Art and Wellbeing

“Art alleviates anxiety for people with dementia” new research finds.

In recent years art has become highly valued in society, with people able to express themselves however they feel. We know the benefits of using art in children’s therapy, but recent studies have shown the amazing effects of art therapy on Alzheimer’s patients.

It is not just viewing art that has proven to alleviate anxiety, but the actual process of creating artwork that improves concentration and attention, giving them a higher quality of life, whether that is at home with loved ones, or in a cared for environment.

“They become very animated, and very engaged, and the person [patient] becomes reacquainted with their partner, and that’s an extraordinary sensation, to be able to see that power.”

Dementia patients often have trouble communicating; the process of art therapy bypasses that roadblock by allowing them to express themselves through their creations.

“Concentration and attention improves, and patients are often easier to care for even when the [art] therapy is over.”

 

Not only is art therapy used more and more in care homes, but there is also evidence to show the benefits of therapy with people with depression and anxiety.

“Pick up a paintbrush or pencil to beat depression, says study.” One minister describes the therapy as “art is tears” a way to describe the release of emotion that comes with creating art.

Research has shown that patients with mental health issues who have undergone art therapy had more motivation, and had a more positive outlook on life even after the therapy has ended.

 

There is no reason why art should just be prescribed by specialists; anyone can pick up a paintbrush, any time, any day, to give them a release that has been proven to benefit the mind.

 

Creating a Healthy Dream Space

Creating a Healthy Dream Space.

Lucid Dreaming and Stopping Bad Dreams.

Sleep should be a restorative, safe and restful time.
Your nights are when you need to be safest and at ease, to be your most vulnerable.
When our sleep is good, our physical and mental health blossom, and the impact on our relationships and quality of life is huge.
We all need that safe, protected, healthy space.

 

Some people dream differently, they are a minority of dreamers who dream lucidly.
Lucid dreaming technically refers to any occasion when the sleeper is aware they are dreaming.


There are 3 categories of lucid dreams:

1) Influencing the dream story.
Some dreamers can decide how they will act once they are in a dream.
Sometimes this is a beautiful experience.
Flying dreams are one if the top 20 most common dreams.
In a lucid flying dream, one can enjoy the sensation of 'letting go of the earth' and feeling free to fly wherever you'd like to.
Lucid dreaming is also useful if the dreamer has a bad dream.


Ben's Dream Story:
'If I'm in a dream with a bad character, who I knew would hurt me,
a kidnapper or murderer, I think in my dream.
I consciously think that I need to pretend that I'm on his side, then I can be safe and outwit him.
I plan what I'm going to do and this controls the dream story so I can get away.’

 


2) Deliberately interrupting the dreams yourself.
Ben, a lucid dreamer, decided to wake himself up when he is having a bad dream:
'In the dream, I know I'm dreaming, so I wake myself up by shutting my eyes and squeezing them
really tightly. Then, when I open my eyes, I literally am awake and I see my room.’

 


3) Needing outside help to stop a dream.
There is a type of lucid dreaming which can feel frightening, where part of the dream includes feeling trapped, unable to move, or paralysed in the dream.
This is particularly unpleasant.
Initially, we looked into interrupting this type of dream for children, when parents asked us to help.
Typically, the dreamer feels locked in the dream, aware they are dreaming but unable to influence events or wake themselves up.

 

We found 2 ways of helping the children – both ways work just as well with adults, and also work well with those who have no particular world view, although these exercises are rooted in our Christian world view.

Jessica's dream:
‘Sometimes I have a dream where I am aware I am in my bed...and although I'm attacked, I can't move or help myself.
Is there any way I can safely wake myself up mid dream?’


These simple Celtic exercises work well with children and adults.
Jessica frequently had a dream where she felt powerless to do anything to save herself, being held down, held back. In these dreams, we have found that teaching people to ask for help is the most effective way to overcome the feeling of powerlessness and fear.


Method 1
- Ellis story- feedback
'When I'm in a bad dream, I tried what David suggested. He told me 'You can always say - Jesus wake me up.'
It is so simple, but it works although it only works, so far, with lucid dreamers, who are aware they are dreaming.

