Learn mindfulness in 5 easy steps through using your senses: the five senses exercise

This exercise is called “five senses”, and provides guidelines on practising mindfulness quickly in nearly any situation.  All that is needed is to notice something you are experiencing with each of the five senses.

Follow this order to practice the five senses exercise:

  • Notice five things that you can see.

Look around you and bring your attention to five things that you can see. Pick something that you don’t normally notice, like a shadow or a small crack in the concrete.

  • Notice four things that you can feel.

Bring awareness to four things that you are currently feeling, like the texture of your pants, the feeling of the breeze on your skin, or the smooth surface of a table you are resting your hands on.

  • Notice three things you can hear.

Take a moment to listen, and note three things that you hear in the background. This can be the chirp of a bird, the hum of the refrigerator, or the faint sounds of traffic from a nearby road.

  • Notice two things you can smell.

Bring your awareness to smells that you usually filter out, whether they’re pleasant or unpleasant. Perhaps the breeze is carrying a whiff of pine trees if you’re outside, or the smell of a fast food restaurant across the street.

  • Notice one thing you can taste.

Focus on one thing that you can taste right now, in this moment. You can take a sip of a drink, chew a piece of gum, eat something, or just notice the current taste in your mouth or open your mouth to search the air for a taste.

This is a quick and relatively easy exercise to bring you to a mindful state quickly.

 

If you would like to learn more about managing your anxiety get in touch with The Brighton Mental Health and Wellness Centre.

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The Importance of Therapy and Support Networks.

When dealing with mental health issues of any kind, it is so important to talk it through with a recognised professional and/or your support network. Talking through difficult and painful emotions (of depression or anxiety for example) with someone you trust is vital for mental wellbeing and balance.

If you are lucky to have a good, stable support network, utilise it. Your friends and/or family are so important in promoting happiness and keeping you well, so long as they are a calming, stable influence on you. Positive support promotes wellness in all of us.

Whether it’s one friend, a family member or an extended support network on or offline, talking to those you love and who care for you is vital. If you need further support there are health charities like the Samaritans who are always on hand to listen on their helpline. Mind charity are also a brilliant support and resource, as are Rethink Mental Illness. All promote a non-stigmatised view of mental illness and a listening ear.

Don’t suffer in silence. Tell someone you trust how bad you are feeling. Share your thoughts with a professional who can help you unpack the difficult emotions you are feeling.

Whether its one-to-one talking therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or psychotherapy, there is something to help you if you are struggling with mental health issues. It doesn’t matter what issue, disorder or behaviour pattern you need help with, there will be a therapy to help you back to wellness!

 

At the Brighton Wellness Centre, we offer a range of therapies including Skype sessions to help those struggling with mental health issues. Please click here for our details or email Jessica Valentine to find out more.

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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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!

Mental Health New Years Resolutions

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It’s that time of year again, tinsel and fairy lights adorn houses and trees, Christmas songs blare from the radio, mulled wine is served and not to mention advent calendars, nativity plays and more. This time of year is a time to be with family and friends, whatever faith you are.  This can mean that the Christmas period can be a challenging time for those suffering from mental ill health- either due to isolation and loneliness or because of the overtly social time frame.

So, if you are feeling like this the best thing to do is to either talk to someone you trust, phone a helpline or charity if you need , speak to a psychotherapist or use other coping mechanisms, eg.  journalling, mindfulness, deep breathing or relaxation CD’s.  Whichever works for you make sure you don’t bottle things up.

Being that it is coming to the end of the year and looking ahead to 2017, I thought I would share some new years resolutions for positive mental health that you can implement in your life.

1) I will make sure to invest in self-care this year.

Self-care means I will actually take time out of my day to check in with myself and decide what I need. This isn’t selfish, it is vital to survival of the bleak winter period in particular.  Each day  I will invest in self care, whether its running a warm bubble bath and soaking for half an hour, journaling out my negative feelings and replacing it with positive ones, colouring for relaxation or just getting some much needed down time in front of the TV in my PJs- make sure I invest every day and you do too, in self-care activities.

2) I will make sure I go outside more.

In the winter, I am definitely more prone to curling up like a doormouse and hibernating inside- in the comfort of my warm home, chatting to friends on my smart phone and computer.  I am also a sucker for my blanket and a warm mug of hot chocolate. While this is good some of the time, I know that I need to push myself out more into the cold and bright mornings.  So, my resolution is to make sure I go out and get enough light and Vitamin D to boost my mood and health and enough exercise to keep my mind and heart healthy.

3) I will make sure to be present.

A friend of mine gave me this tip when she said –‘Stay in the Now and Enjoy the Moment’ .  I definitely need to do this more and not worry myself too much.  Staying present means that the only moment is now- try and focus on something positive in the present and not worry too far ahead.

4) I will try not to worry what others think and don’t beat myself up.

Easier said than done, this resolution had come about due to having people pleasing tendencies.  I hate upsetting anyone.  This means that I will often overthink or worry about others and what they think.  This year I resolve to spend less time fretting and not to beat myself up over small things that turn from a mountain into a molehill!

