Are you looking for a life coach or mentor? Let the Brighton Mental Health and Wellness Centre help.

Have you ever wanted to know what a mentor or life coach is supposed to do? There are many people out there that call themselves life coaches and mentors, but how do you know which one suits you and your personality?  Here at The Brighton Mental Health & Wellness Centre we offer fully trained and qualified therapists who can support you.

I am a Chartered Counselling Psychologist with a background of career counselling, education and teaching, as well as having over 25 years experience having worked in various locations and professions. By applying my educational background, work experience and practical skills I can help support you, coach you and mentor you by coming up with some basic key points that will ensure you that you’re heading on the right path. Often by talking with someone who isn’t involved emotionally or personally with your career or work related issues eases the pressure and often clients automatically come up with their own solutions which is very empowering.

HAVE YOU EVER ASKED YOURSELF WHAT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A MENTOR AND LIFE COACH IS?

A mentor has a deep personal interest about you and your long term development and a coach develops specific skills for the task, challenges and performance expectations at work. Mentoring is a power free, two-way mutually beneficial relationship.

Do you feel your life is affected by stress and anxiety, low self esteem and a lack of direction? Do you wish you could move forward and feel positive again? If you feel ready to make some changes in your life and need guidance and support, The Brighton Mental Health & Wellness Centre is here for you.

We provide tailor made coaching and mentoring programmes for both individuals and businesses using Life & Business Coaching techniques, Counselling, and practical support and advice. Our private practice specialises in programmes to help with:

  • stress induced anxiety and depression
  • executive stress
  • career advice
  • lack of confidence
  • low self esteem
  • panic attacks
  • work/life balance issues
  • insomnia
  • relationship problems

But, it doesn’t need to be tailor made if you don’t want it to be. Here at The Brighton Mental Health & Wellness Centre we offer flexibility.

HOW DOES IT WORK? 

Our first session will consist of a 60 minute assessment.  We will initially have a chat and try to uncover what a few of the underlying issues are and what can be done to solve those issues. During that assessment we will also come up with some short term goals and long terms goals that will direct you to a more relaxed, more relieved, more comfortable and happy you.

Please get in contact to book your initial assessment now. Initial assessment fee is £60 and if you book in three sessions/ Premier Package there is a reduced rate.

Contact me now!

 

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Do I have an unhealthy relationship with my child: Unhealthy attachments and how anxiety and worry won’t help you

If you are someone who is prone to worrying and anxiety then you will understand how stressful it can be when you have children. Do I worry about my children? Sometimes. Do I have anxiety when it comes to my children? Sometimes. But when does it become unhealthy? When does having worry and anxiety mess with the healthy boundaries of you and your child?

Having anxiety is normal. You see, there is good anxiety and then there is bad anxiety. The good anxiety is- how I like to explain it- as a survival skill. If you are a sensitive person and in touch with yourself and other people you will get what I am saying. We as human beings are animals. However, we don’t have the specific form of instinct. We have what is called intuition. And, part of this ‘intuition’ that we as human beings have there lays anxiety. Anxiety can help us stay out of a situation or warn us if there is trouble. Anxiety is part of our make up; everyone has it! However, like anything else there is a spectrum of disorders and a spectrum of personalities that we all endure.

What does anxiety feel like? 

It’s that funny feeling of butterflies in our stomach. It’s that uneasy feeling that something isn’t right. That is how you would describe the good anxiety.

Sometimes when I work with children, I ask them to put a colour on the anxiety that they are feeling. “Where do you feel this funny feeling? What colour is it?” I would ask. This can help children understand what they are actually feeling. And, sometimes…the colour surprises me! I can always relate a colour to a safe feeling or safe object which relieves many children and parents as well.

What is bad anxiety? And, why do I feel bad anxiety?  

The bad anxiety that leads to catastrophic thinking (catastrophising) and unhealthy attachments with our children and our partners, well that is something entirely different. Bad anxiety is an anxiety that gets our knickers in a twist. Bad anxiety stresses us out, makes us shout, increases worry, causes unhealthy attachments with our children and partners, can make us depressed, in some cases make us use drugs and alcohol, can take away concentration in school work and office work and much more.

