Cathedral Grove

The Potential and Power of Small Acts of Kindness

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There are so many different ways to be kind to yourself and others, and often it only takes a moment. 

This Mental Health Awareness Week, with its always pertinent theme of ‘Kindness,’ I’m reminded of a moving scene from a couple of weeks back. While waiting in the socially-distanced queue at a local shop, the woman in front of me spotted a homeless gentleman quietly tucked away behind the shopping carts. She smiled, asking if she could get him anything to eat. He politely asked for a sandwich, thanking her profusely.

That act of kindness was beautiful in and of itself, but it went on to inspire a chain reaction of compassionate giving and community spirit. Before long most everyone in the queue had brought the man in need something to eat or drink, and his smile continued to grow – as did the smiles of those who had helped him that day. 

It’s really nice to do kind things simply because, but doing kind things can also confer positive health benefits as well. Acts of kindness and helping others have been linked to greater feelings of well-being, increased self-esteem, and a more optimistic outlook – among other things! For even more on the potentially wide-reaching health benefits of kindness, I highly recommend checking out the Mental Health Foundation‘s guide all about how ‘Kindness Matters.’

Before you go…

With all this in mind, let’s work together to create a ‘Kindness Thread’ to bring delight to and inspire others. 

To take part, simply take a moment to share a recent or fondly-remembered act of kindness you’ve witnessed or heard of in the comments section below. Everyone is welcome – and whatever act of kindness you share can be anything, of any shape or size. Every kindness matters!

Thank you so much for sharing!

Mental Health Awareness Week 2020, May 18th-24th

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Did you know that this week is Mental Health Awareness Week here in the UK? 

Taking place each year during the month of May, this year’s week of mental health-centred awareness raising, de-stigmatization, fundraising, and resource sharing is happening right now between Monday the 18th and Sunday the 24th.  

Every year, the campaign is guided in part by a unique theme, with the theme for 2020 being: ‘Kindness.’

Why kindness? The Mental Health Foundation, the charity behind this annual campaign, explains their lovely choice like so.

“We have chosen kindness because of its singular ability to unlock our shared humanity. Kindness strengthens relationships, develops community and deepens solidarity. It is a cornerstone of our individual and collective mental health.”

I couldn’t agree more.

As regular readers of this site will know well, kindness in all its shapes and sizes is something I like to highlight and celebrate as often as possible here on Cathedral Grove.

And while kindness – both the giving and receiving of it – has been essential to maintaining good mental health throughout history, I think you’ll no doubt agree that it’s especially important and impactful right now during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

I hope you’ll join me as throughout this week I share a variety of advice, ideas, and resources to help you both support others experiencing some form of mental distress and nurture your own good mental health and total well-being.

In the meantime, why not check out these popular posts from the archives? I hope you’ll find some of the suggestions within to be of help to you or others.

I’ll simply sign off now by wishing you all a very happy, healthy week ahead, with my best. Take care!

   

 

 

 

Monday Mindfulness ~ May 11, 2020

Hello, lovely people. I’m grateful as ever that you have stopped by. You’re just in time for another installment of Monday Mindfulness. This week’s thought for the moment comes from philosopher and psychologist William James.

Now, I have an important question to ask…

How are you doing?

As I’ve said before and will say again, these are strange times indeed. Tucked away in our homes during lockdown, alone or with just our immediate household, it can be all too easy at times to feel we are a distant island in a turbulent sea, cut off from other people.

But we’re not alone.

Sometimes we just need to remember to pick up the phone and call a good friend. Or send a lovely bit of snail mail to a dear relative abroad. Or simply say a polite hello to passerby – from a socially responsible distance, of course!

Anyway, lovely people, I truly hope that you are all doing well. Feel free to drop a hello in the comments below. And, in case you missed it earlier, I’d be thrilled if you’d pop a link to your own site over on this community thread I’m hoping to build up over the coming days and weeks. You may find a few folks well worth connecting with – and they can support you and your creations as well!

