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The Benefits Of Keeping Aquariums On your Mental Health 

It may not seem like an obvious choice at first. However, keeping fish and shrimp can have a positive effect on your mental health. This article explores these benefits and how fish can improve your home or your study space. 

 

Improving your mental health

Keeping fish or shrimp falls under ‘animalassisted therapy’. In most cases either dogs or cats are used in this type of therapy. However, fish can have positive effects as well.  The biggest advantages to fish (or any animal), is that they connect you with nature. A 2005 study showed that contact with nature can provide a populationwide strategy for the prevention of mental health issues.  

 

So, what is it about fish specifically that can help us with our mental health? As well as connecting us with nature, fish live in water, and water has many therapeutic benefits. Many people find the sound and visual effect of running water very calming. In fact, you can achieve the same effect just sitting and looking at the water in the sea or a lake.

 

Owning a tank

You can have all the benefits of fish and water by owning your own tank. Fish owners all state that overall the most stressful part of owning fish, is generally the initial set up. Yet, many owners agree that the benefits outweigh any of the initial stress. However, it is not always practical to own your own fish.  If you are unable to own your own fish tank, then you can still gain all these benefits by visiting fish. Maybe you have a local fishpond or aquarium? Even just the occasional visit has been shown to greatly improve a person’s mental health.  

BHTC vision and values

Bex Harper Tutoring and Coaching pride itself in putting clients’ mental health first. I strongly believe in the therapeutic benefits of fish, shrimp and water snails, which is why there is an aquarium in the BHTC study and coaching space. These delightful, calming creatures are, therefore, incorporated into our sessions, wherever possible. For example, in coaching, the relaxing sound of water flowing can relax you enough to explore areas of your life in greater detail.

In terms of tutoring, often children can be nervous about coming to a tutor for the first session and it provides common ground and opportunities for conversation that isn’t exclusively focused on them. This can help calm tutees and make them feel relaxed. BHTC also allows clients to bring their own slippers to wear, if they want to really feel at home!

 

If you would like a calming environment to learn or to re-evaluate your life and achieve your big goals, then BHTC is for you! Drop me an email (hello@bexharper.com) to find out more!

Your Words: Improve Your Child’s Wellbeing and Education!

I tutor English Language and am life coach. So I am very interested in language use. In particular, I am fascinated by how the language we use around children affects the way they perceive themselves and others. First, let’s explore a little some ideas I have come across recently. These are approaches that encourage your child to be resilient. Second, we’ll look at using gender-neutral language. Through this approach, you allow your children to believe in themselves, due to avoiding gender bias.

Growth Mindset Language

Growth Mindset is a theory from educational practice that states that children should not be praised for what they achieve, but how hard they work. Some people think this is impractical. They believe giving praise to children who never achieve high grades is creating an unrealistic view of the world for those children. However, my response to this view is twofold. Firstly, I believe strongly that the people making these claims do not understand growth mindset theory. Secondly, they also do not understand the potential damage done to the children’s confidence. If children get consistently low grades and also see others being praised instead of them, this increasingly makes them feel worse about themselves. 

Growth Mindset is saying “Well done for completing all the questions” when a child works slowly and doesn’t normally finish. It’s saying “Excellent! You remembered your folder today!” when a child manages to get organised, who doesn’t normally manage this. Growth Mindset literally makes kids want to keep doing the things you are praising them for. Then it starts to become automatic and you can start to set them new goals. “George, well done for remembering your folder today. Tomorrow I’d like to see you remember your homework!”

 

How Can Parents Use Growth Mindset Language?

Praise your kids who don’t normally do their chores, when they do them. Growth mindset is almost like the opposite of nagging. Children love praise. Nobody likes to be told off, but it is necessary sometimes. However, try to limit your nagging or telling off to a ratio of 1:5 – with 5 lots of praise for every nag! Use language like: “Well done for being kind to your sister and sharing with her” or “Great job that you wiped your feet before coming in today!” In particular, with education, you can praise children for completing their homework and taking an interest in their after-school clubs. 

A little goes a long way! They will start to believe in themselves!

 

How You Can be a Language Role Model

Don’t say to your kids “I wasn’t any good at maths, ask ____”. Studies have shown that kids can interpret this as “Well if Mum / Dad isn’t good at this, how will I be?” You can be a language role model by saying to your kids: “Okay, shall we research this online and see what we can find?” or “Do you find maths harder than other subjects? Do you want a tutor to support you and make you really confident?” This way, you are actively helping to find a solution without putting yourself down. You are not telling your child “I feel anxious about this and can’t help”.

