Monthly Archive: April 2018

Should we be looking to the Orient to utilise more of their alternative health systems?

chinese herbs table manuscript 900 - Should we be looking to the Orient to utilise more of their alternative health systems?

We’ve already taken it upon ourselves in the Western world to adopt a selection of the Traditional Chinese Medicine therapies and exercises but should we be taking things further by utilising those left that we’re still yet to grasp with both hands?

Adoption into Western culture

It wasn’t until the 1970s that Eastern practices which were said to aid both mental and physical health started to gain popularity in Western culture and were brought under scrutiny to research their effects. The advantages of practicing meditation, yoga, acupuncture and Tai Chi became more mainstream to a point where they are now synonymous with relaxation and positive mental health. Other counterparts from the same holistic system of cupping and coining, herbal medicines and moxibustion to name a selection of the others have yet to be embraced with the same enthusiasm.

A complete holistic health care system

Traditional Chinese Medicine is outlined as a completely natural holistic health care system that has been in use for over two thousand years.

It is said to consider all aspects of a patient’s lifestyle as opposed to treating a specific ailment or symptom and is believed to do this by stimulating the body’s own natural healing to encourage better health and minimise disease.

This is achieved via the body’s network of meridians where its ‘vital energy’ or Qi connects and stimulates the major organs, so that working on specific paths will help in curing the problems relating to each of them. We have readily accepted the use of acupuncture, which works on those very same meridians and is said to regulate the Qi (or chi) and has been shown to greatly reduce chronic pain from a variety of health problems.

The sum of their parts

Designed to work alongside each other as a complete package are we therefore missing a trick by only employing the techniques we’ve so far managed to accept as useful? The complete system after all is supposed to analyse the patient’s lifestyle and environment, manage their stresses and emotional well being, while also improving their physical existence by way of nutritional diet and regular exercise. So why have we accepted some sections and not others if they’re supposed to work as a complete plan?

Elements more and less accepted

Acupuncture

A method of regulating Qi by inserting fine needles into the skin along the body’s meridian pathways. This method is now acknowledged to combat pain, stress and also improve hormonal balance. It is used to treat such pain as migraine and headache, digestion issues of nausea and vomiting, emotional disorders of anxiety and depression, and also in degenerative diseases and rehabilitation such as arthritis and in personal injury.

Cupping

Recently making more of an impact into popular culture due to its promotion by celebrities such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Justin Bieber and Victoria Beckham, each of these has been seen sporting the small round welts where blood has been pulled up through the skin from the placement of air-tight cups, designed to remove harmful toxins by promoting an increased blood flow to energy points on the body. With similar suggested benefits to acupuncture as pain management, improved immunity, and better digestion should we be seeing more of this method being performed alongside its acupuncture associate?

Aromatherapy

These oils aren’t used solely in stress management of psychological issues. Through inhalation or passing through the skin via massage these essential oils not only provide a pleasant smell but can also provide respiratory disinfection and work as a decongestant. The molecules from the oils are passed through the lungs to other parts of the body. On reaching the brain they are active in our limbic system that controls emotion, heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory and stress. This may have a simple and subtle effect on our body but one we have accepted as a positive action nonetheless.

Chinese herbal medicines

As one of the major parts in Traditional Chinese Medicine the herbal medicines are overlooked in Western culture. Perhaps because of the way a herbalist decides which of the vast array of herbs will make up your own personal assortment to best aid your well-being and heal your specific malady? It may come across as a bit of a dark art, one we still look upon it as something not to be taken too seriously, yet is it too far removed from our own health practitioners picking other mixtures of ingredients from a pharmacy or supermarket shelf we’ve been taught to trust will have the desired outcome?

Combining each of its parts for the greatest benefits

Nutrition

The system is best utilised when combined as a full health package. We should be feeding our nutrition needs by incorporating this system’s diet outlined to regulate detoxification, improve energy levels and prevent deficiencies. We should understand the importance of diet already; sadly it’s a part of our culture we so often get incredibly wrong, with obesity becoming a national problem, especially amongst our children. Perhaps this is an area where we should be listening harder?

Exercise

Yoga and meditation are more universally accepted than the Chinese counterpart of Tai Chi (or Qi Gong) although each work within similar methods of concentration, flexibility and strength through posture and movement. We understand the benefits of general exercise but the manner in which Chinese exercise works and how it develops strength and flexibility through fluid motion means that it doesn’t strain or stress the body giving it a much healthier and low risk way to achieve results.

