“Tis the season to be jolly”
Socialising, eating, drinking and being merry with family and friends in cosy, sparkly and fun filled environments –
or so we hope!
Christmas bring lots of expectations of ourselves and others, to have a good time and for everything to be christmas advert perfect!
With family members absent, or living away, financial constraints, seperated parents, relationship challenges, physical illness and mental health issues, let alone the family dynamics when getting together, the reality can be very different.
So prepare for the onslaught to keep yourself positive through this holiday period.
- Helping others or ask for support, as this may prevent you from feeling too fraught.
- Have the food menu and present list organised well in advance, if you are hosting. Liaise with the other attendees for ideas to contribute to the smooth running of the celebration days.
- Ask what your host would like you to bring, prepare or contribute if you are lucky enough to be sharing with others, so you feel involved too.
- Keep things simple – focus on what is important – spending some quality time with family and friends in convivial surroundings.
- Ask someone you know is alone at Christmas to share some celebration with your group.
- Volunteer some time or money for the charities supporting the most vulnerable at this time of year.
Giving to others will boost your sense of well being.
Focus on gratitude!
For many people it is possible to pace and plan for the festive season, but for some the additional challenges at Christmas time make this much more difficult.
Mental illnesses such as anxiety or health issues worsened by overeating and excessive drinking, can be difficult to manage during the festivities.
Consider how you would ideally like to be, despite these challenges, if you functioned at your best?
Again planning beforehand can be useful.
To access resources which could help you to manage these feelings and anxieties in the coming weeks, input from a Coach or Hypnotherapist can be beneficial for developing new techniques.
Strategies which support you to access your inner resources at crucial moments.
Not always possible right now, but be aware these tools are available for you to access in the future…
Focus on the positive this festive period!
We are increasingly becoming aware of mental health issues like anxiety.
Traumatic events such as the Grenville Tower fire, the Manchester bombing and London attacks highlights the challenges people face emotionally in very difficult situations. What support may be offered to these survivors, both immediately and months or years later, and how this helps people to adapt to new circumstances, broadens our understanding of services available and what can help.
The media coverage of such events increasingly raises the impact of trauma on an individual’s mental health. Therapeutic support is encouraged and considered necessary after such events. This may cause individuals observing this process to reflect on difficult experiences they may have witnessed and how it has affected them emotionally.
People in the public eye are increasingly feeling able to discuss their mental health challenges, what they have tried and what has helped them, more openly. This influences our perceptions of emotional challenges and with more openness about struggles, and may cause us to consider people we know with similar concerns. We may also feel more questioning of our own mental well-being.
As it has become more acceptable to talk about mental health issues, both in our personal relationships and in the working environment, our awareness has grown of how difficult experiences impact on how we function in everyday life.
Social media, news coverage, screen time, multi-tasking, increasing expectations and less personal connection all impact on how we feel emotionally. There are many other influences too, and research shows that anxiety is on the increase.
So what is anxiety?
Anxiety is part of a natural body response, where the sympathetic nervous system is activated to react to a threat or danger by initiating the ‘fight or flight’ response. The normal response raises our heart rate, to get the blood pumping around the body, so we can either fight or run away. This is part of the autonomic nervous system and the complementary part of this system, or parasympathetic nervous system, allows the stress reaction to be turned off, therefore allowing you to return to a calmer state. This response slows down the heart rate and is sometimes referred to as ‘rest and digest’. These systems act largely unconsciously.
As we live in much safer times and with few physical threats, we can misinterpret irritations and challenges in everyday life, causing us to be on high alert even when no danger is present. In this situation the sympathetic nervous system can malfunction, leaving you with the feelings of dread or fear, as associated with anxiety.
To start you on the journey for addressing these feelings, you could consider hypnotherapy.
There is a growing body of evidence of what helps with anxiety. Organisations like Anxiety Uk offer hypnotherapy along with CBT and counselling to help individuals develop skills to manage anxiety.
To understand how hypnotherapy can help, check out my profile on the Hypnotherapy Directory.
We have known for some time the affects that emotional stress has on the body. Particularly the increased risk of cardio vascular disease, this includes high blood pressure, and the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Some of this can be due to negative coping mechanisms – such as smoking tobacco and drinking alcohol…
but more recently a direct link between the psychological processes and how this impacts our health has been identified.
Research has found a link between our emotions and heightened activity in the amygdala. The amygdala is the part of the brain which processes emotions such as fear and anger.
By measuring activity in this part of the brain, using CT scans, and measuring the levels of inflammation in the arteries, heightened activity was identified. By following up participants over several years, following a period of perceived stress, the researchers were able to show an association between the likelihood of a cardiac event and increased stress.
They also showed that higher levels of activity in the amygdala were associated with the occurrence of cardiac events sooner.
Further studies have added weight to these findings. Participants stress levels were significantly associated with activity in the amygdala and arterial inflammation.
Keeping your stress levels in perspective are more important than ever.
Look after yourself by:-
Recognizing stress within yourself
Journal your thoughts and feelings – reducing mental stresses and observe your growth
Practice meditation, mindfulness or self hypnosis
Increase physical activity levels to maintain body wellbeing
Eat as healthily as you can
Connect with others and communicate your challenges
At times this may be challenging and we may reach for the very things which worsen our health!?
