One of the biggest challenges that we face as dementia carers is managing our own feelings and emotions. They take us completely by surprise – knocking us off balance and leaving us shocked and bruised. Yet with some simple techniques and a toolbox of tips we can take control of our feelings and emotions to limit the hurt that we feel.
It’s not that we’ll become immune to feelings or lack the emotions altogether – that would be unrealistic. But managing them in a way that can bring us peace and understanding is a powerful and life enhancing tool that will endure well beyond our caring journey.
So building the resources to manage our mindset is like building the foundations to our life. It’s something that we should all be taught to do at school yet get’s left to chance. So many of us succumb to unnecessary feelings of low self esteem, guilt and lack of self worth.
There are several similar and overlapping techniques to help us manage our emotions, mood and mindset. You may not find that they all work for you but I’m sure that you’ll find one that will – and it only takes one that resonates with YOU to make the difference to your life.
Mindfulness and Meditation
Mindfulness and meditation are two tools that it’s great to have at your disposal. Learn these simple techniques and practise them daily while you’re in the bath, cleaning your teeth, doing the washing up – whatever. They don’t need to eat into your day. They just work better when they become part of your daily routine.
The Chimp Model
The Chimp Model which has been created by Professor Steve Peters is a way of describing the functions and interactions of different parts of our brain in a non technical way. It offers us a set of tools to help us understand our actions and reactions, and to change them if we wish. It was the Chimp model that first inspired me to create the Club4Carers to help other carers understand their own thinking process and also to make more sense of the changes that are happening in the brains of our loved ones. If the Chimp model works for you, you’ll find it enlightening and empowering.
NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) is a similar and hugely empowering technique which is used in business, therapy, the medical profession, sport and indeed all areas of life. Like the Chimp model, it doesn’t instruct us to think in a particular way. It gives us the tools to question and peer into our own thoughts and to challenge our own self-limiting beliefs. Any change that happens will be our own change and will have come from our own enhanced understanding of ourselves. NLP provides us with a valuable set of tools that can be used over and over again to enrich and reinforce a positive mental attitude.