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

Personal Boundaries

Here are three interesting articles on setting personal boundaries that you may find useful.

https://psychcentral.com/lib/10-way-to-build-and-preserve-better-boundaries/

https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/set-boundaries

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

LSD and the Brain

LSD/Acid is a hallucinogenic or psychedelic drug known fully as lysergic acid diethylamide. LSD has chemical structure mimicking serotonin, the happy chemical naturally produced in our brains and bodies so when Acid molecules merge with the serotonin receptors instead of the serotonin they expect, they bind more strongly and produce extra amino acids that almost lock or trap the LSD molecule into the receptors where they can lodge until they finally work loose. LSD or Acid is primarily is taken because it adapts perceptions, imaginations, thoughts, moods, and feelings producing enjoyable effects such as distorted colours, sounds, objects, shapes, you can also feel euphoric, empathetic, excited, giggly, in awe, energised, and hallucinate. The effects can last between 6 to 15 hours. However, you can also experience bad hallucinations and leave you feeling suspicious, panicked, confused, anxious, overwhelmed and frightened, users can become quieter or have trouble speaking, they can act unpredictably, become fixated on things, be emotional, paranoid or aggressive suffering from confusion and trouble concentrating, physically symptoms or effects of LSD are headaches, nausea, the dilation of pupils, fast or irregular heart beat plus rapid breathing combined with increased body temperature along with facial flushes, sweating, chills and shaking. Experiences while coming down in the days after use can include insomnia, fatigue, body and muscle aches and feeling depressed. In the long term LSD does not appear to be addictive or have any withdrawal symptoms, but in a few cases a disorder known as Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder (HPPD) can occur, additionally some people have been known to self-harm or attempt risky/dangerous behaviours while under the influence of the drug, it is also believed to increase risk of or worsen mental health issues especially if you have any unknown or underlying mental health issues, occasionally some people experience unpleasant flashbacks to their ‘trips’ on LSD.

What Is Acid? - New Study Explains How LSD Makes Brains Trip

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

Cannabis and the Brain

Marijuana buds with marijuana joints and cannabis oil Free Photo

Cannabis or Marijuana is a psychoactive drug made from the cannabis plant. It produces the chemical THC and is usually smoked or eaten, this chemical interacts with the brain which is looking for chemicals like THC that naturally occur in the body, these are predominantly linked to development and brain function, the ingestion of THC causes the brain to function faster because of its high levels, but also changes how brain makes chemical connections. This chemical enters the lungs or stomach, then it enters the bloodstream where it moves to the brain and organs causing people to feel chilled out, happy, outgoing, relaxed, laid back, hungry, giggly and chatty, even enjoy good hallucinations. It can increase senses such as seeing vivid colours, alter the feel of time passing, provoke mood changes and make people lethargic. Cannabis has both long and short term physical and psychological effects on the body and cognition including reduced motivation, impair your memory, thinking and learning skills as well as brain development in teenagers, cause mood swings, insomnia, depression, delusions, psychosis, make you anxious, panicky, or even aggressive, cause anxiety, paranoia and hallucinations, cause relapse or worsen psychotic illnesses like schizophrenia, increase your chances of developing illnesses like schizophrenia, make you wheeze and cough, make your asthma worse, increase your heart rate, your risk of heart disease/heart attack and lung cancer, cause fertility issues, nausea, and  risk to foetus if you are pregnant. It is believed that about 10%-30% of people who use cannabis become addicted, this percentage is likely increased the younger the user. Withdrawal includes grouchiness, sleeplessness, mood swings, restlessness, decreased appetite, anxiety and cravings. It is often associated with lifestyle and friends so withdrawal from social groups and peers making mental health such as depression, anxiety, self-belief all worsen.

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

Cocaine and the Brain

Cocaine is a very addictive stimulant drug made from the coca plant, it is believed to be more psychologically than physically addictive because of the chemical impact it has on the brain and the pleasure symptoms it produces. The cocaine produces very high levels of dopamine in the body, this impacts on the chemicals effect on the brain, too much dopamine builds up and stops the normal chemical communications in the body, the dopamine, doesn’t get correctly used or recycled producing the much desire symptoms, but also causing the brain to need more and more cocaine or dopamine to have the same impact, thus creating an addiction. The effects of cocaine use are alertness, feeing intensely happy and excited, increased confidence, extremely awake, increased attention and energy levels, increased sensitivity to sound, sight, and touch. It makes you chattier, at the top of your game, more animated, arrogant, agitated, restless, less hungry and sometimes an increased sex drive. It also makes you feel hot (increasing your body temperature), increase anger or irritability, anxious, paranoid, panicked, feel sick and makes your heart beat faster, it can slow down thinking and reaction times, plus making it harder to sleep. These effects last about 10 to 30 minutes depending on the ingestion method.

