You can’t plan a journey without a compass to help you find your bearings. Your ‘helpful compass’ helps you set the guiding principles of your recovery.
It can be helpful to define these fundamental principles to help make choices along the way. The compass will serve you throughout the Journey as a reminder of the values you set out with, to help make choices along the way. When you find yourself at a difficult point, the compass will be there to re-orient you.
At The Helpful Clinic, we navigate by these four cardinal points:
Staying curious helps us explore what’s going on with our health. Curiosity builds a compassionate understanding that supports and facilitates change.
FEELINGS ARE INFORMATION
Physical and emotional feelings let you know what you need and what needs tending to. Understanding this information is key to being able to deal with it.
FIRST AID KIT FOR FEELINGS
Having a clear and accessible rapid response to stress, overwhelm, fatigue and pain enables you to address whatever is going on straight away.
THE WAY YOU DO IT
It’s all about what state you are in. Knowing how to create your state enables you to be in the most appropriate state to ensure the most helpful results.
1. Curiosity is more Helpful than Criticism.
‘Is it helpful?’ This straightforward question helps us respond to our thoughts, feelings, actions and experiences in a way that is helpful to us. If the answer is a ‘Yes’, that’s great, keep doing what you are doing. If it’s a ‘No’ – let’s get curious about what could be more helpful. Let’s stop judging our thoughts, feelings, actions and experiences as good or bad, right or wrong, positive or negative, true or false. This way of thinking is more likely to encourage criticism. Let’s focus on being curious instead and learn to do the most helpful thing.
2. Feelings are Information.
Our culture often judges certain physical and emotional feelings as desirable and valuable, and others – less so. We feel that this hierarchy of feelings is unhelpful and doesn’t recognise that all feelings are, first of all, information. We believe that the key to unlocking this information is education.
All too often we don’t know how to interpret or respond to our physical and emotional feelings. This can adversely affect our health and wellbeing. Instead of being critical of our feelings and the information they carry, we believe it is more helpful to be curious. Being curious about our physical and / or emotional distress helps us understanding it and, where possible, resolve it.
3. Feelings need a First Aid Kit, too.
There is a key difference between dealing with our physical and emotional feelings in the short term and the long term. Having your own First Aid Kit for your feelings empowers you to have a rapid response to prevent things from escalating or having more unhelpful impact. This means you have choice, you are in control and you can be compassionate with yourself.
4. It’s the Way (that) You Do It.
‘It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it and that’s what gets results’. Yes, just like in the 80s pop song, it’s all a question of state. If you are doing anything in a tense or stressed state you are likely to expend more energy and deliver less than if you are in a more effortless state. This also applies to health and how it is affected. Understanding how to build and affect your own state not only gives you tools and techniques to move from one state to another, it also allows you to make active choices about the state you are in.
We believe that understanding these four cardinal points of the compass helps us navigate our way to improved health and wellbeing.
We believe that using the four cardinal points is a skill. It doesn’t require a special talent to learn to use them, everybody can do it! Knowledge is power, so it’s all about learning and education.
We believe that every single person deserves to be supported in their health in a way that works for them. Blaming people for not responding to treatment or interventions is unhelpful.
We believe that working with health requires an integrated approach. Therefore, we work collaboratively with other practitioners, clinicians and medics. We actively seek such collaboration and invest in collaborative relationships for the benefit of your health. It also helps us further develop a more effective understanding of what causes symptoms and adversely affects health.
The Helpful Clinic, through its clinical work, pioneering programs and education work such as the First Aid Kit for Feelings, is dedicated to championing the Helpful Agenda and living our lives in a way that’s actually and actively helpful to our health and wellbeing.
We believe that Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social wellbeing and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.