| St John's Counselling & Therapy Ltd|
Anxiety, worry and stress all have similar triggers, in that there is an event happening in the future with an unknown result, and we are scared of what that result will be. We start to imagine the worst case scenario and then fear sets in and instils in us a state of anxiety that keeps us fixated on that scenario. Our minds then become full with thoughts and we then imagine the outcomes sometimes with the imagery of the possible future pain. Then as a result, we experience that pain in the here and now simply from the idea of imaging potential outcomes and pain in the future.
Apart from major life changing events, I find it fascinating to observe how the mind can goes out of its way to create problems, even when everything else in our lives seems ok. Even when nothing is wrong, we start to create problems in our head, and through thought repetition, become convinced that the problems exist. All problems are rooted in our interpretation of an external circumstance. Thus, all problems are really created in our heads. They don’t actually exist, except in our own projection of a tale we have convinced ourselves of and believe to be true.
This results in us suffering unnecessarily in advance of an anticipated outcome or event. Even though nothinghas yet happened, because we have imagined the worst case scenario in our mind, we become afraid of what might happen. In conclusion we suffer emotional pain as a result of events or situations that have not happened and may not happen. We suffer in the here and now for what a possible scenario or outcome of a possible event, that may or may not take place in the future.
Yet as humans there is nothing we can’t handle, even death. History has taught us that it doesn’t matter how much suffering we may endure ahead of time, when the anticipated event happens, it will happen and then we move on.
Q2: What Ways can you suggest to keep Positive?
Practice these simple exercises and suggestions to keep your thoughts on the positive side.
1. Only use positive words when talking. If you're constantly telling yourself "I can't" you may convince yourself that's the truth. Replace these negative words with positive ones instead. Tell yourself you will do your best or that you will try your hardest instead.
2. Push out all feelings that aren't positive. Don't let negative thoughts and feelings overwhelm you when you're feeling down. Even if it's only for a few hours a day, push your negativity aside and only focus on the good things in your life.
3. Use words that evoke strength and success. Try filling your thoughts with words that make you feel strong, happy and in control of your life. Make a concentrated effort to focus on these words rather than those that make you feel like you are failing or incompetent.
4. Practice positive affirmation. One of the most popular positive thinking exercises is a positive affirmation. This means you repeat a positive phrase to yourself on a regular basis like "I deserve to be happy" or "I am worthy of love". Believing that these things are true, and reminding yourself of it can help give you a more positive outlook on life.
5. Direct your thoughts. This technique, used by therapist can help you to control your thoughts when you start to feel down or anxious. Create a happy thought, a positive image, or give yourself positive feedback to keep bad feelings in check.
6. Believe you will succeed. There is nothing like believing in yourself to create a successful reality. Give yourself the benefit of the doubt and believe that you will succeed at fulfilling your goals.
7. Analyze what went wrong. Thinking positively doesn't mean denying that there is anything wrong. Instead, give yourself some time to think about the things that led up to your current situation so you can avoid future mistakes and look toward a more positive tomorrow.
8. Give yourself credit. Often when we feel frustrated or upset we only concentrate on the bad things or the mistakes we've made instead of giving ourselves credit for what we do right. Allow yourself to feel confident about the things you have accomplished, even if you've messed up in other areas.
9. Forgive yourself. Constantly beating yourself up about things that have gone wrong won't change them. Forgive yourself for your mistakes and allow yourself to move on.
10. Learn from the past. The past is behind you and no matter how badly things went there is nothing you can do to change them. Whenever you feel negative thoughts about the past come up, replace them with positive thoughts about the future.
11. Remember things could be worse. No matter how bad things get remember that they could be worse and be grateful for all the good things that are in your life, even when it seems there's more bad than good.
12. Think of it as an opportunity. Sometimes even the seemingly negative things in our lives present us with opportunities we wouldn't have been strong enough to pursue otherwise. Maybe losing your job is just the chance you need to start your own business or go back to school.
13. Come up with ideas of how to turn negative thoughts into positive ones. If you find yourself thinking you should have done this or that differently, try changing your thoughts around. Instead give yourself credit for what you did do, remember that you are not perfect or that you can do better next time.
14. Work on visualization. Picturing what you want to accomplish or the person you'd like to be can be a great motivator to getting you there and helping you feel more positive about the distance you have to go yet.
15. Think of ways to turn visualization into action. The next natural step of this is to think of just how you're going to get to where you see yourself. Just picturing it isn't going to make it happen, so create a plan to take it one step at a time until you've made it.
16. List the reasons you will get what you want. If you are having trouble believing that you'll get that big promotion or that your book will get published try sitting down and coming up with a list of reasons that you will get what you want rather than focusing on the reasons you might not.
17. Smile when you see a blue sky, feel a drop of rain, or a get blown around on a windy day, if you have experienced any of the three your alive and thats worth a smile.
Q3: How can I Keep Positive At Work?
Work can be a stressful place but use these techniques and ideas to keep yourself looking on the bright side.
1. Be constructive. Giving yourself cruel and unwarranted criticisms will not only put you in a bad mood it surely won't help you improve either. Be constructive in your criticisms of yourself so you can grow and learn.
2. Visualize a successful outcome. Sometimes it can be helpful to picture yourself completing a project successfully or getting the promotion you desire. This can encourage you and make you feel better about the situation.
3. Sit up straight. Slouching down in your chair isn't going to make you feel any better about anything that's bothering you. Sit up straight in your chair and see if it improves your thinking.
4. Surround yourself with positive images. Make your desk your own private happy getaway. Put up pictures of things that make you happy or that remind you of your goals to create a calming and positive environment.
5. Relax and let things happen. Sometimes the best way to deal with problems is to relax and let them take their course. Things can often appear to be a bigger deal than they really are and reminding yourself of this can help you to relax and not feel so Stressed.
6. See it from another point of view. Change your pattern of thought by trying to see things from another point of view, whether it's your coworkers, your bosses or just someone impartial. It can help you see where you went wrong and understand why others might be upset.
7. Keep track of your thoughts.When you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts, try jotting them down. You may find a pattern and figure out some ways to reverse how you're seeing yourself or negative situations.
8. Don't dwell. So you made a mistake. It happens to everyone. Don't dwell on your mistakes. Make peace with yourself and move on to other projects.
9. Stop being your own worst critic. There's no one else who knows just how to make you feel terrible like you can. Lay off on the harsh criticism and think good things about yourself when you feel you're at your worst.
10. Look at yourself rationally. It's easy to get down on yourself for messing up at work, even on the little things. But try taking a step back and looking at the situation. You may find that what you thought was a big deal really doesn't matter that much.
11. Believe in yourself. Want that promotion? Hoping to get that huge account? Believe that you can do it and it just might come true.
12. Avoid negative coworkers. Nothing can ruin a positive attitude like coworkers who bring out the negatives in everything. Avoid talking to those you know will only make you feel worse.
13. Truly believe you are the best at your job. If you're constantly looking for failures in your work and put on a sour attitude you're much more likely to actually be putting in a poor performance. If you think that you're good at your job you're much more likely to put in the effort and performance that will make you good.
14. Look for opportunity. In every failure there's an opportunity to improve. Spend time thinking of ways you can turn your setbacks at work into ways you can get ahead in the future.
Whether you're struggling with keeping a positive attitude about yourself or about issues within your family, try these positive thinking techniques.
1. Associate yourself with those who think positively. Positivity is contagious, so find friends and family members who look on the bright side to surround yourself with.
2. Be glad your life isn't boring. If nothing good or bad ever happened to you, likely you'd start to get pretty bored with your life. Take everything that is coming to you as a challenge and a way to keep yourself busy and interested in your life.
3. Look at the big picture. Is that parking ticket you got a bummer? Of course. Will you still feel bad about it later this week? This month? Learn to let go of the things that don't really matter.
4. Let go of the past. It does not determine your future so why focus on it? If you feel yourself ruminating on the past make a conscious effort to take your thoughts in another direction.
5. Benefit from the attitudes of others. Have a friend that always knows just what to say to make you feel like things will be alright? Take comfort in those around you that have positive attitudes and can make you feel better about anything going on in your life.
6. Develop a personal mantra. No matter what you choose to repeat to yourself, make your mantra words you want to live by each and every day that can remind you to be positive and take whatever life has to offer.
7. Find someone to share with. Knowing you are not alone can be a healing experience. Share your negative feelings with a friend, a family member or a even a mental health professional. You'll likely feel better after you've gotten things off your chest and had someone to sound off with.
8. Do something nice. Want to feel better? Try doing something nice for someone you care about. You'll get to feel good for being nice and you just might make someone else's day.
9. Indulge yourself. One way to remind yourself of the positive things that life has to offer is to indulge yourself in whatever it is you love. Whether it's a box of chocolates, a massage or a new video game, give yourself a break to relax.
10. Remind yourself of your blessings. Whether you feel blessed by your family, your friends or even that you just have food to eat each day remind yourself of these things, however small you may feel they may be.
11. Say thank you. Most of us have a lot to feel grateful for that we simply take for granted. Thank those in your life that make it better and happier to get a positivity boost for yourself as well.
12. Come up with positive things about those you love. Making someone else feel good about themselves can strengthen relationships and give you a positive thought to concentrate on, instead of the negative.
13. Avoid laying blame. So the water bill didn't get paid. You could get mad and start a fight with your spouse or roommate. Or, you could let it go, take it in stride and work together to remedy the situation.
14. Be playful. There's nothing to lift your mood and change your thinking like taking some time to embrace playfulness and your inner child.
Don't spend your free time feeling bad about things that have happened. Change your thoughts from the bad to the good with these helpful tips.
1. Read an inspiring book. If you're having trouble finding something inspiring about your life right now try getting inspired by the life of someone else by reading a book meant to inspire and uplift.
2. Watch your favorite sappy movie. Get a quick pick me up by watching your favorite movie or just your favorite scenes. You'll get a smile or a laugh and forget whatever was getting you down.
