Tag Archives: Depression

How can I be happier?

A lot of people ask me ‘How can I be happier?’

Before that can be answered there are a few things that need to be defined. Firstly, what does happy mean to you? Then, how happy are you right now?

To me being happy equates to being content. If that is your goal I think you can be happy for much of your life. Others have told me that to them being happy is feeling joy. For people with that definition, happiness is fleeting and they will experience happiness for short periods, fairly infrequently.

Do you seek joy every moment of your life? If so, I fear that you will be perpetually disappointed. Even if your life moved from one amazing moment to another, you would quite quickly stop experiencing joy. Joy is an extreme emotion. It’s the thin end of the wedge, the edges of the bell curve. For brief moments it lights our life, but we cannot feel it all the time.

If your definition of happy is contentment, you will feel ‘happy’ much more of your life. This in turn makes you feel grateful and lucky, which leads to feeling even happier with your lot.

So, one way to be happier is to lower your expectations of what happy means.

Then we need to look at how happy you are right now. If you had to scale it between 1 and 10, with 1 being extremely unhappy and 10 being as happy as you can be, where would you score yourself? The chances are you are somewhere between 4 and 7. If that’s the case, you can probably do things to make yourself feel more happy. If you are at the extremes of the scale it can be harder to make a difference.

Obviously, if you are already on a 10, it’s going to be very difficult for you to feel happier than you are right now – there’s literally nowhere left for you to go. Awesome!

If you are at the other end of the scale, down in the 1-3 group, you are in a fairly dark place. There are lots of reasons that this may be the case. Firstly, something awful may have happened in your life. Loss of a loved one, bullying and poor health can put you in this place. All of these are things which take some getting over. Yes, there are professionals out there who can help get you through this time and support you with psychological strategies, but they are still difficult things to deal with. If you felt happy during one of these experiences, I would suggest there is other work to do.

Other reasons that people can feel deeply unhappy are anxiety and depression. These are two different issues which can be very difficult, but are also eminently treatable. With talking therapies people can work through these life limiting issues and get back to regular levels of happy – not happy all the time – just regular happy.

This brings me onto the final idea around wanting to be more happy. There is a regular level of happy. If you are happy all the time, you may have a problem. If you are unhappy all the time, you may have a problem. Even the best adjusted most balanced people experience happiness and unhappiness. It’s normal and natural. If you want to be happy all the time, you are setting yourself up for disappointment – which leads you to be less happy! There are things that steal our happiness, and we can work on reducing them, but if you love, you will experience loss. If you achieve, you will have to deal with defeat. Ups and downs are all part of the rich tapestry that is our complicated life.

My tip for today is be grateful.

Experiments have repeatedly shown that being grateful is one of the key things that makes us happy. Write down three different things every day that you are grateful for. It’s easy to start with big concepts like being alive, having a home, waking up this morning, but as time goes by you have to look for more detailed, smaller reasons to be grateful. Things like a good cup of coffee, a smile from a neighbour, enjoying a TV programme, somebody liking your blog post or even a positive comment…all of these things make me grateful, which is why I experience happiness every day.

Wishing every one of you a happy, healthy day. I’m so grateful you’ve taken the time to read this x

www.talktherapies.co.uk

p.s. If you are looking for a daily mindfulness tip/exercise follow me on Instagram at www.instagram.com/talktherapies 

 

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Love is not enough

How many times have you heard ‘all you need is love’? or ‘Love conquers everything’?

It’s a cute idea, but unfortunately it’s nonsense.

In certain cultures people can get married without even having spent time together before the wedding day, yet they still go on to have beautiful, strong and often loving relationships. Others fall deeply in love with an abuser who destroys them.

Love is easy – you fall into it, you fall out of it, it just happens. A good relationship needs you to put in some effort.

In the example I gave above – falling in love with an abuser – there are some really important things missing.

Respect

A good relationship requires respect – from both parties. It doesn’t mean that you always have to agree, but you must respect each others feelings. If you dismiss how someone feels, or tell them they shouldn’t feel that way, it’s not respecting them. If you accept this behaviour from someone else – you’re not respecting yourself.

