“The Many Faces of Mental Illness,” Poetry Book:
“Flipping Through Emotions,” Flip-book:
“Realigning Thoughts Workshops,” YouTube Series:
Monday 17th May 2021 // Gabrielle Spooner
I held a poetry evening on Thursday 6th May at 6pm (GMT) online, where I read a collection of mental health poetry and prose from my book, “The Many Faces of Mental Illness,” which were written in my Realigning Thoughts Workshops. I advertised for this on my Instagram page and Eventbrite.co.uk, the evening was free but attendees could make an optional donation to Mind Charity. I raised £60 for Mind Charity from this event.
I had one poet share two of her poems on mental health, which was a lovely addition to the evening. She mentioned at the end of the event, “thank you for giving me a safe space to read my poems.” It was nice that the online event became not only a place to share, read and discuss poetry, but a place to be open and honest about mental health/illness. I felt the evening was the perfect way to bring my project and workshops together.
Next, I will be selling these poetry books, non-profit but with an optional donation to Mind Charity.
Gabrielle Spooner // Friday 7th May 2021
OBJECT 1: WORKSHOP VIDEOS
How does it look?
A collection of recorded videos on YouTube. Each video is a separate exercise from the Realigning Thoughts Workshop Series, and are between 3 – 7 minutes long. Throughout the videos there is a written explanation of each part of the method, making it easy for people to pause and go along with the video in their own time. (Shown in photos below).
How does it operate?
On a YouTube series, which enables people to access the videos whenever they want. They are short and quick exercises that intend to help improve mental wellbeing immediately.
How does it develop?
I have explained in the description of each video to send me any work created from the videos, or use the hashtag #Realignmythoughts if posting the work on Instagram.
OBJECT 2: POETRY BOOK, “The Many Faces of Mental Illness.”
How does it look?
The design of the book is linked to the Realigning Thoughts theme, with each sentence looking like it has been cut-up and rearranged. I chose the book to be shades of yellow, as after a poll held on my Instagram page of, ‘What colour most represents joy for you?’ Yellow won 55% of the votes. Therefore, I decided that yellow would be the most appropriate colour to make the mental health poetry book, as it reflects the positive and warming effect the book
How does it operate?
The poetry book is a collection of mental health poetry and prose created in my Realigning Thoughts Workshops. There is a section at the back for the user to add their own poem / prose to the book, allowing them to see how effective expressing yourself through poetry can be.
How does it develop?
I will be holding a poetry evening on Thursday 6th May 2021 at 6pm (GMT) online, where I am raising money for Mind Charity. I will also sell these books non-profits with an optional donation of £5 to Mind.
OBJECT 3: FLIP-BOOK, “Flipping Through Emotions.”
How does it look?
The book is shades of turquoise because the blue in it represents peace, calm and tranquillity, the green represents balance and growth, whilst the yellow in it brings uplifting energy. The Flip-book has 3 different shades of turquoise to indicate the 3 different sentences clearly, allowing the user to work on one sentence at a time. The white flaps are so the user can blank out the sentences, so again can concentrate on one at a time.
How does it operate?
The Flip-book is intended for young adults, teenagers and children. Instructions within the book a simple easy to follow. Whilst the young adults and teenagers can use the book by themselves; children would need to have an adult’s guidance to help them follow the instructions and fill it in.
How does it develop?
The book has 4 questions to fill out at the end to reflect on the benefits of using it and what other methods help their mental wellness. I may also sell these books non-profit with an optional donation of £5 to Mind.
Gabrielle Spooner // Tuesday 4th May 2021
The mental health flip book or ‘Flipping Through Emotions’ book, is a development of the Realigning Thoughts Workshops. The flip book is another way to look at realigning negative and intrusive thoughts into more positive ones. When creating this object I took influence from Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), as during this form of therapy you look at changing negative thought patterns to influence positive feelings and lifestyle. The flip book is a simplified tool of doing this, as you take 3 negative thoughts and then can flip to numerous positive alternatives. It allows the individual to not only see how many different ways a negative thoughts can be changed, but also help them to express themselves.
“The most effective way of changing a misinterpretation…Is to help the person come up with an alternative, less threatening interpretation of his or her experience.” (Salkovskis, Paul, 1996). This quote from Clinical psychologist Paul Salkovskis has inspired me with the creation of this flip book, as it offers multiple and alternative ways to look at a negative thought or ‘misinterpretation.’
