All posts filed under: depression

This five step assessment will help break your low mood

Most of us will go through times of low mood at some point in our lives. Perhaps sparked by stressful life events – redundancy, grief, lack of sleep, pregnancy, loss, illness, or perhaps for no obvious reason, we just find ourselves stuck in a rut. It’s when this period of low mood goes on for a few weeks or more that it might be worth taking a PHQ9 depression test and speaking to your GP. But often there are certain factors we can influence and by implementing tiny changes, we can help break the cycle of negativity and pull ourselves out of the pit of doom. If you find yourself caught in a trap, with a continually low mood try this CBT approach and carry out the five key areas assessment, to see what factors are in your control. The five areas are: PEOPLE AND EVENTS AROUND YOU THINKING PATTERNS ALTERED FEELINGS PHYSICAL FEELINGS AND SENSATIONS ALTERED BEHAVIOUR AND ACTIVITY LEVELS Assessing your life in this way can help you see the impact of low …

9 Signs you Might be Depressed

Do you know the main signs of depression? Could you spot them in others? Feelings of inescapable sadness, emptiness or hopelessness Loss of interest in life and the simple things Unexplained weight loss or gain Difficulty sleeping and staying asleep Restless and irritable Feelings of guilt or worthlessness and low self-esteem Fatigue and low energy levels Problems concentrating, remembering and making decisions Thoughts of suicide and thoughts of death If you’ve had five or more of these symptoms for two weeks or more, you might be depressed. Make an appointment with your local GP or talk to someone you can trust. You could also call one of the organisations listed here who offer help and support directly.

Are you Surviving or Thriving?

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and the theme is Surviving or Thriving?  A surprising 1 in 6 people interviewed in the 2016 Mental Health Foundation report, showed symptoms associated with ill mental health – sleep troubles, worry, irritability and fatigue – yet they didn’t believe they had a mental health problem. So this year, instead of looking at why 1 in 4 adults in the UK now suffers from ill mental health, the focus is on why so few people with seemingly good mental health are merely surviving  not thriving. Perhaps the spectrum of good and bad mental health is much narrower than we initially thought. If so, where do you sit on the scale? Find out more about the state of the UK’s mental health here and get involved in Mental Health Awareness Week here.          

Improve your Focus, Reduce Stress and Boost Creativity

Can you find 10 minutes this weekend to begin your meditation journey? Scientists have proved that meditation enhances mental performance by improving focus and concentration. It also boosts our creativity and self-acceptance, encourages empathy and boosts our immunity. Counterbalancing the detrimental effects of stress and anxiety. (For more benefits see here). If you’re keen to kick-start your learning and want to see how meditation could impact your life, we’ve created a 10 minute audio guide to help you navigate one of the trickiest first steps – learning to focus the breath. Those with highly active, inquisitive minds will know just how difficult it can be to silence the endless chatter, but with a little help and a lot of patience, it can be done! And if you feel like you’re ready to try a 5 minute mindfulness meditation, why not give this one a try.  

Poetry Friday

The Guest House This being human is a guest house. Every morning a new arrival. A joy, a depression, a meanness, some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor. Welcome and entertain them all! Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows, who violently sweep your house empty of its furniture, Still, treat each guest honourably. He may be clearing you out for some new delight. The dark thought, the shame, the malice, meet them at the door laughing, 
and invite them in. Be grateful for whoever comes, because each has been sent as a guide from beyond. Rumi    

5 ways to limit the Stress of always being on call

1 in 4 adults in the UK in any given year will suffer from stress, anxiety, depression or another form of ill mental health (Mental Health Foundation Report 2015), and that’s only including those who are clinically diagnosed. How many others suffer in silence or ignore telltale signs? Could this fast-paced, complex, ever challenging digital world we find ourselves living in be the root cause of our increased stress levels? A world where we’re always on call, permanently plugged in and bombarded with an endless stream of digital stimulus and distractions. Like it or not, we’re all addicted to our digital devices. Relentlessly jumping from emails to whatsapps, google searches to social media, news apps to … you get the picture, because you probably do it too. Some of you up to 150 times a day. Nicholas Carr, author of The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains comments that constantly flitting from one forum or application to another is associated with “shallower thinking, weakened concentration, reduced creativity, and heightened stress.” His views are supported by other experts who …

