Emma<br />

60 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com

true story<br />

Embracing my<br />

perfectly imperfect self<br />

Self-doubt and social anxiety ruled Sheena’s world, until her<br />

children became her motivation to push past the fear and step into<br />

the next phase of her life<br />

Writing | Sheena Tanna-Shah<br />

Throughout my childhood, I always felt<br />

a sense of loneliness and insecurity.<br />

Changing cities and then school a few<br />

times, I struggled to make good friends<br />

and I never felt like I fitted in. I wasn’t outgoing,<br />

confident, or social – and always felt like I<br />

wasn’t enough. What added to this was people’s<br />

constant comments to stand straighter, to talk<br />

slower, and to smile more.<br />

These weren’t one-off comments, they were<br />

constantly coming from the people around<br />

me, and it gave me long-lasting social anxiety. I<br />

made sure I didn’t win anything to avoid walking<br />

in front of people in assemblies, it made me fear<br />

talking in public, it made me fear being in social<br />

settings as I was always afraid of judgement – it<br />

even made me fear catching the bus to avoid<br />

people watching me find a seat. The only thing<br />

that kept me going was my passion for studying.<br />

At 18, after a devastating break-up with a<br />

boyfriend, I was diagnosed with depression in<br />

my first year at university. I was at my lowest<br />

point, and not only nearly quit my degree but<br />

my life as well. I didn’t want to carry on, I felt<br />

like a failure, and I was starting to become very<br />

critical of myself.<br />

Coming from an Indian background, it was<br />

really hard to open up about my situation and<br />

what I was going through. I felt like I was<br />

letting my parents down, as it was uncommon<br />

for situations like mine to be heard of then.<br />

Online support forums and social media<br />

wasn’t something I was part of back then, so<br />

this period was extremely lonely. I almost felt<br />

like there must be something wrong with me. I<br />

couldn’t see anyone around me going through<br />

what I was, and certainly no one in my culture.<br />

I was studying to become an optometrist but<br />

I failed two of my end-year-exams. Before,<br />

studying was what had kept me going, so I<br />

felt like I had nothing left to give. During the<br />

summer break, I retook my exams and luckily<br />

passed to continue into my second year. I<br />

managed to get my degree and qualified as an<br />

optometrist, however, the anxiety still followed<br />

me around.<br />

I married when I was 23, and moved to a new<br />

location. This triggered my loneliness and<br />

insecurity, as I hardly knew anyone and had<br />

to start again. I would be sitting in my locked<br />

room, crying endlessly as my husband sat on<br />

the other side of the door, trying to help me.<br />

I tried to fill the void by booking holidays,<br />

dinner dates, and spa days. Even though these<br />

made me happy, it was all temporary and I<br />

would return to feeling anxious and insecure. >>><br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 61

I searched for various therapies, constantly<br />

trying to find people to help me shift my<br />

mindset and get me to a better place. I used<br />

life coaches, counsellors, hypnotherapists,<br />

CBT, and it helped to a certain degree. During<br />

this period my interest in coaching grew,<br />

and I trained to become a life coach and NLP<br />

practitioner. My aim was to help other people<br />

who may be going through what I was, but my<br />

business didn’t start because my own recovery<br />

was still in progress.<br />

When I had children at 29, I came to a<br />

new crossroads. Motherhood completely<br />

overwhelmed me, and my anxiety spiralled.<br />

I found everything a struggle. I found it<br />

hard to take my kids out for a walk because<br />

I was nervous of people judging me. I found<br />

playgroups hard as I saw other mums getting<br />

on so easily and confidently. I was a nervous<br />

driver as it was but the pressure to go to baby<br />

swimming, baby yoga, and everything else I<br />

saw others doing, almost tipped me to the edge.<br />

I was a snappy mum, frustrated, low in mood<br />

and energy, and this led to each day ending in<br />

guilt and tears.<br />

I practised gratitude, and every<br />

day I was a little kinder and more<br />

patient with myself<br />

I knew something had to change. I needed to<br />

be an inspiration to my girls, the best mother to<br />

them, and strong for myself. I stopped looking<br />

at the outside world to fill my needs, stopped<br />

looking for temporary fixes and solutions,<br />

and started to read and listen to speakers who<br />

motivated and inspired me. One of the first<br />

books that I read was all to do with meditation,<br />

so that’s where I began. I also started to look at<br />

my nutrition, and what exercise I was doing.<br />

Everything is connected with the mind and body,<br />

so I had to learn to fuel both. I made my inner<br />

world and inner focus a constant practice.<br />

I started to step out of my comfort zone, even if<br />

it was just having a coffee on my own in public.<br />

I practised gratitude, and every day I was a little<br />

kinder and more patient with myself. I started<br />

doing things for myself, instead of what I thought<br />

the world expected of me. If I wanted an extra<br />

rest day, I took it, if I wanted to take the kids for<br />

a coffee and cake (a big deal for me in a public<br />

space) I took my time, gave it a go, and practised<br />

being mindful of our time together. I felt proud<br />

62 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com

true story<br />

of small achievements like taking the kids to the<br />

library, or a play date. Things that were no big<br />

deal for some, were a huge deal for me. But these<br />

were my achievements and milestones, and I<br />

was going to feel proud of my steps. Everyone is<br />

on a journey, and this was mine.<br />

I continued to train in various therapies<br />

including mindfulness, mediation, and rapid<br />

transformation therapy. My company, Inspiring<br />

Success, has grown successfully, I also run a<br />

plant-based healthy treats business and promote<br />

healthy eating through this, and more recently<br />

became a published author of the book Perfectly<br />

Imperfect Mum.<br />

It was motherhood that truly inspired and<br />

motivated me to change. Being a mother is<br />

overwhelming, challenging, and stressful, but<br />

it’s also rewarding, beautiful, and brings so much<br />

joy. I know if my mindset wasn’t strong enough, I<br />

would have missed the beautiful moments, and I<br />

wouldn’t have been able to provide and be there<br />

for them fully – I would be surviving not thriving.<br />

At times, I truly cannot believe how far I’ve<br />

come – from sitting on the floor crying daily,<br />

not wanting to exist, to running two businesses,<br />

being an optometrist, regular public speaker,<br />

embracing motherhood, and becoming an<br />

author where my book has been featured in<br />

national publications.<br />

As a person, I feel so much happier. I still have<br />

moments where I am anxious or uncertain but<br />

I am much more aware and mindful of those<br />

times, and can recover more easily. Finding my<br />

inner peace, inner belief, and inner calm helped<br />

me embrace my perfectly imperfect self.<br />


In this world impacted by Covid-19 and social<br />

media, the pressure can feel overwhelming at<br />

times. However, Sheena recognised something<br />

incredibly important: change comes from<br />

within.<br />

There isn’t one way to move forward, there<br />

are many paths. Having the strength to make<br />

the decision to change, and<br />

allowing ourselves to be proud<br />

of our achievements is a great<br />

way to begin the journey to the<br />

life you truly deserve.<br />

Rachel Coffey | BA MA NLP Mstr<br />

Life coach<br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 63


September<br />

From accepting yourself, to embracing tranquility when out<br />

and about, we share 10 things to do this September<br />

1<br />


You Are Enough: Embrace<br />

Your Flaws and Be Happy<br />

Being You<br />

How often do you find<br />

yourself striving for perfection,<br />

or comparing yourself to<br />

others? Cheryl Rickman’s<br />

new book aims to help those<br />

who experience imposter<br />

syndrome, or who criticise<br />

themselves constantly.<br />

Encouraging us to let go of<br />

the myth of perfection, You<br />

Are Enough is a feel-good<br />

action plan to help challenge<br />

your inner saboteur. (Out 9<br />

September, Summersdale<br />

Publishers, £10.99)<br />

3<br />


Wellbeing by the Lakes<br />

After so much time indoors, we’ve found the perfect festival set in<br />

nature. What’s more, we’ll be there too! Wellbeing by the Lakes has a stunning<br />

programme complete with expert talks, workshops, yoga, breathwork,<br />

and more. You’ll be able to embrace both the tranquility of the 26-acre<br />

surroundings and breathtaking sculptural pieces – and yes, it is as blissful as it<br />

sounds! (8–12 September, visit wellbeingbythelakes.co.uk to book tickets)<br />

4<br />

LEND US<br />


‘Getting Curious<br />

with Jonathan<br />

Van Ness’<br />

Whether you’re simply missing<br />

Queer Eye’s Jonathan Van Ness,<br />

or you love diving into nuggets of<br />

information, the ‘Getting Curious’<br />

podcast is a great way to learn<br />

something new. Speaking with<br />

experts in their field, Jonathan<br />

explores everything from the<br />

importance of Pride, to the way<br />

animals communicate with one<br />

another. (Listen to the podcast on<br />

iTunes and Spotify)<br />

2<br />


Rounders<br />

A game that all of the family can play, rounders is the classic<br />

sunshine pastime. How far can you hit the ball and will it be enough<br />

for you to start a run, or even make it all the way back to base?<br />

Gather up everyone’s bags and jackets to act as posts, and carefully<br />

choose your teams for an afternoon of cheering one another on.<br />


Yuki Kawae<br />

Yuki’s soothing videos<br />

are a welcome change to the<br />

fast-paced feeling of the usual<br />

Instagram feed. His sand videos,<br />

in which he creates anything from<br />

mesmerising circular patterns to<br />

satisfying line drawings, offer an<br />

almost meditative quality to calm<br />

your mind. (Follow @yukikawae<br />

on Instagram)<br />

64 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com

culture<br />

6<br />


Kitchen Stories Recipes<br />

Hosting a range of thousands of free<br />

recipes, Kitchen Stories Recipes allows you to<br />

set up your own profile and save your favourites<br />

ready for when you fancy them. With its own<br />

cooking mode, the app lets you effortlessly chop,<br />

dice, and simmer your way through step-by-step<br />

dishes, making dinner time that little bit easier!<br />

(Download from the App Store or Google Play)<br />


International Happiness<br />

at Work Week<br />

Do you dread Mondays? When we<br />

are happy at work we are likely to<br />

enjoy ourselves outside of work,<br />

too. International Happiness at Work Week invites<br />

everyone to start conversations about employee<br />

wellbeing. (20–26 September, to learn more visit,<br />

internationalweekofhappinessatwork.com)<br />

7<br />


Sex Education<br />

Back for its much anticipated<br />

third season, Sex Education promises<br />

a hilarious and uplifting watch.<br />

Tackling relationships of all kinds<br />

and following main character Otis<br />

and his friends through the trials<br />

and tribulations of love, makes for a<br />

wonderful way to brighten any day.<br />

(Available on Netflix)<br />

10<br />


Bungee Workouts<br />

A more unusual, but<br />

extremely fun exercise class, bungee<br />

workouts are taking the world by storm –<br />

and prove that bungee cords can be used<br />

to create joyous and thoroughly unique<br />

workouts. Attached to a cord hanging<br />

from the ceiling, bungee workouts will<br />

have you using all your muscles. (Search<br />

Bungee Workouts to find a class near you)<br />

Africology Bath Rituals Set | uk.africologyspa.com<br />

8<br />


Visiting a spa is not always possible in the evening, but who’s to say that you can’t<br />

