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THE FEAR FACTOR

The fear factor

The Dalai Lama once said, “If you have fear of some pain or suffering, you should examine whether there is anything you can do about it. If you can, there is no need to worry about it; if you cannot do anything, then there is also no need to worry.”

Letting go of fear can be the greatest challenge to overcoming fear. Sometimes we hold on to something thinking it empowers us; however, holding on only weakens us. Letting go of our fears allows us to focus more on the present moment and less on the fear itself.

Below are 10 techniques that can help with overcoming fear

  1. Reading a book can help and be motivational and provide inspiration.
  2. Action Fears are created by imagination which can make reality seem scarier than it is. When you act upon and face your fears, they can weaken remember the HeadGym blog on using your comfort zone. (no 3 Above)
  3. Watching a film or YouTube video can be as useful as reading a book to help with inspiration, motivation or learning new techniques or strategies for overcoming fear.
  4. When fear strikes, turn it around. Instead of thinking of something bad that can happen, think of something positive happening. imagine yourself being successful for example.
  5. Remember our brain will tend to focus the negative, consider all the options, you can often realise that you’re making a big deal out of nothing.
  6. Be kind to others. If you focus on helping people every now and then it may help with being self-conscious and make you feel good as well as the other person, it’s a win-win.
  7. Consider the challenges and fears your life, you may see that often, they have delivered a valuable learning that you needed.
  8. Mirror neurons. If you can find someone who had the fear you have but managed to overcome it. Contact them and find out how they did it, it could work for you. You may be able to find somebody who has written a book or made videos on the subject that you could access.
  9. Failure = learning Failure is not the end of the world failure is just a stepping stone to success and most of our fears are fear of failure.
  10. Focus Create a visualisation of yourself at the end of what it is you are fearful of (see yourself at the end of the task don’t focus on the details get a picture of you being ok with a smile on your face perhaps putting your feet up and relaxing) and use the visualisation when you start to feel fearful. More details and in-depth visualisation strategies can be gained at HeadGym’s webinars.

IT’S NOT ROCKET SCIENCE

Neuroplasticity: “It’s not rocket science” part 1

HeadGym Neuroplasticity explained

Mental activity strengthens the neural pathways in your brain that are linked to what you focus on with your thoughts and feelings. Focus on happiness with your thoughts and feelings, you strengthen happiness pathways. If you focus on stress with your thoughts and feelings, you strengthen stress pathways. Every thought you think and feeling you feel, strengthens your neural pathways. Neural pathways are the basis of your habits of thinking, feeling, and acting. They are what you believe is true and why you do what you do in areas such as relationships, food, money, career, health, and happiness.

Focus & Feelings

Mental activity strengthens the neural pathways in your brain that are linked to what you focus on with your thoughts and feelings. Focus on happiness with your thoughts and feelings, you strengthen happiness pathways. If you focus on stress with your thoughts and feelings, you strengthen stress pathways. Every thought you think and feeling you feel, strengthens your neural pathways. Neural pathways are the basis of your habits of thinking, feeling, and acting. They are what you believe is true and why you do what you do in areas such as relationships, food, money, career, health, and happiness.

Tips for rewiring

  • Awareness: “neurons that fire together, wire together,” direct your attention is a simple way to shape the brain over time. Spend a lot of time thinking about negative things and criticism your mind will react emotionally with anxiety and negative moods. Focus on positive things around you at the moment and practice gratitude as in our previous blog the mind will become calm and peaceful, be mindful of what you focus on.
  • Focus on the Good:  Our brain has a preference for the negative it will look for bad news then can become fixed on this, spin different scenarios and overreact. Capture the positive experiences in your awareness and hold them for at least 30 seconds. Take notice of the positive by writing them down or practicing gratitude be deliberate and let them filter into your brain.
  • Compassion:  Self-compassion will build your resilience and self-worth. We will have difficulty in connecting to others if we have no love and connection to ourselves. Build self-compassion by supporting yourself tell yourself “I AM ENOUGH” If you feel hurt by a situation or another person validate rather than deny your feelings, move on and work out how you can address it.
  • Relaxation:   There are both physical, mental and neural consequences to stress.  It can affect our immune and other systems the increase of the stress hormone cortisol creates a vicious cycle between the mind, the nervous system, and behavior. Practice meditation and mindfulness, see our previous blogs for more strategies for relaxation.

