Starting the season of giving

Starting the season of giving

Starting the season of giving

This week a news report spoke of the challenge many people are having making ends meet.  Food banks are being accessed at record levels, and countries around the world are feeling the impact of global warming on food supply.  It’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Instead, I chose to focus on appreciation for what I do have, the ability to extend some of that abundance to others.Inside the entrance of Landing Strong, we’ve planted a magic giving tree.  Under it, are placed a few donations for the local food bank.  It’s our hope that these few items will multiply to the point where food spills out into the lobby.  We invite you to contribute to its growth.  When the world feels too big, just remember how small efforts can create a ripple effect of positivity.Happy December,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.Executive Director, Landing StrongPS. Please don’t forget to enroll now for upcoming programs: Date Night Thursday, December 8 from 6pm-9pmMaintaining Health Thursday, December 15 from 9am-3pmStop Faking Good Start Feeling Good: Emotions Management          Co-ed group starts Wednesday, January 11 and runs for five weeks          Women’s only group starts Friday, January 13 and runs for five weeksCreating Confidence and Clarifying Strengths          Starts Tuesday, January 10 and runs for five weeksManaging the Cultural Divide          Starts Thursday, January 12 and runs for five weeks All programs are being offered in person. Please let us know if you have interest in on-line delivery for any of our programs and if we have enough people we will offer on-line as well.

Live long, Laugh, and Prosper

Live long, Laugh, and Prosper

Live long, Laugh, and Prosper

This Halloween, I was scheduled to attend a lunch time meeting at King’s-Edgehill School. Traditionally, the school makes a very big deal of Halloween…EVERYONE dresses up. Wanting to be part of the fun, I decided to wear a costume. Unfortunately, what I didn’t know was that the school had their dress up day the previous week.

Imagine my dismay when I found myself in full Star Trek costume surrounded by a sea of students in uniforms.

I too was in uniform, only it was from wrong planet.

Somehow, this wasn’t the way I imagined this would play out.

The incidental bonus to the day is that I realized everyone I encountered was eager to join the fun. On seeing my costume, Lezlee and Jen, our Office Admin staff, ran out to Dollarama to get fun costumes and a treat bowl. Everyone smiled when greeted by a witch and a cat in the reception. Clients greeted me in the lobby with the traditional Klingon hand signals and greetings.

As the day progressed, I forgot that I was in costume, but the smiles and jokes from others reminded me that we all enjoy an excuse to laugh together.

When people feel joyful, they break into spontaneous play.

Small acts of fun truly do spark joy.

Maybe that’s the take-away from my day. Live long, laugh and prosperWarm regards,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.Executive Director, Landing Strong

Paying attention to what’s working

Paying attention to what’s working

Paying attention to what’s working

It’s often much easier to notice what we’re doing wrong, rather than what we’re doing right. Military and first responder roles rely on critical analysis of potential shortfalls in order to maximize safety. 

Even when our actions are not motivated by the desire for recognition, it’s always satisfying to know when we got it right or that our efforts are making a difference. 

The problem of focusing on our missteps and passing over successes, however small they might be, is that is fosters a bias to overlook the good when we are confronted with challenges.

I like to think of the person who came up with the idea of building the first boat.  They may have thrown many items in the water and examined what made them sink, but chances are they spent more time examining what made things float in order to come up with the winning formula. It can often be easier to focus on our weaknesses rather than our strengths. But how much healthier would we be if we mastered the habit of noticing what we do well?

How might your day be different if the focus was on all the little things you are doing that are having a positive impact?  Can you identify three in this moment?Warm regards,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.Executive Director, Landing Strong

Triggers or glimmers? It’s all a matter of attention

Triggers or glimmers? It’s all a matter of attention

Triggers or glimmers? It’s all a matter of attention

PTSD is a condition where our central nervous systems are constantly scanning for potential threats. It’s our brains’ way of keeping us safe. The problem is, it’s easy to miss the good stuff. By hyper-focusing on danger, we overlook signs of safety.

We may have a good sense of triggers, those are the people, places or things that create a sense of danger or unease.  In contrast, Trauma Specialist Deb Dana introduced the term glimmer to describe experiences that foster a sense of safety.  Glimmers are small moments that help shift our system towards calm. 

This month in our Maintaining Health group, we worked on recognizing Glimmers. It’s really about intention. Noticing both sides of the equation.