William James - We Are Like Islands

Positive News Stories From This Week #6

Hello again, everyone – and a very Happy Mother’s Day to those reading this in the States right now.

Today I’m back with a fresh end-of-week news round-up, ready to shine a spotlight on some of the many positive things and acts of kindness continuing to happen around the world during these often uncertain and sometimes stressful times. My wish, as from the very beginning of this lockdown tradition, is that these stories of kindness, community, and hope will add a bit of sunshine to your day. Perhaps you’ll even be inspired to help out a struggling neighbour or stranger in need however you may be able during the week ahead.

Oh, and just in case you happened to miss last weekend’s batch of Positive News Stories, you can find it here.

Thanks for reading!

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Let’s Connect: Share + Promote Your Blog!

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Many of us may still be in lockdown, but we can still connect.

While a lot of tragedy and uncertainty has come of these strange times, it hasn’t all been doom and gloom these past few weeks. Just take a look at some recent examples of people helping others and communities pulling together in the face of adversity. It’s inspiring stuff indeed and most definitely to be encouraged and celebrated.

I know one thing I’ve been reminded of as of late is the great importance of positive connection, acts of kindness, and supportive communities to our overall well-being and quality of life – and I’m certain many of you can relate to this as well. 

With this in mind, I’d like to offer this space to anyone and everyone reading this now as a place to share and promote your blog and social media links. Let’s connect!

If you’re happy to share with others:

  • Leave a link to your site in the comments below.
  • Please include a brief overview of the sorts of content readers might find on your site too.
  • Feel free to direct people to your associated social media pages too, if you want.

Hopefully, this will help foster some really supportive interactions and grow a nice sense of community amongst bloggers of varying interests and backgrounds.

 

 

 

 

Monday Mindfulness ~ May 4, 2020

Good morning, everyone. Monday Mindfulness is back after a brief pause.

You know what? It’s good to pause now and then. It’s good to break routine, do what some might consider ‘nothing’ for a bit, and simply appreciate being.

For many, a world in lockdown may feel like a world paused – and for some, that may seem a scary notion. But, as Eckhart Tolle reminds us in today’s quote, stillness can be a wonderful thing. Within stillness lives opportunity – for everything from self-discovery to a greater appreciation of place. When we become still – as in meditation, for instance – it can be as though a door has been opened for us, through which we might step into realms of deeper connections and greater understanding. There is possibility in pause.

Whatever you might find yourself getting up to this week, please remember to be kind to yourself. Try to extend that kindness to others too if you feel able. And don’t forget as well to make a little time to pause every now and then.

Eckhart Tolle - Stillness is Where

Positive News Stories From This Week #5

Hello, lovely people.

My end-of-week news round-up is back after a short pause, ready to highlight some of the many positive things still happening around the world during these strange times. Here’s hoping this latest edition finds you and yours doing well, wherever you might be reading this. May these nice news nuggets add a bit of sunshine to your day as well!

If you happened to have missed the previous edition of Positive News Stories, you can find it here. And if you’d like to know a bit more about what inspired this now-regular Sunday feature, check out its very first edition here.

Thanks for reading!

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Practicing Gratitude in the Blogosphere

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Admit it. At least once since creating your site and first hitting that ‘publish’ button you’ve found yourself thinking something along the lines of, ‘100 followers – that’s lovely. But I sure do wish I had 1,000! (Or 10,000. Or 100,000.) Then things will really be great!’

I’m ashamed to say that I’ve been guilty of this sort of thinking a few times in the past 2 years, since I started sharing publically here on Cathedral Grove. Read More

5 Tips to Help You Sleep Better Tonight

Friends, I am tired. And if your sleep patterns have been anything like mine during these strange times, then you’re likely a bit tired too.

But that ends tonight.