- In which case seek support. As a Hypnotherapist I support clients to make changes, which over time helps to improve their well being, particularly emotionally.
- This may be something you would consider to help you take the first small steps of change?
- Jo Copland-Dando is an Integrated Hypnotherapist with a background in Health. She works from a purpose built, safe and confidential space and specialises in Anxiety, working with AnxietyUk to support clients.
Ever wanted to change something about yourself?
Improve a response, a habit, or a way of interacting with others?
Known what you needed to do, but felt like the steps to make the change, particularly sustain change, were too difficult?
Hypnotherapy has the advantage of bypassing the conscious mind, allowing you to access your subconscious and unblock thoughts and behaviour patterns which are influencing you, which you may be unaware of. Hypnotherapy helps you connect with your inner resources and encourage change to occur more readily.
A small change in your responses or actions can cause a ripple effect, which over time, and with practice, can bring great change.
A little nervous about visiting a Hypnotherapist?
Please don’t be! We enter hypnotic states naturally everyday, such as when we daydream or are lost in reading something, and this state can create a feeling of calmness and inner focus. Whilst in a hypnotic trance like state we can still hear what is happening around us and do not respond to anything we do not wish to do. We are also in a state of heightened awareness and are more suggestible to making changes which will benefit our life.
By working with a Hypnotherapist this natural state can be utilised to build your confidence and motivation, so you feel more empowered too.
A boost to your confidence and self efficacy enables you to take the steps to use skills. This is the beginning of the change process. Practice of the new skills helps to make these small changes become the new habit.
Contact me today to discuss the health and well being issues you wish to work on.
You can check out my skills on the Hypnotherapy Directory.
Jo Copland-Dando is an Integrated Hypnotherapist with a background in Health. She works from a purpose built, safe and confidential space and specialises in Anxiety, working with AnxietyUk to support clients.
Such a little word…
But it creeps into so many peoples lives and sets up in the background of their mind. Always ready…
Ready to set off and take hold of your thoughts, at the slightest invitation.
I know this to be true for myself, in my own thinking.
In my work as a Hypnotherapist…
anxiety is regularly present in people’s thought processes:-
– about what has happened in their life
– what concerns they have right now
– how they can change things
– where they are going…?
I use hypnotherapy to access inner resources for myself and clients…
to build on skills we already have, but have lost sight of!
Isn’t this true?
We are busy, life changes and we forget the strategies we have been regularly using or used in the past. Once you have felt anxious, at times of stress, rational thoughts can go out of the window!
We all have to work on our thinking skills and notice our negative thoughts, in order to avoid being kept in the same place.
Hypnotherapy helps you change habits by accessing inner resources, via your subconscious. It raises your awareness to the skills you already have. With practice you can establish or re establish new neural pathways, so you can function better in everyday life.
The process takes commitment from you, the client, too but the experience is pleasant and relaxing.
The outcome is to enable you to feel more in control of your thoughts.
The mind is very powerful, so harness its potential to work for you!
When you want to change something for the better:-
feel more in control of your weight
manage feelings of anxiety
get rid of a phobia
perform better in a situation
improve your health and sense of well-being
seek support from a Hypnotherapist.
You can learn skills to practice in everyday life.This starts you on a pathway to new habits or ways of thinking and being.
A small change over time leads to larger changes – the ripple effect.
Consider hypnotherapy to start and sustain change!
Where am I going?
Am I studying the right subject?
What are the halls like?
Who will my friends be?
Will I miss home?
Am I ready?
So many questions when preparing for Uni and equally as many for the parents!!
Having supported 3 young people on their journey to University last year I am aware of some of the feelings both before they head off and as they settle in.
There are a lot of expectations about how students behave and what a party lifestyle it will be. Students may feel overwhelmed, anxious and alone when the reality to what they have heard is often quite different in the short term and takes time to establish.
As parents the ‘fun’ times you remember are often the celebrations along the way, when friends have been made and towards the end of study. The feelings of bewilderment at negotiating a new way of life, in a new town or city, may be long forgotten.
Being a student is often a period of making great friendships and learning a lot about yourself. How to live in shared accommodation, to manage your time, perform academically in a new environment, access sports and societies and socially negotiate the drink, drugs and partying culture. There is good and bad but this doesn’t happen instantly.
Taking time to listen to your young person’s worries and concerns can help them negotiate this new phase of life. Being kind in your listening skills and available to them emotionally can be of great benefit.
So many young people head of to Uni nowadays and due to changes in how they have been parented, the materialistic focus in society, social media and the pressures on how you look, to name just a few, means there are added pressures on young people. Not all parent ‘helicopter’ their children but there is generally a much more responsive relationship with them, which amongst other factors such as high expectations and excess choices, may not foster young people to be as resilient as they were once expected to be.