Trust

Trust can take time to build, especially if you’ve been hurt in the past. It can be destroyed in seconds. It’s one of the most fragile things in any relationship and must be handled with care. Whilst it’s obviously important to honour the trust someone gives you, it’s equally important to give that trust in the first place. Yes, you may have been hurt before, but if the hurt was caused by someone else, it’s deeply unfair to punish your partner for the behaviour of someone else.

Courtesy

Courtesy is the little things – the ‘pleases’ and ‘thankyous’. The ‘bless you’ when you sneeze, the ‘pardon me’ when you burp. It’s the small polite things that demonstrate that you are thinking about the other person all the time.

Caring and Kindness

Caring is kind of like Love light, but it’s just as important. Showing that you care about what sort of day they had. Caring about their sore foot. Caring if they are tired or want to talk. I’m not saying their feelings should always come first, but show them that you care about it. Be kind. It’s simple but if we all treated our partners with kindness we would end abuse immediately.

Reliable

To me one of the biggest things about any relationship I have is reliability. Doing what I said I would, when I said I’d do it. Showing up, every time. I can rely on my partner and they can rely on me.

Responsibility

Responsibility is about owning the obligations in the relationship and not giving excuses. I am responsible for my behaviour – no-one else. If I put myself in situations where I get drunk, take drugs, have other people influence me, that’s still my responsibility.

Honesty

I need to be honest with myself and my partner – all the time. I also expect that from them. This links back to the trust. If I want them to trust me, and I want to be happy trusting them, we need to be honest – even when it’s hard or it hurts.

Communication

Honesty is worthless if there is no communication. If someone doesn’t tell you something that’s bothering them, that’s a form of dishonesty. If you don’t tell me, how can I possibly do something about it. People seem to think that their partner should be able to read their mind. Unless you’re dating Derren Brown, that could be a little unfair.

Commitment

An here’s the big one. If I’m in a relationship with you, I’m committing to it. 100% There are no days off, there are no exceptions. All of the above, all of the time. As  I said at the beginning the love part is easy – it just happens. Maybe I’ll fall in love with someone else – I’m not in control of that. But what I am in control of is my thoughts and behaviours, and if I’m committed to the relationship, I will shut down any of the other stuff before it’s a problem.

Love just happens – a good relationship is much more beautiful than that.


Jealousy is a horrible destructive emotion. If you need help getting over negative emotions, you should consider a therapy like hypnotherapy or BWRT.

 

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How to be kind to yourself

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February is heart awareness month and as I wrote yesterday, I’m focussing on the relationship side of this subject.

I strongly believe that you will not have the best relationships you can if you don’t have a good relationship with yourself, and unfortunately, it’s one of the hardest ones to get right as we don’t get good feedback on it.

Some people are too hard on themselves – way harder than they are on other people. They persistently tell themselves that they aren’t good enough, that they’re stupid, that they’re lazy, that they don’t work hard enough, that they’re not pretty enough, that they’re fat, that they’re ugly. Can you imagine if you spoke like that to another person? I think, at the very least, you could expect them not to want to hang around with you.  Why would you spend time with someone who constantly abuses you?

Some people don’t care enough for themselves. As a hypnotherapist I see people all the time who smoke, who are overweight, who don’t exercise. When I ask them how they would feel if their kids smoked, ate rubbish or didn’t do any exercise they are horrified. They want the best for them, but don’t appear to want the best for themselves….

Some people don’t protect themselves. They take stupid risks with their health. They starve themselves, or dramatically overeat. They take drugs. They put themselves in dangerous situations. Again, they would be really upset to think of someone they loved in that situation, but it’s OK for them….does that mean they don’t love themselves?

So how do you build a relationship with yourself?

Easy – the same way as with anyone else.

Start by being interested. Question yourself and your motives. Find out what is really important to you. Help yourself to achieve that.

Support yourself. Be kind, be understanding, but also be challenging. Stretch yourself without being mean to yourself.

Be a good friend to yourself. You can be your own inner bully or your own cheerleader. Think about what can go right, how brilliant things can be.