bring the spa to you? With the Africology Bath Rituals Set, complete with bath salts, scrubs,<br />

and mud masks, you’ll be all set for a tranquil dip in the tub. A great way to cleanse your<br />

body, mind, and soul, the set offers something for everyone. (£18.53, africologyspa.com)<br />

Africology Bath Rituals Set<br />

Win an Africology Bath Rituals Set<br />

For your chance to win a bath set, simply email your answer to the following<br />

question to competitions@<strong>happiful</strong>.com<br />

Which of these would you not typically find at a spa?<br />

a) Climbing wall b) Sauna c) Swimming pool<br />

*Competition closes 16 September <strong>2021</strong>. UK mainland and Northern Ireland only. Good luck!<br />

WIN!<br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 65

Turn it it up<br />

Step back in time, with these feel-good<br />

tracks from across the decades<br />

• ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’, Gerry & the Pacemakers (1963)<br />

• ‘Feeling Good’, Nina Simone (1965)<br />

• ‘What a Wonderful World’, Louis Armstrong (1967)<br />

• ‘Ain’t No Mountain High Enough’, Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell (1967)<br />

• ‘Here Comes the Sun’, The Beatles (1969)<br />

70s<br />

• ‘Move on Up’, Curtis Mayfield (1970)<br />

• ‘December 1963 (Oh What a Night)’, Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons (1975)<br />

• ‘Dancing Queen’, Abba (1976)<br />

• ‘Go Your Own Way’, Fleetwood Mac (1977)<br />

• ‘I Will Survive’, Gloria Gaynor (1978)<br />

• ‘You Make My Dreams (Come True)’, Hall & Oates (1981)<br />

• ‘Come on Eileen’, Dexys Midnight Runners (1982)<br />

• ‘Sisters Are Doin’ it For Themselves’, Eurythmics, ft. Aretha Franklin (1985)<br />

• ‘Take On Me’, A-ha (1984)<br />

• ‘End of the Line’, Traveling Wilburys (1988)<br />

• ‘Movin’ on Up’, Primal Scream (1991)<br />

• ‘Friday I’m in Love’, The Cure (1992)<br />

• ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’, Deep Blue Something (1995)<br />

• ‘Wannabe’, Spice Girls (1996)<br />

• ‘Brimful of Asha’, Cornershop (1997)<br />

• ‘Take Your Mama’, Scissor Sisters (2004)<br />

• ‘Better Together’, Jack Johnson (2005)<br />

• ‘Put Your Records On’, Corinne Bailey Rae (2006)<br />

• ‘Pocketful of Sunshine’, Natasha Bedingfield (2007)<br />

• ‘You Got the Love’, Florence and the Machine (2009)<br />

To listen to this playlist, search for ‘The Happiful Selection: Feel-good through the decades’ on Spotify<br />

66 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com

wellbeing<br />

How to overcome<br />

sick-day guilt<br />

It’s the phone call we all dread – letting your employer know you need a day<br />

off sick. But when your body is telling you it needs a break, it’s time to listen.<br />

So, how do we get past the guilt, to get the rest we need to recuperate?<br />

Writing | Katie Conibear<br />

We all know the feeling;<br />

you’ve woken up<br />

feeling terrible. You’re<br />

too sick to work, but<br />

there’s something in the pit of your<br />

stomach that stops you from making<br />

that call to your boss. You sit there<br />

watching the clock – you might even<br />

start getting ready to go in or log<br />

on – putting off a decision you know<br />

you have to make. You don’t want<br />

people to think you can’t cope with<br />

the job. You feel bad about colleagues<br />

having to cover your work, and don’t<br />

want to make life more difficult for<br />

anyone else. You’re worried that you<br />

might be judged for calling in sick,<br />

and it’ll affect performance reviews<br />

or your chances of that promotion.<br />

Then there are the questions we ask<br />

ourselves: “If everyone else can cope<br />

without taking time off, why can’t I?”<br />

When we’re ill, we often give<br />

in to the pressure to carry on<br />

working – whether that’s a<br />

perceived external pressure, or<br />

the expectations and standards<br />

we set for ourselves. It’s easy<br />

to fall into this trap when we<br />

have deadlines to meet, work<br />

on commission, or have a team<br />

that relies on us. Whether it’s<br />

a physical or mental illness,<br />

pressure to keep going can make<br />

us feel 10 times worse. But it’s<br />

time to put that unnecessary guilt<br />

in its place – here are four things<br />

to help you do just that.<br />


I asked life coach Clare Percival<br />

how to overcome sick-day guilt.<br />

Her thoughts? “I would ask, where<br />

does that guilty voice stem from?<br />

Is it a parent, a boss, or just a<br />

limiting belief that somehow<br />

we think we are supposed to<br />

be super human rather than<br />

listening to our body?”<br />

Being honest with<br />

yourself that you<br />

need a break can<br />

make you stronger,<br />

and healthier, in the<br />

long run<br />

We need to learn to be<br />

vulnerable, and to show that<br />

we’re not OK – even if our inner<br />

critic doesn’t like it. But the truth<br />

is it’s nothing to be ashamed of. >>><br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 67

Being honest with yourself that<br />

you need a break can make you<br />

stronger, and healthier, in the<br />

long run. Convincing ourselves<br />

we must go into work, that we’re<br />

letting people down, that we’re<br />

letting ourselves down, avoids<br />

focusing on the real issue. Plus,<br />

hiding behind a mask can be<br />

exhausting – and it’s bound to<br />

slip at some point. Clare sums it<br />

up: “Listen to your body. It knows<br />

what is best, and it is trying to tell<br />

you something important.”<br />



If you’re unwell, but believe that<br />

a sick-day is out of the question<br />

because you can’t possibly miss<br />

a day of work, it could be time<br />

to take a closer look at what’s on<br />

your plate. The world shouldn’t<br />

stop if you need a day or two<br />

to recover, and if it feels like it<br />

will, it might even be the level<br />

of responsibility on your plate<br />

contributing to your poor health.<br />

Ask yourself: is what I want to<br />

do realistic? Will I burn out, or<br />

make myself ill trying to achieve<br />

it? Am I setting myself up for<br />

disappointment if I don’t reach<br />

my goal? Or is it a case of realistic<br />

goals, but overwhelming myself<br />

by trying to achieve too many<br />

things all at once? If the answer<br />

is yes to any of these, it could<br />

be worth reevaluating whether<br />

pushing yourself like this is worth<br />

it – more often than not, the<br />

answer will be no. And if that’s<br />

the case, it could be time to speak<br />

to your boss, HR, or colleagues<br />

about your workload and any<br />

support you need. Working until<br />

you burn out shouldn’t be a goal,<br />

or something that should earn<br />

anyone praise. Our number one<br />

goal should be to stay healthy.<br />


Deep down, everyone struggles<br />

for one reason or another,<br />

whether they like to admit it or<br />

not. Looking like you’re always<br />

keeping it together isn’t reality.<br />

Everyone has a persona they<br />

68 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com

wellbeing<br />

Working until you burn out shouldn’t<br />

be a goal, or something that should<br />

earn anyone praise. Our number one<br />

goal should be to stay healthy<br />

try to keep up, to an extent. If<br />

you live with a chronic illness, a<br />

disability, or both, it can feel like<br />

sick-days come around more than<br />

your colleagues, and guilt could<br />

be a factor in whether you take<br />

that much-needed day off. But<br />

it’s important to remember that<br />

everyone will have a time when<br />

they struggle mentally, physically,<br />

or both. And when that voice of<br />

self-doubt rises up, just consider,<br />

would you judge someone else for<br />

needing a sick-day? Treat yourself<br />

with that same compassion you’d<br />

show your colleagues.<br />

Get past the guilt<br />

Life coach Clare Percival<br />

suggests digging deeper and<br />

asking yourself questions that<br />

shift your focus to help put the<br />

decision to take a day off in a<br />

new, guilt-free light:<br />

• What are the benefits of<br />

taking a sick-day?<br />

• How would I feel if I<br />

passed on an illness to<br />

my work colleagues?<br />

• Why am I not prioritising<br />

my health?<br />

• What is really making me feel<br />

guilty?<br />

• How will my performance<br />

improve at work and home from<br />

taking time off now to recover<br />

compared to keeping going?<br />

• Would my world collapse if I don’t<br />

go in?<br />

• How much better would I feel by<br />

investing in myself and my health?<br />


Most of us have worked with<br />

an ‘office gossip’. They love to<br />

let everyone know how you<br />

were off last week, again. These<br />

words make us feel ashamed,<br />

guilty, and inadequate. But just<br />

because you feel unwell, it doesn’t<br />

make you weak-minded.<br />

“When you’re not feeling 100%,<br />

your inner critic voice kicks<br />

in – the negative self-talk that<br />

feeds off a poorly you, and has<br />

been lying dormant waiting for<br />

a moment to come out and play<br />

in your mind, and tell you those<br />

guilty thoughts,” Clare Percival<br />

explains. Taking time off shows<br />

you value your health and your<br />

colleagues. It’s the responsible<br />

thing to do, especially if<br />

you’re potentially infectious<br />

or your job involves caring for<br />

others. So, remember, listening<br />

to your mind and body when it<br />

needs a breather isn’t just for<br />

your own benefit, it’s the most<br />

selfless thing you can do.<br />

Katie Conibear is a writer who blogs<br />

at stumblingmind.com. Her first<br />

book, ‘Living at the Speed of Light’,<br />

about bipolar disorder, is out now.<br />

Clare Percival is a life and executive<br />

function coach. Find out more at<br />

lifecoach-directory.org.uk<br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 69

