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4 Ways to Improve Mental Health

As it’s Mental Health Awareness Week you might have anticipated a blog from me on this subject.  Self-acceptance and self-love are two main keys to better mental wellbeing but…

How do you accept yourself if you don’t like who you are?

In my work over the years I’ve learned that people dislike themselves for all kinds of reasons from experiences such as negative programing in early childhood, through to bullying, abuse, unfulfilled dreams and disappointment in relationships. The list is endless.

However one of the main reasons for lack of self-love and acceptance is FAGS. Carrying the emotional burden of Fear, Anger, Guilt and Shame plays a huge part in self-loathing.

Most of these emotions reside in your body rather than your mind. Check it out, the next time you feel a bad feeling, try to locate the place in your body where the feeling appears to live. For example you may notice that fear lives in your stomach, throat or chest.

The fact that these emotions do not grow up, that they remain as raw and intense as when they first occurred, is the reason why so many people appear to get stuck in the past. Triggered by a bad feeling they are catapulted back into an old miserable memory and find themselves thinking, feeling and acting low.

Because all of this appears to happen outside of conscious control, it can cause depression, anxiety and panic attacks. These negative feelings create other negative patterns of behavior people talk about feeling little and disempowered and stuck in states of regression. On the extreme end of the spectrum some withdraw inside whilst others resort to self-harm. As I return to my original question.

How do you accept yourself if you don’t like who you are?

Here are 4 tips for maintain positive mental health

1. Let’s start by establishing one simple fact. You are unique. There is no one else in the world exactly like you. You are special, an extra ordinary one-off! It’s true! As a result you are irreplaceable.

Please read that sentence over and over again, repeat it out loud. Then stick that sentence in that special compartment in your mind that deals with multiplication and wait for it to replay itself right up into the front of your mind.

2. Developing the ability to gently observe oneself is an essential component in the integration of negative memories

  1. Hypnosis with a qualified experienced hypnotherapist (me!) will help. Ask your hypnotherapist to teach you self-hypnosis.
  2. Develop a regular practice. Start with 10 minutes and day and build-up, as you feel more comfortable.
  3. Attend an 8-week course.
  4. A regular yoga practice will enable you to observe yourself from a more peaceful perspective. British Wheel of Yoga for a list of teachers.

3.  When we need to heal the body needs safe touch because it carries deep tension as a result of bound-up emotions. Find a good qualified body worker. There are many different types of massage, from clothed massage in Shiatsu, or gentle aromatherapy, to sports massage or deep Rolfing. Find what suits you.

4. Movement. If you’ve never experienced it try a 5 Rhythms class or workshop and shake off your stuff. Failing that, make sure you’re alone, put on a favorite track that you once enjoyed dancing too, or could imagine dancing to and turn it up. Get up, close your eyes, and begin to move your body. Keep practicing until you feel like you want to move more. When you feel ready open your eyes and dance like crazy.

According to The Mental Health Organisation 78% meet the criteria of the most common mental health issue in the UK of anxiety and depression. If you’re one of those suffering my heart genuinely goes out to you. Just putting one foot in front of the other some days can be the biggest challenge so some of my suggestions such as No 4 may be akin to asking you to fly as well!

Please keep your chin up, look up at the sky and breathe. Wrap your arms around yourself and gently rub your arms and whisper, “It’s going to be alright”. Self-soothe and care for you because you are special. You are unique. You are irreplaceable. I care about how you feel and others do too.

I’ll end with my favorite quote by Oscar Wilde “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.”

Please share if you think this may help someone.

 

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STILL GIVING YOURSELF A HARD TIME?

I’ve been enjoying  the privilege of teaching self-care to a group of hard working conscientious, caring people this week and it’s put me in mind of one of my favourite sayings.  ‘We teach others how to treat us’ it’s true isn’t it.

At a subtle energetic level we constantly absorb and convey information to and from people around us. Unconsciously we tell people a lot about ourselves from the way we dress,  to our non-verbal cues such as body language, facial expressions and tonality.

How do you want to be treated?

How do you treat yourself?

What is it that you would like others to give you or do for you? 

Do you ever give that to yourself? 

