Mandalas – Batteries for the Brain

The word mandala means “circle” in Sanskrit and is the name given to geometric patterns that Buddhists have used in the practice of meditation for centuries.

Making a mandala from natural materials is an activity that enables the brain to restore its batteries.  Focusing on an activity such as this requires little attention. At least, it doesn’t require the same fixed attention as, say, making sure appointments are met or needing to remember what medication is taken and when. It helps our minds and our bodies to relax and allows time for the brain to re-charge its batteries ready for when it needs to focus on more demanding tasks.

Think of making a mandala as a bit like doing a jigsaw puzzle.  You can make them in one go or take time over several days, adding to it now and again. Useful if you feel you don’t have time to do one in one day; you can stretch it out and enjoy the activity over several days. Either way, the time spent in is relaxing and fun and can be done by an individual, as part of a one-to-one or group session or as a family activity. How large it becomes is entirely up to you. Here are some examples of mandalas made by carers:

If you would like to create your own mandala, just look around your garden or whilst out on a local walk for berries, leaves, twigs, grasses etc that you can use to create circular patterns as in the images above. Here’s a short speedy film to demonstrate how we make them in our sessions…although perhaps not quite as quick as this!

Wendy Brewin, Creative Spaces Project Manager

Sensory Trust

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Time Out

Spending more time at home without opportunities to visit family, friends or other places has impacted on people in many ways.  For some, it is frustrating and can lead to feeling isolated, anxious, and lonely.  For others there have been unexpected benefits.  

Some people have found their attention being drawn to their own home environments, particularly their outside spaces. These have become places to revisit, to explore again, to re-connect with and see things afresh. People are enjoying the benefits of the outdoors, whether that’s breathing in fresh air, absorbing much needed vitamin D, listening to the sounds of nature, or just taking in the view.

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Empathy stones

We can all find it difficult at times to talk about feelings or thoughts, particularly if they are negative. This activity helps people to express those feelings without vocalising them. Writing words, drawing colours or images onto stones and then throwing them away can be a cathartic release of negative feelings and thoughts which, left undealt with, might otherwise create health problems. 

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Humanitas: a home with a difference

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Guest blog by Ellie Robinson Carter

Humanitas Deventer is a world-renowned care home in Holland where students live for free to support the older people who live there. Humanitas has been praised for its forward-thinking approach to finding innovative ways of supporting older people as well as its Adelbold project which supports younger people with additional needs to gain independence and self-confidence. Continue reading

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Lets go nutting!

flowers in pot on windowsill

Earlier this year we supported Katherine Hathaway with her award-winning border at BBC Gardeners World Live Show. Katherine’s design, which centred around dementia and nature was inspired by her mother’s positive reaction to a vase of sweet peas.  This got Katherine thinking;  how could plants support people living with dementia by stimulating their senses and memories? Continue reading

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The nature of sleep

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In the 2017 State of Caring survey 7 in 10 unpaid carers said they found it difficult to get a good night’s sleep as a result of caring. 

Everyone occasionally has a bad night’s sleep, it becomes a real health issue however when lack of proper sleep occurs on a regular basis. It can lead to issues such as poor concentration, depression and high blood pressure.

What are the causes of poor sleep?

We all know that anxious thoughts can keep you awake. Depression and mood changes Continue reading

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