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Enhance Your Mental Health And Wellbeing

the stresshacker, yoga nidra, dynamic sleep, audio programme

Happy Mental Health Awareness Day!

You may have been wondering where I’d got to and why I haven’t written many blogs recently. Thank you for emailing and asking it’s prompted me to let you know that in the spirit of mental health awareness I have been taking care of my own wellbeing.

At the start of the pandemic in March like many, I began working from home, with clients online and teaching zoom yoga classes, my working week soon became busy. As a result I found myself pretty much cooped up in one room for quite long periods of time.

Although I’m fortunate to have a great view of some trees and sky the fact remains it’s a small room.

To counter stress, the threat of any mental health issues and to keep active, I started cycling and got hooked!

I love the freedom it offers and have discovered places in my area that I didn’t know existed. This activity is so good for the mind because cliché or not, it is true that a change is as good as a rest.

As a result, I have developed more resilience on all levels in addition to feeling fitter; I’ve improved lung capacity and muscle strength

Is your main trigger for frustration technology?

Early on in Lockdown, I had some really frustrating IT issues, at one point my entire website was wiped, boy did that stress me out! In an attempt to stop myself from throwing the laptop out of the window and to protect my mental health and wellbeing, I took off on my bike instead.

And this is when my mental health awareness kicked in

because within 10 minutes I observed a complete shift in my thinking and noticed that I was simply enjoying the moment. Looking at the trees and breathing in the fresh air I felt free and happy. I’d let all that tension and aggravation go by changing my activity.

But how do you make that kind of shift in your wellbeing if you don’t happen to like cycling I hear you ask. The answer is to change your activity sufficiently to alter your emotional state, which will in turn will affect your mental health positively.

Fortunately there’s a really easy solution and that’s yoga.

I’m not even talking about poses or sequences here. I’m talking about Yoga Nidra the practice sometimes called deep yogic sleep.

Here’s how it works, by regular practice we train the body to relax quickly and develop the ability to step back and observe the impact that certain thoughts, ideas and images have on the physical body.

As such we develop awareness, more self control and as a by-product better mental health. Yoga Nidra teaches us to detach from things that can trigger unwanted emotion (unless someone wipes your website that is!) helps us to develop mental resilience and to feel more empowered.

If you want to join us in a live class on Thursday evenings drop me a line or pick up a copy here https://www.thestresshacker.com/product/yoga-nidra-dynamic-sleep/

Here are just some of the things people say after a session of yoga nidra.

“ I slept for a straight 9 hours afterwards!”

“ … a lovely relaxing class”

“I couldn’t wait to go to sleep, and slept longer than usual. Yesterday felt super refreshed”

“Just what I needed, and feel totally rested”

“Wonderful class I enjoyed it so much, had a full 8 hours sleep last night”

Yoga Nidra  is an effortless way to enhance your wellbeing and really does require minimal effort.

Thanks for reading and enjoy!

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Yoga Online with Sue, and an Interview with Psychologies Magazine

Thank you for your fantastic response to my online yoga classes. Who knew so many of you would be interested! My technological learning curve continues! 

I will get back to you as soon as possible to let you know the days and times for my yoga classes.

I’m hoping to make the booking process really simple. And, if you work for the NHS, please drop me a line and I will gift the class to you in honour of your amazing hard work and dedication. We love you!

You can keep an eye on the Yoga section on my website for more information, and I’ll email those who have contacted me with further details soon.

 

 

Stresshacking your Anxiety – my interview with Psychologies Magazine

My next podcast: episode 8 is now up, and is sitting there lonely, ready and waiting for listeners, so please pass it on to anyone you know who may find it helpful at this challenging time.

The big question this week is: How do we take back control of our anxieties?

I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to “cope” with anxiety – you can kick it to the curb. ⁣

This episode contains edited extracts from my conversation with Suzy Walker from Psychologies Magazine on a recent Facebook Live event. They have conversations with experts every day at 1pm so tune in!  ⁣

Listen to Episode 8 of The Stresshacker podcast now:

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

Subscribe on Spotify

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(Or choose your preferred podast catcher here)

As always, I’m so grateful to all of you who have given me so much encouragement and positive feedback. I’m learning as I go and it’s great to have you along for the ride. If you want to contact me, remember it’s Sue@TheStresshacker.com. And if you can help me to spread the work by sharing my podcast with your friends (and leaving me a review on Apple Podcasts) that would be so kind of you.

