Neil Thompson’s Lessons for Living – Say thank you

Saying please and thank you is a basic part of what we are taught as children. But saying thank you is more than just good manners. It is a way of showing appreciation and of cementing cooperative working relations. While it is certainly not uncommon for people to say thank you to one another in the appropriate circumstances, there are also very many occasions when it is not said and when it could have been very helpful to do so. There are also many times when it is said in a curt or routine way that does not really convey appreciation – it comes across as just a social ritual, rather than a meaningful (and effective) communication. Try two things as an exercise. First, watch carefully as people interact (whether in real life or on TV or in films) and note how often thank you is not said (or not said convincingly) and consider how different the interaction might have been if a genuine thank you had been said. Second, try saying thank you meaningfully whenever the opportunity arises (without going overboard!) and see what response you get from people.

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The Avenue Professional Development Programme: Join Neil’s online tutorial group

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Coronavirus brings fear but also hope for change

Try as he might, David Cameron was unable to get his idea of a “big society” to gain traction – perhaps because, as he was told at the time, top-down initiatives are less likely to take off, especially if they are perceived as a Trojan horse during a period of prolonged government cuts.

When I arrived home to find a note on the doormat offering assistance with a range of tasks such as collecting shopping, or a phone call to break up a monotonous day or compensate for the lack of social interaction, I was neither dismissive nor distrustful – even though I didn’t need the services offered. That an individual, who had gone on to recruit a few friends, was offering such help is not unique, but it is a fine antidote to tales of panic-buying and food banks struggling for sufficient donations to meet demand.

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Covid-19 needs our attention right now, but recovery measures could be part of the solution for the climate emergency

We are all facing challenges on a scale that would have been unimaginable only a few months ago. All over the country, people frightened for the health of their loved ones are also worrying how they will pay their rent, feed their families and keep their jobs or businesses going.

At Greenpeace we are doing all we can to respond to this public health emergency – both for staff and volunteers, and the planet and its people. Our staff are working from home for the foreseeable future – over the years, our carbon-saving flight policy means we’ve got pretty good at video calls! – and of course, while this situation continues, we’ll be finding other ways to have our say that don’t involve public gatherings.

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Sociological insights to help understand people’s lives and their challenges

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A chance to focus on the beauty around us

With most people spending many hours at home, photographers are having to find new ways to express their creativity. And with fewer aircraft in the skies, those who venture out at night to photograph the heavens no longer have to spend hours removing passing aeroplanes from their pictures.

“I usually end up spending a lot of time removing light trails caused by passing aircraft but I only had one plane to remove from these images, instead of the usual 20-30,” says student Ben Lockett, from Staffordshire, who takes pictures such as the one above during his daily exercise. The pictures are taken using a long exposure, with the apparent motion of the stars due to Earth’s rotation. Another photographer, Andrew Whyte, says: “On Friday night, I continued to observe the lockdown and didn’t even cross the threshold of my front door.”

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Time and Workload Management: An essential guide to managing a heavy workload

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Lessons for Living – 101 Tips for Optimal Well-being at Work and Beyond

This book, by highly respected author, educator and adviser, Neil Thompson, offers a much more grounded approach to the complex issues involved. Part One provides a clear and helpful overview of key issues relating to promoting well-being – our own and other people’s, while Part Two offers 101 practical tips. This book will be ideal for anyone wanting to make a positive difference, whether in the caring professions, in a management or human resources context or just in their own personal lives.This is not a book that gives you instructions. The main aim is to give you food for thought, to support you in thinking through a number or key issues, warning you of pitfalls to avoid and helping you plan your own way forward.

Available for purchase along with many other books by Neil here or from the Avenue Learning Centre here.

Connect with Neil Thompson online! For Neil's blog and more resources

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Neil Thompson’s Lessons for Living – Don’t reply in anger

Anger is a powerful emotion, and one that no one is immune to. The physiological effect it has on us can be a strong spur to action, and so the temptation to respond there and then can be an intensely felt one. However, responding there and then can be highly problematic, as the intense emotion of the situation can distort our perceptions. It can also lead to an escalation in which our anger-driven response can ‘up the stakes’ emotionally and thereby lead to a worsening of the situation rather than defuse it. In addition, it can mean that we are responding without a full understanding of the situation, and that could lead to making the situation worse. The traditional idea of ‘count to 10’ has some merit, but it is not enough on its own, as the effects of anger can last for some considerable time – for example, they can become resentment. Anger is a valid response to many situations but we have to make sure that it is not allowed to create further problems or ill-feeling.

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The Avenue Learning Centre Learning resources from Neil Thompson and colleagues

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Deep listening: Finding common ground with opponents

Do you find it hard to speak to people when you feel passionately they are wrong? Whether it’s a row over giving up meat to save the planet or simply whose turn it is to wash up, such conversations can lead to a stalemate. One potential solution is deceptively simple but hard to pull off, especially when you feel sure you are right. The technique is called deep listening.

It is an approach to difficult conversations that ensures both parties feel fully heard. Research suggests it can enhance the speaker’s feeling of wellbeing, as when we are deeply listened to, we can feel valued, accepted and more connected, regardless of whether or not the listener agrees with us.

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Hardly hard to reach – The case for refugee-led mental health services

Active Lives, Healthy Minds is a three year (June 2016-2019) refugee-led mental health and wellbeing project in West London run by Race on the Agenda (ROTA) in partnership with Account Trust (Nepali community organisation), Network of Eritrean Women UK, Qoys Daryeel – Family Care (Somali community organisation), the Tamil Community Centre and Ilays. The project is funded by The National Lottery Community Fund and aims to improve mental health.

