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Connect 5 Session 3 Participant Notes

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Published by richardjohnson, 2019-12-06 08:13:50

Session 3 Participant Notes

Connect 5 Session 3 Participant Notes

Mental Wellbeing in Everyday Practice

Session 3

Trainer Handbook

Connect 5 Session 3

Mental Wellbeing in Everyday Practice

Welcome to Connect 5 Connect 5 is a transformative training programme
created to:
Who has developed Connect 5?
Connect 5 has been developed by a unique partnership 1. C onnect with the population, to make every contact
of academic, clinical and public mental health expertise count – integrating active promotion of mental health
based primarily in Greater Manchester. and wellbeing into everyday practice.

What is Connect 5? 2. C onnect with individuals experiencing subthreshold
Connect 5 is a workforce training programme, created or low levels of common mental health problems:
to upskill non-mental health staff to better understand helping them help themselves.
and successfully address mental health issues within
their everyday practice. 3. C onnect with individuals experiencing high levels of
mental distress and/or suicidality: so, they get the
What does Connect 5 aim to change? right help at the right time.
Connect 5 aims to improve population mental wellbeing
by changing the way people have conversations about 4. C onnect with frontline staff: facilitating peer–to–
mental wellbeing with the public “Mental wellbeing peer training and spreading of innovation through
conversations” includes a lot of different types of established networks.
conversation. The 3 Connect 5 sessions target three
types of conversation. 5. C onnect with local systems: harnessing local
resources, energy and assets to drive and sustain
C onversations in which you suggest ways a person social change.
can take action to improve mental wellbeing.
Who is Connect 5 for?
Conversations in which you and the person you are Connect 5 is relevant to a wide range of non-specialist
talking to develop a shared understanding of that frontline staff who work with people at risk of poor
person’s mental wellbeing needs. mental health. It uniquely optimises opportunities for
building a culture of self-management, prevention
C onversations that empower a person to make and improved access to psychological approaches for
changes that address their mental wellbeing needs. mental health and wellbeing.

What does Connect 5 teach? How does Connect 5 work?
Connect 5 content provides an evidenced based
collaborative prevention toolkit that promotes 1. Direct Delivery to the front facing workforce.
psychological knowledge, understanding and awareness
and the development of skills, which empower people Connect 5 is an incremental three-session programme,
to take proactive steps to build resilience and look escalating skills though each session. The programme
after themselves. underpins the principle of ‘Making Every Contact Count’
and supports the aim of making the best use of the skills
What is the Connect 5 mission? and local contacts of frontline staff. Some staff will just
Change the way we have conversations about undertake session 1, some session 1 & 2 whilst others
mental wellbeing. go on to do all three sessions.

Understand mental health and wellbeing as an 2. Train the trainer delivery
everyday experience. Prospective trainers attend the Connect 5 Train the
Trainer programme delivered by a “Lead Trainer” - an
E mpower people to make changes to protect, experienced Connect 5 trainer who also has expertise in
maintain and improve mental wellbeing. teaching training skills for Connect 5.

The four-and-a-half-day programme consists of two
and a half days of direct delivery content and two days
of Train the Trainer instructor module. During the Train
the Trainer participants are taught the underpinning
frameworks, principles, values and approaches of the
Connect 5 programme, as well as skills on how to deliver
Connect 5 sessions 1, 2 and 3 to peers.


Session 3 Connect 5


Outline training plan
Delivery plan
Information and further reading
to support delivery


Connect 5 Session 3

An introduction to...

Connect 5 Session 3

The aim of Connect 5 is to improve population mental wellbeing by
changing the way we have conversations about mental wellbeing.

Session 3: Extended mental wellbeing intervention

The intended outcome of session 3 is to change the way we have mental wellbeing conversations
so that we have conversations that empower a person to make changes that address their mental
wellbeing needs.

The purpose of Connect 5 session 3 is to: P ractice implementing self -management
strategies to support successful change
Explain a number of strategies and techniques processes.
that break the vicious cycle at each of the
five areas. P ractice working collaboratively to set goals
and agree way forward.
Apply strategies and techniques relating to
each of the five areas. I ncorporate self-management strategies and
resources into everyday practice.

Training Timings

Time Activity Lead

15 mins Pre-course evaluation, intros, housekeeping, learning

20 mins What have you learnt, tried, are pleased about, concerned about?
40 mins Scaling and practice.

15 minute break

45 mins Breaking cycle at situation: problem solving practice.
45 mins Breaking the cycle at behaviour: activity scheduling practice.

45 mins 45 Lunch
45 mins Breaking the cycle at thoughts: thought awareness and practice.
Breaking the cycle at feeling: self-compassion practice.

