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Stress, Anxiety and Teachers Health During Coronavirus:

May 18, 2020 in blog, Mental Health

Stress, Anxiety and Teachers Health During Coronavirus :

Stress, anxiety and teachers

Stress and anxiety impacts teachers

Stress and anxiety has impacted teachers’ health  and has been been a real cause of concern long before the Coronvirus and Lockdown.  The outbreak of COVID-19 has affected businesses and professions in almost all industries. Some of the first measures most countries have introduced were school closures and distance learning.

I think the worst thing about the coronavirus pandemic is uncertainty. But if you are a teacher, the uncertainty goes hand in hand with responsibility. You may not know what is expected from you over the lockdown period, how long the school closure will be for, or how to handle exams and grades. At the same time, you have to be supportive of your students, colleagues, and your own family.

A combination of uncertainty and responsibility can cause you to feel stressed and anxious or aggravate any mental health issues that you may already have to deal with. However, in situations of crisis like this one, it is natural to feel worried, stressed, and afraid.

When you feel vulnerable or threatened, your brain activates the flight or fight response to protect you against stress. So, I would say, being a little bit more concerned is useful because it keeps you alert and motivates you to do things to protect yourself and the loved ones.

However, excessive worry and fear can destabilise constructive responses to stress, damage your health, and impair the quality of life.

Here are some tips that are the easiest and most immediate things you can do the start the process of self-care.  As a teacher, you can apply during your time in isolation to help you cope with coronavirus challenges. Here is what they shared as their COVID-19 routine as a teacher.

  1. Acknowledge Your Feelings

Acknowledge when you feel anxious and be aware of your emotions. It is okay to feel sad, angry, scared at the loss of your normal life, work routine, and social interactions. Understanding that your feelings are normal when you are under stress will help you accept them.

  1. Set Your Own Boundaries

Designate different areas of your home as ‘work and/or study’ and ‘relax’ spaces. This will help ease stress and tension while working from home.

Creating time apart from other family members. This is an important part of self-care not just for your sanity but theirs as well.

Limit your daily exposure to COVID-19-related news to avoid feeling overwhelmed. Whilst we need to know the essentials which primarily is government advice and guidance. Don’t get caught up in everything else.

Designate times of the day when your students can contact you. Then you won’t be overwhelmed by constant interruptions.

  1. Bring Calm to Your Mind and Body

Strategies such as mindfulness meditation, deep breathing, or yoga are effective in overcoming anxiety and stress in general. However, in times of increased uncertainty, you may find relaxation techniques particularly beneficial. Mindfulness helps to focus on the present, become aware of your negative feelings and thoughts, and then help you to overcome them.

  1. Create a Routine

Routine can be your anchor in times of increased stress and anxiety as you deal with the uncertainty. It will give you a sense of confidence and safety. Use your time management skills to ensure you aren’t working all the time. Set the priorities and add in breaks to your schedule. This should help you save time and increase productivity.

  1. Stay Connected to others

Although we are physically distancing, it is more important than ever that you stay connected. Use technology to reach out to your colleagues and people you trust and talk about your feelings. This will boost your mood and help you understand that you are all in this together.

  1. Seek Support

If you feel that your coping mechanisms are not strong enough to manage coronavirus anxiety on your own, reach out for help.

  1. Make Self-Care Your Priority

There is a lot of good advice being given out such as take time for regular exercise, relaxation, good sleep, and a healthy diet.  Indeed, it may be easy to acknowledge these should become your priority. Of course, great habits that can protect you against symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression during times of increased tension.  However, once your physical, mental, and emotional wellbeing start to spiral down so too does the motivation to drive you forward. And instead, the frustrations and the stress just increase.  You don’t get to experience any of the benefits that can come from such disciplines such as feelings of calmness and wellbeing

The Best Kept Secret!

Did you know that there’s a key muscle in your body that is so deep you are not aware of it?  It is the Psoas muscle. The response of most people is that they have never heard of it let alone know where it is. It is your best-kept secret. It is your fight-flight centre and where you store your feelings and emotions.

Tension builds in the Psoas from the day you were born.  All the stress, overwhelm or trauma you have ever experienced in your life is stored in your body’s muscle memory, starting in the Psoas.  Anxiety is a symptom of tension overload.  The same as back, neck and shoulder pain, mood swings, lack of sleep, IBS, lack of energy, concentration, or focus.  No amount of meditation or exercise is going to heal your body of those deeply held tensions.

The good news is that you can though.  Everyone has the ability to find physical, mental and emotional freedom from any level of pain.  Nature gave us the amazing power which is within us to heal and build resilience.  We may have forgotten but your body hasn’t.  A simple, empowering powerful practice that can become your tool for life and life tool to become whole once more.

The Total Release Experience® gives you the best in education, support, and guidance as you start to take back responsibility for your own well-being. Self-care like you would never have imagined.  Imagine. ‘No talking’ no expensive therapy, no more self-medication whether that is alcohol, food, drugs, or any other habit that you may have adopted to help you get by.

Just a simple weekly practice that can transform your life as you would never have imagined.

The answer as always is one we have already!

Loneliness in Lockdown – How Advice has Changed!

May 15, 2020 in blog

PTSD – Some Questions Answered

March 10, 2020 in blog, Mental Health

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is something many of us are aware of but can we say we know everything about PTSD?

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PTSD is a growing problem. Particularly for services sector personnel.