THE GRATITUDE ATTITUDE

Get the gratitude attitude

Most of us are thankful for what we have in our lives. We may have families we love, jobs that help us provide, good health, friends etc, but gratitude isn’t just listing all we have every night before we go to bed. It’s a mindset It is a real and true acknowledgment that our lives are blessed by what and who we have in our lives. A true understanding that we would not be as happy as we are now if we didn’t have those blessings.

We create what we focus on.

When we are truly grateful for what we have in our lives, and we take time to appreciate them, we automatically begin to draw more.

Gratitude may not be so simple and may be hard to grasp depending on your situation you could be experiencing some hard life challenges if you have just lost a job, or a loved one or have financial problems perhaps experiencing depression. It’s hard to feel grateful during these moments.

Not everything in our lives will be the way we want it, but some things are and the things that aren’t will improve having faith will affirm that. Healing will come as we go through the grieving process for our loved ones. Financial struggles will come and go. Depression and sadness can be overcome

Be thankful for the ways in which you touch the lives of those around you. Some of which you may not be aware of but know that they exist.

Reflect on the good things every day let yourself feel the good and love surrounding you. Tell your family what they mean to you and be thankful for having them in your life.

 Tips for getting the gratitude attitude

  1. Be generous. Make this a way of life this can affect those around you and the wider population the knock-on effect will be that you become happier.
  2. Appreciate. Be thankful for your situation in life, don’t be a victim.
  3. Be mindful. Appreciate the present and be mindful of the moment.
  4. Have a gratitude list. Express thankfulness on a weekly basis and build a list this will help you be aware of how lucky you are.
  5. Make gratitude a way of life. The more you can express how grateful you are, the happier you will be. This also attracts more positive things into your life
  6. Set an example. This is a great way to give back to others who can follow your lead especially family and children.
  7. Give. Giving your time is the best way to give back and feels good at the same time, volunteering and helping others can be rewarding and will help with your gratitude attitude.

10 TIPS FOR WELLBEING

 

In our busy lives, we are constantly challenged by the day to day tasks and duties that we complete just to survive. As well as the duties we have there are work commitments, social events, kids clubs and so on here are 10 tips to help you keep a healthy balance with body and mind.

 

 

 

 

  1. Step by Step

Do one step at a time you may find that you become more efficient, this will help in cutting down the stress don’t multi-task.

  1. Slowly but surely

Make your actions deliberate, not rushed and random focus on the task in hand and take note of the results.

  1. Organise

Manage your to-do list whether you have small jobs or a big project that could affect your life in the long term.

  1. Be mindful

Get away from everything to clear your head. Turn off your phone and TV, breathe and let your thoughts gather. This will give you a clear head when you start another task.

  1. Eat Healthily

As covered in previous blogs your diet can have a huge impact on the way you feel create dietary awareness as a way of life. You can treat yourself from time to time, in small doses!

  1. Use relaxation techniques to encourage mindfulness

Practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, rhythmic exercise, and yoga.

  1. Capture moments

Remember the sights, the smells, the sounds, and the feelings. Look back on previous positive memories to appreciate how you’ve got to where you are today. Practice using the HeadGym REBOOT technique

  1. Listen and be present

Focus on really listening to the person you’re talking to, you’ll notice you’ll spend a lot more time enjoying yourself and other people’s company.

  1. Stop forecasting the future

Spend time appreciating and enjoying the present moment.

  1. Put yourself first

We are so used to putting others first especially with such busy lives and when we have children to consider, however constantly putting yourself last can impact negatively on you and those around you. Look after yourself first and you will be at your best for those around you.