25 mins 10 minute break
25 mins Breaking the cycle at physical: breathing and lifestyle.
15 mins Implementing change in practice: action to move up the scale.
What will you take with you, round robin, evaluation.


Session 3 Connect 5

Delivery Plan

Date Tutors
Layout Location
Start time Finish time

Session Topic: changing the way we have conversations about
mental wellbeing.

Pre-session activity: complete session 1 and 2.

Time Teaching activity Delegate activity Checks on Resources
and support Co-produce learning
15 ground rules. Flip chart.
Welcome. Slide 2 and 3.
mins Pre-course evaluation.
Working agreement.
Aim & learning objectives
of the session.

20 Icebreaker Participants reflect Opportunity Post it.
Divide participants into on and share their to see what is Pens.
mins small groups. Discuss: learning so far, what in the room: Slide 4-8.
if anything they expertise,
What have have translated enthusiasm,
you learnt. into practice and air success,
W hat have any concerns. resistance,
you tried. misunder-
What are you pleased standings,
about? work chal-
W hat are you concerned lenge.
Whole group feedback and Slide 9-10.
discussion Introduce the
wheel of interventions and
discuss the psychological
principles that underpin
successful change.


Connect 5 Session 3

Delivery Plan (continued)

Learning Objective

Explain the key features of scaling.
Apply the model to facilitate and enable positive change.
Identify opportunities to apply the tool in work practice.

Time Teaching activity Delegate activity Checks on Resources
and support learning

40 Tool 1 Scaling: Task 1: Ask Pause for Slides 11-13.
A general technique to participants to scale reflection Basic steps.
mins support someone who themselves between between and For scaling.
wants to make changes. 1 and 10 (1 being low) after practices. Handout or
Teach: Basic steps for on how confident they Ask how did it page 20 of
scaling, a psychologically feel using Connect go, what did participant
smart way to support and 5 in their work (we you notice, notes.
motivate change action. return to this at end of what worked,
Apply: participants practice session). what didn’t?
applying the learning. Task 2: In pairs. One Discuss with
Facilitate participants, person applies scaling participants
experience and feedback technique, one person the oppor-
to support and reinforce offers up a change tunities they
the learning. Generate they want to make in have for using
discussion as to how to their life. scaling tool as
implement scaling into Change roles, repeat part of prac-
everyday practice. practice. tice.
What do they
perceive as
barriers to
tion, how could
they overcome

15 minute break
Learning Objective
Breaking the cycle at situation: problem solving.

Explain the 6 steps of problem solving.
Practise applying the problem solving tool.
Identify opportunities to apply the tool in practice.


Session 3 Connect 5

45 Tool 2 Problem solving: Worker role Each role provides Slide 14-16.
A tool to use if a person practises the opportunity to Problem
mins chooses to break their vicious the problem learn from different solving work
cycle by changing their solving angles. To learn sheet.
situation. technique in from the experience Character
Teach rationale and 6 steps conversation of receiving the stories -
of problem solving tool using with Dolores intervention, from Dolores.
prepared example (problem (imagining attempting to apply
solving handout with Delores that you have the tool in practice
example). Walk the group already drawn and observing the
through the 6 steps; provide out the five intervention.
rationale and techniques areas map The whole group
for the psychologically and Dolores reflection offers a
minded process. Rather than decides she further opportunity
doing for someone, you are would like to connect with
teaching a person to do it for to try and own learning,
themselves. change the and to deepen
Divide large group into situation to understanding by
practice groups of 3s. break her connecting with
vicious cycle). other learners
O ne person is Observer: experience.
the worker. Watches The whole group
One person is practice dialogue also
the observer. taking notice provides an
One person is Dolores. of what goes opportunity to think
Move around the small well, what beyond the course
groups, offer up coaching could be to consider how
to groups who are struggling improved, to implement the
to understand or apply ready to tool into everyday
the model. feedback practice.
Draw the whole group back at end of
together, invite reflective practice.
feedback. How did it go? Dolores
What did they think? Could role: learns
they use the tool in practice? from the
If so, what would be the perspective
barriers? How could they of receiving
overcome them? the
Draw up Dolores vicious cycle intervention.
to illustrate the potential
impact changing the situation
could have on the other areas

Learning Objective
Breaking the cycle at behaviour: activity scheduling.

Explain the activity scheduling process.
Practise applying the activity scheduling tool.
Identify opportunities to apply the tool in work practice.


