Category Archives: Anxiety

Friday Takeaway!

Whoo hooo! It’s nearly the weekend and that for most of us is the time we look for treats, chill out, let our hair down (that one’s a bit difficult for me 🙂 and spend time with the people we love.

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The danger though is the hard work we may have put into our diets and exercise is at risk from being undone because we have weirdly been conditioned to see treating ourselves a certain way.

The picture of the pie and chips is a prime example of a treat a lot of people will go for tonight. We have been conditioned to believe this is much more attractive than boring old “healthy” food which you may have begrudgingly dipped into throughout the week.

Life changing chocolate bars?

I was watching some adverts this week where they are trying to convince me my life will be more than fulfilled and more exciting by drinking a popular soft drink. My mid week will be sensational by eating battered chicken and I can be even more quirkier and funnier by buying low quality chocolate filled with even lower quality sugared fillers.  I don’t even need to have a hearty breakfast according to one young guy, I can get that in a bottle…*retch

What have we become 😦

Obey, conform, don’t question.

WTF is going on? Seriously?  I’m not denying that carbs filled with sugar and salt can initially taste great but that’s going to be about it. A few mouthfuls later and I’m bored and wondering “why am I doing this to myself?” There’s pretty much no nutrition in this sh*t food and the damage it does with your body is shocking but yet we like to conform to what the junk food companies say we should be eating.  Obey the adverts people and just eat…

Sexy Salad?

When was the last time you saw salad being sexed up to entice you to think of it differently?  (the aubergine emoji doesn’t count btw).  Healthy food has a serious PR problem and junk food is winning the war in that respects as it’s brainwashed the masses to believe their cr*p is the exciting, life enhancing and tastier product.  Add a few sexy people chowing down on it and we want what they have as the PR machine of life says “these are the hot, sexy people you should all be emulating. If you don’t, you are a failure.”

This is also feeding the obesity problem massively as a plate of pie and chips won’t actually feed your body, it just blocks up your gut.  Malnutrition is becoming too common as people caught up in a cycle of over feeding to try and get nutrition into the body but their cravings for salt and sugar lead to choices which simply won’t do that.  I don’t even need to tell them what to eat instead to get their health back, these are intelligent people but sadly their conditioning means that eating healthy food is boring and hard work whilst junk is so much more fun and easier and after a hard week…it’s their treat.

Itsu lovely

I went to Itsu today, that for me is my Friday ritual and you get some great tasty food which actually does “feed you.”  That for  me is a real treat, there are so many flavours to dip into and it costs around the same as the pie and chips.  I felt full and satisfied and I won’t have to battle any guilt for ruining the hard work I am putting into my health and fitness program. There’s a Leon a few steps away too which is much better than junk or a bland beige sandwich.  What are you worth and does your food represent that?

Monday Diet Day?

Eating well over the weekend makes a huge difference to your mental and physical health.  You can’t put a price on what it’s like to start Monday feeling refreshed from your weekend.  Feeling fat, bloated and hungover makes your week much harder than it need be. In all honesty, life’s hard enough as it is without being tricked into believing cr*p food will make your life more exciting and amazing.

What is funny is how many people start diets on Mondays after binging all weekend which dooms it to failure as they feel so low in energy it doesn’t take long to reach for the treats causing the problem in the first place.

Don’t question me!

The food industry actually lobbies government to make sure no laws come into play which impact too much on their brainwashing. The sugar lobby is very powerful in making sure you get your fix and won’t tolerate any moves to hold it back.

Your choice is whether you continuing to conform or not or break out and devalue this sh*t food for something that is worth your time and hard earned money.

End the battle

Therapists like myself can help explore your conditioning and help decrease the value of the food which doesn’t feed you and increase the value of food which will.  What’s great about that is that I eat what I want and what I tend to want more often is great, tasty and healthy food. There’s no diet to battle and I don’t feel like I am missing out on anything at all.  My advice is to stop dieting as that is just doomed to fail and feels miserable. Learn to change your food habits so there is no battle, nothing to fail and will make you more aware of your conditioning so you choose your food instead of wandering like the Walking Dead to the beige boring old takeaway.

 

 

Overload!

I have seen a huge increase lately in clients who are caught in a caffeine trap where they drink it throughout the day to keep alert and “function.” The problem is that they feel they need it as their minds are dulled and foggy from the bad nights sleep and sleeping medication they  try to knock themselves out with.  Yet one part of what’s causing their anxiety and stress is their caffeine habit and so the cycle continues.

