Preparing for Support Groups
- Everyone is welcome to be a part of our support groups
- No formal diagnosis required
- You don’t have to bring anything
We recommend arriving a few minutes early and ask you leave your phone on silent during the group meeting.
We maintain a no food, no pets policy out of respect for those who provide our space.
[Mindfulness is] the awareness that emerges through paying attention on purpose, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally to the unfolding of experience moment by moment. -Jon Kabat-Zinn (2003)
Mindful meditation is about being completely and utterly present in the moment, free from distraction. Here are some of our favourite meditation methods.
Find a comfortable seating position. Keeping your spine as straight as possible, relax your shoulders and let them fall to your sides.
Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Feel your belly gently rise and fall with each breath you take. Focus on each in-breath for its full duration, and each out-breath for its full duration. Imagine your stomach is a balloon, inflating with every in-breath, and deflating with each out-breath.
Sounds will distract you, thoughts, feelings, and emotions will enter your mind and that’s ok. It’s a normal part of the exercise. Every time your focus strays away from your breathing take note of it, and softly bring your attention back to your breathing. Do this as many times as necessary.
The 5-4-3-2-1 Exercise
Find a private and comfortable place.
Take a few deep breaths to ground yourself. Pay careful attention to your surroundings and slowly name
- 5 things you see,
- 5 things you hear,
- 5 things you feel (physically)
Repeat the process naming 4 things, then 3 things, then 2, and finally 1.
Take your time to notice the sights, sounds, and feelings around you. If you like, focus on one thing and hold your focus on that. This exercise can be also be done while walking at a slow pace, taking notice of the world around you.
We have a small library of self-help books at our office available for rental. If you’re interested in checking out a book on a specific topic, please ask the facilitators at our next support group meeting.
*Please try to limit your book rental to four weeks so that everyone gets a chance to enjoy them!
I have struggled with anxiety for 30 years and I have experienced a lot of pain and darkness. For the better part of my life I have tried to hide my anxiety and I felt like I was alone in my fight. Until I found SupportWorks.
I had just lost my second job and none of the coping skills I was taught in the past seemed to ease my fear and panic. Finally I admitted my failure and I decided to go to the hospital. I was told, and I now believe, that this was a triumph, not a failure. I got answers. I got help. I got hope. They told me about SupportWorks. That’s when I learned that there are others like me. I wasn’t alone.
The first meeting opened my eyes and my heart. I felt so much comfort and understanding from a group of strangers. I felt safe. We talked about our ups and downs, we exchanged ideas, and we shared hope. I left feeling inspired and grateful and I gained new friends and allies.
I am a regular member of the group now and look forward to each meeting. It is often the best part of my week. Peer support has changed the way I view my anxiety and myself.
I have a voice now. A proud voice that shouts: “I have anxiety and I am ok!”
My outlook, thoughts and feelings are not tainted with darkness and negativity anymore. They are filled with inspiration, hope and positivity.
I am living anxiety free thanks to SupportWorks., SupportWorks Facilitator Team Lead
I moved to Calgary after having left a long relationship. I had very few friends here and I felt quite lonely. I have lived with depression and anxiety my entire life and the sudden changes in my life made me feel worse.I wanted to meet new people and find others to whom I could relate, so I searched for support groups online and found SupportWorks. SupportWorks made me feel safe and easy to be myself without any worry of judgement and stigma. I allowed myself to be vulnerable and openly reflected upon my thoughts and feelings. Everyone always listened to what I had to say and that gave me a sense of belonging. I also thoroughly enjoy supporting others while they share themselves with the group because I love learning about others and being reminded that we are not alone. Also, it feels rewarding to contribute to part of a community.I continue to attend SupportWorks meetings and always look forward to seeing regular and new faces. SupportWorks has enriched my life by filling it with positivity, hope and a sense of belonging., SupportWorks Facilitator