Bad anxiety or unwanted anxiety (we don’t usually us the word good and bad in a counselling session- it’s usually unhealthy and healthy or desired and undesired behaviour- I am just trying to make a point)- can leave us feeling pretty crappy sometimes. It can leave us feeling isolated and alone. It can also keep you stuck in the house if the anxiety is too overwhelming.

How does anxiety effect unhealthy attachments? 

For those that have anxiety and over-worry it can be quite stressful for the child. Having a parent that over-worries can make the child over think and over-worry, thus not being a risk taker. The child might always question him or herself in everything that they do. They also may manipulate the parent and ‘need’ the parent psychologically when it may not be an age appropriate benchmark. These can then effect future relationships with other people as the child grows and gets older.

You see, attachment starts at the age of 0-2. These years are the most important when it comes to attachment, healthy boundaries and relationships. It’s all connected and quite complex. Loads of psychologists have written and studies about attachment.

The more anxious a parent it the greater risk of having an unhealthy attachment. Do you want to learn more about this fascinating concept? Check out Bowlby’s Attachment Theory!

If you or anyone suffers from anxiety and over-worry and it is effecting your child- The Brighton Wellness Centre in Hove, East Sussex can help. 

This week’s book pick! How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie.

Manifesting Love: How to use the law of attraction to get what you want

Have you ever wondered why you always attract the wrong person or people? Have you ever wanted to build a tribe that is kind, loving and like-minded? Well, it’s really quite simple. It starts out using the law of attraction. Manifesting Love is a book about- yes; exactly what it means…manifesting love in your life in a romantic sense. Yes, it does sound gimicky. But, using the law of attraction can and does work. It’s all about trusting the Universe and what it can provide for you.

How can I attract the ‘right’ kind of person? 

It is so easy to say to ourselves- I don’t want this kind of man or I don’t want this kind of woman. I don’t like this in a person and I don’t like this as well.

But, yet we still attract these sort of people in our lives.

Some of you may have read the book The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. What I am going to say is quite similar.

I have had many clients who come in and talk to me about co-dependency and unhealthy relationships. And, I have said similar stuff to them about how to project what they are actually looking for.  You can actually use this technique for many things in life.

  1. Write down everything that you want out of a person or relationship.  You can use a vision board, a list, a notebook or whatever you need visually.
  2. Project or manifest positive qualities, things that you need in your life and things that you want in your life.
  3. Next, focus on those positive qualities. Focus on what you WANT, not what you don’t want.

Using this among other techniques your life will gradually develop into the loving relationship or loving relationships that you are looking for. By using the law of attraction to manifest love, you will ensure that you will no longer have those unwanted, unhealthy relationships that you are tired and sick of.

Relationships will be easier. Relationships won’t be as difficult. Your relationships will be healthy. You not only can manifest love, but also manifest other things that you want or need in your life.

Would you like to learn more about manifesting love or a better career in your life? Then please get in touch with me. I work with people, both men and women on how they can manifest better relationships, a more relaxed work place and a more balanced life. It may take a few sessions to get you on track, but once you do- there is no turning back!

If you are a woman and want to join our Empowering Women’s Network than please click here.  Our Facebook Group is a place where women can big each other up, give advice to others as well as my advice & worksheets/homework once a week.  It’s fun! Come check it out! It’s a place where we as women support each other! There is no jealousy, pettiness or trash talking here- only encouragement, growth and development. 🙂 

How to overcome negativity and manifest positivity in your life

Growing up in America we were taught by my parents to work hard and to play hard. My sister, brother and myself grew up having that mentality especially. No matter what obstacles or challenges we faced, we overcame them with our heads’ held high. We worked hard in school and through out our lives while exploring careers. We established social circles that began developing in primary school, continued through out secondary school, university and so on. We are a very social family who isn’t afraid to push up our sleeves, put our heads down and get to work.

