Rediscover happiness the natural way
If you are feeling as if the world has lost its sparkle, you are not alone. Recent NHS statistics show that prescriptions for anxiety and depression have doubled in recent years.
Irrational anxiety is characterised by feelings of dread, as if something bad is just about to happen, even though nothing is wrong. Depressive symptoms include a lack of interest and pleasure in life and can occur even when life seems, outwardly, to be successful. The two states sometimes go together.
Of course, the steep increase in the figures of people asking for help for anxiety and depression are not necessarily telling us the whole story about what is happening in our mental health zone. It may be that doctors are prescribing more freely, or that we are more willing to seek help, or that better treatments are available.
However, if you do feel you are slithering about in a semi-permanent black hole of depression or anxiety which you can’t seem to climb your way out of, no matter how hard you try, it might be worth reviewing other approaches before automatically dispensing that prescription from the GP. We have never had so many natural and easily available routes to vibrant mental health.
If you are already taking anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication, please remember they are strong drugs which impact on the brain chemistry so do remember to consult your GP before abandoning them. Cutting down drastically or stopping abruptly may trigger distressing withdrawal symptoms which might last for weeks, especially if you have been on the treatment for a long time. A change in the dosage has to be supervised by a medical expert to avoid panic attacks and other highly unpleasant physiological reactions that are beyond your control.
Making a few simple lifestyle changes can work wonders.
Our mental health doesn’t naturally come out of a packet of pills. It is built on simple things that bring the fun back into life. Feeling good about yourself is possible again. Here are a few simple things you could try to make tomorrow better than today.
- Are you seeing enough of your close friends and family?
Sharing feelings with those we love and trust can be enough in itself to dispel sad, gloomy or anxious feelings. Even a phone call can make all the difference. People who know you well can advise you on feasible and realistic ways to reduce pressure in your particular situation. If your current life circumstances are very stressful, and they know you are in a very tight spot, a true friend will reassure you that you are doing your best.
- Are you getting enough fun and laughter (the best medicine) in your life?
If enjoying a belly laugh over life’s little absurdities seems too long ago, it is time to get perspective. Spend time with a cherished person, and laugh and cry and laugh all over again at the crazy but wonderful world you both share.
- How much exercise are you getting?
A walk in the fresh air is as good at lifting mild depression as an anti-depressant and costs nothing. Holistic mind-body disciplines such as yoga and tai-chi have proved their amazing worth for over a thousand years. Mindfulness courses are a popular go-to whereas for others a dancing class is the best way to banish the blues. Swimming is also a great anti-anxiety treatment as the water is soothing and the rhythmic movements promote relaxation.
- Take another look at your diet.
Is there enough of the good fats, vitamins and proteins? Or is there and an over-balance of ready meals and takeaways? Are your meals relaxed or too often rushed and stressful? The brain controls everything, including our moods, and it needs plenty of high quality, nutritious fuel and ample water intake to do its job. This does not have to mean pricey or unusual food and ordinary tap water is just as efficient as the designer variety. Fresh, wholesome food including simple fruits and vegetables, needn't be too expensive and are so much better for us. If you can, try to enjoy meals in a relaxed way to maximise digestion and assimilation of all that goodness.
- Are you sleeping properly?
Enough deep sleep is vital as it is the time when the brain repairs and restores the mind and the body, including the brain synapses. During sleep, we process the mental stresses and memories of the day. Deep sleep refreshes us and enables us to wake up eager to jump out of bed and get on with our day. Lack of good sleep is sure to worsen anxieties and depressive symptoms.
- What about joining a reputable self-help group?
There are numerous good groups available online or explore what is on offer for you in your local area or browsing some of the excellent self-help books available.
Still struggling? Why not try hypnotherapy?
Maybe you ’ve ticked all the boxes and nothing seems to fix it. Perhaps you feel too low to even make a start on a small change.
If this is you, have you thought about using hypnotherapy? It is not the silly gimmick sometimes portrayed in the media and can be transformative. It is a complementary therapy so it can also work alongside prescribed medication for anxiety and depression.
Modern hypnotherapists don’t dangle pendulums or ask you to look into their eyes. They are skilled professionals who are trained to find and eliminate the deeply buried obstacles in the unconscious mind, which cause the symptoms, stop us enjoying life and growing into our best selves.
The unconscious contains the immeasurably vast reservoir of all our experiences, it drives emotions, triggers our anxieties, and ingrains our habits. Most importantly, it facilitates the imagination. It is a most wonderfully creative resource which, accessed effectively, can get to the roots of the issues and release the funny, happy and optimistic person inside you that is desperately fighting to get out.
Hypnotherapy is a natural way to recapture the happiness you were born to know. Give it a chance and it might be the best money you’ve ever spent.
As with choosing any professional service, take time to select the right person for you. Their testimonials, experience, published work and specialisms are useful criteria to consider before making a decision.