Here we answer some questions for you.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a complex psychiatric disorder with somatic, cognitive, affective and behavioural effects, secondary to psychological trauma. In other words, PTSD can elicit disturbing memories, flashbacks, sleep disturbances, hypervigilance, etc. in people who have undergone considerable psychological strain. PTSD is no different from anxiety, depression, and other psychiatric conditions; therefore, its treatment should be paid attention to, rather than believing that ‘time heals all wounds’

PTSD had many alternate names, including “shell shock” and “combat fatigue” during World War I and after World War II, respectively. Though it is more often seen in military personnel, veterans, firefighters, people in the service sector, or those with combat exposure. This does not mean however that PTSD is restricted to this group of people only. It can occur in civilians too, in fact, in anyone at all! [1]

How common a problem it is?

According to a national survey [2] conducted on the general population in the U.S., the prevalence of PTSD was found to be between 6.8 to 9.2%, more in women and older adults than men and younger individuals. People in the service sector have an even higher prevalence rate, relatively proportional to the severity of the injury; Those with combat-exposure but no injuries, have a prevalence rate of 8% whereas it is 33% prevalent in those with a combination of injuries. Moreover, 70% of such patients, had concurrent mental health problems such as depression. [2]

Here in the UK:

  • One in 13 children will be affected by the age of 18. 
  • One in five police officers has PTSD. In fact news headlines today – Kent Police have reached a five year high with currently 147 officers off with stress-related issues.  How many more will follow?
  • Given that traumatic exposure is common among firefighters, it is not surprising that high rates of PTSD have been found. Studies have found that anywhere between approximately 7 percent and 37 percent of firefighters meet the criteria for a current diagnosis of PTSD.
  • Among all emergency service workers, paramedics have the highest rate of PTSD, with an estimated prevalence of 14.6%. While all emergency service personnel face catastrophic and stressful eventsparamedics are exposed to these events on a daily basis.
  • Ex-serving military personnel deployed in a combat role were found to have higher rates of PTSD at 17.1%, compared with 5.7% of those who had been in a support role such as medical, logistics, signals and aircrew.
  •  

What psychological trauma can cause PTSD?

As the word, PTSD itself states ‘Post-traumatic’, so any event that is traumatic for the mind of a person can lead to PTSD. From interpersonal violence, organized violence or to life-threatening events.  Any event eliciting extreme fear can have a psychological impact. Some of the examples of such traumatic events and their contribution to the pool of PTSD are mentioned below: [3]

  • 33% due to Abusive sexual relationship- sexual child abuse, marital abuse, rape.
  • 30% due to interpersonal trauma- life-threatening health condition, unanticipated death of a loved one, etc.
  • 14% due to organized violence- war zone refugee or civilian, combat exposure, discovering dead bodies on crime or war zone, abduction, etc.
  • 12% due to physical violence- physical assault, childhood physical abuse, a threat to oneself
  • 12% due to life-threatening events- natural catastrophe, fatal road traffic accident, dangerous chemical exposure.

Clinical manifestations:

Symptoms can be summarised into four:

  • Reliving: Reliving includes flashbacks of the events, intrusive memories, recurrent distressing dreams, intense and vigilant reactions when exposed to anything that even remotely resembles the traumatic experience.
  • Avoidance: Efforts directed toward avoiding distressing thoughts. Absolute avoidance of the discussion of the trauma and of anything or anyone that can be a potent reminder of the event.
  • Mood and cognitive symptoms: Such symptoms include forgetting a critical aspect of the traumatic experience, persistent pessimism towards oneself: blaming oneself for the strain, marked disinterest in activities, disproportional anger, guilt, fear and horror
  • Reactive symptoms: Such as exaggerated startle response, hypervigilance, undue verbal or physical aggression, self-destructive behaviours, inability to concentrate and focus, sleep disturbances, etc.

Diagnostic criteria:

To differentiate PTSD from acute stress disorder, it is worthy of mentioning here that to diagnose PTSD the above symptoms should be present for at least one month. Table 1 Diagnostic criteria of PTSD according to DSM V Source: MDedge ©

Why some of the trauma victims have PTSD while others don’t?

There are several factors in a community that increases or decreases the probability of having PTSD after a traumatic experience. Not only that, but the physical condition, mental health, and other risk factors prior to the trauma also contribute massively towards PTSD. Age, gender, comorbid physical and psychological diseases, socioeconomic status, marital status, childhood history of abuse/adversities, family history, etc. all are contributing determinants of the outcome. The extent to which the traumatic event was unpredicted, unmanageable, irrepressible, and inevitable also acts as a protagonist.

Factors that help against the development of PTSD are called ‘Resilience factors’, which include

[4]:

  • Friends and family support
  • Post-traumatic support group/counseling sessions
  • Positive coping approach
  • Sanity in the moment of fear enabling a person to react effectively

Impact of PTSD on general health: [5]

Several studies have been conducted to find a causative link between PTSD and other medical conditions. This is owing to the fact that PTSD patients are more likely to report certain diseases when compared with the unaffected general population. A link between inflammation and PTSD is being studied. PTSD is often found to be coexistent with chronic pain, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, pulmonary, autoimmune, musculoskeletal disorders.

A study [5] conducted in New York City showed that four times increased probability of heart attack and emphysema, and twice the likelihood of having hypercholesterolemia, insulin resistance, and angina in the participants who had PTSD than those without PTSD. Besides these medical conditions, depression, drug, and substance abuse have been found to be highly associated with PTSD patients.

What are the management options?

PTSD is treated with an amalgam of psychological therapies and pharmacological. [6] Four weeks’ watchful waiting is recommended for those with milder symptoms with instructions of one month follow up.