This contradicts my previous paragraph in that it looks like parents create and need to continue to be supportive of their young people, but they do. Research has shown that the final period of growing into an independent adult extends as far as 25 years old. Long gone is the idea that you get to 18 years old and you are out there and independent – society does not make this easily possible for all kinds of reasons. Lack of affordable housing and lack of varied work opportunities for young people, to name a few.
In my work as a Hypnotherapist I have supported many students with anxiety over recent years and much of this has been around mixed expectations. Taking a step back from all the choices and beginning to understand it is a big transition but they will be okay, is the first step. They do have the skills to cope well, if they can just re engage with their resources. Hypnotherapy can help them to do just this.
Universities have been developing services to support students health and well being. Each campus should have access to someone to talk to as the initial place to seek support. This can make all the difference and is available on the website of relevant organisations.
Being connected with feelings and open with someone you can trust, such as a well being professional or your friends and family, is important to prevent escalation of low mood. Encouraging the young person to speak to their Gp is also important, if you are worried about mood issues, as this is the access to mental health services.
Often waiting lists for further support are long and this is where my work in my practice as a Hypnotherapist and with Anxiety Uk has been invaluable. Students have contacted me directly for a few sessions, with good affect, during this transition phase. For longer term anxiety and a small fee students can access support through this charity with resources online to read and download. There are several therapy options to access like Hypnotherapy at a reduced cost.
For students, and parents, it is feeling like there are some options to support young people as they head off on their new journey.
Feeling put upon?
Think people take advantage of your good nature?
Take many things in your stride on a daily basis and then suddenly everything goes pop!!
Maybe you like to think you are easy going and accommodating of other people.
Are you kidding yourself?!!
Is it really that you are not standing up for yourself and not setting a boundary?
We all need boundaries to feel safe but also to perform well.
– set limits for ourselves and others.
– are guided by our beliefs and values.
– help us identify with the ideals and principles we live by.
– draw a line between what is acceptable for us and what is not.
Boundaries need to exist in most aspects of our lives.
Without them, or with blurring of the edges, we can become anxious, stressed and muddled.
Do you need to wake up and establish where yours are?
They may relate to habits, hobbies, career choices and leisure time.
They may be different in lifestyle, friendship and living norms.
Which boundaries do you need to review?
Exploring concerns with a therapist may help you to define yours!!
As someone who has struggled with anxious feelings for over 10 years and not being influenced by these thoughts prior to this, I find it frustrating to continue to have to manage both anxious thoughts and feelings from time to time.
When these feelings present themselves what can I do?
Generally I find the following helps to improve my state:-
-Take the time to look at something beautiful – really notice and enjoy the moment…
Use all my senses to really pay attention to an item eg. flowers picked from the garden?
-Eat a balanced, healthy diet
-Walk in the countryside and connect with nature
-Keep active – walking, gardening, running, cycling, swimming
-Go to bed at a regular time, avoiding screen time before bed and prioritise sleep
-Connect with people who are aware of my challenges and empathetic, not dismissive
-Make time for meditation and/ or relaxation
-Socialise with family and friends in a familiar situation
However when there are different situations, where these routines and habits are less able to be incorporated into daily life, or extra factors need to be accommodated and this can be much more difficult.
Emotional challenges and feeling stressed can exacerbate the anxious feelings, so pacing and planning for time out to adapt and acclimatise to challenges are essential.
My primary tip!
Take time out to accept feelings and not be so hard on myself!
If this is difficult to achieve seek support. Services can be accessed via your Gp.
Alternatively a hypnotherapist can help you to change your thought processes and in turn your feelings and behaviours.
Complete the contact form attached if you have any queries.
Was that a snap or message? Was it a ‘like’? How do I look? Why is nobody responding to me?
Many of us are tied into constantly checking our phones.
The constant pressure of having our mobile phone next to us (often in the hand) so we can respond to any minor connection or feedback we may get, is burning out our energy and frazzling our brains!
How can we hope to function well living like this? We are social animals.
Human connection and bonding within a social group, developing our skills so we can have interactions, conversations and laughter, gives us a group role. This feeds into our sense of purpose and sense of belonging. All essential ingredients for our general well being.
University is one a big change for young people, who are often taking the first big step away from their tried and tested social network. (This is one example there are many other times when there are changes in life and the same challenges of social connection are present).
Following an increase in suicides amongst young people, particularly in later teenage years and young adulthood, the Vice Chancellor of Bristol University highlighted mobile phones as being one of the factors creating increased mental health distress.
Having ‘time to reflect’on what we are experiencing, before we communicate, reinforces what I’m observing in my work as a Hypnotherapist.
Just taking time at any stage of our day to be in the moment, reflect and enjoy those sensations of ‘being present’, allows our mind to calm.
If the brain has no down time to assess before responding, how can we function well? This constant bombardment of information and lack of time out is effecting mental well being.
We are being reactive and constantly available, but not really connecting satisfactorily!
What about face to face connection and personal feedback? With more time working from home I’ve noticed for myself you get more reliant on technology for communication and it is the personal interaction which boosts well being.
Take every opportunity to talk to people either face to face, when out and about, connect with friends by talking on the phone if meeting is not possible. Put some social meet ups in your diary…
Stay in the moment – chat, engage and talk – communicate!!