Hurricane Fiona created challenges for many. It also brought out the best as communities bonded together to help one another. A tree may have fallen on my veranda, but the plentiful rain produced the best crop of carrots I have ever had. I’ve never seen such abundance. That’s my glimmer.

If you catch yourself focusing on the threat or problem, take a mindful moment to balance the equation. Notice the simple things that bring you peace: the crisp fall air, colourful leaves, or pumpkin people dancing on the lawns of Kentville.

Don’t forget to enjoy the glimmers.Warm Regards,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.Executive Director, Landing Strong

Resiliency isn’t a bullet proof vest

Resiliency isn’t a bullet proof vest

Resiliency isn’t a bullet proof vest

How do you define resilience? Many might think of a titanium vest that deflects bullets or adversity: a protective shell that protects from harm.

Recently, I have come to understand resiliency as something softer, sweeter.

It’s the ability to work through emotions rather than shutting them down.

To be able to slow down time when the world around us is speeding up.

It’s about making space to really talk and listen to the people who are important to us, asking for what we need and learning to be emotionally present without judgement.

The work of resiliency happens behind close doors, in sharing circles.

Injured Veterans and First Responders often complain that they are too quick to experience sadness. They view it as evidence of injury since they used to be able to “turn their emotions off.”  Me, I view it as a sign of recovery.  Emotional availability is resiliency starting to take shape.

A wise First Responder recently shared a Thomas Edison quote with me that captures the notion of resiliency quite succinctly: Most people miss opportunity and look over it because they don’t recognize it looks like overalls and hard work.

Together, we ‘ll strap on our coveralls and not be afraid to stir up some dust. Ultimately that’s what allows clarity.

But it’s not all about hard work. We also need to have fun. We’re excited to announce the launch of our new program Date Night. It’s a chance to reconnect with the fun, playful side of yourself and enjoy a stress-free evening with a close friend or partner. Join us for an evening of creativity, conversation and connection. The first Date Night starts on Thursday, October 13th from 6-9 pm. Thanks to the support of Employment and Social Development Canada, there is no fee for this program. Light refreshments are provided.

We are also registering participants for our second round of Creating Confidence Clarifying Strengths, scheduled to start November 1, 2022. This feel-good program is receiving rave reviews and has no fee thanks to the generous funding of ACOA.

Call (902) 472-2972 or email info@landingstrong.com to register.

Warm regards,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.Executive Director, Landing Strong

Things I am grateful for

Things I am grateful for

Things I am grateful for

Today is National Day for Truth and Reconciliation: A day dedicated to honouring survivors of the residential schools as well as those children who never returned home. It’s a time to acknowledge the painful impact these dark periods of our history have had, and continue to have on individuals, families and communities. Public commemoration of the tragic history and ongoing impacts of residential schools has been identified as a vital component of the reconciliation process.

I am incredibly grateful that the words Truth and Reconciliation are given the weight they deserve and are becoming so deeply imbedded within our cultural understanding. We may be powerless to change the past, but as a society we are able to take the time to fully understand the historical impacts of our actions, take stock of where we stand today, and plan for an enlightened future.

On a side note, and in no way to detract from the importance of this day, I also wanted to express gratitude for all of the first responders, hydro and emergency workers who worked tirelessly over the past week to restore power, order and safety to our communities following Hurricane Fiona. My son Albert lives in the 40-unit Dartmouth apartment building that was emergency evacuated in the middle of the night during the hurricane. It was an unsettling time, but the impression that he is left with was the kindness, generosity and positive spirit of neighbours, first responders and volunteers alike. He spoke of the efficiency of an emergency response system that organized warm busses for evicted residents to stay in rather than standing in the raging storm; the kindness and compassion of the Red Cross Workers who handed him a blanket and showed him a cot in the Sportsplex at four in the morning; and the good humour of his neighbours who jokingly commented “they had always wanted a pool, too bad it was in the living room when they had hoped to have it in their bedroom”. In true Nova Scotia style, they meet adversity with good humour and a positive spirit.

I am happy to witness the kindness of strangers, generosity of spirit, and willingness of society to undergo a process of self reflection, ensuring all members of our community feel welcomed, respected and cared for.

Warm regards,

Belinda Seagram, Ph.D., R. Psych.Executive Director, Landing Strong