Connect 5 Session 3

Delivery Plan (continued)

Time Teaching activity Delegate Checks on Resources
and support activity learning
45 17-20.
Tool no 3 Activity Back into practice Each role provides Activity
mins scheduling: groups participants the opportunity to scheduling
A tool to help break the cycle move round roles. learn from different handout.
at behaviour. One person is angles. To learn
Teach rationale and Rukshana. from the experience
techniques of activity One person is the of receiving the
scheduling. worker who has a intervention, from
Introduce activity scheduling go at introducing attempting to apply
worksheet. activity scheduling the tool in practice
Instruct the group to move and works with and observing the
back into practice triads to Rukshana to intervention.
apply the activity scheduling build a balance of The whole group
tool. activity into her reflection offers a
Move around the small week using the further opportunity
groups, offer up coaching to activity scheduling to connect with
groups who are struggling template. own learning,
to understand or apply the One person is an an and to deepen
model. observer with the understanding by
Draw the whole group back task of watching connecting with
together, invite reflective the practice to pick other learners,
feedback. How did it go? up on what works experience.
What did they think? Could and what could be The whole group
they use the tool in practice? changed to work dialogue also
If so, what would be the better. provides an
barriers? How could they opportunity to think
overcome them? beyond the course
Draw up Rukshana vicious to consider how
cycle to illustrate the to implement the
potential impact changing tool into everyday
behaviour could have on her practice.
other areas experience.

15 minute lunch

Learning Objective
Breaking the cycle with thoughts: thought awareness.

Describe unhelpful thinking styles.
Apply learning to the amazing-thought busting programme.
Identify other support resources that can be used in practice.


Session 3 Connect 5

45 Tool 4 Thought awareness: Whole group Each role Slides 21-24.
A technique to use if a person walking down provides the Unhelpful
mins chooses to break their vicious the street opportunity thinking styles.
cycle at thoughts. Thought-
Recognising unhelpful thinking scenario the to learn from busting tool.
styles or common thinking traps powerful different Steve character
and finding a more balanced bi-directional angles. To study.
perspective. Walking down relationship learn from the
the street scenario illustrates between experience of
the powerful bi-directional thoughts and receiving the
connection between thoughts feelings. intervention,
and feelings. from
Facilitate whole group discussion Back into attempting to
to explore the different thinking practice apply the tool
styles. groups working in practice and
Introduce the amazing with Steve’s observing the
thought -busting tool . thoughts. intervention.
Instruct the group to move back
into practice triads to apply the Worker The whole
thought-busting tool. practices having group
Move around the small groups, conversation reflection
offer up coaching to groups who about thoughts, offers a further
are struggling to understand or using thought- opportunity to
apply the model. busting tool. connect with
Draw the whole group back
together, invite reflective Observer own learning,
feedback. How did it go? What watches
did they think? Could they use practice and and to deepen
the tool in practice ? If so, what understanding
would be the barriers? How picks up on by connecting
could they overcome them? what works and with other
Draw up Steve’s vicious cycle to what could be learners,
illustrate the potential impact changed to work experience.
changing his thoughts could better.
have on his other areas of The whole
experience. group dialogue
also provides
an opportunity
to think beyond
the course to
consider how
to implement
the tool into

Learning Objective
Breaking the cycle at feelings: self-compassion.

Explain the key elements of self-compassion.
Practise self-compassion tool.
Identify opportunities to apply the tool in your work practice.


Connect 5 Session 3

Delivery Plan (continued)

Time Teaching activity Delegate Checks on Resources
and support activity learning
Slide 25-28.
Tool 5 Self Compassion: Whole group Whole group
A technique to use if a person listen to discussion Self
chooses to break their vicious presentation and to support compassion
cycle by changing feelings. offer feedback learning and tool.
Teach concept and rationale of on the concept. explore its
self-compassion, (changing the applicability in Rukshana
way we relate to feelings rather Apply: work practice character study.
than changing the feelings participants (and own life).
directly). move back onto
Introduce skills practice using practice groups
self-compassion worksheet and and change roles.
Rukshana story example or if tri-
ads prefer use own experience. One person
Instruct the group to move back is the worker
into practice triads to apply the - introduces
self compassion tool. self-compassion
Move around the small groups, worksheet to
offer up coaching to groups who Rukshana and
are struggling to understand or coaches her
apply the model. through the
Draw the whole group back steps (or if
together, invite reflective practice group
feedback. How did it go? What prefers, use own
did they think? Could they use experience) to
the tool in practice? If so, what complete the
would be the barriers? How tool.
could they overcome them?
Return to Rukshana’s vicious One person is
cycle to illustrate the potential an an observer
impact changing her feelings with the task
could have on his other areas of of watching
experience. the practice
to pick up on
what works and
what could be
changed to work

10 minutes break

Learning Objective
Breaking the cycle at physical: breathing and lifestyle.

