I was inspired to write this blog because of a really interesting conversation I had with another healthcare professional in relation to my marathon training at the moment.
During the conversation I said quite flippantly that the training was just mind over matter and as I have learnt many ways of controlling my mind over the years, I’m pretty sure I would be fine.
Later during a half marathon, I had quite a lot of time (I’m not a very fast runner) to think about this statement and consider what does it really mean and Is it in fact a good idea?
Whenever I have heard this phrase used, it seems to mean using mental fortitude to overcome some physical pain or barrier and therefore succeed at something that maybe seemed impossible or unlikely to achieve.
I figured I would check online and see if this was correct, this was the Oxford dictionary definition:
“The use of willpower to overcome physical...
This blog is based on examples that I have come across both in the therapy room and generally in conversation.
These things are incredibly common in people who have low self-confidence and I always find it such a shame.
With a little work, even the people who do the following can learn to be confident.
Overly critical of themselves...
We all know these people, even if you think something they have done is great, they will find negatives or criticisms of their performance.
This can often be accompanied by what we call maximising and minimising where a person will minimise their own positives or skills and maximise others. This gives them a very skewed view of the world where everyone around them becomes much better by comparison.
There are a number of reasons why someone with low confidence will engage in behaviours such as excessive eating or drinking, drug taking or excessive risk taking. Lacking in self-confidence is a big reason why people do this.
I have had a lot of clients and friends talk to me recently about feeling even more anxious as we go back to normal than they did at the start of lockdown.
As I write this in the UK, we are coming out of a nationwide lockdown in a series of steps. This means that the government rules and guidelines are changing regularly and as science is reviewed and tested, scientific recommendations are changing also.
It seems to me that in the run up to lockdown there was anxiety around jobs, paying the bills and the changes that we all had to make. At the time however the rules were simple, don’t go out unless you really have to.
What we are seeing now is that the rules are much more complex and nuanced and, in some cases, they depend upon where you live and what the case numbers are like in that area.
So, I have some tips to help you navigate this new and complicated return to normal:
The world is going through a pretty...
When we experience the symptoms of anxiety such as the heart racing or feeling sweaty and shaky we are actually experiencing our bodily response to fear.
Our fear response comes about because our brains have evolved to keep us alive for as long as possible, his means that it is hard wired to fear things that threaten our lives.
What can happen in people with anxiety is that the fear response doesn’t only react to life threatening situations, it starts to respond to situations where death is very unlikely.
An example of this is fear of flying, statistically the risk of death is low but people with a fear of flying experience sometimes very extreme symptoms when faced with even the thought of flying.
Anxiety can also come about because of a fear of looking stupid, this might seem less important than life threatening situations but actually we evolved to be social creatures and our survival depends on that. Being laughed at, pushed away or ignored could have had a very dangerous...
I have decided to lump procrastination and motivation together in this blog as I find that they often work in tandem with each other.
Often when we procrastinate we lack in motivation and I wanted to write a blog that would cover both aspects and give a good idea of how you can start to notice that your anxiety is playing a part and then do something about it.
For my full blog on this head here, but the short form is that anxiety is a fear of the future. This can be a specific event or just a general unsettling fear of something going wrong.
Anxiety is a very normal process of protecting you from harm but when we talk about people who struggle with anxiety as a mental health issue, this natural process has gone a bit wrong and is becoming overprotective to the point that it negatively affects your life.
Anxiety is linked to the fight or flight response in our bodies that help us prepare for life threatening situations and so comes with a range of physical...
Visualisation is a well documented and utilised technique. It is often used by sports people to improve performance and mindset.
How do you do it?
Put simply, you imagine what you want to visualise! Build a picture of the situation in your mind making sure that the details are clear in your mind.
Imagine a lemon in your mind.
Imagine what it looks like, what you can see and how detailed you can make it. You might be able to imagine the small pits in the skin and the dried stalk remnant at the end.
Then go further, can you imagine how it would smell? How would it feel in your hand?
Imagine cutting it and smelling the juice even more strongly. Imagine even, what it might taste like!
Is your mouth watering yet????
That's how strong it can be.
Find out how you can learn self-hypnosis and visualisation from the comfort of your own home HERE.
Make it bigger
Take that same process and apply it to the thing you want to improve. Build it up in the same way, what you can see and...
I have been inspired to write this blog for two reasons, firstly because many of my clients who have anxiety, with or without depression, tell me that they struggle to remember things. Secondly because as part of my psychology MSc we have been studying the effects of anxiety in exam performance.
If you have read any of my previous blogs, then you may know that my experience of anxiety and depression lead to me failing my first degree. I always knew deep down that my mental health was a huge factor in my abilities to study and pass exams so studying this from an academic viewpoint is really reassuring!
When researchers look at memory, there are lots of different aspects of memory that can be measured. Most people have heard of long and short term memory and are familiar with the differences, especially If you have ever been around a person with degenerative issues such as Alzheimer’s or Dementia.
What many of my clients report having...
This is the important question right!! You have probably heard of the saying “fake it until you make it”. Well, there is an element of truth to that in that you have to practice being more assertive until it becomes a habit.
As I discussed in my blog about anxiety and communication styles, it is our self-beliefs that dictate how we act in certain situations.
Someone who defaults to an assertive style has the belief: I’m OK, you’re OK
They believe or act as if all the individuals involved are equal, each deserving of respect, and no more entitled than the other to have things done their way.
For someone with anxiety this means you!
You are equally deserving of respect, you are equally entitled to have things done your way and your self-belief has to reflect this.
This can be a challenge in some situations such as when you are new at work, however you can still turn this around in your head and believe...
I have talked before about the link between thoughts, feelings and actions with anxiety and the way we think can have huge consequences for how we feel and what actions we take.
Anxiety can lead to a huge range of actions from avoidance (which is the most common) to more self-destructive behaviours like substance abuse.
In this blog I am going to focus on how anxiety affects the way that we communicate with and treat other people.
There are two main aims of this blog, one that you understand other people a little bit more and hopefully show some compassion for their behaviours that affect you and secondly so that if you are someone who does many of the things I am going to be discussing, you can understand why you do them and hopefully see how you could change them.
It is important that a person with anxiety does take steps to change these behaviours as it will drastically improve the way people perceive you and respond to you.
The way we communicate with...
Many people have seen hypnosis on the TV and associate it with people doing things beyond their control. This type of hypnosis uses a lot of suggestion and a certain amount of trickery to work and, only works on a small proportion of the population.
When we use hypnosis as a therapeutic tool, we are talking really about hypnosis that is similar to being absorbed in a really good book. It is a calm and relaxed focus that allows us to calm the mind and the body so that we can start to train the mind to think differently.
This is particularly useful with issues such as anxiety because it can help combat the overactive mind and physical issues that come with anxiety.
Self-hypnosis is hypnosis that you can do on your own, you don’t need a therapist or an mp3 to talk you through it. There are loads of benefits to this approach but the main one is that you can take control over how you think and feel without the need for loads of therapy sessions....
The way we think has a huge impact on our mental health. If you are looking to overcome your anxiety or just improve your mental health then first you need to know what thoughts are making things worse.
This download gives you a list of the most common ways we think negatively. All you need to do is see which ones you do most.
Also, keep an eye on your emails! I will be sending you a really useful video that goes with this exercise.