Massage

Soft tissue massage will stimulate blood flow and increase healthy circulation. Both acupuncture and acupressure will add to the balance and restructuring of your meridians or energy lines. Each of these physical manipulations is set to bring about better natural resistance to illness and disease.

Herbal medicine and moxibustion

The historical use of these natural ingredients whether induced by mouth, airways or through the skin, have been a huge part of the Chinese holistic system for thousands of years. These additional methods that once again are encouraged to add to and improve the body’s existing healing systems have been accepted and utilised by Eastern culture could have an impact on our own approaches if we readily accept them as part of the whole instead of just one small part.

The benefits

It is suggested that by accepting the full system and living by the ways promoted in Chinese culture we can stand to reduce chronic pain, alleviate headaches, balance hormonal problems, improve fertility, enhance the health of each of our major organs, promote and protect our cognitive health, lower our levels of physical and mental stress, and increase our muscle strength, flexibility and balance.

It all sounds incredibly beneficial and with the peace of mind knowing that all the ingredients to the system are natural and organic, when we’re looking for a rounded and wholesome way to achieve a better state of good health, this is surely a system we could do well to consider.

Superfoods – fact or fiction?

20 Slimming Superfoods 1240x820 - Superfoods – fact or fiction?

It’s fact. And it’s fiction. And it’s also sat somewhere in the middle.

Let me explain.

All unprocessed foods are valuable to your body’s health. That’s the somewhere in the middle bit. Some foods however, are so packed with the essential vitamins or the fats and proteins we need to absorb easier them that they perform much higher than other foods that don’t. Super.

The fiction element of the argument is that by eating just these superfoods, merely labelled as such by cunning marketeers, is that they’ll have incredible properties and offer amazing results. It’s purely a marketing tactic to encourage you to buy those products producers want to sell.

There is no single food that will fly into a burning building and rescue victims trapped in the fire, and by the same standards there is no single food that will prevent cancer, reduce your blood pressure, or soak up the free radicals that damage our cells.

So what’s the answer?

The answer clear and simple is the same as it always has been.

Balance.

Eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly, don’t put your body under too much strain but put it under just enough to keep it performing at the rate it requires to keep it performing at its best.

Back to the foods

So what does your balanced diet look like?

If you want to remember that none of the so-called superfoods will remove the risk or damage done by eating the foods that aren’t part of your healthy diet then that’s a good place to start. It’s a cruel world that the foods we crave the most, the ones that seem the most unhealthy, (go on, think about it, the high in fat chocolate, the sugar rich creams and alcohol laden wines, beers and whiskey, ice cream, donuts, burgers and chips…) then those are the ones you should try to avoid or eat in moderation. Nobody expects you to be live like a monk, but if you want to be healthy and look after your body, then you need to really limit your intake of fuels that aren’t very good for you.

Below are a few examples of the so-called superfoods. They’re not magical, but they’re pretty super all the same. The reason being is that they perform above and beyond a normal food type. Every food will contain an amount of some vitamin or mineral that your body needs to function. Some have tiny amounts of those ingredients and some, our so-called superfoods, have them in abundance. Putting together your balanced diet then, it would make sense to choose foods that not only provide you a full range of everything your body needs to function to it’s peak performance but to do it efficiently we should choose the ingredients where we hit our daily recommendations without having to overdo the eating.

Five-a-day?

This phrase has been banded about forever and for good reason. Five different types of fruit or vegetables will pretty much go a long way to providing the nutrients we need. It’s a good start. To make our job of deciding which we should eat a little easier here’s are a few suggestions not limited to fruit and vegetables but are in the list of ‘superfoods’ and why they’re such key players.

Almonds

Ok, nuts are full of fat. Bad right? Not necessarily. Almonds provide the richest source of calcium of all nuts and have an incredibly high level of Vitamin E. They’re full of protein and vegan friendly. Just keep an eye on how many you eat. Fat is still fat and those calories need a limit too.