Explain the link between lifestyle and mental health and wellbeing.
Locate local resources that support healthy lifestyles.


Session 3 Connect 5

15 Tool 6: Healthy lifestyles Engage participants Introduce Slides 29-37.
Teach - Breaking the cycle in whole group evidence and Refer to
mins at physical. Techniques discussion about links between handouts in
include: links between lifestyle and the participant
In the moment: breathing lifestyle and mental mental health book.
and relaxation. wellbeing. Allow the and wellbeing. Stress.
Longer term: regular learning to build from Food and mood.
relaxation, physical the expertise and Physical activity.
activity and diet. knowledge already Web resources.
Ask - Whole group what in the group. Use
are common physical open questions
symptoms of stress/ to encourage the
anxiety/worry? learners to connect
Link to fight or flight with their own
response and the understanding and
concept of switching with that of the other
from sympathetic (fight, learners.
flight and freeze) to the
parasympathetic (rest
and relax).

Long term: teach
importance of physical

Link up with local lifestyle
services draw out five
areas to illustrate how
changing physical can
impact on other five areas
and break vicious cycle.

Handout the Connect 5
mini toolkit booklet.

Wheel of intervention is
now complete.

Learning Objective
putting connect 5 into practice: scaling.

Apply scaling activity to learning on the course.
Evaluate confidence and competence in applying Connect 5 learning in practice.
Identify steps to put the learning into practice.


Connect 5 Session 3

Delivery Plan (continued)

Time Teaching activity Delegate Checks on Resources
and support activity learning Slides 38.

25 Scaling re-visted. Divide into pairs. Each
mins Instruct group to get into pairs. Each participant develops
has the their own set
10 minutes each way. One opportunity of actions
person in the pair reviews where to reflect on to ensure
they now are on the scale 1-10 whether and Connect 5
compared to where they started how the learning training is
in the morning. They are scaling from the day has translated
their self-perceived capability impacted on their into ongoing
and confidence to implement self perceived practice.
Connect 5 into their practice. capability and
The other member of the pair confidence
uses scaling questions to help to implement
the reviewer focus on what they change to
now need to do to move up a practice. The
scale. What further action do scaling questions
they have to take, what needs to are designed to
happen at work to provide the focus attention
opportunity and motivation for down onto what
Connect 5 to be part of practice. now needs
to happen to
After 10 minutes, pairs change embed change
roles. into everyday

15 Ending round robin. Each participant
Invite each participant to share offers one of the
mins an action that came out of the actions their have
scaling exercise. agreed to make.
Thank all the participants for
their contribution and hard work.

Comments/suggestions/modifications for next time


Session 3 Connect 5

Mental Wellbeing in Everyday Practice

The Connect 5
Wheel of

Situation Behaviour

Physical Thoughts


Slides 11-13 Connect 5 Session 3 Slide 2

Scaling. 13

A flexible tool that can be used

anywhere in the vicious cycle

Scaling is a tool used in solution focused brief therapy (SFBT).

Described as a practical, goal-driven model, a Scaling can be used in a number of ways and in
hallmark of SFBT is its emphasis on clear, concise, any of the five areas to order to help people:
realistic goal negotiations. The SFBT approach
assumes that all clients have some knowledge of A ssess their own situation.
what would make their life better, even though T rack progress.
they may need some (at times, considerable) M ove away from negative focus.
help describing the details of their better life and F ind motivation and confidence.
that everyone who seeks help already possesses D ecide on a step forward.
at least the minimal skills necessary to create
solutions. Scaling questions (SQ) are useful
in helping people assess their own situations,
track their own progress, or evaluate how others
might rate them on a scale of 1 to 10. One can
ask about people’s motivation, hopefulness,
depression, confidence, and progress they made,
or a host of other topics that can be used to track
their performance and what might be the next
small steps.

Find out more
Web resources
Watch Youtube clip

Ratner, H.; George, E. & Ivenson, C. (2012) Solution Focussed Brief Therapy. Routledge: New York