  • Psychological therapies are directed towards modifying the emotional state of the victims, i.e. efforts to replace the sense of shame, guilt, and fear with optimistic sentiments. Such treatments include Trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), eye movement desensitization, exposure therapy and reprocessing and group therapy.
  • Pharmacological management: Antidepressants such as paroxetine, sertraline amitriptyline, mirtazapine, etc. should be given for at least 12 months if it is imparting beneficial effects, followed by a gradual decrease over a period of 4 weeks before discontinuing.

The cornerstone of the management of PTSD is to recognize and seek help to be able to break out from the cage within.

Before you give up!

As with all stress, overwhelm or trauma, what is not recognized fully is that the tension is drawn into the body and stored in the muscle memory.  The adrenalin and cortisol have no release and so more and more the symptoms worsen.  Tension is drawn deep – and in fact from the day we are born, into the Psoas Muscle.  Most are not aware of it and not surprising.  It sits deep in the back body.  Holds us together but most importantly our fight/flight center.  It is where we hold our fears and emotions and can impact breathing.  Animals release after a traumatic event by tremoring.  Then they can carry on with their day.  We as humans have suppressed that natural response to stress release.  Getting back in touch with what we are meant to do brings profound healing as the body has the ability to heal itself.

Get in touch to find out more about the Total Release Experience ® .  For if you think you have tried everything you haven’t and what do you have to lose!

“Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”

Haruki Murakami

References:

Ranna Parekh, M. M. (2017, January). PTSD- Posttraumatic stress disorder. Retrieved from American Psychiatric Association: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/ptsd/what-is- ptsd

  • Committee on the Assessment of Ongoing Efforts in the Treatment of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder; Board on the Health of Select Populations; Institute of Medicine. Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Military and Veteran Populations: Final Assessment. Washington (D.C.): National Academies Press (U.S.); 2014 Jun 17. 2, Diagnosis, Course, and Prevalence of PTSD. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK224874/
  • Jitender Sareen, M. F. (2020, Jan 10). Posttraumatic stress disorder in adults. Retrieved from UpToDate:

https://www.uptodate.com/contents/posttraumatic-stress-disorder-in-adults-epidemiology- pathophysiology-clinical-manifestations-course-assessment-and diagnosis?search=ptsd&source=search_result&selectedTitle=2~150&usage_type=default&displ ay_rank=2#H1

 

Suicide – Time to Take Stock

January 25, 2020 in blog, Mental Health

 

Personally, I don’t like the word ‘Suicide’.  I looked up the meaning on Wikipedia. ‘Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one’s own death.’

In my view – nobody wants to die.  They are just at a point where they feel in so much pain, be that physical, mental or emotional and for them, there is no way forward.  No hope.

Suicide has a devastating effect – for those who die, survive attempts, and for family, friends, colleagues.

I am writing this now because January to March see suicide rates increase. 

In America alone, around forty-seven thousand individuals commit suicide per annum. Its equivalent to 4,7000 murders per year since killing oneself is also a murder. Suicide ranks at the 10th biggest cause of death in the United States.(1)

In 2018, there were 6,507 suicides registered in the UK, an age-standardised rate of 11.2 deaths per 100,000 population; the latest rate is significantly higher than that in 2017 and represents the first increase since 2013.(2)

The numbers and rates of suicide and undetermined deaths vary between age groups, with rates among males highest for those aged 45-49 years (except 90+ years) and among females, highest for those aged 50-54 years. More and more young people are taking their life, it is a tragedy of the worse kind.

What is going On?

It is that dreaded S word!  The one most choose to ignore or brush under the carpet until it is too late. Stress is a silent killer. 

Stress is mankind’s worst enemy. We see, read and hear regular news about how individuals who indulged in social crimes and for some cases took their own life.   When the story unfolds and often not until a court case, it would seem mental health was the cause. They were victims of stress. The tragedy is with loss of life is that it affects family, friends, work colleagues and society as a whole.  Although everyone faces the ups and downs of life, when someone is under continuous stress and anxiety, the body starts absorbing more and more stress that leads to physical, mental, and emotional problems that can include suicidal tendencies.

Fight or Flight?

 During an emergency situation, our body responds to stress by activation of the fight/flight response; adrenaline rushes, heart rate increases, the pupil dilates, respiration increases, and the body adapts itself for survival.  However, under chronic stress, this response gets continuously fired.  So, what happens is that slowly over time physical, mental and emotional deterioration starts to show. Initially classic symptoms of stress include mood swings, headache, IBS, back pain, anxiety and depression.  As the holding of tension gets worse chronic pain, fibromyalgia, various illnesses or disease show up suddenly without any obvious cause.  Mental health issues become overriding. At worse, stroke, heart attack cancer and regrettably when hitting rock bottom, the only way out is suicide. 

What is Chronic Stress?

It refers to the small doses of stressful events or memories that one faces over a period of time. This stress is more dangerous than acute stress that is the defensive mechanism of the body against emergency situations aka fight or flight responses.

Chronic Stress Must Not Be Ignored

If you look at yourself or the people around you, one thing you can bet is almost common for us all is the experience of stress. The fast-paced life, social, financial, marital and other pressures are collectively manipulating the mind to remain under constant stress and tension. Depression, anxiety, psychiatric and mental disorders have become an epidemic. The worst outcome is taking one’s life. But why? Because people find it an easy escape from all their worries. Scientists have confirmed that chronic stress gets stored in the form of a memory that constantly engages the fight or flight system that is present in the abdominal region.

The Psoas muscle is the main reserve for all the stress that body absorbs since this muscle is actively involved in all stressful conditions.

Most people I ask do not even know where their Psoas muscle is. That included medical practitioners!  Why would they? It is hidden in the back of the body.  Under the diaphragm, behind all your organs and into the top of the legs.  Apart from holding your upper body to your lower body, what is key is that it is your fight/flight center. It is where you hold your fears and emotions and because it is attached to the diaphragm it impacts breathing.