Stop being a hater. Don’t hate yourself – ever. Not any part of yourself. Hate is a horrible, destructive emotion and it doesn’t help anyone. I don’t care if you don’t love your thighs, or you skin. I don’t care if you don’t like the way you react in certain situations. I don’t care if you aren’t thrilled with your weight. Work out how to change it, but don’t hate it.

I believe that when you get this stuff right you attract people to you. Self confidence is attractive. That means you draw people towards you who enhance your life. It also means that you don’t need people to complete you so you stop hanging on to people who don’t add anything to your life.

So, whatever your relationship status, spend a little time thinking about your relationship with yourself. Are you being a good friend? How can you be better? What changes are you going to make? What positive effects could that have?

As ever, I would love to know your thoughts on this – why not drop me a comment?


If you’re interested, why not follow me in instagram, twitter, facebook or check out my website.

 

 

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February – Heart Awareness month

Are you taking care of your heart? When you hear that, what does it make you think?

Do you think about diet and exercise? Do you think about relationships? Do you think about Self Care?

I think it should be about all of those things. I spent December writing about self care, and January writing about diet, so this month I want to write about relationships, what they mean and why they are important. Also hopefully, you’ll get some ideas on how to improve your relationships, feel better in them and get more out of them.

Today’s post though, is how to deal with the pain of the end of a relationship.

Relationships ending can be incredibly painful. Whether the end of the relationship is caused by someone ending it, or by death, there is a grief process to go through.

In both cases there is a relationship that no longer exists and grieving is a natural reaction to that.

There are famously said to be 5 stages of grief and these need to be worked through with a relationship ending.

Often the most difficult phases is denial. I have seen a number of clients in my hypnotherapy practice who say they want to get over a relationship that’s ended, but when I speak to them, they tell me what they really want is for it to be back on again. Despite saying they want to be over it, they are still in denial that it is really over. This is a terrible limbo land that can be difficult to move forward from until they accept that it’s over.

Then comes anger. It’s only natural to lash out when we are in pain, but anger is best kept in check. Not only can it make situations much worse if the anger is taken out on another person, but it can be much more serious when the anger turns inwards and we start to blame ourselves for the situation. This way leads to self-confidence issues and has other mental health implications contributing to anxiety and depression.

Now we get to bargaining. Again it’s fairly normal to bargain with our ex in order to get things back on track again, but the best person to bargain with is yourself. You need to decide how you want to get through this and make deals with yourself to help you to achieve it.

Here comes the darkest part – the depression. You will sometimes feel sad. You will sometimes feel as though you will never feel anything other than sad again. That’s not true. You will get through this. You will be happy again. You will look back on this differently one day. And now is the time to think about the bargains you made with yourself. Hopefully you decided you wanted to get through this as best as you can and work to take care of yourself. Eat well, go out, keep clean, be around people. I know it can be tough, but it will get easier.

Eventually you will get to acceptance. You may never be happy about it – then again, you might, but even if you don’t, you will learn to accept it. If you’re clever you will learn lessons from it. Know what you want, what you are prepared to accept and what you might need to do in order to get that. Also know what you need to bring to a relationship? We often think about what we want from other people, but sometimes it pays to think what they might want from us….www.talktherapies.co.uk

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Self Care Advent Calendar Day 17

Welcome back – it’s so lovely to see you here again.

Self care is important. When you don’t take care of yourself you are letting yourself, and those around you, down. How you are affect how others are.

A lot of what I’ve written about during the first part of this self care advent calendar has involved just focussing on yourself. I make no apologies for that – you are important.

Although what I am about to suggest today may seem as though it’s more about other people, it’s still about you. It’s about how it makes you feel, how you think about yourself.

I would like you to be proud of yourself, to think about yourself as a good person. So, what do you need to do in order to feel that way. I’m sure you have answers of your own, and they may be the most important things for you to work on, but I’m going to suggest one way that seems to work well for me and lots of others.

Random acts of kindness.

If you haven’t heard of this concept before, it’s kind of self explanatory. You do something nice for someone random. Ideally this isn’t someone in your social circle, they’re not a friend or family, they’re not even someone you work with – just a random stranger.

