Glimmers of spring

Hoping for some more days like this!

Feb 18 022

We’ve had a few sunny days, but it’s not long after the snow and the changeable weather often brings a chilly wind. Its tempting not to venture far from your hopefully warm and cosy home.

To boost well being its always good to get out and about.

Reasons to get outside include:-

As a dog owner or befriender you can wrap up warmly and get out there, as they insist on this several times a day!!

Explore with children the parks, woodlands or public footpaths and observe the bursting buds of bushes, trees and plants or of new animal life. Help them to learn about the wonders of our nature and countryside.

The garden is always beckoning at this time of year so small jobs to clear, tidy and prepare for the bursting forth of plants and vegetables, during any clear spells, helps to boost positive feelings. Plan the garden of the summer!

With an improving picture, planning to meet friends and family for gatherings out and about in new places or old haunts. Helps with reconnecting after the winter hibernation.

Lighter nights,with the clocks going forward this weekend, ensures more daylight and opportunities to attend all kinds of social events. Consider taking up an activity in the evening of these lighter nights. Get out on your bike, join a club or find an exercise buddy? Keeping active to improve your health.

Community events are planned in parks, villages, halls and the countryside which engage people with all kinds of skills and entertainment. This brings a sense of hope and interest. Opportunities to connect in many different ways, socialise and have fun are more abundant.

Volunteering time and skills to benefit your local community, gives the volunteer a sense of  well being too. Skills may involve working in buildings to offer services for individuals or organisations, connecting with others and may involve activities outdoors too. A great benefit of this work for the individual is the sense of contribution and involvement locally, which can boost powerful positive feelings.

So it all looks good!

Certainly it is an improving picture. All activity and connecting with nature is good for our body and minds, so it is great to be able to plan more of both of these into the coming weeks.

What about those niggling health and well being issues, which need some small shifts for you to be able to engage in these opportunities?

Motivation to:-

get more active

eat more healthily

reduce negative thoughts

feel confident talking to new people

reduce addictive habits

incorporate better ways of living your life

Need support to start the changes? A Hypnotherapist can start you on your journey…

Wherever you are, I hope you can get planning and enjoy some sunny, warmer moments in the coming weeks.

 

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Managing negative thoughts?

At times managing negative automatic thoughts can be difficult.

Any holiday period…with a change in routines, interacting closely with family members, or not as you would like, more time on your hands to think, plus the enhancements of alcohol or lots of rich food etc can amplify the thoughts running through your mind.

The Christmas holidays can be one of those times. Or the weeks following this when the debts need to be paid and the hangover of social events may be on your mind.

 

negative-thoughts

There are lots of quotes and suggestions on how to bannish these negative thoughts and focus on positive thoughts.

This can be really difficult to do!!

Working hard to stop negative thoughts and somehow not managing to keep them from from popping into your head and lodging there, as a rumination – going round and round, can add to the negative cycle.

Dr Judith Beck, a Psychologist and President of the Beck Institute for Cognitive Behaviour Therapy in USA carried out research in 2013 which demonstrated that women were more likely than men to ruminate. However some people are more prone to negative thinking than others and this can be genetic and/or as a result of childhood experiences.

As constant negativity can interfere with happiness, add to our stress levels and eventually damage our health we are increasingly aware ongoing negative thoughts are not good for us.

This can add to increasing feeling of failure, due to not managing these negative thoughts.

 By not trying to stop these negative thoughts, worry and obsession can be reduced.

 

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The basic premise of mindfulness meditation is acknowledging your negative thoughts which can lessen their weight. Acknowledgement and acceptance of these negative thoughts is the way forward!

Once the negative thought is accepted force yourself to challenge it.

There are many exercises you can use, based on cognitive behavioural therapy or CBT. Google or access ‘get self help’.

If your negative thoughts are making you feel overwhelmed – practice taking some deep breaths. Controlled breathing can help reduce the stress reponse and calm anxious thoughts.

Practicing meditation or self hypnosis can boost your positive feelings.

The more you practice acknowledging, accepting and challenging negative thoughts the sooner this can become the

However if your thoughts are making you feel distressed  or are interfering with your work or social habits, seek help from a mental health professional.

The challenges of the festive season?

“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!

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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.

Help 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.

Or 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…

Have a positive a festive period!