3. Take a break from the news. The news is often filled with all kinds of depressing information. If you're already in a bad mood take a night off from the news and do something that you find enjoyable instead.
4. Engage in physical activity. Working out releases chemicals that give you a mood lift. Take a jog, play a sport or just walk around the block to improve your outlook.
5. Listen to something upbeat. Music can be a great mood enhancer. Whether you're driving in your car or hanging out at home, crank up the tunes with something that makes you feel happy.
6. Monitor your stream of consciousness.When you're just sitting and thinking do negative thoughts overtake everything else? Monitor where your mind goes when it's at rest and learn to redirect your thoughts towards happier memories.
7. Engage in activities that work towards your goals. If you're trying to lose weight don't spend the weekend baking cookies that will only tempt you towards falling off the low-cal wagon. Instead, pump yourself up by going on a hike, playing tennis with a friend or just getting active.
8. Concentrate on breathing. When things just seem to be too much to deal with, try concentrating on simply breathing. It will relax you, eliminate some of your anxiety and allow you to focus on more positive elements in your life.
9. Focus on all the fun in your life. While you might spend 40 hours a week slaving away behind a desk you likely have some things in your life that are fun and enjoyable as well. Focus on these things and spend time thinking of new and exciting ways to have fun when you're feeling down.
10. Explore the world around you. Distract yourself from your negative feelings by embracing your sense of adventure Check out a part of town you have never been to, take a day trip to a local winery, or just spend time reliving the happy memories from things around your house.
11. Get excited. Even if there are a million things you're dreading doing come Monday try to find one thing that you're excited about. Even that one thing can have a big impact on how you feel and how you approach your day.
12. Find something to laugh about. If you don't have anything in your day that's been particularly funny, think about a memory that never fails to make you laugh. It's hard to be negative when you're laughing and smiling.
13. Count down to total relaxation. All of us have been so upset or frustrated at some point that we just feel like we want to explode. If you feel yourself reaching this point, stop, and start counting. For an additional bonus, try relaxing each body part in turn as you count so you end up completely relaxed and ready to think logically.
14. Meditate. The benefits of meditation are many, and one of them can be encouraging positive thinking. By clearing your mind and relaxing you can push out a large amount of negativity that may be troubling you.
15. Think of 100 things you enjoy doing. Feeling like your life is one big, horrible sinkhole at the moment? Sit yourself down and try to come up with a list of things that you enjoy doing. Even small things like taking a hot shower or enjoying a walk in the snow can make you realize that your life isn't so bad after all.
16. Create something. Negativity inspires a lot of destructive feelings and one way to counter that is by working to create something instead. Paint or draw, sew some new curtains, build a model or even put together a puzzle.
17. Imagine yourself in a happy place. Visualization can be a powerful tool and you can use it to remove yourself from whatever situation you feel unhappy in to one that makes you smile. Just close your eyes and imagine whatever makes you feel best Facing Challenges
Everyone has to face challenges in their lives from time to time. Whether they're difficult personal goals to meet or unexpected problems these tips can help you make it through with a smile on your face.
1. Fake it till you make it. ~Acting as if One way to deal with a challenge is to create a feeling of confidence and happiness in yourself. At first this feeling might not be real, but over time you'll start to actually feel happier and maybe even closer to your goal.
2. Believe you will get well. Those facing illnesses can feel a sense of hopelessness and fear. These feelings aren't going to help anything. Concentrate on getting better and living each moment as if you will soon be well.
3. Understand the obstacles are there to challenge you. Along your path to success you're going to encounter some roadblocks Understand that these aren't necessarily there to stop you from doing what you want, just to ensure that you truly want it.
4. Picture yourself at the weight you want to be. Losing weight can be a huge challenge, even for the most determined. Picturing yourself at the weight you want to be can be a great motivator to getting you on the track to success.
5. Start small. Working at a huge goal all at once can be overwhelming and sometimes discouraging. Take things one step at a time and chip away at your ultimate goal until you get there.
6. Don't let yourself quit. Giving up is usually taking the easy way out of a situation. No matter how negative you're feeling, never let yourself quit pursuing something you truly want. You'll thank yourself in the long run if you don't give up.
7. Don't expect change to be easy. No one ever promised that making a big change in your life would be easy or that overcoming obstacles would be a walk in the park. It's not supposed to be. Don't let opposition let you lose your confidence and adapt a negative attitude.
8. Find the bright side. Every cloud has a silver lining and you just need to find yours. Try finding the bright spot amidst all the turmoil surrounding a situation and focus on that to get you through.
9. Understand that the situation is not forever. Even if you're dealing with the grief of a lost loved one, remember that in time you will feel better. You may always feel sad about a loss, but it will only get easier as time goes on. Take it day by day and keep in mind the transience of any bad situation.
10. Truly believe you will succeed. If you want an extra edge on success believe that you will be successful. This may give you the confidence and assurance you need to make the difference.
11. Face up to change. The world is constantly changing and you and those around you are changing as well. Make peace with these changes and understand they don't always mean the end of happiness just because they're something different.
12. Make a conscious decision to be resilient.In life you can either let a challenge break you down and make you see the world in a negative light or you can draw on strength you didn't even known you had and rise above it. Choose the latter-- it's never too late.
13. Take it head on. Sometimes the best way to deal with negative things in your life is to take them head on Reaching a resolution or at least working towards one will likely make you feel better about just about any situation.
14. Focus on finding a solution. Don't wallow in your problems. Instead, work towards finding a solution and getting them resolved. You'll be able to feel proactive and feel in control of your life.
15. Don't let loss stop you. When pursuing any goal there are bound to be setbacks along the way. Don't let these stop you from heading towards your ultimate goal.
16. Keep yourself on track. It's easy to be weak and get off track to whatever goal you're pursuing because it's easier right now. Don't let weakness get the best of you-- you'll only feel worse later. Provide yourself with reminders to stay in a positive mind set and stay with the program.
If you really want to change your outlook on life, try using these techniques to change how you deal with problems and see the world.
1. See the beauty in everything. Even if you're in the worst mood, taking the time to look at all the beautiful things that surround you in the world can provide an instant and insightful way to lift your spirits.
2. Realize that your thoughts do not own you. Stop your negative thoughts in their tracks by realizing that you're in charge of what you think, not the other way around.
3. Take time to figure out what you really want. When you feel yourself feeling negative about things that you haven't accomplished, take time to think if you really want those things. Finding out what is really important to you can help eliminate bad feelings over things that you don't truly want.
4. Accept the good things. Sometimes we get so caught up in the bad stuff coming our way that we forget to appreciate the good things. Take a minute to sit down and think of all the positive things that happened in your day, no matter how small.
5. Get excited about all the possibilities that lay ahead. Even in the midst of the biggest disasters there are a multitude of possibilities that await you to make changes or take on the world tomorrow.
6. Believe the world is a good place. If you look at the world and only seem doom and gloom laid out in front of you you're not doing yourself any favors. Believe the world is a good place and you're likely to find many more ways good things can come your way.
7. Stop making excuses. There are always a million excuses for any person not to do something even if that something can make them feel happier. Stop putting up obstacles to your happiness and ditch those lame excuses when you hear yourself making them.
8. Don't play the victim. Bad things happen to everyone from time to time. Pitying yourself and wanting others to feel sorry for you isn't going to make things better. Pick yourself up and start working towards a happier future.
9. Don't place your future in someone else's hands. Your future is yours alone to shape. Remember this and take control of where you're going in life.
10. Create realistic goals. Of course you're going to feel frustrated if you make your goals so unattainable that you can't reach them no matter how hard you work. Create smaller or more realistic goals so you can feel accomplished instead of defeated each day.
11. Choose joy. Every day when you wake up you make the choice whether to be happy or miserable. Make the choice to be happy and you'll live a much more joyful life.
12. Believe you can change. Everyone has qualities they don't like about themselves and that sometimes make them feel bad about themselves. Believe you can change these things and you'll start to see little ways that you can.
13. Start immediately. Want to make a positive change in your life? Do it now. Putting it off just gives you time to make excuses so get started as soon as possible.
14. Believe you deserve good things. If you don't truly believe that you deserve good things in your life you likely aren't going to encounter many. Believe that you are worthy for good fortune to come your way and it just might.
15. Stop letting negative thoughts control you. Negativity can be an overwhelming emotion, one that can make you feel out of control and unhappy in every aspect of your life. Put a stopper on these negative thoughts and take control of how you're feeling.
16. Smile. Sometimes all it takes to feel good is to put a smile on your face. Practice putting on a happy face even when you just feel so-so.
17. Take control of your decisions. You're the boss of what is going on in your life, even when you feel like you don't have a choice. Take back control of your decisions and make the choice to be happier and more positive.
18. Change your vibe. Some people think that you get back what you put out, so stop putting out bad energy and change to a more positive outlook. Whether it truly works or not doesn't matter, you'll feel better either way.
19. Keep the bad out. You're in control of the good and bad you choose to let into your life. When you can, limit the amount of negative things you let into your life, including your thoughts.
20. Make positive thinking a habit. Don't just practice thinking positively when you're feeling down. Make it an everyday occurrence whether you're in a good mood or bad.
21. Decide why you want what you want. If you're feeling upset because you feel like you aren't achieving the things you want in life, take a moment to sit back and figure out the reasons you actually want those things. You may find you're not as attached to them as you think.
22. Look at things with fresh eyes. Sometimes the best thing you can do is to sleep on a problem so you can look at it the next day when you're not feeling so emotional.
Q8: Why Do some people suffer from Depression?
A: Everyone grows up with a belief system taken from our past experiences. However no one peroson wll ever have the same identicle experiences, people never ever witness events from the same frame of reference.
Our ideas of the world are not an exact picture of whats happening around us, only a blinkered view translated from our beliefs or theories about certain life situations. People often grow up with certain views and beliefs about how life is or must be. Because of this when things go terrible wrong for us we often receive a shock if we find out that things are not the way we thought they were and that we’ve made a terrible mistake.
