Anxiety, Stress and Depression – the Modern Day Illness

I’m just back from further training and development on these increasingly growing conditions affecting so many people. These are also the areas I have come to specialise in. Emotional health impacts you physically and mentally. Healing emotions is an essential step on the path of personal evolution. In this month’s blog we explore these big three, how they link together and what we can do about it.

Stress can be Good for You

That state of heightened alertness can be helpful for optimum performance at running a race or doing well in an interview or exam. Stress is both necessary and good. Adrenaline gives us a boost and then we return to normal. If we have experienced stress, we have to ensure that we restore the balance again. If we have stress for too long, it becomes anxiety. Extended unresolved stress can lead to depression.

Stress is not a problem when it comes from outside. Stress becomes a problem when it comes from inside. We all see things differently. We don’t see things as they are – we see things as we are. It’s not the situation that’s the problem – it’s the way we think about it.

What Causes Stress? 

Stress can be caused by change, work pressure, family pressure, unemployment or fear of job loss, loss of a loved one, relationship issues, time demands by others, financial concerns, lack of confidence, low self-esteem and even boredom. 

General lifestyle issues can also impact our mood and stress levels. Lifestyle examples are poor diet, too much caffeine, too much sugar, E-numbers (food additives and preservatives), Aspartame (artificial sweeteners in general), excessive alcohol, smoking/drugs, lack of exercise, no time to rest and relax, lack of sleep and medication with its many side effects.

Prolonged stress can affect the immune system and cause conditions such as Irritable Bowl Syndrome (IBS), Fibromyalgia, fatigue, weight problems, irritability, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and panic attacks.

What is a Panic Attack? 

When stress is not relieved, the stress hormones can build up in the system over time, leading to a panic attack. Relaxation is key and so is dealing with the emotion on the issue that causes the stress. 

The Gut-Brain Connection

Surprisingly, there’s a strong link between gut health and mental health. Healthy gut flora (gut bacteria) is key to mental health. Gut flora can be damaged by antibiotics, aspartame, non-organic meat of animals raised in confined spaces, highly processed foods and E-numbers. 

Poor gut flora has been linked to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Attention Deficit Hyper Activity Disorder, Autism, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Anxiety.  

Healthy Nutrition 

A good balanced diet is essential for: 

  • Energy 
  • Healing 
  • Stress management 
  • General well-being 
  • Efficient immune system.

If you want things in your life to change, you have to change things in your life. 

What Can you Do? 

  • Cut out or reduce caffeine
  • Cut out or reduce sugar – including artificial sweeteners
  • Reduce salt intake
  • Cut out junk food, fizzy and sweet drinks and food with E-numbers
  • Establish a good balanced diet of fresh unprocessed food
  • Reduce or cut out fatty foods
  • Reduce alcohol
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Stop smoking.

What about Anxiety?

There are many anxiety relieving techniques that you can practice yourself:

  • Distraction – plan pleasant activities 
  • Challenge negative thoughts 
  • Regular relaxation 
  • Breathing exercises
  • Be present in the moment – get your thoughts out of the future and the past
  • Express your feelings to get emotions such as anger out of your system in a healthy way
  • Set yourself small easily achievable goals 
  • Slow down
  • Regular exercise.

Benefits of exercise: 

  • Works the stress hormones out of your system
  • Reverses the detrimental effects of stress 
  • Lifts depression 
  • Builds self-esteem and confidence 
  • Improves body image and confidence 
  • Leaves you feeling euphoric. 

Types of light exercise that’s easy and good for you 

  • Pilates 
  • Yoga 
  • T’ai chi 
  • Swimming 
  • Walking 
  • Cycling.

What else can you do right now?

  • Listening to meditations 
  • Breathing exercises – a deeper in-breath and a longer out-breath 
  • Positive Self-talk 
  • Practice Self-hypnosis – Peripheral Vision, to relax the nervous system
  • Have some Positive Affirmations that you repeat to yourself, such as “I know I can do it” and “everything will work out well”
  • Ensure you give yourself some Me Time 
  • Get sufficient sleep
  • Practice Mindfulness 
  • Practice Gratitude.

Further Resources:

Transformational Therapies

It’s always best to get to the root cause and resolve issues for good. Time Line Therapy™ is the most powerful way to heal and release all negative emotions and baggage from the past – anger, sadness, fear, depression and anxiety. We can also let go of self-doubt and limiting beliefs that keep you from feeling confident and reaching your highest potential, and develop empowering beliefs and natural confidence instead. Time Line Therapy™ is unique in its approach and resolves issues remarkably quickly without having to go into a lot of details. For more information click on this link: Time Line Therapy™.

