What is 'NSPCC inMind'?
'NSPCC inMind' contains 12 easy-to-access, short mindfulness-based interventions and Cognitive Behavioural Hypnotherapy (CBH) techniques which have been hand-picked for their benefits to the well-being of NSPCC volunteers and employees.
Well-being is absolutely vital, for the children and young people we support, for parents and carers, for our volunteers and for our employees. ‘NSPCC inMind’ is part of our wider focus on supporting and enabling our people, by providing tools and resources to help everyone meet the challenges faced. Using these resources, combined with compassion, empathy and understanding, we can create a world where everyone can flourish.
These resources have been specially picked to cater for everyone, from those looking to dip their toe into mindfulness to improve their focus, to those who are experiencing anxiety or stress. The quick exercises can be used to combat symptoms ‘in the moment’ as well as addressing concerns such as sleep issues. Included are tutorial videos, recorded exercises, YouTube links to ensure anyone who needs it has all the tools at their fingertips.
Why do these exercises?
Busy lives and working under exceptional circumstances can, at times, leave us prone to feeling anxious or stressed. Exercises like these can help with issues such as sleep, maintaining focus, and switching-off as well as increasing our long-term resilience to stress.
When we experience anxiety and stress our bodies go into fight-or-flight mode. This threat state is preparing us to either fight or run away, sending more blood to the muscles and narrowing our attention so we are only seeing the threat not the wider picture.
Mental Health Maps
In addition to the 12 interventions, NSPCC inMind contains Mental Health Maps. These structured self-care plans are a great way to connect the different resources together and we hope will be the inspiration for new well-being routines.
These plans have been devised to guide you through the exercises with 'Add On' activities scattered through out the day. Alongside Maps for work days and days off there are more focussed Maps addressing worry and sleep issues.
A message from the creators
NSPCC inMind is a website from us to you with love and appreciation. We hope you find the content useful and enjoy what we have put together especially with you in mind. A special thank you to George Kazakos for his designs and creative input and Sarah Austin @ The Really Helpful Club.
Please get in contact here if you have any questions,
Box Breathing is an effective yet simple relaxation technique used when taking slow, deep breaths whilst drawing a box.
You can use this technique during meetings and difficult phone calls by drawing the box on a note pad whilst counting your breath. This will relax and calm you at the same time as heightening concentration and performance.
NOTICE 5 THINGS
This is a simple exercise to help ground yourself and connect with your environment. When feeling overwhelmed by thoughts and feelings, we can use anchors to help us stay present in the here and now, stopping us getting swept up in a storm of emotions.
Practice it throughout the day, perhaps on a break, before work, or at the end of the working day. Incorporating short mindfulness exercises like these into a daily routine can help build long-term resilience to stress.
3-MINUTE BREATHING SPACE
The 3-Minute Breathing Space is a brief practice intended to be used when thoughts or mood spiral in a negative direction. This exercise can be seen as an opportunity to check in on yourself, just as you would a good friend.
Firstly, we become aware of our thoughts, feelings and emotions with a sense of kindness and self-compassion whatever we find, we then focus our attention on our breathing, and lastly, expand our awareness back out to a sense of the body and experience as a whole.
It can be used as much as you like, at work, at home, or any time you might need to restore some degree of calm and self-compassion to your day.
A SHORT MEDITATION ON THE BREATH
This short breathing meditation is an exercise in focusing our attention on our breathing. You will notice during this exercise that the mind wanders away from the focus on the breath to thoughts, perhaps something that happened during the day, or something you need to face tomorrow.
Mind wandering is completely normal and with each of us having around 60,000 thoughts a day it is no wonder we sometimes get lost in them. No matter how often the mind wanders, just gently and compassionately escort your attention back to the present and your breathing. Remember "If the mind wanders a thousand times your only job is to bring it back a thousand times” - Jon Kabat Zinn.
With practise, we can develop a greater awareness of our breathing and use it skilfully to help create a more compassionate relationship with ourselves and our thoughts stopping the negative spiral that can lead to stress and anxiety.