Picking up the pieces<br />

What is it that makes a simple jigsaw puzzle<br />

such an effective mindfulness practice?<br />

Writing | Kathryn Wheeler<br />

It’s the rainy day classic that<br />

became a lockdown essential,<br />

and while there’s nothing<br />

new about puzzles (the first<br />

jigsaw is thought to have been<br />

created in 1762), many of us<br />

are just starting to realise the<br />

potentially mindful boost that<br />

comes with putting the pieces of<br />

a puzzle together.<br />

Picture this: you’ve got the<br />

whole of the day ahead of you, no<br />

commitments, no meetings, no<br />

chores – the time is yours. So you<br />

sit down with a puzzle. There’s no<br />

rush, no deadline and, piece by<br />

piece, a beautiful picture starts to<br />

form in front of you. It’s a homey,<br />

mindful scene but, in lockdown,<br />

hobbies like puzzling took on a<br />

whole new meaning.<br />

“I was furloughed in April<br />

2020, and it struck me that I had<br />

all this extra time and nothing<br />

to fill it with,” Jody Kenny tells<br />

us, as she reflects on when<br />

she discovered her passion for<br />

puzzles. “I hadn’t long moved to<br />

a new town to be closer to work,<br />

but it meant I’d moved away<br />

from family – I didn’t realise how<br />

difficult it would be to occupy<br />

every minute of the day.”<br />

Jodie started off with some<br />

jigsaw apps on her phone,<br />

before digging out some puzzles<br />

she’d had for years, but had<br />

never opened.<br />

“I get deep into doing jigsaws,<br />

and time tends to fly. I hyperfocus<br />

on tasks because I have<br />

Asperger’s, but the concentration<br />

needed specifically to complete<br />

jigsaws took my mind away from<br />

being alone,” she explains.<br />

There’s much<br />

more to those<br />

oddly shaped<br />

pieces of joy than<br />

meets the eye<br />

“The puzzle piece has long been<br />

used as a symbol of autism, but it<br />

doesn’t have positive connotations<br />

in the autistic community,<br />

because it’s thought that autistic<br />

people are puzzles that need to<br />

be fixed,” Jodie explains. “Doing<br />

jigsaws has re-wired my brain<br />

into believing that the puzzle isn’t<br />

broken because it’s not complete,<br />

but rather it’s one small piece that<br />

makes up the whole. Jigsaws have<br />

helped me to accept myself.”<br />

Echoing the wellbeing benefits<br />

of jigsaws, James Edwards, cofounder<br />

of Piece & Quiet puzzles,<br />

is passionate about their holistic<br />

value. “Jigsaw puzzles are making<br />

a comeback, and there’s much<br />

more to those oddly shaped pieces<br />

of joy than meets the eye,” he<br />

says. And that comeback is taking<br />

place on a huge scale, with the<br />

Guardian reporting that UK sales<br />

of jigsaws totalled £100 million<br />

in 2020, up 38% on the previous<br />

year. So what’s behind the draw<br />

to simple pastimes like puzzles?<br />

James thinks he knows and, here,<br />

he breaks down some of the major<br />

wellbeing benefits:<br />

1. Improving brain<br />

function and memory<br />

The oh-so-satisfying act of<br />

successfully placing a puzzle<br />

piece does more than just get you<br />

one step closer to finishing your<br />

piece of art. It actually encourages<br />

the production of dopamine,<br />

a chemical in the brain that<br />

contributes to learning, brain<br />

health, and memory.<br />

70 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com

Win a Piece & Quiet<br />

mindfulness pack<br />

For your chance to win a Piece &<br />

Quiet jigsaw puzzle, candle, and<br />

adult colouring book, simply send<br />

your answer to the following riddle<br />

to competitions@<strong>happiful</strong>.com:<br />

2. Time away from screens<br />

An article in the Independent<br />

investigated the time an adult<br />

will spend looking at screens<br />

in their lifetime, and it doesn’t<br />

make for good reading. They<br />

found that, on average, British<br />

adults were spending more<br />

than 13 hours a day looking<br />

at screens – that equates to<br />

more than 200 days a year.<br />

We are huge advocates for<br />

anything which helps to get<br />

this number down, and that<br />

gives us the opportunity to<br />

take the time to be present in<br />

the moment, and what better<br />

way to do that than with an<br />

artistic jigsaw puzzle?<br />

3. Increased cognitive ability<br />

Jigsaw puzzles are proven to<br />

exercise the mind, boosting<br />

cognition and visual-spatial<br />

reasoning, but they’ve also been<br />

shown to increase creativity and<br />

productivity. The science behind<br />

why jigsaws are so effective at<br />

kicking your brain into gear<br />

is that they engage both the<br />

left (analytical) and the right<br />

(creative) side of the brain.<br />

4. Reducing stress<br />

and anxiety<br />

Exercising both sides of the brain<br />

simultaneously has other benefits<br />

too. It allows brainwaves to move<br />

from a ‘beta’ state into an ‘alpha’<br />

What word gets shorter when<br />

you add two letters?<br />

Competition closes 16 September.<br />

UK and NI entries only. Good luck!<br />

state – the same state activated<br />

for dreaming, and where our<br />

subconscious comes into play –<br />

in other words, the mindful side.<br />

When times get tough, it’s<br />

remarkable what taking things<br />

back to basics can do for our<br />

mindset, and the rise in the<br />

popularity of jigsaw puzzles is the<br />

perfect example of this principle<br />

in action. So, whether you’re<br />

ready to dive into a 1,000-piece<br />

whopper, or want to start simple,<br />

it could be time to pick up the<br />

pieces of good wellbeing.<br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 71

Ask the experts: suicide<br />

Counsellor Naomi Watkins-Ligudzinska answers your questions on suicide<br />

Q<br />

How can I<br />

support someone<br />

experiencing<br />

suicidal thoughts?<br />

A<br />

It’s best to stay calm and<br />

collected, and remember<br />

they are talking to you for a<br />

reason. It is really important<br />

that we react with empathy, not<br />

shock or panic, and do not close<br />

the conversation down. It is then<br />

about supporting the person<br />

with regular check-ins and not<br />

forgetting about them. Kindness<br />

and care go a long way.<br />

Q<br />

A<br />

Is suicidal ideation<br />

something people<br />

can recover from?<br />

Yes, with time, space, and<br />

the right support. Therapy<br />

is one option, but we also need<br />

to consider someone’s support<br />

network. If they struggle to<br />

identify someone they can confide<br />

in, which helplines are they<br />

comfortable accessing until their<br />

next therapy session, or when they<br />

are experiencing suicidal thoughts?<br />

Q<br />

A friend makes<br />

jokes about<br />

suicide and<br />

it makes me feel<br />

uncomfortable. Should<br />

I confront them?<br />

If something makes<br />

A you uncomfortable, it is<br />

always best to say something.<br />

For example, “When you joke<br />

about suicide it makes me<br />

feel uncomfortable,” and then<br />

just leave a space for them to<br />

respond.<br />

It could be they are covering<br />

up suicidal feelings of their own,<br />

or they do not understand how<br />

hurtful jokes like that are. It is<br />

always best to be honest and<br />

tell someone how you feel.<br />

Counselling Directory is part of the Happiful Family | Helping you find the help you need

