Category Archives: Mind Management

Drop your Chores!

I may be lucky enough to live by the sea but that means nothing unless I make the time to go and experience the beach and seafront.  The same goes for the countryside, parks, rivers, lakes and areas of beauty which can be very easily taken for granted.

The effect on the mind being in areas of beauty is a powerful one and even taking a 10 minute break to get some air can make a huge difference to your mental health.

As you can see from the picture, it’s a gorgeous sunny day and there’s not an actual lot to focus on when sat looking out to sea. The same goes for the countryside too, whilst it’s beautiful there’s very little information compared to a city to stimulate the mind so it can take a bit of a break from being overstimulated by our busy lifestyles.

Panic!

I can see some clients begin to panic when asked about making time to be outside as their productivity levels will drop by taking some time out.  Yet their brains and yours benefit so much from investing in mental health, the results tend to be more clarity, focus and much better productivity in the areas that matter.

Procrastination tends to happen when the mind is tired and tries to conserve energy for “real” emergencies like life or death situations.  Luckily most of us won’t face a life threatening moment today so we can put that energy into investing in quality of life.

Bank

You need to bank energy to spend it and popping out for a walk, eating healthy, exercising, relaxing and having fun are just a few ways to gain energy for those tasks which can feel like hard work.

So drop your chores, get outside for a bit and bank some energy, life’s simply too short not too.

#BUSY!

#BUSY

Tempting isn’t it? When you are watching the television you could just check your social media, emails, pop onto Amazon or surf the web and flick your attention back and forth from screen to screen.  Some clients admit they have a few screens on at the same time whilst they catch up on various tv shows, they also admit they miss half the program due to their attention being spread thinly and eventually give on on the latest box set as it’s gone from exciting to “something that’s on in the background.” 

We demand way too much from it and then insist it shuts off immediately when we go to bed, for a lot of people that simply isn’t going to happen and sleep disorders are also now on the increase.  Your nervous system if it’s under too much strain repeatedly will tell you there’s a problem and that’s where anxiety, stress and depression can kick in.

Signs of trouble

These can include, worrying, overanalysing, trouble with decision making, memory issues, feeling anxious, sleep issues, low and over reacting.  If these sound familiar then it’s time to take your brain health seriously.

Bombarded

During the day our minds are bombarded with an incredible amount of information, sights, sounds, smells and what we have touched and tasted. It’s amazing that when you add to that our emotional states, thought processes about the past and future and our normal day to day activities on top, it’s a wonder our brains are still able to function with so much going on. It’s a brilliant super computer but it does need your help.

It does function better when we rest it and get a good nights sleep, but with our determination culturally to wear an “i’m super busy” badge of honour, brains are becoming strained and the effects can be devastating

Relax

One thing you can begin to do is to relax in the evening, amazingly even when I mention that to some clients they literally shudder at the thought of not doing something productive.  The value of being busy has somehow become more valuable than a life of quality. When anxiety and stress begin to show it’s often a sign that you need to reassess what you are rushing around and multi tasking for and what else is actually more important?

Give your brain a break

Reduce screen time and multiple screen time as it’s too stimulating and reduces the quality of what your attention could fully be on in that moment.

Alcohol to chill out actually stress’s your body out and reduces sleep quality.

Alcohol also plays havoc with your blood sugar levels which tends to lead to carb overloading and more stress on the body.  Reassess your drinking habits and what it’s really doing to your quality of life.

Get outside, an evening, daytime walk in areas where the scenery doesn’t change much like the countryside or seaside can help reduce pressure on an overstimulated mind.

Caffeine in the late afternoon and evenings overstimulate your nervous system and reduces sleep quality.

Bedrooms are for sex and sleep only, if your bedroom resembles an entertainment centre then how can your mind not associate being stimulated in this place?

Noise pollution is becoming more of a problem, do what you can to minimise sounds around you like turning off the background tv and radio.

Use an app like Headspace which is available for most platforms. It’s a simple and effective way to teach your brain to slow down and take the strain off it.

Focus on one task at a time using strategies like the Pomodoro Technique which is fantastic in helping you develop your concentration skills.

Lastly I would really recommend giving yourself some time to think through your day, worries, achievements and so on.  If you remain busy and distracted all day right up until bedtime then it won’t be a surprise when the thoughts you have not given time for will suddenly pop up and demand your attention.  Even if it’s 15 minutes sat in a room, bath, garden or on the loo, it can be a wonderful tonic for the mind.

