Interrupt Negative Thoughts in 3...2..1.. - Anxiety Help:

Have you ever noticed how easy it is to get lost in your negative thoughts? Sometimes they just sort of creep up in your mind and before you know it, those anxious, negative thoughts and intrusive thoughts have taken hold and the spiral of anxiety can soon take over. And of course, once you feel anxious, your mind will always find something to attach it to in your imagination so it flows like a river, soaking everything you think.

Further down this article I've described a simple way to switch your negative thoughts so that your thinking and attention comes back to the here and now, rather than getting lost in future anxious thoughts. Anxiety is often described as like having an overactive mind that never switches off and starts to consider everything as a potential threat, and so you get all those what if this bad thing happens type negative thoughts, along with the worst case scenarios. And as anyone who has ever suffered with anxiety knows, most of those things never actually come to happen (but that doesn't stop the anxiety finding something else to worry about).

Yet when we bring our attention and thinking back to the here and now, there is no room for those types of negative thoughts and we can give our brains a bit of time off from all the anxiety.

Of course, one reason I love this 3-2-1 technique is because it reminds me of my younger days spent watching the TV show called '321' on prime time TV (back in the days when we only had three channels to choose from!). If you remember the show, you'll remember how the host, Ted Rogers, did this (seemingly amazing) quick thing with his fingers as he said the words three, two, one. We used to try and copy that on the primary school playground. And who can forget Dusty Bin!  (If you can't remember the quiz show, or are too young to have seen it, then have a look at this video which will help you understand the primitive world of TV in 1982! We thought this was great back then!! And be sure to catch the fastest fingers on TV!).

Anyway, enough of my childhood reminiscing, now back to interrupting negative thoughts in 3-2-1...

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Stoic advice for dealing with annoying people - Stress Management Help

Over recent weeks I've become more and more interested in Stoicism, an ancient Greek school of philosophy (and I can tell you outright that philosophy has never been top of my list of things I want to learn more about!). I certainly wouldn't describe myself as a Stoic, yet there is a lot of gold in the writings and approach taken by the Stoics.

And whereas stoicism is often taken to refer to 'the endurance of pain or hardship without the display of feelings and without complaint' (as a google definition describes it), in fact it more refers to ways and ideas to achieve more inner tranquillity, peace and joy in your life and by seeking an absence of negative emotions such as anger, anxiety and fear.

Which of course has huge overlaps with the goals that people describe when they come to see me for help to overcome these issues and to become more mentally calm and feel more confident in themselves (and thus reducing their anxiety, stress and fear).

So here today I'm drawing upon some of this good stuff to talk about how to deal with annoying people, or more accurately how you can take back control so that they no longer annoy you.

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And Now...For Something To Tackle Overthinking & Negative Thoughts:

It's been another busy weekend in the Regan household and once again we headed through the streets of Ely on a rock hunt (I've written about the benefits of rock hunting in another blog). This time we were out in the snow which fell consistently for a few hours yet didn't stop us finding over a dozen of the painted rocks hidden around the city.    

Of course, whilst we might find a few in close proximity, and there's always a bit of a family buzz about checking out the design painted on the rock and any writing about who created it, there can also be long periods where no matter how closely we are looking, we just don't spot any (and being a slightly competitive person, that just makes me more determined to keep searching for longer!).

During these quieter periods, it's only natural that the kids and I start to become a little disheartened. We start to notice that, in the snow, we feel a bit cold and want to get indoors in the warm and dry, and the kids start to get a bit disinterested and start complaining of being tired or hungry. 

And, just as with anxiety and stress and overthinking, it could be quite easy to fall into an ever increasing cycle of negative thoughts. That is, a negative thought starts to go around and around our minds, we feel anxious, stressed or low, and that leads to even more overthinking and negative thoughts.  

One of the key things in taking control over thinking and negative thoughts is to start to break that cycle. It's that loop where you get more and more stuck in your thinking and it all just seems to go around and around your mind with little or no let up or peace from it.

So here I have one quick technique that I teach to my clients, that I use with my kids (to shift them from feeling negative) and that I use myself. 

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How hypnotherapy can help you ease symptoms of anxiety:

I'm delighted to have once again been published on the Good Zing website, this time talking about hypnotherapy for anxiety and how it can help you.

If you haven't discovered the Good Zing website yet, it's a place where you can find everyday health and wellness tips on a wide range of issues and topics. If you are heading over that way, why not start by taking a look at some of my tips and advice for dealing with anxiety or my article about 5 Simple Ways to Shut Down Your Anxiety.

In my article I talk about how hypnotherapy can help you take back control over your thoughts and feelings, rather than being seemingly controlled by them. Why not click on the link below, have a read and then let me know what you think?

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How To Beat Exam Stress & Anxiety - Cambridge News

Just recently I've seen a large increase in the number of calls and clients I'm speaking to about exam stress and anxiety. With mock exams timetabled for early in the New Year, and final exams following in the summer, many students find that their stress and anxiety levels rise so intensely that they can't perform to their potential.

Some students find that the stress stops them concentrating, whilst others feel sick or a sense of dread at the thought of sitting in the exam room. And all those exam anxiety thoughts and feelings can really hinder effective revision and study, as well as creating worries about feeling unwell or going blank in the exam.

I was delighted to once again appear in the Cambridge News earlier this year. This time my article was all around how to beat exam stress and anxiety. With exam time fast approaching, I wanted to share a few tips on how students can perform to their potential in the exam room.

As I have written about in previous articles, there is a free guide to overcoming exam stress, anxiety and fear available from this website. The guide covers ways to ease any stress and anxiety so you can perform to your potential, feeling calm, confident and in control around your exams.

