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12 plays of Christmas – part 4

12 plays of Christmas – part 4

It’s the fourth and final part of our Christmas playlist, ‘The Twelve Plays of Christmas’. Christmas is only days away, Santa is readying his sleigh and lists of presents (demands?) are being ticked off. Which means it is a good time to remember that Christmas can be...

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12 plays of Christmas – part 3

12 plays of Christmas – part 3

Welcome to the 3rd part of our series exploring the lessons that can be learned from well-known (and some not-so-well-known) Christmas tracks.  Today we are looking at relationships during the festive period and ways to keep them in good shape.  Shane McGowan and...

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12 plays of Christmas – part 2

12 plays of Christmas – part 2

What is the real meaning of Christmas?  In the second of our #12PlaysofChristmas series we are highlighting a couple of tracks that remind us that Christmas can be about more than consumerism and overindulgence. Band Aid, 'Do They Know It's Christmas?' For those of a...

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12 plays of Christmas – part 1

12 plays of Christmas – part 1

It’s beginning to feel a bit like Christmas (to paraphrase the song). To help get you in the mood we’re doing a playlist of well-known festive hits. Plus one or two Christmas-related tracks that may have passed you by. If you have checked out our #SongsForSoundMinds...

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An attitude of gratitude at Thanksgiving

An attitude of gratitude at Thanksgiving

Cultivating an ‘attitude of gratitude’ in the era of Brexit and austerity might seem near impossible. How do we say thank you or count our blessings when the world around us seems completely chaotic? In many respects, you would be right about the challenge of being...

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How to cope with the winter blues – part 3

How to cope with the winter blues – part 3

In the final part of The Spark's 'How to cope with the winter blues' series, we're offering a few more tips on keeping your mood up when the sun is going down. You can catch up with part 1 and part 2 where we looked at how a 'sexy raincoat', not being Gordon Gekko and...

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How to cope with the winter blues – part 2

How to cope with the winter blues – part 2

Welcome to part 2 of The Spark's 'How to cope with the winter blues' series offering our tips on ways to defeat the winter blues. Catch up on part 1 of 'How to cope with the winter blues' where we looked at how embracing the winter season, taking up a new indoor...

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How to cope with the winter blues – part 1

How to cope with the winter blues – part 1

When the days start getting shorter and the nights longer, many people start to feel their mood drop. Unlike Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – a form of clinical depression – the ‘winter blues’ is a general term for the feelings of sadness and lethargy we can all...

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How to Be Happy – part 4

How to Be Happy – part 4

Why does being happy – at times – feel like such hard work? Instead of an easy path to a relaxed and consistent glow of contentment, it often feels like pushing a boulder up a hill; a brief moment of satisfaction at the peak before it rolls back down the other side...

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Student counselling services under pressure

Student counselling services under pressure

As universities and colleges prepare for the start of the new term, one major talking point continues to dominate the headlines: mental health support for students. Prior to the summer break, research laid bare the extent of the challenges facing further education...

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How to Be Happy – part 3

How to Be Happy – part 3

According to American pundit William Bennett, the pursuit of happiness can be thought of this way: ‘Happiness is like a cat, if you try to coax it or call it, it will avoid you; it will never come.  But if you pay no attention to it and go about your business, you’ll...

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Starting secondary school: a guide for parents

Starting secondary school: a guide for parents

Starting secondary school can be daunting for children and their parents. To help smooth the transition our team of Children and Young People Counsellors have put together their top tips on helping your child prepare for starting secondary school. Ask: how are you...

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Songs for Sound Minds #29 – Michael Jackson

Songs for Sound Minds #29 – Michael Jackson

Songs for Sound Minds #29 – ‘Man in the Mirror’ by Michael Jackson The latest choice for the #SongsForSoundMinds playlist encourages us to have a good look at ourselves and our motivations. Are we the nice, thoughtful person we imagine ourselves to be or do we spend...

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Songs for Sound Minds #28 – Dixie Chicks

Songs for Sound Minds #28 – Dixie Chicks

Songs for Sound Minds #28 – ‘The Long Way Around’ by The Dixie Chicks Our latest Songs for Sound Minds playlist pick could have been entitled ‘the hard way around’. The Long Way Around is a soulful, honest piece of country-pop that lays bare what it means to have the...

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How FOMO is making us miss out

How FOMO is making us miss out

FOMO – fear of missing out – is a concept that could have been created for the social media age. Essentially, it captures that internal sense that other people are having a better time right now than you are. Partnered with its sibling FoBO – fear of a better option –...

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That special relationship

That special relationship

The term ‘special relationship’ has been bandied about more often than usual recently. Whether it is in the context of UK – USA relations, UK – EU relations or to describe some of the insta-coupling occurring on ITV’s ‘Love Island’ we are all pretty familiar with it....

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How to be happy – part 2

How to be happy – part 2

Picture the scene.  A teenager opens their exam results: an A in Art, two Cs in English and French and an F in Maths. The response from their parent is likely to focus on either the good bits or the not so good bits. For example, their response might be: ‘An F in...

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Songs For Sound Minds #27 – Ben E. King

Songs For Sound Minds #27 – Ben E. King

Songs for Sound Minds #27 – ‘Stand by Me’ by Ben E. King Today’s #SongsforSoundMinds entry - 'Stand by Me' - is a companion piece to one of our earlier picks. In contrast to Chrissie Hynde’s assurance that, ‘I’ll Stand by You’, Ben E. King’s plea is ‘Stand by Me’. ...

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The world’s most dangerous words

The world’s most dangerous words

Believe it or not, there are two words in every language that should be considered the most dangerous in the world. With just over 700,000 words in the English dictionary, there are plenty of potential suspects. In the era of Trump and global warming you would be...

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How to be happy – part 1

How to be happy – part 1

This is how to be happy according to Stacey Kramer. "Imagine if you will a gift. I’d like you to picture it in your mind. It’s not too big, about the size of a golf ball. So, envision what it looks like, all wrapped up. Before I show you what’s inside I will tell you...

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