What Happens If You Do Cocaine Once: Side Effects & Risks

However, side effects can include heart attacks, stokes, headaches, convulsions, seizures, and mood issues. Physical issues due to the ingestion method can be loss of nose cartridge and loss of smell if snorted, lung disease and swallowing issue if smoked, hepatitis, HIV, ulcers, abscess if injected. The withdrawal or comedown effects include: Paranoid, Run Down, Depression, Anxiety, Fatigue, Trouble concentrating, Increased hunger, Cravings for the drug, Nightmares, Chills, Nerve pain, Muscle aches. Most effective treatment is detox or rehabilitation and counselling, there are currently no medical alternative replacement drugs to help with withdrawal as there are for heroin addiction.

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

Heroin, Opium and the Brain

Over the next few weeks I will explore the impact of different drugs on the brain and body.

Heroin and Opium have almost identical affects on the brain and body during use and withdrawal because Heroin and Opium are both opioids made from the poppy plant. The slight difference is that heroin is enhanced in its impact on the body: “Heroin is a semisynthetic narcotic drug, which uses opium as the source of the narcotic during processing. Opium is converted into morphine, which is then synthetized into heroin. It is chemically changed and enhanced in a lab in order to increase the potency of its effects.”  (www. sunrisehouse.com/) For this reason I shall discussed them both together.

Heroin Overdose | Signs, Symptoms & Risks of Heroin Abuse

They are highly addictive drugs often because of the euphoric feelings that result from there use, it is believed that they can become psychologically and physically addictive after just one or two uses. The pleasurable experience heroin and opium offers is a relaxed, happy euphoria that makes you feel warm and sleepy, some even say you get a brain fuzz and feel contentment. People report that they and the world slows down and they feel no pain (this is because the heroin blocks the pain receptors in the brain). However there is a side effect to these drugs that is deadly, because they depress the central nervous system and slow down the chemical messages in the body this leads to suppressed respiration rates, heart rate and blood pressure as well as making them sleepy some users fall into a coma and their breathing slows so much they stop breathing altogether and die. This overdose is common if users stop taking the drug for a few days, consistent use builds a tolerance to the drug, however, only a few days without it this tolerance is lost, so if they were to then take their usual dose they risk overdose, coma and death. Both the drugs, which are derived from the same source as morphine (medical use painkiller) bind to the receptors in the brain that feel pain but that also receive dopamine and other feel good chemicals. This means that more is needed each time as the receptors are full so the brain demands more and more of the drug to feel the same, it becomes physically addictive, however, this can be undone with a replacement drug and detox, but the psychological addiction of the feelings and reasons why someone became addicted can be tougher to deal with, therapy often helps to ease this issue. Not only do users feel cravings, muscle spasms, confusion and itching while they are taking heroin and opium they are at risk of serious blood poisoning and infections like HIV and sepsis, malnutrition, abscesses, lesions, dental and skin issues. It can also cause serious financial and social issues for the user who’s lifestyles often change focusing on nothing but the next fix, leaving them friendless, estranged from family, poor and with self-worth issues. Other issues occur during withdrawal from use, symptoms include: Nausea, Diarrhoea, Abdominal pain, Sweating, Shaking, Nervousness, Agitation, Depression, Muscle spasms, Bone pain, Cravings for the drug, Insomnia, Cold Flushes, Suicidal thoughts, Isolation. People use heroin or opium for many reasons but it is believed some are psychological such as Post Traumatic Stress, Anxiety, Depression and well as because it is part of the life style they crave, these issues will need to be dealt with as well as the withdrawal issues if the user is going to get clean of the drug. Another problem is that heroin and opium use can change the structure of the brain due to continued use.

Beautiful flowering poppy in green grass in field. (papaveraceae) Free Photo

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

Avoiding Dependency in Therapy

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Previously I have written a brief explanation about emotional dependency and its symptoms in a relationship, I will now explore how a counsellor working with a client with emotional dependency issues can negate the client becoming dependent on them.

“In truth, for psychotherapy to be effective, a degree of emotional dependency is inevitable” (www.afterpsychotherapy.com), this comment makes it clear that no matter how careful counsellors are at some level a client, even one without dependency issues can come to rely on a counsellor, sometimes it can even be beneficial for them to do so, after all they need to feel safe and secure for the therapy to as productive as it can be, especially in Person Centred therapy, the relationship is key to the healing process. However, in good therapy this is a temporary, understood and controlled dependency. The aim of therapy is to use the relationship to help the client become more emotionally resilient and dependent on themselves instead of other relationships.