When a person encounters some unexpected disaster or setback, they sometimes find that there's a large difference between what they we thought their life was and what it actually is. Some times they have thought that their life was safer more secure environment, and then when some major event takes place like a terrorist attack., this leaves their perception in tatters.
Some people hold the belief that that they are or were going to spend the rest of thier life with one special person and then that person departs for another or just stops loving them or even worse they die. Sometimes we grow up being taught that if we were good and behaved, nothing bad would happen to us, and then something bad did happens which leaves us feeling vulnerable.
When things go wrong we discover we've made a serious mistake of judgement, we could begin to question all the decisions we've ever made. next we begin to experience a feeling of uncertainty of ourselves.
When people believe and value themselves, people generate confidence and, even though we're frightened, we tell ourselves that this feeling will dissapear, that we'll be able manage the problem and get through the difficult times ahead. when we don't value and feel good about ourselves in this way, we could feel that we are not able to carry on, and because of that people feel that they need to find some way to protect themselves to keep ourselves together. This make take shape in the form of a behavioural defence. The more upset we feel about ourselves, the more desperate the defence we resort to.
Defences often include but not limited to the following
- · Self harming - harming our body by putting ourselves in danger by overeating or starving ourself. Abusing our body with drink and drugs, or by inflicting pain on our bodies
- Blaming ourselves - for the unsuccesfful experiences, and so becoming depress
- Withdrawal - locating the cause of our fear in the world around us and becoming too frightened to venture out, this results in people staying in and not actively taking part in the world.
- Avoidance -
- This manifests by people keeping constandly busy - getting more things to occupy your time with to avoid thinking about any problems
- Controlling your environment - this manifests in repetitive compulsive behaviour for example; trying to make everything safe by continuously and obsessively cleaning and checking doors are locked windows are shut
- Giving up - Withdrawing into our own internal space and acting helplessly by not trying to make sense of the world around us in the way that others around us may do.
We do not consciously choose a particular defence. Instead, we unconsciously and quickly resort to the one defence available to us because of the way we see ourselves and our world. For instance, if you are in a habit in blaming yourself for all the mistakes that happen to you, you’ll blame yourself for any crisis or any poor luck you have.
Many people turn to a psychological counselling service to get help and support to clarify and make sense of their understanding and beliefs they hold of the world.
Q9:What happens Following an affair?
Trust gets fractured when an affair is uncovered. Whether an affair is uncovered in a traditional way e.g. telephone number or receipt in a pocket or with today’s technology advances via Emails or social networking sites the impact is similar.
1. People trust in intimate relationships in their own individual way and people have different meanings and ideas about what breaks trust.The betrayal breaks individual trust but also hope dreams and expectations. People sometimes describe an affair as a "blot" on their "picture of trust and intimacy", which cannot easily be removed.
2. Conversations about affairs can be difficult for a couple. The partner who has had the affair often finds it difficult to talk about as their partner feels so hurt and they often want to talk about how to move on. The partner who hasn't had the affair often wants to know "why" and feels stuck there.
- Couples who opt to stay together then work to find a balance of understanding of how and why it came to happen in their relationship and what needs to happen so it’s unlikely to happen again. Often Couples turn to Counselling as a way to support the understanding and reinvesting in the couples relationship.
- Affairs can often be a symptom of relationship problems rather than a cause and can occur for several reasons for example: to end a relationship, to maintain a relationship, for revenge, for attention, to avoid intimacy or to experiment. counselling can bring these problems to the fore. Affairs can be triggered by life crises or changes e.g. family bereavements, mid life, money worries as well as relationship problems.
- Counselling Work can involve supporting yokur work on the recovery from betrayal.
- explore ways to inform your children and help them cope with the news.
- It may also help you look toward the future... whether that means reconciliation or separation.
Q10: Why do some people lose control when they get angry?
If you’re struggling with out-of-control anger, you may be wondering why your fuse is so short. Anger problems often stem from what you’ve learned as a child. If you watched others in your family scream, hit each other, or throw things, you might think this is how anger is supposed to be expressed. Traumatic events and high levels of stress can make you more susceptible to anger as well.
- The emotion of anger is neither good nor bad. It’s perfectly healthy and normal to feel angry when you’ve been mistreated or wronged. The feeling isn't the problem—it's what you do with it that makes a difference. Anger becomes a problem when it harms you or others.
If you have a hot temper, you may feel like it’s out of your hands and there’s little you can do to tame the beast. But you have more control over your anger than you think. You can learn to express your emotions without hurting others—and when you do, you’ll not only feel better, but you’ll also be more likely to get your needs met. Mastering the art of anger management takes work, but the more you practice, the easier it will get. And the payoff is huge. Learning to control your anger and express it appropriately will help you build better relationships, achieve your goals, and lead a healthier, more satisfying life.
If you are uncomfortable with many emotions, disconnected, or stuck on an angry one-note response to everything, it might do you some good to get back in touch with your feelings. Emotional awareness is the key to self-understanding and success in life. Without the ability to recognize, manage, and deal with the full range of human emotions, you’ll inevitably spin into confusion, isolation, and self-doubt.
In order to get your needs met and express your anger in appropriate ways, you need to be in touch with what you are really feeling. Are you truly angry? Or is your anger masking other feelings such as embarrassment, insecurity, hurt, shame, or vulnerability?
If your knee-jerk response in many situations is anger, it is very likely that your temper is covering up your true feelings and needs. This is especially likely if you grew up in a family where expressing feelings was strongly discouraged. As an adult, you may have a hard time acknowledging feelings other than anger.
Q11: What is Anxiety?
Anxiety is the feeling we get when our body responds to a frightening or threatening experience. It is simply your body preparing for action, either to fight danger or run away from it as fast as possible. It has also been called the flight or fight response. The purpose of the physical symptoms of anxiety is therefore to prepare your body to cope with the threat. Anxiety is something we all feel from time to time. It is a normal response to situations that we see as threatening to us. They are the normal reactions to stress or danger. For example;
- if we had to go into hospital for an operation,
- sit an exam,
- take a driving test
- Interview for a new Job
Then it would be natural to feel anxious. Anxiety at certain levels can even be helpful in some situations, such as when we need to perform well, or cope with an emergency.
Worries fears and anxieties are common to us all and they only become a problem when they are exaggerated or experience out of context.
Some Anxiety is not at all helpful because symptoms of anxiety while not dangerous can be uncomfortable. They can also be frightening, especially when a person is not aware that the symptoms they are feeling are just signs of anxiety.
When people are not aware they are suffering from anxiety they worry that they may have something seriously wrong with them. This worry can then produce more anxiety symptoms, which them inturn increases the worry.
When Anxiety is severe it can go on for a long time and it can stop people doing what they want to do.
Sometimes it’s possible to be suffering from anxiety and not even know it. Especially if you don’t believe yourself to be an anxious person. This is why anxiety is often mistaken for a physical illness.
Anxiety can affect us in four different ways.
- The way we think
- The way we feel
- The way we behave
- The way our body works
In order to check out if you may be suffering from anxiety, place a tick next to the symptoms you experience regularly.
How you Think
- Constant worrying □
- Can’t concentrate □
- Thoughts Racing □
- Mind Jumping from one thing to another □
- Imaging the worst and dwelling on it. □
How you Feel
- Anxious, Nervous, Worried, Frightened □
- Feeling Something Dreadful is going to happen □
- Tense, Stressed, on edge, unsettled □
- Unreal, Strange, woozy, detached, panicky
How we think (common thoughts)
- “I’m Losing control” □
- “I’m Cracking up” □
- “I’m going to faint” □
- “My legs are going to collapse” □
- “I’m going to have a heart attack” □
- “I’m going to make a fool of myself” □
- “ I can not cope” □
- “I have got to get out” □
What Happens to your body
- Heart Pounds, Races, skips a beat, palpitations □
- Chest Feels tight or painful □
- Tingling or numbness in toes or fingers □
- Stomach Churning or butterflies □
- Having to go to the toilet, more often □
- Feeling Jumpy or restless □
- Body aching □
- Tense Muscles □
- Sweating □
- Breathing Changes □
- Dizzy light headed
What you do (your behaviour)
- Pace up and down □
- Start jobs and not finish □
- Can’t sit and relax □
- On the go all the time □
- Talk quickly or more than usual □
- Snappy and irritable behaviour □
- Drink more alcohol □
- Smoke more □
- Eat more or Eat less □
- Avoid Feared Situations □
If you are regularly suffering from some or all of the above symptoms, then it is likely that you are suffering from Anxiety.
Are you feeling angry and resentful toward your partner? If the answer is yes it is important to address it immediately.
Anger and feeling resentful can be triggered a variety of issues. If you don’t address the underlying reason for this, the problem is likely to get worse.
Not Getting Your Needs Met
If you feel like your needs are not being met in your marriage, it is quite possible that over time you may start to resent your spouse. When one partner feels like their spouse isn’t meeting their needs they may either give up on trying to meet their spouse’s needs or they may continue trying to please their spouse while growing resentful.
Author Gary Chapman believes there are 5 distinct languages that we use to express our love and couples that understand each others love language
have an advantage as they know how to effectively and consistenly make each other feel truly and deeply loved.
He names them as
Words of Affirmation
Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words, “I love you,” are important—hearing the reasons behind that love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and are not easily forgotten.
In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says, “I love you,” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there—with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on standby—makes your significant other feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially hurtful.
Don’t mistake this love language for materialism; the receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty, thoughtless gift would be disastrous—so would the absence of everyday gestures.
Acts of Service
Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely! Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear: “Let me do that for you.” Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language their feelings don’t matter.
This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder, or face—they can all be ways to show excitement, concern, care, and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect or abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.