It’s important to know that we may not realize that we are constantly taking in small doses of stress each day whether from aspects of financial, personal or social life. But if we ignore what is going on by the time, we realize the impact it is having on our physical, mental or emotional wellbeing, it becomes too late and we find ourselves at the edge – wanting to end it all. Once life is ended it can never be undone however, the causes that lead to such mental distress that suicide seems to be the only answer can be undone if treated earlier.

Stress Can Lead To Suicide?

Stress is the most common cause of suicide – that act of someone taking their own life. The build-up of not coping can come from workplace stress, study, exam pressure, job dissatisfaction, relationships, losing a loved one.  Young and old alike are vulnerable.  Witnessing or coping with physical, mental or emotional abuse which can stem from early years builds up in the body, again in the Psoas muscle. 

Terminal illness such as cancer or HIV can be enough to drive one to the edge. Social isolation, bullying or harassment, loss of a loved one, joblessness are all factors that impact the quality of life and the stress leads to mental health problems.

 

Treatment is limited and most often not effective.  Self-medication such as drinking, drugs or eating the wrong foods only add to the growing psychological problem that just continues to get worse. Self-medication leads to addiction, so health deteriorates further. Certainly, whether drugs or alcohol become a get by strategy there is no rational thinking when feeling so low.

People Who are at High Risk of Suicide

According to a survey, the highest suicidal rates belong to India, America, Alaska and some parts of Africa.

While most of the Suicide attempts are men and women age 45 and above, in the recent past, there is an alarming increase in the number of suicides committed by youngsters as well. The suicide rate is higher among young men compared to young women. Especially, University students are found more trapped under stress. Performance and exam pressure, dealing with finances and student loans, concomitant work and study stress, being bullied, ragged and other sorts of stressors like drugs can chronically induce the venom of stress in young minds leading them to commit or attempt suicide.

One in five college students have experienced suicidal thoughts due to stress at some point in their lives.” (2)(3)

Academic stress and suicidal ideation among university students are rapidly increasing.

“Recently, at Bristol University, a student named Natasha committed suicide due to the stress of being unable to speak in front of people. Her body was found dead the day before she was going to give a verbal presentation in front of staff and students. She tried to seek help from the staff previously, but she wasn’t helped the way such cases should be handled.” (4)

Suicides in the Service Sector

Heroes that save the lives; police officers, firefighters, prison officers, nurses, and soldiers are more prone to commit suicide due to their stressful and violent work scenarios. Stress causes slow but constant psychiatric damage leading to mental health problems and suicidal thoughts among service sector employees. Police officers have to face the extraordinary stress of shootings, encounters, robberies and certain emergencies that an ordinary person cannot withstand. If not treated effectively, chronic stress forces them to end their lives.

Medical field professionals like surgeons have to perform critical operations that can be a life or death situation for the patient. Subconsciously, chronic stress due to stressful OT environment leads them to substance use and even suicidal thoughts. Likewise, nurses interact more closely with the patient and its attendants. In case of a serious illness or death of a patient, nurses and doctors become equally involved in grief (stress) like the attendants. Ironically, medical staff have to face these situations on a daily basis.

Life Trauma

We have no control over the situation’s life throws at us all.  Many children and adults get caught up in traumatic experiences that can scar them for life.  From footballers to celebrities, we are all human and if unlucky enough to become a victim of atrocities imposed from others at whatever stage in life the trauma gets trapped in the body.  If we keep holding on it will impact physical, mental and emotional health. 

Solutions

Suicide is not an Option It’s necessary to destress the mind and body in order to keep the balance. Stress is temporary if well treated but once a person commits suicide, it’s permanent. That’s why removing chronic stress is the key for the prevention of suicides. Being a student, worker, medical staff, firefighter or police officer, one should be more inclined towards effective stress management that will not only help to prevent suicide but will also pave the way to smoothly work and grow in their respective careers.

What is currently on offer:

Option 1 – Talking – be that to a friend, family member or professional.

Whilst it helps to talk, it does not get it out of the body.  Often talking just feels like churning the same story over and over.  It can often make one feel worse. One cannot talk about childhood experiences that have for many years been blocked and not remembered.

There are not enough professional counselors of therapist to go round and often the cost is prohibitive if having to self-refer.

Option 2 – Medication

Conventional stress medications come with a bunch of harmful side effects and their results are temporary.

It is all sticky plaster and does not address the root cause. Temporary respite but harmful in the long term.

Option 3 – Self Medication

Attempting to block the feelings and emotions that bring the physical mental and emotional pain by resorting to drugs, alcohol, gambling, eating, excessive exercise or other OCD behaviors. 

Whilst they bring temporary relief, the need to keep doing or taking leads to addictions.  So no, not a helpful solution all.

Option 4 – Heal Yourself and Build Resilience

Get to the root cause of what is blocked in your body.  Release from the Psoas muscle.  The Total Release Experience® is simple to learn, empowering 5 Step programme that becomes a tool for life and a life tool.  It is a lifesaver.  We have worked with those on the brink, who attempted, but fortunately failed to take their own life at a time when they felt so low.  By allowing their body to release the tension they healed themselves and got back to a normal happy state to live life to the full once more.

With NHS in meltdown struggling to cope with the growing problems of mental health, addictions and obesity it is time to look to what the body can do and take back control of your own well-being.  With Drs, Therapists, Fire & Rescue, Police and Inmates connecting and healing and recommending, there has been no simpler cost-effective way to live a healthier happier life. 

If you think you have tried everything – then there is one thing left!