To help with this it is useful for the counsellor to have a clear set of rules, or counselling contract they can explain to the client about their role as a therapist, when they will be available, the rules around booking and cancelling session, answering the phone/emails/texts outside of the therapy session, and a clear conversation about ongoing reviews and a planned ending.  This will hopefully avoid the counsellor becoming the one who allows the client to become dependent on them, they will only adapt the clear rules if it is clear the client’s dependence has found a way around them. It is also helpful for the counsellor to directly recognise any dependency they notice and have open discussion with the client to aid healing and growth. Reviews will help the client to see development and build self-worth, good techniques of cognitive behavioural therapy homework will be to help the client build self-reliance and thus learn techniques to minimise dependency, to help the client build an inner therapist. Most importantly it a clear structure to sessions and a clear limit to counselling may be important when working with cases where emotional dependence may be a therapy issue.

Hopefully this has clearly explained emotional dependency and its symptoms when it is present in a relationship and how a therapist could prevent the development of emotional dependency on themselves as a therapist.



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



Emotional Dependency

Set of people with mental problems Free Vector

Emotional dependency (sometime call co-dependency) and love look very similar at the outset and to the inexperienced, in reality however, they differ greatly. In a healthy relationship love, caring, understanding, helping, supporting, giving and getting, being with and doing things with your partner are all normal, however, so is having independence and differing activities, so are minor disagreements and differences. In contrast in an emotionally dependent relationship one person becomes more and more in need of the other persons company and attention. They can no longer feel happiness without being in the presence of their partner. They cannot self-sooth or validate their own actions, feelings, or thoughts, they need their partner to fulfil this role. They usually have low self-esteem and self-worth, they seek security and trust in another because they don’t trust in themselves. This becomes a constant need over time, because the partner offers soothing and fulfils the need for validation and closeness they want to spend more and more time with their partner, they ask more and more from them. Any time they are not with the partner or the partner wants to do something alone they feel rejected and seek to avoid this feeling, so they become needier, eventually this becomes a fear that their partner will reject them, that their partner is cheating or pulling away because they don’t want to spend all their time with them. The lack of constant security and risk of loss becomes a fear, this fear creates anxiety and other emotionally charged difficult behaviours.

Eventually the emotionally depended person plans their entire life around their partner, they feel no satisfaction or worthiness without it coming from their partner. They alter their behaviours and actions to make sure they are useful and needed by their partner, they become entirely self-sacrificing in order to meet their partners needs so that they are never alone. This often means, changing behaviours, doing things at any cost –emotional or physical but also tolerating behaviours they know they shouldn’t such as emotional and physical abuse, they feel guilty about doing anything for themselves, ignore their own morals, it can include doing everything for a partner even if they don’t need to. “Within the context of a marriage, emotional dependence is a state where one spouse’s self-worth becomes far too tied into the actions and attention of their partner.” (www.fatherly.com)

Some of the symptoms or behaviours that are exhibited on both sides that may be looked out for in first therapy session or formulation session can be lack of self-respect, manipulation, possessiveness, jealousy, insecurity, abuse, false affection, obsessiveness over the partner, worthless feelings, guilt that they don’t give enough (even though they do everything for the other person), anxiety. Sometimes you may hear what the other partner (the one who isn’t emotionally dependent) feels because they have suggested their partner gets help, these include worn down by the neediness and constant need to be giving love, that they have lack of time alone, that they feel inadequate even though they are giving love, inpatient at the constant demands, frustrated an drained or burnt out. If you recognise these you may be thinking about exploring emotional dependency.

Things that may possibly be causes or reasons emotional dependency may arise to discuss with your clients or be aware may relate to clients behaviours from their childhood or other relationships they have been in. They may have been in past abusive relationships, or had a damaging relationship with their parents or caregivers, they may have been a carer for someone with emotional or physical needs and be unable to adjust to a different type of relationship other than feeling needed when giving or caring. They may have poor attachment issues from childhood, lack of feeling loved, or needed, left out or another sibling is preferred over them, failed to build self-esteem, jealous or needy parents, told they are a failure, only praised when doing something or providing for a parent or loved one, bullied by someone, experienced emotional or physical abuse. This leaves the person emotionally depended on recreating these behaviours as an adult because it is all they know and how they feel needed, they become submissive and accept abuse more easily as they are used to this as normal behaviour that gives love and attention.

Some potential helpful techniques for therapists with clients who are presenting with emotional dependency are: identifying the fear that may cause them to worry their partner will leave, figuring out how and why these fears exist may help the client reduce dependency. Other options are to try to encourage the client to increase their independence through time alone, own hobbies without their partner, increase self-worth, self-identity and encourage love for themselves. Help the client to take responsibility for their own emotions, needs and life goals, create their own schedule and encourage a social circle outside their partner. These would all be reasonably achievable with behavioural experiments common in cognitive behavioural therapy. Inner child work can also help to ease some of the learnt behaviours from childhood, particularly learning to sooth the inner child and rewriting the history. This is only a very brief explanation of emotional dependency and its symptoms in a relationship that may be indicators to a therapist that the client may be struggling with dependency issues. I will now explore how a counsellor working with a client with emotional dependency issues can negate the client becoming dependent on them.

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