Here are some interesting and shocking statistics. Here in the UK, 1 in 4 British adults will experience a diagnosable mental health problem in any one given year. Depression is now more common than ever, with 1 in 5 people being affected in average society and 2 in 5 people that live in care homes. Self-harm rates are some of the highest in Europe, 400 per 100,000 of the population.
These statistics show that we have a big problem regarding mental health and this is partly due to the outdated concept by which we view mental health. Most people only go to see a mental health practitioner when they are experiencing a problem such as depression, anxiety, etc. This is the stereotypical attitude help by the common man or woman in society as well. It’s not their fault either because this needs to change via education first.This stereotypical belief held common by so many people in society has major consequences. How many of those statistics above do you think could be changed and significantly lowered by changing our attitudes to mental health?
It’s a commonly held belief that you should visit a dentist every 6 months for a preventative checkup. This way you are avoiding serious, costly problems in the long-term and taking care of any early signs of poor dental health. The same applies to doctors or seeing your local GP as well.Now how about applying this same concept to mental health? How muchdifferent do you think some of those statistics would be if this attitude of preventative care was applied to mental health as well?This is where the fundamental concept and attitude of seeing mental health and it’s role in society needs to change. A preventative approach should also be applied to mental health as well. It should be necessary and be accepted to at least go in for a mental health checkup every 6 months just like you would with a dentist.There is nothing wrong with this at all. It’s about preventative care and taking necessary measures to ensure you have a cool and clear head. The facts are that we all go through hardships in life occasionally. We experience relationship breakups, work stress, divorce, the death of loved ones, just to name a few. These things are hard to deal with mentally and emotionally.Seeing a mental health professional for a preventative checkup every 6 months is a great way to ensure that everything is functioning normally mentally and emotionally. It’s also a great way to catch any early warning signs for a serious mental illness, then you can take care of it before it develops into a major problem in the long-term.
One such profession where preventative mental health checkups are required is for pilots. Pilots don’t necessarily want to do this, but they know that it’s a simple and effective way to guarantee that they will have a clear and cool head. Just like you and me, pilots experience the hardships that life sometimes throws up.The only difference between pilots and the average person is that they are taking a proactive approach to their mental health. Now they are in a position where they can catch the early warning signs of any potentially serious mental health problems. This proactive approach taken by pilots ensures that they are taking every possible measure to have a clear and cool head. It means they are in a good place to tackle life each day and its occasional hardships.
This is the approach that should be taken by everyone but in order for that to happen, there needs to be a fundamental shift in stereotypical attitudes regarding mental health. That starts with education, like always, and it’s only from education that people will begin to see that the old way of viewing mental health is completely outdated. A proactive approach to mental health is what is needed if we are going to seriously tackle the problems we are currently facing as a society regarding mental illness.So we should all take a leaf from the book of pilots because there is a lot to learn from it for tackling mental health problems in society overall. If we adopt this proactive approach then we can drastically improve mental health in general and the quality of our own lives overall.If you would like to have a preventative check up then please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. There is no harm in making sure that you are functioning normally mentally and emotionally, and catching any early problems before they turn into big ones.
I am also a Reiki and Shamanic master specialising in panic disorders, stress, and anxiety. I am GHR and GHSC registered, following a strict code of ethics and practice (as part of membership conditions). I am fully insured with Public Liability and Professional Indemnity Insurance.
If you are looking for a professional hypnotherapist or psychotherapist, simply get in touch with me. Based in Ashford, my services are easily available to those across the London and Surrey regions.
Begin by feeling into your body lying here.
Feeling the areas of contact at this moment. Where your feet are touching the ground. The legs, your back, the arms, the head.
Noticing your breath, entering and leaving your body.
The intention of the this is to be present with our body without wanting anything at all. Not even relaxation. Of course, it’s nice to relax and its great if it happens, but that is not the goal of the body scan. The goal is to be checking in with each area of the body in a non-judgmental way. We simply feel what is there to feel. No need to stir up sensations by moving the body.
You will notice that there are a number of areas in the body that you might not be able to feel at all. And that is normal and ok. Just check into those areas as if you could feel something.
Starting with the feet, feeling into both feet right now.
Feeling into the areas where your feet are touching the ground or chair.
Maybe feeling your toes – or not. Maybe feeling tingling or temperature.
Now moving the attention to your ankles and lower legs. What is here to feel – if anything at all? Pressure of your calves against the mat? Perhaps the fabric against the skin?
And if you notice that your attention is suddenly somewhere else, just gently returning it to your legs. It’s not a problem at all, the mind likes to wander.
If you find it helpful you can imagine that you are breathing into your lower legs. As if your attention could ride on the breath. Or as if your attention would light up the area like it was a flash light.
Now letting go of the lower legs and moving the attention to your knees and thighs, what do you feel, again maybe pressure, temperature, the position of your legs, or nothing at all, numbness counts as a sensation in this practice.