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Ensuring every older person is treated with dignity as a unique individual

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Centre for Welfare Reform Manifesto

The Centre for Welfare Reform was formed in 2009 to help create a world where everyone can be an equal citizen. The Centre is a citizen think tank. We are not funded by big business or government. We exist because of donations and voluntary effort and share information and ideas for free.

Everyone is equal – everyone matters. But too often we are divided, isolated and alone. We need to live together in a spirit of equality and justice – taking care of each other and our planet. In 2016 the Centre helped to create Citizen Network, a global cooperative that brings together individuals and groups to create a world where everyone matters. The Fellowship of the Centre is developing a Manifesto of proposals to create a world of equal citizenship where everyone matters.

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It’s all about people: visit Neil Thompson’s humansolutions website

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Lessons for Living – 101 Tips for Optimal Well-being at Work and Beyond

This book, by highly respected author, educator and adviser, Neil Thompson, offers a much more grounded approach to the complex issues involved. Part One provides a clear and helpful overview of key issues relating to promoting well-being – our own and other people’s, while Part Two offers 101 practical tips. This book will be ideal for anyone wanting to make a positive difference, whether in the caring professions, in a management or human resources context or just in their own personal lives.This is not a book that gives you instructions. The main aim is to give you food for thought, to support you in thinking through a number or key issues, warning you of pitfalls to avoid and helping you plan your own way forward.

Available for purchase along with many other books by Neil here or from the Avenue Learning Centre here.

The Authentic Leader A new approach to leadership in Neil’s important book.

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Neil Thompson’s Lessons for Living – Why here? Why now?

When people come to us for help or reach the last straw when it becomes clear that they cannot continue without help, it can be very helpful to ask: Why here? Why now? In other words, it pays to be clear about what has made the difference between carrying on as before and seeking change. It is often the case that the problem(s) people need help with have been around for some time, but they have not sought help before. So, why now? What has been the key factor that has made the difference. The answer to that question may tell us a great deal about the situation, how it is perceived by the person(s) concerned and therefore what it means to them. It can also be helpful to ask: Why here? That is, why have they come to you? If there were other options available (and there usually are), why have they come here to seek your help? In some circumstances that too can cast important light on the subject. Failing to ask ourselves these questions can mean that we are missing out on important information.

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LinkedIn: Connect online & join Neil Thompson’s HUMANSOLUTIONS discussion group

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Bibliotherapy – The power books have to heal you

Bibliotherapy – the prescription of books as a remedy to ills – has been around since 2013, when the Reading Agency charity published a list of books that GPs could offer to patients, tackling topics from depression to dementia to chronic pain. Since then, 1.2 million readers have borrowed the scheme’s books from libraries. It’s so successful that it’s about to be extended to children as well. Winifred Robinson discusses how it works with Professor Philip Davis who studies the effects of literature at Liverpool University. He’s the author of a book called Reading for Life, having researched its effects on dementia, depression and worked with reading groups in prisons and homeless shelters.

NB This content may not be available outside of the UK

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A fresh look at social work theory and methods

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The power of chunking – Making more time for what really matters to you

How much free time do you have lately? Did that question just make you laugh out loud? These days, we are pulled in so many directions and we have so many demands placed on our personal and professional lives that the idea of free time usually stays just that — an idea. But what if there was a way to bring a higher level of efficiency to our lives? What if you were able to focus on achieving your goals instead of checking on a seemingly endless list of to-dos? How could this change the quality of your life? How much free time would you be able to open up for yourself?

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A practical guide to supervision of students & other forms of workplace learning

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Self compassion: The secret to keeping the promises you make to yourself

It is not just at the beginning of a new year that people promise themselves to do better. I rarely make New Year’s resolutions. But there are always times during the year when I think about something I just said or did, or didn’t do, and say to myself, “Self, you have got to do better.”

But how? My natural inclination is to berate myself. I’ll give you a trivial example. Sometimes I carelessly do something that costs me money. At the supermarket, for instance, I pick up a yogurt that I know is on sale. But when it gets rung up, I don’t get the discount. Oh, it only applied to certain flavors; I forgot about that and picked up one that didn’t qualify. When I do something like that, I tell myself that I have just paid “the stupid tax.” That’s the tax I levy on myself by being stupid.

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Lessons for Living – 101 Tips for Optimal Well-being at Work and Beyond

This book, by highly respected author, educator and adviser, Neil Thompson, offers a much more grounded approach to the complex issues involved. Part One provides a clear and helpful overview of key issues relating to promoting well-being – our own and other people’s, while Part Two offers 101 practical tips. This book will be ideal for anyone wanting to make a positive difference, whether in the caring professions, in a management or human resources context or just in their own personal lives.This is not a book that gives you instructions. The main aim is to give you food for thought, to support you in thinking through a number or key issues, warning you of pitfalls to avoid and helping you plan your own way forward.

Available for purchase along with many other books by Neil here or from the Avenue Learning Centre here.

Learn with Neil Thompson: Sign up to Neil’s YouTube channel

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Neil Thompson’s Lesson for Living – Start your own book of the month club

When I worked with students on a full-time basis, I would suggest that, once they went out into the big wide world as qualified professionals, they should make sure that they continued to learn and develop. In particular, I would urge them to continue to read about their profession and build up their knowledge base over time. I would suggest to them that they should buy a book every month when they received their salary payment, so that it became an established pattern for them. I have since met several of those ex-students who have told me that they did just that and were glad they did, as it helped them to not only keep learning, but also to retain a sense of professionalism, recognizing that their work is rooted in an important professional knowledge base. So, how do you make sure that you are continuing to learn and maintaining your sense of professionalism?

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Emotional Competence Learn to develop your emotional intelligence and resilience

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