 

Avoiding Gender Bias

Many studies have shown how little girls mostly get compliments that reflect their appearance. For example: “you’re so pretty” or “your dress is beautiful”. Boys, on the other hand, get complimented on how well they do things, rather than expressing their emotions or how they look. To improve your daughter’s chances of doing well, praise her for things that she accomplishes as well as how she looks! Likewise, boost your son’s confidence by commented on both his great achievements and decisions, but also how well he expressed his feelings. 

 

Moving Forward

This is just a whistle-stop tour of how language can help your child. If you are looking for coaching or a tutor to help boost your child’s confidence, then drop me a message to see if I can help! Email hello@bexharper.com for more information.

person achieves their goal and celebrates on a mountain top!

How to determine your core values

Core Values?

Values drive our aims and goals in life. They help us to sort out what is important to us and where we need to direct our focus. Pick your top 5 values for living your life (and another 5 specifically for your business or career). See if, in your current situation, you are truly achieving the life you want with these values.

You can do this by writing down examples of how each of these 5 values appear in your life, at the moment. If they don’t feature in your life currently, write down one step you can take towards achieving this value in your life. The more values you are currently including in your life, the more true to yourself, your dreams and your moral compass you will be.

The aim is to get all 5! Our goals and values change, so it is useful to do this exercise every year.

Here is a list of key values:

Acceptance

Achievement

Acknowledgement

Adventure

Aesthetics

Appreciation

Authenticity

Balance

Beauty

Being active

Bliss

Caring

Career

Clarity

Comfort

Commitment

Compassion

Community

Co-operation

Confidence

Contentment

Courage

Creativity

Curiosity

Daring

Dedication

Detachment

Determination

Devotion

Diligence

Discipline

Discernment

Empathy

Empowerment

Energy

Enthusiasm

Excellence

Exciting

Fairness

Faith

Fame

Family

Financial independence

Flexibility

Forgiveness

Freedom

Friendship

Fun

Generosity

Gentleness

Goodwill

Grace

Gratitude

Growth

Happiness

Harmlessness

Harmony

Healing

Health

Honesty

Hope

Humility

Humour

Inclusiveness

Independence

Insight

Integrity

Influence

Intelligence

Intimacy

Introspection

Intellectual growth

Intuition

Joy

Justice

Kindness

Knowledge

Leadership

Learning

Love

Loyalty

Maturity

Money

Nurturing

Openness

Orderliness

Participation

Partnership

Passion

Patience

Peace

Performance

Prosperity

Purpose

Recognition

Relationships

Reliability

Respect

Responsibility

Reverence

Risk taking

Sacrifice

Serenity

Service

Sharing

Silence

Spontaneity

Strength

Status

Support

Success

Trust

Truth

Understanding

Unity

maths algebra practice

Group Coaching Workshops

Bex Harper Tutoring and Coaching is launching some new group coaching workshops for this summer – one is aimed at children going into Years 5-7 and the other is aimed at parents who have children of all ages. Please feel free to get in touch with any questions you might have. See below for full details!

 

Stretching for Secondary: Success Workshop

Studying for the 11+, doing SATS and starting secondary school can be immensely stressful for many children. This workshop looks at the key skills children going into Years 5-7 must develop to be able to increase their chances of success at secondary level. I have closely observed both the relationship between language, beliefs and actions in my coaching practice and the patterns of achievement being closely linked positive mindsets as a private tutor, school teacher and lecturer.

 

This coaching programme, aimed at students about to go into Years 5-7, is suitable for those high flyers who suffer from feeling anxious or worried about their performance and making mistakes, as well as those who feel that they are unprepared to begin their secondary adventure.

The workshop will:

  • help them to understand how to prepare for exams.
  • help them to understand how to cope with exam stress and anxiety.
  • provide them with a mindfulness tool kit.
  • give them experience of being coached in a group setting.
  • develop skills such as teamwork and critical thinking.
  • teach them life skills to make friends in new settings.

This workshop only has a very limited number of places, so make sure to book well in advance.