The Total Release Experience® is a cost-effective yet practical programme that empowers all who learn. Destress now by releasing from the Psoas and bringing balance back to your physical, mental and emotional well-being.  Don’t wait until it is too late.  Read the stories of those who took back control for themselves.

Don’t’ leave it too late – after all, what’s to lose!

REFERENCES

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_in_the_United_States
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5781286/
  3. https://www.webmd.com/depression/news/20180910/1-in-5-college-students-stressed-consider-suicide#2
  4. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-bristol-48254007

The Dangers of Stress and Addictions!

December 28, 2019 in blog, Mental Health

Not the answer at Christmas.

Working with many who have suffered stress and how it has led to addictions has prompted me to share my thoughts on this.

Stress is a part of life that never seems to go away.  Christmas is no exception. If we let it fester and turn to substances for our comfort, there is the danger of creating or worsening addictions we might already be trying to curb.

Although with all good intentions it is meant to be a happy and exciting time.  Especially for families when children are around, just seeing the joy on their faces as their excitement grows.  The desire of parents and grandparents to see them have as much as they can pile under the tree.  Then there are the gifts bought for all the loved ones and friends.  Worse is the panic buying, the last-minute food shop, and seeing all the reductions I see it so often, trolleys piled high and for what? One day.  The expectations of Christmas are more than we might imagine.

One thing many lose sight of is not just rationality but the money.  With credit so easy and poor money management skills financial stress is added to the mix.   There is a danger in the aftermath of heightened stress and anxiety.  Christmas brings all sorts of additional stressors and often we may not see them coming. From high expectations to financial overspend, to receiving and giving unwanted gifts.  It can be a time of fall outs as pressure mounts.  When feeling stressed then it is easy to turn to something for relief. Most commonly alcohol, smoking or drugs.  Alcohol is the most common. Binge drinking is easy especially at Christmas, and the difficulty if already a drinker is a challenge for all the family. Stress leads to addiction.

According to Alcohol Concern, there are an estimated 595,131 dependent drinkers in England.  Alcohol misuse is the biggest risk factor for death, ill-health and disability among 15-49 year-olds in the UK, and the fifth-biggest risk factor across all ages. Alcohol abuse is estimated to cost the NHS around £3.5bn annually.  Alcohol consumption in the UK increases in December by 41 per cent.

Julie Breslin, head of programme at Drink Wise Age Well (part of UK drug and alcohol charity Addaction) says: “Christmas can be an enjoyable time for many, but for those who have experienced problems with their drinking and are trying to stay alcohol-free it can be a minefield.

The reason there is a need for alcohol is related to dopamine. Alcohol causes the brain’s reward system to release the motivational chemical dopamine. But over time, chronic drinking actually depletes the amount of dopamine in your brain, causing you to crave more alcohol and laying the groundwork for alcohol addiction.

There is no doubt the cost of alcohol and the risk of addiction or the struggle if already addicted that comes at Christmas is a challenge for all, in families and friend circles.  Little comfort at this time of the year.

The general belief is that alcohol and drugs help people who are suffering from extreme anxiety. While it is true that certain drugs and alcohol provides some relief, with time the effects fade away.  This is why people end up increasing their consumption, which then transforms into an addiction. Drugs, alcohol, cigarettes and even caffeine may seem like stress-relievers and help control tension temporarily, but in the end, they just add to the issues instead of solving them.

Stress leads to addiction -drugs or alcohol and can have a negative impact on your life. These are not the solution to removing tension from your life but are instead factors that worsen the situation. If things get out of hand, you can end up losing everything that you have; from your family and home to your job, health and friends. If you are addicted to drugs or alcohol, you cannot hope to deal effectively with the things that are introducing anxiety and tension in your life.

Substance abuse will only add to the stress you already feel. Along with your career, substance abuse can also destroy your personal life. The longer the addiction continues, the more things there will be to create tension in your life. This, in turn, leads to an increase in substance abuse as people seek ways to avoid increasing stress; this is a vicious cycle that leads to more problems than one can count.

If you are feeling stressed, anxious or tense, then using drugs, alcohol, caffeine or cigarettes to mask the problems is the last thing you should do.  Self-medication through substance abuse is not the solution to the anxiety and tension in your life, that may be heightened by seasonal pressures.   Don’t allow stress to cause an addiction

If you do find yourself falling into the trap, then don’t let it get out of hand.  If you do like all your life stress it will become trapped in your body.  Building physical, mental and emotional tensions that disrupt wellbeing on every level.  Remember Stress is a silent killer.  The tensions are stored in your Psoas muscle, your fight/flight centre.  This profound muscle is where your emotions and fears are held.  The more we hold the worse we feel.

The Psoas Muscle. The Fight/Flight centre where fear and emotions are stored. When stressed we comfort with substance and create addictions.  instead of releasing as nature intended!
The Psoas Muscle

But you know just like animals we release the tension and set ourselves free of the past.  The simple, practical and empowering 5 Step programme the Total Release Experience can teach you to do just that.  When the cause is removed the need for addictive substance is gone with it. Stress and addictions are no longer a threat.

Don’t carry forward into 2020 the problems of the past, the resentments, sadness, bitterness and asters – find a new lease of life and physical, mental and emotional wellbeing on every level, just as many others have.  Learn something that your body knows – but you have forgotten!

‘After feeling so sceptical this would work on me, I now feel so hopeful, relieved and inspired to be on this journey of healing’   Evie A

‘I am so glad I have attended this Course.  I was recommended by a surgeon, so I knew it would be safe and effective.  I am amazed that something so simple could be so powerful, thank you so much!’ Natasha.