Finally

The tips above can really help your brain calm down and strengthen for the really important parts of life you need physical and mental energy for.  If you don’t give yourself time then the price to pay can be huge and what you are doing all for this will be at risk.  Just some simple maintenance and change go bad habits can go a long way but if you do struggle then contact me and we can go from there.

Brain Physio

Brain Physio

One huge misconception about anxiety and depression is that they are states of mind you can simply snap out of by thinking and acting a bit more positively. Intrusive and worrying thoughts can terrorise some with racing hearts and gut wrenching tension which can even lead to panic attacks.

Trying to look at the brighter side of life on it’s own won’t solve these issues as won’t “manning up,” (Cheers Piers Morgan)  Even clients who have gone through years of counselling are mystified at why their anxiety still persists and throwing more counselling therapy work isn’t going to be the answer either. 

And why? 

The reality for many is quite simple, their anxiety and depression is an injury which needs treating as an actual injury which is where they can begin to get their power back and turn things around.

Anxiety Coaching

If you are experiencing anxiety or depression then in short, the Limbic System which is made up of various parts of the brain which include dealing with your emotions and survival is struggling. The chemistry which helps you feel well, motivated, confident and calm isn’t flowing and needs some help and can get worse as time goes on.

Just like having a strained muscle.  Anxiety coaching with myself is like having physio in the brain, we work out whats causing that injury, adding pressure to your brain and unbalancing your chemistry.  We begin with a very simply program you can follow to help “heal” the biological side of things and then work on the psychological stuff to ensure that your progress continues.

Shame

As I enjoy regularly exercising, I know the importance of having physio when I have an injury so I can get back to it as soon as possible.  There’s not much shame when it comes to getting help for physical injuries and I wish our society saw mental health problems that way. 

You are certainly not weak if you seek help, it takes a lot of courage to take those first steps and no matter where you are with anxiety or depression, it’s never too late to take those steps. I work with teenagers to people who have retired, an injury doesn’t discriminate with age.

Media trolls like Piers Morgan using click bait articles to shame people into thinking mental health issues are a badge of honour for attention seekers and they should just “man up.”  Whilst I’m happy to see his arguments debated and shot down, it’s sad to see how many people ignorantly agree.

Get Help

If you have an injury, seek help and work on getting it healed. Anxiety and depression can even in mild forms make life feel so much harder than it needs to and in the long run can ruin the quality of your life. 

Life’s too precious and short for that.

Power Start your Day

Phone Down

I have to admit it’s very tempting to grab my phone upon waking and not only shut the alarm up but then skip onto the news sites and social media to see what’s what. It’s not the best start for my brain though hence why I do the little exercise below first to kickstart my day.

Part One

Whilst lying there with eyes open or closed, start breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth. I suggest keeping them open if you think you might nod back off as a power start to the day shouldn’t really consist of you jolting away and panicking you are now going to be late.

Place one hand on your stomach and direct your attention to feeling your breath move down your body until your stomach rises as you inhale and falls as you breathe out. Do this for just a couple of minutes. If your attention naturally wanders, just choose to bring it back to your stomach which is also known as centring yourself. Take some deep breaths down to the diaphragm

This is diaphragmatic breathing and comes with a ton of benefits such as:

Improved memory and cognitive functions

Reversing and helping to manage the chemistry of anxiety and stress, handy if you were jolted out of your sleep by your alarm or a pet cat sitting on your face.

Lowering blood pressure

Increases oxygen flow which is great for mental and physical health

Something I remind myself of most days is that I cannot control or predict how the day ahead will go or how people I come into contact will behave.

Part Two

Welcome all your thoughts and expectations for the day ahead.

Breathe into them and allow them to be there in your mind.

Watch your thoughts as an observer just as if you were just watching them on a television screen and continue to breathe into any tension you may feel from certain thoughts. With each out breath see if you can let some of that tension go.

Part Three

Tap your bed in a growing faster rhythm from left to right to engage both hemispheres of the brain.  You slow it down to help the brain relax and speed it up to feel more energised.

That’s it.  It’s a powerful way to get your mind and body ready for day and only takes a couple of minutes.  (You can also do this during your breaks sat in a chair, commuting, toilet break)

Something I remind myself of most days is that I cannot control or predict how the day ahead will go or how people I come into contact will behave.

My mind’s job is to try and predict what could go wrong today and guide me away from that. These are predictions only and not something that I should on face value just accept.

If I expect the day to go easy and for people to be almost perfect then my anger levels may just rise a little or a lot when something else happens.  Letting go of my expectations and trusting that I will adapt to whatever changes come my way helps the day flow more easily. I can also more often take advantage of those changes which can bring around some unexpected benefits.

What can you remind yourself of about today to help make it easier to go with the flow?