Dates and times: Wednesday 29th August 2018 (2.00pm -5.00pm)

 

 

Unlocking Potential: Parents’ Coaching Workshop

This workshop is designed specifically for parents who want to know how best to encourage and assist with their child’s learning and educational growth. I have closely observed both the relationship between language, beliefs and actions in my coaching practice and the patterns of achievement being closely linked positive mindsets as a private tutor, school teacher and lecturer. Because of this, and because no-one is too old to learn and grow, I have constructed this workshop specifically for parents who wish to aid their children.

We will:

  • learn about language patterns and how they affect the way we think and perceive ourselves.
  • learn how values, self-talk and self-confidence develop from a young age and the impact these have on progress in school.
  • discuss current problems and solutions children and teens face in school today.
  • how you can support your children and teens in building their confidence.
  • how you can foster reflective behaviour patterns in your children and teens, so that they self-reflect on their progress.
  • discuss praising for effort rather than for achievement and the benefits of this.

This workshop only has a very limited number of places, so make sure to book well in advance.

Dates and times: Wednesday 29th August 2018 (6.00pm -9.00pm)

 

More information about the workshops

Location: The Tuition Pod, at The Holy Trinity Church Hall in Southchurch

Investment: £35.00 for each workshop

For enquiries or to book your place, please email: workshops@bexharper.com

Please also check out my workshop for students in Years 10-13!

N.B. For the workshops to go ahead, there must be at least 4 people registered on each one.

What are your big dreams?

For a long time, one of the biggest dreams for me was to hold a book in my hands that I had helped create. When I received my copy of Domestic Imaginaries: Navigating the Home in Global Literary and Visual Cultures in the mail and held it in my hands, it was the greatest feeling of completion, and like a goal I had been working towards for years had finally reached fruition. But getting started was difficult, as I had never published a book before and neither had my co-editor, Hollie. Nevertheless, we really went for it!

Although I believe in regular goal setting and reviewing, I feel it is also important to prioritise your top goals. This is because we often start something difficult, and when we hit a difficult point, it can feel natural to give up and go onto something else that is easier and less daunting. Something safe. If you are someone with a lot of goals this can be dangerous because you could get deflated as you chip away at several dozen goals, but never really achieving any real milestones or completing any goals. This is why focusing on a maximum of 5 goals at a time is important. If  you are unsure on how to pick, it might be that you try to get balance by attempting to pick one goal for a different area of your life, such as:

  • relationships, friends and family
  • finances
  • career, work and business
  • well-being, health and fitness
  • hobbies, creative projects and travelling
  • personal and spiritual growth

Alternatively, you might find that most of these areas are going well, except for one and you want to set 4 or 5 goals that will get this area back on track.

Or you could pick according to urgency and need. If you could list all your goals and pick the top 5 most important, which would you pick? What could you do right now to get started on making small steps towards these big dreams? Who can you ask to help you? Often, once we break it down into sizeable chunks the big dream just looks like lots of little steps towards a bigger goal. And that is because it is!

If you are interested in finding out more and want to explore coaching with me, book a discovery call with me and find out how to achieve your dreams! Email me at hello@bexharper.com

How to organise your goals: Be, Do, Have Lists

One of the most effective ways to set long term goals is using a ‘Be, Do, Have’ list. In short, you write down all the things you want to be, all the things you want to do in life and all the things you want to have (both material and non-material). Then you come up with steps to achieve these goals. Here is some food for thought to help you write the list:

1. Be

  • What sort of person do you want to be seen as by others?
  • What sort of role do you want to play in others’ lives?
  • If you aren’t happy in your career, what do you want to be?
  • What sort of emotions do you want to feel more often?
  • What sort of habits do you want to adopt or establish?

 

2. Do

  • What do you want to do to earn money?
  • What sort of hobbies do you enjoy or want to cultivate?
  • Where do you want to go/travel/live?
  • What haven’t you done yet that is important to you?

 

 

3. Have

  • Is there anything you want to buy that you don’t yet have?
  • What sort of relationships would you like to have?
  • How do you picture your ideal day? What would it contain?
  • Do you want to have more time? More money? More love? More forgiveness? More sleep? More patience?

 

Once you have written your list, write down one task  you can do this week or this month to help you to get a little closer to that goal. Review your goals weekly and tick off tasks you have achieved and set another task that takes you another step closer to your goal. Pin your list up somewhere where you see it everyday and read it morning and evening. The more you see it, the more you will subconsciously and consciously try to make your life go in the direction you want it to go!

Look out for my next article on this topic – on tackling tricky goals!