Healing from Trauma in the Fire Service

October 30, 2019 in blog, Mental Health

Listening to today’s news on the release of the Grenfell Tower Fire Report, my heart again goes out to those brave servicemen and women who undoubtedly are still battling with the trauma of the unforgettable tragic events on 14th June 2017.  The work for all personnel in the fire and rescue service impacts their wellbeing.  They have the most stressful job in civilian society.  Those involved in Grenfell Fire and Rescue from the switchboard operators to those on the front line have and will continue to feel the trauma.  

They will hold tension in their body.  The tension is all stored in the body’s muscle memory, in particular, the psoas muscle.  Most people have no idea where the Psoas is.  The psoas is our fight/flight centre and the place where we hold emotions.  If the body holds all the tension from life it eventually leads to debilitating symptoms, physically, mentally and emotionally.  What else is there then aside of counselling or talk therapy?   How do we find real healing?  Prescription drugs of course but there are far too many deaths by drugs.  They only mask the problems anyway, especially when they are for anxiety and depression. Self-medication is no answer either.

As Professor Gordon Turnbull, a highly esteemed Consultant Psychologist said to me when we first connected. ‘We now know we have to get it out of the body as talking just doesn’t do it’.  We have discussed many a time the impact of holding stress in the body.

Men and women embarking on their career in Fire & Rescue Service undoubtedly feel excited and tough.  One Fireman shared with me ‘I was 23 when I joined up at the time. I felt invincible as you do, being a young man. Life and my career ticked by having good and bad incidents but never really noticing any mental challenges.’

When I asked when that all changed he said ‘My life seemed to be going great and then 16 years ago – crash, never saw anything coming. What would be the highlight of your career pulling someone alive from a burning building, actually left me broken due to the conditions we endured.  It took me 6 hours to get home such was my shame that I could not cope.’ He had counselling provided by the Fire Service at the time but said he felt worse as it never had answers.ire and rescue Serviceire

It was not until earlier this year that a series of events left him in a bad way he shared with me what he felt.   ‘immense anger, breaking down in tears for what would be a simplest of issues, thinking of suicide. Yes, I would say at rock bottom. At that crossroads live or end it.’ Like so many other stories we have heard from servicemen and women.

He was at this low point in his life. A friend who had been in a bad way suggested he attended a Total Release Experience® Workshop. After that day he later shared. ‘Walking from the workshop it was like walking from a dark room to brilliant light. The difference from the start to finish of the day. The subsequent days could take things in again. I could start to understand documents again. I just felt if this is life, I want some of this. You never notice the small changes and I hadn’t realised the world I had ended in.’

As part of a wellbeing committee and a wellbeing champion, someone who is listed to help support or just listen to others if they need that friendly ear. The Total Release Experience® should be taught to all staff and new recruits. It’s a life tool that would save a lot of people like myself. Enduring a career of mental injuries that never manifested till it’s too late.’

We are passionate about sharing the education of teaching how it is indeed possible to recover from the brink.  The memories never fade. But one can talk without holding on to the feelings and the emotions. Holding on just keep compacting in the body if not released. A simple, yet empowering practice, especially for the service sector. They all need something that they can use to heal from the past and build resilience. Life can be bright and beautiful once more.  Thank you to all those heroes in our country.  They sign up to save our lives but should not be left fighting for theirs.

To find out more about the best-kept secret your body has. Contact us

Everyone has a choice.
Try something your body knows anyway!

An Interview with Dr Graham GP

February 11, 2019 in blog, Mental Health

An Interview with Dr Graham GP

Image result for dr alison graham peterborough

Dr Graham GP

Dr Graham is someone very special who really puts patients first. Her dedication to keep exploring new ways of healing that in particular would benefit children for their future well being  shares in this interview her thought having discovered the Total Release Experience® – a unique no talking – 5 Step programme to Heal yourself and Build resilience.

Dr  Graham, how long have you been a GP?

I am a GP of 25 years’ experience.

 Is there a particular focus Dr Graham, in health that interests you in particular?

Throughout my whole career I have had an interest in how the brain and body influence each other in both sickness and health.  I am Chair and trustee for a Charity called YPCS (Young People’s Counselling Service) whose patrons are the well known actors Warwick and Annabelle Davis.  One of our ambitions is to teach young people early to manage their own mental health so they don’t end up requiring our services for counselling.

Dr Graham,  How did you connect with TRE UK® ?

 A chance suggestion via a colleague led me to the TRE UK® website.  I was impressed by its stories of success but as a clinician I have to be more analytical than that and so enrolled with a psychotherapist friend for  one of their workshops.  After all I thought if Professor Gordon Turnbull is enthusiastic about it, then it is certainly worth learning more.

So how did you find it?

 The results were unexpected and to be honest, I am not interested if we cannot fully explain the. Caroline and her team have created a very professional, well organised training and support programme that shows her education background and I was pleased to see that there is good governance in place.

 What else did you learn from the experience that day?

  I often tell patients that I don’t know how my phone works but yet we accept that unconditionally and use it none the less. There seems to be no serious adverse effects from the Total Release Experience®, though some of the ‘detoxing’ can be unexpected and briefly unsettling.  This is why good training is essential.  This is not a technique to ‘have a go at on your own’ just because you read an interesting newspaper article.  It is simple but powerful.  

So what has it done for you Dr Graham?

 The relaxation it brings is immediate after a ‘practice’ as we call each session. So much so that I slept for 2 hours afterwards on a couple of occasions! I think it has helped me to stay calm when facing the usual stresses of work and family life with 3 teenagers.  Slowly however other changes became apparent-I started that diet I had been avoiding for 3 years and have lost 11 lb. I am much more energised, focused and creative than I have been for years which is really great.

