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Issue 52 - February 2016
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Improving Life, Improving Experience                                  Issue 52, February 2016
Hove StressBusters
From  talks about the brain, emotions and behaviour to practical demonstrations of different approaches giving you tools to reduce your stress level, Hove (and Brighton, actually) StressBusters is a community programme dedicated to wellbeing and stress management. 

Visit our website for the calendar of upcoming talk & demonstration evenings, classes, workshops and courses, the StressBusters Directory, wellbeing-related articles and more...
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Introducing Brighton StressBusters!

Join us on Friday 19th February @ Hanover Community Centre and meet the StressBusters!
Brighton StressBusters
Now in our 5th year, we are finally branching out into Brighton. From February 2016 we are starting regular talk and demonstration evenings at the Hanover Community Centre on the third Friday of every month.
Friday 19th February 2016

@ Hanover Community Centre, Brighton
This FREE event will include an introductory talk about the ideas behind the StressBusters programme, as well as practical demonstrations of several different tools and techniques that can be used to reduce our stress levels and improve our overall sense of wellbeing.
Everyone welcome... the more the merrier :)
Get ready for some serious stress-busting! 

Hove StressBusters Talks & Demonstrations

Lovely to see so many of you last week at our first stress-busting event of 2016. Big thanks to our wonderful speakers for sharing their professional passion and skill. The two approaches they introduced couldn't have been more different from each other, yet they were a perfect combination!

Compassion-Focused Therapy
     In her talk entitled 'Why you’re still mean to yourself despite everything you’ve achieved - and how to change that', clinical psychologist Dr Perpetua Neo presented the main ideas behind the Compassion-Focused Therapy. This is a relatively new psychotherapeutic approach which integrates techniques from Cognitive-Behavioural Therapy with the ideas of compassion and acceptance that are very prominent in Buddhist philosophy.
Compassion-Focused Therapy with Dr Perpetua Neo     The main question that Compassion-Focused therapy aims to address is: 'Why don't we love ourselves?'. By helping clients identify their inner critic and learn how to deal with it, the therapy enables them to cultivate self-love.
     We are all probably familiar with our inner critic: that negative voice in our mind that can wear several hats. Sometimes it's the Abuser - telling us how rubbish we are. It can also be the Fortune Teller - telling us that our future brings only doom and gloom -, and, worse of all, it can be the Crippler - that horrible voice that tells us that we don't deserve anything good to happen to us. Once we start recognizing the inner critic and understanding when or in what situation it is the most loud and overwhelming, we can start taking some very simple steps to silence it.
     By using several basic mindfulness techniques we can learn to detach ourselves from that voice and come home to ourselves - after all, we're not our thoughts or emotions! We can also learn to thank our inner critic for trying to keep us safe - it's clearly not doing us any good, but that's not to say that there isn't a good intention hidden at the root of it (we actually had this discussion of good intentions behind maladaptive behaviours at several Hove StressBusters talks last year!). When we acknowledge this good intention, the inner critic's grip on us loosens.
      In the final part of her talk, Perpetua discussed the three regulatory systems in our brain that determine our emotional wellbeing: Threat, Motivation and Warmth. She got us to evaluate the relative size of these three systems for us at this particular moment (one of the ways to do this was to allocate a clothes size to each of them), and then to  establish what would be the ideal size for each of them. This exercise was really useful as it got us to identify the specific aspects of our experience that need to be addressed. At the same time, it was reassuring to see that some areas are very close to their ideal size or that they might be fairly easy to regulate. By breaking down the 'problem' into elements, it becomes less overwhelming and the steps needed to resolve it become much more clear and achievable.

Stress & Trauma Release with TRE

     TRE, known by various names including Tension & Trauma Releasing Exercise, Stress Release Exercises, etc., is rapidly becoming one of the hottest topics in the world of wellbeing. Deborah Brown, a craniosacral therapist and one of just few qualified TRE practitioners in the UK, was the first person to bring this technique to Brighton & Hove in 2015.
     TRE is based on the fact that, as humans, we have lost the ability to regulate stress effectively. In response to any stressful circumstance - be it a lion chasing us, a car accident or an argument with our boss - our body undergoes the 'fight-or-flight' response: the blood flow to our muscles increases (we need it to run away or fight!) while all other functions that are not important for immediate survival - our digestive and reproductive systems - shut down. (This pretty much explains why chronic stress produces such a wide range of health issues, including irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, indigestion and infertility, just to mention a few.)
     There is, however, another phase that occurs at the end of this fight-or-flight response, and which is thought to enable the body to achieve its homeostasis (return to balance): once the stressor is over, the body starts shaking. This is a rare video footage of a polar bear displaying this response (please note that although it's a bit disturbing to see the animal being chased, it wasn't harmed by the researchers in any way). Occasionally humans display these so-called neurogenic tremors too, especially in response to traumatic events, but most of the time we only ever experience the fight-or-flight response.
     It's not exactly clear why we have lost this ability to rapidly restore homeostasis after stress - perhaps it's because our cortex (the 'thinking' part of the brain) is much more developed than in other animals and this thinking interferes with the more basic regulatory mechanisms. Or perhaps it's because the minor daily stressors that chronically activate our stress 'axis' (the neuroendocrine circuit responsible for the release of stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol), disrupt its effectiveness. Whatever the cause, researchers have suggested that by inducing these instinctual tremors, humans, like animals, can release chronic tension and overcome trauma.

