We all have a running commentary of thoughts going on in our head in every situation we are in. These thoughts can be positive and therefore helpful to us. On the other hand if our thoughts are negative they will be become unhelpful to us. Negative thinking can lead to greater stress and unhappiness. It is a way of thinking about yourself and the world which distorts how situations really are. I am going to describe some common habits of negative thinking. See how many apply to you. Continue reading
Anxiety often leads us to start thinking negatively. We react without thinking and before we know it we are more anxious and the negative thoughts start to flow through our mind. This can then affect our feelings, behaviour and body reactions. In our anxious state our thoughts tend to be exaggerated and contain some distortion. It is important when we have the feelings of anxiety that we turn these negative thoughts into positive self-talk. This will help relieve the anxiety as well stop us saying anything that we might regret at a later date. Continue reading
Do you have symptoms of anxiety?
If you are living with feelings of dread and as though you are on edge you are more and likely to be living with anxiety. These symptoms of stress and anxiety may result in you withdrawing from your family and friends or finding going to work can be unbearable increasing your stress level. It can also have a knock on effect on your confidence level and self-esteem. Continue reading
Words can hurt…
Remember the saying ‘Sticks and stones will break my bones but calling names won’t hurt me?’ If only it was true. Words can hurt us. The way people deal with us can make us feel bad about ourselves and can upset us. Continue reading
What is insomnia?
Do you toss and turn at night? Do you have a worry that stops you sleeping? Do you have anxiety about an event the next day that stops you from sleeping? Does that sound familiar to you? Most of us, at some time in our lives, will have problems with insomina. Lack of sleep can slowly become a problem if it happens night after night.
We need our sleep. It is important for both physical and psychological reasons and sleep deprivation can lead to fatigue, slower reaction times, irritability and other mood problems, and poor concentration. These in turn can affect our work, our relationships and the quality of lives.
Worry and Anxiety are the main causes of lack of sleep
Worry is the common and important factor in insomnia. When people worry about things they tend mentally to go over things repeatedly, without coming up with a solution to the problem. This leads to an increase in mental arousal which then prevents sleep. This can create a vicious circle where worry leads to insomnia, which creates more worry about the effects of sleeplessness, which leads to more sleep disturbance.
The second common factor that leads to insomnia is stress. Stressful life events such as divorce, death of a spouse or work problems can often trigger which may persist beyond adjustment to the event itself.
So what can you do?
If you are suffering from stress or anxiety then it is recommended that you identify and examine the problem that is triggering your lack of sleep, for example the stress at work. Talking therapy can give you time and space to talk through the issue and help you find a way of moving forward.
In the meantime, the following list gives you helpful tips to help you have a good night’s sleep.
- Do not eat after 6pm
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol in the evening
- Go to bed and wake up at a set time each evening and morning
- Avoid watching TV. or using computers/ipads the last hour before going to bed
- Take a warm bath an hour before you go to bed
- Ensure you have 30 minutes exercise every day
Worry List and time
One of the most useful tips that clients find useful is ‘worry list’. I encourage clients to either write of list of all their worries in the evening. It is then important to try and forget them for the evening. You leave them behind you when you go to bed. Trying to forget your worries is useful as it breaks the habit of dwelling on your worries at the present time.
Alternatively my clients find useful to have a ‘worry time’. They set a time for each day which gives them 20 minutes to have their worry time (it must not be after 5pm as it can disturb your sleep). During this time you are allowed to worry about whatever’s on your mind. The rest of the day is hopefully a worry-free zone.
In addition to your worry time you could try to challenge your worried thoughts using cognitive behavioural practice or practice mindfulness.
Try and have a worry time. Does it work for you?
Today many of the pressure of life demands can cause stress, particularly work, relationships and money problems. Stress is the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure which in turn can lead you feeling you are unable to cope. We all have different ways of reacting to stress. When you feel stressed, it can get in the way of sorting out these demands, or can even affect everything you do. Common signs of stress include sleeping problems, loss or increase of appetite and difficulty concentrating.
The Supposedly Helpful Crutch
People deal with stress by often drinking more, smoking more, acting unreasonably and losing their temper. However, drowning your frustration in alcohol, eating junk foods, self-medicating with drugs such as nicotine is not the answer. If anything they add to your problem. It is important to take positive action when faced with stress as, if experienced over a period of time; it can seriously impair your mental and physical health. You need to find coping strategies than can really help you reduce this effects of any stress in your life.
Six Stress Coping Strategies for Individuals
The following list is first steps to take that can really help you reduce the stress in your life.
- Be aware of your own warning signs of feeling run down. This maybe could be a sudden feeling of anxiety, extreme tiredness, feeling very tearful, catching every cough and cold.
- Review what is really causing you negative stress for you? You could be surprised! Think about what action you could perhaps take to change things. How much of your negative stress by you? For example, are you expectations of yourself and others realistic?
- Instead of using alcohol, not eating properly and smoking more as a crutch try eating a balanced diet, cut out sugar, eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, drink plenty of water and keep caffeine to the minimum.
- Do not feel guilty about including a period of relaxation every day. We all need to turn off from time to time. Do something you enjoy and fits into your life. This could, for example, be reading, listening to music, doing yoga or meditating, enjoying a warm bath. It does not have to take long or be considered time wasting. It is a vital part of life.
- Make sure exercise is part of your life. Exercise which is suitable for you. If you have any doubts as to the correct sort for you ask your Doctor.
- Do you often find yourself saying ‘yes’ when in fact you mean ‘no’? Are you always late for things? Learn how to be more assertive and manage your time properly. Many of us waste so much time, often making excuses for things we have not done
There are times when we all need the help and confidential support of other people. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. It can be so useful.