You may want to rethink your “afternoon pick me up.”

What’s quite clear is that a lot of people really don’t know how powerful caffeine really is and that it can stop you sleeping and feeling more relaxed. Whilst some of you reading this may raise an eyebrow at what seems like common knowledge, there does need to be better information out there on what this powerful drug can do to your mind and body.

Redbull with your session?

Some clients suffering with anxiety will arrive for sessions clutching coffee and even energy drinks to sip during the session.  At least when I see this we can approach this lifestyle habit which can be changed easily. Just this little change can help someone feel so much better in themselves very quickly.

Did you know?

400 milligrams (mg) of coffee is apparently the limit of a safe amount we can have each day with around 250mg classed as a normal amount.

Some high street double Espresso shots can contain over 220mg.

A high street americano or flat white can contain over 270mg depending where you shop.

A green tea surprisingly can contain around 70mg which is not far from some single shot Espresso’s.

The effects of caffeine can be felt up to 6 hours after drinking it. If you drink a cup 6 hours before bed your sleep time can be reduced by an hour.  It also reduces the amount of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep which is the deep sleep you need for recuperation.

Caffeine triggers the flight or fight response which during the hyper aroused state can make you more over reactive and stressed. If you are an anxiety sufferer then you have this happening too much already, adding more strain to your brain will cause more problems.

Healthy?

It’s not all bad as there are some health benefits to drinking caffeine such at reduced risk of strokes and oral, throat cancers.  But if you are having mental health issues then assessing and reducing your caffeine intake can help you speed up your recovery.  For some it’s worth reducing and stopping altogether and funnily enough those that have stopped find themselves not lacking in energy at all.

If you feel you are reducing or giving up something wonderful with coffee then yes it will be a bit of a battle. By increasing the value of what you will get from changing this habit can make it so much easier to let go of or alter to suit your circumstances.

Free!

As one client told me that by reassessing their caffeine intake combined with the anxiety management strategies I teach they felt so free. They had much more energy, mental clarity, better sleep and healthier relationships with the people around them as they were much less reactive.

Something which you simply cannot put a price on.

 

 

 

 

 

Snap out of it!

Younger me

Despite the smile, I was terrified inside.

When I was younger I avoided any type of therapy and help which would have hopefully tackled my anxiety head on. It wasn’t that I wanted to keep the anxiety, I would have done anything to turn it off but I just felt stupid and weak for not being able to sort it out myself.

Surely I could snap myself out of this couldn’t I?  Just be more positive, man up and just get on with it, what was all this worry nonsense?  In the cold light of day I just felt so powerless and pathetic!

So the battle with negativity continued as I tried my best to control my thoughts and make them more “half glass full instead of empty.”  I shudder now at such an ignorant attitude but it was understandable especially in a society that in general doesn’t understand mental health issues.

In honesty I wasted years naively thinking that seeking help was for the weak and stupid as my anxiety was my own fault and a state of mind I should just snap out of.  

I didn’t know that anxiety was an injury from my past and that seeking help was an act of strength not weakness.  It takes a lot of guts to go and open up to someone about your state of mind and explore healing your anxiety injury which is why you may be fooled into staying in your comfort zone of misery.

Life really is too short not to seek help and explore the options available in improving your quality of life.

Not the f*cking Important

When I had my travel phobia, one of my biggest fears was that people around me would be judging how anxious I looked and wondering “what on earth was wrong with him?”  I would sit there being terrorised by various thoughts and feelings and wondering why I had bothered to even try travelling again.

“What if I was sick in front of them?”  This was accompanied by a wonderful interactive movie involving losing control and vomiting everywhere with faces of disgust and horror.

The end result, only really travelling if necessary and having some very uptight rules to use as a crutch when I had to.

This is known as the “spotlight effect” where my brain tricks me into believing that I am being noticed much more than I am.  It’s a brilliant trick using the freeze, fight or flight response which kept me in a comfort zone. Travel after all is a luxury and and not really needed for my survival and the more I avoided travel the more I reduced my quality of life.

One of the best ways I snapped out of this hypnotic trance was to remind myself of this;

I am not that f*cking important!”

The reality is quite simple, no matter what I want to believe the people around me no matter where I am are simply not interested in judging, criticising or focusing or me. Even if someone did for a brief moment, I am going to be forgotten soon enough as most people are entertaining their own stories for their own lives. 