Now, some psychologists would explain the causes to such dexterity as a) environmental causes b) personality and/or c) upbringing. I would like to say in my instance it was a little bit of all three. My mother worked two jobs to be able to send us to a really good private school where I met mates that I am still friends with today. Even though I found understanding my emotions difficult while I was growing up and felt isolated from who I was as a person unable to be my authentic self, my personality was strong and stubborn.  My mother once said to me that I had a solid, strong backbone. I remember that compliment bringing tears to my eyes.

Being surrounded by like-minded people, being taught a strong work ethic and having the specific DNA or innate personality has made me who I am today. I am someone who has (no matter what) always been positive and react gracefully when difficulty arises. Now, I am not saying I am perfect. I am only human. I have my ups and my downs as well. However, my innate personality has always been one that of a positive person.

That is why I am going to share with you ways that I have over come challenges and negative thinking and turned them into positive thoughts. I am going to teach you how to overcome negative thoughts and manifest them into positive thoughts in your life.

  • Do you find yourself carrying a dark cloud over your head?
  • Do you get angry and frustrated easily?
  • Do you always look at the glass half empty?

I am going to give you 5 tips on how to flip that thinking and manifest positive thoughts in your head. Using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and easy worksheets you can change your negative thinking and manifest positive thoughts that will not only change your life, but increase happiness which will bring much more pleasure to your life.

I will give you one tip right now. 

If you find yourself thinking a negative thought take that thought and finish it with a positive statement.  I will give you an example.

  • I can’t speak in front of my colleagues because I might make a mistake when giving my presentation.

You change it like this…

  • I can’t speak in front of my colleagues because I might make a mistake when giving my presentation. However, if I do make a mistake I will correct myself.

or

  • I can’t speak in front of my colleagues because I might make a mistake when giving my presentation. However, if I do make a mistake I will correct myself and jokingly say that I am nervous when I give presentations.

After all, everyone is nervous when having to stand up in front of people talking.

By taking a negative thought and changing it into a positive one can enable you to manifest more positive thoughts giving you one personal solution so that you can live better.

Follow The Brighton Wellness Centre on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to learn more about how you can overcome negativity and manifest positivity in your life.

Sign up to Empowering Women’s Network to learn more or get in touch with The Brighton Wellness Centre.

It’s never too late to turn your life around!

www.brightonwellnesscentre.co.uk

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THE PURSUIT OF MINDFULNESS: STEPPING OFF THE HEDONIC TREADMILL

“It is not the man who has little, but the man who craves more, that is poor” – Seneca

Integrated into our everyday lives are ideas of how we can 6a00e554eecbdf88330120a7ad5e67970b-500wiachieve happiness – buy the next best car, gain a huge promotion, find your ideal partner… We are rarely made to feel content in our own skin and current state. Sadly, we have become accustomed to this; we see it everywhere and many of us recognise how such messages, particularly those in the media, buy into our feelings of dissatisfaction and insecurity. Living in such an environment, how can we ever believe enough is enough? 

Psychologists Brickman and Campbell first coined the term ‘hedonic adaptation’ in 1971. They suggest each person has a ‘set point’ of happiness18nat_married which remains constant until we experience sudden highs or downfalls. For instance, when receiving an exam grade, one might initially feel intense happiness or disappointment that will eventually return to that set point. The same goes in the context of a romantic relationship: we fall in love ecstatically, and over time reach a state of equilibrium that makes us think, “is this it?” – a thought which characterises many break-ups.

demandeuphoria_6642Positive Psychology research has looked into the idea of a ‘hedonic treadmill’ – a permanent cycle of desire fuelled by dissatisfaction. Particularly in an environment where things like money and success are highly valued, once you’re on that treadmill, you don’t want to simply feel content. You want all your hard work to pay off with feelings of ecstasy and triumph; you sacrifice the present moment in the hope that it will bring you greater satisfaction in the future. In this way, many people obtain motivation as it serves a path for ambitions. However, it can lead to anxious or depressive states in cases where people devote themselves to unattainable goals or feel a lack of appreciation for what is already within their reach.

To help combat this negative cycle, a great body of recent research points to the value of mindfulness – focusing awareness on the present moment and all its encompassing sensations. In doing so, we can free ourselves from our attachment to the past and the future and find satisfaction in the present. Mindfulness has been found to significantly improve symptoms of mental disorders like anxiety, depression and ADHD. There are some excellent blog articles that write more in depth on mindfulness techniques, such as here, here and here.