Mood food

Mood food

  1. Cut out processed foods and highly refined carbohydrates– Processed foods are basically foods in a packet with a range of names and ingredients that we don’t recognise and can’t pronounce. Highly refined carbohydrates are foods like breakfast cereals and processed bread. These turn to sugar in the body very quickly and can have a detrimental effect on your mood.
  2. Cut your sugar intake– Adding sugar to food can have a negative effect on your mood. A great deal of our sugar intake comes from drinks, both soft drinks and not so healthy options such as fruit juices. Cutting out sugar can be hard to start with but within weeks our taste buds start to change. Try sticking to plain water or infuse water with fruit or decaffeinated tea and coffee.
  3. Increase healthy natural fats– Stabilise your blood sugar by eating more eggs, avocados, olives, nuts and seeds.
  4. Eat more veg and pulses–by eating more green vegetables, broccoli, asparagus, and kale, for example, chia seeds, flax seeds, nuts,  lentils and other pulses. One of the best non-animal sources of Omega-3 fats is seaweed sounds scary but you don’t know until you try!
  5. Eat more prebiotic fibre– There millions of bugs that live in your gut. The health and composition of these bugs play a critical role in how you feel. The best way to increase them is to eat more plant fibre. Best sources are leeks, onions, garlic, artichokes and cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower.

The most profitable investment is the one you’re making to your own health. Do not miss your chance to get stronger, healthier, self-confident and tons of positive energy! Sign up to the Headgym to build yourself esteem!

Men and mental health the stigma

Men and mental health the stigma

HeadGym have worked with many men who have found it difficult to talk about mental health below are the results of a study conducted by Priory healthcare which show some interesting results

In 2015 Priory (Priory healthcare) commissioned a survey of 1,000 men to look at men’s attitudes towards their own mental health.

  • 77% of men polled have suffered from anxiety/stress/depression 
  • The biggest pressures in men’s lives are work (32%), finance (31%) and health (23%)
  • Majority of men claim their mental health is having a negative impact on their work performance, parenting ability and relationships in particular
  • 40% of men polled said it would take thoughts of suicide or self-harm to compel them to seek professional help

Men’s preferred confidant

The results showed that 66% would share their feelings with their partner above anyone else.

The reasons men don’t talk about their mental health:

  • ‘I’ve learnt to deal with it’ (40%) 
  • ‘I don’t wish to be a burden to anyone’ (36%)
  • ‘I’m too embarrassed’ (29%)
  • ‘There’s a negative stigma around this type of thing’ (20%)
  • ‘I don’t want to admit I need support’ (17%)
  • ‘I don’t want to appear weak’ (16%)
  • ‘I have no one to talk to’ (14%)

Almost one quarter (22%) of respondents said they would not feel comfortable even speaking to a GP or any other professional; the main reason is is that they worry it will waste their GP’s time.

It is interesting that the survey identified that men worry about wasting their GP’s time with these sorts of problems. It does need to be made clear that depression and anxiety are perfectly legitimate reasons to seek medical care, after all, GPs spend about 30% of their time dealing with psychological issues”.

Work-related stress and financial concerns

Respondents were asked about the biggest causes of pressure in their life.  Work-related pressure came top of the list at 32%. This was followed closely by financial pressures at 31% and health concerns at 23%.

A more seasonal pressure felt predominantly by men aged 35-44 years of age, is the pending cost of Christmas – also a more popular concern felt by those living in London.

The survey highlighted that for 40% of men it would take thoughts of suicide or self-harm to compel them to seek professional help.

Encouragingly, 60% of men polled have shared their feelings of anxiety with someone at some point. Based on the 77% who admit to suffering mental health issues, however, there remain a number of men living in the UK who feel unable to speak to a friend or professional about potentially serious symptoms.

If you would like to talk with somebody in confidence contact us or join our community at 

The most profitable investment is the one you’re making to your own health. Do not miss your chance to get stronger, healthier, self-confident and tons of positive energy! Sign up to the Headgym to build yourself esteem!

Using the 5 ways to wellbeing to maintain good mental health.

Using the 5 ways to wellbeing to maintain good mental health.

When you are not feeling at your best these are often the opposite of what you feel like doing if you can create a routine that incorporates all 5 you stand a far better chance of maintaining good mental health.

1) Get active

Evidence shows that physical activity can have a positive impact on mental health. You don’t need to be a gym member or an athlete. Getting active can be as simple as going for a walk this can be enough to have a significant impact on your health.

And if you can take a walk through the local park, even better: research shows positive impacts of nature on physical and mental wellbeing.