Unless we are communicating to our partner in a language they understand that meets their needs couples will become like roommates. You may not feel significant untill your wife/husband/spouse expresses love in a language you understand.
helps to explore how to discover each others love language.
Q14: Could you suggest a breathing exercise that helps to release tension from the body and clear the mind?
Breathing releases tension from the body and clears the mind, improving both physical and mental wellnes
We tend to breathe shallowly or even hold our hold our breath when we are feeling anxious. Sometimes we are not even aware of it. Shallow breathing limits your oxygen intake and adds further stress to your body, creating a vicious cycle. Breathing exercises can break this cycle
The importance of good posture cannot be overstated. While sitting, we tend to slouch, which compresses the diaphragm and other organs, resulting in shallow breathing. Slouching also strains muscles in the neck and back. It is helpful to sit in a chair with good back support to avoid fatigue that leads to slouching
1. Sit up straight. (Do not arch your back)
2. First exhale completely through your mouth
3. Place your hands on your stomach, just above your waist. Breathe in slowly through your nose, pushing your hands out with your stomach. This ensures that you are breathing deeply. Imagine that you are filling your body with air from the bottom up.
4. Hold your breath to a count of two to five, or whatever you can handle. It is easier to hold your breath if you continue to hold out your stomach.
5. Slowly and steadily breathe out through your mouth, feeling your hands move back in as you slowly contract your stomach, until most of the air is out. Exhalation is a little longer than inhalation.
After you get some experience you don’t need to use your hands to check your breathing
You can also do the above breathing exercise lying on your back. Deep breathing exercises can help you to relax before you go to sleep for the night, or fall back asleep if you awaken in the middle of the night
You can also practice deep breathing exercises standing – e.g. while sitting in traffic, or standing in a line up at the grocery store. If you are really tense and feel as if you are holding your breath, simply concentrate on slowly breathing in and out.
Many people ask me what is a Panic Attack
Well the short reply is that our body is reacting to a perceived threat and protecting us. The longer answer is our bodies are designed to keep us safe and deal with harm. For example; the cut is healed the scab falls off. Take another example of when we catch an illness such as the flu, our body detects that there are germs in the body and a type of cell called an antibody is produced to trap the germ and eventually smother. If our immune system is working to its optimum this will happen again and again, each time a new illness is detected the body releases antibodies to fight the threat to the body.
If we eat food that has been contaminated the stomach automatically detects that this is not good and it goes into an automatic response to rejects it and we vomit the contents out of our stomachs. Also if we are eating too quickly and the food takes the wrong turning and goes into our windpipe, our bodies automatically create a response to cough and splutter so that we shoot the food out of the windpipe at great speed. This response continues until the unwanted food has been expelled out of the windpipe
The Body is constantly protecting us in thousands of different ways and the reactions are automatic some we are aware of and some we are not
Another type of protection is the Fear reaction, which again is an automatic response that is triggered by the body. For example you are walking through the park down a narrow path and as you turn the corner suddenly two snarling Alsatian dogs with saliva were dripping down their jaws and teeth flashing leap out in front of you. If you stop to reason there are two dogs, they look dangerous, they are snapping and biting at my leg, I am in danger. I should take action, what should I do, Ok I think running is the best action, and then there is a good chance you would get seriously injured before we have finished our thought process.
So what happens is our body automatically responds to the visual threat pumping adrenalin into the bloodstream. The adrenalin speeds up our heart beat and our skeletal muscles strengthen and before we have time to think we are in full flight mode running away from the danger.
Once we are clear of the danger and come to a standstill often we will notice that our bodies are doing the following;
Our heart is beating fast and pounding hard
Our breathing is very fast and deep.
Feet and hands are tingling
Feeling sick and dizzy
Sweating all over
Mouths are very dry
The danger has passed we are no longer afraid and although our body is feeling strange we accept the reasons why our body is feeling strange and it does not bother us because we understand that they are part of our reaction to fear. As the body breaks down the adrenalin into our blood stream, within a few minutes the body sensations we have felt will disappear and the body will slowly return back to normal. The fear reaction is there to protect us from danger it gives us extra strength needed to escape from danger.
The sensations that are experienced in a panic attack and fear reaction are exactly the same. However there is no obvious trigger such as the angry dogs so when a person has the fear response they are left feeling bewildered and scared. As there is no obvious threat people can not understand and begin to imagine that they are having a heart attack, stroke, breakdown etc and think something terrible is happening to them, some feel they may be dieing.
Although there may be no obvious reason for people to have a panic attack, there will always be a connection with events in a person’s life. Unlike the immediate event that the person can see why the brain has receives an automatic message saying I am in danger. The attack may come as a result of a thought from a perceived threat, happening when the person subconscious triggers a link into a memory of a past threat. Equally it may come at a time when all the events causing stress has passed but the person has a lower resistance that is caused by an illness, or period of time when they are overly tired, or when the stress has been building up and the person is having a relaxing holiday and the panic strikes.
So often the panic is caused through difficulties and troubles that may have occurred months before the panic. The sufferer is often unaware of these event connections and as a result they fear the sensations occurring in their body thinking they are seriously ill. The Fear of the sensations can then cause a panic disorder and this keeps the panic reaction going on for often years.
Dealing with the root cause
Studies in the field of Stress have evidence to suggest that months before the first panic attack, the sufferer has been experiencing a period of stress and trauma or several significant events have happened together over a close period of time. It’s important to unravel the background causes for the panic and also to tackle and overcome the fear of panic. Some people have identified the cause and will need to get help to overcome the fear of the panic.
Q18: What is Bereavement?
Bereavement also referred to as grief, is a term used to describe the sense of loss felt when a loved one passes away. This is a term that can be used to describe any event that includes loss – so this could mean losing your job, or a similar event, as well as the death of someone you know. This sense of loss may contain a host of emotions, such as sadness, anger, guilt and/or frustration and anxiety, and the period immediately following the death is often referred to as the mourning period.
We grieve after any sort of loss, but most powerfully after the death of someone we love. It is not just one feeling, but a whole succession of feelings, which take a while to get through and which cannot be hurried..
Elisabeth Kubler Ross Author of "Death and Dying" studied our fear of death and in doing so introduced the world to the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. The five stages, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with the one we lost. They are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling. But they are not stops on some linear timeline in grief. Not everyone goes through all of them or in a prescribed order.
Five stages of grief - Elisabeth kübler Ross
1 - Denial
Denial is a conscious or unconscious refusal to accept facts, information, reality, etc., relating to the situation concerned. It's a defence mechanism and perfectly natural. Some people can become locked in this stage when dealing with a traumatic change that can be ignored. Death of course is not particularly easy to avoid or evade indefinitely.
2 - Anger
Anger can manifest in different ways. People dealing with emotional upset can be angry with themselves, and/or with others, especially those close to them. Knowing this helps keep detached and non-judgemental when experiencing the anger of someone who is very upset.
3 - Bargaining
Traditionally the bargaining stage for people facing death can involve attempting to bargain with whatever God the person believes in. People facing less serious trauma can bargain or seek to negotiate a compromise. For example "Can we still be friends?.." when facing a break-up. Bargaining rarely provides a sustainable solution, especially if it's a matter of life or death.
4 - Depression
Also referred to as preparatory grieving. In a way it's the dress rehearsal or the practice run for the 'aftermath' although this stage means different things depending on whom it involves. It's a sort of acceptance with emotional attachment. It's natural to feel sadness and regret, fear, uncertainty, etc. It shows that the person has at least begun to accept the reality.
5 - Acceptance
Again this stage definitely varies according to the person's situation, although broadly it is an indication that there is some emotional detachment and objectivity. People dying can enter this stage a long time before the people they leave behind, who must necessarily pass through their own individual stages of dealing with the grief.
Q:19 What are the Symptoms of Grief and Loss?
Symptoms of Grief
Loss affects people in different ways, many people experience the following symptoms when they’re grieving.
Shock and disbelief – Right after a loss, it can be hard to accept what happened. You may feel numb, have trouble believing that the loss really happened, or even deny the truth. If someone you love has died, you may keep expecting them to show up, even though you know they’re gone.
Sadness – Profound sadness is probably the most universally experienced symptom of grief. You may have feelings of emptiness, despair, yearning, or deep loneliness. You may also cry a lot or feel emotionally unstable.
Guilt – Perhaps you may regret or feel guilty about things you did or didn’t say or do. You may also feel guilty about certain feelings (e.g. feeling relieved when the person died after a long, difficult illness). After a death, you may even feel guilty for not doing something to prevent the death, even if there was nothing more you could have done.
Anger – Even if the loss was nobody’s fault, you may feel angry and resentful. If you lost a loved one, you may be angry at yourself, God, the doctors, or even the person who died for abandoning you. You may feel the need to blame someone for the injustice that was done to you.
Fear – Loss can trigger a host of worries and fears. You may feel anxious, helpless, or insecure. You may even have panic attacks. The death of a loved one can trigger fears about your own mortality, of facing life without that person, or the responsibilities you now face alone.
Physical symptoms – Grief is not a strictly emotional process, grief often involves physical problems, including fatigue, nausea, lowered immunity, weight loss or weight gain, aches and pains, and insomnia.
How can I Safely release my Anger and Hurt?
Releasing Anger and Frustration Safely
The release of anger must be done without harm to yourself or others. Anger can harm people physically or mentally by using bullying behaviour, aggression, verbal abuse and unpleasant comments, insults that will leave emotional scars that can destroy relationships.
Below are 4 suggestions for releasing anger safely and without harm to yourself or others.
1. Be Assertive; Assertiveness is;
Saying: how you feel and what you think in a non aggressive way.
Asking: simply and clearly for what you want.
Knowing: what you want so you can ask for it
Enquiring: Checking out what was meant before reacting
Being assertive and releasing anger through assertiveness is all about feeling heard and not suffering in silence, it’s about putting the record straight.