Sometimes it’s nice to see how people react to your kindness, sometimes it’s best just to do it and move on.

I would LOVE to know some suggestions for random acts that you could or have done, but in case you’re struggling for inspiration, here are some of my easy favourites.

  1. Leave some change in a vending machine.
  2. Give to a food bank.
  3. Give a stranger a flower.
  4. Give a stranger a compliment.
  5. Top up a parking meter.
  6. Leave a positive note for someone.
  7. Send an anonymous gift.
  8. Give some socks to a homeless person.
  9. Send someone a drink in a bar.
  10. Read a random blog and tell them something nice about it.

I’m not a big fan of concepts like law of attraction or Karma, but I do think you get what you give. The more positivity and love you put out into the world, the more will com back to you. Try to engender the feelings you would like to have in others and it may find it’s way back to you. Even if it doesn’t come back from the people you pass it too, it may come back in the way you feel about yourself.


Our self esteem is incredibly important. The way we feel about ourselves in one of the most important factors in our health and wellbeing. Don’t believe me? Things like loneliness have as big an impact on your life span as smoking, and if we don’t have good self esteem we can struggle with relationships and feelings of worth. Although it may seem like something you just have to do or not do, things are never that simple. Our subconscious mind can get some poor programming which can be corrected. If you struggle with self esteem, getting help from a hypnotherapist could be the best thing you ever do.

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Self Care Advent Calendar Day 1

Yay – It’s December! Day 1 of the advent calendar. I’ve seen many different advent calendars being sold this year. Some have nothing but pictures in, others have chocolates or toys and some more grown up ones have perfume, make-up or alcohol. All of these sound fun, but I wanted to create something which might be more useful – and FREE!

As my little Christmas gift to you I’m creating a self care advent calendar. Each day I will write a post suggesting ways that you can look after yourself. If you think that sounds a little selfish – self care – then you don’t completely understand the concept. Self care is important for those around you as well as for yourself. ‘You can’t pour from an empty vessel’ so you need to make sure you’re in good shape to help those who need you. Also, anyone who loves you will be happier knowing you are happier, so it’s good for everyone.

So what constitutes self care? It’s a broad range of activities. Sometimes self care is eating healthily, sometimes it’s having a slice of cake. Sometimes self care is a walk in the fresh air, sometimes it’s snuggling up on the sofa with a good book. Sometimes self care is being around people, sometimes it’s being alone.

Today lets start with the basics. Get up, get clean and get dressed. If you’re in a good place, that’s easy. If you’re not, it can be more difficult.

Today is the first – the start of a new month. Maybe it could be the start of something new for you? A new routine, a new way of doing your hair, a new outfit combo, whatever works for you.

If you’re in a good place – change things up. If you’re in not such a good place, get up, get clean and get dressed. If you have nowhere to go, no-one to see and nothing planned it’s all too easy to not worry about the basics. What’s the point of getting up? What’s the point of showering? What’s the point of getting dressed? The point is, it will make you feel better. Maybe a lot better, maybe just a little. Still better. Self care can be a a path travelled in baby steps. Small Challenges. Things you CAN achieve.

A strange part of out psychology is that when we achieve something – big or small – it helps us to go on to achieve other things. People often say if you want something doing, give it to someone who’s busy. Although on the surface that makes no sense (surely you would give it to the person with less to do, so that they have time to do it) but the reality is, people who get stuff done, get stuff done!

So today, be someone who gets stuff done. It’s a great way to start the month, who know’s what you’ll be able to achieve by the end of it….


If you struggle with getting started with things, you are not alone. But don’t think that you can’t change it – you can. If you struggle to do that on your own, there are plenty of people out there ready and willing to help. Look for a good therapist and get the help you need.

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Just for today….

Sometimes making changes in our life can feel overwhelming – it’s just too much. Too hard to make permanent changes, even if we know that changing will make us happier, healthier and feel better. So why not try it just for a day?