Connect 5 Session 3

Slide 14-16

Breaking the cycle at situation

Problem solving 3. T he third stage is to brainstorm as many
In cognitive psychology, the term problem- different ways or solutions to achieve the goal
solving refers to the mental process that people and solve the problem.
go through to discover, analyse and solve
problems. This involves all of the steps in the 4. T he fourth stage is to narrow your choice
problem process, including the discovery of down to one that is likely to work best.
the problem, the decision to tackle the issue, This might involve you considering the pros
understanding the problem, researching the and cons of each idea before you decide on
available options and taking actions to achieve the best solution.
the goals. Problem-solving can be seen as a
mentally healthy way to deal with problems and 5. The next stage is to put your strategy
difficulties. The alternative, of course, is to worry. into action.
This is not to say that all problems can be solved
easily. There are of course problems that are 6. The last stage is to review the strategy to see
harder to solve or are insoluble, such as dealing if it is working. If it is, continue with it. If it isn’t
with terminal illness, divorce or separation. In you may need to go back to the start and look
these circumstances, we may need to focus on again at defining the problem and/or choosing
managing our mood as a coping strategy. another solution.
Problem-solving encourages a positive attitude
and state of mind, and promotes self-efficacy. Problem-solving is an invaluable approach
It gives a sense of control and a belief in our to dealing with difficult situations. It takes
ability to succeed or accomplish things; that practice, but the more you do it, the better you
we can act to change things for the better and become at it. Our role as a helper is not to fix
we are not just at the mercy of events. Both the problem for the client but rather to teach
are important cognitive components related to and coach them to learn a problem solving
positive mental wellbeing. technique as a life skill, one that they can use at
a future date when they next hit a problem.
Successful problem-solving is a
process involving 6 steps: Read more about the psychology of problem solving
1. Define the problem. This is not as simple as it
may seem. People often make the mistake of
not being specific enough about what aspect Mental Wellbeing in Everyday Practice
of the problem really bothers them/causes
them concern. The Connect 5 Problem Solving
For instance Dolores sees her debt as her Wheel of Dolores
problem, but the debt has many aspects to it: Interventions
last year’s debts from a failed business idea, Situation
impulse shopping and spending too much to Behaviour
make her feel better, not having a clear idea
of what she owes and to whom, not having Physical Thoughts
a clear idea of what she has to spend. The
process works best when we focus on one Feelings
manageable aspect at a time.
2. T he second stage of problem-solving Connect 5 Session 3 Slide 14
is to state what the goal is or what you want
to happen.

Cuijpers. P., van Straten, A. & Warderdam, L. (2007) Problem solving therapies for
depression: a meta analysis. European Psychiatry, 22, 9-15


Session 3 Connect 5

Mental Wellbeing in Everyday Practice

The Connect 5 Activity Sheduling
Wheel of Rukshana
Interventions Behaviour


Physical Thoughts


Connect 5 Session 3 Slide 17

Slide 17-20

Breaking the cycle at behaviour

Activity Scheduling; using activity and action to build and maintain positive mood.

Emotions are important sources of information Activity scheduling typically involves
that guide our behaviour and enable us to the following steps:
function as human beings. 1. Activity and mood monitoring.
Happiness and contentment, for example, are 2. N otice the relationship between particular
the emotional rewards we receive for engaging in
valued activities that improve our quality of life. activities and your mood. This is some of the
Anxiety helps us to avoid dangerous situations work we do with the five areas mapping.
that threaten our survival. Guilt motivates us to
act respectfully towards each other and helps 3. S chedule more of the “better mood”
to maintain functional social relationships. activities over the coming week.
Sadness lets us know when we’ve lost something
important to us. As a severe and prolonged form 4. B alance achievement, pleasure, physical and
of sadness, the loss in depression is the loss of social-based activities.
self-worth and hope. Just as our emotions guide
our behaviour, the opposite is also true – our 5. Action before (not after) motivation.
behaviour directly impacts our emotions. 6. Reward yourself.

The more we avoid risky or challenging Further reading
situations, the less confidence we have in our
ability to cope and the more anxious we feel. behavioural-activation-fordepression-62910
The more we treat others disrespectfully, the
more guilt and regret we feel. And the more we Back from the Bluez modules
withdraw from people and activities that have
previously given us a sense of purpose and consumer%20modules/back%20from%20
wonder in the world, the less happiness and more the%20bluez/back%20 from%20the%20
depressed we feel. bluez%20-%2002%20-%20behavioural%20
The aim of activity scheduling is to reverse the strategies.pdf
vicious cycle by increasing engagement in valued
activities, which increase our chances of deriving
pleasure and a sense of achievement from life.


Connect 5 Session 3

Slide 22-24

Breaking the cycle at thoughts

Thought awareness
Over the years, we tend to get into unhelpful thinking habits such as those described below.
We might favour some over others, and there might be some that seem far too familiar.
If we can help people identify their unhelpful thinking styles, then they can start to notice them
- they very often occur just before and during distressing situations. Once a person can notice
them, challenge or distance themselves from those thoughts, and see the situation in a different
and more helpful way.