 Anything else Dr Graham?

 I was so impressed that I organised a workshop for patients (and some relatives of mine) and have started a clinical trial with the hope that this will provide enough data to get funding for a more scientifically robust study.  With my charity hat on we are exploring how we can teach the Total Release Experience® in our in local schools to empower kids to manage their own health and therein lies another research opportunity.  

Dr Graham, it sounds like you have really connected with this?

 It is rare in medicine to come across something that is potentially so cost effective, that is safe and that teaches the patient to be self-reliant.  It was also refreshing to see a local Pain Consultant recommending it as it ‘ fits very well with our bio-psycho-social model of pain management’.  If it shows in trials what Caroline has seen many times over in her clients who have fibromyalgia, PTSD, anxiety for example, then I hope this will convince others to offer this as part of their treatment package.   As doctors we desperately need something other than medication they may not need or counselling that is more expensive.  The future looks very exciting!

Dr Graham, thank you for your time.

How to Release Daily Pent-Up Anxiety and Stress

January 23, 2019 in blog, Mental Health

How to Release Anxiety and Stress

Stress is something that you cannot be completely free from. The secret to not letting the daily stress and anxiety get to you is to take measures to release it before it accumulates and becomes too much for you to handle. There are various steps you can take to let the stress out and relax completely without having to worry all the time.

Here are some fail-safe ways for you to try in order to successfully diminish the stress and anxiety in your life:

Exercise

Those who tell you to make exercising a permanent part of your daily schedule are far from wrong. Doing any kind of exercise everyday helps release the frustration and negativity that accumulates with time. Letting your body experience physical stress is a sure way of releasing your mental stress. Start exercising daily and feel the tension and anxiety slip off, leaving you feeling stress-free and at ease.

Use Essential Oils

Essential oils are known to have healing powers as they help you escape the anxiety and stress you are feeling. Buy scented candles and light them in your home after a hectic day to feel more in control. Some of the most soothing scents include lavender, rose and vetiver.

Write Everything Down

Writing things down is one way of relieving anxiety and feeling better about your life. Write down everything that is troubling you, even if it is as minute as a bad haircut and then jot down possible solutions that you have in mind. Seeing things in writing helps you think better and clears your mind of irrational fears and tension.

Spend Time with Your Loved Ones

Instead of giving in to the urge of staying alone and out of touch from everyone, make efforts to spend extra time with your family and friends. Being with your closest network of people will give you a sense of belonging and will help diminish the anxiety and tension that is a part of your life.

Following these simplistic measures will help you give more meaning to your life and will ensure that you lead a mentally healthier and tension free life.

Look After Yourself

Anxiety is a big problem for many, and when anxious thinking about all the things you could be doing bring challenge.  Why not take a different look at well being?  How does and ‘no talking’ self help practice sound?  Something that is profound, powerful and immediately transforms lives it the Total Release Experience®.  A simple yet powerful practice that can release from the most debilitating symptoms of stress, anxiety, tension and trauma.  TRE UK® deliver the best service, knowledge and support that you would find anywhere.  Because we know how important it is to understand the power of the body that can heal itself.  If you never get to understand it – you never know release.  Look after yourself.

Avoiding Stress and Anxiety at Christmas

December 18, 2018 in blog, Mental Health

Stress Builds

Stress and anxiety implodes at this time of the year – no matter what budgets and controls we have in place, the pressure to give to children and loved ones because of expectations causes the headache not on Christmas day but in the weeks after when the realisation of the overspend hits hard.  Not just the bank account.  It hits the body hard.  That is just one thing that builds stress.  Then there is the pressure of working and trying to fit everything else in that has to be done if we want to give the best Christmas to our loved ones.  It all kind of snowballs and the pressures then just build.

Christmas is stressful and the problems build here are the main causes of stress at this festive time.

Stress and Health

Stress can manifest in many ways, the knot in the stomach, IBS, tension in the body, mind fog, back and neck pain.  The list goes on.  Before long anxiety builds and anxiety leads to depression.  The pressures build and the symptoms get worse as we cannot fully function physically, mentally, or emotionally.  More stress, more anxiety and heightened emotions.  This can lead to arguments and relationship issues worsen.  Then maybe on to separation.  The spiral down has well and truly got underway and may result in homelessness and possibly at worst suicide.  There are so many unnecessary suicides in the UK Samaritans share statistics

 

It’s incredibly stressful when you realise you have to make major changes in life. For many people, financial concerns are a constant source of anxiety and tension which is quite common in today’s economy and especially at Christmas.  Worrying about your problems won’t help you solve them, but there are other ways you can deal with the financial stress successfully. When you are stressed out, there are other aspects of your life that get affected as well. You will have a hard time concentrating or focusing on important tasks because you are too busy worrying about your financial stress. By worrying less and planning more, you can handle the situation much better.

 

Here are a few simple tips to relieve your financial stress:

Make a Budget

Making a budget will help you get control over your finances and help you decide where and when you are going to spend your money.  By making a spending and savings plan you can save yourself from going into debt. It may seem like a daunting process in the beginning, but with the passage of time you will get the hang of it and increase your savings. Begin by the first month’s expenses and cut in different areas and spend wisely until you find the perfect balance.

Make an Emergency Fund

An emergency fund is a money you set aside for financial emergencies. It is easier to use the money according to your budget if you know you have money set aside for the unexpected expenses that may arise.  It seems overwhelming at first to build an emergency fund, especially if you are struggling to make ends meet. You can even sell some objects in order to build up cash quickly.