The design of the flip book is to make the product as clear and simple as possible. The first ‘flips’ are blank and white, so the individual using the product can concentrate on one sentence at a time, or all at once if desired. Each sentence is different shades of blue/green to show where the different sentences start and finish. The reason the book is blue/green is because these colours are often associated with mental health and also similar colours were used in my Realigning Thoughts Workshop Add. Lastly, there is pages at the back titled ‘Mental Health Reflection,’ so the user can reflect not only on the benefit of this book but also other ways they can help their mental wellbeing.
I intend to create two types of the flip book. The first being one that is already filled in, that is personal to me. The second has gaps for the individual to fill in themselves, with prompts of what and where to write. This allows the flip book to be personal for whomever wishes to use it.
Gabrielle Spooner // Thursday 22nd April 2021
I decided to take the canvas out in Waterloo as this is a popular spot for buskers and performers, meaning there would be enough people around for interactions to happen. I walked around Waterloo Station, Southbank and across Waterloo Bridge, handing out the cards with the exercise and question on to passers by. I was able to explain my project / concept to a couple of people, but due to spending 3 1/2 months in Lockdown, my confidence to approach people had decreased, making this experience take me out of my comfort zone.
I was lucky that within 5 minutes of me taking my canvas out, I had an interesting and inspiring conversation with a member of the public. She mentioned how she was interested in the power of the word, which drew her to my Symptoms Sign. She also asked me if I had any experience with this topic of mental health, which led to me being open and honest about myself. This conversation has directed me to think about and explain the power of these rearranged words and sentences, which hopefully will lead my project to be developed and expanded further. I have also intended to be open and honest throughout this project, such as within my workshops, and will continue to do so.
On my way home, I decided to leave the remainder of the cards in various places around Waterloo and on public transport. I hoped that people would find them, pick them up and do the short Realigning Thoughts exercise explained on them. I put my Instagram and hashtag of #Realignmythoughts on the cards, so people could either send me their work or tag me in it on Instagram. So far, I have not had any interaction, although this does not mean people haven’t interacted with my Realigning Thoughts exercise.
Going forwards, I will be reflecting on my experience with taking this sign out in public, and perhaps develop it visually. I may think to redesign and make the sign to fit with the Realigning Thoughts collection.
Gabrielle Spooner // Monday 12th April
I decided to realign the general signs and symptoms of mental illnesses. The point is that these sentences sounded negative before I rearranged them. They were factual, but the dark realities of mental illness. This rearranging shows how words can quickly be changed from one meaning to another, showing that our negative thoughts are not as powerful as they seem inside our heads, as they are simply just words.
I have further developed this object with enlarging it onto a 110cmX80cm canvas. I created this by painting the canvas white and writing each word on separate pieces of card, sticking them onto the canvas. I am planning to take this to Waterloo in London, to raise mental health awareness.
Alongside this I have made Realigning Thoughts cards to hand out to people, which have the exercise, ‘Try writing out a negative thought or feeling, then rearrange each word to create a more positive sentence,’ on one side, and the question, ‘Can we realign our thoughts by rearranging our words?’ on the other side. This is to introduce more people to the Realigning Thoughts method that helps mental wellbeing. I have also created the hashtag #Realignmythoughts, so if people create an Instagram post using the Realigning Thoughts method, they can use this. Perhaps it will also form a community of people who use this method to help their mental health.
This will become an artefact on its own, as part of the Realigning Thoughts series. The interactions with the public when I take this sign and cards out, will determine the further development and outcome of this object.
Gabrielle Spooner // Wednesday 7th April 2021
Back in February I created a Realigning Thoughts Workshop series, which I held weekly on Fridays at 11am & 2pm. I have therefore decided to gather all the exercises & methods formed for these workshops & make them into short 5-minute videos. I decided this was the best way to collect all the work created for these workshops. This allows anyone to access the different exercises for whenever suits them.
Each video is an exercise from the Realigning Thoughts Workshop Series. I decided to make them all individual & short clips so people can use these methods quickly & effectively. It also allows people to fit them into their busy lives. I believe that people are more likely to part-take in the activities if the videos are short, simple & effective.
I believe each of these exercises that I have put into the videos are useful & help to realign negative & intrusive thoughts into more positive ones. I not only hope that these methods will help people with overthinking, low mood & mental health issues, but also help to raise awareness around the subject of mental health.
I have promoted the release of these videos on my Instagram, hopefully enabling a wider audience to be met. The first video will be released on Monday 5th April & then I will proceed to release the following every Monday of April.
Link to the YouTube series: Realigning Thoughts
Gabrielle Spooner // Wednesday 31st March 2021
To move forwards with my project I felt it was necessary to go back to the start and rediscover where my interests lie. I relearnt that I took influence from the work ‘Yoga’ which derived from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’ meaning “to join” or “to unite.” This led to me wanting to create something that joined or united people, which developed into the Realigning Thoughts online Workshops.
