Impacts from Childhood

ACE’s or Adverse Childhood Experiences are events from childhood that have negative impact on someone as they grow and develop. They can be from things we commonly expect such as trauma and/or abuse to the child in childhood, but also from things such as the child experiencing poverty, divorce, substance abuse, mental illness, incarceration etc in their family environment.

What sort of impact this has is variant dependent on the care the child receives as well as their personality type. Some children can experience a relative dying, or being incarcerated without a negative impact if they perceive love and protection adequately from other sources. It is all to do with the impact of toxic stress on the brain of the child. Some stress is normal, some can be mitigated as mentioned above, while in some children it becomes toxic.

What are the impacts of toxic stress or ACE’s? These can be multiple including things such as drug use, alcohol issues, smoking, obesity, depression, anxiety, suicide, but also physical issues such as increased risk of heart attacks, cancer, diabetes, stroke and lung disease.

ACE’s can be prevented by ensuring a balance between stress impacts (which can’t always be avoided and to some extent are a natural part of life) and providing a loving, safe, nurturing and stable environment to encourage and teach children to cope with adversity, to teach resilience and build confidence and encourage them to love and care, offer compassion and understanding.

Here is a link to a website that explains in more detail and offers the scientific information about the impact on the brain as well if you are interested in knowing more

If you’d like video, telephone or face to face counselling in the Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme or Staffordshire area please do contact Wright Minds at laura@wrightminds.co.uk or on 07598810304

Nightshift?

I think this post is really just a musing I am having after noticing an article on my news app about shift work and chatting to a colleague who works nights in an ambulance.

Have you worked nights for a long time? Do you find yourself feeling more depressed, stressed or anxious than usual? There has been some research into the concern that being awake when the bodies natural rhythm is to sleep (darkness), or trying to achieve beneficial sleep when the bodies natural rhythm is to be awake (daylight) can, for some people, have a negative impact on the chemical repairs and rejuvenations that naturally happen to the body and brain when we sleep at night.

Below are some articles reviewing the impact long term nightshifts may have on people.

https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20171208-what-working-through-the-dead-of-night-does-to-your-body

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5499504/

https://www.everydayhealth.com/sleep/study-reveals-why-all-nighters-may-dangerous-your-health/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0924933817309768

If you’d like video, telephone or face to face counselling in the Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme or Staffordshire area please do contact Wright Minds at laura@wrightminds.co.uk or on 07598810304

The Road Forward

For over a year we have battled a pandemic, you have lived through an international and historical event that many people will never experience. How we move forward from here is an unknown, just like the road ahead. The government have produced a roadmap as a guide to when they feel things might be safe to return to a version of normal, but that is a general guide, how you feel individually will differ greatly. Some people will want to go out and explored life, others will be more cautious, some will want hugs, others will shy away from human contact, some will be so happy to work from home forever, others will be desperate to get back to an office. Please remember everyone is different, everyone has reasons for the way they feel and all these feelings are valid and important, try to be kind and not judge others or demand they feel the way you do. We have all been changed in someway, big or small, by the last 18 months and the pandemic.

If you need to reach out and talk about your experiences or your road forward please do, whether it is to a friend or a professional.

If you’d like video, telephone or face to face counselling in the Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme or Staffordshire area please do contact Wright Minds at laura@wrightminds.co.uk or on 07598810304

Suicide

Suicide has been discussed in the Media recently and I felt it might be a good time for another blog post about it. Something psychotherapist, counsellors, health professionals are taught in training is to never avoid talking about suicide. There is no evidence that addressing concerns over suicide with someone will make that personal more suicidal, in fact evidence tells us that it will likely make them less suicidal to feel heard and to be offered support.

We know that we do not have control over someone else life or choices and that we can not always prevent suicide, but that shouldn’t stop us from being there to support people who are suicidal in changing their thoughts if they want to, and we shouldn’t feel guilt if we don’t make a difference even though we tried.