2) Stay connected

We are designed to connect with others and engage with people, working with others and strengthening relationships with family, friends and the community has been shown to have a real impact on your emotional health. The Mental Health Foundation found that people with strong social support networks have greater mental and physical well-being than those that don’t. You can even combine your exercise routine with spending time with others. We feel happier and more fulfilled when we have meaningful connections in our lives, and it doesn’t take much to build them; contacting a friend to ask about their day can be enough to lift your sense of connection and wellbeing – and will mean a lot to them, too.

3) Keep learning

Research shows that lifelong learning boosts confidence and self-esteem. Access to learning couldn’t be easier with free online courses and YouTube, it’s never been easier to learn a new skill. The local library will have free books, audiobooks and information about courses as will your local college and community groups.Or why not make it a social event? Turning your hand to learning a new skill is a great way to challenge yourself and stay connected.

4) Be mindful

The practice of tuning in to the present moment is a proven tool for improving mental health and wellbeing, and it’s easy to give it a go yourself.

Try taking a few minutes a day when you wake up, on your lunch break sit quietly, and allow yourself to simply become aware of the present moment and your thoughts and feelings. If you have a hectic lifestyle and this seems daunting you can access free mindfulness apps or videos on YouTube.

 

5) Give to others

Evidence shows that volunteering results in increased wellbeing, the feeling of satisfaction of having helped someone out can give you a real boost.

Volunteering opportunities within your community can be found through libraries, charities and community groups

If you can’t make a regular commitment to volunteering, there are other things you can do each day that can make a real difference, for example, helping someone with their shopping, giving directions to a lost stranger or offering to help in small ways can be surprising at just how good it feels.

A little effort can make a huge difference. Step by step changes will add up to make you feel mentally stronger and lessen the likelihood of low mood. Give this a go practice these five steps and see how it feels?

 Join our community and receive advice and tips on wellbeing and more….

The most profitable investment is the one you’re making to your own health. Do not miss your chance to get stronger, healthier, self-confident and tons of positive energy! Sign up to the Headgym to build yourself esteem!

Dealing with stress

Dealing with stress

We all get stressed at times.

The causes of stress are countless and there are as many ways to deal with it. To make things a bit easier we put together 10 simple ways to manage stress.

  • Friendships Talk to your friends about what’s stressing you out – it might be helpful. Going out and having a laugh might take your mind off things for a while.
  • Exercise Exercise of any kind can be a good way to relieve stress. Getting rid of excess energy can leave you calmer and might even give you a better night’s sleep.
  • Set  goals Whether it’s for study, work or just dealing with everyday life setting achievable goals can help you to manage stress. Working out priorities and then moving through short and long-term goals can help you to keep a sense of perspectiveHeadGym goals strategy can be a great way to do this.
  • Give yourself options There’s never just one way of achieving goals. Whatever you’re planning be it travel, study or work, try considering other directions. You might be surprised with what you find and achieve. Goals don’t need to be set in stone they can and will change, make them flexible.
  • Mind your thoughts Your thoughts and attitude influence the way you see things. Some positive self-talk can be invaluable in helping you to sort out a stressful situation. Create a mantra or affirmation that you can use to say to yourself in times of stress.
  • Avoid stimulants Smoking, caffeine and alcohol can seem like good options for short-term stress release. But over time they can make you more stressed out, so minimising or better still not at all can help keep stress at bay.
  • Talk to somebody If you are finding it hard to manage your stress alone it can be useful to talk to someone else. Parents, teachers or therapists could be an option.
  • Breathe This is the one we’ve all heard of to help us de-stress, but deep breathing shouldn’t be underestimated. It can help to relax the body and mind, and if you’ve something important to do it can help you to focus.
  • Meditation Meditation can be very beneficial and not as daunting as you may think, it has been proven that meditation can reduce stress and actually can make permanent changes in the brain to help us become less stressed in the long term. Start with something simple try the 1-moment meditation How to meditate in a moment 
  • HeadGym REBOOT technique Use the HeadGym visualisation technique throughout the day don’t wait until you are feeling stressed create a habit.  REBOOT

Visualisation is a powerful tool that we can all use and with a little practice, it can be a real gamechanger. Watch the HeadGym short video series which explains how and why it works and how to use the skills you already have to create the changes. HeadGym videos

Join our community and receive advice and tips on dealing with stress and more….