Thoughts - a quick guide More information
In 5 areas model each component is on unhelpful thinking
interconnected as we have already seen - Listen to Chris Williams
but thoughts can be a particularly useful and
powerful intervention.
Thoughts are extremely powerful in Unhelpful thinking habits
maintaining an emotional state.
T houghts are moment to moment, unplanned
and can be words/images and memories. Seeing things differently
They flow constantly throughout the day

P eople have (approx) 60 000-70 000 each day Mental Wellbeing in Everyday Practice
that is a thought every 1.2 seconds. We all
obviously ‘think’ but in distressing emotional The Connect 5
states unhelpful thinking increases with Wheel of
thoughts becoming more intrusive, e.g., higher Interventions
frequency and duration of unhelpful thoughts
(Chris Williams). Situation Behaviour
Typically, when people are psychologically
unwell their thoughts change. There are broad Physical Thoughts
themes of thoughts associated to different Steve
states. E.g., anxiety states can have a thought Feelings Thought Awareness
theme of being in danger and vulnerable;
Anger - violation and unfairness;
Depression - hopelessness and loss.

Connect 5 Session 3 Slide

Butler, G. & Hope, T. (2007) Manage your Mind. The mental fitness guide. Oxford University Press. New York


Session 3 Connect 5

Bad Thought Spotter

These are seven examples of unhelpful thinking styles.

1. Jumping to worst conclusions 7. Own worst critic
Also called catastrophising and is when we This is a common thinking habit. You treat yourself
always think the worst about something or that much worst than you would dream of treating
something dreadful will happen. anyone else. At the slightest hint of things not
going to plan you beat yourself up, call yourself
2. Gloomy view of the future names, bring to mind other times you have done
This is when you project into the future and only badly and generally do yourself down.
see negative things happening. The problem
with this is that if we believe negative things
Where do unhelpful thoughts
will happen, we are more likely to pick up on the come from?
negative and to miss the positive. It’s like a self While growing up, people learn to relate to others
fulfilling prophecy.
from their parents, teachers and friends. We
are also influenced by others things such as TV
3. Taking responsibility for everything and magazines. These can portray a picture of
When a person takes responsibility and blame for perfection that is impossible for anyone to live up
anything unpleasant that happens. An example to in the real world. Many people mentally beat
of this is when a parent gets their child’s school themselves up over things they must/ought/
report and they are struggling in a couple of should do, or over things they think they should
subjects, the parent automatically thinks that it is have done well, and therefore overlook that they
because they are a bad parent. are actually doing a far better job than they are

4. Focus on the bad stuff giving themselves credit for.
This is where you focus on the negative and ignore
the positive. For example a cake decorator will How does unhelpful thinking
often be able to see the things that are not quite affect us?
right with the cake whilst everyone else raves We believe negative thoughts just because they
about how brilliant it is. ‘feel’ true. Many of us believe that if we think it
then it must be true without pausing to check out
how true these thoughts really are.
5. Assuming others see you badly
Being a mind reader – where you think you know
what someone else is thinking, for example, a Usually when we notice these kinds of thoughts,
friend hasn’t phoned you for a month so you we may feel a little upset but then quickly move
start to think that it is because your friend on and carry on in life. But there are times when
doesn’t like you. we are more prone to these thoughts and they
are harder to dismiss. For example, when we have
a problem that we are finding it hard to cope with,
6. Setting impossible standards
This is where you have very rigid rules about or at times we are distressed or worn down. At
how people should and shouldn’t behave. When times like these, we find ourselves dwelling on
others break the rules we get angry and when we such thoughts more than usual. And we might find
break them we can feel guilty. This is the world it harder to move on.
of the ‘should’ ‘ought’ and ‘must not’ etc. The
thing is that we all have different rules and you Remember, what we have learnt in Connect 5,
can’t expect others to follow your way of being. what we think can have a powerful effect on
So for example, a shopkeeper drops change into what we feel and what we do. Unhelpful thinking
a female customer’s hand and they think ‘How can lead to:

rude’ because their rule is that you should gently Mood changes - we may become more down,
place change in someone’s hand. The customer and/or feel guilty, upset, anxious, ashamed,
goes away in a bad mood because the shopkeeper stressed or angry
broke her rule. However, the shopkeeper thinks
e 21 that it is rude to touch women that he doesn’t Behaviour changes - we may stop doing things
know and therefore he is being respectful when or avoid doing things that seem to much. Or we
dropping the money into her hand. might end up reacting in ways that backfire, such
as pushing others way, drinking too much or
eating too much.

Learning how to spot your thoughts, getting
to know your unhelpful thinking styles and
challenging them is a powerful self help tool for
promoting mental wellbeing.