wellbeing<br />


• Call Samaritans on 116 123 or email them on<br />

jo@samaritans.org<br />

• The Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is a line<br />

for men, and is open from 5pm–midnight: 0800 58 58 58<br />

• Papyrus supports young people under 35 years old. Call<br />

them on 0800 068 41 41<br />

• Shout offers a crisis text line. Text ‘SHOUT’ to 85258<br />

Suicide<br />

Prevention Day<br />

is 10 September.<br />

Reach out to those<br />

around you, and join<br />

in the conversation<br />

online.<br />

Read more about Naomi Watkins-Ligudzinska on counselling-directory.org.uk<br />

Q<br />

I sometimes<br />

see people<br />

post worrying<br />

things on social media.<br />

Should I step in?<br />

A check-in message or<br />

A phone call will never hurt –<br />

something simple like, “Hey, I saw<br />

your post, is everything OK?” To<br />

care about someone, we need to<br />

let them know we care. It could<br />

just be that simple message that<br />

helps someone to challenge their<br />

thoughts and not feel alone.<br />

You can always report a post to<br />

the social media platform if you<br />

are really worried, but they may<br />

just remove the post and not offer<br />

support to the individual.<br />

If the person doesn’t reply, look<br />

to see if any family are connected<br />

to their profile – you could contact<br />

them through the platform. If you<br />

feel someone is in immediate<br />

danger, call 999 and<br />

ask the police for<br />

help.<br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 73

10 things you<br />

need to know<br />

about PCOS<br />

It’s thought one in 10 women suffer with<br />

polycystic ovary syndrome, yet more than half<br />

may not have any symptoms at all. With PCOS<br />

awareness month taking place in September,<br />

Jenna Farmer shines a spotlight on the condition<br />

Writing | Jenna Farmer<br />

For those who menstruate,<br />

periods might be something<br />

we don’t take much notice<br />

of. Some may find their 28-day<br />

cycle runs like clockwork, yet<br />

others struggle with irregular<br />

periods which can differ in the<br />

flow and length, or have cycles that<br />

vary from the average time. And<br />

while irregular periods may be<br />

normal for you and can happen for<br />

all sorts of reasons, one possible<br />

cause is polycystic ovary syndrome<br />

(PCOS).<br />

PCOS is a common endocrine<br />

disorder that affects the way<br />

the ovaries work. It’s thought<br />

to affect one in 10 women, yet<br />

many may not even know they<br />

have it, with the condition often<br />

only coming to light when they’re<br />

investigated for irregular periods,<br />

or sometimes if they’re trying<br />

to start a family. So although it’s<br />

reasonably common, there’s still<br />

a lot we don’t yet know about<br />

PCOS. Here, we’ll set the record<br />

straight with some key facts.<br />

74 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com

food & health<br />

PCOS doesn’t stop you<br />

conceiving a child<br />

The <strong>2021</strong> Fertility Journey Survey<br />

showed that 49% of those taking<br />

part didn’t actually realise they<br />

had PCOS until they started<br />

trying to conceive.<br />

Since PCOS often diagnosed<br />

during fertility investigations,<br />

many worry it will impact their<br />

ability to conceive. Himanshu<br />

Borase, fertility specialist and<br />

consultant gynaecologist at Herts<br />

Fertility, says: “One third of those<br />

I see at fertility clinics have PCOS.<br />

One of the reasons that PCOS<br />

patients struggle is that they may<br />

not be releasing an egg regularly.”<br />

Releasing eggs to ovulate is<br />

what is needed to conceive.<br />

However, studies show that the<br />

majority of those with PCOS who<br />

wish to have children do go on<br />

to do so, many without needing<br />

fertility treatment.<br />

Studies show that<br />

the majority of those<br />

with PCOS who wish<br />

to have children do<br />

go on to do so, many<br />

without needing<br />

fertility treatment<br />

You don’t actually have<br />

cysts on your ovaries<br />

with PCOS<br />

Despite the name, your ovaries<br />

aren’t covered with cysts like<br />

you might imagine. Instead, the<br />

cysts often refer to harmless<br />

follicles. People with PCOS have<br />

more follicles than those who<br />

don’t, and these follicles are<br />

often unable to release an egg.<br />

While they may look ‘cyst-like’,<br />

they aren’t true cysts – they<br />

don’t behave like cysts in that<br />

they won’t burst or grow bigger,<br />

and aren’t in any way linked to<br />

more serious conditions, such as<br />

ovarian cancer. >>><br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 75

PCOS can affect your<br />

hair and skin<br />

We often talk about PCOS in<br />

relation to periods, but the<br />

condition can affect your hair<br />

and skin as well. This is because<br />

women with PCOS have excess<br />

androgen – in other words higher<br />

levels of male hormones in your<br />

body, which can manifest in ways<br />

such as an increase in facial hair.<br />

Studies have shown PCOS can<br />

result in hair and skin problems,<br />

such as hair loss, acne, and<br />

seborrhea (a red itchy skin rash<br />

with white scales).<br />

People with PCOS are more<br />

likely to develop diabetes<br />

Insulin resistance is why PCOS<br />

is also linked to diabetes. A<br />

recent study published in Human<br />

Reproduction Open that followed<br />

women with PCOS showed that<br />

around 19% of participants went<br />

on to develop type 2 diabetes,<br />

compared to just 1% of the<br />

control group. While this means<br />

it’s certainly not inevitable, if<br />

you experience any symptoms of<br />

diabetes it’s really important to<br />

make an appointment to speak<br />

with your GP.<br />

We don’t know the<br />

exact cause of PCOS<br />

PCOS is thought to run in<br />

families, so you’re more likely<br />

to develop it if a close relative<br />

has PCOS, too. However, that<br />

doesn’t mean it’s simply genetic.<br />

Other factors are linked to PCOS<br />

as well, including high levels of<br />

insulin in the body.<br />

“People with PCOS are<br />

often insulin resistant, which<br />

means your body does not<br />

effectively utilise the insulin you<br />

produce,” explains nutritional<br />

therapist Michele Scarr. “The<br />

body may try to increase the<br />

levels of insulin it produces to<br />

keep your blood sugar levels<br />

normal. Higher levels of insulin<br />

can lead to an increase of<br />

testosterone, which may disrupt<br />

the hormonal balance and<br />

exacerbate PCOS symptoms.”<br />

PCOS can be linked to<br />

your mental health<br />

Like many long-term health<br />

conditions, PCOS can impact both<br />

your mental and physical health.<br />

A study by the University of<br />

Cardiff found women with PCOS<br />

were more likely to be diagnosed<br />

with mental health conditions<br />

such as depression, bipolar<br />

disorder, and anxiety. While<br />

another study in the Journal of<br />

Pharmacy & BioAllied Sciences<br />

showed that 40% of those with<br />

PCOS can experience depression.<br />

There are a few reasons why<br />

that may be. PCOS is driven<br />

by hormones, so the altered<br />

hormonal levels may impact<br />

mental health. It may also be due<br />

to the stress and worry of living<br />

with PCOS – the unpredictable<br />

nature of periods, or undergoing<br />

fertility treatment to conceive.<br />

Those with PCOS still need<br />

to use contraceptives<br />

While having an irregular cycle<br />

could make trying for a baby<br />

more tricky, those with PCOS can<br />

still fall pregnant – so if that’s not<br />

on your agenda, contraception<br />

is important. The contraceptive<br />

pill is often used as this can also<br />

help regulate cycles in those<br />

with PCOS, but it may take some<br />

experimenting to find one that<br />

works best for you.<br />

“There is evidence that<br />

combined pills are beneficial<br />

for women with PCOS due to the<br />

oestrogen, which counteracts high<br />

testosterone levels and improves<br />

symptoms such as acne,” explains<br />

GP and medical director of The<br />

Lowdown, Dr Frances Yarlett.<br />

“However the progestogen part of<br />

the combined pill can also help to<br />

improve symptoms.”<br />

76 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com

food & health<br />

“Women with PCOS don’t burn<br />

off as much weight, even when<br />

they’re eating exactly the same<br />

amount of food compared to<br />

weight match controls,” explains<br />

Professor Colin Duncan of the<br />

University of Edinburgh.<br />

Remember though, your value<br />

is not determined by a number<br />

on a scale.<br />

PCOS symptoms may<br />

not disappear with the<br />

menopause<br />

PCOS is usually diagnosed in<br />

premenopausal women, but<br />

just because you stop having<br />

periods doesn’t necessarily mean<br />

your PCOS will stop. For those<br />

embarking on the menopause, it<br />

also brings additional challenges<br />

as symptoms can be similar.<br />

Whether you’re looking to<br />

regulate periods, or are trying to<br />

start a family, be sure to speak to<br />

your GP for support and advice on<br />

managing PCOS.<br />

A low-carbohydrate<br />

diet might help<br />

Given what we know about the<br />

role of insulin in PCOS there are<br />

studies that show following a lowcarbohydrate<br />

diet may help with<br />

this. But why?<br />

“Reducing refined carbs can<br />

help manage blood sugar, and also<br />

help with weight loss. Replacing<br />

refined carbohydrates with lower<br />

GI, high fibre options can slow<br />

down digestion and the release<br />

of glucose into the bloodstream,”<br />

says nutritionist Michele Scarr.<br />

PCOS can cause<br />

weight gain<br />

When insulin resistance occurs,<br />

the body produces higher<br />

levels than normal. This causes<br />

ovaries to produce too much<br />

testosterone, which can impact<br />

or prevent ovulation. This cycle<br />

happens to women with PCOS,<br />

and the extra insulin in the body<br />

can lead to weight gain, with<br />

studies showing that between<br />

40–80% of women with PCOS are<br />

‘overweight’. But, it’s important<br />

not to feel at blame for this.<br />

Jenna Farmer is a freelance<br />

journalist who specialises in<br />

writing about gut health. She has<br />

Crohn’s disease and blogs about her<br />

journey to improve gut health at<br />

abalancedbelly.co.uk<br />

Michele Scarr is a nutritional<br />

therapist and health coach. Find out<br />

more about PCOS support, and get<br />

in touch with Michele via<br />

nutritionist-resource.org.uk<br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 77