You see, I know exactly what I should be doing to get a good night’s sleep every night but – I admit it! – I have from time to time during my furlough been letting some aspects of my own self-care slide by unnecessarily prioritising productivity over rest. But giving our minds and bodies permission to rest can be just as important – sometimes even more important! – than getting stuff done. Without regular restorative rest, our healthy functioning will eventually suffer and deteriorate.

So, let this next bit serve as a reminder to you and me alike of the many powerful gifts of rest, and also as a gentle nudge toward better, more sustained self-care. Without further ado, here are my 5 tips to help us all sleep better starting tonight.

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The 2.6 Challenge: Supporting UK Charities in Need

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This Sunday – April 26th – would have been the 40th running of the London Marathon, one of the world’s biggest one-day charity fundraising events. In 2019, race participants raised more than £65 million for the charities of their individual choice. With the event cancelled this year due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, its organizers decided to create the 2.6 Challenge instead – encouraging people around the UK to become ‘Home Heroes’ by doing an activity of their choosing where they live, sharing the message with others that charities throughout the country are especially in need right now, and either fundraising or simply donating to a charity. 

Activities can be anything really – from completing 26 laps of your garden to doing 26 minutes of yoga, or even planking for 2.6 minutes. It doesn’t have to be a physical challenge though; you could even bake 26 delicious cupcakes, if you prefer! Whatever you choose, the aim is to do it in some form of 2.6 or 26 – just as a marathon is only a little bit over 26 miles in distance. If you’re not certain what to do yourself but you’d like to take part, check out the 2.6 Challenge’s ideas page for inspiration.

This weekend I’ll be doing 26 minutes of meditation and donating in support of Mind, a mental health charity which works to raise awareness, promote understanding, and provide mental health services here in the UK. I won’t be fundraising in this instance, but I hope that my 2.6 challenge and donation to go with it will inspire some of you to give what you can to a charity of your choice this weekend. 

Will you be taking part in the 2.6 Challenge as well? I’d love to hear about what you get up to and which charity you’re championing in the comments below!

2.6 Challenge (static version)

 

 

 

7 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day, Even in Lockdown

Apart But Connected Hands CREDIT ILIANA GALVEZGraphic by Iliana Galvez, via EarthDay.org

 

Earth Day 2020 is upon us – and although this year’s 50th anniversary celebration has had to move predominantly online due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, there are still a plethora of ways that we can demonstrate love for our unique, shared world.

First celebrated in 1970, Earth Day is an annual event which seeks to promote advocacy, volunteering, and citizen science in support of the global environment by way of education and activities focusing on issues such as climate change, the loss of biodiversity, and the rise of pollutants. This year, Earth Day organizers have shifted emphasis towards digital mobilizations.

So – with many of us staying home and keeping local to help protect our frontline medical professionals and to save lives, what things can we do to celebrate our amazing planet?

Here are 7 suggestions. Read More

Monday Mindfulness ~ April 20, 2020

Good morning, all – and a very happy Monday Mindfulness to everyone as well. Thanks so much for pausing here with me this morning for a fresh thought of the moment. 

Perhaps you, like me, sometimes look at what is currently happening around the world and wonder the likes of: ‘Am I doing enough?’ ‘Am I contributing meaningfully enough?’ ‘Am I helping others enough?’ Let this quote from Teddy Roosevelt, 26th President of the United States, be a gentle reminder to us all then – that whatever we’re doing to look after ourselves and others throughout these strange times is enough.

Took only what you really needed from the store during your weekly shop? Reached out to someone you haven’t spoken to in some time, even if you only chatted for a handful of minutes? Snapped a picture of a beautiful field of flowers spotted during your walk-a-day, then shared it to lift spirits elsewhere? Or perhaps you decided just to do a bit of doodling today, simply because it’s a tool in your mental health first aid kit? Whatever you’re doing to share a bit of loving-kindness with yourself and others, it is valuable and positively impactful, whether you realize it fully or not.  

Theodore Roosevelt - Do What You Can