Avocado

Full of monounsaturated fats (a good fat – one to help your body absorb Vitamins A, D, E and K) that helps protect your cardiovascular system. But be careful, one avocado contains as many calories as a Mars bar, and we know what too many Mars bars will do to your figure…

Brocolli

What? Broccoli isn’t super? It’s just, well, broccoli! As we’ve said, the superfood marketing boom concentrated on the things that the producers wanted to sell to you at hiked up prices. Our superfoods are ones that perform above and beyond other foods. Broccoli is one of the most nutrient heavy vegetables (or even foods) you’re likely to find. Full of potassium, iron, calcium and fibre and topped off with good doses of Vitamins A, C and K then if you’re not including this hero in your meals already, you really should be. The combination of such elements help to combat aging, strengthen your bones, lower your blood pressure and can help reduce swelling. The antioxidant lutein, also found in broccoli, is known to protect your retina. Another little bonus right there.

Eggs

The old school thought that eggs weren’t healthy, that they were bad for your cholesterol levels, has been overtaken by the fact that we know now that they’re full of protein, essential minerals and vitamins. Eggs provide a source of EVERY vitamin apart from Vitamin C. They are especially high in B12 and K, providing a third of the RDA of K for women.

Kale

Back to one of those foods featured on the hipster friendly marketeers list. Kale is rich in fibre, packed with minerals and vitamins. High in Vitamin A, B6 and C kale is great for your skin, and like its green brother broccoli it also contains that lutein that’s so good for your eyes.

Having said that, don’t buy in too heavy on kale being an extraordinary vegetable. Many of your less glamorous and regular supermarket buys will provide just as many of the benefits and often in larger quantities. Carrots will provide you with more Vitamin A, spinach will provide bigger doses of iron, magnesium and potassium, and good old brussels sprouts will supply more fibre. As we’ve said already, it’s about variety. And balance.

Our body’s sweeter friends

Looking for a way to feel like you’re eating a treat but still promoting good health to your system?

Pomegranate seeds are rich in antioxidants, Vitamins B, C and K, fibre and potassium. Drinking its juice will promote blood flow and lower blood pressure.

Similarly blueberries also contain antioxidants known to absorb free radicals that will damage healthy cells.

Goji berries have been utilised in Chinese medicine for thousands of years and contain Vitamin A (an antioxidant), Vitamin C (also an antioxidant that builds collagen to promote healthy skin), and also iron (aiding the manufacture of blood cells).

And so many more…

The list goes on and on. Beetroot, seaweed, salmon, sweet potato, seeds, cinnamon and pumpkin; all brimming with the things our bodies need. And there are more and more, it’s what makes nutrition such an endless and complicated topic, yet you don’t have to be an expert to make what you eat count for you. We gave you the golden rule right at the beginning. Variety. Eat a good balance of fruit, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds and you’re half way there. Keep an eye on those calories and you’re really on it.

For those of you not sure how to mix them into your daily diet? Don’t despair! Our marketing friends are onto that too. You can find hundreds of recipes in books and online that will guide you through every step of the process; suggesting recipes, food diaries and more to keep you superfood fit. So what are you waiting for? Go eat yourself healthy, but in between those runs in the countryside and long walks by the sea of course!

An introduction to meditation

Meditation Goleman - An introduction to meditation

Modern meditation and mindfulness seem to go together hand in hand in today’s society where positive mental balance and a healthy mind-set are becoming one of our main goals in living up to the current lifestyles we are all striving to achieve. Anxiety and depression have become openly accepted as pitfalls from living in a high-stress world, where the conventionally programmed achievements for what society deems an achievable quality of life are becoming harder and harder to realise.

So meditation has become the buzzword for inner peace and tranquillity yet it all sounds just a little bit too hippy doesn’t it? Well it shouldn’t. Not anymore.

Years before the art became known of and popular within Western culture it was the religions of Asian countries that were using meditation as an integral part of their own practices. Buddhists in China were responsible for teaching their own forms of the practice to Japanese monks who introduced it as their ‘Zen’ state. This all happened back in the 8th Century when at a similar time Jewish practices were introducing their own types of meditation into traditions such as their Kabbalistic practice, Islam introduced chanting their God’s names and breathing control and Eastern Christians were repeating set prayers in meditative postures.

The act of meditation’s appearance throughout Europe or America didn’t happen until the mid-90s where studies and research was carried out into proving the benefits of the practice. Since then it has grown in popularity, gathering momentum as a positive psychological process to help balance our minds and our emotions, to better understand how and why we feel the things we are feeling in order to process them healthily instead of pushing them down and denying their consequences, in turn creating a better mental and physical well-being for a rounded complete health model.