On the other hand, research has shown that our happiness levels are not always determined by the environment we are in; they are 50% heritable in our genes. In addition to this, it is found that not everyone is hedonically neutral – we all have differing set points meaning we feel pleasure differently. For example, people with depression can experience anhedonia – a total inability to feel pleasure. Some research suggests that hedonic set points can be raised using new antidepressant compounds that are currently being investigated.

Psychological research has thrown light on how our desires can lead to dissatisfaction, and provides interventions that can be used to reframe negative mind-sets. If you have any experience with subjects I have mentioned or have any ideas or questions, please comment or send me a message.

 

Works Cited

Brickman, P., & Campbell, D. T. (1971). Hedonic relativism and planning the good society. Adaptation-level theory, 287-305.

Eysenck, H. J., & Eysenck, M. W. (1994). Happiness: Facts and myths. Psychology Press.

SELF-EFFICACY: TURNING DOUBT INTO DRIVE

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An efficacious attitude works as a driving force – an individual with a strong sense of efficacy is more likely to become self-motivated, committed and assured in the face of a challenge. With high self-efficacy, one can attempt goals and conquer stress more readily, and as a result, experience better wellbeing. On the contrary, those who have doubts about their own abilities ruminate on personal flaws, slacken efforts and lose faith in the face of failure – a mind-set that in the long run can act as a brake on one’s ambitions and increase proneness to mental illness. But how does one develop self-efficacy? Is it ever as simple as telling yourself, “I can do this” when faced with a challenge? Is self-efficacy something that can be moulded and strengthened to the level we want it to be? Is anyone ever totally self-confident, and if so, is that always a good thing?

Efficacy beliefs shape the course of our lives – what goals we choose to pursue, how much we commit to those goals and how much effort we put into given endeavours. Our everyday realities are filled with obstacles, frustrations and limitations. However, it is not the difficulties we face that influence our strength and wellbeing, but the beliefs we hold about them. Our beliefs determine how much stress we experience when confronting challenges, and how long it takes before we give up altogether. We must, therefore, develop a robust sense of self-worth to sustain the enduring effort needed to flourish.

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Psychologist Albert Bandura, known primarily for his research on behavioural modelling, suggests we can improve our self-efficacy, ironically, through failure. After all, if people only experience straightforward successes, it becomes an expectation that makes them far more vulnerable when things don’t go as planned. Therefore, if one comes to realise their self-worth and capability through sustained effort in overcoming adversity, they can emerge with more resilience rather than disheartenment. He discovered this during his research on fear arousal, where he saw the mediating effect that strong self-efficacy had on phobics, war veterans and hurricane survivors in overcoming incapacitating trauma.

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A second way in which Bandura suggests we can shape our efficacy beliefs is through second-hand experiences provided by social role models. When we see people similar to ourselves accomplish goals, we can foster our own beliefs that we too have it in us to master similar challenges. With this in mind, we can see others’ achievements not as unattainable comparisons, but as an inspirational framework to guide our own aspirations and plans of action we set ourselves. So, instead of becoming envious and measuring our success through triumphs over others, we can do so through focusing on our own self-improvement and sharing encouragement.

Finally, because our self-efficacy can vary as a function of our physical and mental state, it can be difficult to approach a task that arouses a sense of debility or anxiety. Some people experience a nervous state as an added driving force to their motivation, whereas others view it as a sign to remove themselves from the situation as quickly as possible. This can be a particularly tough thought pattern to eradicate in the moment, but through a structured process of identifying, eliminating and replacing maladaptive or irrational thoughts and behaviours (such as through cognitive behavioural therapy), we can transform what holds us back into a force that pushes us forward. For example, we can break down large challenges into smaller, more manageable steps.