Method 2
A simple ancient Celtic exercise at night.
- preventing bad dreams by creating a time of inner and outer quiet before sleep.
Dreams express that intuitive, creative part of us, which values both freedom and shelter.

1) Find a quiet, private space, a warm bathroom is ideal.

2) Begin by consciously emptying out all the tensions and concerns of the past day and shifting the focus of our attention to God- a loving, caring, strong Higher Power.  One who, in this exercise - comes to shelter and protect you.

3) Breathe deeply and slowly,
    before and between each section.
    Slow your breathing down and say aloud

May God shield me
May God fill me
May God keep me
May God watch me
May God bring me this night to the nearness of His love.

Circle me Lord,
Keep protection near
And danger afar.

Circle me Lord
Keep light near
And darkness afar

Circle me Lord
Keep peace within
Keep evil out

The peace of all peace
Be mine this night
In the name of the Father
And of the son
And of the Holy Spirit
Amen.

Sleep well.

More about Music

Our musicians create a great atmosphere in the cafe. Costa staff tell us they love to work this shift because of the music.
Research also shows that 30 mins of the right music opens up the blood vessels, improving long term cardio health, as well as bringing mental and physical relaxation.


'Soul music' radio programme tells stories about the powerful healing effect of music.
Andrew Shulman, a New York guitarist, was in a coma and his wife had been told to call the family as he was dying. His vital signs were petering out.

She saw his iPod in her bag and put it in his ears. Within 20 seconds, this powerful music had affected his vital signs and he began an immediate recovery. The doctors call him the miracle man.
Andrew now goes into intensive care 3 times a week to play to patients.
Vital sign monitors show improvement within as little as 10 seconds.
Link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmesb01mw2dj
 

Dream Tips

You will spend, on average, 6 years dreaming* 

Dream Tips

  • Are you a key part of the story?

Then the dream is about you.

  • Are you an onlooker?

Then it is about the person/ situation you are observing in the dream

  • Recurring Dreams – show a long term issue in your life

They sometimes contain keys to help solve the issue. Then the dream will stop

  • Dreams process and reflect the things we are going through. They often contain reassurance and help

*The Times Feb 28 2009 Dr Naiman Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine of the University of Arizona

Really Common Dreams and their meanings

Teeth falling out or becoming loose – a sign that there is a lack of ability to understand/ realise something

  • Wisdom teeth missing/ falling out – You are losing wisdom about something in your life.

Falling – Some part of the dreamers life is out of control/ or the dreamer feels anxious because they are losing control.

The Dreamer is back in school taking a test – Something important wasn’t learnt earlier – in order to deal well with what is happening – there are things that the dreamer needs to learn/ be taught.

Helpful Hints – ask the giver of the dream to help you to realise what it is that you need to learn to help you through this stage in your life/ or to move ahead. (This depends on your worldview – we would ask God)

Dreams of Spiders: Something the person/ family is involved with is negatively affecting his or her life. They may feel trapped. This commonly comes from 2 areas – negative spiritual activity will detract from your life, or spoken words which are having a powerful negative effect on your life.

Dreams involving vehicles – these have to dowith what you are doing in life/ created to do and your current purpose in life.

  • 4x4 – tough vehicle, able to handle rough terrain. You are very capable with plenty of resources/ power – able to take passengers with you safely
  • Bicycle – doing something in your own strength
  • Boat – you are made to be at with spiritual things (‘water’ represents spirit)
  • Flying vehicles – there is a spiritually gifted element to your life

Bathroom Dreams

  • Toilet – an area of your life needs cleaning out/ getting rid of waste products from past relationships/ seasons
  • Is your toilet blocked? – then cleansing isn’t happening.

Think Healthy

At the end of the day, we need a place of rest inside ourselves to return to.

Directed Rest is a process of catching our thoughts and managing our thought life.

Directed Rest

  • a led process of focussing our thoughts into a place of rest, ease and light
  • through music
  • through guided meditation

“Much of our experience of life is created by our thinking.” Bath Magazine August 2014

“Our brains are wired for love not fear.” Brain Science – D’Agute and Raine

“Evidence supports the health benefits of ‘mindfulness-based practices’” Science Daily 2012

“It is scientifically proven to improve brain function, mind, body and spiritual health.” Dr Caroline Leaf – cognitive neuroscientist