We are taught that good mental health is achievable for all if we exercise and eat properly, if we make friends with our demons, and if we recharge our minds in the ways they need for us to have the best chances of a healthy head and a healthy heart.

But how?

Here’s a simple introduction on how to start practicing meditation and how to develop into a state of practice that can help you in your daily life.

  1. Relax. Sitting or lying down is a great place to start. Turn off all those distractions; turn off the radio, the TV, turn off your phone, and so to start the process create a peaceful and relaxing environment. Relax your limbs. Relax your posture. Relax.
  2. Breathe. And concentrate on your breathing. It doesn’t have to be any different to your normal healthy breathing pattern but be aware of the air entering your body, and then leaving it. Focus on that breathing pattern. Focus on your breathing alone. Use it to remain calm and peaceful.
  3. Be mindful. From this point every one of your everyday thoughts are going to try and invade your mind and interrupt the process. That’s fine. Your mind isn’t used to shutting down. It wants to be useful so it’s bringing things it needs to correct into a place you can do something about them. The difference here is that instead of stewing on them, trying to figure them out in the heat of the moment, you have to accept them for what they are, let them go, and move back to concentrating on your breathing.

That’s it. Well, it’s not completely it but that’s where it all begins. Once you’ve mastered taking control over those interfering thoughts you can begin to understand why your brain won’t let them go when you’re trying to relax. It’s your task then to understand how to process them so you can stop the causes of those thoughts interfering not only with your meditation but also your day-to-day life. It’s about gaining awareness and finding solutions instead of letting them eat at you and making your stresses worse.

Mindfulness

The act of meditation isn’t going to buy you inner peace from the outset. That will come with practice and understanding and what will happen from regular practice is gaining an understanding of how to exist simply in that moment. That will give your mind some calm to recharge, it will give you some time for yourself that doesn’t contain worry, stress or problems, and by looking into the invading thoughts that interfere with your process and asking why your mind doesn’t want to let them go you have an opportunity to understand where they come from, what emotions and feelings are causing them, and to be able to formulate a resolve that will give you the ability to control them and not have them control you.

With practice you will be able to use your new meditation skills in a variety of locations and different situations. Walking meditation focuses on your footsteps instead of your breathing patterns. Meditating in locations of awe such as by the sea, in nature or a favourite escape space will all buy into the feelings of happiness focussing you into a position of peace to contemplate positively as opposed to the bustle of life dragging you further away from it.

Benefits

The research into meditation has shown it to be prolific in areas of stress, anxiety and depression. It has also show great results benefiting physical health problems and is often used in the prevention of physical complaints and utilised in conjunction with physical therapies. It promotes a calmness we need to help prevent overloading our systems and by processing the harmful situations we’re becoming more aware of in a calmer and more practical way we’re reducing further the causes of those stresses.

Daily meditation has shown huge results to both good mental health and physical. Reducing stress on your body both mentally and physically is giving both a perfect opportunity to recharge in different ways than sleep does. Your brain is still active for a lot of the time you are asleep so helping your brain to find peace during your waking hours is an incredible aid to the health of your mind and your body.

Practice

It won’t happen overnight. Learning to be effective with such a process that your mind isn’t used to is by no means easy. The thoughts that will invade your mind at first will seem almost impossible to deal with, to even slow down, never mind control. It takes practice. Regular practice. The good news is that you can do it. It isn’t as difficult as it first seems if you stick to a regular practice at regular intervals. In the beginning a few minutes will seem impossible. You’ll drift in and out and far away from where you’re trying to keep your focus but a minute will soon turn into two, and then into five, ten and more. By then you’ll be ready to investigate further into more advanced methods of practice and how they will too enhance the way you react to the world, process its niggles, and learn to be happier, healthier, and more positive with each day it brings.

Psychology, Psychiatry and Mental Health

depression 2 - Psychology, Psychiatry and Mental Health

When we’re considering alternative health options we now live in a world where accepting the impact of our mental health is becoming just as important as our physical health. We understand that the two aren’t independent of each other and are often intrinsically linked. Poor mental health can lead to poor physical health because we understand how much that stress and anxiety is responsible for our body performing poorly under the additional pressures that lead to physical symptoms and illness. By the same practice suffering poor physical health or illness can add to worries and anxieties that can lead to depression.