Connect 5 Session 3

Slide 25-28

Breaking the cycle at feelings

Self-compassion 1. The self-critical and harsh approach: “I’m
Having compassion for others is part of human never going to sort out my diabetes. What’s
nature, but self-compassion seems to be harder wrong with me? It’s all my fault.” The areas
for people to do. Self-compassion has a proven of brain that are activated deal with defence/
positive effect on wellbeing. It leads to greater threat/self-inhibition/punishment. This is the
happiness, optimism and social connectedness. reactive mode.
It can combat anxiety, depression, self-criticism
and unhealthy perfectionism. It protects against 2. The self-nurturing approach: “I can see how
social comparison, social anxiety, anger and upset you are. It’s tough dealing with health
close-mindedness. This makes it easier for problems and being a carer. You’ve got a lot
people to relate to others. This then gives people of things going on.” The areas of the brain
more capacity to forgive, have compassion and that are activated deal with compassion and
feel acceptance. understanding what is happening in the body.
Research has shown that there are changes in They help us to feel connected to ourselves
the brain when people think about a distressing and others. This is the responsive mode.
event. When they focus on something that
stresses them, it can make them feel worse. There are many ways that people can use and
However, there is more than one way to think practise self-compassion. They all help to train
about one’s own suffering. One way leads the brain so that it is easier to go into the
to more misery. The other way leads to less responsive mode.
suffering. The idea is to change how people Some people are wary of being more self-
relate to their thoughts, rather than the compassionate. Common fears include losing
thoughts themselves. the ability to be self-critical so flaws will start
to show; becoming a worse person whose
Mental Wellbeing in Everyday Practice standards will drop; and becoming overwhelmed
with sadness. Many people use anxiety,
The Connect 5 guilt and shame as the primary motivators in
Wheel of their lives.
How self
Situation Behaviour compassionate
are you?
Physical Thoughts Take the self compassion test
Feelings test-how-self-compassionate-
Rukshana you-are/

ct 5 Session 3 Slide 25

Neff, K. D. & Germer, C. (2017). Self-Compassion and Psychological Wellbeing. In J.Doty (Ed.) Oxford
Handbook of Compassion Science, Chap. 27. Oxford University Press.


Session 3 Connect 5

Researchers all over the world are now looking into
the important physical and mental health benefits of
developing compassion and mindfulness

F or over 2,500 years Buddhists have argued S tudies show that there are areas of our brain
strongly that life has much pain and suffering that light up when we are kind to ourselves or
in it and that developing compassion is a way others, or when others are kind to us.
to help us through difficulties.
Studies of evolution have also shown that Increasingly, research is showing that if we
many animals, especially humans, are evolved focus on developing compassion and kindness
to need and respond to the care of others. We for ourselves and others this really does help
are biologically made to be very receptive to settle our feelings.
care and kindness.

Fear of Compassion

Research is also showing that some people find
kindness and compassion difficult. They believe
they don’t deserve it, that it’s weak and woolly,
that it wouldn’t help them, or are even frightened
by it. It can feel so strange because they are not
used to it. Sometimes, when we start to develop
kindness, this puts us in touch with sadness, and
that too can seem overwhelming or frightening.
As we will see though, these fears and difficulties
are not uncommon and we can work through
these difficulties step-by-step.

Read more

Read more about self compassion
by Christine Neff

Explore Christine Neff web-site

Training our minds in, with and for
Compassion :An Introduction to Concepts
and Compassion-Focused Exercises by Paul


Connect 5 Session 3

Mental Wellbeing in Everyday Practice

The Connect 5
Wheel of

Situation Behaviour

Physical Thoughts
BreatEhxinegrc, iRseel,aDxaiettion,

Connect 5 Session 3 Slide 29

Slides 29-30

Breaking the cycle at physical

Slides 31-33

The stress reaction and relaxation

With a stress response, the brain and the body are influencing each other in both directions, so if
we see a danger then that’s going to make us feel stressed and one of the follow-ons from that is
that our breathing is going to speed up. If you were to speed up your breathing on your own, you’d
probably start to feel a bit more aroused and on edge. Equally if you calm the breathing down, you’re
forcing your body into a more relaxed state and you will probably experience fewer negative thoughts
as a result. When we’re stressed, our brains almost come up with negative thoughts to try and explain
why we’re stressed: if you’re anxious or worried about something, all sorts of negative thoughts are
going to pop into your head, but if you can just calm that down, then that’s going to have a beneficial
effect on your mental state as well.