Demetri-Martin_tumblr_lo9k5j8SE31qhtggqo1_500.jpgBandura offers some extremely useful suggestions for how we can manage our own levels of self-efficacy – a skill that can motivate us to change ineffective attitudes and behaviours that might be holding us back. However, these are not limited to themselves – there are a range of other methods to be explored if these do not fit for you or every aspect of life. If you have any ideas or have had personal experience trying the above strategies or any others, please comment or message me with your thoughts and suggestions.

 

WORKS CITED

Bandura, A. (1994). Self‐efficacy. John Wiley & Sons, Inc..

Bandura, A., & Adams, N. E. (1977). Analysis of self-efficacy theory of behavioral change. Cognitive therapy and research, 1(4), 287-310.

Bandura, A. (2005). The primacy of self‐regulation in health promotion. Applied Psychology, 54(2), 245-254.

Benight, C.C. & Bandura, A. (2004). Social cognitive theory of post-traumatic recovery: The role of perceived self-efficacy. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 42 (10), 1129–1148

THEORIES OF SCHIZOPHRENIA: CAN THEY WORK IN HARMONY?

In this article, I use illustrations taken from the website of Bryan Charnley, an artist who suffered with schizophrenia and very tragically took his own life soon after these self-portraits were completed. Each painting was created as an experiment to come “face-to-face” with his illness. I felt it would be appropriate to use them here as they demonstrate, far more poignantly than can be done with words, what schizophrenic symptoms can feel like.

Psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler first coined the term ‘schizophrenia’, originating from the Greek “schizo” meaning to tear or split, and “phren” meaning intellect. This could explain the common contemporary myth about the illness involving a split personality. In reality, schizophrenia comprises a range of distressing symptoms including delusions, hallucinations, incoherent thoughts and speech, catatonic behaviour, affective flattening, alogia and avolition. The varied nature of the illness makes it challenging to diagnose using a single modality. However, it is one of the most debilitating of mental illnesses, with more than 24 million sufferers worldwide, which compels scientists in a variety of fields to continue in their search. Psychological and biological accounts present quite distinct determinist perspectives, unless combined within the ‘diathesis-stress’ model – a more holistic explanation that is now the leading approach in providing aetiology for the illness.

Bryan Charnley: Self-Portrait (1991) “My mind seemed to be thought broadcasting very severely and it was beyond my will to do anything about it. I summed this up by painting my brain as an enormous mouth, acting independently of me… I feel I am always divided against my self by myself… the nail in the mouth expresses my social ineptitude and an inability to socialise which makes me a target…”

A genetic susceptibility for psychotic symptoms is problematic to trace back to a particular genetic locus or even a small amount of genes. Therefore, a range of methods provide evidence for the involvement of numerous specific genes and rare mutations within them. Findings strongly indicate a heritable aspect to the disease, such as the fact that those with a first-degree relative with schizophrenia are ten times more likely to develop symptoms than those without. Moreover, twin studies reveal an overall heritability estimate of 80%. These discoveries highlight schizophrenia to be one of the most heritable of mental disorders. However, it can be difficult for researchers to discriminate between findings that are due to one’s environment as opposed to genetic makeup. To overcome this issue, adoption studies have been conducted using adoptees with and without schizophrenic family members. One early study found that 16.6% of adopted children with schizophrenic mothers developed the illness while none did within the control group. These findings were supported by a more recent study, where adopted children with psychotic symptoms had a 21.4% chance of having biological relatives with schizophrenia, compared to 5.4% in those who did not.

The leading biochemical theory of schizophrenia is the dopamine hypothesis, which maintains that symptoms like hallucinations, thought disorder and behavioural problems are significantly correlated to excess activity of the neurotransmitter dopamine. Antipsychotic drugs such as phenothiazines act on symptoms of psychosis by blocking the brain’s dopamine receptor sites, lowering dopamine activity. While these drugs attenuate many symptoms of schizophrenia, they have side effects such as tremors similar to those shown in Parkinson’s Disease, which is known to be caused in part by low dopamine levels. This effect is interestingly reversed when Parkinson’s patients are administered L-dopa – a drug that raises dopamine levels – resulting in the display of psychotic symptoms. Post-mortem studies have also revealed increased levels of dopamine and a considerably greater number of dopamine receptors in the brains of deceased schizophrenia patients.

