The Women’s Organisation collaborated with Working Conversations to deliver a well-being workshop at our conference building 54 St James Street. ‘Taking the First Step: Making Big Differences with Small Changes’ was a two-week session for women in the Liverpool city region to help improve mental health, build confidence, and fight unhelpful thoughts.
A week on, we are reflecting on what we learned and wanted to share the insight and advice from the session. Our colleague Vicky opens up about her experience and what she learned during her time with Working Conversations.
My Experience with Working Conversations – Week One
This workshop was not only helpful and insightful but also very informative. I have taken away a range of strategies and advice that I am able to put into practice and help fight unhelpful thought patterns and anxiety.
Steve and Laura have such an understanding and knowledge of the human brain and how it is designed to keep us safe. They explained that our nervous system is still wired to a hunter-gatherer mindset, where humans were constantly on high alert to ensure survival. Even though society has massively changed, our brain has not, so we are constantly fighting a 270 million-year-old mentality. This is why the majority of us live with a ‘problem-based approach’. We constantly look for potential threats, resulting in anxiety and other mental health issues.
A scientific, historic explanation of the human brain helped me put things into perspective and how important it is to show ourselves grace in times of stress and anxiety, as we aren’t naturally designed to look for positive solutions but instead focus on the negative.
The second session was all about fighting this negative mindset and how to implement a ‘solution-based approach’. We were taught about the GRIN method which helps to grow positive lifestyle changes in small manageable steps.
Goals – what are you hoping to achieve? Make sure your goals are concrete and realistic
Resources – What skills and qualities are keeping you going? What is available to use and help you cope?
Increments – What would your next small step be?
Noticing – a review of your successes. What have you done well? What have you achieved?
Following this simple strategy will help create healthier thought patterns and lifestyle changes. Focusing on the positive end goal is a lot more beneficial than focusing on what you currently lack.
Key tips, tricks, and takeaways
Following on from the session, these are my takeaways which I believe will help me and also anyone wanting to work on their mental health.
- Writing exercises – this simple trick will have you counteracting and replacing your negative beliefs. Keep track of your unhelpful thoughts, write them down, and next to them write why they are wrong and untrue. Note down specific situations and experiences which prove your self-doubt to be false. Then write a positive affirmation next to it to replace the original negative thought.
- Celebrate your successes – it’s important to not only recognise your improvements but also celebrate them, no matter how small they are. Find out what makes you happy and reward your hard work. Fighting negative beliefs can be tiring which is why self-reward is an important practice.
- Treat yourself like a best friend – it is so easy to hate and criticise ourselves. It’s important to remember the only person who will constantly be in your life is yourself, so be kind. A good way to do this is when you recognise a bad thought, ask yourself “Would I speak to my best friend like this?” or “Would I speak to my mom like this?”. If the answer is no, cut that thought out.
Having good mental health is key to maintaining your overall health. This is something I’m extremely passionate about and there are so many great charities and organisations in Liverpool that can help you with your mental health. I love what PAPYRUS does for young people in Liverpool, which is why I am fundraising for them by abseiling down Liverpool Cathedral in July.
How we can help you
Looking to improve your mental health? Join us for our next accredited Resilience workshop to learn how to bounce back after tough times. View the rest of our upcoming Liverpool workshops and events here.