Anxiety

Anxiety,  is a  little word

but with a

big impact.

Anxiety

Anxiety is the sensation of being on high alert, otherwise recognised as the “fight or flight response”.

This is a normal body function. When faced with a threat, the body responds via the sympathetic nervous system and hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and shifts into gear to prepare you for action. Your body is mobilising resources to mobilise body and brain.

This normal response gives physical symptons of shortness of breath, fluttering in the stomach, racing heartbeat and sweating and emotionally you may start to feel fearful.

This sense of being ready for action was necessary in the days when we lived in caves and lived a primitive life. We often had to use our body physically and this gave an outlet for the energy build up.

Nowadays you may need to be on high alert in different situations, maybe to present a speech to a large group or a discussion with your boss if a confrontation is brewing which needs to be addressed. Then your body prepares, to sharpen your attention, so you can set about performing. This performance is an outlet for the build up of energy.

Unfortunately humans are unique in that a danger doesn’t have to be present to give us this response, we can conceptualise it. Neuroscientist Bruce McEwen says “the mind is so powerful that we can set off the [stress] response by imagining ourselves in a threatening situation”. Is it this ability that can cause people to be stuck rumminating and anticipating a stressful situation and being stuck in the stress response, leading to a state of anxiety?

We may have lost sight of where some of our body processes come from but we need to recognise them to make them work for us. Unchecked we can easily drift into symptons we know associate with anxiety.

How can we recognise our reactions, acknowledge them and make them work for us in modern life?

Sounds like action is needed!

  1. Recognition and understanding is the first step.
  2. Time out in the fresh air, dog walking, connecting with nature, or any exercise which suits your lifestyle, is a must.
  3. Relaxation of the mind, accompanying exercise, or in the form of meditation, mindfulness or hypnosis.

This gives you time to disconnect from your concerns and enjoy the physicality of movement and/or of emptying your mind – preferably both!!

If this is a challenge and you are finding activity difficult to incorporate into your week,  sessions with a Hypnotherapist can help you to identify what you need to focus on for yourself, to promote better well-being.

The outcome is harnessing the energy  of your body and mind to work with you!

Let’s Talk Mental Health: Sleep Anxiety and Insomnia. — maria alexandra \\

A practical guide on how to get you sleep habits back on track…

A truly ‘ideal’ lifestyle – the definition of which is subjective – is, I would argue, impossible to achieve. In some instances, mere time constraints may get in the way: you miss workouts because of upcoming exams, choose convenient food while travelling, sleep less than your body needs because of work. Sometimes, it’s mental health. […]

via Let’s Talk Mental Health: Sleep Anxiety and Insomnia. — maria alexandra \\

Stress – mind & body links

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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 a direct link between the psychological processes and the impact 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 occurence 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.

Basics:-

  1. Recognise stress within yourself

  2. Journal your thoughts and feelings – reducing mental stresses and observe your growth

  3. Increase physical activity levels to maintain body wellbeing

  4. Eat as healthily as you can

  5. Nuture sleep

  6. Connect with others and communicate your challenge

    At times this may be challenging, in which case seek support.

Anxiety

Such a little word…

But it creeps into so many peoples lives and sets up in the background of their mind. Always ready…

 

anxiety

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

stop smoking

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!

Connecting with nature to reduce anxiety?

Hopefully you’ve had some time away over the summer months – space to reconnect with who you are and what you enjoy in your life.

Some moments to really appreciate where you are in your life.

If  you’ve struggled to achieve this on account of some thoughts, feelings or behaviours and reducing your ability to refresh and revitalise, maybe you would benefit from some support?

Is anxiety in the background?

Source:  This previous blog on Anxiety may be helpful.

My driving fear – time to fight back

I don’t drive. I would very much like to drive and I am learning. At least I am trying to learn. The thing is, I don’t like it. It terrifies me. I have never really talked about my fear of driving here before. I have talked about my anxiety before, but not the driving anxiety. […]

via My driving fear – time to fight back — Because, life

Feeling anxious?


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.

 

ARRRGH!! When these feelings present themselves what can I do?

 

I generally find the following help to improve my state:-

-Take the time to look at something beautiful – really notice and enjoy the moment…

-Eat a balanced, healthy diet

-Walk in the countryside and connect with nature

-Keeping active – 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 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 to accept my feelings and not be so hard on myself!