Cognitive theories of schizophrenia centre on attributional and interpretational biases regarding anomalous experiences. For instance, auditory hallucinations are typically experienced by around 10 to 15% of healthy individuals, but may be interpreted in a way that makes them believe they are becoming insane, or that they ought to listen to and adhere to what the voices say in order to avoid negative consequences. Such biases are associated with deficits in cognitive functioning, again linked to excess dopamine activity, resulting in a slow decline in abilities such as early stages of sensory information processing. As a result, some sufferers experience affective flattening – a symptom rendering them socially isolated with a lack of emotions – meaning schizophrenic patients who have developed paranoid beliefs are not in the presence of others who can disconfirm their ideas, leading to a spiralling self-fulfilling prophecy.

charnley_self_portrait_series_10

The double-bind hypothesis suggests that schizophrenic symptoms result from a pattern of contradictory, hostile and blameful treatment from family members. For instance, families with high expressed emotion (EE) tend to place blame on the sufferer for their circumstances, and express this through shouting rather than talking through. Prior to these findings, it was advised that schizophrenic patients should go home to their families from their institution, however it has now been established that the median relapse rate in a high-EE environment is 48% compared to 21% in a low-EE environment, and that interventions to control EE in families is a more effective approach to improving symptoms. This assumption is associated with the diathesis-stress hypothesis, which intends to merge biological and psychological approaches. For instance, an individual who is genetically liable to schizophrenia may not develop symptoms of psychosis until they encounter certain life stressors that can transpire during early development, in dysfunctional family relationships or in adolescence.

The above approaches are similar in their use of empirical methods, problems with defining cause and effect and investigation into family influences. They also coincide in their discussion of the influence of dopamine, which in turn affects cognitions and the attribution of symptoms to external factors. However, they differ in that the biological approach looks at inherent traits such as genetics and biochemical composition and uses pharmacological treatments, whereas the psychological approach focuses on upbringing and cognitive processes, and family therapeutic or cognitive behavioural treatments. Overall, they work in harmony within the diathesis-stress approach, which claims a genetic predisposition to schizophrenia will only result in symptoms when activated by life stressors.

If you would like to know more about schizophrenia and learn about treatments available, there are many websites to refer to and helplines and services to contact. I have listed some below:

http://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/schizophrenia/

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Schizophrenia/Pages/Treatment.aspx

http://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help-you

http://www.healthtalk.org/files/upload/Mental%20Wellbeing%20Resources.pdf

https://www.rethink.org/diagnosis-treatment/conditions/schizophrenia

http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/category/blog/schizophrenia

http://www.time-to-change.org.uk/

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5 Top Tips to Having a Better Sleep

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Tips for better Sleep
by Eleanor Segall

Sleep is well known to be nature’s healing balm, a restorative bodily process. Sleep restores energy, repairs injury or illness, encourages growth and psychological well being and good mood. Good sleep also improves concentration and memory and general performance. Most experts say one should get between 7- 8 hours of sleep per night, however, some will sleep less or more depending on their individual needs. Margaret Thatcher famously only slept a few hours each night, while others need at least 10 hours to function effectively.

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Conversely, lack of sleep (sleep deprivation) provides the opposite of the positive effects including: poor attention and memory, irritability and mood disturbances, impaired judgement and reaction time and poor physical coordination. Severe sleep deprivation (no sleep for several days/ weeks) causes mental illness including hallucinations, as well as weakening the immune system.

“New parents, especially mothers experience severe sleep deprivation the first few months of having a baby.  This is a shock to the system.” Jessica Valentine from The Brighton Wellness Centre states.

Common sleep problems include taking hours to drop off to sleep, disturbed sleep with frequent waking and inability to stay asleep, waking too early in the morning and general poor quality sleep (restless and disturbed). Indeed too, if one is in physical pain, this can cause one difficulty sleeping.

“Depending on what time you wake in the middle of the night can determine whether you are feeling sad or angry.”

So what can you do to improve your sleep quality?

