Vajra Blue

Mindfulness and Compassion. Understanding trauma in young people.


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Complex trauma: self harm and cutting to stay alive

Over the last couple of decades there has been a steady increase in the number of young people who are harming themselves.

This seems to be a worldwide phenomenon, at least in westernised countries. 

The act of self harm, which usually involves deliberately cutting, burning or otherwise harming the body, is not a diagnosis in itself, but is a symptom of psychological distress. 

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Trauma informed care: an end to revolving door syndrome in mental health?

Sanctuary

 

 

“I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975. I remember the precise moment, crouching behind a crumbling mud wall, peeking into the alley near the frozen creek. That was a long time ago, but it’s wrong what they say about the past, I’ve learned, about how you can bury it. Because the past claws its way out. Looking back now, I realize I have been peeking into that deserted alley for the last twenty-six years.”
Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner

In my day-to-day working life I see many young people. Many of them have been given various mental illness diagnoses. While many of these are correct according to our “diagnostic” manuals, they add little to helping a young person find workable solutions to their dilemma.

As a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, I feel that my remit should lie in working to improve mental health and not just in treating mental “illness”. This is supported by the organisation for which I work.

The Recovery Model lies at the heart of its philosophy of care and is one of its guiding principles. This means that we should focus on helping young people, and their families, to enable the young person to lead the best possible life, no matter the nature, or degree of illness, or what sort of difficulties that they have.

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Mindfulness: dealing with attention deficit trait..

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People today are in danger of drowning in information; but, because they have been taught that information is useful, they are more willing to drown than they need be.

If they could handle information, they would not have to drown at all.”
― Idries Shah, Reflections

Information is one thing that is plentiful in the twenty first century. It is said that one week of the New York Times contains more information than the average person, alive just fifty years ago, would have been exposed to in their entire lives. As well as the ever increasing availablity of information, the volume of data available seems to be expanding exponentially, and most of this is unfiltered. This knowledge revolution, while having many benefits, does come with a significant price.

Attention Deficit Trait (ADT) is a term that describes the effects of a persistent state of information overload that can be generated by the digital world. It was first used by psychiatrist, Edward Hallowell, in an article in the Harvard Business Review. He described a state “Marked by distractability, inner frenzy, and impatience…” occuring in business managers that turned “otherwise talented performers into harried underachievers.”

This condition although similar to ADHD, is caused by the environment in which we live and work. In other words it is something that we are doing to ourselves.

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Mindfulness: 3 simple practices to help young people become mindful.

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I find hope in the darkest of days, and focus in the brightest. I do not judge the universe.
Dalai lama.

The term Mindfulness seems to be on everyone’s lips at the moment. A great deal of research has already been undertaken into its benefits, and these cover many of the domains of our daily lives .

Although much of this research has been carried out on adults, there is increasing evidence that there are also benefits for young people. Indeed, even the British government has started to advocate that it should be taught in schools.

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Research Finds Meditation More Useful Than Sleep Education in Fighting Insomnia

In our sleep deprived times another good argument to teach mindfulness as widely as possible.
Start them young.

http://www.zmescience.com/medicine/alternative-medicine-medicine/meditation-insomnia-sleep-17022015/?utm_content=bufferb62d2&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Sandy


Mindful living for young people

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Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different, enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t) James Baraz

The benefits of mindfulness in adults are being well researched, and the available evidence about this practice shows many positive benefits across several domains of human functioning.  Research into the benefits for young people has lagged behind the work in adults but is starting to demonstrate very similar effects.

Several studies which have used brain scans and other neuroscientific assessments, have demonstrated both structural and functional changes in the brain following mindfulness practice. These changes are directly related to improvements in both the clarity of our thinking as well as our awareness and control over our feelings.

This means that we can act out of what is happening in the present moment rather than allowing past events and scripts to dictate our current choices and behaviours.

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Thinking: the fault lies in our logic – not in our stars

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Begin challenging your own assumptions. Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.

Alan Alda

Thinking is a three-step process.
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