There are many methods suggesting ways in dealing with problems developed by our thinking and thought processes, but of those methods available the rising popularity of talking therapies has clearly shown to be a process that looks to the root of those problems as opposed to alternatives that simply carry us through what might just be a difficult situation.

A typical route dealing with mental health problems has long been to visit your GP to assess the level of problem and suggest options to appease the symptoms. Medication has long been the typified route possibly due to high costs of talking therapy treatments compared to the moderately inexpensive prescription from a range of anti-depressant or anti-anxiety medications.

However, the results from talking therapies are much more in tune with dealing with the problem at its source and considering a long-term fix as to a short-term management.

Psychology vs Psychiatry?

Both areas are involved with the study of mental health, human behaviours, mental disorders and emotional wellbeing. The primary difference between the two is that a psychiatrist has undergone the education and training to become a doctor so can prescribe medication as a treatment to the problems they uncover.

A psychologist is trained to deal with emotional and mental suffering using behavioural treatments, understanding how our brains are processing issues to cause those problems and how to use that information to change those processes to repair or manage them better.

A psychiatrist and a psychologist can often work together to help the same person, each with methods that can work within a complete treatment package.

Once considered an alternative method the talking therapies utilised by psychologists and psychiatrists are now accepted as mainstream procedure, producing regulated and positive outcomes in many areas of poor mental health.

Psychiatry, being the more accepted medical route, deals with issues where medication is a premium option in treating a problem. They are imperative to aid sufferers of serious mental health problems including mood disorders as depression and bi-polar, psychoses issues of schizophrenia, psychotic disorders, eating disorders, compulsions, substance abuse and addictions; all mental health issues and behaviours where medication is a primary option for assisting a patient’s recovery.

Psychology is better suited to mental health problems that are the result of the thoughts, feelings and emotions that have created unhealthy thought processes that often lead to long-term emotional problems. A psychologist will utilise various methods of helping to reprogram problem areas of thinking, using cognitive processes in order to help someone understand how the human mind is supposed to work, where it fails to get things right at times and how to replace those problem processes with healthy ones. This is done through the analysis of a patient’s emotional state, why it has developed in such a way, and how to alleviate the problems. This probing through deep conversation and applying new ways of considering and acting upon our issues in order to rectify the cause of those problems is called psychotherapy.

Areas of psychotherapy

Cognitive

Cognitive, or ‘thinking’, therapy focuses on the thoughts that affect your emotional well-being and uses alternate thinking processes to combat the negative outcome. These techniques are designed to challenge your preconceptions and build new ways to achieve healthier goals in line with how the science of psychotherapy has learned the different parts of our brain deals with our emotions, feelings, moods and how to better manage our thought processes and how to replace the unhealthy mismanaged ones. The strategies and techniques you will need to apply will often happen between sessions in order to practice them, and to teach your brain and yourself the new ways of managing the issues that bring problems to your daily life.

Interpersonal

This area of therapy is concerned with the problems arising from relationships with other people. Whether they are your family, friends, colleagues or romantic relationships, our interactions with people are highly responsible for our emotional and mental wellbeing. The recognition of unhealthy behaviours and their resulting problems are then processed to offer a chance of correcting them in order to alleviate the problems they are causing.

Psychodynamic

Psychodynamic therapy will explore patterns in your behaviour that you may not be aware of. These behaviours may be the result of trauma you may not necessarily recognise as affecting contributors to your problems and may lay deep in your subconscious. Without understanding them and being able to process them in a way your brain can healthily lay them to rest they will remain active under the surface continuing to cause areas of unhappiness and imbalance.

Individual therapy

A one-to-one session discussing a client’s problems and needs, often to outline the cause of the issues and the options of the different and preferred ways to treat them. Realising goals and creating strategies are developed through the analysis by delving deeply into what is causing the current issues.

Couples therapy

A deeper analysis into the interpersonal problems between romantic relationships, held between both parties in order to outline where the issues have developed and what could have created them in the first place. Working through their resolution as a team is the goal of achieving balance and a healthy happy union.