I decided to do the daily rearranging of negative sentences into more positive ones again, as this is essentially where my main project ideas lie. The meaning of starting this daily exercise, which developed throughout my workshops and is continuing to do so, is to understand difficult thoughts and emotions. In order to understand yourself and your mental health, it is necessary to know the causes, trauma and childhood experiences. Taking part in this daily practice again helped to re-situate my project and allow me to take it to the next level.
My main inspiration of the base of my project, rearranging negative sentences, is from William Burroughs who developed ‘the cut-up method’ in 1959. He discovered and believed that when you experiment with cut-ups over a period of time it seems to refer to future events.
“When you cut into the present, the future leaks out,” this quote from William Burroughs influenced the next stage of my project. I wanted to use this method of Realigning Thoughts, where you take negative aspects, thoughts or emotions from the present to “leak out” a more positive future.
Thus, this lead me to create a series of artefacts that all link together in some from through the Realigning Thoughts basis:
The Poetry Book – includes poems that were created in my online workshops and are mental health themed. Each line of each poem is created to look like it’s cut up, rearranged and stuck back together, to stick with the Realigning Thoughts theme.
The Mental Health Flip book – the idea of this artefact is to write a negative sentence on the first page and then flip and change each sentence to create new, positive phrases. This allows the individual using it to see all the positive variations of one negative sentence.
Rearrange Mental Illness Symptoms – I rearranged the common mental illness signs and symptoms to sound more positive.
Rearranged Diagnosis Form – I took an anxiety and depression diagnosis form and rearranged each word to create a more positive form. Almost one you could use on your own as a reflection exercise, or a form to ‘diagnose’ your better mental health.
Going forwards I want to create more Realigning Thoughts artefacts, I am currently making an ‘OCD Rearranged Diagnosis Form.’
Gabrielle Spooner // Monday 15th March 2021
Realigning Thoughts and Poetry.
Friday 26th February 2021 at 11 am and 2 pm (GMT).
The final workshop of the series consisted of a selection of exercises from the previous 3 workshops. The exercises included:
Rearranging negative sentences into positive ones.
Using colour to identify emotions and personifying them.
Group work of sharing positive words / phrases.
Creation of poetry or prose from the realigned positive sentence.
Having a combination of the workshops from throughout the month allowed all the work and techniques be brought together and be put into effect.
The workshop ended with an opportunity for participants to share any work they have created throughout the workshop series. More people shared this week than any other week which was really lovely to be a part of. It showed that some people had become more comfortable within the space, which was one of the original intentions.
The sharing of mental health inspired work is both beneficial for the individual sharing but also the people listening. To share work that is influenced from you own mental struggles is liberating and confidence boosting, because it is stepping away from the shame and isolation that mental illness causes. Listing to others work allows people to see that they aren’t the only one experiencing mental health struggles, which not only makes you feel less alone but also inspired by ways people are helping themselves.
I sent out an online workshop feedback from, and here are some of the results:
Gabrielle Spooner // Monday 1st March 2021
Realigning Thoughts and Today.
Friday 19th February 2021 at 11 am and 2 pm (GMT).
Week 3 of the Realigning Thoughts Workshop Series reflected on the present moment, today. The workshops were slighting shorter this week as I decreased the number of activities so participants could concentrate on specific feelings and thoughts more specifically.
The first exercise was rearranging negative sentences into more positive ones. Although this week it was slightly different:
> Write out negative thought / sentence.
> Cut up the sentence.
> Pick about 3 or 4 negative words out, flip them over, and write the opposite/ positive version of that word on the back.
> Rearrange sentence.
Rearranging the sentences in a different way this week, allows participants to see that words are simply that, just words.
Also, changing the most negative words into their opposite, adds extra positivity to the exercise.
The next exercise was to spend 5 minutes expressing you are feeling today, in the moment, using words or drawings of both. The aim is to try and not stop writing for the full time given, as this method can help relieve feelings of anxiety, stress and worry.
Following this, I asked each participant to write in the chat one word or phase to explain how they were feeling today. This could be taken out of the previous expression they just wrote or something different. The final exercise was to then write a piece of poetry or prose to express how they’re feeling today, using one of the words or phases that the group has shared, if it applies to them. The poem/prose wasn’t supposed to be particularly positive, it was about communicating how they feel!
The workshop ended with a couple people sharing their creations of poetry and prose, which formed a safe and comfortable atmosphere.
Gabrielle Spooner // Monday 22nd February 2021