Use this method only if you feel safe to use it. If you feel that the other person will react badly and is most likely to respond with more hurt, or if you feel it is not physically safe for you to express yourself openly it may be impractical or too risky to use. When this is the case opt for another safe anger release.
2. Write a Hurt or Angry Letter: you will never send
If you are feeling unhappy or angry with a person you can not safely confront, write a letter to the person or persons describing and detailing all the feelings that you have and say why you are feeling sad or angry with them. This letter is not for posting and is not meant to be read by them or anyone but you.
2. Next find an empty chair and position a cushion into the chair that represents this person. Imagine the cushion is this person and read the letter to them out loud, give it all the emotion it deserves.
3. When you have done this, take the letter and either; bury it, burn it, rip it up into tiny bits, flush it down the toilet, or find a way suitable for you. The idea is to watch your anger either burn, or flush away depending on your choice. Some people choose a place up high and watch their anger or anxious feelings drift away in the wind or in the river they may watch it float away.
3. If the anger or sadness is directed inwards at yourself: consider writing a letter to your happy joyful self. .
In your letter to your happy joyful self I want you imagine that you went to bed and when you woke up in the morning a miracle has occurred all your problems and feelings of being sad, angry, anxious have disappeared. Visualise and look around you and take notice of how your feeling. What does it look like? What does it feel like? What is different?
In your letter describe and detail how you are feeling. Describe how you feel about yourself and
What it looks like. Describe what has changed for you and how that has affected the way you respond to the world around you.
Keep these images and feelings in your mind and every morning when you wake up and every night before you go to bed imagine the miracle had happened and focus on the feelings of what it looks like and how you feel now that all your anxiety has disappeared.
4. Shrink the hurtful memory: choose an image from an old memory
Imagine you are looking at an old hurtful image on a large cinema screen. As you watch the image imagine you are walking away backwards and the image is gradually moving away from you. As you move away the image becomes smaller and smaller. Then change the cinema screen to an old black and white TV, slowly taking the colour out of the image. As you shrink the image the picture is becomes a small image in grey and white blur. Now switch of the TV so you are left with a blank screen.
5. Hit an inanimate object:
Releasing your anger on an inanimate object can be very affective. For example; a punch bag or a cushion on your lap, using your fists to beat it. When doing this it is always good to rant at the same time. Vocally expressing all you’re pent up emotions is a must for this.
If you are feeling angry but it is not directed at another person you may need to release angry energy. A useful way to do this is to find a tree stump or large wooden object, an old door or chair that is no longer needed in your garden. Using a length of hose thrash the tree stump or wooden object, or throw raw eggs venting your emotion as you do this. This is a really useful way to release this angry energy.
6. Exercise. If you are physically able use this:
Vigorous exercise and sport are excellent ways of releasing angry energy. You don't have to be a member of a gym to do some Jogging. While Jogging imagine treading on various bits of the anatomy of the person you are angry with. Also playing tennis or golf or squash you can take your anger out on the ball.
7. Dealing with Angry thoughts:
If you are struggling with angry thoughts and you are obsessing about an event that has happened recently and you are feeling angry or hurt, sometimes it’s useful to take that thought and put it out of mind for a little while until you have cooled down.
Imagine that you have two boxes that you can open and close in your mind. The front of the first box is labelled the 'Tomorrow box' this box is yours for you to store any thoughts and worries which serve no useful purpose in having them today. The second box is called the Yesterday box and this is yours to store angry and hurt memories that you need some temporary relief from. As you imagine your box give each one a colour and imagine the lock on the outer of the box.
The tomorrow box is for current or future events and your yesterday box is for memories which you want some relief and processed memories. These boxes are only for temporary relief while you process and release the anger. Remember it is very important to process anger and hurt otherwise it will fester and get worse.
Why the tomorrow and yesterday box works
The Tomorrow box and yesterday box bring relief because our brains are wired to hold onto a bad memory or obsessive worry unless we process it in therapy. The harder we try the more the memory will persist. Therapists say 'What we resist persists’; If for example we try not to think of a zebra with pink spots it's impossible because we have to think of it in order to try not to. Try not thinking about your nose and you will see what I mean. However our brain is ok about shelving a bad memory or obsessive thought if we store it somewhere in imagination and keep it safe. This is why the tomorrow and yesterday box work.
Counting to 10 isn't just for kids. Before reacting to a tense situation, take a few moments to breathe deeply and count to 10. Slowing down can help defuse your temper. If necessary, take a break from the person or situation until your frustration subsides a bit.
9. Once you're calm, express your anger
As soon as you're thinking clearly, express your frustration in an assertive but non-confrontational way. State your concerns and needs clearly and directly, without hurting others or trying to control them
10. Think before you speak
In the heat of the moment, it's easy to say something you'll later regret. Take a few moments to collect your thoughts before saying anything — and allow others involved in the situation to do the same.
11. Identify possible solutions
Instead of focusing on what made you mad, work on resolving the issue at hand. Does your child's messy room drive you crazy? Close the door. Is your partner late for dinner every night? Schedule meals later in the evening — or agree to eat on your own a few times a week. Remind yourself that anger won't fix anything, and might only make it worse.
12. Stick with 'I' statements
To avoid criticising or placing blame — which might only increase tension — use "I" statements to describe the problem. Be respectful and specific. For example, say, "I'm upset that you left the table without offering to help with the dishes," instead of, "You never do any housework
Forgiveness is a powerful tool. If you allow anger and other negative feelings to crowd out positive feelings, you might find yourself swallowed up by your own bitterness or sense of injustice. But if you can forgive someone who angered you, you might both learn from the situation. It's unrealistic to expect everyone to behave exactly as you want at all time
14. Use humour to release tension
Lightening up can help diffuse tension. Don't use sarcasm, though — it can hurt feelings and make things worse.
15. Practice relaxation skills
When your temper flares, put relaxation skills to work. Practice deep-breathing exercises, imagine a relaxing scene, or repeat a calming word or phrase, such as, "Take it easy." You might also listen to music, write in a journal or do a few yoga poses — whatever it takes to encourage relaxation.
16. Know when to seek help
Learning to control anger is a challenge for everyone at times. Consider seeking help for anger issues if your anger seems out of control, causes you to do things you regret or hurts those around you. You might explore local anger management classes or
With professional help, you can:
- Identify what triggers your anger.
- Recognize signs that you're becomin
- Learn to respond to frustration
- Learn what anger is
- Explore underlying feelings, such as sadness or depression
Could redundancy leave a person feeling Depressed?
Just about everyone affected by redundancy is going to feel, at the very least, a little upset by it. Like divorce or the death of a relative, it is one of the major life-disrupting events. Being unhappy at losing your job is perfectly natural. But for some people it goes beyond that. From mere unhappiness they slip into a sense of helplessness, despair and, ultimately, depression.
Potentially anyone is at risk of depression. There is no easy way to tell who is likely to fall victim to it. Research has shown that genetic factors play a role. So if there is a history of depression in your family, you are certainly at higher risk. But even in the absence of any family history that you know about, you are by no means free from risk.
Women tend to be diagnosed as depressive at about twice the rate of men, but it is not known whether this indicates whether they are genuinely at greater risk of depression, or are simply more open about expressing their feelings.
Psychologists believe that depression emerges from fault lines in the psyche which, during normal times, remain hidden. The experience of extreme disruptions to your normal pattern of life can aggravate these fault lines and tip you over into depression. Facing several life-disrupting events either at once or in short succession can accentuate the risk considerably. Other major life-disrupting events would include such things such as moving house, changing school, going through a break-up in a long term relationship, experiencing a serious illness and facing a bereavement of a family member or close friend.
Left untreated, depression often acts like a vicious circle. As you cut yourself off from the world, you may lose social competence and personal confidence. Your most important relationships may disintegrate, leading to even deeper despair. As a result of the downward spiral, your prospects for getting a new job and finding a way out diminish accordingly. You will probably make fewer job applications, telling yourself there’s no point, and, if invited to an interview, are less likely to impress any prospective employer because of your morose demeanour.
If you are exhibiting the signs of depression outlined above, you should seek help. Your first recourse should be your GP. Your GP will be able to advise on the best treatment for you that may be in the form of anti-depressant medication for you or refer you to a counsellor for therapy sessions, whichever seems most appropriate to your personal circumstances
Financial problems are one of the key causes of marriage breakdown after a redundancy. Loss of income may put the family home at risk if you can’t keep up with the mortgage payments. To many couples, the home they purchased together can seem like a tangible embodiment of the marriage. If it goes, and they are forced to make new living arrangements, the marriage itself often disintegrates, too.
If one partner is made redundant while the other is still employed, it sometimes creates an unhealthy financial dependency, an imbalance of power in the relationship which can soon make itself felt in other ways as one partner tries to impose his or her will on the other with the feeling of entitlement that comes from being the household’s sole breadwinner.
Paradoxically, although excessive hours worked by one partner are one of the principal causes of divorce in Britain today, the opposite, the enforced idleness that might follow redundancy, can also be extremely destructive to a marriage. The sheer physical factor of being in the home more often, and spending more time together, means that there are more opportunities for you both to get in one another’s hair. Tensions develop. One or more of you can become irritable, and the relationship can begin to break down.
Apart from finding a new job, and thus solving the problem, the best way to cope with the pressure that
redundancy exerts on your relationship with your partner is simply to be aware of it. If you are conscious of the scenarios outlined above, and feel yourself slipping in to one of them, you can restrain yourself and refrain from doing or saying something insensitive which you might later regret. You can also talk about the problem openly with your partner and acknowledge that redundancy presents a challenge to your marriage.
Just remember that a marriage is “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer.” Ultimately, if you surmount this difficult period, your marriage may emerge strengthened for having been tested in adversity.
If you really feel that your marriage is beginning to disintegrate, seeing a marriage counsellor can help. Although every relationship is unique, the phenomenon of a redundancy causing tension in a marriage is one which the counsellors will surely have encountered before. Of course, there is no magic wand to simply wave away relationship troubles.