5) I will have a more positive mind-set.

This means I will not be ashamed of how I am feeling and feel bad because of it.  I will be more accepting of my feelings and needs.  I will know that even if I am at rock bottom, ‘This too shall pass’ and I will find a way to get through adversity and be positive.  I will actively think positive thoughts and push myself to achieve my goals.

If you are suffering from depression, anxiety or any other mental illness please reach out for help.  Contact The Brighton Wellness Centre at http://www.brightonwellnesscentre.co.uk or 07810 744 821.  Phone sessions, online sessions and face-to-face sessions are available.

Looking forward to a happier, healthier 2017 and wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah!

 

Clearing out the clutter in your life: Be the change you want to be.

Making changes in one’s life isn’t easy.  It’s not easy to stop habits such as eating too much, smoking, drinking too much, shopping, spending or whatever thing you do in utter excess.  But, how can we stop the ups and downs of the addiction see-saw?

When I was younger and at university our professors taught us that the only way to kick a bad habit was to quit it ‘cold turkey.’  This method works, but you need to have will-power and discipline.  I have this…if I set my mind to do something- I will do it! (that’s self-affirmation by the way!) You need to be willing to work throuhelpmechangemylifegh the fear and like Nike’s slogan boasts- just do it!

However, I am sitting here drinking my second cup of coffee wondering if I poured myself a third cup would I be classified in the DSM-V as having ‘three out of five symptoms’ of having a coffee addiction.  I think that sometimes quitting cold turkey isn’t always easy as it sounds.

If cutting an excessive habit ‘cold turkey’ were easy, everyone would do it.  And, if obtaining balance of eating and drinking were easy there would be no diets, no Facebook quotes on how to obtain a balanced diet, and I wouldn’t be sitting here reflecting on how to obtain balance in the crazy world of eating, drinking and partying.

But how do we obtain balance in our life?  How do we kick the bad habits, move forward, and become healthier, stronger, and happier?

The question you need to ask yourself is this…do you want change in your life? If you do…then make it!  But how? Be the change you want to be.  Start by de-cluttering your life.

De-clutter your mind, your room, your house, your friends, and/or whatever it is you think you need to de-clutter in order to take the next step of moving forward with your life.

You’ve read about toxic people- get rid of them.  You are a hoarder and you have too much dusty ornaments- clear it out- take that bric-a-brac to your local charity.  Just do it! You want to quit smoking- clear out everything in the house that reminds you of smoking.  You think you drink too much- don’t have booze in the house.  Crisps are your Achilles tendon- don’t buy them.

Changing things immediately in your life, clearing out the clutter and de-cluttering your life will help you make those life changes you want to make.

You can do anything you set your mind to if you really WANT to make changes in your life- do it!

If these simple tasks don’t seem so simple then you need to take it to the next level…finding out what makes you have these addictions.  Are you filling a void in your life?  Are you depressed?  Are you lonely?  Did you have a crappy childhood?  Do you suffer from anxiety?  Are you stuck in the actual cycle of addiction?  Do you have a rubber arm (my friends say this about me)? Whatever your ‘bag’ is there is a solution.  Every cycle can be broken.  It is up to you though to start the process.

 

Changing habitual behaviour for a happier life – anxiety disorders.

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Do you have behavioural habits that you know you are repeating over and over- and want to learn how to stop them continuing?

Our behaviour is such a challenging thing to change because the mind and our thought patterns and chemistry are so complex- and so individually unique. Once we begin certain behaviours and repeat them over and over, they become automatic and our brain continues to act in the same way, unless we take control and change it. This is to do with the way the brain and an organ called the amygdala processes hormones such as adrenaline and the memory of previous behaviour patterns.

So, how can we change negative or destructive behaviour patterns which perpetuate illnesses such as anxiety disorders? (Please note this is similar in other disorders eg addictions but this article will focus on anxiety disorders, however it can apply to you too.).

The most important thing if you have an anxiety disorder- this can be generalised anxiety disorder, OCD, PTSD, social anxiety and more… is that you can change your habits but it will take work, perseverance and support.

I have suffered from social anxiety in the past, coupled with depression. This made it extremely difficult for me to go out to occasions where there were lots of people, for fear of negative judgement, such as weddings and on public transport. The psychotherapists I worked with taught me that these thoughts were ‘irrational’ and I had various courses of Cognitive Behavioural therapy  to unpack my negative thoughts and limiting beliefs on paper .

However, what really helped me to change my habits around going out and socialising was something I call- exposure therapy. By going out with a few friends and then on the tube, around more people I slowly desensitised my brain to my new surroundings. I then found I actually wanted to go out more and it didn’t feel quite as frightening as when I stayed indoors and cancelled my plans. I didn’t want to hide away.

For those of us with anxiety disorders, we can be triggered by anything in the subconscious and our body chemicals (cortisol and adrenaline). I still have bad days and I know you will too. Yet, you can get better and feel stronger, if you take charge.