Years ago I  read a popular magazine that suggested …‘run yourself a bubble bath, pour yourself a glass of champagne and relax’ and I thought ” Yeah, right, who does that”! Well eventually I did. I loved it! It was a treat and I still remember the first time I did that for me. I also remember when I lived alone training myself to cook a nice dinner for me, I had to teach myself to lay the table just for me. Do you know what? It felt really nice to be looking after myself in such a simple yet respectful way. What simple thing could you do for yourself that would make you feel valued, worthy and special?

Better self-care develops better self-confidence, try asking yourself this question several hundred times a week… ‘Is this kind and loving to myself’? Step back and watch what your mind at play, observe how you treat yourself, you might just be surprised.

One of the first precepts in yoga is Ahimsa which means non-violence. Ahimsa offers us a guideline on how to live life, the aim being not to hurt others and not to hurt ourselves. This means  physically, emotionally and mentally. How often do you say unkind, spiteful, discouraging things to yourself?  STOP IT NOW!  You wouldn’t say or do that to a child would you?

If you fancy changing your programming try this little exercise.  For the next two days, every time you hear yourself say something unpleasant and unsupportive, say 2 nice things to yourself to counter that.  Smother your inner bully with love! Ha ha! Have fun with it and let me know how you get on.

I know you’re busy so thanks for taking the time to read and please pass it on to anyone who you think it might help.

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What Keeps You Awake?

Do you struggle to get off to sleep? the-art-of-zzzz-epub-cover-size-1-300x300

Is your sleep constantly disturbed?

Do you wake up feeling as if you haven’t slept at all?

If so you’re not alone! Millions of people across the globe struggle with sleep and interestingly it seems that more women than men have problems sleeping properly.   According to a Huffington Post blog written earlier this year a staggering 46% of women compared to 36% of men reported having trouble sleeping.

Why is that? Do women always strive to do more? Are we still really bad at putting ourselves and our basic needs first?

What You Can Do To Help Yourself

There are many factors that contribute to poor sleep patterns. To address your sleep issue you’ll need to look in a number of areas, from what you eat and drink,  your exercise habits, your more general routines, the immediate environment, technology and of course your mindset.

Continue reading What Keeps You Awake?

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How X Rated Are Your Thoughts?

You know that saying “You are what you eat”  it’s the same for your mind, you get out of it what you put into it.

Along with every other thought that you process daily, your early programming also filters to the surface of the mind from time to time and some might say there’s not a lot that can be done about that.  Not me though, I know it’s possible to swamp early negative messages with positive programming. That’s what hypnotherapy has practiced for years and science now calls neuroplasticity!

Don't watch things you wouldn't want a child to see.
Don’t watch things you wouldn’t want a child to see.

If you doubt that the mind is adversely affected by what you watch, ask yourself if you would allow a child to watch it if the answer is no, why do that to yourself?

Same goes for your reading material. If you would like a quieter mind and a deeper sense of peace in your life, be discerning about what you put into your mind. Your senses are there as filters. The more rubbish you watch the more desensitised you become to it!

Continue reading How X Rated Are Your Thoughts?

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6 Positive Ways To Deal With Anxiety and Panic

This feeling will pass

Unfortunately some people live daily with anxiety and or panic attacks. I’ve worked  for over 28 years with many  clients and I know that these negative states can be overcome. Panic and anxiety is not natural, it’s a sign that something, somewhere is wrong.

Here are 6 steps to manage anxiety.

  1. Remind yourself of your age and occupation
  2. Wear a band on your wrist
  3. Drown out the negative talk 
  4. Breathe!!!
  5. Consciously name things 
  6. Use a mudra

Want to know why these will help? It’s a 3 minute read …

Signs and symptoms of anxiety can be psychological, physical and emotional and will range from feeling short of breath, to feeling constricted and tight in the chest. People say things like “it’s like hands squeezing me” or “a belt or band tightening around my chest.” Emotionally they feel scared and frightened or terrified and trapped.  Mentally people report thoughts of death and dying or have a sense of some impending disaster.

This is a truly disabling way to be living and whilst it’s my experience that people can overcome these problems, many learn to just live with them.

Enough of the negatives, lets look at some ways to dilute the experience and get back to feeling ‘normal’ as quickly as possible.

Continue reading 6 Positive Ways To Deal With Anxiety and Panic