PROGRESSIVE MUSCLE RELAXATION
Progressive Muscle Relaxation (PMR) is an evidence-based method of deep relaxation developed in the 1930’s. It is based upon the simple practice of tensing, or tightening, one muscle group at a time followed by a relaxation phase where we learn to feel the difference between tension and relaxation within the body.
It works best if practised regularly (10 to 20 minutes per day). As with any skill, relaxation takes time and practise to master.
EGO STRENGTHENING HYPNOSIS
Hypnosis is a state of pleasant relaxation in which we become more responsive to positive suggestions of self-improvement. It is not like being asleep and definitely NOT a state of mind control or some kind of trance. You cannot be made to do anything against your will. On the contrary, you must want to accept suggested ideas and actively imagine responding to experience their effects. The idea of being ‘under somebody else's power’ stems from movies and TV hypnosis.
In this context ‘ego’ does NOT refer to being arrogant or self-important but more an individual’s overall adaptability and personal resourcefulness when it comes to dealing with life.
Find a quiet space, relax, think positively and immerse yourself in this 20 minute exercise.
Do not watch or listen to this material whilst driving or operating machinery or where it is not safe for you to close your eyes and fully relax.
ALTERNATE NOSTRIL BREATHING
Using Alternate Nostril Breathing, even for a few minutes, can restore balance and settle the mind and body. It is particularly helpful in lowering stress and alleviating anxiety as well as helping you fall asleep at night.
If you are feeling nervous or anxious about a conversation or generally stressed, a few rounds of alternate nostril breathing can help you find centre and restore calm.
Other benefits include - lowers blood pressure, improves attention and fine motor coordination/performance, supports respiratory and immune function and harmonises the left and right hemispheres of the brain resulting in a balance in all aspects of mental and physical well-being.
Cue-Controlled Relaxation is a technique whereby we learn to relax whenever and wherever we choose to. We do this by using a cue word such as ‘peace’ and triggers like pressure on the thumb nail whilst exhaling in a deep state of relaxation. In time these can send messages to the brain to create feelings of relaxation 'on cue'.
The exercise needs to be practised over and over again for new ‘circuits’ to be created between brain and muscle, but once established is very effective.
This relaxing sleep hypnosis recording focuses on hypnotic suggestions for deep, restful sleep and can be listened to before bed.
After a busy and stressful day it is no wonder we can find ourselves laying in bed worrying about one thing or another. Our minds can easily get caught up in these unhelpful thoughts, especially at bed time when we stop and become still.
A racing, worried mind can make it very hard to fall asleep and get a good night's rest. Sleep disturbances of this kind can not only lead to feeling tired and generally out of sorts the next day but also to us becoming anxious about sleep itself exacerbating the problem further.
After a busy long day although we are ready for bed sometimes our minds are not. As we lay there, trying to wind down thoughts about the day, ideas about the future and worries we may have can spin around and around preventing us from getting a well deserved nights rest.
Mindful Noting is a useful way to help us drift off to sleep and work with our thoughts in a more helpful and compassionate way.
This exercise takes us out of the busy ‘thinking mode’ of the mind into the calmer ‘being mode’ where we can find a space to relax and rest.
LEAVES ON THE STREAM
When it comes to our thoughts we can easily find ourselves ‘not being able to see the wood from the trees’. This exercise helps us notice our thoughts from a distance instead of getting stuck in our usual patterns of thinking.
As we sit by an imaginary stream we put our thoughts, good or bad, onto leaves, allowing them to float away rather than holding onto them.
We will never be able to stop thoughts arising but cognitive distancing techniques like this teach us that thoughts are not facts, just mental events that we can view, accept and let go.
The Body Scan meditation is a practice where we focus our attention on different parts of the body. It reminds us that our mind and body are linked and feelings of stress and anxiety are not only expressed in our thoughts but in our bodies too - like a tight chest, butterflies or sweaty palms. It is important to pay attention and listen to these messages from our bodies as they can be early warning signs of anxiety and stress approaching.
With practice, the Body Scan can help us reduce stress, increase concentration and foster a sense calmness. There is also research showing that with prolonged practice of the Body Scan we can develop a kinder and more compassionate attitude towards ourselves and others.