Global Meditation – Join me!

You’re going to hate the next bit… I have an odd condition called discalcular, when I said that there is to be a global meditation on Saturday 4th  April I gave you the wrong time, Oops!

I’m sorry to say that it is actually at 3.45 am!!!

I will be getting up for that because it’s only 20 minutes and I think it’s extremely important. Here’s the link to find out more and if you get up at that time please know I’m there with you.

Learning to draw

I’ve always meant to learn to draw. Recently, I realised there was no point waiting until I retire to start doing things like this, so I signed up for an art class. It was meant to start soon. Needless to say it’s been postponed to later in the year…

I haven’t let that stop me, though. Here’s a drawing I did the other day of my dog friend, Puds.

I did the drawing from a photo from the Dogs Trust (which I’m about to start making a regular donation to). I showed my picture to my grand-daughter and asked what we should should call him/her. She suggested Puds. So, meet Puds!

And, for those of you who are running out of ideas to usefully engage your children try hopping over to author Alex Milway’s Youtube channel where he will teach your children how to draw a bear!

Finally, remember to stay hydrated at home. Drink plenty of warm drinks and your daily water intake. Do you know it helps conditions such as plantar fasciitis when you stay hydrated? It’s true!

xx

Sue

 

PS. There was an exclusive offer code to Psychologies Magazine readers for a FREE copy of Stress-Free Relaxation with Confidence (easily my most popular download) and access to my Wellbeing In A Week course. Listen to my podcast now to find out how to get hold of the code.

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Depression. How I Coped

Sorry I haven’t been in touch for ages…there is no excuse.

There was a bout of depression that nearly got me, but I will tell you about that later.

I have just returned from a holiday in Thailand that included bathing and feeding Elephants. Seeing the process of their “poo” being turned into paper.

Learning the secrets of Thai cooking at a cookery school in Chiang Mai. Then travelling further south to explore some of the islands and their beautiful beaches. Experiencing the healing effects of Thai massage.

Why would I now feel depressed?

I became very aware of the negative internal chatter in my mind. Part of me was imploring another part of me to stay upbeat. But I couldn’t. In fact, feelings of negativity had me sinking fast!

I was feeling depressed. Why?

Was it that my wonderful holiday was over? That I’m still grieving? Maybe I was just overwhelmed by my workload? Or perhaps it’s Brexit?

What soon became clear is that the WHY does not matter. Continually exploring the ‘whys’ only brings more negative thoughts to the surface. Changing my state became my priority and doing this quickly, my goal.

Here is what I did to fight the depression

The first and most important thing was to change the “internal chatter.”

At the risk of this sounding like a plug for one of my self-help downloads, I started to listen to Stress Free With Confidence. This is a hypnosis program I made almost thirty years ago. After just two days I noticed my thinking had changed quite dramatically and as a result, found myself smiling again.

My thoughts were brighter. When a negative thought arose it quickly switched to a positive one. The change was automatic and the good thoughts began to flow again.

More importantly was the shift in my feelings and I felt more upbeat.

This helped me to get moving.

Exercise helped me move forward and invigorated me. Walking activates the heart and lungs and changes the way you breathe. When you change the breath it will often change the way you think and feel. A couple of walks in my local park and surrounding streets really helped.

So did reaching out for support from loved ones and close friends whom I was able to share my feelings with. It’s so important, in fact essential, to reach out. Call someone. Talk about it.

Yoga always gives me the space to gain insight into my feelings and this awareness helps me to “catch” myself before I fall too far. I did a slightly longer practice each day.

Having re-booted the stress free programme in the back of my mind, I also started juicing again which boosted my energy.

I applied a great Ayurvedic treatment and gave myself a top-to-toe sesame oil massage before languishing in a bath. This felt nurturing and nourishing.

Sometimes just one small change can make a huge difference to the way you think and feel.

For example if your job requires sitting at a desk all day, get up regularly and move a round. Take the stairs rather than the lift where possible.

Every journey starts with one small step.