5 things you should know<br />

about group therapy<br />

Could group therapy be right for you? Here’s<br />

what really goes on during sessions<br />

Writing | Kathryn Wheeler<br />

Illustration | Rosan Magar<br />

Doing what it says on the<br />

tin, group therapy is a<br />

psychological therapy<br />

that takes place in a<br />

group setting, rather than oneto-one.<br />

Available on the NHS and<br />

privately, these sessions bring<br />

together people with similar<br />

problems, to create a supportive,<br />

inclusive environment.<br />

But what actually happens in<br />

them? Here, with the help of<br />

counsellor Nicola Ockwell, we<br />

explore five key questions about<br />

group therapy.<br />

What happens<br />

during a session?<br />

Though each group will vary<br />

slightly, they tend to have between<br />

five and 15 members, and last for<br />

about an hour once a week.<br />

“There are many different<br />

types of group therapy that<br />

target specific problems – such<br />

as anger, anxiety, addiction,<br />

depression, and bereavement<br />

to name a few,” Nicola explains.<br />

“They can be, but not always,<br />

run by qualified therapists, so<br />

the therapist or facilitator can<br />

support the group, as well as<br />

the group supporting each other<br />

– with the group becoming their<br />

own therapists, in a way.”<br />

Nicola explains that most<br />

sessions will start with a ‘checkin’,<br />

and finish with a ‘check-out’,<br />

bringing together everyone’s<br />

thoughts for the day – and it’s<br />

common for the group to agree a<br />

contract, e.g. approaching sessions<br />

with openness and honesty.<br />

Why do people attend?<br />

People attend therapy for a<br />

plethora of reasons, but the key<br />

reason someone might choose<br />

to go to a group session is for the<br />

safe, unifying space where they<br />

can connect with others going<br />

through similar things.<br />

“Using a collaborative approach<br />

is the ideal environment for<br />

working with CBT techniques such<br />

as worksheets, flip charts, and<br />

exercises to generate discussion,”<br />

Nicola says. “The activities will be<br />

designed to enable candidates to<br />

examine their current behaviour,<br />

so they can explore and contrast<br />

against each other.<br />

“The group tends to be quite a<br />

cathartic space for all involved.<br />

Members encourage each other to<br />

share views constructively, which<br />

can be useful for anyone wanting<br />

to challenge or change their<br />

behaviour patterns.<br />

“This also allows individuals<br />

to try different methods of<br />

communication, as well as<br />

experimenting with new skills and<br />

strategies already learnt in a safe,<br />

non-judgemental arena.”<br />

Who goes to group therapy?<br />

“Those who are ready to work<br />

on their particular issue, and are<br />

open to sharing their thoughts,<br />

and feelings within a group<br />

dynamic, will benefit from<br />

group therapy,” says Nicola. She<br />

highlights how group therapy may<br />

also be more accessible than oneto-one<br />

sessions, with many taking<br />

place in the evenings and being<br />

more affordable.<br />

“Some people may find this form<br />

of therapy less daunting, as they<br />

are not alone and feel the support<br />

from group members,” Nicola<br />

continues. “It can be a great place<br />

to meet new people in similar<br />

circumstances, so it can be a safe<br />

environment where you can gain<br />

78 | Septemeber <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com

wellbeing<br />

confidence in social situations,<br />

and also find validation in other’s<br />

perspectives.”<br />

What are the challenges?<br />

While there are plenty of benefits<br />

to attending group therapy, it’s<br />

also worth being aware of the<br />

unique challenges to decide if it’s<br />

the right option for you.<br />

“This environment might be<br />

difficult if you have issues with<br />

speaking in front of people you<br />

don’t know well,” Nicola explains.<br />

“Sharing difficult emotions won’t<br />

be easy, but this improves as<br />

you start to know other group<br />

members better. No one should<br />

feel they have to speak if they<br />

don’t want to.”<br />

Nicola also states that group<br />

therapy is not advisable for those<br />

who are suicidal, in crisis, or<br />

experiencing psychosis – as these<br />

conditions need professional<br />

help via a GP or psychiatrist.<br />

What are the benefits?<br />

“It’s a good place to get to know<br />

others and yourself, to try out<br />

different techniques with the<br />

group first, and then implement<br />

them into your world outside of<br />

the group,” Nicola says.<br />

“It might be daunting initially,<br />

but the benefits can be fruitful<br />

and you might gain some friends<br />

as well! Group therapy can be as<br />

effective as individual therapy<br />

sessions, and can also provide a<br />

sense of belonging.”<br />

If you struggle with feelings<br />

of isolation, this unique<br />

environment could be a good<br />

option for you. And beyond that,<br />

you could help someone else, too.<br />

“Sharing experiences and<br />

listening to each other’s narrative<br />

can be beneficial, helping<br />

members to evaluate their<br />

own thoughts, feelings and<br />

behaviours, leading to greater<br />

self-development,” Nicola says.<br />

“This stimulating and challenging<br />

environment can be mutually<br />

beneficial, where new ideas and<br />

ways of being can be observed,<br />

as well as experimenting with<br />

new skills and strategies already<br />

learnt in a safe, non-judgemental<br />

arena – which can feel both<br />

rewarding and supportive.”<br />

Nicola Ockwell is a counsellor<br />

with experience working with<br />

groups. Find out more by visiting<br />

counselling-directory.org.uk<br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 79

80 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com

Do<br />

yourself<br />

proud<br />

Learn how to let go of self-deprecation, and<br />

instead talk positively about your achievements<br />

Writing | Caroline Butterwick<br />

Most of us have<br />

been there: you<br />

are introduced to<br />

someone new as,<br />

“A talented writer/accountant/<br />

marketer/musician” etc. Rather<br />

than accept the compliment,<br />

chances are you swiftly downplay<br />

your strengths, and feel a little<br />

embarrassed. But why are we so<br />

quick to respond this way when<br />

we talk about our achievements?<br />

It’s a scenario that’s very<br />

familiar to me. Anxiety about<br />

sharing my successes has meant<br />

I’ve missed out on opportunities,<br />

including a promotion at work<br />

and celebrating good news with<br />

friends. It also made it harder<br />

for me to see myself in a positive<br />

light, increasing my feelings<br />

of imposter syndrome and<br />

affecting my self-confidence.<br />

Eventually, I realised I needed<br />

to start talking about myself in<br />

a better way – from challenging<br />

the perfectionist mindset that<br />

had me doubting my abilities<br />

to overcoming anxieties about<br />

seeming boastful.<br />

Acknowledging<br />

successes to ourselves<br />

To help understand why many of<br />

us struggle to talk positively about<br />

our achievements – and what we<br />

can do to change this – I spoke to<br />

life coach Denise Bosque.<br />

“Often, when we receive a<br />

compliment we feel awkward, as<br />

if we don’t deserve it, thinking,<br />

‘after all, it’s only me’,” explains<br />

Denise. “This thinking is<br />

prevalent in our culture, and is<br />

limiting to both our self-esteem,<br />

and our confidence. Deep down,<br />

we usually think we aren’t good<br />

enough, as if the good piece of<br />

work we did was more of a ‘fluke’<br />

than our efforts.”<br />

Denise’s words ring true<br />

for me. Whenever I receive a<br />

compliment, my mind jumps to<br />

why it isn’t true. I think about<br />

the faults or the mistakes I’ve<br />

made, and almost feel like a<br />

fraud for being congratulated.<br />

This perfectionist mindset makes<br />

it harder to accept praise or to<br />

share successes, because I’m too<br />

focused on the reasons I feel I<br />

don’t deserve it.<br />

But having the confidence to talk<br />

positively about our achievements<br />

to others can become easier when<br />

we start to acknowledge these<br />

successes to ourselves. “People<br />

worry so much about what other<br />

people might think,” says Denise. >>><br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 81

“We have to approve of ourselves<br />

first, instead of waiting for<br />

validation outside of ourselves.”<br />

“Often, when<br />

we receive a<br />

compliment we<br />

feel awkward,<br />

as if we don’t<br />

deserve it “<br />

Taking Denise’s advice, I try to<br />

approve of myself first. I take<br />

some time to look back through<br />

some of my work, and make<br />

a point of acknowledging the<br />

positives in what I see. I also<br />

think about my successes,<br />

reading through my published<br />

writing. I surprise myself by<br />

enjoying the experience and,<br />

by the end of it, I’m struck<br />

by how I feel more positively<br />

about myself as a writer.<br />

The rejections that come<br />

with a writing life seem less<br />

important, less dominating, as<br />

I acknowledge the positives.<br />

Try taking time to<br />

acknowledge your own<br />

successes. Set aside half an hour<br />

or so and write a list of your<br />

achievements. At first, it may<br />

feel challenging or forced, but<br />

as you get going you may find<br />

the words flow. Include things<br />

that might seem small, but are<br />

still important to you. This act<br />

of self-approval can boost your<br />

confidence and, in turn, makes<br />

it easier to then share your<br />

successes with others.<br />

Denise assures me that the<br />

more we start to talk more<br />

positively about ourselves, the<br />

easier it gets. “Your light will<br />

begin to shine, and people will<br />

take notice,” she says. “Also,<br />

you are more likely to be seen<br />

as a person who is capable and<br />

confident, putting you in the<br />

forefront for any promotions.<br />

Each time we do this, our selfworth<br />

grows along with our<br />

confidence.” Talking positively<br />

about ourselves and being open<br />

about our successes can help<br />

us feel better within ourselves,<br />

as well as open doors to new<br />

82 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com

positive pointers<br />

“ All our self-worth and esteem<br />

should be sky-high, so that we ride the<br />

disappointments and the glories with ease ”<br />

opportunities. And sometimes<br />

it can be the simple joy of<br />

getting to celebrate something<br />

we’re proud of with others.<br />

Overcome worries<br />

about boasting<br />

So how can we approach taking<br />

this next step? One of the main<br />

worries I have about sharing<br />

successes is that it’ll seem like<br />

I’m showing off. “A much better<br />

way to think about receiving<br />

a compliment is that you are<br />

being honest, and it’s OK to<br />

acknowledge that you also<br />

thought you did a good job. It<br />

doesn’t mean it’s boastful, it’s<br />

confident,” says Denise. “This is<br />

resilience, and very necessary to<br />

lead a balanced life. As humans,<br />

we are supposed to be growing,<br />

doing our best, and recognising<br />

our strengths and weaknesses.”<br />

Many of us worry about<br />

seeming boastful and the need<br />

to be modest. But maybe we’re<br />

too focused on that concern,<br />

to the point where we devalue<br />

our successes. “We feel it’s<br />

‘bad’ to sound like we are<br />

boasting and being big-headed<br />

– particularly women. It’s<br />

conditioning,” Denise tells me.<br />

“All our self-worth and esteem<br />

should be sky-high, so that we<br />

ride the disappointments and<br />

the glories with ease.”<br />

Trying it out<br />

Denise recommends that we<br />

rehearse accepting a compliment<br />

or saying we did something well<br />

to ourselves. It may feel a little<br />

awkward practising this, but it’ll<br />

help it to become second nature.<br />

It also helps affirm this positive<br />

idea in our mind, making us<br />

more confident in the words<br />

we’re saying, so we really believe<br />

in them.<br />

I follow Denise’s advice and try<br />

talking through my successes<br />

to myself. Sure, it does feel<br />

a little strange, but there is<br />

also something nice about<br />

acknowledging these positives.<br />

Afterwards, I go out for dinner<br />

with friends. I’m nervous about<br />

sharing some recent good career<br />

news. The usual doubts niggle<br />

in my mind: “What if they think<br />

I’m boasting, or dominating the<br />

conversation? What if I’m not<br />

actually good enough?” But then<br />

I think about how important this<br />

news is to me, and how hard<br />

I’ve worked for it. I think about<br />

times these friends have told me<br />

their own good news, and how<br />

I’ve always felt happy for them<br />

and glad to be able to share in<br />

their successes. Maybe it’ll be<br />

the same for me?<br />

So I give it a go. I tell them<br />

my good news. I don’t add a<br />

caveat of, “But I also had lots of<br />

rejections!” I don’t apologise. I<br />

don’t do anything to diminish<br />

what I’m saying.<br />

And the result? Genuine smiles<br />

and congratulations. They ask<br />

me more about it, and I actually<br />

enjoy this opportunity to talk<br />

about my passion. I thank them<br />

for their compliments, and<br />

resist the usual urge to be overly<br />

modest. Afterwards, I like I’ve<br />

not just shared good news, but<br />

I’ve shared something of myself –<br />

something important to me with<br />

people that I care about. And it’s a<br />

wonderful feeling.<br />

Denise Bosque is a life coach,<br />

clinical hypnotherapist, master NLP<br />

practitioner, EMDR practitioner, and<br />

mindfulness teacher. Find out more by<br />

visiting lifecoach-directory.org.uk<br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 83