Tension & Trauma Release Exercise (TRE) with Deborah Brown     TRE is a set of 7 simple exercises which consist of slow movements and calm breathing. The exercises activate the main muslces involved in the fight-or-flight response and by doing so trigger neurogenic tremors that travel through different parts of the body. Debbie demonstrated this with the help of two brave volunteers (one of them an experienced 'shaker', the other only had 2 sessions)... It all looked far too simple - fairly gentle yoga-like exercise -, yet the end result was fascinating: when the volunteers completed the exercises and lay down on the floor, their bodies started shaking... gently at first and then more vigorously. This lasted for many minutes and ended with complete relaxation.
     It was interesting to hear about the effects of TRE practice, both from the volunteers and from a member of audience who has been 'shaking' more or less regularly since last summer... The main benefits seem to be a general sense of calmness, greater resilience to everyday stressors, and improved physical wellbeing.

     Because of the technical difficulties with the AV equipment, Debbie couldn't show us this video of very complex self-activated myofascial release but, as promised, she sent us a link to include in this newsletter:
Special Offer

Discounted TRE® and Craniosacral sessions
One-on-one TRE® or Craniosacral Therapy sessions for £40
TRE® usually 90 minutes for £50
Craniosacral Therapy usually 60 minutes for £45

Please contact Debbie directly for more information and booking:*

Stress & Trauma Release with TRE® - evening workshop
Monday 14th March 7.15-9.15pm
@ Cornerstone Community Centre, Hove
We are running this workshop as a pilot for a possible regular 'shakers' group.

 INTRODUCTORY TICKET OFFER: £12 (online booking only; ends 14th February)
* To qualify for the discounts, one-on-one sessions need to be paid for in advance by 29th February.
These offers cannot be used in conjunction with the Hove StressBusters Card discount.
Aromatherapy Tips of the Month
ROSEMARY Stimulating, invigorating and vibrant, rosemary is good for poor concentration and memory, mental fatigue and depression. Do not use during the evening or if you have high blood pressure or epilepsy.

How to use essential oils:
BATH Put 4-6 drops of essential oil into a teaspoon of oil. Add to the bath once the water has finished running
MASSAGE Mix a maximum of 5 drops of the essential oil into 10ml of carrier oil such as sweet almond oil or vegetable oil. Rub into arms, neck and temples.
VAPORISER Add 3-6 drops to water to fragrance a room.
Hove StressBusters Classes & Workshops
Stress & Anxiety Support Group
Nikola Goranovic

Monday 15th February, 7.00-8.30pm
@ Cornerstone Community Centre, Hove

Tackling stress with NLP, Coaching & REMit
Session facilitator: Nikola Goranovic
Is stress getting the better of you? You are not alone!
During this session we'll cover several self-coaching strategies and tools that will help you overcome the stressful challenges in your life. As it's a small group (max. 8 participants), there will also be opportunities for 1-on-1 NLP, coaching or REMit work to address and resolve those mental blocks and limiting beliefs that are holding you back.

Admission: £10 * per session


Liz Sleeper

with Liz

Tuesday 16th February, 6.15-9.15pm
@ Cornerstone Community Centre, Hove
Sussex Constellations

Family Constellations workshop with Liz Sleeper

Family Constellations workshops profoundly change the way we view ourselves and relate to others, and produce a lasting impact on all our personal relationships, attitudes to life, career etc. As one participant said, it's like 6 months of therapy in one day...

Max. 15 participants
Liz's constellations workshops often sell out - we advise you to book early to avoid disappointment! More information & booking

Admission: £25 (on the door; £20 for HSB Card holders)



Wendy Guest

with Wendy

Our world is a very stressful place and although we cannot get rid of stress completely - it is an intrinsic part of our lives -, we can learn to cope with it and to alleviate some of the acute physical symptoms of stress (the 'fight or flight' reaction) by focusing our attention on the place of inner calm using Mindfulness and meditation. ...

Workshops & courses run by the SMART-accredited instructor Wendy Guest

Creating a Different Relationship to Our Thoughts:
Mindfulness workshop (drop-in)Mindfulness Workshop
Monday 29th February @ 8.00pm-9.30pm
@ Cornerstone Community Centre, Hove

Max. 12 participants (suitable for all levels)
Admission:  £10 *

Now taking bookings for:
MindfulnessMindfulness for Stress Management 
(6 week course)

7th April - 12th May 2016
Thursdays @ 8.00pm-9.30pm

@ Cornerstone Community Centre, Hove
Course fee: £119 * / £77 conc.  
Max. 10 participants
*** Early bird rate until 29th February: £105***
More information & booking   

Em Burnett
with Em

Tuesdays, 8.15-9.15pm
@ Cornerstone Community Centre, Hove
Wellspring Internal Energy Arts

Qigong to Self-Heal classes with Em Burnett

Boost your natural healing ability by learning to connect with and harmonise your Qi ('chee' ~ life-force energy)...

Drop-in, £7 * / £6 conc.
(suitable for all levels) More information

***First class FREE if it's your first time learning with Em***

* 10% OFF all events with the Hove StressBusters Card

Hove StressBusters Card

Hove StressBusters Card
This card is available for purchase at our monthly talk & demonstration evenings, classes and workshops. The card costs £15 and is valid for 6 months from the day of purchase, during which time the card holder will be entitled to:
- 4 FREE talk & demonstration evenings
- 10% off all other HSB events (talk & demo evenings, classes, workshops)
10% off therapy sessions, classes, workshops with any of the
   practitioners listed in the StressBusters Directory
Next Event

Acupuncture: It's far more than needles!
with Ian Stones
Self-Healing with Qigong
with Em Burnett

Wednesday, 2nd March @ 7.00 - 9.30pm
Cornerstone Community Centre, Hove

Keep spreading the word: the more people get involved in our
community programme, the more diverse and interactive
our events are going to be!

Wishing you all a stress-free month and looking forward to seeing you at our next event!
Copyright © 2016 Sussex Wellbeing Company Ltd, All rights reserved.

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