 

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Do What You Love

Yoga Retreat March 2019 - The Stresshacker Sue SmithI’ve just shared a smashing weekend with a fabulous group of women in Yoga – that means unity for the uninitiated – at a weekend retreat in Sussex. Spending time with like-minded souls, sharing space, food and a love of yoga is positively uplifting.

Try Something New

We wandered out of our comfort zone to try out one of the oldest branches of Chinese Medicine known as Qi Gong with Sound Therapist Ruth from Dao Natural Health. Apparently Qi Gong is a medical science, it was a subtle yet powerful experience that left us feeling energized and relaxed at the same time.do what you love - blog post - The Stresshacker Sue Smith

A Change Is As Good As A Rest

Later we bathed in the sound of a fascinating array of instruments, from the larger gongs to the smaller Tibetan bowls and rain sticks that transported us into various states relaxation and mediation.

Added to this throughout the weekend was a delicious, balanced vegetarian diet with the odd (more sensational than odd) fruity treat thrown in.do what you love - blog post - The Stresshacker Sue Smith

This left us feeling satisfied and satiated on a mental, physical and spiritual plane!

Find Your Tribe

share the pleasure of taking time out to immerse yourself in the things that bring
you joy.

If you suffer from anxiety or just plain old stress this is a gentle nudge to nurture yourself by spending time with people who share the same hobbies, pastimes or sports as you, so that you can return to everyday life feeling more contented and at one with yourself.

Also please look at our products and courses in The Stresshacker store to help assist you with your journey.

 

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HAPPY MIND & BODY

Movement Now Hypnosis Program

HAPPY MIND & BODY by The Stresshacker Sue SmithMove Your Body

I sometimes feel that I sit down for too long… but that’s the nature of my work as a Psychotherapist and Life Coach, thankfully I’m able to balance some of that by teaching yoga, walking and swimming. A sedentary lifestyle is not good if you want to stay healthy moreover, it’s ageing too. Scientifically proven as one of the 5 components that make up Wellbeing, exercise and keeping on the move is a must if we want to stay healthier, happier and youthful.

I’m often heard singing the praises of yoga. It really is more than just exercise, it’s a system of health. Other Eastern philosophies such as Chinese Medicine, subscribe to the notion that we have an emotional body. According to these approaches the emotions reside in the organs. You can hear it in language such as “I felt gutted (stomach) or choked” (throat) or “… he had some gall” referring to the gallbladder that is said to process anger, along with it’s partner the liver.

I definitely recognise the existence of an emotional body in my own style of teaching yoga and also when working one-to-one coaching clients. As a client or student of mine you’ll be on the receiving end of my ‘nagging’ or as I like to think of it, encouragement! Prompting you to direct your attention to the tightest or most uncomfortable part of your body and then breathe deeply into it whilst stretching. It facilitates a beautiful release and expansion that often alleviates pain and discomfort. You just feel great afterwards!

I’m often reminded of my favourite saying that the body will express what the mind is concerned with It’s true and I’ve been interested to observe my own body in the last 3 to 4 weeks whilst going through a particularly stressful and emotional time. Although I’m doing the same amount of yoga practice as usual, I’ve really noticed how tight and stiff my muscles and ligaments have become, in fact my body has been aching and tense. I realise that at times like this it’s more important than ever to keep up my yoga practice (it would be so easy to let it slip)! I have found the gentle long held yin poses have been particularly useful in releasing toxic energy (a build up of negative emotions such as fear and anger). HAPPY MIND & BODY by The Stresshacker Sue Smith

Some years ago my colleague and friend Sabine Smith and I created a lovely CD also available as a download called Movement Now. This is a gentle yoga program that we designed for people who haven’t done any exercise at all for a while, people who want a quick easy stretch program, people who are stuck at their desks all day long and people recovering from illness or surgery. It’s really easy to download to your laptop then pop onto your phone then you can practice anywhere anytime. Click here to buy.

The short program is a real energy boost and you’ll also notice that it creates a nice peaceful state mentally and emotionally.

So if you’re going through one of life’s testing times remember to keep up your practice. If you don’t do yoga then walk, swim or do some exercise and keep the demons at bay!

Also please look at our products and courses in The Stresshacker store to help assist you with your journey.