Group therapy

Group therapy is held between groups of strangers at a given location where each of them are invited to share experiences in order to understand and introduce alternate strategies to the others with a view to helping each other processing their own individual problems.

Understanding how we work

Utilising psychology to understand how we operate as human beings and how to adapt the areas we’ve inadvertently or subconsciously chosen to react and behave to in unhealthy ways, ways that often that lead to bigger and more serious problems, is the difference to utilising medication to balance our bodies chemicals when they are out of sync. It is an area that is becoming more and more popular and understood, even more useful when working alongside other good mental health behaviours such as regular exercise, meditation, diet and more, in order to help us create the more rounded, happy, healthy and focussed versions of our selves that we hope to be.

Leading factors of suicide

Fifteen Simple Ways To Overcome Depression And Sadness - Leading factors of suicide

Although suicide rates are showing positive signs of falling from the most recent figures there are still almost 6,000 deaths from suicide reported each year in the UK. Around 75% of these are male and the highest rate is for those aged between 40 to 44 years old.

The reasons for anyone choosing a method to terminate their life are personal and often complicated but the patterns and causes for such are outlined into several areas through education and analysis.

A common theme running through most suicidal death is mental health problems. These can be brought on by a variety of factors and causes but ultimately it is this that creates the biggest impact on the statistics we see today.

Factors associated with causes of suicide

Depression

According to psychologists and mental health professionals depression is the most common reason people commit suicide. The symptoms of depression include overwhelming and continual sadness, a sense of great suffering and feelings of irrepressible hopelessness. These hard to manage emotions will lead to a desire to be rid of them in such a final way that presents itself as the only true escape.

It is often a difficult state to detect, as many sufferers will manage it privately given to believing the disorder is a weakness and something to be ashamed of. The final act of suicide is often not the desire to die from having no reason left to live but merely a wish to end such continual suffering.

Depression will distort the thoughts of its sufferers, presenting notions that nobody cares for them and that the people close to them would be better off if they weren’t around anymore so that common sense and rational thinking will go out of the window.

Depression has high rates of recovery and is commonly treatable. Through a balance of talking therapies and medication a positive outcome is almost always attainable yet the main issue in gaining treatment is accepting the problem and seeking help before it becomes too severe.

Drug and alcohol misuse

Whether the user has been led to a dependency on drugs or alcohol through self-medication, or from social or peer pressure they are both chemical causes of a misguided perception of a healthy life. The chemicals they contain that can enhance our moods and yet also cause severe drops in our emotional well-being have a continual and lasting effect on our body’s and brain’s chemicals. The depressant nature of alcohol and the lows that come after a drug high will add to a constant to and fro of highs and lows which can lead to severe dips in mental stability.

Trauma and abuse

Anyone who has experienced abuse or an unexpected act of trauma can have repercussions of the emotions involved if they haven’t been processed correctly in a healthy manner. The brain will often try to resolve these subconscious issues by re-enacting them in new situations where it can see a link to the initial cause. Only by understanding the root of the problem and dealing with it using proven psychological techniques will help alleviate the on-going trauma that creates the unhealthy response.

Unemployment

Problems brought about by unemployment are ten-fold. Loss of self-worth, the stresses of poor financial implications, no control or hope for the future — all of these factors will all add up to constant worry, self esteem issues that can lead to a level of depression that can lead to suicide.

Social isolation

People are designed to spend time in each other’s company. We are pack animals by nature and the chemicals we need for a healthy mental state are produced in their highest number when we mix and interact with other humans. Whatever the cause of any one person’s social isolation it is a problem that will feed their other mental health disorders and create that lack of desire for life. Loneliness is a significant cause of depression, and depression is almost always in existence when it comes to cases of suicide.

Psychosis

Severe mental illnesses are also a contributor to suicide and will bring about the self-destruction for more unintelligible reasoning. Schizophrenia is active in only 1% of society and can often strike otherwise healthy and functioning people. The often-uncontrollable inner voices can lead sufferers to drastic actions if not treated with the correct medication.

Poverty

Much in the same way that unemployment brings about a lack of self-esteem and little hope for a happy and healthy future an on-going life of poverty will do much the same thing. Poof financial health can often lead to further debt and additional mental health problems that are linked to suicide.