Phrases to<br />

de-escalate conflict<br />

When emotions are running high, how we express<br />

ourselves can help keep difficult conversations<br />

productive and kind. Try using these phrases to<br />

keep the peace, without neglecting your needs<br />

I don’t feel<br />

comfortable<br />

responding to that<br />

now, I need some<br />

time to think it over<br />

My understanding of what<br />

you’re saying is…<br />

I appreciate that<br />

you’re willing to have<br />

this conversation<br />

with me<br />

Is this something that we<br />

need to agree on?<br />

I’m curious<br />

as to why<br />

you feel<br />

that way?<br />

It’s important that I set<br />

boundaries, and that<br />

you respect them<br />

Does what I’m saying<br />

sound reasonable<br />

to you?<br />

I would prefer<br />

to return to this<br />

conversation when<br />

we’re both feeling<br />

less emotional<br />

I would prefer it if we both tried to<br />

keep a calm tone during this talk<br />

I’m here to<br />

listen to you,<br />

and then I<br />

would like you<br />

to listen to me<br />

84 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com

elationships<br />

Family matters<br />

Family bonds often run the deepest, which is why it’s all the more painful<br />

when they break down. Here, with the help of a counsellor, we explore<br />

how to navigate difficult family relationships<br />

Writing | Kathryn Wheeler<br />

Families: they’re not always<br />

easy. Separation, blended<br />

households, addictions,<br />

mental illness, money<br />

problems, betrayal, expectations,<br />

communication, or simply<br />

clashing personalities – there is an<br />

unlimited number of reasons why<br />

relationships might break down.<br />

“Families bring us joy, and better<br />

health and wellbeing, but they<br />

can also be the source of distress,”<br />

says counsellor Pam Custers.<br />

“Navigating family life is a process<br />

of being able to create a healthy<br />

connection that can tolerate<br />

challenges, without destroying<br />

the intimate connections that<br />

families bring – those of love,<br />

respect, and support.”<br />

As Pam explains, when family<br />

relationships are good, they can<br />

bring us a plethora of benefits,<br />

including improving our ability<br />

to cope with stress, boosting our<br />

self-esteem, and encouraging us<br />

to engage in healthy behaviours.<br />

Strong bonds uplift us, playing a<br />

huge role in our daily lives, even<br />

operating unconsciously under<br />

the surface.<br />

“We are literally wired to<br />

connect to our family,” Pam says.<br />

“This bonding process develops<br />

through both our relationships<br />

with our partner and children,<br />

with what is termed ‘the parental<br />

caregiver attachment’. We are<br />

able to see via brain scans that,<br />

when we are with our loved ones,<br />

our anxiety levels reduce and<br />

we start producing feel-good<br />

hormones. So when these close<br />

relationships are in a state of<br />

flux, we will be physically and<br />

mentally impacted.”<br />

But in addition to what’s<br />

happening on a psychological<br />

level, there’s also a lot of social<br />

pressure that comes with family<br />

life. Films, TV shows, novels,<br />

and advertisements all play on<br />

ideals about family structures<br />

and relationships, let alone other<br />

cultural values that many of us<br />

have faced throughout our lives.<br />

With all this to contend with, the<br />

‘right way’ to run a family can<br />

become a sticking point.<br />

“Couples inevitably come<br />

from different family operating<br />

systems,” Pam says. “There<br />

can often be a clash in how<br />

they both wish ‘their’ family<br />

to operate. Finding a way to<br />

co-create a way that ‘their’<br />

family will operate is part of the<br />

process of creating their own<br />

legacy for their children. >>><br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 85

Our families<br />

bring us joy, and<br />

better health and<br />

wellbeing, but they<br />

can also be the<br />

source of distress<br />

“A lack of communication can<br />

also get in the way of strong<br />

family relationships. Often we<br />

presume we understand or know<br />

what the other person is thinking<br />

– learning to listen carefully is<br />

something many people struggle<br />

with. We need to be able to<br />

discuss sensitive topics. Conflict<br />

is normal but, without good<br />

listening and understanding, we<br />

can become stuck.”<br />

When conflict escalates, it can<br />

sometimes result in the total<br />

breakdown of communication.<br />

According family estrangement<br />

charity Stand Alone, 8% of people<br />

surveyed had cut contact with<br />

a family member, leading the<br />

organisation to predict that this<br />

translates to at least five million<br />

people in the UK, with one in five<br />

families affected.<br />

Going ‘no contact’ is, for some,<br />

the healthiest decision. But that<br />

isn’t to say it’s easy, and Stand<br />

Alone provides help for those who<br />

are struggling with this. More<br />

broadly, you can also search for<br />

support groups in your local area<br />

and online – for everything from<br />

caring for elderly parents, to<br />

blended families, those touched<br />

by addiction, and more.<br />

86 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com

elationships<br />

Keeping the peace<br />

Pam Custers’ tips for smoothing out conflict within your family:<br />

1. Try having “we” conversations. “How should we tackle this problem?”<br />

This builds and strengthens connections.<br />

2. Be flexible.<br />

3. Make time to communicate. Not just to talk, but also to listen.<br />

4. Keep a sense of humour.<br />

5. Make kindness a central value in your family.<br />

If things take a turn for the<br />

worse, considering all those<br />

expectations we have to contend<br />

with, it’s easy to see how<br />

the breakdown of a familial<br />

relationship can come with a<br />

degree of shame – as it appears<br />

everyone around you is getting it<br />

consistently right. But the truth<br />

is, that’s probably not the case.<br />

“We all go into family life with<br />

our own sense of how it should<br />

be,” says Pam. “And so we can<br />

become disillusioned when the<br />

idealised version of family life<br />

is not the reality. Relationships<br />

are messy, and we need to be<br />

able to ride the waves. Behind<br />

all those white picket fences,<br />

there are families who are also<br />

going through challenging times.<br />

Keeping expectations realistic<br />

takes the pressure off family<br />

dynamics.”<br />

In the UK, ‘family’ has many<br />

different variations. According<br />

to gov.uk statistics, between<br />

2014 and 2020, there were 2.4<br />

million separated families in<br />

Great Britain, and when the ONS<br />

last ran an analysis in 2009, 9%<br />

of all children in England and<br />

Wales, 1.1 million, were living<br />

with a stepfamily. The reality<br />

is no two families are the same,<br />

and releasing the pressure to<br />

present a ‘perfect family’ could be<br />

an important step in letting go of<br />

relationships that are damaging.<br />

What can’t be addressed with<br />

mutual compassion and a<br />

willingness to listen, could be<br />

aided with family counselling or<br />

group therapy. You may also want<br />

to spend some time reflecting on<br />

your relationship with the idea<br />

of family, and the role that then<br />

plays in how you make decisions<br />

going forward. Truthfully, very few<br />

people’s situations match a perfect<br />

deck of ‘Happy Families’, but we’re<br />

complex human beings, not neat<br />

illustrations. We go through tough<br />

times. We learn, evolve, and – with<br />

the right support – flourish.<br />

Pam Custers is the founder of<br />

The Relationship Practice, and<br />

specialises in supporting clients to<br />

create relationships that thrive.<br />

Find out more by visiting<br />

counselling-directory.org.uk<br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 87



Nearly 1 in 2 people feel more self-doubt than self-love. *<br />

We believe that Self Love is our superpower and it’s time to act.<br />

Join the uprising at www.thebodyshop.com<br />

*A global report conducted by The Body Shop between November 22 and December 8, 2020 across 21 countries. To find out more go to www.thebodyshop.com<br />

© <strong>2021</strong> The Body Shop International Limited All rights reserved Absolutely no reproduction without the permission of the owners<br />