The most profitable investment is the one you’re making to your own health. Do not miss your chance to get stronger, healthier, self-confident and tons of positive energy! Sign up to the Headgym to build yourself esteem!

The anxiety trap

The anxiety trap

Can I get better?

Jane was 28 years old and had experienced poor mental health since the age of 13 after 2 family bereavements, one being through suicide. She explained that she was in a constant state of anxiety and had severe physical stomach problems. Jane had been back and forth to doctors and hospitals to find the cause of her physical pain. She was in a long-term relationship and had a 3-year-old son. Jane spent most days at home rarely went out and on the occasion, she did she always had her partner or close family with her. She wanted to feel better and had received counselling before I met her. The counselling had been unsuccessful she told me that she didn’t feel any better perhaps “a little worse”

Anxiety can present itself in many ways, a twisting in the gut; heart pounding; hot sweats; headaches; panic attacks; sickness and much more. Jane experienced a variety of these symptoms most of the time and had done for the previous 15 years.

I know from personal experience how debilitating anxiety can be how it can knot you up and stop you in your tracks the overwhelming feelings take over and your floored. I have learned how to take control and no longer let anxiety dominate and rule my life I have also helped hundreds of people to be able to do so.

I spent around 6 months helping Jane showing her some of the techniques my clients and I use and she managed to break out of the anxiety trap. She moved on to improve her relationship, started work her physical symptoms ceased and her social life improved in fact she is rarely in.

Jane is a true example of how we can get out of the trap and begin to live a more fulfilled and happy life after so many years of feeling there was no way out she did it and reaped the rewards.

Join our community and receive advice and tips on how to get out of the anxiety trap and more….

The most profitable investment is the one you’re making to your own health. Do not miss your chance to get stronger, healthier, self-confident and tons of positive energy! Sign up to the Headgym to build yourself esteem!

When you’re in the fog

When you’re in the fog

Depression

Mike had attempted to take his life the weekend before I met him, he was “beaten down”, felt stuck and in a constant dark cloud; nothing seemed to work out for him and everything just went wrong. He felt like he was trapped in a “hamsters wheel” with no way out and no control. The fog had crept up on him and taken over.

I know from experience how we may feel stuck, overwhelmed, worthless and helpless, trapped in a negative wheel where every day feels the same and we just can’t seem to shake it. There seems to be no end in sight, no release or let up.

Something awful may have happened, a crisis or traumatic event but sometimes there is nothing, no reason, no event or trigger we can put our finger on or blame; the fog just takes over.

It may feel like a cloud descends with no warning and no apparent reason. It can linger for what seems like an eternity or pass as quickly as it came only to return whenever it feels.

It may take us down even further, a little at a time or knock us off our feet with one swift blow.

We shut the curtains, ignore the phone, don’t go out, phone in sick and stay in bed hoping this will go away but it doesn’t, it grows and gets worse and we can’t see a way out. Maybe we get so low we reach out and ask for help, but nobody seems to understand. The never-ending wheel continues, and the fog gets darker.

It can go on for so long that we get used to it and start to accept that this is how we feel, getting out of the fog seems impossible, even frightening. We may start to think that is our only option our destiny, this is where we belong, and we deserve to stay.

We have become comfortably uncomfortable stuck in a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Doing anything outside our discomfort feels frightening and not worth the risk of getting worse and at least we know where we are. Getting out of the fog seems like a million miles away; we can’t even remember what it feels like to be out.

It’s hard to believe that there may be a way out when everything seems to be against us and there is no end in sight.

With a few tools Mike was able to get out of the fog and start living, he stepped off the “hamsters wheel” and out of his discomfort. Mike is now moving forward step by step and feeling better the fog has cleared and there is light ahead. There are hurdles along the way, ups and downs “bad things still happen” but he is well equipped to deal with them and no longer descends into a dark cloud.

Mike has noticed that things are different, he is smiling and feeling happier, his family are happier and things feel like they are on the up.

There is light, it may seem far away but if we take it a step at a time we can clear the fog and move on.

Join our community and receive advice and tips on how to clear the fog and more….

The most profitable investment is the one you’re making to your own health. Do not miss your chance to get stronger, healthier, self-confident and tons of positive energy! Sign up to the Headgym to build yourself esteem!