Ways of combatting out of control debt that lead into severe states of poverty can be dealt with in a variety of ways. Contacting financial specialists and debt management agencies such as The Debt Advisory Service who offer IVA’s are positive ways to overcome such problems and alleviate this factor that leads to an inflated risk of suicide.

Imprisonment

Long- or even short-term imprisonment is something that many will hold a pronounced level of fear of. Being kept from normal life will add often unmanageable pressures on the mental health of those sentenced to a term of incarceration. The behaviours and conditions of time spent in prison are often too much for many individuals to cope with and will often end their life during the term.

Family breakdown or relationship loss

Some of the most destroying emotional grief can be inflicted by the loss of those we hold closest. Whether by a death or the breakdown of a relationship, romantic or otherwise, these immensely powerful feelings can be enough to drive a person to lose the will to live without them.

Violence and bullying

Sadly, suicide rates among young people are rising. Bullying in schools and over social media has led to regularly reported news articles of victims in these cases taking their lives as the only way they can see out of the pressures and anxieties that this anti-social behaviour brings.

Domestic abuse also leads to similar feelings of hopelessness and although the suicide rate of men is nearly three times greater than that within women the figures for female suicide are rising.

A cry for help

Sadly, many people don’t know how or don’t have the confidence to be able to ask for help when they need it the most. A suicide attempt is often a practical way someone in such deep torment can show those around them the level of pain they are in and that they need assistance to become healthy again without feeling too ashamed to ask for it.

However, it is often the case that a lack of understanding or simple misadventure means that this action has further implications that will lead to a successful suicide; far too often an overdose of medication will have a fatal effect on the bodies organs before being medically removed from the body and what should have been a simple statement of need turns into something fatal.

Finance, debt and your mental health

Depression - Finance, debt and your mental health

Money and mental health problems are too regularly linked. One of the main sources of worry in today’s society is making the money we need to live.

Providing for yourself or your family can be a huge source of worry, leading to stress and anxiety that in turn can develop into bigger problems such as depression or panic attacks. An often seen problem from the effect that your finances can have on your mental health is also how poor mental health can have an equally negative effect on your finances.

The two-way problem

Poor mental health causes all kinds of problems in sufferers with money management. This will often lead to debt that can take a great deal of effort and control to manage properly in order to reduce or remove the debt completely.

Try not to let the problem escalate

One of the main difficulties with problems of finance and mental health is to try and manage the problem before it gets out of hand. Budgeting advice and money management is available from many agencies.

If it does escalate into a serious problem companies such as Creditfix can help guide you through the various options of how to manage your debt and become financially healthy again. Removing this anxiety from your life can provide a large source of reassurance in times where other issues are causing much stress.

Time off work

One of the biggest issues regarding the sufferer’s income is not being able to work. When a mental health problem takes hold this will often mean that the affected person cannot manage the responsibility of his or her day-to-day role. When simply getting out of bed to face the world becomes a problem for sufferers of depression, bi-polar, anxiety, borderline personality disorder and a variety of other conditions, then getting to work, dealing with colleagues, making important decisions and being able to concentrate properly and apply themselves without distraction or difficulty can often seem impossible.

Earning the money they need to survive then becomes a major problem and it’s not just the sufferer that feels the financial implications of their problem. It’s their families, their employers and the economy.

According to the Centre for Mental Health mental health problems cost UK employers £35 billion in 2017. Absence due to sickness was reported to have cost £10.6 billion, staff turnover £3.1 billion and the cost of reduced productivity amassed to a whopping £21.2 billion. It was noted that at any one time one in five workers would be suffering a mental health difficulty affecting their work performance in reduced productivity.

The figures for sickness and staff turnover showed just how many people in the UK were taking time off or leaving employment to try better manage the mental health issue that ailed them.

Manic decisions

Conditions such as bi-polar disorder, borderline personality disorder and schizoaffective disorder all include behavioural changes and mood swings.

In the effect of a mania or hypomania it’s easy for the sufferer to make impulsive decisions spending money they can’t afford to that may make sense at the time but when that period has dissipated the spending and the debt it could leave behind is still very real and must be dealt with. This increased debt will lead to lower moods, problematic emotional states and inevitably further exacerbated problems from the original condition.

Impulse spending

We can often make the mistake of trying to spend our way out of a disorder that affects our emotional state and our mood. A temporary high from what has become known as retail therapy rarely lasts and will more often add to the problem than alleviate it.