Further Reading

The 4 Pillar Plan by Dr Rangan Chatterjee

Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride

 

7 Key Practices to Restoring Balance

One of my key life lessons certainly is finding balance. As I work and interact with people, it becomes progressively clearer that more and more people feel over-stretched and stressed with ever-increasing work pressure and demands on their time. Their lives feel out of balance. They too want to find balance and keep hoping that something will change. What do we mean by finding balance? Some may think of ‘the balancing act to get things done’, or the ‘balancing act of spinning all those plates’ or ‘work-life balance’ or ‘all in good balance’. However, it’s more than that. So how do we really find balance and why is it important?

Here I share 7 key practices to find the balance point; the point of liberation and transformation into a new way of being, that I hope will inspire you to bring more balance into your own life.

7 Key Practices to Restoring Balance

Balancing:
1. Doing with Being

The classic Yin Yang balance; balancing action, activity and business with rest, recuperation, sleep and nurturing. This is where we often get things out of balance, work pressure and family responsibilities being the main culprits. All this doing need to be balanced with just being – enjoying life. Meditation as a regular practice can be a trusted friend here. Meditation is a treat, not a chore – a practice of non-doing, of un-doing, of just being – a practice aimed at restoring balance.

2. Giving with Receiving

Why does it seem easier to give than to receive? Could you allow yourself to receive? Receiving without an ‘Ah you shouldn’t have’. Receiving graciously with just a ‘Thank you’, allowing others the pleasure to do something for you. Balancing the give-and-take in relationships, between what’s good for us personally and what’s good for the needs of those people we care about is an essential fine art and you owe it to yourself.

3. Others with Self

Many of us have been raised with the idea to put other people first. It’s a misconception that is misunderstood and mispracticed. When you feel duty-bound to do more for others, or want to please others at the expense of yourself, you can create energetic imbalances which can leave you feeling resentful and drained. No one is more important than anyone else. We are all equal in value. Caroline Myss, in her discussion of healthy self-esteem, refers to two spiritual laws: ‘honouring one another’ and ‘honour oneself’. These two laws are equal in importance and we are to balance how we practice and apply them. Through the practice of balance, we assert healthy boundaries.

4. The Past and Future with the Present Moment

We create anxiety and stress through fear-based thoughts – regretting past events and thinking too far ahead, anticipating undesired outcomes. When we come into the present moment, release takes place. Here nothing needs to be achieved or controlled. The present moment is completely free from stress. Here we can open up to the joy of life. In the present, you can just be and create.

5. Planning with Flowing

Planning serves its purpose. It’s good to plan your day and scan your week ahead. Set your intentions and then let go of the importance of it. It’s a strange paradox, yet it keeps any self-investment out of it. Set your aim and then flow with the river of life. As much as we may want to pursue our own agendas, and sometimes it’s very important to do so, equally if we stay mindful of the bigger picture this can help us to find good balance. Flowing opens us up to our inner guidance and life’s surprising synchronicity through which things fall in place in magical ways.

6. Head with Heart

Practically all inner conflict is a conflict between the head and heart; being in two minds about what to do and what’s important to us. Too often we overthink things whilst dismissing that wise intuitive inner voice only to regret it later. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? So the ultimate balancing act is balancing the logical thinking head with the intuitive heart; the analytical conscious mind with the creative emotional unconscious mind; the controlling ego self with the comfortable and ever-expansive true self. This integration brings the mind into oneness, wholeness and peace. Then the mind can work together in harmony and balance. This is true healing; the healing that brings transformation and enlightenment.

7. Heaven with Earth

There are 7 main energy centres or Chakras in the body, each has its unique nature and qualities. The bottom three Chakras are more Yin, feminine and earthly and are about our physical and emotional health. The top three Chakras are more Yang, masculine and heavenly; being about the mind, the higher mind and our spirit. The heart Chakra is the midway point, the natural place of balance and harmony. The heart connects and unites heaven and earth in the body. The heart is the gateway. When we slip into this balance-point and reside more in the heart, a gateway opens; a gateway to a more magical life where things flow and work out miraculously and you are liberated to evolve more into your expansive, magnificent and infinitely creative true self.

Resources

Guided Meditation:  Meditation to Shift into the Heart
Guided Meditation: Chakra Balancing Meditation 
The Book: Lifting the Veils of Illusion, 7 Steps to Spiritual Enlightenment