It’s a technique that people who are in recovery from an addiction know pretty well – one day at a time. It might seem incomprehensible to an alcoholic that they will never drink again. An idea of a lifetime of sobriety is just too overwhelming to consider,but a day, or an hour or even a minute may be doable. After one minute, maybe I could do one more. After one hour, the next may seem more possible. After a day, I can try another day. Success can often lead to more success, so sometimes it’s better to make small goals.

It’s a great strategy for an addict.

So ask yourself what you are addicted to. Are you hooked on self defeating attitudes? Can you go through a day without beating yourself up about something?

Not all of the suggestions below will apply to you – maybe none of them will, but maybe, just maybe you’ll find something below that you could try – Just for today.

Just for today do something you want to do, but normally don’t let yourself.

Eat the forbidden food, watch the trashy TV, say the thing you’ve been wanting to say.

Just for today do something that you know you should do, but can never get started with.

Go for a run, clean out your wardrobe, sort through your photo’s

Just for today give yourself permission to feel how you don’t normally feel.

Have a day where you stop worrying, decide that you like how you look or stop putting others first.

Just for today allow yourself to be totally in the moment.

Turn everything off. Sit quietly and notice your thoughts.

Just for today drink nothing but water.

No caffeine, no sugar, no additives, no alcohol.

Just for today be honest with yourself.

Stop making excuses, stop lying to yourself, ask yourself the difficult question.

Just for today forgive yourself.

It’s OK not to be OK. You’re human, not perfect.

Just for today don’t complain.

Think about what you’re grateful for, think about those worse off than you, think about how lucky you are.

Just for today, help.

Help your family, help your friends, help a stranger.

Just for today be kind.

Be kind to yourself, be kind to those you like, be kind to those you don’t like.

Just for today, forgive.

Let go of the anger, let go of the hate, let go of the pain.

Just for today I’ll try something new

New tastes, new activities, new strategies.

There are many things that we could all change in our lives. Sometimes they are easy, sometimes they are hard. Why not try them on for a day – you never know, you might like it. If you do, maybe try it for another day,and another, until it’s just what you do now.

If you find it hard to change things in your life, there are ways that you can make it easier. My favourite is hypnotherapy, but others are available. Try change on your own, but if at first you don’t succeed, don’t give up, get some help.

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January Blues? 5 ways to feel better NOW

We’re coming to the end of January and for some, it can feel like a difficult time of the year. Christmas is over (though the credit card bills may not be) and the new years resolutions are an uphill battle. If things are getting on top of you, here are some quick things you can do to make yourself feel better now.

  1. Get outdoors.

Yes I know, the weather may not be what you’d like, but that’s probably the best reason to get out there. We can all suffer from a lack of vitamin D if we’re not getting enough sun, so it’s especially important in the winter months to get out whenever you can. Also getting some exercise in the great outdoors has other health benefits. A brisk stroll or gentle jog will get the heart rate up, burn calories and help you fend off a multitude of problems like dementia and type 2 diabetes, so pull out your woolly hat and get out there!

2. Eat clean.

The benefits of eating clean healthy food is enormous and very well documented. You don’t need me to tell you that it’s a good idea for your body, but what you may not be aware of, is that it’s a good idea for your mind too. By taking the time to eat well and look after yourself, you will give yourself a psychological boost. Not only will you feel proud of yourself for making positive changes, but you will also, subconsciously, feel more valued and appreciated by yourself. This in turn leads to feelings of more self worth and importance. The long term affects of eating clean will leave you looking healthier and more vital, so you will also start to get that recognition from others which in turn boosts your confidence.

3. Be mindful.

Practice being in the moment. Whether your going for a walk, sitting cross-legged burning incense or peeling the potatoes, you can spend a couple of minutes every day being mindful. I heard a great phrase – Leave your front door and your back door open. Allow your thoughts to come and go. Just don’t make them tea. Being mindful is just that. Be in the moment, allow whatever thoughts come into your mind, and release them. Don’t focus on them, just notice them and let them go. You don’t have to do anything about a thought that pops in your head.

4.Be grateful.