A large part of what a relationship counsellor does is simply facilitate communication between the partners. However, most couples leave marriage counselling feeling that they have gained something from the experience, even if it is only greater insight into the nature of the problems they face.
Unfortunately, redundancy sometimes means more than just losing your job. But it doesn’t have to. If you are your partner are aware of the danger, and just remember what it is that brought you together in the first place, you can get through the experience with your marriage intact.
The more stressed you are, the more vulnerable you become to life’s difficulties. A very important aspect of improving your emotional intelligence is being able to recognise stress triggers and manage them. Practise meditation, yoga and other relaxation techniques. Set an appointment with a professional therapist who can teach you how to beat stress. Engage in a new sport, learn how to cook a new dish, and meet new people. These things will greatly relieve your stress.
Self-awareness is critical to improving your emotional intelligence. Finding yourself is an enlightening journey that takes time and effort. But once you achieve self-awareness, you increase your understanding of yourself and of the things around you. Once you know yourself, you begin to learn how to recognise your emotions and how they affect your thoughts and behaviour.
You can never improve your emotional intelligence if you are not optimistic. Studies show that optimistic people tend to be happier and successful in life. Optimism is a powerful tool that connects you to better and larger opportunities. So how do you harness optimism? Identify your strengths and appreciate them. View hardships as challenges that will make you stronger. Laugh out loud and improve your sense of humour. Recognise your flaws and accept them.
According to experts, a narrow mind is an indication of a low EQ. Do not be afraid to learn new things and open yourself to new ideas and insights. Be curious. Talk to different people. Communication is a great way to expand your horizon. When your mind is open, it becomes easier to deal with conflicts and challenges in life.
According to Dr Eric Berne, the author and developer of Transactional Analysis, we each have internal models of parents, children and also adults, and we play these roles with one another in our relationships. We even do it with ourselves, in our internal conversations.
In his encounters with his clients, Dr. Berne understood that there exist three distinct states in all people. People change from one state to another in the course of their transactions. This change can be easily noticed by the manners, appearances, words, gestures, and tones. He named these the Parent, Adult and Child Ego State.
Parent Ego State
This is our ingrained voice of authority, absorbed conditioning, learning and attitudes from when we were young. We were conditioned by our real parents, teachers, older people, next door neighbours, aunts and uncles, Father Christmas and Jack Frost. Our Parent is made up of a huge number of hidden and overt recorded playbacks. Typically embodied by phrases and attitudes starting with 'how to', 'under no circumstances', 'always' and 'never forget', 'don't lie, cheat, steal', etc, etc. Our parent is formed by external events and influences upon us as we grow through early childhood. We can change it, but this is easier said than done.
There are two forms of Parent we can play.
The Nurturing Parent is caring and concerned and often may appear as a mother-figure (though men can play it too). They seek to keep the Child contented, offering a safe haven and unconditional love to calm the Child's troubles.
The Controlling (or Critical) Parent, on the other hand, tries to make the Child do as the parent wants them to do, perhaps transferring values or beliefs or helping the Child to understand and live in society. They may also have negative intent, using the Child as a whipping-boy or worse.
Adult Ego State
The Adult in us is the 'grown up' rational person who talks reasonably and assertively, neither trying to control nor reacting aggressively towards others. The Adult is comfortable with them self and is, for many of us, our 'ideal self'.
Our 'Adult' is our ability to think and determine action for ourselves, based on received data. The adult in us begins to form at around ten months old, and is the means by which we keep our Parent and Child under control. If we are to change our Parent or Child we must do so through our adult.
Child Ego State
The internal reaction and feelings to external events form the 'Child'. This is the seeing, hearing, feeling, and emotional body of data within each of us. When anger or despair dominates reason, the Child is in control. Like our Parent we can change it, but it is no easier.
There are three types of Child we can play.
The Natural Child is largely un-self-aware and is characterized by the non-speech noises they make (yahoo, whee, etc.). They like playing and are open and vulnerable.
The cutely-named Little Professor is the curious and exploring Child who is always trying out new stuff (often much to their Controlling Parent's annoyance). Together with the Natural Child they make up the Free Child.
The Adaptive Child reacts to the world around them, either changing them-selves to fit in or rebelling against the forces they feel.
enables a person to identify ego state behaviour and understand patterns of behaviour that is not helpful or unhealthy.
and therapy integrates and uses a Ta approach in therapy.
Recommended transactional analysis books:
was developed by Eric Berne in the 1960's it is a theory of personality and gives us a picture of how people are structured psychologically. It explains how our present life patterns originated in childhood. TA offers explanations of how we may continue to replay childhood strategies in grown-up life, even when these produce results that are self-defeating or painful. Thus transactional analysis also provides a theory of psychopathology.
If you have decided to quit cannabis, you may want to know what side effects to look out for . Some of them can seem worrying before you know that they're a natural part of the cannabis detox.
Listed below are some of the most commonly reported side effects as a result of cannabis detox . People often feel scared when they associate physical side effects with a cannabis quit . They often feel like they will be ridiculed, because cannabis is well known for it's none physically addictive properties. This is not to say that the drug it's self is not psychologically addictive. It is fast becoming well known for it's psychologically addictive qualities ! Our minds can be our worse enemies, and whether it's your mind telling you you're having a night sweat and terrifying dreams, it's as real as the next addiction, and I for one can sympathize with what you're going through . The important thing to remember is , it is short lived. The feelings do go , and the rewards are beyond any of the joys of smoking cannabis , the rewards are something worth sticking it out for, and something that only those who really stick out the quitting process , can ever really experience.
If you have spent years smoking cannabis, and have decided to quit, then know that you have experienced life from a different angle, know that you have learned something during what you may see as your 'wasted years' and more importantly , know that the only way that this can be, and that your experiences can be converted into positive ones to guide you as you continue your life, is to quit this way of living, to quit this view of the world through a stoned Haze, and instead to move into the real world, the sober world, the world you belong in , using your experiences only as a crutch to guide you , and never as an excuse to return to a life that you no longer are part of .
Listed below are some of the side effects most commonly reported with cannabis detox .
Many quitters complained of serious insomnia over the first week of the quit , the worse being over the first 3 days . Some quitters found that a normal sleeping pattern wasn't restored until as long as 22 days post quit . Every quitter we questioned however, did report that sleeping patterns have since returned to normal , and they are all now sleeping better than they did in their stoned days .
Lack of appetite
Because cannabis is an appetite stimulant , many quitters complained Of a complete lack of appetite over the first 2 weeks of the detox . After this period of time, an increase in taste and smell senses were reported, thus a deeper enjoyment of food .
Indigestion was also reported from several quitters , and an inability to rest comfortably once food had been ingested , a feeling which was explained as feeling like it would be easy to remove by smoking some cannabis. This is short lived and directly related to the quit .
Low tolerance Levels .
The first few weeks of the cannabis quit has reported quitters experiencing extremely low tolerance levels, an absolute opposite to the laid back tolerance levels to those of a 'typical stoner . Quitters have reported that tolerance levels were the worse in the first 3-5 days , gradually getting better over the following few weeks, with random 'off ' days a couple of days each week .
Night Sweats and Increased Dream Activity
Because one of the effects of smoking cannabis is short term memory loss , many stoners lose the ability to dream , or at least forget how vivid a dream can seem when you remember it clearly . Quitters reported an increase in vivid dream activity during the first 3 weeks of the quit , some of the quitters even commented on an enjoyment in the newfound dream world .
Night sweats experienced on a cannabis detox can be as a direct result of the detox, and the chemical imbalance as the body adjusts back to normal , or as a result of the increased dream activity causing different unexpected emotions during the night increasing body temperature .
If you experience either of the above, remember this is a short phase of the quit, and your sleeping pattern will return eventually to the one you had before you started smoking weed, if you treat it with the attention it deserves instead of cannabis .
Head Fog and A lethargic feeling of Doom
Quitters reported often experiencing a 'head fog ' type feeling in the first few days of detox, which is said to lift between day 3-5 of the detox, and ease after the first few hours ! An anxious feeling , and lethargic unmotivated feelings were also reported as a result of the quit, which were also said to be short lived and more often that not replaced with a new found energy as the benefits of the cannabis quit properly take hold.
Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way;
in the present moment,
Mindfulness is not something that you have to "get" or acquire. It is already within you - a deep internal resource available and patiently waiting to be released.
Positive response to stressful situations
Everyone gets stressed out at sometime in our lives unfortunately many of the strategies we tend to use to manage stress are not helpful. When we get stressed some of us will try harder and harder to keep things under control. This may work for a while but this can mean that we begin to rush around trying desperately to juggle things in our lives and then as we do we begin to react and respond to things impulsively.
There may be other times we may try to avoid our stress by blocking it out in the hope it will go away. Unfortunately for many that using that strategy in the long term usually doesn’t work either. When we Try to hard to control or avoid stress it often results in us getting more stressed
All of us get stressed out at some point in our lives sometimes we can feel anxious and we don’t even know why. We can get stressed just by deciding on which brand of toothpaste or washing powder to use or which holiday to buy. This is before we even consider getting stressed over a relationship falling apart or moving house or a work crisis.
Another way of managing stress is mindfulness. Mindfulness means paying attention to thoughts; feelings body sensations and the external world.
In mindful meditation we gently bring awareness to our experience noticing it over and over and over again by being present in this way not forcing things or hiding from them but actually being with them we create a space for new ways to respond to stress.
We may now always have full control in our lives but we can work with our minds training it to cope better with the challenges in our life.
We don’t have to be stressed to us use mindfulness; it can help any of us to enjoy a more wakeful, healthier, happier life. Using it when you are not stressed helps to develop skills that we can use more easily when things get tough it may help with some of the following.