A condition such as ADHD is associated with hyperactivity and acting on impulse. It would be easy for someone with the condition to make hasty buying choices. Even those suffering depression or other mood lowering disorder will find it hard to resist simple ways of trying to lift their mood to retain a normal feeling of functionality.

Anxiety

High levels of anxiety can prevent you from performing basic tasks of money management. Organising payment of bills and other financial commitments can be allowed to fall behind when it seems impossible to pick up the phone or go to the bank. Even handling mail and opening post is often too big a task for many people to face. Falling behind with payments is another way into a debt problem that could have been easily managed when acting in a usual good state of mental health.

Unwanted employment situation

When we start to slide into debt we’re often forced to take on a job we don’t want to, that we don’t or won’t enjoy simply to pay the bills and keep our finances under control. An unhappy work situation can gradually chip away at our mood leading to deeper problems resulting in depression. Once on that slope to poor mental health the poor financial decisions are more likely to take effect and start that spiral of poor mental health feeding poor financial health and vice versa.

Motivation

Emotional disorders sap the very strength from their sufferers. Without the motivation to get up and go to work it is also unlikely that they will have the motivation to organise their finances or even care what state their financial situation is in. Again, it’s one more event that can lead to the debt spiral, which by feeding itself, will create an out of control situation.

Relationships

Times of great anxiety and emotional discord put a great deal of stress on relationships. The partner of a sufferer may have to step into the role of providing for both and any children they may have in order to keep their budget healthy through those problematic times. The knock on effect into both of the partners’ social lives removes elements of the healthy activities that can combat poor mental health. Disagreements and tension will only add to the problem that in turn can put an even greater stress on how to handle joint budget issues.

What can you do to help yourself?

There are many methods of getting to the root of the problem; you need to understand your behaviour by either talking to a health care professional or seeking medical or psychological help. You should also take good physical care of yourself by eating the right diet and taking regular exercise.

To make sure that debt doesn’t add further to your problems however, you must organise your budget by seeking appropriate financial advice. Keeping your mental health in order can be appeased by keeping your physical health in check, and as we’ve seen the negative impact it can take you should take as many steps as you can to look after your financial health too.

Here are 5 tips on using homeopathy

featured5 - Here are 5 tips on using homeopathy

If you have been keenly following our posts then by know you understand that homeopathy is essentially a natural form of treatment that works through stimulating the body’s self-healing properties. To better appreciate and maximize on this form of treatment therapy and reap its full health benefits there are some valuable tips you should know.

We look at 5 tips on using homeopathy.

Tip 1: Homeopathy can be used alongside conventional medicine

Studies have revealed that homeopathy and conventional medicine work well together in fighting ailments. These methods have proven to complement each other well in controlling illnesses such as diabetes, as a pre and post-surgery medication, and so on. This is partly the reason why homeopathy is an officially recognized form of treatment in a number or Asian and European countries.

Tip 2: Homeopathy does not come with diet restrictions

Unlike other conventional treatment remedies that will at times impose diet restrictions in order to ensure the medication is fully effective, homeopathy does not come with such restrictions. Because the goal of homeopathy is to ensure that the medication is absorbed as fast as possible and free of contaminants, the restriction will not be on the patient’s diet but rather on the timing. For instance, in some case you may be required to take your medication a couple of minutes before or after a meal.

Tip 3: Homeopathic medicines are derived from thousands of sources

The fact that homeopathy relies on natural products from plants, animals and minerals, there are thousands of sourceswhere the medicines can be derived from. According to current records, there are over 4,000 medicines being used in homeopathic practice and each is made from over 3,000 plant, animal and mineral sources.

Tip 4: Homeopathy is based on evidence

Unlike what critics suggest, homeopathy is actually an evidence based treatment which has been backed by hundreds of research studies that have been published which demonstrate the success stories of homeopathy. Some of these success stories have been reported even in chronic illnesses that have proven challenging to conventional medicine.

Tip 5: Homeopathic medication acts quickly

There is evidence to suggest that homeopathic treatment therapies work just as fast as conventional medicine and in some cases even works faster. The speed at which the treatment will work will of course depend on a number of factors such as the nature of the illness, other treatments sought by the patient as well as the pathology of the disease.

We trust that you are now much more informed about homeopathic therapies.