I have attached some links at the bottom of this page about how to help someone/yourself and where to get support from if you need to. Don’t be afraid of talking about suicide, address your fears and concerns and be there to support someone who may need help in preventing suicide.

https://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help/if-youre-worried-about-someone-else/myths-about-suicide/

https://www.rethink.org/advice-and-information/carers-hub/suicidal-thoughts-how-to-support-someone/

https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/feelings-symptoms-behaviours/behaviours/help-for-suicidal-thoughts/

If you’d like video, telephone or face to face counselling in the Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme or Staffordshire area please do contact Wright Minds at laura@wrightminds.co.uk or on 07598810304

Media and Mental Health

Mental Health has been in the focus of the Media a lot recently, especially discussions around suicide (which my next blog post will address in more detail). How do you feel mental health is portrayed in the Media? How do you feel Media impacts on your mental health?

Many people have mixed feelings about social media such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter (and probably a dozen more I can’t name). Some people take joy from seeing others posts about happiness, kittens and trees, while others feel they cant live up to their friends happy lives. Often it depends on personality types and existing mental health feelings to how people react to social media. How do you react? Are you aware of the impact social media has on you? Do you need to challenge your thinking to make it healthier?

But Media doesn’t stop there, it is not just about social media, it can be about the news, video or written sources. How is mental health portrayed here? At the bias of the organisation or journalist authoring the piece? Is it intended to manipulate, educate, indoctrinate? Some media articles can be empowering, honest and supportive of mental health, while others can paint it in a negative light, suggest it shows weakness, offer ridicule or blame. Would you know which to believe or why? Could you make your own decision or would you be swayed by the media’s interpretation?

Illustration of social media concept Free Vector

Below I have added some articles about media and mental health to get you started, remember media doesn’t always present things in a clear way, look around before you form a belief based on one piece of information.

https://www.verywellmind.com/mental-health-stigmas-in-mass-media-4153888

https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/category/blog/media-tv-and-newspapers

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/your-stories/improving-representations-of-mental-health-on-tv/

If you’d like video, telephone or face to face counselling in the Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme or Staffordshire area please do contact Wright Minds at laura@wrightminds.co.uk or on 07598810304

Personality types

As a therapist I am often asked about personality types and how this might impact on peoples understanding of themselves and their therapy journey. Finding out your personality type can be really helpful to some people, while to others they find they want to try to fight who they are.

The most widely used personality test is the Myers Briggs, I have included a link here to their website where you can find out more about it.

Isabel Briggs Myers believed “Good type development can be achieved at any age by anyone who cares to understand his or her own gifts and the appropriate use of those gifts.”1. Why not take the test yourself and see how well you now yourself? Here is a link to a website that allows you take the test. Do you agree with the answers? Have your learnt something about yourself?

If you’d like video, telephone or face to face counselling in the Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme or Staffordshire area please do contact Wright Minds at laura@wrightminds.co.uk or on 07598810304

Thoughts Journal

If you have had any exposure to self-help or counselling I am sure you will have heard the word Journal be thrown around. I use it too as a therapist, and decided it was a good idea to share with you all the idea of a thoughts journal.

To start with wipe away the idea of a traditional journal, no dates or times or years, no hours or tasks. No long pieces of prose detailing your movements that day, no bullet list of activities and times.

Thoughts journals are about putting your mind onto paper so you don’t have to carry it all around in your head. They can be a book, or a folder, or a box full of bits of paper, or even a computer document.

The idea is to take what is in your head and put it on paper. This is a creative free for all. Words, images, squiggles, colours, pictures, sentences, anger, sadness, express it however you want. Write your emotional process, draw your thought process, cross things out, stick things in, anything you need to. Draw, paint, write, scribble, get glitter everywhere.

Have a go and see if it helps.

If you would like counselling or to explore more in therapy about journals please do contact Wright Minds: laura@wrightminds.co.uk or on 07598810304

Multitasking Myth! Try Monotasking instead.

Multi tasking is a myth, no matter how much you want to believe you can, no matter how much your boss insists it is real, your brain (and science) know it is a myth. What we are becoming increasingly and incredibly skilled at is really called micro-tasking, but this may not be the best habit it get into. It can reduce our cognitive function in certain areas such as focus and concentration, it can also impact on our ability to feel responses to certain tasks and heighten the production of our stress and anxiety chemicals.

Our world is full of fast information, while watching the news you are reading the headlines scrolling under the presenters head, are you listening or reading? You can’t do both. In reality you are taking in tiny amounts of information broken down into short bursts or factoids. The same is true of scrolling on Twitter or Facebook, just quick sentences, no focus, no depth, information without context or knowledge. Even TV shows are broken up into 12 minute bursts with adverts, which in themselves are short burst of multiple information.