Noticing that thinking about an area or picturing it in your mind’s eye is different from actually feeling it.
Now letting go of the thighs and moving the attention to the lower trunk. The pelvis and the tummy up to the tummy button. Noticing any sensations in this area. Maybe feeling the breath in the tummy or maybe not.
Then letting go and now feeling into the upper trunk … the stomach area… the chest, feeling the sensations of the breath here… with each inhalation and exhalation.
Feeling the spine against the floor, noticing any sensations that are here or the absence of sensations.
From here now moving the attention into your hands. Feeling your hands, you might notice how well you can feel your hands without having to see the, feeling individual fingers/position of hands.
When you are ready, moving the attention to the wrists/forearms. What is here to feel? Touch/ Pressure: Warmth?
Moving attention to your elbows and upper arms. Noticing any sensations here. And if your mind wanders off, just bringing It back to wherever we are. Just starting again.
From here, moving the attention to your shoulders, back of your neck and then your head. Feeling into your jaw, face, mouth nose, cheeks, eyes, forehead, your entire face.
Now opening the awareness to include the entire body again, being alive, breathing.
If you like, imagining to be breathing from the crown of your head all the way down into your toes and up and out again.
Noticing all the sensations of the body and allowing them to be just as they are in this moment.
Allowing some movement back into the body, like wiggling your fingers and toes. Stretching the body. Coming all the way back into the room.Just take a few moments to notice what sensations are present in your body right now observe the thoughts going through your mind and check in with the emotions of this moment.
Starting the Day
Starting your mindfulness right when you wake up requires taking stock of yourself. Hear the sounds outside, notice your breath, look around the room.
Dial your senses into the sensations you encounter as you shower, get dressed, and eat breakfast; all of the things that we do in the morning. Mindfulness incorporates a keen attention to the little details. Make your morning count, be present in it. Don’t think about that meeting at 11 or the presentation this afternoon. Taste the eggs and toast on your plate in front of you at this very moment. You are laying the groundwork for the rest of your day.
Arriving at Work
When you get to the office, don’t get distracted by the inevitable bombardment of information and distractions that are inherent in a workplace environment. Emails, files, voicemails, phone calls, your boss and co-workers, all of them provide continuous, multi-layered stimuli that can affect your mood from one minute to the next. Even the nature of the work that you’re tasked with completing can bring on large amounts of stress quickly.
But try not to get caught up in all of it. Stop periodically. Take a deep breath. Check in with all of your senses. Do some quiet meditations from time to time, it can take the form of a short walk to the break room, sitting upright quietly at your desk for a brief minute, or listening to a calming piece of music in a pair of earphones.
Remaining centered throughout the day will go a long way towards improving your mood and productivity.
Stop and Think First
The fast-paced nature of a successful workplace can threaten to overwhelm anyone into a stressed rhythm. This may cause undue amounts of pressure and force us to react hastily. How you respond to things is a large part of practicing mindfulness in your daily life. Being more conscious of your practice at work will probably take a greater commitment at first, but the more you remain aware of yourself and your surroundings the easier it will come.
Many of us tend to react quickly to stimuli, because we automatically feel that is the required action in certain situations. Instead, take pause and deal with the stimuli around you in measured answers. The same goes for solving difficult challenges and problems that might occur during the day. A crisis is not an excuse for you to stop being mindful, in fact it’s a call for you to focus on your training even harder.
The Little Things
Mindfulness comes at all times and in all things. It’s not only about staying in the present and focusing on your behavior when people or situations become intense, it’s also about noticing the minute details and remaining present in them constantly. The way you respond to stress starts in how you react to the little things.
Take pause and just notice the hum of the computer, the way the coffee tastes as you sip, re-read that email because you may have missed something the first time. Remain attentive in everything that you do. It will make the difference between having a good day at the office and one you’ll want to forget. Try it right now as you’re reading this article. Look around you. What do you see, hear, and feel?
These are the building blocks to becoming more mindful.
Research studies have found that people who practice mindfulness irrespective of whether they had practised meditation before or not reports:Feeling less stressed, anxious and depressed, happier, inspired, satisfied with life.
Mindfulness practitioners near Heathrow Airport: 01784 392449
As a professional footballer, if he is fortunate, begins his career as a child and ends it as an adult having known nothing but the same well-organised, rigorous daily schedule. There are even some of us who spend all those best physical years of our youth and adulthood at the same club.
Institutionalised is a description I would apply to my life as a footballer at Manchester United.
I had been there from the age of 14 to 42, and my life had been so distinctively shaped by the rhythm of life at Old Trafford that I realised, when it was coming to the end last year, I had to make some preparations for the change.
Aaron Lennon’s story has made mental health of footballers an issue again and I think that for his sake and everyone else in the game it is important to be open about how we feel as professionals, and how we cope with stress.
I know that those outside of the game will point to our wages and the kind of lives we live and to an extent that does cushion us from the challenges that many face, but it does not make us immune.