88 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com

memory lane<br />

One Hundred<br />

Years: That’s life<br />

We speak to Jenny Lewis, the portrait<br />

photographer who captured images of<br />

100 people from ages 0–100, about the<br />

things ageing teaches us about life<br />

Writing | Kathryn Wheeler<br />

Aroko is a one year<br />

old, and doesn’t have<br />

much to say. “Daddy.”<br />

reads the quote next to<br />

his portrait – the second in a lineup<br />

of photographs spanning the ages<br />

0–100. The collection is the latest<br />

endeavour by portrait photographer<br />

Jenny Lewis, who has spent the past<br />

three years capturing people in her<br />

local community of Hackney, in<br />

London – the results published in<br />

a book, One Hundred Years: Portraits<br />

of a community aged 0–100. On the<br />

pages, next to striking, candid shots,<br />

subjects share revealing quotes and<br />

short stories from their lives, each<br />

one as touching as the next.<br />

“I had spent five years working<br />

with women the day they had<br />

a baby, another five years<br />

photographing<br />

artists in their<br />

studios, and I<br />

suppose I lifted my<br />

head from these two<br />

long-term projects<br />

and wondered what else was<br />

going on at the other two ends<br />

of the timeline,” says Jenny, as<br />

she points to where the project<br />

began. “Looking back, I may have<br />

also been questioning my own<br />

mortality, and the vulnerability of<br />

being human. A few close friends<br />

my age had died of cancer, and<br />

my dad had been very ill. I also<br />

had come to terms with my own<br />

autoimmune disease, rheumatoid<br />

arthritis, so I think I may have<br />

just wanted to figure out what<br />

was possibly coming next, and to<br />

Aroko<br />

reflect on what had passed. I’m<br />

in my late 40s now, so it felt like<br />

a good time to look around and<br />

find out how other people were<br />

managing.”<br />

It’s a natural journey, one that<br />

many people may be able to<br />

relate to – when we experience<br />

bereavement, trauma, and<br />

grief, we might find ourselves<br />

reflecting on our lives, our<br />

priorities, and our hopes, desires,<br />

and goals. A sentiment that is<br />

perfectly, and simply, captured by<br />

Jenny’s 49-year-old subject Shana. >>><br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 89

Their lives can<br />

move from extreme<br />

arcs of happiness<br />

to sadness, and the<br />

other way round,<br />

but they do find a<br />

way through it<br />

Shana<br />

“I’ve had five brain surgeries. I<br />

chose to do life. For my children,<br />

for me, for people around me, I<br />

chose to do life. I have found that<br />

by doing so, life is great,” she says.<br />

“It seems it really isn’t about<br />

age,” Jenny explains, when asked<br />

what the process of creating<br />

One Hundred Years taught her.<br />

“Everyone is on a unique<br />

journey, and at different stages<br />

at different times. But I was<br />

surprised, I suppose, at how<br />

interested and interesting the<br />

older subjects were – and at their<br />

enjoyment of life – as much as the<br />

youngsters surprised me at how<br />

articulate they could be, and their<br />

understanding of who they were<br />

at such an early age. I felt you<br />

could learn so much from anyone.<br />

People are always so much more<br />

than you might think.”<br />

“I’m happiest when hanging<br />

out with my best mate, Stanley,”<br />

reads the quote next to 14-year-<br />

old Arran, who is just one of<br />

many examples of such insight.<br />

“The more you’ve been through,<br />

the harder it gets to carry alone,<br />

and when you have someone<br />

that knows you as well as me and<br />

Stanley know each other, you can<br />

share that weight.”<br />

That gentle resilience in Arran’s<br />

example is a theme Jenny quickly<br />

began to spot throughout her<br />

subjects. “Their lives can move<br />

from extreme arcs of happiness<br />

to sadness, and the other way<br />

round, but they do find a way<br />

through it,” she says. “Some of<br />

the stories are of strength, or<br />

difficult childhoods, but seeing<br />

the joy that can be found later was<br />

incredibly inspiring. The strength<br />

of the project is the people in<br />

it, but I didn’t know what they<br />

were going to talk about till we<br />

started talking, which made me<br />

realise there’s always something<br />

bubbling underneath the surface.”<br />

Hyacinth<br />

90 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com

memory lane<br />

Leo<br />

‘I never really experienced anxiety<br />

until I was 24. I was so confident,<br />

then suddenly I’m like this anxious<br />

mess, and now I’m, like, freaking<br />

out. It’s weird. I think maybe it’s a<br />

lot to do with fear of the future. It’s<br />

a big shift in energy or something.’<br />

– Leo, 26 years old<br />

When asked if she had a favourite<br />

subject, Jenny’s answer was a firm<br />

“absolutely not”. For her, they all<br />

came together to build something<br />

stronger: “The portrait of a<br />

community, with 100 faces, but all<br />

part of the same thing.<br />

“Photographing and interviewing<br />

someone is quite an intimate act.<br />

Working on this series, I really got<br />

a sense that there are no strangers,<br />

just people you haven’t had the<br />

time to get to know yet,” Jenny<br />

says. “I love spending time with<br />

new people, and seeing them open<br />

up and share a little of themselves.<br />

I enjoy the listening, and they<br />

seem to enjoy the collaboration. I<br />

want more of this, please… More<br />

human interaction. It’s the energy<br />

we need to stay interested in each<br />

other. The more you talk to people<br />

you don’t know, the more it feels<br />

natural, and what’s better than a<br />

conversation where you have no<br />

idea where it will lead?”<br />

But as well as the profound,<br />

the philosophical, and the<br />

unexpected, the seemingly<br />

mundane aspects of the human<br />

experience shine through<br />

emotively, as demonstrated by<br />

many of the subjects, including<br />

88-year-old Hyacinth: “I used to<br />

love dancing. I used to go to six<br />

dances in one night and then not<br />

get up till three on a Sunday. Then<br />

I reached an age where I say, this<br />

is not for me. Take it easy.”<br />

Life is often far from linear.<br />

We go down side paths, make<br />

leaps forward, and perhaps take<br />

steps back again. In One Hundred<br />

Years, each story comes together<br />

to create one journey, a human<br />

journey, and Jenny wants to take<br />

readers there – as she did herself.<br />

“Listen to the voices, stories,<br />

and opinions that may trigger<br />

memories and reflections of your<br />

own lives, or open up new ways<br />

of thinking,” Jenny says. “I want<br />

to encourage people to drop the<br />

prejudices we all carry and how<br />

we guess what people are like<br />

from just looking at them – you<br />

have to make time to listen.”<br />

‘One Hundred Years: Portraits of a<br />

community aged 0–100’ by Jenny<br />

Lewis (Hoxton Mini Press) is out now.<br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 91