When people experience situations that are too difficult for them to manage they turn to their doctors to get support. The Doctor's support will often result in them prescribing mood suppressing drugs along with counselling. Doctors will initially prescribe a course of antidepressants with a view to helping the patient overcome the illness in the short term; the counselling
is the therapy that will aim to explore the patient's thinking and feelings. Often as a therapist I meet people who have been taking antidepressants for many years, sometimes after a traumatic event or a bereavement that was to hard to bear. Often people want to stop the drugs but are fearful that if they do they may sink into despair and lose control. These tablets then become their crutch for limping through life or their imaginary armour, thinking that nothing can hurt them while taking the drugs. Let’s explore some of the facts;
Antidepressants do not make you feel magically happy, actually you might not feel much at all because they numb the emotions to stop you feeling bad, but the other side to this is that you won’t feel that good either.
When people take mood changing drugs every day they are often saying to themselves "I am taking these pills because I am depressed and I am unable to cope" or " I need to take these pills so I don't have to deal with what’s making me sad" Some people will then go on to tell themselves that they will need to be taking these pills for the duration of their lives. Or that it’s hopeless because they can't manage to cope without them, often panic ensues if they are planning a holiday and the tablets are running low, how can I cope? Actually antidepressants are not addictive people feel dependency so it is a habit that has gotten out of control. Breaking the bad habit is about taking notice of your thoughts and beliefs.
People become practiced at being depressed, being depressed becomes a routine, it becomes a persons identity, no wonder they are miserable going to bed with the same negative thoughts and waking up to them everyday.
When the word depressed is handed out to people it becomes a label, once people are given that label it is worn like a badge. The thoughts and beliefs that contributed to the person feeling anxiety is not dealt with and the person continues to believe they are deeply depressed as their emotions and mood are suppressed they continue to walk around like zombies.
I have worked with some clients who following the death of a loved one have decided to visit the doctors because they have not understood the physical process that follows. Some clients were informed that they are depressed and then given mood altering drugs. The fact is that these people are not depressed they are grieving. There is a process that we move through following a bereavement and it is a natural part of grief that we work through our feelings naturally. Taking mood numbing tablets blocks this natural process.
Feeling down and anxious is a result of bad habits based on bad thinking, if you are willing to change your thinking you will change the way you feel. Think about your life before you became unhappy and felt upset and down. However you felt at that time you can and will feel again. Everything we do think and feel is a response to our thoughts. If our thoughts are toxic and negative then the rest our existance will seem bad.
“Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” – Albert Einstein
“Everything you see or hear or experience in any way at all is specific to you. You create a universe by perceiving it, so everything in the universe you perceive is specific to you.” – Douglas Adams
Take a minute to scan your surroundings. Are you in a familiar place or somewhere new? Stop reading this, and just look around you. Pick out an object, maybe something you hadn’t noticed before, and focus your attention on it. If you really focus, it’ll get brighter and more “real” than it was when it was just an unnoticed piece of the background noise of your life. Now, try to view your surroundings from the point of the object. Some people can do this with no effort, and for others, it takes some concentration. Depending on how adept you are at focusing your concentration, you may notice a slight shift in your perception – a weird jump in realty, where you are suddenly viewing the world from a different perspective.
Did it work? Whether you noticed anything or not, your perception did change, albeit for an instant. It’s important to be conscious of your perception, because if you’re not, someone else will create it for you.
Trick the Eye in French
Things aren’t always what they seem. Marketers and magicians rely on this fact to make you see things – the way they want you too see them. Artists do too.
You may have seen Julian Beever’s amazing pavement drawings. He utilizes the Trompe l’oeil technique, which means “trick the eye” in French. He uses his drawing stills to create a perception. Like an optical illusion, our mind attempts to fill in the details of something it either thinks it already knows, or doesn’t quite understand. This works out fine, when that’s the intention – momentarily letting our world be shaped for fun. But wandering through life, letting others create your perceptions, can make for a very unfulfilled life.
Change Your Story, Change Your Perception, Change Your Life
We all get caught up in our stories. Most of us think we are our stories. It’s when those stories take on a life of their own, and that life isn’t the one we want, that things start to suck.
Think about the story you’re living right now. Who wrote it? Did you consciously decide to create the reality you’re living now, or was it mainly shaped by your parents, friends, spouse, school, or the media? If you don’t like the story your living, then change the perception. Envision how you’d write the next chapter of your story. Better yet, actually sit down and write it. Focus your perception on creating a new reality, one where you are in charge of the story. Take back the job as screenwriter and director, and stop just being an actor (unless you’re Rachel McAdams – I rather enjoy her acting).
Everything begins with a decision – decide now to be in charge of your own perception of reality. Because if you don’t, there are plenty of folks whose sole purpose in life is to craft that perception for you. Do you trust them to have your best interest in mind…?
Q. Can anybody be hypnotised?
A. Almost anybody - the exceptions are those with severe learning difficulties or suffering from dementia, very young children (under about five), or anybody under the influence of large amounts of alcohol.
Q. How do you hypnotise somebody?
A. Usually by a voice induction and getting you to focus your attention on something. There is no special way of speaking, no 'incantations' or magical words, and the accent is quite often on producing a very relaxed state of mind. Mostly, the client will close their eyes fairly soon into the induction, but an individual can quite easily be hypnotised with their eyes open. After hypnosis is induced a deepener might be used to deepen the state. Getting wrapped up in how it works can detract from the usefulness of the experience itself. There are many ways of being hypnotised; we merely have to find out which one suits you.
Q. Is it good for performance enhancement?
A. Hypnosis, with the right sort of therapeutic work, is helpful for performance enhancement of all types! Here are just a few of the things with which it can make profound improvement:
• Sporting performance
• Career matters
• Memory and Concentration
• Stage performance
• Exams and tests
• Presentation/speaking skills
Q. Is there anybody who should not be hypnotised?
A. To a large extent, it depends on the sort of therapy being employed. Some say that anybody suffering from epilepsy should never be hypnotised, but I have never heard of an epileptic seizure being triggered by hypnosis. Where psychotic individuals are concerned, care needs to be exercised and regression/analytical therapy should most definitely not be employed.
Q. How does it work?
A. Although there has been much speculation and theory over the years, all that is truly known about the phenomenon of hypnosis is that it allows the conscious critical faculty to be bypassed, allowing a 'gateway' to the unconscious mind. The conscious mind can then be allowed to wander where it wishes whilst the skilled therapist talks to the unconscious mind.
Q. What does it feel like to be hypnotised?
A. For the vast majority of people there is actually no such thing as a 'hypnotised feeling' - the majority of people would insist afterwards that they had not 'gone under'. After a few sessions, though, most people start to become aware of how the state feels to them. It may be that they feel excessively heavy or light. Their arms and legs may feel rigid, as if they have been moved into a different position, or even absent. They can
Some times feel other strange phenomena too - sensations of floating, whirling and/or spinning are not unusual, or of some part of the body being distorted in some way or as if they have become very small/big. Most people suffer some form of time distortion so that after the session there is a feeling that it was much shorter than it actually was.
Q. Can you make anybody do things they don't want to?
A. It is often said that hypnosis cannot breach the moral code, but of course, we cannot truly know what another person's moral code really is. People will frequently do things they would not normally do, though this does not mean it is something they do not want to do. Hypnosis lowers inhibition, so it could be just something that the individual was too inhibited to do in the normal way, even though he/she was not averse to it.
Q. Can it be used to control people?
A. See above answer.
Q. Can you get 'stuck' in hypnosis?
A. No, If you were hypnotised and the hypnotist just walked away and left you, you would simply bring yourself out of the state whenever you wanted to.
Q. Is it dangerous in any way?
A. Not at all, in the hands of a properly trained and qualified hypnotherapist.
Q. How does hypnotherapy differ from stage hypnosis?
A. The hypnosis is similar, though many believe it is not. But it is the 'therapy' part that is different - the stage hypnotist’s mission is to entertain others. The hypnotherapist’s objective is to make life better for their patient. The stage hypnotist has an audience of willing participants, many of whom are probably very keen to go on stage and join in. The skilled stage hypnotist will quickly sort them out and choose the handful of highly hypnotisable subjects for the entertainment of an audience.
Q. What's the difference between hypnotherapy and psychotherapy?
A. Hypnotherapy is a ‘branch’ of psychotherapy, and all hypnotherapy is therefore a type of psychotherapy. Usually, psychotherapy makes changes to the unconscious by using the understanding and imagery of the conscious mind. Hypnotherapy attempts to bypass the conscious mind to a large extent, working directly with the unconscious. For this reason, hypnotherapy is often quicker. But it's 'horses for courses' - there are some clients who will respond better to psychotherapy alone, and, for them, this would probably be a better form of treatment. I do both, but hypnosis is a tool I often use within the psychotherapeutic process.
Q. How long does a ‘cure’ produced by hypnosis actually last?
A. It depends on how much unconscious change was brought about in the first place. If a change has been made to a flawed fundamental belief system, then the cure will be permanent and last for a life-time. If only superficial changes have been made, then it might be only a few days or weeks. This is why direct suggestion therapy sometimes fails miserably. The best therapy is where an underlying cause has been resolved before any suggestion work is carried out at all.
Q. Is it successful with real phobias?
A. Usually immensely so, if the right sort of therapy is employed. One method that is very effective known as the ‘rewind technique’ has helped people who have had extreme phobias and trauma for many years to quickly and easily overcome that phobia.
Q. Does it always work?
A. No, no more than any other form of medicine, complimentary OR orthodox. A responsible therapist will soon detect when it is not going to happen, and help the patient to find the help they need elsewhere. Another hypnotherapist might produce the desired result where the first one could not, because of the different rapport.
Q. How long does it take to produce a result?
A. It depends on far too many factors to make a ‘one size fits all’ statement. It can be as few as one session for a simple problem, to as many as... well, that depends on the ethics and skills of the therapist involved. A responsible, properly trained, therapist will not keep a client in therapy longer than necessary.