Automate Your Payments

Payments such as phone, electricity and gas bills are recurring and take time to manually deal with. By automating these payments via an auto-debit service, you can save the stress and time of dealing with them. You can also save yourself from the extra charges that occur due to late payment.

Using these simple strategies, you can stay one step ahead and plan your finances wisely.   However, this time of the year no matter what budgets and controls we have in place, the pressure to give to children and loved ones because of expectations causes the headache not on Christmas day but in the weeks after when the realisation of the overspend hits hard.  Not just the bank account.  It hits the body hard.

Heal Yourself and Build Resilience

Now this is something we can all do.  No Talking, a simple to learn yet powerful practice that enables anyone under pressure to open the release valve and let go of what the body holds.  When we let go of the physical, mental and emotional tensions we start to feel lighter, brighter, more focussed, energised, happier and more at peace.  We build resilience so that that when faced with pressures we can deal with the toughest situations in a calm ad composed manner.  The TRE is the best step forward in self-help and self-care.  Heal quickly with guidance and support which is necessary when learning the practice.  You will find out more about the inspirational TRE UK® Workshops around the country.  How to learn via Skype.  No one is isolated. Budgeting and planning finances at such stressful times of the year become a key focus when the mind is clear, the senses are sharp and the pressure is no longer felt in the body.  Read the many stories and sharing from Workshop experiences with TRE UK®.

Have yourself a very Happy Christmas.  Let love and kindness be your gifts if money is tight.  Be innovative and creative to avoid damage limitation of spiralling stress levels.  Then look to learn something in the new year that special gift of a Total Release Experience®

Erase the Symptoms of Anxiety, Trauma, Stress and PTSD

November 12, 2018 in blog, Mental Health

Recognising the effect of Anxiety, Trauma, Stress and PTSD

Mental health is so much more important than some of us believe it to be. Any kind of mental issue is dangerous and can lead to serious repercussions.  Such issues may seriously impact the rest of one’s life.   At worst as a result of mental imbalance the feelings are so strong one can end up taking their own life.    For those left behind their mental torture then starts.  Not knowing how low that someone felt be that a loved one or friend and not noticing the signs of their growing anxiety and depression.

Only yesterday I was talking to some young people I taught in a school some years ago.  I was shocked to hear that a former pupil took her own life.  The sadness of the friends was evident.  The disbelief that despite the camaraderie that goes on long after leaving school, no one realised how bad things were.  The stressor here it would seem was social media.

Mental disabilities like stress, anxiety, tension, trauma and PTSD are all significantly prevalent in every age group.  Whether a  ten year old child or an adult who just crossed seventy.  The impact of social media and the use of technology can affect anyone of any age.  Whether they are being bullied, harassed, stalked, propositioned, or provoked in any way it does not take long for a happy go lucky person to start spiralling down.

While some can deal with such problems successfully with time, others find it much more difficult.  They can without support end up feeling suffocated and even suicidal.  Therefore, knowing about how to remove such negativity from your life becomes even more essential.

How can you help yourself or others?

Here are a few tried and tested ways that will help you successfully ward off the adverse impact of anxiety, tension, PTSD, and trauma.:

  • Accept that you have a problem and that getting professional help is the right thing to do.  It is not something which you do not have to be ashamed of.
  • Realize that removing anxiety, tension and PTSD does not have an immediate solution and that your mental healing will take some time.
  • Take your loved ones into confidence. Hiding what you are going through will do you more harm than good. Explaining the symptoms will help them understand your situation better and make the support process relatively easy.
  • Plan out a proper sleeping and diet schedule. Eating healthy and exercising regularly will help you interact with the world and keep you from becoming isolated – something that is harmful for someone in a bad state of mind.
  • Get professional assistance. Going for therapy is  a helpful step you can take to erase the symptoms of mental issues like tension, anxiety, PTSD and trauma. A therapist will be able to guide you better without being judgemental and will be your rational voice through hard times.

Don’t ignore what is going on.

Mental health imbalances need to be taken care of immediately. Instead of slacking letting issues like PTSD, anxiety, tension and trauma get the better of you.  Try to meet the problems head on and you will find it easier to deal with them.

There are of course many barriers for young people when coping with the overwhelm of anxiety.   This may include their discomfort of talking to adults or others about their thoughts or feelings.  It depends on the problem they may feel ashamed or guilty.   They may be desperate to speak to someone, but the professional support is not available.  They may not want to go on medication.

So, what is left?  Self-medication by turning to maybe drugs or alcohol or just continue to spiral down to such a low ebb life seems it is not worth living.  Those feelings and emotions build and build as the mind and body are connected.  When we are in a dark place the emotions take over, the mind chatter doesn’t stop, and it is a merry go round as the mid is stimulating and impacting the physical body.  Tension build and it goes deep, deep into the psoas.  The more tension we build the more our body starts to malfunction.  Our systems are impacted, we find ourselves low in energy and not able to fully function in our daily lives.  One thing leads to another.  We end up relying on health-care.

From health-care to self-care!

How about self-care?  There is a simple yet powerfully effective way to ease your physical, mental and emotional pain.  The Total Release Experience® (TRE), gets you back in touch with nature’s gift to us all as you soon discover how to heal yourself and build resilience.  For in this crazy, busy world if we do not look after yourself who is going to?  A technique that is accessible by young and old alike. 

This technique becomes a life tool and a tool for life as we find balance again physically, mentally and emotionally living life to the full.  Workshops, Skype or private sessions there is always a way to access our expert tuition.  We give the relevant resources and the ongoing support as required to ensure you find confidence and feel competent as you take back control of your well-being.  Don’t let you or your loved ones sink so low it seems there is no way out – trust now that there is.