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Close Up March 18

HEALTH 5 WAYS YOU CAN

HEALTH 5 WAYS YOU CAN HELP SUPPORT SOMEBODY LIVING WITH ANXIETY Anxiety currently affects one in twenty people in the UK. 8 BEST PODCASTS TO DE-STRESS AND SOOTHE YOUR FRAZZLED MIND From mindfulness to interesting TED talks, there’s a wealth of podcasts to try out When work deadlines start piling up and it feels like years since you’ve had a holiday, your mind can becoming increasingly frazzled. It’s important to slow down, take a deep breath and unplug from the demands of life. Instead, when you’re feeling increasingly stressed, why not plug into a podcast? From mindfulness to interesting TED talks, there’s a wealth of podcasts to try that will calm you down and help you feel inspired. The Mindful Podcast If you’ve never tried mindfulness, it’s a simple form of meditation. It helps you to become present in what is going on, so become aware of where you are and what’s going on without feeling overwhelmed. The Mindful Podcast helps you achieve this state of mindfulness. The episodes are fairly short, containing either 10 minute or five minute practices to try out from topics such as taming bad habits or feeling grateful. As well, there are some long episodes that usually take place live, from experts in the field. Listen to the Mindful Podcast on iTunes or Podbean Currently, one in four people will experience a mental health problem in the UK each year, with anxiety specifically affecting one in twenty. Although it can affect anyone at any time, in a recent study, conducted by Office for National Statistics, it was found that it’s currently more common in women than men. In the year ending September 2017, women reported higher life satisfaction, worthwhile and happiness ratings compared with men but, despite this, reported higher levels of anxiety. Why? Well, scientists put it down to the difference in brain chemistry and hormones between genders. Start the conversation Anxiety can make people shrink into themselves and hide away from the world. Asking how they’re feeling today is an easy way to start a conversation and letting them know you’re there to listen. Finding trusted people who they can open up to is vital for an anxiety sufferer in order for them to manage their condition. Encourage them to seek help If your friend or family member feels that their anxiety is becoming worse over time, you could encourage them to seek help through a GP or one of the many mental health support groups available. You can ask if they would like you to make the call for them or go along to the appointment as support. Conversely, if they don’t feel that they’re ready to seek professional help – don’t pressure them to do so. Keep your invitations open There may be days where you extend an invitation to a coffee, to dinner or a night out and they say no. Don’t close the door on them or pressure them to come. Living with anxiety can be mentally draining and large numbers of people may trigger panic or make them feel trapped. Be patient and gentle. There will be a time when they do feel well enough to join you. TED Radio Hour Everyone loves a good TED Talk and the TED Radio Hour is a way of bringing some of the best talks together. Each episode focuses on one topic whether that’s space, money, beauty or medicine with interviews and talk snippets from the interesting TED conferences that happen around the world. For a good teaser of what to expect, try the Going Undercover episode. It explores stories focusing on when people have gone undercover, whether that’s as a journalist, an activist or in a terrorism operation. Listen to TED Radio Hour on NPR or iTunes Soul Music Soul Music is a lovely podcast from BBC Radio 4. Each episode explores one song and what it means to different people around the world. It looks at the powerful, emotional impact music can have on people. It comes out fairly sporadically but it is a very soothing listen when it does. Try out the Waterloo Sunset episode focusing on the Kinks’ hit number. Listen to Soul Music on the BBC Sleep Whispers Sleep Whispers is part of the Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR) trend. ASMR focuses on ambient sounds, like whispering, and people find it relaxing and soothing. Sleep Whispers features whispering ramblings and readings to help you relax and fall asleep. Episodes include things like uplifting quotes, guidance for sleep preparation and tips of sleep optimisation for when the insomnia kicks in late at night. Listen to Sleep Whispers on iTunes Be forgiving Anxiety can change a person’s behaviour, so be forgiving when they’re irritable. It may not be in their control so try your best to be patient. Let them know you understand and that you won’t walk away from them. Learn about anxiety One of the best things you can do to help someone is to learn and understand about their illness; you might feel more able to help your friend or family member manage their anxiety if you learn more about the condition yourself.

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