One of the things that happy people tend to have in common is that they’re grateful for what they have. It may be riches, friends and beauty, or it may be being alive, having another opportunity to try again and a roof over their heads. However much you have, you will always find others who have more – and you will find others that have less. You can either be filled with envy or grateful. It doesn’t change your situation, but it does change how you feel – remember, you are in charge of that.

5.Stop feeling guilty

Guilt is a horrible emotion. It makes you feel bad and it makes those around you feel bad. Whatever you are feeling guilty about, STOP IT! Change your behaviour, change your feelings, change your life – it’s in your control. Guilt not only makes us feel bad, but it makes us behave in ways that we wouldn’t normally consider. In my humble opinion it is at the root of lots of cases of depression, low self esteem and even suicide. If you are feeling guilty about something that happened in the past, do what you can to make amends for it. If you can do nothing more about it, let it go and move on. I know that sounds difficult to do, but if you’re struggling to achieve it on your own, get help. There are plenty of people who are ready and willing to help you do this, either within your own social circle or professionally, so don’t suffer in silence.

Do these 5 things and finish January feeling fabulous – and if all else fails, start planning your summer hols 🙂

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Being Selfish

Let me start off by saying – I love what I do.

I’m a Hypnotherapist and every time I help a client to get past some issue or another it gives me a deep sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.

I love it so much when I get emails from them telling me how they are getting on now that their stumbling block is gone.

But just like with everything else in life – sometimes I need a break from it.

That’s what I’m doing this week.

Instead of concentrating on clients, I’m focussing on me.

I’m getting my diet back to where it should be.

I’m exercising every day.

I’m working on what I want from life and how to get it.

I’m being genuinely selfish – and I think it’s a good thing.

We all know people who are tired martyrs. They go through life doing everything for everyone else and very little for themselves. I quite often get to see these people when they have had enough – when they’ve burned themselves out. They come to me as anxious, nervous people who feel that everyone is taking advantage of them and that no-one appreciates them. Their stress levels are frequently through the roof and their self esteem can be very low. They often externalize their self esteem, so that they only feel good if other people are telling them how wonderful they are. The problem is that after a while you stop appreciating people who are ALWAYS doing things for you and you come to expect it from them. In fact you can go so far as to be upset with them if they stop for some reason, even if that reason is sickness or exhaustion.

The first thing I try to establish with these clients is a sense of self worth – not what others appreciate – but what they do. Once you have a genuine sense of self worth, you can start to be nicer to yourself and as a consequence, are sometimes nicer to those around you. This can be easier said than done, but hypnosis is a wonderful tool.

The next thing that comes from being nicer to yourself is making space in your life to take care of yourself. At its essence this is being selfish – and yes – I still think that’s a good thing. Thinking of yourself is important. Taking care of yourself is important. Being selfish is important.

As with almost everything in life, it’s about balance.

People who spend too much time just thinking of themselves can be even more self-destructive than those who never do.

So how much Selfish is good?

Honestly – that depends on you. It depends on those around you. It depends on what you are trying to achieve.

My challenge to you today is to ask yourself 3 questions….

‘Am I being selfish enough?’

‘Am I being too selfish?’

and finally ‘What am I going to do about it?’

Wishing you all balance and harmony, go and have a great day 🙂

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Do your best

Have you ever done your best?

Have you ever tried as hard as you possibly can?

Have you done all of the preparation work that you possibly could?

Have you trained as hard as you could have?

Have you reread and rewritten your work enough?

Have you been focussed enough?

Have you tried every possible way to get it done?

Have you sought professional help or expertise?

Have you eliminated distractions?

Have you avoided all temptation?

Have you given it everything you’ve got?

Chances are that the answer is a big fat NO.

That’s OK.

(almost everyone else will say no to that too)

Stop beating yourself up. Accept that your not perfect and be a little nicer to yourself

There are, of course, exceptions – maybe you’re one of them – and if you are – Well Done.

I’m very impressed and all that but seriously – get a life!

Smile, relax, have fun, eat a cake, daydream, watch silly TV, make up stories in your head – it’s all really cool stuff 🙂

So maybe do your best, but then again, maybe don’t.

Try to be happy…

…but don’t try too hard!

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