24hr Social Media use Linked to Teenage Anxiety

Research from the University of Glasgow has found a strong link between teenage social media use and increased anxiety and depression. Lead researcher Dr Heather Cleland Woods carried out the study on 467 teenagers, looking at their overall and night-time specific social media use. Further tests measured sleep quality, self-esteem, anxiety, depression and the subjects’ emotional investment in social media, which relates to the pressure to be available 24/7 and any anxiety around not responding immediately to texts or posts. Results showed that overall and night-time specific social media use along with a higher emotional investment in social media, were related to poorer sleep quality, lower self-esteem and higher anxiety and depression levels. Dr Cleland Woods explained: “Adolescence can be a period of increased vulnerability for the onset of depression and anxiety, and poor sleep quality may contribute to this. It is important that we understand how social media use relates to these.” She went on to say “While overall social media use impacts on sleep quality, those who log on at night appear to …

10 Benefits of Meditation

Evidence suggests meditation has been around since 1500 BCE, making it over 3500 years old. Yet the art of meditation only spread to Western society thousands of years later, and has only really gained household popularity in the last decade. What is about this ancient art form that’s survived the test of time and why do so many religions and gurus swear by its healing properties? We’ve chosen our top 10 benefits – It boosts Positive Emotions
 Powerful contemplative meditations like loving-kindness act as triggers for positive emotions. When we recall and allow ourselves to cultivate loving feelings, not only does it boost our mood, but we can more easily access those feelings after the mood has passed. Positive effect on our Physical Health Meditating encourages us to relax and therefore helps to reduce our stress level and boosts our immunity. It has also been proven to boost our immunity. Helps fight Depression Results now show that MBCT (Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy) is just as effective as anti-depressants in fighting mental illness. This is revolutionary for those who are …

6 Steps to Reconnect

Connection with other people is fundamental to our happiness and wellbeing. Yet with the rise of digital technology and online social networking sites, you would think the opposite was true. The lack of face-to-face connection is having devastating effects on society, with social isolation and the loneliness epidemic reaching all time highs. On par with early death through cause of smoking and obesity. We can certainly reverse this negative impact and through very simple means increase our connectivity levels. Here are a few simple steps to get you started – CALL AN OLD FRIEND It’s automatic to text a friend or write a quick email between meetings at work, but there’s nothing quite like hearing someones voice when you actually take the time to pick up the phone and call them PAY SOMEONE A COMPLIMENT A stranger on the street, your boss or the local chemist. Whoever your path might cross with, make a point to give at least one compliment each and every day. You’ll be amazed at the positive impact a little kindness and small  connection (even with a complete …

The Pros and Cons of Technology

Computers and smartphones have revolutionised the way we live, allowing 24/7 access to emails, social media and a world of endless information. We’re better connected and more efficient than ever before but without realising it, we are also suffering from dependency, social isolation and neglecting our mental health. I started writing Technotox to raise awareness of the control modern technology has on each of our lives. To encourage a more mindful and disciplined approach to our time spent online, and to offer tips for a happier and healthier offline life, with more meaning and fulfilment. The Advantages of Technology Medical advancement and discovery A world of information at our fingertips allows easy learning and knowledge building Improved communication Better connected – allows us to keep in touch with friends and family wherever we are Improved productivity More cost efficient  The Disadvantages of Technology Dependency and addiction. More time online means less time for personal development, exploration and creativity. We are becoming less in tune with our instincts and inner voice Decreased creativity now that everything from calculations to drawings can …