Read more


Session 3 Connect 5

Slide 34-35

Link between food and mood

Just like the heart, stomach and liver, the brain is homeostasis: when the brain is ‘flooded’ by
an organ that is acutely sensitive to what we eat an artificial influx of a neurotransmitter (for
and drink. To remain healthy, it needs different example, adrenaline triggered by a strong
amounts of complex carbohydrates, essential coffee), the brain’s receptors respond by
fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins and minerals, ‘closing down’ until the excess is metabolised
and water. Anyone who has ever smoked, drank away. This can create a vicious circle, where the
alcohol, tea or coffee or eaten chocolate knows brain down-regulates in response to certain
that such products can improve one’s mood, substances, which in turn prompt the individual
at least a little and temporarily. What seems to to increase their intake of those substances to
be less common is an understanding that some get the release of the neurotransmitter that their
foods can have a lasting influence on mood and brain is lacking. This is one reason why people
mental wellbeing because of the impact they sometimes crave certain products.
have on the structure and function of the brain.
A sufficient balance of neurotransmitters Read more
is essential for good mental health, as they
are influential in the feelings of contentment feeding-minds-executive-summary
and anxiety, memory function and cognitive
function. Some foods are perfect at temporarily cravings/201606/feeding-your-brain
promoting the neurotransmitter that we lack
and, as we crave and then consume them, they science-choice/201609/5-reasons-why-we-
‘trick’ us into feeling better, for a while. By making crave-comfort-foods
the brain less sensitive to its own transmitters
and less able to produce healthy patterns of
brain activity, these substances encourage the
brain to down-regulate. Down-regulation is
the brain’s instinctive mechanism for achieving

Mental Wellbeing in Everyday Practice Mental Health Foundation (2006) Feeding Minds:
The impact of food on mental health.
Food-Mood Cycle
Slide 35
Just like the heart, stomach and liver, the brain is an
organ that is acutely sensitive to what we eat and drink.
To remain healthy, it needs different amounts of
complex carbohydrates, essential fatty acids,
amino acids, vitamins and minerals, and water


Connect 5 Session 3

Feeding Minds: The impact of food on mental health


Connect 5 Session 3

Slide 36

link between physical activity
and wellbeing

The mood we are in has an impact on how we for a walk or doing housework) and periods
experience day-to-day situations. Even an of inactivity (e.g., reading a book or watching
unpleasant social situation can be tolerable if television). Participants reported feeling more
our mood is positive. On the other hand, if we content, more awake and calmer directly after
are in a bad mood, an activity that usually is very being physically active compared to periods
pleasant, one that otherwise gives us great of inactivity. They also found that the largest
enjoyment, can be boring and uninteresting. beneficial effect of physical activity on mood
When our mood is low, even the most positive (i.e., greatest change in mood score) occurred
events become meaningless. There is when mood was initially low. An earlier study
accumulating evidence that walking, and physical found that walking for 10–15 minutes was
activity more generally, can be an effective sufficient to have an impact on mood states.
way to enhance positive moods. For example, Participants rated their energy levels and
people with high levels of regular physical pleasant feelings as higher whilst walking
activity have been shown to have higher levels of compared to beforehand. Following a 10–15
positive emotions such as interest, excitement, minute period of rest, participants’ moods
enthusiasm and alertness compared to people returned towards calmness and relaxation.
with moderate and low levels of physical activity. These findings are encouraging as they suggest
The impact of physical activity on day-to- physical activity could be used as a strategy to
day moods has been investigated in more regulate mood during the day; walking is practical
detail; people rated their mood immediately to do in short bursts, available to most people
after periods of physical activity (e.g., going and free.

Learn more
Mental Health Foundation (2013) Let’s Get Physical – The impact of physical activity on wellbeing

Mental Wellbeing in Everyday Practice

Physical activity and wellbeing

Increases production Boosts decision
of neurochemicals that making skills
promote brain cell repair Prompts growth of nerve cells
Improves memory and blood vessels

Lengthens attention span Improves multi-tasking

and planning

To keep the body in good health is a duty...otherwise we

“shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear Buddha
”Interactive body map: physical inactivity and the risks to your health
Mental Health Foundation (2013) lets get physical: the impact of physical activity on wellbeing.

Connect 5 Session 3 Slide 36





Connect 5© 2018 Rochdale Borough
Council on behalf of Public Health
England (PHE), Health Education
England, The Royal Society of Public
Health (RSPH) and the Greater
Manchester Authorities of Stockport,
Manchester and Bolton.

Acknowledgement to the following
partners and stakeholders who have
collaborated in the development
of this community resource;

Stockport Together
(Stockport council); Buzz Manchester
Health and Wellbeing Service; Bolton
Council Public Mental Health Team

The Royal Society for Public Health

The North West Psychological
Professions Network

Elysabeth Williams
National Connect 5 lead
& Public Mental Health advisor

Jackie Kilbane
Alliance Manchester Business School,
University of Manchester

Clare Baguley
Mental Health Lead Health Education
England - North

Martin Powell
Principle Educational Psychologist
Stockport Council

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Mental Wellbeing in Everyday Practice

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