All posts filed under: mental health

What’s the Big Fuss about Meditation?

Evidence suggests meditation has been around since 1500 BCE, making it well over 3500 years old. But what is about this ancient art form that’s survived the test of time and what are the current scientific studies telling us about the benefits of meditation? When the first New York marathon was run in 1970 there were only 127 competitors. A time when little was known about the benefits of physical exercise for our health and wellbeing. Nowadays these are widely publicised, and 46 years on there were over 50,000 runners in the 2016 New York marathon. Exercise has become an integral part of our daily lives, and at Technotox, we believe it’s only a matter of time before meditation follows the same route. After all, now the evidence exists, why shouldn’t we spend as much time and money looking after our mental and emotional health as we do our physical health? If you’re still not convinced, or simply need reminding of meditation’s plethora of benefits, we’ve chosen our top ten to share with you – Boosts positive emotions
 Meditating stimulates activity …

12 Ways to Nourish Yourself

A reoccurring theme I hear throughout my coaching sessions, is an ongoing struggle with nourishment and clients who just don’t know how to nourish themselves. Some clients see it as an indulgence, some don’t even know what it means or where to start. More often than not, it’s the first thing to fall by the wayside when we’re busy or feeling stressed out. Instead we opt for the easy, go-to solutions of comfort food, alcohol, switching off for hours in front of the tv, withdrawing from social engagements and the killer, procrastination. So in an effort to help you reduce your stress levels, boost your happiness and improve self-esteem, here are my top 12 ways to nourish yourself. Aim for at least one a day: Switch off all technology (and I mean completely switch it off, don’t just put it on silent!) for an hour Put your comfies on, snuggle up and read a book you love Meditate Do a pilates or yoga class (there are plenty of great ones on YouTube – a very mindful way to use technology btw!) Light some candles, lie down and think about loving …

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    

Be happy. Be productive. Build PERMA.

We all want to be happy. When we’re happy we look on the bright side of life, take ourselves less seriously, become more motivated, loving, and are generally better people. Scientist know our genes and upbringing influence around 50% of the variation in our personal levels of happiness.  Our circumstances 10%, e.g our income and external environment. Which leaves as much as 40% accounted for by our daily activities – the relationships we keep, the work we do and the choices we make. Our actions strongly impact our happiness levels, which is great news because it means we have great control over them and can therefore almost instantly, boost our happiness. Respected positive psychologist Professor Martin Seligman developed a well-being theory called the PERMA Model. It combines the five building blocks required for a happy and flourishing life. These five blocks are – POSITIVE EMOTION (P) Experiencing feelings of joy, hope, love, inspiration, satisfaction, gratitude or any positive emotion allows us to experience wellbeing. ENGAGEMENT (E) When we’re fully engaged in a challenging task and time seems to stand still, we experience a state of flow (see blog post ‘How do you …

The Art of Resilience

We will all experience suffering at some point in our lives. Perhaps through illness, heartbreak or death. Difficult times are inevitable, often hitting us some idle Wednesday afternoon, unexplained and unexpected. No matter how careful we are, how honorable a life we lead or how hard we try to avoid pain, in the words of Buddha, life is suffering so it’s inevitable it will affect us all eventually. For some, suffering will be an old friend, to others a frightening new foe. We cannot change the things that happen to us, we must each accept that. Fortunately, we can change the way we respond to them and this is where building resilience is key. What is Resilience? def. the ability to recover readily from illness, depression, adversity, or the like; buoyancy. It’s important to point out resilience isn’t overcoming pain nor trying to forget it ever happened, instead it is growth and personal development through suffering and adversity. Author, psychologist and resilience specialist, Chris Johnstone designed the Self Help SSRI Model to help each of us improve our resilience. It’s important to …

Why do Digital Devices Affect our Happiness?

Scientists know 40% of our personal happiness levels are accounted for by our daily activities (50% genes & upbringing, 10% income & environment). So our lifestyle, the relationships we have and the habits we keep, significantly affect our happiness. We live in a hectic digital age where it’s impossible to avoid technology; iPhones, laptops, tablets and digital TV are an all-encompassing part of our daily routines. We’re addicted to notifications, checking our phones at any free moment and at the mercy of emails, checking them last thing at night (from our tranquil beds!) and first thing in the morning straight after we’ve switched off the alarm (our lovers don’t stand a chance!). Pressured to ‘show face’ on social media and regularly finding ourselves watch TV whilst navigating multiple Whatsapps and browsing Facebook on our iPads. Like it or not, we are all utterly addicted to technology, in fact, the average smartphone user now checks their phone a whopping 150 times a day! Unsurprisingly, these addictive digital habits are affecting our mental health and suppressing happiness. Millennials are struggling to sleep and suffering …

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 …

Technology and Sleep Deprivation, the Facts

A lack of sleep is associated with depression, obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, yet gone are the days when our bedrooms provided a sanctuary of tranquility and relaxation. Instead contemporary bedrooms are now filled with TVs, iPads, laptops and mobile phones – all doing their very best to ensure we’re permanently on call, over-stimulated and wound up. According to a National Sleep Foundation study, 60% of 13-64 year olds experience problems sleeping and a staggering 95% use electronics in the hour before they go to sleep. It doesn’t take a brain scientist to realise there could be a very strong link between the two! Especially when 95% of 18-29 year olds sleep with their phones right next to their beds. The self-luminous display light emitted from phones and tablets, is the main cause for concern, as a study from the Lighting Research Centre proved exposure to this artificial light before bed caused melatonin suppression – a hormone that regulates our body clock and tells us it’s nighttime! But what can we do to ensure we’re giving ourselves …

Stop OD’ing on Social Media and Boost your Self-Esteem!

We’re all guilty of browsing social networking sites, nosing into other people’s lives from the comfort of our sofas. We see friends quaffing champagne on desert islands, Cara Delevingne backstage at the latest Burberry shoot, exotic weddings in Florence, crazy festival antics at Glastonbury or one of the endless health and fitness bloggers who’s only practised yoga, walked their dog, made a paleo breakfast and applied magazine-perfect make up in time for a selfie, before 6am! But have you ever wondered what these images do our subconscious? What effect constantly comparing ourselves with the lives of our piers – who appear to be having THE best fun, with THE best people, in THE best places – has on our mental health? It knocks our self-esteem that’s what! Because we can’t keep up– we end up feeling boring, unattractive, uninventive and certainly unworthy. Yet like an addictive drug, we’re not prepared to give up this toxic habit. So as an alternative to quitting those voyeuristic tendencies, Technotox has come up with 10 tips to counterbalance any negativity and Boost your Self-Esteem! DON’T EXAGGERATE …

The Art of Letting Go

It’s human nature to attach ourselves to things. People, places, ideas – we grasp at them in the hope of finding happiness. Trying to manipulate each one to fit into our lives just the way we had imagined. But the reality is, this attachment is the cause of our suffering. This clinging to ourselves and an idealised life, sets the path for disappointment and dissonance. We find ourselves in situations we can’t control, meeting people with different perspectives and fighting our own egos in the face of adversity. ‘You can only lose what you cling to.’ — Buddha Letting go is an art form. For the more spiritual or those that lean towards the ‘being’ side, it may come more easily, but for the doers it is incredibly difficult to give up control and the desire to try and ‘fix’ things. So learning takes time and commitment. Here are 6 useful words to aid in your learning – 1. ACCEPTANCE If you find yourself in a toxic situation or conversation, first remove yourself from it and take …