If exposure therapy sounds too big an idea- break it down. As mentioned, I had CBT and psychotherapy but there are so many therapies out there that can help too and everyone will have unique symptoms and triggers. Talk with a qualified therapist or your GP to see what therapy plan is best for you.

You may find that Mindfulness CDs work for you to help you stay present and do deep breathing or meditation, art therapy, hypnotherapy or in depth talking therapies. CBT can also be beneficial in changing behaviour patterns but this will depend on the individual.

If you need help changing your negative behavioural patterns, get in touch with Jessica Valentine, therapist at Brighton Wellness Centre.

Reactions to illness stigma: living with others judgement

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At Brighton Wellness Centre, we are well aware of the mental health stigma that pervades our society. Even in 2016, with the many pioneering organisations and charities helping those with mental illness, with the rise of good medications that work (such as anti depressants and mood stabilisers) and an awareness of psychotherapy, there is still stigma. People can react negatively, be harsh or not understanding because they do not understand the complexity that is mental ill health and the effects it has on the brain and behaviour.

Common stigmatised reactions may include language such as ‘You aren’t crazy, why do you need to take those pills?’, ‘You should be locked up’,’You are behaving so bipolar‘, ‘Depression means you are weak’ and so on. Mental illness is still sadly associated by some (who have no experience of it) with Doctors white coats, straight jackets, life long hospital stays and never making a full, complete recovery. This is completely ridiculous, however it will take generations to change these attitudes, although we are beginning to turn the tide!

While these perceptions of mental illness may have been the case 60 or more years ago, today the mental health world in the UK and other Western countries has moved on. Since the 1950s, the rise of medications that worked to help illnesses such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, psychosis, depressive/anxiety disorders, eating disorders etc have improved drastically. With the rise of SSRI medications- that work on the brain as anti depressants as well as newly developed anti psychotic medications, mental illness sufferers are able, in most cases, to return to their normal lives. This coupled with psychotherapy can truly change lives. The policy also of recovery is a great shift from the past. Psychiatrists, psychologists and psychotherapists don’t just aim to manage symptoms – they aim to set you on the path to recovery.

The feeling of judgement and of someone thinking you are ‘crazy’ is awful, sad and terrifying. For every person that understands and supports, you may get those who can’t and won’t understand you. You can lose friends or loved ones due to this- which is appalling. Support networks are badly needed for those with an illness in particular. So, don’t be stigmatised to those with an illness. Help and love your friend and loved one, give to them, provide a listening ear and a hug.

As someone with experience of mental health, I would say there is still a long way to go in terms of stigma. I talk about and blog about my experiences, raise money for mental health charities and have just started reaching a wider audience. However, I still feel I cannot fully disclose my illness under my real name. This is due to the fact that it is still not hugely understood in society, so to be associated with it could be upsetting. Yet, I hope that within a decade or two, this will change. I blog to change attitudes and highlight awareness which is badly needed.

This is why I support Jessica Valentine at Brighton Wellness Centre. She focuses particularly on womens wellness and provides a therapeutic setting and a listening ear to all her clients. Psychotherapy of any kind is truly beneficial in helping you manage symptoms and difficult emotions. By taking the step to going to psychotherapy, you are battling stigma as well as helping yourself move forward.  Remember, there is nothing wrong or weak in talking to a therapist (whatever you may have been told)- in fact you are being incredibly strong for seeking help and reaching out. Hopefully, any therapy you undergo will also help you to change your life for the better.  Reach out today.

The Importance of talking through therapy or support networks.

When dealing with mental health issues of any kind, it is so important to talk it through with a recognised professional and/or your support network. Talking through difficult and painful emotions (of depression, anxiety for example), with someone you trust is vital for mental wellbeing and balance.

If you are lucky to have a good, stable support network- utilise it. Your friends and/or family are so important at promoting happiness and keeping you well, if they in turn are a calming, stable influence on you. Positive support promotes wellness in all of us.

Whether its one friend, a family member or an extended support network on or offline, talking to those you love and who care for you is vital. If you need further support there are health charities like the Samaritans– who are always on hand to listen on their helpline. Mind charity are also a brilliant support and resource and check out Rethink Mental Illness. All promote a non stigmatised view of mental illness and a listening ear.

Don’t suffer in silence- Tell someone you trust how bad you are feeling. Share your thoughts with a professional who can help you unpack the difficult emotions you are feeling.This is so important too if you are considering psychotherapy. There are various therapies that we offer at the Brighton Wellness Centre that can really help. Whether its one to one talking therapy, CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy to help change behaviour patterns) or in depth psychoanalysis there is something to help you and everyone struggling with mental health issues.

It doesn’t matter what issue, disorder or behaviour pattern you need help with, there will be a therapy to help you back to wellness!  We particularly specialise in womens wellbeing and are here to assist you with any concerns you have.

To contact us further, email Jessica or call her via this website.