Happiful November 2019

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Words of wisdom from

the therapy room

We all have different experiences when it comes to our mental health, but often

we can be comforted by the same words. If you’re experiencing mental ill-health,

seven counsellors offer their words of encouragement

Writing | Becky Wright

From stress to anxiety,

bereavement to body

image problems,

we all face different

challenges in our lives. And,

although it can be difficult,

talking about what you’re

dealing with is one of the

best ways to open yourself up

to a wealth of support. The

proverbial saying, ‘a problem

shared is a problem halved’

might not be strictly true, but it

can certainly help to lighten the

load for you.

Remember, no matter how

you’re feeling, you are worthy of

help. Here, we offer some words

of wisdom about seven common

mental health issues.

IF ANXIETY IS GETTING IN THE WAY OF YOU LIVING YOUR LIFE

Feeling

anxious from

time to time

is normal.

It’s a sign

that you’re

human, and

are pushing yourself out of your

comfort zone. There is a difference

though, between the feeling of

butterflies and something more

sinister.

Person-centred counsellor, Andy

Kidd, explains how to work out

what is causing you to feel this way.

“It’s important to break down what

you’re anxious about. Be specific.

Defining problems helps to find

solutions. When you are feeling

anxious, what are you paying

attention to? What scares you most

about it? Why?”

Once you’ve determined the cause

of your anxiety, the next step is to

tackle it head-on. “Anxiety screams

‘Avoid!’, often leading us to assume

the worst. But one useful tip is to

voluntarily face challenges, rather

than bracing for disaster,” says

Andy. “The trick is to hear what

your anxiety is telling you, then

tell it something back. Therapy,

particularly assertiveness training,

can teach your anxiety that you’re

more capable and braver than you

thought.”

IF STRESS IS OVERWHELMING YOU

Although

stress isn’t

an illness

in itself, it

can affect

us in many

ways. From

sleeping problems to loss of

appetite, or sweating, many

physical symptoms can occur

when we’re feeling overwhelmed.

“Stress is the body’s natural

defence mechanism against

perceived dangers,” says

counsellor Carole Brooks. “But,

unlike our stone-age ancestors

who could fight in the face

of danger (reducing harmful

hormones), we can’t do this with

today’s stressors.”

For this reason, Carole explains

learning to control our response

to stress is imperative. For some,

this can mean making some ‘metime’,

exercising, or mindfulness.

For others, it’s not as simple. If

you’ve been feeling stressed for a

prolonged period, consider what

changes you could make to your

life. If your stress is work-related,

it might be beneficial to speak

to your manager, or even seek a

new job if you’re able to.

30 • happiful.com • November 2019

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