How are you today?
The dictionary defines the word fine as you are in good health and you have no problems. Does this sound like your reality? You have arrived at work after battling through the rush hour and you are fine! It seems more like you would be frustrated or angry or stressed. You have had a fight with your partner and you are out with friends can you describe yourself as fine? Continue reading
With over 350 million working days a year lost to stress and stress related illness. Stress is not in itself a bad thing indeed it is an important mechanism which helps us to enhance our performance when we need that extra boost. Learning to manage stress is one of the most effective ways of making a difference to your life.
There are many symptoms that you might experience as a result of stress. Perhaps you have experienced some of them for example mood swings, anger, irritability, feeling tense, feeling sick, indigestion , aches, pains, headaches and palpitations. Continue reading
We perhaps all dreaded making a phone call to someone or an organisation at some point in our lives. Perhaps you recognise the embarrassment of spilling your drink over yourself at a night out or perhaps you like so many others hate speaking in front of groups of people. So imagine of your whole life was controlled by these fears.
When the phone rang you couldn’t answer it because you believe you would become tongue-tied and make a fool of yourself. You daren’t eat or drink infront of others for fear of being judged for what you eat or how you eat. Anxiety can seem to interfere with every aspect of your life, with a negative impact on your normal routine. Without treatment it can bring the person to a place where they cannot cope with life. Continue reading
Anxiety and depression seem to be more prevalent than ever before in today’s society. It is to be hoped that this is because it is becoming more socially acceptable to talk about mental illness rather than the negative stereo type that it often carries with it. This is in no small part due to the courage of many sufferers both in public and private who have shared their condition and started that public dialogue.
While much has been written about anxiety and depression which we are beginning to believe are two different faces of the same condition. Less is spoken publicly about some of the ways in which people cope. One of these which can be difficult to talk about is that of self-harm. It is linked in the public consciousness to suicide or that terrible cliché a cry for help. It can be alarming for friends and family and often they don’t know how to reach out to the person.
Self-harm which I believe is better described as self-injury covers many practices: tearing your hair out, taking an overdose, cutting your body, burning, scratching, anorexia and other behaviours which are dangerous or harmful to the individual.
The causes although absolutely understood, often are as the result of a trauma or difficulties in early or adolescent life. It is likely that they had no one to talk to about what was going on, for example being abused and being unable to tell or not believed when they tell. Abuse is only one mechanism bullying; isolations from the family, perhaps being taken into care all have an effect. Self harm might me a form of punishment for something that the person thinks they have done or allowed to happen.
Yet self-injury is not a suicide attempt but rather the opposite a method of coping with the feelings that have nowhere to go. In that respect it is not that different from yelling or crying, it is just that the effects go inward directed back at themselves, not believing that they are worth much. The behaviour helps to numb the pain to put off having to deal with it and that helps them face the next day.
Unfortunately society and even healthcare professionals have treated those who self-injure poorly. The condition is not well understood and it can be seen as taking resources away from people who ‘are really ill’. Talking to sufferers it is not uncommon to hear of being treated roughly. Fortunately things are changing and certainly in the health community the need for treatment is widely recognised.
It is possible to get help, your GP will be able to access a range of therapies and there are many support groups across the country. As so often talking therapies such as counselling can make a real difference as the trauma and issues are revisited and expressed. Know what can trigger your self-injury – see it you can avoid or mitigate its effects. As far as you are able look after yourself, clean wounds, protect injured sites, try to cut down or change behaviours.
If you are supporting someone who self-injure, you of course need to be aware of the risks and the dangers, but try not to see them as their injury try to support them as they struggle with the condition and accept that there will be setbacks. Ultimately it is going to be a long process to resolve this.
What is a good relationship? One definition might be feeling enough trust in the other person that you can express your sense of self and are able to share with your partner your innermost thoughts and feelings. If an environment exists where you feel safe and that the other person cares about you, it is possible to tackle problems before they become intractable, offering the chance to forgive and to move forward with you relationship strengthened. Often the thing which destroys a relationship is when a secret or a feeling is held in and not spoken about. If it comes out often there is a strong feeling of betrayal because the trust that was there is suddenly undermined for the partner discovering this secret or feeling held about them. They struggle to fit it into their model of how the relationship works. Similarly something might happen, and you feel judged by your partner and you cannot bring yourself to discuss it with them. Continue reading
As we start a new year it is natural that we reflect on the past year and if we want to make changes in our lives. So the new year resolution is born with hope and the promise of great things to come.
A good place to start is to review last year. What are the 3 things that you are most proud of and what are the three things that you would most like to change. You could use your diary or family events to remember those moments.
Being aware of both of our successes and our failures helps to give balance and lets us see that we can change and change for the better.
If we take the three things that we’d like to change and ask ourselves what was it about them that we want to change and what behavior put us in that position. Perhaps we suffer from road rage and it’s because we are always leaving the house late and get stuck it traffic on the way to an appointment- can we change that and leave earlier, would music in the car help us to stay calm. It’s not just enough to say I will control my road rage.
Focus your resolutions on the behavior change not on the outcome. So I will leave 10 minutes early each morning not I will control my road rage.
Get a support system in place – perhaps friends and family can help you by talking it over, by celebrating your successes and helping you to get back on the horse when and if you relapse. Celebrating successes is important it helps you to reinforce the behavior that you want. On the flip side of the coin relapse is perfectly normal when trying to change your life and it’s important that you get going again on change.
While friends and family are usually enough to help us with the small changes sometimes the larger changes take professional help. Things like anger management or weight loss or smoking cessation often need the help of a GP or a specialist nurse of a counsellor to help us to success, and if you need help you should ask for it as it all increases your chances of success.
So if you want to make changes this year, have a plan, know where you are going to get support and make that change knowing that you have increased your chance of success through those simple steps.
In our last post about resolutions we look at the subject of failure. Many people fail at their resolutions partly because they fail to plan properly or they have unrealistic or too ambitious goals. But even with planning slipping up is a real possibility. Perhaps your eating plan will be disrupted by a surprise dinner invitation. Or your exercise plan is disrupted through injury.
You need to keep in focus that having things go wrong is part of reality and its how you deal with the problem that is what makes the difference. There is a saying the glory is not in never falling, but in rising each time you fall. So if you fail to meet your target at the review, check that the goal was realistic, perhaps take a smaller step next time – but don’t give up at the first hurdle.
Similarly we all like rewards and while achieving our goal might be enough reward in itself, it is nice to go a little further just to mark our success. Buying clothes for our new slim shape, booking a spa day for giving up smoking with all the money you saved. Whatever it is reward yourself with a treat that means something to you.
Go on you know you deserve to make the changes important to you.