At work you jump between phone calls, emails, back to a conversation, back to the email, back to the ringing phone, back to the database. You haven’t focused on one task or completed it, just bounced around and possibly lost track. This is why we feel frustrated, it is why we feel we never achieve anything, its why we can’t remember if we have done something or not.

For example if I were to stop typing now and answer the phone, then come back to typing this, then see a client, I would probably take 3 times longer and make more mistakes than if I just concentrate for a short period of time and complete the task. Each time I return to the work I will need to read what I was writing before to remember where I left off and remember what I wanted to say. I would lose flow and continuity. I would make my life more difficult.

Not only are we making more work for ourselves, we are damaging our ability to focus, we lose the skill of concentration, our minds reprogram themselves and we wonder why we can’t settle down to a 2 hour movie or to read a book without fidgeting or pressing pause or getting distracted by checking our phones. In fact some people will have got bored after the headline and picture and not made it this far!

I am not saying that microtasking is not a fantastic skill, I think it is one that has many good points, especially in certain environments (driving, certain sports or military roles are good examples) what I am trying to encourage is that we balance our skill sets, we train our brains to do both, don’t neglect your monotasking, long focus skills.

If you would like help with your micro or mono tasking or counselling for any other reason please do contact Wright Minds at laura@wrightminds.co.uk or on 07598810304

For links to articles on the myth or multitasking please try these links: A can people really multitask? B think you’re multitasking thing again. C why you can’t multitask. D the myth of multitasking

Pandemic Fatigue and Types of Rest

This is not about my own work, this is an inspiration from TED Talks and a Pandemic.

Almost everyone of us across the world has been affected or impacted to some degree by the Pandemic that is COVID 19. Some are exhausted from working long hours or in difficult conditions, some are exhausted from lack of anything to do, while others are exhausted from isolation. There are many reason we are tired. The term Pandemic Fatigue is one that is now in widespread use, we have probably all felt it to some extent. Reports of poor sleep and sleep issues to therapists and doctors have dramatically increased since March 2020. Is is OK to feel exhausted from doing nothing in order to protect others, it is OK to be tired and fed up with all your hobbies. It is OK to be exhausted by the number of deaths reported. It is OK to grieve for those you never knew but know have died. You are living through an exceptional time in human history.

I could ramble about energy and rest and relaxation or I could ask you to click the link and read what TED have already beautifully described. This may help you understand why you feel tired and offer very real ideas to help you recoup your energy.

If however, it is more information on Pandemic Fatigue you are looking for here are two interesting links you might like to try one from Hopkins Medical and the other a business organisation Mckinsey.

But if it is more than information you want, if you need to talk to a therapist about any issues the Pandemic has raised for you please do contact us on 07598810304 or laura@wrightminds.co.uk

Energy Points

Phone battery charge status flat symbols set Free Vector

How to use energy points

Imagine you only have a certain amount of points to spend on daily activities, a bit like a video game where you only get so many actions, or if you have to shop within a budget.

You need to choose carefully how you spend these points to have a fulfilled day.

As you start to improve you will start to feel you will have more points available (a bit like levelling up or getting a pay rise).

Here is an example:

You need to spend your points on things like: Work, Exercise, Cooking & Eating, Relaxing, Washing (eg shower/bath), Household Chores, Family/Friends.

You need to decide what comes into these categories and then how to spend your points

EG a week day 12 points:  EG a week day 20 points (leveled up):    
   
Work (4 points) Work (8 points)
Exercise (1 point) Exercise (2 point)
Eating (3 points -1 per meal) Eating (3 points – 1 per meal)
Washing (1 point) Washing (1 point)
Relaxing (1 point) Relaxing (2 point)
Chores (1 point) Chores (2 point)
Family (1 point) Family (2 point)
   
EG weekend day 12 points: EG weekend day 20 points (leveled up):
   
Relaxing (5 points) Relaxing (10 points)
Eating (3 points -1 per meal) Eating (3 points -1 per meal)
Washing (1 point) Washing (1 point)
Exercise 1 point Exercise 1 point
Family (2 point) Family (3 point)
  Chores (2 point)

If you’d like some face to face counselling in the Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle-under-Lyme or Staffordshire area please do contact Wright Minds at laura@wrightminds.co.uk or on 07598810304