By uttering that strong and colourful phrase, I start to laugh at my self importance and  work on reversing my anxiety so I can feel calm, relaxed and not the centre of attention.

Here are some common ways our minds use the “too important,” trick by singling you out:

It can increase the chances that out of millions of aeroplane flights today, yours is the special one going to crash. 

When going to a show, you are going to be the poor soul out of hundreds of people pulled up on stage and made a fool of.

Everyone else can mistakes, but you cannot.

Why is everyone else so confident and relaxed? Why are you the paranoid one?

Everyone else is ok, living a good life, you are the unlucky one.

Every cough or ache is cancer of course.

If a door, gas or electric switch isn’t checked in some form of ritual then doom is certain

Clients often put in their feedback emails that this phrase makes them not only laugh but works perfectly in changing their state of minds and then their behaviour.  That might also have something to do with the glittery crown I often produce to emphasise the being overly “important” role trying to take over as it gets a few eyebrows raised and giggles!

Why be held back by a trick of the mind?  Life can be tough enough as it is without quality of life being reduced to the whim of an anxiety injury.

As for my travel phobia, it’s gone, mostly reduced by not caring what people around me are thinking as they never that interested in the first place.

Boring Beige Junk Food

Beige has to be one of the dullest and laziest colours on earth, it’s not white and it’s not even brown.  It’s a colour which appeals to people who want to blend in and not be noticed and as we get older it seems to be something “comfortable clothing” comes in various shades of.

It’s also the main colour of some peoples junk food diets.  Crisps, bread, cereal, biscuits, chips, pies, pasta, noodles, burgers, fried chicken and so on come in various shades of beige. If there’s a colour variation it might be brown or red, mostly from chocolate, meat or a condiment. Colour is often omitted in favour of salty and sugary foods which when all put together looks like crap…literally.

A theory I once heard which kind of makes sense is that the baby food which had as children which was mostly beige can create an association for food that colour.  Hence why I often hear “I love food,” and yet it’s a love for quite a childish bland, boring diet which is ruining their health and looks.

That’s not love for food that’s love for salt and sugar which often leaves out food of variety and colour.  Interestingly enough if they go out to dinner in a restaurant, their tastes seem to change a bit for more variance and colour.  Suddenly their sense of self worth and being an adult in a different environment can increase and they want something of quality and not just dull, lifeless junk filled rubbish.

It’s really worth keeping a diary of your food or just taking some pics of it throughout the week and place those pics together in a folder. How do they look altogether?

If it all looks a bit beige then it might be time to add some colour and variety to your diet.

Arn’t you worth it?

 

 

 

 

Reduce Anxiety Now

Anxiety can feel like it’s ruining your life but there’s some simple steps you can take right now to bring those anxiety levels right down.

A Deep Breath

Place one hand on your chest and one hand on your stomach. Take a nice big deep breath right now.  If your hand moves more on your chest than your stomach then you are shallow breathing which only puts more pressure on an already stressed nervous system. 

Learn to diaphragmatic breath as this reverses the chemical response from flight or flight responses. Check out this video for more info.

Cut down the Caffeine

Seems obvious but plenty of people don’t really understand that caffeine adds a lot of pressure to a stressed out nervous system. I even get clients turn up to sessions sipping energy drinks like Red Bull not linking their anxiety with their caffeine fixes. 

Get Outside

Your brain can feel over stimulated from 21st century pressures of work, screen time, the people around you and your environment.  It does need a break and some space to just relax even if it’s for a few minutes, the longer the better.  If you are lucky to live near the countryside or sea then that’s even better as those environments stimulate the mind less giving it a break.  Learning to manage the guilt of taking breaks is also vital for this to work.

Exercise

The power of this cannot be underestimated. The tricky part is not letting tiredness and feeling demotivated to trick you into just laying on the couch reaching for the remote.  The chemical changes in the brain from exercising alone make this worth while with some studies pointing out it can be better than medication. It also helps the brain become more adaptable to stress and burns off the adrenaline that can come from 21st century pressures.

Mind Management

It’s the thought process which can drive people to feel like they are going mad. Thoughts can be intrusive, repetitive and be the catalyst for out of context flight or fight responses which feel out of control. Getting a hold on this is vital for reducing and being in control anxiety. You can learn some of these from an app like Headspace, mindfulness or meditation courses and I teach a more streamlined version for clients as to be honest some courses add so much filler that it’s easy to lose interest and get bored.