5 Questions that Can Clear Away the Gloom

David Ackling-Jones

20 April 2020

5 Questions that Can Clear Away the Gloom

This post is personal. It is about how I shifted my gloomy mindset today.

It is a mission to stay healthy and aligned amid so much uncertainty and disruption. So, today I did an exercise from a great book, Inner Child Journeys, by the psychologist Robin Grille. It occurred to me that this exercise, relevant to my role as a parent, could extend to my work role, also. That's why I am sharing it here. 

1. How am I feeling now?

  • out of routine
  • socially isolated
  • dull-minded
  • unsure of what to do
  • looking for ways to procrastinate
  • anxious and sad

2. When have I felt this way before?

  • As a homework-burdened 14-year-old, doing schoolwork inside the house on a sunny Sunday.

3. What was my need then; what would have helped me feel better?

  • ring up a schoolmate
  • jump on my skateboard
  • take the schoolwork to the library
  • get the work done 
  • go to the skatepark, after.

4. How might I have this need met today?

  • ring up a work colleague
  • share my goals for the day
  • work hard with others
  • contribute ideas via chat during the day
  • finish work early if I can
  • get out for some exercise in the ocean this afternoon.

5. What does my child [or other people I support] need from me when he/she behaves this way?

  • a call to do something fun and physical, to laugh and move their body rather than sitting in one place
  • an invitation to chat, even if they seem too "busy" or anxious to connect
  • asking them about their goals and encouraging them to achieve them.

There it is. Seems, I am in a pattern, dating back to my days as a teenager, of avoiding exercise, social contact, and other things that make me feel better about myself, and sharpen my saw. Makes it hard for me to fully engage in my work, which is about supporting others.

To break this pattern, today, I made an implementation intention to go for a run or a swim at the end of each workday. I started this afternoon when I finished work. I went for a run and a very chilly swim, at sunset (see photo). Keen to keep this going, as a new habit. Wish me luck.

How might a reflective process, like the above five questions, empower you to break through the gloom, and access more freedom and social connection, for yourself and for the people you support?

David Ackling-Jones

Behaviour Support Specialist, CEO

5 Questions that Can Clear Away the Gloom

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