1) Tackling sleep anxiety

If you have persistent worries and thoughts swirling around your brain  about not being able to sleep eg ‘I will wake up exhausted’, this can lead to even more anxiety and stop you from sleeping. It’s so important to rest and lie as calmly as possible, even if you can’t fall asleep and to challenge those thoughts. Think about other happy things or listen to a relaxation CD which can help calm your body and mind.

2) Prepare your bedroom

Make sure your bedroom is a calm, relaxed place- non cluttered and at the right temperature for optimum sleep. The room should not be too hot or too cold. If you are a light sleeper, invest in some black out blinds or wear a  eye mask to stop the day light waking you. Also, check your mattress as if it is uncomfortable for you it will stop you sleeping.

3) Reducing caffeine, cigarettes and alcohol before bed time

Caffeine is a well known stimulant present in coffee, tea, hot chocolate/ chocolate bars and cola. Experts say it is best not to have any of these things within four hours of bed time, however try replacing it with herbal tea. Caffeine boosts blood flow and will keep you awake.

Herbal remedies and teas that include valerian root, camomile and lavender will help.

Additionally, you should avoid smoking before bed due to the fact that Nicotine is a stimulant and will keep you awake (be careful with nicotine gum and patches, too. Furthermore, despite the fact that Alcohol can make you feel sleepy at first, it disturbs your bodies sleep cycle and so best to avoid it. Often, sugars in red wine can induce middle of the night waking.

4) Body Clock- consistency

Sleep experts say that it is important to set your internal body clock to go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time each day. Napping to make up for sleep regularly is not good for your body clock, so see if you can keep consistency with your sleep cycle. This is also extremely important if you have mental health concerns- to get good quality sleep.

5) Pre- Sleep routine

Make sure you use the hour before bed to unwind from technology (no phones or tablets, as the blue light stimulates the brain), have a warm bath, drink a milky drink, do a calming meditation or listen to relaxing music, journal if you are anxious and then put it away. You can even add drops of lavender oil or spray to your pillow to help you relax and prepare for sleep.

If you are having regular problems with sleep and want to discuss it with a professional, speak to Jessica at Brighton Wellness Centre today.

Does Skunk Cannabis Cause Psychosis: Causes and symptoms from smoking skunk marijuana.

Skunk and Psychosis: Does Strong Cannabis cause psychosis and what are the symptoms?
by: Eleanor Segall

It has been known for quite some time that smoking ‘Weed’, Cannabis can cause all kinds of effects. Whilst many are seen to be positive- calming you, helping you ‘chill out’ there are some more harmful and sinister effects of a particular strain of Cannabis known as ‘Skunk’.

What is ‘Skunk’?

Skunk is a high potency strain of cannabis which is known for both its strength and pungent smell. It has increased in volume on the street over the past few decades and many smoke it due to its strength. Some also smoke it unaware that its side effects are far more dangerous than conventional cannabis.
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If smoked daily or regularly, the Skunk strain of cannabis can cause psychosis in the brain- meaning one may suffer from delusions, hallucinations, extreme anxiety and paranoia, sleeplessness or hear voices and become quite unwell. This is due to the high amount of chemical present in the drug- Skunk contains more THC- the main  psychoactive ingredient than other types.

Hashish (which is cannabis resin) contains substantial qualities of another chemical- Cannabidol (CBD). NHS Research suggests that the CBD acts as an antidote to the THC, counteracting psychotic side effects. In Skunk strain of cannabis there is far less Cannabidol, meaning that the brain can be triggered more easily into a psychotic state. There is also research suggesting that less potent strains of cannabis, if smoked daily, can trigger mental illness although this is less known than Skunk cannabis.

The NHS have stated in their research from 2015, that ‘Skunk like cannabis increases risk of psychosis, study suggests’ (2015, NHS). They also go on to say that ‘the use of high potency cannabis was associated with a far greater increase in risk’.

Due to the increase in psychotic symptoms from those men and women regularly smoking Skunk cannabis, a medical study was undertaken in the UK. As the NHS and BBC reported,

‘The study compared cannabis use patterns among 410 people from South London who attended hospital with a first episode of psychosis and 370 people from the general public without the condition…

It found that the daily use of cannabis was associated with a greater increase in risk of psychosis and use of high potency cannabis associated with a greater increase in risk.  Smoking potent cannabis was linked to 24% of new psychosis cases analysed in a study by Kings College London Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience …

The research suggests the risk of psychosis is three times higher for users of potent skunk like cannabis than for non users.’