Creative activities<br />

to plot your life<br />

Carve out some time to reflect on where your<br />

happiness lies, with these practical tasks<br />

Writing | Caroline Butterwick<br />

Illustrating | Rosan Magar<br />

Whether it’s to<br />

celebrate a<br />

milestone, or if<br />

you just want to<br />

take some time to reflect, there<br />

are lots of creative activities we<br />

can do to revisit our memories.<br />

The following are great ways to<br />

explore the things that we have<br />

experienced so far – they can<br />

help us plot our lives and assess<br />

where our happiness lies, and<br />

think about what we<br />

would like to<br />

take with us<br />

as we look<br />

ahead.<br />

Start a scrapbook<br />

or create a collage<br />

Do you have drawers full of<br />

yellowing ticket stubs from gigs<br />

you’ve enjoyed, or postcards<br />

collected over the years? A<br />

scrapbook is a wonderful way<br />

of making the most of these<br />

mementoes. Spend some time<br />

organising them into themes<br />

– maybe those that relate to a<br />

holiday, or which you associate with<br />

friendships – and then have fun<br />

pasting them onto the pages.<br />

There are great resources<br />

online on how to get started<br />

with scrapbooking if you need<br />

some inspiration, such as<br />

everything-about-scrapbooking.com.<br />

Alternatively, you could make a<br />

collage that captures a time in your<br />

life, perhaps incorporating other<br />

items such as newspaper cuttings<br />

that resonate with you. As you put<br />

together your scrapbook or collage,<br />

think about why these items matter<br />

to you, perhaps writing reflections<br />

about the things you’re including.<br />

Keep what you make safe so you<br />

can look back at it whenever you<br />

want a reminder of the people and<br />

places you care about.<br />

Craft a creative family tree<br />

Most of us are familiar with the<br />

idea of a family tree that traces<br />

our relatives, but how about<br />

crafting a creative family tree?<br />

This is a fun activity to do with<br />

a child, and can be a way of

memory lane<br />

Think about what you would like<br />

to leave in the past, and what you<br />

would like to take forward<br />

thinking about what the people<br />

in our lives mean to us, and<br />

treasuring those relationships.<br />

To start, sketch out a tree on a<br />

large sheet of paper, with branches<br />

that represent your relationship to<br />

each family member, writing their<br />

names in the appropriate place.<br />

Next, draw or write things that you<br />

associate with each person by their<br />

name. Maybe a delicious apple<br />

crumble comes to mind when you<br />

think of your aunt, or relaxing on<br />

the beach with your cousin.<br />

Of course, not all family<br />

relationships are easy, and not all<br />

associations positive. If that’s the<br />

case, you may decide to focus your<br />

tree on those who you feel positively<br />

towards, reminding yourself of all<br />

the good in your life. Or how about<br />

making a tree that celebrates your<br />

close friendships instead?<br />

Photo albums<br />

One of the most well-established<br />

ways of preserving memories is<br />

with photo albums. But in our time<br />

of smartphones and social media,<br />

many of us have forgotten the simple<br />

joy of carefully positioning printed<br />

photos into an album, or flicking<br />

through old ones and smiling at the<br />

memories and our questionable<br />

fashion choices of yesteryear.<br />

There are lots of services that<br />

let you upload your digital photos<br />

to be turned into physical prints.<br />

Once they arrived, give yourself<br />

an afternoon to fill a photo<br />

album. Try taking a mindful<br />

approach, focusing on<br />

the feelings that come<br />

with each photo, the<br />

associations held within<br />

each image, and the<br />

memories they bring.<br />

Get nostalgic with music<br />

Music has an amazing power to<br />

remind us of people and places.<br />

Perhaps there’s a song that<br />

always makes you smile because<br />

you danced to it at a friend’s<br />

wedding or a family party (‘Mr<br />

Brightside’, anyone?).<br />

Try putting together a playlist<br />

to revisit old favourites. Or<br />

find out what music matters to<br />

your loved ones – this is a great<br />

chance to bond over a surprise<br />

shared song, and to learn<br />

something new about those<br />

we’re close to.<br />

Write a letter to<br />

your younger self<br />

Writing a letter to your younger<br />

self is a chance to think about the<br />

ways you’ve developed in the years<br />

since, the achievements you’ve<br />

celebrated, the lessons you’ve<br />

learnt, and advice you’d give.<br />

Think back five or 10 years, or<br />

longer if you like, and consider<br />

how your life is different now.<br />

Some things may be harder,<br />

and that’s OK – but some<br />

things may have changed for<br />

the better. What do you wish<br />

you had known back then?<br />

What advice do you have? Be<br />

compassionate to the younger<br />

you as you write. You could also<br />

write a letter to your future self,<br />

capturing your current hopes<br />

and ambitions.<br />

Use this letter writing as a<br />

chance to think about what you<br />

would like to leave in the past,<br />

and what you would like to take<br />

forward with you.<br />

SIDE<br />

1<br />

C90<br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 93

Memories of our lives,<br />

of our works and our deeds<br />

will continue in others<br />


94 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com<br />

Photography | Alexandre Debiève

true story<br />

Content warning: this piece<br />

include details of self-harm<br />

The light after the darkness<br />

Victoria struggled with self-harm and an eating disorder for years. But<br />

with the help of a strong support system, she learned to live alongside<br />

her depression, and a new hobby ignited a sense of hope for the future<br />

Writing | Victoria Hennison<br />

I<br />

will never forget the very first time I selfharmed.<br />

I was 13, and I needed an outlet,<br />

a way to set the torment in my mind free.<br />

Somewhere in the darkest part of my mind,<br />

it made sense that allowing the blood to flow<br />

would make me feel better – and it did, but as I<br />

stared at the droplets of blood, I felt trapped, as<br />

though I had just created a prison for myself.<br />

In some ways, the self-harm had a voice. It was<br />

comforting because it seemed to understand,<br />

but it fed off the lies the depression told me,<br />

and I felt overwhelmingly worthless.<br />

My mind filled with questions of: ‘Who am I?’,<br />

‘Why am I alive’, ‘Why would anyone love me?’<br />

I struggled for years. Self-harming became the<br />

coping mechanism that got me through the<br />

days. It was controlled, and I felt it was the one<br />

thing I had power over.<br />

In 2003, I decided that my body image was<br />

the reason I was depressed, the reason my life<br />

was going nowhere. I had just turned 21, and<br />

I thought that if I could look amazing, then I<br />

would be a success, and then I would be happy.<br />

It started off as healthy changes – good, fresh<br />

food and exercise. The number on the scales<br />

went down – it was an amazing feeling – and, in<br />

my head, the bigger the loss the greater the good<br />

feeling, so I went a day or two without eating<br />

and pushed myself harder.<br />

Initially, I saw changes in the mirror and I was<br />

feeling good, but then my view changed. No<br />

matter how low the scales went, no matter how<br />

little I ate, I was repulsed by my own reflection.<br />

When I started hiding food, pretending I’d<br />

eaten it, and struggled to even take a bite of an<br />

apple, I realised it had become something far<br />

more sinister. I wasn’t in control anymore; the<br />

darkness had introduced me to a new ally, but it<br />

wasn’t my friend.<br />

I was miserable, but then the world gave me<br />

a lifeline. It was 2004, and I found love and<br />

acceptance. It wasn’t an easy road; I refused<br />

to need someone, but somehow, no matter<br />

how hard I pushed him away, he pushed back,<br />

harder. Little by little, he broke down my walls,<br />

and as each piece was dismantled I found myself<br />

again. The insecurities fell away, and he gave<br />

me my fight back. It wasn’t anything he did, he<br />

was just there loving me for me, making me feel<br />

beautiful. It was the support, having a rock I<br />

could lean on, someone who would catch me if I<br />

fell while telling me I could fly. >>><br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 95

Victoria’s husband has been her rock<br />

Two years later, we got married. It was a day<br />

of pure happiness. The darkness was nowhere<br />

to be found and, as we walked hand in hand, I<br />

knew we would never let each other go.<br />

Now, 14 years later, we are still as happy as we<br />

ever were, and have a family of our own. Life<br />

is in a very different place now. It’s not always<br />

buttercups and daisies, but I am in control of<br />

my demons. They are in the darkest corners of<br />

my mind, I am aware of them, and occasionally<br />

they make their presence felt; the darkness still<br />

lingers like an uninvited guest.<br />

After all these years, though I know myself<br />

better now, I accept that when the darkness is<br />

present, and my world feels flat, it isn’t always<br />

linked to anything in particular, it just exists. I<br />

now focus my energy on something positive, I<br />

think about things I may want in life, or dreams<br />

I can fulfil – and although I acknowledge the<br />

depression, it no longer consumes me. My pain<br />

becomes constructive rather than destructive.<br />

Last year, I needed to find myself again. It’s<br />

easy in life, especially when you have children,<br />

to feel a little lost. My youngest was starting<br />

school and I was feeling redundant. I decided<br />

I’d do something for myself, so I started writing,<br />

letting my imagination run away, creating<br />

characters, and escaping into other worlds.<br />

Then I happened across a blog post asking<br />

for submissions for a new book series called<br />

Hometown Tales. I filled pages with childhood<br />

adventures, but then I hit a point in my life<br />

where the joy of nostalgia disappeared. I could<br />

choose to continue on a different track or I could<br />

write my truth on the page. I did just that, I laid<br />

my life bare and it felt good; I never dreamed it<br />

would be accepted for publication so I just wrote<br />

it for me. It was honest and raw.<br />

I wasn’t in control<br />

anymore; the darkness had<br />

introduced me to a new<br />

ally, but it wasn’t my friend<br />

My tale was accepted, and as the realisation hit<br />

that my darkest secrets would be out there in<br />

the world, I was terrified of the judgements. But<br />

writing my truth gave me a newfound strength,<br />

and as the editing process went along, I finally<br />

felt free. I realised how dark my life once was, and<br />

96 | September <strong>2021</strong> | <strong>happiful</strong>.com

true story<br />

Writing gave Victoria a new-found strength<br />

I realised how dark my life<br />

once was, and how much<br />

light I now had in my life<br />

how much light I now had. I began to see who I<br />

was, and that the battles I had faced had made me<br />

stronger. I felt unashamed; I was a survivor.<br />

Writing the book changed my life, it took my<br />

nightmares and changed them into dreams:<br />

the dream of having my name on the cover of<br />

a book, the dream of being free, the dream of<br />

finding out who I am.<br />

I remembered how alone I had felt, that feeling<br />

of isolation when the world appeared to be<br />

bobbing along perfectly, yet I was falling apart. I<br />

wanted to stand tall and shout from the rooftops<br />

that life can get better. I wish I had a magic wand<br />

and all the answers, but I don’t, although I do<br />

know talking helps.<br />

I held my secret all my life; I thought keeping<br />

it to myself was strength, but speaking out made<br />

me stronger. I don’t deny my feelings now, I<br />

acknowledge them rather than trying to lock<br />

them away.<br />

Life might sometimes appear perfect, but I do<br />

still struggle. I have many things I’m grateful for,<br />

things to be overjoyed about, and I’m lucky to<br />

have my husband and children by my side – they<br />

are my light in the dark, and now my husband<br />

holds the umbrella while I dance in the rain.<br />


Growing up, Victoria struggled with her self-image,<br />

and with questions around her identity and selfacceptance.<br />

Self-harming and an eating disorder<br />

became a way to cope, even when she realised the<br />

harm these unhealthy outlets were causing her.<br />

A turning point came when Victoria met her<br />

husband, who offered the time, support, and love<br />

she needed to recover and cope. The negativity<br />

didn’t disappear completely, but an opportunity<br />

to write about it helped, and offered<br />

hope to others. As Victoria<br />

notes, often speaking out about<br />

our fears and anxieties to a<br />

friend or confidant can make us<br />

stronger.<br />

Graeme Orr | MBACP (Accred) counsellor<br />

<strong>happiful</strong>.com | September <strong>2021</strong> | 97

That kinda’ week<br />

It’s easy to take on the weight of the world’s problems –<br />

but, sometimes, stopping to notice the positive changes<br />

we can make to our communities, and in the lives of loved<br />

ones, makes all the difference. Next time you want to<br />

embrace some positivity, try these kindness challenges<br />

Give someone a<br />

compliment that<br />

isn’t focused on<br />

how they look<br />

Just finished a<br />

great book? Pass it<br />

on to someone you<br />

think will enjoy it<br />

If you’re heading<br />

on a walk, pop<br />

on some gloves,<br />

grab a rubbish<br />

bag, and collect<br />

litter as you go<br />

Make a loved one<br />

a playlist of songs<br />

that remind you<br />

of times you’ve<br />

spent together<br />

Buy some extra<br />

food and put it<br />

in the food bank<br />

collection box at<br />

the supermarket<br />

Send ‘thank you’ notes<br />

to people who have<br />

helped you<br />

Put loose change<br />

into a public charity<br />

box, or dedicate<br />

a collection jar at<br />

home and donate the<br />

contents once it’s full<br />

Offer to teach<br />

someone a skill – it<br />

could be a hobby,<br />

a favourite dish, or<br />

even a life hack!

Join us for Happiful Afternoons<br />

Wellbeing by the Lakes, Dorset | 8-12 September<br />

We’re over the moon to be partnering with Wellbeing by the Lakes to curate and<br />

programme Happiful Afternoons on the Riverside Stage. Festival-goers will hear from Happiful<br />

writers, best-selling authors, life coaches, counsellors, wellbeing experts, and movement mentors.<br />

Join us for much-needed time out, relaxation, reinvigoration, and inspiration!<br />







Day<br />

tickets<br />

£12.50<br />

BEFORE YOU GO...<br />



And much, much more…<br />

wellbeingbythelakes.co.uk | @wellbeingbythelakes<br />

Sculpture by the Lakes, Pallington Lakes, Dorchester DT2 8QU<br />

On site parking available | Nearest train station: Dorchester (taxi ride from here)




The Happiful App<br />

Happiful App is a product from the Happiful family, which includes: Counselling Directory, Life Coach Directory, Hypnotherapy Directory,<br />

Nutritionist Resource and Therapy Directory. Helping you find the help you need.

Hooray! Your file is uploaded and ready to be published.

Saved successfully!

Ooh no, something went wrong!