With Childline reporting a huge increase in the number of students calling them about exam stress, it has never been more important that we share ways to manage the exam period successfully. 

So if you, or someone you know, have exams coming up then be sure to point them in the direction of my free guide and the Cambridge News article (link below).

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Is your smartphone addiction increasing your anxiety? 

Before you answer that, let me tell you that recent research suggests that smartphone addiction and internet addiction are very possibly increasing feelings of anxiety, depression and tiredness.

Earlier this week I was talking to a client who was telling me about her sleep issues, or more accurately, her lack of sleep, issues. Now one thing I always ask about in relation to sleep is the use of screens because we know that the light from screen means daytime to your brain and the temptation to check messages and social media can be overwhelming. You may find yourself getting stressed and anxious about your messages and e-mails or simply losing more and more time you should be sleeping to scrolling through social media. Either way, your brain is active and alert and when you then close your eyes a few seconds later you may find you have difficulty switching off from your thinking.

Anyway, I suggested to my client that she either leave her phone outside the bedroom or turn off wi-fi at night to avoid any of these distractions keeping her awake. Her face filled with horror and anxiety at even the thought of this! After we discussed it some more I'm pleased to say that she agreed to implement this and it can only benefit the quality and quantity of her sleep.

And recent research suggests that smartphone addiction does indeed trigger effects such anxiety, depression and drowsiness.

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Anxiety: 3 ways to ease anxiety and stress:

One moment you feel fine and then, almost out of nowhere, the anxiety and stress strikes and you find yourself feeling tense, on edge and your heart is pounding. Or maybe you've been thinking about that upcoming event and the thoughts of what might happen have started to set your anxiety and stress levels rising. 

I can remember being on a specific training course in Nottingham, over a decade ago in the days when anxiety seemed to be my constant companion. Even before I arrived at the course I'd started feeling a bit tense and on edge, after all, what if the other trainees thought I was an idiot, what if I made a fool of myself, what if I accidentally did something stupid? I'd have been mortified! The closer the course got the more it seemed to fill my mind. So on the day I was sitting in a room of maybe ten or twelve trainees and the trainer. The words I dreaded came out of the trainer's mouth, 'let's go round the room and all introduce ourselves, say what we do and why we are here.'

Now if you have, or have had, social anxiety then these words (along with 'let's do an ice-breaker' or 'how about we role play this in groups') will fill you with dread. I was about five or six down the line. Even as the others were speaking I was rehearsing my name ('arghhh what if I mess up my name!'). I was tense, I was sweating, I felt sick. Yet still in my head I was rehearsing over and over what to say and how to say it. The trainer got to the person next to me - which was always THE worst - you know it's coming your way and it's coming your way any moment now. It was all I could do to breathe (and of course that anxiety was reminding me that they'd probably all notice I looked nervous and so they'd all hate me). If you have anxiety / social anxiety then this is about as cruel as it can get. You're trapped in the room and there is no escape and you can see that wrecking ball heading right towards you.

To this day I have no idea what I said next. I can, however, remember the feeling of relief and exhaustion that followed. I'd avoided danger, at least for now. Ten minutes into the training course and I'm exhausted.  

And of course back in those days it wasn't just training courses. It was any meeting involving people, any social occasion, any time I had to deal with someone more senior than me (I used to hide in the toilet rather than speak to senior staff), in fact, almost any time I walked down the street. It was hell.

Of course, back then I didn't have the 3 techniques below to save me and to calm my overwired anxiety and stress system. 

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End your struggle with anxiety - World Mental Health Day 2017:

 Ahead of World Mental Health Day 2017 (on 10th October 2017), I'm delighted to appear in the Cambridge News giving my advice on how to strengthen your mental well-being.

 In the article you can read my 7 tips to help you start ending your struggle with anxiety. 

cambridge news world mental health day anxiety

 

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One in Six Adults Battling Anxiety & Depression:

Around one in six adults in England are struggling with anxiety and depression problems according to figures from NHS Digital (and as reported by the BBC recently). 

The figures from their survey also show that women are more likely than men to have 'common mental disorder' symptoms (which comprises of different types of depression and anxiety) and women are also more likely than men to report severe symptoms.

And in another report, NHS Digital cite that prescription items for anti depressants showed the greatest numeric rise in 2016 (for the fourth year in a row), with 64.7 million anti depressant items dispensed. As they report, "The number of antidepressant items has more than doubled in the last decade. In 2016, there were 64.7 million antidepressant items dispensed - 33.7 million (108.5 per cent) more than in 2006, when there were 31.0 million." (Prescriptions Dispensed in the Community 2006-2016, NHS Digital).

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Health Anxiety - is 'cyberchondria' making you sick with anxiety?

Many of you may know that these days I like to exercise (a far cry from how I was during my school days!). I've been a member of my local running club for over a decade and, more recently, I've been converted to the 'joy' of bootcamps at their toughest. To my mind one of the greatest buzzes these days comes from a hard bootcamp where I feel like I've given all I can that day. 

Yet way back in 2007, I can remember the moments of despair of thinking I may never be able to run again (I've since run a load of marathons!). A few months earlier I'd run my fastest ever marathon and I'd been setting new personal bests across the board. I was on a high. I was getting faster! Then around that time, my knee started to hurt. I mean it really hurt. If I tried to run a few steps it was excruciating. Sometimes just walking was enough to have me in pain and sometimes even bending my knees to pick up my then baby daughter was enough to bring it on. In summary, it hurt lots and it wasn't going away.

I did what any runner would do and tried to push myself through it (bad idea!). I tried putting ice on it. I took over the counter painkillers. I tried resting it for a few days and going again. I tried anything else I could think of to get back running.

And then I hit on the great idea of researching my symptoms on Google.

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