Following on from  this, many former Skunk users have commented on their own psychotic symptoms after smoking it daily or regularly. It is shown that major changes in the brain occur when Skunk is smoked regularly and it can take years for people with skunk induced psychosis to recover fully. The study above was funded by the Maudsley Hospital Charitable fund and published in the medical journal ‘The British Journal of Psychiatry’.

It found that young men were more at risk- the study found most were young between 25- 30 and most were men with a high proportion of unemployment.

So what can you do if you are worried about someone you know who may be presenting with addiction to Skunk or psychotic symptoms?

Firstly, if someone is addicted to Skunk or cannabis and smoking it daily, but wants help to stop, they may need to get some support to stop smoking as much- whether that’s through a specialist Doctor or Rehab unit and initially referred through their GP.

If  they are exhibiting psychotic symptoms and in a crisis situation it is key to get the local Crisis team or psychiatry involved as if they are severely unwell, they may need a short or long hospital stay.

There are many addiction charities and groups out there that can support you and the addict and these are worth exploring. If someone does not want help and you can’t convince them to stop smoking (and they aren’t psychotic), it can be difficult as you may have to wait until crisis point.

If you need to discuss these issues, do speak to Drug addiction charities, doctors/therapists or helplines and make sure you get the support you and your friend/ family member need.

Jessica at Brighton Wellness Centre is a therapist who deals with addiction issues. For more information, please do contact her via the website www.brightonwellnesscentre.co.uk or email jessica@brightonwellnesscentre.co.uk.

Beating seasonal effective disorder: setting small goals to relieve January winter blues

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It’s January, you may be feeling bloated or sluggish after the Christmas holiday period, the days are still getting dark early, it’s cold and frosty and so you feel completely demotivated. The glow of the holidays has gone leaving us still with several months until Spring. It is natural to feel low, unmotivated and a bit flat at this time of year.

So what can you do?

It’s always good at this time of year- a new year, a new start to put those Resolutions into action, in a small way. It is best to break down the goals into small pieces especially if you are feeling depressed or low.

At the start of each new week, it is good to think about what you would like to achieve, however insignificant it seems to you. This could range from a small goal such as ‘Get out of bed an hour earlier each day’, ‘Do my laundry instead of letting it build up’ to wider health, career and relationship goals. Instead of making a goal vague such as ‘Exercise more’- it is best to set specific, achievable goals such as ‘Exercise for 1 hour this morning’. Specific goals tend to get more results because vague goals will end up being just that.

I find that it is best to write down my goals in a notebook and to make them achievable for me. Tick lists can be useful too but the aim is not to overload yourself with how much you want to do, but to take each goal carefully and in its own time. Give yourself a day or time scale to do it in and don’t beat yourself up if you can’t achieve it, just make the goal more realistic and achievable next time.

Procrastination  is my particular nemesis, as I know it is for so many people. However, if it becomes a problem you must ask yourself what is it about that particular goal that I don’t want to do? For example, if you fear something or struggle with motivation try to reflect on its benefits and why you set that goal in the first place or what you can do so you can reach your goal.

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As always, the goal must be achievable- achieving our goals gives a great sense of satisfaction and boosts self esteem. You can either make the goals on  your own or with a therapist, life coach or family member.

It is very important if you are suffering from depression to not beat yourself up if you aren’t doing as much as you would normally. Depression brings a whole host of symptoms including demotivation and despondency- however there are many things that can help you feel better. If you are really struggling please see your Doctor (GP) therapist or psychiatrist if you are under one.

At Brighton Wellness Centre, Jessica Valentine helps people struggling with many health issues to feel better. Jessica runs therapy sessions to boost wellness, recovery and self esteem. For more see the main website. http://www.brightonwellnesscentre.co.uk.

Lastly, remember to always be thinking about what positive goals you can achieve. Goal setting really will change your life for the better!