World Mental Health Day – 10th October 2018
Did you know that 1 in 4 of us will suffer from mental illness at some point in the year? Some of us may experience more common conditions such as depression, stress or anxiety, whilst others suffer from rarer disorders such as bipolar.
Just like our physical health, we all have the responsibility of looking after our own mental well-being, as well as the mental health of those we care for.
October 10th marks World Mental Health Day – a day dedicated towards raising awareness of mental health issues and fighting the stigma that is still at times associated with them.
Here are some things anyone can try to look after their mental health:
Take a break and relax
A warm relaxing soak in the bath, a stroll in the country, creating a work of art, guided meditation…. however you prefer to do it, take some time out for you. We all have different things we find relaxing and in our busy lives, relaxation is often the one thing that gets overlooked.
The benefits of exercise on your physical health and fitness are well known, but regular exercise is also very important for your mental health. When we exercise our bodies release endorphins – the chemical that helps us to feel good. Exercise can also help to improve sleep patterns and feelings of anger.
Sleep is vital for fostering a healthy body and clear mind. It rejuvenates us, keeps our memories working well and helps our bodies to heal. See my previous blog on tips for getting a good night’s sleep.
Eat a healthy, balanced diet
Having a balanced diet and eating foods that sustain your blood sugar levels, can help with energy levels, weight control and self-esteem. Cut out junk food and refined sugars.
Too much alcohol disturbs sleep and affects the balance of chemicals in your brain. You might feel more relaxed after your first drink, but as you consume more alcohol, the brain can be affected in a very different way. Those positive emotions you might first experience can be replaced with feelings of depression, anxiety or anger.
Stay connected to others
Being social and staying connected to people around you (actually face to face not via social media) can greatly support your mental well-being. Sometimes just a chat to ‘get things off your chest’ can help you to get through difficult periods in your life.
Worrying about what might happen or mulling over past problems can greatly affect your levels of anxiety. Learning to focus your attention on the present moment, or mindfulness, can be hugely beneficial to your physical and mental health.
Care for others
Looking beyond yourself and helping others, by doing a charitable or good deed, doesn’t just help someone else in some way, it also promotes that ‘feel good factor’ within you.
Always find some time in your day to focus on what you are grateful for, instead of what is going wrong. Recent research has revealed that feeling gratitude can improve both physical and psychological health.
Update your self-talk
It’s easy to get stuck in a loop of negative and destructive thoughts that only serve to compound feelings of stress, anxiety or depression. Recognising the negative inner-voice in your head and learning to change those thought patterns can take perseverance but is extremely worth-while. Challenge your negative thoughts, accept yourself and your qualities and focus on what you can do.
Rebecca Donoghue - Clinical Hypnotherapist
Are you getting a good night’s sleep?
We all know that sleep is important. However, when life gets busy, sleep is often the first activity that we sacrifice. But there are many other reasons why a person may be struggling to sleep including pain or feelings of worry and stress. Not getting enough sleep can leave you feeling drained and susceptible to increased feelings of low mood, irritability, anxiety and even depression. The benefits of sleep are irreplaceable as it is essential for fostering a healthy body and a clear mind.
There are many different strategies to help you to get a better night’s sleep and here’s a list of factors to consider that could help you to improve the quality of your slumber.
- If you struggle to get to sleep, make sure you get in some exercise each day to tire your body. Many sleep studies suggest that this is a key ingredient to reducing insomnia. The morning or afternoon are the best times to exercise. Exercise also helps to reduce stress, anxiety and prevent feelings of depression.
- You should also avoid caffeine several hours before bedtime and limit the amount you consume during the day.
- Aim to create a healthy bedtime routine: be careful what you read or watch on TV (i.e. nothing too violent or distressing) and avoid using electronics – especially your mobile phone at least an hour before bed. You could also listen to a calming guided relaxation meditation to promote a calmer mind (available to order from RD Hypnotherapy).
- Nicotine is also a stimulant and should be avoided before bedtime. (Follow the link for details on how hypnotherapy could help you to stop smoking).
- Snoring waking you up? Try sleeping on your side and propping your head up slightly. You should also avoid drinking alcohol to help resolve this.
- Waking during the night? You guessed it…alcohol is again guilty of disturbing those sleep patterns as it decreases the amount of time you spend in REM. You should also check the temperature of your room, approximately 18° is advisable.
- Can’t seem to wake up in the morning? It is suggested that getting up at the same time every morning (even on the weekend) helps your body to get used to it.
- Suffering from back pain? Add a pillow under your thighs if you sleep on your stomach or under your legs if you sleep on your back.
- If you suffer from shoulder pain, you shouldn’t sleep on your side. If this is the only way you sleep, and the pain is only in one shoulder, try sleeping on the other side. Hugging a pillow also helps some people.
- Make sure there is no electrical equipment within 2 metres of the bed – including alarm clocks and mobiles.
- Make sure there is adequate ventilation (including opening the vents on double glazed windows).
- Sleep naked with a seasonal quilt (sleeping naked allows the skin to breathe and your body needs a cool environment to fall into deep sleep).
- Make sure your room is dark enough to facilitate the production of melatonin: this is the hormone that sends us to sleep. Dim lighting encourages the body to produce this hormone.
- Minimise noise. You may want to consider earplugs.
If you’ve tried it all and are still struggling, it is possible that worry, stress or anxiety are disturbing your sleep patterns. Hypnotherapy is a safe, natural and effective way to help you to manage these feelings and promote a restful and rejuvenating night’s sleep. Many of my clients comment on how much better they are sleeping after their hypnotherapy sessions, even if insomnia isn’t the presenting issue. Click here to find out how a programme of hypnotherapy could help you.
By Rebecca Donoghue (Clinical Hypnotherapist) 19.9.18
Time to Talk Day 2018
February 1st was 'Time to Talk Day 2018' - a day that's being promoted as a chance for us all to be more open about our mental health. Mental health problems can affect any of us yet still people are afraid to talk about it. As a hypnotherapist I see first hand how underlying issues can have a dramatic impact on the quality of life, health and general well being of my clients.
So find some time today to talk, ask your friends, family or work colleagues how they are and let's remove the barriers and encourage people to talk about their issues. Maybe you can open up yourself or maybe you can just be a good listener.
Thursday 18th May 2017
What a week it has been for Vassos Alexander, Sports Presenter on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show (BBC Radio 2)!
Vassos has a terrible snake phobia, so Chris arranged for him to have a course of hypnotherapy to help him to overcome his fears. Chris has been raising awareness about the benefits of hypnotherapy all week and today was the day that Vassos came face to face with his nemesis, live on Radio 2.
The results were amazing, as you will see for yourself when you watch the clip, demonstrating just how powerful hypnotherapy can be. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05391w3
The truth is, of course, that it isn't just a snake phobia you can overcome through hypnotherapy. Whatever your fear: flying, open spaces, heights, clowns, dogs, spiders, insects, needles, crowds (the list is endless), hypnotherapy could be the solution for you.