Do you feel stuck? Are you doubting yourself? Why this is happening? The answer could be really simple: you might be stuck in certain, limiting ways of perceiving yourself and the world around you. Inflexible thinking is exhausting. It causes stress and anxiety. It results in black and white thinking where options are either very limited or simply not available. When we are stuck in in this mode of thinking, we are blocking ourselves from our real potential. Inflexible thinking can lead to anxiety, stress and depression.
A healthy mind goes alongside a healthy body. It may be an age old little saying, but the evidence that exercise can boost our mental health is growing all the time.
There is a brilliant article in The Guardian that explores the link between exercise and mental health problems like anxiety and depression. One of the first questions I ask a client (along with “how is your sleep?) is: “Do you exercise?”
I was recently asked by Brighter Spaces in Islington to write a blog for them. Having a strong background in education, I decided to follow a regular theme of mine: stress and wellbeing difficulties in teenagers
Something is happening to our teenagers and we, the adults, need to start listening. I have a background in secondary schools as I have only recently left the classroom in order to follow my psychotherapy and counselling career on a full-time basis. Over my teaching career, I have seen a massive shift in what is troubling young people. It is far too easy to lay the blame on social media. Frankly, I am bored of hearing that as THE reason behind the difficulties our young people are having. We need to look beyond that and ask ourselves: what is really going on?
If you are someone who is wondering what “self care” is or what you can do to take better care of yourself, I would suggest giving this book a read. In this book, Karin explains and guides you through what it means to take care of yourself. Our modern world can be tricky and yet she explains simple and practical strategies that you can start your new self care regime immediately.
Most children will go through a phase where they might find the world around them and the ensuing emotions a little tough to handle. This can lead to anger or temper tantrums; poor sleep and a raft of other childhood emotional difficulties. For parents these phases can be equally tough. Parent and child often do not have the coping skills to manage these difficult phases. Parents often ask me if there is anything they can give their child to read that might make understanding what they are going through a little easier.
In Part 2, I looked at factors that can cause stress in the workplace. Now, I am going to focus on some stress busting techniques in the workplace. I have written about stress and work life balance before. But here are some reminders and some new tips that are aimed at keeping the stress levels as low as possible.
In Part 1, I explained our basic emotional needs and our innate resources. I am now going to focus on major causes of workplace stress.
Firstly, it needs to be said that a bit of stress is good for us. Helpful stress is what stretches us; makes us strive and learn new things and feel exhilarated. Stretch normally happens when our needs are being met and our innate resources are being used and developed in a healthy way. It motivates us to perform at our best. But when that stress becomes overwhelming or constant and we never get the time to “rest and digest”, it becomes unhealthy and it can result in exhaustion or burnout. And the result of that is often mental and / or physical ill health.
Shakespeare knew what he was talking about in Henry IV, Part 2! A good night’s sleep is essential to our physical and mental health and general wellbeing.
One of the first questions I always ask a client is: tell me about your sleeping routine. A disrupted sleeping pattern is usually a clear sign that the client is experiencing emotional difficulties. It is not always easy to determine which came first. But the link between poor or disrupted sleep and emotional and physical difficulties is very clear.
Here are my top 5 tips that could help you minimise stress while at work.
1 Start and finish the day well
This could be as simple as ensuring you are not rushing out the door or running for your train. Children are always told: pack your school bag the night before. Well, we as adults should do the same. Preparation for tomorrow starts today. Get to be bed early enough that you get enough sleep. If you have a presentation tomorrow, pack what you need for it before going to bed. Check laptop is charged. Check your presentation is backed up. Pre-empt anything that could go wrong by preventing it before bedtime. And then on the journey, what can you do to relax? Read? Listen to some music?
A lot has been said lately about out work-life balance and its impact on our wellbeing. A recent study in New Zealand found a four day week led to lower stress levels and higher productivity. Let’s be blunt: this option (in the UK it would be called “part-time”) is not an option for most of us.
Here are some ideas if you feel that work is possibly taking over too much:
A lot has been said recently about mobile phones and the classroom. Some of it useful. I am a teacher and a Human Givens therapist. I think I have an understanding of both the learning potential that a mobile can offer as well as its potential risks to the mental health and wellbeing of the child or adolescent. Yes, mobiles and everything that goes with them can be damaging to our mental health. Well, pollution is bad for our mental health. Does that mean we all have to escape the city and live in the countryside? The mobile phone is here to stay. Instead of trying to ban them from schools, we would be much wiser to engage with the teenagers’ model of reality and learn with them how we can use the mobile in a way that is productive.