Q. Do you really go into a trance? If so, how deep? Are you in any way unconscious?
A. No, you’re not unconscious or asleep, and ‘yes, you do go into a trance, although everybody may have a different perception of exactly what a trance means to them. The depth of trance varies from one individual to another and it is often considered to be relatively unimportant from a therapy point of view.
Q. Can somebody's mind be too strong?
A. No. The stronger the mind the better the ability to focus and concentrate, which makes the hypnotised state easier to achieve. The statement 'My mind is too strong to be hypnotised' is usually based on fear, and the individuals who say this are often the best subjects of all. It is not difficult to resist being hypnotised and needs no specific strength of mind at all. It is getting into hypnosis that takes the mental work.
Q. Can you hypnotise someone without them knowing it?
A. You can, if you have the skills to do so. The use of 'hypnotic language patterns' and pacing and leading body language will do it. Hypnosis merely overcomes inhibition and the 'conscious critical faculty' - the part of our thought processes which tends to limit our behaviour or belief system.
Q. What ethical, legal and moral issues are involved in the use of hypnosis?
A. From a professional point of view, hypnosis should be used ONLY for the benefit of patients and clients - and not for any other reason at all. That pretty much sums up the basis of most codes of ethics.
Q. What exactly is 'Past Life Regression'?
A. Theoretically, a look back to a lifetime experienced earlier in history - this can be thousands of years earlier, or maybe only a short while back, just before the current life span
began. It is claimed that there is a therapeutic value in such experiences, in that they may account for certain psychological difficulties in current life. However there i the possibility of the experience being nothing more than the recall of a long-forgotten memory from childhood in this life. Many experimenters are at pains to point out that, they do not claim that a PLR is evidence of a previous existence for the individual concerned, only an awareness of a set of circumstances that occurred before that individual was born.
Q. Can hypnosis be used to create/trigger dreams?
A. Sometimes, though this tends to be somewhat unreliable. There has been much experimentation with the use of hypnosis to create 'lucid dream states' in which the dreamer knows s/he is dreaming and has control or influence over the direction of the dream, but there has been no conclusive evidence that it works. It can often be used to good effect in overcoming the ‘night terrors’.
Self-harm is a way of expressing very deep distress. Often, people don’t know why they self-harm. It’s a means of communicating what can’t be put into words or even into thoughts and has been described as an inner scream. Afterwards, people feel better able to cope with life again, for a while. Self-harm is a broad term. People may injure or poison themselves by scratching, cutting or burning their skin, by hitting themselves against objects, taking a drug overdose, or swallowing or putting other things inside themselves. It may also take less obvious forms, including unnecessary risks, staying in an abusive relationship, developing an eating problem (such as anorexia or bulimia), being addicted to alcohol or drugs, or someone simply not looking after their own emotional or physical needs. These responses may help someone to cope with feelings that threaten to overwhelm them; painful emotions, such as rage, sadness, emptiness, grief, self-hatred, fear, loneliness and guilt.
These can be released through the body, where they can be seen and dealt with. Self-harm may serve a number of purposes at the same time. It may be a way of getting the pain out, of being distracted from it, of communicating feelings to somebody else, and of finding comfort. It can also be a means of self-punishment or an attempt to gain some control over life. Because they may feel ashamed, afraid, or worried about other people’s reactions, people who self-harm often conceal what they are doing rather than draw attention to it.
Most people behave self-destructively at times, even if they don’t realise it. Perfectly ordinary behaviour, such as smoking, eating and drinking too much, or working long hours, day after day, can all be helping people to numb or distract themselves and avoid being alone with their thoughts and feelings. A person who self-harms is likely to have gone through very difficult, painful experiences as a child or young adult. At the time, they probably had no one they could confide in, so didn’t receive the support and the emotional outlet they needed to deal with it. The experience might have involved physical violence, emotional abuse, or sexual abuse. They might have been neglected, separated from someone they loved, been bullied, harassed, assaulted, isolated, put under intolerable pressure, made homeless, and sent into care, into hospital or to other institutions.
Experiences like these erode self-esteem. Emotions that have no outlet may be buried and blocked completely out of awareness. If a trusted adult betrays or abuses them, children will often blame themselves. They turn their anger inwards. By the time they become adults, self-injury can be a way of expressing their pain, punishing themselves, and keeping memories at bay. There is often an absence of pain during the act of self-injury, rather like the absence of sensation that often occurs during abuse or trauma. The body produces natural opiates, which numb it and mask the emotions, so that little is felt or realised consciously.
A badly traumatised person may end up feeling quite detached from their feelings and their body. Some may injure themselves to maintain that sense of being separate, and to convince themselves that they aren’t vulnerable. Others may injure themselves in order to feel something and know that they are real and alive. There can often be myths and negative attitudes surrounding self-harming and they exist even in the healthcare industry. Professionals can often make assumptions as to why someone is self-harming and therefore how to treat them. There can be instances of healthcare professionals with an unsympathetic attitude to someone who comes to them with injuries; for example, believing that a person who is cutting themself is causing their own injuries and therefore wasting the time of the nurse who has to stitch their wounds. NICE (the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence) produces guidelines on the treatment of self-harm, explaining the need for exploring the underlying reasons someone may be self-harming, rather than just the self-harming behaviour itself.
Q37: Who is likely to self harm?
According to research, the majority are young women, although the percentage of young men seems to be on the increase. Self-harming behaviour is also significant among minority groups discriminated against by society. Someone who has mental health problems is more likely to self-harm. So are those who are dependent on drugs or alcohol, or who are faced with a number of major life problems, such as being homeless, a single parent, in financial difficulty or otherwise living in stressful circumstances. A common factor is often a feeling of helplessness or powerlessness with regard to their emotions. Young people Research focusing on young people suggests that about 10 per cent of 15 to 16 year olds have self-harmed, usually by cutting themselves, and that girls are far more likely to self-harm than boys. The most common reason is ‘to find relief from a terrible situation’. Young people are often under great pressure within their families, from school and among their peers. Many young people report having friends who also self-harm. The research suggests that young people who self-harm are much more likely to have low self-esteem, to be depressed and anxious. They seem to be facing more problems in life, but may be less good at coping with them. They may retreat into themselves, feeling angry, blaming themselves, tending to drink and smoke too much and to use more recreational drugs. They confide in fewer friends, and tend not to talk to their parents or other adults, or to ask for the help they need.
Q38: Is self-harm a suicide attempt?
Self-harm can be about trying to stay alive – a coping mechanism for survival and to escape from emotional pain. The majority of people who self-harm are not suicidal, but a small minority will intentionally attempt suicide. Some suicides resulting from self-harming behaviour may be accidental, occurring when someone has hurt themselves more than they intended to.
Q39: Is self-harming behaviour attention-seeking?
Because it can be hard to understand, healthcare professionals, friends and relatives sometimes mistakenly regard people who self-harm with mistrust or fear and see their behaviour as attention seeking and manipulative. If someone you know self-harms, you may feel helpless when faced with their wounds, and your own feelings and fears about the situation may cause you to blame them instead of supporting them. Bear in mind they may be using the only way they can to communicate their pain and to get the attention, care and comfort they need. However upsetting it may be for you, it doesn’t necessarily mean this is their intention. Whether people have deep wounds or slight injuries, the problem they represent should always be taken very seriously. The size of the wound isn’t a measure of the size of the conflict inside.
Q40: What triggers self harm ?
You may harm yourself once or twice at a particularly difficult time in your life, and never do so again. But self-harming can become an ongoing way of coping with current problems and may occur regularly, on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis, depending on circumstances. The trigger could be a reminder of the past, such as an anniversary, which sets off a hidden memory, or something unexpected could happen to cause a shake-up. But sometimes, ordinary life is just so difficult that, for some, self-harm is the only way to cope with it.
Q41:What can I do to stop self-harming?
The single most important thing to remember is that you have choices: stopping self-injury can begin now.
• Knowledge is power. Gather as much information as possible about your own behaviour. Keep notes of what is going on when you feel the need to harm yourself, so that you can identify, over a period of time, specific thoughts which come up. . It’s also useful to keep a daily diary of events and feelings, and to record how you cope with or channel powerful emotions of anger, pain or happiness.
• Try to talk about your feelings with someone supportive. Even though you may feel you are alone, there are others who can understand your pain and help to boost your strength and courage. Many people find that joining a support group of people with similar problems is an important step towards making themselves feel better, and changing their lives. If there are no appropriate support groups in your area, your local Mind association may be able to help start one
• Work on building up your self-esteem. Remember you are not to blame for how you feel; your self-injury is an expression of powerful negative feelings. It’s not your fault. Make lists of your feelings, and then write positive statements about yourself, or the world around you. If you can’t think of any, ask friends to write things they like about you. Keep these in a place so that they are visible. Make a tape of your own voice saying something affirming or reading your favourite stories or poems. Hearing your own voice can be soothing, or you can ask someone you trust to record their voice reading to you.
• Try to find ways to make your life less stressful, give yourself occasional treats, eat healthily, get plenty of sleep and build physical activity into your life, because this is known to boost self-esteem and lift low moods.
• Have the telephone numbers of friends, local and national helplines where you can find them easily, if you need to talk to somebody in a crisis.
• Think about your anger and what you do with it. If you weren’t angry with? Write a list of people who you feel trigger these feelings in you. Remind yourself you deserve good things in life, not punishment for what others have done to you
• Line up a set of cushions to represent people who caused you pain. Tell them how they hurt you and that you don’t deserve punishment. Kicking or hitting cushions is good. Try to do this with someone else, if possible, so that the experience is shared and you do not hurt yourself.
• Creativity is a powerful tool against despair. This doesn’t have to be about making something. Whatever lifts you out of your pain and makes you feel good is creative. If you feel like it, try drawing or painting how you feel. Some people draw on themselves, using bright body colours
• If you feel the need to self-harm, focus on staying within safe limits. A supportive GP will give you good advice on minimising and caring for your injuries and help you to find further help.
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